51/52 – 2017 Writing Reflection

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​Looking back on 2017 and how much I’ve advanced in my writing and motivation needs to start before the year even began. For Halloween 2016, I dressed as a journalist, complete with reporter’s notebook and 1950s fedora. The election year had been a difficult one for journalists and the press in general, moreso than the usual kidnappings and murders that they face yearly all across the globe. Theirs is not an easy job, but where would we be as a society without them? The maligning they received at the hands of Candidate Trump, and continues with him as President is horrifying, not only to this country’s First Amendment, but also to this country’s value we put on knowledge and information; checks and balances.

I have always been a fan of journalists and news reporters, and my choice for two Halloweens ago was a reminder of that love, but also of what was at stake at the following week’s election. We can see how prescient that choice was.

It’s been a long year. L–O–N–G.

I’ve had a few missteps and missed deadlines on the blog, but I’m happy with how far i’ve come, the changes I’ve made, and confident in the changes still to come in the new year.

I’m grateful and appreciative for every follower, every like, and every comment. Each one helps me to grow just a little bit more as a writer.

I now also consider my attempts at art and photography as part of my writing and my writing life.

I participated in Nanowrimo, and I was very satisfied with how much was written in those thirty days: over 35,000 words. As I’ve said before, I didn’t make it to the 50,000 word goal, but I do have 35,000+ words more than I had on November 1st. I’m looking forward to creating outlines and editing and more research in the early parts of the new year to get my book on its way.

I have also decided to send a letter of intent to a local continuing education department and teach a six week class on writing. The workshops, and my contributions to them, not to mention this blog, have given me the confidence to believe that this is a next step in my writing life.

In reading too many books that I feel I could have written, not so much better, but differently and valued, I believe I have another book in me, this one specifically on journaling. Or writing. Or inspiration. It’s still in flux.

This looking back will have me looking forward by the end of the week. Stay tuned.

Fandom Friday – What to Expect in the New Year

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I, for one, am very excited for television in the New Year. Spoilers for everything in the tags follow. Read at your own discretion. Continue reading

Holiday Food

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Food makes the world go round. When we travel, the first thing we do when we get off the airplane or park the car is to find somewhere to eat. I know we’re always looking for that perfect, quintessential local food that we can instagram and taste, and talk about when we get home. Maybe that’s just me.

The holidays are also a time of food; not always trying new things, but having the old things – the things of our childhoods, of our in-laws, of that Pinterest thread that we’ve been promising ourselves we would eventually try.

Here are a few of mine:

1. Candy canes for Christmas and Gelt (chocolate gold-wrappered coins) for Chanukah.

2. Latkes. Confessional time: I make latkes more during Passover than I do during Chanukah. Passover has an overabundance of potatoes, and by  mid-week, it gets a little tiring, although celebrating our Exodus from slavery is never old.

3. French Toast. I happen to make the best French toast. Plain, unadulderated, egg, milk, white bread with butter and Aunt Jemima syrup. Mmm. On occasion I will make a French toast casserole that needs to refrigerate overnight, and then bake in the morning, and that is also amazing, but I think that has less to do with me than with easy French toast on a weekday morning!

4. Green bean casserole. Yes, the Kraft one. Or is the recipe from DelMonte? I think the recipe calls for milk, but my mother never used milk to keep it somewhat kosher-like. Again, simple: 2 cans of French-style green beans, drained, mixed with one can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, mixed with half a container of French’s fried onions and baked for 30-35 minutes on 350. Sprinkle the fried onions on top, and bake for another 5 minutes or so. Voila!

5. Orange Marmalade. I’m not sure why I think of orange marmalade at Christmas time. Possibly because my mother-in-law is British/Irish and that’s a very British food to have during Christmas (or any tea time) with scones or English muffins or biscuits.
What are your holiday favorites that you really miss or can’t live without?

Election Reflection – Hope

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The last time I stayed up until 2am watching election returns my mood was much more somber, much more reserved, much more depressed. For the first time since November 8, 2016 I have hope. I have worry – the Republicans are still pushing their taxscam, the President implied my Senator was a prostitute, and the FCC closed the internet last week, but I have hope. I don’t believe any of this needs to be permanent.

While covfefe was the rock that broke the dam and let me see human again, Doug Jones is the light in a very long, very dark tunnel.

McConnell can wait to seat him and pretend he’s not the obstructionist in chief. He can encourage the Dems to clean house while supporting a child molester who was banned from the local mall. He can laugh at his bigotry over his reactions to President Obama and he can relish in his hypocrisy of using social security and medicare while now calling them entitlements and planning to eliminate them from families just like his.

We have the higher ground.

We have always had the higher ground.

This country was founded on a strong central government with limited state powers. How the Republicans corrupted that I don’t know. Probably the same way they corrupted the 2nd Amendment from James Madison’s original intent.

They let their people denigrate the liberal states, while knowing that they couldn’t survive without our invention, inspiration, and tax support. Secede. We’ll be okay. We give more than we get.

I’m determined.

My inner dragon is awakened.

My kids will not live in dystopia or fear.

Rise up. It’s working.

Wise up. Pay attention.

Eyes up. See the whites of their eyes.

Look them in the eye; don’t back down.

Resist.
A pro-choice Democrat who prosecuted and convicted the KKK was elected the Alabama Senator.

I absolutely have hope.

Holiday Traditions and Change

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​Everyone has family traditions that they follow throughout the year, but none more than on those special holidays. I’ve written about some of our family’s traditions, some that have come from my family and some from my husband’s family as well as the ones we’ve begun ourselves.

For Thanksgiving, we’ve adopted my family’s sweet potato pie. I don’t always make pie, sometimes I make a casserole. It had already been changed from the original recipe that I received from my friend in New Orleans by eating it as a side dish. My mother could never fathom it as a dessert. She wasn’t much of a pumpkin pie eater either; more coconut custard or cheesecake.

My husband’s mother was born and raised in Northern Ireland. She brought many of her Christmas traditions to her family including a roast dinner for Christmas dinner and the most amazing trifle, which I find impossible to replicate, so I choose not to.

When we began to have Christmas at our own house with our immediate family, my husband was insistent that we follow his familiy’s traditions to the letter. This includes Chinese take-out for Christmas Eve dinner, Dunkin’ Donuts for Christmas breakfast before we open our gifts, and roast beef and mashed for Christmas dinner. Since I had grown up Jewish, we didn’t have any Christmas tradition conflicts. After my conversion, I attend mass and events at my parish, but those are usually not in conflict with what we’re planning at home.

We’ve added our own like the gift of pjs on Christmas Eve night for all the kids, baking cookies for Santa, and watching the Doctor Who Christmas special.

In between all of that, I attend the masses, the Advent reconciliation prayer service, and the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a wonderful musical event that my parish holds every year.

Having every year flow in nearly the same way with only a few differences is comforting. It’s how we build the family and let the kids see what and who is important at the holidays.

Things change as the kids get older and want to spend time with their friends, girl- and boy-friends; they have jobs and have to juggle days off, and the like.

That is our challenge this year. My oldest son is an EMT, and he is working Christmas Day. He is working from 6am until midnight on Christmas Day. After some now-what-panic, i jumped into mom mode, and rearranged all of our days so we will still have our family holidays time, simply by moving everything up by one day. After the regular Vigil Mass on Saturday, we’ll have our Christmas Eve Chinese take-out, and make sure all the gifts are under the tree. We’ll wake up Sunday morning, and open our presents all together. Unfortunately for the kids, Santa doesn’t rearrange his schedule so they’ll have to wait for him to come on Monday morning, which is a bonus for we parents who can make the kids go to sleep early. Sneaky, IO know. Monday morning, my son will see if Santa filled his stocking before he heads out to a full day of work, and I will go to Christmas Day Mass that I usually miss in favor of the Christmas Vigil.

We all have our holiday challenges. This is a good reminder to everyone that as long as you’re with the ones you love, it will all work out in the end. It isn’t just the thought that counts; it’s the people.