Christmas was great, of course. In fact, it was so easy to make the plans and preparations that this ranks as the lowest-stress Christmas I can remember. There was no drama or wrestling of families, and we had our shopping and wrapping done well in advance.
And yeah, I know this is not really what Christmas is about, but in the fine American tradition of consumerism, here's some of my favorite presents:
Espresso maker, hand-me-down from Mom and Dad Used sewing machine (yes! I finally have one!) D&D Player's Handbook Walk the Line How-to-knit book and knitting needles Lots of gift cards from Chris's folks, which so far have bought me a coffee grinder and a stretchy shirt with super-long sleeves
In other news, I left the boys to eat my Christmas candy and started the South Beach Diet on December 26th. Why? Combination of factors. I have gained thirty pounds since I got engaged two years ago, which is clearly an unhealthy amount of weight gain. I want to make it clear though, this is NOT a pitiful self-image thing over how I look fat. Except for the rare occasions I catch sight of a double chin in a photo, I feel better about myself and the way I look than I ever have in my life. This is entirely for my health. The last two doctors I have been to have been really concerned about my blood pressure and the possibility I may be doing serious damage to my circulatory system even now, at such a young age. So obviously I want to alleviate that. Also I want to have children in the not-so-distant future, and I want to have my weight under control beforehand to prevent complications. Plus I just don't have as much energy as I did when I weighed less. It's much harder to get into and stay in shape. So yes. That's why.
If any of you aren't as obsessed with food as I am, you may not know much about the South Beach Diet. It's loosely related to Atkins, in that it involves cutting out most sugar and refined starches. But it's also relatively low-fat and focuses on replacing bad fats and bad carbs with good fats and good carbs, rather than totally changing the balance of carbs, protein, and fats. I've been eating a TON of vegetables. And it's kind of cool, because I've been forced to plan and cook each of my meals very deliberately, and I do love to plan menus and cook.
I am going through carb withdrawals. No, I'm not kidding. Food can act like a drug too--you can understand this with sugar, salt, and fat the way you crave them sometimes. (Side note: did you know cheese contains an opiate? Yeah. I was surprised, but not shocked, because I know how I love cheese.) For so many years, I had starchy carbohydrates at every meal, and now I am having none at all. It's a system shock. I'm supposed to be done with cravings any day now, according to the books, so cross your fingers for me. It's really tough.
What keeps me going is the fact that I've lost 8 pounds already. In less than a week. Supposedly, most people lose 8-14 pounds in the first two weeks, and the weight loss will slow down significantly after that as I start adding carbs back in limited quantities, but still, it looks like I may be able to lose most of the weight in only a few months, depending on how well I can stay with it. So we'll see how it turns out. I'll keep you posted.
The Stihl Timbersports Series on ESPN 8, "The Ocho". (Or ESPN 2. Same thing.) It's a lumberjack competition with a variety of events, most involving burly men hacking wildly away with axes or chainsawing incredibly quickly. In one event, they actually try to chop through a log while standing on it.
I'm hooked on Sarah McLachlan's new Christmas CD, Wintersong. If you've been hanging around in Starbucks, you've probably heard the single off it, "River", which is catchy and lightly haunting. One could expect no less from Sarah.
I'm taking a class on Church history at Puyallup United Methodist. It reminds me of college, in a pleasantly reassuring way. It makes me wonder if I should reconsider graduate school. But I'm not going back to school until I figure out what I want to do for a career. I'm not just going to go to school to put off making a decision about the rest of my life, as I nearly wound up doing with law school.
In the past two months, I have been asked no less than a dozen times when I plan on having kids. I am too young for this! Not too young to have kids, not necessarily, although I'm far too unstable financially to consider it just yet, but too young to have people hounding me about it, as if I ought to have done it already. At the camp Christmas party last weekend, it seems there was a rumor going around that I was already pregnant, probably because I'm carrying a few extra pounds around the middle these days. No, kids, that's not a baby, it's just my Frappuccino habit.
Speaking of Frappuccinos, I highly recommend the Frappuccino juice blends, Tangerine and Pomegranite. I think they were new this summer, but even if they're not new, they are delicious.