rock and roll health chick

Just Like Starting Over… John Lennon knew what was up. “New Year,

New You??” Easier said than done. But, at least we can strive for new and better parts. Last year had some amazing parts for me, but also some ex- tremely stressful and scary ones. So far the New Year is looking much better for me, and I hope it is for you. Let’s each vow to do the work and make it better for ourselves. Of course you can make changes and “rein-

vent” yourself at any time - daily, weekly, monthly, whatever you fancy, but just don’t get stuck! The beginning of a new year seems a fitting time to many, a good time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. I hope you all had a holiday that made you

happy. I did not. It was a lonely one for me. I knew it would be. It has never been the same since I was a kid. I tried to create that same magic for my kids when they were young, but now there isn’t really anything I would call exceptional about my celebra- tions. I hope to redefine the holidays in a way that won’t make me depressed. I know that it is difficult for a whole lot of people for a variety of reasons. Knowing that it would be difficult going into the holidays is what prompted me to write about loneli- ness in my last visit with you. Hopefully it helped someone out there get through. I’ll share my story. Maybe there will be something in there to help. Christmas was always a big deal in my fam-

ily growing up. My grandparents still lived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where my parents grew up. It was about 20 miles from the rest of us, who lived in various places in the Knoxville area. Except for my mom. My mom decided to move us 500 miles away from home when I was four. I can’t recall if we went home every Christmas after that, but I do remem- ber a Trailways bus ride that seemed to last forever. I think my mom, sister and I shared two seats. The smell of bus bathroom is forever imprinted on my brain. For an easily bored 5-6 year old, it was hell. When I was eight, my sister and I moved

back to Tennessee to live with our dad. That’s when Christmas became magica. First, there was a desig- nated shopping trip. We would each get money to spend on the rest of the family. I would try to come up with just the right gift for each person. My dad

got the best gifts from me like a “best dad” plastic trophy, yogurt maker, Chia Pet, Dire Straits and Elton John albums. After all, it was the ‘70s. Christmas Eve was spent with my mom’s

family. We had dinner and opened gifts. My mom is Greek. We have a decent sized family, and we talk and visit a lot, but it’s not as crazy as “that” movie. I was happy seeing that side of the family. They weren’t “rich” or overtly “intellectual,” but they were real and liked you for yourself. It was a relief to not have to be on guard, like with the family side I called snooty. They could be considered somewhat “dry toast,” but meaner. They always seemed to be “grading” you. My parents didn’t fall far from their respective trees. I guess we all have our story and baggage. After Christmas Eve dinner, we’d go home, try to sleep and wait… My dad was an emotionally cold person,

even abusive at times. But boy did he warm up at Christmastime. It was a very interesting psychologi- cal phenomenon to navigate/behold. He went all out on decorating and gifts. His style was old-world Christmas. He was a woodworker, so he would make each of us three girls, (we gained a step-sister soon after we moved in) a piece of furniture, would fill our stockings with exciting trinkets and have wrapped presents galore. And he baked. He always made our bread, but there were the mandatory “sticky buns.” So, Christmas morning we would wake up

and stand in the hall calling to him and my step- mom until they got up. They’d go out and arrange stuff, turn on the Christmas music and open the flood gates. We each had a “station” which included what he had made, some unwrapped gifts and our overflowing stockings. He was big on educational games and toys, but they were fun. I never forgot

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