Archive | December, 2010

Christmas Traditions

24 Dec

Since I don’t have pictures of snow—and besides, many of you have seen more snow than you wanted to this year (insert unrelenting snow-envy here)—I thought you might enjoy this picture of Mr. Cat in the tree!  Yes, while my sweet husband risked his wrists and busted out the oven mitts to extract him from the tree, I helped by taking this adorable picture.

For my Christmas post, I thought I’d talk a bit about the traditions we have in our family.  They seem normal to me, but of course, they’re probably not.  (Okay, so I KNOW one of our traditions is anything but normal…) I got the idea for this post from one Linda wrote a couple of weeks ago.  At the end of it, she asked us to describe our Christmas trees and holiday traditions.

Since I practically wrote a blog post in her comment section, I decided to just copy and paste it here for you guys to read:

Every year, my grandmother gives my sister and me a new ornament (and now, she gives them to our husbands, too)—that means I have 28 unique ornaments decorating our (fake, but full and real-looking) tree. I usually add some bows made of muted gold ribbon and lots of berry-colored glass ball ornaments (tied on with ribbon, not hung with paperclips like at my parents’ house).

We always celebrate on both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve, we eat an awesome meal (backstrap venison, twice-baked potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, red wine, and dessert), drive around and look at Christmas lights, and then open one gift each. (ALWAYS pajamas. And they usually don’t fit, though they are cute.) Christmas morning, we all take turns opening gifts (NEVER all at once).

Nothing says Christmas like an ugly Star Wars wind-up toy!

Oh, and my sister and I have what is quite possibly the weirdest Christmas tradition EVER: the walking Sebulba.

Yes. The walking Sebulba, as in Sebulba from Star Wars: Episode One. We have this plastic wind-up Sebulba toy (you wind him up and he—that’s right—walks!), and when my mom decorates her tree, she hides the Sebulba somewhere inside it. My sister and I compete to be the first to spot the Sebulba. (Winner gets bragging rights.) Oh, and you have to pronounce “The walking SeBULBa” with the BULB accented really hard, with this exaggerated, sing-songy British accent.

Yes, we are dorks. Told you it was weird. But that’s what we look forward to, so I’ll stand by it, haha.

So, that’s what we do.  I’m curious about you guys—I fully expect to be all on my own with the whole find-the-Sebulba-in-the-tree thing, but I want to know about YOUR traditions! Are there any quirky things your family does, or are y’all straight-up traditional?  Or, do you not celebrate at all?

And with that, I’m off to drink some eggnog, eat what’s left of the Ninjabread Army, and ready the oven mitts for when the meows inevitably curl up in the tree.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Where the Magic Happens

23 Dec

As promised—(whee, I found my camera!)—here’s a picture of the writing room at our new apartment!  That desk was my grandfather’s, and it’s where I do most of my writing.  Well, when I’m not at Starbucks, anyway.  Oh, and lest you worry that my bookshelf isn’t well-stocked, just remember we have several more bookshelves.  This one’s just for books on writing and pretty hardcover new-releases.

It’s true!  We have two desks in the writing room!  This is the less-used one, because it’s small and antique and has a large crack running from end to end.  However, it’s the PERFECT size for laying out note cards while attempting to rearrange and rework troublesome sections of the novel.

This is pretty similar to the first picture, obviously, except it shows you my fun dandelion painting (which was a MAJOR score at Urban Outfitters—it had no price tag and a tiny smudge on it, and they let me buy it for a mere $5) and my guitar.  That’s, you know, for when I get stuck or tired or frustrated and just need a relaxing little break.  Lately, my go-to songs for this type of break include the song Gwyneth Paltrow sang on Glee (“Forget You,” the clean version of a song by Cee Lo), “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” (because Christmas is about much more than presents and decorations and ninjabread, and singing about it helps me remember that), and “Hey, Jude” (by the Beatles, but I hope you knew that already).

You can’t tell from these pictures, but the windows look out into trees and hills.  It’s a peaceful room for writing and reading (there’s a big reading chair on the opposite end of the room, but the pictures I took of it looked kind of lame, so I spared you all).

So, speaking of writing and reading, I have a LOT to do.

But…um…it’s Christmas Eve Eve today, and that only happens once a year.  Plus, I will be running full-speed ahead starting next week.  There’s a time for goals, and a time for rest.

Today, I shall rest.

Hope everyone’s having a lovely week—remember to rest amid the busybusybusy!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve to you all! ❤

 

Ninjabread

20 Dec

Apparently, I’m not good at blogging during December.  I know what you’re thinking—you’re worried sick that I’ve been taken captive by an army of Ninjabread Men.

And you’d be partially right.

Okay, no—you’d be completely wrong.  I’ve merely been running around like an elf with mangled pointy-toed shoes¹, trying to cram a ton of Christmas-y awesomeness into ten too-small days.

I made an army of Ninjabread Men, for one.  Also, we shopped for gifts, wrapped them beautifully, made one post office run, and (at least) two Target runs, and several appearances at Starbucks.  Our Christmas tree is a) actually decorated this year, b) still decorated, by some miracle, despite our two tree-hugging cats, and c) beautiful in our new apartment.

So, where does writing fit in there?  Last week, it actually fit quite well, but alas—this week I’ll be lucky just to incorporate some minor changes into my first 30 pages.  I did manage to make a list of (lofty! ambitious! driven!) goals for my WIPs, though, effective Boxing Day.

Aaaaaand, what would Christmas be without family and friends?  My sister came to town Friday, my parents came on Saturday, one of my college BFFs dropped in last night, and some Denton friends are coming to visit for the next couple of days.

I love Christmas.  The Ninjabread, the friends and family, the festive lights, the meaning behind the holiday, the warmth of it all²—it’s worth long post office lines, braving crowds at the stores, tidying up the house, and putting writing goals on hold for a bit.

It’s a season for peace, to slow down and be grateful, and to rest and refresh before the new year begins.

Happy Christmas week to you all!

¹I’m guessing that’s the North Pole equivalent to “chicken with its head cut off,” yes?

²And by warmth, I’m referring to warm fuzzies.  That said, here in Texas, it’s sunny and 76ºF outside—I guess it’s time for that kind of warmth, too.  Unfortunately.  (In completely unrelated news, has anyone figured how to mail snow yet?  Because I sort of want some, and I know you guys are just dying to get rid of yours!)

Reading, Writing, and Other Awesomeness

8 Dec

Whew!  What a week!

So, Fresh Start December?  Yeah, it’s rocking so far.  Reading, writing, chatting with delightful friends on Twitter and gmail chat—you name it, it’s happening.

And I love it.  It feels good.  Fresh, I might even say.

The writing room is just as fantastic as you might imagine it to be.  It’s got a huge, clean, antique wooden desk, a new comfy desk chair, another desk (which, I discovered yesterday, is PERFECT for scene card shuffling), windows and natural light for inspiration, and a big gray chair that’s perfect for reading.¹

Anyway.

I’m overjoyed to announce that this writing room—get this—actually leads to a Very Productive Kayla.  During the first week of Fresh Start December, I slaved over a new beginning to this Very Important Novel.  Lo and behold, I (FINALLY) actually came up with one.  This beginning has been a thorn in my side for a little while, and it’s nice to have figured out (what I think is) a viable solution to the issues it had.  I still have some work to do on it, for sure, but am super encouraged by the progress I’ve made on it.

Okay, y’all.  Time to get productive up in here.

¹Pictures are forthcoming, *promise*—as soon as I find my camera.  Alas, it is still buried in some box.  (The ONE box I didn’t color code or label, it seems.)

Fresh Start

1 Dec

You know what feels good?

DECEMBER.

That’s right—in all its frigid glory¹, December is already rocking my face off.  Why, you ask?  Because that means NOVEMBER IS OVER!

Hallelujah!

No, seriously.  Hallelujah.  November was one of the best—and one of the worst—months I can remember.  Austin is fresh and fantastic, though.  All the stress, all those days spent not writing, all the goodbyes, all the everything?  It’s ALL worth it.

We have more space (ENOUGH space! More than a one-bedroom apartment space! SPAAAAACE!), we’re surrounded by all things green and gorgeous, it’s quiet, it’s steadily becoming organized and delightful, and the Starbucks (four minutes from parking lot to garage! Wheee!) is even better than I hoped for.  Except I don’t really have to go to Starbucks as much, because a) there are a TON of coffee house options here, b) I bought a fresh bag of espresso + cleaned our fancy espresso machine, and c) I have an actual writing room!

Yes: WRITING ROOM!

Even better?  I actually get to write in it today.

After an entire month of no WIP progress—zero words!—while watching everyone lasso the moon on their NaNo projects, I am SO. FREXING. EXCITED. to get back to work today.  On the agenda: back to work on the fourth draft of WIP #1, followed by (*hopefully*) 500ish new words on the first draft of WIP #2.

Happy December to you all!  Oh, and I’m glad to have the internet again, which means a return to regular blog and Twitter interaction—YAY!  What’s on your December agenda?

¹Which, um, in Texas? Is about 37ºF at the moment.

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