Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
Are you? I'm currently sat next to my Christmas tree with a festive Spotify playlist on loop and a delicious, only slightly cinnamon-y candle burning nearby. It's that time of year again.
First, let's step back from the tinsel and look all the way back to November. A month that started quietly with jogging and winter coat shopping and enjoying the final days of having Brian around. I watched Jingle All The Way for the first time, which is baffling. Both the movie and the fact I'd never seen it before. I believe there was also a viewing of Home Alone and an entire box of Roses were consumed because those are activities we usually reserve for December, but unfortunately that wasn't an option this year.
Six weeks is the longest my husband and I have ever spent apart. Which is why we didn't go through with it! Some records are there to be broken: six weeks without smoking/drinking coffee/a bout of road rage, all great. Six weeks of eating dinner alone and talking to yourself? Not so cool. I do quite like being alone - something I have reiterated to many people over the last few weeks - some weird solitary instinct that comes from both my mother and my father, so I never really stood a chance. It's been nice to dedicate my weekends entirely to my parents, even if all I do at their house is drink coffee and invent new nicknames for their cat. I went to a couple of gigs this month and dragged my mum along to one, and spent the following day shivering in Belfast's Christmas market, buying copious amounts of fruit tarts. My family often lean more on the side of Grinch than Whos, but days spent like that are little treasures. I even got to drive through the first snowfall of the season.
Can we talk aimlessly about things I watched in November? I finally caved and viewed Saving Mr Banks on Netflix. I say caved, because there were so many stories that came out about how much truth was in this 'based on a true story' tale during its theatrical release period. I hate to think of Disney continuing to make money out of a woman who hated Disney... but there's a cynical part of me that knows that when you sign a contract, you lose your voice. I love Mary Poppins. I loved Saving Mr Banks. I love both Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. It's just good to keep a critical eye open.
I made the very stupid decision of going to see Brooklyn in the cinema, on my own, after work on a rainy Wednesday. I can't remember the last time I was so deeply affected by a film. I urge you to go and see it for a bunch of reasons: it's based on a Colm Tóibín novel; a lot of it is filmed in Ireland and produced by the Irish Film Board... it's just flawless. If Saoirse Ronan doesn't get a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her beautiful, nuanced portrayal, I'll be pretty miffed. As the person I married is thousands of miles away and would happily live in Los Angeles, Brooklyn reminded me how inextricably linked I am to where I grew up. Watch it.
In LA (whoops, spoiler) I completed the Hunger Games series in the beautiful Arclight multiplex in Hollywood. It's a nice little companion to Brooklyn actually, because both films have moments where this incredible female lead has to make a choice between two men. Except, wait. No they don't. In Brooklyn, it's about love, pure love, love in a time where young Catholic women were supposed to get married and have kids and love didn't really come into it. And in Mockingjay Part 2, I have no idea what the writers were thinking, but I'm pretty sure most people could've done without a constant return to 'who will she choose!?' amidst a young woman's life and country being torn apart. Ugh. J-Law is great, though. And I think it's only ever a good thing for me to watch as many of these female driven dramas as I can afford to, because even if I get frustrated, I have to ask myself WHY I'm frustrated, and my whole vocabulary on these topics grows and grows. *air punch*
[ETA: if I was 16, you would be reading some terrible/fantastic Katniss & Haymitch fanfiction. Just saying.]
So, I ended up in LAX. I got to spend four days embracing Thanksgiving and sunshine and THE ONE I LOVE. Aw yeah. The United States is a place that makes my head hurt if I think about it too much. If we dig into the archives of Terrible Candice Poetry, we can find this and this, two 'poems' written on my first and second visits to the USA. Neither are particularly optimistic. Anyway, I had a wonderful weekend and didn't write any poems, I promise.
And now I'm home, attempting to Christmas shop on a budget and fill the next two weeks with plans so I can be reunited with the stripy one and eat all the Christmas chocolate. I appear to have glossed over the fact that the reason he is away is to record a flipping debut album and that just fills my heart and, again, I could write about this all day so I'll spare us all that.
I'm also putting effort into doing things that won't come into being until the new year. Maybe the life hack for New Year's Resolutions is to enforce them at this time of year so your mindset is still one of looking back on the current year and reflecting, as opposed to the panic that comes with a new, empty 2016. Hmm.
Apologies for the long post; I haven't had much human contact today. I have been listening to Adele, because I am unashamedly predictable like that. The live versions of When We Were Young is all my neighbours have heard through the walls for the past week. I also always return to Bright Eyes' Christmas record at this time of year.
The next time I write, the buzz of Christmas will be over. (Is there anything worse than that feeling you get at about 5pm on Christmas Day?) I hope you all have a nice, safe festive period. And I know Christmas (and its non-Christian counterparts) can be a really difficult time of year if you don't have the security and the love that are pushed in your face as the norm from all directions throughout December. Thinking of all of you.
Yours, desiring pasta,