‘Twas the Night Before Christmas . . .

December 25, 2008 at 1:20 AM (Happenings)

. . . And as our blogger wrapped her final Christmas gift, she decided to ramble online for a little bit before baking Mr. Kringle’s favourite Pilsbury chocolate chunk cookies.

Whoever claimed that the holiday shopping rush tapered off after mid-December this year clearly has never been to Wal-Mart or TJ Maxx.

My God.

I didn’t even venture into these stores: the parking lots alone could have passed for Satan’s gauntlets.  Wal-Mart was particularly vicious: it took my mother and I 45 minutes to get from the plaza’s lot to the street.  Luckily, our Christmas Eve Day agenda wasn’t SO jam-packed that the wait cost us much extra productivity.

I’m not used to getting home for Christmas so close to the 25th.  Typically I’m back with up to a week to get into the spirit, but due to inclement weather and scheduling conflicts, I didn’t walk through the door until after 6.30 on the eve of Christmas Eve.

On the bright side, part of that had to do with my being able to visit my grandfather on the way home.  He’s out of the hospital and into physical therapy, and he looks infinitely better than he did when I last saw him on Thanksgiving.  He was thrilled to see me, which made my day.  I’m so glad that he’s getting healthier and happier, and I’m sure that being with his family tomorrow will be the highlight of everyone’s day.

. . . And on that note, although I’ve wrapped all of MY Christmas gifts, it looks like my dad hasn’t.  Guess who’s on Santa’s Helper Duty.

A warm, safe, and merry Christmas to all!

Tonight’s Tunes
“Ya Me Voy,” Ceci Bastida
“We’ll MeetAgain,” Vera Lynn
“Sparks,” Coldplay
“Peroxide Swing,” Michael Bublé
“Less Talk More Rokk (Guitar Hero 2 Mix),” Freezepop
“Got to Get You Into My Life,” The Beatles
“Get Down On It,” Kool & The Gang


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Today I Learned . . .

December 22, 2008 at 4:29 AM (Personal Reference) (, )

Today I learned what a “twintourage” is.  I also learned that onion and salami pizza is delicious, and that my water-proof boots are not actually water-proof.

Tonight’s Tune
“Toxic,” Yael Naïm

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Curse You, Mick Jagger

December 21, 2008 at 2:10 AM (Friends, Musings) (, , )

Yep, two blog posts, one day. Don’t worry, it won’t turn into a habit.

Being the sporadic, borderline dysfunctional jukebox I am, it almost made sense when, after I’d been whining to myself for a good two minutes, the Rolling Stones’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” popped into my head and would not leave me alone.  In this case, what I want is closure, and I’m pretty sure I won’t get it.  Thanks for the mockery, Mick.

I was involved with someone for a substantial amount of time.  On a personality level, things were okay: we got along splendidly.  However, when it came to two-way communication and dependability, much was left to be desired.  Usually friction was minimal (and unnoticed by the other party), so I let it slide, reasoning that if it’s small, it shouldn’t merit a big fuss.

Unfortunately, even small things build up into something big, and eventually, the small things themselves were growing larger.  I was looking for support where there was none, and I was getting agitated, to put it politely.  Finally, I decided that the matter deserved some attention.

Many level-headed friends advised that I simply walk away, but I was so convinced that the person I had initially met and grown to like so much was still around somewhere – granted, that person was probably under a rock somewhere, and required some serious coaxing, but I was cautiously optimistic.  I told myself that my friend probably had a good reason for acting so ignorantly, and I assured myself that enlightening this person would change everything – after all, I try to stay involved with intelligent, reasonable people.  This couldn’t be too difficult.

I met this person for dinner and lay all my cards on the table: my frustration, my confusion, my disbelief, my hope, my fear.  I hated to place myself in so vulnerable a position, but I’m a sucker for “What If?”s and didn’t want to walk away from anything wondering what could have been, had I only said something.

I felt rewarded for my actions: my dinner companion was recognisably upset, and after some further discussion, we finished dinner on a high note, agreeing that we needed to take better care to communicate with each other, because we valued the relationship we had and didn’t want it to dissolve.

One week went by.

Two weeks went by.

Three weeks went by.

This person could have dropped off the face of the planet, for all I knew.  I had sent a couple text messages, but either received no response or a disinterested one.  Rather than waste time screwing up the composure to address the situation again, I decided to walk away.  I deleted all screen names and phone numbers: I never saw them contacting me; there was no point in using up phone/buddy list memory if they were never used.  This person had proven not to be worth any of my time, let alone the amount I’d already wasted trying to be a good friend and preserve the relationship (I won’t say how long – it’s embarrassing to think about).  I’d been blinded by beautifully crafted sentences and fashionable sensitivity.  I had fallen victim to someone who needed constant attention, but was only considerate of the needs of others when the mood struck.  I felt so used.  And stupid.

Well over a month had passed before I saw this person again.  When I did, after my stomach recovered from its sudden cartwheel, I prayed for some kind of acknowledgement.  An apology would have been ideal, but I would have settled for an oblivious, “Hey, haven’t heard from you recently.”  ANYTHING that would have told me that my actions (or conscious inactions) didn’t go totally unnoticed.

Nothing.  Nothing at all.

Casual conversation, as if nothing had ever happened.  I’d never felt so empty before.  I couldn’t understand how someone with whom I’d been so seemingly close could just treat me like a friendly acquaintance.  Effortlessly.  I’ve interpreted this in two ways: this person is an excellent actor (and a sadist), or this person really is too self-absorbed to notice so-called friends when they’ve been hurt.  Unfortunately, I think it’s the latter, and I’m certain that I can’t do anything to make this person look beyond a mirror.  Even if a realisation DOES eventually hit – “Huh, strange, this person I used to be pretty close with doesn’t really talk to me any more . . .” – I doubt that it’ll be thought of as something that person could have prevented, or even turned around.

And THAT is the closure that I’m afraid I’ll never find.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Rag Doll,” Maroon 5
“Got to Be More Careful,” Jon Cleary
“Watermelon Man,” Herbie Hancock
“Big Lie Small World,” Sting
“Don’t Think of Me,” Dido
“The Book,” Sheryl Crow
“1973,” James Blunt
“Fox on the Run,” Sweet
“Fool in the Rain,” Led Zeppelin
“Shiver,” Maroon 5
“Back at Your Door,” Maroon 5
“Hot N Cold,” Katy Perry
“Killing Me Softly,” Lauryn Hill
“Good Girl Gone Bad,” Rihanna
“We Were Born For This,” Paramore
“Slip Away,” Si*Se
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” The Rolling Stones
“Where Do I Begin (Love Story) (AwayTeam Mix),” Shirley Bassey

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It All Began with a Cheese Craving

December 20, 2008 at 11:21 PM (Dance, Happenings, Musings) (, , )

Speaking of cravings . . .  I love Little Britain, particularly “Lou and Andy” and “Fat Fighters.”  Using “Craving” in this post’s title made me think of a “Fat Fighters” skit.

A touch of Americanised context: “Fat Fighters” is the English SNL skit poking fun at “Weight Watchers.”  The leader of the support group is a delusional piece of work, to put it lightly.  It never fails to put a smile on my face:

Hopefully you chuckled, too.  Back to our irregularly scheduled blogging!

Last night, in yet another successful effort to procrastinate (and of course to let the world know what I’m up to), I decided to update my Facebook status to “Brittany craves cheese.”  It was interesting enough when someone I don’t usually chat with via Facebook commented to offer cheese.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t local (and the weather was beyond frightful), but I had successfully procured cheese from my own fridge (that was NOT mouldy, thank-you-very-much), so it all worked out for me eventually.

Even more interestingly was when someone with whom I NEVER speak outside of when I see him, which is rare, sent me an instant message: “Did you find your cheese yet?”

What did I learn last night?  Well, for one, I learned that cheese is an excellent conversation-starter.  I will keep this in mind for future cocktail parties.

Cheese aside, my acquaintance and I actually got into a pretty good conversation.  He dances professionally, and we got to talking about my competition schedules, etcetera.  Eventually I mentioned that I had a lot of work to do with my dancing, but that I couldn’t complain about my results because, frankly, I haven’t been practising too much as of recent (that whole college education thing keeps getting in the way . . . you know how it goes).  Before I could dive into my man-made pool of stress, he reminded me of something pretty crucial:

“Just remember to have fun.”

The advice shouldn’t have made me think twice, but it did.  I don’t get paid to dance.  The second I stop enjoying it, it’s not worth the money (granted, it looks kind of cool on my résumé, but not THAT cool).  My school work can be stressful.  So can my job search.  And family illness.  And relationship complications.  NOT my hobbies.

We didn’t linger on the topic for too long (the conversation was not destined to be lengthy and in-depth), and soon enough moved onto topics as riveting as cheese: Back to the Future, Facebook poking, the weather, and so on.

So, I actually learned two things last night: the cheese thing, and to remember that my hobbies are not my job, and should be treated as such.  Mostly the thing about cheese, though.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Sundress,” Ben Kweller
“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” The Beatles
“Good Times Bad Times,” Led Zeppelin
“Can You Believe,” Robin Thicke
“Anything You Can Do,” Annie Get Your Gun – 1999 Broadway Cast
“Candidate,” David Bowie
“Montana (Tom Mandolini Remix),” Venus Hum
“Vegas,” Sara Bareilles
“Soul,” Matchbox Twenty
“The Heart Asks Pleasure First,” Ahn Trio
“Brother (Album Version),” Murder by Death
“The Song Is You,” Frank Sinatra

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Today I Learned . . .

December 19, 2008 at 9:58 PM (Personal Reference) (, )

Today I learned that feta cheese does not last forever.  I’m glad that I learned this before I tried to add some to my lunch today.

Today’s Tune
“Fearless,” Pink Floyd

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Social by Habit

December 18, 2008 at 9:51 PM (Musings) (, )

Today was the first day I spent alone in the apartment in a while: my last roommate left for Christmas at 3.00 A.M. today.  Although I’m thrilled to have total control of the thermostat (woohoo, 75-degree heat wave!!) and the sound system, I’ve gotten used to living with other people, and I’m not coping too well with the switch-up.

That’s not to say that I can’t live alone: I did it for two summers, and it was great.  There’s a certain pleasure I derive from doing things my way (cleaning, arranging, and so on and so forth), and it’s nice not having to worry about someone else’s alarm clock waking me up.  Admittedly, I also enjoy taking some vocal liberties when I know that no one I know can hear me.  However, that was situation for the entire summer.   I’m finding that I don’t do as well under more temporary circumstances.

Over the past four months, I’ve grown accustomed to chatting with the little wanderer, dining with my damn roommate, and hearing about my accident-prone roommate’s latest run-in with gravity or sharp pointy objects.  The latter has just moved out permanently, since she graduated early, and decided to move back home for a few months.  The other two are only gone until next semester, but I’m still here for a few more days.


This stinks.

The last time I was alone in the apartment for more than a day was when I got back from my Thanksgiving break.  My grandfather was skipping in and out of the ICU at the time, so perhaps you can imagine how thrilled I was to be away from him, my roommates and most of my friends, since they were all still out of town.  Great times, right?

I’ve had almost no human interaction today, even at my favourite coffee shop across the street.  I haven’t gotten anything done today, which needs to change, since I still have one more exam to go (Gregorian chants, bring it on.).  Luckily, Balera’s but a train ride away.  I don’t do well in libraries, but I can get some serious reading done in a dance studio.  Go figure.

Today’s Tunes 
“Black Mercedes,” One Block Radius
“Mercy,” Duffy
“Run for Your Life,” The Beatles
“Stuck on You,” Elvis Presley
“Electric Worm,” Beastie Boys
“Right Now (Na Na Na),” Akon
“You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” Stevie Wonder
“Runaround Sue,” Dion
“So What,” Miles Davis

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Today I Learned . . .

December 18, 2008 at 4:56 AM (Dance, Happenings, Personal Reference)

Today I learned that choreography doesn’t stay with you forever.   Too tired to elaborate (yay for awesome class). 

Tonight’s Distractions
Family Guy

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Smarter Than Your Average Bear

December 16, 2008 at 6:33 PM (Happenings, Musings) (, )

For whatever it’s worth, I truly believe that one learns something new daily.  In an effort to get myself writing more regularly, I’m going to try to record at least that, if not something more interesting, daily.

Back to our irregularly scheduled blogging!

This morning I had my first of two final exams.  I spent a good three weeks stressing myself out over it, at least an hour last night tossing and turning, and a few hours as the victim of academic nightmares.  Granted, I’m all set to graduate whenever I want this year, so none of my courses are crucial for me to graduate, but Mom trained me well to obesess over anything that will be evaluated.  I was particularly worried about this exam since I didn’t even finish my midterm.  Mind you, the last time I could not finish a test in the allotted time was for Honours Chemistry in high school, so it’s been a while.  I was so horrified at the time that when I received the graded midterm in a manila folder two weeks later, I couldn’t couldn’t bear to look at it.  Instead, I left it under a pile of papers on my desk, hoping never to see it again.

Last night admist my dread, I found my friends at Balera to be encouraging and reassuring.  None of them seemed too concerned , which, while I appreciated their confidence, led me to think that they just couldn’t fathom how difficult and in-depth the course was.  I’m a smart lass, but I go to a smart kids school where I am a small fish in a very, very large sea of mostly other smart fish.

I did my best to keep my wits about me as I went into my exam this morning, and to my amazement, I found myself  answering most of the essays pretty thoroughly (I thought, at least).  I was even more amazed to find myself finishing the exam five minutes before time.  As I walked home, I marveled at my own knowledge of the material, and when I arrived back at my apartment, I took a deep breath as I dug out my midterm from two months ago, and gasped as I found the grade half-way down the front page: 81.  On an exam that I didn’t even complete.  Golly, maybe I  really am as smart as my friends claim I am . . .

Today’s Tunes
“I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz
“Lost Without U,” Robin Thicke
“Already Home (Spanish Version),” Ha-Ash
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Deep Blue Something
“Back 2 Good,” Matchbox Twenty
“Corazon No Llores,” Marc Anthony y Olga Tanon
“Low,” Coldplay

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Santa Speedo Run 2008

December 14, 2008 at 7:23 AM (Friends, Happenings) (, )

Today, I enjoyed spectating at my second Santa Speedo Run.  For two years, one of my friends has participated in the run for Cradles to Crayons, a charitable organisation that aims to provide life’s essentials for children through age 12 (www.cradlestocrayons.org).

Last year, I was a passive spectator at the balmy 33-degree weather spectacle (given the time of year, my adjective choice is in fact appropriate), but this year, I went one step further and took part in sponsoring my friend in his charitable (and, admittedly, aesthetically hysterical) endeavor.  Not only did I take care of my good deed for the year, but I was also happy to support one of my friends.  I’ve been blessed with a great group of people in Boston who have proven themselves to be incredibly caring in a very short while, and I was glad to be able to show one of them even a fraction of my appreciation.

This year, the weather was a bit harsher, with the thermometer barerly hitting 27 degrees, and raw winds making it “feel” like 22 degrees.  I was reluctant to leave the warmth of my apartment even for two hours, but I had paid good money to watch and record my friend gallivant through Boston, slightly intoxicated, in a red Speedo and Santa hat.  I bundled up in as many layers as I could manage while still looking remotely put-together, and made my way out to the merciless elements.  I lasted for maybe 45 seconds before I sprinted into the nearest coffee shop . . . across the street.

Equipped with my no-water chai latte, I strode back outside to wait for the train (or bus, whichever came first).  After two minutes of waiting my latte was tepid, at best, but I persevered: 1.) walking would have taken me forever and I would have missed the run entirely, and 2.) I’m too cheap for cab fare.  In short, I didn’t really have a choice.

After an uneventful train ride into town, I walked towards the bar/ starting point for the run in hopes of catching my friend.  After all, he had said that he planned on prepping for the run with some holiday spirits.  When I arrived at the bar, I tried calling him, but received no answer.  Rather than wait outside and freeze my posterior, I decided to visit another coffee shop in the area to warm up and kill time.  After all, I had 20 minutes to spare until the fun and games began, and I was usually lucky enough to score free caffeine at this place.

Nineteen minutes and a mild case of the jitters later, I stepped outside to a completely different scene than that from which I’d just left.  The street was lined with spectators, police officers, and stray vehicles that had missed the memo about the roads closing down for a bunch of half-naked philanthropists who’d be jogging through shortly.  At the head of the street, maybe a thousand people decked out in their best Speedos, Santa hats, cowbells, garlands, body paint, and assorted winter accessories were cheering wildly as they jumped up and down to keep from freezing before their run.  It was pretty astounding to see it all – again.

The atmosphere was electrifying, and despite the fact that I could not feel my fingers because they were so cold, I could not help but beam as I shot pictures and skimmed the Santas in search of the one participant I knew.  I found him doing jumping  jacks with a few other runners, but couldn’t get his attention: I’m 5’4″, and he was in the middle of a BIG crowd of  underdressed enthusiasts.  I moved further up the street beyond the starting point in hopes of catching my dear acquaintance on a portable medium as he chasséd past me.

There was no gun start, but it was easy enough to decipher when the Santas (and reindeer, and elves, and general loonies) were let loose: the cheering exploded.  I tried to shoot pictures while keeping an eye out for MY lunatic, but I couldn’t pick him out of the stampede that roared by.  Mildly frustrated, but not discouraged, I ran (okay, I walked briskly) back to the starting point, then walked against the itinerary to situate myself on the last leg of the run.

I cursed my barely average height as I struggled to get a view of the runners as the approached: everyone was stepping further into the street in order to see who was running towards us first, which of course left me either staring at the back of someone’s head or standing directly in front of the police car that headed the pack of Speedo-clad runners.  As I chose not to turn into roadkill, I prayed that my friend was running on the side of the street nearest me.  What also distracted me was that my camera battery was beginning to fail.  I had yet to document the adventures of anyone I cared to acknowledge.

Almost done!

Almost done!

ESP, luck, God, Chuck Norris, whatever, must have been on my side: sure enough, my buddy was trotting maybe six feet away from me.  I shouted to him, and when he saw me, he cut over to the curb to give me a big, sweaty, Speedo-tastic hug.  Then and there, I had accomplished my goal for the day.

Sure, it was a bit nippy, and I really could have used the time to get some end-of-semester work done, but being even the tiniest part of the whole production was worth it (and now I have some GREAT pictures for Facebook).  I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Santa Speedo Run is turning into one of my holiday traditions . . . who knows?  Maybe one year I’ll actually be one of those silly people you see running down the street in a Speedo for charity.

But I would not count on it.

No, really.  I wouldn’t.  Do not bet money on that.


Tonight’s Tunes
“Lovers In Japan / Reign Of Love,” Coldplay
“Into the Night,” Santana
“Closer,” Ne-Yo
“Under the Bridge,” Red Hot Chili Peppers
“I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz
“Wanna Love You Girl,” Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell Williams
“Secret,” Maroon 5
“The Show,” Lenka
“Sun King,” The Beatles
“Fields of Gold,” Eva Cassidy
“Adia,” Sarah McLachlan

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