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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.

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…or, “Impending Doom of Snow and Ice,” as I like to call it. It’s mainly ice.

Yes, I, like millions of other people in this country, are being assaulted by this giant storm. I didn’t think it was too serious. In fact, last night, I thought that was the worst – until I looked at the radar. We in Muncie are currently in the second, and larger, wave of the storm. My school was closed today – I got the call at 5:30 this morning. At 2:50 this afternoon, we were put on a two-hour delay for tomorrow. But I have a feeling it won’t stay that way after tonight.

I have not left my apartment, and I’m a little afraid to find out just how much ice is encasing my vehicle. It took one of my roommates an hour to thaw hers.

Now, I’m just sitting here, listening to the ice-rain hit my window. I can tell it will probably be a matter of time before the power goes out – and then what, I don’t know.

It’s definitely a learning experience. I’ve thought of myself as a responsible adult at age 22, living on my own (for the most part), and working hard to succeed. Well, the threat of this winter storm is making me realize that I’m not as prepared as I might think, and I will have to work with others (and perhaps rely on others) to get through this.

Bless all of you who are affected by this storm. Stay safe and warm. Go Team Venture.

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.

I must be having the best week ever. Seriously. On Sunday, I drop my phone in the toilet. Today, I run over a stop sign. Yeah. I’m just full of awesomeness this week.

When the incident happened today, I was close to home and turning. The asphalt was slicker than anticipated, and though I tried to stop, my car just kept going. I watched my car roll over the sign in slow motion. This man saw me assessing the damage, and he helped me get my car off the sign, so bless him. I really appreciated it. I reported the accident, and luckily, the stop sign was just knocked over, not damaged, and my car and body weren’t damaged either, so the sheriff said I didn’t need to file a report, but he took my name and address down just in case. They’ll get the sign up soon, thank goodness. I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt.

The rest of my week has been nice, actually. I visited Alex on Monday. We saw Easy A (lots of fun!) and had dinner with him and his parents. I got a little lost in the dark and snow on the way home, but I was all right. Just another part of the “new driver experience.” Then yesterday, Mom and I got pedicures and then stopped by her friend Amy’s house and I got to meet Amy and her family; they’re really nice, and I am so jealous of the amount of books they have in their house…

Besides my stupid stop sign incident today, I was watching my mom’s friend Janice’s granddaughter (whew!) Danashee. We hung out for a few hours, I got my replacement phone, we ate lunch at Steak ‘n’ Shake, and  we were going to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but the next showing wasn’t for another hour. So it was a relaxing day, except for that one incident.

Tomorrow I’m off to Richmond! I’m looking forward to Christmas at my grandparent’s house. Let’s just hope, with my luck, nothing bad happens.