It's been a significant day…

… and while I guess I need not type about all that's going on at the moment, it's not necessarily been a bad one. Very emotional, but that's the nature of the beast. It was good to see a friend of mine who lives in the UK these days. It was good to eat some yummy food at Famoso last night and catch up. Gotta love eating Famoso for breakfast — even if breakfast is late in the day due to not exactly sleeping well.

The future holds a lot of uncertainty, I guess. But I'm a bit more ready for that than I might otherwise be. I'm looking forward to 2012 — 2011 wasn't a bad one, for certain, however. I learned a lot about myself, I still have tons to learn though. And hopefully it will be with the help of my friends.

And that, is the thing. I'm not terribly amazing at maintaining my friendships. I place a lot more personal value/worth on seemingly insignificant moments and interactions with those whom I appreciate/value than perhaps necessary on occasion, but I'm not so good at maintaining friendships. I do want to work on this area of my life however. I'm very very thankful for where I am right now, and the people who have led me to become whom I have become and will eventually be.

This week, as most Christmas holiday weeks, I have spent quite a bit of time watching media. And learning from it. The new Blu-ray player is getting a lot of use, as I watch Castle.

Yes, I'm stressed: both emotionally and with relation to school/work etc. But I'm happy for it. Happy for what 2011 has brought me, and for what the future should bring. I'm going to take some criticisms to heart and hope that the people I care about now and in the future continue to help me grow and develop into a better and happier person — both with the good and bad. It's all a learning experience after all.

A Christmas recap of sorts…

So it feels great to have such awesome family and friends around Christmas. And as I've always thought: Christmas is for time with family (Tim Minchin's White Wine in the Sun isn't my favorite Christmas song for nothing!). While my brother is currently in South America, and won't receive his Christmas presents until he returns, I did get to have some good times with the family that is around.

On the 20th JD and I went out to see the Wedding Singer at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre to celebrate our second anniversary as a couple. I really enjoyed both the show and the food. And JD seemed to have a good time too — particularly as it was a musical sans-The Beatles (he's not a Beatles fan). I adore live theatre.

On the 23rd, I finally began to catch up on the Internet things that I haven't had the chance to catch up on previously… I think it'll take at least another day or two to get completely caught up but, at least I don't have to declare email bankruptcy or anything! 🙂 It felt good to have been done preparations for Christmas by that point such that I could really just enjoy.

The 24th was Christmas with my folks. I got spoiled with awesome food, great presents and the opportunity to see family! My nephew answered the door, excited about presents (he got to open OUR presents first this year!), and we brought in our gifts. Once my brother and his girlfriend were over and my dad was awake we were able to open the gifts and well — I adore seeing people's reactions to that which I brought them. I also got spoiled with money, tea, the third season of Castle on DVD, the first Absolute Sandman (oh my gawsh am I ever happy about that gift! Sure there's four more of them, but I never even imagined that I would get the first one! So happy!!), the book The Wisdom of Whores (a nice non-fiction read about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which I plan to read — it's vaguely relevant to my thesis, but I hope to just enjoy it, more than anything), and well, I still have one brother to spoil, so I imagine the exchange of gifts isn't exactly over (especially since JD has a gift that will show up in January among other things). Food was delicious, and my dad got Cowboys and Aliens as a gift on Blu-ray so we watched that! What a fun (not at all holiday related) film to watch! (JD made fun of my reactions to it… but I did still enjoy it muchly).

And then Christmas day was spent with JD's family, complete with gift opening (apparently I have to take him shopping for new shirts in January as the ones that he received didn't fit him properly, but that'll work out well enough), way too much yummy food, and some really interesting conversations. We even played a board game: You Don't Say which was actually a ton of fun!

All in all it has been a great Christmas! Today's Boxing Day and we did all of our shopping (okay JD shopped, I mostly just encouraged him to buy me the Christmas present of a Blu-Ray player from Best Buy sales on the 24th) online meaning that sleeping in was the order of the day. Darn darkness makes sleeping far too appealing… ah well, the days ARE getting longer!

Christmas List (and other musings)

So, while I occasionally manage to finish essays and assignments (one left for the semester and then it's just RAwork and thesising all the way!), Christmas happenings have started to overtake the month — I guess as per the usual. Yesterday I volunteered at the South Edmonton Kiwanis Club's Christmas Tree lot (I ran the cash register mostly… the credit/debit machine was one of the simplest/easiest to use ever! 🙂 ), and then went over to JD's mom's to see how their tree was shaping up. JD's niece was super cute walking in JD's shoes!

My brother asked me for a Christmas wish list last night, and I guess I completely forgot to put one together, so here goes (in no particular order of course, though I'm going to put it in categories I think):
MUSIC
Tim Minchin
Paul & Storm
Charlie McDonnell
Light Organ Records: Our First Christmas (album)
Dr. Horrible Soundtrack

BOOKS
Absolute Sandman 1-5 by Neil Gaiman
The Wisdom of Whores by Elizabeth Pisani
Castle: Richard Castle's Deadly Storm by Brian Michael Bendis (graphic novel)

OTHER
The Guild Season 5 (on DVD)
Castle season 3 (on DVD) [there are probably other shows I should put here, but this is a good start… I guess I would also love Criminal Minds as I don't already have any of the seasons and would like to see them all]
Shirts from xkcd store: Collatz Conjecture, self-descriptive shirt, raptor polo – Female cut (all in small)
Graphic Novels
A glass pen
Fun board Games that I don't already have (the time to play them too! 😉 )
I guess iPod apps and/or iTunes music downloads would be good too, though I likely have enough apps for the time being (not that they're not super fun though!)
Popcap Games are also awesome — though really I don't need more distractions, do I?
An eliptical machine (not that we have the space for one, of course, but someday…)
Good food, good experiences, good friends, good health, good travels!
A real time turner (or the ability to be in more than one place at once! 🙂 )
Computer upgrade stuff [ask JD] (yeah, JD's right this computer probably needs an upgrade, though I do love the way it is set up now).
I would probably really love an iPad though it's not a 'must have' item, but rather an item I would just enjoy.
I want to see a ton of good movies that I haven't already…
A better travel bag: essentially a bag that could be easily used for carry on only travel, but which can actually fit everything I want to bring effectively. My current bags are great for checked luggage or carry on if I'm only going for like a weekend, but I would like something smaller than my big bags and somewhat larger than my smaller carry on items.
I guess that's all I can think up other than the obvious of getting my assignments done, catching up on research work, having a good time, spending time with my awesome family and friends, and getting my thesis done as appropriate. My life is a good one. Of course I enjoy volunteering, helping others and other efforts toward making the world a better place, but given the fact that my brother asked for the list, it's a bit more of an item-focused one for his appreciation.

In other news, I'm really enjoying participating in gift exchanges this year: the GoldfishLegs gift looks so intriguing! I look forward to opening it! My re-gift exchange was fun too (I got lavender Epsom salts). And then I really hope I get something from the RedditGifts Secret Santa 2011 gift exchange — I had such fun putting together a gift for that one!

Writer's Block: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Tim Minchin's White Wine in the Sun is my favorite Christmas song I think as of late:

Anyway, that aside… lately I've been trying my best to get healthy. I honestly don't have much of an appetite — though I've been eating. I've been drinking tonnes of tea though and water and other beverages. I've been sleeping a lot, and I've generally been just healthy enough to do what I need to be doing (but barely). I called in sick to work to recuperate (one of the best decisions of the week, as it's allowed me to be healthy enough to attend various events in the last couple of days for networking purposes, Christmas purposes, fun, and well yes life balance.

You see this is my last term of classes. I'm done the in-person part of classes, and have only three assignments left (2 small ones and one large one). And it's important to me that I take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.

So earlier this week I had my last three in-person classes, though Wednesday's class essentially consisted of our prof treating us to breakfast at the High Level Diner as a thank you for some help we gave him for a research project. I dragged myself out of bed for that one, which was good, as I spent the majority of the rest of the day in bed after running errands on campus.

Thursday I went to the Butterdome Craft Sale — my annual traditional start of Christmas shopping. And like usual I bought a mix of things for myself (and the household) and items for gifts and/or for Christmas. I got my Reddit Secret Santa's remaining gift items, a small present for JD and some of the usual. Plus for myself I got this lovely wrap sweater from Luved Clothing (this is the most similar listing I could find for it actually — it's super comfy I've worn it all day!), a scarf from Bab's (honestly I can only splurge a little — I am still a grad student afterall!), a zipper pull (ladybug!), a brown sugar bear (well it's coincidentally shaped like a ladybug too, but don't read anything into that — those were just the cutest designs those craft-makers had), and some delicious food items.

In the afternoon I attended SLISmas (the School of Library and Information Studies' Holiday party). It was unfortunate that I wasn't up to eating most of the goodies, because there really were a lot of things to try!! But I did enjoy the punch and the mandarin oranges and candy canes… and a bit of bland snacks, though really there weren't many of those. What was better was really connecting with some of the other students — I honestly don't take enough time to do that, and in the job world, these connections might really make a difference: the library world isn't all that big in reality. And hey, my fellow students are more than just cool — they're certifiably awesome (okay that's a definition that I've made up, but I mean it — we had such great conversations about pedagogy, pteradons, grad school, children, food, work/life/school balance, cultural differences, religion, politics, marriage, and well… probably more of the typically taboo topics than I normally get to talk about in such a great manner!

Today my first plan was cancelled so I got some extra well-needed sleep before heading to the NAHLA Christmas luncheon and re-gift exchange (I got a bag of lavender Epsom salts… which should come in handy). We were at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse (I finally got to eat there!) and while I still had no real appetite, I did eat rather well, and very healthily, all things told. My favorite meats were the steaks and chicken. Like usual the pineapple is one of my favorite things, and ALL the items I tried from the salad bar were delicious — this is a great thing, as I normally have a hard time discerning what to get from a buffet of any type as I'm often a poor judge of what I would like. The conversation was great and the gift exchange was totally fun too!

In the evening I attended the GELA pub night at Elephant and Castle. I must have asked the waitress for more hot water for my tea 4 times, but it was what was keeping me going. I nibbled a bit on the provided platters of pub grub for sharing, but what made that event awesome was the conversations. I really am in the right place when I interact so well with members of the profession I wish to join… aren't I?

So while outside of these events I'm not getting too much done (and I certainly need to), life goes generally well, and I'm doing my best to stave off further illness. Christmas is coming and I do love this time of year so much — even if it has to be ridden with homework, research and other stress-inducing times if combined with illness.

So much happening that I haven't had much to blog…

What else should I say? The title of this blog post really does sum up what I want to be saying here. I won a Tassimo last night at the work Christmas party (JD got a gift basket so we made out rather well, considering). I'm getting new glasses, which will be pretty awesome. I watched the most recent season of Doctor Who, and I finally saw the last Harry Potter film. I'm getting ready for Christmas (though I've by no means gotten even close to starting Christmas cards this time around). School work is winding up but I have oh so much to do. I've been playing a bit of Zuma (Popcap games) on the computer as I got a free download. I'm horribly behind on checking email in my contest/everything else account.

I'm still stressed, as noticed by my desire to stay in bed as long as possible. I haven't been exercising as much as I would otherwise like either… but hopefully I'll get back into the groove too.

But I'm totally excited about Christmas, about gift purchasing, about volunteering, and about finishing the very last of my coursework for these degrees (I hope to accomplish that much this month anyway). Now I had better get back to my chores… laundry is calling!