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Breaking free in '03

December 30, 2002|by KEVIN CLAPP

So, what's your New Year's Res-

DON'T SAY the 'R' word! Are you mad?!!! I said my goal was to lose 10 pounds this year, and wound up gaining five!!! Two years ago, I bought one of those home gyms to stay in shape. It's a coatrack!

Fair enough, and we here in The Herald-Mail Lifestyle Department couldn't agree more that there needs to be a resolution solution for the same old stale missives year after year after year: lose weight, exercise more, visit family ... blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.

No wonder post-holiday lifestyle renovations fall flat. They're worthwhile, sure, but also tired, old, predictable.

It's time to shake things up, people. Expand your minds, take some risks. Invite that adrenaline rush in for coffee and let it stay the night!

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We're almost at 2003. If the ageless Dick Clark can muster up enough energy to be rockin' every New Year's Eve, surely we can branch out a bit ourselves.

Can't we?

(Hello? Anyone out there?)

C'mon, it's not that hard to do. In fact, we've done some brainstorming for you.

Take one of the following for a test drive, and see if you don't like where it takes you. At the very least you'll probably learn a little bit about yourself along the way.

Here then, are six steps to a revitalized you in the New Year. Hardly revolutionary, they can nonetheless spice up your life for the better in twenty-oh-three.

Every two weeks, visit a museum


We know, we know. Museums are boring and stodgy, right?

Wrong.

"The most important thing is it provides beauty for the soul," says Jean Woods, director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. "Viewing art, learning about the artist, studying the painting, the techniques are one of those areas that require you to interpolate and basically take your mind off problems and simply concentrate on art for art's sake. And that's what a visit to a museum provides."

And, with more than 20 museums of one kind or another in Washington County alone (never mind the offerings to be found in Pennsylvania, West Virginia or cities like Baltimore and Washington), there is a deep well of opportunity that won't soon run dry.

If viewing train memorabilia at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum on South Burhans Boulevard in Hagerstown doesn't toot your horn, maybe the displays at Waynesboro Area Industrial Heritage Museum in Waynesboro, Pa., or the Belle Boyd House in Martinsburg, W.Va., will.

Woods tries to mix up exhibits so there is always something for everyone, providing insight into other cultures and traditions.

"It really stretches your mind," she says.

You never know. A museum trip may unlock creativity within, sparking an inner artist/sculptor/musician to emerge.

Once a week, find a random recipe in a book or online, then make it


As chef at Washington County Technical High School, Beverly Bonebrake is used to hearing students say their favorite foods are the usual: pizza and burgers for all.

We live in a fast food nation, with fewer meals eaten at home.

Bonebrake's mission is to deflate that notion like a souffle gone bad.

"I know they're very safe and very comfortable, but that means the burger you eat in Texas will be the same as the burger you eat in Maine," Bonebrake says. "Even if you don't have quite the drive to try Indian tandoori cooking, at least expand your horizons to try Minnesota wild rice or Chesapeake Bay seasoning."

Ah, there's the (chili) rub.

Turn your nose up at the thought trying new foods if you will, but being adventurous in the kitchen doesn't mean creating wildly elaborate Indian or Third World concoctions.

There's such a wide range of recipes to sample by exploring regional favorites. One week, try Cincinnati chili; next take a stab at California fusion cooking.

OK, but when to boldly explore the nooks and crannies of the kitchen?

"I say set Sunday aside. That should be the family cooking day," Bonebrake says. "Don't come up with a recipe that will take three days to prepare. Just do something different, make a Cincinnati chili instead of regular chili."

Join a club/volunteer


As reading improvement teacher at Boonsboro Elementary School, Paula Bailey sees a lot of adults donate their time to help children learn to read.

Whether joining a club or taking the volunteer route, giving time back to the community is a simple way to catch a case of the warm fuzzies.

And - surprise! - it doesn't take an enormous time commitment. Bailey says volunteers at the elementary school typically help out for 30 to 60 minutes each week.

"It's amazing to watch them work together because it's a partnership," she says. "They're learning from the kids as much as the kids learn from them."

In her program, job one is fostering life-long literacy skills, with students learning that reading is fundamental for more than just mom, dad or grandma.

What is gratifying is how willing volunteers are to stand and deliver.

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