Not-So-Merry Christmas

So our Christmas was a bust. Especially mine.

Christmas Eve is when we traditionally have our big meal. It’s how we did it when I was a kid so my mom could relax on Christmas instead of being busy cooking all day–it’s a tradition I’ve kept alive (with a few exceptions over the years).

So, Jack (9) woke me at 10am on Christmas Eve because I promised to bake cookies. Meagan (19) had to work until 7pm so we were going to have a late dinner anyway. Lots of extra time to get those cookies done.

I was in the kitchen by 10:30am and ended up having to clean all the stuff I told the kids to have done before I could bake. I just don’t have the energy to clean and bake, but I pushed through, determined to improve what was going to be a dismal Christmas morning (more on that later).

Anyway, I got the dough for kolackies and sugar cookies in the fridge to chill and was about to just end the day because I was in so much pain my back and hips from leaning over the counters, but my husband offered me a reserve oxy from when he had his surgery. It got me through the day (mostly).

With Jack’s help (and occasionally the other kids), I managed to make batches of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, and ranger cookies. I also had to make the filling for the kolackies because you can’t buy the Solo filling here anymore. The raspberry filling (made from frozen raspberries, sugar and lemon juice) turned out perfect, but the apricot one (made from dried apricots and sugar) was too sweet–next time, I won’t add the sugar or not as much. The kolackies themselves turned out great. It’s the first year we’ve had them in a while because of the filling issue.

We also managed to fit in a couple hands of UNO while the cookies were baking and then it was time to clean up and get the pork roast in the Instant Pot.

All-in-all, I was on my feet pretty much nonstop from 10:30am until we ate at nearly 9pm (the cooking took way longer than I anticipated and I got the meat in the pot later than I had wanted) minus the 20 minutes to play UNO and maybe 30 minutes after I put the meat in. By that time, the oxy had worn off, and I was in so much pain, I was nearly in tears but the night wasn’t over.

After dinner, I snuck off upstairs to finish the gifts I was working on. I still had to put together a llama and put the finishing touches on a couple other things. And wrap it all. All without the kids barging in and ruining the surprise. I was up until 5am.

And then I started feeling sick to my stomach. I still have no idea what was wrong. I managed to get things wrapped and under the tree, but left the stocking stuffers in the car (the kids know it’s not from Santa). I was so sick, all I could do was crawl in bed and cry myself to sleep.

Jack tried to wake me at 9 the next morning, but I was still too sick to move. My head felt like it would explode and every time I moved, I wanted to puke. And I was just plain exhausted. I obviously overdid it on Christmas Eve. I slept until 6:30pm then managed to eat a tiny bit of leftovers but was back in bed by 9pm and slept until 2:30am. Stayed up for an hour before I started feeling dizzy and sick again then slept until noon the next day. I didn’t watch the kids open their presents or get to see my grandson on his first Christmas. I was that sick. It sucked.


The kids, gracious as always, loved their one gift each. Meagan (19) got a shawl I made from a pattern in a 1970s booklet I found. Owen (18) got a cribbage board because he’d been wanting one for a while now. Brenna (17) got a stuffed llama. She wanted me to make her another little giraffe because the one I made her was taken hostage by the baby even though I made him his own, but I did the llama instead–it sleeps on her bed now. Nora (13) got her blanket finished. I started it in January as part of a monthly crochet-a-long, telling her it would be done by Christmas. It almost wasn’t because I ran out of yarn and had no money for more, but managed to get just enough to finish it two days before Christmas. Jack (9) got a little game about submarines and exploring the oceans (we haven’t had a chance to play it yet). And Arrow (6 months) got his own llama that I think his mama is claiming as her own. And each person got a food-themed ornament.

That’s it. It wasn’t until two days after Christmas that the kids finally got their stocking stuffers–chicken in a biscuit crackers, sour gummy worms, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.

That was the entirety of Christmas at our house. I guess the baby enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper and ornaments the most.

Being poor sucks. In the past, I managed to salvage Christmas because a friend sent me money. She was our real-life Santa for years, but she moved out of the country this year so I didn’t expect anything. I used the birthday money my dad sent me (which he always specifies to spend on myself) on the games, snacks and a Sims 4 expansion (we actually got 3 of them–Meagan paid for one and the third I used some other money I had stashed on my paypal that may or may not belong to one of the kids).

I hope everyone else’s Christmases were more merry.


Girl Genius fic: The Beginning of Again

Eight-year-old Gil Holzfäller has made a few mistakes in his short, miserable life but none as far-reaching as getting his best friend expelled from his life.
1021 words | [G]

“Where are we going?” Gil asked the Baron. His little legs struggled to keep pace with the giant of a man next to him. His father. The thought baffled and terrified him in equal parts.

The Baron remained silent for several long seconds before finally answering. He sounded tired. “Your new quarters.”

Gil clutched his bag—filled with his few worldly possessions—tighter to his chest and tried to look around without looking like he was looking around. He had no idea where they were, and that said a lot considering how much of Castle Wulfenbach he’d explored over the years. There were few doors in the empty corridor and those weren’t marked in any way. How did the Baron even know where they were going?

They took several more turns leaving Gil to wonder if he was purposefully being led in circles so he’d be lost. He wasn’t sure if that’s something the Baron would do. It was something the other boys in the school would do. It’s how Gil got to be so good at getting around the ship. Necessity is the mother of invention, von Pinn had told him. Or in this case, a good sense of direction. Continue reading “Girl Genius fic: The Beginning of Again”


The 100 fic: All These Things I’ve Done

100_allthesethingsivedonePicking up the pieces of your life isn’t as easy as watching them fall apart, especially when there’s no one there to help you. Bellamy + Clarke friendship.

398 words | rating: PG | WARNINGS: spoilers for season 2

It inevitably has to be done. Mount Weather is too important a resource to leave it a tomb. Bellamy volunteers to help—it makes sense he should have to clean up his own mess. Now that he’s here, though, the enormity of the task overwhelms him. He stands in the center of the dining hall surveying the damage. Three hundred eighty souls lost at the flip of a switch.

Bellamy swallows back bile as he slowly rolls the nearest body onto her back. Then sucks in a gagging breath at the small boy tucked under her in a desperate, yet futile, attempt to protect him. He picks up the stuffed bear clutched tightly in the boy’s hands as the room blurs around him.

He did this. This little boy is dead because he saved his people. He keeps telling himself that they had no other choice, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re all dead, and their blood is on his hands.


He startles, blinking the world and Kane into focus.

“I could use some air,” Bellamy mumbles then leaves without waiting for a response.

He carries the bear up to the surface where the smell of wet grass and the feel of the warm sun remind him that not everything around him is death. Clarke quoted Oppenheimer to him once: “I am become death.” Sounds about right. They’re both destroyers of worlds now.

He wonders where Clarke is—if she’s safe or if she’s alone. Then he wonders why she isn’t here because he really thinks she should be here. Not that he wants her to suffer with him, but he’s not sure he’s strong enough to pick up the pieces without her. He needs her to lean on when he stumbles and slips. Instead she’s left him to fall with no net to catch him.

He squeezes his eyes shut against the too bright world, tears pooling at the corners, and forces the resentment back down. After a few seconds, he lets out a long breath. No matter how much he wants things to be different, the fact is Clarke isn’t here and the boy is still dead and there’s no one else to blame but himself.

Bellamy sets the sad little bear on a rock—nobody left to love it—and goes back inside, the feeling hitting a little too close to home.


Are You SAD?

For most of the United State and Canada winter is a desolate, gray time of year that drags on for months. It’s cold, snowy, rainy, and just plain gloomy. Many people get depressed this time of year. They get SAD.

SAD, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a kind of depression brought on during the dark time of the year, usually starting in fall and ending in spring.

According to the Mayo Clinic website the symptoms of SAD are:

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating

For someone already suffering from other forms of depression (such as clinical depression or bipolar) it can be hard to tell the difference. Usually someone with depression will feel an increase in their apathy and energy. This makes the long winters even harder to deal with, especially around the holidays.

The causes of SAD aren’t exactly known. There’s a theory that the lack of sunlight causes an imbalance in the chemistry of the body and brain. Melatonin (a hormone related to sleep) and serotonin (a neurotransmitter that affects mood) can be affected by lack of sunshine. Circadian rhythms (sleep patterns) can also be altered by the early sunset and long nights.

Those more at risk are, obviously, people already depressed or susceptible due to personal or family history of depression. The main thing to remember is not to shrug off seasonal affective disorder. It’s a serious mental illness.

Talking to a doctor is a good first step in finding a treatment right for you. Medications for depression can be an option but there are some simple remedies to try.

The biggest thing is to try to get outside any time it is sunny. I know this can be especially difficult in the northern states and almost impossible the farther north you get. If the gloom of winter sticks around for too long try some new lights. There are special SAD lamps sold that mimic the rays of a sun that can help with symptoms for some people. They are costly and only meant to be used for 15-20 minutes a day.

Another simple solution that can help alleviate some of the depression is to buy “daylight” style CFL lights. They don’t pack the lumens (the measurement of light output) a SAD light would but putting some 100w equivalent bulbs in the room where you spend most of your time can really help. Make sure the temperature is “daylight” or “blue.” This gives off a bright, crisp light, more like being out in the sunshine. It’s only a little thing but it can really boost your mood when you are stuck indoors for extended periods of time.

SAD can be a frustrating, sometimes life-threatening, illness but luckily it usually only lasts for nine months. Okay, so maybe that isn’t so great. If you think you are suffering from SAD talk to your doctor.


Millers Kill Mysteries fic: Home She Came

Home She Came
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Millers Kill Mysteries
333 words
rating: PG-13
WARNINGS: major character death

She promised to come home. And she did, just not the way anyone expected. AU before One Was a Soldier.

don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.

The Army has never been that great with paperwork. So it didn’t particularly surprise Russ that the final word came so late. It took three week for them to get word to the next of kin. And the next of kin didn’t think to inform her “family” for another two weeks.

St. Alban’s Church was packed to the rafters—standing room only. They brought in extra seats and set them up with care in front of the very first pew and down the aisles, making sure to leave enough space to satisfy the Fire Chief. He was in the sixth pew on the right side.

Russ sat up front, crisp and pressed in his best suit. A black suit. He hated it. There was only ever one reason to put it on. Right now he’d like to take it out to the woods and watch it burn. But instead he sat stoically, his mother at his side weeping softly.

He had made her promise to come home. And home she came. Just not the way any of them would have liked. The service was the longest he had ever been to in his life. Everybody had something to say. Everyone except Russ. They had asked him before hand if he wanted to say a few words. There were a lot of words Russ wanted to say, none of them appropriate for church. Reality was he knew if he got up there he wouldn’t be able to hold it together. He’d be bawling like a baby in a moment and he wasn’t sure he could stop if he started now.

Nothing in his life would ever be right again. And glancing around he was pretty sure that went for the lives of every person in the room… of the town even. No one would ever forget Clare Fergusson or what she had done for Millers Kill. Russ may have lost a piece of his heart but the town lost a part of it’s soul.


is it sad?

That at like 9:30pm I was debating whether or not to call it a night.  I’m 31 years old and ready for bed at 9:30pm…what’s up with that?  And I took a nap today.  Well, I tried.  I laid down around 1pm, hoping to get an hour’s sleep before the kids got home from school.

I was almost asleep when my idiot husband came in and climbed on top of me because he’s an ass and thinks it’s funny to ask me for sex every 10 minutes, even while I’m trying to sleep.  I almost busted him in the nose.  I never really fell back asleep after that.  Ten minutes later my 2 year old comes in because she just HAS to give me a kiss before she takes a nap.  Urgh.

I finally gave up getting any sleep when I heard the kids come in around 2:30.  I’ve been lagging ever since.

My eyes are so tired right now so I think my day is done.  It’s almost 10pm.  I have to go put away the food from dinner and make lunch for my 5 year old for tomorrow.  I really wanted a shower tonight but I’m just to freaking tired.  I guess I’ll take one tomorrow after my walk.