All I Really Want For Christmas

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The Christmas Bookcase in my office, 2019

 

You know you’re getting old when you say, “No, no, don’t get me anything for Christmas! Just come over to the house. That’s enough for me.”

First, you’ve pulled out the Mom Guilt Card. The “I don’t want your money, I just want you to spend a little time with your poor, sainted mother.”

But it’s true, isn’t it? Because secondly, you really don’t want anything; you’re at that point in your life that when you want something, you get it yourself. That’s one of the perks of being old and having all your kids making their own livelihoods. I don’t have to give up those expensive boots I really want because Junior needs braces. (He may still need braces but that’s on him now.)

And I don’t have to wait for Christmas, either. When I want something, I just go and shake the money tree. If cash tumbles down, wheeee! If a few pennies knock me on the head, then I wait for the Money Tree Elf to come and do its magic. Either way, I’m happy.

So that’s what I was thinking about in “‘Tis the Season! Gifts for Writers” over at The Muffin today, that perk of being older (and maybe a teeny bit wiser) and the benefits that come along with age.

Mostly, that we don’t need a lot of things to make us happy, but that it’s a good idea to figure out what we do need, whether it’s a physical, mental, or emotional want, and to stop waiting for jolly old Santa to give it to us, or any loved one, for that matter.

Because love starts with yourself and then spreads to others. So go love yourself and have a joyful Christmas!

(P.S. This doesn’t mean Youngest Junior Hall is off the hook for getting that 20 lb bag of bird seed for me. You know your mother can’t lift that big bag but that’s all I want. Also, there’s still spider webs in the windows and they need to find another home for the holidays, so if Oldest Junior Hall could remove ’em, that’d be swell. But that’s it. Really. Until after Christmas when the lights need to be taken down. Juniorette Hall is good at that sort of thing. Maybe get the Hubs to take the tree back down to the basement? But seriously, that’s all.

For now.)

Being Thankful For the Weird That Is Me

autumn-mott-rodeheaver-SPd9CSoWCkY-unsplashI will be the first to say that I can do some pretty weird things. BUT they are weird things with a purpose.

Like the iron plant hanger with the hook on the end that I was waving about in the driveway? It was the perfect length to reach the gutters and the hook easily could sweep the leaves right out and onto my head.

I mean, sure, I could’ve paid my gutter cleaner guy, but I have a LOT of trees and I like to wait until the entire roof is covered with dead leaves and pine needles before I bring in the guy who spends fifteen minutes with a leaf blower. So to any of the neighbors driving by, I was not engaged in a New Age ritual leaf dance; I was saving money.

And I had a perfectly good reason for wearing two fitness trackers, and I would have been perfectly happy to explain the purpose to Youngest Junior Hall but he took one look at my arm and then held up his hand to stop me. “I don’t want to know,” he said.

Fine. But if you want to know–because it’s actually quite interesting–then you’ll need to zip over to The Muffin to read “Being Thankful For What Counts.”

I have lots to be thankful for, and having a creative mind that comes up with solutions (albeit weird ones) is easily in my Top Ten. I hope you have a terrific Thanksgiving, and if you’d like to share something from your Top Ten list for which you’re grateful, I know we’d love to celebrate with you!

Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver on Unsplash

Time Flies And All That Jazz

IMG_20191113_135133422As I’m writing this, Libs (The Tiny Terror) is shivering in her…er, paws. Oh, she’ll throw out a little bark every once in a while, but mostly, she’s just cowering behind me. Because the Carpet Cleaner Guy is at the house!!!

Yeah, the Carpet Cleaner Guy. When I called him, I asked, “When did I get the carpets cleaned? Last November? Or was it September?” And there was this awkward little pause.

“Mrs. Hall,” he said. “It was three years ago.”

Which just goes to show that one minute, you’re thinking how nice and clean your house smells, and the next minute, it’s November (and you’re wondering why your house smells). Such is time flying and all that jazz. And that brings us to my blog post over at the Muffin today: NaNoWriMo: Are We Done Yet?

Because for cryin’ out loud, y’all, can it possibly be nearly the middle of November? If you’re toiling away at the National Novel Writing Month writing challenge–and lagging behind–then you’re going to want to read that post. But if you’re like me, skipping NaNoWriMo but just getting around to getting carpets cleaned after three years, then you might want to check your fridge.

Me and Libs both are scared of that.

 

The October WOOooOooo Wrap-up!

10626620_10204178615537318_786430566163493947_nOctober is a favorite month for me and not just because I happened to have been born on one of its spooktacular days. (But I’m not saying which because honestly, I pretty much celebrate the entire month. And Oldest Junior Hall is taking me to see Wicked this weekend as a birthday /Christmas gift–I suspect he’ll be using this adventure for the next couple years to cover everything–so the party’s not over until I sing so much that Oldest Junior Hall tells me to stop. And P.S. I won’t. Because yeah…it’s my birthday.)

The point is, lots going on in October and now it’s time to catch up:

Remember the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy over at Kaitlynn Leann Sanchez’ blog, Math is Everywhere? I wrote Worms Crawl In for this fun contest and boo-yah! I was a winner! I love when writers join together in community to support each other, and when there are prizes, too? Well, that’s just about the best in my book.

Of course, now that I’ve won a creep-tastic critique, I suppose I’ll have to write up something. I’ve got an idea for a sort of nonfiction, sort of funny picture book that I might work on in November during NaNoWriMo.

I’ve also got lots of opinions about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), so if you’re on the fence about whether to participate in this November writing challenge, you might want to give a read to “The Rights and Wrongs of NaNoWriMo” over at The Muffin.

And yes, I know that a picture book is not a novel, even if it’s a long non-fiction one. But I’ve been working on a revision of a middle grade paranormal all month and I’m this close to being stick-a-fork-in-it, I-really-mean-it-this-time done. So I’m kinda novel-ed out right now.

I’m not done with all my research, though. I’ve been binge-watching every ghost hunter show this October–who knew there were so many?–partly to pick up a pointer here and there, but also to get me in the paranormal mood. I even went to a presentation at my local library where a paranormal investigation crew played EVPs and answered questions and showed us ghostly, ghastly photos and videos.

It was all a bit oooOOOOooooo. Until I asked one of the investigators my burning question: Why do ghost hunters always hunt for spirits and such at night? I mean, time doesn’t mean anything to a ghost, right?

No photo description available.But it’s October, y’all, and hunting ghosts and telling spooky stories and getting ready for NaNoWriMo is what you do. Unless you got something different? Spill your guts, please, ’cause yeah…it’s still October for a day or two.

All Kinds of Thanks

IMG_20191016_113809085Monday night, I spoke to the Women’s Guild at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and thank goodness I did because inspiration has been in short supply lately.

See, the friend who contacted me (way back in the summer) mentioned again how much she loved my blog and how she laughed at my social media shenanigans (at least, I think she said that. I may just be adding that part to make the story better). The point is, she wanted to liven up her meetings and she thought of little old, lively me. And then Eureka (and just in the nick of time, I might add)! An idea popped into my hitherto empty head!

Most of my blog posts are promoting whatever I’ve got out there in the world and I totally forget sometimes that my blog posts are actually promoting…well…me.

Which is crazy, I know, because right up there at the top of the page is Cathy C. Hall in really big letters. Anyway, inspiration struck as I realized that as a writer, I’m always selling me. So I’m always working, no matter what I’m doing. Of course, I went into a lot more writerly detail over at the Muffin today in “It May Not Look Like Work…” But bottom line, I’m very grateful to my friend and the Women’s Guild for the idea.

And did you see that delightfully cute fish they gave me? It’s on my bookcase where all my books are shelved–and it’s pointing in my direction. Because I need to remember that point about me and working.

But also because I’m grateful for the warm welcome from the Women’s Guild, not to mention their generosity. They’re involved in all kinds of service over there at St. Patrick’s so I know how giving these women are. But honestly, even if they hadn’t bought a ton of my Chicken Soup for the Soul books, I would still have been overwhelmed by their kind words and generous spirit, plus their laughter (in all the right places).

See, a writer may be working all the time, but it takes a joyful reader to make her glad that she does.