Underneath the Tree

Welcome to Mash-Up Monday!

Because life is so hectic for me these days (and I’m too darned tired to think of anything clever), I’m gonna let you all decide what this pic is about. πŸ™‚

20141221_193503Have a wonderful week!




Welcome to Mash-Up Monday!

I shot this photo from the back steps of The Male Observation Lab (construction company day job) on a recent, chilly afternoon in the Pacific Northwest.

20141125_164605The setting sun struck me as an amazing display of oranges and yellows and reds, especially with some of our company equipment in the foreground. I stood there, lost in the moment, lost in the wonder of our world, contemplating the beauty of life….Then a dump truck came screaming into the yard. *Le sigh*

Ah, well. It was great while it lasted!

Have an awesome week,

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Admittedly, there are times during the holidays when it all becomes a bit overwhelming and just too much. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often. Mainly because I truly love all that comes with this time of year: the lights, the baking, the time together with family and friends, and, of course, the tree.

There’s something about the Christmas tree that touches a part of me. Maybe it’s the wonder that once came with awakening on Christmas day to find Santa delivered a present! (If you knew the child-me, you’d know why this was *always* a surprise. Ask my siblings…. On second thought, don’t!) Whatever it was, I’ve always adored Christmas trees.

This one caught my eye on a recent trip to Vegas.

DSC_1046It was the perfect height and was decorated with all sorts of fun ornaments! I was in heaven as I stared at it, imagining what it would be like in a grand hall instead of a Las Vegas boutique….On Christmas morning….With little kids gathered around it….Singing Christmas carols or opening their gifts….Or both! Yep, the possibilities were endless.

And the longer I stared at it, the more relaxed I became. Schedules and deadlines and baking and sending Christmas cards….none of it mattered. All I cared about at that moment in time was the beauty of this tree.

Really, the holidays can be pretty chill. If you let it. And with as crazy our lives are, isn’t it nice to let go and just “be” every now and then? What better time than around a Christmas tree somewhere in Vegas, right?

Happy Mash-Up Monday,

Operation Christmas 2014

The holidays are finally here!

I love traditions. Especially the festive kinds. So on a cold, Sunday afternoon (the wet kind of cold that seeps down to the bones and begs for us to stay indoors) we decorated our Christmas tree. Yay! Okay, so I was the only one excited, but I know the girls had a blast, too. That’s my story and I’m writing it that way! πŸ™‚

Anyhoo, the nieces and I dragged out the ornaments, indulged in mugs of yummy, steaming hot chocolate, listened to Christmas carols, and spent a wonderful afternoon together. By the time dinner rolled around, we had this:

DSC_0344Next step in Operation Christmas 2014, platters of cookies and loaves of cake that will make the house smell yummy! It’s the next step in bringing the holiday spirit into Domicile Alexander. And I know both Niece and Niece 2 will love doing that with me, too. *snort*

In whatever tradition you follow, this holiday season, celebrate well!

Happy Mash-Up Monday,

And the Cards Say…

Welcome to Mash-Up Monday!

As a writer I tend to be pretty curious about the world around me, and am typically willing to try something at least once before forming an opinion. There areΒ exceptions, of course, like skydiving. No need for me to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!

Anyhoo, I shopped at our local Saturday Market this past summer, each time passing by a Tarot reader’s tent. She always had a succession of clients. I figured she had to be good, right? So one morning I decided to pop in and check it out.

Connie had several decks of cards to choose from, and I loved the colors on the one I’d selected. Uber-vibrant and bold and fun! She was kind enough to let me take some pics – not that I remember what the cards all mean now, but I got the impression things were positive for me. Always good to know!

But here’s the thing that struck me: without curiosity, we limit ourselves, our experiences, and perhaps even our ability to grow. Put another way, if you’re always doing the same things over and over without adding anything new, how much more can you grow? Dunno about you, but I intend to be curious the rest of my life! Just not about the skydiving part. πŸ™‚

Have you given in to curiosity and tried something new, something different from the norm? What’d you think?

Have an awesome week!


Dear Santa ~

Ah, Mash-Up Monday…. How quickly you arriveth!

Our girls (Niece and Niece 2) are leaving for Guam in a few weeks to spend the holidays with their parents, which basically means we have a scrunched up Christmas schedule with them. Which also means we’re celebrating early this year. And which ultimately means getting their Christmas lists uber early.

Still, I had to laugh (to myself, of course! *snort*) when I saw Niece 2’s list:

20141109_191712Ah, to be fifteen again!

So. Any votes for getting her Nash Grier for Christmas? πŸ˜‰

Have a fab week,


Edit Mode

Happy Mash-Up Monday!

So. Yeah. I’m in the middle of revisions where my editor pointed out that, among other things, I have a horrible aversion to commas! Happily, this is what my life is about these days:

P1170596Heading back to the manuscript so I can add those commas!

Have a great week,


And the Winner is . . .

For the record, I told Niece and Niece 2 to keep it simple, swore that all they had to do was cut a few triangles into a pumpkin and they’d be good to go, but did they listen? Of course not! Especially after Niece 2 declared that there should be a pumpkin-carving contest.

And so the challenge began, because, after all, they’re my nieces, right? They carefully chiseled and sawed and cursed their way through three hours of creativity. (Which strangely sounds a lot like me when I plot out a story!) But Mr. A and I don’t know which one deserves the prize, so we’re leaving it up to you!

I now present, for your voting pleasure, the pumpkins:

20141026_183002The 2014 winner of the Alexander pumpkin-carving contest will be declared on Halloween, right before Niece heads off to a party. On Saturday, November 1st, the lucky winner will get to choose a donut for breakfast, complete with chocolate milk. (Hey, if you lived in my house, you’d see why this is a big deal!)

Please leave your vote in the comment below.

Happy Mash-Up Monday,


From an Elephant to a Camel

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have a heckuva hard time getting the fam to do anything together. Mainly because the girls don’t want to be seen with us psuedo-parents. Well, not unless it involves us forking money over for stuff like clothes. But that’s another story. . ..

So the conversation at breakfast one Saturday morning went something like this:

Niece: I want to ride an elephant.
Niece 2 (with the disdain of a typical 15-year-old): Why?
Niece: Because elephants are my favorite! (Sadly, this is true. She couldn’t possibly have said “keeping my room clean is my favorite,” now could she?)
Niece 2: That’s dumb.
Me (thinking *this* was a family-bonding opportunity): There’s a safari place a couple of hours away. They gave elephant rides the last time I was there.

Mr. A grabbed his glass of OJ and gave me a pointed look. He coulda reminded me that I’d whined less than half an hour before about writing deadlines and laundry and a needed trip to the grocery store. But he didn’t. Smart man.

Niece: Can we go? Can we go? CAN WE GO? Puh-leeeaassse?
Niece 2: That’s dumb.
Niece (glaring at her sister): You already said that.
Me: Okay, we’re going. *stares at Niece 2* And that means you, too.

Three hours of grumpy silence from Niece 2 later, we get there. . .. And found out elephant rides were no longer available. Something about political correctness in the zoo world. There was, however, a camel.

Niece was dejected, but agreed that a camel ride was better than nothing.

Niece 2 was elated. Until I pointed out she had to ride it, too. Heh.

Aren’t I mean?

Happy Mash-Up Monday,