Thursday, December 20, 2012


Laurel Falls Trail - GSMNP
December 17, 2011

Except for a lingering cough and a very frustrating lack of energy, I seem to be back to normal after losing a full two weeks of productivity at a time I least wanted to do so.  As if anyone EVER wants to be sick enough to lose two weeks!  It was, however, a good lesson for me to experience.  A reminder that giving in and letting others "do" for you plus simply accepting that things which you thought HAD to be done really aren't all that important.  Thanks again for all your concern and well wishes.   Illness is ugly and it seems I've had more than my share over the past six months, but I'm thankful to be feeling good again and excited about the holidays and the new year. 

Bill finished a very successful school term this past Friday and completed his responsibilties as Assistant Choral Conductor for the Knoxville Choral Society on Sunday afternoon.   Did you hear the shout??  December is an extremely trying month for any musician and as much as he loves the performance aspect, he is always glad when that last concert ends.  We've had some low-key fun this week with a combination of activity, rest, spending time with friends/family, evening movie watching, etc. as we gear up for the frenzy that will start on Friday. 

So here are the three things on my mind this morning that I wanted to share with you........

1)  Hiking - I have hiked only once since my last post and it was a short one.  I have missed it terribly and likely will not be hiking again in MY mountains until the first of February. (Read on for the reason why that is).  Thanks to the two weeks lost due to illness, I will not reach my secondary goal of 400 miles hiked in 2012, but that's o.k.  I did reach the original goal of 350 miles and that, in itself, was an increase over mileage hiked in 2011.   One hiking friendship ended in 2012, one enjoyed extended hiking time due to the unexpected availability of this person (translate: became unemployed), and new relationships were established and solidified.  I am thankful for this blog as through it, I first found Gene and Judi (who no longer blog) and then Becca.  Now that I am at goal weight, I am a stronger and more confident hiker and my plans in 2013 include becoming an active part of some area hiking clubs which will always provide opportunities to hike most any time.  The friend who became unemployed is actively working on completing all 900+ trails in the Smokies and we've had such a good time helping each other out planning routes and getting new trail mileage accomplished.  After a well deserved break, his job prospects look good and I expect, he'll be employed once again by the time I return from Florida.  I hike for the peace and solitude, so my preference will always be to hike solo or with a friend, but those aren't always options and becoming a part of the groups will increase those options considerably plus give me opportunities to hike in new places. 

2) Weight -  I don't mind confessing that I am just a tad above my scream weight.  I unexpectedly gained a few pounds (I still find this unbelievable) while I was sick.  Your thoughts about that helped me relax.  The weight, however, did NOT fall off once I was able to return to normal eating.  I am not worried.   In fact, I am very relaxed about it.  With Bill home, we traditionally enjoy some of our favorite restaurants* and he COOKS, so I'm placing my focus on sticking with the habits I've learned over the past year, maintaining portion control and avoiding white sugar/flour.  The pounds are actually coming back off - it's just slower than it would be if I would revert to Cycle 1 of the 17DD.  That's what will happen in January!! (*When Bill is out of school, we love having breakfast or lunch at some of our favorite NICE restaurants in town which we avoid during dinner hours for two reasons, expense and portions)

3) Our Plans - Here's the holiday schedule.  I am so excited because it includes some things that are very different from years past and that always energizes the radical part of my personality.  Although I love tradition, I'm not one who stays enthusiastic about doing things exactly the same way they've been done for the past thirty years.  I love change and I love being creative in the way traditions are done.  We will be traveling to my sister's home for our family Christmas this year.  That will happen on Christmas Eve morning, but Bill and I are headed to Nashville on Friday morning for a few days in our favorite cabin and the chance to check out some of the places we love in Nashville.  We'll be back home in time for our church's Christmas Eve service and then dinner with Bill's mom that includes family friends.  We will enjoy a very quiet Christmas Day (this is new and I am SO excited about it) just the two of us.  We remain flexible about what we will actually do on that day.  As best we can remember, there has NEVER been a Christmas Day when we didn't have at least one place we HAD to be at a specific time.  Wednesday and Thursday following Christmas will be frantic as we prepare to leave for Florida.  Heading to Florida is a tradition that was put on hold three years ago when Bill's dad became ill.  It is a tradition which I am thrilled to be reviving as I thought we'd likely forever lost the chance to return to our favorite place when I gave it up in January of 2010.  I also realized that this part of our life was pre-Blog which means YOU know nothing about it.  Funny how this blog seems to have ALWAYS been a part of my life.  So next post (whenever I can get it written) will tell you more about where you might find me for New Year's and most of January.  Prepare to be envious - I am a lucky girl!  And like I said, so happy to be given the chance to return to a place that feels like home which I thought I'd lost forever!! 

Curiosity about you always gets the best of me.......
What are your plans for Christmas and New Year's???


  1. Glad to hear you are feeling better. It is an odd holiday for us this year, with my oldest not coming home and very few out-of-town family making the trip. So on the day itself, it will be just us with our youngest. If the weather is good, we'll go pick up my MIL and just have her hang out with us, nothing fancy. We are hosting my in-laws, the local ones and the one traveling from Florida, on New Year's Day for our official Christmas. My big goal this year is to skype with my son so we can open our presents "together." Happy holidays to you:) Hugs.

  2. Glad you are feeling better and have a wonderful and safe trip!

  3. I'm glad you are feeling better! Our plans, well we always make our cinnamon rolls for christmas morning on christmas eve, and also make our own pizza while watching christmas movies and snuggling. Then we spend Christmas together, low key, with the sound track from a Charlie Brown Christmas playing. New Years is equally low key. A bottle of champagne, board games, watching the ball drop on TV. I think I was exciting once. Long ago. We're going to see the Hobbit while on vacation! That's about it!

  4. I am so glad you are better. Feeling back can be draining emotionally as well as physically. Your post seems upbeat, that is doubly good.

    We have a new baby to celebrate with this year. That is thrilling for me. My out of town sister will come in with her family on the 26th and stay through January 1. We do our celebrating during that time. It is always a blast. On a less than happy note, 65MD and I will be apart on Christmas Day. It is a first for us. He has an opportunity to see family that he doesn't often have a chance to see. I'm not in a position to go with him because of my new responsibilities with my mother. Since he has a nice break from teaching, we'll get to spend time together before and after the big day, so it will be fine.

    I hope you all have a great Christmas.

  5. I'm delighted to know you are feeling better! I wrote a similar post today about accepting change, recovery as it comes and so on.

    I can't wait to read more about your upcoming adventures.

    We don't really have any plans for Christmas or New Years Eve. The children will be here on Christmas day but I have no idea who will cook or what we will be eating since I'm not up to doing much in the kitchen yet. We might have to purchase everything pre-cooked but that conversation hasn't taken place yet. This year I have learned to let go of all the expectations (self imposed I might add)and let things happen as they may. My family members are having a hectic busy week right before Christmas and they are busy with their own worries and obligations on top of trying to take care of me. This is a huge step outside of my comfort zone as I am a planner when it comes to just about everything.

    Wishing you much joy, love and peace this holiday season.

  6. Glad to hear you're feeling better, and congrats on hiking 350 miles this year! Florida sounds nice. It's always fun to have a trip to look forward to. My plans for the holidays include lots of time playing in the snow! My skis are ready! :) Happy Holidays!

  7. #1 - You had such an awesome hiking year! I think I would enjoy a hiking group, at least some of the time.
    #2 - Kudos on the weight-gain zen. You're proving that it's entirely possible to live in a real (and culinarily adventurous) world while still keeping an eye on a healthy weight. (Yes, I know 'culinarily' isn't a real word--at least not 'til now--but I like it!)
    #3 - I'm trying not to be jealous of your January plans, but it's not working.

    Once I've forgiven you the Florida issue, I'll be wishing you and Bill a wonderful and magical Christmas!

  8. Glad you are feeling better and so happy. Your Christmas plans sound wonderful --and I know you will love that FL trip. We are doing our Family visiting this week (Tullahoma today; Dalton on Saturday; Nashville on Sunday) ---so that we will have Christmas Eve and Christmas here at home alone. LOVE it....

    Cold here tonight --and spitting snow....

    Merry Christmas.

    P.S. Did you get to Biltmore?

  9. I was really glad to hear from you today! I love the picture at the top. That's not where I hiked, is it? The bridge looks familiar.

    I'll be interested to hear about your Florida doings. I've never gotten why people want to go somewhere else in winter. LOL, maybe if I get a little colder this year, I'll finally get it! A number of my sewing friends leave home and go to Palm Desert or Arizona each January.

    Have a wonderful Christmas Sharon!!

  10. I'm so happy to hear you're feeling better, Sharon! And happy to hear of your delightful Christmas and New Year plans...sounds pretty exciting. Our Christmas season will be fairly low-key this year with both children coming home at different times. I feel a bit sad that they won't see each other, but it will be nice to spend a little one-on-one time with each of them. We did have them all together at that was a real blessing. A blessed Christmas and New Year to you and those you love!

    (By the way, that is a lovely picture. I am SO going to hike that trail someday...Lord willing!)

  11. Hi Sharon - thanks for the comment on my blog. I will always keep posting, just not so much over our summer break. I too love to travel and, like you, finished working so that it would free me up to get away more often (and look after my two grandsons!!)