Archive for December 2009

Happy New Year

December 27, 2009

I’ll be working on my New Year’s Resolutions this week.  And likely forgetting about them within 3 weeks.  🙂

That’s why I prefer to think of goals, long term and short term.  That term seems less daunting. Here are my wishes for your 2010 through song and photos. See you next year!

Twelve Days of Christmas Reduces Stress

December 20, 2009


Christmas Past

Am I busy getting ready for Christmas?

Well sure, I am.  And this year I’ve had the added hectic but long-awaited tasks of promoting Black Ribbon Affair.  However, several years ago, I took a bit of wisdom from my sister-in-law who’s spent most Decembers being over-committed and time-challenged.

What was her secret?

Celebrate the season, not the day and follow the idea of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Very smart woman, my sister-in-law.

Cards not sent out and at their destination by December 24th?  No worry, if they arrive on January 2nd, the receiver will have more time to enjoy the card and its message.

Not all the baking or cooking done?  So what!  Eating a fresh batch of cookies on December 29th beats stale ones every time.  And as for cooking?  Who says we must have several meals?  And what’s wrong with leftovers of the Christmas ham?  Fortunately, our family loves hearty pea soup with fresh bread on January 1st.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Santa's Getting Ready for the kiddies

Oh, it’s gift shopping and wrapping you’re most stressed about?  Well, even here, if you wait until a few days after Christmas you may fight fewer crowds.  Or if your shopping is done but you’re not seeing the giftees until after the 24th or 25th, wrap away a few hours before you see them.

The kids may need  you to meet a deadline if you are helping Santa, but if you have arrived at the wise stage of life, you enjoy quality time spent with loved ones, time to reflect on holidays past, spent with those no longer walking the earth, and the less stressful tempo of knowing all you want to do and enjoy can be spread out over twelve days.

So folks, start celebrating on December 24th, but don’t have it end on the 25th.  Follow through.  Spread the celebration until January 6th.

This year one of our local police departments did a video about this philosophy, sort of.  It’s humorous but will never win any awards, except for spreading good will.

And I leave you with that thought.  When next I post, the big holiday will be finished, kaput, out-of-sight, except maybe for the shredded ribbons and wrapping.

But not at our house.  We’ll still have a few presents under the tree. 🙂

What do you think of my ‘borrowed’ philosophy?

Playmates

December 12, 2009

Panda mates in winter

My hubby and I received a Christmas note inside a card this past week.  The card came from a woman who became a widow this past summer.  Her husband was the CEO of the corporation my husband worked for and we often played bridge with them. 

We were pleased to see this card and her note.  Both my husband and I know first hand the difficulties that surround the first major holiday after the loss of a beloved person.  My heart lifted at the woman’s note to us.  She plainly acknowledged her loss of her life companion with this sentence which tugged at my soul.  “How lucky we were to share 24 years after retirement as loving playmates.” 

I think that those simple words as such a magnificent tribute to the man he was, the woman she is, the love they shared for more than 60 years, and the fun they had in retirement. 

Too often we hear of couples who enter retirement and retire from life.  Not these two.  Or we hear of couples married for many years, but they have never seen themselves as playmates.  Only spouses. 

If any of you wonder where I come up with character traits, I tell you this with all honesty.  I  sometimes look around me and find stellar examples.  Traits or experiences people have that can be spun into a story. 

Somehow, I don’t know yet exactly in what way, that widow’s sentence and all it incorporates will find its way into a future book.  Have you encountered people in your lives who in some way fill your soul with a word or phrase that sums up the entirety of their lives?

Yet Another Step as Published Author

December 6, 2009

Coastline near Santa Barbara

I tried something very new for me yesterday.  That’s not easy to accomplish at my age, but with this new venture of being a published author, I’ve encountered several lately.  Almost makes me feel like a twenty-something woman but with a wealth of experience. 🙂 

So what was the new experience? 

Well, not quite this elegant

I set up a table at a holiday/craft/market affair in an old art deco theater lobby in this area.  I didn’t bring my camera and I should have since the chandeliers in the lobby above my table were magnificent.  And the marble staircase right behind me?  Awesome. 

As shoppers and lookers filed into the theater lobby on a frosty but sunny Saturday morning, I found my little table with some artfully placed books, a informational sign about Black Ribbon Affair and a laminated copy of the recent news article about me and Black Ribbon competing with Santa and his merry elves, marvelous aromas of rich hot coffee and flavored popped corn.  

Right next to me the vendor, a friend since high school was doing a booming business with her handmade children’s books, scarves and jewelry.  On the other side a friendly woman Patti did brisk business selling her hand-made soaps and lotions. A bit further down a man offered some beautifully crafted wood pieces.  And so much more enticed from homemade bread, cheese and sausage to apples, jams, jellies and did I mention Santa? 

Writer at work?

However, could I and my book compete?  Maybe I should have dressed as Santa and brought my laptop along?

Well, my table was different and my wares were also.  They made the crowd curious.  People stopped to ask about the life of a writer, how I worked and where.  They asked about the book, sometimes bought one for themselves or as a Christmas gift for a reader on their lists.  I reconnected with people I haven’t seen in years or someone who knew my mother, or a sibling, or a child. 

I did sell books.  Maybe not as many as I might have liked, but I met people, made connections to other people and venues I might consider doing a signing or a meet the author event, places I didn’t know about.  I exchanged information with people who might be helpful in the future and this published author journey continues. 

That glittery cloth enhances the books

What did I learn yesterday?  That the joy in a person’s face and eyes you see reflected when they ask about your passion and show interest in what you do can be as important as another immediate sale.  They may go to Amazon.com or their nearest bookstore and order a copy.  They will read my website and my blog and perhaps stay in touch.

If I only gain two solid fans from yesterday, that’s two more than I had on Friday. 

And found a topic for today’s blog posting. 🙂  

Am I wearing rose-colored glasses about this?  Should I be grumpy that I didn’t sell out?