Coming to a Theater Near You

I’m just going to say it right now.  The movie, The Interview, was never on my list of films to see this holiday season.  That kind of slapstick, ridiculous comedy doesn’t appeal to me.  Sorry to all those in North Korea, but your vicious tactics will more likely make me watch the film when it’s on demand when I would have never given it a couple of hours of my time.

What movies am I queuing up for this year?  Night at the Museum 3.  I miss Robin Williams and the addition of Rebel Wilson makes it a must see.night at the museum

Unbroken.  The book was amazing!  I’m hopeful that the movie will live up to the hype.  Say what you will about Angelina Jolie (I’m not a fan), I hope her friendship with the late Louie Zamperini will give the film the same realism that Laura Hillenbrand gave the book.

unbroken

Into the Woods.  I love a good musical.  The Man-Slave, not so much.  This one will have to be a girl’s night out.  (Of course, if The Interview was being shown, I’d send him to that one.  He’s a guy, after all.

The Theory of Everything.  I know, this one has been out and I’ve heard some great things about it.  It’s on the agenda for this weekend, though!

Theory of Everything

And the DVD I want for Christmas?  Author’s Anonymous.  I somehow missed this one in the theaters!  For all the authors out there–you’ll get a chuckle out of this on!

Which movies are you looking forward to this holiday season?

 

 

Sounds of the Season

Today is the first full day of Hanukkah, so the holidays are in full swing. For me, the season has always been about music: Carols when I was little. Sacred music when I sang in my high school and college choirs. (I still think Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” is the most joyful 4 minutes of music ever written.)

My favorite carol is “Little Drummer Boy,” so I was entranced when this cover by Pentatonix went viral last year:

They’ve got a new Christmas album this year, and I just love this song:

Pentatonix has a very contemporary sound, but if you’d like to hear something completely different, here’s a playlist of medieval Christmas music from Anonymous 4. This selection spans a thousand years, from the fifth century to the fifteenth. It’s a wonderful reminder of the power that holidays hold, and how they inspire us through the ages.

To me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas without the music of the season playing. What about you? What puts you in the holiday spirit?

What Color is Your December ?

For many, the answer is probably white as in snow. Others might be red and green, glittery gold and silver, perhaps some shiny tinsel and colorful ornaments? Maybe blue for Hanukkah. Mine is green and lots of it.

sugar snap peas are thriving

Green grass, green trees and beautiful green leaves in my vegetable garden. One of the most wonderful things about living in Central Florida can be found in my garden. Not too hot, not too-too cold, December is a great time to be outside.

green harvest

Doesn’t matter if I’m harvesting or weeding, I love it. Right now I have kale, peppers, sugar snap peas, lettuce, onions, garlic, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and the last of my tomatoes and zucchini. Come January I’ll plant some red and white potatoes, but until then, I’m simply going to enjoy the green of the season. Find out how and what I’m doing with all this harvest on my blog over at BloominThyme.

December salad

How about you? Any garden to speak of this time of year?

Amsterdam adventure

media_xl_1061294On January 3rd, the Dutchman, the girl child, and I will board a plane and fly to Amsterdam for six months. Six months! Our daughter, a high-school sophomore, is doing her second semester at an international school there, and we are going to follow.

It’s quite possibly the worst time of the year to go to the Netherlands. The weather will be atrocious—cold and gloomy and wet—and our main mode of transportation will be a bike. Winter storms are frequent and frequently violent, and I’ve watched more than one person be blown—literally—off theirs. And because of Holland’s location just south of the North pole, the first few months of the year it’s hardly ever light. You go to work and it’s dark. You come home and it’s dark. Your vitamin-D window is only a handful of hours at best, and even then the sun is usually hidden behind a thick layer of low-hanging clouds.

Are we crazy? Probably. But it’s partly because of all those reasons that I’m so excited to go. The Dutch have a word for this season—donkere dagen, or dark days—and they “celebrate” it by holing up in their homes with roaring fires and flickering candles, good food and better friends. I don’t know about you, but after the craziness of the holiday season, that sounds like heaven to me.

And inevitably, always, after winter comes spring.

A Notch in My NaNo Belt

Last month I shared that I was participating in National Novel Writing Month for the first time, and promised I’d tell my experience this go round.

[For any unfamiliar, the annual writer’s “contest” — which runs through the thirty days of November — is a push to write 50,000 words toward a new novel. Though also, many will set their own goals and continue with a project already in progress.]

I was anxious and unsure and thrilled and soaring with hope, because I knew I was a slow, meticulous writer, and I knew that I had been struggling to do any fiction writing of significance for months (alright, years), and I also knew I needed force in the right direction.

participant-2014-facebook-profile

Choosing to participate in NaNo was a good decision, and I didn’t let myself down. I wrote just over 35,000 words of my new novel’s rough draft.

I never knew I could write so fast, and I certainly never considered that I could write so messy. But I did!

When I realized I wouldn’t make the 50k goal, I decided I was okay with that. More than satisfied. Because by then, given how my story line had evolved and where my characters sat, I knew I needed to step back and assess what I’d accumulated. So then I gave myself permission to do so. If I’d forced words just to count 15,000 more, it would only have dragged me down, confused my process, and placed me where I couldn’t have been sure I’d write myself out of.

I took a break for Thanksgiving, and have since gotten back to it. Starting with page one, I’ve begun fleshing things out. Building scenes and characters, adding narration. It’s a big task, but the work I did through the effort of NaNo gave me an excellent skeleton to work with. And I’m so pleased about that.

My goal is get through rewrites and additions and revisions (however many rounds it takes to satisfy me), compose a full-length novel, and query the book to agents before the end of 2015. We’ll see how it goes.

Will I do NaNo again? I’m not at all opposed to it. And I may need another push for a new project come this time next year. :)

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