All the small things

(Points if you immediately started humming Blink 182 when you read the title)

So I realize I’m coming to this pretty late to the game, with this being the end of the major fall/winter holidays and whatnot. But with finals, work, getting presents ready, zipping all about during the holidays and stressing about cleaning things up afterward – for a bit it looked like a hurricane had zipped through here – I didn’t have a whole lot of time to chill and think.

So after spending most of the weekend in my new pj pants and incredibly comfy slippers (thank you, Ruthie!) sleeping, relaxing and generally doing absolutely nothing, I came to a conclusion tonight during our prayer and meditation.

I had one of the kids on my lap, getting a back scratch so she’d stay put, Heather leaning on my shoulder, and nothing but Christmas lights glowing in the dim room. And you know what I realized? Not only the sort of hollow “I have a lot to be thankful for” that I get every Thanksgiving, but that I actually am really, truly thankful and grateful.

There’s always the big picture stuff to be thankful for – being able to go to school, having a job, food, and a roof over my head in these tough economic times, etc. But most of the things I appreciate in this life aren’t tangible, material goods (though my Macbook comes in a close second…=P). It’s the people around me and the relationships I have with them that are truly valuable.

I’m thankful for the love, affection, and care I get from having a family much larger than DNA technically permits.

I’m thankful for having people around me who balance out so that I’m both able to vent and complain and receive understanding and grace, as well as a kick in the butt when I need to stop whining and deal with something.

I’m thankful for the laughter, joy, and humor that is almost always in the air. Even though I don’t have a large group of friends, with all of the different places we’re at it usually evens out to the atmosphere being positive, even if a few people are having a hard time.

I’m thankful for the growth that the people around me have inspired me to start and challenged me to continue. I’m a firm convert to the idea of quality over quantity in relationship, and I’ve gone from having friendships that encouraged me to gossip and made me feel better about my own weaknesses, to being pushed to move forward.

Additionally, I’m thankful for people that are just as strange and nerdy – if not slightly even more – than me. 🙂

The Morning (Afternoon) After

Ahhh, my sugar hangover is finally sort of dying down. I would just like to point out the irony that I recieved two issues of Fitness magazine underneath my stocking, while there was candy, cookies, and various other sweets all stuffed in my stocking. And around it. And a few on top of it, too. Way to go, family =P

Christmas Eve and Christmas were both spent with people I love, care about, and consider my family, regardless of pesky DNA. I don’t need to have however many common alleles with Heather to know that she’s my sister. Even the Wright’s – who are the in-laws to one sister, and the second family to another, so the house is filled with Boyd girls around the holidays – are feeling more family-like. I would say that their craziness definitely causes me to believe that we must have some common ancestry not too far back, but that leads to implications about my sister committing incest sooooo…we’re just gonna leave that.

There’s always a bit of a post-Christmas letdown the next day. When I was a kid it was more disappointment that all of the gift giving was over, but now it’s the slow trickle of cars out from our grandparent’s house, and knowing that since the major holidays are over I won’t see some of my sisters for months. I felt it a little bit last night, since someone decided that we should watch Marley and Me, so when I got up to leave we were all emotional and teary-eyed already.

Other than that little bit of let down, I’ve been pretty good. Life’s been hectic the last few days, trying to finish up baking and presents and all of that good stuff, so I definitely have some cleaning to finish (a.k.a. start) around the Abbey.

So life moves on – the decorations get packed away for another year, I finally have a little tiny bit of breathing room from gift-making, at least until I start on Heather’s birthday presents (January 19th!), and I attempt to avoid those pesky little emails from Macmall touting how cheap their iPods are. Don’t they know I have tuition to pay? No fair.

The last stretch

Ah, it’s nice to get a break. Technically I have 5 days, 2 finals,  and 1 essay between me and winter break, but my pinnacle of stress was last Wednesday, so now that the 1 am bedtimes have died down I’m feeling pretty good.

I finally got a chance to poke around the internets for some emergent blogs; I haven’t nosed around much for the last three weeks or so. I’m horrible at trying to get into distinct, daily routines, and even though I always bookmark interesting blogs with the intent of checking back everyday or so, a few days becomes a week, which turns into two weeks, and so on. Instead, I usually find an interesting post (admittedly, often from Patrick’s Facebook posts) and then branch off from there. It’s always a pleasant “ah HA!” moment when I read something from a person that was mentioned earlier at cohort or in casual conversation and finally understand what they were talking about. =)

While I get a decent break from school, my hands have been busy trying to catch up on my Christmas gift making. I knit almost non-stop yesterday (I may have actually sleep-knitted, about 5 of those hours I only vaguely remember) and not only got a mere two feet (TWO FEET! In a day. Seriously?!) further on a scarf, but also somehow managed to cause some splintering in my early Christmas present – beautiful handmade knitting needles from India.

I’m a little embarrassed; not only at my apparent aggression with knitting needles, but also my slowness – at this rate, I could knit 24/7 and still not be done by Christmas. Time to start prioritizing – I’d wager a guess that Heather is willing to wait a few extra days on her gloves, but my sister will be severely displeased if she doesn’t get her gifts on time.

Let it snow

Ah, I love watching big flakes of snow from my window. At this point, it looks like our grass has a mild to moderate case of dandruff, and I am firmly and rationally expecting to go to work in a couple hours, though my inner child is still shouting “WHEEEEE It’s snowing and we’re going to get ten feet of snow and I won’t have to go to school or work for days!” What? I can hope!

I have the distinct urge to sit around for the rest of the night drinking cider and knitting. In fact, I probably should – at least the knitting part. When I think about the presents I’m making for Christmas this year, I always think it’s no big deal – two scarves (one down), two hats, three pairs of gloves, and five toys. In the course of a month, that shouldn’t really be an issue, I mean, if that was my vocation I feel like I’d actually need to get more done in a month than that.

And then I sit down to knit and remember that I’m creating each object stitch by tiny little stitch.

Other than that, I’m trying to figure out how to do the painting my sister has requested for Christmas. The trees I’ve attempted look horrible, but if I take those out it just looks like a layer of brown color sitting over a layer of blue-green colors – or if you look closely, you might see a lake. Beach? Not so much. Arrrrgh.

Other than that, my last week or two has been an average of neutral or good, lots of ups and downs. Group project frustration is tempered by relaxing weekends spent watching Dr. Who with Alannah and spending my evening with Alex, etc. I’ve been invited to my courselink’s Christmas party and at first I was looking forward to going. Yet the more I think about it, I realize that these are…well, let’s just say stereotypically Chico girls, and there will undoubtedly be some activities going on that I would rather not take part in.

So now I have to weigh whether the fun of the first hour or so is worth the peer pressure and awkwardness of the next several hours. I can be the loner now or the loner then, but either way I’m stuck looking weird and antisocial. There are some times that I’m really annoyed by my generation.