OOTD: Christmas

Of course I believe few enough things, but one thing is sure, that you can't open Christmas presents in anything but pajamas.  That would be wrong.  I even have a special Christmas morning shirt:

However, this Christmas being a Sunday, I did have to get properly dressed for church and all.
Slightly lousy picture, but I couldn't figure out the lighting in a new location. Anyway, at church I seemed to catch a fairly surprising amount of hostility. I slipped out to the bathroom in the middle of services between musical numbers and was given a couple of full body scans and scowls from the women standing in the back with irritated children. My sister goes to a Mormon church, but I was raised Mormon and am fully able to dress myself appropriately for church (and I had the shawl fully covering my shoulder actually in church).  I don't know if standards have changed or if hopeless spinsters like myself are expected to be more mild and, I don't know, pastel.  Perhaps the rumors we always heard about Utah mormons being more cliquish and judgy than the rest of the world, but that seems a little unfair of me to conclude with so little data.  Oh well, I think I was fabulous.

Of course I had loud bright green eyeshadow (which lots almost subtle in this picture compared to the real-life equivalent) and red lipstick.

Outfit details:
Dress: Target, a million years ago
Shawl: shady-looking Pashmina market outside the West Nanjing Road metro station in Shanghai
Shoes: Target, this season
Jewelry: Art of Adornment
Lipstick: Revlon, Certainly Red
Eyeshadow: Shiro cosmetics: Link around eye and in crease, Bulbasaur below crease, and Outright Fabrication (white with subtle but fun specks of red glitter) above.

Anyway, have a happy New Year!  I have exciting plans involving a bottle of Cupcake Vineyards Prosseco and a large bowl of shrimp and grits


I just* got back from Christmas in Salt Lake City.  It was mostly a good time.  There were pretty mountains
Mt. Olympus, which is apparently in Utah.  No word on what the Greek gods think about that.

and pretty lights:

It might have even been the perfect trip except, as happens nearly every time we visit my sister, everyone came down with some horrible illness contracted fro the small people:
The Plague rats enjoy their Christmas carnage.

*for certain quantities of "just"

Happy Holidays!

Image from: IMDB

How is everyone's holiday season going?  I am in Salt Lake City having Chirstmas with my sister and having the unique Antropological experience of observing Mormons in their natural habitat (fun fact: even in Utah, you can buy beer at the grocery store, take that Pennsylvania!, but the tea selection is crap).
Christmas is pretty much my favorite holiday: I love presents, getting as much as giving, peppermint-chocolate flavored things*, light displays, and gaudily combining red and green in my outfits (currently I have black nail polish covered with green glitter on one hand and red glitter on the other). 
I've been thinking lately about how all the winter holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, and most overtly Yule) are about the ultimate triumph of light over darkness.  While that may not inherantly seem like a very Goth-y sort of message; I would disagree.  To me, the ultimate point of gothic subculture is to acknowledge that life isn't always sunshiney and bright, but to embrace the darkness in our lives and see the beauty therein.  I think ultimately, that fits in with the winter holidays and the idea that while we may be in the darkest time of the year, that isn't permenent and within the darkness is beauty and a promise of light to come. 

So tonight, I"ll be going to see the lights in Temple Square (which promise to be appropriately stunning) and tommorow I'll be woken up too early by a horde of enthusiastic children to open presents in my silly bat pyjamas.

I hope you all will of have had an excellent holiday and (in case I don't get back here before then) a wonderful new year!

* Here is my super-secret recipie for gluten-free chocolate mint M&M cookies

Monthly Homework: Comfort and, well if not Joy, let's say sanity

This month's homework assignment from our dearest professor is to talk about what we do to relax and seek comfort during the stress of the holidays and whatnot.  Personally, I don't find the holidays stressful.  I looove Christmas and all the Christmas-y business, but that "whatnot", well there's a real grade-A bitch.
As a grad student I don't usually have finals, but instead final projects, which I find personally take a lot more time.  Maybe I am too much of a perfectionist (when it comes to my writing anyway, not really anything else, really), maybe I procrastinate too much, probably both.  Regardless I have been working on said projects pretty much constantly for the past month.  I have a few rules to stay sane: if it doesn't get done before midnight it doesn't get done, always get a real night's sleep, eat three actual meals every day and take at least a half hour break to do so.  The other rule is to occasionally (usually after finishing a project, regardless of how many are left) take actual, notable amounts of time to relax.  So, what do I do during those times:
1. Read: but here's the important part (I read all the time, obviously), read for fun.  I always have something on the go that I am reading for fun.  I usually only manage 10-20 pages a day, but it gets read.  Currently I am reading The Eyre Affair; a delightful book of such insanity I wan't even try to describe it, but suffice it to say it has enough literature in-jokes to keep me giggling.

2. Knit: I tend to retreat into selfish knitting at these times.  Don't get me wrong, I am a selfish knitter most of the time, but it's right before Christmas when most knitters are working full tilt on gift knitting and I ...well I have a stocking on the needles, it's nearly done and all, but what I have been spending most of my time on are heavyweight kicking around the house socks for meeeeee!
Wool socks are an important part of my barely turning on the heater survival strategy, but these are especially satisfying because socks usually take me a 4-6 weeks but because these are thick yarn I should have them done in 2-3 with much less knitting time than usual.  While I am knitting I like to:

3. Watch TV shows (on Netflix, usually.  I don't have a TV) or random youtubery.  I can't talk myself into setting aside enough time to watch a movie, but a 45 minute break or two in the middle of a 16 hour day of writing is acceptable. My current favorite thing is Rebecca Watson explaining how lying to children is fun and makes them smarter, also how awesome and messed up Iceland is, great, neglected Christmas traditions like Krampus and the Yule Lads, and the murderous Feline fashion police.  It is hilarious (if you are somewhat twisted) and very NSFW
4. If all else fails:
Remeber: Peppermint Mocha in the morning, Bonnard's Buzz at night
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Baby's First Tattoo

Wow has it really been nearly three weeks?  It has.  I have been thoroughly in the weeds getting ready for final projects, studying, and keeping up with the stupid f*%$#@*ing class discussion board of my most annoying class.  I am popping my head up because I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and just because.  Expect normal blogging to resume after the 17th.

I just got my first tattoo tonight to celebrate/commemorate my impending graduation from Library school.  I wanted a quote so I started looking for quotes on libraries, reading, and information.  I found a few great ones, which I still may get, but I also discovered that when it came to quotes about reading and books, when the reader was male or gender unspecific they were all exceedingly positive, but if the reader was female then they were quite negative.  There was this sense that books, especially novels, will ruin a girl for any sort of "decent" life.  Perhaps the best expression of this sense is in Charles Warnke's essay "You should date an illiterate girl", which says, among other things: "The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am.", and in this helpful Victorian infographic:
Look through these quotes long enough and you realize that the ruin dreamt  up for the girl who reads, especially novels, is the ruin of wanting more from life than is deemed proper, the ruin of expecting great passions, true love, and thrilling independence; the great an inexorable ruin of independent thought.  Such things as are grand and virtuous in men, simply ruin nice girls.  I consider myself to be a girl ruined in just such ways and so when I chose my tattoo I went with this semi-biographical quote from my homegirl Louisa May Alcott:

she is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain

Long before I got ahold of the mind-expanding and therefore obviously girl-ruining words of the likes of Audre Lourde, Carl Sagan, or, obviously, Sappho, I was already long gone.  From Sophie in The BFG and Scout Finch I learned that girls can be brave and adventurous, from Chester the cat and Matilda I learned that it was okay to be smart and bookish, even a bit weird and that I didn't have to pretend to be otherwise and conform to the expectations of others, and from Huck Finn I learned to question every bit of received morality and to trust in friendship and your own beliefs, as your teachers and preachers may all be invested in a profound evil which they are too afraid to even question.  That is just the corruption visited upon me in Elementary school. From there, it obviously got much worse.  Therefore have books turned my brain.  I might have been a normal girl; the kind that doesn't get excited by graph theory and has never tried to figure out a friend's Erdos number, but I am too fond of books, and so I went to grad school.  We all know what kind of decision that is.