To Buy or Not to Buy a Baby Shower Gift

If last month it was flu season, then this month is definitely BABY season! I just got the news that two of my closest friends are both pregnant with baby number two—the irony being that five years ago, they were both pregnant at the same time with baby number one, along with my cousin…which leads me to wonder if she may be pregnant again too. A brother and sister, whose mom used to babysit me when I was little, are both expecting, and I have two co-workers whose wives have delivery dates in May and June.

Meanwhile, I can’t buy a man. Well, I guess I could, but I don’t want to. I practically bought that last one, and he had TWO jobs, despite being too broke to do anything.

But that’s a different story for another day.

Getting back to my co-workers (did I mention one of them just has a baby last January? Needless to say, this one wasn’t planned), the department is throwing a baby shower for them later this afternoon, and everyone is urged, though not required, to buy a gift, give them a piece of change, or do something nice for the dads-to-be.

If I’m being honest, I just want to slap them across the back, give my congratulations, get a free slice of cake and pizza, and go back to my cubicle, where I know it will be deathly quiet with everyone else still at the party.

Does that make me a bitch?

I haven’t even thought about buying a present since the day my boss said, “Let’s give them a baby shower,” a few months ago. While I was enlisted to assist in the initial planning, all we did was sit at a round table in her office and go over food, drinks, a half-baked potential theme idea, what conference room to book, and where the guys were registered. After that, the other admin in the department basically took over the planning, so I let her have it. She was all too excited to be included while I couldn’t care less. Since that short planning session, I’ve only gotten an email invite to the party and a link to the registries, which I’ve looked at maybe twice.

Now that it’s the day of the party, I’m probably the only one who will show up empty-handed, if I even show up at all. I didn’t have the best experience at the last joint baby shower we had (when co-worker who is currently on unplanned baby number 2 was expecting baby number 1 along with another co-worker who was pregnant with baby number 2). The admin at the time had sent out an email to the entire department, saying that she will be collecting baby shower gifts up to a certain date, and also asking if anyone wanted give money to put in a card. I didn’t bother to respond because buying expensive baby gifts for two people was not in the budget, and I didn’t really want to give them money either… which apparently meant I didn’t get to sign the card.

Fast forward to the day of the baby shower, the wife and husband of the two co-workers were both there, the table in the back of the room was piled with gifts along with the two cards that had everyone’s signature but mine, and as I stood off to a corner of the room, nibbling on cookies and mints, I realized that I didn’t have a close relationship with anyone in this department. Being a temp, I am often excluded from a lot of functions. the most recent one being just yesterday when the whole department disappeared for what I thought was a full-time employees only meeting but actually turned out to be a party for my boss who’s getting married in June. I was informed of the leftover cupcakes from the party at 5 that afternoon, after everyone had already gone home.

Which leaves me to ask the question: Why should I waste my money on people who treat me like an afterthought? My mom has pointed out to me that even my friends, whose kids I spend too money on, don’t do the same for me (probably because I don’t have any children, but I guess I see where she’s coming from). And when I think about all the things I’ve got my money tied up in—I’m saving for a cruise to Alaska this summer, I’ve yet to file my taxes because I’m afraid I might owe (as if the government hasn’t taken enough out of my checks), my car is three months overdue for an oil change—expensive baby shower gifts for people I don’t particularly like isn’t really in the budget.

One of my resolutions at the beginning of the year was to save money—because eventually I do want to move out of my mother’s house—but two things will keep me from reaching that goal: impulse spending—buying stuff I don’t need or won’t use but once—and giving when my heart’s not in it.

The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). It also says when you give freely, you gain even more (Proverbs 11:24). I’ve thought about, if nothing else, giving my co-workers a card. It’s not too late to make a quick trip to Dollar General on my lunch break. But then I would feel obligated to put money in it, because what’s the significance of a card other than to hold money, right? I learned that the hard way when my granddaddy copped an attitude because I only bought him a card for his birthday. Apparently a card doesn’t count as a present (even though that’s all I got for my birthday three weeks later, but I digress).

But even in buying a card, it would still be a reluctant gesture under the compulsion that everyone else is probably getting them something and that I have to, too. My heart still wouldn’t be in it. Does that make me a bad person? I hope not, because I really don’t mean to be. There are times when giving to someone comes as easily as breathing, and others when the thought just slips my mind until the day of. Like today.

So after all that rambling, have I come to a decision? I think I’ll pass on buying a gift. I don’t want to. I don’t feel lead to from a kind and sincere heart. And feeling obligated to do so because “it’s the right thing to do” and “everyone else is doing it” isn’t a good enough reason.

So what’s left? Will I skip out on the party? Will I go just to mingle for a few minutes, grab some free food, and slip out (who would notice anyway? These people never notice me)? Or will I fade uncomfortably into the background like I did at the last baby shower? The more I think about it, the more I convince myself not to even go. Again, who would notice?

There’s Something in the Air…

The flu is making its rounds through the office this month. Up and down the halls you can hear coughing and sneezing and hacking of mucus from the lungs. The latest to fall ill is our department head. My cubicle is located right outside his office, so it’s got me a little paranoid.

He came in to work on Monday all red faced and puffy cheeked, breathing out of his mouth, barely able open his eyes, in denial that it was a cold or the flu, probably just allergies. That morning he had an interview in his office with a candidate for a recent job posting. He promised the potential new employee and the rest of the interview panel, four in total crowded at the round table in his office, that he would sit off in the corner, so as not to infect anyone, forgetting that the flu is airborne and the mere fact that they’re in his infested office, they are most certainly all going done.

Later that day, he came around the corner, handed me an empty tissue box and asked me to order some more, and without realizing the significance of the passing of the baton, I took the box from him and threw it away. Then I heard him cough, and blow his nose, and I jumped from my chair so fast and ran to the bathroom to scrub my hands and arms! I even topped it off with a pump of hand sanitizer. You can never be too careful.

It seems the flu has been particularly nasty this year. North Carolina has seen around 600 new flu cases since the end of January, and new numbers reveal the death toll has risen up to 44 people.  Now, I don’t know “normal” flu statistics, but with our modern medicine, 44 still seems a little high. I heard from a coworker that a doctor said this season’s flu shot isn’t working too well. I don’t know if that was his personal opinion or a professional observation, but the way people are dropping around here, it’s definitely made me conscious about touching my eyes, nose, and mouth, eating all the fruit and Vitamin C that I can whenever I feel my throat getting scratchy, or my nose getting stuffy. I might even resort to taking a shot of apple cider vinegar—the miracle juice when it comes to any type of aliment, that is if you can keep it down; it tastes almost as bad as cough syrup.

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One thing that has always puzzled me about my fellow Americans is that we can be so sick we’re throwing up our internal organs, but we’ll still come to work. I hate this “live to work,” “work hard, work harder,” mentality. It’s that same mentality that forces moms-to-be to work until they’re about to drop their babies right on the office linoleum. That same mentality forces them return from maternity leave before they’re ready because at a lot of companies, their job isn’t guaranteed.

Yes, I know the Bible says if you don’t work, you don’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10), but at this rate, you don’t even have time to eat because you’re working so much, and worrying about working, and even dreaming about working! Work has become life. Somewhere in there you gotta squeeze in a day of rest, and for heaven’s sake if you’re sick, STAY HOME!

I commend my boss for coming in on Monday, setting an example for those who abuse sick days, but he could have easily worked from home, allowing himself time to heal and recover. Most offices only allow 1 to 2 sick days, which I personally don’t think is long enough (again, that “work hard, work harder” mentality), but if you need to, take an extra day. Your co-workers will thank you. A lady once told me that the groomer’s office she takes her dogs to had been completely shut down because everyone had the flu.

It’d be a shame if the entire HR department was out sick next week because of one person. No one would get paid, no one would have their employee problems resolved, managers would hire whomever they choose, including their no good, lie on their rusty dusties, can’t keep a job, grown-ass man-children—there’d be total chaos!

The world needs HR. The world needs a healthy HR.

Flu be warned. If things get any worse, I may have to bring my Lysol spray and hose some people down.

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What NOT to Do This Friday Night

Happy Friday! Thank God it’s finally the weekend. Sure, most of us are probably at work, but c’mon, who really works on a Friday anyway? Your minds are already on tonight, and on Saturday night, and on praying for forgiveness Sunday morning.

I’ve heard it’s a holiday weekend, though I’m not sure what holiday. People don’t normally take the Friday before President’s Day off. Especially since we don’t get President’s Day off. Maybe the people working in the federal government do, but us average Joe’s, working eight to ten hours a day, making next to no money, we definitely don’t get the day off. Hell, I doubt even the kids get a break from school. Unless it’s a teacher work day, which means the tired, worn, and broken teachers still have to report.

Ahh, such is life.

But I’m not here to complain about how hard working Americans don’t get nearly enough vacation days in the year, or that my temp contract requires me to work 2,000 uninterrupted hours before I can get paid holiday. (For those of you slow at math, that’s 50 freaking weeks!)

Truthfully, I am here to celebrate that it’s Friday, and that I’ll have two days off to relax, regroup, and most importantly, write.

How do you plan to fill your weekend? To my single readers, should I expect nothing but pure debauchery and regret? That was always the case for me—more regret than debauchery, though.

Which brings me to what I really want to talk about . . .

STAY HOME!

My church has a Saturday night contemporary worship service for millennials and people who ain’t trying to get up on Sunday morning . . . or miss football (man, I miss football).  Anyway, last Saturday, one of the associate pastors preached a sermon on staying under the authority of God. One thing he said that truly tickled me was this:

“When you leave here tonight, don’t go home and put on your disco clothes. Put on your pajamas and get in the bed!”

Boy, the congregation had a hoot! (See, it’s ok to laugh and have fun in church). But all joking aside, if everything within the fiber of your being is telling you to stay home tonight, listen to it. We are always asking for signs, some divine intervention to show us where to go and what to do. But when they come, and the answers to our burning questions are glaringly obvious, we choose to ignore them and get ourselves into trouble.

Trust me, when God doesn’t want you to do something, He’ll make it known.

via Final Destination Wiki
via Final Destination Wiki

A few months ago, a woman at my church told us a story about a time during her not-so-Christian days. She was seeing (insert sleeping with) a man who had no intentions of being anything serious with her. One night, she drove to his place in a horrible storm. Torrential downpours, crashes of thunder, lightning streaking across the sky. When she got to his apartment complex, the parking lot was flooded, and a lightning bolt had either struck the water or had struck a wire that was spinning around in the water. Every time she tried to get out of the car, the wind blew harder, and the electrically charged water rose closer to her feet. Finally, she decided he wasn’t worth her life and went back home. Would you believe that when she got home, there wasn’t a drop of rain falling from the sky, not a clap of thunder, nor one strike of lightening? Nothing to indicate there had been a storm anywhere in the city. Nothing but peace and tranquility. She looked up and there wasn’t even a cloud; she could see the stars. Now if that ain’t a sign . . .

Needless to say, she didn’t see “ol’ dude” again after that.

I’ve had signs like that. Not as wild, but they’ve definitely come. The last one came this past Christmas. I had recently resumed talking to a guy I used to date. We had a huge falling out back in March, and it should’ve ended there. Unfortunately, I don’t always listen to my inner conscience.

On one of those lonely nights, I finally answered his texts, and we made a date to drive around the city and look at all the Christmas decorations. Of course, I had to drive because he had no car (note to self: date a man who can at least get himself and you around). I lost interest in the lights pretty quickly, and was ready to take him back to his place. In fact, I was fully prepared to drop him off at a reasonable hour—8:30—go home, put on my pajamas and get in the bed like a good little Christian girl.

I don’t know why I didn’t kick him out of my car, but we sat there in the parking lot close to an hour, and I listen to him drone on and on with his chauvinistic pride, which was really quite laughable, because what exactly did he think he had that made him better than everyone else?

You can scratch a car off that list. You can scratch money to pay for a girl’s dinner off that list. You can scratch a clean apartment off that list. You can scratch a furnished apartment off that list. You can scratch money to buy aspirin for that damn toothache he kept bitching complaining about—a toothache that prompted him to leave me alone in his house for an hour on two separate occasions to meet a friend for the medicine, only to come back with that same toothache and still no medicine—off that list.

And while material things don’t mean a thing, he was a very materialistic person, and he fronted like he had something people would be envious of, when in reality, he had nothing.

But the ultimate sign came when I looked in my side mirror and saw a penis.

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One of his neighbors was standing next to my car, his phone in one hand, his penis in the other, peeing inches from my gas tank. Mind you, it was still about nine thirty/quarter to ten. I was parked under a street light. The road was literally right in front of us, with cars driving by! If not me, someone else was bound to see him.

It was the most repulsive and unsettling experience I’ve ever had in my life. To make it worse, when he saw that I was in the car, he and his homeboy preceded to watch me through the driver’s window and laugh, while the guy I was with did nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, he thought it was funny too.

I was not laughing. And I damn sure wasn’t comfortable.

But even after all that, I still went inside his house, greeted by the disgusting stench of rotten potatoes. (Do you know how long potatoes have to be sitting out for them to get that far gone? A long time! Who doesn’t know the bag of rotten potatoes sitting in the corner of their empty kitchen is the source of the foul odor filling their apartment?!) I stayed there while he left me alone (to not remedy his toothache), babysitting his stupid, jumpy puppy, watching some idiotic American Pie-type movie, starving because he didn’t have any food and his kitchen stank.

Eventually, I left. But it it was nearly midnight, and I was so frustrated with myself for allowing someone like that to completely waste my time and disrupt my inner peace that I went home and wrote a nasty Facebook status update that I later deleted.

But seriously, did I expect something different? His utter disregard for my feelings, my time, or my comfort was the exact reason we fell out last March.

Being bitten by that loneliness bug renders you temporarily an amnesiac. I should find something else productive to do. Like tell you of my horror stories as a reminder to myself.

I say all of this not to gain your sympathy (really, I’m fine. Single . . . Mingle Me Not, remember?), but to urge you that if you have a sinking feeling your Friday night will result in a similar train wreck . . .

STAY HOME!

Go see the new Lego Batman movie with the kids. Meet up with your girlfriends at the bowling alley for a night of gutter balls and chili cheese fries. Put on your pajamas and go to bed.

Do anything but call that no good man who still hasn’t made you his girlfriend, yet requires boyfriend privileges.

You’re worth so much more than that.

via Pinterest
via Pinterest

Sweet Without the Heart

Ahh, Valentine’s Day. The day of love, though nothing “loving” ever occurred on this dreadful day. I’m talking massacres, executions of priests. Valentine’s Day should really be called the day of martyrdom, because a lot of saints were killed this day. Lord only knows which “St. Valentine” the holiday is actually named after.

Nevertheless, today we celebrate love. Couples exchange long sappy paragraphs and cheesy love poems, men break the bank buying roses, chocolates (specifically truffles), and romantic dinners for their loves, boyfriends propose to their girlfriends, and the already betrothed get married, social media addicts flaunt their relationships, much to the chagrin of their miserable single friends.

Like I said, nothing “good” ever happens on Valentine’s Day.

Truthfully, it’s a holiday I can do without. Not because I’m single and bitter, though I am half of that equation (the half that’s not bitter). I would say my hatred strong dislike for Valentine’s Day started in high school. My high school had a tradition that in hindsight was quite a nice gesture. Organized by the student council, every Valentine’s Day, students could purchase a rose for a dollar to be delivered to their sweetheart during first period.

First period, Valentine’s Day, Freshman year. Student council members walk into the classroom carrying baskets of roses. They stand before the class and read off the names on the cards. One by one, each girl, and even some guys, step up to receive their gifts. Some one rose, others two or three, a few wrap their arms around dozens. . . . And I get nothing.

For four years, I had to live that experience. It’s meaningless now, but back then, during my emotional high school years, when those teenage hormones were raging, it was like a dagger through my heart. You mean to tell me no one, not one person, thought about me on Valentine’s Day? It’s not like all of my classmates were dating someone. Most of them were single like me. It was their friends who were spending a week’s worth of lunch money on roses for them.

I bought my friends roses. When I had a boyfriend, I bought him a rose. No one got me anything.

I take that back. One year, either my Junior or Senior year, I received one rose from my little brother. It was so sweet. He signed the card with one letter, K. But I recognized his handwriting in a second. It was the thought that made me smile, though. The thought was more important.

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Still, I’ve learned not to expect anything on Valentine’s Day. That way I’m never disappointed, and if something special does happen, I’m always surprised.

Now, the only Valentine’s gifts I receive are from my Mom or my Granddaddy. Granddaddy’s gift today really made up for the blunder he had this past Saturday. He’d invited me as his guest to a Sweetheart Breakfast at his church. Now Granddaddy already has a “lady friend” so I wasn’t sure if my invitation was just an afterthought or if he truly wanted me to be there. I came anyway, on time, though on time for that church means five minutes early. His lady friend was there, as I’d expected, but Granddaddy still pulled out the chair for me and served me breakfast, a menu he no doubt wrote himself (scrambled eggs, potatoes and onions, sausage, sweet apples, and a roll—if that ain’t a classic old black man breakfast, I don’t know what is). However, the problem came during the introduction of sweethearts, when he stood up and said:

“This is my granddaughter. She’s not married, that’s why she didn’t bring nobody.”

Valentine’s Day, a vindictive holiday created to remind the single that they ain’t got nobody.

I put on the biggest fake smile I could muster and tried to laugh with everyone else clearly amused by my exposed loneliness. The clapback came hours later while I was in my room trying to erase the embarrassment from my memory.

I don’t need a man. I’m married to Jesus.”

I dare the seasoned saints at that church to tell me He doesn’t count.

By the way, I wasn’t the only single woman there. I was just the only one who got called out. I’m still trying understand his point, other than to make a joke at my expense. His church being very old with a dying congregation, all the men there were his age. Even if there was one guy from my generation, it wouldn’t matter because they all brought their sweethearts. Remember, Sweetheart Breakfast. Maybe he’d hoped to hook me up with somebody’s grandson? Eh, I’ll pass.

Granddaddy redeemed himself today, though. He bought me roses and a box of Dove milk chocolate truffle hearts, so I guess I can forgive him.

Looky there, now two people have bought me roses on Valentine’s Day. Ain’t I special!

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Finish What You Start

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3; NIV)

Finish what you start . . .

It was the title to a series my pastor preached several years ago. Unfortunately, the title is all I remember. That and one particular sermon about how unmarried people should finish being single before they rush into a marriage. That was probably one I should’ve paid more attention to. I might’ve been able to avoid a few disaster relationships, or more specifically, “situationships,” if I had.

Still, the title itself convicts me . . . Finish what you start. . .

I haven’t been able to finish many things lately. As a writer, I am the ultimate perfectionist. When I catch the editing bug, nothing I write is ever good enough. I can edit a story down to nothing if I’m not careful. And if it’s not the next great American novel that I want it to be, instead of writing it down anyway so I can revisit and rework it later, I don’t write it at all, too embarrassed by how dreadful it will read. (That’s why it’s called a first draft, silly.) And don’t let me fall behind in my word count. Even if it’s only a day, it’s a mountain I just don’t have the motivation to climb anymore. Hence my countless disappearing acts from the blogging world, and why I left 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans hanging at Day 10.

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But I intend to finish Holiday Hooligans this year, this April in fact, for the A to Z Challenge. No, it’s not the holidays, technically, but if I wait to December, a whole ten months from now, I’ll never finish it. And yes, I do realize the A to Z Challenge was the main reason for last year’s burnout, but if I don’t get back on the wagon somehow, sooner rather than later, I may never write a story or poem again, and for someone who’s been doing this since she was old enough to write, that is beyond terrifying.

So this is my second attempt at finishing what I started. A 2017 New Year’s Resolution do-over (because we all know January doesn’t count—we were too busy trying to drop all those holiday pounds we gained). There are a lot of things I plan to accomplish by the end of this year, and hopefully I’ll be able to organize myself so that I’m not overwhelmed in striving to reach my goal. But if God could create the entire earth and everything that dwells within in six days, just to kick back and relax on the seventh when He finished, then I have no excuse whatsoever.

Throughout the Bible, the number seven is used to signify completion and rest. Completion and rest. Ahh, that is so true. Unfortunately, instead of Day Seven, my day of rest usually comes at Day Four, or Five, or sometimes even Day One, and I never complete what I began. So many great stories left hanging off a cliff; so many protagonists left unfulfilled.

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But to actually finish something. Yes, that would be monumental.

Think about it. When you finally relieve your shoulders of that heavy burden of always having to do something, don’t you just want to lie down, kick your shoes off, read a good book, or play a good movie, maybe turn up your stereo, and do absolutely nothing because you’re at long last “done”? Yes, I know I do. Coming home from a long day at the 9 to 5. Wanting to get in my bed and disappear from the rest of the world for the next eight hours. Yes, that sounds heavenly . . .

BUT I HAVE TO FINISH THAT NOVEL!

The price of being a writer with a day job; there never seems to be enough time in the day to do both, especially when said day job is in an unrelated field and the only good thing it’s giving is a nice a paycheck. Nice, not fat, but nice. Coming home and having to switch gears and get into the writing mode is just . . . well, hard. But I have to do it. This is my life—not some measly job that doesn’t offer me affordable benefits worth a rat’s ass when I do get sick. Writing is my life. Creating stories is my life. Entertaining the masses with this craft God has blessed me with is my life.

So let’s hop to it. Start it. Finish it. Read it. Rest.

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Already Sick of Christmas Music? Yea, Me Too

Happy December! If Thanksgiving didn’t do it for you, maybe the first of December will put you in the holiday cheery mood? Though, I would totally understand if you’re still not feeling it. Our world is in shambles! The Southeast is on fire while California is actually getting rain, our U.S. government is once again at war with the Native Americans, Pat McCrory still won’t accept that he lost North Carolina because of HB2, and the radio stations have been playing the same damn Christmas music since the 50’s!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas music. I’ve been listening to it since that horror show that is a Trump election. But you can only hear “Let it Snow,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Winter Wonderland,” Rudy, and Frosty, and countless other songs that have been around since my mom was a kid, so many times before you lose your ever-Christmas-lovin’ mind!

Every year, there are at least a few artists who drop a new Christmas record for the masses to consume. I loved Ariana Grande’s EP, Christmas and Chill, last year, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra is always my go-to band during the holidays, both their Christmas albums, and their original music. I attend their concerts faithfully every year, and this year’s no different. I can’t wait to see my sexy bass guitarist David Z, rock it out on stage next Sunday!

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via Pinterst

Unfortunately, the newer Christmas music doesn’t get much traction on the radio. For as long as I’ve been listening to TSO, I’ve only heard one of their songs played on the radio, and that’s their rendition of “Carol of the Bells,” which is actually titled “Christmas Eve / Sarajevo.” It is without a doubt their most popular song, and I crank up the volume every time it comes on, but they have three albums-worth—roughly around 60 songs—of Christmas music, and the radio stations can only play one?!

I guess I could just call in and request the music, but who wants to do that when we can simply create a Spotify playlist and fill it with all the songs we love to hear at Christmas. My playlist is nothing but TSO, with a little bit of Ariana Grande, a little bit of Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix, Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Kirk Franklin and the Family, and other artists whose Christmas music I love. I also have to add my Gospel tracks to the playlist, because you can’t have Christmas without first, the Christ.

Still, it would be nice to turn on the radio and listen to a Christmas song that I haven’t already heard 50 thousand times. Maybe that could be my next challenge, to write a Christmas song that would finally put a nail in the coffin of those oldies the world is so obsessed with playing. After all, I do write poetry, and what is music but poetry sung to piano, or guitar, or your favorite melodic instrument?

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Are there any Christmas songs you are absolutely tired of hearing? I know I didn’t name them all. Which are your least favorite, and which do you wish would completely disappear from the human ear and mind?

By the way, I’ve kicked off my 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans challenge over on my other blog, Lovely Curses. Check it out, and if you love creating stories like I do, why not join the fun? Some of the best stories are the ones told at Christmastime, starting with a little baby boy born in a manger in Bethlehem.

Holiday Temptations while Counting Calories

Everybody knows calories don’t count on Thanksgiving . . . or the day after, or Christmas . . . or the day after, or New Year’s . . . or the day after . . . Let’s face it, you can forget about sticking to your diet plan until at least January 3rd.

But if you’re like me, and you’ve been busting your butt all year (technically, I started this journey in June, when I disappeared from writing), you don’t want to toss all of your hard work down the drain by overeating during the holidays.

Then again, that mac and cheese sure looks scrumptious . . .

Via Steve Johnson -- Flickr Creative Commons
Via Steve Johnson — Flickr Creative Commons

Thanksgiving morning, I made the mistake of stepping on the scale. I wasn’t expecting to see a number I particularly liked, I just wanted to measure the damage I’d have to recover after feasting out later that day. Imagine my surprise when the number flashed and the ten pounds I’d been struggling to lose since September were wiped away! I had to weigh myself again just to make sure my mind (or the scale) wasn’t playing tricks on me. The number flashed again and it was no joke. I nearly screamed.

I am now only 2.5 pounds heavier than my skinny as a twig brother, who is about 7% body fat. Don’t know how that’s even possible unless all of his weight comes from his height and his bones, and his muscles are just denser than my fat, but I’ll accept that. I’ll probably keep this news to myself for now. My brother can be a total dick sometimes, and he is skilled at crushing a girl’s spirit when it comes to body image and appearance, even when he doesn’t mean to. That’s a man for you. Sometimes they don’t know when to shut the fuck up, keep a compliment a compliment without following it up with a backhanded slap across the face.

I went into Thanksgiving dinner with that number burned into my brain. I tried to be conscious about what I was putting on my plate. It wasn’t hard to skip certain foods. After all, our Thanksgiving dinner was catered this year, and half that shit I didn’t want (I’m very picky about foods other people cook).

The dressing looked like raw liver pudding with bits of egg white in it (we still don’t know what he used to make that shit, it was just gray mush). I heard the green beans were good, but the casserole on top was a lumpy, soupy, “don’t know what that white stuff is” mess, so I had to pass (I will never understand people’s obsession with green been casserole. I so much prefer my veggies cooked PLAIN). The ribs were more fat than meat. I skipped the gravy because he didn’t make it with the turkey giblets (Grandma has spoiled me with her giblet gravy). In fact, the turkey was actually bought from the Honey Baked Ham store (or so it tasted), along with the ham! On top of that, the man forgot the bread and pie. (may all low carbers dance and shout for joy!)

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So what did I eat for dinner? A little turkey and ham, mac and cheese, of course (though not as much, because it wasn’t Grandma’s mac and cheese), some sweet-ass yams that my brother didn’t think were sweet at all (have I cut my sugar intake that much?), some cabbage my mom cooked, some clean (meaning NOT seasoned with bacon grease!) black-eyed peas that I cooked, along with rice (because you can’t have beans without the rice, especially when the gravy ain’t Grandma’s giblets), my homemade tart cranberry sauce (that my brother kept calling “that pure shit” like I’d cooked him up a pound of coke. No, chile, it’s just fresh), and some turnip greens that were surprisingly delicious. I usually eat my leafy greens by pinching my nose and gulping them down, but these turnips were so good, I had to get myself a second helping!

I think I did pretty well keeping myself under control this Thanksgiving. But I was still stuffed afterwards, falling asleep like a Thanksgiving pro on Granddaddy’s couch while watching football. It’s going to be tough seeing that number again with all these leftovers in my fridge. Thankfully, my mom portioned out most of the food and put it in the freezer, and my food vacuum cleaner brother should take care of the rest before the week is out.

My sabotage actually came a few days after Thanksgiving, when my mom and I went to a church fellowship at a restaurant called Class E, supposedly fine dining (so it says on the door), but it’s really an overpriced soul food buffet. I ate more mac and cheese than I should have and had banana pudding for dessert. However, in my defense, it was $16 a person—I was trying to get my money’s worth!

Now that it’s back to the ol’ grind (it was so hard coming into work yesterday, I had to write this story for some comedic relief), I need to dive back into my normal eating routine so I can see that magic number again, and maybe one lower than that. But it is officially the holiday season now, and avoiding certain foods is only going to get harder. As long as I have a few “clean” dishes of my own to add to the potluck, I should be OK. Hey, maybe I’ll even share some of my recipes with you. 😉

Let me know if you want the recipe for these pumpkin spice pancakes!
Let me know if you want the recipe for these pumpkin spice pancakes!