Notes from a Drama Queen

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 31, 2007

I know, I promised 25 days of Christmas and once more I went MIA. First there was the fried Mac computer (better known as Apple Crisp). Then there was the decision to crash a book (which means writing it as fast as you possibly can). And then there was life.
But I'm back, and one of my many New Year's Resolutions is to post at least once a week here.

First off, no resolutions about my career. Careers are out of our control. We can't resolve to make the New York Times list, sell like hotcakes, get a million dollar contract. All that is up to fate, and all the resolution in the world won't make it happen. But I can choose not to let it break my heart and make me crazy.
So I guess my first resolution really is about my career.
1. I resolve to weather the storms of publishing calmly, and not let it break me.

Then there's the weight issue. I'm adorably chubby ... actually I think I've gone over the line on that one and it's no longer so adorable. I think it's beginning to have an impact on my health. But just choosing to lose weight is a yoyo game, and I've played it too often. Therefore:
2. I choose to get healthy. To make choices, small or large, that will help me feel better and stronger. Maybe I'll start with one small choice a day, and then expand it. But even one small step, one small choice, is a beginning.

And then there's life. I feel responsible for everyone's well-being, I feel anxious and upset if one of my kids is having issues, and they're 20 and 23 by now. I need to not ride the rollercoaster of emotion that is youth. I can't fix everything for them, and if I can't be happy if they're not happy then I'm deliberately choosing unhappiness. I'll do anything I can for them. But then I've got to let go. Therefore:
3. I resolve to let go and let God.

Writing, which has absolutely nothing to do with career. I love writing, love stories. I despise the business, which has tried to break me so many times over the years. Fuck the business. I need to remember to keep them separate. And I never feel good unless I write. Therefore:
4. I will write at least five days a week, at least 200 words a day. When I commit to that I always write a great deal more, and it keeps me in the story, whether I end up doing a page and a half or a 16 page chapter.

And the chaos I live in. It's overwhelming, and even Flylady seems too much to handle sometimes. But it's making me crazy, and there's no island of serenity in the place.
5. I will make one small step a day on decluttering the house.

Sewing and quilting. I have too many UFOs (unfinished objects) and sewing keeps me centered and my blood pressure down.
6. I will do half an hour in my workshop every day, whether it's organizing or actual sewing, because it will make me feel better.

And most important of all:

7. I will take joy in life. In my wonderful husband and children, in my three cats and a dog, in my wonderful writing friends like Jenny Crusie and Lani Diane Rich and the joy of collaboration, I will celebrate gorgeous men and movies and snow that covers the mountains with a blanket of white. I'll celebrate working toward the things I want in life, health and serenity.

And I wish you all a fabulous new year!

So tell me what your resolutions are? Have you got any plans to make 2008 a good year? Besides the obviously political solution .

Christmas Day 7,8 & 9

Monday, December 10, 2007

OK, I'm unreliable. I've been finishing up my Christmas novella (CLAUS AND EFFECT) and working on the collaboration (DOGS AND GODDESSES) and haven't been keeping up with my Christmas-y duties. I made Richie put a new electric outlet on the landing so I can put a Christmas lamp on the window there (which get surrounded by tiny Christmas Cabbage Patch Kids that came from McDonalds Happy Meals many moons ago). I have husband who can do anything, which is a mixed blessing. It means we have to wait till he gets around to things but he was motivated on this one.
All the angels are now on top of the large bookcase with the dvds in them. The santas (or most of them) are on top of another bookcase. The piano is cleared off, waiting for festive tchotkes. Gotta put up the lighted garland in the kitchen, hang the Christmas shower curtain, and get rid of all the boxes in the living room.
I promise -- pictures by tonight.
I even went to the Christmas lunch given by the church, where I was charged with arranging the trivia quiz. I include it for your enjoyment. The Carol part I found on line, the trivia part I made up myself. Enjoy!
Name the carols described in each riddle

1. Oh, member of the round table with missing areas
2. Boulder of the tinkling metal spheres
3. Vehicular homicide was committed on Dad's mom by a precipitous darling
4. Wanted in December: top forward incisors
5. The apartment of two psychiatrists
6. The lad is a diminutive percussionist
7. Sir Lancelot with laryngitis
8. Decorate the entryways
9. Cup-shaped instruments fashioned of a whitish metallic element
10. Oh small Israel urban center
11. Far off in a haybin
12. We are Kong, Lear, and Nat Cole
13. Duodecimal enumeration of the passage of the yuletide season
14. Leave and broadcast from an elevation
15. Our fervent hope is that you thoroughly enjoy your yuletide season
16. Listen, the winged heavenly messengers are proclaiming tunefully
17. As the guardians of the woolly animals protected their charges in the dark hours
18. I beheld a trio of nautical vessels moving in this direction
19. Jubilation to the entire terrestrial globe
20. Do you perceive the same vibrations which stimulate my auditory sense
21. A joyful song of reverence relative to hollow metallic vessels which vibrate and bring forth a ringing sound when struck
22. Parent was observed osculating a red-coated unshaven teamster
23. May the Deity bestow an absence of fatigue to mild male humans
24. Rose-colored uncouth dolf is aware of the nature of precipitation, darling

1. Which of these actors did NOT play Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street?
A. Edmund Gwenn
B. Sebastian Cabot
C. Richard Attenborough
D. Donald Sutherland
2. For what instrument was “Silent Night” written?
A. Piano
B. Glockenspiel
C. Guitar
3. In Christmas in Connecticut, what was Barbara Stanwyck’s profession?
A. Housewife
B. Journalist
C. Hooker
D. Secretary
4. In Remember the Night, what was Barbara Stanwyck’s profession?
A. Thief
B. Journalist
C. Conwoman
D. Princess
5. The following songs are written in what language? Itsuka No Merry Christmas, Burnin’ Xmas, Futari no Kinenbi, Pittari Shitai X’mas, Hitorikiri No Christmas?
A. Chinese
B. Japanese
C. Finnish
D. Russian
6. Which of these aren’t Christmas movies?
A. The Man Who Came to Dinner
B. Love, Actually
C. Babes in Toyland
D. Home Alone 3

Christmas Day 5 & 6

Thursday, December 06, 2007

OK, so I got a little distracted last night. It happens to the best of us. I ended up running around being dutiful daughter and good wife and mother and didn't get any work done, but I hauled out the Laurel Burch Christmas quilt (pictures to come) and today I had Tim bring up the thirteen boxes of Christmas decorations (not counting the five still downstairs for the tree). I got about five pages done on the novella, and I was hoping to finish it, but then I got distracted, so I went over to Sally's house and started making a Christmas quilt for my mother. Very simple design -- I took the 5 x 6 inch squares of a Christmas teapot fabric and started framing them with 2 inch strips of coordinating fabric. It went very fast, and the squares will be done next week -- I'll upload that as well. In the meantime I provided moral support for Sally as she worked on her first quilt.
She says she can't read ICE STORM because it's not Christmas-y enough. True. While my Christmas novella only has one murder, one bullet wound (for the hero), one crack across the face with a gun (the heroine) it's got a lot more holiday spirit. Now if people would just leave me alone I'd be able to finish it and throw myself into Christmas.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow, if anyone wants to bother me I'll pack up the computer and go disappear.
In the meantime, the snow has slowed to flurries, and it's a bit nippy (15 degrees) but the woodstove's cooking, the cats and dog are all lounging around in various stages of advanced sloth, and tomorrow my characters get to do the deed.
So life is looking fabulous.
The puzzle I tried to upload didn't work -- I'm going to have to take lessons from my magnificent web designer on how to embed stuff.
In the meantime, here's something pretty to look at:
a Christmas quilt I made for Sally and Tony a couple of years ago. It's not a very good view -- I'll have to take some new pictures, but it's Holsteins (the black and white cows) in a snowy field and stars all around, and it's called Mooooonlight in Vermont.
Anybody baking yet?

Christmas Day 4

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My darlings! I went searching on the internet and found a treasure trove of J-rock Christmas songs to download -- ones I'd never heard of. Ah, such joy!
Fifteen pages of the Christmas novella today, working hard. Today I'm wearing green with embroidered wreaths on it -- I'm such a Christmas whore. I got tapped to provide the entertainment for our church luncheon on Saturday so I'm coming up with a questionnaire. I'll post it here when I finish it and see how good you all are.
It was still snowing on and off all day, so I stayed in the house and kept warm. I started placing Santas in various places -- Santa with the snowmobile has a place of honor. I need to start baking but the DH just got diagnosed with high blood sugar (and I've got high cholesterol) so we both need to turn over a new leaf. But not at Christmas time!

Tomorrow I sew, and maybe clean, and maybe finish the novella. I have twenty pages to go (though it'll run longer) and I have to get in passionate sex, defeat of bad guys, and Happy Ever After crammed into it. And it'll be glorious!

And I've got a secret, contract-wise, but I'm not allowed to tell. I'm afraid I'm going to have to spend most of December working my butt off, but you know, I always feel much better when I'm working. I was put on this earth to tell stories and I only feel good when I do.

But here are a couple of treats. First, the video for one of my favorite J-rock Christmas songs. Bizarre and wonderful, particularly the red and white outfits. For those of you with too slow a connection for Youtube, here's a glimpse.

And here's another treat, if it works.

On the iPod today -- Burnin' Xmas, Itsuka No Merry Christmas, and Otis Redding singing "Merry Christmas Baby".

Christmas Day 3

Monday, December 03, 2007

My darlings! Well, first of all I wrote 18 pages on the Christmas novella. No rest for the wicked. It took me till 2 pm because I had to keep stopping for email and a game or two of solitaire, but they're solid pages. It'll be done this week.
And while doing that I uploaded a bunch of Christmas CDs to my computer while I listened to them. Hall and Oates were a little too rambunctious for me to write to, so I uploaded a bunch of Windham Hill Christmas CDs, Linda Eder, Maybe This Christmas, the Wilson Sisters (singing Hey Santa) and discovered Linda Eder doesn't sing "Where Are You Christmas", it's Faith Hill. I must have gotten confused because it's a power ballad. So I bought that from iTunes (I'm a very conscientious downloader) and played that a few times. Then started with the house -- a retro table scarf from the '50s that I used to hate but is now mid-century modern. Lighted garland around the hall mirror, Christmas tablecloth on the table. I can't put the lighted garland up outside because we're in the midst of a huge, Christmas-y snowstorm -- about ten inches so far and more coming.
Next goes the lighted garland in the kitchen window with the red and green Japanese lanterns.

Now I've got attack my bedroom, which looks like a bomb hit it. This year I want it neat enough to have a tree in there as well.

In the meantime I'm wearing my red snowman sweatshirt and ready for a cup of Christmas tea.

How's your December proceeding?

Christmas Day 1 & 2

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My darlings! OK, so I already fell down on my promise to blog every day, but I've been doing my Christmas duty. Yesterday I went over to Sally's house and sorted through my Christmas fabric -- I'm going to make a quick Christmas throw for my mother out of Debbie Mumm Christmas teapot fabric. Tried to get the Xmas carol clock up and running but alas, no AAs, but in the meantime I hauled more Christmas mugs and bowls up from the basement and uploaded Christmas music to my iTunes and then onto my iPod.
And today I was simply a good daughter and took my mother out because she was going stir crazy, trapped with my sedentary sister. Bought Mary Engelbreit holiday paper towels and a Christmas rug for the front door, and right now I'm collapsed on the sofa, awaiting a killer snowstorm.
Tomorrow I start sewing and decorating. Right now I'm feeling tired tired tired, as Eloise would say. Maybe it's time to start baking.
But for the time being I'm going to curl up on the sofa and read Eloisa James's AN AFFAIR BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
In the meantime here's a picture of his lusciousness, Yoshiki, the godfather of Japanese rock and roll.

Tis the season to be lustful -- fa la la la la, la la la la!