A Quick End of Year Recap

It has been ages since I’ve sat down to write a blog post. I honestly can’t remember the last time I wrote a blog post. Can I blame Rona?  Lol, everyone is blaming Covid for something. I really can’t blame that on anything other than getting a little bit of time off from work right around Thanksgiving. Long story that is not worth repeating.

I’ve actually stayed incredibly healthy this year, much to my surprise and delight. I was fighting a mini something the last couple weeks, but healthy vitamin dosing, fresh fruits and vegetables, clove and orange tea…. and plenty of water, I think have kept whatever it is at complete bay. Whew.

I’ve spent the fall writing emotional poems, things all my friends say I need to publish. I agree, and over the start of December I started looking at some places. Which now that I think about it, have January deadlines! Yikes! I will say one thing, I hate the submitting process. Not the actual sharing my work, but all the little intricate issues of submitting. A different format for each submission, a different guideline, or in my case, different poems go to different places. Not every poem is perfect for every publisher. Some of my “New Yorker” poems I wouldn’t dream of submitting to the little no name place. Or vice versa. I have some little poems that I just don’t think would catch “New Yorker” status. They are fun, they are even good, in my opinion, but they are not great.

I’m in a writing slump as of the last two weeks. Even my journal has been slightly empty. Ironically I received 6 new notebooks/journals for Christmas. Ha! Of course I would be in a writing slump.

Work has consumed me. In my sleep, in my life, and this is with reduced hours. Then to top it off, Mixologist Man has left our fine establishment for love. Damn love! He had to go get engaged and move back east to be with his guy. I don’t harbor any ill feelings to his fiance, but I do. You took my best guy away from all of us. How dare you….

I kid. I really do. While Mixologist Man will be sorely missed from my nightly work life, I wish him all the love. I joke at the ‘damn love’ because what have I spent my December watching? Every Hallmark Christmas movie I can get my hands on. To the point where I am now almost disgustingly sick of Hallmark Christmas movies. Not quite, but there are still two days left of December. I mean, I can watch a few more, right? I mean tonight I watched one of the best Christmas pen pals movies. Oh my gosh. I want a Christmas pen pals thing in my town. I NEED it to happen. (it was a lifetime movie, but close enough to Hallmark) It was brilliant.

Can you tell I am still in a love, Christmas, and all things ooey gooey? What can I say, the Mantovani Orchestra is playing Hark The Herald Angels right now and the Christmas tree is still glowing in all its glory, and will be for the next month. I am still floating holiday poems in my head and reading holiday books.

Life is weird, and glorious, and sad, and happy, and all so strange. But I am glad I have my family, and the holiday season, and everything else.

I hope all you lovely readers had a decent, joyous, or even excellent Christmas. I hope you get to enjoy your New Years…. I was suckered into working the late shift. My first time in the three years I have been with my job. Jersey Boy was way too good at slipping me up in a conversation on whether I like mornings or nights.  There might have been some serious, albeit good humored, swearing involved.

Belated Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and lets home 2021 is a little more hopeful…

Kate

A Hallmark Christmas Story Beginning – Part 2

Photo by John Christian Fjellestad on Unsplash

Yes, she had put her heart and soul into this Christmas. The only thing marring the season was that the Carson’s eldest grandson was scheduled to arrive on the 15th. Nicolas McKenzie Carson the third, was a lawyer from the city and ever since she had come to Westbriar, he had been a thorn in her side. Always questioning everything she did for the Carson’s. he was more critical than his parents or any of his aunts and uncles. Every action, how much they paid her, that she had her own room in the mansion, why did she encourage his grandmother to try a new hairstyle, how dare she get the judge to lose some weight, she wasn’t his doctor. Oh and on it went. She’d never met Nicolas in person. Oh no! His highness didn’t deem to come down from the city to find out how things were. No, he called. All the time. He would talk to his grandfather, or grandmother, then after finding out the happenings, he would demand to talk to Miss Oliver. And the Carson’s thought it was so sweet he cared about them so, and oh wasn’t he a nice boy. Noelle would would just nod her head and take the call, all while attempting a smile while she gritted her teeth till she felt like she had a toothache in her entire jaw.
Noelle sighted as she checked the time on her phone for the umpteenth time. He was due in a few hours. Only three more hours of freedom before the executioner arrived. She sighed again and fiddled with her phone setting a new ringtone.
“Dear, if you sigh one more time, I’m going to have Estelle poke you with her scissors,” Phoebe Carson said as her hairdresser fluffed the new bobbed style with the pale pink streak running through it.
“Oh, Estelle, do you think it’s too much?” the eighty year old woman asked, her voice filled with apprehension.
“Mrs. Carson, you look quite hip,” Noelle interjected, finally looking up from her phone.
“Are you sure?” Phoebe reached up and touched her snow white bob, then ran a finger down the pink streak.
Mrs. C, you look stunning and if that grandson gives you any grief, well I’ll just marche myself down and have a talk with that boy,” Estelle patted her hand over Mrs. Carson’s and beamed a glowing bright-white smile at her in the mirror. Not only were Estelles pristine teeth always glowingly bright in general, but her chocolate skin set them off to spotlight proportions.
“Estelle, you’re gonna blind me, “Noelle joked.
“Now you just knock it off, Miss Oliver,” Estelle admonished. “You wanna try something festive this year?
“Oh, Noelle, you should,” Phoebe urged. “This pink is so pretty, but with your eyes, I would think teal or green.
“Wow, Mrs. Carson. Green?” Noelle was current on the new styles, but even green was a bit edgier than she would have gone for.
“How about a nice dark pink along the base?” Estelle suggested.
“Oooh,” both Phoebe and Noelle gushed together.
And hours later, Phoebe and Noelle exited Estelle’s Hair & Nails, their en vogue hair catching the interest of several of the town’s people. Dainty Phoebe in her ivory sweater set and pearls, pink streak swinging, and elegant and svelte Noelle with her 1940’s inspired mid cut, the sleek brown curls bouncing with a cheery magenta red around the entire base.

And so there it ends, for now, until I can come up with something else for Nicolas, Noelle (whose real name is Sarah Noelle Oliver…. SNO….) and the rest of Westbriar’s Christmas Memories, or, Coming Home to Christmas, or, Make Mine Mistletoe…. Oh heck, I’m sure there are a ton of great holiday romance titles for Hallmark. Check out my blog post A Little Christmas Bling where I mock and joke about the perfect Hallmark Plot Generator.

Kate

A Hallmark Christmas Story Beginning – Part 1

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

‘See the sunlight through the pines, taste the warmth of winter wine, dream of softly falling snow, winter’s cold, aspenglow...’ Noelle hummed along to one of her favorite John Denver songs as she wound the garland around the stairwell railing. All around her the staff was filling the house with holiday spirit for the Judge and Mrs. Carson.

She loved her job of personal assistant slash manager of this grand old mansion. Retired Judge Carson doted on his charming wife and she doted on him and Noelle. They had practically given Noelle carte blanche in decorating the house this year with only a few suggestions and she had taken off running with all of it.

Nearly every large room held one Christmas tree, be it big or small, and each room had a theme that flowed right into the next room. The front entry with it’s large grand staircase was classic red and green with poinsettias at the base of the stairs and green garlands wrapping up the railings. Then tiny fairy lights wrapping the greenery for a delicate glow. A tall fir graced the corner, decorated in red bows and ribbons, simple white lights , and a simple gold star.

The front living room was a white and ivory wonderland. The only green was from the blue spruce, but everything else was in shades of white and cream. Ivory beaded garlands were strung on the tree, which was decorated in cream birds and feathers, glittery snowflakes and delicate angels. A white winter village was set on the mantle with a fake snow batting softening the edges.

The dining room, with it’s large french doors overlooking the back gardens and gazing pool, had been trimmed in the simplest of greenery and clove studded oranges. Pomegranates and large bowls of potpourri decorated the table and scented the air in spice and warmth. Large magnolia and orange leaves were tucked into the long needled boughs and it was right out a very Scandinavian or French country.

The Carson’s entire family was coming home for the holidays, so each bedroom had to be perfect. Advent calendars and stockings decorated the great-grand kids and cousins rooms, while more simple and elegant things decorated the adult’s. Noelle had been planning the rooms since August. It was exciting to see all of it come into focus and reality. Mrs. Carson was delighted with every detail and even she had to concur with the judge, that his wife was as giddy as a schoolgirl with all the festivities in the house.

Noelle had even gone so far as to plan holiday meals each day and every evening since the first of December, light a candle each night for advent. She had found an elegant advent calendar  full of pretty sayings about the season. She had spruced it up with Mrs. Carson’s favorite chocolates, and now every evening after dinner, with their coffees, they would sit in her favorite decorated room. The grand, two story library, with a roaring fire. Mrs. Carson would open the numbered box. Noelle would light a green candle, and the judge would read part of the Christmas story. She had started the tradition the year before, when she had first started working for the Carsons, and now it was a cozy family thing they did. For the judge and his wife

viewed her as family since all of their sons, daughters, and grandchildren lived far away. Her family wasn’t nearby either, her parents still lived in her hometown three states away and 18 hours  of driving away. Her sister was friends with the Carson’s daughter and had recommended her for the job, but her sister also lived several hours away and hardly ever had the time to visit, what with being a housewife and mother of three very active little boys.

Various aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were dispersed throughout the west, and on it went, so for her it had been absolutely lovely that the Carsons viewed her like and added granddaughter.

So with Mrs. Carson’s ever delightful support, she transformed the magnificent mansion to a Christmas wonderland. She also instrucked the gardeners on how to decorate dhte exterior. lights around the eaves and spiraled around the tall conical cypress that lined the driveway. They looked like glittering pillars every night when the first star would come out and the timers would click on . Flick! and there was a stellar driveway. The shrubs were covered with lighted nets that draped over, and various trees were decorated in the dripping icicle lights so they look drenched. If there was one thing she loved, it was lights.

She and the girls from the kitchen and maids had made snowmen families tucked into pockets of conifers throughout the gardens one afternoon when the snow had fallen thickly the night before. The judge had even found an old horse-drawn sleigh that was in need of massive repairs, but with some greenery and red bows and even more lights, it became the welcoming piece de resistance welcoming those at the front gate.

 

Part Two is in the next post. I just didn’t want to bog you all down with this little Hallmark-y story I started writing two years ago.  I only have parts one and two so far, but well I’m dabbling since I’m in the Christmas Season.

Kate

A Little Christmas Bling

Winter slumps in like that grumpy gnome you have hiding in your garden. One minute the sky is blue, the next, there sitting in the corner armchair, or maybe it’s a recliner, is this frown faced, white bearded, cross armed gnome. Sort of like Grumpy. The fog sits in this fuzzy white line across the sky like a low hanging ceiling. Never lifting and you know darn well it’s all blue skies and sunshine above. Maybe. Who knows. It’s this bubble you are in. You have no clue. Heck, it could be rockets red glare up there and you wouldn’t know.

The fog, if it does lift, happens around 4pm right when the sun is making its last pass and is about ready to drop down over the mountains. Then, the night sky is alight with the most midnight blue sky. Brilliant and scintillating with the starshine of the winter constellations. Orion tipped on his side as a waxing gibbous mercury silvers a metal barn roof to mirror shine.

Daytime: late afternoon and deer linger on velvet lawns of faded green and tan, like well placed ornaments. It is Advent season after all. They are like the flocked deer of one’s childhood where there were those beautiful horses and deer and woodland creatures that were the softest to touch but couldn’t have their limbs moved. The kind that area always in the ranching stores. I remember the last time I saw them was in this all purpose Radio Shack store when I was about 12 in Colorado. The kind of store that sold farm toys to kids. Tractors and John Deere things, and blue jeans, and knick knacks for a tourist town.

Advent, when every glittering thing takes on a new meaning. Starlit nights, Christmas lights, a red drum in a second-hand store window, paper bags lining a street with little flickering lights. Turn on every Christmas song I know, watch every Christmas related movie in the world, hum about hippopotamuses and lost front teeth. Grinches and Little Toy Trains. Candles shine more brightly in the dark.

 

Christmas is a fairytale. For Christians it aught to be a fairytale. We are on this quest for the ‘gold’ and the right, we are knights fighting for our King, to end up in a paradise of riches and wealth. They say fairytales don’t exist. Clearly no one ever read the Bible. Why, everything is fantastic and amazing and glorious. And it’s all true! Talk about a story that doesn’t have an end, and the end is going to be so much more magnificent than anything us mortal humans could cook up in section 398.2.

The holiday season is fastly here and I’ve yet to write anything I’ve wanted, but the start of this post was a start of a poem that didn’t go anywhere. It was clearly meant for blog posts and all that.  I can’t quite seem to get out what I’m feeling and thinking. Life is just too chaotic at times. I’m just one motion into another. Planning desserts, Christmas party dresses, functioning. It’s just all a little too much to sit and write. That being said, I am in another Hallmark frame of mind. Ironically, a friend just sent me the best Hallmark Christmas movie plot generator. I am having a blast with it. I dare you to come up with something yourself.

Go for it and tell me what you come up with. Even better, or brownie points if you can name a movie that fits one of these!

Kate

 

Missing Random Writing and Christmas Season

I have spent the last year and a half focused solely on poetry. Hardly doing any free writing. Just this poetically possessed individual. Well, I have had enough of that!

Driving up the mountains through the sugar cookie encrusted snow engulfed pine trees today, with a milky sun trying desperately to burn through the fog, I realized how much I missed writing bits of flash fiction and free writes. I wanted to write so much about the snow and the Christmas season and the light and dark and shadows.

We Have Visited Narnia

I get in this obsessed atmosphere where I hyper focus on one thing and then I sometimes miss the big picture. Poetry is pretty micro-ed down. And I am more tired these days where poetry doesn’t come out as easily. Partly as I am too wired at night when I get off of work to write poetry. I probably need to start forcing myself to try. Especially when I get off of work, sit at the bar for a quick drink or last cup of coffee. I have a new Field Notes notebook, my first ever, that I am filling with “Night Shift Notes” at the end of the night.  But that is non fiction. I could sit with a small notebook and just start working on fiction and fun things.

I am in a Hallmark Christmas mood. Like, every night we watch one, at least, and on my weekends, two, sometimes. Thankfully I have a family that likes them as much as I do. Some are horrible. Some are marvelous, and some, well, just barely make the cut.  But much to the chagrin of my coworkers (men, Coffeeman….. I’m looking at you, and a couple others) I love Christmas, Christmas music, and all things Christmas. Thankfully Awesome, Extraordinare, Superwoman hostess loves Christmas as much as I do and we were giddy last week when the tree went up at work. Tinsel and glitter and gorgeousness. 

So I have lots of festive things to write about and have fun. A Christmas party in a few weeks, prom-esque style. I never went to my prom. And I have this super cute LBD with embroidered kittens coming… I could have gone more glamorous, but heck, this will be a fun one to have for other events.

So, as I rambled off of that original train of thought. Basically, I miss writing. I miss the fun things I could come up with even if they didn’t go anywhere. So, clearly I need to start playing around with words. Recently I was playing a drinking game after work, don’t worry, I only had one beer, and I was called the resident ‘wordsmith’. So I must must must use words.

Kate