A Very Nerdy Christmas Tree

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First it must be said, I am not a great fan of family holidays. They bring a lot of anxiety for me. Christmas is especially rough.  Most years I try to just ignore it. But this year, if feels like people have been preparing for this holiday since August. And while I am not exactly on jumping on board the Christmas train, I thought I would make the teeniest effort this year.

My apartment building does not allow natural trees, and I will never purchase a fake one.  So I usually go without. This year, due to my lack of bookshelf space more than anything, I decided to make a book tree. It looks a bit haphazard and lopsided, and that it may collapse at any moment, but I assure you it is structurally sound.  Besides I kind of like a quirky and not perfect tree. If you want perfection, go search pinterest– there are plenty of examples that will meet your needs.  But for me, a little chaos and a whole lot of imperfection suits just fine.

If you want to know how I did it – here is the breakdown.

  • Sort your books into 4 piles, large hardcovers, medium and small hardcovers, large paperbacks, and medium and small paperbacks
  • Put your largest book in what you imagine is going to be the centre of the tree.  My largest book is the Random House dictionary from196?  Its humongous!
  • Put your next largest books in a circle with the spines outward- make sure there are spaces in between each book – so that the corners of each are only touching
  • For each layer, lay the book in between the two below it
  • Use your largest books for the first few layers, and then move onto smaller and lighter books the further you go up
  • After you have created a sort of wall around your centre book, put box on top – that you can build your tree around
  • When you have finally reached the top of your tree, you can add a topper -I think most people use a star or an angel
  • Wrap some lights or garland around the tree – remember that if you choose to use lights, that paper is flammable, so make sure you keep an eye on it. Don’t leave the lights plugged in for long periods of time.

What I love about my book tree, is that not only does it free up much needed shelf space, and gives me a constant reminder of my very large to be read list (currently at 57 books), but it helps to remind me that its ok to take some time out for myself, and read or do some other solo activity when Im feeling anxious and overwhelmed.  Plus it lets me display my grandfather’s christmas ornaments from when he was a boy.  The snowman that sits on the top of the tree once belonged to him.  He is missing his nose, and there is a sort of noose around his neck – which is how he is usually hung on the tree – but I wouldn’t change him.  I love him, just how he is.

I have  a lot of books left over, so I think I might rebuild the tree tomorrow, and make it quite a bit taller. Which will give me an opportunity to restring the lights, clearly I need some practice in that area.

In celebration of reading 100 books this year, I rebuilt my tree – so it now consists of all the books I own.  And now it looks like this:

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What’s Behind Door Number 1

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When I was a kid, I was obsessed with doors. Behind doors lay magical worlds. Talking creatures that were not human lived just on the other side, colours not found in our world existed there, grand adventures were to be had, but most of all behind special doors there was a place where anxiety couldn’t survive.

In the house I grew up in, closets were a special fascination. My house had huge closets.  Walk-in closets, closets that could be used as clubhouses, and hiding places. Closets that could be used to escape from the noise. These were places where I could escape from myself.

These closets were big enough to drag in cushions, and mattresses, and pillows, and piles of blankets.  I could bring in a stack of books, a flashlight, and mugs of iced tea, and I would be happy there for days. Sometimes I skipped sleeping in my own bed just so I could stay in that world a little longer.

Today the start of (what I call) the PTSD season snuck up on me.  It does so every year. I don’t ever realize its approaching until its here – and I have a panic attack so bad that I don’t think I can survive – in case you are wondering, I did survive.  But I am now aware that for the next 6-10 weeks, life is about to get a bit more challenging.

And right now, the only thing I want, is a closet big enough to drag in an air mattress, and take a flashlight, some books, and a big mug of iced tea, and move to a land (albeit temporarily) where anxiety doesn’t exist.

*Photo Source- Stewart Chambers via flickr

B is for Baked!

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In the latest experiment to get some sleep, I took a journey to a cannabis lounge. Now, pot is not something that I am overly familiar with. I am a casual user, at best. A few times in university, or whenever I am with someone who has some. I have never gone and purchased any for myself before. I am quite neutral on the subject of marijuana. Had a friend of mine not suggested it, I never would have thought to go. But go we did. And it was fantastic.

After we figured out how everything worked, we enjoyed the lemony flavour of Harmony. Here is a short description of what we experienced (from Leafly).

“Harmony is a hybrid that synchronizes the very best of its three parent strains, Santa Marta Colombian GoldLemon OG Kush, and Lemon Thai. These tall plants produce flowerylemon-smelling buds distinctly kush-like in structure. Its effects are invigorating and uplifting, but higher doses might push you into a more spacey experience. Indoor growers wait 8 to 9 weeks for Harmony to flower while outdoor cultivators prepare for harvest in the month of October.”

So here is what happened, we got baked. And for the first time in 18 months, I felt calm. I experienced normal. No anxiety. No worry. I was just calm and happy. And I could breathe. I was overjoyed about how good I was feeling.

When I got home, I was looking forward to sleep – because I knew that being calm and relaxed was going to help me get at least a few hours of anxiety free rest. But it doesn’t actually work that way. Yes I was calm, tired, and relaxed, and I did manage to fall asleep quite easily. But I didn’t stay asleep. I woke up at midnight, and have stayed that way until now (7 am), and since the sun is rising-any hopes of me getting sleep now has just disappeared.

So the lesson here is this –  I now know that I can keep anxiety at bay, without medication or expensive vacations to Spain (a story for another time), and after talking with a knowledgable staff member, I am confident that the right stuff will help me achieve the desired zzzzzzs.

**Photo by Adrian Snood via flickr

 

 

My Dreams Cause Sleeplessness

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I am currently in a system of insomnia. This time its caused by my dreams. Funny how that works. I am able to sleep for a couple of hours (before midnight), but then something happens in my dream, and I wake up – and my brain refuses to go back to sleep.  Sometimes its because something frightening has happened, or sometimes like tonight its just confused.

Lately, I have woken up after I have been beheaded- and I am dancing around like a no-headed chicken. Sometimes my head pops off like a piece of lego, and sometimes its bloodier. But the result is the same. Dancing around without a head. I don’t need to look up an interpretation of this to tell me that I am stressed, and I should probably do something about it.

Tonight’s dream though, had to do with the fact that I don’t eat organic oranges. Feel free to interpret that one. I don’t think I have earned my sleeplessness tonight.

*Photo by Kema Keur via Flickr