Stressed Out!?!? Who, Me?!!

Well, here we are again.

Snack dab in the middle of another holiday season, and sliding into the end of another year.

It seems that every year, no matter what I intend, I end up getting super-stressed out. Gifts to be got. More appointments to keep than usual. Parties to attend. Traffic. Travel arrangements. Crowded stores. Projects and aforesaid gifts to be wrapped up.

It always feels like I am running down a mountain with an ever-growing snowball rolling behind me. I can feel the icy snow at my neck. The avalanche threatens. Argh!!!

Let’s all take a deep breath. Just breathe in and hold a few counts, and breathe out, slowly and fully.

That’s better.

I am doing my best to do better this year. I took a day off yesterday to play with my husband. We both run our own businesses so we work 7 days/nights a week, so weekends aren’t really weekends.

But I consciously forced myself to put aside the many pressing things to do, and we took a short drive out of town and went to a day spa.

It was wonderful. Yes, I was jonesing a bit for my cell phone by hour four. But we did it, and it did feel great.

Guess what? Those pressing things are still all there. They did not go anywhere. Nothing fell apart.

I feel more nourished and not miserable in the way I can often feel at times like the end of the year. When I historically drive myself into a worry-filled bundle of stress.

I am remembering to get sleep as I can. Maybe not as much as I’d like, but sleep nonetheless.

Prompting myself (nicely) to drink water! It is easy to start to neglect the little things that are so important and that contribute to a feeling of well-being.

I am (so far) resisting the urge to use food to give myself anything other than sustenance. When I get into what I call Stepford Wife mode – as in, I am driving myself as if I were a robot and have no human needs – it is easy for my system to rebel and turn to food as a way to get the relief, comfort and attention I am no longer giving it. I am trying to take care, pay attention, even though it feels contra to how I tend to respond to the pressure o the holidays.

I am doing my best to maintain the daily practices that keep me connected to my soul: meditation, writing, prayer, gratitude. It is sometimes tempting to say I do not have the time, but they are the things that make the other stuff more enjoyable. They are the things that keep me tethered to myself. Otherwise I am a parade float that just blows off-track and eventually I crash and it is not pretty.

I am taking time to just breathe. Pet the cat. Do nothing for 3 minutes.

Another deep breath.

How are you riding the waves of this time of year? What are your go-to’s for staying sane? Your helpful tips for enjoying the rush?

May your days be filled with moments of connection and serenity within the inevitable chaos.

And don’t forget to drink some water!

 

I link my posts here!

Tradition

I am on an adventure with my nephew.

When I graduated from high school, my Granma took me on a trip to England, Wales and Ireland. It was a generous gift.

She’d traveled extensively in her life, as had her mother, my Great-Grandmother Burns. They’d both lost their husbands early and ended up living quite rich and adventurous lives as widows.

My Gran had taken my two brothers before me as they each graduated. It was a tradition.

So when my brother’s first born graduated from high school, I had the impulse to carry on the tradition.

My Gran was long-since dead, and my Mom – her daughter – had died a few years’ past.

So I decided to do what I knew they’d have loved to do.

I took my niece on a trip to London and Paris in 2016. My sister-in-law came too, which was almost as good as my Mom being there. She is warm and loving, just like my Mom.

It was a wonderful trip. I cherished our time together and felt my parents’ presence (my father and other brother had recently died as well) with us.

And now here I am, my nephew and I on an adventure. And this time, we are all here together: my husband, my nephew, my brother, my sister-in-law and my niece.

My nephew chose Norway and Sweden to explore. None of us had ever thought of visiting either, but of course we were all game!

So here we all are, in Norway.

And it is heavenly.

The beauty of this country is just magnificent.

But of course, it is all really about being together. We feast our eyes on the landscapes. We laugh and laugh. We eat delicious food.

Once again, I sense my parents, and my brother somehow here, happy for us.

Maybe my niece and nephew will someday carry on the tradition and feel my presence there, too.

Culinary Delights

Your hands

I see them first

Long, tapered fingers

So sure, so sensuous

Your fingers holding the tuna

As you slice through it

My first thoughts

Make me blush

I want to be that food

I want to be touched

The way you touch it

I want you to slice me open

Arrange me

Take me into your mouth

Become one in your body

Inspired by The Daily Post: blush

A Funnel Cake Life

Sometimes I still think everything would be fine

If I just had a deep-fried Twinkie or two (or three)

Or perhaps a few handfuls of Lilac chocolates

A half dozen chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven

A pint of Moose-tracks or Honey ice cream melted just to the right consistency

A big bag of Jelly Bellys, assorted will do, but plenty of Popcorn, Chocolate Pudding and Cherry, please

Some Banana Cream Pie

A box of salt water taffy

And unlimited funnel cakes

My sugar days are over, alas

But I still long for its soothing, sticky-sweet promises

Carnival-candy dreams for a happy life ahead

The high, the pleasure, the fullness, the love

I miss it all

But I know better

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: funnel

Bingeworthy

I lay, spent, numb

My pain suspended in the discomfort

The known sedation of having gorged

More appealing than tolerating my escalating feelings

Too-full-ness better than emptiness

Physically weakening myself somehow feels like power

For an all-too-brief moment

I am calm, the fear and dread are quiet

And being alive in this body feels almost OK

Until it doesn’t, again

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: gorge

A Family Affair

I am taking a wee break today.

Not from life. From post writing.

I have relatives in town and tonight they are gathering at my home, and I have created a meal from scratch. I do not do that often, but I love it! I have been running around all day from the kitchen to the store and back again! Cooking, cleaning. I am so excited to have loved ones in our home. But I am taking a moment before they come to sit and express gratitude for the abundance to do this, and to have a home in the first place.

I would love to be writing about how much I love the underdogs of the world. My tag line is “Fan of the Underdog.” I am an underdog. I believe in us. In our strength and our spirit. We are not the obvious choice, but we are a wonderful one.

Tonight I hold all of you underdogs out there in a special place in my heart. I hope wherever you are, you know that you are important and your life is important.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: underdog

That’s Amore

The first time I really fell in love was with a very talented chef.

We met each other just as the whole celebrity chef phenomenon was starting to really cook. He was just beginning to rise as some of the mega-star chefs of today such as Bobby Flay were just starting to blaze.

The restaurant world was abuzz then, and I was a small part of it. I was a server at the newly opened second restaurant of a long-time successful NYC 3-star chef. Being a perfectionist and a Betty-by-the-Book type, I was an excellent waitress and often asked to serve food critics and VIP fellow chefs.

One morning I went into the kitchen before service started and something felt different. Like some animal sense, the hairs on my arms stood up. My body vibrated. My back was to it, but I literally felt compelled to look over at the line.

There I saw the most incredible pair of hands at work. I was mesmerized for a moment. The way they touched the produce was so…intimate. So sensual.

My cheeks blushed with heat and as I looked up to see who belonged to those hands, my eyes met the sweetest almond-shaped hazel eyes.

It felt like I literally poured into him through his eyes. Time just sort of expanded and the moment felt like forever.

I gathered myself together, and just before I turned to go back out on the floor, my eyes found his lips, which had a sexy little smile dancing across their fullness.

That was it for me. My life changed course in those moments.

I fell hard that day. He had been brought in to the restaurant as sous chef, and our paths were to cross daily. I was involved with someone else at the time, though it was a dying relationship.

I literally fell under a kind of spell. I made some choices that I am not proud of today.

Chef and I began what would end up being an extremely important, passionate, ultimately heartbreaking (twice) relationship.

We were young, emotionally wounded, and both out of control and lost. But boy, did I love him.

It still makes my head swim to think of it. The story of us is epic and blog-worthy. But not today. I’m not quite ready.

When I tell you that he was the most talented of them all, of all the star chefs then and the star chefs-to-be (the ones who were behind the star chefs who have since risen to fame,) and maybe even of the current culinary stars, I am not exaggerating or talking from my entranced heart.

He was truly gifted. His food was the most flavorful, exquisitely layered food I have ever tasted, and I have had the pleasure of some incredible meals then and now.

A meal under his talents was a total body sensual experience and left you with an amazing high.

People became diehard fans, literally traveling across countries to follow him wherever he went.

Our relationship ended dramatically, not once but twice. My heart was totally shattered.

But I was gifted a love of fine dining that remains to this day.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: flavorful