The One With Christmas

Christmas has been strange this year. My father is in South Africa right now which left my mom, my sister, my sister’s cat and myself to celebrate by ourselves.

I finished up work for the year on the 20th, and on the 21st I spent a lazy day in my flat doing far less chores than I should have. The next day I went into town to meet my mom, who I had managed to persuade to come visit me to help me clean up the flat for the new year, and keep me company on the drive back to my parents house. My mom and I spent several hours shopping, then went back to the flat to clean and organise. Sunday, more cleaning and organising before a (thankfully) uneventful drive back. There were a lot of cars on the road but fortunately no traffic and we made good time. (I still can’t quite get used to motorway driving, feel nervy and on edge, so my mom was welcome company.) We needed a few more food items for Christmas, so we stopped at the supermarket on the way, which maybe we shouldn’t have done as it was heaving with people. We ended up queuing down the aisle for a till. It can’t be much fun to be working in retail at this time of year.

Once we had our items we could finish our journey home. The next day was lazy, spent waiting for my sister (and cat) to arrive. Finally, Christmas day itself was much better than expected. We opened presents, then my mom made lunch and I made dessert. My mom put in a lot of effort to get everything right; my dad usually does the cooking on Christmas day. Lunch was delicious and overly filling, as it should be, and we had to squeeze pudding into our pudding stomaches, which is also how it should be. (I successfully made an apple crumble, a simple but effective dessert.) After lunch we all just relaxed and boxing day was much the same. I have not left the house, have been living in my pajamas, and have eaten far too much chocolate and biscuits. Am still doing so, if I’m honest. It’s been nice. There has been minimal arguing and we even spent some time playing games with each other without it ending in bloodshed. My dad meanwhile has had a great Christmas with his mom and siblings. I feel happy that he managed to do that, and happy with how Christmas turned out here, but I did miss him and I worry he will worry that we had a better Christmas without him.

My dad comes home tonight and we will have a mini Christmas again, giving him his presents and receiving ours from our family. I’m excited to see him.

The days are somewhat blending into each other, time ceasing to matter so much when you have nothing to do and nowhere to go, but I am faintly aware that the end of the year is approaching and with it, the return to work. I am not sure how I feel about either. This year has been terrible, with my anxiety still awful and the added bonus of the return of my depression. A lot has been happening this year, especially in work, and it’s been tough. I know that the new year is no magic switch, but I wish for a 360 change. One moment everything bad, but then suddenly! The year changes to 2019 and everything is better. There is also a big part of me that wants to stay frozen where I am, in my parents house, being looked after by my mom, living in my pajamas, not leaving the house and having no responsibilities. I know this is childish.

I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas if you celebrate, or a pleasant winter break otherwise.

PS. I renewed my domain for another two years today. I was contemplating not, but I still like my little blog and am willing to see how far I’ll take it (I am definitely past the “10 years blogging” mark, so basically myself and my blog are a bit of a dinosaur by this point. Oh well. This has always been my random little corner of the internet and that is how it shall continue on.)

At some point, I stopped writing. Online and offline, I ran out of words. Things haven’t been great these few weeks, months, this year. I grew tired of that narrative. I didn’t want it here, on this blog, and writing it offline wouldn’t help. I told myself I’d come back when things improved, when I was in a better headspace, but that has not happened. Nonetheless, there are good things, too.

Moments like this. I’m sat on my bed in my parents house, with my sister’s cat curled up next to me. I’ve missed my own cat so, so much this year. Nothing has been the same since she died. I am very happy to have some cat time. I’m at my parents house with my parents, my sister, and my sister’s cat. We will open presents tommorow and have Christmas lunch. It’s really good to be at home and not be at work. I was counting down the days until Christmas break and I was almost giddy with happiness, hyper, on the last day on Friday.

I’ve never been one to believe in New year’s, or enjoy Christmas. But with things so otherwise bleak I’ve thrown myself into festivities – hanging lights in my apartment windows, buying too many presents, crafting an ornament for our Christmas tree- and I’m looking forward to trying to reset things alongside the change in year.

Anyway, wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, or a happy holiday break, and a happy new year.

New Year


Needless Alley, Birmingham

Christmas turned out to be as expected – very quiet, but nice. We followed our plans – Christmas morning, my parents and I packed up the presents in bags, boxed up the food and drove to my sister’s house. My sister had put a lot of effort into making up her house for our family celebrations: she’d put up a tree, and set the table beautifully.

We opened presents and then set about making lunch, eating lunch, and then lazing around after lunch and finishing up with a family game of scrabble, where my sister won over me by 3 points. (3 points!) My sister’s cat was at first overwhelmed, but then quite happy to hang around us, which was cute. By the end of the day she even tentatively came to sit next to me. I got some good presents this year – mostly stuff for my home, as usual. (That’s not an unhappy as usual. I usually request things for my home – it’s interesting to see how people interpret it, and adding those different touches to my house. I like filling my house with things that have an association with a loved one, and/or a pleasant memory.) It was a nice day, but I was exhausted by the evening; as an introvert I can’t take so long spent around people, even my own family. Usually on Christmas I try to retreat in the afternoon, and reappear in the evening. As I was at my sisters house I didn’t feel comfortable roaming around, or retreating, and I felt a pressure to socialise. So I did not get my retreat and recharge time, and it was a little uncomfortable.

Thankfully, for boxing day I could stay at home and ignore everyone. :P


Turtle in a Santa Hat

The next day my sister and I went to Birmingham together. We shopped the sales a bit, had a meal and then went to Sea Life aquarium! It was awesome. Quite a small aquarium, but plenty to see. It was not too busy either, which was really nice. It was especially good being able to enjoy their 360 shark tunnel without the pressure to keep moving to accommodate the crowds. My sister and I spent ages watching the sharks, and trying to spot their turtle (Surprisingly, even a giant turtle can do what my fish do – hide themselves away perfectly, not a trace.) The aquarium had been done up for Christmas – with lights in the decorative palm trees in the aquarium, a Santa hat on one of their statues, and a plastic Christmas tree in their main tank with the sharks. It was kind of adorable. It was another long, tiring day, but lots of fun and it’s easier to be around just my sister rather than dealing with the whole family. (Not including the cat.)


Shark not bothered by Christmas tree in his tank

Since then I’ve come back to the flat and reunited with the fish, who probably didn’t even know I was gone, and met up with my sister in Manchester for more sales shopping. Between those two outings I have managed to buy a lot of nice work stuff at reduced prices, which is awesome. I basically bought several sweaters of similar colors and different styles, but as I live in sweaters+pants/skirt combos at work I think I can justify it. And I finally found a nice smart coat I can wear for my meetings! There’s nothing like putting on your formal wear only to cover it up in a casual coat…Which I’ve been doing for over a year now as coats being expensive, I struggled to commit to buying something nicer. But I found a good formal coat and a good price on it in the sales this time. It was still painful to hand it over at the till, but I can live with it. (And finally I can package myself properly for my meetings, which is pretty priceless to be honest.) I then had a driving lesson today. But mostly I’ve been relaxing and enjoying not having to go to work.

I have to go back to work eventually, of course. I have mixed feelings on it. But whatever, still got a couple of days to myself, and I plan to do nothing and enjoy it thoroughly.

Happy new year!!!

(Pictures are from the trip to Birmingham!)


The Birmingham Bullring shopping center Bull dressed up as a Christmas pudding, because why not