by Bella Rum

I managed to achieve the ubiquitous five-pound gain over the holidays. I told you my stuffing was delicious this year. That stuff kills me every year, and you must have gravy with it or what good is life? And mashed potatoes.

I got a set of hand weights and two boxes of chocolate covered cherries in my stocking. TWO! That’s what I call an incongruous pairing? I guess Santa decided I should get a little of what I wanted and a little of what I needed.

The fudge is gone, the cake is gone, the pecan pie is gone, even the black-eyed-peas we had on New Year’s Day are almost gone.

Yesterday, I started exercising again, and I returned to my reasonable, not ridiculously low, low-carb diet. I lost a pound this morning. I think this holiday weight is willing to go away quickly if I give it a little help, and I plan to do just that. The debauchery of the 2016 holidays is over.

I went to the grocery store and bought things like mushrooms, salmon, asparagus and strawberries. We had the salmon and asparagus last night. It felt good to eat a meal and not feel so so full at the end of it.

Now, about the decorations. With H’s help, I started at one end of the house – the kids’ rooms – and moved forward to the kitchen: scrubbing every flat surface along the way, removing ornaments from the window, packing up Dickens’ village, and the red place mats that I got for the holidays, vacuuming carpets, shaking throw rugs, removing linens, and returning fresh ones to the beds.

I opted to leave the tree and mantel in favor of restoring the other end of the house first. I usually take my tree down the day after the kids leave, but I’m not in a hurry this year. We’ll do it today, along with the rest of the indoor decorations. H took most of the outdoor decorations down a few days ago. Porch Pup is still wearing his Santa hat. It’s a little worse for wear. I think I’ll get him a new one next year.

The excitement has melted away. The hustle, the bustle, the crowds, and the high wire acts have all gone home. It was all so wonderful. We’re down to the behind-the-scenes work now, sweeping away the popcorn and scooping up the elephant poop. Soon we’ll be back to our dependable routine, and that’s fine by me. The party can’t go on forever. I like routine. We always seem to salvage our morning ritual, no matter what happens in our world. Even when the kids are here, we rise early, get our coffee while everyone else is sleeping, and return to the bedroom to watch the news (cooking shows nowadays). It’s a good way to start the day.

Forty percent chance of snow on Saturday.

H just got up and said he lost 2 pounds this morning. Men!