This Sign

This sign hangs over my desk. It's not working today. :(


The Christmas Meme

I’ve been tagged by Herbie the Elf!

Christmas Meme is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. Below are some questions Santa wants answered, and Herbie is taking a break from Dental School to get the answers from me. I hope they’re satisfactory. Herbie needs to get back to his studies.

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?

Although I love both, I think eggnog has a little bit of an edge. Not only is it great by itself (or spiked), I’ll sometimes add it to my coffee on Christmas morning. Yum!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

He wraps ‘em. He must do so when he gets to our house because sometimes the paper matches the other presents.

3. Colored lights on the house or tree or white?

White on the two rail fence in front of the house but colored lights everywhere else! We have a light-sound machine that coordinates flashing in time to music. So much fun!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Nope, just “over”. (Get it? Hangover??...Never mind…)

5. When do you put your decorations up?

It’s an ongoing project, usually starting after December 1st. and continuing for about a week or so. Outside gets done in a day or two but inside may continue through two weekends. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday and I like to hang onto the glow of Autumn for a few days afterward. Christmas is overwhelming enough without pushing the pace.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?

We usually have a nice turkey, brined according to Alton Brown’s instructions. I could eat turkey all the time, but since it’s just the two of us, we have it on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

7. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

Truth? What have you heard? And do we have to kill you now?

8. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Sometimes the cats and the dog will get presents which get opened on the Eve.

9. How do you decorate your tree?

We have a collection of new ornaments and heirlooms, as well as many Nature/outdoors-themed decorations. I even have Santa Claus paddling a kayak. My husband installs his train the weekend before Christmas and has it run all around the living/dining area where the tree is displayed.

10. What tops your tree?

It's embarrassing to admit it, but we have this really horrible, round, lighted thing that we got from a relative that has bits of tinfoil sticking out and colored mylar reflectors behind little Italian lights. In our living/dining room are 12-foot ceilings so we always get a tall tree, which makes this grotesque little thing seem even more pathetic. (Perhaps people will look at the train and not notice the tree topper!) But since we haven’t found anything to buy that we REALLY like, we keep putting that nasty cheap plastic circle with lights at the top of our tree. Maybe this year!

11. Which do you prefer receiving or giving?

Okay, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I love receiving gifts, but it’s fun to hunt down that perfect gift for someone else. I just wish I had a bigger budget.

12. Snow: love it or dread it?

I love how beautiful snow can be, especially on Christmas, but if I have to drive anywhere in it, I dread it, even with a 4X4 truck.

13. Candy canes: yuck or yummy?

Ooooo, they’re wonderful in hot chocolate! I used to buy the big one-inch diameter sticks and break them up to dissolve in my mug. I don’t do that as much anymore. Lots of calories, eh?

14. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I remember getting a doll called “Baby Bump-a-Long”. She drove around in a little car and you could ‘program’ her path with these little pegs in the bottom of the car. Santa gave it to me. Then one day she didn’t work. The batteries had corroded in the battery compartment. I still feel sad about that on occasion. It was one of the neatest toys I ever had. The strange thing is that no one seems to remember that toy. I’ve Googled it and found no mention of it anywhere.

15. What is your favorite Holiday tradition?

Setting up the train under the Christmas tree. We didn’t have one when I was a kid so I’ve borrowed this one from my husband.

16. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Cookies, cookies, COOKIES!

17. What is the important thing about the holidays for you?

Renewing my faith in the goodness of humankind. Raising my hopes for the coming year.

18. What is your favorite Christmas show?

It’s A Wonderful Life is my fave movie but some years I watch the original Miracle On 34th Street ad nauseum. Also, A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

The past few years it’s been the Bare-naked Ladies version of God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings with Sarah McLachlan, but if I were told I would only be allowed to hear one Christmas song ever again, it would be Silent Night. It is absolutely perfect, so peaceful and reaffirming.

20. What is your saddest Christmas song?

I don’t think I have one. As a teenager I used to get very sad listening to the Simeone Chorale Little Drummer Boy because the bass singers’ refrain “Hruumm! Bhum!” reminds me of my dad who died when I was 11. He used to sing that part whenever the song would play on Christmas Day. He had a wonderful voice and the richness that I remember still inspires me to sing richly whenever I sing. I guess that still chokes me up when I hear it.


Castle Mountain Recreation

Do you consider yourself a hearty soul? Can you withstand rough winter conditions that test your mettle and callous your fluffy side against the harsh realities of Mother Nature? I have the perfect place for you to go camping this December: Castle Mountain Recreation near Bailey, Colorado. It's close enough to Denver to be easy to get to but man, when those two in the morning winds blow drifts of snow against your tent door, it going to feel like you're deep in the wilderness. Check it out! www.CastleMountainRec.com They have fishing, boating, camping, hiking, snowshoeing, biking... it's all there. Just one entrance fee and you're free to any of these activities. Go for it and enjoy!


NaNoWriMo 2011

This past weekend I attended the Colorado Romance Writers annual Fall Retreat, this year held in the Galena Street Mountain Inn in Frisco, Colorado. What a lovely place! If you get a chance, do stay there.

The retreat was wonderful, full of helpful presentations by Those In The Know and informal chit-chat by fellow CRWers who want to help. Also, there was wine (LOTS of wine) and all around good times!

One thing that really got me going (apart of the scheduled two-hour writing sessions) was the wonderful talk by Margie Lawson. There were several wonderful bits of advice, but one of the exercises is a way to set up attainable goals by setting up a list of items sorted into two categories: "WINNER" (which can be achieved within two hours or so) and "SUPERSTAR" (which is all the next in line stuff). I applied it to my plans for Saturday and it worked! The Winner list included "Write down possible storylines for NaNoWriMo 2011" and I got not one but TWO skeletal outlines for stories from start to finish.

I am going to FINISH NANO this year!

Wish me luck!