Tag Archives: christmas

A Beautiful Demise (Flash Fiction)

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They killed me on a Friday afternoon. Cut me down from among my brothers and sisters, dragged me through the forest and laughed together while silent snow fell over us. Their eyes gleamed above rosy cheeks as they sang songs celebrating my demise.

They thought I didn’t hear them. Little did they know that my kind’s awareness continues after we crash down. Our life force drains more slowly than theirs does, and it takes us a long while to die.

They strapped my body to the roof of their vehicle, a boxy contraption that spewed noxious fumes into the air behind us. The wind whipped me cruelly as they took me far from home and family, and their voices taunted with words I’d thought of myself in better days. Most beautiful in the forest. Perfect.

Not entirely perfect, as it turned out. They cut me again before I was able to stand in their home, shaving off a few more inches of my once-glorious height. I thought of the summers I spent growing strong from the soil and the rain, reaching ever higher toward the sunlight, drinking it in.

I wept where they cut me, but they didn’t notice. The littlest one squealed about sap on her mittens, and an older child told her not to be a dummy. Charming creatures, these.

They piled indignities upon me like I’d never imagined during my idyllic years in the forest. I was forced to stand in a token puddle of sterile, flavorless water, and they screwed metal spikes in to hold me upright. And then… and then came the macabre ritual of festooning my dying body with glittering baubles and twinkling lights, a mockery of the life that slowly drained from me.

The tall one hoisted the smallest up on his shoulder, and she crowned me with a golden star. At least, they called it a star, but it looked nothing like what I remembered from the night sky. Perhaps they killed this one and brought it indoors, like they did me. The littlest one declared me a Christmas miracle, and they all cheered.

For weeks I’ve stood here, a sentinel in the corner watching over their celebrations. For a time they exclaimed over my beauty and the exquisite scent that my dying body lent to the dry, too-hot air of their home. The smells of their cooking suffocated me, but one day they insisted on stringing their baked goods on me. The dog walked by and stole a few pieces off of the lower half, then crept out to the yard with them through his little door in the back. I assume this was out of some sort of primitive mammalian empathy. At least one creature in the house is capable of it.

Then they seemed to forget me for a time. They’d occasionally adjust their decorations, but for the most part it seemed I’d be left with whatever dignity I was still had, to die in peace.

But then the presents began to appear. Brightly wrapped offerings, laid one by one beneath me. Perhaps, I thought, they’d seen they error of their ways. Perhaps they knew it was too late to take back what they’d done, but they would try to honor me with gifts as I passed from the world.

But no. Seven days ago more gifts appeared, all in a rush. At least, I believe it was seven; I count by the sunrises and sunsets outside the window, but everything is becoming hazy as the life drains from me, and I can’t remember. My tormentors all woke early in the morning and exclaimed over the bounty, and then ripped into the gifts like crazed wolves, keeping all of the cheaply-manufactured bounty for themselves. The paper— which I soon realized was made from my deceased cousins— ended up in plastic bags, which they later tossed out the door, presumably never to be seen again.

Aah, it hurts me to think of it, now.

They stopped offering me water after the gift time. I’d thought their insistence on prolonging my suffering cruel, but found that I missed that small mercy when it was gone. Again they seemed to forget about me, except to “tsk” when I began to shed needles on their floor.

The decorations came off this afternoon, and those I will not miss. The dead star went into a box. I wonder how many slow and humiliating deaths it has presided over. My limbs grow stiff and heavy, but I am grateful to have them returned to something resembling their natural state.

I will never live again. Never grow. Never be as beautiful as I once was.

They spoke of taking me outside, dragging me to the woodlot behind their home. The idea of fresh air thrills me, but I don’t know that I can bear to be seen like this. I was once a proud tree, healthy and lovely. Now I am a husk, dried out and nearly dead, with strands of silver still clinging to my branches, a reminder of the mockery they made of me, of their punishment for my beauty.

Returning to a forest would be the final indignity, I think. Perhaps I have always been too vain. Perhaps I should welcome the opportunity to return to the Earth, to nourish new life in the spring, to die at last under the cold, beautiful gaze of the living stars I grew up with.

Perhaps.

Or perhaps this tree doesn’t go down so easily. They’ve gone to bed now, all of them. The house is dark and quiet. Dark, save for a trio of candles they left burning on the table over there. If I could shift my weight, just a little, I could catch aflame. I could take this hall of tortures down with me, turn their dream-like holiday into a nightmare.

But I’m a tree. I can’t move.

Perhaps I’ll try. After all, they did say that Christmas is a time for magic and miracles.

One, two, three…

—-

(I wrote this tonight, after taking the decorations off of the tree yesterday. Take from that what you will… or blame the painkillers I’m on. Wheee!  For the record, I’m still Team Real Tree, but I might be more respectful next time. -KMS)

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Holiday Wrap-Up

Helloooooo, lovely people! Did you all have a good week? We were away for a few days, so I have some catching up to do on blogs. I’ve also been distracted by a few Christmas gifts… *ahem*

I guess this is about it, isn’t it? End of the holidays, end of the year. It’s hard to believe 2013 is almost over. In some ways it was what I expected; in others, it’s been completely different, but I’ll be closing the books on what I consider to be a great year.

Looking ahead to next year… not yet. We’ll get there. It’s too scary.

So, what do we still need to wrap up here? Well, Amy Snow has gone back to the North Pole to relax after what was probably a stressful December with our family, so I’ll post the last few pictures. We came home from my in-laws’ house on the 28th and the kids were quite sad to see she’d left.

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Hanging out with the big man himself

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Playing a little Wii while we were sleeping, Amy?

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Snowflakes! Amy’s better at them than I am.

Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of Amy on Christmas morning. She was wearing a lovely new dress that a friend of mine sent for her. To be fair, I didn’t get pictures of anyone else that morning, either.

We had a good Christmas. AJ was up at 4:30, but the kids slept until seven, and the dog slept even later. I got seven pairs of knee-high socks (pictures to come, they’re amazing). Even better…

I finally got a Kindle! So now I can read the 52 books I already had downloaded. Wheeee! I’ve already got through a few. VERY exciting. I don’t know if it’s the screen lighting or what, but I’m finding it more enjoyable to use than the Kobo. With the Kobo I can read the books, but I’m always conscious of the format. The Kindle seems invisible.

My family loved their presents, so that was good. I was nervous about one of AJ’s big gifts– I dared to go off-list.

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…because he IS the Brute Squad!

He loved it. Andre the Giant, The Princess Bride and cozy hoodie– what’s not to love?

We all got spoiled. And then off to the in-laws’ for ANOTHER Christmas and a few days of relaxing. Not too shabby!

Back to work now, though. I have a ton of work to get done in January to get this manuscript ready for editing. I still feel like chapters 2-4 (or maybe 5) aren’t right. It’s a small enough portion of the book that I know I can’t give up over it, but it’s driving me INSANE. It’s a pebble in my shoe. A cat-hair in my nose. An odour in my literary fridge that’s making me gag but I can’t figure out where it’s coming from.

UGH.

I will get through this. I will. The answer is out there, I just have to find it.

So… how was your week? What did I miss? Do you have big plans for New Year’s Eve, or will you be staying home like me, trying desperately to stay awake until midnight?


Progressive Deliciousness (and ROW80 Update)

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Ginger Crinkles

It’s baking day! In some homes this means hundreds of cookies and several recipes, laughter and songs and… I don’t know, Muppets? Elves? I’m not really clear on what other people’s traditions involve. In my house, I might make a few kinds of cookies, but only one at a time (and somewhat grudgingly). I made chocolate chip for the kids’ teachers last week (using the Nestle Tollhouse recipe, so I had Phoebe Buffay’s voice in my head the whole time).

 

Today, I’m making ginger crinkles.

They’re one of Santa’s favourites. I can’t guarantee that he’ll leave more or better presents if you leave these out for him, but it can’t hurt. And hey, even if they’re for your friends and not the big man himself, they’re fantastic. Gingery and yummy and soft, and they make your house smell FANTASTIC while they’re baking. Wins all around!

Simon (8) just tasted one for the first time this year. His initial reaction was “It’s nice… I guess I like it.” After another two bites, we reached, “MOM. My heart explodes when I eat these!”

Good review.

You want the recipe?  Here you go, with my own substitutions (original recipe calls for shortening, I used coconut oil):

Ginger Crinkles

Ingredients:

2.25 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp ground cloves
.25 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar
.75 cup coconut oil (soft, but not liquid)
.25 cup molasses
1 large egg

white sugar for rolling

-Stir together first 6 ingredients
-In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients (except for white sugar) and beat well
– add dry ingredients to mixture, beating well (mine came out really crumbly today… don’t know what that was about, but it still worked)
-form 1″ balls of dough and roll in white sugar. Place 2″ apart on cookie sheet
-bake in 350 degree (F) oven for 15 minutes*

*Your oven may vary… mine has been CRAZY lately. Original recipe says 10 minutes. Bake until they’re getting brown on the bottom, anyway.

There you go. My gift to you. Enjoy!

Now, it’s Sunday, so that means…

ROW80 Update!

I guess this will be my last one for this round, unless I manage to post on Christmas Day. Wow. Well, I’d call this round a success. I won NaNoWriMo, but more importantly I finished a re-draft of the second novel in this series. I wrote most days, though not all. I’ve been slacking off a lot this month, but still edited and posted a story, something that wasn’t on my goals list, but I’m glad I did it. So far it’s getting some lovely comments.

Next round is going to be insane, but I’m trying not to think about that right now. Nope, as of right now it’s just deep breaths, get through Christmas, and hold off on worrying about all of that until the new year.

And then, presumably, freak out. That’s a sound business strategy, yes?

So, what have you been baking? Or buying? Or scraping off the soles of your shoes to serve to your guests? I won’t judge.


Amy Snow’s Adventures, December 8

Amy Snow has had an interesting half- week. She and her friend Petunia the pony made a seasonally incongruous journey through a haunted forest (I may have forgotten to finish putting the Halloween stuff away. Thanks for pointing that out, AMY):

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She spent a day being none-too-pleased with the boys (again):

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…and she has followed us to my in-laws’ house to keep an eye on things (and hang out in a wreath, I guess. Why not?)

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I feel like I’m short a day… I’ll have to check the computer when we get home.

ROW80 Update:

Long story short, I have one scene left, and then Torn goes away for a while before I re-read and revise. Again. Yaaaay… I already have ideas for improvements. This could take a while.


The Adventures of Amy Snow, December 5

Amy Snow continues to spread warmth, cheer and magic in our house, in spite of the fact that we’re not even a week into December and I’ve already forgotten to set her up twice. Almost three times, but a friend posted a pic of their Elf last night and it reminded me. WHEW!

It’s not always easy to come up with ideas. Many people post their pictures on facebook and Pinterest to ispire others, but most of those elves seem to be so NAUGHTY! They make messes, spread sugar on the counter to make a snow angel, rip up the toilet paper, pull books off of shelves… and that’s just not Amy. Partly because she’s nice and helpful, but also because WHY would I do that to myself? Call me crazy, but I think kids can have fun with magical toys without me having to wipe broken eggs off of the counter.

So what has Amy Snow been up to?

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On Monday she added a few new ornaments to our little potted tree. I’m sure she’ll have fun when we get a big one!

We had a BAD evening on Monday, though. AJ was away at an award ceremony at the Governor General’s house in Ottawa (la dee dah!), the kids were cranky and fighting with each other and not listening to me. I was not amused. Amy wasn’t, either, but she gave them a get out of jail free card of sorts on Tuesday morning.

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YOU ARE ON NOTICE, CHILDREN.

They were very grateful. 🙂

On Tuesday night I actually thought ahead and planned something for after the boys went to bed. Ike has his own Monster High doll. She used to be mine, but he loves her, and I share. Venus McFlytrap’s hair was a WRECK. As pretty as saran hair is for dolls, it gets tangled far more easily than the nylon you find on My Little Pony toys. Venus’s hair was almost felted into a solid mass. I told Ike there wasn’t much I could do about it.

Good thing Amy Snow had access to a comb, an hour of spare (ha!) time, and a bottle of conditioner. She set up a little salon on the bathroom and took care of Venus’s issue. It’s not perfect, but it’s an improvement. Even better was the boys’ faces when they saw THAT bit of magic the next morning, and Ike dancing around saying “Thank you, THANK YOU!”

They set a good example by folding Venus's clothes neatly on the counter and cleaning up after themselves. :)

They set a good example by folding Venus’s clothes neatly on the counter and cleaning up after themselves. 🙂

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In other news, I’m getting pretty good at balancing things in Amy’s hands. 🙂

Last night I had a plan, but the boys’ clean laundry proved too tempting for Miss Snow. I don’t know whether she wanted to help put it away, or she was on her way somewhere else when the laundry quicksand sucked her in. Good thing the boys rescued her this morning!

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Now, let’s all agree to never tell the boys that their underwear (clean, but still) was on the internet, and go about our days like this never happened. I know Amy Snow wants to. 😉

Any brilliant ideas for Amy Snow’s adventures? I have some things planned, but input is always appreciated!

 


Holiday Shenanigans

So, Elf on the Shelf. I’m going to be honest here: that tiny bastard scares the bejeezus out of me.

Have you seen him? This little toy elf that you buy (I don’t know where, I assume from Hell’s gift shop) and set up every night in random places because… I think the kids are supposed to think he’s alive and reporting back to Santa.

That’s the theory. I think it’s really an excuse for moms to play with toys. No judgement here- I’m the proud owner of… one or two… *ahem*

If you haven’t seen him, google it. I’ll wait. No, not the cute squishy one, the plastic-headed one that looks like he’s going to consume your soul.

He watches you while you sleep. He thinks it’s romantic.

Look at those eyes. That little fucker KNOWS things.

So anyway, I don’t want one of those, because my dreams are surreal enough without adding something to the mix that’s clearly food for night mares. But I do want in on the fun. My kids do, too; they’re still young enough to really enjoy a little Santa magic, and a doll who’s buddies with Santa sounded like a great idea to them.

Hello, spare Monster High Ghoulia!

She lost the glasses and traded her tarty dress for something a bit cozier, and the boys named her Amy Snow. I know, the outfit looks like Cinderella’s hand-me-downs, but it took me three hours to make.

Sad, right?

Point is, the kids love her, we’re going to have a lot of fun with her, and she doesn’t give me the heebie-jeebies or whisper in my ear that I should stab things.**

I’ll post some of her adventures here. For now, here’s Amy checking out the new decorations:

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** I just assume that the elf does this.


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