Burnout and Snowy Seasons

I did the craziest thing this Secular Holiday Season: I took time off work. I drank brandy with my Granddad and went pretty-dress-shopping with my little sister. I adopted an almost-semi-regular sleeping pattern. I drove a snowmobile for the first time ever. I went to midnight mass, also for the first time ever. I curled up with good books (not for the first time ever). I even went a few consecutive days without checking my email.

It was fantastic.

The week before Christmas, of course, was utterly insane. Ever since I was little, I used to spend the month of December staying up late, gluing and building and painting, frantically trying to get everyone’s handmade presents finished on time. A few years ago, I stopped this entirely. One year, I did all of my Christmas shopping at the liquor store (various pretty bottles full of sauce for my alcy family) and grocery store (Hershey’s Kisses for everyone I love). It really did make things easier.

I’m not even entirely sure how it happened, but this year, that beautiful idea flew right out the window. I had a week, and a to-do list of other things on which I ought to have been focusing, but somehow I found myself up all night again, trying to teach myself to solder and etch glass and quill paper, all with varying degrees of success. I was stressed out to the nth degree, my hands were black and covered in cuts, I was rationing my sleep and avoiding my work—but I think that it was really good for me, too. It’s been too long since I sat down and did something with my hands, and I forget how nice it is to get away from this screen.

And I think, in the end of it all, I made pretty neat stuff. I made ornaments (relatively successful), and gingerbread (successful in terms of my baking ability, which is nil), and monogrammed glasses. I spent hours making a stylized portrait of my little-sister/best-friend (which I’ll be sure to post once I’ve finished the final details, so maybe by NEXT Christmas). But by far, the most ambitious endeavour was a set of throwing stars for my boyfriend.

The target wasn’t hard:

Although I should have put cork on the top layer, and painted that. It’s composed primarily of banker’s box lids stuffed with copies of this awful free barhopper’s magazine that I stole from around town, and it’s going to fall apart pretty quickly.

The throwing stars themselves were a little hit-and-miss. Only one is actually soldered together, and it took three nights of sanding, soldering, and cursing to get that right—and as you can see, it still came out angled wrongly and tarnished and covered in bits of extra solder. The rest are held together with various different glues, electrical tape, and wires, and though they don’t look as stunningly beautiful as I’d been hoping for, they’re all razor-sharp and they stick into things you throw them at.

I’m back into the to-do listing and manic, sleepless nights, but I still feel refreshed, and as though I’m attacking things with new vigour. Over half of my to-do list contains unbillable tasks, and I keep getting ideas for new projects and processes. Maybe it’s just because the snow is melting outside and birds are singing, but I feel like my burnout might be rekindling.

Happy New Gregorian Calendar everyone!

P.S. Hey, look! It’s a crazy Art Deco logo!