We got to visit my family for two days after Christmas. This was the first year my grandfather wasn't home for Christmas... we visited him in the hospital and that was really shocking. He's just not there any more; he spent most of the time just sitting in the hospital chair staring into the middle distance. (It might be better if they hadn't lost his glasses, but...) He had lost a bunch of weight... he looked so small and simple and confused. He had a hard time talking; anything more complex than "yes" or "no" gave him trouble. You could talk at him, but not with him. It was difficult... we left T at home because hospitals aren't nice places, and seeing someone like that is scary... I almost don't want to visit again. I think they're hoping that being in a nursing home with daily activities and personal care will help... as it is, the hospital is understaffed and the patients are on their own almost all day.
I got to see my childhood dog Gabby for a few minutes (my mom and step-dad are seperated, and he got the house, so I don't see Gabby much). She's got pretty bad arthritis and has a hard time standing or going up stairs... her face is all grey. When we showed up at the door she growled and woofed and tried to stand up to run and hide (her usual routine - all bark and no bite), but once I got to her, she either recognized me or decided I wasn't going to hurt her and she started wagging her tail and whining. I really miss my puppy... it's hard to only get a few minutes a year to see her, especially when I know she's going to be gone soon.
And now, the not depressing stuff...
We didn't decorate for Christmas this year! Right after my last exam, we left to stay at T's parent's house, and we're not going back until tomorrow... it didn't seem worth it to put up the decorations, only to pack them away a few days after returning. The only decoration we had on display was a lovely advent calendar that T's mum made for us.
I made [almost] all the presents for my family. I did twelve scrapbook pages for Mom and my sister (who will be seven in January), sewed an apron for my grandmother, and lightscribed a bunch of DVDs for my mom and sister. I had fun making minimalistic covers for the cases from re-colored MSOffice clip art:
We also found the coolest little thing for my sister. A butterfly in a jar! When you tap the lid, the butterfly flutters around flapping its wings. She almost didn't believe it wasn't a real butterfly. Everyone who saw it thought it was amazing.
We received many thoughtful gifts, too! For my birthday, I got a beautiful purple leather purse that looks nice and sturdy and will even fit my notebook for school. For Christmas I got a new kitchen knife set and three cutting boards - and two of them are actually bigger than my hand! I'll finally be able to chop veggies properly, instead of pulping them!
I knew ahead of time about the tablet and RAM I got, since we ordered that stuff ourselves... now I've got twelve gigs! yay~~~ The Wacom Bamboo tablet is super cool, though it certainly will take some practice before I really get the hang of it. The first time I got a chance to use it was today, and I decided to do a sketch of a dress and necklace I'd like to make, which was inspired by the scenery on the drive today. The highways around here are all edged by all these excitingly chunky blue-purple mossy rock faces, currently all topped with dried yellow grass. It was all unreasonably beautiful in the low light of a setting sun.
Naturally, I got a bunch of clothing and jewelry... and earrings. (I'm going to have to go get my ears re-pierced soon here, because the number of earrings I own increases every holiday, and I feel bad that I can't wear them, heh.) What I wasn't expecting was a pile of designer clothing hand-downs from T's aunt. Everything is in great condition and it all fits so well... including a bright green leather jacket, and an awesome steampunk-y striped blazer.
T's mum gave me a bag full of nail polish, including a bottle of rainbow glitter... I couldn't resist.
The best present of all, though, was a white Christmas. We had bare ground right up until the 23rd, and on Boxing Day we got a second snowfall. A few days later it rained, and now it's all gone again!
We had a blast with Mom's boyfriend and his two sons and their girlfriends when we visited my family. He fed us steak and lobster (om nom nom!) and then we played a games called catchphrase, which was kind of like charades or Pictionary in that you're given a word and you have to get people to guess it. And then it's also a bit like hot potato, too.
My grandmother was trying to get her team to guess the word honkytonk, "It's like, a redneck bar... maybe the kind of place [my mother] likes to visit." It became a lost cause when one of the girls blurted out, "A STRIP CLUB!" and everyone started laughing too hard to guess anything else.
Another favorite of mine was when the french girl gave us the hints, "A place where pirates might hide their treasure. Like a chest or a trunk. And it rhymes with muffin."
( The word was "coffin." )
Super fun party game, though all the yelling is hard on your voice. Mom's boyfriend and his family are all really competitive, which is like the opposite of T and I, so it's really funny to watch.
And, I really don't know where else to post this, but this is probably the best headline and unrelated photo combo I have ever seen in a newspaper:
So! Overall it was a pretty good Christmas. We got lots of quiet time at T's parents' house, and had plenty of fun visiting my family. It was really nice to see everyone again, the food was excellent and everyone seemed pleased with their gifts! Giving gifts is my favorite part of Christmas, so when others are happy, I'm happy!