Not bad for a fat girl


Reblog-Lamenting the Decline of the Christmas Card

It’s a new year and I’m in a new home, and of course I didn’t send out a change of address card to anyone, so this year I really won’t get many cards, but yesterday I did get one. It may be the only one, aside from the one my mom sent. That’s ok, because this year I’m not sending out a bunch either. I’m afraid I’ve given in this year. Maybe 2015 will be the year that old fashioned in the mailbox Christmas cards make their return to fashion. In the meantime, enjoy this post from Christmas 2013.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe my own personal circle of friends is unusual, or maybe they all lost my address, or, dare I even say it, maybe they just don’t like me anymore. I don’t think any of those are true, but who knows? Whatever it is, the number of Christmas cards I’ve received so far this year is zero. Not one single card. It is the 7th of December and the Christmas spirit has yet to enter my mailbox.

Now, before I go too far, I have to come clean and admit that I have likewise sent zero Christmas cards this year.  I have good intentions, though. I even saw a box of cards that I really liked with a cool funky retro pine forest on the front and a nice non-offensive greeting in the center. I didn’t buy them, though. A snarky little voice inside my head said, “Why should you send cards out? Remember how many you received last year? It’s hardly worth the trouble.” And I put them down and walked away. I regret doing that. I will go back and get them. Let me tell you why.

First there’s this little saying that I actually happen to believe that goes a little something like this, “it is better to give than to receive.” Ok, sure, if you’re starving it’s better to receive food than to give it away, but I’m hardly starving. My life is full of abundance. I live in comfort surrounded by love. I have rewarding work, I can pay my bills, I feel safe and secure, my loved ones are reasonably happy and healthy, and therefore I have nothing to complain about.

I like being able to give a tiny bit of myself to my friends, even if that tiny bit is just a warm greeting inside a pretty card. I know some people see sending out cards as an unnecessary chore, but I actually like sending Christmas cards. 1012-den-cards-lI like writing a short personal note inside each one letting my friends know I’m thinking of them at this time of year. I also like slipping in a school picture of my now gangly, braces wearing teen, as much to embarrass him as anything else. Besides, what else are you supposed to do with all those tiny pictures? His friends don’t want them. They all have phones that take pictures.

Another reason I’m sad about the demise of the Christmas card is that it offered a yearly glimpse into the lives of people with whom I’m friendly but didn’t necessarily see or talk to a lot. It was a yearly check in, sort of like your annual physical. It said, “we’re still connected to one another.” It might prompt a phone call or a get together, or it might just bring a warm feeling, but it didn’t mean a big commitment. Now those people are on your Facebook feed and you hear more about their lives than you ever did, so the check in feels unnecessary. I think that’s one reason the cards are going the way of the dinosaur, at least for my generation.

My mother’s generation is still a generation of Christmas card senders, bless them. She has a lovely annual display of them on her piano, showing smiling grandchildren, fabulous vacation spots, and drawings made by pediatric cancer patients. They feature spiky script, or long newsy letters full of deaths, births, and procedures, and promises to get together when the weather warms up or they get back from Florida.  They are cherished by my mother, as I cherish the few I still receive.

Growing up, I lived in a house built in the 1930’s. It had a beautiful fireplace with a grand mantle. Every night in December we would read the day’s Christmas cards at the dinner table, then after dinner add them to the already impressive display on the mantle. There was often some rearranging to be done, taller cards in back, prettiest pictures in front, and so on. In my twenties I lived in apartment with a long extinct fireplace, but it had a pretty mantle, and it always filled with Christmas cards too.

Depending on where I’ve lived I had different methods of display, but I think my favorite was in my last home, which was two stories. We wrapped garland (with white lights) around the bannister, and attached the cards to it with tiny clothes pins. It made such a pretty display. I no longer have stairs, but I do have my grandmother’s antique piano on which to showcase my cards this year. If I get any.

Today I will go back to that store and buy that box of cards. I will write a note inside each one and mail them out. I won’t send out twenty or thirty, like I used to, but I will send some. I hope to receive some in return, but if I don’t I’ll try not to take it personally. Everyone is trying to get by, especially this time of year. Decisions need to be made, time and resources have to be distributed in the most effective way possible. For many people that means putting up a Facebook post with a cute or meaningful graphic on Christmas will take the place of a real card sent through the mail. I understand this, but it makes me a little nostalgic and sad. I hope your mailbox is filled with Christmas cards this year, and for many years to come.


Happy Birthday to Me!

?????????????????I’ve reached another milestone. I’m another year older. Yay, me! Each year is a celebration. I have added to my life experience. No ill fate has found me. I AM ALIVE! That, my friends, is worthy of praise.

I generally reflect on a few different things on my birthday, one of which is the mysterious circumstances of how I came to be. Ok, it’s not a huge mystery. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl have sex. Girl gets pregnant. Girl has baby. Pretty standard, actually. But who were the boy and girl (or man and woman as the case may be)? How did they meet? What were their plans? Apparently not raising a child together, since I was surrendered for adoption at birth. What ended up happening to them? And what about my half-siblings? My very sketchy paperwork suggests that I have at least three. What of them? All a mystery. Maybe I’ll write the story myself and turn it into a best seller and a blockbuster movie starring Camryn Manheim as me. Why not?

The other thing I generally reflect upon is the past year and the ups and downs it brought. Let’s see…


1. I sold my house successfully and moved out.

2. I taught at my new school for a year and loved it.

3. My relationships with my sweetheart and my son are positive and loving.

4. I wrote a manuscript.

5. I lost a few pounds and tried out lots of different types of exercise.

6. I connected with several friends.

7. I was offered a great summer work opportunity that turned out very well.

8. I participated in a year long collaboration project that also turned out well and will continue next year.

9. I found and bought a new house.

10. I’m happy.


1. I’m still fat.

2. I still have to take medication.

3. I still have bad habits.

4. I still procrastinate.

5. I still haven’t met most of the 47 for 47 goals.

Oh well. I’m over it. Really, I am. I like those goals. I think they’re worthy goals. I think I’ll keep them. When I reach them I will celebrate, but I won’t beat myself up about them. I’m being kind to myself, because if I can’t even be nice to me, why should anyone else be nice to me? I know I have stuff to work on, but I’m ok with that. I’m not perfect, and I never will be, but I have goals to work toward, and right now that’s enough.

In the meantime, won’t you have a slice of virtual chocolate birthday cake with me? It’s as delicious as you allow yourself to imagine, and not a single calorie will pass your lips!


Happy June

I don’t have a cute alliteration for this month as it relates to selling my house. I guess “Just Buy It, Already!” is the closest I’ve got. People keep coming to look, but nobody wants to buy. Oh, someone did, but they cancelled their contract. Ugh. I know it’s a great house. I know it will sell eventually. Maybe even today.

On to other things for the month of June. Tomorrow I start teaching a writing workshop for students entering grades 4 to 8.  I have three boys and six girls. WriterI have been preparing lessons for them, hunting down YouTube videos of spoken word poets, gathering picture books to use as mentor texts, and generally stressing about how the whole thing will come together. Yesterday my family took a ride out to the site and we walked the campus, mapping out the relationships between the drop off site, the bathrooms, and the classroom. This is all important information. I’m really excited to start working with these young writers. I know we’re going to learn a lot from each other.

In other news, I’ve finally started exercising again! My pool has finally warmed up and with daily temperatures over 100 degrees I’m glad to get in it and get moving. Since I started Weight Watchers a month ago I’ve lost 15 pounds. This addition of exercise can only help that loss along. I’ve done Weight Watchers before, but this time they have something called “Smart Start” where you don’t start tracking and counting points right away. You start by eating certain foods that they refer to as power foods. It’s all common sense really. Eat fruits, vegetables, lean protein, non-fat dairy, whole grains, etc. It’s not that difficult, and there’s room for “indulgences,” the foods and beverages that make life worth living. This is what I’ve been doing, and it’s working for me, so I’m not switching over the all the crazy point counting as long as it keeps working.

I’m not down on the point counting, but for me it makes me focus way more on food and eating than I normally would. I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about how many points this or that food is, and how many points will I have left for the day after I eat something, and will I end up hungry? This way works better for me. At least so far.

The move into June has also brought into sharp focus the many items on the 47 for 47 challenge that I have yet to accomplish. The year is up on July 3, so I have just over a month to get in gear and see if I can knock a few more items off the list. I know it’s too late for some of them, but maybe I could sneak in a Zumba class in the next month? I have to revisit that list and see what I can get done.

What are your goals for June? In a nutshell mine are 1. Sell this house  2. Run a successful Writing Camp  3.  Continue to eat well  4. Continue to exercise  5. Write!  6. Revisit my 47 for 47 Challenge and complete a few more items.

In the meantime, please enjoy Sarah Kay, a remarkable Spoken Word poet. The video is about 18 minutes, as it’s a Ted Talk, but the poem is just the first three and a half minutes. I believe it is worth your time.