Its that time of year. Anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time knows the holidays rarely treat me well. I find myself unable to get work done, frequently establishing a todo list that will barely get done. I’ve taken pain this year to establish an extra short todo list, with maybe 5 items on it. 1 of which I was able to get done (redoing the home network), but I’ve found myself too “busy” to address the last 4 items on it. I put busy in quotes because I don’t think I’m actually busy, I can’t say there is this demand for my time whereby I find myself using a calendar to schedule my daily plans like I might while at school or work. Instead I think I’m preoccupied with other things, not necessarily bad things… I guess ‘relaxing’ or ‘hanging out’ is good from time to time, though personally I’ve always had trouble justifying it.
While those events are ongoing for the time being, Christmas is not. And I am glad about that. This year’s Christmas was no different from many holidays around here. Dad invites Katie over for the holiday meal, mom later re-invites Katie over… not knowing A few days later Mom remind me of the outstanding invitation, potentially changing it slightly (from say dinner, to desert after dinner) as well as reminding me how she might feel awkward in a family gathering situation, and she should not feel pressured in any way to attend. Since this is Christmas, my mom also took steps to explain to Katie how the food we eat on Christmas Eve isn’t very appealing, and how it might be disrespectful if one didn’t eat at the table. So Katie didn’t join us for Christmas Eve to eat with the extended family, but she did come over on Christmas to eat roast beef with my immediate family (mom, dad, me, Kevin).
I’ve always wondered about these polish traditions, while I know that the food we eat is traditional, I wonder if there is some strong reason why its always eaten on Christmas Eve. I’ve considered a scenario where my grandfather (or his father, etc, etc) (who’s proper polish title I would mutilate) being like hrm, its Christmas Eve so we can’t eat meat. What delicious food can my wife cook? And then, because he was polish and always enjoyed polish foods, he requested pierogies, kapusta, lima bean soup, herring, and other stuff. I do not enjoy eating any of it, but I have established a tolerance for lima beans from the soup and a small sampling of pierogies. At what point do these traditions evolve to a new tradition? I am all for doing the same thing on a special day once a year forever, but I’m less comfortable doing things that some really old and really dead person established.
I received a few very wonderful gifts this Christmas season. I received none of them on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning from my family. On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, I got a few things. None of which I really wanted, and none of them that I can really turn into something useful. I was given the following from Santa: 3 brown coats, 2 large shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of gloves, 1 headband, 1 box of goldfish, and 1 window ice scraper thing for the car. I was expecting most of this, though you’ll note a lack of gift cards or cash on my list of items I’ve received. In past, when I haven’t prepared a decent holiday wish list I receive gift cards or cash to enable me to supplement the lack of good gifts. This year I got none, which is pretty frustrating to me. I know that I’ve blogged about being frustrated about getting gift cards to too many different stores in the past, making it challenging to buy a larger ticket item, but getting none at all is certainly worse.
These 3 brown coats I got might have been my ‘large’ gift this year, but I do not enjoy walking around looking like a mud puddle. My dark blue coat that I currently wear is quite sufficient for my warmth needs. My parents, especially my dad, hates the blue liner that my current coat has that I wear as a spring coat. In his eyes, it is too short for me. Personally, I enjoy being able to access my pants pockets easily, and it is not very often I sit down on a wet surface where a covering for my the seat of my trousers may be necessary. My belt doesn’t show when I wear this coat under normal circumstances, so it isn’t abnormally short on me or anything like that. Kevin has opted to take one of the brown coats, leaving me with 2 to return to the store.
The 2 large shirts I got were large, which is OK if the shirts were made of 100% preshrunk cotton, but these were a blend, so they won’t shrink as much as I need to avoid the appearance of wearing a parachute. One of then was orange, which is only my color in the fall, otherwise I look jaundice. The pants were decent, I guess I’ve been needed a green pair of cargo pants for some time, but again I’ve always associated green pants with the forest, and RPI is not in the forest. The other pair of pants were jeans, which were a tad bit light for my liking. I dislike wearing bright blue pants (as most jeans appear), and the jeans I got were on the lighter side. I’ll likely be looking for a darker pair of jeans.
I will be returning as much as possible to Kohl’s in exchange for store credit. Its too bad Kohl’s didn’t sell computer stuff, or there wasn’t some place where I could trade in my Kohl’s gift card for a Best Buy gift card or something like that.
The whole Christmas season wasn’t a total bust. Katie got me an Xbox 360 and some LED taplights. I’m unsure what I enjoy more, the taplights or the Xbox. On one hand, the Xbox provides for me to play video games such as Halo 3… but it does require a television or some type of monitor. It also generates excessive amounts of heat. LED taplights provide for me to see in the dark with a simple tapping motion… but they require batteries to operate. There are also 3 of them in the box, and there was only 1 Xbox in the Microsoft box. I think I can put all 4 items to good use. I have a feeling Katie may regret buying me the console from time to time when I am playing it, but there are some Kt-friendly games available… like the Lego game that came with it. Kevin M followed up and got me an extra controller and Halo 3, which is pretty useful since I have an Xbox to play it on. Of course I am furious that Ms Katie spent so much money on me for the holidays, she should be saving up to buy her textbooks! My brother Kevin still owes a few birthday and Christmas gifts (I estimate 2-3 years worth), so we’ll see how that pans out.
Alas, I am stuck with a few decisions to make.
- Do I buy a monitor? I have been questing for a monitor for over a month now that suites my needs in both cost and inputs, and I have yet to find anything good. I’m not looking for the world’s highest quality display, but I want it to handle DVI as well as some video signal like component, composite, etc.
- What do I buy Katie for her birthday? She is turning another year older soon, and I have 0 clue what to get her as usual. I would appreciate any suggestions anyone could provide me, please contact me privately via AIM, Email, or my mobile.
- Should I work at McDonalds?
As my brother once said “Second place is like first, just you didn’t win”.