Merry Christmas!

I was originally going to post this on Christmas Eve, but something else is happening on the 24th. ūüėČ

So, it’s Christmas.

Peace on Earth, good will toward men, right?

I love this time of year. It’s winter, so mega plus. It’s a time to give, it’s a time to help, it’s a time to be really aware of all you have. I love the lights, I love the carols, I love the treats, I love the whole atmosphere.

It’s also a tough time of year.

Some of my friends are not fans of this time of year. One blames bad Christmases on divorce. One hates the sudden expectation to give, when you should give all year long. One hates the over-commercialism. One hates the phone cheer and fake happiness is around the time. One hates the selfish people Christmas can bring.

Honestly, they’re all valid.

There’s a lot of annoying things about the Christmas season.

But I don’t care.

Christmas is about what the individual makes it out to be. I enjoy Christmas because of the good I view it to be.

Like my friends don’t enjoy Christmas because of the bad they view it to be.

It’s up to the individual.

I’m not saying they’re all totally wrong. I’m saying it’s not my preferred.

So, when all is said and done, I wish you all a very merry Christmas. It is my earnest hope that you all find joy in this season somewhere.

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Recommendations

*Christmas time is here. Happiness and cheer. Fun for all…*

And it’s time for some more recommendations. Music, treats, movies, books, the shebang.

Music

-12 Days of Christmas–Straight No Chaser

-Slay Bells–Manila Luzon

-White Winter Hymnal–Pentatonix (on repeat every year)

Treats

-Holiday chocolate chip cookies (recipe herehere)

-Hot cocoa with peppermint ice cream

-Caramel corn! ( I only eat this around Christmas)

Movies

-Die Hard

-Edward Scissorhands (more a winter movie than a Christmas movie, but…)

-Miracle on 34th Street (the original)

-any of the original animated Christmas stories (Grinch being a favorite)

Books

-The Polar Express

-Jacob T. Marley

-The Gift of Nothing

Have fun, and try something new! And let me know what you’d recommend me!

Yay, Christmas!

Hugs and Mistletoe

Alexandra

When You Seem Jumbled

AKA me right now.

The 10 days (8 now, holy shit) leading up to Christmas are always the most frantic.

It doesn’t help ever when your payday is four days before Christmas, or when you’re involved in a production that starts rehearsal today (can I just sleep, already).

Make a list.

Actually, what I like to do is a brain dump.

Everything occupying my mind I jot down. Then I look at my writings, cross off things that aren’t important/are far off and don’t need to think about right now. I plan everything else out. Today I work until 3.30, then I’ll go home. There I can eat (30 minutes), update the calendar for the production (30 minutes), message [Lana] about choreography (10 minutes), organize the booklet for the library (30 minutes), shower (20 minutes), and have an hour plus until I need to make my way to rehearsal. In that hour, I can work on something else that was in my brain dump.

When you’re jumbled, you need to untangle the knot that is your thoughts and go from there.

Don’t be afraid to write it all down. It’s not like you have to show anyone. You don’t. It’s just for you.

You may still be jumbled (I am) but at least you’re working productively.

Celebration and Doing Washing

Happy Friday.

Well, this week has been interesting, or was it just me?

Very recently, I made a post about quitting videos for now (because my computer is practically dead, and you can read that post herehere). In that blog, I gave my blog schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9 am PST.

If you follow me/my website, first of all, thank you, how you doin’? But you would also notice I didn’t post this week. Monday? That was a wash. Wednesday? The wash was in the dryer. Today? It’s clean, but we’re definitely late to the party because we couldn’t find the right shirt.

But let’s talk about the ‘celebration’ portion of the title first. Hanukkah just happened.

Now, I’m not Jewish. I do have family (aunt who married into the family, and subsequently cousins) who are Jewish. I respect other religious holidays. If you kept up, I celebrated Holi with the Hindu community in Boise (read about that¬†herehere). I wanted, this year, to celebrate Hanukkah.

Again, I’m not Jewish, so why would I? Well, why do non-Hindus celebrate Holi? Why do non-Christians celebrate Christmas? Because they find something special about it.

There’s something special about Hanukkah for me. I knew of the history behind it. I knew of some traditions (honestly, I don’t think you can know all of the traditions without being raised or converted into the religion). It seemed beautiful. So I finally decided to do it.

For about five of the eight nights.

img_6751As I lit the candles the final night, I felt like a colossal failure. This holiday, though not their most sacred, is Jewish tradition, and I felt like I tainted it. Disrespected it. But I stared at the flames until the candles died, thinking about celebration. What was the point? To me, though I wasn’t fully immersed, it was about learning of a culture I was only partially aware of. I learned more about Hanukkah traditions and the meaning behind it.

What really helped me feel better was the book¬†have a little faith¬†by Mitch Albom. In a span of eight years, he meets regularly with a Christian pastor (Baptist, I believe) and a Jewish rabbi. When he asked about religion and how others may view differences, the rabbi said how united we were. Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists. We all believe something. We are one people from one ancestor (Adam) and that’s how we should be, no matter what we believe.

I liked that.

Anyway, if I decide to partake in the Jewish holiday again, I’ll be more vigilant and aware of the nights, and more respectful of the traditions and meaning behind them.

Now about my washing. Man, those clothes were dirty.

I honestly have no real excuse for forgetting to post, considering my phone has access to the website and I can write anywhere (except for work, because they lead-line the walls or some shit). It was a down week (my homies with chronic depression knows what’s up), and I worked a lot. However, I also just wanted to stay in bed when I was not working or running errands. So blog posts never came.

Now that the laundry is clean again, I think I can get back on track. Expect Monday’s post ON TIME!

Guys, celebrate. Celebrate other cultures and traditions. Find out more about them. Celebrate! Unless you’re appropriating or disrespecting, in which case fuck off kindly.

And don’t forget to clean out your laundry every once in a while.

Hugs

Alexandra

The Christmas Notebook

It’s the holiday season (the holiday season). So a whoop-de-doo.

Sorry.

As you may know, I am all about the organization. Stalking Pinterest gave me an idea to organize my Christmas with a notebook. It seemed like the best idea to have a great and productive season, considering how Halloween this year went.

And let me tell you, it is working amazingly!

All of my thoughts and plans in one place. “Why can’t you use your planner?” First of all, it’s more fun for me to create a notebook. Second, it keeps all ideas of one thing together so you’re not distracted. (“Let me write down when we get to do Christmas light scavenger hunting, while updating my weight-loss tracker”). It doesn’t work.

Keep the spirit of Christmas in one place on its own.

With that said, allow me to give you a sneak peak into the notebook itself. I won’t show you every page, but I’ll explain my process. Maybe, before the season is over, you can start your own.

I had to start with a fun cover. So, I decorated it to look like a present. That way I know exactly which notebook it is. Plus, it’s just too much fun to look at.

Always start with an index so you know what you have and on what page. I colored it to my discretion; there was barely any rhyme or reason to it.

After the index, I wanted to put a personal message just for me. What’s the goal for this season? What did I want to accomplish? What’s the theme? Whatever you think about the season, for you, put it down.

There’s a lot to do around this time of year, so I need to keep track of what I need to do AND what my family needs to do. (Not a complete list)

After that is my list of people to give Christmas cards to, with a check box next to their name so I can color it in when I send it rather than cross their name out. Next to it is my currently blank page of who sent me Christmas cards so I can send love.

The next several pages are dedicated to friends and family’s gift lists. I list out what they want, what they’d like to see in their stockings, and what they absolutely do not want for Christmas. I just write down everything; I can’t buy everything. But it’s helpful knowing in case someone else asks…

After the pages of gift lists, and a blank page to write what gifts I received (and from who for thank you card purposes), I have my little Christmas tree countdown. Every day, I color in a box. Come Christmas Day, I’ll have a pretty tree.

Following the cute little countdown, I have my December bucket list: things I want to complete in the Christmas season. (Along with Santa Claus’s phone number *wink wink*). Next to it, part of my bucket list, is to watch a bunch of Christmas movies. So I have a list of must-watch films. Yes, Die Hard and Edward Scissorhands are Christmas films, fight me.

After that is my gift-giving page(s). I had to mention this specifically because I have a method I’d like to share, if you please. I color-coded my friends and family’s names, usually with their favorite color if available. I write the gift I got them in their color so I know whose gift it is. Next to it, I put the price and/or if it’s been paid. Next to that, I put two columns, one labeled ‘have’ and one labeled ‘wrapped/sent’. I check under the column, next to the gift if I have the gift (since some stuff is being shipped to me) and if I have wrapped and/or sent it. It helps me know what I’ve done for who.

On the next page, I have two fun games. My family and I love going out and looking at house lights. Our new place is particularly great because we are across the street from the town’s most festive light show of a house. I came up with a scavenger hunt for us to do on our annual walk around town. Then I have trivia for the book we read every 24 December,¬†The Night Before Christmas. Like I said earlier, I wanted to have fun.

The next several pages are ones I can’t show before Christmas, including a plan for Christmas Eve, craft lists and instructions for certain gifts, and other little Christmas spoilers.

But that’s my Christmas notebook: something to keep me organized during the most hectic and commercialized time of year.

I plan to have fun.

Hugs and Candy Canes

Alexandra

#becauseofyou

I’ve been seeing this hashtag several places now, and I think it’s very interesting. People calling out their bullies or people in their lives that made them feel less than they are.

I wanted to join in, so here it is (every hashtag is a different person/people):

#becauseofyou I felt stupid. I felt ugly. You made fun of me in public, giving our impressionable classmates permission to do the same. All because I said I liked you.

#becauseofyou I’m paranoid. I have a fear of sudden noises, of handshakes, and of being kissed.

#becauseofyou I felt worthless. I felt unwanted. You told me that there was no point to my being there. I have no skill, no talent. Even when I worked hard to be better, it wasn’t good enough for you. I didn’t exist in your eyes.

#becauseofyou I believed I was a bad person. You didn’t want me in the same building as you, or our classmates. I confided in you, and you took it like I was betraying everything I stood for. It wasn’t even you I had a crush on; it was a different girl in the class.

#becauseofyou I felt unloved. I felt like a waste of time and space. Playing with my emotions until you got what you wanted out of me, and then act like we weren’t even friends.

#becauseofyou I believed I had no future. I felt like a useless and lazy member of society. I did my best with what was available to me, and you blamed my laziness for not being ahead.

#becauseofyou I felt crazy. I felt like I deserved every bad thing should happen to me, and that no one should be an acquaintance, let alone a friend. You told me that my mental disorder deserved to be punished, though I thought I was doing a good thing by seeking help.

#becauseofyou I felt sad, lonely, useless, worthless, hideous, stupid, insane, terrible, and more.

But…

#becauseofyou I feel like I have a true friend. You were there for me and trusted me to be there for you. Though you don’t understand everything about me, you accept me.

#becauseofyou I feel intelligent. I feel like I actually have good thoughts in my brain. You praise my ideas, and aren’t afraid to tell me when I can fix something. You are constantly reminding me of what I have accomplished academically.

#becauseofyou I feel loved. We may not be together, but how terrific you made me feel about myself.

#becauseofyou I feel worthwhile. You help me with my mental disorders and encourage me to be the best I can be. Even if they never leave me, I can be a healthy individual.

#becauseofyou I feel accepted. You took me in, you were kind, and you never made me feel like an outsider even if I very much was one.

#becauseofyou I believe I am a good person. Orientation is a part of me, not who I am entirely. You helped me during those confusing months, and encouraged me to be true to myself. I know who I am, and the kindness I have for others.

#becauseofyou I feel beautiful. My height and size was never a problem to you or your work. You complimented my style and who I was.

#becauseofyou I feel accomplished, smart, able, lovely, worthwhile, lovable, nice, and more.

While I believe this hashtag is good for releasing those negative feelings in a, mostly, anonymous manner, it is also good to remember those who made you feel like the amazing person you are.

And if you don’t hear it from anyone else, allow me to tell you:

You are a lovely, wondrous, worthwhile person.

Hugs

Alexandra

Should Poe Be Read In Middle School?

This debate should’ve happened around Halloween, but we get to talk about it now.

I was working at the middle school in the month of October, and this English class was reading Edgar Allan Poe. When I first got there, they had finished The Raven, we’re finishing up Tell-Tale Heart, and were starting The Cask of Amontillado. By the time I left they finished The Masque of the Red Death.

We all know Poe is my favorite writer. I adore his work. But even I question whether this was smart or not.

Tell-Tale Heart is about a man who kills an elderly man in his care, chops him up, and stashed him under the floorboard. The Cask of Amontillado is about a man tricking an alcoholic into his family’s crypt so he can bury him alive. The Masque of the Red Death is about a plague that leaves a person bleeding to death in half an hour, while a prince hides him and his friends away to indulge in the seven deadly sins before the plague finally gets in and kills them all.

Wholesome.

And to have to discuss this in vivid detail so they understand the story is even better.

As much as I loved talking about my favorite writer, it was hard to teach these stories to 12-13 year olds.

“Oh, Alexandra, they’ve probably seen/heard worse.”

But that’s not for me to say.

Education should teach you a variety of topics, especially in English, but I also think that it’s not up to us to expose something like this until certain ages, if that makes sense.

Should Poe be taught in middle school, then?

I don’t see a problem with having them read The Raven or The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. They are mild while still giving the reader a glimpse into the darkness that was Poe’s mind.

However, the ones that involve particular gore (because who doesn’t want to terrify children with a story about a plague that can kill you in 30 minutes) should be left to an older age. At least, in a school setting.

If for nothing else, I think the students would appreciate him and his writing more when they’re a little older.

But that is just my opinion based on experience and education.

I would love to know what you guys think about this situation.

Have a good day, everyone!

Hugs

Alexandra

My Break From Video-Making

If any of you follow my YouTube channel, you know what this is about.

If you do not, I’ll link the video here, so watch that first (if you want to).

First of all, if I’m going to be completely honest, which I always try to be, I was thinking about taking a break to begin with.

It’s hard for me, personally, to admit that, considering I claim such a passion for making videos. I do. I say it time and time again how much I love making videos. Well, lately, I’ve found that passion a bit…dwindled.

I expect a lot out of myself, and I want to be the best person I can be. Recently, my best self has been trying too much: a consistent twice-a-week YouTube schedule, a consistent thrice-a-week website schedule, working on a production, my actual job, reading 50+ books in a year, writing and editing my original work, art, crafts, learning ASL, trying to learn coding, on top of attempting to maintain my health, mentally and physically. Full disclosure, it’s not working. All of that plus taking care of the home and dealing with sudden stresses and the holidays.

It was too much.

I knew I had to downsize hobby-wise. The first thing I cut was art. Really, had no qualms about it. I can wait on coding, so that’s out for now. The book thing is almost done; can’t quit now. I rely on crafts, especially around Christmas for gift-giving, so no. That leaves making videos.

A week, on average, I can spend 15-35 hours on making videos. That’s quite a lot of time for someone not making a profit on it. I make ‘profit’ on everything else I do. My blog is a proper brain dump for all my work. Writing and editing for my future. Crafts as gifts, the profit of others. ASL because I’ve been yearning to learn a second language; it makes you more marketable and cultured. Videos, while fun to do, don’t give me much to gain. It may do me well in the future, but right now it’s not doing much.

But I couldn’t just let go of making videos. I truly love it.

Then, the universe gave me a scapegoat: my computer.

If you were not aware, everything I do technologically was done by a 3-year-old laptop bought for 300$ at Fred Meyer (a grocery store). When I first got it, I was so certain it was only going to last a year, a year and a half max. I mean, the built-in keyboard lasted 5 months before failing. It certainly proved me wrong by lasting 3 years and 2 months (ish).

But if finally glitched its last glitch. Programs, if they opened at all, were slow and/or froze. The internet super glitched and wouldn’t open websites at all. I finally called it. It’s not worth the headache of keeping it going.

So, I currently do not have a computer. I’m grateful for the chance to blame this break on something else.

Until I get a new computer, I still plan on writing on my blog, so this will stay updated, and you can check out past videos.

Though not having a computer will be a big pain in the ass, it’ll give me something less to worry about during stressful time.

Hugs

Alexandra

P.S. I’m typing this at the library, more likely the place I will do all of my writing.

Stories part 2 (aka The Scissor Story)

If you didn’t read part 1, you can read it here. You don’t need part 1 to read this one, but if you want extra story-time, it’s available.

I was in first grade. So, as a warning, you get to deal with a six-year-old’s point of view and my 20+ year memory.

At the time, I lived in California, going to an okay school. This was around winter, as our craft for the day was making cardboard snowmen. But, the kid scissors didn’t do anything to thick cardboard. The teacher, not the most experienced, if I recall, gave all of us adult scissors.

There I was, at my group table, cutting cardboard. Next to me was a boy, who we’ll call Nick. Next to Nick there was another boy, who we’ll call Aaron. Aaron was a strange child. He was different, but I paid no attention to differences. He was just a kid, after all. However, on that day, as we were crafting, he was just staring at his scissors. A couple minutes pass by before he grabs Nick’s right ear and starts cutting it off with the scissors.

The next hour is a blur, honestly. Nick screaming. Blood. Too-stunned-to-move students. The teacher freaking out. Did my mom pick me up that day, after the incident? I’m pretty sure she did.

I never saw Aaron again. I saw Nick a month, maybe a month and a half later.

And ever since, I have been freaked out whenever I see children with scissors. From preschool to high school, kid scissors or adult. It doesn’t matter. Seeing even a preteen with kid scissors get me feeling fearful. My heart races, I sweat, and I have the instinct to have my hands near my ears.

Here’s the thing, though: I decided to do a little research into this moment. I can’t find a single thing on it. I was able to find my yearbook online, with who Aaron and Nick were. And even looking them up, I couldn’t find anything on them, either. I didn’t want to present this moment without doing some basic research into it. But what if there’s no record to support something I remember definitely happening?

I remember this moment. I remember the kids in my class. I have that fear. But the absence of records worry my memory. Did I imagine this, or do the records just not exist? I don’t know. All I have is my memory of this moment, which I remember to this day.

Another reason I prefer not to have my stories shared without my permission.

I simply wanted to share ‘the scissor story’. Then it turned into philosophy.

Do a little research, and if you can’t find anything, let others be aware of it.

And, seriously, don’t mess with scissors. Even if you do not intend to cut someone’s ear off, playing with scissors can injure you or others.

Hugs and Apologies

Alexandra

Stories part 1 (aka Let People Tell Their Own Story)

I hear you.

What do you mean ‘part 1’? What’s going on?!

Don’t worry, lovely, I will explain.

The day before Halloween, I was at work, handling some students. I was not having a good day, not because of the students, but because of my brain. It happens. For homeroom, I had some free time after they completed what they needed to. They spent that free time playing with scissors that were in a basket on their desks. This freaks me out, seeing children, any age, messing with scissors. With scissors, in general, actually. So I told them a story.

It was a horror story from my childhood. About scissors.

Anyway, the story freaked them out, and they stopped playing with scissors. And for the rest of the day, whenever they came back and saw non-homeroom students messing with the scissors they would stop them, warning them about ‘the scissor story’.

Now, here’s the thing: I don’t tell a ton of people this story.

I keep it to myself. Actually, in general, I keep stories to myself. I don’t enjoy when other people share my story without telling me. I share stories on this blog, obviously, but this is me sharing it to you. The written word on my website is permission to share. However, if I tell you a story in person, I don’t like the gossipy nature of telling my story.

I told this story only to the homeroom students. Perhaps it was my naivety, but I was expecting the students to keep the story to themselves, especially since it freaked them out so much.

We get to the final hour. My panic is high. An attack is imminent. My anger is rising. My grasp on the situation is slipping. And these students, rowdy and loud, are not helping. They finished their task early, and I was hoping they would just hang out for the remaining time so I don’t snap. Instead, one of the homeroom students asks if I can tell ‘the scissor story’ again. I asked the rest of the class, who all said yes.

I sit at the front and say, “This story is about why you do not mess with scissors. Do you still want to hear it?” A couple of girls said no. And, not wanting to scar some children, said I would not tell the story unless every student wanted to hear it. As I stood up, the loudest boy yelled that he wanted to hear the story. Before I could say anything to him, one of the homeroom boys turned around and shouted a one-sentence, spoiler-included summary. All the students groaned or exclaimed.

*snap*

I, as calmly as possible, scold him. Others didn’t want to hear the story, and it was not up to him to share it. I did not tell him he could share my story, and in a piss-poor fashion as well. The students looked at me in silent shock. Then the bell rang, and they escaped.

As soon as they left, my angry panic attack went into full-swing. But that’s for another time.

My stories are part of me, just as your stories are part of you. Seek permission before you spread something that is not yours.

Hugs

Alexandra

P.S. The part 2 to this will be the actual ‘scissor story’, to be out on Wednesday. And because I am writing, as I said before, this is my way of permitting sharing. It’s on a public site, so no worries.