Yearly Archives: 2005

New Years At Home

Thumbnail: Table settings
Thumbnail: Genseng bins
Thumbnail: House of flying daggers
Thumbnail: Lemon squares
Thumbnail: Little Buddhas
Thumbnail: Tiger shrimp
Thumbnail: Snuff bottle
Thumbnail: Soup for one
Thumbnail: Pacific store

I’m finally in my own house again. Going to Toronto means I give up the comfort of my kitty, my computer, and my enveloping duvet for a few days of authentic Chinese food, real Chinese kung fu movies, silkworm sheets, and a few moments of family dysfunction every now and then.

Time at home left me drained. Turns out that I had an extra party to go to, and this year, I pulled myself up to go boxing day shopping. It was killer on five hours of sleep, but definitely worth it, my best score of clothes in years. Mom was running around every spare moment, preparing food for over 40 people for the New Years Party, while dad practiced his karaoke between runs for groceries. There were two nights that I sat by myself and enjoyed the new projector, and it was the most relaxing time I had during my stay.

As nice as it is to get away, I’m glad this only comes around once a year.

Christmas Observer

Thumbnail: Shirley's mantlepiece decoration
Thumbnail: Braden with Shirley
Thumbnail: Christmas observer
Thumbnail: Ginger the cat
Thumbnail: Julia
Thumbnail: Snoopy the cat
Thumbnail: Braden opens a DS
Thumbnail: Nicole is happy
Thumbnail: Nicole's got attitude

Stepping back to the 25th, I awoke to the sounds of ebullient whispers coming from downstairs as I lie in Julia’s bed, which she’d carefully made for me. I checked my watch, noticed that it was 6:40 a.m., and remembered that Shirley put her foot down about not opening any presents until seven. The kids were already up, of course, their internal alarm clocks set to spring in anticipation, even after we stayed up late the night before, playing wrestling games until the threat of Santa not coming put them to bed.

Instead, Santa went all out this year, from Nintendo DS, to mp3 players, to boxes on boxes of clothes, to DDR dance pads, to portable DVD players, to games for every system. He also left me a mini remote-control Mercedes SLK, and I’d normally say that he shouldn’t have so he could spend more on the kids, but he also left Braden and Bill a mini Hummer and mini Mustang GT respectively, so I had to accept the gift in order to race them.

Just being there was enough of a gift. As the kids ran around, unable to decide what to play with first, I started to consider staying so I could spend the day, but the responsibility of prior engagements and time with the parents kept me in check. We had a big greasy breakfast of bacon and eggs, but ____ was there to pick me up for the four hour drive home before the turkey dinner.

Next year, I decided.

Boxing Day ’04-’05

Exactly one year ago today, I was doing this. Even though the annual party at Chris and Clarmen’s actually starts on the 25th, I really see it as a boxing day party, the way a New Year’s party really starts on the 31st of December.

That night we used the excuse of going to Timmies for all the parents as a way out of the house to have a session. Unfortunately, this meant remembering about a dozen drink orders, something that proves difficult under the influence.

In chronological order:

  1. We met up at the house, where Darren’s fingers brave the turtles
  2. A session occurred outside, and on the way to Timmies we introduced Chris to Dreamtheater (hence the music selection)
  3. An order is made for about a dozen drinks with great difficulty
  4. We drove back to play Slap Hand, which is a variation on Slap Jack, except the pile is hit every time the correct number is called (and for increased difficulty we played with +/- rules where the pile is only hit if the number spoken is an addition or subtraction of a different specified number)
  5. Darren randomly deals everyone a hand of hold ’em and plays it through, and this causes me to make fun of his obvious addiction
  6. Darren precisely deals a full hand of 13 cards for a game of Asshole, while talking, for which I count my cards in disbelief and finally realize just how much he plays cards

Other signs of how stoned we were:

  • Darren and Chris’s voices drop an octave, while my voice raises two (two!)
  • I can’t keep my jittery hands under control
  • The way Chris says, “Just awesome guys. Awesome.”
  • At one point we have to stop to count to the right number in Slap Hand
  • I laugh, a lot

This year, today, Lam joined us instead since Darren is off in Las Vegas.

Retreat

Hello, I’m an introvert.

When going through Psychology 1101 to cover a required science elective, I studied the characteristics of introversion and extroversion, but the material never really resonated with me. As I saw it, there are varying degrees of both, I fit somewhere on the introverted side of the scale, and this was the extent of the application of such a subject.

I can force myself to be social, friendly, cheerful (what Shirley and I call being on), but I can only do this for limited amounts of time. Usually I can keep it going just a few hours for a party or gathering, or as long as a few days as required if we’re out camping or snowboarding, but never longer than this.

The rest of the time I spend in my room, away from the world, because the social interactions of everyday life are a huge drain on me. When I’m alone, I recharge in a way I can’t explain. I’ve spent years feeling guilty for this behaviour. The North American attitude is that there’s something wrong with being quiet or unsocial. The most striking memory I have of this was during frosh week, when others would constantly harass me to go drinking, or dancing, or partying with a bunch of people I had never met before.

Now there’s an explanation that makes more sense to me than a simple degree on a scale. In a recent article, neuroscience researcher Marti Olsen Laney talks about the connections between introversion and biology. “It impacts all areas of their lives: how they process information, how they restore their energy, what they enjoy and how they communicate.”

I realize that there’s a greatly significant correlation between the way I behave and my introverted mindset. Introversion is an attitude that affects almost every aspect of my life, deeply rooted to a physiological level. It isn’t something I should be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

And if I can come out of my shell every now and then, I’ll be alright.