1. Collard greens are not a substitute for spinach in recipes. (Thank you, Greg.)
  2. There exist far more varieties of vinegar than I was previously aware of. (Thank you, Tiemann.)
  3. What ham hocks are, and that suburban Boston groceries don't seem to carry them.
  4. That fresh bacon is an acceptable substitute. Which suburban Boston groceries don't seem to carry either.
  5. Reasoning that "bacon is salty pork, so salt pork is a substitute for bacon, and thereby a substitute for ham hocks by the transitive property of equality" does not quite work. Salt pork is extremely salty.
  6. Potatoes absorb salt. (Thank you, Karsten.)
  7. Collard greens are very tough.
  8. (2 hours later) Very, very tough.
  9. (The next day) Ridiculously tough. I obviously need practice - or perhaps more helpfully, to watch someone who knows how to cook collard greens do it.
  10. But they taste pretty dang good with just malt vinegar and salt and pepper. Hooyah.

Also, happiness in a cup: take extremely good cocoa, mix with hot milk (in our case, soy) and steep raspberry earl grey in it. I've done this before, possibly written about it before, but continue to love doing it every chance I get. Good tea plus hot chocolate equals Perfect Winter Drink. (Well, that and mulled cider. I'll call that a two-way tie.)

So many things are easier said than done.

"Well," you say, "assume that I am braced for the battle.  Assume that I have carefully weighed and comprehended your ponderous remarks; how do I begin?"  Dear sir, you simply begin.  There is no magic method of beginning.  If a man standing on the edge of a swimming-bath and wanting to jump into the cold water should ask you, "How do I begin tojump?" you would merely reply, "Just jump. Take hold of your nerves, and jump." --"How to Live on 24 Hours a Day," by Arnold Bennett

And yet we pace the cliff-edge back and forth - but the pacing is sometimes just as much a part of the process as the jumping is. You do have to be ready to hit the water.