Disjointed Christmas and Rambling New Year
Despite the fact that tomorrow's a statutory holiday, today's my last day of holiday. I should not complain--and indeed, I'm not. I can't believe my lovely good fortune to have all this paid free time thanks to the seasonal closure of the university. But it is, I suppose, high time that I update and confirm my continued ability to draw breath.
It was, on the whole, a very good and relaxing Christmas. Okay, well, not entirely relaxing, but I've gotten more sleep in the past week and a bit than I think I did the rest of December and end of November put together, so that's most definitely something.
There was, unfortunately, a death in the family. After stomach cancer and a series of organ failures which followed a not-very-successful operation in early December, my Oma's youngest brother died. Despite the fact that we didn’t truly have a common language, he was always someone that I liked and respected a great deal, and was saddened by his loss. But most understandably, his death and the family feud that followed shortly thereafter, all but crushed my Oma. Much distress, sleeplessness and illness followed. So it was not a holiday free from tears.
But there were many good things, too. It was lovely to just spend some quiet time with my immediate family without worrying about what the traffic was like or the weather or work or anything else of the kind.
I was able to spend time with my sick puppy, too; despite her terminal cancer, Tia was remarkably cheerful. In fact, she's astounding everyone with the way that she continues to not die, and merely carries on like her usual self with a somewhat restricted ability to swallow. Here's to ridiculously high dosages of steroids and their ability to fend off the inevitable for a few more weeks.
I saw all of my family members at one time or another, with everyone traveling to New House. I slept and slept and slept. I read (Robin McKinley's Hero and the Crown
, Tanya Huff's Sing the Four Quarters
, and started Michelle West's Hunter's Oath
). I knitted and baked and played with small cats. I did not die of allergies or asthma or a combination of the above. And there was snow--much, much snow. At one point I took my cousins out to go sledding, only to discover that the snow behind the house was higher than my knees. Sledding became "run down the steep hill as fast as you can and see if you can make it to the bottom without falling and killing yourself," a last minute but nonetheless entertaining substitute.
Then I put out my back--or perhaps got some sort of weird back virus type of thing, seeing as my mother had a version of the same thing and did not lift the heavy bag of road salt that I did--and sat on a heating pad for two days. It was most warm and lovely, and gave me back my ability to use my right leg, which I greatly appreciated.
I spent a quiet but fun New Year's with Sarah and Jana and Simon, experimenting with mulled wine and watching Real Genius. (Finally!) I discovered that one should not drink the last swallow of mulled wine, as it is much like gulping down a mouthful of mud made out of cinnamon and cloves and thus not a particularly pleasant experience.
This afternoon I went out in the rain (a rather constant rain which has washed away all traces of snow and ice, knee-height and otherwise) to go on a shopping spree. But as I left the apartment rather late in the afternoon, I ended up only having a spree at Bakka and then decided to leave the rest (the clothes, the books, the CDs, the DVDs, the boots) for another time. There was something gleeful about shopping for a great many books at once--and I bought so many books that this spree is only rivaled by my World's Biggest Bookstore shopping trips when I was in high school. (Pity it's owned by Chapters now.) It is a strange and slightly heady thing to have money again--and one that I know won't last forever. Time for a little fun now.