Monday, December 17, 2007

The One Week Countdown to Christmas....

I must confess: I really, really, envy my writer friends who're still going strong and have not just one, but many stories in the spite of the Christmas rush. So there, you know my terrible secret. I'm envious!

Maybe it's because I've been feeling so lousy for two weeks, hobbling around like an old lady, and taking enough Robaxecet to choke a horse. Maybe it's because our lives have been turned upside down this fall by the military yet again!

I just can't think of one, single, original plot line. I can come up with characters...they fall on to the page at will. But can I put them together into some kind of twisted, original, never-before-thought-of, plot line? Nope.

I have some writing talismen over my computer though - a card of a medieval maiden my MIL sent me, beside my medieval print of a damsel giving her knight a ribbon to wear before he goes off to joust. And a picture of one of my best friends and I. Her dedication to her writing inspires me.

But as we count down to Christmas Eve next Monday, I'm enormously happy that my daughter is still thrilled to make a gingerbread house with me. I love wrapping presents, and have time to actually bake cookies this year - something I've missed the last few years. I think I'll even try to bake my old-fashioned tortieres for Christmas Eve.

At church these past four weeks we've been studying "practising Christmas" throughout the year. I guess I could start by not being envious of my writer friends! Lol! And thinking of the little things that keep my family foursome happy, and taken care of, because that's my job. Christmas isn't just one day to open presents. It's a religious celebration that alot of Christians don't stand up for these days. It's a state of mind. It's the way you live with your fellow humans - kindly, friendly, helpful when others are in need.

So, to all my good writer friends who're deep in the midst of your books - I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and all the best of the publishing world in 2008. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get an idea over the holidays that'll get my blood racing at the computer again. If not, I'll have a gingerbread house to eat. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Time to Deck the Halls

I realize I've been MIA for three weeks. Sorry about that - I had a fender-bender which gave me whiplash and the inability to sit at the computer for any length of time. The painkillers also didn't help. I'm on the mend though, and ready to get back to regular posts.

A friend sent me this Christmas meme, so I thought I'd share it. I've put my own answers in after the questions - please feel free to put your answers in the Comments section. :) If you feel you're ready to change a family tradition maybe someone elses' answers will give you some ideas. Or, this may help you to appreciate your own traditions even more.

1. Wrapping paper of Gift Bags?

Definitely wrapping paper - it takes longer to get to the gift and therefore makes it more satisfying! Plus, there's nothing like the sight of a Christmas tree with lots of wrapped boxes piled under it.

2. Real Tree or artificial?

We've had an artificial one since the kids were toddlers. We succumbed to the fear of fire. In the interest of "being green" for the environment, however, I got it second-hand and it's about 15 years old and still going strong.

3. When do you put up the tree?

December 1st if I can manage it. This year it was December 7th due to my accident.

4. Do you use collectible ornaments, theme ornaments, a collage of memorabilia, or traditional glass ornaments?

We have memorabilia from various places we've visited, ornaments the kids made in grade school, and collectible Disney ornaments that mean a lot to my children (and me - a perennial Disney lover!) Someday maybe I'll have a smaller "theme" tree, if I ever have a house big enough for a front hall. :)

5. When do you take the tree down?

January 3rd or 4th. I always feel it's such a shame to put it all away, when we use Christmas decorations for such a short time.

6. Do you like eggnog?

Bring on the RUM and eggnog! Of course, if you're counting calories this is a pass, and the lower-fat variety tastes like yuck.

7. What was your favourite gift received as a child?

I got a "real" Raggedy Anne Doll (shows you how old I am!) with a "real" heart on her chest and lovely pioneer clothing. I'd asked Santa for it, and it was the first Santa gift where I remember actually getting what I asked for - usually Santa brought "surprises" at our house.

8. Do you have a Nativity Scene?

I have a Precious Moments one, given to me by my in-laws the first Christmas we were married, and an Ecuadorean one made of hand-crafted baked and glazed figures. Also given to me by my in-laws after a trip down there.

9. Hardiest person to buy for?

Parents and In-laws - they already have everything they need, so you have to get into theater tickets, trips, spa days, etc. :)

10. Easiest person to buy for?

My kids. They start making their lists in November and seldom change anything.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

A see-through mint green robe (NOT my colour!) minus the nightie that went with the set...and it still had the sale price tag attached to it!

12. Mail or email cards?

We always make up personalized photo cards to mail. We also make calendars for the parents of pictures taken during that year. So far, they've been a big hit.

13. Favourite Christmas Movie?

Got to love the old-fashioned "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" :)

14. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

In November, once I know my kids aren't likely to add anything else to their lists. Earlier, when I find gifts that might suit parents or siblings.

15. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? :)

I can proudly say "never", although I know I've been *given* recycled gifts. I have a friend who loves to tell you that she got this gift from so-and-so, and now would like you/me to have it. Also, a relative once dug out an evening bag that I'd seen her with, and gave it to me for Christmas. (always remember how often you've used the "gift" previously!)

16. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas?

Apart from the traditional turkey dinner, my passion is SHORTBREAD, either home-made or store bought, I don't care! Just give me that buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookie and I'll make a glutton of myself. :)

17. Clear lights or coloured on the tree?

This year, I bought new lights that rotate between red, blue, and green - fade away and then start over. We love them.

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home?

Definitely stay home, although we usually have Christmas dinner with relatives.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? :)

Ummm...Dancer, Prancer, Donner, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid...he has more, doesn't he?

20. Angel or star on top of the tree?

I used to have my parents original star with Santa on it - it got broken one year and I replaced it with an angel. Some year I'll replace her with a fancier angel.

21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning?

All the presents go under the tree Christmas Eve while we fill stockings. Then we open presents Christmas morning, coffee with liqueur in hand, and take endless pictures of the kids opening every present. I used to wear my PJ's, but now I think I should start getting dressed for those "candid" shots, lol!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

Working in a retail store with miserable, angry, pushy customers who treat you like some mindless idiot because your store a) doesn't have, or b) never had, some bizarre item they HAVE to have RIGHT NOW! Eg. burning logs that have coloured flames, right now, for a party TONIGHT!!!

23. What I love most about Christmas?

Buying and wrapping presents, decorating the house, the anticipation on the day of Christmas Eve, making chocolate-chip cookies on Christmas Eve with my daughter - to leave for Santa on her "Santa plate".

24. The best Christmas you've ever had?

The Christmas my husband gave me my "Millenium" ring - a ruby and diamond ring that was a *total* surprise. He's never been so extravagant. (sadly, the ruby fell out of it and was lost - I hope to replace it one day)

How about you?