Monday, December 28, 2009

A Wild West Christmas...twelve days long

Currently reading: The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith
Just finished: When Christmas Comes by Debbie Macomber A++++

Merry Christmas!

What? That's like, five days ago.

But did you know Christmas has long been celebrated for twelve days afterward, until the Feast of the Magi, or Epiphany, on January 6? I'm so happy the Hallmark Channel is still showing Christmas flicks this week and our cable system's "Sounds of the Season" is still belting out carols full force. So much better than the Los Angeles station that started playing Christmas music mid-November, non-stop, 24/7...only to cease cold turkey at 12:01 a.m. December 26. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. And all the marathons of White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone and A Christmas Story stopped then too.

In fact, if you want the true meaning of the Twelve Days (it is NOT those twelve gimmicky shopping days beforehand), get on over to my recent blog at Petticoats and Pistols to learn the secret, sacred symbolism behind all the French hens and those maids a'milking.

That blogging day, I asked readers to help me re-write the classic Christmas carol, and here's what we composed: (No symbolism; we just had fun.)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a roadrunner in a pinon pine tree.

...Two blue jays squawking,
...Three crows cawing,
...Four calves a-bawling,
...Five jangling spurs,
...Six cowgirls roping,
...Seven tumbleweeds a'tumbling,
...Eight pioneers a camping,
...Nine broncos bucking,
...Ten cowboys singing,
...Eleven roosters crowing,

And I just couldn't decide on the last one. Take your pick. They're all great.

Twelve stallions leaping
Twelve Texans twanging
Twelve riders riding
Twelve fillies rhyming
Twelve coyotes howling.

Point is. It's still Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas, and God Bless Us All, Everyone

Just finished: The Forgetful Bride, by Debbie Macomber, C-

It's that time of year when...I'm running out of time. But I love it! Bought out the dollar stores yesterday with stocking stuffers...have the cul-de-sac party on Saturday for which I make my famous mac and cheese. Best of all, Hubby's gift arrived by FedEx at a time when I could actually keep it a secret

There's shopping, baking for the neighbors, and tons of wrapping ahead all the while I'm finishing my next-year's holiday novella, Christmas for Ransom, and finishing the edits for Marrying Mattie. BTW, Marrying Minda could be the answer to your question about what to get for that special person. Available both print and e-form at The Wild Rose Press

And my short story His Christmas Angel (the prequel to next year's Marrying Mattie) is a FREE download at Wild Rose! Doesn't get much better than free!

Hope you enjoy the hottie cowboy. Off to pen the Christmas letter now, and no, it's not one of those obnoxious braggy ones. Just a quick sentence about each one of us.

Once again, God bless you all, every one.

P.s. The George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol is far and away the very best.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'll Be your Huckleberry...

Current read: Home for the Holidays, by Debbie Macomber

One of the greatest books of all time, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was published on this date in 1885 in Canada and England. It wasn't released for two months in the United States and has been in trouble ever since.

Ernest Hemingway declared it the "one book" from which "all modern American literature" came. Too true. Heretofore, all great works by American authors had bitten off from European counterparts. But this one, crammed full of local color, written in the regional dialogue of the time (which makes it the bane of students), showcasing a true if nasty art of American culture (slavery), set on a river like none other in the world, is indeed the first and the best. Contemporary critics and scholars have treated it as one of the greatest American works of art.
Why is in trouble? Well, mostly the whiners are people who haven't read it. They don't like some of the common terms of the time--which are not used as derogatory in the book. (Besides, why do females get to be called bitches and ho's and nobody seems to sense a way double standard?)

Here's to you, Samuel Langhorne Clemens!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Always in My Heart...

Two years ago today my twin brother died. Cancer, ravenous, irrevocable, incurable. We got the dreaded news of his diagnosis on Mothers Day weekend, in a phone call at 8:30 p.m.--the time he always called, with a joke, news of his two daughters, plans for a get-together. All the stuff of real life. We never expected a death sentence.

But I believe in miracles and prayed for one. A transplant. Some magic experimental drugs. Which, truth to tell, there was one of the latter. (The former was impossible.) But the drug so compromised Mike's quality of life he said, no thanks, after several months of poison and misery.

In those last months, we danced together at niece Katie's wedding, myself in tears. The Beatles' "In My Life." There's nobody who compares to you, I wept into his shoulder.

I love your family like my own, Tonna. That was his special name for me. My son used it until he was about five, never calling me mommy.

With our spouses and closest friends, we did manage one last trip to Palm Springs, one of our favorite places, in July. Oh, the memories! Now, knowing what chemo does to the human body, I can only applaud Mike for his courage in accompanying us. I know now he was in hell much of the time.

Oh, I miss him every day. Every major event of my life, he was at my side. In some way, he still is. I know he was looking down and laughing with joy at Christi's wedding last August. That he sent me his love during those harrowing months of my hubby's chemo. But when the phone rings in the evening, my heart stops, and I wish things were different.

Because that was Mike's time, not some stupid "Unknown" junker that shows up on Caller ID.

I gave a talk at his graveside, and I managed laughter instead of tears. My hubby got up to speak, but just couldn't, awash in emotions. Our best man. Godfather to our son, an incredible uncle, father, month later, we got the horrific diagnosis of cancer ourselves.

In my life, Mike, there's nobody who compares to you.

Love always....