As this long 4-day weekend rolls to a close, I find myself tucked under a blanket on my couch, catching up on some old television. The weekend was a busy one, so this "quiet time" to myself is good to get ready for the crazy week ahead. As I decompress, my thoughts wander back over this weekend, and others like it over the years.
Oddly, as I was driving home from work on Tuesday, I felt a letdown similar to what I feel at the end of most holiday seasons. I found myself almost wishing that the holiday season was over and had to remind myself that it had not even started yet. I blame that on the saturation of holiday decorations and music in the stores before Halloween was even over.
While watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, I remembered as a kid spending the night before Thanksgiving at Aunt Helen and Uncle Rick's house. We'd get up in the morning and watch the parade and then Mom or Dad would pick us up before heading to Grandma Norton's house. Watching the parade this year with my girls got me all choked up a few times, like when they both got so excited over the Hello Kitty balloon and K had to "boop" Kitty's nose. I can only hope that they remember these times and in another 25 years or so, they will get up on Thanksgiving morning and watch the parade with their kids.
Our Thanksgiving feast was the usual array of too much food - turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries and pie. Lots and lots of pie. There was something new at our feast this year as well - two people who were dieting. Yes, I said "dieting." First, before I continue with this story, I will preface my comments with the caveat that I make no judgments of these people or of their choices. I merely comment on them here to add some "depth" to my discussion of my turkey weekend. As I was saying, they are dieting, under their physician's supervision, and have a specific goal weight that they are working towards. The diet includes a process that cuts out all sugars for a period of time. They basically eat protein (eggs and meat) and vegetables at every meal. No dairy or fruit (sugars). The Thanksgiving feast was an interesting one for them, as they focused on the turkey and had some green salad as well. The challenge came when dessert was laid out. As I said before, pies, pies and more pies.
As we were putting things together and onto the table, one of the people dieting made the comment "you guys are killing me, here!" or something to that effect. I responded with "what they don't know..." (meaning the doctor) and someone else commented "but they will know" (meaning the dieters.) So here is my question. One piece of pie won't kill you, right? I understand the part about willpower and wanting to continue to work towards your goal. I understand that if you "cheat," the doctor may not know but you will and you have to live with yourself. I have seen many, many seasons of the Biggest Loser and I understand that people must be ever vigilant against the things that got them into trouble in the first place. At the same time, the dieters from our dinner were not "large" by any means. They have commented about struggles with weight over the years but I would not consider them overweight and I don't know that they really have that much to lose. (Which isn't to say that they don't look great!) So again, I ask the question (without judgment or even an idea of an answer) of whether a piece of pie would do that much damage.
For myself, I am o.k. with eating the pie. I recognize my weaknesses and sometimes indulge, particularly on holidays. If I know that a big pie-eating day is coming up, perhaps I will ease off on other sweets on the days leading up to it in order to get ready. Some things, I can take or leave. When there is a pie in the house (pumpkin, of course) I might eat a piece each night until it is gone. But if there is no pie in the house, I don't go out of my way to track it down, or buy it or make it. I guess that is just how I am wired. Maybe that is why I have trouble understanding another person's seeming inability to eat just one piece of pie on Thanksgiving and get back to "business" the next day. But, as I said, I make no judgments and I certainly applaud them for their steadfast approach to their dieting.
On to the shopping! Many of my friends commented on Facebook about the stores opening on Thanksgiving and that they planned to boycott those stores because they (my friends) believed that even employees of big box stores deserved to have some time. Some of my friends mapped out their route and got started late Thanksgiving evening/ early Friday morning. Me? I needed sleep and did not see anything in the fliers worth crawling out of bed that early for. Over the past few years, there have sometimes been things worth running for, but not this year. Mom and I chose to make a leisurely 6 a.m. appearance at Target, which was the closest store to my house on our route. The parking lot was at least 1/2 empty. I found a spot in the row closest to the doors - I don't even park that close on a regular Saturday! Where was everyone??? As we walked into the store, not only were there carts, but there were no lines of people waiting to check out. There were no hoards of people crowding the entertainment section. And there was NO LINE AT STARBUCKS! WHAT?!?!?!?! We ended up spending almost an hour in Target, only because Mom did some of her "every day" shopping and we went in circles a few times, and I managed to get in line behind the one person that did not seem to have her stuff together, so of course it took longer.
We found a similar situation at other stores. Heading into JoAnns at 7:30, with it opening at 6, we found a line to have fabric cut, but no lines of people checking out and no masses of people clambering for the good deals. (Although I'm not too sure that there were that many deals at JoAnns.) Last year, the line to check out at Kohls wrapped around to the back of the store. This year - no line. Where was everyone?
The mall, where we found ourselves later, was a bit busier, but even there we only had to wait a 1/2 hour to be seated for lunch at Lucille's. I'm not sure if people were choosing to wait until Cyber Monday, or if they were just skipping the entire weekend's worth of shopping experience as some news sources had suggested, but wherever they were, they were not between me and my shopping. Which was kind of nice.
At the end of the day, we survived Thanksgiving without too much overeating and we survived shopping on Friday without any injuries or spending too much money, but still managing to find some nice gifts. We spent time with our families and got to snuggle up on the couch with the girls. (But seriously, how many times can one person watch a single episode of Phineas and Ferb. I think my head was going to explode!)
This week, it's on to B's birthday and next week, Winter Book Fair at school and then Hanukkah. WHAT? Where did the year go? You mean it's December already? I guess I better get myself in gear before I blink away the New Year too!