Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm ready.

It's 50 degrees today and sunny. Since wintertime up here usually lasts about 2 1/2 months, and it has been wintry here since the first week of November, logic says that springtime should be here soon. I'm ready for springtime to be here soon. I don't think weather patterns follow any form of logic known to earth-kind, however, so I am afraid that, rather than having an early spring in 2011, I'll be having an extra-long winter. Fortunately, as I am soon-to-be-employed, this year I might possibly have the means of securing for myself a small Spring Break trip to a warmer and/or sunnier climate. In all honesty, I would be happy with sunshine, even if it was still freezing outside. I don't actually mind the cold - as long as it is either sunny from time to time, or snows with regularity. I can't stand when it's cold and cloudy and everything is just gray and dark. That is simply unacceptable - and that's almost always what it is like up here.

Of course, I really have no one to blame for my suffering except myself. I chose to go to school in The North instead of SoCal. I could have spent the last two years living in shorts and wearing a perma-tan. Instead, I've spent the last two years hiding in my apartment wrapped in every piece of clothing I own while I study, clumsily turning pages with gloved fingers. And with my recent decision to pursue my graduate degree, I have once again chosen misery over paradise. However, thanks to my awesome mother, I was recently gifted a few items that will make my life in sub-arctic Ellensburg more comfortable.

Knee socks. Check.
Convertible Gloves/Mittens. Check.
New ultra-thick, fur-lined, hooded sweatshirt. Check.

And, best of all, the greatest gift ever received on Christmas, and the one which will get the most use from here until one of us dies:


As all of you know by now, it's a bit windy in Ellensburg. Hoods are good for one thing only: keeping your head dry. For all other things (e.g., warmth) they are utterly useless. When you're walking along and you have a big hood on, the wind is funneled inside, which not only freezes your ears, but scoops around the back so your neck gets cold as well. Scarves help a lot with this, and though I often wear beanies, because of how small my head is, and because I wear glasses, getting them to cover my ears WITHOUT covering my eyes as well is almost always impossible. As soon as I start walking they unroll and/or shift downward in the front, and upward in the back, so that my ears are exposed and my eyes are covered. Woe is me.

BUT NOW...nothing but warmth. I wore the hell out of my beanie yesterday, I wouldn't take it off. When I got too warm, or if I couldn't hear properly, I would tie it up on top. It's the most amazing gift ever.

HOWEVER, I must say that the honorable mention will have to go to my dad's gift. Ever since I was a small child I've loved horses. Every single item anyone ever thought of getting for me was either directly horse-related, horse-themed, or was given to me with some convoluted explanation of how it could, in some way or another, serve an equestrian- or equine-related purpose. One such item - a staple in my life for most of it - was a horse calendar. Every single year from the time I was about 11 I got a big calendar with pictures of horses on it. I saved all of them, and at one point cut them up and pasted every single picture on my wall. Every square inch of wall space was covered in pictures of horses. One or two people said that it was creepy, but they were wrong. It was not creepy. It was heaven. And although my enthusiasm for the horse world waned when I realized how obnoxious and/or bitchy horse PEOPLE are, my flame for horses has not died down.

I'm 25 now, and though I am no longer a fan of "all things horsie," and am very selective about the kinds of things I like (I LOVE horses, I'm not a whore....), a few weeks ago, as I was trying to organize multiple events, I threw my phone onto the couch in exasperation. Planners are great. Phone calendars with jingly, vibratey reminders are great. But they are NOT a horse calendar. Note that it's not JUST a physical 12-month calendar that I needed. Horse calendars specifically are the best for organization, and frankly, I'm not sure how I've managed to get through the last two years without one. I made a mental note to include a horse calendar on my Christmas list, but forgot to do so. While I was shopping with mum a few weeks ago I reached for a horse-themed planner, but decided against it. It wasn't the same, and I wasn't ashamed to admit to myself that I preferred the planner with saffron swirls to the one with the positively rotund white horse on the front. And since mum had already picked out THE CUTEST little calendar for me, I had zero reason to ask for another.

So imagine my surprise - and sheer glee - when, having NOT made known my desire for a horse calendar, nor even spoken to my dad about what I wanted for Christmas this year, I began to pull back the paper from my dad's gift and caught that first glimpse of the horse-themed calendar. Actually, don't imagine, I have pictures:

I have screwed my face up painfully in order to emit the correct frequency of squeal.

My excited-smile leaves me positively mantis-like.

I think the last two photographs illustrate my excitement for my dad's gift. Not only does my face show it, but my willingness to post two of the most hideous pictures of me ever recorded (6 hours of sleep, hadn't showered in three days, hadn't even washed my face - oh, and speaking of face, aren't I pulling a hideous one?) further demonstrates my appreciation. Basically what I'm saying with these two pictures is "Pride and shame be damned, I got a horse calendar, bitch!"

So even though I know wintertime this year, having already started about a month early, will probably be dragged out well passed mid-February as it did last year, I am now ready. I'm ready for the cold weather. I'm ready for 20 hours a week of the craziest work schedule ever conceived on top of 15 credits of graduate-level courses. Christmas 2010 was a big F*CK YEAH! 2011: Bring it on!

P.S. Wait until you see pictures of the outfits Rea bought for me. Let's just say I have even more reasons to be excited for summertime!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On clothing

Dear Bra Manufacturers,



Irritated B-Cup

I'm a small-but-curvy woman whose relationship with clothing has been, at best, unpleasant.

"My thighs are too fat!"
"My boobs are too small!"
"My torso is too long!"
"I'm too short! "

After about a decade of hating my body, I finally realized that the problem isn't me. It's them. Clothing are not constructed to fit my body. Clothing are designed to fit "real" people who fall into one of these categories. With my height/weight/measurements, I should be a Petite Size 4. But I'm not. Petites shirts are too short and too baggy, and petite jeans/trousers are too short and too narrow along the thighs.

Any trip to the clothing store inevitably ends with me entering the fitting room with 10x the amount of clothing one is supposed to take in and leaving the store empty handed. You'd never see a guy trying on 15 boxer briefs in a fitting room and struggling to find a pair that fit. You'd never see a guy struggling to find jeans or shirts that fit, either.  Men's trousers are sold by waist and inseam - meaning a man will ALWAYS be able to find jeans that fit. Men's shirts are sold similarly. It would be a simple shift in fashion for women's clothing to be sold thus as well.

But while finding clothing that fits me is a time-consuming irritant, finding brasierres has become such a loathsome task that I avoid it utterly. One would think that finding bras would be a little easier, as both chest and shoulder straps are adjustable. One would be wrong. With hormonal shifts, my breasts fluctuate nearly a full cup size each month, and thus I need to buy bras in multiple sizes. No problem, right? Wrong again. A & B cup bras are for "small breasted women," and therefore virtually ANY bra (other than wireless, shapeless lycra in nude or white) comes with 2" - 3" pads. And I'm not talking about the nice, jiggly gel/water/air pads, either. I'm talking padding that is firmer than floral foam. I once examined a beautiful satin and lace demi cup with padding so thick that I sincerely believe it could have doubled as a life preserver.

Are my breasts "small?" Yes, compared to my older sister's breasts - but she has a bigger band size, as well. My breasts are proportional to my body size. And even if they weren't, who the hell do clothing manufacturers think they are? Gentlemen's undergarments are NOT sold with padding, regardless of any "deficiencies" in his size. It offends me that as a small woman I struggle to find a pretty, elegant bra that ISN'T a message in fashion form telling me that my breasts are unacceptably small and that in order to be sexually desirable - or even beautiful - I need to give myself a boost.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

Well it's only the 16th and I've already gotten everything I could ever possibly have hoped for/dreamed of and then some: help moving out of my apartment, three weeks to spend in the luxurious warmth and comfort of mum's house, a job, a free education, medical coverage, all the food I can possibly force myself to eat (let's be honest, though, I don't need to force it!). Last night I went to my aunt's house to watch two hours of Psych with my cousins. My Danny is coming up tomorrow. Best of all, I've been able to pick my niece and nephew up from school three times, take them to school once, and this afternoon watched their Christmas concert with my mum. I'm giving them a few minutes to put their things away, and then we're heading downstairs to watch Hook. Is it possible for life to get any better? Honestly?

No, it can't.

But I'm sure it will.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Master's Degree in Russian History

I have been inundated with literally no comments about my last post, which leaves me with no alternative but to try to be more interesting. Since my digital camera broke, I'm not able to post amazing pictures like everyone else is. I can't even use my phone's camera, because it's awful. But I'll do what I can.

After a casual meeting with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Roxanne Easley, during which I asked a few questions about the Master's program, she instructed me to apply for Winter quarter. Long story short, I am not now only matriculated as a Master's candidate, I found out today that I have received a graduate assistantship position at the library (tuition waiver, health insurance, free access to the student health center, AND a stipend). I begin both school and work in January.

In the meantime I have moved out of 1902 North Walnut, and am temporarily storing my belongings at Katherine & Chuck's apartment (which is in a different unit of the same complex). After a rush job to move out in order to beat a blizzard, and a terrifying drive (mum spun out on the freeway going over the pass, I sobbed hysterically for the rest of the drive), I arrived in Walla Walla Saturday afternoon, where I have been happily stuffing my face with salad and getting over a reasonably benign case of strep throat. All in all, after a bit of a rough patch, the end of this year is going quite well, and I can't wait until the new year begins!