Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

I was having one of those days.

To be honest, it was kind of one of those weekends, too, but the malaise I thought would have blown over by day's end continued to hang around my head like a cartoon rain cloud.

I tried my best to be positive, I really did. I had had some trouble sleeping which was probably not the best way to start things off, and I think I'm coming down with something, but I bravely (not really) sucked it up and got up, albeit, later than I should have.

I hate feeling sad or mopey around the holidays. I love the holidays. But when bad things happen near them, it compounds the sad into a big mushball of sad that I have to carry around with me, all Atlas-like. And I'd be lying if some of the recent tragic events in the 'States didn't have something to do with it. But, guiltily, some stuff in my own life compounded that misery.

I don't go in much for astrology but I'm pretty much a textbook Cancer. Love home and family, love making friends feel comfortable, love being moody and emotional. All of that, yes. So the other day when some bummer news for me meant good news for my coworker friends, I admit I was a bit conflicted. I was genuinely happy for them. The people who are getting this opportunity are great people, good workers and I'm thrilled for them. But, y'know, I kind of wish I could've joined in their good news, instead of waiting to see if I'd get similar good tidings, pressing F5 like I press the "Door Close" button when I see someone I don't want to share an elevator ride with. Ultimately, I'll be in the same boat as them one day but for now, it meant big adventures for them next year and ... not so much for me. Add to that some entirely unpleasant exchanges on a totally different topic, missing people this time of year and.. yeah. I was basically this:

And really, there's not much you can do when you feel like this. You mope, yeah, maybe you even allow a furtive sniffle or two in the wee hours of the morning. But all you can really do is wait for it to pass. And be upset. Which, sometimes, just feels effin' right. Just some time to be disappointed, aghast at the world, questioning of your own future, full of self-doubt, all Sturm und Drang and no Sugar and Spice, yeah? Which some of my friends (and maybe the one I share a house with) didn't get, but that's okay. Their hearts were in the right place and, as a Cancer, I totally get that feeling of just wanting to make things better.

All this to say, I'm better now. Sushi helped. Playing Rock Band helped. Wrapping presents didn't really help, it turns out, because it makes your back hurt and reminds you of how much you still have left to do. Family helped. Until we argued about the correct number of, and system to hang, Christmas lights. But then, at least, my frustration was transferred somewhat, so let's go ahead and stick that in the "help" column.

My favourite quote of all time is from Max Ehrmann's poem Desiderata (actually the whole poem is boss, go take a look). I try to think of it when times are especially difficult. It doesn't always work but as a mantra for someone who's not particularly religious, it's been pretty good at storm-calming so far.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Nice, yeah? I've been whispering it a lot these past few days. And, maybe as a gentle nod to what I was going through, a few posters I ordered on Etsy arrived at the tail end of the terrible weekend.

Get one just like it here!

A good reminder. Don't forget to test out those vocal cords, kids. Merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What I've Learned: Throwing a Party

I took pictures before people arrived and everything
got covered in BLT dip and sparkles


How fun was that??

This weekend we hosted our housewarming/Christmas party and I'm happy to report it was a total blast. Party hosting is one of those things for me that, like buying a house, moving in with someone, or wearing jeggings, seems a lot scarier before you actually do it. I was stressed beforehand, worrying that people wouldn't have a good time or that no one would come, or too many people would come or that something would get broken, or it would be boring, or or or or or orororororororor.

But of course, everything went swimmingly and I'm a maroon.

For the first time all these shoes in the front hall aren't mine!
I was definitely worried about the size of the place but in the end? It was perfect. Good amounts of room to move around, the beat-up couch did what it always did (forced people into the centre of the cushions, made them hug), the food was mostly devoured, the drinks flowed, and while we should have bought the plastic shot glasses I'd suggested, at least I got to be right about something which is almost as good as being prepared.

After all the work we've put into the place* it was nice to be able to have someone else admire it. And they did admire it, which was incredibly kind, and made me happy even if they were lying (don't tell me if you were).

There was this small, kind of wonderful moment in the midst of all this chaos where I looked around and saw all these people that I knew through different means - former work pals, childhood friends, current coworkers, friends-of-friends-who-are-now-friends, and I just couldn't get the stupid smile off my face. How awesome is it when you can gather a bunch of people you like a lot in one place at one time? And how double awesome is it to not have to trudge through the cold when they leave? You just take your pants off! So great!
Come, sit by the warm glow of channel 206
And while not everyone could be there due to space or timing or distance or illness, I was buoyed by how many people trudged through this bizarre sort of terrible snowrain combo just to warm our little place up. And some stayed until 4am which impressed us all.

So, things learned:

1) You can never have too many cups. Or shot glasses *casts stink eye at The Boy*

2) You can, however, have too many dips.

If you think someone didn't put LEGO men in the guacamole and then eat those
decorative balls... you obviously don't know my friends.
3) Parties with 30-year-olds are often just as drunk as parties with 17-year-olds but you don't have as much clean-up to do and it's not as important to have a second bathroom

4) Everything's funnier after 2am - save your worst jokes for then

5) Dishwashers are sent from Heaven to make us happy. So are front halls with coat hooks.

6) If you have anything in your home that invites writing (white boards, grocery lists) or has removable letters (magnets, banners) they will be played with. Offensive things will be written. Deal with it.

7) Newspaper on the ground in the front hall: do it.
That no one spilled that sucker over is the true Hanukkah miracle.

8) Thinking you've made too much sangria is a fool's way of thinking. Don't ever assume.

9) Don't use a sharp knife less than 2 hours before the party starts. Or if you do, shower first. And find fancy band-aids 

10) A teammate and a sister who will help you set up/clean up from a party? Are a godsend. Ones that will staunch the bloodflow of a sliced-up finger? Even better.

11) Sit down as much as you can beforehand - you won't get a chance later.

12) Spend at least some of your clean-up time drinking water - you'll thank yourself later.

13) Muppets, if spotted, must be played with. Fact.
Our muppets, punching rabbi, and Cthulu the next morning.
Signs of a life well lived.
14) Don't agonize over the little things - no one's really going to care about the dirt you couldn't get at in the corners of your kitchen- instead, focus on the obvious: toilet, tabletops, tschotskes. Clean 'em, cuz people are going to spot it. Otherwise, just make sure they drink 'till you're tidy.

15) However, that being said, try to tidy all the rooms - people will want to see what you got going on and it's hard to cover each room with a sarcastic "so this is where the magic happens".

and lastly...

16) Small, quirky dogs are the best thing to bring to a party. They're great conversation starters, they eat the stuff you drop on the floor and you can blame farts on them. A-1 choice.

So that's about it. We're going to do this again, probably for my birthday (barbecues! outdoor furniture! lady drinks!) but maybe before then (My poor introvert Boy is probably shaking his head as we speak).

So what about you? What makes a good party vs. a bad one? What's your favourite kind of social get-together? Telllll meeee. I crave brains like.. something scary that eats brains. A vampire? Yeah, probably a werewolf.

*I'm talking pictures hung and furniture placed, nothing more impressive than that. No "This Old House" for these screwballs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wiggin' Out 'Bout it Wednesday: Holiday Edition

One of the things I was looking forward to when we moved into our house was decorating. We did it up right for Halloween and now we've added some Christmas touches to the place, in time for our little get together next week.

I don't really go in for the "curated" look of houses - my place is very lived in by two slightly messy, somewhat scatterbrained individuals and I'm okay with our home reflecting that. That being said, we do want to show off the ol' girl to the best of our abilities so we've tarted her up for the holidays.

First off, I am most definitely wigging out about my tree. This tree belonged to my mother and I believe it's celebrating its 40th Christmas this year. It's maybe a little worse for wear since it's debut in '72 but I love it to death. My mom had it in her room when she was in her early 20s and I had it in mine when I lived at home from the age of 9 or so. It still has the original light set and a good number of the original purple balls (the purple garland is, sadly, RingIP). I know it's kind of cheesy but it's kind of my favourite thing. It reminds me of the excitement I used to have in the weeks leading up to Christmas (I still get excited about Christmas but now in more of a pants-firmly-dry kind of way). Plus I think The Boy kind of hates it and I get off on making him uncomfortable.

And yes, before you ask, that's a Charlie Brown Christmas tree on the book shelf. That, coincidentally, is The Boy's favourite decoration that I brought to the table in our move.

So I will burn it down.


Added to the Christmas menagerie is this handsome little fellow. I invested in a couple of Playmobil advent calendars the last few years (I own this one too) and I still love them to bits. It's one area where Playmobil really kicks the hell out of LEGO. Even though we already did this one back in 2010 I've largely forgotten what's in it. So if you, too, have a terrible memory every year will be a joy with this little beauty. But don't get me started on the dinosaur or princess ones. Firmly "not Christmas", Playmobil.

This is my new favourite thing this year. We got it off this Etsy seller who are just fantastic. We wanted a Christmas quote that wasn't too overdone but also something that meant something to us. We're both big big fans of the movie The Muppet Christmas Carol and one of The Boy's traditional Christmas activities is reading the original Dickens tale. Bar none, my favourite character in the Muppet Christmas Carol is the Ghost of Christmas Present. So big, so gingery, so delightful. And, like his novel counterpart, he utters the phrase "Come in, and know me better, man!" Which is kind of perfect because really, what else are you saying to someone when you invite them into your home during the holidays? So that's what we got on our banners. And now I want to kiss them.

So that's more or less the Christmas decor 'round our house. Oh there are a few garlands, some light both inside and out, and a very scary santa I picked up in my apartment's laundry room (he's a whoooole 'nother post) but basically, those are the highlights. Do you have things that make it "Christmas" every time you unpack them?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

NaBloPoMo: Thoughts on a supposed failure

Well, I ran the numbers past Nate Silver and it turns out that I didn't quite manage to post every day in November. I made it to 18 (19, if you count the page I added at the top explaining the name behind the blog, which i don't) which is 12 short of the goal. But where would we be without goals, right? In some backwoods, Communist swamp, dying from lack of stickwithitness, that's where.

I still think it was a useful exercise and I'm glad I participated anyway. If nothing else, it was a good way to get back in the habit of blogging more regularly and it really allowed me to "find my voice" and "realize my potential" and "yolo" and "call me maybe" and bunches of other phrases that describe my spiritual self.

No, but seriously. such a dong.
I like that this has forced me to take and share more pictures of the things I enjoy around me. In a world of selfies, the anonymous object shot is king. I've liked sharing things with a small, almost completely unknown (to me) audience. I have no clue who's reading this thing at any given time and I like that (though, you know, if you say "hi" I'm not going to shit in your hat or anything). And if I didn't have this blog, how would I share pictures of damp spots on bus floors that totally look like dongs?

I'd have to accost you on the street and make you look at them, just like everyone else.

So I'm committed to keeping this up for a while and seeing how it goes. It's been a fun ride so far and I find I really don't get to talk enough about myself in a given day so let the navel gazing continue!