Does it seem odd to anyone else that the winter is when we have our Must See Them Holidays in our very, very scattered culture?
We seem so surprised when actual Winter gets in our way.
It's also odd that we put the first semester finals right smack dab inside the cluster of holidays. It pretty much presumes the traditional dependent student; as opposed to say the parent of children or head of household who is expected to create the feelings and events that are supposed to inform all of those fond associations with the season.
And thus the Holidays came.
The Taunting was impacted ( but not stopped - you cannot stop The Taunting). Unlike previous years the presents needed to be hidden only to be revealed on the day of. Part of that was practical - the theme this year was Chocolate. All Chocolate, all the time. Godiva, Hershey's Nestle's, Lindt, Mars, a little boutique outfit that made World Peace bars . . . every night a different chocolate ending with specialized chocolates for each of the Children ( who are not so Childish Anymore - as proven by the eighth candle's Bailey's infused chocolate bar for The Girl).
The secondary Taunting gifts involved clothing. Things delayed due to recession but needed anyway were made fun. Sales were shopped. Artisans were traded with. But we kept the holiday ridiculously low key, lower key even than the Cheapass Taunting of 2009. Last year it was because I was closing down my projects, and knew that things were ending. This year it is because I returned to school to create new beginnings, however the semester was ending.
Here is the catch - I thought I had taken a relatively balanced load but they were all production classes that had final projects before final exams. Although I sort of knew that, in practical terms it escaped me. There were 4 tests in rapid succession in Logic and in order to combat my LD it takes about two days to prep for a test, having done it in a very intense way this last month I discovered what I'm really doing is rewiring my brain temporarily; but so completely that after working on a logic test I was unable to use language properly for two to three days afterwards, creating amusing malapropisms for friends and family and actual Conduction Aphasia for me.
When I first took the Logic and Object Oriented programming classes I had this idea that I would develop strategies that would help other people with symbol processing disorders be able to take and pass the class, however about 2/3 of the way through I realized NO ONE with my disability is going to take these classes to this level - they'd have to be masochists and have unlimited time ( or a psychotic need to prove that they are able to pass the class anyway - at least that's what my mirror tells me) Instead I've developed a series of strategies that can help any number of other people with different LDs, or people who are not naturally adept at the structured thinking these classes require, but if you have a hard core symbol processing disorder, as my programming professor says: "There's nothing wrong with being a poet".
Everything was going well, although I was sleep deprived and then I thought - "I can modify this technique and maybe get some rest."
This was a huge mistake causing me to get a truly dismal grade on the one test I couldn't drop as the lowest score. How bad? 25. There's an average killer.
I found a scoring error and got an extra 13 points but it pretty much meant that I had to really, really invest in the final - 4 days of drills and prep. 4 hours of actual test.
But I did survive, and the Holidays happened without me speaking properly. The last final was on the 21. The trip to Grandma's House was determined to be an Xmas Day Trip. My Perfectly Normal Mother-in-Law was pronounced healthy enough to leave her house for Xmas Eve.
There was much rejoicing.
So really, everything was as good as it could be. And then finally my grades were posted - I'd gotten a 100 on the final and because of weighting managed to get an A for the class. Had I scored lower it would have been a scholarship affecting C.
Huzzah! But I was exhausted.
Anti Claus however had no patience for that sort of nonsense and broke in to make copies of our keys, and deliver a sonic screwdriver that actually is a screwdriver, kick ass motorcycle boots and small bombs of pixie dust to the Children. I think I was Found Boring this year.
I think I found myself a bit boring this year.
But I was not the only person in the family and some of the other had been waiting for Xmas day for some time. They had plans.
We travelled out to Grandma's house, where Grandma's Gingerbread Poppet had found the perfect tree, and the Perfectly Normal Husband brought all of his Holiday up with us. It is obvious that the family would like a return to things being arty.
New Poppets have joined the house - Aunti Claus brought some for the Children ( apparently she didn't approve of a Poppet-free holiday. They are Candy Cane Poppets but they look a little blood spattered - one wonders where they accompanied her first before landing in the stockings)
My parents gave me a photobox. My Perfectly Normal Husband gave me a vampire, a wizard, a literary Death and a Tinker. Someone got me a Magic Trackpad.
I just like saying I have a Magic Trackpad.
Now here's the thing about Grandma's House. It's pretty much the test model for "lake effect" snow. So before leaving, pretty much the only non syllogistic thing I understood was the weather report for Grandma's House. And the report was "There might be some snow" and no one thought it would be much, but we warned all of our fellow travelers to inform loved ones and offices that there was a chance we would be snowed in at Grandma's House.
Then we got all pre-occupied with The Boy getting sick and my amusing attempts to communicate. And so we went over the river and through the woods, as we do yearly and played with dancing trees and had yummy food and shared a few bottles of wine and sort of showed the youngsters what "keeping a weather eye out" looks like it in the digital age.
Things were moving along nicely but we were starting to go - "Hmmn . . . Gee. Might need to stay an extra day or two, " when all of a sudden the word "Blizzard" started popping up on our weather eye screens.
Well they weren't kidding. We played it hour by hour but had to leave Grandma's House in a flurry all of our own because they were calling for a Blizzard at the House too.
Grandma's got about 20 inches, we got about 10. We raced the storm home and won by an inch. The other 9 fell after we were settled back in, but it wasn't much of a visit. The poppets didn't even get to come out and play with Grandma's holiday decor.
But we did spend it together and the food was wonderful.
Here is the thing I learned last week. If I were not inherently logical, I would not have been able to succeed, but to immerse myself to much in logic damages me and everything around me. There is a reckoning. The Art part came easier to me, but there was no balance in that either. The two need to be combined instead of in opposition. There was not enough time with family and just being. 6 Days - but a microcosm of the year.
And on the 7th day the Poppets came out and said - "Wake up sleepyhead! You need to play with your toys."
Well. I suppose I'm not back into right thinking for Poppets yet, I just started playing with my toys today. However I am very grateful for my friends and my family and my project teammates at school, because I am thinking about things as though they might be fun again.
That's a pretty good way to mark the solstice I think.
No one makes graphic novels about the adventures of getting the family together for a photo, but there are all sorts of stories when you do. This year I'll bet there were all sorts of adventures behind all of the holiday photos. Stories that will be told each time the album opens.
A fictional version of ourselves for the Dreamtime:
New Year's coming . . . .