I love Christmas. And I have loved the Christmas-ness of this Christmas. Every night for the past week has been a joyous special thing that only the glittery soul of Christmas can create. My apartment is clean and sparkly with Christmas lights and candles and I’m hopeful that this little step of having a pleasing living space is a sign of more pleasing living to come.
Twice I visited my friends in the Christmas show I had been a part of for the 6 years prior. I miss it, and I miss them, but I guess it may be better in this season of change in my life to have had less of the running around that particular gig required. I needed the time. I mourn missing out on what was special there, in the same way I have mourned my leaving the Real Job– but I’ve been better for it, I’m sure.
I was part time through December 20th, and on that day a party was held in my honor. It was an odd collection of people but a very sweet little gathering that left me feeling cared for and more hopeful/less sad than I had expected. Not everything was done that needed to be done, so the loss was dulled by the fact that I still had my keys and a few files– it wasn’t like I wouldn’t be back. But I am coming to terms that I need to face this- finally, and really– and as I was driving around yesterday I found myself repeating aloud, “I don’t work there anymore. I don’t work there anymore…” My sleep has been filled with a sort of anxious self-loathing collection of dreams, in which I’m often late for appointments, unfairly accused of wrongdoing, and consumed with feelings of guilt. Apparently there is still shit to work out…
My week overall, however, as I mentioned before have been very special (if distracting,) and gratifying– but exhausting. An overview:
- I did my very gift bag/candy run and then saw the Christmas show. HIGHLIGHT: Playing Santa handing out candy to everyone and my friend C’s reaction to his Christmas present. LOWLIGHT: I miss them.
- After a quick stop over at my parents’, I went to dinner with Soon- to- be- in- the- Navy-Cousin for Christmas Eve dinner, of which I only had time to eat a little bit before running off to be late for Church. HIGHLIGHT: Hanging out with Cousin. LOWLIGHT: There’s only so much I can take of one particular relative’s arrogant talk.
- Church. HIGHLIGHT: The music and candles made the rushing back worth it, and my Minister’s grabbing my arm on my way out to see if I was working and how I was made me feel noticed and cared for.
- Stopped back home and said hi to my landlord’s family, and then drove BACK to my parents, tossing presents under the tree and then sleeping in the guest bedroom upstairs. HIGHLIGHT: Landlord’s son (who used to live in my apartment) was very impressed with my apartment, which I was so proud of . LOWLIGHT: I wanted to spend more time with them but it was hard not to feel like I was intruding on a family moment.
- I got to sleep in and Sister, Brother-in-Law, and BestNieceEver showed up sometime in the early afternoon, better than last year. I got a cordless phone I’d been needing and knew I was getting. BestNieceEver wasn’t real interested in the whole sitting around opening presents thing but otherwise it was a fun time. My presents were well-received overall. I had gotten BestNieceEver a magnadoodle and her first pair of jeans, both of which seemed to go over well. My dad seemed simultaneously mystified and impressed with his new iPod Shuffle and my mom has been reading the books I got her, so those seemed to have been a hit too. HIGHLIGHT: Playing Let’s-Throw-Wrapping-Paper-in-the-Air with BestNieceEver. LOWLIGHT: Brother-in-Law was freaking out about being late for the party with the other side of his family so he spent most of the time there looking at his watch.
- I headed back to my place in the evening and enjoyed a quiet night with my Landlords, exchanging presents and eating Christmas cookies. HIGHLIGHT: Peace and quiet.
- Friday afternoon my friends J&J came over with their 3 kids and we had ice cream sundaes and played Apples to Apples. The kids seemed to enjoy the books I got for them but it was clear they weren’t as cool as the seven million other presents they’d gotten in the past few days. J&J are probably going to hate me for the Joke Book I got their middle child– she has taken to reading aloud from it nonstop and the jokes are, well, pretty bad. HIGHLIGHT: It was wonderful just to be with my friends.
- My parents came over later that evening before heading off to see the show I had gotten tickets for them to see, and then I was off to a Christmas party with the Christmas show people. HIGHLIGHT: My dad called me later just to say he loved the play. I rule!
- The Big family party at my Dad’s Cousin’s house. HIGHLIGHT: BestNieceEver was the hit of the party. LOWLIGHT: My Great Uncle cried– he has lost 3 siblings and is so depressed… and no one really knew what to do.
- After I got back I turned around and went back out to see Urbanblight and some of our old friends from high school. HIGHLIGHT: It was great to talk to them. LOWLIGHT: I wanted more time, and one of our friends seems particularly depressed.
- Sunday was my friends J&J’s daughter’s 13th birthday. HIGHLIGHT: The little time with them I had before running off to the next thing. LOWLIGHT: The holiday was really beginning to wear on my at this point.
- After that party I was off to a reunion of sorts for my high school at a local bar. HIGHLIGHT: Talking to people I really haven’t talked to for ten years. LOWLIGHT: Wishing my Life’s Transition wasn’t the main story I had to tell.
- Went back to the office and did a bunch of stuff I wasn’t paid for and won’t be sufficiently appreciated for. Cynical? Maybe. But it was my choice and I still feel if I hadn’t done it I’d be worried about those things.
- Sleep deprived and barely functional I did something truly crazy. I had the kids I used to babysit– now 12 and 15!– to sleepover. We watched THREE episodes of Quantum Leap, played Scrabble and Apples to Apples, and I somehow managed to stay awake to just past midnight. HIGHLIGHT: They fell in love with my favorite TV show.
- After the girls left I fell back asleep for several hours, despite really needing to tie up a bunch of loose ends at the (former) office of mine. OldBoss sent me an email officially announcing my Replacement, who had confidentially told me of their offer last week. Still sorting out how I feel about all that.
- Went off to a Holiday Dinner for a scholarship foundation that gave me an award in high school. HIGHLIGHT: Good food. LOWLIGHT: Not really having much to talk about to anyone, except the kid I used to babysit– who’s now more than a foot taller than me and in seminary school. I feel old.
- And now, back at my parents’, where BestNieceEver is sleeping over as well.
So yeah. Kinda tired. Somehow supposed to go to two parties TOMORROW too. We’ll see if the weather– and my stamina– cooperates.
It’s been awhile, mostly because I forgot my password and was too lazy to do much about it– but I wanted to organize myself at least to say Merry Christmas to everyone. My Christmas was quietly lovely and hopeful despite a stubborn cold and a bit of uncertainty. BestNieceEver loves her wagon and I am so glad I got it for her. I spent the day at my parents’, waiting around (by sleeping, mostly) for Sister and Brother-in-Law, with baby in tow, to show up (they said 11AM– try 6PM…) but once they finally arrived it was a lovely time. Later in the evening I went over to Cousin’s house. Cousin broke up with his fiance a couple months ago and is having a Blue Christmas, so I did my best to cheer him up and then slept over on the futon he inherited from me back when they first moved in together.
The Christmas show is wrapping up this weekend so its my annual time of nostalgia and emotional wreck-ed-ness. There was a guy I thought could have been a source of flirtation but I didn’t work hard enough at it, and he moves back across the country after tomorrow so oh well.
My faith that my Work is going to get better has been tenuous at best. I am burned out.
There are stories I’m a bit too tired to tell, but the short version is that I’ve driven through some melancholy this past couple months, the Doc is changing my medication and we’ll see where that takes me. I am anxious to rediscover a happy person inside me again. Through it all I have been grateful for Christmas, with it’s random joyousness rubbing off on me here and there. I needed it and have embraced it as much as I have been able to.
My Christmas tree is down, although it’s pieces are strewn about the floor– it is definitely weird to have this big window open in my living room now.
Every February since college I have helped out, in one way or another, with my friend H’s dance concert, generally stage managing. So that was this weekend. We have a pretty decent system down, with the same crew throwing everything together under very limited time, and it’s something I do that makes me feel like I’m a part of something that matters. I like the art of it, and I enjoy the challenge of calling the show each year. Like the Christmas show I’ve been doing for so many shows, it’s something that at this point is above and beyond what I have to do, whereas there were times in the past when it was a significant source of income for me at this time of the year. Don’t get me wrong– I could use the money, and I will– but I have a full time job now so there’s no way to get around that neither of these events will be my main focus when they are going on, if I continue to do them each year. I struggled a lot this year with whether to take them on, and whether these particular projects are just another symptom of my work addiction. The simple answer is, yes, they are. They are both JUST ONE more thing (among all my JUST ONE more things) that gives me a modicum of satisfaction and challenge while straining my ability to balance my actual job with the rest of my life. And yet, I still do them, and at the end of the day I feel glad that I did– or glad for certain moments of gratification, not necessarily glad to be overworked/overtired.
In both cases I’m find these days it is not the work itself but the time outside of the work, the connection to people that makes me grateful to be doing these things. It is nice to be part of something artistic, and part of a community that cares about each other. It is nice to have people I genuinely want to spend time with, play pool with, or get dinner with. I guess it just highlights that I don’t have enough of those things in my life, and somehow chasing projects became a means to getting them here and there. Certainly there is also the “This-Is-A-Favor” aspect as well– wanting to do something for people who have done things for me in the past. But there is also the serious workaholic issue of “No-One-Can-Do-This-As-Well-As-I-Would” mentality– which I successfully impress on those around me so that once THEY believe it too they will feel obligated to manipulate me with guilt should I ever come to my senses.
February is the time when winter is really here and the holiday lights are down, where its cold every morning and my thoughts are more wrapped up inside myself. Sometimes I wish I was one of the mammals that hibernates…
One more show this afternoon and I am done. Tomorrow night is the season premiere of 24. My little performers got me flowers tonight, which I generally protest against (at least against the public displays generally associated with them), but they are pretty beautiful and make my apartment look downright classy. Monday is a for-real actual day off, complete with friends over for ice cream sundaes. Yay Martin Luther King! And Ucellina was right, Claritin is freaking awesome and is the first thing yet to truly kick my hives’ ass.
So many reasons to celebrate. One way I plan on honoring the occasion of my impending relief (short term or not) is by blowing my accumulated $100 (!) in Barnes and Noble gift cards, along with another gift card for Olive Garden, as soon as possible. Any advice as to how I ought to direct these magical funds?
My strategy for tech week survival has been to take every stolen moment of free time and remember every detail of the good part of my holidays, very much in the obsessive style of having an eighth grade crush. So, in that vein I ask, however belatedly, how WERE your holidays anyhow? Get any good loot?
I got a lot of good clothes, actually, something I hadn’t said anything about but was rather desperately in need of. A lot of the families of kids I work with got me gift cards, especially to book stores which was pretty cool. My cooking expert friend put together a lovely little cookbook for me that totally impressed me. People gave me a lot of photographs and cards this year which were also much appreciated. I also got 24 Season 5 and gave Seasons 1 and 2 of Six Feet Under, of which I fully intend on insisting on viewing rights. Other presents that I gave that I was especially proud of– a copy of 1984 for one great seventh grader, Barack O’Bama’s The Audacity of Hope for my mom, a video gameing magazine subscription to my brother-in-law in that hopes that he’ll actually read something, a handmade calendar for a special friend, What to Expect the First Year for my sister– in the hopes that my newest relative-to-be makes it through in one piece, the best baby book ever in the hopes that they’ll get read to when they finally do arrive, and a package of good ‘n’ plenties for my dad– our little tradition.
Christmas was sweet and low-key this year for me, and I really appreciated that. My finances limited the amount of spending I did, but I was able to get some very special people some gifts that came from my heart, and that meant a lot to me. My sister bought me some new clothes for work, which I had been sorely needing but couldn’t afford. My apartment is clean for once and that inspired me to have people over for ice cream and Christmas cheer– I don’t invite people over often enough I think. I’ve gotten and given a lot of kisses, chocolate and otherwise the past couple weeks, something else I should be doing more of. There has been a lot of music and reflection in my past couple weeks, and plenty of sugary cookies to flavor the energy of my life. And while I have some trepidations about some details of embarking into 2007, it has been nice to focus on the rest of my life for a little while.
So the holiday show that has taken up some of my time has come to a close, and I’m mourning my friends’ moves to new projects, the growing-up of four great kids in the show, and the impending reality of going back to real work very soon. I was fairly happily drunk last night, two mudslides– which with my pathetic tolerance is a few steps away from a coma. It was a night to be drinking.
If I drink at all tonight, supposedly THE night to be drinking, it will be very little. I’ve never had much affection for New Year’s Eve the way some people do. I have two invitations to spend quiet evenings at friends’ houses, I imagine I will end up at one or the other, watching videos and eating pretzels late into the night.
2006 has been quite the year. Moving, attacking my depression, marrying off my sister, surviving (and occasionally thriving) at a job that I only recently felt like I fully knew how to do, two funerals, CollegeBestFriend’s move, a couple nice crushes, a car accident, and my first Christmas tree of my own. And that is just some of it. I hope 2007 has a little less struggle and a little more joy, but I have had a fondness for this year and all it’s roller coasters. Last night someone very special told me that I was the best human being he knew and that I should be impressed becasue he knew a lot of human beings. Pretty tall compliment. I’m so lucky to have so much, and to have connected so deeply with so many. Tonight I toast to the privilege of having so much to be grateful for.
God (or whatever else that is good that you believe in) bless us every one.
I spent my Christmas Eve as I have for the past five years, in a theatre assisting on a show. I love it every year. Christmas Eve was never much of an event for my family, and this seems to get me in the mood. Everyone on the cast and crew seems different on Christmas Eve, a lot of people are truly more alive– maybe having such a crowd of people looking forward to a day off with family in one place contributes to the energy. Little gifts are often exchanged and everyone is genuinely happy just to have been thought of.
I love giving gifts. Sometimes I think of something particularly awesome for someone in my life and it becomes a mission all autumn to make it happen. Sometimes I struggle to think of even one thing that my family can use, while I’ve found something amazing for someone who I don’t have any obligation to buy for. The fact is, that so many of us have so much, what we really need is to be thought of and to spend time with each other. But there is something that makes my heart melt in the watching someone truly touched by a gift.
Are you giving any good gifts this year? How do you figure out what to give people?
It is, quite possibly, the most beautiful Christmas tree ever. I was raised to be modest, so that’s what the quite possibly is for. It’s beautiful because it’s the first one I’ve ever had all to myself and I decorated it exactly the way I wanted it. It’s artificial and pre-lit (which feels like cheating but oh well). My apartment has a GIGANTIC amount of green in it, so all of the ornaments are red and silver which look amazing. And when it was all set I took a whole box of silver icicles and smothered it in it. When I was a kid that was my favorite part of tree decorating was throwing icicles all around the tree. I believe this was my mother’s LEAST favorite part of tree decorating, well at least post-tree cleaning up. But it doesn’t matter now cuz this tree is ALL MINE and I make the rules. Since I’m such an expert on Christmas trees now I hereby entreat all of you to find a package of silver icicles and toss them onto your tree or your friend’s tree or some stranger’s tree as soon as possible. Don’t throw them on a menorah though because I think they might be slightly flammable. But if you have no other option just toss some all over your floor, since that’s where it all lands eventually anyway. And don’t clean it up until at least New Year’s, preferably Groundhog’s Day. Or Saint Patrick’s Day is even better.
Trust me. It’s good for the soul and you’ll thank me later.