Let’s hear it for the goals!

30 posts in 30 days.  Done.  I blogged everyday in November, except one and I posted two the next day to make for the missed day.  I posted silly haiku, opinions, and a tribute to an inch tall Santa.  I told the story of my foster cats and shared my blog on Facebook for the first time so my shelter friends could read my post.  Tomorrow I’ll look at stats and do some analysis to see what worked and what didn’t.

I am proud of myself.  Normally I’m not a goal setter;  I break my New Years resolutions by January 5th.  But I stuck with this.  I learned that my fiction suffers when I write all the time, because it is hard to be thoughtful on a deadline and my fiction needs thought.  I have a 5-6 part serial short piece that I’d planned on posting this month, but I never got to it.  December will be the month of fiction.  I learned that I can produce whimsy on the fly, and sorrow.  I learned that I can write really long posts on my smartphone there are  I other options.  (Argh!  I never wrote the “forgotten backpack” post.  Putting it on the list.)  I learned that my blog reading suffers when I write every day, and I miss reading what you all write. I met some great new blogging colleagues this month and look forward to reading more from them.  

Thanks to those who read along and congrats to those who wrote with me.  Pat yourselves on the back and don’t be a stranger in December!

We shoot people here

Where I live we kill people with guns.  On average our state is highlighted in the national news every four years, but the shootings are more frequent as of late: before this week, the last one was two years ago.  We kill people at school, at the movies, and at the doctor’s office.  Really ordinary places where you don’t expect to get shot, but in Colorado, that’s what happens.

These places aren’t in the bad part of town.  They aren’t the shootings we dismiss because they happen to poor people.  They happen in wealthy suburbs, near college campuses, and just down the street from our airport.  They are all nice places to have your life unexpectedly ended.

Perhaps we should change our state motto from the Latin Nil Sine Numine (nothing without Providence) to Nil Sine Caedis (nothing without slaughter).  I’m not a Latin expert, so there might be a better phrase to use, but I think it’s important to prepare our visitors and residents to be gunned down at the dentist, the shopping mall, or at school – normal ordinary places.

I spent the years before I decided to have a baby getting my annual exams from Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood.  Not the one in Colorado Springs, but one in my home town.  I swam and debated at Arapahoe High School.  Every time I come home from the airport I drive past the movie theater where people were shot for watching Batman.  I’ve got a friend who went to high school with Harris and Klebold.  It’s hard to live in our beautiful state and not have a connection to a shooting, because we shoot people here every so often.

According to our official website the name of our state, Colorado, “has its origin in the Spanish language, as the word for ‘colored red’.”  That seems an appropriate first acknowledgement of the blood that spills here every few years.

Where I live we kill people with guns.


Can it be? Tiny Snowman!

Tiny Santa’s friend, Tiny Santa #2 was given to Nanna as a Thanksgiving present.  So Tiny Santa was getting lonely.  He was excited to meet his new friend Tiny Albino Peanut.    

Oh Tiny Santa, don’t be silly.  A peanut is not a good friend.  I’m not done yet.

Eyes, scarf and arms make Tiny Snowman!  Oh, the cool weather adventures they will have together.  

Santa Sighting

The Afthead Christmas season begins with a trip to Main Street of my hometown.  The four blocks are lined with trees covered in tiny white lights, dark until Santa arrives.  He travels in the back of a truck waving to the kids, and when he reaches the beginning of a new block the lights magically illuminate. This year it was cold and snow flurries painted the sky.  My daughter and her friend were bundled three layers deep topped with Santa hats.  Both of them believe completely in Santa, and while they know this is not the real guy, eight years of a tradition have made him special.  

The girls call in unison as Santa passes.  

“He saw us!”

“He waved at us!”

Because they are bigger and the crowds stayed home to avoid the cold this year I ask, “Do you want to go down another block?”  They do.  This year we see Santa four times and he sees us twice, by the girls’ counting.  Only at the last block do I have to threaten, “Girls,are you really hitting each other?  He is right there!”  Their cold bodies extend for one final wave.  

They leave singing  a song they proudly made up on their own:  “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus right down Ma-ain Street.”  

Afthead Advent

I have always loved Advent calendars: the kind where you open a paper door and see inside a window or door, the felt ornaments you use to decorate a felt tree, or the glorious ones of my childhood that revealed waxy chocolates.  I love the anticipation they build for the season.  I love the little excitement every day.

Now that I am a mom, I go a bit crazy over our Advent calendar.  It goes up Thanksgiving night, which increases the anticipation quotient. Each day has a gift.  Some little, like a mini candy cane, and some big, like a 1000 piece puzzle for the first day school is out.  (We’ll spend two weeks putting that together as a family.)  Some things she won’t like, clothes, but that gives us a chance to remember and practice polite “thank yous” before we get to the in laws on Christmas Eve.  Some are tiny unexpected treasures she will love:  a Duncan yo-yo the size of a quarter.  We celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah at our house, so there is gelt and blue and silver markers on the 6th to celebrate the first night we’ll light the menorah.  

Part of me feels guilty about the fancy calendar my only child gets.  I couldn’t pull this off with two kids.  Part of me knows that Advent is a real thing and I’m insulting people who celebrate the real Advent with my tradition.  Part of me feels bad that I’m making the holidays even more materialistic.  Really, I should have each day be a bonding activity, or a charitable act.  Somehow I can’t make time to pre-plan holiday activities before Thanksgiving and I don’t have the Pinterest-patience to come up with 25 good deeds that won’t make my kid whine at me, then me yell at her, and both of us feel bad.  I can manage to pick up a little something here or there throughout the year to fill a pocket in the calendar, and the effort gives me and her so much joy that I overlook my bad Advent feelings and keep the tradition going.

Tonight I pulled out the box where I stashed Advent gifts and started wrapping.  I got to remember where I bought things and was surprised by an item or two.  A few things she had outgrown and they went in the Toys for Tots box.  Once all the gifts were wrapped and strategically placed – biggest gifts on the weekend and art supplies all in a row – I got to hang up the calendar.  Tomorrow will be filled with excitement as she shakes, pokes, and squishes presents.  Tuesday  she’ll open her first gift.  The only thing better than my Advent calendars growing up is making one for my kiddo. 

The Adventures of Tiny Santa

Why would I ever knit tiny creatures on vacation?  Because it means I can take pictures like these:

Tiny Santa enjoys a bagel.

Tiny Santa is amazed by the giant windmill. 

Tiny Santa wears a fashionable acorn cap while exercising on the climbing wall.

Tiny Santa enjoys a walk by the river.

Tiny Santa finds treasures in nature.

Tiny Santa jumps in the leaves.

Tiny Santa goes exploring at the nature center and takes a rest in an old tree. 

Tiny Santa has a hard time bowling.

Tiny Santa contemplates buying a cheese hat.  

Tiny Santa also struggles at ping pong.

Tiny Santa anxiously awaits his new friend. 

Well, Tiny Santa had a big day, and now he’s ready to go home.  Vacations are fun, but exhausting.  Tiny Santa hopes he can nap on the plane.

More Travel Knitting

So much knitting gets accomplished on vacation.  I found a darning needle in my “emergency knitting kit” in my carry on – yeah that’s a real thing in my life – so was able to remove the double pointed needles out of hat #1 for the younger cousin.    I then knit a bigger hat for the second older cousin.  Somehow I lost the picture of the second hat, but it was the same colors, slightly bigger with a different stripe pattern.  Can you picture it? With the baby hats out of the way, I moved onto my finger cramping knitting.  I love making tiny Mochimochi Land toys when traveling.  Nothing says “road trip” to me more than this image:  Tiny needles and yarn?  Sign me up.  Since Christmas is coming I brought along my kit to make tiny Santas.   I messed up the leg to body interface the first time but turned out a respectable tiny Santa the second try.  His name is Verona Tinypants.      Thankfully my aunt-in-law had a needle in her sewing kit smaller than my giant emergency darning needle so I could finish weaving in his octopus arms.  In case you are wondering about the gorgeous fluffy base in the featured image, Verona is on the cat-in-law, Mr. Belding.  Such a sweet guy!  One more day of vacation left and I’ve knit all the projects I brought, except the other tiny Santa – the kit makes two.  We’ll see if my hands are recovered enough to make one more tomorrow.  His name would be Kaukauna Tinypants.