It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? The time we list-making, Type-A personalities love.
That’s right. It’s resolution time.
Do you make resolutions? I admit, I’m a grand resolution-maker. And, most years I keep those resolutions. Really.
I’m not pulling your leg. I really do keep them.
Sickening, isn’t it?
Anyhow, this year things have been…different. My usual gung-ho, resolution-making self is taking a break from big yearly pledges. There is simply too much else going on to concentrate on keeping up with language lessons, spending promised time in a volunteer position or going to the gym on a regular basis. I can’t commit to a schedule for things like that, so I’m not going to.
Still, I can’t let the yearly resolution event pass me by so I’ve devised a new way to make New Year’s resolutions, at least for this year. That’s right, I’ve “improved” the age-old tradition.
Now, before you get upset by my tinkering with convention, let me say that I don’t expect my handy-dandy new method will catch on. It is designed purely for my own benefit, and, as you’ll see, caters to the demands of my personal life.
Pardon? Oh, how silly! I haven’t told you about my idea, have I?
This year I’m going to be making monthly resolutions. That’s right. Instead of resolving to do (or not do!) something for the entire year, I’m going to make a pertinent, and hopefully achievable, monthly resolution. Sort of makes the whole process a series of short-term goals instead of one sweeping mandate.
Who knows? Maybe this will become a habit, and I’ll tackle one issue a month for the rest of my life. Or I may loathe the idea, whole-heartedly embracing the New Year resolution-making process come next December. In any case, I’ll learn something about myself. No harm in that, is there?
Hmm? Oh, right—the January resolution. I nearly forgot to let you in on that one, didn’t I?
Cookies. I’m giving up cookies for January. I know it sounds ridiculous but let me tell you I love my cookies. They’re a big thing in this house and I’ll definitely feel their absence for thirty-one days. I’m hoping my backside will notice their departure from my daily diet, as well.
I assure you, I’ve also set personal and professional goals for the new year. Those are a must. It’s just that this year I’m taking things, overall, a bit more slowly. Starting with cookies.
What about you? Made any resolutions?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? The time we list-making, Type-A personalities love.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I hope you're having a happy, healthy holiday season.
Here in the middle of nowhere we are taking time to enjoy family and friends. Mostly we're spending time quietly, sitting by the fireplace with mugs of cocoa. We've spent lots of time talking, reading, laughing and playing chess. Lots of movie-watching going on here, too. All in all, a lovely holiday week.
This might be a nutty decision, but I've decided to give JaNoWriMo a go. I love the spirit of community involved in writing months, and I enjoy watching others on their writing journey. I would be sad if I didn't even give the month a try. And what's the worst that can happen, writing-wise? I don't finish the book? No biggie!
So I'm going to work on a Regency romance called One Grand Season. I've got a sketchy plot in my mind, one the long hours staring at the flames and drinking hot chocolate is helping to take shape. I'm excited about the prospect. Hopefully the book will unfold like a dream. Wouldn't it be a great way to begin the new year?
Have a great day!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
My cousin Eileen has always been one of my favorite people. She’s ever-so-slightly older than I am, which made her one of my childhood idols. She was smart, funny, pretty—and I loved spending time with her. I suspect she probably thought I was a pain, being younger and all, but if she did she never let on. She was, even then, classy.
Now that we’re adults Eileen and I have a relationship that is truly one of my treasures. I still look up to her but we’re friends now. The age difference (which is, I assure you, very minor!) has disappeared, the way years seem to do when one grows up. I love it that we’re cousins and share history, genes and relatives.
I can’t talk about Eileen without saying that she’s been especially fabulous this past year. She has been so loving, compassionate and supportive through the difficult times that I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to tell her just how much her presence in my life means to me. There have been so many days when her heartfelt notes or funny stories in my email folder have made me smile. Believe me, she has been a high point in a tough stretch.
By now you probably think this post is about my cousin Eileen. Well, it is…and it isn’t.
My cousin reads all my books, for which I will be eternally grateful. I love it that she shares this journey with me. I especially love it that she tells me—without holding back—what she thinks of each book. It’s funny how hearing the truth from someone who taught you how to tie your shoes, then laughed when they came untied and you tripped on the laces, can mean so much. Her opinions come from a place no one else occupies, so she sees things others don’t.
When Eileen read Last Chance and wrote to tell me her impressions, my heart sang. Why? Because she was so completely on-target with her thoughts. She saw things about the book that others didn’t catch. She wondered why so-and-so got killed, cheered when someone else got his just rewards and wondered what happened to this one or that one. Eileen even inquired about a house—a house, for goodness’ sake! I laughed aloud when she asked about the house, because I wanted someone to wonder about it.
You see? Eileen “got” exactly what I hoped a reader would get from the book. She saw beyond the written page, into the characters’ lives and heads. Writing-wise, it doesn’t get better for me than that.
Thanks, Eileen. For everything.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I’ve got to admit something here. Now, don’t go getting yourself all sorts of intrigued. My admission is something, if you’re a regular blog visitor, you’ve probably already surmised. And if you haven’t guessed, it’s not like the confession is going to make the headline news anyhow, so don’t get overly excited.
Oh, right. I was on the brink of an admission, wasn’t I?
The plain, unvarnished truth is I love it when plans go completely according to schedule. I know, I know…you took me for one of those seat-of-the-pants, anything-goes kind of gals, didn’t you? Well, I can be pretty carefree about some things. But about others? Not so much.
I’m honestly jazzed when a book gets written in the time I’ve allotted for it. I’m even more thrilled when a book is completed earlier than I anticipate—that’s something that really makes this writer’s heart thump. It usually happens, that the book gets written at least on time. Still…every time it does, I can’t help but smile.
Last night I finished Valentine’s Wishes. It, I’m tickled to say, was finished with days to spare. Yay!
Now that this Regency romance has been put to rest, I’m not going to begin anything new. I’m just going to sit around, drink cocoa and enjoy the holidays. I’ll relax, listen to Christmas music and chat on the phone. I’ll bake cookies, deck the halls and…
Oh, who do I think I’m kidding? You know as well as I do that before New Year’s Day I’ll have a new project underway.
Still…there’s always today, and from where I sit it’s as good a day as any to eat cookies and drink hot chocolate!
What about you? Any plans for this beautiful December day? And, any admissions you’d care to make? Hmm?
Posted by Sarita at 1:58 AM
Friday, December 18, 2009
I know it must sound crazy, especially to non-gardeners, but I’ve begun planning the 2010 vegetable gardens. I hear groans and gasps from all of you, but it’s the unvarnished truth; next year’s gardens are already taking shape. In my mind, that is.
Why? Well, here in the middle of nowhere the planting catalogs begin packing our mailbox somewhere around mid-January. They are seductive, glossy-paged volumes that can easily lure an unprepared gardener into making poor choices.
Listen, when a couple of feet of the white stuff covers everything in sight and the wind feels like it’s come straight from the Arctic Circle, giving brightly colored pages featuring flowers and foot-long veggies to someone wearing mukluks is like turning a dieter loose in a candy shop. Without my pre-gardening list of essentials, I might be tempted to order three varieties of Swiss chard, five types of lettuce, a half-dozen packets of corn (because really, how can anyone have too much corn?), twenty different sunflowers…you get the idea. I might lose my mind (what’s left of it after canning the tomato glut from 2009) and wreak havoc with my wallet simply because it’s cold outside, the colors are enticing and I’m not prepared.
Bon bons, anyone?
So this week I’m making a list of what I actually want to plant—the stuff we’ll enjoy and eat rather than the weird impulse purchases we’ll grow and wonder what to do with—and while it seems early I assure you it’s not. I’ll check the list against my container of seed packets to see what I’ve already got left over from this year before I come up with a finalized list for 2010 gardens.
I leave room in the gardens for anything that catches my interest—mind you, after I’ve chosen the essential items—so it’s not as if the venture will be completely non-spontaneous. My December gardening plan will pretty much ensure that I don’t go overboard when the pretty catalogs arrive which is a very good thing. Believe me, I’m speaking from experience. Have you ever tried to can, freeze or give away twenty bushels of winter squash? I thought not.
That’s how I’m spending some of my snowy afternoons. What about you? Any spring planning going on in your house? Or are you busy with holiday stuff?
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Have you noticed things seem brighter during the holidays? Yes, I know you’re thinking that here in the middle of nowhere we’ve had gray, overcast days so how on earth could anything be brighter? It doesn’t make sense, does it?
Please, bear with me. I know it sounds like I’ve had too much eggnog but I promise that’s not the case. The clarity that surrounds almost everything these last weeks before Christmas doesn’t come from the sun, table lamps or even those festive strings of blinking holiday lights. While it can’t be pointed at or unplugged, I see and feel it just the same. I bet you do, too.
The brightness of the season comes from within, from the gazes and smiles of those around us, from the laughter in voices and the joy in every pleasant exchange—be it with friend or stranger. The brightness that captivates me during the holiday weeks is the vividness of character and spirit in those we hold dear, as well as those we don’t know by name.
I’ve got to admit, I’m enchanted by the spirit of Christmas. I love watching curmudgeons smile indulgently at excited children, hearing off-key carols sung with gusto and am especially jazzed when I hear of connections being reestablished or renewed between family, friends and neighbors.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow bottle the brightness of Christmas? Find a way to contain—even for a moment—the wonderful energy of the season and light the world with it?
Hmm…I’ll bet we could do something about the energy crisis, too…
What about you? Is there something about the season that you find particularly exciting?
Have a great day!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I’m full-swing into the holiday spirit here, and that includes my reading list. Time is at a premium this year, so I’m choosing my holiday reads with more care than I usually do. There are so many great Christmas stories out there that it’s not easy to limit myself but I’m trying!
At present I’m happily lost in Kathryn Quick’s ‘Tis the Season. It is an Avalon romance, and is a sheer delight to read with loveable characters and a message that brings home the essence of Christmas. I am loving every minute of this story, and am so glad I chose it for my short reading list.
What about you? Finding time to read during the busy days of December? And if you are, what are you reading? You know me; I’m always on the lookout for recommendations!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
1. Bathing suits left hanging on the deck chair froze in November. Now, they turn to blocks of snowy ice within an hour. Not a good idea—the washing machine isn’t happy washing ice blocks.
2. Christmas cookies do have calories in them. Don’t be deceived by the colored sprinkly things.
3. Eating too many sprinkly-coated Christmas cookies makes the bathing suit issue a moot point. Why worry about bathing suits when it’s obvious there will be a need for newer, bigger suits by New Year’s? Any sane woman would know this without having it pointed out to her.
Oh… “Any sane woman”…
Hmmph. Now that might explain a lot of things!
Monday, December 14, 2009
We've got a pretty demanding day scheduled here, so if you've got a moment we'd really appreciate any good thought or small prayer you could send our way. Thank you!
Hope you have a lovely day!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
My dad lives in Florida, in a wonderful community surrounded by kind people. He’s near family and enjoys all sorts of sunshine-y activities. I’m happy he’s happy but…I miss him.
While there isn’t one day of the year when I don’t wish he were closer, I especially miss him at Christmastime. I think that’s normal, don’t you?
The lights on our tree in the family room came from Dad. There’s a little music box attached to the lights, and carols play while the lights flash. We usually have them set to stay constantly lit, without flashing or music, but last night I couldn’t resist. I twisted the dial and brought the music and lights to life. For a long time I sat and watched the tree…and I remembered.
“Hark the Herald Angels” made me laugh aloud as I recalled a young me standing beside my brother at midnight Mass and singing—at the tops of our voices, mind you—“Hark, the hairy angels sing…”
“I’ll Have a Blue Christmas” almost made me cry, because of course it made me miss Dad even more.
Given the status of the gargantuan snowman across the street, “Frosty” brought howls from both Hubby and I.
The little music box played all its songs at least three times before I couldn’t take it any more. I picked up the phone, called Florida and asked Dad if he wasn’t sure he didn’t want to give up his nice, warm holiday in favor of a frigid, white one. My father’s a smart guy; he laughed and politely turned me down but hey, you can’t blame a girl for trying, can you?
I love it that things as simple as lights and music can shrink miles and bring hearts closer. What, if anything, provokes nostalgia in your home during the holiday season?
If I close my eyes, I can still hear my brother’s voice singing about those hairy angels…
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
I don’t want to begin a rabid discussion about inflatable holiday decorations. I don’t want to offend anyone. I definitely don’t want to diminish anyone’s appreciation of the season, or step on any toes with regard to how one does indeed celebrate.
All I want to do is say those enormous inflatable Frostys startle me. Really, they do.
I’ll admit, I never paid much attention to the gargantuan lawn decorations until this year. You see, we have a new neighbor. You guessed it—he’s a record-breaking snowman who’s been smiling day and night for the past four weeks from across the road. I won’t begin to say what I think about keeping ornaments lit 24/7 but I will say that getting up at 3 AM to write and glancing out the window to see the inflatable interloper is wholly disconcerting.
The first few mornings I could hardly put him out of my mind long enough to work. I felt his stare boring into the back of my head, a weird holiday peeping Tom who refused to move along.
To put it plainly, Friendly Frosty turned to Fearsome Frosty faster than a snowflake falls.
I forced myself to ignore the monster, and that worked pretty well for a while. Now, however, we have a new issue. You see, a few nights ago we had wind. I don’t mean tiny puffs of air akin to baby whispers. We had all-out, howling, lawn chair-tossing wind.
You know what happened, don’t you? That’s right. Frosty fell down.
You would think that anyone who went to the trouble, not to mention expense, of installing a two-story snowman on their front lawn would go out there and rescue it when it fell, wouldn’t you?
Watching Fallen Frosty is almost as creepy as evading Frantic Frosty.
With every agitated wave of his candy cane I feel the giant calling, whispering, “Help me…”
Now I worry the thing won’t be rescued until a huge Easter bunny comes hopping along!
Posted by Sarita at 2:12 AM
Monday, December 07, 2009
I’ve gotten a couple of calls and emails recently from family, friends and acquaintances who want to buy copies of my books to give as holiday gifts. Isn’t that fun? I love the idea that my stories will be wrapped and tucked beneath Christmas trees, stuffed into stockings or handed with a hug from one friend to another.
I love to give books as gifts. I’ve already got a few gift-wrapped and ready to go. No, I won’t tell you what books I’ve chosen for friends and family, but I will say I had a blast choosing them. It’s really kind of neat to know that now I not only choose, but am chosen as well. How fabulous!
Are you hoping to receive books this holiday season? And if you are, do you have a particular title in mind or are you hoping to be surprised?
Me? Hubby knows there’s one book I’m especially hoping to read during the long, lazy early January afternoons. I’m pretty sure I’ll find it wrapped beneath our tree on Christmas morning. Hmm? What book is it? I can’t divulge, but I will say it’s the new one written by my favorite author. And, if he’s true to form, it’ll keep me awake long after the last page has been turned!
Sunday, December 06, 2009
The first snowfall of the season seems magical. Despite its inherently chilly nature, it warms even the coolest hearts. The initial tentative flakes elicit applause, garner laughter and coax smiles from those whose faces rarely show such emotion. Babies giggle, white-haired folks shake their heads and children dream.
Life is good.
Then, the snow grows bolder. It falls harder, faster and with purpose. Millions of flakes gather, lying one atop the next and covering the ground until no trace of green remains. Eyes open wide in amazement, stories of “good old days” are revisited and the kids pull out toboggans.
Our first snowfall of the season came yesterday afternoon. As expected, it brought wonder, smiles and magic. The season’s first snowplow pass roused a cheer and a wave to the grinning driver. For his part, he honked and returned the wave.
Yes, life is good.
Technically, the first snowfall is still taking place. As I write this slow, lazy fat flakes flutter to the ground. I love to see them drop this way. Their careful descent allows time for examination—albeit a brisk one!—as they pass by the window.
Soon I’ll pull on jeans and a sweater, grab gloves and a hat and head outside to begin this season’s snow-clearing duties. I won’t mind the nip in the air, the slipperiness underfoot or the extra effort it’ll take to haul firewood across the yard.
Me? I’m one of the smiling, dreaming, loving-snow folks who believe that the white stuff spiraling from the sky is truly magical.
So…life is very good here.
What about you? How’s everything in your corner of the world this morning?
Friday, December 04, 2009
Hope you've had a fabulous day!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
So…we investigated. It seems we’ve got a new, tropical addition to the bird feeder. We’ve tried to catch this fellow but he’s faster than we are. We’d love to be able to find his family, or at least find him a warm home for the chilly winter months ahead. He’s pretty, but I don’t want to find his feet frozen to the bird feeder.
There you have it, our news of the day. We’ve got a bird on the loose, and are doing our best to encourage it to seek warmer shelter. I’ll let you know how this bird saga turns out.
I’ll admit, life here in the middle of nowhere is never dull…