Peace and love to everyone

Merry Christmas Eve.

It is so hard for me to believe that the holiday is already here — or will be, in just a few hours.  When I was a child, I wished so fervently for time to speed up, for Christmas to get here.  I remember my father laughing at me and saying, “When you get older, you’ll wish time would slow down.”  He was right.  He was so right.  Because now I find myself here, on Christmas Eve, wondering…where did this month go?  Where did this year go?

It began in darkness, a darkness that lasted from Christmas Day last year (which I won’t recount because God did that suck), through to July.  And then everything became bright and beautiful again, as I rediscovered who I was…and began a whole new chapter of my life.

Yule was fun.  We had some issues but it ended up coming out all right in the end.

Now it’s Christmas Eve.  And the day is going to be jam-packed with excitement and family and church and festivities.

I had planned for a few weeks to maybe print out a hard copy of Book 1 for Jess.  She’s expecting it at some point, but I don’t think she expected it by Christmas.  A few months ago, when I asked her what she wanted as a gift, she joked “A finished book.”  Never let it be said that I do not try to get everyone what he or she wants for Christmas.  Now.  It’s not a complete copy by any stretch of the imagination.  Jess wanted a hard copy because it’s her turn to edit, and she is finding it too hard, with her ADD, to do it on the computer screen like I do.  So I thought…print it out, give it to her for Christmas (she got other stuff too on Yule).

I printed it this morning, all 188 single-spaced pages of it.  When it was done, I held it on my lap, just for a minute.

The book.  My book.  I wrote it.  There it was.  A finished book.

Sure it needs edits, but…that’s a book.  A book I wrote.

I realized as I held it in my hands that this Christmas?  Is perfect.  Because I unwittingly gave myself the best Christmas present in the world.

 

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and I wish you nothing but light and love 🙂

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So this is Christmas

As of 4:30 PM (approximately) today, I will be on Christmas break for six weeks.  Six lovely weeks.  And they are already jam-packed with excitement and plans and I just know it’s going to fly by as if it never was.  But I don’t care, because it will be delicious, every minute of it.

The funny thing is, I love Christmas, but I can’t remember a time when I was less in the Christmas mood than this year.  And it has nothing to do with my mood; I’m happier than I’ve been in years.  I just have my brain going in every single direction lately, and it is impossible for me to pin it down and turn it into a Christmas mindset.   I can pretty much chalk that up to two things:

Time: I haven’t had any.  I’ve been so incredibly focused on thesis and just GETTING IT DONE, I haven’t even thought about Christmas or the fact that it is now two weeks away (*shudder*).  I haven’t baked, I haven’t even played Christmas carols in the car, I’ve seen two Christmas movies (“The Holiday” — which was okay — and “Home Alone”, which I love), and my Christmas shopping?  Well, I made a list today.  That’s progress, I suppose.

The book.  Or books, really, as there will be five eventually.  Two are finished.  Well, finished in the rough draft sense.  Book One has had two thorough edits done by me, and is waiting for Jess to get through it with her own editing.  Book Two is on the shelf for now until I finish Book Three, which is in progress.  Book One was written from August – October, Book Two was written (in part) for NaNoWriMo, though I had some chapters done already when I started (that I didn’t count towards my word count, lest any of you think I cheated at NaNoWriMo — I will assure you, I won on my own merits).  I am so thoroughly wrapped up in this series, it has become a massive part of my day-to-day life, and I’d much rather listen to the “book soundtrack” on my iPod than Christmas music (do other people have this?  I’ve heard it’s a thing, but I definitely do it — pick out “perfect” songs and put them on one playlist).

But I am seriously behind on Christmas and that ends today.  After the thesis meeting I am doing some serious Christmas shopping.  And I am doing more tomorrow.  And Christmas crafting is also happening.  Every year I tell myself that I am not doing Christmas knitting, I am not, and somehow, it always ends up happening.  I have two projects, both about three-quarters done, that need to be finished by next weekend.  Piece of cake, really.  And then a couple of other projects that need doing.

For those of you playing the home game, my lungs are still shit — I woke up gasping in the middle of the night last night, which is new and different — and all tests have come back normal.  Sweet.  Of course, I’m happy that there’s apparently nothing horribly wrong with me, but at the same time, it is frustrating when people say you are “Fine” and you feel anything BUT fine.  I’m on a new anti-inflammatory so I am hoping that does the trick.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the first Christmas tree I’ve had since 2011, and my little Fontanini creche from the early ’90’s.  I’m missing a couple of ornaments, which bums me out, and I need to search the house a little better, I guess.

Start of the Holiday Season

I keep pinching myself every time I realize that it’s actually December.  I don’t know where this year went, I really don’t.  Looking back, I realize that I was intensely, insanely busy for most of it, so it’s not all that surprising that the last eleven months just flew.  But it’s hard to believe that in just four weeks, it’s going to be January and 2014.  Considering how crazy jam-packed this month is, I just know it’s going to fly.

It’s strange; this is technically my first year divorced, but it is my second round of holidays without David, since we stopped doing the family holiday thing last November.  David worked on Thanksgiving, and we were already living apart.  The last family events we went to together were David’s family Christmas party and his nana’s 80th birthday.  But we missed everything else, so fortunately I got all of that out of the way last year.  I was anticipating perhaps feeling some sadness on Thanksgiving — and let me tell you, there was no shortage of people saying “now, don’t go letting yourself get upset now” beforehand — but there was nothing.  Honestly, on Thanksgiving morning, I hugged my mom at one point and told her I was “so damn happy”.  I think she was a little surprised, but I know she liked hearing it.  Because it’s true.  I am happy.  I reshuffled my dreams and I’m working it out, and making the best of the hand I’ve drawn.  I think I’m doing more than okay.

The only real blights to my happiness right now are both things that I really can’t change.  The first being — I am fed the fuck up to HERE with my thesis, and with less than 30 pages to go, I’m just exhausted.  Really, done.  I know I have to do it, I have until December 20th but my own personal deadline is December 18th, and I’m just…done, guys.  I’m done.  I’m tired.  Finito.  I’m going to get ingloriously drunk the night that I finish the damn thing.  That’s a promise.  I have a bottle of riesling in my fridge and I’m not afraid to crack into it.

The second would be my stupid lungs.  Which still haven’t improved, despite a battery of steroids.  Jess keeps nagging me to call the doctor and I think I’m going to have to.  I’m still having trouble breathing, get winded ridiculously easily, and get chest pains most evenings.  Bullshit.

Right now I’m trying to balance thesis, work, social life, and Christmas shopping, all while trying to spend some time with myself.  I got some beautiful Dream in Classy yarn for FREE yesterday at WEBS — my dear high school friend Rob gave me a $30 GC for my birthday, and the yarn was $30, so score!.  And I’m planning on making myself a pair of fingerless mitts with it.  Just something small for me.   I’m foregoing most of the Christmas knitting this year.  I’m making a single hat for someone, but everyone else is getting other stuff.  Every year I kill myself with the Christmas knitting, but with school I just do not have the time to dedicate to it.  It’s all right, I’m going to be fine with other stuff.

The yarn, for those of you who like yarn pron, is Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere and is incredibly soft (merino/cashmere/nylon) and I love it.  This is the color: Chocolate Night.  LOVE.

I’m getting there.  Just two more weeks until the end of the semester.  This, I can handle.

As Our Eyes Fill With Wonder

Christmas has officially begun!  Fifteen minutes stand between me and two and a half days off.  Presents are wrapped, family is here, and I’m safely ensconced in my parents’ house until they leave on December 26th.  The move has been a little bizarre, but in the long run, not totally unwelcome.  I can’t tell you how much a big, noisy house full of exuberant (and inebriated) people is keeping the sads away.

I find I don’t even miss David as a husband, but I do miss my friend.  And I miss his family.  Though it’s more difficult to miss them when my own family is so raucous, loving, and joy-filled.  I wish they were here all the time.

And my friends.  My friends have been my rocks for the past year.  2012 has been a trip to hell in a handbasket, but I am working my way back to really enjoying life, with the help of my friends (okay, and some moscato).

(Clockwise from lower left): Drea, Christina, me, Joe, Sam, Pat, and Tina — Yule 2012

I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through all of this without these amazing people in my life.

God only knows what I’d be without you.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

On Yule, With Joy

The last entry (hell, the last couple of days) have been rough, so I wanted to post something a little happier.

Today is Yule, the winter solstice, and this is the day my friend Jess throws her annual Yule party.  It’s a winter celebration of all faiths, where 10 of us will get together, exchange presents, cook and eat delicious food, and just altogether have an amazing time.  It’s the high point of every year, and we look forward to it.  This is the seventh year that we’ve had Yule (although only Jess and I were part of the original and have been to every single one).

2006: Paul, me, and Jess, with the World’s Ugliest Yule Tree.

 

2007: Ryan, Jess, Paul, Rain, Katie and me, just before dinner.

 

Unbelievably, I don’t have a single picture from Yule 2008, but that was the day my Aunt Nancy died, so I think I just forgot to take pictures.

2009: I don’t have a group shot but this one is hilarious. Drea and Jess opening presents.

 

2010: The TURDUCKEN year! Jess (right) made a turducken. It was amazing.

 

2011: David, me, and our friend Jim.

I’m very much looking forward to tonight…good food, good friends, and commemorating another trip around the sun.

And the fact that the Mayans were wrong.

Now The Days Seem To Fly

I am DONE with this semester!

(Happy Rapunzel gif totally appropriate right now)

I’m not 100% bouncing off the walls because I’m nervous as hell about my grades.  I never got a grade in one of my classes, and I never got a grade in the other class that was below an A-…but I’m still freaking out.  I have NO IDEA how this is going to pan out.  Especially when, in both classes, the final paper counts for 60% of the final grade.

I have no idea when final grades are due in to the registrar, or when they’ll be posted, so THAT’S FUN.

I will be okay with straight A-‘s.  I will be fine if I get two B+’s.  If I don’t get a B+ in 501, it means I have to retake the course this upcoming semester.

…I can’t find a gif for that.  There is no gif labeled “crawl into a hole and die.”

But this one?  Is pretty close.

ANYCRAP.  This means that I have from now until January 14 for blessed, blessed freedom.

(Side note?  What is this January 14th shit?  Since when do colleges and universities open BEFORE the MLK Jr. holiday?  I miss undergrad.  For more reasons than one.)

I’m moving out of my apartment in three days.  My grandparents are coming up to spend Christmas with the rest of the family and they’re going to be staying in my place, with my girl kitties.  I’m moving into my parents’ house for the duration.  I’m trying not to be too apprehensive about this.

Tonight is going to be dedicated to shopping, wrapping, baking cookies, and watching “Home Alone.”  I am so excited about the next few days.  This week is going to be fantastic.

Another One Bites The Dust

One paper down, one to go!

(Granted, this one is bigger, and more important, but it’s already finished except for the revisions, which I NEED TO WORK ON)

I don’t have that much to write about, so we’ll do bullets.

– Adult cooking.  I discovered potato gnocchi and holy hell, my life will never be the same.  DELICIOUS.  I boiled them for 2 minutes, then tossed them in melted butter and roasted garlic, sprinkled them with Parmesan cheese, and had grilled chicken with Montreal seasonings on the side.  OH MA GA.  New favorite meal ever!  I seriously can’t get enough, and I’m going to gain like 10 lbs.

This is my REALLY PROFESSIONAL picture (i.e. taken with my Samsung Stratosphere) of my dinner from two nights ago.

dinner

Could seriously eat it any day of the week.

– School is so close to being done!  At some point I have to do the aforementioned edits, but I am getting so close!  There is a bottle of moscato in my fridge AS I TYPE THIS, waiting for December 18th and the end of the semester.

– Snow.  Look, white crap.  We’re scheduled for an unwelcome visit from you and I DAGF how many New Englanders sing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”, as far as I am concerned YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE at least until December 23rd.  This Christmas is going to be difficult enough.  Snow before or on December 22nd means that my grandparents will more than likely cancel their flight and won’t be in on Christmas, and…yeah.  I just can’t do that.  Please.  This year has been sucktastic enough.  The promise of the entire family being here for Christmas was the thing that was keeping my Christmas spirit going.  Please please please please don’t come next weekend.  Please.

The 10 day forecast says that we only have a 10% chance of snow on the 22nd.  Please stay that way.  (I feel like I can’t stress this enough)

Shopping.  I am ALMOST done!  A couple of friend presents and putting together the finishing touches on my last family presents, and then I’m set!  Pretty happy with what I put together this year.

I also got my package from Sephora yesterday!  Because of the Beauty Insider $15 off a $50 purchase, I was able to justify picking up Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector (I got a sample in my It Kit a month ago and after squeezing the last little bit out of it, realized that I can’t live without it) and the Sephora Collection Smoothing Translucent Setting Powder.

My only complaint about this is the packaging, not the product.  This is TINY.  You’d think I wouldn’t be such a moron about reading the amount in the packaging, but I am.  For almost $40, this should be a much bigger product.  The good thing is that a SAMPLE of it lasted me a month, so this should last me quite a bit longer.  It’s amazing the difference.  I don’t usually get massive dark circles but a lack of sleep (and let’s be honest, crying in the last few weeks) has wreaked havoc on my eyes, leaving them dark and puffy.  A tiny little dab of this stuff (applied with the ice-cold metal applicator) de-puffs and lightens my undereye circles.  It’s brilliant. (Rating: 8/10, mainly because of the package)

The powder was a gamble because I’ve been having issues matching face powders to my incredibly pale skin (increasing since my already-less-than-impressive “summer tan” has faded).  I decided to take a chance on the translucent powder because it was supposed to just matte-ify my face, not put color into it, and figured I’d compensate with blush.  Well, this is a winner!  It matte-ifies my face, seals my makeup, and doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a mask.  Bonus: the container is BRILLIANT.  When you pop the lid open, it allows just a small amount of powder free into the top level for brushing.  If you need a little more, close the container, turn it upside down and then back up, and re-open, to replenish the powder.  Love it!  (Rating: 10/10!)

– Knitting.  I have two projects that DEFINITELY need to be finished, one for this weekend, and two for next Friday.  I have one more that I MIGHT do for actual Christmas, but we’ll see, since it’s not a big deal if it isn’t done, I have other gifts for the recipient.  We’ll see!  I’m going to Knit Night tonight and hopefully I’ll bang out the last few rows of the one I’m working on for Saturday!

And I think that’s all the news that’s fit to print.  We’ll see how the weekend pans out!

The Best-Laid Plans And All That Jazz

Some facts:

Days left until Christmas: 15
Days left until 501 paper is due: 8
Days left until 540 paper is due: 2Amount left to do on 501 paper: Revisions (28/25 pages completed)
Amount left to do on 540 paper: Revisions and conclusion (16/20 pages completed)
Knitting projects left to complete: 4

Well…shit.

I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.

It was an extremely emotional and difficult weekend…it’s sad that lately my weekends have been more difficult than my weekdays, mainly because there is so much time to think.  D and I split our bank accounts on Saturday (at last) which is great because I could finally deposit all of my checks that had been piling up (all business, not personal) and start Christmas shopping.  I did a TON of Christmas shopping this weekend (I am nearly done, except with my shopping for friends), and it was mostly online, so I’m waiting for two packages to come in.  Splitting our bank accounts wasn’t as emotionally-draining as the episode with the cat (mentioned in my last entry) and fighting with my parents for most of the weekend.  I also bit the bullet and wrote an email to my MIL, informing her that I can’t come to Christmas this year, and was relieved when she replied with a very thoughtful, sensitive reply.  That’s a huge weight off of my shoulders.  And I got to watch the Saints/Giants game last night…which didn’t end the way I was hoping but oh well.

The good news is that I have two evenings “off” from now until Wednesday (when the 540 paper is due) to write and revise.  The bad news is that I appear to be missing one of the books I need, the one that the professor advised me to use.  I’ve already torn apart D’s apartment looking for it.  So it is…probably somewhere in my car.  I will look there this afternoon when I am out of work.  This afternoon is going to be spent writing and revising.  With any luck I’ll be done with the paper by tonight.  Tomorrow I need to work on whatever I’m bringing to the class potluck finals party on Wednesday night.

Suffice to say, it’s going to be a busy week.  I have something on tap every single day.  At least after Wednesday, the rest of the week is shaping up awesomely:

Thursday: Knit Night!
Friday: Seeing The Hobbit (if we can get advance tickets)
Saturday: My friend J’s party up in Worcester, MA.
Sunday: Helping my parents decorate their Christmas tree.

Just get through the paper…and it’ll all be okay.