Monday, December 12, 2011

Nothing so shocking as a glimpse of her stockings...

It has been said that idle hands are the devil's workshop.

And if by "the devil's workshop" they mean "an excellent vehicle for shoving cheezits into one's mouth" then I totally agree.

Though I have amassed an impressive collection of reasons to eat that have nothing to do with hunger, sometimes it's simply the lack of anything better to do that finds me in the kitchen. Or in the drive-through lane. Or digging around in my desk drawer to find that tootsie roll I'm pretty sure I threw in there last Halloween. Over the years I've learned that one way to rechannel my brain's obsession on all things food is to give it something else to do, another task to direct my freakish ability to focus on.

And that's why I decided to make new Christmas stockings this year. A few weeks before my world imploded, when I was still concerned about not looking like a satin wrapped bowling pin in front of my family and friends, I did the mental math and computed that if I traded my nightly raid-the-cupboards-for-random-carbs-and- watch-TV-with-the-family-pre-bedtime-ritual for a maniacally-cut-and-sew-and-applique-and-embroider-while-repeatedly-injuring-myself-with-sharp-objects-routine that I might be able to both lose weight AND complete three new stockings to hang by the fire before Christmas Eve

You know how some people decorate for the holidays and their freshly cut, snow flocked trees are draped in golden ribbon, sparkling white lights and perfectly coordinated ornaments that form the centerpiece of a whole-house theme that looks like something Martha Stewart herself oversaw the completion of before the House Beautiful photographer showed up to document it for the December issue?

I am not one of those people.

I believe that a Christmas tree should be a festival of multi-colored lights and a home for every ornament your kid has ever made, that any relative or friend gifted to you, or that you made to hang on the pitiful tree in your college dorm room so that the only things on it wouldn't be colored condoms and paperclip chains. The sleigh bells on a plastic belt that always hung on your beloved Grandmother's front door should continue to find a home on yours, and the cheap porcelain nativity set (the one that had to be glued back together when you came downstairs and found the severed head of Joseph perched menacingly on his walking staff after your three year old broke it while making the figurines fight like ninjas) should be set up on the end table by the couch every year.

This decorating philosophy is what made me settle on old school felt craft stockings covered in sequins and stuffed and embroidered with retro-chic fabulousness. I picked out three appropriate designs and got to work on them. And, miracle of miracles, my plan worked. I had managed to curb my night time snacking, AND I'd finished the first stocking!

I was nearly finished with the second one when the person whose name had been embroidered on it decided to go all Houdini on me and disappeared from my life. After the shock of the first few days began to wear off, I sat down one night and ripped off the stitches that spelled out his name and tried to decide what to do with it. I considered boxing it up and sending it to him, but I figured that an unfinished stocking embroidered with "Ass-Hat" would probably just get thrown away and I couldn't see letting all that hard work go to waste, so I just went ahead and finished it. I've been trying to decide what to do with it.

I guess that since he never used it, I could save it for someone else someday. In fact, I could embroider the name of the next person I go out with and give it to him on our first date--because that's not creepy or anything, right? Though now that I think of it, that might be a great idea! I mean, if I give it to the guy and he loves it, then I know he's an over eager freak and I go running the other way as fast as I can. And if he finds it off-putting and frightening then HE goes running away as fast as he can, and...oh, wait. I didn't think that through very well. Never mind.

In the end, I decided to put it away and work on the third stocking, and that's what I've been doing for the last few weeks. It's just one little sled-riding bunny away from being done, and I think it will be finished before the week is over.

As a diversionary tactic, the stocking project has worked like a charm. It's kept my hands busy, making it much harder to use them to transport food to my mouth during these dark, cold winter evenings. But equally importantly, it's kept my MIND busy, helped me not to obsess over the unexpected turn that life has taken in the last month.

Yep, that's right. It's been a month--and I'm still alive. And I'm not just alive, I'm also OK.

And we have new Christmas Stockings.


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