I ruined Xmas, again, apparently. I don't understand, I tried so hard. I took time off to clean the house. I concussed myself and I still cleaned the house. I put up all the decorations, I begged and pleaded and worked excess hours to get time off to go shopping, I spent hundreds of dollars on Xmas presents, I made myself very sick indeed taking everything I could think of to remain placid, ruining my chances of ever writing again if I'm not lucky, and I'm not, and I still ruined Xmas. The main contention, I think, are the friends of mine who dropped over (actually univited by me) and the plate of food they brought,m which was a nice thought but which gave everyone food posoning (alas uneaten by me). This, apparently, is All My Fault and I Ruined Christmas - Again. Sigh.
Good thing it's not next week or I'd be following my dad out the window. As it is it's just 'whatever' and I'm glad to be spending my Xmas hols at work, though I can't write. Bummer.
So anyways, when I last left you I'd just hosted an impromptu Xmas party at my desk, scoffed by passing co-workers if not fully appreciated. At least I appreciated the opportunity to wallow in some of my fave delicacies (cracked pepper pate, corn dip, Pringles - hey, diets are null and void over Xmas and studies show my endless dieting is largely responsible for my constant crabbiness and vagueness, so there). I loved the two little tinsel trees (purple and silver) that I found abandoned in Woolies for $1.50 each and used for table settings. It turned out to be the best part of my Xmas.
Okay, so I'm Isobel the Xmas Nazi and the only part of Xmas I really enjoyed was the part I was wholly responsible for but please note it was the only part that was wholly together and not a complete disaster. Like it's my fault I forgot to make the candied yams for Xmas din-dins, which I hate anyways. I was solely responsible for peas and carrots, which were all present and correct, you may note.
So, anyways, after a very long, hard day at work, chips n dip notwithstanding, and after Farscape, I took myself off on another hunt for local Xmas lights, this time zig zagging my way down to the river and along to the industrial zone. Found some quite nice attempts and arrays, including a Santa on a bench and a house that looked like it was caught in a giant coloured spider's web. Met one chap who came out to say hi and tell me all, and I mean all, about his display, which included snowmen picked up in a sale and a 1m Santa imported all the way from the US of A. Turns out the old guy was from Carlisle, or rather west of, along Hadrian's Wall so we had quite a natter about the wall and the castle and the history thereof til his wife shooed me off. By this stage I was all sweaty and braless - I'd ducked out on a spur of the moment and my t-shirt was all clingy so the charming old chap got his Xmas treat. :D
Still, it was lovely to have a chat and at least I know I can still hold a good, ordinary, interesting conversation with a real live human being because things were very stilted with the friends and rellies over the alleged festive period. More from what was not being said, I suspect. That and I'd drugged myself silly.
Toddled home, watched Roswell (I Married an Alien - I've been anxious to see this for ages. I loved the Bewitched/I Dream of Jeannie/My Favourite Martian homage and the obvious use of stout fishing line was to be commended) and Buffy and zuzzed until Xmas day. Oh dear.
Decided to snarf early breakfast Xmas Froot Loops (see diet no fly zone, qv) and watch the tape of Adventure Inc that had arrived with great timing the evening before (bless you), because I was still in an astonishingly good mood and did not want to spoil it by familial contact just yet. Two bowls of Froot Loops and 4 episodes later (pause to drool here over that scene where he's pulled up into the boat, all Mr Wet T-shirt and clingy clothes and bonus points to young Gabe for extra slashiness) and it's getting past 9am so I feel I ought to show myself as they'll be presents to be unwrapped - always an onerous duty at my place. Oh, joy, socks again, that sort of deal. Only the house smells of stinky stove burning mess (mother was cooking) which drowns out my seasonal frankincense and three doors down their bad am radio drowns out my Frank CD. Sigh. I try, I really do. So much for an attempt at setting the scene, ditto my table settings. Two very necessary cups of teas later and we're into the unwrapping phase.
Bro truly surprises me with some choice gifts: a Spike calender and the Xmas Starbucks cup I'd swooned over, with a packet of Xmas blend, as is now tradition. Legend.
Mother gives me a bar of fruit and nut which I loathe, coconut macaroons which she loves and I loathe, and some crap from the $2 shop, again. Fortunately I'd forseen this and bought myself a book and dvd I really wanted as consolation gifts. This is to avoid sulkiness of Xmases past, like the year the only thing I liked at all was a cheap Xmas snowglobe which I'd perched carefully atop the rest of the crud and Mother throws some batteries at me, which smash the globe to pieces and ruins everything underneath it: cheap chocolates, cheap books, cheap clothes. She really does hate me, you know. And I don't want you to think I'm overly fussy, I'm cheerful over a $1.49 tinsel tree remember, it's just that she buys really bad stuff like stale chocolate bars from the local quickie mart and they're always ones she likes and I hate. It really bugs me. Especially after I've spent $80 on a birdbath for her garden.
Mother duly gets her own weight in biscuits and chocolates in enormous tins that it just about killed me to drag home - she's a Depression era child and nothing makes her happier than a stack of biscuit tins but there's a lot of Cartman going on too, viz the comment "Now I don't have to share!" when Bro too scored a nice box of biccies to go with the expresso machine I'd bought him (plus cup plus Xmas blend - snap). This is when madam has a teetering pile of tins at least six deep.
Finally got my hands on the box set of Band of Brothers but I've still not had a chance to view it.
Best gift goes to Seattle folks though for the just perfect choices. I am blessed and shamed into rethinking their package. Just lurve the Xmas cd. Need Best Friend to come over so I can impress her with the obscure glassware. And the book, and the rest - giggle, giggle, giggle. Best present, ever.
Xmas dinner is a rushed affair, unfortunately, because Mother has invited folks over when I just wanted to spend the day veging out, and the merlot we bought is heady stuff and I'm too arsefaced to risk washing up the good china for at least two hours. Spend the afternoon instead on the couch watching South Park Xmas specials and drinking most of my Starbucks Xmas blend to no good effect. I'm still falling asleep during a very Xmas Buffy when they arrive and I'm sleepy throughout and everyone else just watches Xmas specials on tv. Oy. Not fun at all. Nor was I good host and the more I tried the worse it got.
Alas they also brought the 'what the?' gift of the year, you know, the gift so inexplicably inappropriate you think at first you've been given the wrong gift by mistake. The thing you absolutely can't wear or can't use or find truly hideous, like the time my aunt bought me size 10 maroon nylon slacks - when I hate maroon, break out if I wear nylon, never wear slacks and I ain't been a size 10 since I was 18. [shakes head and rolls eyes to heaven]. In moments like these one would prefer to go without so one could at least live with the fiction that they were too busy or too poor, rather than the bitter truth that they don't give a donkeys. (I shouldn't mind only I spent so much time, money and effort trying to find the perfect gift for those who gave me something obviously less thoughtful, and alas vice versa and I don't know why, other than some pathetic attempt on my part to please those who can never be pleased, again, when I should be pleasing those good friends who are worthy and deserving of pleasing). Still, one can salvage the gesture and donate it to charity, if one is feeling pure, or return it at the next opportunity if one is feeling evil (qv Mr Alien Head Lampshade last year). Mind you donating to charity doesn't rid you of the fuckers as I have discovered to my peril - some of the buggers come back. Arrrgh. The Return of the Godawful Xmas Gift! - think lurid 50s B movie poster. It Came From the Op Shop! Beyond Terror - The Present That Taste Forgot!
I know, I'm being uncharitable and making it sound a much bigger deal than it was, more of a 'huh, whatever' moment than a heart wrenching realisation that people obviously don't like me. No, had that figured from the precious few yet strangely scolding Xmas cards that arrived, almost all reminding me to keep my promises re WIP fics, etc, which I had hoped to wrap up over Xmas but no such luck (qv pills and alcohol).
Boxing Day. I start the day off with the last of my Froot Loops and a minor Without a Trace marathon,ie, two episodes, thouroughly enjoyed and drooled over (bless you again, dear friend) before switching off my coloured lights and facing the very grey day. Okay, so no stinky hot weather or bushfires but cold and wet for Xmas? I think not, and the gloating of my formerly northern hemipshere acquaintances just makes me want to slap 'em. Actually score an invite to the rellies only, ironies of ironies, it's too bitterly cold and miserable to displace the water in their pool. Sigh. Another Xmas treat looked forward to down the drain. At least my Aunt serves up her traditional Xmas snacks so I'm happy. Still sloshed on merlot and Starbucks I babble incoherently but I don't care. I'm having fun. I have fruit cheese and fruit cake and I'm happy. There's a whole incident about me fogetting to bring the fruit cakke hoome but we'll gloss over that, qv pills and alcohol.
Friday, woken up at midnight by another Xmas fight down the street and sirens, which set off that damn koel again. Horrid bird. I like its parents but this damn bird, its so very Cartman. Catch up on Buffy. Back to work for half a day (I decide to rebel and take my half day even though I technically lost it, there's no one here to argue). Spend morning downloading my mail, including juicy pic of EC from Without a Trace (Esquire, 2003 US edn, I presume, see opposite).
Spend afternoon desperately searching for belated gifts for more inspired friends, without much sucess out here in blandville. Meanwhile tickets have been purchased for that evening's entertainment. While I'm rather tired and crouchy at having had to go to work, and the presumption that I'm going without actually asking, but who could say no to a chance to see The Two Towers, even if it does mean being sandwiched in cheek to jowel economy class style for three hours - which I find a little hard to bear but the movie was so bloody fantastic I actually wasn't bothered, much. I was only brought back to reality by the occassional elbow jab, which I did my best to ignore. That and having to rest my poor arm on my bag because the arm rest was taken - those without tendonitis just don't understand. I do need an armrest and at least my chair at work has them.
So, the movie. Phwoar! Just insert loads of drooly slobbery noises here. It kind of reminded me of the Princess Bride, in that all the boring politics etc had been excised and all we had left was the crash of sword on shield - it was LOTR as I wish it had been abridged when I first read it as a whelp. And the battles, oh the battles, I kept thinking if only Sharpe had been blessed by a budget like this, if only.
Speaking of Sharpe I barely missed Sean, being too busy drooling over Aragorn and Legolas. Lots of Yank-people are all drooly over Faramir but Diver Dan still lives me cold, alas, so I was just on the two boys (and I noticed Elf Boy had his contacts out in one scene at Helms Deep, tsk). And slashy as, I must say. I've seen too many things with dear K because for that seen where Legolas stands, anguished, above the cliff where Aragorn has fallen, all I could think of was "POOKIE!!!!"
Okay, so you had to be there. My other fave bit was the scene where Eowyn realises she's got buckleys with Mr Studly because he's on a promise from Arwen. Only to my eyes, with her catching a glimpse of the reunited Aragorn and Legolas sharing an intimate moment, it's that she realised, like all good Sydney girls do, that she was wasting her time because there already was a pretty blond in the picture. A pretty blond with whom Aragorn was actually willing to fight side by side with. Slashiest scene I've seen in a long while (well, okay, since Gabe dragged Judson aboard the boat), and it was up on the big screen too, hee. Needless to say, heroically rugged men and pretty boys running about swashing and buckling - you know I loved it, loved it to bits. Can't wait for the next part!
Got home in time to watch the X Files by the light of the Xmas tree, just like last year, or was it the year before?
Saturday: Coco Pops this time, and the Munchkin as I replay last night's Homicide and the bits of the X Files I missed (poor Doggett, again). Then me not doing terribly much at all for the entire day as the efforts of the last few months catch up with me and I snooze between naps. Really. I only wake up for Farscape and I should have mentioned Farscape season three starting up on Nine on Thursday, I think it was, and it must be less hacked to pieces this time because I could actually follow the plot and I loved it. Much JC/Aeryn angst (ditto JC/Scorpy if you want to go there - I so don't ) and everyone else angst as Chianna's cheatin' heart breaks D'Argo's, and whoa, selfish, breaking up a father and son just because she's a commitment phobe. A lot of resetting of the John/Aeryn UST button as they decide to abstain for ratings purposes and Zhaan starts dying graciously (and there must have been some subplot with Stark because that relationship seemed to come straight out of the blue, as it were). Anyways, you know the plot: rescuing John, then they end up at that blown apart space station, now they've pranged that other ship in the wormhole (didn't that used to be a Dr Who story with Honor Blackman?), just wanted to say I enjoyed every last drop.
Sunday: Woken up at 4am by a donnybrook three doors or so down. Ah, working class life. Decide to watch Stargate as I'm up and it's on and I've missed it all weekend. Torment of Tantalus as it happens, one of the best and some nice Jack/Daniel scenes. Munch on some coco pops and manage to hype myself into wanting to finish that WIP. Promptly fall asleep again.
Sleep in til the mowers start up promptly at 9am, read the papers, decide it's either too wet or too hot to do anything in the yard (the weather keeps changing rapidly) so it's more dozing in front of the tv, drooling over Clive in Second Sight and, well, that's it really. Not a productive day at all. Oh, I did feed all the birdies, but that's about my sole activity. That and drooling over Peter Wingfield in Queen of Swords.
I bet a lot of people see this and think this is where I got the idea for putting Methos in the Napoleonic wars (I forget war the Spanish called them, something like the War of Independence). Not so. It was in fact in New York where my friend subjected me inhumanely (grin) to hours upon hours of Methos and Sharpe (my first exposure to both) and in my jetlaggy state it all rolled into one. That's where it came from. Mind you, to see my delerium made film, well that's a super treat and I was all squealy, but very, very quietly because it was late at night.
Monday. Back at work, and continue to bury countless media releases, which is annoying, not because it goes against my moral beliefs (which it does, I joined this Dept to save the environment, not squander it) but because I'd planned a solid morning of downloading Viggo and Orlando pics in lieu of actually finishing any of my WIP's, but no, still work work work. Sigh.
Forgot to mention just how confusing it is with some many characters, even just viewed in a day, who have the trite and trusty initials JC. Fer example:
John Constatine, etc etc etc
Bit of a cliche, docha think?