Friday, January 31, 2014

Answering the call

I have always loved telling stories. I loved telling stories that I knew, but what I truly loved was making up stories for myself. I would tell the stories to my family, my friends, or to no one at all, but I always seemed to be telling stories. I did it so often that my grandmother bought me a hand held tape recorder so that at least I would have a record of them.

When I was in college one of my friends turned me onto RP chat rooms. It took me about five minutes to absolutely fall in love with it. It was an entire group of people who loved to tell stories getting to do just that in a collaborative fashion. It was awesome.

Now not everyone in the system was exactly good at story telling. Part of the problem might have been that a lot of these people had incredibly poor writing skills. Grammar and punctuation were not their friends. Sentence structure and basic concepts of story construction were not always present. It made it difficult to do anything with these people.

Thankfully the bad writers were not prevalent in the room I played in. I lucked out in the fact that the players in my room tended to be more on the exceptional side of the line. I had people with intense imaginations and the ability to paint there thoughts with words.

Creativity and technical skill was never enough though. You could be the best writer in the room, but if you couldn't write with someone, it sort of defeated the purpose of the room. The point was to create stories together, not just show off your writing.

There were some people that just weren't team players. They couldn't seem to get with the program. Things went their way or not at all. They would steamroll stories just to advance their own agendas. The organic nature of collaborative storytelling was completely foreign to these players.

When there was chemistry though, oh the stories we would create. Entire worlds unfolded before us. Characters came to life and lived vibrant lives full of adventure, romance, and all the drama anyone could ever hope for. It was like magic.

I was very lucky to find a group that I had incredibly chemistry with. We were very small, and tended to be some what elitist in our attitudes towards play, but I never cared. What we had was so good I didn't want to dilute it with people who were not going to mesh well. When we would make exceptions it always turned out so disappointing in the end.

Sadly life happened. We all started getting older and the time required to carry on a story dwindled. We got jobs, we got married, we got older and had more commitments that trumped the game. Our numbers shrank until there was no one in the room any longer. The stories stopped and our characters fell silent.

Funny thing about characters you create though; they never actually go silent forever. Years may pass, but eventually they will wake up. Eventually their voices will call out and their stories will slowly start drifting back to you.

In the last week I have written nearly 40k words on a story for characters that have not seen the light in a very long time. I have been retelling to myself parts of the story I already know and filling in spaces that were left blank. I am writing it alone, which makes me a little sad, but I am happy to be able to let the characters live again.

There really is nothing quite like creating like this. It is so satisfying.

Now if you will excuse me, I have characters waiting on me to see how this adventure will play out.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First impressions

I had only been dating the husbeast a few weeks before he told me that it was important that I know that if his two best friends did not like me he would be forced to end our relationship. He told me that his mother could hate me and it wouldn't make a difference, but what these two people said meant everything. No pressure.

I met the two a few weeks apart. He and I had been dating about six weeks when I met the mighty B. She was his best friends ex but was like a little sister to him. For as rocky a relationship they had had in the beginning they had grown into a powerful friendship. A powerful enough friendship that her opinion of me could be a game changer in my relationship.

Our first meeting was both memorable and strange. My roommate at the time was having lots of family in town to see her in a show. I offered her my room so her family could camp out at our apartment instead of getting a hotel. I was planning on going to crash with the husbeast. He didn't actually live in town at the time and was sofa surfing at B's place.

Now you have to remember that the husbeast is a big man. He is 6'6" and 3 feet across at the shoulders. B and her roommate Griff only had the one couch. Us sharing that couch and trying to sleep was comical at best. It was not really resulting in a lot of sleep.

Sometime around midnight Griff poked us and told us to just go take B's bed. She wasn't home yet which meant she had decided to crash at her boyfriends house. Her bed would be much more comfortable for us, so we happily took his advice and moved to her room. Oh how I wish we had all had cell phones back then.

As it turned out B was not spending the night at her boyfriends. It turns out that her truck got broken into at work (she was the bartender at a local biker bar) and after she dealt with the cops her boss had had a beer with her to calm down. So it wasn't that she wasn't coming home, she was just coming home unusually late.

This is when I learned that you should never startle the husbeast awake. Ever.

Around 2:30 in the morning B came home and headed straight to her room. She was tired and she was pissed off and just wanted to get in bed. I heard someone running up the steep narrow staircase, and I heard the bedroom door slam open. The next thing I was aware of was that the husbeast, who had been snoring beside me a moment earlier, was now crouched over me facing the door and loudly growling.

I opened an eye and looked toward the door where I saw the tiny back lit shape of  a woman bracing herself in the doorway with both of her hands flung out in front of her "Iliveherethisismyroomthatismybedyouknowmedontkillme" is exactly what she said. I did not include spaces because I promise you that all the words ran together just like that. She apparently knew better than to startle the husbeast awake.

It took a moment but the husbeast fully woke up and realized what was happening and relaxed. He told me to go back to sleep (because I had a very early call in the morning and he knew it) and he went to explain to B why we were in her bed. I am actually told they went out for pancakes.

The next afternoon when I got done with rehearsals I got to meet her properly. She was a tiny little red headed woman who was loud, brassy, and incredibly spunky. She laughed and smiled and thought that if the previous nights kerfuffle hadn't scared me off that I would probably be just fine.

I met his other best friend, Tommy, a few weeks later. It was the night I was being initiated into my fraternity and he randomly showed up on my doorstep. B and the husbeast and I were getting ready to go to dinner when there was a knock on my door. I was a little confused by the tall cowboy that was standing on my front stoop grinning at me.

I wasn't prepared to meet him or to make a good first impression. I was nervous about the initiation and I was in a huge rush.  I couldn't also be worrying about impressing a man who's opinion of me could cause a man I was in love with to leave me. It was very stressful.

Thankfully because we were running late, and the restaurant we were going to had a long waiting list, I got to skip dinner with him. I instead excused myself quickly and headed to the theater. I would deal with Tommy later.

After I finished up with APO the husbeast was waiting to pick me up. He took me to the bar where B worked. I was only 19 at the time, but he was friends with the owner and I was allowed to slip in. Someone pulled me up a chair in a quiet corner and I was handed a Dr. Pepper.

By this point in the evening I had a raging migraine headache. I was also dressed really nicely and was sitting in a biker bar where I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was aware that Tommy was there and I was supposed to be making sure he liked me, but at that point I didn't care. I would try in the morning when I didn't feel so lousy.

We only stayed a short while before I convinced the husbeast to take me home. He grabbed Tommy and we headed toward the door. I saw Tommy stop and say something to B's boyfriend (I did mention Tommy was B's ex fiance right? Well he was) before we headed to the door. The guy just sat there as we walked away.

We were actually just out the front door when the guy decided he didn't like whatever it was Tommy had said. We were all outside when we heard him start to shout from inside. We looked back and saw him making his way towards the door with that stupid look men get when they want to fight. Tommy had the same look on his face.

What happened next was two fold. In the parking lot Tommy and the husbeast began to basically wrestle. Tommy wanted to go in and kill B's boyfriend, and the husbeast was trying his damndest to keep Tommy outside. He wasn't really feeling like bailing Tommy out of jail.

Inside everyone was trying to stop the other guy. I was still pretty much in the doorway so I could see everything. The guy managed to get to the door which was when B caught up to him. When she grabbed for him he pulled away and in that act knocked her back against the door. She hit the door and the door hit the wall.

Now this bar was basically a giant metal barn. When the metal door hit the metal wall it made a horrible clanging noise. She was also bent over looking very much like she was in pain. This just made everything worse.

Tommy was now trying even harder to get inside. The guy was trying even harder to get to Tommy. B was bent over and shaking. Everyone inside was pissed off because they thought B had just been punched.

Now being the peacemaker I am I went to check on B. I reached out and touched her. This was when I learned several things about her, the most important being that she should not be touched when she is angry. Turns out she was shaking in rage and not pain.

My hand touched her and it was like she exploded. For such a tiny woman she sure as hell can take up a huge amount of space. She was screaming and ranting and swinging. She went after her boyfriend first, but one of the bikers, Chicken Charlie, managed to grab her. We are pretty sure she broke one of his ribs. Her boss grabbed her next and threw her onto a pool table and crawled on top of her using a pool cue to hold her down. This was impressive because Laura was maybe 110 soaking wet.

B says she sort of blacked out during that time. She came around to her boss telling her that if she punched her again that she was going to be fired. She calmed down pretty quickly after that happened.

Outside the boys were still wrestling. After what seemed like forever the husbeast managed to restrain Tommy and get him into the car. The fight had ended.

On the drive home the husbeast was fairly certain that I was going to leave him for the entire crazy incident and his lunatic friends. In reality all I could think was how much I wanted some tylenol and my bed.

When I woke up in the morning there was a note slid under my apartments front door. It simply said 'Welcome to the family" and was signed by B. I had apparently passed the friend test with flying colors.

Fourteen years later B is my best friend. The story of how we met and that night at the bar don't even begin to document our friendship. She is still a little firecracker and a little crazy, but I love her for that.

Tommy is still the husbeasts best friend. He is married with two adorable little girls, our god daughters, and has left his bar brawling behind him. He is a dear friend to me and I consider him to be a brother as much as I consider him to be a friend.

In the long run I really was the winner in all of this. I got the husbeast and two amazing friends out of the deal. Not to mention a ton of really interesting stories to tell.

Friday, January 24, 2014

I never want to go to Disney

I never want to go to Disney.

After that statement I have a large number of friends who are seriously questioning our friendship. Also there are a small number of my friends who might have just deleted me from FB and erased my number from their phones. I understand. It happens.

Over the last few years I have become increasingly aware that my friends have an incredibly strong love of all things Disney. For some it is merely a passion. For some of them it is sort of an obsession. As far as obsessions go I could think of much worse choices to obsess over, but still it is an obsession.

It is not that I dislike Disney. I actually am very fond of many Disney things. I own most Disney cartoons, I know the words to a ton of Disney songs which all play in regular rotation on my iPod, and I own a number of kitschy Disney items. I like Disney (though not nearly as much as my friends).

I still never want to go to Disney.

I am not saying that I would never go mind you, I am saying I have no desire to go. If I were to find myself in LA or in Florida, and I had some free time, and someone gave me tickets, or really wanted me to go as part of a group thing that was happening while I was in the area and had time, I would probably go. It could happen.

Also someday my theoretical children might get all Disney crazy (no thanks to our friends pumping them full of the idea of the most magical place on earth) and we possibly would go then. I know most kids like that sort of thing even if I was never one of those kids.

In one of these theoretical scenarios I am certain I would not have a completely miserable time. There is a lot to walk around and look at, and plenty of opportunities to spend my money on gifts for the mouse obsessed friends in my life. I could knock out almost all of my Christmas shopping in one go. I am even certain there is at least one incredibly slow smooth ride I could go on and not become wretchedly ill as long as I am having a good day where I am not too hot or tired (because my epic motion sickness always kicks in when I am too hot or tired). In the end it would be pleasant enough, and then I would never want to go back.

I know logically that Disney is not a Six Flags style amusement park. I know logically it would not be a trip of me sitting on planters people watching and holding the bags while everyone else rode yet another ride I could not enjoy. I know logically it would probably be a pretty nifty experience. 

I still never want to go to Disney.

Every time one of my friends makes a Disney trip (which in all seriousness is like once every three months) my feed suddenly is flooded with pictures of the Magic Kingdom, and my reaction is always the same; Meh.

They all look like they are having a blast, which is great, but I feel not even the slightest pang of jealousy. I feel no need to block their FB feeds for the duration of their trip unless they post so many pictures that it becomes annoying. Even then I can just as easily ignore them and be fine with it.

I often times see posts from friends saying they would rather be at Disney or how they are counting the days until they can go again. I am happy that the place is that appealing to them, but I just don't get it. The best thing I can come up with is to associate it with a substance addiction; Mickey Mouse is their drug and they are desperate for another hit.

So take this knowledge with you my minions. Know that while I am fond of the Mouse, I don't really get the whole obsession with going to visit his house. I don't mind hearing about it, or seeing your pictures, or getting prizes from there. I don't mind it when you totally geek out over the whole thing. Just understand that I don't share in your obsession, and I really don't understand it.

And no really, I never want to go to Disney.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Useful things

It has been a week of "Well what am I supposed to do about this?". Most of my problems were fixed by home remedies that I am so glad I knew about. So I will share them with you (and some other useful tips), my minions, in case you find yourself in need.

Good things to know:

- When you drop your phone or iPod or remote (or any small electronic device really) in water, or wash them, or the cat knocks water onto them, or you leave them out in the rain, placing said item in rice really does help dry it out and may save it. Don't turn it back on until after the rice has worked its magic.

- When you break a light bulb off while it is in the socket you really can get the end out by using half a potato. If you don't have half a potato make sure the power is off to the light (unplug the lamp or trip the breaker) you can use pliers to get out the broken end as well.

- Dryer sheets can be rubbed on most surfaces to remove static electricity. Wiping down your couches, clothes you are wearing, and occasionally a cat (no I have never done this to my cats though I know someone who does do it because her extra fluffy cat goes around shocking people and himself all the time) can prevent those unpleasant shocks.

- A slice of sandwich bread in your bag of cookies or crackers will keep them from going stale.

- Mustard doesn't go bad. It is made of vinegar, mustard seed, and salt (and some food coloring I am sure). If you leave it out it will get crusty and may separate but it is still edible. Discard the crust and mix it back up and it is still good.

- Moldy cheese is also still good. As long as you can shave off the moldy part and find non molded cheese underneath you are good to go. (Don't eat the moldy bits).

- Vodka can be used in place of Febreze. I suggest the cheap vodka of course. It will kill the bacteria that causes odor and it will dry without leaving a stain or any scent behind. 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of vodka in a spray bottle will do the trick.

- Placing your phone inside a bowl or plastic cup will amplify the sound and make an instant speaker.

- A lemon salt scrub in the kitchen is great for removing the smell of onions and garlic from your hands after cooking. Never use this if you have cuts on your hands or torn cuticles. You are better off with smelly hands than pouring salt and lemon juice into an open cut. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Adventures of the mind

I am sitting at my desk staring at my grey cube walls watching as the minutes slowly slip away. It is a Friday so the time seems to move at the pace of maple syrup straight out of the fridge on a cold day. It is a payday as well so there is the mixed feeling of satisfaction and disappointment that always comes with this day. All my bills are paid which is incredibly satisfying but the money left over when all is said and done makes me sort of want to cry.

I have let the gloom of office life and the cold grey light of winter get to me. I can feel the cold in by bones and the grey in my soul. There is an intense longing for sunshine and creativity. I need it. It is a fuel that I feel can rekindle me and see me through to better days.

I close my eyes and lose myself for a moment in the hum of florescent lights and the soft clacking of keyboards. I let myself drift away from the stale office air and cramped space between my cube walls. My obnoxious coworkers slip away into nothingness as my mind frees itself.

I am happily looking at a clock that reads 5:00. I am free of my obligations to the man for two blissful days. My feet don't even touch the ground between my desk chair and my car. There is a happy tune on the radio that I can't help but sing along to. I sit at a stop light dancing in my seat not really caring what the other drivers think of me.

I am greeted at the door by the cats. All three of them come up to me as though I had abandoned them for months instead of 9 hours. I take the time to love each of them in turn, but I suddenly don't have the time for distractions.

I fly around the house quickly. I grab a bag from the laundry room quickly shoving some clothes inside. I run and pack the travel toiletry bag and toss it in with the clothes. There are phone chargers, and tablets, and books that get shoved in another bag. It takes me less than five minutes.

The husbeast looks confused when I meat him at the door with a change of clothes in hand. He doesn't understand what is going on. I am not spontaneous usually so he doesn't know what to do when I insist we are leaving but can't tell him where we are going.  Adventure is the only word on my lips.

There is a note scribbled out on the pad in the kitchen; 'Running away. Be back Sunday night.'. The roomate will understand. She will have to.

I plug in my iPod once we are in the car selecting the perfect traveling music. I pull up a map on my phone and randomly jab my finger at a spot that looks like it is a reasonable driving distance away and we go. We barely even notice the traffic as head out of town.

It is late when we pull into the parking lot of a little hotel hours away from home. There are trees. Tall tall trees. We went east. The air is cold but smells so very clean. I can see stars above us the way you can only do when you have left the city behind.

We sleep entirely too late in the morning but neither of us seem to care. We lay in bed giggling and talking until our stomachs demand that we pay them homage. They don't really care that we have no plans for the day. Some things can not be ignored, unlike our phones which we are refusing to check.

The desk clerk suggests a local cafe just down the road for breakfast. The food is greasy and the coffee is strong. The waitress smiles and calls us by names like 'Sugar' and 'Darling', the way southern waitresses do. The counter is full of locals in jeans reading the paper over their runny eggs.

The waitress suggests some local antique shops and hiking trails around the area, things that locals like to do on their weekends as opposed to what the tourists like to do. Nothing too fancy, but nice and relaxing. It is just our speed.

We get lost twice going to the antique shop she suggested but once we get there we get lost for hours inside. It is the type of place that is selling things that they don't know are treasures. There are bargains to be had here. We walk out into the afternoon sun with a couple of small bags under our arms.

There is a gas station near the hiking trails in the National Park. We load up on water and snacks before heading out. The day has warmed significantly and we end up leaving our jackets in the car as we head off into the woods.

The trees are so tall. There are places where the sun has difficulty making it to us, but we don't notice the cold as we keep moving. I take my time snapping pictures of nothing while we go. Both of us are laughing and chatting about nothing at all.

The sun has started to set and the chill has finally set in as we climb back into the car. Our legs ache from the effort of the day. It is a good satisfying ache. There is no doubt that we will sleep well tonight.

We end up sitting at a local bar for dinner. It is pretty packed with locals and there is a band on a tiny stage doing a pretty decent job. It is loud and a little too warm but the burgers are good and the atmosphere is fun.  We listen to music for a while and even play a game of pool on one of the unoccupied tables. I am reminded of how bad I am at this game, but don't really care.

Back at the hotel we settle in with our books. I only make it about a chapter in before I am starting to doze off. I set my book aside and kiss the husbeast goodnight. I am right about being able to sleep the night through.

We head out the next day a little before noon. We grab some breakfast at the same diner from the day before. The waitress makes a point to ask us how our antiquing went and we happily share what we found. She smiles at us in an earnest sort of way.

The road home is long and so very different in the daylight. We point to things we had missed while driving in the dark. Small towns that had been nothing but ghosts in the night are now alive and real. It is like a completely different journey. We even take the time to stop in one that looks like it might have some interesting little shops in it.

There is a small restaurant in the town that we stop at for a late lunch after some leisurely browsing at a local kitschy crafty shopping center. I was more amused by it than the husbeast was, but he found a few things to keep his interest. The food is nothing to write home about, but it is warm and filling and a damn sight better than a fast food burger.

The roommate and the animals are all incredibly excited to see us when we come in the door Sunday evening. We give scattered details of our adventure to the roommate while we alternate petting the cats and the dog. Reality is setting back in but it was a nice escape.

A phone begins to ring in the cube next to mine causing me to come out of my revery. I blink my eyes open into the bright lights of my office. All the sounds of office life seem to rush back in on me trying to drown me in the drone of monotony.

The clock reads a little after 12. Five hours left to go. A weekend full of work and errands and obligations ahead of me. There are flat tires to be fixed, classes to be taught, parties to attend, and work to be gone to.

My fantasy was just that. Still I can almost smell the fresh air filtering between the tall tall trees and I can't help but smile.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Life of late

January has been a month of thinky thoughts. I find it difficult to sleep for the thoughts that will creep in as I am going to sleep. It also makes it hard to write posts when you can't really nail down your own thoughts. I have plenty of ideas, just nothing I can solidify. So that is my brief excuse for recent radio silence.

Since I can't decide on any one thing, or focus for too long, I am going to make a couple of  notes that I have been thinking on.

- Many of you may know that I have had issues at work for a while now. About seven months ago I was involuntarily moved from the position I have been in for five years to a position I knew nothing about and had no desire to know about. It was less than fun.

Since mid June I have been pretty well miserable at the office. I couldn't really figure out what I was supposed to be doing. I was expected to learn everything about a new process as well as everything about our product immediately. It turns out that neither is an easy task. Our product is very complicated and the process was counter intuitive.

Since August I was dealing with management telling me they would fix it in a couple of weeks. It was a phrase that I grew to despise. I was pretty much miserable for months. It was bad. It was really bad.

As of January 6th I am finally back into my old position. I am so incredibly happy about this. Like I did a little dance in my cube when I got the email saying I could go back to my old position. It was amazing.

In the week and a half since I have been back I have been happily busy the entire time. I have worked through lunches and worked late and never even noticed it. I have discovered that the simple fact that I feel competent makes such an amazing difference in my life.

- I have been wanting to have a change for  a while now. Part of that desire came from my unhappiness at work, and partially just because I am bored. I tapped into my inner girly girl and decided that I needed to do something to my hair.

Normally I would have cut it. This wasn't an option. For one thing faire is coming up and for another the husbeast isn't fond of short hair. We both try to not do anything the other would dislike terribly; he keeps facial hair for me, I keep my hair at least chin length.

With the hair cut out of the question I decided on the most obvious solution; color. This also tricky because of faire and work. Both require me to have natural colored hair. I mean at work I could probably get away with a streak of something weird for very short term, but that won't fly at faire. Considering my hair holds color forever I don't really want to chance having blue stuck in my hair.

In the end I decided to go as radically different as I could. My hair in naturally dark brown. I have a lot of red in there naturally, but it is pretty well just dark brown. With this in mind I decided to see if blonds really do have more fun. Besides my mom is a blond so it should work.

I didn't go all over blond, but instead did highlights. Lots and lots of very blond highlights in my dark brown hair. There is still a little more brown in their than I would like. When I braid my hair it looks like a brownie with pale swirl through it. My hair line around my face is also completely brown. Both of these things are going to be remedied.

When it is finished I will post pictures. Not sure if I love it or not, but it is fun and different and that is all that really matters.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sweaty reality

I have a question that has been bothering me for some time now. Why is it that most gym commercials are devoid of fat people? I am being completely serious. Unless it is one of those before and after commercials, there is not a fat person to be seen, which seems a little suspicious to me.

I was watching a gym commercial the other day and there was not a single person in the commercial who was not fit and in a good weight range. The announcer was spewing some nonsense about losing weight in the new year and the camera focused on a lovely young woman who was in no way fat. I mean if people are considering her fat, I don't want to know what they think of me.

Honestly it is all a little discouraging. I mean the media is busy shoving into my face that what I would find as ideal is still fat. That is just twisted. The media is a bunch of jackholes.

You know I would love to see honest commercials. Is that too much to ask for? I just for once want to see a gym commercial that, or an ad for working out, where the people looked like people look in reality.

I can see it now.

The camera pans over a room of cardio machines. There is a mixture of people in every state of fitness there; the old guy who is jogging along steadily, the tiny girl in matching sports bra and sneakers running for all she is worth, the guy in sleeveless shirt and neon Nike's sweating so hard that you can see sweat puddling on the console of his machine, the really fat chick who is smiling as she manages a steady walk.

The camera then cuts to a shot of the weight area. Mostly it is guys doing various lifts, their faces straining under the weights, veins sticking out of their foreheads and necks as they grunt loudly trying to get that bar up one more time. Their would be a few women too but only a few would be tiny little things. The women lifting more seriously would be thicker girls, red faced with sweaty hair plastered back under an old bandana.

No one would be wearing makeup. You would see unfortunate sweat marks on peoples backs, their stomachs, and their butts. There would be more looks of disdain and concentration than smiles of unexplainable joy. At least one person would be winded to the point that they look like they might puke.

Everyone would be working though and that would be obvious. Sweat. Effort. Energy. Real people.

Now that is a gym I would want to go to. It is not a gym full of plastic people who work out 4 times a day and live on a diet of kale and chi seed smoothies and never have questionable sweat marks on their clothes. It is not a place full of people that make me feel self conscious for daring to exist in their fitness fantasy world.

Actually that is the gym that I go to. I have belonged to a number of gyms in my life, and with the exception of one, they are all full of very normal people. The number of women I see wearing makeup while working out is small. The number of 'perfect' people is grossly outnumbered by people who look like they have something to be working towards and not simply maintaining.

That is reality. Call me crazy, but I much prefer the reality to the fantasy here.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Getting on

The holidays have come. The holidays have gone. Normal life has returned.

What the hell am I saying? There is no such thing as normal life. Any time I think I have found a point of normal everything gets all jumbled up again and I am set back to wondering what the hell it is I am supposed to be doing. I think that in itself is fairly normal so I won't panic about it.

Everywhere I look I am seeing people post about things that happened in the last year and things they hope for for next year. It is one of those things you can't avoid this time of year. As surely as my gym will be packed with well intentioned resolutionists, the internet will be full of retrospectives and resolution lists.

I am not one for resolutions. While I do like a good retrospective, rarely does it come in the form of a year in review. Just attempting to think about this past year is utterly exhausting. Considering I haven't been sleeping for squat here lately, that is not a happy prospect. The last thing I need is to be more tired.

I also can't really seem to make myself look ahead to the future. I am working really well with one day at a time just now. I have faire looming over me and I honestly can't think much past what I need to do right now for that.

I will say I had a pleasant enough holiday. For some reason it never managed to actually feel like the holidays. Even after the tree went up on Monday, it just didn't feel festive. I think having Christmas fall on a Wednesday was the problem. What normally would have been days of food and movies and togetherness was reduced to barely a day of celebration because everyone had to work.

The nice thing was that I got the entire week off, so I was at least able to relax. Not terribly holly jolly, but well appreciated. I think that I will endeavor to take an entire week off at Christmas more often. It was the best present I could have ever given myself.

Oh and that reminds me that I got some great presents. The husbeast did extremely well in buying me new dishes, new cutting boards, an ice cream maker, a dutch oven, and a new TV for the kitchen. He commented later that looking back he felt a little misogynistic for buying me primarily kitchen gifts. He said next time he will buy me shoes to at least counteract it a little. I also got some books and a ton of DVD's, which is always a win in my world.

The gifts I gave were very well received as well. I only made one person cry this year, but I am alright with that. I spoiled my people rotten, but that is pretty standard for me. I love giving gifts. Seeing everyone so very happy as they unwrapped things warmed my heart. It was probably the only time I felt really festive the entire time.

Now that we have gotten past New Years and out of the Holiday's proper, I am happy. I can focus on faire and life in general and not have the lingering looming festivities to take into consideration. One thing off my mind is a good thing.

I hope that you my minions managed to have a pleasant holiday season. I hope you found your festivity more than I did. I hope you got to relax some, eat too much, spend time with loved ones, and get some good swag. I hope that the new year is going to hold good things for all of you.

 Ready or not 2014, here we come.