Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

What?! Only three weeks until Christmas? #amwriting #mnwinter


Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

It’s the end of the first week of December, and this season has been mild. We haven’t seen snow since we got those six and a half inches in October, and couple inches more a few weeks later. In MN, that’s uncommon. Even more uncommon is seeing temps in the 40s this time of year. Not that I’m complaining. A daily high of 40 degrees F sure beats a daily high of 30.

That also means it doesn’t look a lot like Christmas, not that anything looks a lot like we’re used to this year. I hope everyone stayed safe over Thanksgiving. Chances are, even if you did, so many other people didn’t that by the time Christmas rolls around, it’ll look even less like what we’re used to. Hubs already declared we aren’t going anywhere. Considering no one knows whether they will recover or not if they get COVID-19, I guess I’m okay with that. I do miss family, though.

So, in lieu of family gatherings, I figured I’d do something I haven’t done since we were living in Michigan all those years ago, when we were almost-married, and then freshly-married. Our families lived in MN, we were living in MI, and neither of us had time off to travel. So I did what I thought was the next best thing: care packages! (of course, now that I said that, I spoiled the surprise if any of them read my blog).

It was a way to connect with family. My family is more dispersed now. Back then, my youngest siblings were still at home, my nieces and nephew on my husband’s side were still at home, and I had a lot more energy. Now, all my siblings have their own families, and my nieces and nephew are scattered.

One thing I love about Christmas (and granted, Christmas doesn’t have the same feel since my mom passed away 15 yrs ago; it was her favorite holiday), is baking cookies. I do it every year and take an assortment to family holiday gatherings. My brothers’ wives all bake since they have younger kids, so my treats are just added to the rest. My in-laws don’t bake because the kids are gone and it’s just them, so they always enjoy my treats.

Baking cookies is almost a tradition for me, although I think I do it mostly because I used to do it with Mom. With five kids in our family, cookies in general never lasted very long while we were growing up. Christmas cookies had a short lifespan as well. We made a variety, but we had our go-tos we made every year.

What about you? I know a lot of you have grandkids, and some of you have younger kids. Do you bake cookies for Christmas? Just for the grandkids? (I say just for the grandkids because anyone who has kids still at home probably bakes anyway πŸ˜€ ) Do you save the whole baking experience until the grandkids come over so they can help? One year when we gathered at my dad’s house for some occasion (not Christmas, I don’t think), I invited one of my nieces to help make our family’s secret chocolate chip cookies. My sister-in-law was skeptical because of past experience, but my niece did great (she was maybe five at the time). What fun!

So, baking (and ugh, cleaning) this weekend, with writing in-between. I thought this would be a more writing-focused post, but maybe next time. I must be looking forward to baking cookies more than I thought πŸ™‚ .

AND bonus this coming week: my son has to travel for his job the first half of the week, and his apartment management is doing safety inspections, so he won’t be home (and he really isn’t supposed to have two cats). My daughter lives in the same apartment complex, so she’ll be subject to the inspections, as will my son’s girlfriend. So what to do with 2 adolescent kittens for three days?

You guessed it–bring them to Mom and Dad’s house! Zoey will not be happy to share her territory with the 2 invaders for OMG! Three days! But I’m looking forward to it. Having kittens around who actually like to snuggle will be a treat! (Zoey doesn’t snuggle, she demands lap time (not to be confused with snuggle time) on her terms, and tolerates petting. She’s kind of a drag that way.) Mischievous kittens (at least Nyxie is mischievous) are so much fun to watch!

So I’ll have pictures next week. Will I get any writing done while I have two kittens to distract me? I’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure my Muse will be around to loom and remind me to get my butt in the chair and write.

Stay safe! Keep writing! And remember, the shortest day of the year is only three weeks away πŸ˜€

In honor of their upcoming visit!

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, four chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

19 thoughts on “What?! Only three weeks until Christmas? #amwriting #mnwinter

  1. Maybe Zoey will just be aloof and not bother the kittens at all. I do make things for Christmas presents, but not necessarily cookies. Crochet items, book marks, stationery, taco seasoning, stuff like that. Happy kitten snuggles!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She will try to avoid the kittens. A bonus for Zoey: she can go outside, but the kittens can’t (there are too many opportunities for them to get into trouble since they aren’t used to going outside). Great ideas with the crochet items and bookmarks. I’ve been crocheting blankets to keep my hands busy while watching the Vikings’ games. πŸ˜€

      Have a great weekend, Priscilla!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is definitely a different sort of year this year for the holiday season, Julie. And I love your idea of doing care packages – I think that’s a great way to keep in touch and reach out safely. At least now, too, there’s Zoom and other technology so that you can have real conversations with people, too – not quite face-to-face, but still…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember those cat-sitting days, Julie, and a few of the kid’s cats that moved in and never left too! And have fun baking and pulling together care packages. We all need to sit this one out and be patient, knowing that the end is in sight. Just a few more months and the celebrations of family and friends can begin in earnest with hugs galore. Have a happy holiday season, my friend. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s been a long year, but if we all just hang on for a while longer, it’ll get better. I like your idea of Christmas in July; that’s something I’ve mentioned to a couple relatives. At least then we can be outside, and hopefully the vaccine will make it around to us common folk by then.

      Have a great weekend, Diana!

      PS: So glad you did the muse read-around again! What fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Care packages! Great idea. Way too much work for the older mom. I love that you’re doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love baking, too. My daughter now has to be gluten free, so it’ll be interesting to see how the recipes adapt.

    Enjoy the kittens!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I still bake cookies for Santa:) For us its still pies and texas sheetcake for baking. We have our daughters we still see but our son is out of state. Not sure if he can come, he’d have to quarantine after. I love babysitting the grandkittens but you are right it can he distracting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Distracting is right! The kittens are here now, and one of them is a troublemaker! The other one is shy, but we figure they’ll be pretty comfortable here by the end of the week when my son gets back. Zoey, on the other hand, doesn’t want anything to do with them, and even stayed outside this first night (she usually comes in at night, considering it’s around 20 degrees out, but she refuses to come in).

      Have a great week, Denise!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, poor Zoey! How will she cope with these interlopers? But what fun for you! Maybe, once the kittens are gone, Zoey will be so grateful to have you all to herself again she’ll be more affectionate.

    Baking will happen here, of course. I’ve had my girls bake pumpkin cookies and then pumpkin blondies for me to share with my friends at the brewery. Haha. πŸ™‚ They kept some back for themselves, too, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You get to go to a brewery?! (what does that say about me that I’m more excited about the brewery?? πŸ˜‰ ) Made pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins (because muffins fit in a small box better than a loaf πŸ™‚ ) Kittens have acclimated to our house now; they have a lot more room to roam than my son’s one-bedroom apt. And Nyx is a troublemaker, but she sort of makes up for it by being so darn cuddly ❀

      Have a great rest of your week, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your statement about Nyx could be used to describe my little Joseph. πŸ™‚
        I might blog about the brewery. Stay tuned. Still deciding.
        Poor kitties might have a hard time going back home. Sounds like a great vacation. Zoey still handing the intruders okay?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zoey’s more used to them now. She’ll come out from her hiding place in the basement and wander around while the kittens are hanging out. It’s funny because Tibbers will follow her around. She turns around and hisses at him, he sits and waits until she starts walking again, then he keeps following her. Nyx is a cuddle-bug, but turn your back and she’ll be on the counter in a heartbeat (cats are not allowed on counters or tables at our house). My son uses a spray bottle of water to discourage her, which would work well except she likes water. Needless to say, we’ve had to refill the spray bottle once already πŸ™‚ My son is coming home after work tomorrow to pick them up. Part of me is relieved (no more “is that cat on the counter again?”), but I’m going to miss them!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The house is going to seem so quiet with them gone. Just like after grandkids visit, I would imagine. I see why you call them grandkitties. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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