Let’s be clear: November was epic. The activity of easily twelve weeks was stuffed into that beast. ‘Twas a mighty turducken of a month. But does December slow things down? Hardly. December is the greedy, hyperactive child of the calendar year. “Feed me cookies!” It begs. And there are foot stomps. It’s a shame one can’t throw a month into time-out or threaten to take away its toys.

One thing that the last four weeks has taught me is that I thrive on chaos. It’s a good thing for a person with depressive tendencies, such as myself, to know. Being the sort of person who will gladly stay in bed all day unless I have a clearly designated purpose, this time of year is a sadomasochistic roller coaster of self-inflicted pleasure from pain.  Craft shows! Choir concerts! Psychotic pre-holiday work prep! It’s all there, waiting to drive me into a maniacally grinning stupor. I predict that under-eye bags will be this season’s hottest accessory, next to grandpa sweaters and coffee B.O.

The flipside, of course, is that whole self-care nuisance. Try as I might to pretend otherwise, I am not a machine, and a lack of exercise and sensible eating does take its toll on a human body. Case in point: my biceps.

I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina a few weeks ago. It was a work trip, and, as such, most of my five-day visit was consumed by obscene amounts of task-related anxiety. FUN IS FOR LOSERS AND I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD! was my mandate for the week. But, at 11pm on my last night in town, I finally relented to the sexy metropolitan hum and took myself out to a nearby gringo bar (incidentally a hotspot for debaucherous local 20-somethings, as well) and made as many new friends as I possibly could before bar close. As often happens when I’ve gotten a few adult beverages in me, there came a point when I began trying to convince people that I was really strong. “Look at these biceps!” I’d slur, flexing theatrically for anyone who would indulge me. One person, a fellow from Libertyville, Illinois named Clay, demanded that I punch him. “Oh no,” said I. “Trust me. I will injure you.”

This, of course, was completely false. I am not able to punch anyone out. The average 5th grader has more fight cred than I.

Fast forward to now, a mere 2.5 weeks later. When I flex my bicep, nothing happens. It’s infuriating. How can I have enough testosterone to supply my upper lip with a yearlong angora sweater and not be able to get past one November without undoing the three solid months of dedicated labour that preceded? I had some mad pipes in September, and I worked *hard* for them. Beneath the beer gut (and ice cream ass!) I grew during the warm months, there was some serious muscular badassery happening. This summer was all about the pushups and the freeweights, and even my weekly babysitting gigs became strength training opportunities (bench the toddler, anyone?). I want those muscles back! But, in the insanity of the coming weeks, how?

It seems the answer is in getting up early. As in, before work, while it’s still dark outside, to join the Type-A grandmas and cardio junkies for an early morning flagellation at my local gym. This is what December is made of, my friends: sleeplessness and muscle aches. Local toughs, beware.

Mid-July gun show. Ah, that was nice.