Holidays are Survival of the Fittest

Every year the holiday season brings about new challenges. Some years you find yourself alone and fighting loneliness while other years you are surrounded by family (and too much of it). While plenty of family around squashes any thoughts of loneliness, you can forget about peace and quiet.

As this holiday season comes to a close, I wonder what happened to the 2 weeks of vacation I thought I was going to get. Entertaining kids and family members was more exhausting than I thought. I also thought I would have more time to exercise, hike, go to the zoo, see the botanical gardens or simply take a walk around the neighborhood. Somehow between the Christmas shopping, the post-Christmas shopping, colds, and planning for New Year’s the time just got away from me. I definitely forgot about work for 2 weeks, however, I am not sure I am well-rested and ready to jump back into work tomorrow.

Since it is a new year, I would like to make a resolution to have a more relaxing holiday season next year. There is always next year I say! Considering that most people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February the chances of me remembering this resolution by next Thanksgiving is not likely. All I can do is be happy that the holidays are over and I can bet back to some normalcy. Strange how so much of the year we look forward to the holiday season and now I am glad they are over. I hope everyone else survived the holidays and is just excited as I am about returning to the daily routine. Happy 2013!


Santa lives at the Mall?

My 5-year-old daughter explained to me yesterday that Santa lives at the Mall (something she learned at school). What will they teach them next? That the world is flat? There is a new alphabet? The Easter Bunny was trampled to death at the Walmart Black Friday Opening?

I believe Santa lives in the North Pole, although a Mall in Arizona would be preferable to shoveling off the walkway (and the sleigh) every morning before heading over to the toy-making workshop. I wondered where my daughter got the idea about Santa’s ‘home’, because we have seen Santa many different places (the Mall being only one of many). I had to remind her of the many places we have run into Santa (many of which were completely unplanned) and as I made a list I realized that kids really do need to watch out, because he is everywhere!

Santa ‘Hot Spots’
1) Dairy Farms (Alpenrose, Superstition) – I think he likes the free milk to go with his cookies!
2) Malls (Beverton, Chandler) – A little last minute shopping for Mrs. Clause? Maybe new shoes for those elves?
3) Any Corner USA – He usually stands there ringing a bell and asking for money for the Salvation Army.
4) Albertson’s Grocery Store – Santa has to eat of lot of food to maintain that belly, or maybe he needed to pick up snacks for the elves since they get grouchy with all of the December over-time.
5) Cool Cuts for Kids – Maybe his beard needed a trim?
6) Bass Pro Shop – I heard him asking for wax for his sleigh and some XXXL long underwear.
7) Parades – Sometimes if there isn’t enough snow Santa needs to hitch a ride. Why not on a Christmas float in a parade? Beats my 10 year old VW Golf.

Where have you seen Santa lately?

Let's Talk Turkey

Why do we have to have turkey for Thanksgiving? Or hamburgers and hotdogs on the 4th of July? Ham on Easter? I realized after this Easter holiday weekend, that I have rebelled against the foods of my youth. I was brought up on meat and potatoes (like the majority of middle-aged people in the US). Did I just say middle-aged? I can’t believe I am admitting that, but it is true.

So back to my food rebellion – if I never eat another slice of roast beef, a pork chop, or a steak I definitely won’t feel like I missed out on anything. For most of my 20’s I was a vegetarian (talk about a food rebellion!). Actually, to be totally honest I was a “fish-a-tarian” – I ate tuna, lobster, crab, and salmon…I just couldn’t give those up. During that time I never ate turkey on Thanksgiving though. People would ask, “What are going to eat on Thanksgiving if you don’t eat turkey?” Honestly? Like there isn’t enough other ‘stuff’ to eat on Thanksgiving? Surely I would starve by only feasting on mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pumpkin pie? We usually had apple pie too, but maybe some would just consider my meal the appetizer and not the ‘meal’. I mean, where was the meat?

When I was pregnant with my daughter I added ‘meat’ back into my diet for health reasons. I ate bacon for the first time in about 10 years. Yeah, not the smartest thing to eat… it makes me ill just thinking about it. Chicken and beef were gradually added back into my diet, and 5 years later I am still trying to figure out how to phase them back out. The beef is totally out (except for my occasional, once yearly trip to “IN-N-Out Burger”). I still eat chicken albeit reluctantly. I am still trying to understand how turkey has showed up regularly in my lunches.

I was thinking about the foods that I now crave the most, one of which is sushi. If I go a few weeks without sushi I really want it, to the point where the pre-made stuff at the grocery store around the corner, “Fresh & Easy”, starts to look appetizing. I even start eyeing the fish in the aquarium at Bass Pro Shop. This is not exactly the kind of fish you would find on a plate at a local sushi restaurant, but desperate times call for desperate measures, even when it means visualizing a trout in hand-rolled sushi.

Yesterday it was Easter, so we had ham. Actually everyone else had ham and I ate potatoes and asparagus. Yet another holiday where meat is the ‘star’ of the meal. I have to admit that for the kids, chocolate was the ‘star’. They aren’t exactly big meat eaters either. For some reason my daughter likes “SPAM” but not ham. Is there really a difference? I guess there is because she wouldn’t eat the ham.

I am just glad that I am not the only one in the house who on occasion craves sushi – as my 7-year-old son can scarf down his share of sushi (california rolls!) I hope to create a generation of children that enjoys a variety of foods and if sometimes meat is in there, I guess I can live with that. I am still not sure I can stomach my 4-year-old eating SPAM, but she seems to think it goes well with mandarin oranges and she also really likes Pad Thai noodles. I keep hoping that she won’t get stuck eating just “meat and potatoes” for the rest of her life. Then again, maybe she will rebel like I did instead of from “meat and potatoes” to “meat and potatoes”!