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2014 Reading Challenge
This year, I'm pledging to read 52 fiction books, one per week, as well as an additional 12 books focused of plotting.
I did exceed my 52 book goal from last year.
My Blog List
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- 2014 (28)
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Friday, March 7, 2014
6:30 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
...will be drastically changed within the next six months. By September 1st, I will officially be an empty nester. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It'll just be DH and me in the house. What a concept....
As mentioned, DD wants to move out. Badly. Despite the glitch with the houses, I'm pretty sure she and her roommates will have found something and be moved within the next few months.
Sonshine has settled (for the time being) on joining the Army. Yes, he's changed his mind several times in the past year on what he wants to do upon graduation, and, yes, he may yet change it again. But the tentative plan is for him to work one last fireworks season with his dad before signing on the dotted line. Please cross your fingers that he stays with this course of action.
And I should be able to work from home at least part of the time come May or June.
Despite those upcoming changes, I do still feel like a hamster on a wheel. Plugging along each day on these two projects I have going, although as of today, I am one step closer to finishing one of them--the ickier one. The goal is to be completely done by next Friday. Well, I guess I do see some light at the end of that tunnel. I just hadn't really thought about it and it seems like I've been working on so long already.
As for having my house to myself...since DD and roommates have no firm date I have nothing to focus on, and although high school graduation will take place on June 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th--I don't know which day they'll assign to Sonshine's HS at the moment--it's still just a bit far out for me, though it'll be here before I know it. I know that.
Oh, well...I'll just keep on keeping on and I'll keep y'all posted.
Labels: be all that you can be, children, empty nest, life, miscellaneous, sonshine, the Army | 3 comments
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
6:19 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
So my purse arrived last Thursday! A day early, even, which was nice because I needed a little pick-me-up.
Anyway, I love it. It's a bit bigger than I expected (which is good, considering what I paid for it) and has only one large compartment. There're a pair of small pockets on one side and another slightly larger zippered one on the other, but they aren't really large enough to organize my stuff.
So back to the 'Net I went and bought a purse organizer! The only thing left that I need more than want (that second purse) is a wallet. But I need to work a few more proofing jobs before I can splurge on that.
Aside from the short excitement of the new purse, I feel as if I'm in a holding pattern right now, and I'm not really liking it. I can't seem to get anything done, I can't plan anything, and all I can do is work on the same two major projects and I'm feeling as if they'll never be finished. I know they will, eventually, but still.
DD was supposed to move out soon, but the two houses she and her roommates were looking at didn't work out. So now it's back to the drawing board for them. But you know, now that she's dangled that carrot, I'm ready for it all to be said and done. One more thing I'm waiting on...
My brown-eyed girl is definitely moving and will be living about four hours away by car before March is over. On the bright side, she'll finally get her driver's license on Friday, and once she gets to where she's going, her living expenses will be cut in half as she is moving in with her boyfriend.
Sonshine is a few short months from graduating high school. Wow. I remember taking him home from the hospital like it was yesterday. And what's he going to do with his life?? Good question, he's changed his mind three or four times just this year. Monday he said he was joining the Army since he really didn't know what else to do with himself right now.
We're one step closer to me being able to work from home. The biggest hurdle was me being able to answer phones as that is one of my primary responsibilities. We now have phones that work over the Internet and they're really cool and have some neat features. Unfortunately, one of those huge projects requires me to have access to all our paperwork, which, of course, is all at the office. But I'm hoping that I can start with, say, one or two mornings a week and build up. I think that's a few weeks out yet though.
One of my biggest issues with working from home is going to be distractions. I struggle enough at the office, so I've been practicing keeping my focus on the task at hand. I make a list every day, and I've created a master list of everything I do in general, including those quarterly things like filing 941 returns and the once-a-year kind of things like filing 940 returns. The next thing, I think, is to make a loose schedule and start implementing it at the office before I make the transition.
The celery and peanut butter is working out great so far. I haven't gained poundage back that could be linked to the higher calorie snack (just the other bad choices). I even started making a second set for DH to have. Now if only I could get him to eat at regular intervals.
Monday, March 3, 2014
5:43 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
Yesterday, we celebrated the Brown Eyed Girl's 26th birthday!
We spent a leisurely day staying warm, chatting, and watching Once Upon a Time via Netflix. Then there was dinner: mashed potatoes--the Brown Eyed Girl's fave--along with barbecued chicken and broccoli. And, of course, birthday cake and presents!
Friday, February 28, 2014
6:24 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
Some time in January, I talked about buying better quality meat. I didn't follow through at the time, but a few weeks ago, I was caught with my office door unlocked and in came the guy from Grillmasters. They have a base of operations here in the business park.
So long story short, I bought meat from them. It'll take me five or six weeks of short-buying my weekly groceries to pay for it. I'm three weeks in. Not terribly awful and the meat should last for four to six months--supposedly. We'll see. And I do still have some cheap meat products floating around my freezer.
The steaks are all delicious. The burger patties, not so great. The one variety of chicken we've tried I wasn't impressed with. The sausage was pretty good. And we haven't tried any of the other pork items.
But these are all premium cuts and while that's not a bad thing, I don't really need premium cuts for all of my meat needs.
I don't think I'm going to go with Grillmasters again. I think next time or perhaps when I need other things, like stew meat or ground beef, I'm gonna try the meat market.
If only I could everyone to eat more vegetarian fare, like veggie soup rather than needing to always put beef or chicken it.
Well, maybe once the kids are all gone, which might not be as far in the future as I once thought, I'll convince DH.
If you've got an easy recipe to share, meat based or not, I'd love to try something new!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
6:01 AM | Posted by Jen FitzGerald | | Edit Post
So I took on my writing group's newest biggest project--a writing contest for published works. We had a former board member who suggested it, the board discussed it, and we (**I**) researched other similar contests and decided to go for it.
For various reasons, I then volunteered to be the coordinator. Luckily, our group has been sponsoring an unpublished works contest for many many years and we did not have to re-invent the wheel for most processes. The gal who has coordinated that contest for more years than not is still a member and has been an invaluable resource for me. She's also a dear friend--THANK YOU, ANGI MORGAN!
Anyway, Feb. 14th was the big moment for our contest--the closing to entries and the sending of same to the judges. It was a daunting task, assigning entries to judges and judges to entries based on the judges' preferred romance category and heat levels. I started with the categories that had fewer entries, but discovered I should have started with those that had more entries and more judges. Note made for the next coordinator.
Once I made sure I had final round judges selected and entry/judge assignments set as well as I could for my first time, it was time to email all the judges with the books. There were over 260 judges and over 130 entries. About half the possible entries and half the necessary judges if we'd had a full complement of entries. Some judges received more than one panel of entries.
I spent four days, as much time as I could spare or handle, emailing out book panels to the judges.
That's what happened to last Friday's post...I was busy and exhausted and just didn't get to it.
But the bulk of the work is done and it's all downhill from here. Thank goodness!
I've created FAQs, recommendations for next and future years, I've broken the jobs out into small chunks so hopefully others will take on some ownership and responsibility.
So my reward to myself for making it through last week is this purse:
I can hardly wait for it to arrive. I'm not really much of a purse person, in that I use them, and I'm picky about them, but I just have one. I don't have a closetful and I use the one until it falls apart and then I have to go in search of a new one. I hate that part.
Is it me or what??
- Jen FitzGerald
- Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
Jen's Glossary of Terms
- lose weight--get down to 120ish pounds (that's 16 lbs.)
- pay off the credit card with proofing money
- create bulb bed/plant bulbs on the side of the house
- work on back yard
- bookshelves in living room
- ramp up proofreading
- publish three more Romance Writer's Guides books
- get my son graduated
- read up on how to make the body work like it's supposed to and help my hubby lose weight and get healthy
- read 64 books, including 12 books on plotting
Books Read in 2014
- How to Kick Your Fat in the Nuts by T.C. Hale
- Secret Obsession by Robin Perini
- Rebooting Your Life: A 12-Day Program for Ending Stress, Realizing Your Goals, and Being More Productive by Gibbons
- 30 Daily Weight Loss Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle by Joshua Wylie
- Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer
- Coconut Oil Recipes: Nature's Remedy for Health, Beauty, Weight Loss, Allergies & Detoxing by Scarlett Aphra
Books read in 2013
- Incredibly Delicious Soup Recipes from the Mediterranean by Vasela Tabakova
- Madam President by Jerry Beller (didn't finish)
- Kick Menstrual Cramps in the Nuts by T.C. Hale
- Blurred Lines by Janie Crouch
- Love Me or Leave Me by Kristine Mason
- Wish On a Star by Lauren Holly
- Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer
- Take a Chance, a Private Delights novel by Lavender Daye
- Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
- Protecting Their Child by Angi Morgan
- Outlaw by Angus Donald (didn't finish)
- The Warrior by Wanda Ann Thomas
- Private Designs by Lavender Daye
- Private Passions by Lavender Daye
- Northern Lights by Nora Roberts
- Pick Me by Kristine Mason
- Kiss Me by Kristine Mason
- Missing by Beverley Bateman
- Bedded By Her Bodyguard by Kristi Avalon
- Playing for Keeps by Jamie Denton
- Dare You To by Katie McGarry
- The Cradle Conspiracy by Robin Perini
- Behind the Lies by Robin Perini
- Ain't Misbehaving by Molly Cannon (audio book)
- Undercover Texas by Robin Perini
- In Her Sights by Robin Perini
- Christmas Conspiracy by Robin Perini
- Hunted by Beverley Bateman
- Private Delights by Lavender Daye
- Desired & Defended by Kristi Avalon
- Cowboy in the Crossfire by Robin Perini
- Finding Her Son by Robin Perini
- Collision Force by C.A. Szarek
- A Texas Baby by Linda Warren
- Highland Moon Sifter by Clover Autrey
- Trusting Her by Starla Kaye
- Nurses in Vietnam: The Forgotten Veterans edited/compiled by Dan Freedman and Jacqueline Rhoads
- Station Hospital Saigon: A Navy Nurse in Vietnam 1963-1964 by LCDR Bobbi Hovis, NC, USN (ret.)
- Joyful Momma's Guide to Shopping & Cooking Frugally by Kimberly Eddy
- Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam by Lynda Van Devanter
- Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen
- If it Ain't Love by Tamara Allen
- The Only Gold by Tamara Allen
- Downtime by Tamara Allen
- Off Her Game by Suzan Butler
- Bet on Love by Barbara Witek
- The Hand of Vengeance by Mike Mendoza
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (audio book version) by J.K. Rowling
- Offside by Juliana Stone
- The Memory of You by Laurie Kellogg
- Plotting: A Novelist's Workout Guide by Aaron Allston
- Relentless by Cindy Stark
- Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde
- 100 Ways to Save and Grow Your Money, Financial Fitness for Regular People by Peter Sorrells
- Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer
- I Want it Now: A Memoir of Life on the Set of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory by Julie Dawn Cole
- From Dunes to Dior by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar
- Aggie's Inheritance by Chautona Havig (didn't finish)
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
- The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory