Christmas Eve meanderings

Christmas Eve! The presents are wrapped, the goose is thawed, and family is gathered. We await the arrival of the jolly man in his red suit like children (some traditions never die).  My hope is you are with your own family of loved ones during this holiday season whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other days which are traditional for you.

I confess I am sick. I have been for a week. It is the mother of all colds and it has really laid me out. I’m fighting though.  Wasn’t enough to stop me from getting to the theater yesterday to see SKYFALL. And wowie. Best Bond movie EVER. I do hope you’ve seen it. My next movie I want to see? The Hobbit, of course.

Wanted to share news of the Guest Blogger, RLB Hartmann. She left us and went into a fabulous interview. Please take a moment to read it, you’ll learn even more about this interesting woman here.

If you are following #DailyTwitamin on Twitter, it will be off tomorrow for Christmas. If you aren’t following, why not? The Twitamin is a mental vitamin of useful information or trivia given in doses of 140 characters or less. Painless!

That’s it for me. Merry Christmas, readers  and friends. And think good thoughts for wellness and joy, won’t you?

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Undo Humbug with this tip

Good happy morning. I confess I have been stricken with a cold (a whopper, too) and so I’m suffering with Rudolph nose and Scooginess. But as I’m working to overcome this dastardly plot to Humbug me, my coffeemaker dies. SERIOUSLY??? Okay, the Scrooge factor has increased. And THEN guess what happened? I ran out of large roll wrapper paper with one big box yet to wrap. HELP!

So here’s what you do.  First, put on some Christmas music to improve the mood. Okay, now that I’m croaking (really) along with Deck the Halls, I’m making a cuppa joe with my Keurig maker (which I keep for single cups of specialty stuff but thank goodness is there for use with my normal coffee). Thankfully, I am feeling light-headed thanks to good drugs (DayQuil, people!), good coffee, good Christmas music. Now to this large box.

Here’s my tip for Christmas. If you think you might have a very large box over the holidays, then save the comics from your Sunday paper for about a month. Four Sundays of lovely color comic pages is plenty of paper for those large boxes. Finish off with silly curly ribbons and Voila! A unique, much talked about box that will fit right in with all that other silly looking wrapping paper.  And you will be seen as innovative and clever. Smart, you!  I won’t tell.

I’m headed out today to breathe on people and share my holiday germiness. I’m so thoughtful that way. Seriously, I need to meet up with a NaNoWriMo buddy because before I got sick I made some goodies for her. It was what she asked for Christmas. Must not disappoint. Of course I always have other surprises too.

If you haven’t done your Christmas cards yet, make an effort to get them out IN the mail by tomorrow. If they don’t have to go to the far corners of the country, they stand a decent chance of making it to destinations by Christmas eve.

OH! What are you reading NOW? I’ve just started a new book by Melissa de la Cruz called WITCHES OF EAST END (Beauchamp series #1). It is very intriguing, at least the first five pages. And that’s an endorsement! If you hook your reader straight off, there’s a chance the will stay with you.  What are you reading?

Time for a refill on that coffee, a new CD (Bing Crosby maybe?) and I hope you survive the week. I’ll check back with you soon to see how you did. Please leave a comment with any tips or tricks that you have for getting through the days. Don’t forget to save the comics this Sunday. Cheers!

Ah hints.

She likes horses, dogs, big skies but she’s a North Carolina author.  Far West Magazine, 30 years ago. Long after Lone Ranger but….just as good.  Make sure you come by on Dec 10 to ask questions of the Guest Blogger.

Meanwhile, back at my ranch…

Had lunch today with a friend from NaNoWriMo. Discovery is so much fun. And I like hearing about new ideas. When was the last time you met a new person? It makes me smile, and anxious and nervous. Ha!

19 days until Christmas. Time to do the annual letter and cards. Yes, I believe in REAL cards. I like to make Christmas personal. Try it. Spend the price of a real tactile card and a real stamp on your family and friends. Put the Post Office to work, make Hallmark happy, remember how to write your name, discover your address book, take the time to say something special to every person. Lick, stamp, hold with pride. I tell you it beats email, ecards, typed words. Be personal. It is what Christmas is all about, after all!

19 days. You can do it!

And come back tomorrow for more hints.

December (already??)

I cannot believe December arrived. I was so busy with NaNoWriMo that I didn’t notice. Kinda. I mean I knew it was there, just not THERE. And now here we are. Decorations managed to get up and this weekend I started my baking. Two cakes. One – the chocolate fudge – is a wonderful success. It will be wrapped and frozen, then doled out in a couple of weeks. The second – a raspberry/lemon cheesecake flavored cake – decided to stick to the pan and leave torn pieces at the turnout. Pish posh. Well, that just means we have to eat it. And I did not wish that to happen. Hubby won’t mind much, but now I’m a cake short! Have to wait until the next baking, next Saturday, to move on. I make Amish Friendship cakes which means I can bake every 10 days after preparing the dough. Good cakes, too, with lots of room for variety.  Here’s hoping I do better next weekend.

NaNoWriMo may have ended but I’m still writing. Managed another 3200 or so words. I know I’m slowing down because of decorating and baking but I’m working hard at keeping the flame alive. I am consumed with ideas for the book so I must keep them alive. It is like an eternal flame, this book. I am happy.

Good news! The Guest Blogging is back! I will have a surprise for you by mid-month and I’ve lined up another guest or two for January. The goal is one a month but we’ll see how we do. I’m certainly honored to use this venue to support talent. And I like to support ideas too. I want to put forth writers, not just authors. So look for a variety, like cakes!

This week is Christmas card week and present wrapping. I hope you have tinsel in your hair and flour on your cheeks. I hope you are sampling cookie dough and watching Hallmark movies.

I do. I am. Life is short. Laugh loud and long. Then tell your friends and family how much you love them when you write them a card and share a cookie.

Don’t forget to put out lots of twinkle lights. They remind all of us that magic is possible especially in December. I’ll leave a light in the window.

Random facts & Twelfth Night

You’ve seen the game where people are asked to tell 10, 15, 25 random things about themselves that no one could know.  They are encouraged to be surprising and revealing.

Okay, so today is Random Fact day. I challenge you to list 3 things about yourself that no one could know or would ever guess.  Yes, you can do this. We might laugh a little but not AT you.  And we will never criticize here. Everyone play nice, share and – oh yes – remember to keep it clean please.

Now about me….

  • I have a 1954 Tell-A-Tale book of Twas the Night Before Christmas that must be read every Christmas eve. Aloud.
  • I used to watch Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo. In black & white. I can still sing “I’m a little teapot…”
  • I really dislike dill.

Finally, tonight I wish you a very happy Twelfth Night. For those of you not familiar, Twelfth Night is traditionally the end of the 12 days of Christmas, on the eve of Epiphany, the end of Christmas merrymaking.  In Medieval times, 12th Night marked the end of winter festivals which actually began on All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween).  And in some countries, and in the Catholic religion worldwide, the Twelfth Night and Epiphany marks the start of Carnival season, which lasts through Mardi Gras day.

For me, 12th night is the last day of Christmas, the end of the holiday season.  In Colonial times, the edible wreath was removed from the front door and either eaten for good luck (just a bite) or thrown against a wall for surprises inside (a penny, a bean, a thimble or spool).  This was the last gift of the season.

Since it is considered unlucky to leave decorations up after tonight, I must admit to suffering bad luck. But tomorrow the task of taking down begins.

I leave you with this quote from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (a fav): “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. – Act II, Scene V

To writers everywhere, we will achieve! May the gifts of your year be many and the feasts of your table, great. Huzzah!

Twas the Night Before…

…Christmas. 

Dear readers and friends,

Last post I wrote about standing in the shadow of traditions and today more of those traditions are realized, some older than me and others of my making.

First, the goose I serve for Christmas dinner (tomorrow) is baking and the house smells with onions, oranges and butter.  The goose is my tradition having grown up with a traditional turkey. For 20 years I have created an old-fashioned Dickens dinner and today I smile knowing I have my own, long-standing tradition.

Next, this past Sunday my husband and I spent the afternoon making chocolate chip cookies. Ah, the smell! And as they cooled and we shoveled them in our mouths, the recipe was my mothers, the dishes I used were her old china and it all came together on that tablecloth I told you about.  Oh it brought happy tears to my eyes as we licked chocolate from our fingers.

Tonight, I look around the house and see decorations on my tree that speak of years of collecting, each ornament holding a special meaning with some of them older than me. But the tradition of how I prepare the tree, what lights we use and why…these are our traditions, tenderly held.

Also tonight I will meet best friend Melonie online where we will chat and finally, lovingly, wish each other a Merry Christmas before sending each other off to our families. This is our tradition, one over a decade old that I think even she has come to cherish.

Twas the night before Christmas…and Clement Moore’s poem is also a sweet tradition. I may be 55 years young but a read-aloud of this old poem is another tradition that will happen around midnight tonight.  Stockings are hung over the fireplace (and rumor has it that they are already full!), another tradition carried from my youth.

All around me are the roots of my life, traditions created by generations past, continued by me, with new traditions of my making before me. There is great comfort in this traditional world I live in, filled with memories and rooted in love.

Finally, after all the snacking tonight and when the story is finished, I will pause alone with a passage from another story, also a tradition, about a baby in a manger.

I wish you, known and unknown, a heartfelt traditional Christmas. May ye be merry and bright in the New Year.

                                                                                             With love, Sherry