How does a person show courage not to drink alcohol on the bubbliest of holidays and still be the life of the party? It takes an inventive person with discipline and determination. I will illustrate 12 ways in which to eliminate popular drinking pursuits and I have suggestions to replace socially imposed pressures with creative merrymaking activities and healthy liquids. Please be a good friend and support those who do not drink alcohol. If you have a tip to avoid drinking please comment on BDN Facebook page.
Step 1: Act like you’re a 20 something pro
As the TB12 method highlights, Tom Brady who is forty, plays like he is 20 something because he lives a healthy lifestyle. The first activity is to think like Tom and his wife Giselle. They eat mostly vegetables and are gluten-free. Giselle starts her day with a cup of warm lemon water. Tom drinks two 16 oz of water with his added electrolytes. I bought Brady’s book The TB12 Method to learn his workout regimes, diet, and stretching routines. The book has informative exercises and pliability tips with recipes and awesome photos of the G.O.A.T. Last February, I painted a portrait of the five-time winning Superbowl QB when I heard about someone stealing his football jersey from his locker after the Super Bowl. I imagined and created Tom Brady with his jersey being “ripped-off.” Tom Brady is the quintessential model for healthiness! Be like Tom and Giselle.
Step 2: you got to move it move it
I know it’s sub zero, but dress warmly and before partying on New Year’s Eve; get outside. You can ski downhill or cross country or snowshoe. The trails behind University of Maine are groomed and perfect for skate skiing or regular cross country Nordic skiing. The closest ski slope in the Bangor area may be Camden Snow Bowl or Big Squaw Mountain in Greenville. Both have chair lifts and both have newly renovated lodges with reasonable ski rentals and rates. Or one can head to the Bangor city forest or sled & toboggan down numerous hills in the area. Then there’s my favorite ice hockey and skating. In Orono, the town maintains a rink with boards behind Orono High School. There are several outside neighborhood rinks in Bangor as well that the city plows and floods. Call the city of Bangor Parks and Recreation Department at 992-4490 for locations. Also, there are three indoor rinks: PIA in Brewer, Sawyer rink in Bangor, and Alfond Ice Arena in Orono. All three have public skating times. Or you can workout inside at your favorite gym. Mine is Relentless in Bangor. But if you would rather watch than participate, attend a local high school or college sporting event. Of course, the preferred liquid refreshment with these activities is hot cocoa!
Step 3: rattle those pots and pans
Get creative and whip up some edible fun! This is festive party season so why not dust off the cook books and dive into a complicated or not so complicated favorite party recipe. My blended family is Lebanese and the holiday dish we love is beqlewe, (Lebanese) or baklava. This super sweet and gooey treat involves making a syrup with rose water and brushing it between layers of filo dough with crushed pistachio filling. Totally low cal and great with almond milk.
Step 4: Get social
I am not talking about “social media” social. I mean face to face, hand-holding personal contacts. Join a new group or meet with old friends. The point is, nothing can substitute being with someone. Interacting with family, good friends, and social groups increases a person’s longevity more than giving up smoking! * I joined the Bangor Historical Society this month. And as president of the Bangor Art Society, I recommend joining us if you love art or are novice artist or established professional. Connecting with people helps the organization but also assists others in learning and growth. Go to www.thebangorartsociety.com. Also, there’s the YPR program for young people in recovery from addictive substances that meets at the “Barn,” 142 Center Street, Brewer (www.csoaamaine.org is the link to all AA meetings in the Bangor/Brewer area.) Beverage of choice is green tea energy drinks! *Research by Susan Pinker in her book, “The Village Effect: How Face to Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier.”
Step 5: Head into the wilderness
Read a good book and get into the “wilderness”! There is nothing like the new year and being snowed inside to start self improvement by devouring non-fiction novel or fiction story that immerses us in the forest of far-away place. Here are my suggestions, starting with Brene’ Brown’s newest research on having courage to follow your “wild heart” and be an individual and “dare greatly,” Braving the Wilderness or there’s Jack London’s classic Call of the Wild to name two. Sip tea while you are drinking in the written word.
Step 6: paint not slip
The popular paint party up scaled and paired with fizzy carbonated flavored H2O is better. There are many venues for inexperienced crafty folks to dabble in producing art work with friends. Nothing is as festive as grabbing a brush, selecting an image off the internet and rounding up your buds New Year’s eve day to paint. Start slapping on the color to canvas or paper bought from AC Moore to make an original Jackson Pollack-like piece! Who cares if it’s not perfect? It is your original. And what’s more exciting, you don’t need to be intoxicated to feel uninhibited to create. You will have an art piece to hang in your home forever reminding you of your new-found talent.
Step 7: You ought to be in pictures
Hollywood has a plethora of movie hits out and now is the time to feast your eyes on some award winners before the Academys in February. There’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” or true story of filmmaker Tommy Wiseau “The Disaster Artist,” Winston Churchill story “Darkest Hour,” Agatha Christie’s remake “Murder on the Orient Express” and crime drama “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” to name a few. If your choice isn’t listed in the three Bangor area theaters, try Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville or Colonial Theater in Belfast. But if you prefer to stay cozy in front of your own fireplace at home, you can watch holiday classics such as Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” or our family favorite Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney (George Clooney’s aunt) in “White Christmas,” and “Going My Way,” the movie that Bing won Best Actor in 1944. The perfect liquid served up while watching part of the “Vermont smorgasbord” is butter milk, so you can “count your blessings instead of sheep.”
Step 8: Don’t be bored be board
Before video games hypnotized children, we all played board games to while away the winter doldrums. New Years is the perfect time for nostalgia. My grandfather taught me to add by playing cribbage and other card games with me. So reach deep into the closets and cupboards and pull out Trivial Pursuit or Cranium games for the fam. I love Scattergories, Apples to Apples, and Pictionary. These games have traveled to our cabin at Daicey Pond in Baxter. We have been known to laugh late into the night during these activities and a few times the rangers came to our campsite to quiet us down! Embarrassing for my 89 year old Aunt Mildred, but such a heartwarming memory. Other good times include hours spent with my son playing Stratego, Battleship and Phase Ten. All these games were accompanied by milk and cookies or chips and salsa.
Step 9: Not a saint, but you can act like one
Because this year New Year’s eve day falls on a Sunday, many people will be attending church. Why not join the crowd? Visit a new sanctuary for a change of pace. This time of year, places of worship are festooned with garlands and poinsettias. Most have special musical services. Plus, some historic churches are opened just for the holidays when normally they are closed for the winter. For example in Rockville, a former Baptist Church was renovated and lovingly restored to it’s original decor. I was fortunate to be given a breath-taking tour of the Rockville Community Chapel, 87 Old Rockland St. It was quite impressive. Thank you to Diane Perry and her husband (FB @ Rockville Community Chapel). Poke around your town and pop into a service to enjoy music and take in the historic spirituality. There is beauty in religious architecture all around the greater Bangor area no matter which faith. Holy water is available in some, but I would not recommend drinking. Drink grape juice instead.
Step 10: Be a sculptor
Since 14″ of snow was dumped on us Christmas Day, now is the time to carve your own Frosty! The sub-zero temperatures mean that any added water from your home to the snow will make an ice sculpture in seconds. Instead of rolling snow balls, make snow cubes or squares that can be cut out of the snow banks or lawn and stacked up to make igloo fortresses. Perfect winter playground for all. An added feature are the bare branches glistening with a coating of ice above the sparkling snow. I suggest ice cream floats for all arctic architects!
Step 11: DIY lighting the night
To celebrate winter solstice, I bought backyard fireworks from the Big Bang Boom Fireworks store on Rt. 1A in Holden. The clerk was super helpful explaining the types of fireworks. I bought two multiple packages that shot off 25 “fireballs” and exploded into a spray of multi colored sparkles. (It was buy one, get one free sale!) I also purchased smaller ten shot, Roman candle-like tubes that slid perfectly into the snow and aimed directly vertical toward the night sky. Here’s a word of caution: secure your box of fireworks deeply in the snow so the box doesn’t tip over like mine did! Luckily it was cold enough so no errant sparks damaged my neighbor’s back yard! After ignition, each fireball generates energy and tips the box during “lift-off”. Be careful, and never lean over the box of fireworks. Place them clear of all trees and houses. A tamer way to light up the night is by using a fire-pit. My family has bon-fires and I placed colored dust packet under the logs to make the fire change colors. The yellow flames become blue, violet, red and shades of green. Every year while standing around the fire, we take a piece of paper and write items we wanted to end from 2017. Then we toss those papers into the fire, symbolically terminating negativity. On a second piece of paper, we write the items we plan for or goals for 2018. These papers are saved to review at next year’s bon fire. While goal setting, we sipped cups of hot spiced cider.
Step 12: listen to music and see the light
All of these festivities can make your New Year’s eve night exciting and chem free, but the best part is saved for last. The Penobscot Theater in Bangor is having a special show, one night only, “I’m Your Diva Tonight! The Music of Whitney, Tina and Aretha.” We are attending the 9:00 PM presentation. I am pumped and excited to support the other local non-profit organizations in Bangor. After the music and dancing people can wander down to Paddy Murphy’s to watch the illuminated beach-ball drop from their roof. Remember to kiss a loved one at mid-night for good luck in 2018 and toast with a crystal glass filled sparkling cider and view the lights. In the morning you will awaken healthy and ready to tackle the new year! Head for the “Loaf” and finish New Year’s Day with a traditional football bowl game! I will be painting. Thank you for reading my blog and please “like” and share if you do. Best wishes for a new year filled with color and lots of new paintings. www.Teddi-JannCovell.com