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Christmas is over. All of my relatives have come & gone. My older brother came home, & I felt tension radiating off of him, probably from the stresses of his demanding job. My sister & her two kids came crashing in like a chaotic tornado. The more time progresses, the more new things I learn about my sister, but also the more she easily irritates & frustrates me. I find myself easily becoming angry &/or flying off the handle the more I spend time with my siblings.

I try to be accommodating to my brother & sister. I try to make their lives more comfortable. That’s engrained in my personality, to take care of & to comfort others. However, I’ve learned over this past Christmas holiday, that it often comes at my own expense. I sacrifice my own happiness, comfort, & (sometimes) sanity to make other people’s lives more comfortable. I don’t ever seek recognition or much validation, but a little compromising &/or acknowledgment goes a long way.

Last year, during the same time of the year, I had a HUGE & COMPLETE meltdown. I broke down into tears & was sobbing uncontrollably for hours. I mean, I had a mental breakdown, & it scared the hell out of me. I’ve never cried like that in my entire life, not even when my dad passed away. What was I having a meltdown about? One of my “to-be-unnamed” family members disrupted my housekeeping routine, & completely LOST IT! I don’t recall throwing a tantrum, but I vividly remember breaking down into utter sobs so intense I gave myself a panic attack & lost control of my breathing. I was half crying, half gasping for breath, so much so that Jian seriously considered taking me to the hospital.

It was then & there, well, after I had regained my composure, that I recognized this episode as a genuine wake up call to loosen the reins on my compulsion for cleanliness & strict housekeeping. I could not allow myself to freak out every time someone didn’t clean the house to my standards, or didn’t do something exactly the way I would have or wanted them to. I’m a Taurus astrology sign, so I can easily become stubborn, easily dig my heels into the ground & not budge, & easily let myself get angry. I learned from a very early age in my life how to maintain a home & how to be domesticated from my mother. So, when I perform my own housekeeping in my house, I do everything exactly the way my mom taught me, & I don’t stray from her exacting steps. I realized last year that I couldn’t go through life being so rigid & straightforward like that. There’s going to be a cuss-load of times where I cannot control the steps. I had to loosen my “grip”, so to speak. People will make messes, & I will just have to deal with it accordingly. I can’t spend my whole life trailing behind others with a vacuum & a dust rag. I told myself then, I’m not giving up my controlling ways, but I’m toning it down several notches.

This year, I also had another meltdown. I finally confessed to Jian that I’ve been carrying around a cuss-load of emotional stress & baggage. He told me that it is very unhealthy to keep all of my emotional stress bottled up. I told him that I had no other choice. I wanted to protect my mother & to not put any emotional stress on her, especially since she still feels so emotional over my dad’s passing. There’s already intense tension between my sister & older brother. As much as they love each other, they can’t stop fighting like cats & dogs. That makes my mom sad, to see her older kids fight, & I can see that it worries her out a little. I try to keep the peace as much as possible, & not “rock the boat”, & to shield my mom from as much stress & worry as I can, but then all of that pressurized burden falls on my shoulders.

As much as my mom is one of my closest confidants, it’s difficult for me to talk to her about this. Sometimes I find it hard to talk to Jian too because it’s difficult for him to relate to my issues when he was raised as an only child with very few cousins to interact with. Dear, sweet Jian tries to help me sort through & process all of my thoughts & emotions in a practical/sensible way, & I try to control my stubbornness & sometimes defeatist attitude. I think I’m making slight progress.

There have been many times, this Christmas alone, where I wanted to wring my sister’s neck or grab her by the shoulders & give her a good hard shake & scream, “What the hell is wrong with you?” straight to her face, but somehow, I was able to draw upon Jian’s practicality & wisdom, & I was able to take a step back every now & again to let myself cool down. I actually went with the flow some of the time, & pushed my immediate stressed feelings out of myself in order to stop & think before I reacted. My sister is a sloppy person, leaving clothes & used bath towels strewn all over the bedroom floor. All of her belongings are in messy piles all over the place, & she can never put a dirty dish/cup in the sink to save her life. Her children, in turn, learn those habits/mannerisms from their mother, & do as she does. They are equally messy, but to add another layer to this disaster, all three of them tend to be quite careless with their belongings. For example, my niece, in her throes of rough playing around her house, stepped on her expensive tablet & cracked the screen. She gave it no second thought whatsoever. My sister has lost her mobile phone so many times, in this year alone, that she now has to buy an expensive protection plan in case of loss or theft. The kids hate wearing jackets, even if it’s minus 14 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside, & they’ll throw their jackets on to the floor & walk away if they don’t want to wear their jackets.

All this time, I want to scream, tear my hair out, cry, shout, ball my fists & stomp my feet like a whiny toddler, but I was able to mentally talk myself off the edge of that cliff so many times this Christmas holiday. That made me feel like I’m clearly on my way to a more mature & composed self. That’s one of my goals for the year, to keep progressing my inner self, & to break away from my anger. I feel like I’m off to a good start. At least I think I am. I still have a very long way to go. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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The stationery/office goods addict in me has come out to play again. This side of me has been left dormant since last year’s trip to Tokyo. I haven’t really added anything new to my hoard of stationery goods recently, so there hasn’t been much to report back on in that area. But now I’m back kids!! It’s the end of the year (2014), & everyone knows what that means…NEW 2015 CALENDARS!!!

When I buy calendars, I mainly look for 2 things: 1. Clean font/lettering & 2. Large squares. I don’t like overly busy designs, or crazy layouts. I like minimal & fun designs.

This was my calendar for 2014:
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This calendar is a little bit more on the colorful side than I’d normally choose for an everyday calendar. I ended up picking this one because, at the time, I was really in love with a Japanese animation called 「紙兎ロペ」(Kami Usagi Ropé). This animation is a comedy about animal characters, in paper doll form, who are navigating through the adventures of high school life. I liked this calendar because it had large enough squares for me to write all of my appointments & special events while also having easy-to-read letters & funny screenshots from the animation.

This upcoming year, I have a bit of an issue. I have two great calendars, but I only need one. This is option 1:
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Since subscribing to Whisky Magazine, I received this awesome calendar as a free gift. It’s a bit on the small side for my taste, but it is still very functional, & it has the large squares to write in…which I love. This calendar not only has beautiful photos, but it also contains interesting facts about whisky & whisky distilling. I am eager to learn more about my favorite libation throughout the year.

This is option 2:
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I made a slight mistake when I bought this calendar. I ordered this online through my all-time favorite shop Tokyu Hands, but I sort of forgot to read the measurements of the size. I had no idea how big the calendar was actually going to be until I received the package in the mail. The box this calendar came in was large enough to store a coffee maker AND a blender. Yes, folks. This calendar is huge (by my standards…at 17.5″L x 12.2″W), & it’s supposed to be a wall-hanging calendar. The squares are large enough that I could write whole paragraphs inside each one. Aside from the size, I enjoy the clean & minimal design of this calendar.

Whichever one I choose to use in 2015…it’s going to be a banner year. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

My New Year’s resolution?  Well it’s quite simple, you see.  It involves a bit of traveling.  Well, that’s my personal resolution for 2013.  I am hoping to do a little more traveling before really settling down.  This year, I am trying to plan at least one big trip (a final hurrah, if you will), possibly to one of these places:

old english bus toy wallpaper1. LONDON!  Yes, yes.  I would indeed love to visit this rich city, one which I have never visited before.  I have very much professed my longing desire to visit this city to my husband, but he has always been hesitant to travel to London.  Instead, he prefers to travel to Asia (i.e. China &/or Japan) mostly to visit close friends & relatives.  I think this year may be the right time for us…

rio beach wallpaper2. RIO DE JANEIRO… For a number of years, I have been contemplating the idea of visiting this bright city, the foundation of my passion for Bossa Nova music.  What solidified my lust to travel to Rio?  Why, the animated movie RIO of course!  That movie really painted an irresistible panoramic view of the city I long to visit someday… Maybe I could lay on the beach & pretend that I am that girl from Ipanema.

shibuya night wallpaper3. My husband & I have been toying with the possibility of traveling back to Japan again.  However, this time, we would like to visit other cities besides Tokyo.  I’ve visited Kyoto once before & would love to visit there again with my husband.  Oh the possibilities!  2013, we’ll just have to wait & see.

hoily at tiffany's wallpaper4. Insert obligatory Breakfast at Tiffany’s photo here.  Yep.  It’s New York City.  My husband’s best friend, Peter, shares a birthday with me.  (His birthday is the day before mine.)  We had some grand scheme to go to New York for our birthday(s) this year as a group until Peter & his newly wedded bride recently bought their first home & won’t be able to go.  But…the show must go on, & I am currently trying to convince my husband to take me back to his old neighborhood in Manhattan.  (I felt so cheated when I got severely ill on my first trip to NYC & was holed up in the hotel room for 3 days straight.)

2013 is a new year…a time to start fresh.  Unfortunately, things have already gotten off to a rocky start.  We will be moving out of our apartment at the end of this month (due to an insane rent hike & some specific family matters), & we will be moving into my parents’ house.  We are not looking at this as a setback, but more like a step forward.  Think positively.  I guess you can say that’s one New Year’s resolution/goal that’s already been met.  Cheers!

(All photos courtesy of: Wallbase.cc)

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