2015/2016

My heart will go on...next year.
My heart will go on…next year.

Ah, 2015.  What a year you were.

At the beginning of this year, I was hoping that you would most certainly be better than 2014 for me.  And thankfully, you did not disappoint.

Of course, I suppose it wouldn’t be that hard.  Considering the fact that 2014 basically consisted of graduating from college followed up by a 6 month existential crisis plus anxiety galore, not to mention the unemployment and the numerous health issues – both the real and the imaginary ones propagated by WebMD – yeah, it really didn’t take that much.

Still, 2015, I’m grateful that you came through for me.  I mean, what happened this year?  I started this blog.  I’ve broken through the years long artist block and started drawing regularly again.  I got a job.  A JOB.  That pays money, allowing me to not have to worry about being completely broke.  I actually got some semblance of a social life and got some friends.  My brother got married.  And did I mention the job?  Because job.

With all that said and done, I have to wonder – the heck’s in store for 2016?  It’s only a couple days off now, and I’m curious.  I mean, I’m taking part in a mentorship program at work.  I’ll be turning 25.  It’ll be two years since college ended.  But other than that, what’s going to happen?

The answer is, who knows?  Maybe I’ll finally start dating.  Wouldn’t that be a twist and a half?  Maybe I’ll move out (a heavy maybe on that one, considering).  Maybe I’ll actually get a start on that writing career I always wanted to achieve.  And who knows what’ll be up here on the blog.  All up in the air at this point.

2015, you really did zoom right on by.  I’ll miss you dearly – compared to 2014, which I left with middle fingers up in the air and a big “SCREW YOU.”

And 2016 – welcome.  Let’s see what happens in the next 12 months.

Ugly Sweaters Revisited

"Not gonna lie, man - looks like she skinned the Grinch and wrapped up his pelt."
“Not gonna lie, man – looks like she skinned the Grinch and wrapped up his pelt.”

Poor Willa.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day!  Mine was quite lovely – spent a good three hours opening presents, which is really quite a feat considering there was only three people in the house, had a tasty Turkey dinner, and made out like a bandit in terms of loot.  It was, though, an incredibly warm day out – not even a nice warm, like a soupy, humid warm that you step out in and are like, “EWWWW” with almost instantaneous sweat.  Still, it remained very festive on the inside, and it’s not like we had a reason to step outside in the first place.

I’ve been INCREDIBLY tired for the past couple of days – Christmas can be incredibly exhausting, as I’ve discovered.  Taken quite a few naps.  But the holidays aren’t quite over yet.  We’ve still got New Year’s to prepare for, and Lord knows we’ve got plenty to do for that.

So let’s get ready to usher in the new year, folks.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Hope you all have a wonderfully Merry Christmas!
Hope you all have a wonderfully Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!  Hope everyone has a lovely, merry-filled day surrounded by loved ones and gifts!

Can you believe that it’s finally here?  I mean, wow.  Spent most of Christmas Eve helping Mom pull things together – decorating the tree whilst watching A Muppets’ Christmas Carol, baking the Christmas Carrot Cake (nicked my knuckle in the process), prepping this comic (of course) – just generally being very busy.  But a good busy.  A productive busy.  All for the big day.  And now it’s here!

The stockings have been opened.  The Christmas Casserole’s in the oven.  And I’m kicking back in my Chicago t-shirt, ready to unwrap the rest of the presents.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Fun Fact: we have two fireplaces in our house. Other Fun Fact: We've only used one of them once, and that was to get raccoons out of our chimney.
Fun Fact: we have two fireplaces in our house. Other Fun Fact: We’ve only used one of them once, and that was to get raccoons out of our chimney.

Holy crap, you guys.

First of all, it has been a super, super busy week.  I’ve had to do some Christmas shopping (the mall is a terrifying place to enter during this time of year), do some hardcore baking for the holidays, help with the decorations, make dinner when I need to, and of course head off to work as well as keep pumping out stuff for the blog.  Fun fact: this is actually the first holiday season where I’ve had to work.  So I’ve had to use my time a bit more judiciously around it in trying to prep for Christmas.

I do have to say, though, I think that I have finally gotten into the Christmas spirit.  And I think that it is thanks to doing all this stuff.  It’s one thing to sit around and be like, “We need to do this and this and this and we’re never gonna do it but we need to and UGH.”  It’s another thing to actually get it done.  And once I got into the baking, the shopping, and the decorating, it was like the Christmas spirit finally arrived.  Plus, I haven’t really been worrying as much, with all that I need to do.  This must be what my mom feels like on a daily basis.  Hm.

So, with two days left until the big day, there’s still plenty to do.  More decorating, I need to wrap some presents, bake the Christmas cake – phew.  But again, I’m finally in the Christmas state of mind.

BRING IT.

Jeff the Reindeer

I'd assume if your name is Cupid, you're kind of a jerk.
I’d assume if your name is Cupid, you’re kind of a jerk.

Realized I needed more Jeff the Reindeer.  So, here you go.  And really, with a stable mate like Cupid, I’d be hitting the road, too.

Also, we’ve reached that point in the Holiday season where suddenly, everything is happening and it’s just busy busy BUSY.  Never quite felt this way before, but hey!  Nice change of pace, to some degree.  Feeling way too busy to worry!

…so this what my mom feels like on an almost daily basis.  Huh.  Who knew?

Christmas Lights

Embarrassed, the penguin has to look away from the scene.
Embarrassed, the penguin has to look away from the scene.

 

What is it about Christmas lights that every time you take them out, they decide that they need to form a huge knot?  I mean, you swear you had put them away in a nice, neat little bundle – only for the next time to spend a good millenium trying to pull them apart because knots.  Oy.

There is that nice redeeming value, though, when you hang them up and they suddenly brighten up your house with Christmas cheer.  Also that they never seem to take that long to hang up.  You set aside a good three hours, only to take about 45 minutes to an hour to get them put up, because you keep forgetting year after year that truly the hardest part is untangling them.  And trying to remember how the balls you managed to set them up last year.  After that, it’s all relatively smooth sailing to flicking on the switch and oohing over them as you pull into the driveway from work.  Always nice to see.

The Santa and the Scrooge

There's a fine line between ''Spirited" and "Psychotic."
There’s a fine line between ”Spirited” and “Psychotic.”

 

So, this is something that I’ve been dealing with for most of the holiday season: discovering these two very different, yet remarkably connected, holiday identities, and attempting to find some sort of balance between them.

The “Scrooge,” I feel, is pretty obvious to explain.  It’s that person who eschews the holidays completely.  Maybe for the idea that it’s been overcommercialized, maybe for the sheer fact that it’s been everywhere since October.  Maybe because they feel like the weather is too warm and doesn’t allow for that Christmas edge (not that I’ve done that.  Cough).  Or maybe they just don’t feel like they’re in the mood for celebrating.  For whatever reason, they are more than content to just hide out in their homes and attempt to ignore the onslaught of the holiday season, wondering why.

I’ve actually had plenty of moments like this – more than I’ve ever had, I think.  I don’t know why.  I love Christmas, but this year, that Christmas magic has been ridiculously hard to find for me.  Maybe it’s because this year is going to be different, with people who have always been there not being there this year, me growing up, or whatever.  I’m just not feeling it as much as I want to.

Then there’s this other side – the Santa, the side that a part of this Scrooge-me wants to be.  The overzealous, hopped up on baked goods persona who is bouncing off the walls, throwing up green and red everywhere whilst trying to pump up the holiday spirits in everyone else.  Things aren’t happening fast enough for this guy – why isn’t the tree up?  Everyone else has their tree up!  We’re behind on the times people!  Christmas is only this amount of days away!

Like the Scrooge, I’ve had some Santa moments as well.  Mainly in terms of “WHY ISN’T THIS HAPPENING FAST ENOUGH WE’RE NEVER GOING TO BE READY IN TIME FOR CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSSS.”  I feel like I’ve been this every year though, trying to rush everything up so that we can…enjoy it longer?  Who knows?

These two sides do have a connection to each other.  At least for me.  For the Santa, I want everything to be put up NOW.  I want everything to be nice and perfect so we can celebrate Christmas perfectly, because of course it must be perfect or else it won’t be perfect and how terrible it will be if it isn’t PERFECT.  We need to be celebrating all month long.  Why are we doing everything so late?  This leads to the idea that, well, if it isn’t, than why bother celebrating?  So I morph into the Scrooge, all gloom and not in the mood.  Like, screw you all for being in the spirit.  But hey, maybe I’ll be in the mood if I start forcing myself to be cheerful and decorative!  And thus it all begins again.

Now to me, neither side is ideal.  Or all that healthy.  The Scrooge because I want to be in the mood but can’t seem to, the Santa because frankly, it makes me tired and I could never be that peppy to begin with.  So like everything else in life, I need to find a balance.  Yes, I want to be excited for Christmas, to celebrate this time with friends and family, to spread good will and cheer in a time when we all need it.  At the same time, I need to calm the hell down and not have such lofty expectations for the Perfect Christmas.  This is being In the Spirit.  Celebrating in my own way, without overdoing it or not doing it at all.  I need to complete my own Christmas, and maybe realize that doing everything too early can take the fun out of it, and not doing it all can be such a downer.  Just go at my own pace, and celebrate the way I want to with the family.

Christmas is coming – can’t stop that from happening.  So I just need to go forth, get some gifts, do some baking, and just balance.

Walrus Studies: Santa Walrus

He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake...or at least has a rough estimation.
He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.  Or at least has a rough estimation.  I mean, he’s got a clock, and can always look up time zones, so…

 

Here’s our walrus friend, gettin’ ready for the big night!  He’s doing some wrapping, prepping his presents, all with a great big smile and a Ho ho ho!

He’s further ahead than I am.  I still need to do shopping, some more baking, there’s putting up the tree – still plenty to do in the next couple of weeks!

Gone with the Cupcakes

Couldn't you at least saved me the spoon?
Couldn’t you at least saved me the spoon?

Baked goods never seem to last long in my house.  Case in point: the Sweet Potato Cupcakes I made to kick off the Holiday Baking season, a month long celebration of all things sweet to go with the festivities, as well as a deprivation of most of our baking ingredients.  Turned out nicely enough – maybe a bit too much nutmeg, too much sweet potato, which made them a bit moist, but still tasty.

I made them Friday – a good two and a half dozen, complete with brown sugar cream cheese icing.  It’s Wednesday, and there are 2 left.  Kind of felt like the comic – all the cupcakes have suddenly vanished into the aether (or into people’s stomachs).

Daw well.  Time to make some more – after the sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, Red Velvet cupcakes, chocolate pie, carrot cake, etc., etc.

Like I said – ’tis the season to be baking.  And eating.  I love this time of year.