Monday, December 31, 2007

To Resolve or Not to Resolve....

I checked out last year's December and January entries and it appears that I made no New Year's resolutions last year. I think this year I will resolve to complete more of the items on my life list. I'm making pretty good headway so far:

interview my kids for a scrapbook page -- I have interviewed C, but not yet R

make gifts in a jar for bus drivers/teachers, etc for Christmas -- done! It was fairly simple -- it took me about 1 1/2 hours to fill 12 jars, cut out the fabric to cover the tops, & cut the yarn out and tie on the directions. I printed out the directions and mounted them on scrapbook paper the night before, so that would probably add on another 30 minutes. I have already decided that I will double or triple the number I make next year and skip making goodies for other people. After spending 12 hours in the kitchen one day and five or so the next, baking had lost all appeal. Next year I'll make a few things for our family, but give the cookie mixes to others. I think receiving a cookie mix in a jar is nicer than receiving cookies anyway. Then you can make the cookies at your convenience.

institute a yearly "girly day" with each daughter -- get manicures, pedicures, eat out, shop, etc -- done! And fun! Less activity packed next time though -- it was exhausting.

institute family movie night -- so far we've had four of them. T pops popcorn, I make hot chocolate for the girls & tea for me, and we've taken turns choosing the movie. None of them have been truly awful so far, though T and I both fell asleep during "Underdog". We've also watched "The Shaggy Dog" (the original, not the Tim Whats-his-Name version), "Flubber" (also the original -- who doesn't love Fred MacMurray?), and "Miracle on 34th Street" (not the original because I can't stand it and I like to drool over Dylan McDermott in the newer version).

make a shadow box of dh's work awards --done! For one of his Christmas gifts, I made a shadow box of all of his 5K race medals, along with one of his race numbers and some pictures of his team. I made a second shadow box with the life-saving medals he won, the actual paper award, and the letter describing what he did to win it. I hung it on the wall and on each side hung eight 8x10 framed photos of him taken at work (one with President Ford, one with Dick Cheney, one with Karen Hughes, one with his motorcycle unit, etc.) The girls and I covered the whole display with some long sheets of paper decorated by them. On Christmas Day we took down the paper. He was quite pleased.

get rid of Aunt L's china -- done! Woo hoo! I packed up four boxes of china and took them to my Aunt Sue, who has a dish addiction. She has several complete sets of dishes. She was thrilled to have them. I had enough room to display my satin glass collection in the china cabinet. Yea!

find some type of volunteer work to do with the whole family -- not for the whole family, but I am going to mentor a middle school student once a week, starting in January and continuing until he or she graduates high school.

hang pictures -- I started this past week. I hung the two shadow boxes and the eight pics for dh, repaired and hung the shadow box that has our wedding flowers, program, etc in it, hung a crucifix in our bedroom, and hung a few pictures in the girls' room. I'm on a roll now!

have gas fire installed in fireplace -- er, well, I called about the price, but it will be at least next fall before this happens!

go to Walt Disney World with the family -- we leave Feb 13 for six days. T is feeling less than enthusiastic about the trip, so I hope it is a good experience for us. It's the most expensive vacation we've ever taken - more than 10 days in England cost us!

make a shadow box with dh's running stuff -- done-- see above

take yoga -- I signed up with a local studio to take classes on Thursday nights starting next week. I was disappointed that the Tai Chi class I wanted to take on Wednesday mornings is at 11, not 10am. It ends at noon and I have to be at work at 11:45am. Oh well -- maybe in the fall.

find someone to give me bowling tips -- haven't done this yet, but I bowled over my (admittedly horrible 69) average all three games yesterday. I only got 2 or 3 gutter balls too.

celebrate half birthdays -- we started doing this a couple of years ago and the girls love it. We have half a cake, put half the number of candles on, and have a treasure hunt for a small gift. This year I remembered to do T's and the girls loved writing the clues for the hunt. He was pleasantly surprised too.

have a yearly "family day"-- we did this two years ago, but somehow never got around to it last year. Two years ago we stayed home the whole day, ate meals chosen by the girls (this somehow involved lots of cooking on my part), and took turns choosing activities for the whole family to do together. I remember we played games, but I don't recall much beyond that. The girls were thrilled with it, though.

So, a good start. This is what remains...rather daunting, but I suppose it is a LIFE list, not a list for 2008.

take a cruise
interview my kids for a scrapbook page
plant a flower bed in the front yard
make peace with my size/weight
take photos of family heirlooms and ask dad about where they came from
have central vac system installed
make A&P a wedding scrapbook
visit Pompeii, Rome, Venice, and Tuscany
become a "normal" eater
take a photo every single day in 2008
plant lily of the valley in the backyard
sort recipes and discard at least half of them
reorganize my linen closet
sort my clothing and take everything out of my closet that doesn't fit or look good on me
buy some gorgeous clothing that DOES look good -- make that great -- on me
find some type of volunteer work to do with the whole family
hang pictures
decide on paint colors for the walls
get a professional photo taken of me and the girls for dh
have gas fire installed in fireplace
drive from coast to coast on a leisurely trip
take golfing lessons
find someone to give me bowling tips
start a blog or myspace page for the extended family
have a gingerbread house decorating party with neighbors and their children
host a neighborhood easter egg hunt
get rid of uncomfortable shoes and never buy any again!
attend an occasion for which I have an excuse to buy a floor-length cocktail dress/ball gown
institute an every other month craft day with the girls

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Seven (More) Random Things (Sort of) About Me, Part 2

Mmmm...this is my new favorite vegetable salad. I made it for Christmas Eve dinner and it was delicious. Hardly anyone ate any, which was fine with me. I ate the leftovers for the next four days. Recipe follows:

Colorful Vegetable Salad -- serves 20, about 90 calories each

6 cups broccoli florets
6 cups cauliflowerets
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
½ large red onion, sliced
2 (2.25 oz) cans sliced ripe olives
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
2/3 cup canola oil
¼ cup vinegar

In a large bowl, toss the veggies. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine dressing mix, oil, and vinegar; shake well. Pour over salad and toss. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

This fireplace was one of the things I loved about this house when we looked at it for the first time. We’ve never actually used it; I hate cleaning out ashes. It’s all ready for a gas log, but when I called about getting one I found out they cost $600-$800 for nice one! Holy cow – it will have to wait until next year. I think it would be lovely to sit in front of a fire and snuggle, though I’m sure the idea is far more cozy than the reality.

I looked forever to find something to go above the fireplace. I really wanted a wreath, but couldn’t find one that was perfect. Last year at a craft show I saw this eucalyptus wreath and snagged it. T said it smelled like pee. I have to admit he was right, but the smell disappeared after a few months.

The books in front of the fireplace are all Christmas picture books I’ve gotten for the girls over the years. They get packed away with the decorations and only hang out in the living room in December.

For my final "thing"...I have nothing to say. Um...well, I used to wear pantyhose under my jeans (and used to IRON my jeans!) but I now despise panty hose and avoid wearing dresses so I never have to wear it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Seven (More) Random Things (Sort of) About Me, Part 1

Here are my random things, as tagged by Isabelle. They aren't necessarily about me, as I am so boring I can't really think of anything I haven't already written in the last two taggings.

Here are my fabulous new Ugg slippers, courtesy of Santa Claus. They are so warm and cozy, yet my feet don't get sweaty in them. I'm still rather shamefaced that I spent $80 on a pair of slippers, but the LL Bean pair I spent about $50 on last Christmas fell apart after 11 months. Hopefully these will last a few years.

Here is our new(ish) bed linen. We had a mint green bedspread for years and years and no bed skirt at all. After we moved into our current house, the color clashed with the border in our bedroom and I was rather tired of it anyway. I splurged on the comforter, bedskirt, pillow shams, decorative pillow, 2 valances for the windows, AND 2 pair of sheets. One set of sheets is gold to match the bedskirt and one is the red color in the comforter. That comforter is REALLY warm. We keep our heat at 58 degrees at night and in past winters have had two blankets plus flannel pjs to stay warm. This winter we have only one blanket and if I wear my flannel pjs I wake up roasting in the middle of

the night.

These two pieces are in my collection of satin glass. My parents used to collect and sell antique glassware when I was a kid. We'd go to Shipshewana, Indiana on weekends to set tables at the flea market there. We kids loved to go -- no chores for the weekend -- and we could usually cajole my dad into buying us ice cream. It was the only time we'd get to eat stuff like Chicken in a Biscuit crackers too. Anyway, I always loved the satin glass pieces they had and when I was 18 I bought the blue vase on the right from them to start a collection. They bought pieces for me over the years and I have about 15 various vases, bowls, candlestick holders, etc. It's called satin glass because it feels like satin to the touch...very smooth.

Here are my two wee babes, amid the carnage of Christmas morning. I always loved Christmas. Now that I'm a mom who works full time, I'm in awe of my mom. Somehow she managed to work full time (nights, no less), but still made an entire gingerbread village from scratch for us to decorate every year, baked several kinds of special cookies for the family, cooked a really large dinner on Christmas, complete with fancy china, polished silver, and the like, and I'm pretty sure she bought and wrapped just about everything we kids got for Christmas.
Okay, this wraps up part one because my 5-year-old needs me to put away whatever toy she's playing with and get out something else (for the 99th time today).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

I took a couple of days off last week to shop, wrap, write cards, etc. Having C come home at noon really cuts into the day though, and I wasn't quite as productive as I'd planned. Today is my last day of work until December 27 and I'm looking forward to having several days off. Tomorrow I have to make 24 cookie mixes in a jar, finish the Christmas letter and cards, and bake. That won't be too restful! I'm going to have to take special care not to eat out of resentment, being tired, etc.

We went to Frankenmuth last Saturday with T's brother and family. Visiting Bronner's was a very surreal experience. I'm pretty sure I've never seen that many ornaments in one place before. We ate at Zehnder's, which is a mecca for people who like to eat a LOT. Holy cow -- the buffet was gigantic. I didn't order it because I knew there was no way I'd eat $20 in food. I only ate half of the $10 chicken dinner I did order. Buffets have an ick factor for me anyway -- lukewarm bland food with serving utensils touched by lots of unwashed hands. Ewww. The bakery at Zehnder's was filled with lucious looking cakes, cookies, and the like, but I resisted buying anything. I was full, even with half a lunch, until about 8pm. We visited the Mirror Maze, which the kids loved. It made me nauseated, but it was fun for a while.

My eating has been okay. I had one mini-binge episode last night when I ate about 9 graham crackers, but other than that I've talked myself out of any urges since a week ago Sunday (when I had the carrot cake pig out). Last Friday was HARD -- I just wanted to binge from dawn til dusk. I realized that I really just had a terrible headache and eating definitely wasn't going to help. Late afternoon I had a strong urge, but I knew T and I were going out to dinner and I wanted to be hungry for it, so I just had a snack. I feel hopeful that it's getting easier to resist the urge to eat when I'm not hungry. I made cinnamon rolls on Sunday and I ate one, along with an egg. I wanted more, but I was full. I just told myself that I could eat another one whenever I wanted. I still wanted to eat it, but not so much that I overruled my desire to be normal. My coworkers have been bringing in wave after wave of goodies. I've been doing some impulsive eating -- just because it's there and looks so delicious -- but not stuffing myself or anything. I've been having back-and-forth diet thoughts, but so far I haven't been able to summon any real enthusiasm for trying to lose weight. I've been eating really small meals -- one piece of pizza for dinner last night, and only half my dinner when we've gone out -- but the grazing on goodies probably makes up for that.

I had an odd experience last week when I fell on the ice in the driveway. I heard a loud crunch in my knee, but rather than doing any damage I think I actually broke some scar tissue. It seems to me that my knee bends a bit farther than it used to. How weird is that?!? Weird, but kind of good.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend Report

Isabelle tagged me to write 7 random things about myself. I'll get to that later in the week.

We took our girls to hear the Pops Holiday Concert on Saturday, which was lovely. It would have been lovelier had my five-year-old not gotten restless near the end. Somehow the Hallelujah chorus isn't quite as beautiful when listening to "Can we go?" at the same time. She greatly enjoyed the guest pianist, Sam Stryke, however. Every time he played she sat straight up and watched him. He was very talented and I put his Christmas CD on my wish list.

After the symphony, T and I went to a Christmas party. It was a potluck and I didn't overeat -- yeah. I probably ate too much dessert, but barely ate any dinner, so perhaps it evened out. We had a "white elephant" gift exchange, which involved much laughter. I actually came home with a very nice cookbook stand shaped like a music stand. T and I won the Christmas trivia game and so we also came home with an advent calendar filled with chocolate truffles.

Yesterday T's nephew was baptized and we spent most of the day at my inlaw's house, chatting with various relatives and relaxing. I hardly ate any lunch, but managed to eat three cookies, along with four or five pieces of carrot cake. Ick. I didn't get hungry again until 9:30pm, while we were watching the movie "Live Free or Die Hard", which is the very definition of the word far-fetched. I still enjoyed it though -- I like Bruce Willis in that role. I ate a bowl of cereal and called it good. I wasn't too hungry most of today either. Carrot cake must be pretty darn filling. Ay yi yi.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Still Clearing Emotional Blocks

I meant to go back and write more yesterday, but somehow after I got home my free time evaporated in a haze of cooking, trying to fill out dental claim forms, and reading to my girls. I'm pretty sure dental claim forms were invented by Satan.

I've still been listening to the Clearing Emotional Blocks CD every night, though I don't know that I've made it through the whole half hour recording more than twice without dozing off. I think it's helping me feel calmer on a daily basis, though it could be coincidence. I don't want to jinx myself, but I haven't had a binge or even much of an urge to binge for at least a couple of weeks. I have overeaten a few times, but haven't even done much of that.

Of course, my thoughts have turned to "....maybe I could lose some weight...", especially because I think I've actually GAINED weight in spite of daily exercise and not overeating. I haven't weighed myself, but the pants that were quite loose on me two months ago are now tight. I really don't understand it. I've been resisting the urge to track my food intake because I KNOW that makes me crazy, but I really don't feel as though I'm eating too much. I've been cooking mostly from my "healthy" cookbooks and eating small portions. Maybe it's the 1/2 cup of lowfat egg nog here and extra creamer in my coffee there type of thing-- I know "they" say it doesn't take very many extra calories on a daily basis to put on weight. I'm trying hard to resist to urge to return to my fair weather friend and track my calories. I've been obsessing far less on food these days, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Feeling Emotional...or Not

I have been reading the book Gaining by Aimee Liu, which is about anorexic women who've recovered -- what they have in common, their experiences during and after being anorexic, etc. It's really quite interesting, and I share a lot of traits with the women, though I've never been anorexic. One of the things she describes is holding in emotions. I remember being very prone to tears when I was younger; I'd burst into tears at the slightest hint of criticism or anger directed toward me. My boyfriend used to accuse me of manufacturing tears for sympathy during our fights, but that was just the way I was wired. Something has changed over the years and I very rarely cry these days.

Even the feeling of wanting to cry is rare. When my mom died, I started crying a couple of times, but I didn't ever have a nice, long cry. I wish I could. I asked my husband if he though it odd that I don't cry. He didn't seem to think much of it, but I wonder at my habit of holding my emotions so tightly in check. I purposely avoid sad movies and books, when I used to love watching things like Beaches or Terms of Endearment. I haven't been able to bring myself to read Water for Elephants or any of the recent bestsellers that seem as though they'd be sad. Hmmm..maybe what I really need is to START watching sappy movies and reading sad books!

More later...