Merry Christmas, Writers, Poets, and Friends Alike

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Hello, Dearies, and Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas (for you British lovelies), and Happy Holidays! Talk about a whirlwind year. For all of us. Writers alike; people in general. Life has changed dramatically and will probably never be the same.

My life has continued to be a zoo. A tired zoo. The tigers and lions need a serious dose of coffee all the time! I have been on crazy mode all this week with KP (kitchen patrol, for those who don’t know White Christmas or military terms)

I have been having late nights and ups and downs; burns and cuts. And a world of writing ideas. I never knew what kind of people worked in a kitchen. I never knew how a kitchen even functioned. While I still am a total newbie and this is my ‘first rodeo’ (my chef rolled his eyes a that statement. I guess he has never lived anywhere near the country) I  am slowly learning how things function. I had our new sous chef ask me how long I have been in the kitchen world and I replied, “Since November 20th.”  I have to laugh. Just over a month.

Christmas came too fast this year and I haven’t had much time to enjoy it like I usually do, which has dampened my spirits some. A lot. But I have three days off, including today, which is Christmas Eve, so that helps. I have Christmas ideas in my head and I am working on my Hallmark new story. Basically you have Noelle, a personal assistant to a retired judge and his wife who own a large mansion. Noelle Snow has been decorating the house up to the nines, or rafters, because the whole entire family of the judge and his wife’s are coming home for Christmas. Including one of their favorite grandsons who just so happens to disapprove of Noelle and all she has done for the Carson’s, even though they have never met in person.  Well, of course Noelle is going to win him over! It is Hallmark after all. Of course there is going to be Christmas music, and gingerbread cookies with kids, and snow, and maybe a sleigh ride. Lights everywhere.  A house decorated with a Christmas tree in every room. And Noelle? Well she happens to always have Christmas music playing in her room. Why wouldn’t she?  Did you see her name?  Can you just hear the disapproving tone of a handsome lawyer grandson when he says “Miss Snow.”?  Too perfect.

I need happy right now. I need ridiculously cheesy Hallmark Christmas romances. I need to write it. Life is too funny and fickle to not have it in your life. I don’t care if I sound like a goody two shoes. Apparently in my job I am the ‘too nice.” I don’t care. If everyone were too nice, the world would be a lot happier place. I have acutally had people ask me if I get up in the morning as perky as I am when I come into work. Haha. Oh the miracles of makeup and a boatload of coffee. It’s nice to think that people think I’m perpetually happy. It’s a far cry from the truth, but I figure they shouldn’t know my problems when I’m out at work. Unfortunately my family gets the brunt of that when I come home. I vent. A lot. But I try to get through every day with a decent attitude.

My not so positive attitude comes out in my poetry. That gets to the heart of my heart. I have something started about being flayed open. Cooking terms. Filleted alive. A pound of flesh. Goodness, that’s depressing.  I get through some days realizing that I have a manuscript on editor’s desks right now! It’s been there for almost three months. I have a manuscript on editor’s desks!  Even saying it still blows my mind. I mean, it’s legit. I am a poet. I may not always have the time, but I am a poet through and through.

It’s rather funny to think about sometimes when right now my life doesn’t even have the time to think. My chef, bless his soul, thinks that me working 40+ hours a week and getting paid overtime will make it so I’m not a poor writer.  Doesn’t he know that the reason writers are poor is because they can’t work if they want to write? Doesn’t he know that half, no wait, three quarters of a writer’s life isn’t writing, but thinking about writing? I have to think days and days to write! I haven’t had times to even think, so writing has been severely killed. Murdered. Knifed to death. (there are a lot of knives in my life right now)

Anyways.  Merry Christmas, darling writers. Readers alike. I’m off to watch a Hallmark film with the family. I think The Holiday is in the near future, but that’s a prerequisite. Oh and Charlie Brown! I need Charlie Brown.

And I know this may sound strange, but I now associate Meatballs, the camp movie, with Christmas and winter. I am going to make that a tradition. My parents don’t know this, but I so love that film now.

Joyeux Noel!

Kate

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James Taylor Is One Of My Fall Jams – Day 12

James Taylor. 1969 . Henry Diltz Photography (via pinterest)

I wrote about James Taylor years ago on this blog, James Taylor is in the House , and how James was my autumn music listening choice. It’s still very similar, though this year, I can’t find my cd (I have yet to mp3 it) and I just haven’t had the time to put it on.

I think there are just some artists that have a propensity for certain times of th eyear. Why is Carole King’s “Tapestry” a hot summer album? Maybe it’s only to me that I feel that. Simon and Garfunkel are definitely fall. Melancholy? Maybe that’s why. Some of the songs of Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, and defintely Celtic music, tend to be much more melancholy and that apeals to a more autumnal listening soundtrack.

I haven’t turned on Art Garfunkel’s Breakaway album either and that is fall to me. But as time goes on, and my listening tastes change or are added to, I find that folk music and jazz fill up my more seasonal listening style. Right now is more of a time for Gregory Allen Isokov and Mumford & Sons. Maybe throw in the Lumineers. Bob Dylan. They all have a lyricism that is more poetry and autum inclined. Maybe it’s just my tastes have changed.

That being said, I think I ought to find James Taylor’s Greatest Hits and put it on. Some Walking Man needs to be in my life. Or the song below because well, it speaks to me.

Kate

A Christmas Vignette – Regina Decorates Luke’s Office – Flash Fiction

ysnkckdkyty-rodion-kutsaevRegina whirled into the lobby of the hotel, her ruby red, velvet cloak whirling around her. Her arms were laden with bags and there were also a few hat boxes clutched in her hands.  She sniffed appreciatively at the warm pine smell coming from the very large Christmas tree in the lobby. Currently, it only had its lights, twinkling fairy lights, but soon it would be decorated. Late at night, the staff would set to work turning the hotel into a Christmas dream. The bannisters would be strung with garlands, greenery would be around windows and doors. Bowls of glass ornaments and strings of shimmery beads. Glittery snowflakes and icicles dripping off of the balcony overlooking the lobby. The hotel would be alive with classic Christmas music and every member of the staff would have their holiday uniforms; sparkly dresses for the ladies, and festive vests and bow ties for the men.

Regina hummed The Christmas Song, Karen Carpenter’s voice in her head as she plopped her purchases in Luke’s office. Luke was out, it appeared, and Regina grinned deviously. She picked up the phone on his desk and rang up the kitchen.

“Hi, Margo. Could you have a bottle of champagne, a plate of shortbread cookies and some finger food brought to Luke’s office? I’m decorating.” She couldn’t stop the giggle to Margo’s groan of “oh God.”

Luke, while festive, did not like his office touched. Even by Regina, and they were a thing.

Regina had just plugged in some holiday music and was pulling things out of her bags when Craig came in with the things she’d ordered, the champagne in an ice bucket and the rest on a tray.

“Put the champagne on the desk and the two plates on that table,” she directed, pointing at the small table between two comfortable chairs she frequently confiscated when she was writing.

“The boss ain’t gonna like this,” Craig warned as he set the champagne flutes next to the bucket of ice and popped the cork on the bubbly.

“That’s because he’s never had me decorating. Besides, he can’t fire his woman.”

“Just don’t say I had any part of this,” Craig warned.

“Why would I? You only brought my order,” Regina said, confused.

Craig grinned and stuck his head out of the door. “Oy! Jason. Sam. Bring it in,” he called.

Two of the other bellhops came in carting a faux, fluffy, white Christmas tree and set it up in front of one of the long windows that looked out on Ashland’s bustling East Main. They plugged in the cord hanging near the base and the tree was lit up in glittery white.

“Lissa ordered this for your suite, but when she heard you were decorating the boss’s, she told us to bring it in here.” Craig and the boys left and Regina stood, staring at the tree in glee. She knew she always liked Luke’s assistant, Lissa, but this was extra perfect. And she was amazed that the word had gotten around that she was decorating in the twenty minutes since she’d ordered the food. Ah yes, living in a hotel was like a small town. Gossip was always a hot topic.

To the sounds of Bing Crosby and many more classic Christmas artists, Regina pulled ornaments from bags that had come from Paddington Station, one of Regina’s favorite stores along Ashland’s shopping district. There were other bags of ornaments from other stores and soon there were silver and gold and glittery red ornaments hanging on the tree. Thank goodness she didn’t have to put the lights on herself. She wound glittery pine garlands around the windows, she sipped the champagne, she nibbled the good eats, and soon, the office of the very prominent owner of the very luxurious hotel, was a warm and cozy winter wonderland.

She had the shades up so passersby could look in the windows, and she caught many open-mouthed “whoa’s” as she fixed things. Some she would wave at, others, she would toast with her glass of bubbly. It was fun.

By the time Luke entered his office at half past four, Regina was a bit tipsy and belting out White Christmas. He should have been furious with his zen office now almost as richly decorated as a store, but when his gorgeous lady held up a bunch of mistletoe in a gold bow and presented her very red lips, who was he to make a fuss?

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So I have recently been writing little vignettes of my various novels and their characters. I wanted to give everyone a Christmas story. I read off one of my little somethings the other night and was told that it was like a Hallmark script. I had never thought about my stories that way; the stories I have been writing for 16+ years, but it was incredibly encouraging because I like to write nice stories. I have been trying to figure out what to do with my stories for ages. Now I might have some inspiration.

Regina and Luke are the start of something I wanted to write about Ashland, Oregon, and the glorious Ashland Springs Hotel. I wrote a character piece on Luke ages ago. You can read it here.

October 31st – Write 31 Days – Autumn: A Collection

This month has had me taking more pictures than I have most of the year. While I tried to pick favorites and things that would go well with poetry and thoughts, there were so many I didn’t use. Especially in the last few days because I had a plethora of images worth of posting. So, today, in honor of the end of the Write 31 Days challenge, here is a collection of images I didn’t use, but are so so pretty, I can’t not share them with you.

Thank you so much for hanging out with me this month for autumn pictures. You guys have been the best with your likes and viewing and such.  You make it fun to take pictures again.

Happy Halloween

Kate

October 30th – Write 31 Days – Pear Leaves

pear-leavesSometimes it’s the really simple things in life that are beautiful. I was out snapping tons of pictures the other day and out under our pear tree, the dead leaves changed from yellows and oranges to brown. But it’s pretty shades of brown that have so much texture and simplicity in their scatterings over the ground. I had a hard time deciding which image I liked best, but of the three, this one with the blurred top and the slight greyness to the color, screamed, post me!

October 29th – Write 31 Days – Nubbly Oaky Carpet

nubbly-oaky-carpet

The falling leaves
Drift by the window
The autumn leaves
Of red and gold……

The color on the hills are predominantly yellow, green, and shades of a muddy ochre color that mixed with the rest, is rather pretty. The cottonwoods along the creek bank are yellow and the fallen leaves smell of this sticky sweet rotten smell that I love. It’s not really a bad smell, musky maybe. Like the smell of tobacco, it makes me hungry.

Up on the hills the big leaf maples are splotches of yellow, and the nubbly carpet of the black oaks are intermixed with the spikes of the pines.  The mist invades and sinks through the trees, veiling them in a not so clear haze, at least it happens on the foggy days, like today was.

It’s mists and breaks in the sun and yellows and browns and spice and sweet….

Kate

October 27th – Write 31 Days – Red Oak

red-oakSometimes a picture comes out more spectacular than I think it will. Today’s picture of a red oak leaf looks like the leaf is right on the glass!  It’s kind of amazing how things turn out so perfect and you aren’t even trying, or well, you just don’t think it will be that way.

The colors on the trees has been so spectacular this year, but I have failed to capture enough of it, waiting till it is nearly twilight to take pictures, which does not help. Nor have I been inclined to take my camera out with me that much. But the black oaks are now turning on the hills and there is this fluffy, nubbly carpet of yellow ochres, and yellow browns, tans and various shades of yellow from them. It’s a warm feel.

This oak in the picture turns a lovely red…. then the leaves turn brown and hang on the tree half the winter. It’s rather nasty looking, but the red is especially stunning.

 

I robbed the Woods-
The trusting Woods.
The unsuspecting Trees
Brought out their Burs and mosses
My fantasy to please.
I scanned their trinkets curious-
I grasped-I bore away-
What will the solemn Hemlock-
What will the Oak tree say?
~Emily Dickinson

Kate

October 26th – Write 31 Days – October’s Playboy

october-playboyThe Playboy rose has been flinging it up and rounding out the year with another round of blooms. The rose has bloomed several times this year, each flush more beautiful then the last. Roses in October, nearly November? It’s a rare treat. The color like the best can-can show. A flashy little number to liven it up a bit.

Can you tell I love my Playboy rose? We now have four plants.  Heaven. I’m in heaven.

Ribbons of the Year-
Multitude Brocade-
Worn to Nature’s Party once

Then, as flung aside
As a faded Bead
Or a Wrinkled Pearl
Who shall charge the Vanity
Of the Maker’s Girl?

~Emily Dickinson

Kate

October 25th – Write 31 Days – Golden Mornings

golden-morningsIn fall, it’s common to wake up to lots of clouds with the threat of rain. I’m typing this on the 24th where the prediction of rain is at 100%…. It’s currently raining.  I could have sworn there was only a 30% chance, but that is so far from what it’s doing now.

But some mornings there is this thick blanket of clouds, the mountains shrouded with mist and the cold wind blowing; yet in the east, there is this break, right over the mountains. Just enough of a break for the sun to come up a shining, dazzling diamond. Breaking through the mist, shining so bright through the pines, giving everything a golden glow to the otherwise cold morning.

Morning that comes but once,
Considers coming twice-
Two Dawns upon a single Morn,
Make Life a sudden price.
~Emily Dickinson

Kate