Sunday, December 31, 2006

Le jour de l'An

It's funny that people look to the new year as a time for massive changes in their lives. It's like that week after Christmas becomes the time for re-evaluating your whole life. We take a step back, look at the past year's events, and figure out how to make them better next time around. And then we make resolutions. Quit smoking, lose weight, get promotion, start running, go vegan.

I think the timing is a little off though. I mean, how are we supposed to build up the willpower to do something that we haven't been able to do for an entire year? It's the middle of winter. Cold, gray, rainy, bitter January. And then February comes and it's like January's meaner, pissed off, older brother. Pile on seasonal depression for many people, and you don't seem to get many triggers to go out and try new things and change your life.

I think there should be a new day of resolutions. Sometime in the middle of spring. Maybe Mother's Day should be the new resolution day. I think people would be more apt to stick to their guns if they woke up and it was 65 degrees and sunny. "Yeah, it's so nice out, maybe I'll go for a run today." Everything is blooming and alive, the grass is green, and it is a natural seasonal time of growth.

Doesn't that seem like a better time for change and development than in the dreary dead of winter? It sure does to me.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas, friends.

This poem was in the news recently, as a handwritten copy from 1860 was sold for 280 grand. Apparently, the man who the poem is credited to is not the original author, however. This guy is. He wrote the poem 50 years earlier, and it had been read in his family for years.

Anyway, it's pretty incredible, and it's one of those stories that always seem to spread the Christmas spirit. Here's hoping that the holidays see you and your families happy and healthy.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Is it just me, or did this sneak up really fast this year? There's only six days left until Christmas Day, and I've done absolutely zero shopping. I think it has lots to do with the fact that it's supposed to be cold and snowy, and you know maybe a little Christmasy outside. Instead, it's been like mid-spring in Chicago and the east coast is in the 70's.

It's weird, but when I worked at Jewel, the music was on and people would start buying ducks and hams and wrapping paper and wear santa hats and make small talk. It was nice and reassuring and gave you plenty of warning to start getting into the Christmas spirit.

I've got to jumpstart my Christmas spirit this week. I think we're going to get some lights for the apartment and maybe some sort of a small tree. Maybe a plant. A Christmas cactus?

Yes, I've got it. I'm going to supersaturate this pre-Christmas week with a whole months worth of Christmas activities. I need peppermint hot cocoa, at least one x-mas classic dvd each night, music, lights, and some candy canes. And x-mas booze.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


The semester's over and I can't remember the last time I felt so relieved. I stumbled through the last couple months of classes in a half-dazed zombie like state, and now it's done. It's a strange feeling, not having to really worry about anything school related for a while. Woo.

This whole transition thing is taking some getting used to. I know they say that change is tough for anybody, but I suppose it depends on how you look at it. I know changes can be hard to deal with or understand sometimes, but I guess if you look at them as challenges or opportunities for growth you'll end up better off. At least it's a way to put a positive spin on something that you're unsure about.

The new place is coming along nicely. Up until now, I haven't really spent that much time here except for sleeping, and it turns out the place is pretty nice. It's still a little bare, and in need of some area rugs and wall stuff to liven things up a little bit. On the plus side, it's pretty huge, and there's all these pantry/utility closets that are being put to use. Parking is easy, and it's close to the el, and there's a few little stores right nearby that I've yet to really check out.

I don't really know what I expected from Logan Square, but the change of scenery is refreshing for me. It's nice to walk a different stretch of pavement on the way to the train, or while grabbing something to eat. You walk the same paths in the same neighborhood for so long and it almost seems like the routes themselves get clouded with a buildup of all these past thoughts and memories.

Two things I have found in this neighborhood is that there's a Cuban deli around the corner that is awesome, and over by Kedzie there's this magic book bin. You can toss old books into and in a week or so they turn into different old books that you might not own. I opened it the other day and snagged three Calvin and Hobbes. Score!