Dear Diary, Please make it stop!

Dear Holiday Diary,

After a week of decorating, I still am surrounded by doodads and ditzies just begging to be made into some form of centerpiece, swag or other holiday shimmery thing. It doesn’t help that I keep looking up at my cupboards with the memory of this ceiling I spied while in Denver.

oxford-hotel-christmas-decor

Thanks a lot, Oxford Hotel. I’m still trying to forget the images of Patsy Ramsey’s house. Now I want to buy gold ribbon to swing from above my cupboards to the top of my chandelier. As if I don’t already have enough to do –

  1. Finish sketching the Christmas card.
  2. Note to self: Ask Danny to hide all the scissors in the house. NO POPUPS!
  3. Ink the illustration.
  4. Blog the contest to win a Christmas card.
  5. Put away crafting supplies and duct tape the containers shut. Danny should hide them too.
  6. Start baking.
  7. Get outside! It’s supposed to drop from the 50’s to below zero by Wednesday. Maybe I can add one more string of lights to the outdoor display, I mean, take a hike.

Ideas keep popping into my mind. I need to make them stop. I’ll let you know how I manage.

Have you started your holiday traditions? Are you scrambling like I am?

Dear Holiday Diary

christmas-decorations

Dear Holiday Diary,

I thought I would take some notes to document Christmas 2016. Danny keeps saying flying to Tahiti would solve most of my problems. I wouldn’t have to decorate. The kids could join us and we could skip the gift exchange. He’s dreaming. This is a transformative time of year for me and my house. Besides, I love sparkly things. We’re staying in Colorado.

Note to self:

Next year, make sure to wear a leather outfit and gloves when using angel hair to decorate. It resembles a swirling snowstorm, but it’s not really hair from angels. It’s hellish fiberglass. It sticks to everything including my hands, clothes, and surfaces within one mile of the “construction area.” It especially likes to pierce my sweat pants and poke through my undies when I’m working underneath a table. “Yowch!

christmas-village-and-hellish-angel-hair

Second note to self: Add changing clothes and laundry to the long list of things to do. *strips down in front of washer*

Oh, yeah, and there’s a light bulb out at the Town Office.

For other holiday disasters click here.

Check out The #Blessed Project. There’s still time to join us and get featured.

Holiday Overachiever Meets Christmas Disasters

Like most of you, the holidays require time for planning, cooking, baking, shopping and celebrations. I add drawing illustrations to that list. No matter how organized, there’s never enough time and mistakes can be made. Add four birthdays to the Lindau mix and my Type-A, overachiever, perfectionism is really tested. But that doesn’t stop me from setting lofty goals. Nope.

illustrated christmas cards

Looking back on November, I can’t believe I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I knew I wouldn’t write 50,000 words like I did in 2014. I didn’t need to. My new book is almost done, but I signed up for the camaraderie and the word counter. Still, I thought I would write at least 20,000 words to hit my own 50,000 word mark. I was dreaming. I fell 4,500 short of that wimpy goal. I guilted out day-after-day over Thanksgiving for not carving out a little time to write. Then I faced that whiney voice head on and turned it off. I spent time with my family.

After taking my mom and brother to the airport and helping my sister with her paintings for a show, I finally sat down at 7:00 Monday night. The house was quiet. My husband, Danny, watched the Packer game in the other room. I planned to catch up with blogging. It would be nice to sit back and relax for the next few days.

Then it hit me.

IT WAS CYBER MONDAY! December 1st would arrive on Thursday! I scrambled to click on deals until Amazon read, AAmmaazzoonn and my credit card was maxed out. Not really, but I got a lot of shopping done.

The next day, I made a list.

  1. Decorate the house.
  2. Prepare for a holiday party.
  3. Bake cakes and cookies.
  4. Draw the family Christmas card.
  5. Shop for everyone.
  6. Wrap presents before Christmas Eve.
  7. Keep up with writing projects.

At the end of every holiday season, I take pictures of my decorations to make it easier for the next. The following year, I never look at them. I’d rather try something different. Decorating a couple of Christmas trees and evergreen swags which hang on almost every surface, then setting up several tablescapes should be easy. (In other words four solid days of work, at least.)

Fifteen years ago, Danny and I hosted a humongous Christmas party for a few hundred guests. I made ninety-three different delectable dishes, sweets and treats. Ninety-three! I kept the list. I told you I was Type-A, I mean OCD. That stands for Obsessive Christmas Decorator, right? The inside of the house was trimmed from stem to stern. The outdoor decorations made Boulder’s Top Twenty list. I splurged on a velvet Ralph Lauren dress complete with a train. I hired help to pass out appetizers. It would be elegant.

gorgeous dining room christmas

Over-achieving had reached new heights. I planned the perfect holiday party. I hadn’t learned the fact that no matter how you fantasize about an event, it never turns out remotely close to your imagination.

A few flakes floated down adding to the Kincaid Christmas card mood. It kept snowing. The snow blew and drifts rose toward the windows. It didn’t stop until the next day. More than half the guests didn’t make it because of impassible roads. Someone tracked mud through the house from the garage. The kitchen, which is the focal point of my house, was trashed sometime during the second hour of the party. Unwashed dishes and containers littered the streaky counters. I tripped on my train all night and considered cutting it off. Some of the hors d’oevres, which took hours and hours to make, were never served on trays. My heart sunk when I found all of them in the refrigerator the next day. That was the last big Christmas party we hosted.

After that fiasco, I entertained my tennis friends with a ladies sit luncheon. It started with a very small group of five. Over the next few years the guest list grew. The last time I hosted the event, I invited seventy! Only half of them showed up. Key words, “The last time I hosted.”

I had a weak moment in November and we will brave entertaining again, inviting people who have kept in touch through the years along with some new friends. The last two nights,  I woke up in a cold sweat wondering how I’ll pull it off without a caterer. I’m relying on my old mantra: “You got this. You can do it.” I’m trying not to fantasize. Nothing will be served on trays. My new dress won’t have a train. My family is helping with the party. I’ll be “dancing for drought” before the party, just in case.

After brushing off my dusty cookbooks, I listed the dishes to prepare for the party. Cakes, breads, and my favorite cookies will be baked and frozen. I hope they don’t disappear before the holidays. I’ve developed a bigger sweet tooth than Danny!

My Christmas card will be tackled early. The first time I made a popup version, they were so complicated, each one took more than ten minutes to paste together. I missed two holiday parties to finish them. That didn’t stop me from continuing the popup time suck over the last few years.

pieces and parts of card diy

This year, I will create an old-fashioned illustrated card. (See card below from 2008.) No bells. No whistles. No pull outs. Just one fold down the middle. I hope. Okay, so if I do something remotely popup this year, take away my scissors next year. Please!

I still have lots of time before Christmas to shop for presents. Ordering online makes shopping so easy. I had a brilliant idea to wrap gifts as they are delivered or bought. Ha! That would be a Christmas miracle.

illustrated christmas card 06

So how will I balance my writing life through the holidays? I won’t. I wrote a new chapter yesterday and then studied my planner. There’s no way I’ll finish everything on time for the holidays with a 1000 word per day goal. It’s time to cut back, relax, and enjoy a season that only comes around once a year.

The most important thing? No matter how I plan, I’ll remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. “Do you hear that right side?” asks the left side of my brain.

illustration of boy and girl fighting

I’ll do my best and will enjoy the holidays like a normal person. What’s that like? I have no idea. I’ll let you know in January.

 

I have a gift for you! I’m hosting The #Blessed Project until December 17th. Blog a #Blessed Project list and I’ll feature your post on December 19th. Check out the details here. No matter how the holidays turn out, I’ve been blessed by having family and friends like you!

What could go wrong if I stick with my plan? Are you a holiday over-achiever?

My 50 Faves and How to Join!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.gapers cheat summer
  3. My dog Roxy because COMIC RELIEF and she is fearless.
  4. My friends. They have been there for me and continue to inspire.
  5. My blogging friends. I have been so lucky to meet some in real life. One of my dreams is meet many more of you! They lifted me up and saved me. I will always believe that.
  6. Coffee. Without it I wood meek alot more erors in comments then I alredy do.
  7. Chocolate because chocolate.
  8. Colorado because there are unlimited adventures right outside my door. I think Roxy read my mind.Roxy wants to go outside
  9. 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*
  10. 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.
  11. Our mountain house. We bought it during a fire sale. No. It wasn’t on fire, but they sold it like it was.
  12. 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!
  13. Snow! Nothing gets my heart beating faster. Well that’s not true, but where there’s snow out here in the West, there is…
  14. Skiing! I found out yesterday, I started skiing earlier than Danny. Ha! Wait. How come I’m not as good as him? *scratches head* skiing breckenridge
  15. Hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, tobogganing because more adventure.
  16. My Christmas cards, because they are done.
  17. Fleece jammies. Santa brought them last year and they are snuggly soft.
  18. My laptop. It is so much easier to carry around.
  19. Cell phone. No explanation needed.
  20. My home in Boulder County. I can look out any window and enjoy the views.
  21. Traveling. I really have enjoyed our trips around the US and hope to make it back to Europe one day.
  22. My friend, Wendi’s, cookie exchange because it wouldn’t be Christmas without it and I don’t have to spend a week in the kitchen baking. BONUS!
  23. Discovering my passion. I always thought of myself as an artist. Now I tell people I’m a writer. My happy place is sitting anywhere while typing.
  24. MUS – Making Up Shit, a term coined by my husband who indulges in MUS too.
  25. My Highlander. It is a beast in the snow.
  26. Driving in the snow. Yep. Love it!
  27. 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!
  28. My bed. There is nothing softer.
  29. A good book. I love being swept away into another world especially one with tons of suspense!
  30. Parties. Being a party girl, I always look forward to them. NOTE TO SELF: host a few in 2016.photo (49)
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. My blog. I love my Wild Ride and having a place to spew my thoughts.
  34. CARBS! Should have been higher on my list. WHAT WAS I THINKING?
  35. Speaking of higher on my list – DANCING!
  36. My camera! Whether on my phone or my digital SLR, I love taking pictures.

     

  37. The Force Awakens! I was super pumped after that movie.
  38. Homeland. Carrie is the bad-ass I want to be without terrorism, guns, explosives or bi-polar disorder.
  39. Music from alternative to pop to classical to house.
  40. 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?”
  41. 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.
  42. Drawing. Sometimes an illustration is the only way to convey the voices in my head. boy and girl fighting
  43. Challenges. I’m always up for them like trying to find an agent. Know anyone who wants to represent a Wild Rider?
  44. Going out for breakfast. That is my favorite! Bring on the tators, fruit and eggs Benedict and I am one happy girl.
  45. Sparkly things. Wait. What was I saying? See! There it is again!!!
  46. 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!mustachemarch
  47. My own or anyone else’s sense of humor. I hate cracking jokes and only hearing the sound of crickets. Lighten up people.
  48. 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)
  49. 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?selfie on Bourbon Street
  50. My Wild Life. It keeps surprising me and gets WILDER every year!

Continue reading

The Big Reveal and WINNERS!

Holiday traditions are different for everyone. Some cut down their own Christmas trees while others host huge holiday gatherings. I don’t have time for that. I’m too busy crafting my greeting cards.

IMG_1346 (1)

Now that most of them are in the mail, I can relax and focus on the rest of my Christmas traditions, like shopping, baking, shopping, trimming the trees, shopping, wrapping gifts, shopping…

And DANCING!

I thought I would return to my old-fashioned printed cards, but not this year. It’s really hard for me to settle for something less. I’ve never settled in my life. Why start now? This card is another pop-up.

I confided in a friend about the stress involved in making them. She asked why I bothered.

I had to think about that. Continue reading

10 Susieisms from Holiday Movies

It’s important to make time for yourself especially when your calendar is full.

Continue reading

Elfish Holiday Survival Tips

If you are a little behind in your holiday shopping, decorating, and baking, don’t get down on yourself. You can always regift, dim the lights and order from the bakery.

This is the time of year when everyone believes in Santa and Christmas miracles. If you don’t, keep it to yourself.

Embrace your inner elf. You’ll burn extra calories from the overwhelming anticipation of Christmas, so you won’t gain any weight from the dozens of cookies you’ll consume. Continue reading