Friday, December 20, 2013

My favorite Christmas memories

I'm back.  I had loads of work to catch up on, not that I'm ever caught up but I made a huge dent in it.  I'm determined I'm not going to be working Christmas Eve or Christmas!  Yeah right we'll see if that happens, but I was talking to a long lost cousin of mine who I found on Facebook a few weeks ago and we were talking about Christmas and I asked him what was his favorite Christmas memory and I told him mine.  And in the spirit of Christmas and ho ho ho and all that's glistening and white, here's mine.

I was seven years old.  It was my first Christmas in Burbank, California.  My mother had married someone in the Army and he was stationed at Fort Ord, California, so away to southern California we went.  So it was Christmas Eve and we finally got our tree up.  Back in the day, it was customary to put the tree up on Christmas Eve.  This was before artificial trees.  After we got the tree up, we discovered we didn't have enough lights and here it was nighttime, Christmas Eve, and everything was about to shut down.  So my mother told me to go with her to get some lights at the store across some field.  I have no idea why we didn't take the car.  Maybe we killed it driving from Virginia to California who knows, lol.  My step-father stayed home with my little sister and my Mother trekked across the road, behind the houses and into this field toward where the store was.

So I remember walking across this field with tumbleweed everywhere which was actually quite common in California and I remember looking up at the sky, at the stars and it was Christmas Eve and it was something really magical about it.  But you have to understand the situation.  My step-father wasn't exactly a really nice person to my mom if you catch my drift, but this one time walking with my mom in the dark across this field with the stars overhead and tomorrow was Christmas was when life was good. 

I have another one.  I was living with my grandmother years later back in Virginia.  We couldn't afford a Christmas tree.  Bless her heart, she was the only one taking care of my sister and I and she did the best she could.  I went out back and cut down a pine tree from the woods in the back and that was our Christmas tree that year.  And you know, I know it's not done, but that was the prettiest Charlie Brown tree you ever saw.  Not a whole lot of presents underneath, but it was something really special about that tree.

One more and I'll call it a day.  We were back in California and I got this really neat metal 2 story doll house for Christmas.

It had a magic wand that you put underneath the floors of the house and you could make the figures move all over the house.  Anyone remember that?   I would die to have one again just to relive the memory. 

Here's another memory.  I remember telling my daughter about this Tammy doll I used to have.  A Tammy doll was much like a Barbie doll.  See pic below.

So the story went, my aunt told me I could pack one toy only for we were going to live with my grandmother in Virginia (another long story) and that's all the room we had.  I chose this Tammy doll out of everything I owned because it was really special to me I guess.  When I got to Virginia, you know how kids are, I lost it.  Do you know my daughter found an exact replica of that very same doll on eBay and gave it to me one Christmas?  Now that was something special.

The holidays are a great time for remembering Christmas pasts.  What's your favorite memory or favorite gift you received?

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Does your child love books? Start'em a book blog!

I think sometimes I want grandkids all for the wrong reasons.  I was talking to a book blogger today.  She had emailed me, letting me know she received the book an author had sent her but mentioned that she would review it as soon as she can get it out of the hands of her 4 year old.  Don't worry - it was a children's book.

I told her I knew of a book blogger who started a book blog for their child and she reviewed books in her own words.  I thought it was adorable.  We would use the mama's review as the stop but throw in the child's review.  The authors thought it was the coolest thing.  I mean, you write for children, right.

So here's how it would go:

Mama (writing everything down for her 3 year old): Maddie, what can you tell me about this book?

Maddie holds the book lovingly in her arms.  "I don't know."

Mama changes questions.  "What did you like about this book?"

"It was pretty."

"What else can you tell me about this book?"

"I don't know."

The thing about kids that young is that they'll say the darndest things as long as you can get them to open up.  I was just joking above because kids even as young as two or three as long as you can decipher what they're saying will give you the most honest review anyone can give.

Here's an example:

"Michael, what did you like about the book?"

"I liked it.  But I wish the dog was blue not pink.  Pink is for girls."

See what I mean?  They look beyond what we can see.

Do you have a child who has a book blog?  Share the link.  I'd love to see it!

Meanwhile, here's a cute child book blogger at YouTube:

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Amazon drone?

O.m.g.  I have never seen the likes of it would be what my grandmother would say if she saw this coming her way with her Amazon goods:

Is. That. The. Coolest. Thing. Or. What. 

Can you imagine seeing this coming toward your house?  Would it make noise?  Would the dogs bark?  Would the stray cats run away (God only help us)?  Would my elderly neighbors a few doors down think the world was being invaded by aliens? 

I love it.

What's your idea of an ideal writer's retreat?

I'm sitting here in the eat in kitchen.  The laptop is on the table and papers spread out all over it. That's if the rescue cat doesn't jump up and send the papers, pens, highlighters flying to the floor. If you could only see it. This is my work station. In all the chaos, I have sunlight streaming in and if I'm lucky, complete silence except for the hum of the refrigerator.

I have a work station upstairs.  It houses my old desktop, many many books, plants and a dog who insists on sitting in my lap the whole time I'm trying to work.  God love lap dogs but they're a pain in the backside when your legs start to go numb.  This desktop is so slow, it's faster on my laptop, that's why I'm in the kitchen.

I have a book that needs finishing.  That's the cover in the left hand sidebar.  It REALLY needs finishing.  It's just a couple more chapters of edits and I'm good to go, but getting to it means stopping what I'm doing (yeah like that's going to happen) and going upstairs to work on it.

And I get to imagining....what I need is an ideal writer's retreat where there's no dogs, no rescue anything, no interruptions, no saving plants from flying to the floor, no saving dog from rescue cat, no saving cat from being is crazy.

So if I were to choose an ideal writer's retreat, it would be a treehouse in the middle of the woods completely safe from predators of course, a coffee pot, microwave, toilet and a nice comfy bed.  I would get up in the morning and make myself a cup of coffee.  No dogs to walk.  I would take a stroll through the woods to get my daily exercise, then climb up to my treehouse and get to work. Can you imagine how fast I would get this book done?

If you could escape to a writer's retreat of any kind - whether it's in the woods, on a lake, on a beach, on a houseboat, in the city, anywhere, where would it be?

Let's dream together.