Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mushy Christmas thoughts.

I'm currently sitting at my parents' house, in my old-bedroom-now-converted-into-a-spare-room. I can hear Christmas music wafting in from the kitchen, as well as the clanging of metal and glass as my parents put away the last of the fancy Christmas dishes. We just finished a delicious brunch of blueberry waffles and mini quiches. I made the quiches. I love quiche.

Somehow I got out of dishes by saying "I think I'm going to write a Christmas blog." I have no idea how that worked. Apparently if I say things like that with enough authority, they actually sound legit. So with my mother's approval ("blog away, Tina"), I am going to try to wrap up the feelings stirring in me from the holidays going on and the end of the year so closely on the horizon.

This year has been a shaky one. I know that in the grand scheme of things, I have a wonderful life and I am very fortunate in pretty much every aspect of my existence. I am thankful every single day that I have a caring, fun family, amazing friends in all parts of the world, and I get to do the things I love for a living. But that doesn't mean I can't have difficult stuff going on sometimes. At the start of this year, I wasn't in a very good place. I don't need to dwell on the specifics - instead, today, as I look back on everything that's happened since this time last year - I want to climb up on my roof and scream as loud as I can about how much better things are.

I really am truly happy right now. I've made a lot of life changes.. from deciding to stay in Seattle and getting involved in things here, to making a bunch of new friends in my town, to letting go of some people who were holding me back. From all the little changes I've had to make to take care of my vocal nodes, to trying to jump back into writing, to starting to learn to cook a bit so I can eat more healthily, I'm feeling so great about the direction I'm going. Everything bad that happens to us in life will get better with time and healing, and I feel so relieved to be able to revel in really feeling whole right now.

I'm excited for what the new year will bring - ever since I got involved in the amazing Internet communities I'm a part of, I have been blown away year after year that each one seems even more incredible than the last. I have a good feeling that 2012 is going to follow that trend.

Christmas at home had been nice. I know many families go to their grandparent's house or share the day with a whole slew of aunts and uncles and cousins, but my extended family all lives quite far away. While we do make it a point to see them in the summer, Christmas has always been a time just for my Mom, Dad, brother and myself. Each year is fairly similar to the one before it, but that's why it's special. We only have each other out here when it comes to family, so I cherish the moments we have together, opening gifts, making/eating food, going to church (despite my own beliefs) and playing cards.

I got a lovely pile of gifts including a Kindle Touch, the game Catch Phrase, a bunch of candles, an Urban Decay eyeshadow palette, Kermit footy pajamas and a gorgeous jade necklace my Mom bought me in China (among other things). It's kind of nice to be a bit older and more mature around Christmastime.. it was always so stressful when I was younger, always getting hung up on the gifts. I remember fretting over my wish list, worrying my friends would get better presents or things I didn't think of - that all seems so silly now. I almost prefer giving gifts to receiving them now; seeing the looks on people's faces when I manage to get them exactly what they wanted is seriously the best.

My favorite gift I gave this year was a Jayne hat (from Firefly) to my dad. We really bonded over that show a few years back, and he loved the episode when Jayne's mom sent him the dorky orange hat. I've been waiting to see my dad crack up when he opened that gift for months. My favorite gift I received was from my brother Nick - he installed a stereo in my car all by himself. He's been working on it out in the garage all weekend. It means a lot that he'd put that much labor into a gift for me. :)

The necklace from my mom, as well, is very special. She picked it out for me at the Jade factory in China, and it's supposed to bring happiness and love into my life. I'm a little worried this means she's wishing for some grandkids, haha, but unfortunately for her it's going to be a good long while before that's on the table. Like, after I meet a boy, specifically. #foreveralone

I know a lot of my blog posts recently have been sort of mushy I-love-my-life type ramblings, but I'm just so, so happy with how things have changed for me. It wasn't that long ago when I felt like it was going to be impossible to turn things around, and I'm just amazed with how easy it ended up being. I think the obstacles and choices in our life really do happen for a reason, and I'm glad to be right here, exactly where I am.

This might be my last blog post of the year (maybe not though, I might need to do one of those stereotypical go-through-the-months posts) but at the very least, I'm positive I'm not flying anywhere else in 2011.

So for the last time...

Flights taken: 26 (not bad for one year!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December funtimes and parties.

Life is so exciting right now. December in general is always a total blast, but this year seems even more excitingly off the wall, probably because I am more involved in my own city than I ever have been before.

Thursday I went to the Child's Play Charity Auction -- this was a big fancy event for local nerds to come together and try to raise money for Penny Arcade's awesome charity that gets games and toys for bed-ridden and sick kids in hospitals nation-wide. I wont say a ton, because this is actually going to be the topic of my Project4Awesome video this year, but I am so glad I went to the event. Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade ran the live auction, which was hilarious, and I met a lot of really great people. Plus, seeing that many nerds dressed in their fanciest clothes is always a neat experience.

Yesterday Liz and I watched the special holiday episode of Community, and it was so good that once it ended, we literally just went back and watched it a second time. This is a big deal for me to say, as a huge fan of music episodes of non-musical shows... but it might have stolen first place for best musical episode of a show ever. At the very least it's tied for first with Buffy.
It could just be that I'm emotional about it being the last episode they're airing for awhile, as we've now entered the much despised Community hiatus. NBC wouldn't know a good thing if it aired weekly on Thursdays on their own channel. ...wait.

Last night I went to the Cheezburger Network Holiday party with the rest of the Know Your Meme team. There were free drinks and free food and I discovered this amazing beer that was red and fruity and called Lindemans Framboise. It didn't even taste like beer at all, which instantly makes it my favorite kind of beer.

The party was at the Tap House down in Seattle, which is this incredible bar with something like 160 beers on tap. The funny thing is, the after-party for the Child's Play Auction was also at the Tap House (though the Bellevue branch) so it's been a beer-filled week for me. Good thing I know my tricks, like the Framboise and various ciders, since I'm not really a beer person at all.

Then we had a little game's night at my house after the Cheezburger party, where we played a lot of games that actually only ended up being fun once we revised the rules ourselves. There will be a video about this, but using the cards from Dixit, we created an epic tale about a powerful sorcerer, a bearded child, the search for a key, an illegitimate baby, the betrayal of a divisive mistress and the death of a poor heroic slum kid. I don't even know.

I'm actually very, very glad I don't have any plans today, because it's the first time in a long time that I get to just catch up on my TV shows and play some WoW. I can't wait. :D

Flights taken: 26

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Post NaNoWriMo wrap-up.

It's funny to me that the day after I finish NaNoWriMo, the first thing I think is, "Ooh! I should write a blog post!"

But here I am. I guess if there's one thing to be said about my life, it's that I never really tired of writing. Oh sure, I get sick of writing certain THINGS, but never of writing itself.

So, the last three days were spent in a sort of NaNo-psychosis. I hit 50,000 words on Monday. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, I proceeded to write 16,000 more words on top of that, because I am a crazy person, and I knew I would hate myself if I didn't finish my story and get to write the neat little "the end" before calling it a month and saying goodbye to NaNoWriMo for another year. Ended with 66,360, which is my longest novel yet, in 6 years.

So Liz and I stocked up on energy drinks and fast food (I'm not proud) and we converted our living room into a sort of crazy-person's den. And we wrote. So much.

Last night when we finished around 9:30PM, our friends caught wind and they barely even gave us a choice - they tweeted immediately, "we're coming over". It was partially so they could take us out to celebrate, but partially because Liz and I have both been so anti-social lately and they were just as thrilled as we were that it was over.

Anyway, we were both so unshowered and crazy and cave-person-like that we BOLTED to our rooms to make ourselves presentable to the outside world. Once our friends got here we walked down to a local bar and had a lovely, lovely carefree evening celebrating our novelly accomplishments. My friend Molly took this picture of Liz and I to commemorate the occasion.

It's nice, being done. NaNoWriMo is an event I would never skip out on, because the experience is so character building and you learn so much about yourself and your limits, but man is it hard. It's nice to know I have 11 more months until I need to think about it again, though I do plan on going back and doing a little editing on this one, unlike most previous years.

It's also nice having such awesome friends to celebrate these kinds of accomplishments with. I'm really looking forward to December; there's always so many great parties and events and get-togethers, and I really need that this month. I spent a LOT of time alone writing during the last 30 days, guys. A lot.

I got a new laptop on Black Friday and I am currently playing around with it and setting everything up, so I think this will be the end of this blog post. Happy December, everyone!

Flights taken: 26