Wishing all my friends and fans a very Happy and Healthy New Year! Stay warm and safe. Have fun and give lots of love tonight! Thank you for making 2014 so great, and here’s to making 2015 the best year yet! All my best! All my love!
This is a special time for most people, but for me, it goes beyond special. This is my favorite time of the year, and these are some of the reasons why.
5. Christmas music. Whether I’m listening to the radio in the car, watching a commercial during my favorite television show, or shopping for groceries and gifts, Christmas music almost always flavors the background. It doesn’t matter that most of the songs were recorded before I was born, or those old traditional ones have been rerecorded by every top ten artist of the decade. None of that taints the joy the festive music brings out. Many of the old favorites are songs that people from all generations can sing along to.
4. The Animated specials. I’ll admit that every year for as long as I remember, and I do mean my very first Christmas memories, I’ve waited and watched with baited breath for that old silk hat to animate Frosty, and for Santa to show those nasty reindeer that they’re not all they believe themselves to be, when he asks Rudolph to use his special gift and lead his sleigh. What winter would be complete without a battle between the Miser brothers? It doesn’t matter that we all know how it’s going to go down. It’s the singing these polar opposites do that many of us love. No matter how advanced and realistic today’s animation becomes, nothing can replace, or take ownership of my heart the way the old Claymation specials do.
3. It’s pretty. True the skies are often grayer than at other times of the year, at least here on the East Coast, but it’s the perfect back drop for the cool, crisp weather and the celebratory time of year. Green trees pretty lights and colorful ornaments are used to decorate anything from Christmas trees to clothes. Red, green and gold stand out in malls and stores. Animated decorations, blow-ups, and candle lights adorn the front lawns and windows of people’s homes. It is hard to leave your home without seeing some bold, bright colors drawing you in and giving you a warm feeling inside your belly.
2. People are nicer. This is the time of year people are naturally kinder. I’m not just referring to the people that donate or volunteer for programs like the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots. This is the time people generally feel uplifted by the spirit of the season and feel the urge to be generous. We’ve all heard stories about strangers buying dinners and gifts for families in need, or someone checking out at a store giving the cashier money to pay off the lay-away bill for someone they’ve never even laid eyes on. Even just the general disposition of people seems to be friendlier. There are more smiles as kind words are offered, such as Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, to total strangers. Maybe it’s just the promise of a day off from work, or the brightness of the red Santa hats people often wear. Whatever it is, the holiday cheer is one of my favorite things.
1. The reason for the season. This is a very holy time of the year. It’s not just the Catholics that celebrate this time of year. Chanukah and Ramadan, holy holidays in the Jewish and Muslim religions, are also celebrated at this time of year. Let’s all enjoy the expression of love and joy that comes with these celebrations, and offer well wishes as we each in our own way choose to celebrate, or not, what it is we believe. Above all let us treat each other with the respect that no matter how different we are, we are all the same, each of us born of flesh and bone. Each of us will return to dust when we die.
These are my reasons I love this time of year. What are yours?
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And wishing you a healthy and Happy New Year!
Thank you to all the brave men and women who have fought past and present to keep us safe and free. To defend a country where people have the right and privilege to criticize you and voice those opinions. Thank you for doing that which so many who find themselves judging others are not brave enough to do. Thank you for your blood, sweat and tears. Thank you to your families for sharing you with us. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for being you!
To all who serve, have served and will serve. Thank you!
In honor of Veterans Day a poem:
We were soldiers then,
Hoards of brave strong men,
Standing side by side in the face of fear,
Not knowing what to expect there,
Watching bullets kill our friends,
Our heroes, our brothers,
Wondering who would break the news
To our wives and mothers,
Trapped in a crimson sea,
My brothers and me,
In a hostile land,
The ground protested our presence,
Breaking our spirits as well as our spines,
Forced to murder, to kill, in order to survive,
Lest we should not leave that land alive,
Some lucky troops returned to the homeland,
With life and breath,
Never forsaking the spirits
Of those who sought refuge in death.
Working on the sequel to For Always, I find myself going back and rereading scenes from it from time to time. The Halloween scene was such fun to write I thought I’d share what inspired the scene. This was originally posted last year on Evie Seo’s blog. I hope you enjoy it!
Growing up in Brooklyn at the time I did, Halloween was a big deal. Not because it was a time to get dressed as ghouls or goblins. Not because we looked forward to mischief night to toilet paper someone’s house. (I never even heard of that until I moved to NJ.) But because it was a time to either bomb or get bombed. No actual explosives were used in this process. Instead, the “bombing” was an assault of raw eggs and shaving cream.
The Halloween scene, like many of the scenes in For Always was inspired by a true life event. It was a day when my friends and I decided to go bombing. I was in 8th grade and had a massive crush on an older boy. I didn’t talk much and sort of faded into the background whenever my best friend was around. At that age she was much like Maria, a true extrovert, where I was much like Stephanie, a true introvert. Add a healthy dose of insecurity in the mix, and there I was.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll call my best friend Maria, the girl I viewed as my rival Beth, and the guy I liked Jordan. Maria invited two girls I didn’t know to go with us. It was her first year in High school, and she was branching out. I was a year behind. I didn’t know the new girls, and they weren’t particularly friendly. I decided early on I didn’t like them. I tried my hardest to ignore them, but that was hard since there were only four of us. We straggled down the street, laughing and acting silly, like thirteen and fourteen year old girls covered in eggs and shaving cream would. Until I realized where we were headed. Straight to Jordan’s house. I heard Maria mention his name and my ears perked up. Beth whispered something, all I heard was “so cute.”
My heart raced. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to stop the group dead in our tracks. I didn’t want Jordan to see me looking the way I did with goop oozing off my head and clothes. I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t want to see Beth flirt with him. I guessed they knew each other from high school and didn’t want to witness the budding of a new relationship between them. But I couldn’t say anything. No one knew I liked him, especially not Maria. If she knew I liked him, the rest of the world would know too.
Maria rang his doorbell. As we waited, my eyes were glued to the ground. I didn’t want him to see in my eyes how excited I was to see him. But Maria returned alone. He wasn’t home from school yet. (That meant they went to different high schools.) I wanted to do cartwheels, too bad I didn’t know how. And neither was his brother.
Now I listened to the conversation with an open mind. It wasn’t Jordan Beth was interested in, it was his older brother. Just as I let the relief of what I misunderstood sink in, I saw him. He was dressed nice, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. As he approached his house, he acknowledged us with a smile and promised to be right out. I didn’t know what to do, we couldn’t leave. He already saw us. And if we stayed, I was afraid Beth would set her sights on him and he’d reciprocate her interest. And then it happened.
Just like in the book. I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see Jordan standing in front of me, a huge smile on his face. I couldn’t believe he came over to me. To me! I was so happy. Butterflies fluttered like mad in my stomach. And then I saw it. The plate filled with shaving cream in his hand. I had no time to duck or move. All I could do was look from the plate to the smile on his face. And then it hit me. He took his time mushing it in my face before pulling away and laughing.
While I couldn’t see, and acted shocked and outraged at what he’d done, I felt good. Because out of the four grungy girls waiting outside his house, he came to me. He went inside for a towel and spent the next half an hour helping clean me up. And when his brother did get home, the other girls surrounded him, leaving Jordan and I to each other. Unlike Beth or Maria, or the other girl I can’t quite remember, I left there knowing the guy I liked, liked me.
I’d really love to hear what you think. what is your fondest Halloween memory?
Do you remember your first celebrity crush? My daughter has hers, and while she goes on and on about Jensen Ackles and Supernatural, I can’t help but be sucked back in time. I don’t know if these were my first celebrity crushes, but they were my most obsessive. I am about to seriously date myself here, but I’m sure you’ll recognize the names.
I loved, absolutely LOVED all things Michael J. Fox. Family Ties, Back to the Future, and Teen Wolf just to name a few. For as long as I can remember Thursday nights were spent in front of the television watching Family Ties. One of my all-time favorite sitcom characters is Alex P Keaton. Who wouldn’t love the adorable young republican son of hippies? He was cute, smart, and always knew what to say to make me laugh.
I was heartbroken when I heard the series was concluding because Tina Yothers, who played his younger sister Jennifer wanted to do other things. To make matters worse, my goal at the time was to be the youngest person to ever write a novel. She, being just a hair younger than me beat me to it. For a long time after, I hated Tina Yothers!
My other celebrity crush was on Rob Lowe. I loved him as Billy in St. Elmo’s Fire. One of my favorite movies. I identified with so many of the characters, Wendy, the girl in love with his bad-boy character, Kevin, the writer with the secret crush, falling in love from afar. In this movie especially, I allowed myself to fall for Lowe’s bad boy character, someone I’d never allow myself to get close to, let alone fall for in real life. Only a few years ago while watching the series Brothers and Sisters, Rob Lowe recaptured my attention.
Now that I confessed my early celebrity crushes, tell me a little about yours. Who made or makes your heart beat just a little faster and knees just a bit wobbly?