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It has been almost two months since my last blog post, which is rather unacceptable, I know. It’s not like I have been busy since leaving my job. I’m happier, that’s true. I can actually smile and laugh when I am with friends – and I can actually see my friends now! Alex and I go up to visit about every other weekend or so. The other weekends, I usually drive down to Alex’s house. That’s usually the only time I drive anywhere.

But let me back up. Let me tell you what I have been doing in my re-unemployment time.

In February, shortly after I left my job, I went to visit my friend Jennifer at her school. It was the first time I had ever driven down there, and it was the first time in about four or three years that I had visited her there. I met some of her friends, played with her kitty, Sadie, we ate Indian food, went to a local yarn store, and saw a band Jennifer likes and she’s friends with. It was a very good visit.

Valentine’s Day came and there was a power outage that affected the whole town. We were in the dark for two and a half hours. Mom was grumbling a lot about it, but I just read by candlelight during that time. It was good that the power came back when it did, though. It was quite cold.

Also that month, Alex and I celebrated our fourth anniversary of being a couple. I gave him a pair of hand-knit socks and an autographed photograph of Clint Eastwood. Yeah, I know, I’m the coolest girlfriend ever. It’s funny, because it simultaneously seems like it hasn’t been that long since we’ve started dating, and yet it also feels like we know each other so well and feel so comfortable being with each other that it feels like we have been dating much longer. Or at least I think it feels like that. We don’t get to have the closeness a lot of couples get in four years, what with the two of us basically having a long-distance relationship for the past two years or so. It’s tough. But we make do, and hopefully, once I get a job, that distance problem will be solved.

My brothers David and Alex both had their birthdays in the past two months. Alex is nine now, and David is twelve. It makes me feel old. It’s unbelievable how quick they both have grown, and how much I have missed of their lives. If I could fix that, I would, but it is one of those circumstances beyond my control. It isn’t that I haven’t tried, though. I might be going to see them at the end of April – that is, if I am still unemployed. Part of me wants to see them, but there’s the other part of me that really needs an income.

In March, I cat-sit for Jennifer one morning and was so happy to play with Sadie. Then, during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, my mom was visiting a friend in Missouri and I had the house to myself. I went up with Alex that Friday night so he could play poker and I could have some time hanging out with Sarah and Scott. We went back home the next day, built a giant blanket fort in my living room, made chicken piccata for dinner, went to Good’s for ice cream, and then watched Harry Brown to cap off the night. We actually slept in the blanket fort, and it was rather comfortable. After Alex left the next morning, I made brownies, did laundry, and hung out in my blanket fort the whole day reading Looking for Alaska and watching The Walking Dead marathon.

Mom and I went to see The Hunger Games movie the first weekend it came out. I loved the books and finally convinced her to read them. I think the movie was all right. It was as good as a PG-13 movie adaptation of the books would be. I felt it was too fast-paced in the beginning, and I hated the shaky camera. It made my head hurt, and it’s hard to focus on what you’re seeing sometimes if the camera is whipping back and forth so much. I did like the cast, though, and there was at least one moment where I cried.

Then, last weekend Alex and I went up to see friends and we had a good time hanging out, drinking hard cider/beer, eating pizza, playing Fiasco and Cards against humanity, and watching Two-Headed Shark Attack. All in all, a good weekend. I always look forward to the weekend, though some people tease me because they believe that being unemployed means I get a weekend every day. It’s true that I spend a lot of time knitting, reading, and watching stuff on Netflix, but I also search for and apply to jobs every day, I write (in order to hone my skills and hopefully make something of it), and I try to make things better around the house for my mom by cooking and cleaning for her. I’ve also had at least two interviews in the past month. It hasn’t amounted to anything, but I am hoping that sometime soon, it will.

Well, that’s really all that’s going on. I’m really just back where I was a year ago – the same old, same old.

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It has been eight days since my last bout of uncontrollable crying. So… progress! I am also happy to report that this is not the result of any prescription, but is completely natural. I have not felt sad. I’ve felt a little angry because of some things that are happening at my job, but not sad.

It has been a good past week. Last Sunday, I got to visit with Jennifer and her newly adopted kitty, Sadie, before Jennifer had to return to school. It was so great to see her, because I hadn’t since my Labor Day party. We just sat and talked for a few hours (and I fawned over her Sadie because I really wish I was in the position where I could adopt an animal right now), and I think that’s some of what I needed – just some social interaction.

Alex came up last Monday after he got off work and stayed the night. I made turkey broccoli fettuccine and garlic bread, we watched television together, played Words with Friends on his phone, and ran out to get Blizzards from Dairy Queen. I accidentally fell asleep on the couch with him, and I ended up going to bed at 10:00. Again, I was sort of lame and we didn’t do much, but all I needed was to be around him, and I felt better.

Tuesday, my day was pretty normal. I hung out in my pajamas, watched television, and knitted. I laid down for a nap around1:30, aiming to sleep until 4:30. I woke up at 5:00 when Mom came home. I had enough time, though, to take my shower and get dressed.

We had dinner at IHOP, where I had pumpkin praline pancakes with eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Then, Mom and I went to the movie theater to see The Muppets. The clerk said we had missed the first twelve minutes because there is a discrepancy between the times on the mall website and a normal Google search, apparently. We still took the chance (and got a discount on our tickets), and it was perfect. We didn’t miss any of the movie, just the previews and the Pixar short before it. There were only two other people in the theater. And the movie? It was magical. I would say that if you are a person who has ever enjoyed the Muppets, you would enjoy the new movie. They’ve done a wonderful job of mixing the old material with the new, the cameos were great (Neil Patrick Harris, Alan Alda, and Jim Parsons FTW) and there were several times where I was in a laughing fit. I am certain that I was grinning from ear to ear the entire film.

At the end of the movie, there’s a bit that might make you tear up a little. Not because it’s sad, but because it’s such a display of how the Muppets will always be in the hearts of those who grew up with them in their households (like my mom and myself), and there is room for them in the hearts of generations to come. I could hear my mom sniffling next to me, and I reached out to pat her leg, as I understood what she was feeling. Then I shed a few tears myself, because I felt like it was okay to. These weren’t tears of frustration, pain, and sorrow like they have been, but tears of love, for beloved characters I was glad to welcome back

The rest of my week has been pretty decent. I’ve wrapped the majority of my presents and put them under the tree (why yes, I am an overachiever), Mom and I have figured out what Christmas goodies we are making, and then we took our Christmas card picture. Yes, that’s right. We have a bunch of Christmas cards with photo frames, and since this might be the last Christmas my mom and I have while living under the same roof (as I’m hoping to move out next year), we took a Christmas picture together to put in our cards for the first time EVER. Yeah, this Christmas season has been full of weird twists this year, and it’s not over yet.

My nights at work have been okay. We haven’t been too busy. I loathe Thursdays and Fridays, but once I get over that little hump, I only have to work Saturday night until I’m free. This past Saturday night was a nightmare. We were not only full, but a lot of my co-workers on other shifts neglect to pass messages on to other shifts, or they don’t pay attention and it trickles down to our shift. I was so glad when my relief came in on Sunday morning. It was one of those mornings I was surprised I made it home because I was so tired, and I’m surprised I just didn’t lose control of myself because it was just such a long night.

When I came home, Mom just pulled monkey bread muffins out of the oven. Even though I probably shouldn’t have, I ate three and then went to bed. I woke up in the afternoon, got ready, and Alex showed up. We ran to Goodwill because I was trying to find something for a project with no success, and when we returned to my house, we had dinner. We didn’t do much, but I did have him try on the sock that I’ve been knitting for him and finally figured out how I can make them fit him. I will try finishing that up today so maybe I can actually finish the pair of socks before our anniversary – or, even better, before the end of this year!

Alex and I cuddled and played one of the games we used to play when we were first dating – a line of questions. We went camping once and walked around in the woods, just tossing questions back and forth about our favorite childhood memories and books and Thanksgiving traditions. This time, we asked Christmas-themed questions, even though we knew some of the answers already. However, I think we were meant to be when I asked him what his favorite Christmas movie was and he said that it was Love, Actually though he also likes the original animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My sentiments exactly.

In the past few years, Christmas has made me miserable with everything we’ve had to do and all the presents I’ve had to make, but this year, I think it has brought me a sense of comfort that I’ve needed for a while. I look forward to the next few weeks full of Secret Santa trades (OMG SOCIALIZING WITH MY FRIENDS!), actually allowing Christmas music in my car, holiday baking, and finishing up the rest of my gift buying/making and wrapping. Before I know it, I will hopefully be in Lexington, celebrating with my family.

This girl’s not a Scrooge this year, that’s for sure.

Yesterday evening around 6:30, Alex and I met up at a shopping center that’s halfway for us. It has a lot of things to do, but we didn’t do much. We met in the bookstore, and we browsed a little, but didn’t buy anything. We walked around the whole center, getting a little wet from rain, but for the most part the weather was good – perhaps a little windy, though. The wind definitely gave my hair the “windswept look,” so much so that often it was in my face.

We walked to the theater, but Alex didn’t want to see anything. It was probably a good idea, though I’m still itching to see Bridesmaids (I don’t want to go alone – I’ve done that before, and I just feel weird), and I’m sort of interested in Super 8. We ended up at Paradise Bakery, and we had something to drink and – more importantly – cookies. Those are really good cookies.

Alex and I attempted to find something else to do, and did a little driving around. It was just nice to be with him, since I don’t know if I’ll see him again this week before Sunday’s festivities for Thom’s birthday. If I do, it will probably be a similar mini-date like last night. I pointed out to him last night as we were saying goodbye that it was like we were starting over, as if we had just met and we wanted to do small dates just to get to know each other all over again. And yet, we’ve been dating for over three years, and we weren’t doing too much talking as we were walking around – just holding hands, enjoying our time together.

I came home and Mom and I were going to watch Bottle Shock, but the DVD we got from Netflix was badly scratched and we couldn’t watch it without stops and skips. We watched a few episodes of True Blood instead, and I tried to work on my sock, but somehow I really messed up the heel flap and turning the heel, and though I tried to go back and fix it, I ended up just unraveling the whole thing. I was mad. You would think that having done a pattern all the way through before wouldn’t be such a problem the second time around.

I woke up earlier today, and I’ve already done some job searching that left me with no good results. Bummer. I’ve got to do some working out and cleaning and reading to do today, too. I think I might finally attempt to get my real bedroom in order; I’ve been sleeping in the guest bedroom because the bed is bigger, but since my grandparents are coming this weekend, I’ll be kicked out.

So many things to do, so much time – so little motivation.

The rest of my short trip to Lexington was great. It was a struggle for me to leave.

Thursday, Alex, David, and I jumped on the trampoline and played outside, and then I got the guts to drive around Lexington, so we went to the park. We had a snack, then flew kites. I made them play on the playground and get some energy out, though David argued with me the entire time, since he’s not the “imagining” type like Alex is – who I had to brush woodchips off and wash dirt off of before he got back in my car.

On Friday, we made Cookies and Cream Bars. Alex and David never get into the kitchen, can you believe that? David wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and I made him do it himself while I supervised. He’s eleven. He should be able to manage that by now…

The three of us went to the children’s museum, and it was a lot of fun. It’s small, and it’s not like, say, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, but it was still entertaining and the boys enjoyed it.

Not much else went on with my trip – just a lot of relaxation and spending time with my family.

I also finished knitting my giant squid, Squidot. He’s definitely an attention getter.

I drove back on Sunday and stopped by Alex’s house for dinner. It was nice to see him, and it broke up my trip a little bit. Then I came home for a day.

I went back up to Muncie because I had an interview on that Tuesday, then another the next day. It looks like I have a job, though I don’t know when it will be starting, since I have to wait for the company to get all its new hires in at once. I just have to hang out and work on getting things in order at home until then.

Mom’s had me running errands, I stuffed and mailed all of my graduation invitations, I had doctor and dentist appointments, and I’ve seen Alex a few times, too. Mom likes having me home because I also cook for her. Funny story about that.

Friday, April 15th, I made salmon with a couscous dish on the side. It was tasty, and impressive, considering it was the first time I have cooked salmon. I can’t be certain as to whether it was my first time eating it or not. We tried to go to bed early, since we had to be up at 5:00 to go to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. However, I couldn’t sleep. I was worried about my future, about my life, and then… I started coughing. I couldn’t breathe easily, I was itchy, and I felt a slight puffiness in my face. Mom had to make a 1:00 a.m. Benedryl run. All ended up well in the end, but apparently, I might be allergic to salmon, but I don’t care. I think I’m just going to make sure I have Benedryl in my purse wherever I go, because I’m getting sick and tired of surprise allergy attacks.

Even though we only had about four hours of sleep, Mom and I went to the Race for the Cure. I had never done it before, but I think that 1) it is an important cause and 2) I needed the exercise. It was bitter cold and rainy the whole day, but it was still fun. Seeing the survivors in their parade was inspiring, and the walk was fun. We went with Peggy and Mike, and I met Peggy’s daughter and son (though he wasn’t at the walk). It was nice – again, despite the cold – and I think I’m going to participate in it next year, too.

Also, there were Ghostbusters doing the walk. I forgot to mention that. That was cool. I’ll get a picture up when I can of that.

After the walk, we went out for lunch. Mom and I made it back home by 3:00. I was in bed again by 3:30, and slept for a while.

Nothing big happened last week, and then I went up to Muncie last weekend to enjoy the company of others. It was a good weekend. I watched Tideland with Sarah, did some knitting, watched Tron: Legacy with Alex, played some Telephone Pictionary, and went bowling for Tanner’s birthday.

This week, I’m working on cleaning my room and preparing it for the return of my stuff from the apartment. I’ll be living there during finals week on practically nothing, but I wanted to spend time with people before graduation.

Perhaps the most exciting bit of news is that I graduate in 10 days!

I’ve been long overdue for an update – a real update, not the “oh woe is me” blurb I posted a few days ago. However, the timeline has gotten quite hazy for me, so I will try my best to relate what has happened to me in the past month or so.

You know the beginning – March 18, I left Central for good. I went back to P-town. I formally withdrew from my student teaching courses, and then freaked the hell out. It took me about five days before I realized that my entire life, I’ve always thought I knew what I wanted to do. Turns out, I don’t. I would have been miserable as a public school teacher, unless I was in a district that reflected my small-town upbringing. Plus, I had the added pressure from my mother, who told me when I was in middle school and high school that I could not make a living as a poet/writer… I understand her intentions to encourage me to have a more profitable profession, but it was rather disappointing to hear.

Enough of that. Speed up to April 5th. To be completely honest, I don’t remember anything notable between March 18th and April 5th. A lot of recuperation, really. But then, on April 5th, Alex, Tanner, and I went to see Electric Six play at Birdy’s. It was so nice that they were performing only about an hour and a half away this time, rather than three and a half hours. I managed to drag Alex and Tanner into the crowd with me, and I finagled my way up to the front of the stage. We met some people who were also at the Covington show, including a couple. The woman asked me, “When did you first hear about Electric Six?” and I said, “Well, I was in eighth grade when Fire came out…”

She said I made her feel old. Haha.

It was even better than the last show. They played “Pink Flamingos” and “Clusterfuck!” and I went nuts. It would have been even better had people not decided to start moshing during “Gay Bar.” I know it is one of Electric Six’s best known songs (besides “Danger! High Voltage!” of course), but moshing? Really?

At least I didn’t almost die this time, and we got out a little after midnight, compared the Covington show. I swear, if their ticket prices are always this cheap, I will always go see Electric Six when they come to town.

I drove Tanner back up to school since it was a Tuesday night, and then I crashed at my house. Mom woke me up before she left so she could see me for a little bit. I smelled and felt like I had smoked an entire pack of cigarettes the night before, and my legs ached so much from all the dancing I did, I wanted to amputate them. I still had a smile on my face, though!

Later that day, I drove down to Lexington. Three and a half hours to my dad’s. It was my first solo road-trip, and my first time seeing the new house after Dad, Cindy, David and Alex moved during the summer before my sophomore year. My trip was long overdue. My brothers were on spring break, so I decided I should come down and hang out with them. I made it there by the early evening on Wednesday.

After dinner, we went to get dessert at a frozen yogurt place called Orange Leaf, which I had never heard of before but was immediately smitten with it. When we were leaving and I was singing the praises of delicious frozen yogurt that I pay for buy the ounce and mix flavors and toppings when my little brother, Alex, said, “If you like it so much, that means you’ll visit more often, right?” Cute kid. The story gets better.

Dad and I took a separate vehicle and went to Half-Price Books. Laugh at me all you want, but I had never been to a Half-Price Books before. I wanted EVERYTHING. Luckily, I kept myself in check. But I still wanted it all. I ended up getting a knitting book (Pretty in Punk), Ender’s Game, Something Wicked This Way Comes, a collection of Rudyard Kipling horror tales, and a live Depeche Mode CD I didn’t have (Songs of Faith and Devotion Live). Heaven.

We came home, and Cindy said that Alex had spent the car ride back creating a plan for me. He said that I could come live with them, since there is a spare bedroom, and I could either work in a school or a library or go to school at University of Kentucky, and then I could spend more time with them.

My eight-year-old brother came up with this. At first I laughed about how cute it was. But later that night, I looked up University of Kentucky; they have a library science program, and were accepting applications. My only problem was that, since my original plan did not include graduate school, I hadn’t taken the GRE, so I will need to take that sometime in the next few months and then apply for next year, as well as apply for a graduate assistantship.

But what matters here is that it is a viable plan, and I’m considering it. It sounds a lot better than anything else I’ve tried to figure out for myself. It will probably be a year or two before this plan comes to fruition, and it will be a greater distance for me and Alex to deal with in our relationship, but I think I’d be happier and stronger for it. I’ve missed a lot of my brothers’ lives, and of my dad’s life. It might be about time for me to change my scenery, anyhow.

I drove back to the apartment yesterday evening. It was the hardest trip I’ve ever had to make. Even though it only took an hour, I felt so torn apart having to go back to the stress of school. I love my mom. We’re close. I had the best break ever, and it hurt me to go. I think we both cried when it was time to say goodbye. I put on David Bowie and sobbed during the whole trip. I try to be strong. But I love that feeling that I have when I’m home, when I have someone who cares a damn about me, when I actually have the time and will to make a delicious dinner not for myself, but for someone else. When there’s that love. So coming back to an apartment where nothing outside my bedroom feels like mine (someone used my butter while I was gone – and I had a label on it, for crying out loud!) and I feel I can’t be myself isn’t exactly ideal.

I guess the good thing is that today is the beginning of the last semester I will ever have to take as an undergraduate (hopefully). I am student teaching, and am terrified. I doubt myself as a teacher. I think I’ll be okay, but it’s still pretty nerve-wracking. I’ll be starting my days at Central tomorrow. I just wish I didn’t feel so anxious.

All student teachers had orientation today. We spent most of the day (from about 8:30 am to 11:45 am) getting lectured about conceptual framework, timelines, expectations, portfolios, and about twenty minutes on blood-borne pathogens. Exciting, I know. I sat with Tim and Rachel, two people I know from other classes in my content area. It was good to be with some familiar faces, though it’s probably the last time I’ll see them – except maybe graduation.

After lunch, we met with our University Supervisors. Johanna and I have the same one since we’re at the same school. Josh was also there, I had him in my EDPSY class. A lot of people in my practicum, since they have local schools, also have the same one.
I might have to quit my job, after all, though. I don’t want to fail student teaching. I know my shifts will only be on the weekends, but I still need to put my teaching experience (and my sanity/health)  first. We’ll see. I’m going to give it a try. I don’t think my University Supervisor approves of me working, though. I don’t think he thinks I’m serious about what I’ve chosen to do as a profession. He’s wrong. I care, but I need to have some sort of income. I’m still basically on my own.

The only thing that actually bothered me  was that he began a new topic by saying, “Have a boyfriend? Girlfriend? Dump them.” Of course, he later clarified that by saying, make sure your partner realizes that this is who you are, and they approve of your profession – if they don’t accept you as a teacher now, will they ever? I’m glad he clarified that. I mean, I understand what he’s saying. Some partners are needy and will whine if you have to spend time making lesson plans, grading papers, or researching ways to improve instruction in the classroom. But then there are the ones who will keep you sane.

Let me tell you about my one. My love. Last night, before going to bed, I had the sick, fluttering feeling in my stomach that I’ve had for a while. I’m super anxious – I’m almost wondering if I truly need to go on medication to control it. But I texted Alex one simple phrase: “I’m scared about this semester.” I’m sad that he won’t be near me for yet another semester, but it might be for the best right now, though, considering all I’d want to do is to be with him, and then it’d end up distracting me, like my university supervisor said. But let me share with you about what Alex sent back to me – a two page text about how much he loves me and how I’m strong and how we’ll get through this together.

This afternoon, he sent me a text telling me he hopes that today has been going well and that he can’t wait to see me this weekend.

Though I’m still nervous, I’m glad that I don’t have to be alone, and that I have someone who loves and supports me as I go through this incredible shift in my role from student to teacher.

Happy New Year! It’s unbelievable that yes, another year has gone by. Part of me is saying, “Hey, slow down, world, let me enjoy my time!” and the other part is saying, “Slow down after my graduation! I want graduation to be here as soon as possible!” No, but really – I’m 22 now. It’s weird. I mean, not like it matters much, anymore. I think the only memorable birthday after 21 is probably 25 – because isn’t that the age when you can rent a car? Anyway, it’s still weird whenever you turn another year older. Sometimes, I slip up and say I’m the wrong age – not because I want to lie about it, but because I forget how fast time has passed.

Whatever. Not griping. I just didn’t want to have a big celebration. I didn’t even want to do it last year, but Alex thought that since I was turning 21, it would be important for me to have a birthday party.

What happened was that Alex came up to visit, we had fancy chicken-cranberry-Brie pizza and taught my mom how to play Settlers of Catan. Much to my chagrin, Mom beat us. I was sincerely hoping I’d have a chance of winning a game.

Scott came up after his shift, and then we proceeded to get drunk. We had those silly cracker things that have toys in them, and we wore the crepe paper crowns from them all night. We watched the ball drop, toasted with Champagne, and we had birthday cake – homemade triple-layer funfetti cake with buttercream frosting.

Oooh, doesn’t that look lovely? Yes, it was definitely as good as it looked.

Of course, something went a little awry. We popped our second round of crackers, and I began to feel sick. Not nausea – it wasn’t related to my drinking, surprisingly. No, I’ve had this feeling before – when having an allergy attack. I’ve had two notable allergy attacks (to some sort of spice, we’re thinking, but we really can’t be for sure). In the past during this attacks, my eyelids and lips have swelled up and I can’t breathe, among other things that happen to my body. In this case, I definitely couldn’t breathe. I kept coughing and wheezing, but there was really nothing I could do except drink water and struggle through it.

That is how my 2011 began. Despite the fact I couldn’t breathe, it was good. I got to celebrate with the love of my life, my mother, and one of my good friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Like I said, we had cake, and I opened up the majority of my gifts. I only opened one of Alex’s, and saved the other one for the next day. The one I did open that night was a book – a graphic novel, pop-up version of Dracula. It is seriously cool, and as weird as it seems, very fitting for me. I had never seen it before, and it made me laugh so much I was gasping for breath, thanks to the allergy/asthma attack. Additionally, Scott got me this terrible, not even considered B-movie called The Corpse Grinders II. Oh, dear. My friends do know me well for my fondness for bad movies.

We went to bed shortly after. I was still sick, and nearly frightened that I might die in my sleep – but too inebriated to stay awake.

I woke up feeling better. We had a nice breakfast and then bummed around for a while. Scott left around noon, I think. I opened up my other gift from Alex – The Third Season of The Venture Bros. We watched two episodes and then he left.

My birthday remained quiet. I read more of The World According to Garp; I had been reading it all break and not getting much accomplished. I began a new goal for the year – to add to my 101 Goals, or well, to help some of it – and that is to write each day. I’ve picked up my habit of writing at 750 Words again. Let’s hope it lasts.

Mom and I watched When Harry Met Sally and Love Actually after dinner – which was spaghetti. I felt a little kid again. It was just nice to relax, though.

Yesterday, Mom and I went to see Black Swan. It was much more compelling than I originally thought. It was equal parts beautiful, insane, and terrifying. After dinner, around 9:00, I went over to Jennifer’s and hung out with her, Austin, Nick, Krista, Robin, and Chris. It was nice to see everyone again. I enjoy the fact that now I can actually go visit my friends and have a lot more freedom thanks to my driver’s license and car. Just think about all that I had missed before! Anyway, we played Telephone Pictionary, and it was hilarious! I was reduced to tears laughing so hard.

I came home around 2:00 am and had a slice of funfetti cake. Because I could.

Today was another quiet day. I finished reading The World According to Garp, finally. I have many more books to finish reading before I go back to school. Only six days left until my return. I will enjoy it as much as I can.

I have been caught in a holiday whirlwind for the past few days, though I’m sure many people have been, too. I’ve enjoyed it all, though. No major accidents, no tears, all good.

I drove to my (paternal) grandparents’ house in Richmond on Thursday. I made it there without a problem, blasting Devo all the way. I was the first family member to arrive, and I got to spend about an hour with my grandparents before my dad, Cindy, and my brothers showed up. I went out shopping with my grandma, dad, and Cindy, and when we returned, my aunt Cathy, uncle Rob, and cousins Kaity and Jack had arrived, and my aunt Jeanne, uncle Steve, and cousins Christopher, Matthew, and Brian had come over for dinner (they live close by). We had spaghetti, and it was a scramble for chairs.

As usual, I slept in the living room with my cousin Kaity. I don’t usually pull rank, but I sort of did this year. I hate sleeping on air mattresses, and I didn’t want to sleep on the floor, so I called the couch – which isn’t nearly as comfortable as one would hope, but it’s still a place to sleep. I said, “Merry Couch-mas” to Kaity when we were going to bed, due to our past Christmases; once, we shared one giant wraparound couch with my cousin Brian on Christmas Eve and that was interesting.

On Christmas Eve, we did a lot of hanging around the house, watching television and talking. I worked on a scarf for my mom. We went to Christmas Eve mass, and everything went well, though I started feeling sick because I went nine hours without having anything to eat. We came home and had beef and noodles for dinner.

In previous years on Christmas Eve, Kaity and I have been kicked out of the living room so last-minute wrapping of presents can take place and the adults can hang out without being bothered by the kids. We usually sit around, watching movies or something. Well, this year I had a bright idea – why don’t we go out and see a movie instead? I had been itching to see TRON: Legacy, since I bought the soundtrack a week ago – it’s effin’ amazing! Kaity hadn’t seen it, so we pitched the idea to our parents. They agreed. So after dinner, I got directions to the movie theater, and the two of us got to escape the craziness for a while. I even got to play a little Electric Six for her.

The theater was nearly empty and we got our choice of seats.  It was great. And then the movie – oh, the movie! I LOVED IT. I know it has its flaws, I really do (Penny Arcade pointed many out), but I can appreciate the film for what it is, and how it relates to the first film. Even if the plot isn’t the best, I think people can at least agree that it is visually-striking and the soundtrack is totally boss. I feel like the geekiest person in my family for how excited I still am about this film, but whatever. We spent a major part of Christmas Day watching and discussing the original Star Wars movies – we are a family of geeks.

After the movie, we left the theater to find it was snowing. The big, fluffy flakes were gorgeous. We got back home around 10:00, but I stayed in my car to talk to Alex. When I got back inside, I found everyone had gone to bed except Kaity, who had just changed into her pajamas. In addition to this, I was left without a blanket and pillow. I had to wake the little boys up (my brothers and my cousin Jack) in order to find at least one blanket to cover up with, but I was still left without a pillow. It was hard to sleep. When I was trying to get David to go back to bed, he told me, “Don’t you think that tonight is just the longest night of your life?” I know we were thinking of different reasons, but I couldn’t have agreed more. I didn’t sleep much at all.

I was up early, too. By 7:00, everyone was up and I was seated at the dining room table with a cup of coffee. We were unwrapping gifts by 8:00. I think this Christmas was perfect. My family was happy with the gifts I gave them, and I was happy with mine. Dad and Cindy got me a GPS so I’ll stop getting lost when I go places I’ve never been or aren’t familiar with. That was a nice surprise. I also got The Fantastic Mr. Fox (the movie), and a bunch of books on my Amazon Wish List I haven’t read before. I have a lot of reading to do. I also got gift cards and money to help support the growth of my “professional wardrobe” since I have very little to choose from when I go into the schools. If all I could wear were t-shirts and awesome graphic/band tees, I’d be set, but sadly, that’s not the case.

We had our traditional Christmas breakfast after opening gifts – pigs-in-blankets and scrambled eggs. Dinner was two hams, a turkey, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, sweet potatoes, applesauce, and rolls. No one will ever go hungry in my family – if they do, it’s their own damn fault. Like I said before, we watched Star Wars, episodes 4 through 6, but we also watched Scrooged and Despicable Me. Also, I learned how to make buckeyes! Grandma said we might run out, and since they are popular at Christmas, I told her that if she had the ingredients, I would make another batch of them. I was so honored to learn how to make them, and my grandpa even took pictures to commemorate the event.

It was a nice Christmas, and I was glad to see everyone. On Sunday, my dad, Cindy, and my brothers went back to Kentucky. I left around 2:00 and met my mom and (maternal) grandparents at the nearby Applebee’s. They had me open my presents in the restaurant. I got a nice blouse, gas cards, a holiday ornament shaped like car keys (ha!), and – drum roll please – a crock pot! I can’t wait to try it out!

We had a good meal, and then we parted ways. I drove my mom home. She’s been having back pain, and was on medication, so she shouldn’t have been driving anyway. She hadn’t been in my car before, either, so that was interesting. The only thing that sucks about having her in the passenger’s seat is that she critiques my driving, or she’ll be giving directions and say, “Go left!” and I’ll go left, and she’ll say, “No, I said go right!” and I’ll say, “You just said left!” and we’ll get into an argument about that…

I had to finish making my mom’s gifts before we could exchange them. I had to eventually finish the scarf in front of her, but she was so happy about it, she didn’t mind. She got me a doughnut pan, among other things. This is also another kitchen gadget I can’t wait to try out.

Yesterday, Mom and I went shopping. We spent some of the gift cards we received for Christmas. I usually don’t like spending mine all at once, but since I’m teaching in a few weeks and I need to expand my wardrobe, I can’t exactly wait around. I found some good deals, though. I found a turtleneck, a v-neck, two t-shirts, a cardigan, a brown skirt, and a purse (I’ve never carried a purse before! So weird!). That was only at two stores, too! Mom and I also stopped by Paradise Bakery for muffins and browsed Borders. Then, we went to see TRON: Legacy in 3-D. Yeah, I had to see it again. I’ve never seen a 3-D movie before, but I was curious, since it seems like that film would be amazing in 3-D. I won’t say it was bad, but I definitely won’t be seeing another 3-D film again. The glasses are too awkward over my real glasses, and then my eyes hurt mere minutes into the film. I had to close my eyes at times just to have them rest. I was still happy to see TRON: Legacy again – still amazing!

We came home, ate dinner, and watched Hellboy II: The Golden Army, since Mom got it through Netflix. While we watched that, I worked on a knitted Kindle cover for Alex, since he got a Kindle this year for Christmas. He is super excited about it, though I still prefer my physical, paper books. There’s just no feeling like the turning of pages in your hand.

I saw Alex today. I drove down to his house and we went bowling. We exchanged gifts, and we were both very happy. He says his gift was lame, but I truly appreciate it. I just wish that I lived in a place of my own where I could have nice things and make it look like a home. We don’t have a dining room table. I would die to have a nice dining room table, rather than just eating on the floor…

Anyway, we played with the Wii for a bit, and I stayed for dinner and dessert. I left about a quarter to 8:00, and went home. I had been invited to hang out with people at my friend Chris’s house, and I went over there about 9:00. It was Chris’s birthday and he’s 20 now, so strange! We played this game called Quelf, ate chips and brownies, watched Eddie Izzard’s “Dressed to Kill,” chatted, and played with kittens. Oh, if only I could have had one of those kittens! They were so cute!

So I’m home now, for a while. I think tomorrow is just going to be a lazy day. I think I need it.

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat

How I wonder where you’re at…”

It is 3:00 a.m.

I am still awake, and so is my mom. She has to be at work in five hours.

What are we doing?

We’re baking cookies for our Christmas goodie bags. In short, we are effing nuts.

I fell asleep standing up, leaning on the overhang on our stove, mumbling things about how I’m the Yoda Master of poking holes (in our cookies) and stuff like that.

I am so tired and I want to go to bed. I’m on my second cup of coffee, but I don’t think even that will help.

Things are relatively good, though. I went to hang out at a friend’s house tonight. I brought fudge, gave people rides (now that I have a car!), we ordered pizza, watched Christmas specials, and chatted. I gave my friend a gift that she really liked, but I won’t talk about it just yet.

Something I will say was not good today was dropping my phone (which I got less than a month ago) in the toilet. I did that as I was getting dressed this evening – right before I had to pick up my friends. The good news is, it’s somewhat functional, except two of the function keys aren’t working right so I can’t access my phone’s menu and there’s a water blotch on the screen. But at least it can still make calls and receive texts. I’m kicking myself, though.

That’s all that’s going on right now. Tomorrow, I get to see my lover boy. I’m really excited – I’ve missed him! And Tuesday, Mom and I get to have some more mother-daughter bonding time that doesn’t involve baking over twenty dozen cookies in forty-eight hours.

Yeah, that’s how we do Christmas.

I swear I’m not dead. It’s just that I thought I would be done after last week. Turns out, I’m not. I’ve got a unit plan due Tuesday, a paper due Friday, another small project I haven’t even started on due Friday, not to mention the readings I have to do, two small extra credit papers (because I really, really need the extra credit), my last week of teaching at the middle school, and work.

So, I’m not dead. But my brain is sorta dead. (And yeah, I’m an English major, and I just wrote “sorta.” If you have a problem, go stuff it.)

Oh, and it’s snowing! It’s been snowing quite a bit since the first of December. It’s pretty, but man, I’m not a fan of driving (and biking – yes, it’s happened) in it. I would much rather be curled up in my bed and staying warm, drinking hot cocoa, knitting, watching movies and all that crap…

Among all this, I haven’t had much time to work on my projects for Christmas. Bleh. I have the best of intentions – Mom even sent the sewing machine back up to school with me, even though I don’t have a table big enough for it in this entire apartment. I’m hoping that with all my free time during finals week, I’ll be able to do some craftiness.

Also, I can’t wait to lift the Buffy ban. I haven’t watched any since before Thanksgiving break. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t watch any more until I had my unit plan done. Although I might extend the ban until Thursday. I need to focus.

Despite things being busy as hell here, life is good. Well, except the fact I didn’t get my scholarship, so the library isn’t getting rid of me just yet – I’ll be working there on the weekends to earn some dough and help keep my finances in order. I don’t mind the work itself, I just know that student teaching demands a lot, and I don’t want to fail – I can’t fail – and throwing work into that mix is not going to be easy, and I’m tired of being so stressed out all the time. I’ve been tired of it for a very long, long time.

But anyway! Life is good! Alex came up this weekend. It was my fifth weekend in a row to see him. I won’t be seeing him for at least two weeks, now, but that’s all right. We made peanut butter blossoms. They were so tasty, though our first batch got really brown on the bottom and tasted a little burnt. We ate them all – not all on Friday night, but they were gone by the time Sunday afternoon came along.

We also watched Magnolia on Friday night. Alex had never seen it before. It’s my favorite movie, has been since the summer before my junior year of high school. I was going through a lot of identity and relationship issues, and was feeling really ostracized. I watched it at my dad’s house in New Orleans. I was crying 2/3 of the way through it. I identified a lot with Stanley and Donnie Smith – the “Quiz Kids.” I still do, to some extent. Magnolia is so beautiful. I hadn’t watched it since probably my junior year of high school, when I watched it with an ex. Every time Alex had suggested watching it before, I declined because usually I wasn’t up to a beautifully crafted, emotionally draining film that spans three hours. I finally agreed to watch it with him, though, and I sacrificed an extra hour of sleep for it. I was worried about what he would think of it. I think I’m always afraid of what people will think of my choices in movies. He enjoyed it, though, and I’m glad. I feel like, now that we have watched it together, he knows me on a deeper level – even though that probably sounds dorky.

I worked on Saturday morning, did some work on my unit plan, and we went over to our friend Leigh’s apartment that evening. It was a lot of fun, and I was glad to hang out with her and everyone else. It’s been a long semester, and we’ve all been busy. I miss socializing.

Anyway, it’s time for me to go to bed. Just a few more days, and I’m free!