Friday, December 28, 2007

I thought this was Pleasant Street Theater's last weekend of operation, but apparently I missed it. My remaining four passes are now obsolete ephemera. For the saddest message ever, call the theater's info line: 586-0935.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry between-Christmas-and-New Year's, y'all! It's the waiting time. I had a good Christmas. Got some snowshoes, a CJ-made necklace, a new Acme Novelty Library that I didn't even know existed, a Little Otsu planner, Weird New England (a book that's been on my list for 3 years), and an unofficial gift certificate for a Flor area rug. And other awesome things too. I am excited.

I also played Guitar Hero while my cousins laughed at my lack of skillz, spent some time with cutie niece T (who can now read and write her name) and smaller cutie nephew N (who can crawl and pull himself up to standing), ate some delicious duck and many cookies, and saw "No Country for Old Men," which was very grim. It is so grim, that when you look up "grim" in the dictionary, it says, "see: No Country for Old Men."

Now it's time to get ready for Two Thousand and Great!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Monday CJ took advantage of some leftover, soon-to-expire vacation time, and my permanent-vacation situation, and took me on a super secret fun trip. Well, the plan was supposed to be a secret, but once the Sunday storm was being as shitty as the news promised, we had to decide if we still wanted to do it. So he told me the plan: Drive up to Lake George, NY, on Sunday night, stay over at the Great Escape Lodge, and spend Monday whoopin' it up in their INDOOR WATER PARK. We decided that the overnight was going to be impossible -- cars were literally being blown off of the road all day on Sunday -- but that we could drive up for the day.

We got there around 1, and had lunch in their "tavern" which overlooks the water park. We had been warned by the front desk the day before that it might be crowded due to winter break, but the only people we could see, in the entire place, were lifeguards. They were just hanging around, pacing, chatting with each other. Eventually we saw some guests, but I would estimate that they had no more than 20 guests at the park for the entire day -- and that includes us two.

They heat the water park room, and it's super humid in there (and loud: since the place is Six-Flags-related, they have to blast top-40 music as loudly as possible, which mixes poorly with the noisy water sounds). We walked in with our winter coats and sweaters and got blasted with the rainforest-like climate. We couldn't wait to get our heavy clothes off. Let me tell you: It is VERY nice to walk around in your bathing suit while looking out the window at piles and piles of snow. Just being in a huge hot and humid room for a few hours made it all worth it. They have two fun, big tubes that snake outside of the building, and you could feel the slightly-colder air as you were sliding through. We spent a lot of time on the Boogie Bear Surf thing, which is a fake standing wave for boogie boarding. CJ was great at it, and I was pretty good, though I wiped out big-time once. He wiped out a few more times, but that's because he was trying to do some 360s and such. For about half an hour we were the only people at the wave, so we just kept taking turns. Eventually a couple of little daredevil boys came over and did fancy stuff like take running jumps into the wave, and kneeling on the board. They had obviously been there before.

We also floated along the "lazy river" and played basketball in one of the coves. The unspoken rule was: you have to stay on the tube, no touching the ground of the pool. And this explains why my arms and shoulders are still sore today.

We took a break and sat in their "Adirondack" chairs, read the paper, and ate popcorn in our bathing suits. An occasional droplet of water would fall on the page when the giant wooden bucket at the top of the Tall Timbers Tree House would tip over.

Getting dressed in our winter clothes was a major drag.

But! Now I'm home, the snow is pretty, and impressively deep, and it makes my house feel filled with light. (During the day, at least.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Today's forecast: 8 to 12 inches of snow. I wish I had remembered to buy hot chocolate...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Writing that previous post helped kick my ass, a little. I've been doing a lot more, at least, with the crafts and such. And I'm not staring out the window for quite as long as I did before.
This Saturday I took CJ to a Christmas tree farm to harvest a tree (well, really to watch some guy slice our chosen tree down with a chainsaw). This is his first Christian tree experience, and it's the first one I've been in charge of, so I was pretty excited. CJ was too, and he assisted with all manner of tree acquiring and trimming. He seemed to enjoy the whole affair, especially after I entrusted him with the hanging of the lights on the tree. I put on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special soundtrack, and he drank some eggnog, bemoaning the fact that he didn't have a big blue cable-knit sweater to wear. He did claim that he could feel his foreskin growing back on account of all of his Christmasy participation, so I guess the spirit of the season is truly upon us all.

Here is a thumbnail of the tree, with a cameo by two semi-interested cats (they sniffed the tree with great fervor, but so far haven't batted at a single ornament):


Full size image, a close-up of Junebug, and future photos will be added here. I still need a tree topper, which I'm about to go whip up myself. I was tempted to get something shiny and flashy and cheap at Target, but that's not really my thing. At least, it's not my thing when I have this much free time on my hands.

I need to stop thinking I have to make more ornaments, though. The tree is already fairly full of them, most of which were given to me by my grandmother. She'd give me and my sister one new ornament every year, usually purchased at a church fund-raiser, and this will be the first year I don't get one. The ornaments were better some years than others, and I don't have anything close to 34 ornaments from her here... Either I left them at my parents' house so I can see them on their tree when I visit for Christmas, or I left them at my parents' house because I kind of can't bear to have them in my house at all. I'll miss getting them every year, though. I loved picturing my grandmother at her church's craft fair perusing the folding tables full of weird vaguely-holiday-themed things made of yarn, walnuts, felt, and pinecones, looking for just the right ones to give to me and my sister.

I'd love to do something like that for my niece and nephew, but from what I hear from my sister, they already get way too much stuff from the kids' grandparents. My sister has a small apartment that's already packed to the gills. If I had that much stuff, and was gifted with a whole lot more stuff that I didn't need or ask for, I'd start feeling a little crazy. So out of empathy for my sister and brother-in-law, I've only gotten each kid one gift. I am afraid that this will mean I am losing the gifts arms race with the older members of the family, and the kids will like me less as a result, so I'm very conflicted about this. It would be easy for me to buy/make a lot more stuff for them, because they are adorable and I love them. But I also can't bring myself to add to the problem.

If I were my sister I'd like to think I'd do something radical like this: After the gifts have all been opened, have the kids choose their favorite four or five (because they have already gotten DOZENS of gifts from one set of grandparents alone) and donate the rest to a shelter. (I think I got that idea from AskMetafilter, but Metafilter's been down all morning so I can't link to it. Will edit this post once it comes back up and I can find it.) In reality, this would probably lead to a lot of screaming and whining and crying, and the kids would probably be upset too (see what I did there?). But how else can you stop the madness? Cutting off the supply chain seems impossible: Grandparents are notorious for not listening to their children's pleas for moderation in giftery, and that certainly seems to be playing out here. If I ever have kids, I guess I'll find out how difficult it is for myself.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

First of all, this is my 1,002nd post. So my 1,000 post was this one. A bit boring, I admit. I am still recovering from my NaBloPoMo hangover.

Actually, I'm not really recovering at all. The thinnest veneer of civility is all that stands between me and the kind of unemployed people who watch Maury all day while eating Cheetos in their pajamas. Yesterday I thought about leaving the house, but then I felt cold and my back hurt, so I laid down on the wood floor next to the propane stove and stared out of the window. It was snowing. I stayed like that, lying on the floor not doing anything, for almost an hour. That's pretty much how my whole day was yesterday. (I did take a walk outside after I become disgusted with myself, and I gathered some greenery so I can create a festive holiday display.)

I seem to have lost my job-searching momentum. I've also started waking up in the middle of the night feeling anxious. I just got another cold sore on my nostril. (Stress brings 'em on. Thanks, herpes!) And though I've got nothing but time, I just can't seem to work on those many artistic projects I have going on. Diagnosis: Joblessness-related depression. Not crippling, but certainly hobbling. I am working on this, but it's hard to see one's way out of a rut like this one. I predict the rut will be painfully clear to me once the holidays are over. Hopefully I'll have gotten good news about a job by then, but then I didn't expect to be drifting into a third month of unemployment, so why would the fourth month be an exception?

What I have been doing instead of the above: Mostly, reading stuff online. Metafilter, Gawker, Jezebel, my blog roll on Google Reader. Also, recently, playing Bogglific (i.e. unlicensed Boggle) via Facebook, both with friends and strangers. It's actually pretty cool to be randomly put into a game that has players from Australia, Korea, and Canada in it. It is also humbling to get beaten by people who are obviously not native English speakers. Still: fun times. And it exercises the brain so you don't get Alzheimer's, so I've got that going for me.