For all my devote followers out there, no I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. So where, you might ask did Thoughts of the Season 7-12 go? Well, rest assured I had thoughts. Really great, fantastic ones. But my writing time over the rest of winter break was devoted to writing book 6. What can I say? I got hooked…sometimes when I get into writing my story I just can’t get out.

For those of you who feel cheated, let down by the missing Thoughts of the Season, I will give my bulleted short list here. Be prepared for mind blowing opinions.

Thought #7 – Board Games

One of my favorite thing to do over the holidays is get together with friends and family and game. Here’s my top choices for group games this year…okay, last year:

  1. Tribond
  2. The Game of Things
  3. Pit
  4. Ticket to Ride
  5. Rook
Thought #8 – Alone Time

Here’s my Top 5 list of my favorite things to do when I get a chance to do my own thing:

  1. Write (sitting on my couch, foot stool up, a hot cup of tea and some dark COVERchocolate…ahhh, good times.)
  2. Read (I just started Daughter of Shadow by Tyler Sehn, looking forward to really sinking my teeth in it as it were…once I can stop writing.)
  3. Warm Bubble bath (a really nice happy place to ease tired and sore muscles and relax for awhile.)
  4. Playing my drums (yep, you heard me. Crank the tunes and let me butcher the beat as I rock out.)
  5. Bingeing on Netflix (I love to spend 10 hours straight delving into story – Thank you Jessica Jones for this seasons binge.)


Thought #9 – Homemade Gifts

Every Christmas I make at least one gift. This year it was to my mom. Thanks Kelley for the inspiration. This bouquet is all paper flowers, origami style!

Thought #10 – Gifts Received

My family was very thoughtful this year from cowbells to board games. My most unique present? Scavenger lottery tickets! Santa put the first clue in my stocking and then I spent my morning searching for each clue attached with a scratch ticket. Here are 5 of my favorite locations that I found my clues:

  1. Treasure island book on my bookcase
  2. My own book – Journey to Kokoroe
  3. My jewellery box
  4. In the tree
  5. My sock drawer

Did someone say ‘More Cowbell?’ (Last one of the top 10)

Thought #11 – Best Chocolates of the Season

I love chocolate so here’s a thought dedicated to the ones I savor every year:

  1. Chocolate covered cherries
  2. After Eights
  3. Turtles
  4. Lindor Dark Chocolate
  5. Terry’s Chocolate Orange
Thought #12 – New Year’s Resolutions

How many times have you made the same resolution? I lost count…but I usually manage to stick to them for four or five months so it’s worth the thought 😉

  1. Eat less sugar (that’s a challenge…see thought #11)
  2. Build muscle (if I stock up on body building magazines, does that count?)
  3. Read one classic book  a month (this is on top of my regular reading)
  4. Finish Book 6 of the Essence of Galenia series (I’m halfway through the first draft so well on my way!)
  5. Publish Book 4 of the Essence of Galenia series  (yes I write two ahead of what I’m publishing – makes it easier to do foreshadowing and ensure continuity)

That’s it for my Thoughts of the Season, consider your mind blown!

12 Thoughts of the Season – #6

The holiday break allows us time to catch up on all our movie viewing, visit the box office for the new releases and snuggle under warm blankets at home to watch the classics. My Top 5 Holiday Movie list does have some Christmas classics, but it also contains any movie where the holidays come up. These are shows I tend to watch every season depending on what kind of mood I’m in. Be prepared: although I’ve included the fun there is also the sappy and the damn the man spirit (after a full day of crazy shopping malls and traffic jams sometimes you need a little dark humour…)

  1. Love Actually
    • Not a season goes by that I don’t watch this romantic, heart wrenching love story. It’s funny & honest. I cry, I laugh.
  2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    • Dr. Seuss was a talented writer and could pass on meaningful life lessons in short and humorous stories. Of course when I watch this I look under my tree with the generous loot and feel a bit guilty knowing if it was empty I don’t think I’d be happy and singing…
  3. The Ref
    • Okay, here’s the dark comedy. This show isn’t meant for those who easily take offense and like their Christmas specials to be all carols and magic. Dennis Leary has a knack for stringing together a long list of profanities, but if you’re holidays (or your life for that matter) has ever been less than perfect or you’ve ever had the urge to tell someone to gag your mother, then you might get a kick out of this holiday movie.
  4. Sleepless In Seattle/When Harry Met Sally
    • I couldn’t chose between the two of these rom/coms. Even though neither of them are set exclusively at Christmas, I think of them every year with Meg Ryan singing ‘horses, horses, horse’ or dragging a tree down the road through the snow.
  5. Elf
    • Aside from the Grinch, this is one of those shows I watch with the kids every year. There are jokes for both kids and adults alike making it a great movie belonging on my holiday viewing list. How many movies can boast about singing a duet in a shower scene and show it in a kid-friendly way?

There are also those fantastic Epic Trilogies (or more) that my fellow binge watchers would agree are great escapes: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Godfather.

12 Thoughts of the Season – #5

Poor Emily was burdened with so many unpractical gifts (see yesterdays post), but did she even stop and think about how much her dear Edward had to fork over to lavish her with such oddities? The fact that she ended it with a lawyer shows a lack of empathy on her part; Edwards heart was in the right place, even if his head wasn’t. I think a return gift of some medical help would have been what a true love would do!

In reality, the carol itself dates back to around the 16th Century. Christmas was celebrated over twelve days and if living in a wealthy castle one could receive gifts on each day. If you think of the song taking place in the middle ages, in a castle, doesn’t this just sound like one heck of a party? Today it would end much more like Emily’s letters. With inflation, Edward would have to be very wealthy indeed. And those poor, hard working milk maids…they’d probably have to moonlight as ladies dancing!


12 Thoughts of the Season – #4

Okay, now it’s time for a little comedy. There’s no doubt about it, the holidays are stressful. Whether you’re struggling to make ends meet or have enough green to put on a lavish celebration, there is plenty of pressure to go around: the roads are crowded as traffic increases taking passengers to their holiday celebrations and shopping, accidents go up, line-ups are long, housework has quadrupled since we’ve added all the extra baking, decorating and paraphernalia into our homes. As we stand in a crowd of people caroling, we desperately try to stay on key and fake our way through the unknown lyrics of songs we’ve heard our whole lives. We try to live up to our children’s expectations of the magic and whimsy they’ve been promised and attempt to play the perfect host to all the guests we’ve invited to share in our holiday fun. And to top it all off, we insist on portraying the joy and carefree attitude we may or may not feel. Sound rather dispirited? Is there a Scrooge behind these words? Not at all! My point, if I have one, is that it is important to set aside a moment—some time in your busy, crazy schedule, to stop. Breath. And find a way to laugh. Here is one of my favorite comedy moments that puts a smile on my tired face and reminds me not to take it all too seriously.

(A Correspondence)
John Julius Norwich

25th December.
My dearest darling,
That partridge, in that lovely little pear tree! What an enchanting, romantic, poetic present! Bless you and thank you.
Your deeply loving Emily.

26th December.
Mr dearest darling Edward,
The two turtle doves arrived this morning and are cooing away in the pear tree as I write. I’m so touched and grateful.
With undying love, as always, Emily.

27th December.
My darling Edward,
You do thinks of the most original presents: whoever thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all the way from France? It’s a pity that we have no chicken coops, but I expect we’ll find some. Thank you, anyway, they’re lovely.
Your loving Emily.

28th December.
Dearest Edward,
What a surprise – four calling birds arrived this morning. They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly – they make telephoning impossible. But I expect they’ll calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I’m very grateful – of course I am.
Love from Emily.

29th December.
Dearest Edward,
The postman has just delivered five most beautiful gold rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly. A really lovely present – lovelier in a way than birds, which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I’m afraid none of use got much sleep last night. Mummy says she wants us to use the rings to ‘wring’ their necks – she’s only joking, I think; though I know what she means. But I love the rings. Bless you.
Love, Emily.

30th December.
Dear Edward,
Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door this morning, it certainly wasn’t six socking great geese laying eggs all over the doorstep. Frankly, I rather hoped you had stopped sending me birds – we have no room for them and they have already ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant well, but – let’s call a halt, shall we?
Love, Emily.

31st December.
I thought I said no more birds; but this morning I woke up to find no less than seven swans all trying to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I’d rather not thinks what happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds – to say nothing of what they leave behind them. Please, please STOP.
Your Emily.

1st January.
Frankly, I think I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight milkmaids – AND their cows? Is this some kind of a joke? If so, I’m afraid I don’t find it very amusing.

2nd January.

Look here Edward, this has gone far enough. You say you’re sending me nine ladies dancing; all I can say is that judging from the way they dance, they’re certainly not ladies. The village just isn’t accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless hussies with nothing on but their lipstick cavorting round the green – and it’s Mummy and I who get blamed. If you value our friendship – which I do less and less – kindly stop this ridiculous behaviour at once.

3rd January.
As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are prancing abour all over what used to be the garden – before the geese and the swans and the cows got at it; and several of them, I notice, are taking inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. Meanwhile the neighbours are trying to have us evicted. I shall never speak to you again.

4th January.
This is the last straw. You know I detest bagpipes. The place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse and a man from the Council has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least Mummy has been spared this last outrage; they took her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance. I hope you’re satisfied.

5th January.
Our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to inform you that with the arrival on her premises a half-past seven this morning of the entire percussion section of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and several of their friends she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent your importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock.

I am, Sir, Yours faithfully,

12 Thoughts of the Season – #3

christmas-goodies-plateConcerts, children’s performances, school parties, invites to friends and families…what ingredient do all these things have in common? Food of course! Sweet candy canes, smashing chocolate oranges, Italian bread with warm, cheesy dipping sauce…there are so many great choices it was hard to limit my list to five! My Top 5 List today includes my favorite holiday foods that I look forward to every season.

  1. The Mandarin Orangeorange
    • Simple. Juicy. And the best time for the sweetest, juiciest of the year. What always amazes me about this little fruit is you can’t judge the quality by the peel (unless it’s covered in mold). Brown speckled dots and uneven colouring don’t dictate the quality of the fruit underneath. What a great metaphor!
  2. Chocolate Cherry Thumbprints
    • I make these delicious cookies every year. The melted chocolate chips stirred into the oats give it a melt in your mouth experience. The bright red maraschino cherries give it a holiday touch that make for a great presentation.
  3. After Eights
    • I can’t resist these thin, delicate minty chocolates. They turn my evening tea time into a moment of quiet stillness as the chaos around me pauses while I allow the chocolaty goodness to melt in my mouth.Brie-close-up-1
  4. Cranberry Brie in Phyllo Pastry
    • Whether I’m feeling ambitious to get out the phyllo pastry and wrap the brie and cranberries myself or rely on a store bought version, this warmed up treat never fails to satisfy! The melted cheese on a Stoned Wheat Thin cracker makes for a great appetizer (or a whole meal if I get it all to myself!)
  5. Butterball Turkey
    • I can think of many other cookies and treats that I enjoy every year, but my holiday is not complete without a turkey dinner. Once you’ve tasted a butterball turkey, it’s hard to settle for anything else. The meat is so succulent, the skin is so crisp…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Share with me your favorite treats of the season!

12 Thoughts of the Season – #2

Music is instrumental at bringing in the holiday cheer and setting the festive mood of the season. Religious views aside, there are some wonderful, toe-tapping songs that bring people together every year. My Top 5 List includes both the classic and the humorous tunes that I love to hear every December. But don’t take this list too seriously, it’s all good fun!

  1. Christmas in Killarney
    • This Irish jig was written by John Redmond, James Cavanaugh and Frank Weldon and has been preformed by many artists including Bing Crosby and the Irish Rovers. The version I’ve chosen was sung by Dennis Day whose version hit the Top 10 chart in 1950. I had actually never heard this version before – it’s now my favorite!
  2. The Chanuka Song by Adam Sandler
    • This song has been such a hit there have been more and more versions—you can’t deny, this is a holiday hit! It was originally written for  Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update and then became part of Adam Sandler’s stand up comedy act.
  3. Snoopy’s Christmas performed by The Royal Guardsmens
    • This song starts off with the serious and solemn singing of ‘Oh Tannenbaum’ which is the German version of ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ and then lightens up with the drums and bells as Snoopy gets in a ‘dogfight’ with the Red Barron. It is a catchy tune and imagining Snoopy on his dog house wearing his goggles brings a smile to my face. But when I think of the real meaning behind the song I find I’m fighting back tears. The song has historical references to the event that happened in WWI when the German and British soldiers initiated a cease fire, cleared the No-man’s land of dead bodies to play a game of football and even gave gifts to their enemies. The song represents this as the Barron gives Snoopy his holiday toast and I can’t help but get chills when I think of this moment of peace and friendship between soldiers on the front lines.
  4. Boney M Christmas Song
  5. Jesus Brother Bob by The Arrogant Worms
    • Okay, this isn’t technically a Christmas song, but it is another one of those crazy holiday traditions I have. I play this song every December ’cause it’s when we listen to songs about Jesus, right?  The thought of Jesus having a half-brother who just never gets noticed and what his life would be like is a good lesson in perspective. Great tool for any writer! Besides, this song makes me giggle.