First Draft Blues

typewriter-801921_1280So, I did it. I managed to complete the first draft of my NaNoWriMo novel. The thing ended up being just over 91,000 words. I can now rest.

Oh, wait. It’s Christmas time. There is no resting.

We did manage to get the majority of our shopping done this weekend. That just leaves the rest of the shopping, including food shopping, wrapping presents, cookie making, and house clean up. Somewhere in the middle, I need to work and to sleep.

Okay, just breathe.

This is normal for me. Christmas happens every year and as much as I try I am still unable to make it as simple as I want it to be. Again, this is just normal for my life.

I made some plans for the week since my kids will be coming up for the weekend. I took a day off to allow myself time to complete some things, like the cooking that I will be doing.

That leaves the rest of the week to complete my to-do list. There is just a holiday party that I am going to attend. I also have a yoga class that I need to attend, as part of my own self-care. So, I’m down a couple of days to get everything done.

Okay, just breathe. You can do this.

At this moment, I am basking in a finished novel. I’m trying not to think too much about my to-do list or the revisions that I will need to do. I have a completed manuscript and that is worth celebrating.

I will work on the rest tomorrow.

 

My helper in finishing my novel.
My helper in finishing my novel.

 

Friday Five: December Favorites

The other night I was outside my house and snapped this picture:


I am amazed at all the colors in this December sunset.

Now, at the beginning of December, I am thinking about all the things I like about this month. There are so many things to like about December. I also know that this is a busy month and easy to overlook things as life becomes so busy.

The things I want to remember and my favorite things about December are:

1. Christmas Lights – For as long as I can remember looking for Christmas lights has been high on my list of favorite things about this season. The funny thing is we don’t really decorate the outside very much. However, I truly admire those who spend the time to decorate their yards.

2. Cookies – When it comes to cooking, I tend to be a little picky, and my cookies are no different. I like to make cut out cookies using an old family recipe. There are a few other favorites that my family requests and I look forward to making them.

3. Snow – I think December is the only month I like snow. I find it acceptable until the end of February which is my birthday, but my favorite time for snow is this month. It’s really isn’t Christmas without snow.

4. Watching Little Kids Open Gifts – This part doesn’t last long but to see their faces when they get to their presents is priceless. We have worked out a way to make it last a bit longer by making everyone open one gift at a time, but it always goes too fast.

5. Giving – If there were a national month for giving, December would be it. The difficult thing is that the need doesn’t go away once December is over, but it is wonderful to see people reaching out to others during this time of the years.

There are so many more things about December that I love and there are a few things that I don’t like about this month. The busyness, shopping, and expectations are some of those things. Each year I attempt to make my life a little easier during this chaotic time. And, each year I become overwhelmed. I keep wondering if there is a key to a peaceful holiday season. Perhaps just accepting that things are crazy is enough.

With so many good things about this month, what are some of your favorites?

Christmas is in How Many Days?

light-690831_1280Earlier this week I saw my first Christmas lights decorating a house. I shouldn’t be surprised since the weather has been so favorable. We should probably expect more decorations this year since our temperatures have been in the 70’s in recent weeks. For Northern Michigan, this has been a wonderful break before the cold weather hits.

I have a rule in my house: the tree doesn’t come out until after Thanksgiving. Which according to the calendar, is in about two weeks. That weekend I will dutifully take my tree out its box (yes I have a fake tree and though I miss having a real tree, wood heat and real pine makes for a problematic holiday season) and decorate it. I will even turn the lights on each night until after the new year.

It’s not that I don’t like to see the lights and decorations. In fact, I truly enjoy them. We’ve been known to drive around after dark searching for fabulously decorated yards.

Just not before Thanksgiving.

I know that I probably land somewhere in the middle of the debate that rages each year as to the best time for decorating. My struggle tends to happen when I am looking at Halloween decorations on one side of the aisle and Christmas on the other.

I put my imaginary blinders on as I peruse the black and orange jack-o-lanterns and black cats.

My daughter once told me that I needed to just deal with the fact that Christmas is coming. I think that year I was even refusing to speak about the holidays before it was necessary.

She is probably right.

However, as much as I enjoy the season, there are things that arent so fun. Some of that comes with the commercialism of Christmas and some comes with all of the things on my to-do list that often includes, cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping etc. It is never ending. This year will even include lessons in how to keep a rambunctious half-grown kitten from treating the tree as if it were her personal toy.

I’m not sure I would have it any other way, regardless of how much I struggle.

Once Thanksgiving has happened and the turkey is a memory, I say, bring on the lights. Bring on the tree, the cookies, and short sprints of shopping.

Oh, and keep them up until after Christmas. Taking down your Christmas tree and decorations at night on Christmas is a bit grinch-like.

That is the best time to keep them on. The cookies are baked and given away, meals eaten, presents wrapped and torn open. It’s time to relax and watch a holiday movie. My personal favorite is White Christmas with Bing Crosby and the gang.

Its one way to enjoy the season and keep the feeling around, even if it is only for one more day.

What are your favorite parts of the Christmas season?