Head colds are overrated!

I skipped a day. I hadn’t planned on it. But this head cold I’ve got is doing some kind of number on my cognitive abilities. Yesterday morning I woke up and headed to the kitchen dead set on something. Only by the time I got there, I had no idea what I was there for. It was one of THOSE days.

That also means I’ve neglected writing any more in my book since the last entry. It annoys me because I really want to work on it. It’s just anytime I really sit down to think about it, everything jumbles together and I can’t keep a straight thought. So frustrating!

In other news, it seems I’ve gotten the “how is the job hunt going?” question a lot lately. Honestly, I’m not doing anything on it just yet. The main reason is because my original plan was to lay low and take the holidays in stride. They’re already a stressful time, so there’s no reason to add to the mix if I don’t have to. I also really want to take a trip (flying, of course!) for several days to Boston and give it a hard look. It’s hovering near the top of my list of potential places to consider but I need to make sure it’s for all of the right reasons. I want to make sure it’s a decision I’d be happy making and living with. At least for a year or two. There’s also the issue of not being real sure what industry to look at or career path I want to head down. You’d think after four years of undergrad and two in grad school, I’d have an idea. Ha! Joke’s on you! That’s a lazy excuse though. Just stick with the first two I gave.

Speaking of Christmas, it’s right around the corner: 9 shopping days & 10 full days to go! I finished up my shopping today and I’m just waiting for one more package to come in the mail. That’s fairly early for me. But it also helps that I was on a three month trek seeing all kinds of good ideas and have no job responsibility to eat up hours during the day.

Here’s my thing with Christmas though – I have a love-hate relationship with it. AOL Radio has been streaming Christmas tunes through my computer speakers since I’ve been home. I love Christmas songs. Also, several years ago, I had an idea to be different and stand out with my gifts. I started a quasi-tradition of having my gifts wrapped in a theme. It’s been so long ago when I started, so I’m not sure what the first year was. But I’ve used aluminum foil as wrapping paper one year. Garbage bags another year – I actually used the plastic as wrapping paper instead of just setting the present in a bag. The year we moved from Arizona back to South Carolina, I used moving boxes and included hints on the box like you do when actually moving (i.e. My grandmother received several ingredients from King Arthur Flour, so hers had “Kitchen” on it). The year I went to South Africa, I used zebra fabric to cover everything. I used the brown shipping paper and rubber bands as ribbon one year. On and on and on.

Well this year, I had to involve my trip in some manner. When I went out shopping this weekend, I was looking for some kind of wrapping paper with maps or globes on it. No such luck. My initial thought was to use maps but if you’ve priced maps lately, that’s expensive wrapping paper if I’m wrapping all of my gifts in it. But since it’s almost always a secret up until the last minute, I hadn’t told anyone my ideas. Just by coincidence, when on the phone with my mom, she said I should use maps. “Too expensive” was the response, only to be told she was getting rid of a lot of old maps she had. Score! So since it semi-ties into my trip, I’m letting the cat out of the bag early this year – maps it is!

If you’ll notice in the last picture, I made the bows. Out of pieces of maps.

Doing awesome things like this, how am I still single?

Or straight? 😉

So I really enjoy looking forward to those few things. Not that it’s something unique but I also remember always going to pick out a live Christmas tree with my dad. Many times last minute. Sometimes on Christmas Eve. Bargain hunter extraordinaire right there. He also makes it a yearly tradition to get both my brother and I the annual Clemson ornament. I’m missing 1999 – 2002. 2007 somehow slipped through the cracks too. And it’s not like I have my own tree to put them up on. But hopefully that will be a different story at this time next year. But it’s something simple, something expected, but something that’s unique to my Christmas too.

But like I said… it’s a love-hate relationship. I love the build up. But by the time it actually rolls around, all of the shine has rubbed off. What’s the idiom? It’s like a Monet – Looks good from afar but up close, it’s a big ol’ mess? I feel that way about Christmas now that I’m not a kid (or at least less of a kid than from years before). Everything is always so coordinated that people get stressed out. Especially when someone strays from the plan, which invariably always happens. The main purpose (aside from the religious significances) is to enjoy the idea of sharing the holidays with your family you rarely see. And it always turns into who buys what for who. It’s commercialized. And materialistic. When you’re 10 years old and you want any toy ever seen with your own eyes, a Christmas full of gifts is great. When you’re 28 (especially getting back from a trip in which you minimalized your life into all of the possessions that would only fit in the back seat of your truck), the idea of tons of gifts just isn’t appealing anymore. Stuff always gets thrown away, which isn’t supposed to be what it’s all about. I’m still a “kid” in the family, so I’m not expected to buy a bunch of presents for everyone. But I typically get each person one or two things they either really enjoy or really need and leave it at that. The gifts mean more that way. And in the end, you spend less money, create less waste, and it just makes everything less stressful. And I’ll always be that way – one or two gifts. If/when I have kids, I’m sure that will change to some degree. But I’m still going to refuse to go overboard like a lot of people do. Christmas is about family and sharing (and religion to some people), not trash and debt. Yay American culture! (Man, I really am turning into a hippie…)

And with that, my annual Christmas rant is out of my system. More than a week before Christmas at that! Bah-humbug, right? At least I was considerate enough to give you enough time to perk back up for the holidays 🙂 I do hope you all enjoy your holidays though. And maybe take a day or a few hours to appreciate the non-commercial side of it.

No idea how to wrap all of this up and end it (Thanks, head cold!), so I’ll just leave you all with a “Goodnight!”


P.S. I just had someone tell me this:

“I feel like I get to know you more by reading your blog…. I mean I feel like I know you but I learn more about you by reading it.”

And it made my night. I’m not really sure the purpose of the blog started out that way, but I’m proud it’s taken that turn at least with one person (Thanks Stacie!). Generally, I’m a pretty guarded person. I understand that it’s easier to be more open by typing words instead of speaking them but I feel like part of me has opened up after my trip. I just need to keep pushing that envelope and working on it.

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8 Responses to Head colds are overrated!

  1. RMJinAK says:

    Hey Nanu – I’m just catching up on you blog entries. I haven’t read any since your entry about the dates. I could tell from what you were saying (and where you were) that it was your wrap-up of the trip and I didn’t want the adventure to stop. I think it was amazing that you traveled the whole country and stayed healthy, then get home and get a cold. And it appears that you have some really nasty weather there right now. No one will believe you now when you say that you always seemed to bring good weather wherever you traveled. I’m sorry that you had a bit of a crash after getting home, but that was to be expected – emotionally, after any “up” comes a “down”, but the opposite is also true. Just keep working on finding the next up thing. And keep on writing, both your book and your blog. Reading from the beginning of the blog, you clearly got better and more comfortable as you went along, and more adept at expressing yourself. Writing is like any other skill (hockey, running, academics, etc.) – the more you do it the better you become. I’ve probably told you this story before, so I won’t repeat it, other than to say Mister Rodgers’ graduation speech. (If you don’t remember, I fill you in next time). I have to go now, but stay warm – seems a little strange that someone in Alaska says that to someone in SC – and let the cold and ice, if not snow, help get you in the mood for Christmas, and Boston!

    • No snow here! The weather hasn’t even been really nasty yet. But it’s supposed to start raining this week and keep going, I think. The lake’s iced over a little in the cove which I don’t ever remember happening before though. It all feels warm to me though. It was 35 today and I went out in flip flops and a rolled up long sleeve shirt. After doing single digits and teens in Virginia and North Carolina, this is easy stuff!

  2. Shyanne says:


    You are doing right about just skating thru the holidays….do not worry about the job search right now; it will come soon enough. I’m also in the “giving advice, or listening” mode right now when my son calls from LA. He’s having a tough time finding a job. However, if you have computer experience you should be able to find something. Unless you want to go in another direction. My son still doesn’t know what he wants to do. He has a bachelor degree in English because he was writing at the time.

    Don’t feel bad about not knowing what you want to do at 28. I’ve had several careers and at fifty-something I working on being a writer. I was a stay-at-home mom for 16 years…then I was a counselor for about 6 years…right now I write on a health website to advocate for mental health disabilities. I enjoy it but I want to do more. I look to your mom as a role model. I am in the middle of obtaining my MFA in Creative Writing now. I go to an online school and I love it. So see? Even us old people don’t have a clear path sometimes.

    I will leave you with a hope that you get well soon and that I look forward to more writing….on your schedule as it feels right to you.

    God Bless.


  3. Who’s old???
    And it is indeed cold! I’m freezing my pitooty off. My feet won’t get warm.

    It is nice to have you home. Thank goodness you haven’t given me your cold, but your stepdad isn’t feeling all that chipper these days thanks to your germs. But we love you anyway!

  4. Bonnie says:

    Enjoyed your post, Matthew! Our Christmases are never “coordinated,” more let what happens happen, so no stress from that. My Christmas stress used to come from wanting to get the perfect gifts for 15 nieces and nephews, but for the last two years I’ve let myself off the hook in that regard. Now I just enjoy the music, lights, decorations and ubiquitous Christmas sweaters! As Alvin says, Christmas comes this time each year, and it will all be over with soon! Time to finish putting lights on the tree. I might start shopping tomorrow.

  5. Monex says:

    ………What should you do with all that old wrapping paper after Christmas? I know it sounds cheap and not appetizing but when I think of all the work it took to make that paper I think it is a shame to just wrap a present in it and then after the present is opened it is just trashed.

    • Everything’s just trashed along with the other wrapping paper. For some reason, that part’s never bothered me. I enjoy coming up with the ideas and I get to show off the presents before Christmas.

  6. Pingback: I’ll have a blue Christmas | Nanu's Nation

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