Friday, December 29, 2017

This I know for sure...

It's hard to believe this is my last post for 2017. The year went by so fast. It seems like the beginning of 2017 was just a few weeks ago.

I had some great things happen this year that I'm so grateful for:
  1. A new day job that is considerably less stressful than the old job with a great work environment and co-workers instead of a toxic workplace with equally toxic co-workers who were never happier than when they were tearing someone down. While the commute is twice as long as my old day job was, it's well worth the extra time just to have a job I don't dread going to.
  2. A new kitten who follows me around like a little puppy and greets me at the door whenever I come home from work or elsewhere. She was a gift from a family member in an effort to help my other cat and I get over the loss of my oldest cat.
  3. I became a great-aunt to a new nephew born in October.
I could go on and list a few more things, but those are the top 3.

I also had some terrible things happen this year:
  1. An uncle passed away in October.
  2. My cat, Petey, whom I called my grumpy old man (he was 13) passed away unexpectedly from liver failure. 
  3. We had a terrible windstorm in my area back in March that brought down a tree in the neighbor's yard which in turn pulled down the utility pole that provided service to our street and the next street over. We were without heat and electricity for 5 miserable days. While the lack of electricity was definitely an inconvenience, the lack of heat when the high temperatures each day were in the low 30's was nearly unbearable. The temperature got down to 45 degrees in the house before the utility company finally restored the service.
I'm looking forward to 2018 and all the great things to come in the new year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...
My Current WIP (Work In Progress): Writing is on hiatus during the holidays.

Quote of the Week: "You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." ~ James 1:3

What I'm Reading: I'm still trying to finish Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover by Sarah MacLean. It's a great book, but I'm finding very little free time to read right now. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish it this week now that Christmas is over.

Random Thoughts:  I'm looking forward to this weekend. While it's still a holiday weekend, it will be much less chaotic. I will do my usual Saturday errands and housework, but Sunday and Monday will be quiet days spent relaxing and recharging for the coming year ahead.

Random Photo of the Week:

                   Somebody has taken over Mrs. Green's new favorite sleeping area.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

I hope you and your families are having a wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2017

This I know for sure...

I finally finished my holiday gift shopping yesterday afternoon when I purchased one last gift card. I think this is the latest I've finished shopping in the last five years. Just going into the store, picking out the gift card, and standing in line to pay for it took 45 minutes. Of course most of that time was spent standing in line.

I can't imagine being someone who is out finishing up their shopping on Christmas eve . Or being one of the people who don't usually start their shopping until Christmas eve.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): Writing is on hiatus during the holidays.

Quote of the Week: “Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.” ~ Unknown
What I'm Reading: I'm still reading Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover by Sarah MacLean. With all the shopping and wrapping and such, I'm finding very little free time to read right now.

Random Thoughts:  I will be finishing up my holiday shopping today. I have a couple of things left to buy and then I'll be done. I ended up doing more shopping in brick and mortar stores than I planned on.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                      Somebody checking out the Christmas tree.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday Wrapping

 Is there that one thing you hate about the December holiday season, well besides fighting the crowds looking for that perfect gift?

My one thing is wrapping presents. Actually, I don't like wrapping presents any time of the year but even more so at Christmas. It could be because there are hundreds of things to wrap. And that is only a very slight exaggeration.

I come from a large family and we buy for everyone - brothers, sisters, spouses, significant others, nieces, nephews, their spouses/partners, and great nieces and nephews. In my mom's case, she buys for her five children, their spouses or significant others, all of her grandchildren and their spouses/partners,  and all of the great grandchildren. She buys everyone at least three gifts each so between all of the gifts she's purchased and all of the gifts I've purchased, you can imagine how many things there are to be wrapped.

My dislike of wrapping gifts has led to one of my favorite holiday traditions. -- I was complaining about having so many gifts to wrap one year and my sister offered to come over and help.

Ever since then, my mother, sister, and I get together on Christmas eve in the early afternoon and wrap presents while we talk and listen to Christmas music. We break for dinner - pizza from the local pizza place. After dinner, we turn any Christmas cartoons we can find on TV and continue wrapping until everything is done, usually about 10:00pm or so.

We help my sister pack up the gifts she needs to take home. Luckily she only lives across the street. My mom and I put all the remaining presents under the Christmas tree as everyone converges on our home at various times the next day. Before heading off to bed, we have a Christmas cookie or two while sitting and relaxing and admiring our hard work as the packages glisten under the lights from the Christmas tree.

While I still am not a fan of wrapping presents, I find myself looking forward to this marathon wrapping session every year.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Happy Hanukkah

I apologize for posting this late. I meant to post it on Wednesday, but lost track of the date and did my usual What's Up Wednesday post instead.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): Writing is on hiatus during the holidays.
Quote of the Week: "Loyalty doesn't happen with you in the room. Loyalty is what happens behind people's backs when there's every opportunity to be disloyal." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover by Sarah MacLean. I started this book a while ago then set it aside because I had library books I had to read before they were due to be returned. I picked this book back up even though I set it aside for a few weeks. I was enjoying the story and want to finish it.

Random Thoughts:  While I've lived in upstate NY my entire life, I am not a fan of the winter weather. The only time I like snow is when I can stay home and watch it fall outside my window. We're expected to get approximately 10 inches by the end of today. If you live in a sunny climate, soak up a little warmth and sun for me.

Random Photo of the Month:

                           Mrs. Green greeting me when I come home from the day job.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Writing Template

One of my goals for 2018 is to actually finish the manuscript I've been working on for longer than I'm willing to admit. While the first draft is completed, it needs serious revisions. My goal is to have it ready for submission by the end of March.

One of the problems I kept coming across as I was working on revisions previously was plot holes or subplots that trailed off and went nowhere. I've eliminated nearly all of the subplots, but am worried one or two plot holes might still exist.

I came across a great article on Fiction University about the use of a plot template. I'm including the link Fill in the Blanks: A Plot Template to Keep you on Target so you can check it out and maybe use it in your own writing.

I plan on using the template as I ready my manuscript for submission. I'm also considering using it when I start my next manuscript in the hope it will keep me from having so many plot holes the next time.

Friday, December 8, 2017

This I know for sure...

We are expecting our first real measurable snowfall in my area today through the weekend and possibly into the first part of next week. We've had approximately 2 1/2 inches from October through last week. We usually have an average of 10 inches by this time so I'm not complaining with the tiny bit of snow we've received so far.

I am jealous of a co-worker who left on a short trip (5 days total including the weekend) to warm, sunny Arizona yesterday. I hope he packed a coat for when he returns home on Monday. The highs for Monday and Tuesday of next week are only going to be in the twenties.

So if you live in a warm, sunny climate at this time of the year, take a walk in the sun for me. :o)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): Writing is on hiatus during the holidays.

Quote of the Week: "Decide. Commit. Succeed." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: Magnate by Joanna Shupe. I haven't had a lot of free time to read lately. I'm hoping to finish the book by the end of this week.

Random Thoughts: I love the holiday season, but this year I'm finding that I'm eager for the holidays to be over so the new year can start. I am looking forward to the promise of the new year more than I have in a long time.

Random Photo of the Week:

                            Mrs. Green and friend watching the birds outside the window.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Traditions

(I've been crazy busy lately with the Thanksgiving holiday, appointments, the day job, and trying to get my holiday cards finished that I almost forgot to post something today. Please forgive the repeated post - it was originally posted on December 19, 2011, but is still just as true today.)

Everyone I know has at least one holiday tradition they look forward to every year from Black Friday shopping to family gatherings to attending that one special holiday party every year. 
I have two traditions I look forward to.  One is to watch Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.  I’m well past the age of believing in Santa Claus and flying reindeer, but it’s just not Christmas if I don’t watch Rudolph.  Every year, the night it’s on, I get in bed, prop up my pillows, and snuggle under my big fluffy comforter and watch the cartoon while my cat curls up at my feet.  Of course, there’s always a cup of hot chocolate involved too.

The most important tradition though is making Christmas cookies with my mom.  She started teaching me to cook when I was four years old.  Every December we would make cut out cookies in various holiday shapes.  She would mix the dough on a Friday evening and put it in the refrigerator over night.   My brothers and sisters and I would take turns peering into the refrigerator at the bowl of dough and asking when it would be ready for baking.

Finally, Saturday afternoon would come and she’d pronounce it ready.  She would roll it out and place the cutters on the dough.  Each one of my siblings and I would get a turn to push the cutters down into the dough.  My mom would peel away the excess, put the cut out pieces onto a baking sheet and into the oven.  We’d repeat the process over and over until every scrap of dough had been formed into a cookie.

Rows and rows of angels, reindeers, snowmen, Christmas trees, holly leaves, tree ornaments, and Santa Claus cookies would fill one end of the table to cool then be packed away until the next day, the most important day of all – the day we would frost them. 

My mom would make the frosting and allow each one of us to stir drops of food coloring into bowls of white icing.  We’d have a rainbow of colors and little bottles of colored sugar to decorate the cookies with.  We’d spend the afternoon decorating the cookies, making sure the Santa cookies were frosted red and white to represent his suit, the snowmen white with a strip of yellow around his neck and down his stomach to represent his scarf.  Christmas trees had brown frosting for the trunk and green frosting for the leaves and a dot of yellow at the top for the star just to describe a few.  When we were finished, my mom would lay them on wax paper to set.  We would ooh and ah over them like they were the most magnificent cookies ever made.

My brothers and sisters are all married with children now and building their own holiday traditions but for two days every December my siblings and I gather together and make Christmas cut out cookies with my mom.  It’s a tradition I hope we’re able to continue for many years to come.

Friday, December 1, 2017

This I know for sure...

I keep looking at the calendar and seeing only 3 weeks or so left to do holiday shopping and yet I can't seem to get started. I plan on doing as much as I can online, but haven't even started that. With having to worry about packages being delivered on time or if at all, (I already have a claim going on with the USPS for a lost package that was never delivered.) you'd think I'd be shopping my heart out, but no, still no motivation. I don't know why.

I've put online shopping on my "To do" list for this weekend as a must do so I am not running around like a chicken with my head cut off the last weekend before Christmas trying to find gifts.