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Snow! It snowed in the hills last night. On the morning drive we saw lots of cars with non-trivial quantities of icy whiteness on their hoods and roofs, and there are white-dusted eaves on the houses, though it was all turning to slush by the time I got to work. Still, it finally feels a bit like winter. Time for red wine and spiced cider and chili.

I've signed up for Holidailies! I've been meaning to update more often, and making public declarations of intent sometimes serves to motivate me, so ideally I'll update every day from December 7 to January 6 (the latter date is still celebrated as Old Christmas in parts of the Appalachian mountains, as I learned when I went to college there. Any excuse for a party, I say).

My vacation is now over. I was off work from the day job starting on Thanksgiving, a period of time I used mostly as an excuse to get a ton of my writing work done. I've got this fun work-for-hire thing due in a few months, so I worked a lot on that, and also made some progress on a story that's due in February (it has a title, anyway, and an opening scene in which there are no events, so that may require a little tweaking). Plus some freelancing.

I was hoping to write 30,000 words during my ten days of actual vacation (working on Thanksgiving was not so much of an option, and I had a friend in town the following day), and I only managed a hair over 20,000, due to having a baby who woke up at 5 a.m. (or earlier) for a handful of days in a row. It's hard to be productive when you're brutally underslept. Fortunately his sleep schedule has settled back down now. And, hey, 20K ain't bad, really.

I also read Stephen King's Under the Dome (awesome, his best and most ambitious book in years), and two Ken Bruen crime novels. That guy continues to stomp a mudhole in my heart with every book.

Now it's back to work, which, in truth, I don't mind. Being at home every day with a very active toddler -- our pediatrician says he's a "spirited child" -- is more exhausting than the day job, honestly. I don't know how my wife does it every day. She's made of tougher stuff than I am.

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