I went home to Texas for two weeks for Christmas. I got back Sunday. Last time I went I was struck by how relaxing and homey it felt to be back with my family, so I was really looking forward to it this year. And I wasn’t disappointed. I had a good time. Of course, it’s hard to be disappointed when your expectations are well within reach. I think next time I’ll be even more intentional about spending time interacting with my family instead of plopping down in front of the computer or with a book so often. But that’s the way our family is in general, so at least I’m not the only one. 🙂
Things we went out and did:
- Saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I liked it. It didn’t replace the old BBC version for me, though, like I thought it might. I like both of them.
- Drove around and looked at Christmas lights. We visited one wealthy area and one middle class area.
- Went to the Dallas Wind Symphony Christmas concert with my sister’s math teacher. The fanfare at the beginning in the lobby was amazing (Gloria in Excelsis—it sounds better with real instruments and lots of reverb)
- Went on various shopping trips
- Went to church. My brother and I were greeted by numerous people who knew us. Some of them we knew; others only thought we knew them. We wanted them to go away and leave us alone. We’re like that. 😉
Things we did at home:
- Watched DVDs: Boy Meets World, Season 3, disc 1, which I rented over Netflix so my family could see what could be rented from it; Batman Begins, which I got my sister for Christmas; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which I had been telling my family they needed to see
- Operated on my computer, which had a cracked lid. It turned out the problem was common for this computer. My slightly more mechanically inclined dad did most of the work, for which I was very grateful. My laptop now has a spine of steel! Fortunately, my brother had a non-surgical solution for my degenerating headphone jack: the iMic, a USB external sound card, which I’ve ordered.
- Met my sister’s boyfriend. He comes over a lot, it seems, so my parents already knew him, but my brother and I had only seen pictures. He came over a few times while we were home. He seems like a nice guy, and he watches Star Trek and plays RPGs. 🙂 It was kind of quiet and awkward, though. We needed an extravert around to spark more conversation.
- Played Apples to Apples on New Year’s Eve, which my sister had bought that night
- Oh, and we opened presents on Christmas. 🙂 I gave my brother a book on education, my sister Batman Begins, my mom an amazing pop-up book from her Amazon wish list, and my dad a gift certificate to his new favorite place, Elliot’s Hardware. I received some good music, some good books, a terrific shadow box made by my sister, and most importantly for this website, a digital camera! Now I can replace the crummy pictures of me I’ve posted in various places on the web. AND I got a GameStop gift card, with which I bought Final Fantasy Anthology and Final Fantasy Chronicles! I finally own Chrono Trigger! And FFVI! (FFIII to us Americans.) Okay yes, I’m kind of materialistic.
I also tormented my sister with a creepy Christmas ornament we have, a gingerbread man with a crooked smile and googly eyes. He was after her for putting him on a branch at the back of the tree. He showed up in random places wielding a plastic icecicle ornament. I wish I could have come up with a big finish to the story for Christmas, but I was too lazy, and the idea I did think of came to me too late for me to really develop, so it was kind of a letdown. I’m not good at endings anyway. But it was fun. He showed up a few places to torture me, too, for torturing her. 😉
And I visited a couple of my friends. I spent half the day with my friend from high school, Alpana, the first Thursday I was there. We met for lunch at Taco Bell, then relocated to Starbucks, where she had her usual complex cup of coffee and I had some yummy pumpkin bread, then to her apartment, where she made me some dark chocolate milk and I talked with her and her mom, then to the public library so she could pick up a book she had on hold, and then back to her apartment, where I dropped her off.
On Friday I drove to Tyler to visit Jason, who had been my roommate for two years or so in college and a little after. I was very sleepy on the way over, which is not fun when you have to drive for 2 1/2 hours. But once I got there I was happy. We dropped off my stuff at his apartment and then went to his uncle’s house, where his dad’s side of the family was assembled for dinner and games. We only stayed for the first game, Buzzword, which I had never played but liked. It’s kind of like Taboo, which is one of my favorite games. After that we left the group and got some ice cream at Marble Slab, which we ate outside (hehe). I had one scoop of cinnamon and one of pumpkin in a waffle cone coated with white chocolate. It was really good. Then we went to Borders and talked for a while, and then we rented two movies because we couldn’t decide between them. We watched A Series of Unfortunate Events that night, and in the morning we went out for breakfast and then watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Very interesting movies. Then, alas, it was time for me to go. I was kind of sad to leave. It was nice to see Jason again, and I like his apartment. I wanted to take his dog with me too, but I figured they would both be unhappy about that. Anyway, I wasn’t as tired on the way back. It was, however, very windy, but I made it home unscathed.
Other than all that, I surfed the web, read my game design books, played the Arthur Yahtzee trilogy, petted our cats, and worked on an essay I’m writing for the site.
Yes, you thought I had abandoned this place, but no! This essay is just taking a long time for me to write, even aside from procrastination, and I’ve been wanting to post it before I moved on to other things. It’s an important one. But after that I’ll feel more free to post random things, so hopefully I’ll be updating the site more often.
Sunday consisted of a rather grueling 8 hours of travel. My muscles are sore from lugging my heavy suitcase and computer around. My brother and I flew to Texas and back on separate flights because we booked them separately, but we were able to schedule them for the same time as each other both ways, which was convenient. After arriving at our airports we met at the train station, and once we got to Wheaton our friend Jen kindly drove us both to our respective homes.
So that was my Christmas! After writing all that, it seems busier than it felt. That’s one of the things I value about my family, the relaxedness of our lives. I think of their house as a big, bowl-shaped cushion that I can live in. I think of both there and here as “home.” I would never go back and live in my parents’ house, except in some kind of dire circumstances, but I was happy that this time I felt much more like a resident than a guest, the way I did a few years ago after being gone for so long.