Tag Archive for: new years

Boxing Day

by Bethany Maines

I had a friend who was extremely disappointed to learn that the day after Christmas had NOTHING to do with boxing. I don’t know if she was hoping for some sort of tale of a historical rumble at Five Points or Canadians engaging in fisticuffs, but she was quite put out to learn that it was about literal boxes and tipping.  I cannot help the history, but the tradition in our family is to loll about the house and stuff our faces while watching an entire days worth action movies selected by my brother.  And action movies frequently involve some sort of hand to hand pummelling, so, there… Boxing Day accomplished.

Watching movies at my brothers house has gotten more complicated due to babies and competing in-laws, but this year’s movie theme is Time Travel.  So in no particular order we are all invited to watch the following:

  • Back to the Future – Michael J. Fox
  • Frequency – Jim Caviezel
  • Time Cop – Jean Claucde Van Damme
  • Looper – Joseph Gorden Levitt
  • 12 Monkeys – Bruce Willis
  • The Terminator – Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Keanu Reeves
  • The Final Countdown – Martin Sheen
Merry Christmas, happy Boxing Day, and a wonderful New Years to all!
Blue Christmas – AmazonBarnes & Noble Kobo iTunes – ¢.99

Drunken TV news cameraman Jake Garner thought he
was tackling an intruder. But no, Jake just took out the fantastically attractive dog sitter. Mortified, Jake does what any man would who has just
been dumped right before Christmas would do—give the offended party all his ex’s things. Meanwhile, Blue Jones is determined to do whatever it takes to get
her grandmother the best cancer treatment possible, even if that means some high-rise burglary from one of her worst dog-sitting clients, the failure to
walk, feed or book a pet-sitter for a three day weekend, Grace Lorra. But Blue didn’t count on Grace’s ex, Jake, showing up and drunkenly handing over all of Grace’s belongings— including her adorable French Bulldog, Jacques. It takes no time at all for Blue to fall in love with Jacques, but Blue also finds herself wondering if it would be so bad to
return to the scene of the crime to reconnect with Jake. But as Christmas draws closer, Grace pressures Jake to return the dog and Blue is targeted by mysterious assailants. Can Jake find Blue and Jacques before her stalkers do? And can Jake and Blue stop these mystery men without also getting Blue arrested for
theft? For Blue, Christmas has never been quite so dangerous. For Jake, Christmas has never been quite so Blue.

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery Series, San
Juan Islands Mysteries
, Shark Santoyo
Crime Series
, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to
exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her fourth degree black belt in
karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working
on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on YouTube,
Twitter and Facebook.

Free Turkey

by Bethany Maines

Over Thanksgiving, my grocery store was giving away free turkeys for those who spent over $100. Thinking that it would be a small turkey, my husband who was shopping at the time, said, “Sure! Who doesn’t want a free turkey!”

And really, who wouldn’t?

And then he came home with a 23-pound turkey. That didn’t fit in our freezer.

We tried shoving it in six different ways from Sunday and then called up my mom and said, “Guess what? We’re providing the turkey!” And she said, “Guess what? I’m cooking a roast!” So we agreed to try it again for Christmas and I called around and found a friend with spare freezer space. Only Christmas arrived and mom declared that Christmas dinner was going to be small and simple. As in… no turkey. But I had sworn to my friend that her freezer would be hers again after Christmas. So now I’m looking up how to cook turkey and inviting my in-laws over.

They say that New Years is a time for trying new things and I guess I’ll be starting early with turkey cooking. Wish me luck as I enter the world of large scale cooking.

SALE ALERT: Smashwords, the independent e-book store, is having it’s annual year end sale featuring site wide deals, including some from me.

Check out all the deals at: SMASHWORDS

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie
Mae Mysteries
, the Shark Santoyo
Crime Series
, Wild Waters, Tales from
the City of Destiny
and An Unseen
You can also view the Carrie Mae YouTube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Everything That is Not An Elephant

by J.M. Phillippe

I am notoriously bad at remembering the source of stories, so I can’t remember where I heard this story first. I have been using it, and telling this particular version of it, for as long as I can remember. This is the version I tell:

There was a master sculptor and an apprentice sculptor, and one day the Master set a huge block of marble down in front of the Apprentice.

“Apprentice,” he said, “I want you to carve me an elephant.”

“But Master,” said the Apprentice, “I don’t know how to carve an elephant.”

“It’s simple,” the Master replied. “Simply start by carving away everything that is NOT an elephant.”

The moral, I tell people, just in case they have missed it, is that sometimes the best way to figure out what we are is to start by carving away everything we are not.

(When I looked up the story to try to find the origins, I found many versions, several attributed to Michelangelo about carving “David” by carving away everything that was not “David”. In some ways that’s an even more apt analogy than the version I tell, but I’ll stick with mine because I like elephants and not everyone wants to try to carve out themselves as a Greek version of the perfect man.) 
I break out this story whenever people talk about mistakes. “Feedback, not failure” was a popular motto at one of my old jobs. Every time we find a way toward a goal that doesn’t work, and every time we carve away some part of ourselves that is “not an elephant”, we get closer and closer to success, and to finding who we really are. Mistakes, for better or for worse, shape us.
Most people will be starting the new year with a list of resolutions. In therapy, I prefer to use the word “intention” because it doesn’t have that same “do or fail” feeling to it. While resolutions often feel like a destination, intentions are about the journey. Intentions make room for all that wonderful feedback that will come from finding all the attempts at change that don’t work.
Here is my other grand piece of advice: motivation will fail you. Trust structure. If you want to change your life, reshape your day, and build into that day space for the habits that will lead to change. Start with one habit a week — eating breakfast, going to bed an hour earlier, stretching. Keep in mind that your day is already filled with those things you currently think of as bad habits, so you will have to replace an old habit with a new one if you want to actually change. Sleeping instead of more time on social media. Exercise instead of that extra hour of TV a day. If you want to know what changes you actually will be able to make, start with a list of things you are willing to give up in your current routine. Carve away everything that is not part of the kind of day you want to have. Fill the space with your elephant of choice. And be prepared for finding lots and lots of ways that replacing “bad” habits doesn’t work, until you finally find the way that does work (personalized to you). 
For the record, none of this is as simple as it seems. Change always seems simple to someone who has mastered it, and terrifyingly difficult to the apprentices just starting out. And it seems like every turn of a new year makes apprentices of us all. 
Happy carving everyone!
J.M. Phillippe is the author of Perfect Likeness and the short story The Sight. She has lived in the deserts of California, the suburbs of Seattle, and the mad rush of New York City. She works as a family therapist in Brooklyn, New York and spends her free-time decorating her tiny apartment to her cat Oscar Wilde’s liking, drinking cider at her favorite British-style pub, and training to be the next Karate Kid, one wax-on at a time.

New Year, New Moments

by Bethany Maines
Several years ago I realized that over the course of a year
I would collect an assortment of what I would call one-off photos. Photos of
memories that I didn’t want to forget, but that didn’t necessarily rate printing
out and hanging on the wall.  My solution
was to create a “Year in Review” photo album. 
The genius of this plan is every single time I or someone else says, “When
did we do that one thing in that one place?” I can look up the answer.  The problem with creating an album that
tracks all the mundanities of the year is that you can see at a glance just how
boring you were in a given year. 
And in looking at my most recent batch of pictures it’s
pretty clear that my 2015 was pretty boring.
I blame my daughter.  My
husband and I spent 2015 repeating the new parent mantra: We’re making it.  Yeah, we’re
totally making it.  Nope, no, no, not
making it.  No, wait, we’re back.  We’re making it.
Any life where the bar for success is set to “just making it”
doesn’t leave a lot of energy for doing new things or going new places.  Now, I know, I know, I’m supposed to be reveling
in the day to day joys of parenthood and treasuring every tiny moment with my
adorable baby, blah blah blah.  You know
what reveling in the day to day joys of parenthood does NOT include?  A vacation. 
Don’t get me wrong, I love each and every one of the the2000 pictures of
my daughter I snapped over the last year, but the banner event of several months
was literally a walk in the park.  Which,
while lovely, is not the same as actually going somewhere or doing something.

So as with every other person who has reached the end of the
year and realized that their life hasn’t been heading in the direction they
would like it to, I made a resolution. 
In my case, it’s to seek out new experiences and get a few pictures of
things that aren’t my daughter.  Which is
why I kicked off the year by testing out all of my waterproof make-up and
participated in a Polar Plunge into the Pacific Ocean.  Sound cold? 
It was.  But now I have a new
memory and a new photo for the 2016 book.  
Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie
Mae Mysteries
, Tales from the City of
and An Unseen Current.
You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.