Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three Things Thursday- Holiday Traditions

Yea, yea, I know I didn't post on Monday yet again, but that's because I had no news to report!  I swear I'll start writing after this weekend.  I will, I WILL.  I will have oodles of time next week to delve back into the WIP, and I seriously can't wait!  I have all these ideas floating around in my head, and my readers have told me that what I have now has been totally "drawing them in" and they can't wait to read more.  Nice lil ego boost, there.  And it motivates me to keep going!  When, um, I have some time to sit down with my laptop again, anyway.

Well, it's Thursday, so that means it's time for another edition of Three Things Thursday.  I thought I would go ahead and discuss my three favorite holiday traditions, some new, some old.  I realize last week's post was also holiday-related, but hey, 'tis the season, right? 

1) For as long as I can remember, we've been going to my Gramma Marusak's house for Christmas Eve.  And I think the tradition of Christmas Eve dinner over there started long before I was even born.  It's my absolute favorite dinner of the year- the traditional Slovak/Catholic meatless dinner, consisting of homemade mushroom soup, fresh Lake Erie Perch (and no one, I mean NO ONE makes better perch than my gram), and pierogies.  I have taken over making the famous twice-baked mashed potatoes, and I daresay I have perfected them. 

2) Back when all the kids were little, and well, my two younger cousins might not remember this as well as my brother and I do, but one of our traditions was "dragging Grampa to the tree to pass out gifts".  Every year, Grampa would pretend he'd be too tired to pass out the presents and would make like he was going upstairs to take a nap.  Then the four grandkids would then have to make a big production of physically dragging Grampa from the staircase, through the living room, and all the way back to the tree.  I'm smiling right now just remembering it.  And getting teary.  Every year at this time, I miss my grampa so, so much.  He died 14 years ago today.  I know he's up there watching over us, enjoying seeing how we've all grown up and how we still all get together for these Christmas traditions.  He loved this time of year more than anything.

3) Our newest tradition just evolved over the last 5 years or so.  Christmas Eve night, after Dan and I open our mountain of presents for each other (every year we say we need to cut back, and every year we still go overboard), we head out to Mentor to hang out with my brother and sister in law.  We order Chinese food, drink wine and watch Christmas Vacation.  Sometimes my parents and Gramma join us, too.  I look forward to that evening the whole year, I think.  There's just nothing better than snuggling up with the people you love, laughing and enjoying each other's company. 

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?  Mine all seemed to involve Christmas Eve...clearly it's one of my favorite days of the year.

Happy Holidays, everyone!  I'll be working furiously on the WIP next week so I might take a lil' hiatus from the blog.  But watch for more in 2012!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Three Things Thursday

This week has been a complete blur, you guys. I just realized I never even did my usual Monday post! Whoopsie. Of course, there’s really not much to report on the word count front, anyway. I think I wrote maaaaaybe 1,000 words last week. And this week hasn’t been any better. In fact, it's been far, far worse (word count so far is one big goose egg!). We’re smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, kids, and that means all I’ve been doing is running around, shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping presents, and collapsing in a heap by the end of the day.

That said, today’s Three Things Thursday is devoted to the holiday season. Here are three things I love about the holidays, in no particular order:

1) Finding (and giving) the perfect gift. There’s no better feeling that picking up something you just know the receiver of said perfect gift will totally love. Especially if it’s a surprise gift-something they didn’t even know they wanted or needed. Or something they mentioned once, a long time ago, that I somehow tucked away in my brain and remembered it at Christmastime.

2) Wrapping presents. I am such a huge dork about wrapping presents. I love shiny, pretty paper and big sparkly bows. I’m not even sure when this happened; I used to be the kind of person who was content to throw everything in gift bags or wrap with whatever paper was closest to my reach. At some point I became obsessed with that wire-edged ribbon and it was all downhill from there. Even though it takes me waaaaay longer than it should to wrap presents, I still enjoy every minute of it, aching back and all.

3) Time off work. I know, this isn’t really a "warm-n-fuzzy" type of holiday thing, but still. I generally save up vacation days to ensure I’ll have the last week of the year off no matter what. This year we got lucky and our office is closed the whole week. I’ll be off from December 23rd all the way through January 2nd. That’s 10 (count ‘em!) glorious days for me to not worry about deadlines and rates and ad copy…ahhhh. And of course I plan on moving the WIP along as much as I possibly can during that timeframe!

‘Tis the season!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three Things Thursday

For this week’s edition of Three Things Thursday, I thought I would discuss what my top three favorite books of the past year were. It was no easy to task to narrow this list down to just three, because I’ve read some seriously good books this year! And my to-read list is longer than ever, so next year this list might have to get bumped up to five…

Anywho, without further ado, my favorite books of 2011:
1) Divergent by Veronica Roth - The description from Goodreads: Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place her in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book when I first started it; it was a little slow-moving, but the story picked up mid-way through and I was hooked. It was no Hunger Games, but it was still beautifully written and I was completely sucked in. I’m very excited for the second book in the trilogy to be released in 2012! Also? This book won Book of the Year on Goodreads!  So yea...I'm not alone in my enjoyment of this one.

2) Paper Towns by John Green – The description from Goodreads: When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night - dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows her. Margo's always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she's always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they're for Q. Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.

 I. Love. John. Green. I read all his books last year with the exception of An Abundance of Katherines (which I own but have been waiting to read), and it was really, really hard for me to decide which one of his was my favorite. But Paper Towns was the first book of his I read, so it holds a bit of a special place in my heart. Will Grayson, Will Grayson was fantastic too, though, and Looking for Alaska made me both laugh and cry over and over…if you haven’t read any John Green, please check him out. His newest book, The Fault in our Stars, comes out in January, and yours truly preordered a signed copy! I can’t wait to get that!

3) The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – The description from Goodreads: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Ok, so I follow Maureen Johnson on Twitter, and she is HI-larious. She co-wrote a book with John Green and Lauren Myracle called Let it Snow- a collection of holiday stories by each author, and so right away I knew if she was friends with John Green I would probably adore her. I was right. The Name of the Star was a good mix of humor and suspense and spookiness and I devoured it in like three days. You should read it too.

Hmm, maybe next week I’ll write about what books I’m most excited to read in 2012. God, I’m a nerd. It’s all good. I have come to embrace my dorkiness.  Because you know what?  All these amazing books out there inspire me to become a better writer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's official. I suck.

Yep.  Wordcount total this week: 0

That's a big, fat goose egg,  y'all.  I wish I had some sort of excuse other than I just wasn't feeling it last week but...I just wasn't feeling it last week.  But it was a CRAZY week, too.  I guess that's an excuse.  Monday I dealt with a sick kitty at the vet for hours, Tuesday had a going-away dinner for a friend, Wednesday got my hair did, Thursday was the normal Thursday with the girls, Friday took my cousin to dinner, Saturday was at the wineries on the east side all the time Sunday rolled around all I wanted to do was stare blankly at the TV.  And I didn't even get to do that for more than a couple hours.  I was too busy cleaning poo off every surface in the house (see: sick kitty above), doing roughly a hundred loads of laundry (due to sick kitty), ironing 57 pairs of pants that had been sitting in a wrinkled pile for over a month, making dinner, and finally, organizing my Christmas list by person and store, and then purchasing a few things online as well.  I swear I didn't stop and relax from the entire week until 8 pm last night.

I keep reading these blogs and articles that are all about "making time for your writing every single day".  In a perfect world, I would, in fact, write every single day.  I wish to god I could write every single day. But it's not a perfect world, and, well, I also enjoy sleeping.  Which I did not do very much of last week, again due to sick kitty and other random crap on my mind.

Here's to hoping that things calm down and I finally make some progress this week!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three Things Thursday

I'm gonna be honest-  I'm feeling a bit stressed out this week.  So, this is going to be a quick little post just to get some of the things weighing on my mind out into the open.  Perhaps if I share them the stress will magically ease up a bit?  Worth a shot, no?

1) I went to my ear, nose & throat doctor yesterday and found out that basically, my sinuses are JACKED UP.  Yes, so JACKED UP that all caps are acceptable.  The main bullet point is that my sinus cavities in my face are so swelled up that I'm getting barely any air flowing through my head.  So, the good news is you cannot call me an airhead.  Bah.  The bad news is I have to go on like 5 different medications and get an allergy test done, all so the doctor can try to pinpoint why the heck I'm like this.  And I am not looking forward to being on meds for the next month, OR getting the allergy test done, cuz I have heard those are not so fun.  But I suppose it will be good to know once and for all what I'm allergic to.

2) My skinny little cat that I've had for nine years is not doing so well.  To make a long story short, he's not eating well, lost a lot of weight and has been sort of lethargic and anti-social, which is so not like him.  The vet charged me $300 to run a bunch of tests that all came back negative, and the next step is to get an ultrasound done to check for cancer.  The ultrasound is $350.  Which I just do not have right now.  And then, if it comes back that it's cancer, I can't afford the treatments regardless.  So yea.  Kind of a lose-lose situation.  I'm just hoping he perks up over the next week with his new meds and stuff.

3) Lastly, the ongoing struggle between working a regular job, having a social life, and finding time to write. I'm aching to write.  I have all these new ideas I'm dying to get down, but the problem is (and I think I've mentioned this before) that I'm not one of those writers who can turn on their lap top, write for an hour, and shut it down contentedly.  I need at least 2 hours to really get going.  And this entire week, I haven't sat down to relax until after 8 pm.  If I start writing then I'll be up til midnight, and then I'll be a super cranky girl at work.  I'm SO looking forward to my week off over the holidays!  I'll have so much time in between watching bad daytime TV and napping to really crank out some high word counts.  Can't.  Wait.