Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Got Lucky

The box contained a scarf, hat, pipe, broom, plastic carrot, two pieces of coal, and several buttons. The box was marked "Happy's Magic Kit." The Smith's had no idea where the box came from and even less of an idea of what it all meant. Little Johnny, on the other hand, knew exactly what the box was for. He only needed to wait until the time was right. He looked to the heavens and winked.

Each morning, Johnny ran outside and looked upward. He was trying to be patient, but he was eager to experience the magic of the box. Finally, on the morning of Christmas Eve, Johnny woke up to find his yard covered in a downy white blanket. He knew his day had come!

He rushed outside as soon as breakfast was over and started his magical journey. He formed three perfect snowballs and set about building them to the proper size. Once his snowman was standing taller than he was, Johnny ran to the garage and got "Happy's Magic Kit." The box was bigger than he was, but he finally dragged it over to the snowman.

Johnny ran back tot he garage and found an empty milk crate. He carried that over to the snowman as well. Gingerly, he removed each item from the box and placed them with great care on the snowman. Before long, Happy was fully assembled.

Johnny cleaned up his milk crate and the empty box and stood back to admire his handiwork. Happy was a handsome snowman; but, Johnny was waiting for the magic to happen. Nothing did. Soon, other kids from the neighborhood came over to admire Happy. After awhile, a snowball fight broke out and some of the kids made angels in the snow. Happy stood watch over all of it.

Happy may not have performed any special magic, but the Smith's now know that snowmen are magical. Johnny had never had so much fun as he did today.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Life's Drama

I’d finally reached a point in my life where I could take all that was good and rebel against it. Life was pretty good even if I wouldn’t exactly admit it. I was a teenager after all. I could take the smallest incident and turn it into life’s largest drama. It was expected. I could get away with it. Hormones would take the blame for most of it.

And then, my parents split. All of a sudden, I was no longer the center of attention. I was no longer able to get away with crap. My life was turned upside down. Of course, I blamed my mother. She was the one I saw every day. She was the one that drove the family apart. Even if it wasn’t really her fault, I had to place blame. So now, not only did I want to, and need to, rebel. I was incredibly angry to boot.

There was no reason to get out of bed in the morning. My own sister didn’t even get it. She was older, of course. My status as the baby of the family had just been replaced by the dissolution of the family unit. We were all left to try to get past what was happening on our own. It wasn’t fair. There were four of us in the family. Now there were three bitter felines with their claws drawn ready to do battle. Without cohesion, defense mechanisms took over. The glue was gone.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Do What is Right for You

In order to be successful, we need to modify our behavior in ways that we can accept. If we can live with the changes we make, we will continue on that course of action. Changing your health is all about making sensible choices. As soon as we forbid ourselves something or lose our flexibility, we've jinxed the action. If we can change how we eat and how we live by making real-life everyday choices, we have paved the road to success.

Two years ago, some blood work revealed extremely high blood sugar levels. The doctor I was seeing at the time, one I didn't particularly like that well, gave me an ultimatum. Either I start exercising and watching my diet or I spend the rest of my life on medication and develop diabetes. She wanted me to exercise 30 minutes every day. Well, something sank in. I started riding my stationary bicycle the next day. After five weeks, I had lost five pounds. It was a start and it was enough to keep me going. The next round of blood tests came back better for blood sugar and cholesterol.

I don't get 30 minutes on the bike every day. And, I don't get on the bike every day. I try to. I aim to ride every day. If I manage to do so five out of seven days, I'm happy. I generally will ride for 20 minutes. I know that if I want to see further weight loss, I need to increase the number of minutes and increase the frequency. In the meantime, the arrangement is one that I can live with. I schedule my ride for 6 p.m. If something else is going on at that time, I might not make it.

Two years ago, also, the company I work for started a walking program. They provided us with pedometers and a log book. If you turned in your log every quarter, you would receive an incentive for belonging to the program. We would get gift certificates, cook books, walking maps of Cleveland, and umbrellas. It was a great program. The members of the club challenged themselves to do better each week. The company challenged us to keep with it in order to get the incentive. The program has since changed, but I still log my steps every day.

Over the past six weeks, on the days that I work, I have achieved the 10,000 step milestone every day except for one. According to some sources, 10,000 steps is 5 miles. According to my pedometer, it isn't. However, I see a substantial difference in the number of steps I achieve on weekends and when I'm on vacation. I know how lazy I can be. My next goal might be to increase my activity on the weekend to achieve consistency.

These two things constitute my exercise program. These two things are not anywhere near enough, but they are things that I can live with and things that I can do. I've been tracking both activities for two years now. I think that is something to celebrate. I could have taken up another activity and I could have abandoned that activity a long time ago. I needed to do what made sense to me. I'm 14 pounds lighter now than I was. I have the potential to do more.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Diets Don’t Work But All Is Not Lost

Diets don't work. Gadgets don't work. What does work is moderation and sensible choices. If we were given a choice between a brownie and two cookies, which one would be better for us? In actuality, neither choice is good, but we can compare the benefits of both and choose the lesser of the two evils.

Diets invariable set one up to fail. One may see success, for a time, and as soon as the diet behavior is done. Failure sets in. We gain back everything we lost, plus more. Most diets are based on deprivation. Something that we normally have is now our worst enemy. Deprivation only serves to make us want what we can't have even more. So, what do we do?

We make choices and strive for moderation in all things. Given a choice between two things we enjoy. Choose the one you would prefer, but only eat half. We can then give ourselves a very similar choice at another time with the other half. Let's say we are desperate for a candy bar. Let's go ahead and treat ourselves with the understanding that we'll either give something up later in the day or exercise for that much longer to make up for our weaknesses.

Some things that we can do:

Trade that tall glass of milk with your meal for a smaller glass. Even better, have water with your meal. If you drink a glass of water before your meal, you'll feel fuller when you eat. We want to eat our calories. Drinks can supply a whole bunch of extra calories without any nutritional benefit.

Serve yourself only what you intend to eat. Take only the one roll or one handful of potato chips that you want and leave the rest in the kitchen. Potato chips now come in individual servings. These little containers are great for portion control!

Stop eating when you are full even if there are still a few bites left on your plate. It is NOT necessary to clean your plate. A meal that normally lasts for two nights can be stretched to last for three. This not only helps you, but it helps your grocery budget.

Serve smaller portions and eat slower. Try using smaller plates so that the plate still looks full. By eating slower, you give your body enough time to register a full feeling before that point has been passed. If you normally eat three slices of pizza, try settling for two slices. Leftover pizza is just as good the second day.

Don't hesitate to reward yourself with goodies. Just do it less frequently than you currently do. If you have chocolate a few times a week, cut back to once a week. Eventually you'll be able to cut it down to once a month or use chocolate as a special treat when you've done something wonderful in your life. Turn your three-cookie treat into a two-cookie treat. The cookies will last longer. You'll save calories and money.

Moderation is the key. Small changes in our daily lives will eventually add up. Success won't be overnight, but results will be long lasting. Since we don't deprive ourselves, we have less of a chance of binge eating to recoup our losses. We are allowed those forbidden pleasures. We only need to have them less frequently and in smaller portions. We will savor them more because of this.

Don't panic if you've ignored all of your self-imposed rules for a day or so. We're aiming for a change in the way we live. Any change taoverindulgedf we overindulge today, we'll walk an extra block tomorrow. It doesn't mean we've lost the war.

Try to be more active. During the workweek, I aim for 10,000 steps a day. It gives me a goal to work toward. One week, recently, I made 10,000 steps each day that I worked. If I could only increase my activity on the weekends, I'd be that much better off.

I'm not an exercise freak. The pedometer allows me to compete with myself. If I usually do a specific number of steps during a day, I can try to increase that number a little bit each week. During the warmer weather, it is easier to get outside and be active. Walking during your lunch hour can help to achieve the goals you've set.

Two years ago, I started wearing a pedometer and riding my exercise bicycle. I would love to say that I get on the bike every day. I don't. I try to, but I'm quite happy if I get on five days during the week. I'm thrilled when I go a whole week without missing a day. At first, I was doing 30-minute rides. Let's face it, though, most of us are tired after working all day. I made a compromise. I would ride 30 minutes the first and 20 the next. After some time, I went down to a straight 20 minutes a day.

I've only dropped 14 pounds, but it seems to be 14 noticeable pounds. I've had many comments from people at work. I know that I can lose more if I was really interested in doing so. In the meantime, I'm healthier now than I was and it shows in my test results when I'm in the doctor's office. These are good things. And the really wonderful thing is that I didn't really change my eating habits. If I were to incorporate some of my own suggestions, I think I would be quite pleased with the results.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My World

My world has just been totally turned upside down. I don't know when I will be back.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Train Whistle

The night is quiet and still. Occasionally the wind will stir the trees in the distance. I know it is there, but I don't feel it. A train passes a couple of miles away. I only know this because the whistle claims my ear as if the train is right next to me. I don't know why this whistle bothers me so much but I get the shivers every time it encounters me alone in the dark.

During the day, the sound is absorbed by all of the activity sounding our little town. At night, though, that whistle knows when I'm alone and vulnerable. I shrink further into my own skin when the conductor pulls the chain. I can envision a skeleton standing at the window with his arm on the chain waiting for me, and finding me, he yanks hard. I wonder how his bones don't separate with the force of his vengeance for me.

The eyes of the conductor, gaping holes in a gray skull, seek my soul in the dark of midnight. I am often outdoors at this time enjoying my solitude and the quiet of the night. I know he often lifts his engineer's cap at me and waves. This doesn't make sense as the train is not visible from here. But he knows I'm there. He knows that I know he's there. We've had a cat and mouse existence for years. Unfortunately, I've become weary of the game. The conductor might catch me soon.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Behind the Times

So here we are at the end of the first week of the new year. I haven't caught up on the poetry I was supposed to write and the only story I wrote was based strongly on a journal entry I read. Of course, I did get two days out of it, but still. Sorry, Angie.

During the week, we tend to be so busy that we often don't have time to think about how we feel or what's going on. Come the weekend, we have less rigorous activity and a less defined schedule. We find out just exactly how tired we are and how much we've been abusing ourselves. I've been under the weather today. I'm not terrible, I'm just not great. And, I'm not terribly motivated either.

Hopefully, this slump will pass. I'm going to call it the winter blues for the moment. Too bad winter is only a couple of weeks old. But, it isn't too late for Christmas. I finally got my hands on "Christmas with the Kranks." I think the book was better, but I did enjoy the movie. We watched it last night. I thought that Spike sounded older in the book. I do like Tim Allen, though.

Happy Saturday, all.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Weekend

Ah, time off again is here. I'm very glad that I don't have to work tomorrow. This is only a small satisfaction from an otherwise very long week. Winter is back today. We saw some snow and it got quite cold. My car doors were frozen this morning as were my windshield wipers. Once I got inside the car, I still had to get all of the ice of the windows (well, most of it). That's a great way to start the morning. I think it was Mother Nature's way of getting even.

Otherwise, the day was busy as usual. At least there weren't any new developments. Sometimes it helps just to be able to coast through busy without having the drastic ups and downs. I could use a few more of those.

I hope you guys all have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Grindstone

I left work on 12/21/05 in the midst of two parts of a project. We'll call it two projects to keep it simpler. I went back on 1/3/06 to those two projects plus two more that are due this month. And one of those has to be done twice! Needless to say, I've been extremely busy and getting stressed. All that rest I got while I was out fell to the way side on the 3rd. I'm in desperate need for another vacation already!

I'm slowing, but surely, trying to do little pieces of everything and so far, I'm hanging in there. We'll see how this month shakes out.

Have a good night, all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Time Tricks Us

I knew I couldn't stick around and watch my grandfather wither away. He wasn't the man I had just seen. He was the man I remembered from all those years ago. We spent many summers hiking through the woods and fishing in the lake. That was the man I wanted to remember anything less would be too painful. This was only a fraction of his former self.

Even though it was painful to see him like this, I'm glad I put forth the effort. It only strengthens what I knew. The voice and the eyes are still the same. The eyes know me. The voice reprimands me for staying away so long even though we both know why. This is what I came for. The memories came back more vividly after the encounter. These are the memories I will carry with me. This is the comfort I had sought.

They always said you could never go back home. This is true. Some things never change, but time takes its toll. There's no way to change back a clock after you've left. There's no way to really recapture the feelings you had unless you never leave in the first place. Going back, though, helps the memories. Going back puts things into perspective. Going back was the right thing to do.

Why is it always harder to do the right thing?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Time Ravages On

The man sitting in front of me was one I had known my entire life. The man sitting in front of me was only a shrunken image of the man I had known. He was dying and we both knew it. I took his had and tried to convey with ineffectual words all that needed to be said and done. I knew this man and he knew me. We loved each other. The years, however, had not been kind to either of us. We no longer had any connection except for blood.

What was is sometimes harder to let go of that what actually is. The next time I saw him would be at his funeral. I can only hope that my appearance that day was enough to let him know that I remembered what we had. I cherished those years together before our lives took us on different roads of adventure. His life hadn't gone that far since I left, but time had caught up with him.

My own life had been busy. The people I left behind were thought of only when the need arose. Sometimes that need came too late. There is no way to take back time once it has gone. We can only hope to do a better job in the future.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Time is Running Out

I am so not ready to go back to work. I enjoyed my time away from the office and don't want to see it end. I didn't get as much done as I would have liked either. Be that as it may, I go back to work tomorrow. I go back to getting up at an unglodly hour to travel the elements to get to my job. Ugh!

I hope all is going well for you. I don't think many are reading these days, but if you're there, pleae know you are appreciated. Once I get back into some kind of routine, I'll try to come up with some more inventive posts. I know the last several have been pretty drab.

Have a good week all.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

First Day

I didn't expect to go visiting today, but that's exactly what we did. We got back home around 4 and it was time to start cooking. I would have preferred a more leisurely day, but it was all good either way. My dinner was absolutely wonderful. My recipe for Swedish meatballs has never let me down. I had them simmering after only an hour and a half. Now if I could just cut down on the prep time, I'd be in business.

All the shows have been repeats lately. We have one movie left to watch and haven't been in any hurry to view it. Most evenings we spend doing puzzles together. I still can't get enough Sudoku. You really should try them if you haven't. I even finished a book. Do you remember the movie "Christmas with the Kranks?" The book, "Skipping Christmas," is the basis for that movie. It is written by John Grisham. When the movie came out, I decided I had to read the book. We couldn't find it last year. This year, we found it several times. I handed it to my mother and opened it on Christmas Eve. I loved the story. Now I have to see the movie, but we're still waiting for the library to get it.

I actually got five books this Christmas. I hope to start another one before I go back to work on Tuesday. One of the books is the Norton's Anthology of Poetry. I really need to do some serious reading there. I still have an American Literature poetry book from a couple of years ago as well. Even if I don't pay too much attention to them now, I'm glad I have them so that I can eventually see what makes it into these anthologies. Maybe when I get inspired again, we'll get to these books.

We are going to do some puzzles now. I hope everyone had a great start to their new year.

Saturday, December 31, 2005


It has been a great year. I started this blog this past year and have made some wonderful new friends. Of course, my list of friends I've never met keeps growing, but that's okay. They are true friends.

We winding down to the last two hours of 2005. I hope your year was wonderful and that better things are in store for you in 2006. I've done some good things this past year, both personally and professionally. This next year should be even better.

Happy New Year, all.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Year is Almost Over

The year is almost over and so is my vacation. I don't go back to work until Tuesday, but Monday is the actual holiday. I didn't accomplish half of what I wanted to while I was off. I probably didn't accomplish half of what I wanted to this year either. Next year, though, shows all kinds of promise.

The nice thing about new years is that it is almost a starting over of sorts. It is a new start for so many things. The only problem is that it all deals in time and time has a habit of getting away from us. We do what we can and make the best of every opportunity. That is what we have to do.

In the meantime, there's still time this year to do some of the things we have put off. There's also still time before the postage rates go up to do some of the things we should do. Sounds like I have some work to do.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Almost Over

The year is almost over. I'm seriously hoping this coming weekend will be much more relaxing than it has been around here. Our out-of-towners are leaving tomorrow. That just leaves the normal laundry and grocery shopping to get done. I have already decided that we're doing New Year's dinner at home. I'm going to made my Swedish Meatballs. I've only been making them for his birthday the last couple of years. It should be good.

The CD-RW/DVD-Rom is doing somewhat better than it was yesterday. It plays CDs great and I can now burn them. DVDs play a little strange, but I do have volume on them today which I did not yesterday. In the process, I completely destroyed my sound drivers and had to get them back. Then I ended up with a Windows Protection Error that wouldn't even let me boot. I swear, one of these days, something is going to get installed on this computer without taking hours, days, and weeks to do it.

I hope you all have been having a wonderful week. We've been in the upper 30s and low 40s for the past week. I was hoping to get some bad weather out of the way while I didn't have to drive to work in it. Not gonna happen or so it seems. Have a great night, all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I'm fussing with a new CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive tonight. We're having some audio issues. Hopefully, we'll be back in business tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

On Blogging

As much as I complain about lack of readers, I have had almost 300 visitors this past month on this blog. While my other two blogs are far, far behind, I'm not terribly upset by that. I, of course, owe so much to Billy Jones for his links on my Christmas stories. So, thank you, Billy, for the boost this past month. It has indeed been a memorable holiday experience in my little corner of blogsphere. You can visit Billy at Billy the Blogging Poet. If a few of my new visitors return, this month will pay off quite nicely.

I have seriously neglected my poetry blogs lately. I'm two pictures behind in the Pic of the Week at Moontown Cafe. And aside from the Round Robin, I haven't written much in the way of regular poetry for quite some time. The Robin will start up again after the new year. Maybe a break was what I needed. Only time will tell.

Have a good night, all.

Monday, December 26, 2005

'Tis the Season

Christmas is over for the most part. We have a gift exchange with out-of-towners on Wednesday and a Holiday Open House on Thursday. I don't mind being done for the year except that I have lost my writing topic for the moment. Because of Billy's 30 Days of Christmas, most of my work for the last month has been along that theme. I feel I'm done some good work over the past month.

I'm not sure what is in store for the future. It will be going back to not having a clue what I'm going to write until I sit down to do it. On the one hand, it keeps the creative juices flowing to just sit and write. On the other hand, it was nice to have a little bit of direction. Maybe I should start some monthly themes.

I enjoy my time in my blog. Christmas Eve was the first day I've missed since I started this blog. I posted after midnight that night. Therefore, Christmas Day became less urgent. I will forgive myself for missing on the holidays, though, since I have been here every other day. I was only mildly distressed to find that I could not change the date on my entry. I tried.

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Happy New Year to all.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I hope your day is filled with everything you're looking for today.

Believe it or not, I missed a day!

Friday, December 23, 2005

No White Christmas

When you want the snow, it doesn't happen. Temperatures are warming up and we're expecting rain. After two days like this, there will be very little white stuff left on the ground. I don't especially dream of a white Christmas, but the movie was wonderful. There is just something so pretty about snow on Christmas. It fits hand in hand with Santa, the reindeer, and the sleigh.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. My parents will have been married 49 years. In this day and age, that in itself is something to celebrate. My mother's parents were also married on Christmas Eve. I never met either of her parents. They were both gone long before I was born. It is a special day. Even though many times the anniversary gets glossed over, it is a wonderful day.

If nothing else, maybe we can get some of the ice cleared from the sidewalks and driveways. With visitors coming and going, clear pathways will help to make the day less slippery. You know how it gets when families get together. There's enough goings on in the houses; we don't need any mishaps getting to the houses. We especially don't want Santa slipping on any rooftops!

I hope your day tomorrow is everything you hope it to be. I'm going to try to make it a good day for my folks.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Little Red Wagon

For a couple years, I was very happy. Both of them played with me. Even when I got scraped and bruised, it was okay because we were having fun. Then one day, one of my front wheels broke off. The kids couldn't figure out how to have fun with me any more. For a day or two, they turned me upside down and leaned me against things as a sort of fort. They soon tired of that.

What I would give to get those days back where one of the kids pulled the other around. I gave them rides until I was so tired I didn't think I could move any more. I always kept moving. I even made a convenient lemonade stand last summer. There was just enough room for a pitcher of lemonade, some cups, and a can for money. My side was just big enough for a sign to be hung. The kids had fun that day. I did, too.

There were also times when I was laid on my side. I was the wall the kids hid behind then their bad guy friends went shooting at them. I never could figure out who were the cowboys and who were the indians, but I was happy to be a part of the game. And, always at the end of playtime, I gave one of the kids a ride home as long as the other one was good enough to pull us along. Those were good days.

Lately, I've been gathering dust and am very sad. If I could cry, maybe some of the dust would go away. I heard some talk about throwing me away. I hope not. I don't want to go away. Without my wheel, though, I may not have a whole lot to say about what happens to me.

It was garbage day and a couple of weeks before Christmas. The parents of the kids bought a bigger, better wagon for their kids and my parking spot was going to be needed. I found myself on top of the garbage pile. It was fun while it lasted, but my life was much too short. I can hear the garbage men coming now.

Piece by piece, the trash was picked up and thrown into the truck. Piece by piece, my life was closer to being over. I felt myself being picked up. Instead of being thrown into the truck, though, I was tucked under someone's arm and given a spot on the floor of the truck.

"What are you going to do with that?" asked the driver.

"I thought I would see if I could fix it for my kid. A couple of new wheels and a paint job and this thing could be good as new." came the answer.

I had never heard such beautiful words in my life! Someone was going to fix me so that more kids could have fun with me. This was going to be the best Christmas ever.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Perfect Gift

The tree just didn't look right with only one gift underneath. Normally, there were more presents than ornaments since he enjoyed shopping for nonsense gifts. For the last three months of the year for the past three years, every time he saw something that he thought she would like, he bought it.

This year was different. He had started to pick up items on more than one occasion, but he knew nothing would be good enough. He had made the decision that this was the year he would make his world right. He had been to every jewelry store in the county until he found the perfect ring.

He hoped she wouldn't be disappointed since there wouldn't be a bunch of gifts this time. The one he was giving her was important to him. It meant everything to him. Over the last year, they had hinted at marriage. He thought she would honor him by accepting his proposal. He knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

The tree looked so strange though, with only one gift. He knew he had to do something. He found some wine glasses and tied bows on the stems. The glasses went under the tree. He found a bottle of wine that he also put under the tree. The wine they would actually share was safely chilling in the refrigerator, but the picture under the tree was incomplete without the bottle.

He found her favorite book of short stories and placed that under the tree as well. He felt there was only one thing missing. He had just the thing. For the longest time, he had meant to organize his pictures and put them into an album. He bought an album earlier in the year for just this reason. He would dedicate the album to them.

Lovingly, he reviewed all of the pictures he had of them together. He chose the best ones for the album. His camera automatically dated the pictures so it was easy to put them into date order. He was quite proud of the album when he finished. He wrapped a big red bow around the book and placed it under the tree. Unfortunately, the original gift had become buried. He rearranged everything until he thought it was perfect.

Now all he had to do was to wait for Christmas. It would be a merry Christmas, indeed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sleeping on Christmas Eve

It was Christmas Eve. Mom and Dad said I had to go to sleep or Santa would not come. I tried. I really tried. I was too excited to sleep. Every noise the house made received prompt attention. I listened real hard to hear if that noise was Santa. Every time, I was disappointed.

I could hear Mom and Dad downstairs talking. That was comforting sound since I hear that every night when I drift off to sleep. Only tonight, every time I started to drift, I would hear a possible Santa noise. I was positive I knew exactly what sound the reindeer would make as they landed on our roof. I wasn't sure how they were going to land since our house came to a point, but I knew he'd come any way.

We only had one bathroom in the house and I could hear my parents when they came up to use that bathroom. They seemed to have to go a lot. As soon as I dozed off for a second, someone else would come up to use the bathroom. They were busy tonight. Mom said I had to go to sleep, but sleep would not claim me.

I started to count sheep. The sheep soon turned into elves and I would hear another noise. Instantly, my ears picked up and my eyes were wide. Nothing! I would start counting elves again. I could only count to 10 so that didn't take too long. I would start over again.

I must have fallen asleep at some point. When I woke up Christmas morning there were lots of presents under the tree. Not only had I missed Santa, I missed stealing the last cookie from the plate that we left for the old man. Man! Next year, I'm gonna catch him for sure!

Monday, December 19, 2005


I've received two rejections in the past week. One was for some poetry and the other for a review that I wrote. These rejections don't help in the motivation department. I have a couple of submissions outstanding, but I don't hold my breath.

I haven't even been writing all that much poetry lately. The blog has taken up much of my writing time. I feel I've done some decent stories, though. Maybe I need to focus more on that kind of submssion. I don't know.

Have a great night, all.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Holiday Recap

For your reading pleasure, I have written several Christmas stories over the past few weeks. The list of stories on my sidebar include the newest Christmas additions. If you find a story that you enjoyed, please let me know.

Christmas is only a week away. I hope to get some additional inspiration to provide even more stories as the week progresses. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday week.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Gift for Mrs. Claus

Santa was looking for the perfect gift for his wife. He was running out of time and had no ideas what to give her. After last year, Mrs. Claus let him know that his gifts were lacking and she would not tolerate it any more. He was Santa Claus after all. He could certainly come up with a decent gift for his wife.

Over the years, Mrs. Claus had gotten a variety of misfit toys and cast offs for Christmas. Santa was always so busy and she always understood and laughed it off. He could not let her down again this year. Heaven forbid, she might leave him. The North Pole could get might cold without a woman to warm your bed!

The elves tried to help Santa with his dilemma, but were failing as miserably as he was in finding the perfect gift. He wanted this to be special. He wanted it to be memorable. He wanted it to be perfect. Santa locked himself in his study and gave the problem some serious thought. He made some notes, but nothing was good enough for his wife. He just knew he was going to let her down again. He started his apology:

I don't have the perfect gift for you again.
I cannot give you anything that makes me
as happy as you have made me over the years.
I offer this to you as my humble apology.
You deserve more than I can give, always have.
You make my life Christmas. You are my gift.

Shaking his head, Santa folded his apology neatly and placed it in a small box. He wrapped the box and put a pretty red bow on top of it. He would keep looking for that perfect gift, but if he failed, he had an offering. As an after-thought, Santa made a little card and drew a rose on the front of it. He added the traditional to and from lines and signed the card with a flourish. And then, he had an idea.

Roses! Mrs. Claus loved roses! Santa couldn't remember when the last time he had given his wife flowers. That would be a great gift for her. And...maybe some perfume that smelled like roses would be good too. The flowers would die quickly, but she could remember how they smelled with the perfume. Now all he had to do was sneak away to get these gifts.

Christmas morning came and Santa was very tired. There seemed to be more children this year and he was getting older, of course. He sat in his chair and waited for his wife to join him in front of the fire. As tired as he was, he was looking forward to exchanging gifts with his wife. He had nothing to be ashamed of this year. He had found the perfect gift.

Mrs. Claus presented her gift to Santa first. She had spent several weeks making him a new suit. Red velvet was getting harder and harder to find. She was quite pleased with her handiwork and even Santa liked the new look. He would try it on later in the day. Santa only hesitated for a moment before he reached behind the tree and brought out a bundle for Mrs. Claus to unwrap.

"Roses! Oh, honey, thank you! They're beautiful!" Mrs. Claus was only a little puzzled when he handed her a second package. "Perfume! I'm impressed, thank you, dear." She gave him a peck on the cheek.

Santa didn't realize it, but he had been holding his breathe. He let it out slowly and settled deeper in his chair. It was a good day. However, Mrs. Claus was still looking a little puzzled. "Dear? Don't you have something else for me?"

Santa shook his head. Mrs. Claus ran to the study and returned with the little gift that Santa had forgotten about. Once he got the idea about the flowers and the perfume, he tucked it into the corner of the desk and forgot about it. "What about this?"

Santa shook his head again, "Oh, that's nothing."

"Well, can I open it? I found it when I was dusting the study. I'm sorry if I ruined the surprise." Although the gift was no longer relevant, he allowed her to satisfy her curiosity.

The next thing he knew, Mrs. Claus had tears streaming down her face. She hugged Santa as if she would never let him go. "You wrote this?"

Santa was looking sheepish and admitted his folly. "This is the best gift you have ever given me. I love you, Santa Claus."

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Real World

There are so many things I would like to do. I would like to make all the hurt go away. It just doesn't work like that. Some of the things I'd like to do don't happen because there just aren't enough hours in a day. I'm too selfish to give up my sleep in order to go the extra round.

Earlier tonight, I learned that John Spencer died. Ironically, his character on the West Wing suffered a heart attack last season. Today, he suffered a heart attack that killed him. He was only 58. I will miss him. I used to watch LA Law when he starred in that as well.

I just came from the poetry board. It breaks my heart to know that the people I've grown to care so much about are suffering. And, there are just no words to help. If I could be in several places at one time, I could make my presence known with willing hugs and open arms. As the knife cuts, the blade eventually must dull. I can only hope this is true.

My Christmas spirit is lagging behind today. I'm tired and I still have to get up early tomorrow for a dental appointment. Hopefully, I'll discover an elf or two in my dreams tonight. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Winding Down

I've got four more days of work this year and so much to do yet. I hope I last that long. My temporary help ends tomorrow. We originally hired them for two weeks and have kept them for a month and a half. They were a big help. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff we have to do ourselves.

Every day, I seem to run out of time. There's so much to do even after I get home and not enough time. I'm getting to bed late almost every night because we've discovered a new puzzle. Sudoku is so much fun; but, we've had a couple of doozies. My apartment may get cleaned before the holidays. My shopping definitely will get done and the wrapping. The decorating, we'll see.

In the meantime, I'm so ready for this vacation. I'm tired. I need a break.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas on the North Pole

Santa woke up with a headache. The elves were working much too late last night. They were also making way too much noise. As much as Santa wanted to yell at them for his own predicament, he knew he couldn't. The elves had really come through for him this year and deserved to be rewarded. Santa's headache would wear itself out soon enough.

Everyone would have the afternoon off today. Mrs. Claus was preparing a wonderful meal for the whole workshop. Santa also had a special gift for each and every elf. This was going to be their Christmas. The workshop always worked overtime from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This year was no different except that there were more new toys that took longer to make. By the time Christmas actually came around, the elves were already on cleanup detail and were really too tired to enjoy the day. This year would be different!

Mrs. Claus was busy in the kitchen making pies and stuffing 10 turkeys for the feast. The elves were chattering excitedly while they worked. They knew Santa was up to something. They just didn't know what.

The morning dragged for most of the elves. It was a relief when Santa sounded the lunch bell and asked everyone to come back to the work room at 4 o'clock for dinner. "There are sandwiches for everyone. Feel free to take a nap or whatever you feel like until 4. Just don't be late."

The work room cleared out quickly. Santa and the reindeer set about putting the room in order for dinner. The tables were set in bright colors and decorations were hung around the room. The only stipulation Santa made in the decorations was that there could be no likenesses of himself in the workshop. Santa's personal favorite was Frosty the Snowman; it was the North Pole after all.

Once everything was perfect, Santa checked on Mrs. Claus in the kitchen. Everything was under control. Santa took two aspirin and went to take a nap himself. Rudolph was instructed to wake him up at 3:45. No sooner had Santa gotten to sleep that Rudolph's red nose was stuck in Santa's face and he was up again. He was a bit disoriented, but felt better for whatever nap he had.

The whole gang gathered in the workshop at 4 o'clock. Santa had a special sack of gifts which were carefully wrapped and labeled with the names of the elves. "I want to thank each and every one of you for making this year such a success. You've all worked very hard and I offer a mere token of my gratitude." He grabbed the first gift and started calling out the names of the elves to come collect their gifts.

Once the gifts were all passed out, Santa hesitated. "I had such a strange dream. You all have your gifts, but I want to add something extra, something I saw in my dream. I want you all to pick one item that you worked on this past year that you are most proud of and keep it for yourself."

The elves were ecstatic. They worked with these toys every day for years but knew that each and every one was important to some boy or girl somewhere in the world. They had never been invited to keep something they had made. It just wasn't done. Santa had given them the best gift he could possibly have given.

Once the elves had made their selections, they opened their carefully wrapped packages from Santa. Each gift was the same. Each box contained a paperweight that appeared to have snow inside. Each paperweight had Santa and his reindeer flying across the night sky on Christmas Eve. They all had their decoration in Santa's likeness. All was right on the North Pole.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Tidings

The lights twinkle amid branches, garland, tinsel, and ornaments. A star shines with brilliance at the top. Angels are scattered throughout to ensure that all is well. Santa is expected soon and the children are well aware the time is near. However, days are too long for children to comprehend and they await Santa and his reindeer daily. Their excitement is contagious. They, the children, are what make the holidays meaningful.

Rudolph took much abuse as a youngster, but a jolly old man recognized his specialness and decided that Rudolph had a place with him. Many of our own youngsters go through similar situations. We need to follow Santa's example and acknowledge that specialness without ridicule and without malice. Just as Rudolph had his purpose, so do these children. We can't afford to wait as long as St. Nicholas did to recognize a gift that is presented so readily.

Elves help in various tasks in the workshop. They make toys and wrap gifts and keep Santa and his reindeer healthy and happy. These little people are part of the magic of the North Pole. These little people walk among us. They deserve the respect and admiration twice that of a full-size person. The next little person you see might be on a mission from the boss himself. Be kind.

Oh, and Santa really doesn't like it when people pull on his beard. He has learned to tolerate it well, but, yes, the beard is real. Before you pull on an old man's beard the next time, try pulling on your own hair and then decide that you wouldn't want someone doing the same thing to you. Don't pull on his beard. Santa is, indeed, real. Any child will tell you that without uttering a sound.

Christmas is special and is meant to be filled with good cheer. I've said it before and I'll say it again, good cheer should last all year. Be generous and kind to those you encounter. You never know when you might run across these same people another time. Treat people as you would wish to be treated and more can be right in the world.