Jingled Bells

They practice carols for a retirement home performance (everyone loves youthful angels, right?)

On cue, the seven-year-old Cub Scouts begin:

“Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg….”

Stern looks prompt rowdy laughter.


The above is my response to the Trifecta weekend challenge:

TrifectaPicture11-1This weekend we’re asking you to write 33 words that will make us laugh or
smile.  Even a chuckle will do.  We look forward to the communal spirit lifting.
Good luck!

Ah, this version of Jingle Bells brings back memories of my youth (this song taught to me by my older brother, to my parents’ chagrin :)) These boys reminded me of a line I forgot long ago:  “The Joker got away.”  I’ve slept better ever since!

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the peace and love of the season!

The Truth? It’s Under The Rug

Well, Christmas is over.  Those of us who survived have a week to take a breath and collect ourselves before being plunged into the New Year.  For those who didn’t make it, I’ll offer a moment of silence to mourn the loss, as I will miss you….

I hope you enjoyed the Christmas present I got all of you:  I spared you a Sunday blog post.  My holiday from trying to write something semi-entertaining, if not a tiny bit relevant, is a holiday for you, too, since you didn’t have to read (or delete) another failed attempt 🙂  I do thank you for your patience, because (in theory) practice yields improvement.

As anticipated, I got my gift of writing on Monday.  It is after ten o’clock on Monday night as I write this post and I just printed the first draft of the short story I set out to write today.  Yes, the one I planned to write back in September.  As an added bonus, I also took time to beta read a short story for a fellow blogger.  I finished reading all 100 pages and made some notes, which I will review and organize over the weekend.

I could end the post here, leaving you with the impression that I’m a master at managing my life; that I’ve got all the balls in the air and haven’t dropped a single one.  But let’s face it:  that would be dishonest.  And I don’t want to be responsible for anyone plunging themselves into a pint of Haagen Dazs because I made them feel inadequate.  (However, I do recommend Mint Chip.)

So instead of dressing reality in expensive jewels and calling it an heiress or sweeping the facts under a dirty rug, I’m going to share just a few of the things that did not get done:

Neglected cookies have no colorful frosting to wear
Dishes don't wash themselves (no matter how long you leave them in the sink)
Whaddya think - should I just let clutter spread like ground cover and forget vacuuming?
Eh, I still have two more pairs of jeans... laundry can wait
I hate folding sheets. The dryer is as good a place as any to store them, right?

I have one more night without the kiddos, so I’ll see what I can tackle on Tuesday night!  If I don’t get any of these things done, I can always see how many more levels I can complete on Angry Birds 🙂

image via itunes.apple.com)

What did you do over the holiday weekend – relax, work or play?

A Christmas Past, And My Christmas Present

FINALLY Christmas!

As a child, the week before Christmas seemed to drag on ‘forever’.  Each evening, I would torture myself by staring at all the pretty wrapped presents under the tree, scoping out the name tags to see which ones were mine.  Then, I would shake each box and try to guess what was inside.

When I was 11 or 12 (I can’t remember which rotten age I was at the time) there were identical large boxes under the tree – one for me, one for my brother.  I had already guessed the other boxes held a sweater with an encyclopedia (‘C’ was missing on the shelf), a shirt with some nuts and bolts, and a shoe-box sized box that I suspected held something small, like a necklace or earrings.

My parents liked to make the gift-guessing game challenging…they always added something to a box so shaking the box wouldn’t reveal the contents.  We loved the challenge of trying to figure out which of my dad’s tools gave weight to the boxes.  We rarely guessed what caused the rattles…could be nails, nuts, bolts, wall plates, outlet boxes, or a myriad of other goodies housed in his tool boxes in the garage.

After what seemed like months of staring at the big boxes, we finally got to open them on Christmas Eve.  I tore the paper away and saw a picture of a TV on the box.  Not trusting that’s what was in the box (they were also famous for reusing boxes), I yanked the flaps and busted the staples out – it really was a 13” black and white TV…for MY ROOM!  I squealed with excitement – it was the best gift EVER!

Next to a tablet PC, iPod, Kindle, or any of the current gaming systems, this gift seems like the punch line to a bad joke.  But back then, we didn’t have home computers; portable music was on a Walkman radio/cassette player; paperback and hard cover were the only book reading choices; and we played Breakout and Pong on our Atari console.

Of course, the TV was more than just a TV.  It meant security and hope for better times.  Even as a child, I knew my parents wouldn’t spend money they didn’t have.  I never asked if we were broke, but I got my answer with every “we can’t afford it” my parents said.  After several lean years, the TV seemed so lavish; I almost forgot we weren’t wealthy.

This year, Christmas is coming up like a jet touching down on a landing strip.  I want to clinch my eyes shut so Christmas doesn’t run right over me.  Instead, I stand my ground, wide-eyed and ready to take it like a mom (ha, ha).  I swear I went to sleep on December 17th and woke up to find it is December 22nd.  How the days in between passed so quickly, I don’t know.

This time of year is just an exaggeration of how time passes the rest of the year.  As I get older, the hands on the clock seem to move faster.  Sometimes I feel like I’m scrambling along on the treadmill and someone keeps turning the speed dial up.  My feet move as fast as I can make them, but I get further behind.  If it cranks up any more, I’ll surely drop my bowl of ice cream.

I have the perfect gift for myself this year:  time.  I can always use it, and there is no chance of returns, exchanges or do-overs.  Not just any time, though…no, this time is special.  It’s writing time.

Ever since I finally finished the story I posted last week (The Collector), I’ve been disturbed by the amount of time it took me to get to that point (over 3 months).  I’ve been discouraged about my lack of progress on my novel writing (um, none).  I know life still happens and I’ve a lot to do, but surely I can do a better job carving out writing time.

I’m going to start by using three hours the day after Christmas, with the goal of writing the backstory for the 3rd character in my novel.  With my hot beverage on my desk, to warm my fingers and my brain, I’ll see if I can lay out the first draft.  (If my brain functions well, I’ll stick to hot tea; if I need a little kick start, I’ll go for spiced cider…and if my brain and creativity abandon me, I’ll drown my sorrows in a mug of hot chocolate with extra whipped cream on top.)  One way or another, words will get on the page.

It may not be a black and white TV, but this gift will make my heart happy this Christmas.

What was your best Christmas gift ever?  What would you like that you have not received?  Are you doing anything for “you” this holiday season?

Checking It Twice Thrice

Naughty And Nice

Two young boys,

Ages nine and five,

Went to see Santa

To request some toys.

Filled with excitement,

The younger boy asked

If he made the Nice list-

Could Santa tell him?

Santa informed big brother

He had been a good boy,

“You’re on the almost Naughty list”

He told the other.

This is not just any old poem…it’s a true story of what happened when my kids went to see Santa last week.  When we work up the will to head to the mall for the Santa visit, we expect long lines, crying babies, and cranky parents.  We didn’t expect to have our younger son’s spirit crushed.

First of all, I should clarify that I wasn’t there.  Good thing, because I would have been tempted to set Santa straight.

I know, I know, violence isn’t the answer, but when Jolly Old St. Nick makes your ‘baby’ cry, it’s hard to take the high road 🙂  It didn’t help that it took two days of reassuring before he quit crying whenever he thought about the “Naughty” list.

The fact that my older son gloated about being on the good list just salted my younger son’s wounds.  I knew this had to be a case of mistaken identity.  My younger son hasn’t been perfect by any means, but he wasn’t any worse than my older son.

Perhaps Santa should begin using retinal scans or finger printing to ID the children with whom he chats.  The elves are pretty crafty; I’m sure they could set this up.

Maybe Santa should check his list three times instead of twice…and get a new set of glasses (most insurance plans allow for new ones every other year.)

Or it could be that Santa’s cell phone didn’t have real-time naughty and nice data.  He might consider using a Naughty List tracker.  Yep…there’s an app for that!

Do you have any Santa stories?  What age do you think kids stop believing?  Who would win a popularity contest – Santa or the Easter Bunny?