Resolutions help kick start new year

By From page B2 | December 31, 2012


VICE MAYOR, WENDY MATTSON, 48, of Placerville talks about her New Year's resolutions on Main Street in Placerville. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

The beginning of a new year signals a new start for many. The new calendar year is a time for celebration, fun, reflection and planning.

The culmination of one time segment and the commencement of the next is thought to be a great time to make resolutions to improve on something, to activate a new plan or to set new goals.

For some health is a motivating factor to make changes, others just want to initiate something new or fun, and others may find the exercise of making resolutions a waste of time.

The act of making resolutions at the start of the calendar year can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians. They made promises to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on a positive note.

The early Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, the namesake for January, to get things off to a good start and make amends for any wrong doings.

Janus had two faces and could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year according to

For one man health is one of the main topics evoking a New Year’s resolutions.

Six months ago, Steve Crandell made an effort to give up smoking. The abstinence lasted for a month.

The owner of Steve Crandell Studio Fine Art in Placerville admitted to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for the better part of the last 50 years. Now 69, Crandell has decided that his New Year’s resolution is to give up smoking and it will be a promise that will be kept.

Crandell admits smoking has impacted his health adversely, especially in the last two years.

“When I walk to my car, I’m pooped out,” Crandell said.

Hoping that quitting will help increase his energy level, Crandell has no plans to use nicotine gum, lozenges or patches to decrease the urge to light up. He just plans to stay busy with his business.

“I work seven days a week,” Crandell said.

His father is providing inspiration for the “cold turkey” approach.

“My dad was a four-pack smoker,” Crandell said. “He quit at 55 and he’s 90, and going strong.”

Jerry Dennis, 64, who works for Realty World in Placerville, is resolving to ski more at Lake Tahoe this winter and play more rounds of golf at nearby courses next spring and summer. He’s been an avid skier and golfer for many years and wants to increase the time he spends on doing things he likes.

“I would like to lower my golf handicap by one stroke,” Dennis said.

Placerville City Councilwoman and artist Wendy Mattson, 48, wants to develop a healthier lifestyle in 2013. She admits to having a gym membership that had limited use this year.

“I want to incorporate exercise on a daily basis and I want to establish a routine that I can sustain for the rest of my life,” Mattson said.

Part of her incentive for working out is because Mattson is getting married in 2013.

“As I’m getting older, I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Mattson said.

The councilwoman said she started eating healthy earlier this year and she said she’s cut down on her intake of sodas.

“After working on that, I am ready to move forward on other healthy choices,” Mattson said.

Gary McCormac, 71, of Placerville, wants to lose 20 pounds in 2013.

Like Mattson, McCormac has a gym membership that had limited use this year. That will change, he promises, come Jan. 1.

“This time I’m going to do it,” McCormac said. “I have a couple of black belts, but during the last couple of years, I haven’t really exercised. It’s time to get back in.”

McCormac is going to volunteer with the Boy Scouts in 2013. A former Explorer Scout commissioner for many years, McCormac wants to give back by working with today’s Boy Scouts. He feels it would be beneficial to be in good shape to work with the Scouts.

Bruce Gruenzel, 78, one of the exhibiting artists at Gold Country Artist Gallery on Main Street in Placerville, plans to spend more time painting. His ambitious goal is to turn out two paintings a month.

He received an oil painting kit for one of his birthdays many years ago and has enjoyed oil painting since that time, Gruenzel said.

He’s been working at the gallery for the last four years.

“Painting excited me, so I got a couple of oil painting books and went from there,” Gruenzel said. “I’m pretty much self-taught.”

Arianna Woicekowski, 19, plans to be more organized in 2013.

The former Placerville resident is back in the county visiting family during a break from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. She is majoring in international relations.

Woicekowski, a 2011 El Dorado High School graduate, thinks organization paves the way toward success and she plans on being successful.

“As a college student, I’m learning about responsibilities,” Woicekowski said. “I think the first year in college really gives an individual the opportunity to see what freedom is. But if you take advantage of that freedom, things can go astray pretty quickly. So having a sense of organization and a sense of what you’re doing is really the initial steps toward success.”

Allison Holmstedt, also 19, not only wants to make a New Year’s resolution, she wants to keep a New Year’s resolution.

“I don’t think I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution,” Holmstedt laughed.

Holmstedt, who attends University of California, Davis and is studying biology, wants to learn how to cook.

“I feel I should expand my horizons in the kitchen,” Holmstedt said. “I’ve just been too lazy.”

She wants to learn how to cook stir fry dishes; not just one dish in particular.

Larry Redding, 75, of Placerville, said he’s never made a New Year’s resolution and has no plans on making any for 2013.

“What would I do differently than I do today?” asked Redding.

Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter. 

Mike Bush

Mike Bush has been a Staff Writer at the Mountain Democrat since August 2011. Follow him on Twitter @MBushMtDemo
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