Tag Archives: Holidays

Fat

Standard

img_8482

It seems like “fat” has always been an issue in my life.

I always thought my mother was fat. She was very short, and often pregnant, but for much of my childhood – according to photographs – she was not fat. Plump, maybe. By the time I was graduating high school, Mom was carrying too much extra weight. She had given birth to eleven children, had lost two babies, was nearing middle-age and was possibly depressed. By the time I turned thirty, she was over it. Mom had gotten a job, taken several courses to become a certified dietitian, and had learned to drive. She embarked on a diet she found in the Lady’s Home Journal and was down to a size eight within a year.

I always think of my father as skinny. He was tall and skinny for much of my childhood, all sharp angles and jutting bones. Dad loved to eat, though. And drink. Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, he always overindulged. He’d pat his belly and comment that if he wasn’t careful, he’d be looking like Uncle Henry. He never really believed it, though. Then, one holiday season – when he was a little older – Dad ate and drank too much, as usual. He packed on the extra weight, as usual. Unlike previous years, it never went away. He hated having that paunch, and mentioned it frequently, but hated changing his diet, even when his doctors demanded it.

Though we were a herd of scrawny children, we would poke and pinch ourselves and each other, exclaiming over any extra flesh at belly, bottom or thigh. Brenda, who was perfectly proportioned, always thought of herself as fat. I bemoaned my fat belly right along with my flat chest and skinny legs. Sheila was going to be shapely, we said. Nita, too. Cheryl, tall and skinny, would look like a model, and Robin had potential to take after her. Amy, the baby, was perfect in her chubby cuteness.

As an adult, there has hardly been a time that I haven’t been dissatisfied with my shape. Fat thighs…fat belly…fat feet! After my first daughter was born, I tipped the scales at one hundred pounds. At the baby’s six-week check-up, I asked the doctor for advice on losing the “baby weight.” I wonder if he grinned to himself as he suggested I eat more vegetables and do one hundred sit-ups a day. Looking back from this perspective, I should have been much more appreciative of what I had. Now, most of that is actually hidden under a layer of fat! No matter how determined (and disgusted) I am, I know that holiday time is not a good time to start a diet. The New Year is on its way, though…I’m making plans to start something new soon!

Fresh Snow and Trivia

Standard

nov25 031

Fresh snow this morning!

I am so happy to see it!

It’s not the first, this year. We’ve had snow, cold and icy, clinging to the windshields, making roads difficult and reminding us that winter is on its way to Beaver Island.

This is the first “fluffy” snow.

This snow has power.

It has already softened the landscape. You almost wouldn’t know that I didn’t get my garden clean-up done. It’s no longer obvious that my lawn hasn’t been mowed since late August…and now it won’t be, either, until springtime! It’s impossible to tell that there are leaves under that snow, that I never got around to raking up.

This snow has greatly improved the look of my “to-do” list, just by blanketing all of the undone tasks in soft white.

It has also changed my outlook.

I’m starting to look forward to the holidays. I’m thinking of the inside activities that this weather is good for: reading, writing and art-making. I’m thinking of comfort foods: soups and stews and casseroles. Baking, for the warmth of having the oven going, and all the goodness that brings. Sleeping under layers of comforters and quilts. I’m thinking of all the little projects around the house that I didn’t have time for in the summer. It’s time now!

Today, after work, I’m heading for the Stoney Acre Grill to meet friends. Today, we play Pub Trivia! We have our own Powers’ Hardware team, and there is some good competition. It’s all good-natured competition, though, and it benefits a good cause, the Beaver Island Food Pantry.  It’s going to be a good day!

August: Sun Shine

Standard

Image

The month of August, for me, brings a wide mix of emotions.

It always has.

As a child, the hot days pulling weeds in the garden were balanced by time at the lake, splashing around at the Hill Top Beach, or fishing from Magabelle’s dock. The stifling nights were often spent camping in large tents in the the backyard, with an assortment of sleeping bags and army cots to accommodate the masses of over-heated children.

The field behind our house offered mysteries and danger, wild berries and lots of hiding places. The willow trees, front yard and back, always offered a nice shade. The privet hedge shielded the back yard play area from the passing cars. We wore as little clothing as possible, and were barefoot except for church-going. I treasure one photograph of a cluster of us little children, squinting into the sun in a mad collection of underpants and shorts. My brother Ted, the only boy in the photo, is the only one with a shirt on!

August was birthdays and birthday parties, family reunions and family vacations. The start of school loomed just around the bend, but even that brought new supplies, a fresh wardrobe and its own level of excitement.

August was the best month of summer…made even more sweet with the knowledge that the season was coming to an end.

Now, as an adult, I still feel the bittersweet mixture of joy and sadness all through the month.

Here on Beaver Island, the cooler nights of August remind us to treasure each summer day. Warm weather and our “Home Coming” celebration bring the crowds. Visitors pour off the ferry boats and planes, or their own motorboats or sailboats. They enjoy the beaches and wander through the shops.

Yet, every week is marked by people leaving. The businesses are forced to rearrange work schedules to make up for employees who go to get settled into dorms or houses, to get registered for classes, to get ready to start another job, or just to get a break before the season has passed them by.

Every joy at seeing loved ones come to visit is juxtaposed with sadness at their departure.

To the many birthdays we’ve always celebrated in August, my family has added a whole collection of memorable dates. Many are happy ones: we have several wedding anniversaries in August. Others note passings: my sister Sheila and both of my parents died in this month. It is almost impossible for a day in August to go by without a memory attached to it.

This year on August 2nd – which is my godson’s birthday but also the day that, two years ago, my sister, Sheila, died unexpectedly – I had a meeting before my regular workday. My granddaughter, Madeline, and I walked the dogs early. We picked raspberries in the evening as we watered the beans and squash. We took our simple dinner upstairs to the studio to watch Jeopardy while we ate. We read two chapters before bed.

The next seven days – which included two birthdays and two wedding anniversaries – were spent in similar fashion.

On August 10th, family and friends came: Robin and Dick first, then Bob, Gary, Brenda, Keith, Amy, Danielle, John, Lillie, Nicole, Jim, Kristen and Chris. Cheryl and Joel arrived the next day.

Sunday, August 11th, was our “Home Coming” Dinner, a much anticipated annual event held at the Holy Cross Hall here on Beaver Island. This year was special, as a series of events had caused the dinner to be cancelled last year. Madeline and I made pies to donate to the dessert table.

We didn’t attend, though.

In our group, Sunday was “Thanksgiving in August.” Brenda cooked turkey and all the trimmings! Because I am never able to get off the island for that holiday, it was wonderful to enjoy that lovely meal surrounded by my family.

August 11th is the birthday of our dear family friend, Mary, who watched all of us grow up.

It is also the anniversary of the day our Mother died, two years ago.

That wasn’t forgotten, through the laughter and chatter and, “pass the gravy down this way, please.” We are happy, though, to build new memories to go along with the other ones.

Tuesday, Madeline left on the ferry boat with my sister, Amy, and her family. I waved them off, then went to work. I felt like I could cry uncontrollably if given half a chance. Yet when I stopped at the house where my sisters were staying, my friend, Bob, greeted me at the door with a big hug, and before I knew it, I was happily surrounded by the love of my family.

And the week went on, joyously.

Yesterday, all remaining family and friends left.

Last night’s dinner was a simple affair.

The evening, without diversion of any kind, seemed to drag on a bit too long.

It was awfully quiet out here on the Fox Lake Road.

I went to bed early.

The sun came up warm and bright this morning, though. It shined through the trees as I walked the dogs, leaving dappled patterns on the path.

Summer is not over yet.

There are still warm days to be savored, memories to be made, sunshine to enjoy.

There is still some August left.