Happy New Year and Good Luck!

Most people I ask say 2010 was not a very good year.  And, now, as I write this, we are just hours away from a new year. Prosperity, health, wealth, strength and good luck are near! BUT, only if you do the right things to prepare.

I’ve compiled a list to help you out.

First, there are all the foods you must eat. Some foods must be eaten on New Year’s Eve, a few must be eaten on New Year’s Day and other food stuffs must be eaten at exactly at the stroke of midnight! If unsure when best to eat, I recommend eating all day and night! And, if some of these ideas have not been your tradition, you might consider adding them, just to change your luck.

  • Eat a few long noodles for long life! (Now, it’s important to note here that you must not to break the noodle before you eat it, therefore cutting your life short, so, my advice is to be careful not to choke which is not very good luck, at all.)
  • Eat meat! Meat means prosperity and strength. Eating meat on New Year’s means good luck all year long. I’ve read that brisket is popular, but, many traditions include pork.  Fish is important, too. Fish swim in schools and represent abundance. Whatever you do, do not eat anything with wings or your luck will fly away.
  • On to the greens! Greens represent wealth. Cabbage, collards, kale, green peas are all good for adding green backs to your new year. If you like sauerkraut, all the better, because sauerkraut also adds intelligence to the equation.
  • Black-eyed peas and lentils represent coins, indicating wealth, too.
  • Potatoes have roots deep in the earth. They (along with carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc) add stability.
  • Leave a bit of food on your plate on New Year’s Eve until after midnight to ensure a well stocked larder all year.
  • At midnight, eat 12 grapes, one for each strike of the clock and/or for each month of the new year. And, adding a 13th grape assures your good luck!
  • It is also prudent to add a coin to your baked bread and your peas while cooking.

Here are some more “to-dos” to insure good luck.

  • Jingle a change purse at midnight and keep a handful of coins in your pockets, too!
  • Hide some money outside on New Year’s Eve. Bring the money back inside on New Year’s Day to keep that money coming in all year.
  • Don’t let the first guest of the new year in your house be anyone other than a good looking young man who is carrying a loaf of bread.
  • Wear red underwear!
  • Hang a pine branch for longevity, a bamboo stalk for prosperity and a plum blossom for nobility.
  • At first toll of midnight, open the back door to release bad luck. Close the door before the 12th stroke and run to the front of your house to get the front door opened when the clock strikes 12 to welcome in the good luck.
  • Make lots of noise at midnight to chase away evil spirits.
  • Don’t sweep away the good spirits on New Year’s Day, but do sweep away bad spirits on New Year’s Eve, of course.
  • And, whatever you do, don’t forget to kiss your lover, right at the stroke of midnight.

Please share your New Year’s traditions so I can add them to my list, too!

Happy New Year and Good Luck!


The story of the five balls

jugglerI have been asked numerous times over the last several years why I quit my job as a newspaper editor to become a bookkeeper.

In order to give you an answer, I must tell you the story of the five balls.

The story of the five balls comes from the book, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, by James Patterson

This is the storyof the five balls:

Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-family, health, friends, integrity-are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life.

I truly loved my job as editor of two community newspapers. I thought what I did was important. You see, newspapers are vital to the life of the community. They provide useful information to their readers such as when highway repairs will be completed, or what time the band concert will be, or what day the library is holding its story time, or when the community will be holding its craft show, yada, yada.

Newspapers are also the official record for births, deaths, graduations, engagements, weddings, business openings and closings, etc.

Newspapers cover governmental meetings and police beats. Newspapers write about the crime in the area and about the little old lady down the street that skydived for her 80th birthday.

So, I loved my job. The problem was that I had a super small staff, so I was constantly on the go attending events, writing stories, laying out pages, selling advertising, etc. I typically worked 70+ hours a week.  Oh, I realized I shouldn’t have, but I believed the job was that important. I had to give it  my absolute best to make it the wealth of accurate information that I thought it should be.

So, even though I knew the story of the five balls, even though Brian and I gave up corporate jobs earlier and moved to the country to get some sanity back in our lives, I neglected to heed the lesson because I loved my job. And, the harder I worked to keep that work ball in the air, the worse my health became. And, I had no time for family or friends. I neglected the people most important to me and I ignored the house and ignored the garden and rarely had any fun living.

So, after much consideration and cajoling from those who loved me, I finally quit.

 And, although I still stay very busy, my life finally has balance.


Advice from Mark Twain

I was going to write about aging, but as I started banging on the keyboard, I realized that wasn’t my topic at all.  Why write about something that I really have absolutely no control over?  I can’t stop aging.  Tomorrow when I wake up, I will be one day older than I am today.  And, you will, too.  Next year, on this exact date, I will be one year older than I am today.  So will you.  We can’t stop time.  Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

It can be a struggle coping with our aging processes.  We read health books and diet books and newspapers and magazines that give us advice on how to live longer and healthier.  We want to age gracefully, and beautifully.  We want to keep our agility and our teeth! 

We’d like to eat whatever we want whenever we want.  We’d like not to worry about the fat content or sugar content or salt content of our foods or if the portion size is bigger than a matchbook.  We want to keep our blood pressure down, our cholesterol down, our gout at bay, our diabetes in check, our hearts healthy, our brains alert. 

We take vitamins promising to help the bodies that we neglect.  As a nation, we spend millions a year on over-the counter remedies, doctor visits, prescription drugs, workout club memberships, home exercise equipment, books and videos to help us beat the aging process.

But, don’t worry. Be happy.

My advice? Take Mark Twain’s advice!

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
– Mark Twain