2011 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

I want to thank everyone who visited and took the time to click the ‘Like’ , ‘Follow’, and ‘Leave a Comment’ button.  You’ve all kept me going and wanting to write even more.

Thank you for making this blog possible.  The report is interesting to view, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thank you so much and I look forward to writing more in 2012, filling up your inbox with new posts.

Signing off, in 2011

~Kate

Review of The Book of Man by William J. Bennett

Do you have a son, nephew, or young boy in your life that you want to bring direction to? 

Do you, as a woman, want to know what defines the ideal manhood? 

Then ‘The Book of Man’ by William J. Bennett is a book I highly recommend for you.

How do you raise a boy to become a man who a woman will look up to, or other men will respect?  While this book isn’t a how-to book, it gives a variety of examples taken from many different sources, showing examples of what a man should be.  Divided into six sections that deal with how a man should carry himself in life, through war, love,  living amongst people, working,  raising children, reflection and prayer, and at his leisure.  Examples that range from accounts of military heroes, the Bible, literary figures, poetry, and famous speeches.

In today’s world, many women are coming up frustrated by not having what is defined as a real man, be available.   This is a great book for women to read to have examples of what a good man is.

This is also a great book for parents to either read for themselves, or to read to their children.  As most of the essays and sections are short, an evening discussion with growing boys, and an explanation of the content could be used as a helpful tool in rearing boys into manhood.

William ‘Bill’ Bennett has done an excellent job in compiling different stories from various sources.  I was quite surprised to read excerpts from Shakespeare, the Bible, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Jack London, Lord Byron, and other famous poets.  Similarly, the Navy SEAL Creed, a speech by Colin Powell, Winston Churchill and even Sir Walter Raleigh, were included.  The plethora of people showcased in this book is quite amazing in itself. 

I recommend it to everyone as just as a companion book of great speeches and essays, it’s an enjoyable read.  And I can honestly say I love this book and plan to keep it on my shelf for years.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Book of Man through Book Sneeze, in exchange for my honest review.

Signing off

~Kate

A Christmas Dance

"Dance with me," he requested, holding out his hand.

“Dance with me,”  Scott requested, holding out his hand.  He pulled Claudine into his arms and guided her in time to the soft Christmas music issuing from the speakers. 

They were the only ones at the informal party dancing.  Everyone else had been chatting around the coffee table as fragrant cups of steaming coffee were handed out in delicate china cups.  Trays of sweets were passed around on large trays.  Luscious tarts, elegantly decorated sugar cookies, and rich morsels of English toffee, covered the trays.

She had been sitting in a pine green velvet chair next to the large white pine Christmas tree  bedazzled in stunning turquoise and cranberry balls.  Lavish, glittering snowflakes hid among the branches while crystal icicles dripped from the branches.  While the tree could have been considered very patriotic, it’s very essence was luxurious and elegant.  The little twinkle lights sparkled and caused the faceted ornaments to send shimmering light across Claudine’s gown.  The flame colored gown of silk Georgette  sparkled  as she sat apart from the gathering of people.  The lights even made her sable hair light up with little twinkles.  She looked hauntingly beautiful.  She also looked hauntingly sad.

 Lost in her thoughts, Scott had hesitated, not wanting to intrude, but a crystal tear, caught in the corner of her eye, like a delicately placed diamond, demanded he remedy the situation.

Claudine danced silently, her thoughts troubled by his closeness.  She had been lost in thought when his deep voice and outstretched hand had brought her crashing back to reality.  She wasn’t sure why she had accepted his request.  He disturbed her in ways she couldn’t explain.  She wasn’t sure how she felt about him other than she was always on guard.  A feeling of helplessness always centered in her chest when he was near.  As if she didn’t know what to say next.  Or what he would say.

“Are you better now?”  he asked gently.

“Of-,” her voice broke and she cleared her throat.  “Of course I am.  Why do you ask?”

Her tone was defensive and he smiled at her prickly question.  His hand held her’s loosely, while the palm of his other rested on her hip, just a touch possesively.  He wanted to pull her closer, but thought she might object.

“You seemed to somber a bit ago.”

“Was I?  I can’t remember why,” she mused.

“Well, the tears are gone.”

“Tears?”

“You had one caught,” and he touched the corner of her eye with his fingertip, her lashes brushing feather-soft.  “Right there.”

“Oh.”  Her voice was soft.  “Certain Christmas music always seems to make me a bit misty eyed.”

“Hmm,” was all he said.  He didn’t believe her.  He gave into temptation and pulled her just a little bit closer.  He grinned as he heard her breath hitch.

“Do I bother you?”  he questioned.  He felt he knew the answer, and his suspicions were confirmed as her emotions warred and flashed across her face.  He felt her fingers clench in the wool of his forest green pullover.  Her pansy brown eyes grew big and round and a faint flush of rose spread over her cheeks.

“I do, don’t I?”  he said in amazement.

She stared resolutely at the collar of his white shirt.  She wasn’t sure what she’d blurt out if she looked up into his coffee-colored eyes.

“Yes,” she finally muttered.

“Pardon, can you repeat that?  I didn’t hear you,” he asked as he inclined his head closer to her mouth.

“Yes!” she hissed.  “You do bother me.”

“Why?”  He looked down into her eyes, now glittering with more unshed tears, as if the admission had cost her.  He thought she might not answer, as she kept silent for a long while, her lush mouth compressed in a tight line.

“I don’t know,” she whispered, eventually.

“I don’t bite, you know.”

“I’m not so sure of that,” she muttered in reply.

His laugh was low, but rich and full of body.  It swirled around her, and she felt the vibrations travel through her body.  The motion made her breathless as tingles of awareness moved through her body.  She glanced up at him through her lashes, eyeing him carefully.  She must have given something away; she wasn’t sure what, but before she could protest, his mouth settled on hers, ever so softly.

He kissed her gently, lingeringly, and when he pulled back, it was his turn to have troubled eyes.

“Whoa,” he murmured.  His eyes searched her’s, feeling a blaze of something hit his gut as she inclined her head closer to his.

He kissed her again, then spun her around as the music continued to play softly.

 

 

Like I mentioned over on Escaping the Inkwell, I’ve been inspired by Emilie Loring right now.  This bit of flash fiction came after listening to some really nice instrumental jazz Christmas music.  I just pictured this grand old home, with a large living room, decked out in gorgeous Christmas decorations, a la Martha Stewart.  From there, I wondered why someone would be dancing.  Well, of course, me being the romantic I am, I needed a guy and a girl.  I’ve been playing around with names, and Claudine seemed nice.  Scott is a name from a Loring, so I borrowed it.  I borrow names all the time.  I’m terrible at name hunting.

So, if you can picture it, there they were, dancing.  Picture Kevin Kline’s line to Meg Ryan in French Kiss.  “And we’re dancing.”

Signing off

~Kate

Christmastime Is Here

“The Day” is practically here, but I thought I would post about some of my favorite holiday traditions today.
Christmas Portrait

Image via Wikipedia

It’s just not Christmas to me unless I listen to the Carpenter’s A Christmas Portrait album.  When I was little I loved playing that record over and over during the season.  Karen Carpenter’s version of the Christmas Song is still my favorite.  As well as the Christmas Waltz.  The first words,” Frosted window panes, candles gleaming inside, painted candy canes on the tree,” are what I remember most about her voice.  I was a teenager when we finally got the cd version.  The version that Richard Carpenter messed up.  I mean, what happened to “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel”?  Though I listen to the cd most of the time, I miss the original recording. Yes, I could play the record, and I really should.

A Charlie Brown Christmas never fails to delight me.  I watched it last week with my sister, and will probably do it again once more just for good measure.  I love Snoopy and the gang.  I love Linus’ version of the Christmas story.  This cartoon never fails to delight me.

Along with Charlie Brown is another classic.  How the Grinch Stole

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Christmas.  I love, love, love this one more than Charlie Brown, I think.  I love Max, the dog, and the whole story.  I’ve almost gotten the story down where I can repeat it, but not yet.  A few more years.  I have managed to watch this twice already this year.
Another little thing I love reading a book from my childhood.  It’s A Child’s Christmas Cookbook.  Put out by the Denver Art Museum back in 1964, this book is illustrated with Victorian pen and ink drawings by Thomas Nast.  The book is cutzy little recipes and ideas for children during the holiday season. I’ve never made anything in it, but it’s adorable to read. You can read it like a book as it’s a thin paperback.  I can’t explain why I love it so, but it just brings to mind the smell of Christmas trees and sitting in the living room looking at all our Christmas books. Out of all the books for this time of year, this one is one in particular I ALWAYS read.

Another book or story, is The Night Before Christmas.  A total classic, I know, but a must.  Need I say more?

Cropped screenshot of Bing Crosby and Danny Ka...

Image via Wikipedia

Ah, films.  It’s just not Christmas without White Christmas.  That old classic Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye film.  I never grow tired of it, though this year, I wonder if I will get to it in time for the holiday.  If not, I don’t mind too much.

Cover of "The Santa Clause (Widescreen Sp...

Cover via Amazon

Lastly are the three Santa Clause films with Tim Allen as Santa.  I love them, and they have become a staple.  There are other things that scream Christmas to me, and many other things that are minor traditions, these just happen to be musts in my mind.

So, to all my readers, Merry Christmas.  Have a safe and joyful holiday with friends and family.

Signing off
~Kate

Santa Baby Disney Style

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, A ring....

Okay, this is out there, but bear with me.

I just finished listening to Eartha Kitt’s rendition of Santa Baby.  People, this is probably one of the best versions I’ve ever heard.  It’s sexy and cute and so right on for a gal like me.

But then my mother got this brilliant idea.  I don’t know how many people know this, but Eartha Kitt voiced the character of Yzma from Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove.  The dastardly evil witch of a lady.  I loved her.

Santa darling, you might want to run from her....

Now picture that character singing Santa Baby.  Oh the image is too delightfully funny.  I can picture her, Yzma, singing to Kronk, her henchman.  Yes, I like that.

So just some silly goofy holiday fun.

Santa Baby, slip a sable under the tree, For me.
been an awful good girl, Santa baby,
so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too,
Light blue.
I’ll wait up for you dear,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I’ve missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed,
Next year I could be just as good,
If you’ll check off my Christmas list,

Santa baby, I wanna yacht,
And really that’s not a lot,
Been an angel all year,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, there’s one thing I really do need,
The deed
To a platinum mine,
Santa honey, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex,
And checks.
Sign your ‘X’ on the line,
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some decorations bought at Tiffany’s,
I really do believe in you,
Let’s see if you believe in me,

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing,
A ring.
I don’t mean on the phone,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry, tonight.

Signing off

~Kate

A Call For Christmas

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

Image via Wikipedia

Right now there is this wonderful thing going on with the United States Postal Service.  Operation Santa Claus is a charity that answers letters to ‘Santa’ from children who are in need.  The post office sorts the wants from the needs, blocks out personal information then volunteers can purchase what is needed by the child.  The items are brought back to the post office where mail carriers works to make sure the packages get to the proper homes.

This is wonderful.  This country is filled with people who are struggling.  Parents that are out of work, children that need clothes, shoes, a place to sleep at night.  Many things.  This country is so full of people in need. 

I wish I was able to help with as many of these cases as possible, but it’s not possible.  However, the thing that I was thinking this morning, as I was  watching the report on Fox News is that, where is Franklin Graham and his organization, Samaritans Purse?  Or Billy Graham Evangelistic Association?  Where is Joel Osteen and his ministry? 

These are ministries that in one fell swoop could be helping out in situations like this?  Where are all the other churches and associations, charities and such in situations like this?

Franklin Graham was all about helping North Korea and wanting people to donate to his cause with them.  What about our people here in the US?  We have one of the greatest nations, heck, I think we are, but why are we working so hard for all those other countries while we let our people starve?  Why are these ministries focused on other countries?

Personally, I am disgusted by what I know of certain ministries.  Why are missionaries required to go to the missionary barrel to get old cast of clothing?  Why are members of churches not out purchasing something new?  These missionaries are doing God’s work.  Why should they have to have cast offs?  It’s wrong.

Why are we not helping more of the homeless in this country?  It disgusts me.

I think Operation Santa Claus is wonderful.  Click the name to find out more information.  I encourage people to do what they can.  My family, and our family business donated so much of our naturally grown produce this year to one of the churches that provides community lunches to those in need.  Do what you can. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Signing off

~Kate

Where The Books Are

I have a couple great post ideas for here, but for now, some bookshop/library/personal bookshelf love.  I want every single one of these.

via whitney-shea

via booksandporn

 

via booksandporn

 

A Secret Door, by Simon Brown Photography

 
 
 

So, yeah, I’m totally lusting after all of these places. I want all of them, and I wouldn’t mind a house for each of them, with a guy that wants to travel around with me to each house…. Spend a couple months at each place. Yum.

The library with the secret door is especially appealing.

Signing off

~Kate