Wednesday, December 8, 2010


What's this? A blog post two days in a row?! Someone alert the presses!

So here's a funny thing: I'm not done with my Christmas shopping yet, though I'm getting there. The next three weeks are insanely busy, between work and social stuff planned and Christmas activities and everything, and aside from the moon cookie parties I haven't figured out when I'm going to do any of my holiday baking. Due to a stupid mistake I made in calculating my vacation time, I'm only going to be able to take off one day (besides Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, which are company holidays), so I'm not really getting a vacation. I had a heart attack the other day when I looked at our joint credit card bill -- we seriously need to cut back on the frequency with which we're eating out -- and that bill didn't even include any of the holiday purchases. As happens around the holidays, my diet is slipping, and I've gained about five pounds since mid-October. (That might have some relation or at least overlap with all the eating out.) Penny's blood sugars are all over the map, and we can't seem to get her to stay in range or calculate a correction that works as advertised. (That, too, might have a bit of overlap with the eating out, though it's a sure bet that's not all of it.)

I should be going off my head with stress. I should be pacing and frantically consulting my calendar and making mildly OCD lists and charts and growling at Matt and the kids for being less than helpful.

But... I'm not. I'm really not. (Okay, I am occasionally growling at the kids, but y'know... they're kids. Sometimes they make me growl. I'm pretty sure I'm not doing it more than usual.)

Instead of being anxious about when things are going to arrive, I'm feeling relaxed about it, and when something I've ordered shows up, I'm giddy with excitement. (I also can't seem to stop shopping. I swear, I can't set foot in a store without seeing something I just have to get for the kids. I'm forbidding myself to set foot in Target without Matt along to act as brakes for at least the next two weeks, because that store is just crazy dangerous, and if I pick up any more adorable little tchotchkes for the stockings, we're going to need to hang three stockings apiece.) But even though I'm bemoaning all the money spent, it's... not that big a deal. Yep, I might have to dip into the savings account a smidge. But that's what we've got a savings account for. And really? I'd rather dip into savings to pay off presents and fun than for, say, repairs. At any rate? I'm not stressing over it.

I've all but succumbed to holiday food and weight gain. I'm still trying to make better choices with meals, but by and large, I'm not kicking myself for eating treats. A buddy at work and I have made a pact to support each other with our new year's diets, and I'm... content with that. When 2011 gets here, I'll pack up all the junk food and have Matt take it to his office, and I'll get back on the wagon and track every bite and lose the five or eight or ten pounds. Better still, I like the attitude I have about it: this is what normal people do. Normal people eat a little more over the holidays, and have fun, and don't worry about it, and then they go on diets in January and February. It's not a big deal.

I can't say I'm entirely sanguine about work and not being able to take much time off, but I'm finding ways to make my peace with that, too. I told my boss that for the week before and after Christmas, I'd be working from home as much as I can. There won't be a lot of urgent work to do during that time anyway, and so I can break up the administrivia and the annual cleanup stuff with stuff at home, and be more relaxed about it all.

I'm not sweating the holiday baking. I have some I want to do. But I'm being more spontaneous about it than most years, and it's not going to bother me horribly if I don't get to it all. Last night, I roasted the fresh peanuts we got from our CSA. (I split it into two batches: one salty, one sweet. They turned out really well, though the salty were better than the sweet, in my opinion. At any rate, I'd planned to set them out for this weekend's moon cookie party, since that's the one Jess will NOT be at -- stupid peanut allergies -- but I'm not sure they'll last even that long.) I've got some cookies and some muffins I want to make. But I'll get to them. And if I don't... well, I don't.

All in all: I'm just sitting back and enjoying what comes as it comes. I'm ready to be social. (I wish I could go to a big party, actually, but I don't think either Matt's office or mine is having one this year.) I'm embracing the good feelings that go with the holidays -- the love and the cherishing of friends and family and the awe and enjoyment of everything beautiful and bright and fun and silly -- and just sidestepping the worry and the rushing and the stress.

If I could give each one of you reading this a gift, it would be this feeling. If I could ask for only one gift, it would be that this feeling stay with me all the time.

It probably won't. I'm too much of a stresspuppy. But I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

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