Not bad for a fat girl


What’s On Your To Do List?

105-362-5011The other day I was chatting with my neighbor and she was a little bit frazzled. She was trying to set up some holiday decorations in her yard, and she felt like she was “behind.” I reminded her that it was still November, but she wasn’t having it. She told me that she had a ton of things to get done before Christmas, so everything had to go according to plan, or it would all fall apart.

I felt badly for her. Here is was, not even December 1, and her plan was already coming apart at the seams. I asked if maybe there were some items on her list that weren’t as high priority, but she assured me that every single thing was critical. Yikes.

I leave that kind of high pressure stuff for my work life. There are things associated with work that I simply have no control over. The biggest one is testing. Another round is coming up soon, but I can’t worry about it. I teach my students the best way I know how, and hopefully they’ll do well on their tests. I can’t do more than my best, and I can’t do more for them than teach them and encourage them to do their best. The rest is up to them. Yes, part of my professional life rests in the hands of nine-year-olds. Do they feel like taking the test seriously or not? Did they get a good night’s sleep or not? Did they get yelled at on the way to school or not? Do they truly understand equivalent fractions or not? Did they read all the choices given or not? There are a lot of variables over which I have no control.

In terms of the home stuff, though, it’s up to me to decide what’s urgent or not. I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner because that’s what we wanted to do. I put up lights because we agreed it would make our house look festive and welcoming. But I’m not going to make myself crazy over the holidays. No black Friday shopping for me, thanks anyway. In fact, I’m paring down my shopping considerably. I’d rather do things with my loved ones than spend money on stuff for them that they don’t really want or need.

And my “to do” list? Well, it’s not that long, but it’s been taking me a while to work through it. In fact I have two of them. One is the day to day stuff, like finish unpacking the final four boxes (from my move in July, yeah, I know) and one of them is the big stuff. That one’s on my bulletin board, and believe it or not I’ve been able to cross off a few items. I went to Hawaii, I got out of debt (aside from mortgage), and I switched schools. Oh, and the biggest item of all? I fell in love. Now that’s my kind of to do list.


Christmas Lights


I love Christmas lights. I always have, ever since I was a little kid and realized that we didn’t have them while most of our neighbors did. My parents explained that Jewish people just don’t do that. At least in those days they didn’t. Now, though, there are a lot of Jewish people who have adopted various Christmas traditions, including lighting up their homes.

I’m one of those people. I love to decorate for holidays, and for Christmas in particular. I think it’s because I felt kind of left out all those years when my friends and neighbors celebrated Christmas and our family just kind of stood on the sidelines watching. When I married a man who celebrated Christmas, I took it as a pass to go for it. I’ve been doing Christmas decorating ever since.

Today we did the outside lights. We bought some new ones a couple of weeks ago and set them aside, waiting until after Thanksgiving. This is our first Christmas in this house, so we’ve never done the lights here before. We decided to go with the larger old school style bulbs. I’ve always liked those, they remind me of gumdrops on a gingerbread house.

My sweetheart got on the ladder, and meticulously placed those lights so that there’s not a single crooked bulb. He took his time, and they look perfect. 31pqP7po4KL._SL160_My son set up the row of candy canes, and he put together this year’s new decoration, an angel pig, complete with wings and halo. I do love my flying pigs, and I was delighted to find this one a few months back. My job was to wrap the bushes out front in lights.

As the sun began to dip below the horizon, we flipped the switch. Santa inflated, the pig lit up, and the candy canes sparkled. The multi-colored gumdrop lights looked perfect too. The left side of the yard was a success, but the right side stayed dark. Cords were checked, bulbs were wiggled, and strands were removed. I was disappointed. I grabbed one of last year’s colorful icicle lights and wrapped a bush in that. It wasn’t great, but it gave some balance to the yard, and I can replace it.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with our lights. I may add a few more strands to the bushes, we’ll see. I think it looks pretty good the way it is. In fact I like it a lot. I’m just glad we don’t live one street over. On the block behind us the amount of Christmas decorating is insane. People were up on their roofs (on two story homes) messing with their lights. Yards are full of inflatables and handmade wooden cut outs and lights, lights, lights! There are exactly three houses on the entire block that aren’t festooned with brightly lit holiday displays, and it’s not even December 1st yet. I’m curious to see if those houses continue to stay unlit or if they join the rest of the block. The amount of pressure to put up a great display must be insane. I’m happy with my little display, it brightens up our home and puts me in a happy holiday mood.

What about you? Do you decorate with lights? Inside or out, or both? I would love to hear about your lights and your neighborhood. Is it like mine? Mine is crazy for Christmas, and I kind of like it.



Leftover Words: Why Can’t I Hear My Body?

The following is my attempt at today’s daily prompt: Today, publish a post based on unused material from a previous piece –a paragraph you nixed, a link you didn’t include, a photo you decided not to use.


Why Can’t I Hear My Body?

This eat the right thing and get enough sleep and make sure to move my body thing just hasn’t been working out recently. I could give you all the reasons, but honestly, it will just sound like a list of excuses, so I’ll spare you the details and just skip it.

This, of course, has been an ongoing battle for me. Sometimes things click and I do well, and other times I slip into my old bad habits and any progress toward improving my health habits quickly disappears. It’s frustrating, especially since it’s purely my choices that derail me.

I had a conversation several months ago with a yoga instructor about some of these struggles (as we were enjoying our cocktails and hors d’oevres). She has worked with all sorts of people over the years, with all sorts of body types and issues. She is also human, and has had her own struggles over the years. She has changed her diet more than once, and her advice to me was, “listen to your body.”

It sounded like good advice. Our bodies, after all, are incredible. They do so much for us, and they constantly make tiny adjustments without us even thinking about it. The whole keeping the heart beating and keeping the lungs breathing routine is awe-inspiring. The body is no dummy, so it makes sense to try to listen to it. I’m okay with this idea. In fact, I kind of like the thought.

The problem, however, is that my body and I don’t seem to speak the same language. I have no idea what it’s saying much of the time. I confuse fatigue with hunger, and I often allow myself to get to the point where I’m completely parched, or the opposite, my bladder feels as though it might explode. How come I don’t take care of these things earlier? I just don’t really seem to notice or understand the signals that my body gives. Either that, or my body gives me the wrong signals.

That was certainly the case during my pregnancy. I had no idea I was pregnant for several months. Why? Because to me it appeared that my cycle was functioning as normal. I saw no change in the monthly rhythm, even though I was pregnant. Pregnant-Belly-with-HeartHow am I supposed to listen to a body that doesn’t even give me a clue that it’s pregnant? Oh sure, I began to look a little thicker around the middle, but I’m a big girl, and putting on a few pounds with the arrival of cooler weather didn’t raise an eyebrow. In retrospect I should have noticed some movement, but I had never been pregnant before and put it down to some kind of digestive upset.

I used to mock those people who didn’t know they were pregnant. How could they be so stupid? Well, I’m not stupid, but it wasn’t until late December that I suspected I might be expecting, and got the confirmation. I was given a due date in August, but in a subsequent appointment the doctor shook his head and told me I was much further along than that. An ultrasound was ordered on the spot, and my due date was moved up to April. Junior arrived on April Fool’s Day weighing in at a healthy eight pounds. Perfect timing. I was six months pregnant before I even knew I was having a baby. And this is the body I’m supposed to listen to?

So yes, I try to pay attention, but it’s difficult when we don’t seem to speak the same language. I know there are certain things that will benefit my body regardless of the signs or signals I might miss. Good food and exercise will always be helpful, so I’ll keep on trying, even if I have no idea what my body is actually saying to me.