After losing my dad in October, my poor mother had looked forward to coming to our home for the holidays. She hadn’t traveled since his heart attack in 2009 and thoroughly enjoyed her trip to our house over Thanksgiving.
She wasn’t feeling well last week, but packed her bags. My family had driven to ski Breckenridge when I got the call. She was diagnosed with shingles. GAH!
I had to go into hyperdrive to gather and send her gifts.
While preparing for a Wild day, I caught up on blog posts. Darla from She’s A Maineiac posted 50 Things to Be Grateful For. I told her that if there was a Christmas miracle and there was no line at the Post Office, I would post one too. What were the chances?
I scrambled to put together a package for her and my brother and then drove to the Post Office. As expected, cars lined both sides of the street. There would be a long wait. I sighed and grabbed my box.
When I entered, my eyes widened. A line did NOT exist! It was a Christmas miracle.
$28 later, I am praying for another one: That my package is delivered by Christmas Eve and my mom recovers quickly.
I’m setting my timer. Here goes nothing, Darla…
I Am Grateful for These 50 Things:
My family. I know. It’s so cliché and yet I would be nowhere without them and that’s not because I’m directionally challenged.
My husband. I held on tight through my health setbacks. (Sorry about those bruises, Danny!) He is my super fan and my rock. Mostly he rocks. Not literally. That would be weird.
My health. For those of you who read my blog, I’ve had a few surgeries in the last few years. Yes. My boobs are bionic, but after two years, I am cancer-free. *happy dances around kitchen*
My new knee parts. Yep. The cartilage in my left knee is metal and a plastic disk resides behind my kneecap. It’s all good. I went skiing yesterday.
Our mountain house. We bought it during a fire sale. No. It wasn’t on fire, but they sold it like it was.
Our remodel. After owning aforementioned mountain house for nearly twenty years, the first floor is gutted. It’s another big art project. Right now it’s riddled with landmines of nail heads. You have to keep your head down or YOUCH!
Snow! Nothing gets my heart beating faster. Well that’s not true, but where there’s snow out here in the West, there is…
Skiing! I found out yesterday, I started skiing earlier than Danny. Ha! Wait. How come I’m not as good as him? *scratches head*
Hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, tobogganing because more adventure.
My lookout tower office. I had to move my desk to face the wall in timeout or I’d get nothing done but daydream out the window because it’s so beautiful and I can see the mountains and little rabbits hopping around and an occasional coyote and neighbors and dogs walk by and…. look at the time!
My bed. There is nothing softer.
A good book. I love being swept away into another world especially one with tons of suspense!
Parties. Being a party girl, I always look forward to them. NOTE TO SELF: host a few in 2016.
The New Year. I love the do-over, starting fresh kinda feeling at the beginning of the year. I’m already pretty much over the top optimistic, but the first few weeks put me at a whole new manic level.
Being spiritual. I was raised Catholic, but am open-minded about all religions. Hey, I could swear I was a ballerina in Paris in one of my past lives.
My blog. I love my Wild Ride and having a place to spew my thoughts.
CARBS! Should have been higher on my list. WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Speaking of higher on my list – DANCING!
My camera! Whether on my phone or my digital SLR, I love taking pictures.
The Force Awakens! I was super pumped after that movie.
Homeland. Carrie is the bad-ass I want to be without terrorism, guns, explosives or bi-polar disorder.
Music from alternative to pop to classical to house.
My imagination. My brain holds a pretty crazy environment, but it is so entertaining. Danny often hears me laughing and asks, “What are you laughing at, now?”
My imaginary friends. I wrote half of Funeral Beenes then death happened. (That sounds very ironic.) I needed to quit for a few weeks. I was putting books away two weeks ago and BAM! An idea for a new novel popped into my head. I wrote the first chapter on my phone while waiting for a hair appointment. The main character doesn’t play well with others, but is hugely fun to hang out with.
Drawing. Sometimes an illustration is the only way to convey the voices in my head.
Challenges. I’m always up for them like trying to find an agent. Know anyone who wants to represent a Wild Rider?
Going out for breakfast. That is my favorite! Bring on the tators, fruit and eggs Benedict and I am one happy girl.
Sparkly things. Wait. What was I saying? See! There it is again!!!
My out-going personality. I’ve tried to fit in as a writer and be an introvert. Wait. I can hear you laughing. I know. I only lasted 45 seconds. Okay. 15. OKAY. 5 SECONDS!
My own or anyone else’s sense of humor. I hate cracking jokes and only hearing the sound of crickets. Lighten up people.
Slang. Even if I have to use the totes adorbs Urban Dictionary to understand it. Slang is my bae. I even make some up every January. (see #24. MUS)
Talking to strangers. I HAD to approach the costumed families eating dinner together before The Force Awakens. We made new friends in NOLA too! Why is my mouth always open in pictures?
My Wild Life. It keeps surprising me and gets WILDER every year!
I have spent hours sketching, drawing, crafting, cutting, slicing and pasting my Christmas cards in a sort of elf-like assembly line without the elves. While up to my elbows in paper scraps, I looked forward to that blissful nirvanic state attained after slipping them into envelopes.
A lot of love goes into each card and I would like to share it! Here’s your chance to win one.
Every year, I draw my family engaging in some kind of holiday or winter activity.
Guess what we are doing in this year’s card, leave a comment, and win!
The holidays are never perfect. It’s a hectic time of year and somehow they always take over my life.
Although I dream of a wonderful holiday where everything has been carefully planned and executed. Stockings hang near a roaring fire. Wrapped presents are piled high around a decorated tree. Family and friends gather round the piano and sing while the heavenly aroma of a gourmet dinner cooks in the oven. That never happens.
I’ve compiled a list of warning signs for you!
You know the holidays are taking over your life when:
A few days ago, I mentioned a few of my Christmas traditions, but excluded my favorite. There were many guesses. Some readers were right. BAKING. We used to watch my daughter, Courtney, dance in the Nutcracker. I had an idea. I could combine the two!
I saw an adaptation of the traditional gingerbread man on The Rachael Ray Show and had an BRILLIANT idea. I had to bake them and make a movie. It seemed like the logical thing to do after creating 80+ handmade Christmas cards, right?
With a little bit of help from my daughter, Courtney, the “show” was a success! It’s been years since she performed in a ballet. *chuckle*
Tune in to see what I’m talking about. It’s a totally sweet production! You can hear me cracking up while making the video.Continue reading →
I’ve sent out all of my greeting cards, so it’s time to unveil my project. I’m so nervous. I hope you like it.
Every year an idea comes to mind which becomes a sketch and then transforms into some kind of 3-D popup creation. I know what you’re thinking. Most people don’t even take the time to buy and send ready-made greeting cards. I keep telling myself, “This year I will simplify.” HA! I don’t know the meaning of the word, “simplify.” Two things about me never change: I was born sunny-side up and I love challenges. “Bring it on” should be my middle name, but it’s not. It’s Mary which is pretty dull in comparison. Don’t tell mom. Her first name is Mary.
The front is very similar to last year’s. Take your complaints to Yelp.
I’m ready for the next project on my long list. It’s my absolute favorite. Can you guess?
Nope. I’m not wrapping presents. I always leave that chore until the last minute. I’m not hanging the stockings. NOTE TO SELF: I need to buy sticky tack. I’m not writing my letter to Santa. I’m playing with my new Apple computer right now! I don’t need another thing. I’m not stringing popcorn or making ornaments or running out to the mall to finish my Christmas shopping. I’m done. I’m not running to the grocery store. Not my favorite thing at all although I will take my new fangled warmer jammer list next time.
I’ve been busy drawing, cutting, pasting and folding this year’s Christmas card. I think I’ve listened to almost every corny holiday movie between the Lifetime and Hallmark channel.
Every year has its challenges. In the past, I sent out my cards after more than sixty hours of work and they boomeranged back for more postage! Last year I had to add extra postage for weight. This year I thought I had it handled, but the post office was closed, so I couldn’t check the weight. I was about to throw them in the mailbox, then I decided to take them home just in case.
I’ve been surfing the net for the wildest gifts online and would like to share a few unusual finds with you. Some are wilder than others, but they are all meant for someone who has everything or a sense of humor.
After almost sixty hours, my annual Christmas cards are done. Whew! I smiled while dropping them into the mailbox and imagined my friends and family opening up my little art project. Time is at a premium and many don’t even send store bought cards. We live in an electronic age where communication is at our fingertips. We make contact through texts, tweets and Facebook. Very few pick up the phone and actually talk to people anymore. Everyone is too busy.
I am a dinosaur in today’s world. I plodded through the week while drawing, printing, cutting, and pasting. My gift to others is not just about the card. It is about the love and time it takes to create them. Each one took over 45 minutes. Yep, That was a little overboard. Thanks to Timethief, I have a wealth of new ideas for next year and promise to start in July!
First I decide on an activity. My family is found skiing in many of my cards, but I wanted to come up with something unique for 2013. It has been an exceptional year in some ways, but I was derailed by breast cancer. When I thought of the concept, Dancing on 2013’s Grave, I laughed out loud!
Yes Wild Riders. I am ready to dance once again. Did you miss me?
First I sketch my ideas. Once I have a workable drawing, I use tracing paper and a marker for a final copy. I hope to capture the likeness of everyone. I only draw once a year, so I am always a little nervous when I start. Sometimes the illustration just works like this year when it only took two hours. Other times, I find it challenging to recreate the shape of the eyes, the nose, the mouth, and the jawline. There’s always some printing involved. Thank God for the invention of the inkjet. I used to run back and forth to a commercial printer in a neighboring town to get the pieces camera ready.
One year, I took extreme measures to find the perfect Christmas gift.
We used to own a wholesale toy and school supply business. On Christmas Eve, my husband Danny would come home with a trash bag full of toys. We would spend hours wrapping the little gifts. Our children grew up and we sold the business. Soon I received my children’s Christmas lists which took me on quests encompassing much of the Denver Metro area.
One year, my son Kelly asked for a Playstation 2. It was the only item on his list. I thought, “Wow! This will be so easy this year. I’ll pick it up and buy a couple of small presents. DONE!”
Not so fast. I walked into Target and stood in front of an empty shelf. I asked the salesman when the next shipment was due to arrive. “We never know when they’re coming in.” I drove to Best Buy and several other stores. The salespeople gave me the same response.
I started to panic. Where would I find the holy grail of Christmas gifts this year if they manufactured so few of them? I compiled a list of stores and started calling every day. I started recognizing the operator’s voices. Continue reading →
While growing up, my sister and I kept busy by creating all kinds of art projects. Accustomed to drawing, I chose an art degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. I worked at a hospital as a medical illustrator for a few years. When Danny and I were married in 1987, I drew our first Christmas card which started a family tradition. They never took more than a day. I dashed off to the printer and picked them up when they were done.
Last year’s card. They were a piece of cake compared to this year’s.
What started out as a simple illustration has become a complicated marathon. It all started a couple of years ago, when I paged through Robert Sabuda‘s Christmas pop-up books. I stared in wonder at the amazing crafted paper which transformed into 3-d objects before my eyes. The BRILLIANT idea of creating a moving card was born. Continue reading →