PictureThis year’s Christmas tree. It’s not particularly elegant or beautiful, but I tell myself that it’s festive and as cat-proof as I can make it.

As this awful year draws to a welcome close and we dread the continuation of societal madness in the coming year, I’m trying to distance myself from the craziness, take a deep breath, and find my center again. It’s not an easy process and I’ve get to achieve that simple goal. Remember, simple doesn’t equate to easy.

In November, I found myself preoccupied with memories of my father who died in November 2019. I started watching sappy Hallmark movies. I’m still watching sappy Hallmark movies. My brain’s beginning to rot. Last night I made hot chocolate, which goes perfectly with sappy Hallmark movies and my dad’s Hallmark tee shirt (which I wasn’t wearing).

Last weekend, I tidied the upstairs in preparation for a Christmas visit from my older son and his German Shepherd. Yes, folks, we have a “grandpuppy” named Moose. Moose is five months old and weighs 60 pounds. He’s gonna be a big one! I haven’t seen the elder son since July when we visited my mother for her 80th birthday.

Unfortunately, the military put the kibosh on travel (due to COVID), so our younger son cannot visit. That means I likely won’t see him until July 2021, when his term of service concludes, which will make 19 months since last seeing him. 

I miss my boys.

I’ve finished Christmas shopping and will be spending the weekend boxing and wrapping gifts for shipment on Monday. My husband, who’s in the know, says that the USPS has been understaffed due to COVID during this busiest time of year, which is resulting in delays for deliveries. Fingers (and toes and stars and eyes, too) are crossed in hope that the packages we ship will arrive on time.

The latest addition to our family, a kitten named Wolf, has lost his fear of people and become a household terror. Nothing is safe from this black tornado of feline defiance and destruction. This poses problems for holiday decorating, especially since most of my decorative items are fragile. Cross your fingers, the ornaments hung in the windows haven’t yet attracted his interest. However, the tree … oh, the tree.

This year, we’re going with an artificial tree. I don’t like artificial trees, but sometimes pragmatism wins. It’s a skinny tree, so we can cut down on the amount of ornaments. However, my Christmas tree ornaments are either glass (fragile) or handmade (fragile)–not good choices with kitties that like to swat, bat, and play with shiny, dangling things.

So, I got creative. With a quick trip to Dollar General to purchase some white garland, wide gold mesh ribbon, and a handful of cheap ornaments (not glass), I had a good start to decorating the tree. I found some leftover ribbons (white, silver, and blue) and stings of shiny plastic beads (Mardi Gras beads, basically), I decorated the tree. It’s not perfect. It’s certainly not classy or elegant. But I tell myself that it’s festive–and that’s the best we’re going to get this Christmas.

As for writing … I’m still not producing anything. The hiatus continues. Work remains slow and spotty; however, I’m deeply grateful for the clients I do have. I dread a second imposition of lockdowns which I am convinced will prove disastrous for the entire nation, not just my business. Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed the increased frequency in the Books of the Month offers to read my work for free. That will end as 2020 concludes. 

For those who read or who have read my books, please leave reviews–even if you didn’t like them and especially if you did. Indie authors really need support right now.