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:
EARFLAP BEANIE!!!!! CHECK!
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!