The time between Christmas and New Year’s, I think, is one of the most underrated times in the year — I’m fortunate, admittedly, in that I don’t have to work during that time, UCI being closed for the winter break and all. But nearly all the days are paid for — I only had to take one day as vacation — and after coming back from home I usually find myself doing a few small things here and there and otherwise enjoying about the only time during the year when I’m on a break but not going anywhere or doing anything much.
This time around, however, I found myself in a three-day whirlwind of home improvement — or apartment improvement if you like. I think this was a combination of things, anchored around the fact that it’s just been over five years since I last moved. Over the last decade and a half I’ve found myself moving once every five years, so in a way it was almost like an itch that needed to be scratched — even though my lease isn’t up until September, and there’s no immediate reason to think I might move, but we’ll see how the time goes.
More to the point, though, I think I just wanted to begin a new year’s resolution a little early, to work once again with more fervor on the need to reduce down the amount of junk and randomness about the place — but also to make it more comfortable, more welcoming for myself and for friends over for a bit. So in a series of trips around the area to various stores and locales — including, god help me, a quick bout of struggling through South Coast Plaza — I picked up (along with some long needed new shoes and some other clothes and good supplies):
- a doormat — never had one!
- new lightbulbs (like the previous ones, flourescent — and they’ve lasted me for five years! — but I wanted a new set that was much brighter)
- a new shower curtain and liner — the old one was getting unspeakable, and the new curtain in particular really suits the bathroom’s color scheme)
- more bookends to organize my cookbooks and books from the library
- new pillows and liners — I could tell the difference immediately!
- two huge CD carrying cases to organize god knows how many CD and DVD burns of music that had been scattered around the apartment
There’s also a food processor I’ve got on order — I’ve had a blender for a while and I wanted something to augment that — and also some other organization and reworking I wanted to do in the place in general. These are all subtle steps but the collective feeling, combined with the breezy and warm weather, feels like a solid bout of spring cleaning done as a year-end settling.
That’s a good feeling, and a good way to end the year — I felt, in a way, that I had spent much of these last few days doing an overall mental core dump, making plans and resolutions and then carrying them out, wanting the outside activity to reflect a bit of internal thought as I also looked back on a very enjoyable year overall, much of which can be seen on this blog (at least the second half of the year!). It made the occasional parties and get-togethers during this stretch all the more fun, and the feeling of upgrading on a variety of practicalities as seen in my list was truly satisfying — gifts to myself that would last for a long while.
I have my plans for 2008 and will pursue them as they come, but for now, looking back on the year now passed and the run-up to its conclusion, I just think it was a fine way to wrap up and move on.
And as you can see, I really needed to get rid of the junk, if you look at this slew of old CDR cases and envelopes:
Hurrah for 2008! Regular extended blog posting on any number of things to recommence shortly!