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>My Snow Fun (Loosely Translated Means Taking Pictures)

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My favorite gift this Christmas was spending time with my family. Honey had the WHOLE weekend off (which is unheard of), and we managed to work out time to get together with my brother and my nephew, and their wives. And with Squirmy, of course.

Another thing I loved about this Christmas was the combination of two of my favorite things: trees and snow. I like to take pictures of snow in the evening or at night……

I love the lines trees make……
…..and the way their tiny little branches can hold so much snow……
This little birdhouse looked really cool but the flash kept illuminating the roof inside. The first time I saw it, I looked at the camera, then the house, trying to see what was blocking the entrance!
I tried to get some neat shots by standing next to the trees and looking up. The snow and the lens refused to cooperate with each other…..
I like this one….
It wasn’t terribly dark at all when I took this tree shot…..the flash just made it look that way.
We ended up with just over eight inches here….
I’m glad it stopped!
Even if it was beautiful!
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>Seriously?!!! It’s Nearly Tuesday?!!! How’d That Happen?!!!!!!!

>Wow! I’m amazed that I haven’t experienced internet withdrawal!!! That’s how busy and tired I’ve been, I suppose….

I can’t even remember when I was on here last. Not to post, but to visit. Dang!

I think I slept all day on Friday and again on Sunday. I’ve felt exhausted lately and so has everyone I’ve talked to…..

Catching up…..

We’d planned to go to Asheville Friday morning for Honey’s side of Christmas and get back and do my side in the evening. The snow, however, changed those plans. We still did my side, though I was terribly worried about everyone traveling in the snowy conditions. I suppose I forgot who I was related to…..they regularly drive in all sorts of conditions and over a variety of terrains. For fun. Duh….

 Squirmy playing with her new toy……
 ….later in her jammies and Mommy trying to get a pic….
 …..exploring Uncle Honey’s tickle me Elmo (a funny b-day gift from me), and getting a little tired….
 …..laughing while Mommy and Auntie snap some pics….
 “I need to take this call, but this paper is intriguing….” (Mom and Dad in the background.)
…..tuckered out and snuggling with Mommy…..
I know, I’m being a bit indulgent with the pics of my baby niece. Still, they’re the first ones I’ve posted on here, with Mommy’s permission, of course, so….
These were taken Christmas Day. Nephew, CG, Pooh, Brother and Squirmy came over and we snacked and mostly just played with the baby. Eventually, the guys went into Honey’s “man cave” and watched a movie and us girls played, talked, and watched Mystery Diagnosis. (Wow!)
It was a very relaxed time, and lots of fun. All our crazy schedules make it difficult to find time to spend together, but I cherish the times it works out for us. 
As everyone was getting ready to leave, I snapped some snow pics that I will post tomorrow. So anyway, that was basically my Christmas day. Relaxed (I wore my jammies!) and spent with people that I love and filled with laughter. I hope yours was at least as fun 🙂

>Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

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Have a very Merry Christmas!!!!!

>Tuesday – It Came. It Went. It Kicked My Butt. And It Was Fun!

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As a rule, I generally hate Tuesdays. This one started off worse than expected. I won’t go into all the details, but, when I get up 20 minutes early and punch in 10 minutes late, it’s not a good beginning…..
Among other things, I was having a really. bad. hair day…..
However, after getting to work and getting into the groove of things, I settled down. Co-Teacher (who will henceforth be known as Evangeline) and I had an insane time getting our room together for our surprise sanitation inspection. Of all the days they could have picked!!!
Do you remember those times when you hadn’t cleaned your house/apartment, and company came? And you ran around like a crazy person, stuffing dishes into the oven and everything else into the bathtub? Well, it was a lot like that. Ah well, we did fine. 
I had to take an extra hour on my lunch break, so William, who’s out of college for the Christmas break, and I, went here:
I needed to pick up some DVDs for him. He puts together the photos and videos Evangeline and I take of kids throughout the year and edits them into a beautiful slideshow, complete with music and visual effects. We give them to the parents at Christmas (and they go crazy over them). Ain’t he sweet?
I also picked up some much needed gift bags.
Then, we stopped by here:
They’re having that ‘buy 3, get 3 sale’ and I needed to pick up some refills. *wink*
When all the errands were finished, we picked up lunch, here:
Love their chicken sandwiches!
Then the fun really began. 
We’ve been practicing for a few weeks for our annual Christmas program. Evangeline and I co-wrote a song (to the tune a a popular children’s song) and a chant for our kids to perform. 
They practiced at home and in class, daily.
Now, I’m not blessed with any vocal talent AT ALL and I had to lead the class in, singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. In front of at least 100 people. A cappella. Was I nervous? Nah…I’ve gotten used to it. 
No one is paying attention to me. They’re watching their kids! Whew! So it’s cool….
After singing our first song, the audience applauded and the pride shining on their little faces was so heartwarming! The last song, a sort of chant/cheer thing, they did enthusiastically and much louder and I was so proud of them.
It’s hard for a little kid to stay focused when they see mom and dad a few feet away. It’s normal for a kid to cry or just run to them and forget about the whole program. Our little guys did wonderfully. They just stood there and smiled for a few seconds till they realized it was time to go to their parents 🙂
My day started off terribly and ended up pretty great. Thankfully!
So, now I’m home. Honey is on his way and we’re gonna eat some soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. 
I still need to pick up a few things, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. So will the dishes.
My back feels somewhat better, but, I’m still whipped, so I’ll be going to bed really soon. I’ll try to get some visiting done tomorrow evening. And, I have a huge announcement coming soon……
Two more days till vacation…….

>Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest – I’m Late!!!

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Okay, here’s the thing. Somehow, yesterday….I threw my back out; thus, I’ve been unable to finish decorating. 
On top of that, Honey hasn’t had time to get the tree together (he’s the tree decorator…).
Plus, we’re concerned about Roo’s reaction. We don’t have too many delicate ornaments anymore, but we’re worried she might eat something that could cause a serious problem for her….
We do have up our decorative snowmen/snowfamilies, and our dining room table is pretty festive looking, but the pics I took didn’t come out well….
So, here is our tree from our first apartment together…..
 I think this was taken in 2002 or 2003.
I would try to get some better pics of our snow people collections,
but I really need to get a nap.
I took a muscle relaxer….on an empty stomach, and it’s kicked my tail.
Today is our anniversary, 9 years!
And I want to be coherent for at least a simple dinner and maybe a movie.
If I can get some better pics, and/or if we find something that Roo can’t eat,
I’ll post them.
I hope everyone is enjoying the blogfest
and is ready for a fabulous Christmas/holiday season!

>My Harry Potter Blogfest Entry…..Sort Of…..

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As most everyone knows, Michael over at In Time…..hosted a Harry Potter Blogfest
Congratulations to Brenda Drake and Hart Johnson!
I’m really glad I didn’t have to do the choosing; there were way too many awesome entries!!!
I had toyed with the idea of writing something, but didn’t know if I could think of anything.
Then, I happened upon a video on Roland’s blog….and I began crying.
For some reason, this Christmas is about the dead or absent for me….
….and the video seemed to emphasize and amplify my feelings.
From that, my own HP entry was born.
I couldn’t enter it, though. It’s over 3k words.
And, my first and favorite MC interacts, not me.
Still, I like it. Because of its length, I won’t post it here.
It’s over there….
….but you gotta scroll up just a tiny bit.
See over there where it says Pages? It’s under the one titled Shorts. It’s where I’ll post short stories.
But you won’t have to do that this time. You can just click here.
If you have time and/or the inclination, check it out. Let me know what you think.
And, 
Thanks!

>Haiku Blog Hop and Keyhole Blogfest Awards!!!!

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Madeleine at Scribble and Edit is hosting a Christmas Haiku Blog-hop. All you have to do is scribble three lines with the 5, 7, 5 syllable structure and link up. It’s to find out how much fun haiku-ing can be and the hop will go on until Sunday at 10pm, UK time. 
I thought of mine while I was in the shower, so it’s really not that difficult! Come on, join in the fun!
My Christmas Haikus….
snow falls lights twinkle
children sleep one eye open
Santa waits for them
a star shines above
a baby is born below
hope has been given

I have to say that participating in this blogfest was FUN!!! I read so many interesting entries and met lots of new friends; thank you,  Madeleine, for hosting it!
It was great reading the guesses (and the comments were just lovely, thanks!) and when several of you got incredibly close to the answer, I worried that I’d made it too easy. Duh! You’re all just too darn insightful!
Anyone who took a guess is welcome to the award, but the ones who nailed it in some way were:

Congratulations to the insightful bloggy sleuths! 

If you don’t already know them, run over and check them out; you’ll be glad you did.

I have another award to pass around, but I’m saving it for after Christmas. I have the info saved in two separate places, so hopefully, I won’t lose it!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

>A Tale For A Cold, Wintry Night

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 …..I lived all alone in a city far from my family. It was winter, almost Christmas, and I had no money for a tree. My TV and VCR had been pawned to buy shoes for work. And work was getting slim…..

My nephew, who’d always loved spending weekends with me, didn’t mind the lack of a TV. We played Connect Four, Monopoly, Othello, Battleship, Trouble, and all kinds of card games. I kept craft supplies and we painted, created, and built. Plus, I still had my stereo….

We also spent lots of time at parks and even splurged on rare trips to the movies. Libraries were always part of our agenda. At least ten or twenty books came home with us every time we visited.

Even when he was twelve, Nephew came for weekends and, by that time, his little sister came some, too. She was much more attached to their mom and hated being away from her for very long…..

Anyway……..it was winter and almost Christmas. Nephew and Niece wanted to come spend the weekend and I reminded Sister of my limited funds. She asked if they could please just come and of course, I said yes. In a rare turnabout, she provided for me. She brought groceries, including snacks, and a little table top tree, complete with ornaments and lights. Wow.

It was too cold for the park, but we had a blast playing games, making ornaments and reading books; even cooking and cleaning. Niece felt very grown up helping with laundry and Nephew could actually cook a casserole, and I let him.

Saturday evening rolled around and we were thinking about what to do, when Nephew suggested the Narnia tapes.

A few years previously, I’d stumbled upon a radio theater broadcast of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It was taped in London and produced by a branch of Focus on the Family. It was stunning. I managed to tape the broadcast and Nephew and I had listened to it many times; Niece had never heard it.

We popped corn, made hot chocolate, dragged all the mattresses and blankets into the living room, lit candles and turned off the lights. When we were all in our jammies and cozy, I started the tape….the music filled the room and Douglas Gresham (Lewis’ step-son) introduced the presentation. No one made a sound; even the crunching of popcorn seemed to be muted.

The soft glow of candlelight and the magical twinkling of colored lights lent an air of believability to the sounds of Lucy entering Narnia, the discovery of Tumnus’ capture, meeting Aslan for the very first time, the great battle…..all of it.

I watched Niece’s eyes grow wide in her beautiful expressive face and I heard her sharp intakes of breath….she was captivated, like her brother and I. I had to play it again as we went to sleep, camped out on the living room floor, swathed in the light of multi-colored stars and the sounds of another world all around us.

When things got better, I went to the website and got the CD versions of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew. I’ve listened to them both over the years, mostly at Christmas because that’s when I first heard them.

My nephew asked to borrow the discs a couple years ago, but I didn’t have them anymore. He seemed genuinely disappointed…..

With the release of the movies, I’ve longed to listen to the beautiful adaptations again. The other night, after seeing a trailer on the internet for The Dawn Treader, I made up my mind to get another copy. I’m listening to Wardrobe right now….as I write this.

Well known stage and film actors, a live orchestra, Foley artists, and atmosphere out the wazoo, make these adaptations completely amazing. You know how you read a book and use your own imagination? And, how you see a movie and want to close your eyes and keep the images? Listening to these Cd’s is just like that….a book being brought to life in your head, that sounds like a movie….

When I went looking for a new copy, I found….wait for it…….the whole collection – for the same price I originally paid for just the Wardrobe disc.

Want to know a secret? I bought two sets. One for me, and one for……..

*hee*

****Edit: Um, sorry if I’ve misled you all! The other set is for something coming up at the end of the month!****

>The Three Little Lost Girls – An Anniversary Tale, Sort Of….

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I came home from work today and, as usual, Roo ran to greet me. I put away my backpack containing my laptop, my purse, and the mail, while she twisted her way between my feet. She stood on her hind legs and reached up with her front ones. She wanted to be picked up and cuddled.
Roo is a rescue kitty; she wandered up to Pooh late one night and made her way to us the next day. Honey picked her up on his way home from work, even though he hadn’t originally wanted to.
We already had a rescue kitty, Kitty Boss. She had wandered into the warehouse of the satellite company he worked for, starving and desperate for food. He reluctantly brought her home, too. Both times, he brought them home because I wanted them.

It’s interesting to compare their behaviors and personalities. Roo was rescued at seven weeks and Kitty Boss at seven months. Roo is much more outgoing and fearless-she’s had a secure life/home since she was still a baby. Kitty Boss is more reserved and skittish. She was nearly full grown before stability came to her. She lived in a state of hunger and fear for much longer than Roo and it still shows to anyone outside our little family.

As I picked up and cuddled Roo for a few moments, it occurred to me that this would be her first Christmas. I was excited for her since she’d formerly been homeless and in need of veterinary aid-she had several health issues in the beginning.

I thought of how much joy she’d brought to our family and how Kitty Boss loves her, even when she’s being a pest.

Then it dawned on me. Honey had rescued all three of us: Kitty Boss, Roo, and me.

I had been a lost girl, too. I had accepted my life of aloneness even though I didn’t like it. I was broken and insecure in more ways than I could tell  you in a week.

Honey and I met at work and one day, he just started talking to me. We became friends, then best friends, then…we got married. Not that he’s ever asked me, mind you. He just made up his mind that it was a done deal.

That was nine years ago this coming December 20th. Truly, I’m not the easiest person to put up with sometimes. I still have insecurities and scars that affect me, but Honey is pretty darn terrific at dealing with me.

When there is a sudden noise or unfamiliar voice, Kitty Boss’s eyes widen and you can see her gearing up for flight to the nearest hidey-hole. If there is food on the counter or something shiny on the floor, Roo won’t hesitate to go after it and eat it, even if it’s plastic. I’m an emotional eater; I’m reactionary; I’m a ‘worst case scenario’ thinker…all the time; I’m also impulsive. These things don’t always make for happy-smiley-fun days.

And, yet, here we are, rescued, the three of us, by a guy who probably had no idea what he was getting in to when he brought us home.

We are loved and cared for and even spoiled. He probably wouldn’t give you a nickel for any of us, but he wouldn’t trade us for a million dollars, either.

Kitty Boss has learned to hide less and has taken on a mothering role to Roo. Roo jumps on the cabinets less often and she never gets on the table anymore. I’ve learned about Daddy through Honey’s patience and generosity; I’ve also learned to be a little more optimistic and hopeful about things.

Honey, like my Daddy, is a finder of lost things. Like my Daddy, Honey is kind and patient and gentle (his name actually means ‘healer’). He makes us feel safe and loved and welcome.

As I consider this Christmas, Roo’s first, Kitty Boss’s third, and my ninth, with Honey, I realize how full my heart is. We are very fortunate and I am thankful beyond words.

His lost girls have come a long way….

>Kidnapped By My Muse…Or Something Else?

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I don’t know if it’s because of nano, but lately, I can’t find enough time to write.

I toyed with the idea of writing down a few Christmas memories and posting them. Instead, things have come out of me that I hadn’t intended to write. I have several saved as drafts….

I found the Keyhole blogfest and, surprise to me, I entered it. My first short story in years.

I didn’t sign up for the Harry Potter blogfest, but, dang, the MC from my first wip demanded I write something. So, I did, for her. I couldn’t enter it as it was well over 2k words, but I may post it here as a break between Christmas related posts.

Roland put a video on his blog that I’d never seen – TSO’s Christmas Canon, with Harry Potter. It made me cry. This holiday season, which should be a festive and joy filled season, is all about the dead and the missing for me. I have no idea at all where I am. All I know is that I’m having a hard time dealing with all the feelings that are being dredged up inside of me and I can’t keep up with the ideas in my mind. Those things, combined with the music I’m listening to, are producing some interesting stuff, idea-wise.

The MC from my first wip is called Tangi and she and I have been getting really close lately. The HP story I wrote for her is about the dead we all carry around with us.

TSO has another song, and Tangi showed me a scene from her life that fit perfectly, and showed me even more of her heart and her soul.

I’m beginning to wonder if Tangi is more than my MC. I believe she is my muse, and she’s taken hold of my hand, like a ghost of Christmas, and we’ve gone walkabout. The landscape is strange and somewhat frightening. The skies are deep gray and a mist surrounds us. Soft shadows and sounds creep into our psyches. I am unsettled by the discoveries I’m making in these places, but I journey on, holding tight to her hand while the ghosts of Christmases past haunt my soul and the specter of the future looms like a great, dark cloud on the horizon….

See, this post isn’t even going as I’d planned. I wanted it to be funny….and it’s gone sideways.

This just occurred to me – this was the very thing I was afraid of if I began really writing. I would lose control and become an emotional wreck. Huh. I feel a little better, as long as it helps me produce quality stuff…..

Tangi hasn’t kidnapped me after all. She’s along for the ride, bending my emotional currents, shaping them, weaving music and emotion with words…..as a good muse should.

I just hope I can keep up and stay together and write things that make what I’m experiencing worth it all…..

Do any of you experience this type of thing?