28 December 2011

No Bubbles for Jesus's Birthday

I’ve drastically cut down on my drinking. Especially in the morning.

Christmas 2010
Unfortunately this does not bode well for our Ottawa Christmas tradition of celebrating the birth of baby Jesus with champagne and orange juice, soaked up by some artery clogging cheese and a bucket load full of buttery carbs.

My mother Violet was never to keen on this tradition. Her ideal festive morning would involve a little more cardio, in the form of a brisk walk, or cross country skiing. However, she went gamely on, delivering us our mimosas by the fire in the living room, where we’d be lounging in our pajamas. My sisters enjoyed a little bubbly, Dad thought it was fun, and I thought it was fantastic.
Christmas 2011

This Christmas morning, like all other years, there was champagne. My mother offered it to Sue and I as we lounged by the fire in our p.j.'s. “No thanks,” we said in unison. She looked slightly startled. “Scones, then?” We shook out heads. “Well”, she ventured, “I was thinking of having oatmeal”. Sue and I perked up, “Great!” we said. Slightly baffled, but hesitantly delighted, my mom went back to the kitchen.

Obviously my eating habits have changed. Not only should food be delicious, but it must fuel my body as well. This has been my mom’s philosophy for years, and now (by necessity) I’m fully on board. So, when Vi came out of the kitchen she presented us with a healthy breakfast –and what a breakfast it was. She'd put together a tray of oatmeal, surrounded by pretty little bowls of almonds, blueberries, mandarins, and flax.

Christmas 2012
Somewhere up in heaven my dad was frowning. Christmas wasn’t Christmas without Mahalia Jackson, snow, and champagne. (‘Bring on the Joy Juice!’) Thankfully my younger sister was carrying on the family tradition, celebrating across town with her boyfriend and a glass of something yummy. Later that afternoon they would join us, and there would be more sparkling stuff, (including the traditional bottle that accidentally explodes in the freezer).

But that morning, by the fire, we enjoyed our festive oatmeal. Our tummies were happy, as was our mother. Then we decided on giving her another Christmas bonus. She encouraged us to relax, and  and enjoy the tree and the fire. But no lounging for us! Sue grabbed my hand, and her DVDs and led me down to the basement.

Happy birthday Jesus. It’s time for yoga!

26 December 2011

Woe is you!

Jim had the sniffles.

I could tell he felt poorly by the way he walked around the house, occasionally sneezing like a kitten. He passed me in the hallway, his eyes a little bleary, and his skin a little pale. He sniffled. “I think I’m coming down with something.”

So we stood and looked at each other. I’d just come off a steroid binge that had turned me into a maniac, and hadn’t slept in days. Minor achy side effects had kicked in, which I’d numbed with half a percocet. And I’m so dehydrated that I constantly feel as though I’ve been licking the salt off the sidewalk. Jim and I stared. And then he laughed, “Sniffles don’t quite cut it any more, do they?”

Nope. Nobody can outdo me. I am quietly winning the ‘woe is me’ contest and will continue to do so until the spring. My sisters, who both have headfuls of thick wavey hair cannot, in good conscious, whine about not being able to control it. And they know better than to say, “You’re so lucky you have a wig”, even though they are likely tempted.

Driving home to Ottawa on Christmas Eve day, my big sister and I were about three hours into the trip when she complained about having stiff legs. I waited for a few minutes while she listed her symptoms and then I chose to trump her. “You know,” I said, “One of the side effects of my steroids is shooting pain through my legs”. She immediately looked so concerned that I had to confess that I hadn’t actually experienced any acute pain. In fact, I was no longer in any pain at all. But I made my point. I can always outdo her.

I can pretty much outdo anybody. My neighbor (who I barely know but was forced to talk to cus our dogs engaged in a sniff-a-thon) was delighted when I asked him how he was. He used the next ten minutes to tell me that his wife had a kidney stone and that his shopping was in turmoil cus he had to be at the hospital, and he was missing his workouts. And he had a cold. After he finished boring me, he asked how I was. That could have been an easy victory, but I don’t want to be viewed as sickly, and I only used my power for good. 

My mother Violet, who has the best room in the house (as it should be), generously moved into a smaller bedroom so that Sue or I could have her little luxury suite over Christmas. Both my sisters love that room - who doesn’t like a TV and a walk-out balcony? But my mom said we’d have to sort it out between ourselves, so I did. I said to Sue, “Mom says whoever had canceritis gets her bedroom.” Under a mop of curly blonde hair I could see the wheels turning, going over all her old chestnuts. (She’s the eldest etc), but she had nothing.

For the next few glorious months I can make her do pretty much anything I want. We’ve been eating non-stop for the last 24 hours and she's rolling around in a turkey and chocolate-covered-cherry haze. From the sofa I can hear her groaning about being tired. All I have to do is catch her eye, and she sighs in defeat, “…..but not as tired as you.”