Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tis the Busy Season

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays.

This is always my busiest season. I finished school yesterday for two weeks. I only worked three days last week because of snow. It's been a bit crazy here in St. Louis. Yesterday once I got home, I painted my daughter's room. Redoing her room (new bedding and such) is her Christmas present (one she picked out), and I spackled, taped, painted and cleaned up. I planned on taking a few days to do it, but figured I could simply get it all done in one nonstop dash. I quit about 1 AM, but her room is now blue instead of pink and she likes it. As I write this, I'm still covered in little paint flecks that I hope to get off today, or else I'll be at my book signing with little blue dots on me.

As for my kids, they are sleeping in. My cat however still worries if I'm in bed past eight and comes to wake me up. Thus, I'm up.

For me, Christmas is all about my kids. My daughters are 12 and 13 (14 in March) and love the holiday. We bought a new tree this year, a $35 prelit 6 1/2 footer from Wal-Mart. It's a bit shabby looking, but the cats don't climb it like they did the last one, so the fact that the ornaments are staying on this year (except the very bottom branches) is a huge plus. We'd go to bed last year, wake up, and in the morning find cats in the tree and all the ornaments all over the living room. They were having party time.

So, as I rush off to get ready for my book signing, may you all have a joyous holiday season filled with blessed memories.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A matter of perspective

Seattle is experiencing record cold. For the past week the temp has not climbed over freezing. The other night our thermometer read 19 degrees!

I was in Eugene, Oregon last weekend, which is also experiencing temperatures well below freezing. I always stay at a wonderful bed and breakfast called the Oval Door ( What a place—the cookie jar is always filled with homemade, freshly baked cookies, and the wine bottles are open and waiting. In the living room, comfy furniture and an inviting gas fireplace. Talk about a home away from home! Best of all, the breakfasts—hearty, homemade food and all the coffee and tea you can drink. Melissa and Nicole, the co-owners (and trained chefs!) are friendly and accommodating. And the interesting people who stay there! But I digress...

Several mornings I shared the breakfast table with a man from Alberta who developed the coolest software for internet car sales. In Alberta the temp recently dropped to a whopping -40 degrees, the temperature at which Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same! Talk about c-c-cold!

For him, 19 degrees is mild. For me, it’s frigid. All a matter of perspective.

Which got me thinking. I can choose to moan and groan about the cold or enjoy the clean, invigorating air. I can play in the snow and appreciate the beauty of snow-covered trees and lawn, or let it ruin my day.

I choose the positive route. What about you?

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and Winter Solstice, and gratitude for everything coming you way,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holidays and Blessings

'Twas a week before Christmas...


Time really does fly, doesn't it? It wasn't that long ago that the air conditioning was barely keeping us cool, and now we're hurtling toward the big day in a flurry of last minute activities. It's also the perfect time to think about the blessings of the past year and throughout our lives.

My best friend of forty-five years has a box made and given to her by her great-niece. Inside, it contains small pieces of paper and a pen. It's called a Blessings Box, and each time she thinks of something she's blessed with, she writes it down on one of the papers, folds it, and leaves it in the box. When she's feeling down, she goes to the box and reads the blessings she's written, remembering that even through the tough times, there are those small things that make us smile.

Although I've started painting my own Blessings Box, it isn't finished. I've made a mental list of the things I'll write and add to it when it is. The blessing of my family will be the first. Without them, life wouldn't be as joyful. My friends will be second. Without their humor, strength, and giving hearts, each day would be a little emptier. I'm blessed to have a career I love and readers who give me the opportunity to share my stories with. I'm sure before this holiday season is over, I'll think of many more to add to the list.

Holidays can be crazy times, but there are always a few blessings in each day, if we take the time to look close enough. Have a wonderfully happy and blessed holiday season!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Holidays to You and Yours

The tree’s not up, all the presents have not yet been bought, and the holiday greeting-card list is nowhere near ready to be checked. I may not accomplish every item on my To-Do list--and this won’t be the first time!

I just don’t get it. December rolls around at exactly the same time every year, and somehow it still manages to sneak up on me.

One thing I'd never miss, though, is the chance to say thanks to all of you for stopping by the blog during this year, for reading my posts, and for sharing your thoughts with me.

I hope this holiday season is extra-special for you and that you have a wonderful, happy, and healthy year ahead!

As for me, I’m determined not to let January 1st sneak up on me, so I’m making my New Year’s resolutions now: to find balance in all areas of my life--and to keep an accurate, up-to-date calendar!

I’m giving you a jumpstart, too, because, of course, I’d really like to know...

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The grumpies

Okay, I admit it, sometimes I can get pretty grumpy during the holidays. Call me Mrs. Scourge. For the past few years I've had book deadlines hanging over my head and find myself trying to squeeze in writing time when I'd rather be doing something fun like drinking spiked Eggnog.

And it doesn't help any that my birthday is Christmas Eve and I have to turn a year older. The kids groan and complain about having to buy me two gifts during the holiday season. I don't get many cards--most of the Happy Birthday wishes are added to the Christmas cards people send. My birthday cake always has red poinsettias on it. And try to find a restaurant that stays open past four so hubby can take me out for dinner--we now call my birthday dinner....lupper (in between lunch and supper).

So this year I've decided not to worry about getting older--can't turn back time. I'm not going to stress out about keeping the house clean in case neighbors pop in unannounced. I told the kids to get me one thing for Christmas and for my birthday a "Coupon" that says they won't argue during Christmas break. And I'm really looking forward to my Birthday Margarita!

How about anyone the holidays make you grumpy?

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

RT Top Pick
The Cowboy and the Angel (Nov 08)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Back on Our Feet

I recently returned from Nashville, Tenn., where I helped my 91-year-old mother return home from a convalescent facility. Those of you who follow this blog might recall that Sylvia Hyman is a well-known ceramic sculptor who fell in September while we were attending an international ceramics conference in Xi’an, China.

The good news is that she’s back on her feet, using a walker but able to descend the stairs to her studio. The not-so-good news is that her eyesight is falling prey to macular degeneration.

However, she’s still brimming with creative ideas and a fiery spirit. With the help of her wonderful assistant and friend, Cathy Moberg, she hopes to return to work by January. If you’d like to see photos of her work, check out the lower left corner of my home page,

It occurred to me that a lot of us would like to be back on our feet after the economic tumble of the past months. I can’t work miracles but, while reading Sunday’s newspaper, I came across positive news I’d like to share.

1) Kind stranger. In Fullerton, Calif., a man found a wallet containing $300 cash. He called the emergency number inside and restored the money to its owner. When offered a reward, he declined, even though he said he needed money.

2) Cut-rate pandas. Four giant pandas will be staying at the San Diego Zoo for another five years, thanks to a half-off deal negotiated with the Chinese government. The previous charge was $1 million annually per adult panda. Zoos in Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and Memphis also get the reduced rate.

3) Sexy pirate. Four actors playing Jack Sparrow got laid off their jobs at Disneyland. That’s the sad news. The entertaining part is the explanation given by a former portrayer of the Pirates of the Caribbean character. He said Jack is such an irresistible rogue that women patrons couldn’t resist flashing him. (No specifics mentioned. Or maybe I should say, no unmentionables mentioned). Disneyland denies that girls behaving badly had anything to do with the decision.

4) Take it all off. Those clothing-optional ladies should read the article about Huntington Beach, Calif., which rents out the city pool for private nude swims by a naturist group. In support of nudism, one member told the Orange County Register that getting rid of designer-label clothing “does level the playing field.” Another commented that after spending time on European nude beaches, “It became very hard to put on a bathing suit.”

5) No bathing suit for me. Honesty compels me to report that I haven’t put on a bathing suit in years. Of course, I haven’t gone into a pool in years, either, although I’ve waded in the ocean a few times. However, my agent sent me a lovely array of bath beads for the holidays, so it looks like I’ll be immersing myself au naturel soon – in the privacy of my bathroom.

There’s a lot to be said for getting off one’s feet. And on that note – happy holidays!