Exercise plan for the holidays

You have now entered the devastating period between Thanksgiving and Christmas–the time when you feel overwhelmed with the desire to bake and eat the goodies you avoid throughout the year. Regular workouts make room for an altered diet.1-1257435723jneb

It’s time to start up your holiday exercise routine–time to engage the plan for submitting to your holiday food traditions and not put on 10 pounds in the process. My plan stands in tribute to a thousand holiday seasons and 100,000 good intentions. It goes something like this, barring natural work and sleep cycles:

You gorge at Thanksgiving.

You play a few rousing hands of cards. Probably no calorie-burning here, but at least you’re not comatose.

You eat leftovers.

You climb in and out of the attic, getting down the Christmas decorations, working up a sweat, lifting boxes, bending under the weight, dragging out artificial tree boxes (if you’re one of those people).

You eat some pie to recuperate but forego the ice cream (after all, it is morning).

You go on the Christmas tree search (if you’re one of those people). Tramping through woods with a saw is good exercise, but hauling and assembling an artificial tree also burns calories, especially if no one helps you. Looking through trees at a tree stand is a low calorie-burning activity in the sense that someone must lift and tie down your tree (upper body workout for two minutes).

You eat some more pie, this time with ice cream. Continue reading

My Thanksgiving checklist

It’s the week of Thanksgiving. The checklist has begun. (See if this looks like yours!)thanksgiving-turkey-dinner-1382640353muy

  • Grocery-shopping: vegetables, turkey, potatoes, bread, apples, butter, sugar, etc., plus all those things you rarely get, like cornstarch, gelatin, cranberries, evaporated milk, and cloves (only to find 2 jars of unopened cloves in the back of your cupboard, dated 2008 and 2011).
  • Cleaning the house: the whole house, at one time, which rarely happens. After a day of it, I remember why. Who has this much time for cleaning? The problem is, with extra people at home, I find myself in pick-up mode, like the Cat in the Hat, but without the machinery with large, gloved hands. Which would come in vary handy, right about now.
  • Cooking: of course, there’s the big meal on Thursday. But I somehow forget that when I have extra people in my house, I never stop cooking. I crank out big breakfasts and big dinners because that’s what I do when I have guests (and my adult children home). I’d think about just sleeping on the kitchen floor, but it needs to be swept again, and I don’t have time.
  • Baking: this is not the same as cooking. This is a joy, an indulgence of time and memory. Baking begins with the aroma of sugar, flour, and cinnamon but ends in the contended connection between the proud baker and her happy recipients. In my house, baking produces smiling men, slipping in and out of my kitchen, swiping cookies and pumpkin bread on their travels, flashing smiles that tell me they love me and they’re happy to be home. Perhaps that’s why my baking memories dig so deep. Baking is standing on a stool in my mother’s kitchen, learning to flour a pan and roll out pie crust. It’s eating dough and sneaking chocolate chips while my mother beams at me. Baking is traveling down memory lane with both delight and daggers.
  • Getting out the china, silver, and glassware. This takes more time than expected because I am sentimental about these instruments of fine dining. But I am not a wannabe debutante; that’s not why I go through the trouble. I sit on my dining room rug and pull out my mother’s china and my grandmother’s silver and my great-grandmother’s crystal. I sit and remember. I can smell these ladies and hear them laugh and picture their favorite Thanksgiving dishes. There’s Grandma’s cranberry jello with ginger ale and fruit inside. I can’t baste a turkey without thinking of my Aunt Darleen, crammed into her small kitchen with a turkey as big as she, pulling it out and basting it to savory perfection. There’s my mom’s crowning Thanksgiving achievement (because the recipe’s 4 generations old): cranberry frappe. I think of Mom constantly at Thanksgiving–she’s in the cut-out sugar cookies and the stuffing, the table settings and the aprons, the rolling pin and the candlesticks. She’s everywhere, and I miss her.

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The Island of Mis-fit Socks

I did the laundry again yesterday and began sorting socks this morning. I don’t know why, but I feel such a sense of accomplishment when all the socks match up.img_4864

Today I had four extra black socks, two long and two short, none matching, that are being relegated to the Island of Mis-fit Socks that sits atop my husband’s dresser.

I surmise that each sock on the Island feels utterly alone in the world. I hope they can find solace and community there. They will wait, with longing and uncertainty, for their mate to arrive.

What each sock doesn’t realize is that his mate has most certainly already met her demise. After repeated washings and analysis, careful scrutiny of growing holes in toes and heels, that long-lost mate was deemed unsuitable and tossed either in the trash can or the Rags Bin in my laundry closet, where it will most assuredly never be used as a rag.

Occasionally, widowed socks are matched with other similar socks and re-introduced into circulation. But during the next sorting cycle, they will likely find themselves back in the Mis-fit pile while I decide what to do with them. I won’t remember that they were worn during the past week with socks of similar size and color, and I will set them aside in hopes of retrieving their mates at the next washing or when I unfold a fitted sheet to make the bed. I am hopeful that the lost sock will happily tumble out of a corner, where it’s been hiding with a dryer sheet, and I will be so relieved that I saved its mate on the Island.

A joyful reunion. A sense of accomplishment for me.

It could happen.

But the most of the time, I’m left wondering, Why must there be so many kinds of socks?