25 November, 2011

All Work & No Play Makes Melanie a Dull Girl ...

The holiday season is reaching full swing, and I can already see the blur of calendar pages flying past my periphery with a locomotive’s speed. As usual, I am over-committing myself with work obligations. (I really must address this problem soon.)

The chaotic whirls of busyness that keep me teetering and reeling during this time have me, for the first time since my trip, ruing the absence of reliable and ready transportation. Convenience, which I have been eschewing as much as possible, is suddenly looking pretty good to me. Still, I remind myself that this is a fleeting moment, and when it passes, I will, once again, be living happily sans car and cell phone and such.

While I am loving my new jobs, I must admit that I am feeling a little overwhelmed by them at present. This is my own doing, though. Ever desirous of being helpful, I have agreed to work several extra work shifts over the holiday season so that various co-workers can have some much-needed and well-deserved time to relax with family and friends. I was especially loath to decline such requests this year since my family will all be far away this December. While I enjoy some alone time, I am not so stingy with it that I would deny others the opportunity to be with family during the holidays. So, now I am already looking forward to the slowing of the season, the deepening of winter, and the increase in down time it will afford me. Sad that I am already looking beyond the merry and bright to the darker and more solitary, but it is more the rest I crave rather than the isolation. I am afraid I may be too busy to even enjoy the company of friends very much during the celebratory time, so I suppose it makes sense that I’m not dwelling upon it too much. In any case, I do still love the anticipation of this season – the buzz of excitement in the air, and the images of camaraderie, and cheer, and merriment. I will ride this wave of energy, and allow it to keep me light and motivated through this busy time.

I am looking forward to getting into the kitchen any chance I can. I’ve already made a list of several treats I’d like to try my hand at baking/making. I will let you know how they go. Some of these are already gluten free recipes, and others will be gluten free adaptations of traditional recipes. I am excited to begin experimenting with new ingredients – different flours and flavor combinations and pastries that I’ve always wanted to try, but which seemed too intimidating to me before. Hopefully I can get some good solid recipes under my belt before my Winter Solstice Soiree in December. Wish me luck!

But before that … Thanksgiving! I was going to do a lovely six course meal for my sister and myself. I spent countless hours carefully selecting my menu, only to decide a couple days ago that it would be a little too extravagant for just the two of us. So … I scrapped it. Sister wasn’t even all that concerned about the meal anyway. She was just going along with the idea because I was so excited about it. So, now it’s just a simple roast turkey with roasted root vegetables, Clementine-currant-cranberry sauce, gravy, and green salad with Honeycrisp apples and goat cheese. Sister will be baking a knob of bread for us, too. Very simple and traditional. I will whip up a butternut squash tart with brown sugared apples for dessert. (And there’s ice cream, too, of course!) Then I think we might even go see Martha Marcy May Marlene at The Carolina Theatre in the evening. I think we could both use a low-key kind of day.

Sister is leaving for Pohnpei very soon. Her departure date is fast approaching! I will miss her, but I think she is going to have a spectacular time. She’s only going to be there for three weeks, but I’m sending a list of recommended things to do from which she can choose during that short time. She’s also going to stay an extra night in Hawaii during the transit. Will be good for her to get some R & R. Oh wow. Just realized I’ll be caring for her dog while she’s gone. Whew! It’s gonna be a busy December!

I would love to hear how you manage to take care of yourselves during times of stress and overscheduling. What are your tricks for staying healthy and sane during the holidays, or any really busy time? Inquiring minds want to know. (I want to know.)

So Happiest of Thanksgiving celebrations to you! There’s a lot to be thankful for in this life. I am thankful, among other things, for your company on this journey. Thank you!



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