It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

December is here, which means it’s time for familiar holiday traditions—like “stress” and “guilt.”

However, if the holiday season really was stress-and-guilt-free, my guess is that mid-January we’d find ourselves asking, “Did we even celebrate Christmas?”

Of course, it’s possible everything would feel more normal as soon as we got our credit card bill in the mail or discovered Continue reading “It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas”

26 things Chocolate and Love have in common

1. Every body needs chocolate.

2. Chocolate can be bitter, although most of the time it’s sweet.

3. Chocolate is best when shared with a friend.

4. The benefits of chocolate far outweigh the sacrifices.

5. Chocolate means never having to say you’re sorry.

6. Enjoy your chocolate, but if you don’t take a few precautions you may find yourself getting a little thick around the middle.

7. Chocolate changes your body chemistry for the better.

8. Very few people in this world will turn down the gift of chocolate.

9. Chocolate can get very very messy.

10. Even when it’s messy, chocolate is still very very good.

11. Chocolate is habit forming.

12. Sometimes bitter things, covered in chocolate, can be swallowed.

13. Chocolate never goes out of fashion.

14. Chocolate can make things stick together.

15. Chocolate should be savored.

16. Chocolate makes the world go ’round.

17. Chocolate is a great remedy for the blues.

18. Chocolate may change shape under heat and pressure, but it’s still chocolate.

19. Chocolate can make you live longer.

20. Chocolate rocks.

21. There is no substitute for good chocolate.

22. Chocolate is energizing.

23. Chocolate can be really hot.

24. Sometimes chocolate is good therapy.

25. Never take chocolate for granted.

26. You’re never too old to be a connoisseur of fine chocolate.

Dehydrated geckos and other treasures

One day my five-year-old came running in the front door, her face beaming.

“Mom!” Kacie shouted. “I found a treasure!”

She stuck out her fist and, practically bursting at the seams with excitement, began to uncurl her fingers. I expected to see something shiny or uncommon or valuable.

It was the cap of a pen.

Some of Kacie’s other treasures include a jar of plastic spiders and a dehydrated gecko she makes me keep in a Ziploc bag on top of the refrigerator.

They say one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure. This is particularly true when the second woman is a preschooler.

–From the book Welcome to the Funny Farm by Karen Linamen

An uncommon cure for the common binge

Whenever I’m working at my computer, I reach for the junk food.

Oh sure, I try to stem this mindless urge, but it’s not easy.  Every time I fire up my computer, a rumbling murmur somewhere in my head says Feeeed meeee.

Since apparently I’m most creative while shoveling things into my mouth, I figured I should at least try shoveling healthy foods instead of empty calories. One week I tried munching carrots, ice chips and even tofu. But always by mid-afternoon, the Froot Loops were not only calling my name, they’d convinced the Twinkies, cheese puffs and baking chocolate to join the chorus.

Recently I came up with a new strategy, and I think it might be working. I put a beautiful crystal candy bowl next to my computer and filled it with snacks. Not just any snacks, mind you. These are very special snacks—crunchy and flavored like chicken.

The first time I did this, it took me less than an hour to absent-mindedly empty the dish.

Before long, however, the same bowl began taking longer to empty. These days, it lasts almost a week, sometimes longer. What this means is that I’m starting to think about what I’m doing before stuffing things in my mouth. It means my autopilot eating is slowing down. 

I figure if I keep this up, one day my mindless nibbling will be completely under control.

This’ll make a lot of people happy. Like my kids, who are tired of hearing me complain about my weight. And my therapist, who supports all (okay, some) of my zany self-improvement schemes. And definitely my dog, Buddy, who looks really confused every time I refill my candy bowl from his box of doggie treats.

–From the book Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight by Karen Linamen

Looking for change and settling for milkweed and MacDonalds?

Do you ever feel like a caterpillar?

Caterpillars eat pretty much nonstop. The caterpillar of the polyphemus moth is the hungriest, eating up to 86,000 times its own weight. This can be compared to a baby eating 273 tons of food. Or a grown woman pigging out on—don’t roll your eyes, I did the math—60 million, 200 thousand Quarter Pounders.

I’ve yet to stumble across research linking the voracious appetite of the polyphemus caterpillar to emotional eating, but what else could it be? I mean, there she is, stuck in a rut, inching along when what she’d really love to do is shed her baggage and learn to fly. Is it any wonder she drowns her sorrows in Norway Maple leaves and milkweed?

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