I don’t really understand how the first couple months of this year flew by, and then time pretty much stopped from March until December 1st, and now, this month is flying by in some sort of weird warp speed as if even the calendar has given up and said, “screw it, we’re all done here.”

I wouldn’t mind so much if I was actually ready for Christmas, but I’m not, so…a pause button would be appreciated while I figure out how to catch up. I’ve had a hard time getting in the mood (that’s not a new or abnormal thing, it’s just…me), but I need to get there and fast, or…well, there is no “or”, I guess. I just need to get done what needs to get done. Like finishing my gift shopping and figuring out which cookies to make and how many this coming weekend.

I need to get my cards sent out too…this week. I need to call a plumber about a minor/slow leakage situation we have going on, so I think I’ll take whatever day we can get someone over for that off work, and work on catching up and getting organized then.

I have new curtains coming for the living/dining room and kitchen this week as well – thicker velvet thermal curtains to keep the cold air more at bay than our current fancy window dressings do. It would be nice to at least get the front curtains swapped out, since those are at my back when we’re relaxing in the evenings.

Did I mention I’m taking an online writing workshop in the middle of all this? There was a sale, I feel like I really need to work on adding depth to my writing (which is the very focused topic of the workshop), and that’s how I ended up doing a writing assignment for the second week of class this past Sunday night instead of writing a blog post (well, that and not reading the calendar correctly – I had one more day before that assignment was due, so…my bad). It’s already straining my brain, which is both good and bad – good because I obviously need it, bad because…well, it’s yet another thing to sort of stress over at the moment. But at least it’s a stress I *chose*, rather than one that was just flung at me. So there’s that. And hopefully I’ll be a better writer afterwards, which is the main/exciting goal.

All this to say…I’m not really overwhelmed, just unmotivated and uninspired for the holiday. Maybe (hopefully) as I get my cards out and get closer to finishing my gifts up, I’ll feel a little more holly-jolly. We’ll see.

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Hats, Seaweed, & Dry Eyes

I’m happy to announce that I finished and delivered my mom’s hat this weekend, which settled the last of my Christmas gift “debt”. No, I did not get a picture, because I was interrupted on the very last row by a work call Saturday night, and by the time I got back to it Sunday, I just wanted to finish it and go drop it off. It turned out nicely though, I think, and since I made two sizes so she could pick which one fit best, I have an extra one to donate next year. Win-win!

Now I have my evenings back for editing, gaming, and I’ll probably designate one for knitting so I can finish last year’s blanket project. After that’s done, I’ll get started on this year’s gifts. Or something for myself. We’ll see. I’m just glad to have the “must do” projects done. I hate it when hobbies turn into “work”. Defeats the purpose of doing them, methinks.

I’ve also recently discovered those packs of roasted nori sheets as a great low-cal snack at work. Seaweed is supposedly very good for you, and may even have cancer-fighting properties, and part of what I want it for is thyroid support (nori has low amounts of iodine in it…kelp has quite a bit more). It’s difficult judging how much is good and how much is too much, but maybe the iodine will get my thyroid moving a bit faster, as long as I don’t overdo it.

Also, the seaweed keeps me from snacking on other things at work. Like, donuts. *sigh* It’s a very low-calorie snack, and the oil coating sats my appetite. So, we’ll see how it goes in the long run, but I’m enjoying it at the moment.

Moreso than my eyes, which are currently being rebellious. A pretty severe lack of sleep over the weekend coupled with cold winds and dry weather has my corneas in a bunch, quite literally. I’m trying to mitigate it the best I can, with limited screen time, closing my eyes and letting them rest regularly, and making sure I use my eyedrops at least once a day, but two if I feel the need.

I’ve been referred to a “cornea specialist” by my eye doctor, but I didn’t go last year when I was supposed to. I’m honestly afraid of what he’ll say. But if this doesn’t clear up on its own, I dare say an appointment is in order. Dammit.

In any case, I’m going to post this, and then go to bed and give my eyes a good rest.

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Wishes & Talismans

Merry Christmas or Bah Humbug, whichever suits your mood better today…or Good Morning if neither of those quite fits.

Bet you didn’t think I’d post today, did you? And you’d probably be right, except I just gave one of the dogs (Mica) half of a probiotic treat in the hopes it would help his gassy stomach. With him, you pretty much never know what will help, and what will send him out to the backyard alternately throwing up and eating grass for the next twelve hours. I stopped taking him to the vet after the third time…and just accepted that he has an extremely sensitive stomach. Needless to say, we’re always very careful about what he eats, and apprehensive about letting him try new things. He can handle these probiotics, but not often and he’s never had one so far after his regular meal (he did just have a snack).

So, that’s why I’m still up on this very early Christmas morning (was the eve just 13 minutes ago). I was seriously considering bed, and then just knew that if I went now, Mica would need to go out about the time I was just falling asleep (and just as I wrote that, he had to go out…excellent timing). Now we’ll see how he does by the time I’m done with this post.

For those of you wondering, we managed to get a tiny bit of snow on Christmas Eve…and some really incredible fog to go with it as we were driving home. It doesn’t get foggy like that much here, so it’s kind of fun, especially with all the lights shining through the thick white cloud hanging low over everything. It’s still snowing a little, big, fluffy flakes that if they continue, could end up giving everything a slightly more white sheen, at least.

So, I got my Christmas wish, which is pretty amazing considering it’s not something that can be controlled.

We did Christmas Eve at the in-laws earlier – MIL likes to open presents early, rather than on Christmas Day. The gifts we gave went over well, and the ones we got were actually on point as well (and not so many, which is a nice change too). I only asked for one thing (MIL hounds us for a request), and she got me the cabinet I wanted for my spoon collection. There were a few other small things as well, but my favorite was a silver bracelet with many colored book spines all over it – like a bookshelf with books going every which way.

I haven’t worn bracelets in awhile, though I do like them quite a lot. This one feels like more of a talisman though. Something that when I look at it and feel it, I’m reminded of how much I love books, both reading and writing them. I think perhaps that’s the one gift I needed this year to send me into the next one with more focus.

Last year, a friend gave me a small, smooth stone with the word “Possibilities” (or Possibility – I can’t read it anymore – the color in the word has worn off) stamped into one side. I’ve carried that in my pocket nearly every day this past year, and whenever I feel it in my pocket, it reminds me to look for the possibilities in whatever situation I happen to be dealing with. So I suspect it will be with the bracelet this year. A wearable reminder of just how much “story” means to me, and a reminder to keep writing, daily.

I think perhaps next year I’ll look toward the small but ultra-meaningful gifts rather than the larger ones. Not everyone will appreciate that approach, but perhaps I’ll be able to find some things that speak to others the way these two tiny gifts have spoken to me.

Mica has gone to bed, and considering I have two more obligatory Christmas meals to attend tomorrow, I believe I’ll do so as well. Merry, happy or humbug, may this Tuesday be as mellow and carefree as you want it to be.

On Gifts & Hair Color…

My dining room table is pretty well covered with Christmas gifts at the moment. Gifts for other people, of course, in neat piles, with checklists on top for the homemade things so I don’t get lost in what I still need to make for whom. We’re pretty well done, just a couple things to order online and that will be it for the year.

I think it’s interesting that for me, at least, the better you know someone, the harder it seems to get them something you’re confident they’ll like. A lot of that is, adults already have much of what they need, and they tend to buy what they want as well. Which is part of why I think gifts for adults at Christmas could easily be dispensed with altogether. Why not just make it another holiday celebrated with family, and leave it at that? My husband and I don’t exchange gifts with each other – we never have. We don’t at birthdays or anniversaries either. Why? Because if we see something we think the other person will like, we go ahead and pick it up for them, and just give it to them then. No need to wait for a special day – we just make that moment special, and move along.

I think the holidays would be far less stressful and more enjoyable for a great many people without all the gift hullabaloo, personally. Obviously, I’ve quit fighting it personally and just go along with it for peace & harmony, but it still kind of rankles, every single year.


In other news, I felt like I needed a change (not sure whether it’s vanity, or just a need for something different), so this past Saturday, I dyed my hair. I’ve only done that once before, quite a long time ago, and it was kind of an ordeal so I never even tried it again. I may have also gotten a slightly perverse pleasure out of people giving me crap about my hair turning white, and not actually doing anything about it (which clearly, they expected me to do). But enough of my brunette mop is white now that it kind of makes my whole head look “ashy”, and I figured maybe it was time to give the whole hair-dye thing one more try.

With a family history of a few cancers, I won’t use chemical dyes, so I ordered some plant dye (mainly henna & indigo, plus a couple others) last week. Saturday I proceeded to wash my hair, cover it in green goop and then a rather jaunty leopard-print shower cap, and sit around crocheting & watching TV with my husband for the next two and a half hours.

And it worked pretty well, really. Not nearly as much work as the last time I’d done it, and most of my white is now a lovely shade of copper while the rest of my hair is dark brown, as promised on the label. Something a bit different, without nearly as much work as I’d expected. Next time, I might mix a little auburn in for a subtle red highlight effect. We’ll see.

My before and after pics aren’t worth posting – the colors are all washed out due to poor lighting, and I suck at selfies, so I’m afraid you’ll have to take me at my word that it turned out okay for now. Maybe I’ll get a better pic next time.

One of the reasons I haven’t dyed my hair before now (except that one time) is because keeping your hair dyed requires maintenance. Hair grows, roots start to show, and before you know it, you need a touch-up. And it just keeps going on and on indefinitely, as long as you’re willing to play the game. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to commit to that. But I don’t think this will be too bad to stay on top of. One Saturday afternoon ever 4-6  weeks, and I’ll be…well…not white-haired for as long as I care to keep it up.

There was a nice, artistically-pleasing third thing I was going to jabber about, but it’s already 1:30am, which is my bedtime, and I still have to schedule this first. So…I’ll leave you with just two topics today, and you can create your own for the third, as you see fit. And by all means, feel free to share in the comments, if you’re so inclined!

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