Party Planning and Getting Stir Crazy

I’ve been doing this weird thing lately.  It’s still the beginning of February, and I’m planning our 4th of July party.  I know, I’m totally insane, but I really, REALLY need the warm weather to stay and continue.  I know that Massachusetts is getting pummeled with snow, and I know we have snow in our forecast – but it’s just been SO NICE in Colorado lately.  Sunny.  Like it’s supposed to be.  And warm (most of the time) like it’s supposed to be!  We went through months of dreary, overcast weather and I can’t go back.  I won’t go back!

I’m clearly really dependant on the weather.

Because of the sun and warmth, I’ve been more productive lately than I’ve been in months and my mood is better.  So naturally I’m trying to keep it going by planning our 4th of July party.

I only do one or two parties a year, because I really go all out.  I don’t like people to be bored.  I don’t want people to feel left out.  It’s an experience.  I spend a lot of time and money on parties.  I’m not sure why, but it’s just something that I really love doing, and doing one in the summer is the best.  Our back yard will be [mostly] done by May, so we want to get the most out of it.  We’ve already earmarked lawn games to purchase, and right now we’re debating what kind of hammock to get, or whether or not we should wait until the back patio is done.  We even have a babysitter for one of our dogs that doesn’t like parties.  Yeah, we’ve got all the problems, as you can see.

To be fair (to me), planning a party several months in advance isn’t the worst thing.  Usually, I never give myself enough time.  That’s why our Halloween party never happened last year.  I go big or go home, and I had to go home for Halloween.

I definitely need to spend more time outdoors.

Until next time.

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New Year’s Resolutions: 2015 Edition

Happy New Year, everyone!

I wish I could say I did something really awesome to say goodbye to the old year, but I didn’t really.  We listened to music, I wanted to go to bed at 8pm, but Zach convinced me to stay up until midnight.  We talked about 2014, our regrets, the things we thought we did right, and we talked about our plans for the New Year.  But seriously, I was so tired, I wished like, at least 5 people a “Happy new ear” via text on accident.

Really, our only real regret was letting 2014 lose steam so early in the game.  I did so much in the first 3 months, and then it petered out, until I became murky and stagnant.  However, as with most things, it wasn’t all bad.  During the “murky months,” we became a lot closer to some of our friends, which was something we not only really wanted (and had been sad about for a long time), but it was something we really needed.  So, in that regards, it wasn’t quite the loss we initially thought.

This morning, we rolled out of bed at a fairly reasonable time, and made it to our favorite breakfast spot.  There we were, looking as tired as all those hungover adults and cranky kids trying to wake their brains with chocolate and caffeine, yet we got a proper amount of sleep, and drank zero alcoholic beverages.  We’re losing it.

I thought I’d share my New Year’s resolutions with everyone.  When making my list, I tried to think of ways to help creativity flow and I thought of Ben Franklin’s policy of always doing something that will better oneself.  So, here it is:

1. Read 7 books – 4 fiction, 3 non-fiction.  
Yes, I broke it down into categories.  Because sometimes I’ll just go through periods where I only read biographies or non-fiction, and that’s not exactly helping with the creativity flow.  Balance, is key.  Why 7?  I don’t know.  I thought the number was nice, it’s not overwhelming, and gives me room for a break, or time to linger on a story I may really like.  I’m not one to blast through stories.

2. Go somewhere I’ve never been.
It’s vague, but it’s something that’s always on the list.  We tried to plan a road trip at breakfast, but there’s just too much up in the air right now.  Either way, I will be going to a geographical place that I’ve never been to.

3. Go to a concert of someone I’ve never heard before.
Opening acts don’t count.

4. Meet someone new.  
Hopefully it won’t be at someone’s wedding, but hey, an introvert can’t be picky.

5. Rebuild the Auto Harp.
I tried to do this last year, but we couldn’t swing it financially.  It’s going to cost almost as much as buying a new one (that’s if I fix it myself), but I made a promise that I intend to keep, and it’s a family thing.  Besides, I can’t let an instrument just go to waste like that.  It needs to be played!

6. Visit the record store at least once a month.
A really fun resolution.  We hardly got any new music last year, and that’s a shame.  Gillian Welch was my only discovery in 2014 (but, oh, WHAT a discovery!) because of my songwriting class.  Maybe I’ll discover new things there, maybe I’ll just pad my collection – who knows?

7. Learn to crochet.
A sort of Ben Franklin one.  I tried last year, but I didn’t follow through.  In my defence, the only reason I wanted to learn then, was for reasons that don’t exist now.  Now, I just want to for fun.  Now that it’s on the list, I think there might be a scarf in someone’s future.

8. Take an art class.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but was always too shy to.  I haven’t decided what kind of art class, but we shall see!

9. Use my Bolex.
I think it’s getting dusty at this point.  I still have to develop the last roll I shot (which is still in the camera).  My last use of it was for a project that went horribly, horribly wrong, ruined a friendship (not my doing!) and made me bitter.  Temporarily, at least.  I also gained new, wonderful friends, which washed away the bitterness.  Either way, let’s see if I still know how to load that thing.

10. Take at least 1 non-dog picture a day.
Yep, I had to stipulate what kind of pictures.  Looking back, I realized I hardly had any pictures of myself, selfie or otherwise.  This is a selfie culture, and apparently I’m an anarchist against it.  Actually, I like the idea of selfies, and people deciding how they want to be seen by others.  I know a lot of people are weird about it and think it’s all narcissism (maybe it is sometimes) but people are weird and haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.

Welp, that’s it.  Nothing is career-related in this list, because I have a whole separate one for that.  It was too long, and if I only think about career stuff all year, I’ll become boring and cranky.

Until next time.

New Years Plans and a Stick of Truth

So, for Christmas, I got the South Park: Stick of Truth game and I must say, I’m in love with it.  I haven’t played all the way through yet because I haven’t had too many opportunities to play, but I’m making good progress.  Despite the fact that the South Park world is poorly drawn, I’m totally blown away at the detail of this game.  Trey Parker and Matt Stone really don’t half-ass anything (except drawing people).  They put so much into whatever they do, and it comes across.  I don’t care how much they like to pretend they are lazy and don’t do work; LIES.  It doesn’t feel like other games.  It truly feels like I’m playing a character in the show.  It feels like I’m in the show.  And, as a fan of the show, I geek out at all the throwbacks, references, and shock moments (which overfloweth).  It’s my new favorite game, and the only thing that makes me sad about it, is that it’s just another game getting in the way of me finishing others.  So many nerd problems.

Today, I’m trying to throw my plans for New Years together, and yes, that includes all my resolutions, and an actual, physical outline of my plans for my goals.  I’ll post my resolutions here, for fun, and also to be held accountable/so I have something to reference in a year to make sure I completed everything.  I won’t post the outline, because that’ll ruin surprises and that’s no fun.  I will say, I’ll continue this blog, but I’m going to change up the look of it, and maybe mess around with the format a bit.  I hope to have more creative writing posts as well.  I’ll probably keep the frequency of posting the same, which, to remind you, can be anywhere from 0-5 posts a week (I zinged myself).

I’m also going to launch a new website at some point in 2015, but it won’t be related to this blog.  I’ll link to it when it’s up and running, and post about any relevant updates, but otherwise it’ll be in its own little world.  The short novel will still be published in February, and it’ll be free to download.  I’ll post about that too.

I’m also in the really early stages of another creative project, but I’m meeting with my creative partner this weekend to see exactly how viable it’ll be to launch it this year.  I have high hopes, but I also have a lot on my plate.  Since it’s a purely for-fun project, it’s hard to justify putting a ton of work into it when other projects need attention.  That being said, I’m rather excited about it, and really just want to do it so it can be shared.

So tomorrow, to end the year, I’ll post my last creative writing piece of the year.  Then on to new things!  Good luck to everyone, and enjoy this Zooey Deschanel thing I found on my Tumblr.  And doesn’t Joe have a delightful voice?

Until next time.

A White Christmas and Deadlines

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I actually cannot remember the last time it snowed on Christmas in Colorado, despite the delightful Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Colorado Christmas” song.  But this year, it snowed quite a lot.  In fact, it’s still snowing.  It’s the really pretty kind of snow too.  The roads are terrible though, and Zach had to go into work.  Luckily, he rides the bus, which makes his commute a lot safer in bad weather.  So today, it’s just me and the dogs, cleaning up from the holidays, shoveling snow, salting the sidewalks, and working to make deadlines.

Deadlines?  What?

Recent events have come about that have forced me into making decision deadlines.  I’ve decided to have a thorough, well thought-out plan on how I’m going to accomplish certain projects.  And I’ll have my plans together by the New Year so I actually have time to do everything.

This doesn’t give me a lot of time, but, I think I can do it.  It’ll be refreshing, actually.  A new year, a new start.

Back to the holidays…

The holidays (with the exception of Halloween) have always made me sad.  This year isn’t much of an exception.  It’s not that I don’t like the holidays, I really do.  But… there’s a kind of sadness around the holidays too.  Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the year?  I’m not really sure.  Zach makes it fun though.  He puts so much love and energy into everything, just to make me feel loved and special.  Truly, no one has ever loved me like he does, and no one has ever put so much effort into making me happy before.  I highly doubt I’d celebrate most holidays if it wasn’t for him (actually, I didn’t really before he came along, and after I left home).  Because of his passion, I try harder, with everything.  Who says marriage is stifling?

And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is really about.

But wait, folks!  The holidays aren’t over until that big ball drops (insert ALL the inappropriate puns).  For anyone that gets depressed around the holidays, New Years is the biggest asshole with all that.  It reminds you when you’re single, when you’re fat, and when you’re in a dead-end job.  Is there some subversive shaming in the “Auld Lang Syne” song that I’m unaware of?

I personally look forward to New Years.  It’s generally when I decide to make FUN goals.  That’s how this blog started.  I wanted to try something different.  I may even continue it next year!  I tried my hand at acting, and discovered I liked it, I reached my performance goal within a few months, and it made me realize which type of projects I liked doing best, which I would continue, improve upon, and which I would reject down the line.  It helped me break out of my comfort zone, which I needed.  We also plan at least one adventure.  We try to visit one new place a year, even if we can’t leave the state.  In addition to fun road trips, we’ve gotten so many amazing hikes out of that deal.

Things I don’t do for New Years: weight/fitness resolutions.  They are pointless, judgmental, and put a lot of pressure on people.  Because if you want to change your lifestyle in the physical realm, there is no correct start date, and there’s no deadline.  And SPOILERS: all the diets are a lie.  Just eat a little healthier, most of the time, and move around a lot.  It can be at a gym, but also, there’s your home and the outside.  Gyms aren’t a magical land where burning calories counts for double points.  No pressure.  Just live happily.

I think this year, my resolutions may involve a lot of reading.  I slacked on that this past year.  At least, I slacked on good reading.

Also, I’m working on a short story that I’m going to try and post before the New Year.

Until next time.

What’s in a Name and Peppermint Mocha?

So, a good friend of mine brought up the topic of names and how people address you.  We apparently had some common ground, common worries, and unbridled rage towards some issues.  So I decided to post about my personal issues.

I want to clearly state right off the bat:  I love my husband more than anything (except maybe the dogs).  I would do almost anything for him and he’s my best friend.  However, I am not a reflection of him, nor am I an extension of him (and vice versa).  We are completely separate people, we do our own things, and we choose to be together every day.

It all started with the wedding, and the wedding guests.  At first, I brushed off all the letters and cards and gifts to “Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Swensen” as people trying to be cute and as a casual throwback, rather than casual misogyny.  When I decided to change my last name, it was a big deal.  I loved my last name.  I had done so much with it.  My art was all under my last name.  I had bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and I registered for classes under my name.  My name represented my Irish heritage.  It was a conversation starter.  And most of all, I loved it because it reminded me of one of my favorite authors, Flannery O’Connor.  It was a huge internal debate for me on whether or not to change my name.  Zach never pressured me either way, so my decision was my own.  I ultimately decided to change it as a symbolic gesture.

So at what moment did I lose my first name as well?

There are a lot of people who don’t see the big deal.  It’s just a stupid card, or a stupid letter.  People say, “Meg, it’s just a generational thing.”

Yeah, a generational thing that symbolizes ownership and takes away the identity of the wife.

Besides, MOST of the “Mrs. Zach” shit that comes to our house are from people around our age.  In fact, the OLDEST MEMBER of all our families has no fucking issue with addressing my name as well.  Someone actually tried to make the argument that it was less writing to leave out my first name.  It’s not.  Same writing (I counted!).  Also, why not leave out Zach’s name then?  Or shorten my name to Meg (which is the name I prefer anyway).

So what’s the big deal about the whole name business?  Imagine going through the rest of your life, and everything that is addressed to both you and your husband never has your name on it.  You’re just Mrs. Husband.  You’re Husband’s wife.  You’re Daughter’s mom.  It’s a lot of pressure.  It’s a huge loss.  I hate the concept of ownership of a person, even symbolically.  That’s why Zach never asked my father’s permission to marry me (I’m pretty sure I’m the only person that can consent to that/I would have been super angry with both Zach and my dad) and that’s also why, when we planned our wedding, Zach’s grandpa (the officiant) asked, “how do you want to be introduced to the world?” I answered, “I want my name spoken.”  Actually, he never even said “Mr. and Mrs.”  I loved that.  It was just Zach and Meg.  It was just us being introduced to the world.  Grandpa John got that, and he really heard me when I told him how worried I was about being lost.

I still have a lot to do in my life.  A lot of my own stuff.  It’s going to have my name on it.  It’ll be mine.  Not my husband’s.  I still exist without him.

I know there might be people out there that think I’m overreacting, or I should feel honored to be a part of someone.  I feel honored about being a part of my husband’s life, not my husband himself.  Plus, it’s my name.  I want to be able to see and hear it, even if my husband is around or involved in something.  He doesn’t cancel me out.  I’m not a redundant version of him.  And for people who enjoy the “old” ways, that’s totally fine.  Let people know.  Because the “old” way shouldn’t be the default.

Marriage aside, names are important.  Some may change their name to reflect their preferred gender identity.  Saying another name is just disrespectful.  Or, in my friend’s case, names can be intimate, and saying an intimate version of her name when she doesn’t have that relationship with someone, is just as disrespectful.

I’m going to quote Star Trek real quick.

There was an episode in TNG where Doctor Pulaski keeps mispronouncing Data’s name incorrectly (she uses the other pronunciation for the word).  When she asks him why it matters, because they are both the same word, he replies, “One is my name.  The other is not.”  Sassy.

Okay, I think you all get the picture.  Now on to Peppermint Mochas.

I decided to try something this morning because I was craving a peppermint mocha, but neither wanted to pay the money for it, nor consume so much sugar.  So I made my own mock-up version.

Meg’s Peppermint Mock-a

Ingredients:
Mug of brewed coffee (I used Ehtiopian from the Sprouts bulk section)
Peppermint tea (I used 1 bag of the Celestial Seasonings)
Hot cocoa powder (I used NOW brand organic cocoa)

Directions:
Steep the tea in your mug with the coffee for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the bag, add the cocoa powder to taste (I like mine pretty chocolatey).  Add creamer or milk (I used a tiny bit of flax milk this morning).

It’s delicious.  Play around with it so you get the right amount of peppermint taste.  See?  No need for tons of dairy or an espresso machine.  Still get tons of caffeine, and that’s what’s important, right?

This will be my last post until after Christmas.  So, I would also like to share my favorite Christmas song and moment.  I can’t really accurately describe what this song means to me, but if I tried, it would be”home.”

“Bless Us All” Lyrics

Life is full of sweet surpises
Everyday’s a gift
The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit
Fills me up with laughter, fills me up with song
I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong

Bless us all, who gather here
The loving family I hold dear
No place on earth, compares with home
And every path will bring me back from where I roam
Bless us all, that as we live
We always comfort and forgive
We have so much, that we can share
With those in need we see around us everywhere

Let us always love eachother
Lead us to the light
Let us hear the voice of reason, singing in the night
Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall
Teach us in our dreams and please, yes please
Bless us one and all

Bless us all with playful years
With noisy games and joyful tears
We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams
We ask You bless us all

We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams we ask you
Bless us all

 

Until Next Time.

 

 

 

It’s Actually Snowing on the First Day of Winter

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I honestly thought that it would be like, 50 degrees today.  Colorado doesn’t like to fit neatly into seasons, so having a warm and sunny winter day isn’t uncommon.  But this morning was icy, and right now it’s snowing.  I managed to get up nice and early this morning, got ready, made coffee, took the dogs for a walk, and finished all of my grocery shopping and was home again by 10 am.  A miracle, really.  I even took the dogs with me, because I truly hate running errands by myself.  I get stressed and lonely, and the dogs actually make all of that better.  I also beat the crowds this morning.  Yes, there was a tiny bit of traffic on the highway, but it wasn’t too bad, and all the shops were basically empty.  No crazy people!  Yay!  Plus, look how beautiful it was this morning on our snowy walk:

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The picture really doesn’t do it justice, but this was right at sunrise, when the sun started peaking through.

This past weekend, we had a blast.  We hosted our first cookie decorating party, and had so much fun with the sugar cookies, we never got around to the other cookies.  Not that it really mattered, because those other cookies WILL get made AND eaten, so I suppose it’s best to stagger them out.  I’m also ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t even get to use my decorating gun!  I’ve had it for years, and it’s gone unused.  I mean, we weren’t having trouble without it (people busted out the toothpicks for detail) but it would having been fun.  Next year.  Or this year.  I brought it out so I’d remember it.

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As you may have noticed, our table is, ahem, still not done.  Apparently, we use it a lot during the holidays, so we’re going to start it afterwards.  We’ve given up the fight.  Either we need the table for entertaining, or the weather is terrible, so it’s made it hard to even start the sanding process.

I also wanted to make a note today of Joe Cocker’s passing.  I saw him at Red Rocks when I was 16.  It was a pretty memorable concert.  He was an amazing artist, and I really can’t believe he’s gone.

So, to all of you out there, happy winter, and enjoy your day.

Until next time.

My Baking Menu

It’s a little weird for me to be writing a blog so late in the day (for me), but I wanted to get down my cookie menu today, because I’m not entirely confident I’ll have time to post anything tomorrow.

So, this weekend, we decided to host a cookie decorating party with a few friends and family.  Now, if you know anything about me, I can’t just leave it at “having people over.”  I take time to plan.  Create an experience.  Make it memorable.

So for the menu… keep in mind, I’m gluten free, so everything in my kitchen needs to be as such.  I found a ton of yummy cookie recipes that I would love to get fat on, but I narrowed it down to 4 that I felt were a must.

1. The classic sugar cookie.  Due to a friend’s allergy, I’m using the Pamela’s Sugar Cookie mix.  It’s easy, it’s tastes pretty good, and will satisfy my sugar cookie need.  I haven’t completely decided yet, but I’m considering trying royal icing.  I’m not sure.  I’m scared.  If you click on the link I provided, Pamela herself shows you how to make the cookies.  The reason I’m scared is because every time I’ve made them, I make a huge mess, and she makes none.  Boo.

2. Ginger snaps.  I’m using the recipe from Gluten Free Goddess.  It tastes just like the gluten-filled ones.  Delicious.  We will be making these sans-frosting though.

3. Shortbread cookies.  I don’t exactly know why, but I really want to make this one.  It looks festive and yummy.  I’m using a recipe from The Healthy Maven.

4.  Finally, I’ve decided to try my hand at kolache.  I found a fairly simple recipe in The Gluten Free Bible.

I’m making up all the dough the day before, so I don’t have to make a whole different kind of mess and be stressed the day we make stuff.  I’m also offering yummy refreshments (because that’s how I roll) – Brandy Alexanders, hot cocoa, and this ridiculous looking Candy Cane Milkshake from The Hopeless Housewife.  Hopeless is right.  My goal is to get everyone to consume at least 1 billion calories per person.  Let’s make it count this year.

Don’t forget your favorite holiday music and/or movies while you’re baking!  This year we will have some of our favorites playing in the background, and if someone brings an accordion and we get drunk enough, maybe we’ll play Bob Dylan’s Christmas album.

Until next time.

Why Does it Seem So Quiet Right Now?

Is this the calm before the storm?  Or am I in the eye of it?  I can’t really tell.

This last weekend we went up to the cabin in the mountains for a brief getaway.  Zach’s mom is so cute, she had put up all the Christmas decorations inside, and even had some outside!  Better than that hotel in White Christmas.  We were slightly disappointed to arrive to practically no snow, and wonderful weather.  But Sunday, we woke up to a ton of snow and big snow flakes, so we were happy about that.  Not as happy as the dogs, but still pretty close.  We decided to hang around for it a little longer than we originally planned and left a little late (thus hitting bad weather and traffic).  When we finally got home, our dog Layla ran to her kennel and would not get out.  She was incredibly upset about being back home, and I think this was her way of punishing us until we drove her back to the cabin.  She’s finally okay now, because we took her on a nice, snowy walk this morning.  We’re kind of proud at how spoiled she’s gotten lately, because she came from such a hard background.

I’m not going to lie though, Monday is hitting us hard this week.  The dogs are down, Zach is down, and I’m down.  Holidays get really complicated as you get older.  Even though I try really hard to keep it simple, it’s still hard.  Adults have to create their own magic, because we don’t come equipped with bags of it like children do.  Living as an adult during the holidays can be painful, or at the very least, irritating at times.  For instance, I don’t understand why everyone is extra mean during this season.  Sure, I come across PLENTY of nice people, but they are probably people that are nice all the time, not just during Christmas.  I’m talking about people that are rage-fully angry in the grocery stores, trying to run me down for a bag of sugar.  Granted, there’s always grocery store assholes, but they seem to have an extra sparkle around Christmas.  I try to understand.  They probably have terrible mother-in-laws.  Or their kids all have the flu.

Meanwhile, I’m trying my best to find grounding in the reality I want, which is a magical holiday.  I’m gathering all of my baking recipes.  I was originally going to just make one type of cookie, but… I found, like, a lot I really want to try.  What I’m trying to decide now is how I’m going to manage it.  I think I’ll probably make all the dough ahead of time, and then bake it all one day.  I’ll post the recipes I’m using later this week.

Until next time, enjoy this picture of Penny.  We may use it as an unofficial Christmas card.

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Food Hangovers Are a Thing in America

My birthday was amazing.  Seriously, the best birthday ever.  It was even better than the birthday I had where my mom managed to get another child my age to come over for cake, and I got this stuffed dog that had a pouch with puppies in the tummy.  It helped me get a strong grasp on the miracle of childbirth (the tummy is equipped with velcro, btw).  But this year was far better, and I got a really nice jacket, which I found out this morning, matches my workout shoes (bonus!).  Yes, I’m one of “those” people that like to look cute in workout clothes.  I spend about half my time in yoga pants and workout tops, so I feel this is necessary.

Yesterday, I was seriously suffering from a food hangover.  I have never experienced anything like it.  Because normally, I never eat that much.  Or that badly.  Even on holidays, I consume the goodies fairly moderately.  But all bets were off for my birthday.  Looking back on it, though, I think maybe eating all the cookies in the few days leading up to my foodie extravaganza were probably my downfall.  And my lack of exercise.  Ugh.  So much self-loathing over cookies.  I felt so awful yesterday that I had to have a green smoothie for dinner, because I could literally feel my body screaming for vegetables.

Actually, I am getting my final year in my 20s off to a good start.  I’ve started an “exercise” routine in the morning.  The reason for the quotes is because it’s basically just something to wake me up before I do anything, including eat.  Just to get the muscles going.  It has helped that the weather has been amazing too.  Because I’m part bear, I like to get fat and hibernate in the winter.  It’s hard to fight those genetics.  For whatever reason, I just CANNOT wake up early to work out in the fall/winter.  I just can’t.  It’s not happening.  This is a compromise to help me get going so I don’t get super lazy and not work out later.

Tomorrow is my Christmas shopping day.  This means, I will not, in fact, be doing a film review (but might I recommend the holiday classic: Muppets Christmas Carol?  My favorite).  I know that there are a lot of people (like my sister) that finished shopping a long time ago.  I wish I was that good, but I’m not (although my niece’s gift is already under her tree).  It takes me forever just to figure out what I want to get people.  And this year, we did secret Santa, so I’m extra relieved.  I love holiday shopping, but not on the scale that I’ve normally had to do.  It gets stressful when you spend hundreds of dollars, especially when you don’t have a lot of money.

And unfortunately, we are not sending out special holiday cards.  Next year, definitely, but this year has just been weird for everyone, so we’re opting out of that.  BUT – we will take a family picture this coming weekend, so I’ll share that.

I have a feeling shopping this weekend will be crazy, so if you’re going out, good luck.

Until next time.

Hot Chocolate and a Publishing Date

This weekend, we watched The Polar Express with friends, while eating cookies and drinking this hot chocolate recipe.  It’s one of my favorite holiday movies – a little dark, and a little sad, but still uplifting.  And actually, it is the first Christmas movie we watched this year, because we’re currently making our way through the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  And in other nerd news, I’m almost finished with Star Trek: The Next Generation, so I feel like I’m making good progress in the nerdom.  I am not, however, doing well with the Star Trek original series movies, because, well, they are tedious, and I have to watch them alone.  Fans of the franchise say that all the odd-number movies suck (though the revival movies broke that curse) and the even-numbered ones are good.  I will not agree with that, because I did not like The Wrath of Khan, with the exception of a few moments.  I just really didn’t like that the movies don’t have the spirit of the TV series, but, such things happen this way.  It wasn’t as bad as the first one though – oh god was that the most boring movie ever.  I started to nod off in the first 15 minutes.  Perhaps I’ll do a review of The Search for Spock in the Friday Film Review this week.  It’ll be risky, since it’s an odd number…

Tomorrow is the big day.  I asked Zach if we could go and eat a meal at all my favorite restaurants for my birthday, and he initially replied, “That’s all you want for your birthday?”

I didn’t really have to think about it very long.  Yes, of course that’s what I wanted for my birthday.  I just never knew that food was an acceptable thing to ask of someone.  My sister thinks it’s weird, and insists I’ll regret it or not be happy with this decision.  To be honest though, I’m actually looking forward to my birthday now, even though it sounds a lot more like I’m an inmate on death row.

Because when I think of most places, I think of them in regards to food.  Perhaps that makes me a foodie, I’m not sure.  I just really like the experience of eating, especially eating at fun places.  When Zach went on a trip with his dad to Gettysburg, I texted at least a half a dozen restaurants I needed them to try.  And of course, I asked for thorough descriptions and pictures.  I think that makes food my porn, rather than me being a foodie, but oh well.

This is probably why I prefer road trips to camping.  My ideal vacation would be a combination of both though.  The dogs would also be there.  And copious amounts of fries.  That we would share with the dogs.  Like, we would do a lot of hiking and stuff, but then have breakfast at an awesome cafe.  Maybe I actually only like hiking, and not even camping.

The year is winding down.  I need to readjust my goals, and decide what I want to do for the next year.  I feel like the first half of 2014 was amazing and I did everything, and then the second half wasn’t as great.  I’ve finally started thinking about my next steps, though I must admit, it’s become a more tedious process than I originally expected.  I have a lot of ideas, but I’m not quite sure which to approach first, and how to approach them.  I’m ready for a change.  I’m antsy and feel stagnant.

I will announce a publishing date for my short novel though.  It’ll be February 2015.  There.  It’ll be available for all to read by then.

Until next time.