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.

 

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.

e-Commerce week, then a great “Timey, Wimey” weekend!

Well, if anyone would have told me that upkeep on a e-Commerce site would be so time consuming, I would have laughed! Now, being in charge of one, I know how much time that kind of work can consume out of your week!

Fifteen pages and over a thousand items later, my clients web store is finally ready for the big shopping days of the holiday season. Even I didn’t expect it to take all week, but, I went through a physical count of all inventory to ensure that online and in-store inventory was the same. After that, came pricing, then meta-tags, then new background and finally choosing the right online forms of payment. Very exhausting, but now, all that work is done! So, for “Black Friday” & “Cyber Monday” it all comes down to just sales maintenance. Once an item sales online, pull it off store shelves, if it sales in-store, pull it off online inventory! For those of you who are interested, the website that I am helping to maintain is at www.shoe-maze.com . If you decide to check it out and find something you like, use promo code “shoemaze” (all one word) and this way you’ll get $10.00 off pretty much any item in the online store!

snowfall

Also this week, here in Port Huron, we got our first snowfall of the season, and boy did it take everyone by surprise! Came with no warning. Bright and sunny Saturday morning and then by around 10:00 a.m., dark skies and snow!..lol!! I had dropped by the store that morning to see if everything was ready to go and just had to take this picture of what the streets looked like in under an hour.

Good thing that came out of this unexpected snowfall is that for the day, sales (even online sales) for dress and hiking boots were really good!

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WooHoo!! And then on Saturday night, like most of the world (and universe, and parallel universes..lol) spent the evening preparing for and watching the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who, entitled “Day of the Doctor”  and the build-up was great and the episode did not disappoint me in anyway! In my opinion, it actually paid great homage to the history of the show, and as to why it has been such an enduring fixture on BBC networks (and I am so glad that they also decided to carry it on BBC America!) For those who may have not seen it yet, I will not go into a review at this moment, because even a little review gives away to much of the pleasure of watching it for the first time. All I will say is that, when you do watch it, have “pen and paper” at the ready, there are lots and lots of “timey wimey” stuff going on and so many references to past episodes (and future ones) that you may get lost!

xbox-one

After much debate and intensive reading, have decided to finally purchase my first gaming system. Yep, one of the few people that have never owned one! And for my first one, I will be going with the Microsoft Xbox One. Reasoning behind my choice is that, I have been a longtime user of the Windows platforms and Microsoft hardware (mice, keyboards, and the like). As such, have been pleased with their performance. Also, was intrigued with the Xbox One interface, having enjoyed using the Logitech Revue Google TV platform. This platform seemed to be the closet to that type of interface and integration. Earlier this week, got my “hands wet” by dipping into the whole game ecosystem with the purchase of the free level of “Asphalt 7” from the Windows 8.1 store, and have enjoyed playing it on my laptop, so I can just imagine how it will look on my big screen television.

Now have to go clean up the kitchen from making my Sunday dinner – Garlic parmesan red potatoes wedges, oven fried chicken and steamed veggies! (Mmm..so good). Get ready for Monday and then relax by catching the late night showing of one all my all-time “shoot-em-up” movies “The Replacement Killers” with Chow Yun-Fat and Maria Sorvino. Just one on “got to watch it every time it’s on” kind of movies. So, have a good night, get some rest and have a great and productive week!

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!