The Hobgoblin and I returned yesterday, and we're mostly settled back in. It's nice to get away, but just as nice to return home again. Yes, I know, it's a very cliched thing to say, but I feel it strongly anyway. I like seeing my family, but unfortunately, it only takes a few days before I begin to return to my irritable, annoying, obnoxious, I-can't-stand-the-world-and-my-parents-drive-me-crazy 13-year-old self. Will that self ever die away? I'm beginning to doubt it.
I had a very nice trip, all irritability aside. I got to see 4 of my 6 siblings, one brother-in-law, one sister's boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend? I can't quite figure it out and didn't get a chance to ask -- to ask my mother, of course, as I wouldn't have asked my sister. That would be awkward), and some acquaintances at the Christmas Eve service. I was able to keep up my tradition of complaining bitterly about the awfulness of the Christmas Eve service, as it was suitably awful this year. Sometimes it's awful in a "let's have a birthday cake for the baby Jesus" kind of way, but this time it was awful in a "let's draw on as many offensive gender stereotypes as we can, even if they are irrelevant to the sermon" kind of way. I made sure not to ride home from the service with my parents, as I wasn't feeling irritable enough at that point to want to offend them and hurt their feelings. Traditions are nice, aren't they?
Christmas itself was nice, and I got a lot of cool things -- the Hobgoblin gave me a copy of Michael Dirda's Book by Book, which I've now read a little in, and it promises to be interesting. It will feed my current interest in books on books and reading. My mother-in-law gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card, so we went there on Tuesday, and I found Lawrence Weschler's Vermeer in Bosnia, which has been on my TBR list for a long time, and Jeffrey Robinson's The Walk: Notes on a Romantic Image, which will feed my other current obsession with books about walking. I was happy to find some good nonfiction books; I love novels, of course, but often the books that get me most excited and fuel multiple long blog posts are nonfiction ones. And Christmas isn't quite over yet, as I know I have a box coming from a friend who always sends me books. Yay!
The Hobgoblin also got me a new pair of cycling shoes, which are black and very cool looking:
Oh, and he also got me a sticker with my new "photo" or avatar or whatever you want to call it:
A couple of people have asked where it comes from -- it's from one of my favorite novels ever, Tristram Shandy; it's the narrator's rendering of his story's plotline -- very digressive. I like the picture because I love the novel, of course, and ... I like digressions.
I read a little bit, more in Proust and Richard Holmes's Footsteps, and a little of the Dirda book, but mostly I sat around and did nothing. I needed a few days of that. I sat around and did nothing, and I also watched a lot of episodes of "The Office," which was great fun; as we don't have TV, we miss a lot of crap but also some good stuff, and I was happy to catch up on some of the good stuff.
So -- I'm happy to be back reading your comments (thanks!) and catching up on blog posts and posting once again myself. I hope to do some goal-setting around here soon, and maybe some more summing up of my year, and definitely some more raving about Footsteps, and I might finally get around to beginning Buddenbrooks.