I have done very little in the way of reading and writing this week; in fact, I have not written a single word in my NaNoWriMo work all week long. I knew that this would happen, however, which is why I wrote like a mad woman the first two weeks of the month. I still have about 2,000 words to go to meet the 50,000 word challenge, and I probably have about 10,000 words to go until the end of the book. I may not finish writing the book before Tuesday night, but I will definitely achieve my goal of completing NaNoWriMo 2010.
This has been a fun family week. My son came in from Nashville and we were able to celebrate with all children and their respective others. It was nice to have the Thanksgiving table full of food, family, and friends. My daughter will be spending Christmas with her in-laws in Memphis and Brian will be moving to Los Angeles in January, so this was probably the last time that we will all be together for quite a while. My youngest will graduate in May and I will become a ....ahem....grandmother in April (not sure I like the sound of that new title) so 2011 is sure to be a year of significant changes, so it was nice to have a traditional Thanksgiving weekend.
Christmas time is definitely here! I did actually venture out into the Black Friday crowds around 5:00AM and when I returned home around noon I had most of the Christmas shopping completed. I still have a couple of stocking stuffers to purchase, but other than that, I am done. I am SO excited! I hope to have them all wrapped by the middle of the month so that I am not staying up late on Christmas Eve.
We put up the tree on Friday night and I experimented taking a few photos. I have a long way to go in my creative photography pursuits, but I am trying to give myself a break and rather than expect perfection, just enjoy the process. I am looking forward to the Picture the Holidays online photography course that will begin on Wednesday. While the next couple of weeks will be busy with end-of-the-semester grading and preparing for final exams, I hope to find a bit of time each day to focus on photography.
I also hope to start reading for pleasure again. It has been far too long and I think I am ready to escape again into the world of fiction. Most of reading lately has focused on writing, and after NaNoWriMo I think I am ready to take a break from the writing routine. I still hope to maintain some kind of daily writing habit, but not at the insane pace of 50,000 words in a month. I think the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge is the perfect antidote. I still need to cull through my bookshelves to find the perfect books.
I am also looking forward to reading all the holiday themed blog posts that will be a part of the Virtual Advent Tour. I so enjoyed reading about others' traditions last year, and I know that I will anticipate each day's entries this year as well. In fact, I decided to take part in this tour myself and am scheduled to post on December 20th. I participated for the first time last year and gave a brief overview of our family's Italian celebration. I am not quite sure what I will share this year, but I have some time to consider the options.
This week I will have to put my nose to the grindstone. I have taken off three full days and now I need to write lesson plans and grade research papers. I hope to write all the lesson plans for the rest of the semester today and grade about six of the remaining eighteen papers. The students will be giving oral reports in class tomorrow and then I will have to complete the grading by Wednesday. I have an incentive, however, that should help me to stay focused: on Friday I will leave for Nashville for the weekend. I will have the opportunity to see my son again, my brother and his wife, and attend the Birth of Impressionism Exhibit at the Frist Museum. I have wanted to see this since I first heard about in July. Approximately one hundred paintings from the Musee d'Orsay will be on display, and while Nashville is not Paris, this will certainly be the next best thing. I am just giddy with excitement!
I hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and that the upcoming holidays will allow you to rest, relax, and enjoy the true meaning of this Season of Hope.