I’ll be taking next week off to enjoy the holidays. May you all have a wonderful week and especially: Stay Safe!
Keep on writing!
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 😀 ) 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 🙂 .
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 😀
What the … The last thing I expected to see in my writing office was my Muse sitting in one of the corner recliners with my laptop. Of course, to see him dressed the way he was … oh boy.
The red and white striped sweatpants, like a wearable candy cane, would have been eye-searing enough without that sweater. Think bright green, with tinsel garland and strands of tiny blinking lights sown across it in tiers, complete with miniature glass ball ornaments.
Oh. My. Gawd. He looks like a Christmas tree sat on an elf. The only things missing are curly-toed slippers and a Santa hat. I’m not sure whether to laugh or … yeah, gotta laugh. I manage to choke back a guffaw. “Um, where the hell did you find that outfit?”
He looks up at me, his angular cheekbones, blue eyes, and the little divot in his chin contrasting with that get-up. “I’m getting into the spirit of the season.” He flashes his crooked grin, the one that always raises the temperature in the room.
Even now, with that ridiculous outfit, it’s getting warm in here. I shove the sleeves of my hooded sweatshirt to my elbows. “It’s hideous.”
He raises an eyebrow. Pretty sure I’m having a hot flash. Yeah, I’ll call it that.
“Really? I thought you’d like the lights.”
“Um, yeah, I do,” I admit. “What are you doing?”
“What you should be doing, love.”
I can’t believe he’s writing a blog post without me asking, begging, or bartering with him. “I came in here to write my post.”
“Way ahead of you, love.”
“Ah, o-kay. Why? You always grumble when I ask you to write posts for me.”
“What’s wrong with me writing posts when I want to? I thought you would be happy you didn’t have to beg.”
Well, sure, but it’s kinda like when kids do stuff without you badgering them to do it. “What do you want?”
His eyes widen. He puts on what I would call his innocent face. “I never said I wanted anything, love.”
I open the back door and stand in the breeze from the snow-covered yard to cool down. “Riiight. Just tell me now so I can grumble about it.”
He sets the computer aside and levers out of the recliner. “You’re letting the cold air in.”
“It’s hot in here.”
He reaches over my head and pushes the door closed. “It’s not.”
I stare into twinkling Christmas lights before taking a step back. Into the door. “So, let me get this straight. You are writing my blog post without my asking because why? You’re feeling generous?”
“That, and it seems people like when I write posts.”
Actually, I think it’s just him. He usually has some sort of writing wisdom to share. The fact that he’s incredibly easy on the eyes has nothing to do with it.
Nope, that has absolutely nothing to do with it.
“I think I’m going to stand outside for a few minutes.” I turn to open the door again.
“I’m almost finished. Then it’s your turn, love. You only have a few more chapters left for the Book 2 draft. Then you can dig into that other project you keep thinking about.”
“See, I knew you wanted something.”
This will be my (and my Muse’s) last post until after the New Year (except for the standard Merry Christmas/Happy New Year posts 😀 ). Enjoy your holidays with friends and family. Safe travels to all.
Have you looked at the calendar lately? I thought we just finished Halloween, and now, in a week and a half, it will be Christmas.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Granted, Turkey Day was late this year, but still. I have to keep reminding myself there’s only one more week before Christmas. And guess what? I haven’t even started my shopping, much less finished it.
I’m almost finished with my draft of Book 2, but with the kids coming home for winter break, I’ll have to adjust my expectations of writing time and energy.
I know a lot of writers put their writing on “pause” during this time of year because let’s face it, there’s a hella lot of stuff going on between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Trees to trim, lights to string, cookies to bake (erm, I think I missed that on my list), cards to send (damn, another thing I forgot on my list), gifts to buy (ugh), families to gather, you get the picture.
I’ve had a lot of excuses to put my writing on pause over the past year or so (hey, legit struggles with the plot, y’all). I finally took a writing class to counter my procrastination, and it worked! I even managed to hack out 50k words (added up across multiple projects) during NaNo.
But now what? How do I keep up the momentum I built during NaNoWriMo? That’s the whole reason I do NaNo to begin with. Now with the annual holiday slump that seems to get worse every year, I struggle to make progress.
Wait! That’s it! The cure for the holiday slump, which in some circles is called “being a Grinch”, and in other circles is called “bah, Humbug!” Heh, let me try this out:
Sorry I didn’t get a gift for the exchange (the gifts-in-a-pile-then-random-selection game), I was working on the climax for Book 2.
Not bad. Here’s another one: Oh, sorry, I didn’t have time to make cookies this year. I had to write the big reveal for Book 2.
Hmm. I kinda like this. I could go places with this: Hey, I know I was supposed to bring the figgy pudding and mulled cider for the family Christmas, but my characters said if I didn’t get their big conflict scene written, they were going to stop talking to me for their New Year’s resolution. 😀
I’ve had it wrong all this time! Brilliant! Good thing the kids are in college so they won’t be so bummed when they realize I didn’t get them anything this year.
Despite the hustle and bustle of the season (wasn’t that part of a Christmas song?), give a bit of attention to your writing. Hey, what could be more theraputic than writing a little revenge short story starring Great-aunt Edith and her blood-red lipstick (that you still haven’t gotten out of last year’s cashmire sweater), or the stench of the perfume she bathes in? What about Great-uncle Horace who hasn’t cleaned his dentures for, yeesh, that long.
Next week is the solstice! Yippee! Finally, the days start getting longer. After that, I’ll be taking a break until after the new year.
As Dory would say:
And of course, can’t forget Zoey …