Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday blues

I think the holiday blues have arrived. 

Thanksgiving has come and gone - and it's a little late to be posting about it, but today's the first day I got to it, so here it is.

My Thanksgiving was... well, it was fine, I guess.  I enjoyed spending time with our guests, my mother-in-law and our friend Alexa, especially when we watched a few episodes of the show Tom's editing. 

Our Thanksgiving table

But something our friend Josh had mentioned in class before Thanksgiving really hit home with me.  Now that I'm a recovering food addict, holiday eating is - frankly - stressful.  It used to be joyful.  It used to be one of the rare times in my life that I ate happily... or, rather, I overate happily.  Perhaps it was because I always had company.  Perhaps it was because the holiday food is always so delicious.  Perhaps the warm feelings of the holiday were mainlined into my system via food.  Perhaps because in my mother's kitchen, food was love.

Now... food is fuel.  Tasty fuel, mind you, but fuel nonetheless.  And that made my holiday eating feel kind of... empty.  It's hard to explain.

Since I was making much of our food (I covered the cranberries, the low-cal pumpkin pie, the butternut squash, the stuffing and the turkey; Tom made the root veggies, the green beans and the Brussels sprouts) I had control over what was served.  I planned fewer dishes - and smaller, less-heavy ones - than we usually make, and adjusted the recipes.  I cut down the use of butter by about 300%.  And I tasted it. 

This is everything I ate for Thanksgiving dinner, save for a piece of my low-cal pumpkin pie and a glass of sparkling cider.

I didn't have any desire to eat more than one plate of the food.  Which is healthy, I know.  But without it, I was bummed.  I missed that butter.  I missed having lots of leftovers.  Each dish fit into single-serving tupperware, with room to spare.  It was all gone by dinner the following day.  I was living that joke from Annie Hall.  "Two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, 'Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.' The other one says, 'Yeah, I know; and such small portions.'"

Don't get me wrong.  I know the food wasn't terrible.  But it wasn't emotional.  And I missed that.  Maybe someday I'll be able to balance bringing in some positive emotion about food without going overboard.  For now, I'm just worried about how to handle the upcoming family events - starting this weekend - when I'm not in charge of the menu.

I'm a bit blue today, and I don't quite know why. 

The Santa Ana winds are blowing in, knocking out power across town - but other than the damage I do, I really enjoy them.  A rare moment of weather in Los Angeles.

Yesterday we were out in the afternoon and evening.  Tom wanted to enjoy the holiday offerings at Disneyland while he was on his hiatus, so we went around to the various Christmas-themed things (Small World Holiday, the parade and fireworks, etc.) to get in the spirit.  I had a nice time, and made food choices that were in-line with my plan.  (I did have dessert - part of a pumpkin yule log - and per Richard's recommendation, I'm allowing myself one dessert each week.)

But I saw something yesterday that I still can't shake.  We were boarding pirates with a woman in a wheelchair who reminded me of my mom.  The struggle to move her from the chair to the boat was one that was all too familiar to me.  It reminded me of recurring nightmare I have, where we're in peril and I'm unable to transport Mom to safety.

I suppose maybe I'm blue because I turned the Christmas music on - or I turned the Christmas music on because I'm blue.  Because I'm missing her.  Because Christmas really was her time of year.

There's so much to be un-blue about, though.  My friends and family.  My time with Tom this week - my life with Tom, for that matter.  My writing, both personal creative and professional freelance.  My health, and how much it's improved over the last year.  Funny thing about that word, "improved"...

Thanks to Bella of Bella on the Beach, I'm considering participating in a month-long blog carnival of sorts, called WEverb11.  And today's question is:

December 1: Choose one word.
Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why. Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?

That would would be "improvement."  This year, I've improved my health, my strength, my ability to cook, the way I handle my food addiction.  I've improved my freelance career (and definitely improved my life by leaving the interactive marketing behind.)  I've improved my blog.  I've improved my creative writing.  And I've improved my overall happiness.   This is probably the year I've been most proud of.

Next year's word, I hope, is "achievement."  I'd like to continue toward the goals that I actively began seeking this year, in health, in career, in family.  And I'm hoping to be closer to achieving them next year than I am this year.  I'm certainly closer this year than last, by miles.

Or maybe the word for both years should be "care."  I'm putting so much care into my life.  I'm taking care.  And almost every day, I remind you to take care. 

That reminds me: take care of you today.


  1. To summarize 2011, I would say that my word is...LUCKY.

    Considering that I had to have life-saving surgery which lead to two months of recovery, I'm lucky to have survived it at all.

    And, Heidi...wonderful posting as always.

  2. I'm so happy that you're thinking of participating in #WEverb11. I'd love to read your posts.

    This one broke my heart, but it also showed me just how far you've come. I hope you enjoy yourself this holiday season and take comfort in the fact that you truly are taking care of you now.

  3. Heidi, the boarding incident on Pirates alone was enough to catch the blues! We've long heard about the uptick in suicides around the holidays. Lonely people get melancholy remembering the times when they were happy and not alone. People like us remember the loved ones who are gone from us now. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." I've always loved that line from Dickens, because it applies to my life so often! I rarely see things as clearly defined and usually see the good and bad in everything. Allow yourself to feel blue without quite knowing why.