Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Burlap and Pinecone Christmas (A Personal Essay)

Sharing a little something different today. I don't typically write things like this to share, but this has been on my mind for a couple weeks now. My little brother left us last year during the Christmas season and it's totally altered my perspective on life. Christmas especially has brought that perspective into focus. So I wrote this essay to get these thoughts off my chest and in honor of my little brother who I love dearly.

Christmas will never be the same. My previous Christmases have been filled with fanfare and glitter and flashing lights and all the merriment you could ever want. And that’s okay, but Christmas will never be the same.  Last Christmas I nursed a broken heart. Not one broken from a breakup or a lost opportunity. One broken from the loss of something so much greater, my little brother.  11 days before Christmas my brother took his life.  The awful day that I got the news I looked at the Christmas tree: gaudy, sparkling, and vile. I couldn’t stand it. I ripped the cord out of the wall and turned off the Christmas music.  How dare it stand there like a thing of wonder in light of what the world had lost. My brother was more sparkly and vibrant than that tree could ever be and now he was gone. How dare it compare itself.

With time the sharp devastation has been replaced with a numb pain eased by the memories of what a light my brother was in this dark world. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel when this Christmas came around. Would I find it just as vile? Would I slip right back into the full-fledged Christmas looney I had been?  Now that the time has come around I find it’s neither.  I still love Christmas but in a different way than I used to.
I used to be one of those crazy Christmas fanatics. I’d listen to obnoxious Christmas music from November 1st  right through Christmas. Nonstop. No other music allowed.  This year I find it those same 12 songs, same 12 versions they play on the radio every year disgusting. I hate them. I find them fake and deeply offensive to what I believe is the true beauty of Christmas. But play me “I heard the bells on Christmas day”, play me a heartfelt Christmas song and I melt. I love hearing the genuine joy people feel at Christmas time come out in song. Genuine being the key word. There are so many distractions at Christmas that it can be hard to sort the real from the fake. Maybe that’s why I limit my Christmas carol intake. Maybe that’s why Kpop has remained a healthy staple of my auditory input this year. Or maybe it’s just because I love it. Why take away one joy to attempt to concoct another?

I used to run around ensuring I spent as much money as I could afford making sure I got my family members the best gifts possible to make sure they knew how much I loved them.  It’s funny. When I look back on my memories of Christmas, I barely remember the gifts that I’ve received.  What I remember is the time that I spent with my family. I remember the year that my entire family: grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins all rented a cabin at the camp that we’d go to every summer. It was a winter wonderland in the middle of the woods and we were the only ones there.  We spent the weekend in the same house: making snowmen, going sledding, drinking cocoa, and playing games.  I remember that my brothers didn’t even finish opening their presents because they were so excited to play with the toys that they had already opened.  They had the right idea. Christmas isn’t about how many gifts you have; it’s about enjoying what you do have. This year, when I’m buying my family gifts, I don’t give in to the mad rush to get everything perfect. I only think of the gifts as a token to say: “Hey, I’m thinking about you. I love you.” It doesn’t really matter what the gift is. It really doesn’t.

I used to start my Christmas fanfare in November, trying to greedily grab up every ounce of Christmas cheer that I could find. It was exhausting. What was the point?  It took more out of me than it gave.  This year I’ve taken a slow stroll through the Christmas season. Sure, I might miss some of the exciting events and shows if I don’t cram as much into every weekend as I can. But you know what I’m not missing? The simple beauty of the season. The way that people’s pocketbooks open up for people in need during the holidays. I love watching it. This morning while I was at stoplight in the city, there was a man with a cardboard sign at the intersection. I watched as he walked to the car next and the lady driving handed him some money. As he walked away, the driver was beaming.  It didn’t matter what the man was going to do with the money to her. She gave from her heart and it brought her joy. Christmas may be gaudy and obnoxious sometimes, but it’s moments like that where you see the beauty that Christmas creates. 

Last year, after my brother died, we got robbed the day after we returned home. Three days before Christmas. They took the TV, a phone, a laptop, and literally all the presents from under the tree. To make it even more disgusting they unwrapped the presents in our backyard and left them scattered in the woods behind the house because they didn’t find anything they liked.  They neighborhood kids were upset by this.  “I wish you had kids my age so they could have some of my presents” said one, others helped rewrap the gifts and put them under the tree, and one little girl brought over all the money in her piggy bank to help buy new gifts. I could have cried. Oh, who am I kidding? I did cry. Lots. The heart of those kids who were willing to give up their own things to make sure someone else could have a merry Christmas, wow. I thought I had every reason to hate Christmas after what I had experienced in that worst week of my life. But how could I?  I had seen firsthand the very best that Christmas had to offer.

Christmas will never be the same. And that’s okay. Because now I have a new take on Christmas. I tell people I want a burlap and pinecone Christmas. What does that mean? Simple. I want a simple Christmas. I don’t want my vision so clouded with glitter so that I can’t see that the true magic of this holiday is how it changes people’s hearts.  If only for a month, if only for a day, if only for a moment, it changes them. A burlap and pinecone Christmas to me means relishing those moments I get to see someone’s heart, actually enjoying the time I have to spend with my family, and watching the magical quiet snowfall on a dark winter night.  I want a burlap and pinecone Christmas and I wish you and yours a burlap and pinecone Christmas too.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

MEMES: Oh My Venus Episodes 7 & 8

 Hope you are all having a merry time right now friends and future friends. I'm trying to catch up on my Oh My Venus memes. I'm loving this show. At first I was a little hesitant because it seemed like the drama was pushing physical beauty, saying that being fat meant being sad and that you couldn't be pretty if you were fat. Turns out the drama is saying the opposite. The message is that it does no good to be pretty on the outside if you're not pretty inside and that a person's character has nothing to do with their physical appearance. I think I'll have to do a drama diagnosis when it's over, but I'm definitely a fan. Anyway, here are the memes from episodes 7&8. Hope you get giggle out of these.

Friday, December 18, 2015

New Instagram Account

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays friends! Sorry that my content output has slowed so much here at the end of the year. Things have been crazy for me moving across the country, starting a new day job, and just about to move into a new place. But I've got some awesome things planned for this blog come the new year. Some exciting news I just started an Instagram specifically for this blog. I had a lot of requests to share my memes so you can now find me on Instagram as LivinginLoganLand. Hope to connect with some of my friends there! Also I haven't given up on She Was Pretty. I promise to finish recapping that drama before starting a new one.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

MEMES: Oh My Venus Episodes 5 & 6

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope y'all are enjoying yourselves while keeping busy, but not TOO busy. I know things have been hectic for me, but I love that things are this way during this time of year. It does mean my creative Kdrama output comes to a drizzle, but I am back tonight with a new batch of memes from Oh My Venus. I am a week behind as these are from last week's episodes, but I hope you enjoy them anyway. Talk to you soon, friends!!!

 *As a side note, if you also follow me on Tumblr and see a meme here that you think our friends on Tumblr would love but I haven't posted, let me know in the comments and I'll share it over there too*


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

She Was Pretty Episode 5 Recap

 Hi friends and future friends! Hope you all had  beautiful Thanksgiving weekend with your families. I say weekend because for my family we've always had the tradition of spending the entire weekend together. While it's difficult to maintain that tradition now that we're grown, Thanksgiving weekends were some of my fondest memories. I'm off to spend a girl's day shopping and looking at Christmas lights with my cousins, but before I leave I wanted to leave you with a quick recap and some memes from Episode 5 of she was pretty. In light of the holiday, there are some holiday related memes in there. It was crazy how well the screencaps I had from Episode 5 lent themselves to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Okay, so when we left off, Sung Joon had just caught Hye Jin in his apartment and completely shattered his favorite puzzle. So she leaves in embarrassment. Meanwhile, Ha Ri finds a pair of shoes that she really loves and buys them anyway even though they're not her size.

Hye Jin's parents throw a celebration dinner for Hye Jin getting a job, but when she gets there they've started eating without her and are doting over Ha Ri as if she's their real daughter and Hye Jin is just a stranger. They don't even realize that Hye Jin has arrived at first.

At work, Hye Jin has to work late and thinks she's the only one in the office. She sees that Sung Joon's light is on so she goes in there and starts playing around in his office when she realizes Sung Joon is in the building. She tries to hide and she overhears Sung Joon's conversation with the main office that Most is going to be shut down if performance doesn't improve. Sung Joon sees her hiding and tells her to keep quiet about what she heard.

 Later that night, Sung Joon runs into Ha Ri at the gym and they work out together and then spend a lovely time hanging out afterward. It's clear that Ha Ri has gained a great interest in Sung Joon and won't be able to easily be able to detach herself from him at this point.

The next day Ha Ri runs into Shin Hyuk again at the hotel and apologizes to him for thinking he was homeless.  The two are on more friendly terms now, although neither has any idea that they both know Hye Jin.

At work, Hye Jin has a moment of panic when she realizes she lost the missing puzzle piece from Sung Joon's puzzle. He gave it to her when they were kids and he left for America and she had it in her pocket, but if fell off. She looks all around the office and eventually sees it on the bottom of Sung Joon's foot. She tries to grab it, but Sung Joon catches her and she makes up a lie about wanting to clean his shoes.

 Shin Hyuk manages to play hero by rescuing the piece himself. Hye Jin agrees to buy him food at the street tent near work. Shin Hyuk tells her that she reminds him of his little sister and then Hye Jin finds out she died. She feels guilty for giving Shin Hyuk crap and agrees to enthusiastically be his little sister from now on. Sung Joon drives by and sees the two bonding and looks almost jealous.

Ha Ri, realizing how poorly the guys she has been dating treat her versus the way Sung Joon treats her, breaks things off with the guy she had been casually seeing.  I don't foresee anything good coming out of this.  At Hye Jin's work, the gang goes out to lunch excluding Sung Joon of course, who has set himself apart from the rest of the office. Hye Jin feels bad and brings him back a sandwich which he catches her leaving on her desk.

Ha Ri plans to break things off with Sung Joon but as she can't tell him the truth, she asks Shin Hyuk to pretend to be her fiance. He doesn't know why he's doing it, but he agrees. Ha Ri asks Sung Joon to meet him at a restaurant. Meanwhile, Hye Jin has been duped into working late to finish the other employee's work.  Sung Joon sees her and feels bad for her and helps her reapply a dirty bandage, telling her that she needs to take care of herself before she takes care of others. 

Sung Joon leaves the office to meet up with Hye Jin, but it starts to rain while he's driving. Sung Joon has a major freakout and gets out of his car, leaving it parked on the road and collapses.  We see a flashback to him as a child at the site of an accident in the rain where he's crying for his mother and she's lying sprawled on the tar.

Hye Jin who is riding by in the bus sees him and has the bus driver stop. She runs over to him and covers him with her jacket, remembering how much he hated the rain. He is touched by her thoughtfulness and reminded of how Hye Jin rescued him when he was a kid. We learn that the password that he's used forever isn't because it's World Lefthander's Day, it's because it's the day he met Hye Jin, his first friend.

That's all I have for episode  5's recap, but enjoy some more memes below! I'll be back before long with another recap and more memes.

New Blog - Where to Find New Memes - 611 Drama Unnies

Hi Friends! Since it's no longer just me who is creating the memes and since Tiara and I are working  together on collaborations across...