Archive for December, 2010

White Christmas in Virginia

December 30, 2010

View off our deck

Snow falling Christmas Day

Bay House with Christmas snow

Snow on Christmas was magical.  Snow at the beach blows my mind.  Which is why my husband and I drove an hour and a half just to take pictures of it.  Unfortunately we forgot to check the batteries in the cameras.  One was completely dead and the other on it’s way.  So we weren’t able to wander and snap as many as we’d wanted.  Still, this is priceless.  A white Christmas in Virginia is a long time wish come true for me.

I've heard of ice boats, but iced boats?

Back view of the cottage

 

Looking across the creek

Looking down the creek

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A Day of Hope and Love

December 25, 2010

I’m snuggled in bed writing this after making sure Santa came and put the presents where the dogs couldn’t get them.  Such a difference in Christmas morning now than when our boys were younger.  Then they’d be up and clamoring for their dad and I to wake up.  Now, they groan when told we need to be at the grandparents by noon.  Not because they don’t want to go.  But because they prefer not to wake up until after noon.

My friend KD James on her blog http://kdjames.com/ posted about the Sun Times letter, Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus.  It got me thinking about belief in Santa, fairies and the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas began as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  It was merged as so many Christian celebrations are with earlier rites and celebrations of the winter solstice.  Celebrations of the rebirth of the sun.  

December in the Northern Hemisphere seems a time of death.  The leaves have fallen off the trees.  It is too cold to grow food crops, animals go into hibernation and the days become shorter and shorter.  Even the sun, the source of light, warmth and food, seems to be disappearing a little more each day.  But there is hope.  When the world is the coldest, the darkest, the most barren, the days begin to lengthen again.  A promise that life and warmth will return once again to this world.

What is Santa Claus if not hope?  Hope that you will recieve what you want most.  Hope that there is someone in this world who will give out of love without regard to your color, beliefs, or place of birth.  Someone who will labor all year and race around the world to make at least some of your wishes come true.

Hope and Love.  This is Christmas.  The Christian belief that God so loved the world, He sent His Son to save it.  The ancient beliefs that warmth and plenty would return after the darkest day.  It’s not about things.  It’s not about decorations or food.  Christmas is Hope.  Christmas is Love for each other, for our world.  And for me that has no relation to a person’s religion or race or country.

Peace on Earth.  Goodwill to all.  We have not achieved these things.  We may not in my lifetime.  But if each of us try every day in some small way to spread love and hope to others, we will be closer to making these wishes come true.

That is my wish for this Christmas.  That I can do better at spreading Love and Hope every day of the year.

It Started With Socks

December 20, 2010

It’s cold out.  My toes need socks to keep them warm.  But alas I could only find one of each pair.  Even the new ones I’ve only washed and worn once.  So I decided to try and find the missing socks. 

First I put away the clean clothes in the basket in our room.  I found more singles but only a couple to finish off the pairs.  Then I decided maybe the missing socks were in my sock drawer.  I pulled that out of the plastic shelving in the closet and dumped it on the bed.  Excitement mounted.  A few more lonely ones were reunited.  I started putting them neatly in the drawer. 

But wait!  I had another drawer with hose and maybe socks.  I pulled that out and dumped it on the bed after almost tripping over the stuff on the floor of the closet.  Could some of the socks be buried there?

Dragged the containers of sweaters, bags of boxes, hangers, shoes, step ladder and the clothes draped over it,  and mini vaccuum out.  Piled them on the bed. 

Geez.  How did all this dust get in here.  Went and got bigger vaccuum and cleaned the floor.  Gathered summer shoes and put in plastic boxes.  Brought ladder back in to put them on top shelf of closet.  Matched up shoes and put them neatly in shoe rack except for the boots and sneakers.  Lined them up in front of the rack.

Whew.  Grabbed coffee cup to top off my caffiene lever.  Oh no, the coffee had gotten cold.  So went downstairs to nuke it.  While down there, saw the pile of my clean clothes on the kitchen table.  There were socks in it.  Filled empty laundry basket and carryed it and coffee back upstairs.

Matched up some more socks.  Oh joyous day.  But still some missing.  I remembered I’d stashed some lonely socks in my underwear drawer so I  pulled it out and put it on the bed.  The cats sleeping on the bed were beginning to get irritated. 

Put clothes away, matched socks but the drawer was getting overfull.  Moved nice trouser socks and knee highs into drawer with the panty hose I haven’t worn in eons.  One drawer for crew socks and warmer ones and one for the dressier stuff.  Matched some more.  Both drawer getting too full.

Pulled out two more drawers and dumped them on the bed.  I didn’t need a drawer just for my belts now did I.  I don’t have that many.  Put all belts on hanger in closet, scarves in one drawer and separated crew and warm socks.  Looked at the bed.  Somehow I now had a bigger pile of unmatched socks than I started with.  Not all mine. 

Sighed.  Went back down to get my husband’s pile of clean clothes.  And another cup of coffee.  As I carried my cup through the kitchen I spied a plastic container full of—yep, socks.  Added it to clean clothes and brought everything upstairs.  Started putting away, matching, hanging all over again.

At the end of 3 hours, I have all my sweaters hung, summer clothes moved to back corner of closet, all drawers neatly filled and returned to cabinet, husband’s socks in his drawer, boys’ in their basket of clean clothes down stairs.  Nothing left on the bed but 30 lonely socks of all shapes and colors.  They whispered “Clean out another drawer.  Our mates may be there.

I closed my ears to their plea and stuffed them all back into a plastic bin and carried them back downstairs.  This lets them believe that one day their mate will show up and they will be reunited again.  When in truth I fear that day will never come because their mates have fallen into the black hole of lost socks.  But please don’t tell them.  Let their hope live on.  It breaks my heart to hear them cry.

The moral of this story:  if you don’t have 3 hours free, don’t start looking for lost socks.

Day 7

December 19, 2010

Almost finished.  I really wish I hadn’t added the no puzzles part to the challenge.

Passed 75,000 words today.  Three fourths of the way through the book. 

Got most of the tree decorated.  Not sure if we’re going to leave it as is or add more ornaments.  Either would work.  Still need to put some decorations around the house.  Probably not going to do as much decorating this year because I’ve left it so late.  At 3:30 am, I was sure I wasn’t going to do more.  Now, I’m not.

Hope to get at least one batch of fudge and one batch of cookies done today. 

Looking back on the week, I did get a bit more done without the games.  And it’s nice to know I’m not totally addicted to them.  I mean I didn’t go into game dts.  Next week I’m going to try and get a better balance.  It did help me to get back on track with the writing and helped me move through the rough spot.

4 Days Down

December 17, 2010

70,490 words. 

15 presents wrapped  Still have stocking stuff to buy. 

soup made

I’ve discovered that not playing games makes me want to snack more.  So game playing is good for my diet.  Hey, I can rationalize with the best of them.

Two days down

December 15, 2010

Well, I’ve made it two days.  Only because I posted here I was going to do it.  Can’t say I’ve gotten any more done in the house or writing than before.  I did get some software loaded onto the computer that I’ve been forgetting to load.  Printer software so it’s needed.

Also got some more shopping done, pictures downloaded and a fair number of Christmas cards done.

Had to make an unexpected trip to the cottage to get it prepared for very low temps and that is what has impacted word count.  Going to try and make up for that today.

Also going to try and squeeze in some exercise this afternoon.

Can’t start decorating until boxes are brought in from shed.  Might pull one or two in this afternoon if have time but the writing will come first.

A No Games Challenge

December 13, 2010

This week I’m going to be challenging myself to not play any computer games.  For the whole week. 

How much more can I get done if I’m not playing spider solitaire or Internet Backgammon.  No Mahjong or Hearts.  Because I never can limit myself to just one game.

And this is such a busy time of year.  I have my goal of reaching 100,000 words by Dec. 31.  The house needs to be cleaned and decorated.  Haven’t hung a glass ball or put up a wreath yet.  I have bought a couple of gifts but haven’t wrapped a one.  I decided I’d use last week as my baseline and then keep track of what I accomplish this week.

So last week I cleaned one of the bathrooms and dusted the living room.  I wrote 8035 words, bought 3 gifts and spent the weekend caretaking for my parents.  It looks pretty insignificant when I see it in black and white.  I also 2 or 3 books.  I can’t remember which I was starting last Monday.  I didn’t spend all my extra time playing games.  I did the usual cooking, dishes, chauffeuring my youngest, grocery shopping, animal care and watched some TV.  Of course, I usually was doing an on-line jigsaw or playing games while watching. 

Anyone else feel they let too much time disappear into the black hole of game playing?  If you do, feel free to join me. 

And I guess I need to add the jigsaws to the list of things I won’t be doing this week.  Sigh. 

 It might be a very long week.

Still Here (Or here we go again)

December 7, 2010

I am not a good blogger.  That’s obvious to anyone who has checked this site.  It’s been Christmas here for almost two years. 

And who wants Christmas every day.  It would be boring instead of exciting.  Just the same ol’ same ol’. 

So I’m going to try again.  My goal is a new post each week.  It may be more often.  We’ll see.

Blogging is kind of like talking to yourself.  At least it is for me.  But then I don’t have a big following.  Yeah, that’s an understatement.  Of course, those who have checked in see the same post and wonder if I fell off the face of the earth or what. 

Not really.  The people who do check in here are friends I keep in touch with on another blog.  So they know where I am.  At least some of the time.  And I really appreciate the fact that they do keep checking back to see whether I’ve posted again.  Thanks guys.

Anyway.  I often want to work through things I’m trying to accomplish.  Or just write them down so I can remember what the heck I’m supposed to be doing.  That’s getting harder as I get older.  I’d like to think it’s because I have so many things on my mind or because I’m juggling so many balls that I lose track.  But it’s probably age. 

So what am I trying to do right now?  I’ve gone back to writing a book I originally had the concept of several years ago.  I put my other manuscript on the back burner because I could probably edit it for the next ten years and still find something else I want to change.  Also, it didn’t excite the editors and agents who read it so I’ve moved on to something new.

The plot and characters for this book have been wandering around in my mind since I put it aside.  Occasionally they’d jump up and down and wave their hands to get my attention and I’d think some more about it.  So when November and Nanowrimo rolled around again, I started it over.

As you can see, I made the 50,000 words.  And set a new goal.  To have 100,000 words done by Dec. 31.  2010.  Important I remind myself of that.  This will be the majority if not all of the story.  In a very rough and gritty form.  Not something I would let anyone read.  But I’ve found I work best if I kick my internal editor out and just run with the story.   Because without the story, I have nothing.  I can spend months trying to find the perfect first line, polishing the perfect first chapter.  And I have.  But what use is a great first line or great first chapter if you don’t have anything else.

So this is the ugly draft I’m working on.  And I’m having fun with it.  And learning.  And remembering why I started writing in the first place.  For the joy of seeing the story and characters unfold.

Nano went pretty well.  It was after I made the 50,000 I ran into a road block.  I just couldn’t get into the scene I was supposed to be writing.  I knew why I needed the scene.  The book is a romance.  It also has paranormal and mystery elements but the core of it is romance.  And my hero and heroine hadn’t spent a lot of time together.  Hard to get romantic that way.  So I added this scene.  Or tried to.  I blamed my dismal word count over the last few days to the crazy schedule we had this weekend.  Family wedding with the shower, rehearsal dinner and finally the wedding itself.  Lots of fun. 

And then we went to hear one of our son’s in concert at his college.  Long drive when I could have been writing longhand in my notebook.  And I tried.  That’s when I realized I couldn’t write the scene because it was boring. 

So today I tried a different path.  I’d had an idea and changed the prologue.  Then I started a scene that will come towards the very end of the book.  And the words flowed.  I’m very thankful to the authors who wrote the pep talks for nano.  Several of them recommended this. 

I’ll still have to deal with my boring scene.  Jazz it up or dump it and do something else to get them together.   Or the problem might be earlier in the book.  I think I’ll have a better idea of that when I finish the scene I’m working on now.