Ishness for a New Year

Thought I should actually get a January edition of an Ishness post up on time for once!

Reading

Finished this with my kiddos and absolutely loved it. Really a very good book, lots of good historical information, but a fun fictional romp, as well. A lot of emotions in this story, and the end is sort of a mix of happy/sad that was fairly satisfying.

Finished re-reading this and found it every bit as enjoyable as I remembered. These books are such a great blend of intrigue, adventure, mystery, and heart-wrenching moments of sadness all permeated by a tongue-in-cheek hilarity that it can be hard to keep up at times, but I enjoy the ride. There are some bits in these stories that are not appropriate for children, but they are moments, and do not dominate the tone or story.

Watching

Started watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. I have only seen the first episode so far, but enjoyed it. I can’t speak to the entire series as yet, but so far, the movie is still solidly in place as my favorite version of these stories. I loved the books, but in my own personal opinion, the movie was still better.

Finally saw Finding Dory, which was adorable. Pixar has a rare talent indeed when it comes to making sequels. And while I won’t say that this was as good as Finding Nemo… it was definitely in the same class.

We also rented the new Pete’s Dragon. We had watched the old one last Fall because I wanted to, and because I knew the new one was coming out. The new one is SO GOOD. There is a lot of nostalgia linked to the old one for me, watched it countless times with my cousins at my grandparents’ house. But the new one is so much better… Micky Rooney’s character aside, of course. Also, that ending! Everything I wanted it to be. If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely rent it. It’s a new favorite, and I would love to own it someday.

Started watching Grimm again. It’s been a while. We kind of got overwhelmed with stuff to watch a while ago and fell behind a bit, but we just finished season 3 and started season 4 and it is every bit as much fun as I remembered it being. Definitely one of my favorite shows, and way better than Once Upon a Time when it comes to the whole fairy-tale retelling thing. (I enjoy Once, but if I had to choose, I’d pick Grimm every time). Probably because I prefer strong male protagonists in general, and because I enjoy the way it mixes fairy-tales with crime-drama, two of my favorite things in one show! Definitely more creepy and violent than Once, so I will warn you, Grimm is noticeably darker. Has a lot of humor as well, which they do a good job using to balance things out.

Music/Listening

I don’t usually have a music section, but I got two CDs for Christmas that I just love to pieces and wanted to share with you:

Sarah McLachlan’s Classic Christmas Album

I got this for Christmas and am just loving it so much! It’s no secret that I love Christmas music and listen to it year-round, so it’s been fun to add a new Christmas album to my collection. I also enjoy that several of the songs are more just “wintry” and not specifically Christmas songs, because that is fun.

Shawn Newby’s Justified

This artist is also one of the worship leaders at our old church back in NC, and I have been waiting for him to come out with an album for several years now. I am so excited to be able to listen to his music on this CD and HIGHLY recommend it. Most of the songs are his own original works.

This is one of my favorites on the album:

 

Writing

Wonderfully productive month when it came to writing. I wrote a small piece of flash fiction for a contest and was one of three finalists. Sadly, my story did not win, but it did get a fair number of votes. Considering that I wrote and edited it in less than 10 minutes, I was pretty happy to get even that far!

Here is my story, if you didn’t get a chance to read it:

Kendall didn’t care if the other candidates thought he was power-hungry—nothing could stop him from going after his destiny. He wasn’t sure what his destiny was, but it was certain it would never happen if he was not chosen as the apprentice of the Royal Wizard Oolumph. He didn’t particularly like the Wizard Oolumph. The man had been staying at the inn for the past few days and was generally impatient and disagreeable, but he could think of no better way to be available for destiny to find him. Surely destiny could not miss a wizard’s apprentice! Not like it could if he remained a lowly stable-boy for the local inn. 

The morning of the audition was cold. Foggy breath steamed about the candidates’ faces as they waited in line. The audition swept past in a blur that Kendall could barely remember once it was over.

It felt like hours before the announcement was made.

Kendall’s spirits sank as the name was announced. It wasn’t his. Kendall could not bear to watch the winner. Disheartened, he shuffled back to the stables behind the inn. He would be sure to find a sympathetic ear in his friend and fellow stable-boy, Bernard. However, upon arriving at the stable, Kendall could not find Bernard anywhere. 

“Ah, you’re back,” the innkeeper said, seeing Kendall’s face poke around the doorway. 

“Where’s Bernard?” Kendall asked glumly.

“Ah, young Bernard,” the innkeeper ran a calloused hand through his hair. “That was something else. While you were off at the auditions, Sir Andrew rode through in a great hurry. He needed a page for an important mission he is undertaking for King Sebastian. Was willing to pay good money to buy an apprentice’s time. Bernard was the only one around, and though I hated the thought of potentially losing both of you, I couldn’t deny the boy his destiny.”

Even more importantly, I wrote 10,000 words in Turrim Archive Book #2 this past month, which was very exciting! A few things have taken turns I did not expect to have to deal with quite so early in the story. Characters have now said and done things that I wasn’t expecting and it took the story in a different direction than I expected… and a few characters have demanded to have bigger roles than I had originally assigned them. It’s all good, though. I’ve given up arguing with my characters when they do these things to me. #TheCharactersAreAlwaysRight

Lifeing

Continuing strong with homeschool stuff. We’ve gotten lovely amounts of snow and cold and wintry weather and that makes my polar-bear-heart happy. Some very dear (and extremely brave) friends drove here all the way from NC to visit us last weekend and it was such a blast getting to hang out with them and show them around our new stomping grounds, talk, catch up, play board games, go sledding… so much fun! It was also really neat and fun and good for our kiddos to get to hang out and play together. Our four girls have been friends practically since they were born and it was wonderful to see them be able to just pick up right where they left off last time they saw each other. That kind of friendship is dear and rare.

February Plans…

Get your typing fingers ready because tomorrow begins the second annual FEBRUARY IS FANTASY MONTH extravaganza! I’ve got some fun stuff planned: including a short story contest and a game of tag, as well as more posts about fantasy! Make sure you don’t miss it!

How about you, dear Reader? How was your January? Are you excited about February is Fantasy Month? 

~ jenelle

10 Comments

Sarahtps

I like your flash fiction. If you ever decide to continue it, I’d read it. And I completely sympathize with having characters who take more of the spotlight than they’re intended to . . . It does tend to turn out for the best, though. (And some of those characters have since become favorites . . . Don’t tell them I said that, though!)

Glad you had a good month!

Reply
jenelle

Thanks! I hadn’t really thought about continuing the Kendall story… but will file that away for future reference.

All my favorite characters start out as side-characters who demand to become front-and-center. I’m not sure why that is.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Deborah O'Carroll

Hurray! I always enjoy your ishness updates… and you’ve got in ahead of me on it. XD I may not even do an ishness this round but we’ll see. Hmm, I’m intrigued by Grimm which I think you’ve mentioned before… I haven’t seen Once either but I’d like to try them someday… so little time though! :O HURRAY FOR 10K OF THE ARCHIVE! So exciting. :D I wrote part of a short story this month myself… it’s always fun. :) Enjoyed your flashfiction… I think I voted for it… not bad for 10 minutes. ;) YESSS, looking forward to February is Fantasy Month! Can’t wait! :D

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DJ Edwardson

Hey, you mention in passing (under “Lifeing”) that you played some board games. I think you need to add a new section called “Playing” to let us know what’s happening in that category. Just a thought.

Sorry you didn’t win the contest. As you know I really enjoyed it. I didn’t mention this before, but I had a private chuckle that the flash fiction character’s name was Kendall…

I’m very much looking to next month. Can’t wait for it to start raining fantasy!

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jenelle

I should definitely have a board-game section!

In case you’re curious, the games I’ve played recently included: Star Realms (really fun little deck-building game that is nowhere near as overwhelming as Dominion), Fluxx (which I had never played before, and it was entertaining), Letters from White Chapel (my all-time favorite board game, sadly it is out of print), Dragonwood (fun fantasy-themed dice/card game to play with the kiddos), Slap 10s (for school, kind of like regular Slap or Slap-Jack, but we take out all Jokers and Face Cards and only slap when two cards are played with numbers that add up to 10, or 10s themselves), and Love Letter (fun micro game to play at any time, love that it’s small/simple enough to play at a restaurant on a date night, but still complex enough to be entertaining).

Okay, why did Kendall’s name make you laugh? I didn’t get to choose his name, and now I’m super curious!

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DJ Edwardson

Thanks for all the board game goodness! I love Star Realms. Super fun. And Love Letter is quite clever. Did you know there is a Hobbit version of that game? Bizarre right? But it’s so cool. You must have it, precioussss…Haven’t played Dragonwood, but sounds fun. Since it’s fantasy themed maybe you should do a review of it for a certain month-theme-bloggy-ma-bob coming up (hint, hint)…

Oh, I’m sad you don’t remember Kendall from the Motley. I suppose it has been a while since you’ve read it, though, so I forgive you :)

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jenelle

Yeesh *feels like a jerk* I didn’t remember him! And he’s quite memorable. I blame pregnancy-brain!

Ooh, good idea. I might have to review Dragonwood next month. I have a few slots unaccounted for.

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Madeline J. Rose

I’ve really been meaning to read something by Jasper Fforde. I’ve had the Eyre Affair on my tbr-list for ages now but haven’t gotten around to reading it.

Pete’s Dragon was SO GOOD. I just LOVED it. Watched with my family and my Mom got very nostalgic. ;)

That is a GREAT short story! I love it! A shame you didn’t win the contest. <3

So excited for February is Fantasy Month!! :D

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jenelle

Eyre Affair is SO GOOD. And funny. I think I enjoy the snarky wordplay/grammatical humor as much as the story itself.

Pete’s Dragon… *sighs happily* the ending was everything I was hoping for… though I got a little worried that it wasn’t going to go the way I wanted it to and leave it a bit more open-ended… I’m SO GLAD it didn’t!!! Yay.

Thank you! I had fun writing it.

ME TOO!!!!! Let the fantastical fantasy celebration commence! *throws more fairy dust*

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I love hearing from you, dear Reader!