Sunday, July 11, 2010

On the Ground in Munchkinland

I'm back in the states, back to the places where I came from...for all intents and purposes: home. It's been almost two weeks since I got here, but I can hardly believe it's been that long. Two days after touching down at Eppley I was on the Duncan farm just west of Wheaton, Missouri. A week ago tomorrow we drove back to Iowa. Four days back I started working at B&N again. Today I went to church for the first time since leaving RAK.

And as of today I have 29 days until I leave.

I always feel a little bit of disconnect here. People's lives go on while I'm gone. I finally got to hold my niece, the Princess, the evening I got back. She's too cute for words. Saturday while I was floating down Sugar Creek, Shaggy was moving her, his wife, and the cat and dog to Utah. (Ugh.) I saw my cousins for the first time in seven years at the reunion, and it was good. I don't feel like I have to pretend to be anything but what I am with them. Sarah and I shared a canoe for the traditional "float trip," and I went to Roaring River with Dad, Matt, Micah, and Uncle Wayne last Monday morning, where I hiked up Deer Leap trail, fed the fish, stared into the depths of the spring, and poached wifi from the lodge while munching on peanut butter m&m's (ahh, the good life). They, on the other hand, fished. I used to try to fish, but this year I didn't even get a tag. As I was watching them reel 'em in, I thought of the day before, when my dad had shown us what a killdeer does when its nest is threatened, its frantic cries as it risked its life to save its babies...not knowing that he was just kidding. I guess I'm getting soft in my middle age, but I couldn't stand to watch, and I felt a little bit of the same for the fish.

It was sad, leaving, since this may be the last reunion. We celebrated my great uncle's 80th birthday, the last of his five brothers, who all died (in birth order) before their own 80th birthdays. I have a lot of love and respect for JD - we've had lot of common experiences, fifty years apart - and the thought that he might be gone before I come home again was another strand of sadness.

But life carries on. I've worked three days at the bookstore, and mostly I'm happy to see everyone again. Things haven't changed much. I haven't been in kids' at all, which is weird, and a little hard, because I always knew what to do back there. Out on the book floor there are long stretches of boredom. At least I know that I'm leaving in less than a month, and that fact makes the temporary annoyances a little easier to handle. (Borrowing books makes it MUCH easier to handle).

And my greatest fear - the idea that I might gain a bunch of weight whilst home??? I'm fighting it with everything I've got. I won't lie to you; I was AWFUL at the family reunion. The best I can say for myself is that I stayed off the pop, and that I borrowed The Fat Flush Plan (a diet book...which I will NOT, it seems, be following to the letter because I'm lazy, but it DOES have some ideas that I can easily integrate into my life) from my aunt Barb. Wedding cake, birthday cake, cookies, biscuits, cheesie poofs...all down the hatch. But since getting home I've managed to be a bit more in control. Not perfect, by any means, but I joined the YMCA for the month, and have been using their gym and pool, I took a walk with Babysis around Glenwood Lake Park, haven't had a single sugar cookie from work (because I know once I do, it's ALL over), and managed to avoid temptation a few times, in addition to using those Fat Flush ideas and having something light for one of my meals each day.

So I've not gone mad yet...but there are four weeks and a day left to go, so the potential still exists. Luckily I'm in New York City for my birthday with the Glamwhore in another three weeks time, and have only a week after that before liftoff; there is a very good chance I might get to Shanghai with my mind and my figure intact.

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