Friday, December 20, 2013

Fridays at First Day: Longfellow's Christmas Carol

I love Christmas songs.  I equally enjoy the hokey carols you hear repeated incessantly on the radio and the quality versions of Christmas hymns and classics.  There is certain music I need to hear each season to ensure I feel holly and jolly.  I need to hear Andy Williams sing, "and woop dee do and dickory dock and don't forget to hang up your sock, because just exactly at 12 o'clock, he'll be comin' down the chimney, down."

And while I highly doubt Andy was trying to portray a profound piece of the holiday with the world, some carols really reach deep and pull at our belief.  A Christmas song that has come to speak to me in recent years is, "I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day."  As a child, I just let the words float over my head and dance about the twinkle lights.  As an adult, I could meditate on its meaning for hours.

Today, over at The First Day, I give a mix of commentary and contemplation on this well-recognized, but maybe not well-known carol.


Longfellow’s Christmas Carol

At this point in his life, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had also survived his only two wives. The first died of a miscarriage, four years after they wed. The second died from burns sustained during an accidental fire that caught her dress. Longfellow, himself, extinguished the flames by smothering them with his body. He was so badly burned he could not attend his bride’s funeral. It is, therefore, not surprising that he ceases to praise the bells.  Read more.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I found the tracks
in the deep snow
between the trees.

In spite of facts
we did not know,
but prophet sees.

No one answers
as we waited
to feast or drink.

Watching dancers
breathless, baited
to float or sink.

Back surrounded
at the table,
a baby cries.

All dumbfounded:
not a fable.
Belief defies.


This poem was written in response to this week's The Speakeasy prompt.  The first line and picture above were given as inspiration to write fiction or poetry.  This is my first poetic entry.  Constructive criticism appreciated.  Click on the button below to read the other fabulous writers who are hanging out there this time around.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday's at First Day: How the Grinch Saved Christmas

As promised, I am blogging over at The First Day.  My posts continue to be Christmas-themed for this online magazine which focuses on arts, culture, faith and practice.  Today, I tell a sweet story about what one Christmas was like at my house.  It did not involve the Elf on the Shelf.  It involved the Grinch.  And it was something I will never forget.

Please follow the title link below to read my article in full.  And, as always, let The First Day (and me) know what you think.  

How the Grinch Saved Christmas
My mom claims that my dad has become “grinchier” over the years. When they were first married, he was still a giddy kid, the one that made Christmas special for the two of them each year. But, as people do, he has changed a bit over the years. He is no grinch, but I agree that fewer sugar plums dance in his head. So, one year, my mom, who coincidentally has gotten a bit jollier over time, bought him a miniature, plush, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” doll as a gift.  Read more...

Next week, my plan is to write a commentary type post on one of my favorite Christmas carols.  What are some of yours?  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This Year in Review: My Blog's First Birthday

December 11 marks the one year anniversary of this blog, Kristin Has Two Eyes.  And in case, after a year, you have yet to notice that the blog's title is a pun, please do so now.  I literally have two eyes on my face through which I observe the wonderful stuff this world offers me to write, and I also have two i's in my name.  As in, "How do you spell your name?"

"Oh, well, thanks so much for asking.  Kristin has two i's"

Over this past year, I have published 60 posts and drafted many others.  I believe my writing has matured over this time and I truly appreciate you all reading, commenting and being my audience.  I would not have grown without you.

The blog has been visited over 11,000 times and has received over 800 comments (OK, some of those where mine.)  I am looking forward to another 12 months of essay and anecdote, flash fiction and a bit of fun. If we are all lucky, The Video Game Voyeur will return in some fashion.  She obviously has two eyes as well.  Regardless, I hope you come along for the ride and invite others to jump on along the way.

Here is a sampling of some of the blog's "best" this year.  

Funniest: She Refused
Remember when I basically sat naked in the dermatologist's office?  Yeah.  That one.

Best Fiction: Sibling Rivalry
This post won me my first and only Speakeasy award this year.  

Most Recognized: Fortuitous Forty
This blog won me my first and only Jury Prize at Yeah Write.  And it landed me on the top 60 posts of all time over there as well.  It was also featured on Project Underblog, a blog dedicated to highlighting smaller sites like mine.

Most Viewed: I May Be An Idiot, But So Is The Lady At The Post Office
Somehow, this post has been hit over 1300 times.  WAY more than most of my other posts.  Maybe lots of people get online to complain about the post office?    

My Favorite: Uninvited
I don't know if this is my all-time favorite post, but it is right now.  It tells the story of getting to know a complete stranger, interacting with someone face-to-face in this busy, tech-crazed, rush of a world.  

And last, but not least, a great, big shout out to my fabulous friend M. Kendall Ludwig for my brand new blog design.  She always makes me look good.  If you need a "blog-lift" like I did, find her at CurlyRed.

Do you have any favorite posts from this year?  What would you like to see on the blog in the next?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fridays at First Day: The Truth About Santa

I am thrilled to announce that I will be writing weekly for The First Day, an online magazine and quarterly print publication focusing on art, culture, faith and practice.  The content and collaboration excites me and I will be sure to share my "Fridays at First Day" each week here on my blog.

This week's post might stir up a bit of controversy, but more than that I just hope it gives you a glimpse into my life and how I am attempting to live it to the fullest.  Please follow the title link below to the rest of the article on The First Day and do not hesitate to comment over there, no matter how you feel.  Comments are always appreciated.

We still share Christmas stories and songs about Santa, but we don’t bring his character to life in the ways many parents choose to do. We don’t encourage our kids to write him letters or rile them up when he makes an appearance. We don’t build up the idea of receiving a huge pile of presents on Christmas morning. And, we never employ him as a behavioral tool, threatening that his affection would be based on “how naughty” or “how nice” the kids are during the year.  Read more.

Check back next week for another Friday at First Day, starring The Grinch!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Joy and Happiness

The tacky, plastic decoration must have sat out at least one year.  It is faded, no doubt, from the sun that shone through the bay window in the terrace kitchen.  I can almost picture it there.  After all, it was meant to sit where light would shine through it, the now dull colors ever translucent.

I remember buying it for them.  Choosing a gift for my grandparents from dozens of others laid out on tables set up on the school stage.  The heavy, burgundy curtains closed to protect the integrity of our workshop.  I bought my other grandmother a hat pin that year.  Not a pin for a hat, but a pin in the shape of one.  It was blue.

This gift is blue, too, a cool backdrop for faux-glass Santa.  I wonder if that influenced my choice.  Based on my cursive on the enclosed tag (they saved the tag - oh my heart) I was probably 8 or 9, maybe 10.  I doubt color alone could have swayed my purse.  Perhaps I pictured their window as I do now and knew they would have just the place.  Maybe not.

Mom says it should be mine.  I gave it to them and now they are gone, from the house at least.  Pop lives in a tiny apartment now and has not gotten this stuff out in years, anyway.  I don't want it, but I don't want to get rid of it either.  It wouldn't feel right.  I should just recycle it and let it give back after doing nothing for years in a box.  It's too junky to donate, I think.

It's message is nice if not a bit redundant.  The panel next to St. Nick reads, "May the joy and happiness of the season be with you."  Joy.  And happiness.  Wishing you profound and superficial emotions this holiday.  That feels right.

Maybe I do keep it.  Or maybe I just keep the note with my script.  I can't decide.  The last thing I need is another thing.

But here is the real gift: returning it to its original box to put the decision aside, I get a whiff of the terrace kitchen.  

I am keeping it.  The whole ridiculous thing.  It smells exactly like them.  And that makes me happy.

Feeling "holly jolly" over at Yeah Write again this week.  Click on the button below to check out some other writers who blog and bloggers who write.  It'll make you happy - might even bring you joy.