Christmas

Dec. 23rd, 2012 06:54 pm
afterallthistime: (nothing to say)
I love the anticipation of the holiday. That's something that I've always kept expecting to die, as awful and cynical as that sounds, and to be fair, I certainly feel the stress of the holiday now in a way I didn't when I was younger. Now I'm responsible for buying gifts, mailing cards, cooking dishes for various gatherings; there's social and financial pressure, there's the pressure of just not feeling like I have enough time (because on top of Holiday Stress, I now have Just Trying to Get Through the Goddamn Day Stress), and there's the issue of tying to juggle obligations with, not only friends, but two families.

It take a longer time for my to start feeling festive. When I was small, it was like, day after Thanksgiving, BAM. Time to put up the tree, and start Christmas shopping, and listening to Christmas music, and watching the Christmas specials they started airing every Saturday night, and having holiday parties at school, and shopping for Advent calendars, and and and. Now it's like, okay, I got out of work at 11 am on December 21st -- I think the first real stirring of "IT'S CHRISTMAS!!" hit me at about 8 am that same day. I don't know if it'd be different if I didn't work at the high school, if I wasn't exposed to kids who still get ridiculously excited to see their little cousins and get presents on go on trips and just be on vacation for ~2 weeks. But the enthusiasm is contagious. The last two years, my one-on-one was not a socially-motivated individual. He had virtually no interest in the holiday, and seemed to look at it almost in trepidation, as a change in routine (and he didn't like changes in his routine). This year, I'm with kids who approach the holiday with total abandon -- they are PSYCHED up for the season. On Friday, our first block class has a grand total of two (out of eight) kids -- Bill and I seriously just let them chill out, we talked about Christmas traditions in our various families and Bill played "a perfect blend of traditional Christmas music" from his iPad, which apparently includes "Mack the Knife" and "Baba O'Reilly" (epic!) We brought the kids down to breakfast around 8:30 and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas in Block 2, then sat around and listened to a mix of Christmas songs Block Three (I didn't know Sum 41 and The Kinks had Christmas songs, but apparently they do), and watched Wall-e Block Four. It was an actual, genuinely fun time spent with the kids, and went a long way to gearing me up for Christmas.

This year, Andy works on Christmas Eve, so sometime around 4pm, I'm going to meet up with my brother and spend the evening at my parents house; my mom went and bought this huge array of snacks and wine and I'm bringing over some games, and when Andy gets out of work at 2 am, he'll pick me up so I'll be home Christmas morning for breakfast (one of the few days I cook a "real" breakfast -- usually muffins, toast, eggs, bacon, and fried potatos). After breakfast and relaxing, we'll head to my parents to socialize, have dinner, and do gifts. Joce and Steve will be over for dinner and gifts too, and I am just... so looking forward to it.

I enjoy Christmas as an adult; I've had pretty rough patches with them, obviously, but in general, I've always had good to excellent relationships with both my siblings and my parents, and now that we aren't living together, Christmas is a little more signifigant; I see my folks about once a week (because my dad gives me a ride home when Andy works the day shift), but it's only for about an hour, during which time I basically have a cup of coffee with my mom and check work emails, sometimes I'll even take a nap, etc. It's like, almost a business visit, lol. The holidays are one of the few times when not only are we all together for signifigant time, but when we are all actively engaged with one another. That, more than the "seeing each other" bit, is what sets it apart.

There is something to be said about those Christmases at home, though. My siblings and I are fairly close in age (I'm 30; my sister is 28 and my brother is 26), and when we were young -- but not too young; young, but not "little" -- we were like these time bombs of anticipation. My sister and I would get into bed fairly early (we shared a room, and even when we didn't, she'd often camp out with me on Christmas; we do that to this day, on the nights I stay at her house) and read magazines or favorite books to each other until we fell asleep, and we'd inevitably be awake again by, like 3:30 am, at which point we'd have those kinds of whispered conversations that are complete and utter fluff but are just WAY TOO FUCKING HILARIOUS to the parties involved, and then sneak out of our room into my brother's. He was always asleep, but SPRUNG awake as soon as we crept up to his bed. We'd huddle in the living room on the pull-out couch with chips and whatever candy we'd already been able to finage out of our parents and watch tangentially-related Christmas stuff on late night TV. It was never, like, classic Christmas fare on at that time of the morning, it was always something like seasonably appropriate infomercials (which, again, were SO FUCKING HILARIOUS) or things like, one year, the Beavis and Butthead Christmas episode? I remember nothing about it except that it existed, and we watced it at like 4 in the morning, and my brother could do a fucking SPOT ON, UNCANNY Beavis impression. There was just always this buzz, and part of it was to do with sleeplessness and the quietness and relative solitude of that time in the morning, and part of it was likely to do with a nostalgia that we were already feeling (we didn't believe in Santa anymore, but we still followed a lot of the traditions from when we were younger, getting dressed up and going visiting on Christmas Eve, seeing the relatives we only saw once a year). And part of it was just... I don't know. I just remember, really clearly, one of those Christmas nights, looking out the window around 4 am with Joce and Rob, and it had just started snowing, and the entire street was lit with people Christmas lights, and it was just so profoundly quiet, and we were so awake and excited. That's something I've not been able to reclaim, but then again, I haven't really tried to. Once that level of wonder goes, it goes. I think what we share now is different, but not lesser. It's appreciation on a different level.

All my gifts are done, all but two are wrapped. The house is almost clean (need to tidy up the craft room, which was the hub of Christmas crafting, and wipe down the bathroom). I'm going to take the plunge and put ornaments on the tree, if only to see how River reacts to them (no lights, though; all I need is for her to decided her bestest, most favoritest Christmanas wish is to be garroted by festive lights). I'm making dinner and folding laundry and looking very much forward to tomorrow.

I'd like to do a Bucket List update/revision before the end of the year, but as I don't quite know what the next few days will bring, Merry Christmas if you celebrate, and a wonderful start to your new year, if I miss it.

I leave you with a lovely, nerdy Christmas video that my siblings and I ran into on TV during one of those Christmas nights when we weren't quite so little anymore ;)

afterallthistime: (best yet to come)
2011 ends in ten days, so naturally I’ve been thinking quite a bit about 2012.

I am determined not to fuck it up.

Read more... )

How about you all? Do you have resolutions??
afterallthistime: (holy crap)
Well, cheerful for me, anyway. Your mileage may vary. I suppose it really depends on how emotionally invested you are in my happiness??

1. Andy let me open two of my Christmas presents early, because he got his Christmas present early (his dad is paying for his new MASSIVE desktop monitor). The two presents were a super cute Hello Kitty notebook and eraser set... and the three disc special edition Pirates; no, not the Disney Pirates, but Pirates, as in, the most expensive pornographic movie ever made, and winner of a record-breaking 11 Adult Video News Awards. We've seen it prominently displayed in a number of adult stores over the last couple of years, and we always kind of wanted to get it, but the price made us hesitate. Well, now I own it. It's three discs, and includes a crazy amount of bonus material. It's pretty awesome.

2. For the Hello Kitty notebook, I am creating a New Year's Resolution/Bucket List, outlining all the things I want to accomplish in the next year and beyond. So far I have fourteen things, but I'm sure the list will grow rapidly. Still, just seeing these things written down feels good.

3. BFI screening of the first episode of Sherlock season two, and I am not quite sure if I'm in the minority in this or not (Tumblr seems very bipolar about this), but I WANT spoilers. Not major, massive spoilers - I just want a resolution to the "is Irene a love interest for Sherlock" question. And... maybe some other little details. Who am I kidding, really, with very few exceptions, I'm kind of a spoiler whore. I want to know what happens, guys. It will NOT diminish the actual viewing experience for me, I swear.

4. Got the rest of the supplies for the remainder of my Christmas gifts, and will try to work on at least two of them tonight. It's nice to be this far out from Christmas and just wrapping things up.

5. Took today off, woot!

6. I'm going to a small, but welcome and well anticipated Christmas gathering on Friday night, followed by (hopefully) some chilling with my friends on Saturday, and then The Slutcracker on Sunday. I love moderately busy weekends, especially ones with a good balancing of productivity and relaxation (which I hope this coming one will be, I do have some chores I need to do, maybe Friday after work, or (if my friends are super patient) early Saturday morning.

7. Andy is making dinner tonight, and it's another one of his fusion ideas - Asian inspired pizza. I will post an entry to let you all know how that turns out, but needless to say, I'm equal parts intrigued and horrified. Still, his last fusion dish was really, really good, so I'll keep an open mind (despite what he says about me being "mean" about his cooking, every meal he's made with one notable exception* has been really good, so I think he's just a crybaby).

I have no ending for this, so I take a small bow.

* Scrambled eggs, dumped into pancake batter, and fried in a pound of bacon grease. I had three bites and was nearly sick. He ate the whole damn thing.
afterallthistime: (Default)
Is Trans-Siberian Orchestra ever anything less than amazing? I've seen them three times, and the answer is "no," at least never during any of the shows I attended (note: the lead guitarist mentioned that this had been their twelfth stop in Boston, and did anyone go to their first show, way back, at The Orpheum? I'm super bad at math, so I had to count backwards, and realized that YES, I had been at their very first Boston show in December of 2000 with my at-the-time-friend, Kara. I remember the Orpheum being a mess, having ridiculously cool floor seats, and the show being awesome and ear-plittingly loud. Our seats this time were fantastic, btw).

They performed their usual Christmas set - "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" - which is my favorite of their three Christmas albums and obviously a fan favorite as well. I think they've had the same man narrating all the east coast shows since the first time I saw them, though the roster of musicians has changed. After the Christmas set, they did some songs from "Night Castle" and a couple of other Christmas songs ("Christmas Canon," which remains my mom's favorite), and capped the evening off with "Requiem (The 5th)" from "Beethoven's Last Night." I took some photos on my phone that look, if nothing else, sharp, though small and not particularly good shots, objectively (I don't have a great camera on my phone). Those will likely eventually be added to Facebook, but I probably won't post them here (not when better material is available for demonstrative purposes - thank you, Internet!)

Media from the Boston show, 11/27/11 )

Thus concluded a wonderful mini-holiday break; the following several days were less enthusiatically recieved, though it hasn't actually been a bad week.

I'm starving, and think I may buy a salad for lunch. Ciao.
afterallthistime: (Default)
Thanksgiving was fab-u-lous. Made a brocolli casserole that was the least healthy vegetable dish since pizza - a Paula Deen recipe that included eggs, a cup of mayonaise, cheese, Ritz crackers, and Cream of Celery soup - but went over well. We got there around noon, and I hung out with my dad and my brother, drinking wine and chatting. I don't have a large immediate family, nor do I live particularly far from my folks and my brother, but it's grown increasingly rare that I'm ableto get my entire family together at once, much less have them all focused on one another. Joce and Steve didn't make it until after dinner - which was fantastic, as usual - but when they arrived, we all hung out, played games, drank yet more wine (my sister and I lean toward the lush side) and made inappropriate jokes, much to my mother's chagrin. It was a lot of fun; Andy and I stuck around to watch a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (which I enjoy just as much now as I did when I was a kid) and Andy and I left around 9.

Yesterday, we hung out at Camelot for "Pie Day," which was slightly quieter than Andy and I had anticipated, but did, as promised, have pie. We played several rounds of Argugraph (the game that Andy designed) with Piper and various other Camelot residents, a few rounds of Dominion, and several hands of Apples to Apples with Jay (my father-in-law) and Josiah. Playing Apples to Apples with my brother- and sister-in-law is an experience because neither of them ever know who any of the "people cards" are, and as a result, will either play them at inapproriate times, or totally disregard completely relevant ones on their judging turn because they have no clue who they are. It's really amusing, though my mind reels at the gaps in Piper's knowledge (Josiah is 10, so there's so reason there, but Piper's edging in on 16 and her lack of recognition of some names just boggles the mind). It was fun, though there was little to no traditional "dinner" food available, so afterwards we stopped at Cafe Azteca, which was, of course, quite yummy.

Today was tree day - woot! We shopped around at The Salvation Army for decorations earlier, but only found one (a cute candle holder), and put up the tree. The apartment does look kind of lacking in the decorations department, but I guess that's natural for the first Christmas living on one's own. We'll have to splurge on the after Christmas sales so we can glitz up the place next Christmas.

Tomorrow is the TSO show at the Garden - psyched. Happy that the month is almost over, glad that December is going to be an interesting month with plenty to do (including, likely, another parent meeting that I'm not exactly dreading, but I'm not looking forward to, either). Still - Slutcracker, Yule Ball, Christmas party, Christmas itself, New Year's Party, etc. And two weeks (eh, slightly less, siiigh) off of work.

Tonight, more Frasier, more lounging, more existential career angsting (but that's another story). Hope everyone's holiday weekend has been pleasant, enjoy the rest of it ♥ ♥ ♥
afterallthistime: (Default)
So Tuesday night, as I may have mentioned, was "ring-iversary," which is the name that my strangely whimsical/sentimental husband has given to the anniversary of our engagement (two years ago, 11/15/09). The tradition thus far has been to go back to the restaurant he proposed at (which was also, coincidentally, the first place we'd ever gone to dinner together), whereupon he presents me with ever more horrifically tacky rings, and then we go an purchase, ahem, "sexy things." I really love all three of these traditions, because among my favorite things in the world are, in fact, 1.) delicious, delicious sushi, 2.) tacky jewelry (no, seriously), and 3.) cute lingerie. Oh, this ), by the way, was this year's ring-iversary gift. After all these things transpired, we went home, where the remainder of the evening was passed in a blanket fort Andy had built in the living roopm because I had remarked, in passing that afternoon that I'd really missed building blanket forts, and how my sister, my cousin, and I used to do it all the time.

The following day we had errands to run in Lowell, so while we were there anyway, we stopped for lunch at Cobblestones, which is apparently a pretty well-known place, though generally further out of the way than we usually go for lunch or dinner. It's an American restaurant, very well put together, beautiful inside, and tipping onto the pricy side. Andy and I got the appetizer specials, which were an amazing beet and spinach salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, and sweet potatos and corn fritters with crème fraîche and molasses, and sandwiches - a typical but tasty burger for Andy, and grilled portebello for me. It reinforced my desire to really start touring around local restaurants - we tend to have our "haunts," and while we do occassionally try a new place, being on a budget often means sacrificing taking culinary "risks" in the interest of not "wasting" our money on a gamble (i.e., if we really hate the food, now we're hungry and out $40). Now that our finances are a bit more stable, maybe we can be a bit more daring.

I'm feeling strangely creatively empty and ridiculously restless (again, creatively). I'm beginning to seriously consider undergoing an evaluation for adult ADD; what used to be simple absent-mindedness has become not only absent-mindedness, but an inability to concentrate and a disturbing level of distractability. The harder I try to reign myself in, the worse it seems to get, and often, my irritation while trying to maintain focus on anything, even things that I used to enjoy, is often palpable. I have several things I'm trying to work on, and while I have a great deal of enthusiasm for what I'm trying to do - as in, I want to do it, I have good ideas, etc. - sitting down to work on it is almost physically painful, because the minute I try to focus, my mind and body both want to do something else (though what, I couldn't tell you). It's become pretty bad in the last several years.

Anyway, this week: Woo, two-and-a-half day week! Skipping out of the pep rally on Wednesday (shh!!) so I'll be out by 10:05 and hopefully be heading out to lunch with Andy, and Thursday I'll be preparing a side dish and heading to my folks for Thanksgiving dinner. Friday is "Pie Day" and games at Camelot, Saturday is hanging out and getting weekend chores done, and Sunday is the TSO concert, yay! So excited. Also, four-and-a-half day weekend, SCORE.

Got a few messages about holiday cards, still "counting heads" if anyone else is interested.

Ciao for now, lords and ladies.
afterallthistime: (holy crap)
Last night my husband and a friend of ours trekked out to Salem, MA for Halloween festivities and had a fantastic time. However, I am now "stranded" at my folks' house until 2 am and don't have my camera or free use of the computer, so a post about Halloween will ahve to wait until tomorrow.

For now, here are some relevant, but non-Halloween pieces of news

1. On Saturday we had a freak snowstorm, and over 500,000 MA residents are still without power, including the district I work in. I sent in an absence notice for today before I left for Salem yesterday - needlessly, it turns out, since school was cancelled because most of my district is still blacked out. I got a call from our Reverse 911 at about 2:30 today telling me tomorrow's in-service day is cancelled as well, and the latest ETA for power restoration may be as late is November 3rd. I'm loving the time off right now, but I'll probably hate it in June (although by June I should have a different assignment (hopefully me old one back!) and might not mind it as much).

2. NANOWRIMO STARTS AT MIDNIGHT. And I have NO PLOT. NONE. BUT - I am excited, because planning has never really worked out for me, so maybe just winging it (having no expectations) will be good. I'm looking forward to it, anyway. As kind of a forewarning, for a good chunk of November, this blog might be kind of NaNo-centric, so I hope y'all don't mind listening to me ramble about my plot/lack thereof. Also, if anyone wants to follow me on the forums at NaNoWriMo.org, I'm PerfectMistake.

3. I'm excited to get my official discretionary budget for November, because there is a TON of stuff coming up that I want to go to (including Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Les Miserables, and Spamalot) and I'm going to buy some tickets. It'll be epic. Also, Andy is portioning out our holiday budget, and I get to buy the supplies for me holiday crafts and gifts ♥

4. Andy and I are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year. I'm nervous but also excited. Does anyone have any favorite Thanksgiving dishes they'd like to share? I already have a general idea of what I'm preparing, but I'm open to "twists" on some classics, or some interesting new dishes to try.

Signing off; Halloween pics and such to come. Hope anyone heading out to celebrate tonight has an awesome time!

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we understand the lights.

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