Top Ten Gifts I Absolutely Despise

OK, first of all- let me state that any gift that comes my way shows, to some degree, that I was thought about enough to cause some poor soul to part with some cash, wrap a gift, and put my name on it. That, at least, took some thought, some care, some semblance of decency. Thank you all. But to set the record straight, there are certain gifts that should never have been. A card would have sufficed. A $5 gift card to the local McDonald’s would have been better, even for the dedicated low-carb dieter.

Here is the non-exhaustive list of gifts that I will flat-out BURN if any of you Cretins dare bequeath them to me again:

1) The Pithy Plaque. “Live, Love, Laugh”. Wow. Printed on mass produced white pulp pressed into a ‘wooden’ square, and sold for .99 at any Buck-a Bang store, proudly emblazoned with a golden sticker proclaiming “Made in China”. I have a few of these already. I am not impressed. Please, please don’t do it.

2) The bath bead/balm/oil pellets/jelly orbs, whatever. I do not wish to smell like lavender, cucumbers, amber, nor lilacs. I don’t  wish my children to slip on the leftover oil slick in the bathtub and fall to their deaths, and I certainly don’t need any bath time salt crystals. At all. Ever. Don’t DO it! Think- “UTI risk” , and just SKIP IT.

3) Gifts for YOU or the house, cleverly disguised as ‘gifts’ for me. So, you know I am on a low-carb diet, but you filled my stocking with your favorite candy. How convenient. You bought pictures for the bathroom wall, and after giving them to me, you clearly give me directions on how and where to hang them. Perfect. If you wanted my creativity to shine, you should have just given me a gift card to the craft store or framers and called it good. But, no. You used your taste and you selected the ‘art item’. So, take it and hang it… Ditto for the “Love with all Your Heart, all Your Life” coffee mug. Was I not loving enough that you thought I must need a reminder?  Rubbish- take it away! Where’s the receipt, seriously…

4) The gift that was clearly never intended for me, or you just don’t know me at ALL. OK, I love tennis, but you got me a racquetball racket. Clever. Thoughtful. You don’t even play friggin’ racquetball! So-  WHY?

5) The completely meaningless gift: A crew-neck tee shirt advertising some brand name I don’t care about, in a color only you like. Plus, it’s a medium. Way to play it safe.  Oops! Must have tossed it in the Christmas Trash Bag….so sorry! That’s OK, we can replace it sometime when I go to the dollar store…

6) The all-in-one cosmetic tray of value. For $ 9.99 you get all the recycled watercolor paints and colored whale blubber a woman could dream of , all crammed into an enormous palette of goo that any 2-cent whore would be proud to own. Genius. You know I am burning it just to see the pretty colors melt into some semblance of temporary artwork.

7) Stale, plastic wrapped ‘coffee and tea’ set. Unknown brand, unknown flavors- like, “Mango-hazelnut Vanilla Rum Spice Cake” tea. Hmmn, Nummy. I know, let’s not and say we did.

8) THE MUFFLER/Scarf. You ever seen me wear a scarf? No. Clue # 1. I am not gonna start now. Thanks, though. I am sure Aunt Beth worked really hard on it, or was it Walmart again?

9) The “I have designs on your life” gift. Self help books, “How to beat Booze Addiction with Yoga Breathing”, “Jax Branfield’s Guide to Living without Regrets”, and ” I think I can be Famous” are not books I want to see under the tree, or anywhere. Thanks, though. Oh, and I will throw diet books straight at your head, so DUCK fast, a**holes!

10) The gift of ” I didn’t remember you at all”. In some cases, this gift is preferable to many of the above, but when it’s someone you really care about and who you believe cares about you, nothing speaks louder than silence. Well, that’s all folks, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Couple’s Massage

Our wedding anniversary should be special. I mean SPECIAL. The once a year extravaganza of expenditures- over birthdays and Christmas, over even Valentine’s Day. That means, you do whatever necessary to ensure that when that day arrives, you can pull out all the stops. Couples massage is a nice choice. Ditto for bungee jumping or tandem parachute jumps. I don’t know- just make it grand. Understandably, finances do play a part. I can’t afford to pay a massage therapist to rub down my husband with no more skill or acumen than I have for $70 per hour when I make less than $15 per hour, but I did that. I did that so I could make him feel that he takes priority with me- not only my time and affection, but in areas that require sacrifice and generosity.

I think it was worth it, but again- I think I need to go back to school for massage therapy, because I GOT THIS. I don’t really want to rub down the senior silver-backs but OK- for $70 an hour I can deal with the hair, smiling later on the way to the bank. The massage therapists may argue that they have a significant cut out of that which goes to space rent, then there’s taxes. Do they even get insurance availability for their families, or do they have to work as independent contractors? I don’t know, but perhaps their financial lives aren’t the cakewalk I presume.

All I know is that I would have paid a month’s pay to know that I pleased my husband. I wanted him to feel pampered, adored, WORTH IT. I can only hope he understands that , and that he isn’t upset that I spent ‘so much’ on him. I should not feel the need to prove my love to him through expenses, though. I hope that is not what I am doing. Last year, I think I just gave him a card and some massage oil, but this year, I had some extra money, and I wanted to spoil him.

Why? Because he can sew a flag and style my hair, after mowing the lawn and changing my   oil. He was a pastry chef and graphic artist ,but also helped build and decorate this house. He is a loving father, and a man of wonderful work ethic. He is honest and straight-forward, not wasting his time with flattering others, because he is genuine in his care and concern for others, and is everyone’s friend. He takes care of as many people he can who he loves, and is just good. Good to his ex, his kids, me, his mom, his friends, his co-workers, and neighbors. He inspires you to want to rise to his level, where there is no pettiness, jealousy, or hatred. He claims no Christianity, but is more Christian than many who proclaim that title.

Whatever fears and demons I fight in my own mind, have truly nothing to do with him. I am reminded that mindfulness- living in the moment, is so very important for my sanity.

I fear what he might be doing- but what is actually HAPPENING at this moment?

False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is stupid.

Anyway, the couple’s massage was quite nice . They sprinkled rose petals on both beds, and after the massage, we were treated very nicely to a sumptuous feast of meats and cheeses and white wine.

Do You feel Lucky, Punk? Well, Do Ya?

Maybe I was feeling lucky. I decided at the last minute to have whatever I wanted at Thanksgiving. So, on Thursday, I ate very little for the early part of the day, and did exactly that. I ate turkey, cranberry sauce, a roll, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and pie. Yes, I did. I enjoyed it all. I gained no overnight pounds, and my pants were not immediately tight. I felt no urges to eat more carb-laden food, and I am still not up in weight over Thursday. Today, we had our traditional Saturday Thanksgiving ,which is about food, family, friends, and football. I ate low-carb, but did have two bites of pie, just to taste test it. I was not out of control, and while I did eat a few spoons of whipped topping, I was fine with just meat and veggies tonight. My splurge was three beers, though. Still, overall it was a low-eating, low carb day. I suppose I had about 50 grams today, because of the beer, maybe even 60. I usually worry about anything over 35. I have been waking up every day at 126, though. I had gotten down to 123, but at that point, my face was looking haggard, and I tired of the comments from family that I was ‘withering away’, a complete untruth, I might add. 123 is by no means withering away or even ‘skinny’; not for my height . I have done this before, like on my birthday, and HAVE seen an instant weight gain, so I am not sure what happened this time. Was is purely luck? Was it the ratio of protein to carbs? On my birthday, I ate more carbohydrate than protein, and on Thanksgiving, I simply tacked it on during one meal. I am not sure what the magic combination is. Maybe calories really do play a role, so that eating low carb and keeping calories to a certain range, over a time span of several weeks or months, is the key to maintaining goal weight. I can tell you that in low-carb, I have noticed the same thing that LCC noted- you can gain very quickly but also lose it very quickly if you get back on track in the next day. It is a relief to know that I can celebrate with food, if I keep it to a once or twice-per-month at most splurge. I don’t feel that I need to plan special splurge days, though. I am happy with my low-carb, low sugar plan on the daily.
It will be a surprise if I  find that I am heavier tomorrow. I will be sure to report it, and how I got it back off, if that happens. It IS true that I am up from 123 to 126, but this is an acceptable gain for me. I am really not feeling off track.
LCC IS right. I feel like I am NOT the same person I was in terms of food. I have converted my taste buds and preferences to the low- carb lifestyle. I would tell anyone that If you are just getting started with Atkin’s or Paleo, that if you can make it with strict diligence past the first three months, you will find it to be much easier to stick with it. Remember that the salads and other leafy green, red, and yellow vegetables are great for you, and that it’s not all about steaks and butter. Strawberries taste really sweet when you’re not used to Snicker bars and Twinkies. (oops- speaking of the dead is not polite I guess).
So, another holiday of eating has come and gone, and I survived intact. I haven’t even made it to the gym this week, but I feel that I want to, and that I should.

For those who are struggling, here’s what I want to tell you:

When you stop living for food and the experience of pleasure and comfort it temporarily gives you, you gain a new freedom. You start enjoying living more- relationships with people become more important than the one with food. Hobbies and interests can develop when you’re not hiding behind a plate of pasta.

When you push away the comforts and false sense of well-being that food can give, you may find the issues that may have contributed to your overeating rising back to the surface. Like an addict, you may find the urges to eat it all away come surging back. The important part is to recognize the issues, and to start dealing with them. Write the letter, go to counseling, talk to a trusted confidant. Do whatever it takes to get to the root of the problem. This is the same advice one might give an addict to any substance or habit. Some people are overweight because they just ate a little too much over a long period of time. Others are overweight because they use food to stuff down fears, painful emotions, and unresolved issues. So, what’s your reason for being overweight, or trying to lose weight?

Life is a journey of growth and discovery. It is when we are challenged the most and somehow learn to overcome, that we grow in the most profound ways. Having said that, I have to learn to follow my own advice.

My challenge right now is nicotine gum. I have gone from a smoker to a chewer. While the lung damage has most certainly been halted, the addiction remains, as I am so painfully reminded whenever I run out. Would I suddenly crave sweets again like mad if I gave up the gum? If so, it simply means I have given up one addiction for another. One demon to replace another demon is not the same as overcoming the demon. So, perhaps I have chosen the lesser of two evils, but am I truly free? What are the issues that I am running from, or is it simply a physical need at this point? Am I ready to give up all my false comforts? What will it take to get me to go there?