Archive for December, 2012

Driving up to my house just now, I came to a brutal realization: I’m the neighborhood scrooge!

(Warning: very bad quality photos. Sorry…)

Let me explain. Here’s my neighbor B’s house:


B loves to decorate for every holiday. (Well, maybe not St. Patrick’s Day.) This photo doesn’t capture the lights she’s hung in her back yard and by her garage. And you should see the inside of her house! Red and green galore.

B’s been decorating for as long as I’ve lived here. But, lo and behold, my other next-door neighbors have added some lights:


Even the neighbor who just moved in across the street is in the spirit of the season:


Now, here’s my house:


Ack! I’m bringing down the neighborhood!

My house wasn’t always so dark, though. My first Christmas here, 11 years ago, someone gave me a miniature live Christmas tree, complete with snowman lights and festive ornaments. That tree lived for eight or nine years, and each holiday season it would sit on my front porch, its snowman lights shining cheerfully.

But after the tree died, I didn’t replace it. And I just haven’t attempted to hang lights on my house, even though I bought a set last year. Though in my defense, I do have a healthy fear of tall ladders!

But maybe I could pull out that box of lights and, at the very least, string lights along the hydrangea and roses near the front door. With Christmas only days away, I better get a move on! Last thing I want is to be the neighborhood scrooge!


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I can’t even begin to think about how I did on my holiday diet challenge.  It seems that there was a week, things probably happened, and then this really horrible event occurred and that’s all I remember about last week.

I can’t even begin to express my incredible sadness over the Connecticut shootings.  And because I just don’t have anything eloquent to say, I’ll just leave it that I am sending love, light, and healing to all victims and perpetrators of violence.

That being said, I did realize something last week about this pervading sadness I’ve been feeling lately.  Since my dog died, I’ve told several friends that I just don’t know what to do with myself; that my life and its routines have been uprooted and I haven’t been able to get myself together.  But this past weekend, amidst all the sadness about the shootings and the horrible reminder that life can change on a dime, I realized that much of my personal dissatisfaction is because I’ve put my entire life on hold for my pilgrimage walk.

In a way, it makes sense.

Don’t quit the job until April.  Even though I know that I’m “done” at this job and it’s just not an energetic match, I don’t know where I am to go next.  Plus, even if I did see a posting for an interesting job, would someone let me off for two months?  Could I honestly take a job now since, in the back of my mind, I think I’ll be moving soon?  How fair is that to a potential new employer? And on a more selfish note, I just can’t even imagine what I want to do.   Wait, that’s not true.  I want to be independently wealthy, so I can do all the things I love and not worry about the fact that I probably couldn’t make a living off of them.

Don’t get another dog until after I’m back from my trip.  This limitation makes sense.  On the one hand, paying a dog sitter is not in the budget.  On the other hand, a friend and a relative have offered to keep a dog for me.  While I greatly appreciate their generosity, and have toyed with taking them up on their offer, I also have to think about the dog.  I know of dogs who were left for extended periods of time and they developed severe separation anxiety.    Plus, my animals are my child substitutes, and being away from an animal so long would be hard for me.

Don’t have a garden since I won’t be around at important stages to tend to it.   Of all my “don’ts,” this one is the easiest to handle.  Gardens are work, and I have a large garden.  I am just lazy enough to not waste my energy on something that won’t be taken care of.   So the seed catalogs go immediately in the recycle bin, and I find solace in knowing that at least I’ll be planting cover crop.  Hopefully that will survive lack of attention and I’ll have added more nutrients to the soil for future use.

So all good reasons for putting my “joys” off.  But what to do in the meantime?  I haven’t been able to figure out where to find my joy.  Sure, I am training, and I will continue to do that.  Sure, I will be volunteering at a local animal shelter; though volunteers are sorely needed, this might be a job my broken heart can’t handle.  Sure, I can go buy things for my trip, but the enjoyment from shopping only lasts so long.  Plus, there is a limited amount of stuff that I actually need.  Other things I can do:  read, go to movies, go out to eat with friends.  All perfectly fine activities which I’ve been doing a lot of lately, but I still have large gaps in my heart.

Maybe this situation has come about to teach me a lesson.  You see, I’ve spent so much of my life thinking that life will get better when… When I graduate high school, when I go off to college, when I have a job I love, when I’m in a relationship, when I walk the Camino … To be honest, even though it’s now only five months away, I’ve been looking forward to the Camino for so long that I think I’ve cashed in all the “life will get better when I’m on the Camino” chips. And, more importantly, as one of my friends so nicely reminded me, life is what happens when you’re waiting around.

So here I am, waiting around, hoping to figure out how to be okay right here, right now, with what is.   Maybe I need to start keeping a gratitude journal again.  I am pretty good about mentally noting things for which I’m grateful, but maybe writing them down will make them more concrete and allow them to take up more space in my mind.

And I definitely need to take a break from the news.  Spend that time sending healing thoughts and prayers instead.




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Week Three of Dr. Fuhrman’s Holiday Challenge is in the books, and I did better, but not perfect.

I took to heart what reader Susanna said and paid attention to how I feel. I have noticed that nighttime is the hardest for me, so hopefully I will figure out a stategy that doesn’t include overeating.


I saw this sign while hiking at Umstead State Park today. I’ve read that I can slow my cravings down by waiting 10 to 20 minutes before indulging. Chances are, if I’m really not hungry, the desire to eat will pass. So this week I’ll give it a shot.

While at Umstead, I meandered around for about four hours. I was by myself, and I’m a bit directionally challenged, So I had to keep pulling out the park map to figure out where I was. Luckily I figured out I could use the camera on my phone to help me remember confusing interchanges!


The photo above helped me remember to follow the gravel road to the left.

The multi-purpose trails had numerous inclines and descents; granted nowhere near the elevation in the Pyrenees, but still nice practice. One thing I loved was all the moss along the way.




There was even moss on this cute cabin!


All in all, a nice hike and a great way to start the new week. Hope your Sunday was grand!

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image courtesy of Microsoft

image courtesy of Microsoft


Week Two of Dr. Fuhrman’s Holiday Challenge is in the books, and let’s just pretend it never happened, okay?

You may remember that last week I had decided to work on my emotional eating issues, and to really feel the emotions of sadness, anger and frustration.    Well, I have delved deep into the darkness, and guess what?  It wasn’t fun!   And I still ate!

There is good news from all of this:  First, there are no more almonds and dates in my house. amd I will not be purchasing anymore for awhile.  They are too addictive for me.   And second:  I’ve decided that I don’t really have to dig deep and find out all the sources of my sadness.  I can get depressed very easily, and this type of work just takes me to depression.   So for me, at this exact moment in my life, it is enough for me to just acknowledge sadness, cry if I need or want to, and then shift my focus on all the good in my life.

I don’t really know how I did weight-wise, since I forgot to weigh myself this morning.  In the interest of avoiding frustration and anger and self-loathing, I think I”ll wait until next Monday to check in with my friend, the scale.

Other non-challenge-related news:  I am attempting to wear monovision contacts, but so far I’m not really liking them.  I’m having a very hard time seeing the computer, and have to squint constantly.  The eye doctor said it takes about a week to get used to these new lenses.   So I’ll go back on Thursday and see if they can adjust the lenses so I can see computer screens.  If not, then it’s bifocals for me!





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