To this day…

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Well, the eve of Christmas is here, and before I have my nightly Earl Grey (with just  a touch of lemon), thought I would pop in and give a greeting to those who may still be up. Not a bad day today, slow work in the morning, shopping for the next few days taken care of, and topped it off with a early evening dinner with a small gathering at sister’s house.

I hope that everyone’s day had some pleasant moments in it, and that they to get to curl up with a nice hot cup of Earl Grey or hot cocoa.

See you soon.

 

The colors of Christmas

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Some, who are reading this, may wonder why a black and white photo with no snow was chosen to be included in a blog post entitled “The colors of Christmas”. It’s really quite simple. For some, the season of Christmas brings no color at all, no fancy lights, or dinners or parties. No joyful trimming of the tree or waiting for presents to be received or to be given.

For some, this can be the darkest time of the year, when they may feel most alone. Now, there are some that revel in the loneliness and in some ways actually welcome it. For those individuals, this time of the year is not unlike any other time. Just another day in which to get things done while others are spending time with friends and family.

Yet, for most people who dread this time of the year. It is a 30 day reminder that they do not share this joyous time of the year with someone. No one special for them to sit with and enjoy the endless onslaught of Holiday movies, nor to share a hot cup of cocoa at the end of the day.

Well, if you find yourself reading this, and find yourself one of those individuals, no need to fret this year.

I, myself, have been one of “those people” for a few years now. In fact, this will be the eighth Christmas and New Years season I have spent alone, and am hear to say that, it may not be easy, but, you can make it to the new year.

Instead of focusing on the fact that I have no one special in my life right now with whom to share the holidays. I focus on myself. During an eleven month period, one can accumulate quite a lot of stuff. During the holiday season is, for me, the perfect time to reduce the “stuff” I have.

Old clothes go to the Salvation Army, old books go to the library, and I go through and clean out my “catch -all drawer” (and we know we all have one!). As a photographer of community events, I then go through my SD cards, drives, and pictures folders on all PC’s and devices, to make sure that they have all been categorized and uploaded to the cloud, so that they are readily available.

After that, I get into my own “Holiday Traditions” of watching “The Thin Man” with a nice cup of hot tea (with lemon), some chocolate chip cookies (is there really any other kind?!),and then settle in for the showing of the “Doctor Who Christmas Special”.

This year, however, I am adding a new tradition to the mix. And that is of being online. If you read my blogs, and I know there are not a lot of entries, if you find yourself not having anything to do this weekend, give me a shout-out.

We can email, exchange thoughts on movies, music, or just whatever. Just my way of saying that “no one should be alone on the Holidays”. Yep, sounds a bit cliché and a bit sappy. But, I will be here blogging all weekend and if you wish to chat, let me know in the comments.

Till then and make sure you are ready for this years “Doctor Who Christmas Special”, it comes on this Sunday (Christmas night) at 9:00 p.m. on BBC America.

 

Cooking, Relaxing, “Doctor Who”-ing, and What Not.

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Merry Christmas to all! And I hop that it is a wonderful and blessed Christmas Day for everyone. May you be surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones. And may the day be filled with joy, laughter, and the beginning of many a fond memory.

Believe or not, just last night, I finally got around to putting up some Christmas lights in my apartment. I know, I know, but I figure better late than never. Strung up some nice LED lights that came from Menards, got out some decorations (including a Christmas ornament made by a very good friend) and set about getting all “festive up in this place”..lol. At the moment, the only centerpiece that is missing is the actual tree itself, but that is a task for the coming year. After I put up the lights and decorations, then came the time for a nice cup of hot cocoa, some chocolate chip cookies, and a nice relaxing Christmas Eve. Oh, and let us not forget the sending out of a “bazillion” Christmas cards to all friends.

Got up today, and actually at the moment, the Cornish Hen is being marinated. Funny thing is, that with all the other foods I have decided to make along the hen, found out that there is not enough pots! So, instead of the sweet stuffing being made on top of the stove (my preferred method) it will be fixed and the cooked in a pan in the oven. And what is the menu of the day you may ask? Well, here is what to expect for Christmas dinner at my place:

  • Glazed Cornish Game Hen
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Candied Yams
  • French Cut Green Beans
  • Stuffing
  • Cherry Pie (with Whip Cream) for dessert.

I know! I can’t wait for my first Glazed Cornish Hen with all the fixings! And of course, yours truly will be having his favorite drink for this holiday meal – chilled Cranberry Juice! Now the trick is having the entire meal done in time.

Time for what?? Well, of course in time for “Time of the Doctor” ( #TheTimeofTheDoctor ) on BBC America at 9:00 p.m. tonight. Those of us who enjoy watching the show have been waiting for the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special and I for one have enjoyed each of them very much. Naturally, it will be watched with eyes and ears wide open, looking for all and any clues as to what may be coming in future episodes. For me, just a fun show to watch.

Now, the sad part is there will be no watching with any fellow “Whovians” of the special tonight. And, I know that there may be many a person who will be celebrating the holidays without someone special and this can be a little hard this especially this time of the year. So, here is a little something to remember…just as I did for myself here, treat that one very special person in your life – YOU!! Yep, all the exciting items on my menu, I picked out because I wanted to do something special for myself. Do that for yourself also this season. Put the lights up, decorate YOUR place, Watch your all-time favorite movie and laugh out loud. Enjoy the special and important person that you are this season because you are indeed so very special.

And then..And then..still feeling a little lost and disconnected? Tell you what – drop me a “hello” line on my Google+ page ( https://plus.google.com/+CharlesMcGill ), that “hello” goes straight to my tablet (which is always by my side, just in case I need to jot down some marketing campaign thoughts) and I will reply to your Hello!

Until then, my friends, have a wonderful day and take care of yourself and each other!

 

3 Days and counting!

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The Time of The Doctor

In just three days it will be Christmas and families will be together celebrating the closeness and unity that comes with that day.

In just three days, the time of The Doctor will come to an end, and another Time Lord shall rise! Oh yes! BBC America this coming Wednesday shall once again please all of Whovian Universe with a simulcast of the annual Doctor Who Christmas special. And as it must happen with Christmas specials, this one sees the last of the current Time Lord (Matt Smith) and will show him “regenerating” into his new form of The Doctor to be portrayed by Peter Capaldi.

To my knowledge, this is the first time that a Doctor Who alumni will be taking over as the titular character. We first saw Peter Capaldi acting skills on the show with and episode called “The Fires of Pompeii” It should be also noted that The Doctor’s traveling companion – Amy Pond brilliantly played by Karen Gillan – also was seen in that same episode as one of the Sisterhood who worship a space creature referred to as a Pyroville.

The Christmas special has always been a good one to watch. And I am sure that this one will answer a number of questions, along with starting a list of new ones!

Early Christmas (totally unexpected too!)

Saturday, I got quite an unexpected early Christmas surprise! One of my web clients presented me with a Visa Gift card and dinner at a local restaurant called The Fuel Woodfire Grill. It was a total surprise to me. Sometimes, it is the little things that you don’t expect, that can brighten your day.

Change of Menu

And because Christmas Day will now be a little bit busier for me, there has been some changes made to the menu. Stuffing and cranberry sauce has now has been added to the dinner menu (forgot, you can’t call it a holiday meal without stuffing and cranberry sauce), The glaze for the Cornish hens has been changed to honey-glaze. I will be making the glaze from a base of real butter (melted), added to that will be brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon (for taste and color). Still haven’t decided on whether to make real mashed potatoes or Yams. Although, I feel the choice has been made for me. Friday, on my way home from work, I stopped at my local Kroger and lo and behold, they were all out of Yams! Yep, both fresh and prepared (my favorite prepared Yams are from Bruce’s Yams – so good!) So, I will check again on the way home on Monday and hope that my luck has changed…a little. Oh, and the chocolate amaretto jelly roll cake has been changed to the old “tried and true” cherry pies. Reason: was unable to find a cake pan that was suitable for making the jelly roll cake in at this time. But, it is a recipe that I look forward to trying and seeing how it comes out.

Anyway, looking forward to this Holiday Season and all that comes with it. And I hope that yours will be a warm, wonderful, and blessed day to spend with family, friends, and loved ones as the joy of Christmas Day brings a little joy and warmth to your heart.

Cacthing up on a Sunday afternoon.

Okay, just taking time this Sunday to catch everything up and I do mean to try to get everything up to date!  At the moment I have a number of movies and TV Shows just taking up space on the Dish DVR. Seems like there is never a good time to just sit back, relax, and “veg out” by watching the “ole boob tube” all day long..lol! For the moment, as I am doing my best to update all online accounts, I have the latest James Bond flick “Skyfall” playing in background. This one didn’t appeal to a large number of people, but I rather enjoyed it.

Week in Review

Those who have been reading my blog in the past (and I thank each and every one of you!), now that I have been doing social media and digital marketing for a local small business retailer. Well, I can say that this past week or so has been very busy for us at the store! Our online sales and our website store (www.shoe-maze.com) is now up to the point of shipping out orders on a daily basis! It’s a lot of work for me to keep all inventory up to date and to ship out and track customer orders, but it is something I really enjoy doing!

And as of lately, to attract more customers and to get our name out there just a little more, we placed some merchandise advertisements on the popular site – craigslist.org – and that helped to engage and entirely new type of customers that in the past had thought perceived to boutique to be only specialty footwear and handbags (to be read as “too expensive for me to shop there”!..lol) Sorry, took a little break to go and baste the Sunday dinner – making roast chicken marinated in lemon juice and braised with honey BBQ sauce – very, very tasty!

Holiday Trimmings

Slowly getting the house ready for the holidays and the “on-coming storm” called winter. All the windows have been weather-proofed, gutters cleaned out, and ice-melt has been purchased. So, all I need is the snow to make this a winter-wonderland. Oh, and have already prepared the menu for the holidays: Cornish Hens in cranberry sauce will be the main meat, steamed vegetables consisting of broccoli, Brussels sprouts (my favorite), French cut green beans, and roasted red garlic potatoes For drinks, I am mixing my classic holiday drink. It is my favorite of Schweppes ginger ale &  cranberry juice. Desserts will be cherry pies and this year, doing a little experiment – am going to attempt to make a chocolate amaretto whip cream filling jelly-roll cake, topped with crushed walnuts! Yikes! even, the name of the dessert sounds like a mouthful..lol, but I think I will have fun trying to make it.

I like to make a big deal about the dinners during the holidays, as you can clearly see! Have to be prepared, never know who may stop by.

Well, back to the important task of putting my feet up, relaxing and enjoying the rest of this Sunday afternoon. Then later on will grab the remote, fire up the DVR and check out “Jack Reacher” and “The Bourne Supremacy

So I hope that everyone will be able to enjoy the rest of the day and the rest of the weekend! Please take yourselves until we meet again!

That time of the year..

Well, as it seems most unavoidable, the time of the year known as the “Holiday Season” is upon us in a matter of weeks. There will be Thanksgiving and Christmas parades, various holiday specials and episodes. All manner of things! Dinner and parties, invitations and phone calls, it will be enough to drive you mad! (if you aren’t already tired of the “wonderful time of the year..lol) But I digress. The holiday season for me means that it will be time for my favorite things…movies and BBC America specials!!

For me, there are certain movies that have a level of appeal that can only come from watching them during the two month period of November to December. Now, there are a number of actual holiday-themed movies, TV episodes, and specials that are made each year, but admittedly, there are those that are among my favorites. You know, the ones that you “just cannot miss”. Here are just a few of mine

Doctor Who (50th Anniversary & Christmas Special)

Big one for me this year is the 50th anniversary of the Doctor Who BBC America special. I will not go into all the details of the special suffice to say, that if you are a Doctor Who fan, then this is THE year to pay close attention to both the “Day of the Doctor” and the Christmas special that should air in December.

The Court Jester” – (Danny Kaye, Basil Rathbone, and Angela Lansbury)

One of his better known movies (in my opinion) and also one of his funniest! Long story short: Danny Kaye has to impersonate a jester, a Robin Hood-type character, and become a knight, all in order to save the heir to the throne! Oh, and let us not forget the witch “Greselda-she of the evil eye” Here is a wonderful scene between her and Danny Kaye!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4WffLH9UMs

“The Thin Man” (William Powell & Myrna Loy)

Have been a fan of “The Thin Man” movies ever since the first time I watched them. Now, the movies are not just shown during the holiday season, but they seem to have a different flavor to them when they are shown during the holiday season. For me, it is probably the fact that the initial “Thin Man” movie takes place during the weeks leading up to Christmas. A bonus from watching the witty banter between Powell and Loy is that a lot of murder mysteries have taken their cue (and sometimes their plot) from this movie. If you enjoyed watching a TV series called “Hart to Hart” then you will enjoy this “murder mystery”!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSNJ-8ouQEM

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (voice of Boris Karloff)

Come on, who can’t wait for the holidays just for this all-time classic! Where else are you going to hear the great Boris Karloff actually sing? And how can you not smile and laugh at lyrics such as: “The three words that describe you best are as follows and I quote – “Stink, Stank, Stunk”! Watch it every time it’s on and never tire of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgP0aUKlmNw

“White Christmas” (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye)

Of course, the quintessential Christmas musical and has to viewed at least one time. While it is enjoyable as a musical from first song to last, there are some songs that are a real gem. One of my favorites is the “Choreography” number.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-cXP1uDFpA

That is my short list for now. More than likely there will be updates and additions as we edge ever closer to that “most wonderful time of the year”. And I will do my best to keep you all up to date!

Have a great week and take care of yourself!