Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Merry Christmas (and Happy Birthday to Zoey!)

In Holiday Traditions, Holidays, Merry Christmas!, Writing, Writing Discipline on December 23, 2018 at 6:00 pm

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Zoey the Cute Dachshund opens her presents during Christmas 2017, while wearing her special Christmas shirt.

Five days before Christmas, Zoey, a dachshund with attitude and cuteness, turned 10. I got her at nine weeks, so we’ve been together 9 years and 10 months.

This year, I gave her two rawhide treats, one in the morning while I worked from home and the second in the evening. I save the presents for Christmas Day, when I wrap up some treats, a new toy and a few of her old doggie bears and other toys in tissue paper, and she rips it all up to see what’s inside. She even goes for the plastic, wanting to get to something to eat.

Favorite Christmas Story

What’s your favorite Christmas story? My brother said his in-laws have a tradition of writing down their most meaningful memory of the year and sharing it over dinner, and then his mother-in-law puts the memories in a book.

Mine is going to my mother’s assisted living place and seeing all the decorations from mini-trees on the tables to walls covered with cutout stockings and reindeer, plus the changing lights on the Christmas tree in the foyer. When I was a child, my family and I used to open up stocking gifts on Christmas Eve and presents under the tree on Christmas Day. The stockings were lined up in a row on the coffee table, and the tree had gifted and handmade ornaments from elementary and middle school.

How to Celebrate

Now, my brother, his wife and I visit my father for a weekend around his birthday, which is on Dec. 11, to celebrate both it and Christmas. We go see the Christmas lights in his small eastern Colorado town, taking 20 minutes to cover the entire town limits. On Christmas Day, my mother, my brother, his wife and I mainly trade gift cards and an occasional present. After eating the noon meal, we talk for a bit and then engage in gift giving. Zoey gets her gifts last, and we laugh as she hurriedly bites off the tissue paper, wiggling her tail at the attention,

Here are a few photos of my family holiday traditions, with a lot of the focus on cute Zoey. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and happy holidays and happy however you cherish your traditions. Happy New 2019!

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Shelley Widhalm of Shell’s Ink Services opens a gift from her family during Christmas 2017.

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Sisters-in-law Kim Widhalm, left, and Shelley Widhalm post after opening presents during Christmas 2017.

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Zoey gets busy chewing her rawhide after opening her presents during Christmas 2017.

Merry Christmas with Cute Puppy Photos

In Cute Dachshunds, Cute Dogs, Holiday Traditions, Holidays on December 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm


Zoey chews her new Nylabone after opening her presents during a previous Christmas celebration.

Merry Christmas Eve and Merry Christmas! Today and tomorrow are days to celebrate and not think about writing, blogging or editing—unless you’re a journaler or impulse poem writer.

This week, I thought I’d share some photos of my family holiday traditions that, of course, include cute puppy photos of Zoey the Very Cute Dachshund. She just turned 9 on Dec. 20, so she loves treats, toys and attention, all T-type words!

My family and I used to open up stocking gifts on Christmas Eve and presents under the tree on Christmas Day. Now, we mainly trade gift cards and an occasional present. We get together at my mom’s assisted living place, eat the noon meal, talk and then open presents. Zoey gets her own presents, too, usually rawhide, treats, a new toy and a re-wrapped teddy bear. She opens her presents all on her own!

Have a Merry Christmas and happy holidays and happy however you cherish your traditions. Happy New 2018!


Zoey opens her own presents during a previous Christmas celebration.


Zoey seeks more presents for Christmas, because more is better!


Zoey is tired from all of the Christmas fun!

Adding Fun to Holiday Blogging

In Blogging, Blogging Advice, Holidays, Writing Advice on December 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Birthday(WithSarah)3 04-16How does blogging fit in with Christmas lights and letters, holiday get-togethers and the office lunches with all of the fancy foods?

Blogging weekly, every other week or monthly is a commitment, and the holidays should be a way to celebrate the desire to blog—even if champagne, ice cream or truffles sound more fun. Do both—write quickly and efficiently (or hire someone else to be your ghostwriter/ghost blogger) and still enjoy the holiday cheer.

Regular blogging gives you expertise, and your readers look to your blog and expect to see your content, even during busy times. Blogging is a way to spread your thoughts, ideas, opinions and knowledge and can be used to promote your project, event, company, service or topic of interest.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about blogging:

  • Blogs should follow a schedule. Weekly is best, but monthly is OK. Inconsistent blogging causes you to lose readers and get lower rankings from the search engines. Consistent blogging is a way to give updates and provide new material, while pleasing the engines that prefer fresh content and will give you a higher ranking.
  • Blogs can vary in length. Blogs are considered short at 300 to 500 words and optimal or medium length at 500 to 700 words. Blogs that are 1,000 words or more are considered long or article length.
  • Blogs should have short paragraphs—usually one to three sentences—with lots of bullet points and subheads within the content.
  • Blogs should have original content targeted to a specific audience with new, updated and engaging material. Make sure to follow a theme and focus on a topic or set of topics to sustain reader interest.

How do you make “the rules of blogging” fun? Think of it as work with a reward. Literally, do the writing and then get the truffle or ice cream. Acknowledge the accomplishment, such as by tracking it on a spreadsheet or a check-off list. Make it part of your routine.

Break it up into smaller tasks. Write for a few minutes and then set it aside to make it feel like less work. Write about something that interests you or find an angle that is interesting within the subject that may not be as compelling.

And, best of all, create a blogging editorial calendar with a weekly, bimonthly or monthly plan to identify what you covered and would like to cover. Do this for 2018, turning your holiday cheer into a New Year’s resolution.

Happy Blogging in 2018!

What Platform?

In Holidays, Loneliness, New Platform, New Year's Resolutions, Shyness, Single Girl on January 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm

After six months of blogging, I realize that I have to get a platform. If I were to reflect on previous blogs, I could say it’s A Girl and Her Dog, A Writer and Her Dog, or Lonely Girl With Dog.

Of course, I love my dog, but I think this year I should do a blog challenge. Each month, I’m going to try something new to get me out of my shy, lonely life. I don’t mind being lonely, as such, because I love to read and write and with a busy dog like Zoey, my time is filled.

But I think I need to stop making excuses to myself. I had mono for more than two years and this past summer began to feel almost normal. I now need eight to nine hours of sleep instead of nine to 12, plus naps. I let that be my excuse, that I’m tired.

My second excuse is that I’m shy.

I figure I could write about Single Girl, Barely 40, in Too Small of a City (with Dog). That is my new platform. Now for the catchy title, maybe City Girl Antics.

Where’s the “Merry Christmas”?

In Christmas meaning, Holidays, What's important, Writing group on December 26, 2010 at 9:30 am

At my last writer’s group meeting, we talked about our Christmas traditions. Most of them involve opening stockings Christmas Eve and presents Christmas Day and preparing a traditional meal of ham, turkey and, in one woman’s case, seafood pasta.

At my mom’s house, those traditions have been dropped little by little. First went the Christmas tree, because removing it and the ornaments, and then putting them away, takes a lot of energy. My mom, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a cane to get around, tires easily, so she opted for a one-foot tree instead.

Next went the decorations and the tree with miniature ornaments.

This year, we lost the stockings because my brother had plans with his girlfriend on Christmas Eve.

But these changes haven’t fazed me. They reflect my mom’s exhaustion from M.S., along with the altering of family dynamics from a divorce and my brother and I growing up and not having children of our own, at least not yet, to carry on the traditions.

No matter, I love the atmosphere surrounding Christmas. There are Christmas trees on display in stores and the red and green decor. There are Christmas songs instead of top 40. And there are houses and shopping centers glittering with lights, adding joy to the shortening days.

What I don’t like is losing the phrase “Merry Christmas” from holiday cards and interpersonal greetings. Instead, it’s “Happy holidays,” but there’s a holiday practically every month, so which holiday is the happy one?

I understand why my family has to let some traditions go, but I don’t understand why we, as a nation, have to remove the word Christmas from Christmas. We’ve taken political correctness too far, so that even though a sampling from a writer’s group has similar traditions, we can’t say the “Merry Christmas” that reflects those traditions, because we might offend someone.

It’s like words are the wrapping paper that hide so much anger and bitterness, but why so much hostility over words? Can’t words just have their intended meanings without having to be erased, removed and rewritten, so that what is real becomes whitewashed into blandness? The Christmas lights in my town are white holiday lights that don’t offend other religions from the red and green. At least the stores keep the trees up and the Christmas music, even if it’s all for profit.

Fourth of July without Zoey

In Holidays, Leaving Zoey, Missing each other, Weathering the weather on July 5, 2010 at 2:38 am

Zoey and I decided to take a break from talking about our first 18 months together to describe our Fourth of July. Zoey is a miniature dachshund I adopted from a mall pet store almost 16 months ago when she was nine weeks old.

Zoey and I started out the weekend day as usual – a kiss indicating it’s time for me to let her out – and a return to bed for a lie-in. Zoey pulled on my hair – Come on, let’s play! – and jumped on me, but I wouldn’t move, so she gave up, curling into her cuddle spot on the pillow I hug.

My father, who lives in Eastern Colorado, came at 11:30 a.m. for a weekend visit, and Zoey did her welcome dance, consisting of barking, jumping on and off the easy chair and lying on her back, inviting a belly rub. Zoey got in an hour of playtime, and then Dad and I went to coffee before she could convince us to play more.

Dad, Mom (who I live with) and I went to my brother’s get-together with his friends. Zoey wasn’t invited because of her tendency to potty on the carpet when excited. At the four-hour limit of leaving Zoey, a pre-tornado dipped down from a wall cloud and the rain ripped. Everyone there agreed we should wait out the storm, and so we did. I started worrying about Zoey, a dog that needs lots of attention, but who also is fine with sleeping. We left an hour after planned, and Zoey was just fine. I didn’t need to worry about the dog I treat like my little girl. I will miss out on the fireworks tonight, if they don’t get canceled by the rain, because I will be staying with her, riding out her barking at the bang-bang, reminding me that another summer is going by.