He wants to be a Star

My final blog for 2017. It’s been one of those years where one month will zip past at light speed and another dawdle like a kid walking to the dentist.

It has been filled with words. Lots and lots of words. In case you wonder, an author does not write a book, or a chapter, or even a page only once. No, it is written. Then re-written. Then edited. It may even end up deleted. And brought back. Or not. But expect it to be edited even then. Even after you are brave enough to let another person read it, the polishing does not stop.

My writing time in 2017 included much of this procedure with a story I once thought was finished. It was not. It needed to be changed and improved. I have great hopes for 2018. The distant relative of this fellow wants to find his name on the page.


Visitors and Gifts

Boxing Day!!!

No, don’t get out your gloves or head to the gym to work against a heavy bag. (Unless that’s your normal exercise routine.) But this is the appropriate time to give a gratuity (Christmas box) to those in service jobs – delivery, housekeeping, home care.

The association of gifts with Christmas goes back long before the origin of Boxing Day. And don’t worry about being a day late. The Magi brought gifts to the Christ Child — but they didn’t arrive the night he was born.

Traditional. Not historically accurate.


Browsing Reindeer

My knowledge of real reindeer is slim. The whitetail deer which populates much of the American Midwest and Northeast — that is more familiar.

And whitetail deer are browsers. They love to nibble on bushes and trees. Perhaps they can stay more alert for enemies than when grazing on grasses.

My decorative deer appears to enjoy boxwood. No problem. It’s after hunting season in this area and he’s safe. And still. This year I was allowed to add a festive ribbon to his chest.

Non-flying variety of deer.


Holiday Variety

Every year my tree is a little different from the year before. This holds even when the tree is artificial. And also when it came with its own lights — last few years.

Yes, some things remain the same. The star goes on top. The skirt is white felt, with a design my sons never really liked. (It was cheap. I needed one.) The difference comes in the ornaments.

There was a year I put on all the beaded garland, stepped back, and said “enough”? This came after the year I put on every ornament I owned — then when un-decorating divided them up to give to children, keep, give away, and this-belongs-in-the-trash.

And this year — it’s dressed modest. No beaded garland. Most of the meaningful ornaments.

And next year? Maybe I’ll splurge. And go with one of each like this display.



Winter Inspiration

The artist named it Adirondack. Note the snowshoes.

It conjures the sort of pictures common on Christmas cards. One of the few places in recent years where the snow is even, clean, and roads passable on December 25.

Have you ever tried snowshoes? Do you live where it’s even a possibility?

For a sweet little romance where the heroine straps them on and goes walking among evergreens — try Starr Tree Farm. It’s available in print or ebook as a single.

It’s also available with five other winter romances in the ebook anthology Snowbound Snuggles.


Whooooo Designed This?

A wreath on the front door welcomes guests. And at this time of year more doors than usual wear them.

Some are simple — a swirl of pine boughs. Or perhaps holly.

Others get rather elaborate.

On my most recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, they had a display – available via silent auction – of some beautiful door decor. They were too large for my door and the bids were too high for my wallet, but a person can enjoy for free.

These white owls wisely welcome you to the holiday season.


Holiday Fruit

Fruit trees in the Upper Midwest, where I grew up, bloom in the spring and have fruit ready for harvest from mid-summer to fall. Depending on the sort of tree.

Winter fruit — well — that was from the store. Unless it was from a jar an adult preserved during the local harvest.

And at the holidays we often bought special fruit. Big, shiny apples shipped from another state. Or oranges — they fit so well in the toe of a Christmas stocking.

A few years our house received a box of very special fruit. A relative living in California would send my grandmother a box of “tree ripened” citrus. They were extra large and extra sweet.

Mmmmm. This sight brings back memories.


Getting Seasonal

More than the other months of the year, people in the United States tend to decorate in December.

Holidays. It’s as if the year hoarded them and suddenly needs to use them all up before the end of the year. If you’ve ever had an employer where you could not carry vacation days over to the next year — you understand.

Thanksgiving is over. You may put away the turkeys and pumpkins and cornstalks.

These holidays – some with religious backgrounds — are more suited to candles, evergreens, and gifts. And additional things have become holiday focused during my lifetime.  Santa pre-dates me. Rudolph appeared early in my childhood. And snowmen learned to dance when I was little. Some people like elves – helpful or mischief makers. And others scent the house and decorate with gingerbread houses and cartoon cookies.

Today I present a simple idea — done large.

Greens, cones, and silver balls greet visitors.