A “Meh”rry Christmas…

Joy

Christmas is my favorite holiday. Hands down. People like me are the reason Christmas stuff is already flooding store shelves in October. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, I basically turn into a 5 year old as the lights and decorations start getting dragged out – that is, if I haven’t already gotten too excited and started the decorating a week early.

But this year, for some reason, I’m having trouble getting into the spirit. I’m very “meh” about the whole thing this year.

TV

I started out with my usual enthusiasm, decorating my parents house with them the day after Thanksgiving – Christmas carols on the radio, hot chocolate in hand. As soon as I got back to my own apartment that Saturday, out came the decorations. I have four large storage tubs full.

The tree went up in all her glory – a santa hat perched atop my head, the yule log crackling on the TV (yea, I’m one of those people), and the Charlie Brown Christmas album blasting out of my laptop speakers. I was thrilled. Even without any of the breakable ornaments on the tree (I purposely left them off this year because Olive is still a kitten), she was beautiful.

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But my excitement quickly turned into war. Olive decided that the Christmas tree was a much better playground than the 6-ft tall cat playground we have for her. She, overnight, became a living terror. She climbed, she stole ornaments, she (somehow) managed to shatter what was supposed to be a shatterproof ornament while it remained on the branches.

I tried everything in my cat-behavior playbook except the spray bottle technique (the apartmentmate doesn’t want to use the spray bottle technique with her, and since she’s his cat I must respect those wishes). Nothing worked. Even the citrus spray that cats are supposed to HATE only deterred her for a total of 48 hours. She likes it now.

The more I pulled her out of and off of the tree, the more determined Olive became. It became impossible to actually enjoy the tree. The apartmentmate was pretty good at keeping her away from it by keeping her otherwise occupied – something I was incapable of achieving no matter how much I tried – but he wasn’t home all that much during the following weeks. When it was just me and her, she would not be deterred. And when I wasn’t home either? It was open tree season.

The final straw was the day I came home from work to find three of the tree branches now broken, hanging limp and creating a gap in the tree that I could probably fit in if I curled up.

Tree stuff all packed up

My tree wasn’t much, but she was mine. My parents gave her to me last year when they bought a new one, and I spent hours removing the old dead lights from it and making it my own (see my post about it here). It was the little piece of Christmas at home that I got to take with me when I moved out. Really, when you get right down to it, my favorite physical thing about the holidays.

And it was broken.

I took the tree down that weekend.

Starbucks Christmas cup

With the tree down, Olive’s behavior has generally returned to normal, and she doesn’t really bother any of the other decorations – at least not purposely. I no longer seethe with anger and resentment when I look at her.

Which is good, since I have to live with her for the foreseeable future. And also because, really, it’s not her fault – she was just doing what cats do.

2014-11-24_11-26-34The “cat that ruined Christmas” back up on the tree she’s supposed to climb.

But I also haven’t really been able to get back into Christmas mode. Even with all my other little decorations still up, Christmas music playing on Spotify, and my Christmas mugs being used each morningm I’ve remained, well, kind of grumpy. The tree for me is the main marker of the season. Taking the tree down seems to have triggered the “post-christmas doldrums” in me several weeks early.

I’m hoping I can get back into the holiday groove when I go to my parents on Wednesday, since their tree is up and perfect still. But until then I’m going to keep trying to get myself back into the spirit.

grumpycat in sleigh

Anyone have any tips on getting my holiday groove back?

So I Have a Mug Problem

Mug Envy

Hi,

My name is Maggie and I have a mug problem.

It gets worse around the holidays, as I spend hours searching for cool, unique gifts for friends and family on sites like Redbubble and Society6. And for every perfect gift I find, I find four other things that I want for myself. Mostly mugs.

I gravitate towards mugs.

Mugs speak to me.

Because as I said, I have a mug problem.

I don’t know why, but picking the right mug can make or break my day in the morning. Having my coffee or tea in the proper mug is ever so important. And the really great thing about mugs is that it’s the perfect subtle way to rep my nerdery. Because I don’t really wear fandom T-shirts or anything – it’s just not really my thing. But mugs?

Oh, mugs.

Here are my current top twelve “wants” from Society6 (Redbubble doesn’t allow clipping to Polyvore) at the current moment:

1) The Jeffersonian Institute Mug by Seeleybooth – because Bones is the greatest.

2) Christmas Cat by Lime – Grumpy Cat just really resonates with me this Christmas – I had to take my tree down because Olive was breaking it beyond repair, and I’ve been sort of grumpy ever since.

3) Bad Tempered Rodents by Anna-Maria Jung – because Monty Python references = <3333

4) Adventurer Like You Mug by Kim Hobby – because Skyrimmmmmmmm.

5) Work Harder, Comrade! by April Schumacher – this mug has “Work Harder, Comrade!” in Soviet-style lettering on the other side and I just love it.

6) Sailor Moon Pattern Mug by Trigun29 – I love how subtle this one is – you wouldn’t necessarily know it’s a Sailor Moon thing if you didn’t watch pretty closely – it’s the pattern from Usagi’s comforter!

7) Flugel der Freiheit by Canis Picta – an Attack on Titan mug that again, you wouldn’t necessarily know is an Attack on Titan mug unless you’re familiar with the series.

8) Grumpy Mug by Studio Marimo – again, Grumpy Cat has just been my spirit animal lately.

9) Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere by Karen Hallion Illustration – Belle and the Tardis, what’s not to love?

10) Sailor Moon Mug by Guizmo04 – another Sailor Moon mug, this time a little more obvious, but stylized a little like those POP vinyl figurines.

11) Canefight! Sumner vs. Brooks by Lizzywhimsy – a history mug! You knew I couldn’t make an “I want” list without at least one, and Lizzywhimsy (who I discovered on Tumblr) has just a shop FULL of US History awesomeness.

12) Vintage Map Mug by Maximillian San – and to round out the list, this beautiful map mug. Because maps are the best.

What are the things you find yourself adding to your wishlist as you Christmas shop?

So I Guess I Scrapbook?

Photos layed out

So a few weeks ago after I saw this post on A Beautiful Mess, I re-caught the photo album bug. I’ve never liked calling what I do “scrapbooking.” When I hear the word “scrapbooking” I think of those aisles upon aisles full of (often super cheesy) stickers at Michael’s. I think of hundreds of dollars worth of supplies and countless hours going into a single page that highlights a single picture. I think of albums that quite honestly are more embellishment than photo, stuffy, formal, and TOO perfect. And I’m just not down with that. I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the patience, and I don’t have the space to store all the STUFF.

That said, I do like photo albums. I like having all my photos printed and accessible. I hate the idea that everything is destined to sit on a hard drive forever, if for no other reason than so that my eventual children can sit and pour over them the way my brother and I poured over our parents’ when we were little.

And so they at least have the opportunity to laugh at my 2002 school photo with the popcorn shirt the way we laughed at my dad’s powder blue prom tuxedo with the massive 70’s lapel and my mom’s Adam Ant glasses.

But anyway.

The problem is, I think plain photo albums are boring. I like pretty paper, I like to occasionally include captions regarding what was going on in a certain photo…

Project Life kit

So over the past year I’ve had to get a little more okay with the idea that, yea, I’m a “scrapbooker.” Some of that has to do with discovering Project Life – which is definitely a no-muss no-fuss way to get nice looking albums that let you be a little more creative than a straight up simple photo album, without feeling like your committing your entire paycheck and life to the scrapbook industry. The rest of it has to do with growing up and realizing that a scrapbook can be whatever the hell I want it to be.

If I just want it to be pictures pasted on a piece of pretty paper, that’s all it has to be. If I want to doll it up a little with captions and photo mats, then I can do that too. If I just want to stick a concert program and tickets in a page protector with nothing else, that’s okay too. It doesn’t have to be pretty and expensive and perfect. It can just be what it is.

So I’m a scrapbooker I guess. A messy, half-hearted, lazy scrapbooker.

I’m okay with that.

Are there any craft “labels” that you struggle with?

I’m Thankful For…

So… uhhh… I guess it’s a week and a half into December? What? When did that happen?

But… uhhh… I haven’t even made my Thanksgiving thankful for post yet. Whoops. I SWEAR Thanksgiving was just yesterday.

SWEAR.

But anyway, this year I’m thankful for the little things. My schedule has made for a very overwhelming semester, and as we wind down I’ve had to try REALLY hard to remind myself to take joy in the small things. Because when I remember, oh boy does it help take some of the weight off.

So this year I’m thankful for…

pink kitten noses

… pink “kitten” noses.*

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…a good cup of coffee and a dash of glitter.

Mournful Puppy Eyes

…soulful chestnut puppy dog eyes.

Evidence of a seven year friendship

… paw pads and evidence of a seven year friendship still strong (although they’re missing one of the three musketeers this Christmas).

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…my parents’ perfect Christmas tree.

Olive not destroying things

…the brief moment of peace when Olive isn’t waging war on my own now-signifigantly-less-than-perfect Christmas Tree.

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…the fact that we’re finally on the home stretch for the semester, and that I’m little by little able to find some time for myself. When Olive isn’t conducting war games with my Christmas ornaments, at least.

And of course, most importantly…

… Jim, friends, family, and laughter (for which I have no one appropriate picture to share).

* I admit 13 years old is hardly a kitten – in fact she’s downright elderly. But she’s still our kitten, I don’t care.