Twas the night before Christmas . . .

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Twas the night before Christmas and in Marla’s house, we were busy preparing for a day that would not interest a mouse,

For we had no presents, no tinsel, no tree, just two grown up people in wait for a  day that was free,

Our fridge was packed, our house nice and warm, as we hunkered down for a quiet day outside the norm,

No children were waiting, no brew was chilling, as we eagerly looked forward to a day that was thrilling,

When what on our lawn did we spy from the door but some deer, a grouse, squirrels, and wait . . . birds galore!

As darkness descended on our small village street we heard the sound of peace, joy, and a new day to meet.

So my virtual friends I send you a warm greeting, in hopes that one day we may be meeting,

And wishing you all a joyful weekend, filled with family, food, good cheer and old friends.

OK, not exactly great poetry, but I couldn’t resist.  I just got back from the Wawa where I filed up my car with gas, and we walked the two dogs before we get more rain.  It has ben raining for three days now, and the weatherman says to expect 4-5 more days of  the wet stuff.  It has been in the 60s this week, more like spring than late December.  I actually saw someone wearing shorts at the Wawa.

What are we doing tonight and tomorrow?  One of my neighbors invited us to an open house and we are bringing a homemade dip to share.  I still have to make it, roast the eggplant, and mix it with fresh lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in the food processor.   We went to the gym to get in our workout before they closed up for the holiday.  After living here for four months we finally decided which gym to join.  I already feel more fit and energetic.  I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner.  Somehow the months flew by and each day was filled up with other tasks.  I know, excuses, excuses.  But my burgeoning muffin top was crying out for help.  GOOOOOOOO!!!!! Go, to the gym, it was shouting, and get rid of the four months of flab you have around you middle.  Today I’m principally doing lifting.  I love weight lifting.  There is something so soothing lifting weights.  You have to breath and concentrate and focus on your form.    But my favorite part of working out is when we leave, our clothing slightly damp with sweat, faces flushed, and cooling down on the ride home before a lovely hot shower and clean clothes.  Is there anything nicer?

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Airport decorated for the holiday.

We are ready for the day tomorrow.  Christmas is a day off for us.  Time stops.   We don’t go anywhere and we don’t work.   No one comes to visit since the kids grew up and scattered to the four winds, although we often get phone calls from family.  I’m not sure we could find a place to go out to eat, even if we wanted to.  This isn’t suburban D.C. after all, where there are many choices a short drive away.  Here in our little village we assume that life goes on hold on December 25th.

This is also a time when I start to think about the New Year.  I don’t make resolutions.  They can be so depressing, to make a promise and then find out that you can’t keep it.  Instead I make commitments.  I try to do better, to be better, and to live better.   My thoughts revolve around my friends and family, and I usually send out a card or email to keep in touch.   I’ve started with the cards, but have more to go . . . sorry if you haven’t gotten yours yet.  Joining the gym was a part of my healthy routine commitment.  I commit to getting to the gym an average of three times a week, do cardio three times and lifting at least twice.  We get all the classes free with our membership, so I want to try those out too.  I commit to make my life simpler, to do more and need less, to get rid of things I don’t need or use and that have no more purpose in my life.

I will try to consume less sugar and eat more fiber, though I’m already doing well with the second part of that commitment.  Dark chocolate does have less sugar, so that’s a twofer.  I will spend more time with friends and use my talents to help others where I can.    I will say yes when I want to and no when I don’t want to, and if in doubt will say, let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.  This is a huge thing for me and I struggle with it constantly.  Yes, I’ll do that for you, yes, I’ll help out, yes, I’ll volunteer, yes, yes, yes.   No is not a bad word.  We have to set boundaries around our time and try not to bring necessary stress into our lives by overburdening ourselves.  So, my friends, no is not a four letter word.  It’s ok to use it, even with those we love.

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I really should be blogging more.  The past weeks I haven’t written many posts.  No excuses, I need to do better.  I will continue to connect with my friends and relatives.  Yesterday I had a long conversation with one of my cousins.  I’ve never meet him before, but we share the same great grandmother.  I have other relatives like him; we drifted apart in space and time.  Thanks to the Internet and digital records, we can find our family and reconnect.

Lastly, I will accept myself for who I am and be satisfied with what I have accomplished, but not let it define who I will become.  I can change my behavior, but probably not my personality.  I will try my damnedest to keep the pressures of life at bay and be my best at my best.  Stress is not a recipe for good behavior.  I’m going to get more involved in some mindful meditation and try out yoga as ways to find that peaceful place and be in the present moment.

So as you hang that last ornament on the tree, or if you are like me, and don’t do Christmas, I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing tonight and tomorrow it brings you joy and peace and the comfort of loved ones.

And . . . chocolate!

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