Last One of the Year

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Getting books ready to ship!

This will most likely be the last blog by me for 2020.

I’m okay with that, even though it wasn’t the worst year for us. Which is the main reason why we didn’t do a funny Fyfe Holiday letter this year. It seems insensitive to talk about my exciting new book or the fact we both kept working amidst a global pandemic when so many lost their jobs, not to mention their lives.

We also sort of enjoyed lockdown when it happened because we live in a beautiful house in an incredibly scenic area and the hot tub, tanning bed and sauna are wonderful treats in our Montana home.

Jake & Maggie in Montana

We also have a variety of animal companions who keep us smiling.

They keep us busy, too. We have to get out of bed (eventually) to get hay and grain (and, okay, maybe an apple or two) to the horses and let the barn kitties out. We have litter boxes to clean and food and water bowls to fill. And there’s that ferret cage that requires cleaning and the 3 terrorists within to play with on a daily basis. Our gang reminds us daily that the company of animals is healthy for humans.

Jockey, helping me write right now!

They are healthy for my mental health, for sure, especially when Alistair is working on the front lines in Bismarck. He left me 2 days early last week so that he could get his first dose of the Moderna covid19 vaccine (which we are SO excited about!) He started this 2-week stint on Christmas day and he continued to work all weekend long.

It wasn’t so bad, even though it was Christmas. And it won’t be so bad when he’s gone for New Year’s, too. He does important work and he provides for our incredible life when he’s gone. We also don’t have young children in the house anymore so we can rationalize that Christmas is just another Friday. Same with New Year’s.

We didn’t put a tree up this year so that I wasn’t constantly reminded of the festive holiday, as well. Believe me, its not some, ‘Bah, humbug’ attitude at all! I mean… we did get Christmas-town going again…

Skating rinks and the tavern at the west end of town… newlyweds are a nod to our on-ice wedding 24 years ago!

Alistair even brought some super cute (and necessary) additions for our festive little village, like the bride & groom smooching on the original ice rink, High Meadow Pond.

Its hard to imagine that we got married on the ice rink where I grew up in Grand Forks, BC 24 years ago! I wasn’t even 24 years old back then! While that seems like a boat load of time it also feels like it is just in the rear-view mirror when I think about it. I smile thinking of my brave, spandex-wearing bridesmaids, Jennifer, Wendy, Diana & Merielle. My smile widens remembering Art driving the Zamboni in his tuxedo and the kids getting to join in on the action.

We gave the men, Tim, Brad, Ian and Glenn each a bottle of scotch the night before just to cement the fact that, yes, indeed, we were going to be doing this thing on the ice in front of an audience. I giggle remembering my brother-in-law repeatedly asking Tim & Wendy if they really knew how to skate.

The skating party after the ceremony and the sort-of organized reception are fresh in my mind. The karaoke machine (not my idea) is pushed off to the sidelines of my memory, though.

24 years ago….
Pizzeria and Jewelry stores were added this year!

Next to the tavern is one of the much-needed eateries that Alistair found for us this year! Pizza and beer, right? (According to their sign they also make pastas and subs.) We both found the Jewelry store together and agreed it was a lovely, sparkly tribute to my former days selling Chloe & Isabel bling.

Food truck!

In front of the blingery there is the brand-new food truck Alistair brought for Christmas. I mean, not everyone wants to dine-in and with covid19 right now, this is a great way to get a bite to eat and still maintain social distancing!

Shops for every price point and a new fire hall!

Carrying on through Christmas town, we have options for shopping and a brand new fire house. The fire truck peeks in and out and the Dalmatian standing with the fireman is a cute touch. (I wonder if he poses for those calendars?…) (Do firemen still do those anymore?)

Some of the bigger buildings play music and almost everything lights up in one way, shape or form.

Pet-Palooza!

Alistair commented how the realtor in me really came out this year with the zoning I applied to the community. This area is all about the animals. You can adopt from the shelter on the right, get him or her all spiffed up at the pet salon, then capture the moment with photos at the pet photographer’s and then drop your new buddy off for doggy daycare before you hit up the shops, ice rinks or tavern!

Don’t forget the hot dog or slice of pizza…

The carousel!

One of my favorite pieces of all time is the animal carousel. The detail and imagination is outstanding and it is a real highlight of the village. You can choose to ride on a horse or a tortoise or even a lion! Conveniently located in front of the animal area of town, of course.

Continuing north…

Moving along through town we see more options for ice skating and more shopping. You might notice a more residential feel to the area, too, with the area zoned for both housing and commerce.

You also might recognize the plethora of animals throughout Christmas town. Dogs, cats, bunnies, horses, a cow, a squirrel, birds, deer, and even reindeer… its definitely a Fyfe creation!

Our log cabin is on the right.

Another great addition from Alistair is the new café on the left, next to the older B&B and the log cabin we both agree is where we would choose to live.

Now I can grab a coffee when I begin my daily stroll through town, en route to check on the shelter pets and do some figure skating coaching on the side. All of this is before we grab a pizza at night and hit up the jewelry shop to see what’s new (and secretly compare pieces to my Chloe & Isabel arsenal.)

North end of town

And finally we have the north end of town, which may have to be expanded next year if we continue doing things Fyfe-style. We already have a new addition that isn’t out of its box yet (thanks, Carey!)

I love the clock tower and the windmill that actually turns. The cozy couple on the park bench reading together (probably reading that kick-ass Missing Lake series) and sipping hot chocolate (with a splash of Bailey’s perhaps?) while Buddy loads Christmas trees up into his partner’s horse-drawn carriage in front of the barns makes this all pretty perfect.

My imagination takes care of me when Alistair isn’t here, even when its Christmas and people are supposed to be visiting each other.

But we aren’t supposed to be visiting because of covid19 right now.

I am fearful that our actions at Thanksgiving and Christmas will come back to bite this country in the ass but I’m just going to leave that thought there and encourage you/us all to get the vaccines when we can, wear masks (even after the vaccine!) and keep your distance.

New award!

I am glad Alistair was with me a couple of weeks ago when I got the email announcing that The Runaways of Missing Lake won its first award for Best in Teen Fiction.

I am humbled by this and by all of the wonderful comments and reviews the book has already received. I absolutely love hearing people’s thoughts about the book while they read it and after they’ve finished. I enjoy the questions about why I chose particular songs or if a certain character is based on somebody in my real life.

And I look forward to talking about the marketing and what I’ve learned and what I still feel like I need to learn but that’s for another blog.

In another year.

Until then, I’m fairly certain most of you are ready to put 2020 on the back burner and look towards 2021. A new year. New dreams to create. New adventures and paths to embark upon. New spirits to meet. And more homes to sell and pets to vaccinate and book events to participate in.

And vaccines to be taken and masks to be worn. Be safe. Be smart. Be well.

I didn’t win any prize money but I did win gold stickers!
One of the new spirits I met at Clark Fork Veterinary this year in Deer Lodge- Walter Price! I will be committing to more dates there through June!
Alistair’s staff helped him spiff up his cell phone for Christmas with a photo from the magical night we met in 1994 up in Creston. Me, the guest skater and him in the audience.

4 thoughts on “Last One of the Year

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