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2017 Goals

  • write to my grandmother every six weeks or so
  • call my moms every month or so
  • cook/eat better
  • clean out and organize my writng/craft room
  • re-institute the cleaning plan
  • publish six books by September 2017
  • reach 120 to 125 pounds
  • walk the dog three times a week

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year

The new year is a scant two days away. I eagerly anticipate it, hoping that 2010 will finally the be the year my husband keeps telling me is our year. The economy has hit us pretty good, but we can say that we did not lay off or fire anyone this year. Next year is another story.

The new year brings me closer to my children leaving home, too. Oh, I should be so lucky as to lose the two oldest. But my baby...he still brings enjoyment and wonder. (For now. ;)

Son has been helping hubby run the fireworks store. I was down there this past weekend as hubby had dental issues and needed to make an emergency trip to the dentist. So son was taking care of the customers. This boy is a great salesman--he knows all about most of the fireworks, what they do, how long they last, which ones are the good ones, etc...

And he still loves his momma, showering me with kisses and hugs randomly.

I'll be working the at the store this year--we never had the stand open on New Years, but the store has a built in clientele, so open we shall be. And I'll be helping. Oh, boy...

Well, Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Potpourri...II

Well, we're just about down to the wire. I have about $300 more to spend between my daughters and a few more stocking stuffers. Now I have to brave the mall. Ugh... I started wrapping last night and will wrap some more this evening. I also have pumpkin cupcakes to bake and deviled eggs to devil.

On a side note, the dog got into the living room yesterday and licked all the frosting/snow from our Redneck Gingerbread yard and ate the graham cracker decking. Silly dog...

Maybe you'll get a chuckle out of this like I did. I was driving home last night and saw a yellow paper taped to the phone pole.

LOST BIRD

Frosted Cockatiel
Name Venus

REWARD

Really...?

Okay, so maybe the birds wings are clipped, but can you say easy prey for any other carnivore in the neighborhood??

Well, here's hoping.

Merry Christmas to all. See you after the holiday.
Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Potpourri...

Christmas ~

My house is almost clean from one end to the other for Christmas. The tree and some other decorations are up. Christmas shopping is approximately half done--the easy half. Ha Ha. (My husband and my son.) Tonight I'll be hitting Wally World to, hopefully, put a big dent in the hard half: my two daughters. Okay, well, only one is really hard. The other daughter is easy, plus she's shopping with me and can point out stuff she likes.

Tonight (before Wally World), we'll also be putting together our Redneck Gingerbread House. From 2005:

I wish I could find more recent pics, though. We tend to add or upgrade stuff each year. This year we're thinking about pink flamingoes. I'll post pics after Christmas.

~~

Have you ever witnessed a 40-year-old woman singing "Eeny Meeny Miney Mo"? I was shopping yesterday, trying to pick out a game for my son to play on his Nintendo DS (a hand held game console, Mom). My daughter and I narrowed it down to Super Mario. But which one--there were three. So my only recourse in choosing...yep. Eeny, meeny, miney, mo, catch a tiger by his toe....

Durango Envy ~

I've seen a lot of Dodge Durangos driving around lately. And every time I do, I feel a bit of envy well up in me. I miss my Durango. I really do. It was a great car. We still have it, actually, only it's not really drivable. With about $6000 it could be, though.

We're hanging onto it for when we have to help my daughter buy a car...we promised to match whatever she saved...sigh.

Well, that's enough of that. I suppose I should get back to wri--er, work.
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Today's the day...

...fourteen years ago, at this moment, I held the most beautiful boy-child ever.

Okay, I was probably asleep by this time, but he was born @ 1:19 a.m. so it was much needed sleep while he was being doted on by the nurses.

He's taller than me now, which isn't saying much, but he's probably 5'7". And during his next growth spurt, he'll surpass his dad, too.

We celebrated on Tuesday since dad is winging his way to CA for the day. He loved the Wimpy Kids books and his yo yos and tricks book; but the best gift was the x-Box 360 game and walk-through book. Mom let him stay up past his bed time to play since he's otherwise grounded from electronics for the moment.

A good time was had by all...
Monday, December 14, 2009

Birthdays!

My baby turns fourteen in a matter of days. The passage of time for this particular child has always been a good thing. I was lucky enough to not have to work and I was able to spend a lot of time with this one as he grew from baby to toddler to elementary school kid. Each stage a joy and wonder to behold. He's a good boy, mostly. Our biggest issue is getting him to do his school/homework in certain subjects.

Now he's on the verge of high school and manhood. I'm not looking forward to the high school part so much, and the thought of having all three children out of the house by the time he graduates has so far overridden the possible sadness of the empty nest. I am mostly an unsentimental mother, definitely ready for oldest two birds to leave the nest. Unfortunately, it is most difficult for anyone to make it on their own, much less a young woman attending college and working part time.

Well, here's to birthdays and sons!

Happy Birthday, Son--
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How do you write when...

...your muse takes a vacation.

I've been wanting to write. Oh, yes, I have. I've been trying to write. I have two--make that three--stories all needing attention, but I'm stumped. I switched from one story to another hoping it was just the one and that by changing characters and plot lines I'd be able to write. But no.

So I keep plodding along writing crap and filling my head with other stuff--feeding it, if you will--hoping that I'll get some inspiration.

I've watched the new Star Trek movie about thirteen times now; four episodes of JAG; the second to last ever episode of Robin Hood, listened to Christmas music, country music, rock music, read fanfic, written writing articles, and participated in fun things on the Internet with fellow fans of Robin Hood on various message boards and communities...

But nothing doing. I'm still struggling. But 'tis the season to be jolly, so jolly I shall endeavor to be despite the writing slump.

What makes you jolly?
Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas

Well, it's December again. I'm in a bit of a Christmas mood, despite this being my least favorite time of the year.

I have my Time-Life Treasury of Christmas CD playing this morning. I've done a little decorating; mostly just some garland strung here and there. I dug out my Christmas dishes, too.

Next comes the tree...stay tuned.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Snowing

Yes, here in North Texas, it is snowing. It's been going strong now for just under an hour and what a beautiful sight it is. It's accumulating on elevated places for the moment--the tops of cars that haven't been driven yet today. We're hovering right above freezing, temp wise, so it should stick for a short while.

The downside is the temps will rise and the snow will melt away (bye-bye snow). The upside is the temps will rise and the snow will melt away (no shoveling;).

Too bad I had to come to work this morning. It's a perfect morning for curling up with a good book (reading or writing, in my case) and a cup of hot tea or cocoa.
Monday, November 23, 2009

A time to say goodbye...

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

This is one of my favorite passages of the Bible, and the inspiration for the name of my blog--which I'm sure you all figured out.

This week has been full of these "times." I was called back to Nebraska to my daddy's hospital bed. He ended up in the hospital about two weeks ago with difficulty breathing and some other symptoms. The doctors have not figured out what caused his issues, but they were able to get him well enough to go home. Which was good because our family and my sister's family were planning road trips for Thanksgiving, us from Texas and hers from Michigan.

However, last Thursday morning my daddy coded, and while they were able to resuscitate him, he has not woken up. My sister and I, sans husbands and children flew to NE last Thursday in order to be here to say good-bye if necessary. Luckily, daddy held on until we could both actually get here.

I'm not sure what his status is--critical, serious, stable, etc. I'd say all three really. His condition is non-responsive. He's not actually in a coma, he's not unconscious, and he's not on any kind of sedation. He's on a respirator, but he's doing most of the work, so they're trying to wean him off it. He's fighting pneumonia. Most of his vitals are stable, but his blood pressure keeps jumping.

He had his eyes open this past Saturday, but it's a case of "the lights are on but no one's home." Sunday they gave him a low dose of sedation for some reason, but he's so frail and skinny that it knocked him out.

The rest of us are just hanging out and hanging on, waiting for him to wake up or let go.

Update: MRI showed no brain activity. So we will be pulling the minor life support he's on soon and allowing nature to take its course.
Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tag, you're it...

My fellow chapter mate has tagged me from her blog: Writing in a Vortex to post seven random things about myself...

Yikes, okay...

1. I've seen the real Little Mermaid.

2. I've attended school in two countries other than America.

This is harder than it looks...

3. I was a "Valley Girl."

4. I am not a coffee drinker--Plantation Mint and Lady/Earl Gray are my tea addictions.

5. I've been to the USS Lexington three times.

6. Creating fan girl Web sites is my just-for-fun thing to do.

7. I am a Trekkie (DS-9 and this year's movie being my favorite incarnations of the franchise.)

So there you have it--seven random and trivial thing about me. And I only read two blogs...L.A.'s and my mom's, so there's no tagging from me.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Margie Lawson...

...is awesome.

Margie was the sole presenter at the writing conference I attended this past Saturday. She's funny, gracious, generous...and so many other things.

I wish we could have a longer session as we only hit the tip of the mountain of what she could have taught us. Some of which included some deep EDITing techniques, use of rhetorical devices, power words, and back-loading our sentences.

It was pretty much unanimous that we went her back again. Or that individually, we will participate in some of her online classes or purchase her lecture packets which are several hundred pages long each.

A great weekend with a fabulous speaker, a fun and smooth-run event, and good time with fellow writers, some old friends and some brand new.
Friday, November 6, 2009

Music and writing...

First off, let me just say how much I love music. I tend to forget for long stretches, but then something happens to make me remember.

Last week, I played chaperon for my son's band when they went and played with the high school band at a football game. Unfortunately, the middle schoolers tend to get bored because they haven't been given all the music the HS band has--only some, so obviously they can only play the songs they know. The high schoolers get to play continuously for the most, the drummers drum and the others pick up tunes and randomly play whatever comes to mind. They have fun and get to be artistic. And there's nothing like seeing truly creative people create. So while the HS band is jammin' spontaneously, the middle schoolers sit and wait, not always so patiently.

But the point was--these high schoolers were seriously talented. I really enjoyed listening to them and was reminded how much I enjoy listening to these types of bands.

In the same vein, my sister-in-law introduced us to the TV show "Glee," which is about a high school Glee club struggling to earn respect both in the school and on the competition circuit. There are musical numbers in every episode, most of which I have enjoyed tremendously, again being reminded how up listening to music generally makes me.

My second topic is writing...I've been writing again. I made the commitment to get up at five am each morning and write till six-thirty. So far so good. And if I get to write at any time during the day or evening, so much the better. Plus, Candy Havens has The Writing Game going on on the workshop loop again, so that is giving me concrete word goals to hit each day. And so far, I've made each one. Today will be a bit tougher since I'm leaving for a writing conference this afternoon, but I've got words banked I can draw from if necessary, but I hope I won't have to.

Have a good weekend--I will!
Thursday, October 22, 2009

More rain... (and other stuff)

...which is really okay. My lawn is loving it, as is my daughter who can't mow when it's sopping wet.

My oldest child got a new job, which is good. We can get her off our payroll, and I think she'll be much happier in a more active environment. She's been hired by a restaurant as a hostess and she'll get a free meal on every shift. Nice.

My son has been transitioned from trumpet to baritone (tuba). Apparently, the two instruments are the same in terms of fingerings and music, and the teacher needed to strengthen the bass section of their band.

My hubby has been in court as a computer forensic expert for the last three days.

And my middle child and me, we've just been hanging in there.
Sunday, October 11, 2009

Time for growing up...

What's a mom to do when she has to start buying her baby pants based on waist size and inseam length?

I didn't think I'd be quite so melancholy about my baby growing up, and by the time he gets through high school and onto college or the military, I may just be ready to let him go or kick him out.

But right now, it's hard some days to look at him and see the young man he's morphing into and not the sweet-cheeked toddler he once was. He hasn't cut the apron strings quite yet, for which I'm grateful. And my favorite words out of his mouth in just that sweet tone are, "Yes, momma." He's still willing to hug me in front of his friends, so we have a bit of time yet...

What makes you wistful to remember?
Friday, October 9, 2009

It's raining, it's pouring...

...but the old man isn't snoring. He's hard at work already.

It's perfect sleeping in weather. The cold front hit and we have delightful coolness and more rain. But that's okay, 'cause this is Texas and we always need rain. As does my lawn.

I'd rather be home cleaning house and writing--

Hope you are able to do what pleases you today.
Thursday, October 8, 2009

A misty, moisty morning...

...when cloudy was the weather.

It's been cloudy, rainy, and warm here in North Texas.

My porch is dripping wet with dew, not rain. I wish it would cool off some, just enough to reduce the humidity.

Ah, well, enough whining...
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Work, work, and more work...

I participated in an interesting event this weekend: working.

Normally, my weekends are my own and I get to stay home and catch up on laundry, grocery shopping, and writing (such as it is).

But my hubby worked over-time on top of over-time last week to fix the complete cluster**** of a project our employees created the weekend before. I wanted to fire the lot of them, but that isn't necessarily in the best interest of our business at the moment, but it still isn't outside the realm of possibility...

So I offered to my services to my hubby, which he accepted. Saturday wasn't so bad as we worked in our office and had some serious discussions about the direction of our business, its growth potential, and the firing of all employees, save one.

Sunday, however, was another story...we headed out mid-morning to the client's office. I'm not a PC tech, but I'm computer-savvy enough to do things with direction. So, hubby gave me task one, which I completed without too much difficulty. Onto task two, which was not hard, but was time consuming. I finished pretty late, 9:30ish PM. All the while, hubby has been doing other stuff, busy, busy, busy the whole time, stopping only when I ran into a stumbling block.

So ten o'clock rolls around and there's nothing more I can do but keep hubby company, which I do. Along comes eleven and there's still another couple of hours of work he needs to do (remember, complete cluster****), so he finds me a sofa and tells me to sleep.

When I finally wake up it's five-thirty AM. He's finally wrapping up and we are on the way home by sixish.

That was hubby's day pretty much all last week, working to two and three in the morning, driving home, catching a few hours of sleep, but back at the client's by eight...

Yeah, I know...fire them all I say.
Monday, September 28, 2009

Legos, Legos, Legos

Did you ever play with Legos as a child? I'm sure we all have once or twice. I did--Did you know that Legos were invented in Denmark? My family on my mother's side is Danish; in fact, my mother was born in Denmark.

So speaking of Denmark and Legos, here's a couple of pictures: one of the real harbor and one of a Lego harbor--bet you can't tell which is which...okay, just kidding on that one.



































Here's another great feat of imagination and Lego architecture:



For more images of this thing, go here: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=126969
Monday, September 21, 2009

When I grow up, I want to be...

Certainly not what I am now. I had dreams of being a teacher, but those plans went awry with the advent of my first baby.

Since then, I have never really picked up a new dream. I've toyed with different ideas, but never pursued any of them due to various reasons, mostly financial in nature.

Mostly I enjoy being a homemaker, although that is not my primary day job right now. Several years ago, I discovered a joy in writing, and have been able to achieve a certain proficiency at it. I joined the world's largest writing organization to learn my craft and meet some people. These people are my soul sisters and brothers (yes, there are a few men).

The organization is for those pursuing publication, learning the ins and outs of the industry, learning the business side of things, networking, learning the craft, honing your skills, etc....

I love the knowledge that I've gained, the steps and elements I can identify in books other works that cross-over from writing, and glad I've grown some as a person and leader. I cherish the friendships I've made.

But as I've slaved over manuscripts these last several months to a year, I've learned some things about myself and writing. And I've had to ask myself, is the pursuit of a publishing contact my dream? No, not really. Sure, I'd like to see my name on a book cover, but it's not the be-all end-all goal of my life. It's not my passion.

So the question is: what is my passion?

Let me get back to you.
Monday, September 14, 2009

Robin Hood has returned...

Not only to American airwaves, but from the the Holy Land, where we left him at the end of Series 2 (that's how the Brits refer to their TV seasons).

Our poor hero has returned broken and grieving after burying his one true love, Marian, in the Holy Land. All he has to remember her by is her wedding ring and the final act of love: their wedding vows. They pledged their love as Marian lay dying in the sand.



Robin has returned to England after several months traveling back from the Holy Land, and he's hell bent on revenge for the death of his wife. He no longer believes he can carry on as England's hope against tyranny.

Over all, I enjoyed the episode. The end where he made up with the gang after his bitter angry words to them was a bit too easy and pat. We needed a bit of lingering hard feelings at least another episode, but alas I'm not the show's writer...
Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to School Night/Proud Parent Moment

Last night we met all my son's teachers. All women, all very nice. All very committed to making sure each student understood the subjects being taught. All seeming to love having our son in her class. His English/Reading teacher was impressed by his broad vocabulary--especially the big words he knows how to use. With a mom who loves to read and write, and two big sisters who were a bit older than him, he's been exposed to an advanced vocabulary since he was born.

He is also sitting first chair in band at the moment. Woo hoo!

We met the young lady he likes--a flautist and cheerleader. She's a cutie.

We've signed him up for the tutoring program--not because he needs help right now, but just to make sure that at the first sign of trouble the help is in place. The tutoring program is 34 hours over the course of the semester and provides a meal and transportation. How nice is that??

The thing that most impressed me was that all his teachers spoke well. We live in a very mixed neighborhood, more blacks and Hispanics than whites. In fact, there are only 42 white kids in this school, but I digress. As you can imagine most of the teachers at his school are also black. And a lot of the time, in my area, black people don't speak well--in that they don't enunciate and they tend to use incorrect verb tenses, etc. Not these ladies--with maybe one or two minor exceptions they all spoke proper American English. Now, the principal, on the other hand...ugh! But he seemed to have a passion for the school and the kids, so...
Friday, August 28, 2009

Let's go to Hamburg, Germany

My mom sent this way cool YouTube vid of this huge model train setup--

Check it out for yourself! And tell me if you're not ready for a trip to Germany to check this thing out.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

What to post, what to post...

I keep thinking it's time to post, but I don't have a pressing topic...

So let's see...kids went back to school--two college co-eds and a middle schooler. ;)

I went back to full-time work, which I'm not real pleased about, but I do have a lot of free time to piddle, I just can't get my housework done. :(

My dogs cost me $700 at the vet because they both had viral infections under the skin. Plus they boarded at the vet while my in-laws painted the living room molding with oil-based paint. :(

My kitchen is finished, to include the four various cabinet doors that had not been installed. YAY!

My living room is 98% finished. We just need to put the vertical blind slats back up and then install the transitions in the doorways between the floorings. YAY!

The publisher I was hoping to submit my YA novel to closed its YA line. :(

There's a lack of readable fanfic for NCIS and the BBC's Robin Hood. :(

I'm getting together with a girlfriend for a brainstorming session tonight. :)

But now the lovely eye-candy that it Jonas Armstrong's Robin Hood is gone...
Monday, August 17, 2009

WOO HOO!


You all remember my not-so-secret crush on Robin Hood, right??? Isn't he yummy?

Well, good news for anyone who has been waiting and waiting and waiting, like me, for the third season of Robin Hood. It premiers Saturday, September 12th...if you have BBC America. Which I don't. But I do have iTunes. And hopefully they won't wait too long to start adding eps.

If you've never seen this show, you should check it out--it's so much fun, although season three isn't shaping up due to the killing off of Marian at the end of season two, so I'll reserve judgment for now. But season one and two are great--aside from the aforementioned death of Lady Marian...
Sunday, August 9, 2009

Webbing...

I'm not really surfing, 'cause I'm not perusing the Net. Rather, I've been busy working on various Web sites. A minor hobby of mine is creating or collecting Web sites. I have four (although one is broken and needs some investigating...), five if you count my writing chapter's Web site, that it is my job to update, which is what I did most of yesterday, and continuing today. I'm adopting Web site number six here in the near future and have been busy revamping it a bit.

It can be tedious sometimes, especially when you have to do the same thing over and over to each page--like converting all the pages to a template based aspx page...yeah, sounds like fun, huh?

Okay, well back to the grindstone...

What are you doing with your weekend?
Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back to the heat...

Well, the monsoons have passed, and we're back to 100+ degree temps. Ugh.

It's so hot outside that I feel exhausted just getting home--because my (paid for) truck has some issues, the air tends to cut off when I'm accelerating really fast until the gears change or going up hill. Which I do most of the way home, getting on the freeway that goes up a hill...

By the time I get home, I'm ready for a nap. But the cool air in my house tends to revive me pretty quickly.

On another more exciting note, my kitchen will finally be finished. After what? three years? Yes, sad to say. But my father-in-law has been doing the finish work, texturing the ceiling and walls, painting the ceiling, walls, *all* the molding, and the doors. And, wow, it looks great.

Although any football connoisseur would think we are Dallas Cowboy fans. Sadly, yes, I chose Navy blue and grey as the color scheme. I'll get pictures next week...but I'm not a football fan, I swear. And there are no stars anywhere in my kitchen. The final touch will be a small round table and chairs for the breakfast nook.

Next task...finish the living room.
Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's raining, it's pouring...

The old man is snoring...

After all that heat, we now have rain. Our back yard has transformed from a yellow and brown wasteland to an overgrown green swamp. Our yard is the lowest spot for our block, so when it rains a lot and rains hard, we get saturated and the water flows over the yard rather than soaking into it.

But rain is good. No pressure to mow at the moment, although the yard desperately needs it.

Just a nice quiet morning to write, write, write...

As of last night, I have written 12,750+ new words on two stories since Tuesday, 7/21. I'm really excited about that, and about the fact that one of those two stories is almost and finally finished.

Actually, I've written more words than that, because I've also banged out a couple of writing articles as well.

Once the one is completeed, then I have to determine which of my other partially-done manuscripts I'm going to start finishing.

It's been an exhilarating, but somewhat tiring experience. But what a rush to see what I've accomplished. I can't wait to see what the next couple of weeks are going to bring.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Still writing...

As of right now, I have written 6012 new words on one of my WIPs, and 3319 new words on another since last Tuesday.

Yes, I'm still participating in the "Writing Game" as Candy calls it.

I've impressed myself. I only missed the goal one day, but I have tried to write above and beyond each day since to try to make them up.

These are 9331 words I would have been nowhere near writing had I not been focused, not to mention challenged and inspired by Candy and the other writers on the loop.

And I'm still excited. I'm excited to be accomplishing so much, and I'm excited that I'm almost done with the story I've done the bulk of the work on. I'm excited to see it fleshed out from the skeleton it started out as.

After that, it'll need a second pair of eyes for a once over to make sure there are no major plot holes, and to find whatever minor spelling, punctuation, or grammar issues may be left.

Woo hoo! I can do this!
Friday, July 24, 2009

Writing, writing, and more writing...

As most of you regular readers--all two of you--know, my husband gave me a laptop for my birthday for my writing. (Then he proceeded to borrow it for two whole weeks while he was manning the fireworks stand, but that's a whole 'nother issue.)

Anyhow, I recently joined a writer's workshop Yahoo group. My chapter mate, Candy Havens, a lovely and very giving woman, owns/runs this loop offering free online writers workshops to anyone who joins.

So I joined thinking that my hubby gave me this laptop for writing, so the least I should do is get something published and earn back the cost of the laptop--which really wasn't that much, but still--for one birthday gift?? This thing is a marvel, though, and I do love it. Yes, I'm posting this from home, from my writing space, which happens to be my bed for the time being.

Back to the writing--I joined this loop and Candy started a new program whereby she posts a random number of new words to be written or pages to be edited for the day.

Yesterday's new word count was 3265--for writers that's about thirteen pages, double spaced. For me that's a huge amount...but I did it!!! Despite not getting much writing done at all yesterday morning, mornings being my primary writing time, and taking a three and half hour detour last evening to my mother-in-law's house to welcome home both my brother's-in-law who've been away for various reasons, I managed to crank them out.

I may have to do quite a bit of revision, but at least I have something to work with--and I'm 3200 words closer to finishing this story. YAY!!
Monday, July 20, 2009

Fortieth Anniversary of the First Moon Landing


If you haven't been to Google today, this is their image--

It celebrates the very first time man landed on the moon. I was just a baby at the time (1 year, 1 month, 1 week, and 1 day old, to be precise), so it's not as if I remember anything. But I can imagine the anticipation and the excitement this historic event must have elicited in America during a time when our nation was going through some serious growing pangs.

How many little boys and girls were inspired to reach for the stars by the intrepidatious courage of men like Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Michael Armstrong, and those that followed?
Sunday, July 19, 2009

Writing

Most of you who read this, know that I am an aspiring romance author. For awhile there, I did very little writing. I've finally gotten back into somewhat of a groove, *and* I've been really excited about the writing.

Confession: I'm writing fan fiction, which isn't suitable to sell to a publisher.

However, I'm *really* excited about writing right now. I have three shortish fics I'm rotating through.

This weekend, despite today being my 16th wedding anniversary, has been tremendously productive.

I'll get back to the sellable stuff soon. Really. But I'm really excited about the writing--did I say that already??--so I'm going with it!

Hope your weekend has been as productive as mine--
Thursday, July 16, 2009

Collections

Do you collect anything?

I do. Several somethings, actually--aside from dust puppies.

Today, I'm going to share my Dala Horse collection. Dala Horses are also called Swedish wooden horses. Currently, I have ten horses, ranging in size from about an inch and a half to one that is probably a foot high. This is from the top of the ears, down to the 'hoof,' such as it is.

My collection began about thirty-five years ago when I was a six-year-old girl on a grand adventure to Denmark, visiting her grandparents. During one of my visits, I received two horses. They were well-loved and played with for several years.



My collection remained at two for about twenty years, when I acquired a third--the largest one.



Shortly after our family moved into (Air Force) base housing back in 1995, we needed furniture. It just so happened that a dear friend of my daddy's also lived in base housing and was selling some furniture in preparation for retiring from the AF and moving into a new home off base. So hubby and I headed over to Bobby's house, a few streets over from where we lived. Now Bobby and his wife were both career AF, and had no children. They had been stationed overseas several times, and had traveled Europe, and collected lots of cool things. Among their treasures was this foot-tall Dala horse. Now, I had never seen one that large so I oohed and aahed over it. Well, darn it if that man didn't just pick it up off the shelf and hand it to me. What a gesture of generosity! I treasure that particular horse to this day. (I imagine if he hadn't known me and been close with my dad, none of that would have happened...but it did, and it's a really cool story!)



As for the other seven horses, I bought those via the Internet over the last several years so that I really did have a collection. Here they all are...



What do you collect?
Monday, July 13, 2009

Whew!!!

It's hot here in North Texas. Our average number of three digit temperature days is sixteen. And most of those generally come end of July and throughout August.

We are on day fourteen--and it's just the middle of July. I hate to think that the rest of summer will continue on in this fashion. {pant, pant, pant...}

I know there are hotter places on Earth, but when you experience abnormal weather it affects you.

I have to get all my errands and chores done as early in the day as possible and sometimes just going from house to car to bank, store, or gas station, and back truly zaps your energy. I've slept more the last few weeks than I have in a long while.

Any-who, I hope it's cool where you are~
Saturday, July 11, 2009

One Less Dog

Well, today, by divine appointment, I was able to find a home for the young dog that adopted us several months ago.

My husband said just this morning that we needed to find her a home. We'd tried (not very hard) to find her rightful owner back when she showed up in our yard back in late winter/early spring.

Since then, she's been living in our back yard, not getting very much attention from us. We already have two large older dogs who do not want to have anything to do with her. And I really don't want anymore pets.

Then today, I was talking to my friend Mary and asked if she knew anyone who wanted a dog. She admitted she'd been thinking about getting another dog to keep her lab, Ollie, company while she's at work. She followed me home from our writing meeting, met Sassy, and decided she would take Sassy on.

Now Mary is a dog lover and spoils her babies, so I know Sassy is in good hands and will have a much better quality of life.

Thank you, Mary!
Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!


Today, we celebrate America's 233rd birthday.

I hope your day is filled with family, friends, food, and tons of fireworks!!!

I wish I knew where some of my videos of our fireworks shows were--I'd share one with to get the day started right. But since I have no video, here's a picture, at least.

God bless America!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Home Improvement

Well, while the hubby's away, the wifey will...redecorate!

Yes, that's what I've been doing since Sunday. I had to keep my initial efforts on the Q-T since hubby was going to make one last trip home Monday to take care of Monday morning staff meeting and a must-keep appointment. But now he's in Leroy for the duration unless an emergency crops up.

Anyhow, he's been lamenting the sad state of our home--it's been in a holding pattern on various projects for many years because our business and our employees require so much maintenance. And by the time hubby has dealt with all of that, he's too tired to tackle much of anything else. Our living room, specifically, needs an overhaul--especially since the kitchen now looks soooo nice.

So I decided to tackle the living room project while the boys are out of the house and as a surprise and part early anniversary (7/19) gift for hubby. You know that show that used to be on HGTV--the one where a room was redecorated for $500 or less?? Well, that's my goal.

I've picked out a color scheme, which conveniently ties into the kitchen. I've removed moldings and washed down the walls. I've moved everything out of the living room I could move by myself. I've removed wall plates. I've removed nails.

I'm just about ready for the next step--getting the front window finished on the inside. I need my father-in-law for that. After that's done, it'll be time to paint! Woo hoo! That's my favorite part of any project. I'll need my FIL again for putting up the new molding, and possibly louvered doors, and possibly shelving.

But whatever I can do by myself, I will, I just don't have the upper body or arm strength to use a power drill or air gun. But hey... my girls do! Believe it or it not, my oldest daughter is quite procient in the use of power tools--a must for any modern woman, no?? ;)

After all of that--and I wish it were going to be as quick and easy as it sounds here--it'll be time to re-hang wall decorations, add a few new plants, and re-arrange the furniture. And wa-la--a brand new living room.

Well, one day, and one task at a time.

I hope he likes it...
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Camping Life...sorta...

Well, hubby is ensconced in Leroy, Texas once again for the annual fireworks selling binge. This is so that he can pay for what he himself shoots. We may actually see a profit this year--finally. But that isn't the subject of this post.

We have a pop-up trailer with a small pull-out section. It can sleep up to six (un)comfortably. And praise be--we had an A/C installed on the thing when we bought it back in '01. So hubby and son have the pop-up pulled up next to the fireworks stand. Can't leave leave those suckers unattended once you get them stocked.


It's like camping--only more high-tech. We have it hooked up to electricity--you can't run a fireworks stand for ten days in 100 degree plus heat and not have access to cold air--unless you're a masochist. But I digress...

For the past two years hubby has made a daily early-morning trek to the Chevron station for ice to keep the drinking water cold. This year, we bought a small fridge. We now also have wireless Internet access for hubby and xBox 360 for the son to while away the days...not to mention the Nintendo DS (a hand held game) and the new game mom (that's me) was coerced into buying. Well--he offered, without complaint, to stay with dad and help--I thought a little reward wasn't out of line.

So they are there for the duration now, while the girls (the daughters and the canines) and I hold down the fort. We got plans, but I'll mention those in a day or two...
Monday, June 15, 2009

My Birthday, Part II

Well, a lovely day was had moi!

Olive Garden was delish as expected. I was sung to by the happy servers there, too.

I got to open my gifts between courses (such as they were). So my list of goodies is as follows:

1. lovely bouquet of flowers
2. iTunes gift card (there's a new game for my iPod, and some new tunes, of course)
3. a nail care kit and a couple of lovely nail polish colors
4. a laptop bag
5. a new laptop (now I really have to get a real manuscript finished so I can justify this gift...argh!!!)

Anywho, it was relatively inexpensive as laptops go, but it has wireless capability so I can access the Internet and e-mail from home now. Woo hoo! It's about the size of large hard-back book, but much, much lighter weight. (Thanks, Hubby!)

And then yesterday, we spent another lovely day out on the lake/boat. It was beautiful. We found a great spot with shade and a breeze off the water so it didn't feel as hot as it actually was. We had three of my oldest daughter's friends with us, and hubby had a grand old time, 'cause these boys were fearless in the tube.

So...happy birthday to me again!
Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Yes, today is my birthday.

I found a lovely bouquet of flowers from my husband when I arrived at work today--I honestly thought he forgot 'cause he didn't say anything this morning when he left.

And tonight we're going out to eat at my favorite restaurant...Olive Garden--chocolate raspberry cheesecake anyone??

Happy birthday to me;
Happy birthday to me;
Happy birthday to meeee.....
Happy birthday to me!
Thursday, June 4, 2009

A time to be proud...

My younger daughter graduates high school this evening. Family and friends will be gathering to watch and then celebrate afterwards.

And if just graduating isn't enough, let's add National Honor Society member, National Society of High School Scholars member, and magna cum laude to her list of accomplishments. Not only that, but she mentioned she may be getting some sort of pin to acknowledge that she's graduating with more than the requisite credits.

And really, let's just go all out, she's already got one credit to her name at the community college she'll be attending in the fall.

*And* she's got a job in a field related to her field of study. (She's working at a daycare--she's pursuing elementary education.)

It's a great day at our house!
Monday, June 1, 2009

It's time for fun in the sun...

We took the boat out yesterday and spent a lovely day in the sun and out on the water. We found a small little beach and off-loaded the ice chest and the camping chairs. I spent most of the day on the beach enjoying the warmth and the water lapping my feet. I even got some writing time in.

My daughter finally got the hang of water skiing. She's can't ski for long stretches yet, but she was able to actually get herself up out of the water and cover a short distance. Our son and his friend did a little tubing but mainly frolicked in the water.

It was a glorious day to be on the lake--lots of people thought so. ;) I took care to keep the sun screen on, not to mention a long-sleeved shirt (light-weight) shirt, so I came away from the day no worse for wear. The boys, on the other hand, are pretty red.

But a good time was had by all.
Saturday, May 30, 2009

Star Trek - The New Movie

I saw the new Star Trek film last Friday. Twice, in fact.

I really enjoyed it. I haven't seen enough of the original series to catch all the related jokes, but I really enjoyed learning each character's background. I thought the casting of young versions of each of the main characters was very well done, and although I never liked the older, womanizing version of Kirk, I really liked his younger bad boy self.

Leonard Nimoy played a central role in the plot, which I thought was a tremendous idea.

There was a little romantic twist I didn't expect, but thoroughly bought into--but I won't give it away. So much so, I drug my kids out to see the movie so I could watch it again. Probably not the best idea at 10 pm as I slept through most of it--but I caught the good parts.


The beginning is a bit slow as they give a bit too much prologue, but once it gets going, it's well worth it.
I think any Trekkie will enjoy it.
Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's time for summer!

Yay!

In past years, I've experienced end-of-year-itis much like my kids. It wasn't as bad this year--not creeping up on me until just recently, with only three weeks left of school. Usually, I get antsy with about two months left... I attribute the lag to the fact that my son rides the bus to and from school. That's really what drives me insane--the trips back and forth to school on a daily basis. And our middle school is the worst set-up for traffic I've ever experienced. And I'm on my third go-round.

Anywho...tonight is my son's band program and next Thursday, my middle child graduates from high school. And then we're off for the summer. I even get summer vacation (sort of) this year.

Come June 8, I'm working half days. The kids and I will spend mornings cleaning house. Well, mostly the kids. I'll be there to command the troops.
We may get a couple of field trips in there, if they do good.

We'll be taking a couple of camping trips, hopefully, and I'm also hoping for a houseboating trip--but not until after the peak season, which for most lakes/houseboat rental places is the end of September.


Any special summer plans?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tears...

are cathartic.

I just read a post from another blog that made me tear up enough for the moisture to hover on the edge of my lower lids...

Her topic? Her youngest child (of six) is graduating--as is she to a new phase of life.

I have a child graduating, too, although she's not done with school. But it was more the thought of my baby, my only son being grown and ready to graduate. I can't imagine that time, although it's only five short years away.

Is it something about mothers and sons that gets me more than the thought of the graduating in and of itself. I had/have no moments of wistful remembrances of my daughters. I'm eager for them to grow up and out - yes, the oldest more than the younger - but the thought doesn't move me to tears as it does when I consider my son. Maybe it's more because he's my baby than because he's my only son, but who's to say?

As for tears, any good excuse to shed a tear or two or a hundred is welcome. Whether from a touching or sad moment, or a good belly laugh because something tickled my funny bone, makes no difference.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Potpourri...

Well, as you all should know, Mother's Day was this past Sunday. On Saturday, we trekked out to my sister-in-law's house for dinner--turkey dinner with all the trimmings. De-lish. My mother-in-law was there, and my other sister-in-law flew up from Houston, and we had a grand ol' time visiting and eating and playing games.

On Sunday, my little family stayed home--mostly. Hubby and the kids disappeared mid-morning to buy my gifts. Which was really a two-fer--I got a couple of hours of peace and quiet *and* gifts!

So what did I get you ask... Well, I got a new pair of ear buds for my iPod, a new hard plastic case for my iPod, a couple of movies, a bouquet of tulips, and a new iPod.

I'd asked for one. One with much more storage than my old. Four times as much, I might add, for the same price as my old one two years ago. Gotta love technology. I love my iPod. I have quite a bit of music, but mostly I love to convert my favorite TV shows/movies from DVD and put them on my iPod.

And really I don't ask for much. My husband sometimes complains that I'm too low maintenance. He's the one who tends to spend money in large quantities...

My kids are all asking what I'm planning to do with my old iPod. I haven't told them yet, but I will probably give it to my youngest daughter as part of her graduation present. My older daughter won't be very pleased about that. My son was never in the running. He's not responsible/trustworthy enough yet.

As for the rest of my daughter's graduation gift, we're getting her a Kindle 2 - an e-reader. I want one, too...maybe for my birthday. But they're not cheap, so one may be all we go for--at least in June. My anniversary's in July... ;)

I never imagined I'd be a gadget person, but there you go!

Do you have a favorite gadget?
Thursday, April 30, 2009

No School...

Well, the Swine Flu has hit North Texas and our school district has closed *all* schools until at least Monday, May 11.

Needless to say, my son is ecstatic. The next week of no nagging about homework, and all X-Box all day and unplugged. Oy. I imagine his two friends will be hanging out with him and annoying the crap out of his older sisters--one of them in particular.

My younger daughter, on the other hand, is completely upset about the whole thing. She's a senior and does not want the school year to drag on any longer than absolutely necessary, nor does she want her graduation ceremony to be postponed. Her silver lining is that she had a hellacious calculus exam that she now has another week+ to study for.

All I can think about are all these children in my house using electricity and eating food...
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Carmen

My daughter and I went to Bass Hall (Fort Worth's cultural center) and saw the opera Carmen this past Saturday. (We gave her a pair of tickets for her birthday.)

It was interesting. I enjoyed it for the most part--other than that I inadvertently purchased tickets for the 8PM show rather than the matinee, so I was tired. And the seats I purchased stunk. I've been trying different seating sections. So this time 'round, I chose balcony seats. Seats 1 & 2 on the highest level. The height part wasn't the problem, but being so far forward was--we had to lean out to see anything that was happening on the right side of the stage.

Last year, we went to see the ballet Dracula at Bass Hall. Our seats were in the center of the mezzanine level. Not bad, but kinda far back. I have an inkling now of where I'd like to try next.

So I've seen opera, ballet, and two musicals (South Pacific and Chicago). Last thing for me to try is the symphony. I think I'll enjoy that immensely. We'll see if my daughter's game for that next time round.
Thursday, April 23, 2009

Howdy...

Just checking in. Yes, it's been awhile. I've been funky and haven't had much gumption to much of anything besides the absolutely necessary...laundry, work (bare minimums...nice to be the boss ;), children...but actually doing better than before, so I'm on my out of the funk. Mostly...

The weather is beautiful here in North Texas--I should be camping, but then I couldn't indulge my new obsession which requires electricity (which I do camp with), a TV, and a DVD player. I could use my iPod, but the two-inch screen just doesn't do Bradley Whitford justice.

Have a great day!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Time for Thanks...

Thank a soldier next time you meet one--whether active duty, retired, or just not in the military any more, they always deserve our thanks.

~~~

The Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. I had a good book to read and the opportunity for a nap.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

"Where are you headed?" I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.

"Petawawa. We"ll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we"re being deployed to Afghanistan," he told me.

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch.

"No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base."

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. "Take a lunch to all those soldiers."

She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. "My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him."

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. Then she stopped at my seat and asked, "Which do you like best - beef or chicken?"

"Chicken," I replied, wondering why she asked.

She turned and went to the front of the plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. "This is your thanks."

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me.

"I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this." He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked. I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane.

When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, an said, "I want to shake your hand."

Quickly unfastening my seatbelt, I stood and took the captain's hand.

With a booming voice he said, "I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot." I was embarrassed at the applause from the surrounding passengers.

Later, I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed, I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. "It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God bless you."

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to and including his life.

That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
Friday, March 20, 2009

MIA

Yes, I've been missing. I'm here, but I'm not. There's a few things on my mind and I've been in a funk.

I've found a new obsession. Shh...it's The West Wing. I'm totally into it and can't watch it fast enough because I have to wait for my husband. However, all seasons are available on DVD and through iTunes. Plus there's a plethora of fan fic that keeps me tied over.

We schlepped down to Sea World in San Antonio on Wednesday with the kids. Our oldest had been before on her junior class trip, but the younger two had never been. The park itself pales in comparison to, say, Six Flags over Texas here in our own back yard. But seeing the killer whales was totally worth the downsides of the trip.

We got our son to go on one of the roller coasters. And I'm sorta sorry we did. I have a healthy respect for coasters, and will go on them if they're not too large or scary looking, but the boy was petrified. I would have enjoyed it, but for my fear he was gonna hurl. And had the ride not ended when it did, he would have. I'm all for overcoming your fears, but maybe we should have picked something a little tamer...
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nine in the Afternoon

I got my first 100% on Rock Band the other night playing the song Nine in the Afternoon by Panic at the Disco.

I've been dabbling at the drums for about two years now--can't do guitar, and there's no way I'm doing vocals!

But finally, finally I was able to play a song without missing a single note. Granted, I'm still on the 'easy' level, but I was happy to finally get 100%.

Now my younger daughter regularly scores 100% at the hard and occasionally the expert level. I don't know if I'll ever crank up my skills that much--I don't really spend enough time playing.


But I have fun playing with my kids & doing something they enjoy.
Thursday, February 26, 2009

Old habits are hard to break...

New habits are hard to develop. I think the general consensus these days is that it takes approximately twenty-one days to develop a new habit, be it good or bad. (How long does it take to break a habit, I wonder?) I've decided I want to develop a couple of new good habits.

One is exercise and healthier eating, which leads to my goal of losing weight and generally feeling better.

We bought Wii Fit on February 8th, so I'm three days away from supposedly establishing the exercise habit. It's fun and it's easy and it's convenient. I can do it in the comfort of my own home, day or night, at any time. What could be better?

The second is to write every day, or five days out of seven. This leads to completing manuscripts, improving my writing skills, which, in turn, increases my chances of being published.

A week or so ago, I cleaned up a little corner of the garage. Our business used to live in there, and our plan after we finish the kitchen and the living room is to turn it into the family room. Right now we have an assortment of furniture in there, including a computer armoire. So I cleaned up all the sawdust and molding chunks littering my space and set my laptop up. I used to have it setup in our room but it's difficult to write at 5:30 am while my husband sleeps and no light.

It's been a great change. My laptop lived on the coffee table for about a week prior to this, but it wasn't the ideal way to work. Now I find myself eager to start the day--even at 5:30 am--and get some writing done. I'm making decent progress on my young adult manuscript and am planning to enter a couple of contests with agents or YA editors as the final round judge. I'm probably a week away from the twenty-one days I need for this habit, but I don't think it'll be a problem.
Monday, February 23, 2009

Soapbox Humor


I don't really buy into the whole global warming trend, and here's an image that will somewhat demonstrate why...
Thursday, February 19, 2009

The thing about TEXAS--

Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas...
- If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you may live in Texas;
- If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Texas;
- If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Texas;
- If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may live in Texas;
- If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas;
- If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Texas;
- If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Texas;
- If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Texas;
- If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody's passing you, you may live in Texas;
- If you find 60 degrees 'a little chilly,' you may live in Texas;
- If you actually understand these jokes, and share them with all your Texas friends, you definitely live in Texas.

Need to be cheered up?
- Happy, Texas 79042
- Pep, Texas 79353
- Smiley, Texas 78159
- Paradise, Texas 76073
- Rainbow, Texas 76077
- Sweet Home, Texas 77987
- Comfort, Texas 78013
- Friendship, Texas 76530

Love the Sun?
- Sun City, Texas 78628
- Sunrise, Texas 76661
- Sunset, Texas 76270
- Sundown, Texas 79372
- Sunray, Texas 79086
- Sunny Side, Texas 77423

Want something to eat?
- Bacon, Texas 76301
- Noodle, Texas 79536
- Oatmeal, Texas 78605
- Turkey, Texas 79261
- Trout, Texas 75789
- Sugar Land, Texas 77479
- Salty, Texas 76567
- Rice, Texas 75155

And top it off with:
- Sweetwater, Texas 79556
- Orange, Texas 77632

Why travel to other cities? Texas has them all!
- Detroit, Texas 75436
- Colorado City, Texas 79512
- Denver City, Texas 79323
- Klondike, Texas 75448
- Nevada, Texas 75173
- Memphis, Texas 79245
- Miami, Texas 79059
- Boston, Texas 75570
- Santa Fe, Texas 77517
- Tennessee Colony, Texas 75861
- Reno, Texas 75462

Feel like traveling outside the country? Don't bother buying a plane ticket!
- Athens, Texas 75751
- Canadian, Texas 79014
- China, Texas 77613
- Egypt, Texas 77436
- Ireland, Texas 76538
- Turkey, Texas 79261
- London, Texas 76854
- New London, Texas 75682
- Paris, Texas 75460

No need to travel to Washington D.C. - Whitehouse, Texas 75791

We even have a city named after our planet! - Earth, Texas 79031

And a city named after our State! - Texas City, Texas 77590

Exhausted? - Energy, Texas 76452

Cold? - Blanket, Texas 76432; Winters, Texas

Like to read about History?
- Santa Anna, Texas
- Goliad, Texas
- Alamo, Texas
- Gun Barrel City, Texas
- Robert Lee, Texas

Need Office Supplies? - Staples, Texas 78670

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, Texas 76084

You guessed it..it's on the state line...Texline, Texas 79087

For the kids...
- Kermit, Texas 79745
- Elmo, Texas 75118
- Nemo, Texas 76070
- Tarzan, Texas 79783
- Winnie, Texas 77665
- Sylvester, Texas 79560

Other city names in Texas, to make you smile...
- Frognot, Texas 75424
- Bigfoot, Texas 78005
- Hogeye, Texas 75423
- Cactus, Texas 79013
- Notrees, Texas 79759
- Best, Texas 76932
- Veribest, Texas 76886
- Kickapoo, Texas 75763
- Dime Box, Texas 77853
- Old Dime Box, Texas 77853
- Telephone, Texas 75488
- Telegraph, Texas 76883
- Whiteface, Texas 79379
- Twitty, Texas 79079

And last but not least, the Anti-Al Gore City - Kilgore, Texas 75662

And our favorites...
- Cut n Shoot, Texas
- Gun Barrell City, Texas
- Hoop And Holler, Texas
- Ding Dong, Texas and, of course,
- Muleshoe, Texas

Here are some little known, very interesting facts about Texas.
1. Beaumont to El Paso : 742 miles
2. Beaumont to Chicago : 770 miles
3. El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas.
4. World's first rodeo was in Pecos, July 4, 1883.
5. The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water.
6. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston.
7. Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America.
8. Aransas Will - Ife Refuged is the winter home of North America 's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
9. Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.
10. The worst natural disaster in U.S . history was in 1900, caused by a hurricane, in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.
11. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was ' Houston.'
12. King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island.
13. Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43' in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979.
14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union ) instead of by annexation... This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag, and may divide into 5 states.
15. A Live Oak (known as Big Tree) near Fulton is estimated to be over 1000 years old.
16. Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
17. Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper.
18. Texas has had six capital cities: Washington -on- the Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco, West Columbia and Austin.
19. The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington DC (by 7 feet).
20. The name ' Texas ' comes from the Hasini Indian word 'tejas' meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas.
21. The state mascot is the Armadillo (an interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies. They have one egg, which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females.).
22. The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

Cowboy's Ten Commandments posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Fairlie, Texas:
(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
(3) No telling tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meeting.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin'.
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff

Now that's kinda plain and simple don'tcha think?
Friday, February 13, 2009

Yay!

It appears I've reached my goal of losing three pounds. Last night, according to Wii, I've dropped another 1.3 pounds.

And all I've done is give up all cold beverages except for water, and started walking around the block with my daughter and our dogs. (We're only making one lap so far.) I gave up my M-W-F trip to McDonald's. And I've been a little active in my yard raking leaves for ten minutes or so and bagging them.

My body is a little sore and achy, but in a good way. Tomorrow, we're taking a rest from the walk around the block.

And I've realized that I slouch a lot--when I sit at my desk and when I walk. So I'm trying to be conscious about keeping my back straight. I guess if I can get through twenty-one days of remembering, I might have learned myself a new good habit.

Speaking of habits, I'm now trying to make healthier eating choices. I don't usually eat large portions, but I tend to get hungry a lot, so I snack. I'm buying more yogurt and my daughter introduced me to some Fruit Chillers--somewhere where you might find the applesauce and the jello-with-fruit cups. The peach flavor is to die for, and come summer, a great alternative to ice cream. I'm also choosing fruit, even the canned stuff in light syrup, over pretzels and goldfish.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Progress...

Last post, I mentioned the new Wii Fit and the three pounds I committed to lose by 2-22.

Well, last night, the kids and I got on the Wii. I was pleased to find that I've already lost 1.7 pounds. All I did was switch to water and get one trip around the block. I walked again this morning, this time fighting my excited dog who wanted to check out every sound and smell. That oughtta burn some calories!

I'm feeling a bit better, not so much physically as mentally. My outlook seems just a bit more up.

On another note, I received back my entry times three from the contest I entered. I say times three because you enter one story and it is judged by three judges--so I get three sets of feedback.

But contests are so subjective--all three judges gave me great feedback. I got helpful comments from all, but I had to laugh because one really liked my heroine, but felt she didn't know much about my hero. Another liked my hero, but felt she didn't know much about the heroine. The other loved it and and would have requested it had she been an editor.

I had been feeling a bit unsure about continuing my quest for publication, thinking my true talent lie elsewhere. But even the worst of my three sets of feedback showed me that I can do this thing. So I will continue on as best I can. I think I'm going to research contests, looking for ones that have editors from my targeted publisher, Harlequin. Meanwhile, I'll continue to work on my MS, editing, revising, and polishing the prose till it shines.
Monday, February 9, 2009

I guess it's time to post...

It's been nine days. But I hate to post unless I have something worthwhile to say or share...and at this point in time, I really have neither.

On the other hand, this is my little piece of the Internet, as much as it can be. So...


I bought Wii Fit yesterday and the whole family took turns trying it out. For @ $100 we got five memberships to the Wii Fit Home Gym.

I discovered I weigh more that I thought, although I did realize I needed to lose some weight. I know I'm woefully out of shape. I have no stamina and can barely make a trip to the grocery store without being exhausted for the rest of the day. I know that's really bad. I know.

I sit all day at work, I sit at home. I know.

Last week, my oldest daughter and I decided to start walking the dogs in the mornings. Today was supposed to be our first day, but it was raining so we postponed till tomorrow.

The Wii Fit disc has Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobics, and Balance Games (I really like the Ski Jump!). I'm going to get in shape, slowly but surely. I've committed to losing three pounds over the course of the next two weeks. To that end, I'm going to give up my orange drinks from McDonald's and rootbeer from Jack in the Box--my two primary indulgences during the work week. Not to mention the bagel breakfast sandwiches that come with those orange drinks three mornings a week.


So now you know. I've put it out there for accountability purposes.

Wish me luck...
Sunday, February 1, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Got the following article from my mom--she knows how I love all things military. Thanks, Mom. Anyhow, it was right on and I wanted to pass it along.

Noise Complaint at Luke AFB, AZ

Luke AFB is west of Phoenix and is rapidly being surrounded by civilization that complains about the noise from the base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were. (Bloggers note: My dad was stationed at Luke AFB many moons ago and I can attest to this first hand.)

A certain lieutenant colonel at Luke AFB deserves a big pat on the back. Apparently, an individual who lives somewhere near Luke AFB wrote the local paper complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his/her day at the mall. When that individual read the response from a Luke AFB officer, it must have stung quite a bit.

The complaint:
Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 A.M, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at K-Marts early bird special? Any response would be appreciated.

The response:
Regarding 'A wake-up call from Luke's jets' On June 15, at precisely 9:12a.m, a perfectly timed four- ship fly by of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Navy Capt. Jeremy Fresques. Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.

At 9 a. m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend. Based on the letter writer's recount of the fly by, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship fly by is a display of respect the Air Force gives to those who give their lives in defense of freedom.. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects. The letter writer asks, 'Whom do we thank for the morning air show? The 56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you.....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.
USAF

Friday, January 23, 2009

Not Your Typical Sports Story...

Okay, I heard parts of this on a radio station this morning as my girls flipped through the stations--I finally asked they leave it on. I'm glad I did. I was moved to tears and thought I'd pass it along if I could find the story on the Internet. I did and here it is. The story was written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated:

High school football is big in America, but I suppose there is no place where it is bigger than in Texas. Friday nights there are legend.

The fans scream; the stands are packed; cheerleaders with pom-poms jump and sway to the beat of the school bandand everybody joins in the chants and stomps their feet on the metal stands until you are sure they will collapse.

This is the frenzy of Texas high school football.

But there is one football team in Texas that is a little different. When they play on Friday night, their stands are empty, no band, no cheerleaders, no mass of parents or townsfolk wearing the school colors and waving banners and flags. They take the field without anyone cheering them on. When they score a touchdown, which rarely happens, there is no wild celebration behind them… All of it seems hollow and muffled in contrast to the tidal wave of roars and drums and chants that come from the opposing side.

They are the Tornadoes of the Gainesville State School, a fenced, maximum-security facility. The young men who go to Gainesville State are there because they have made some major mistakes in their lives. But the players who are on the team are there because they have worked hard and have earned enough good behavior points that gives them the privilege to leave the facility and play football on Friday nights—always an away game for them—always a home game for their opponents—and almost always a loss. They don’t have a weight program or training equipment or high-paid coaches and assistants. They don’t have a large pool of players to draw from. The school has 275 boys, but many are too old or too young or can’t or don’t meet the “criteria” to play. And they don’t have the support of a town and a mass of parents and family and reporters and bands and cheerleaders.

That is, until November 7th. Something changed. They played Grapevine Faith Christian School.

A few days before the game, the Gainesville coach, Mark Williams, received a call from Faith Christian coach, Kris Hogan, asking him if it would be okay if Faith formed a “spirit” line for his team when they ran on the field. Mark said, “Sure, that would be a real encouragement to the kids.” He thought that the line would consist of a couple of the JV cheerleaders, but when they took the field, there were a hundred people in it and it stretched to the 40-yard line, filled with Faith Christian parents, fans and varsity cheerleaders, complete with a banner at the end for them to burst through that read “Go Tornadoes!”. And then, those parents and fans sat in the stands behind the Gainesville players and when the Tornadoes broke the huddle and went up to the line they could hear people cheering for them, by name. When they got a first down, “their” fans erupted.

You see, Coach Hogan had sent an email out to the Faith Christian parents and students asking them to consider doing something kind for these young men, many who didn’t know what it meant to have a mom and dad who cared, many who felt the world was against them, not for them. Hogan asked that they simply send a message that these boys were “just as valuable as any other person on earth.”

So half of the Faith Christian fans were now sitting on the visitor’s side of the field, cheering for the Gainesville team, and in some cases, against their own sons. Cheering for a team decked out in mismatched old uniforms and helmets. Cheering for boys who wouldn’t go home that night and have a smiling dad slap him on the back and feel his mom put her arms around him and say “I’m so proud of you son!” Cheering for the underdog.

This was a Friday night like no other for the Tornadoes. In the locker room, the players were confused.“Why are they cheerin’ for us, coach?”

“Because, men, they want to encourage you. They want you to know that they care about you…that you have value.”

Coach Williams said the boys were stunned. For many of these kids, it may have been the first time that anyone had shown them, so visibly, unconditional love.

They were down 33 to nothing at the half. Williams encouraged his team to set a goal for the second half: to score a touchdown against this vastly superior team. And when the boys from the state school took the field again, with their fans cheering them on, everything started to click. And they did score. Not once but twice.

And the fans went wild.

Coach Williams was asked what the bus ride was like on the way home and he laughed and said that they were all asleep—their bellies were full. That’s because after the game, the parents brought a whole bunch of food over to the guys: hamburgers, fries, candy, sodas…and included in the meal sack was a Bible and a personal letter of encouragement from a Faith Christian player. But then, he said, they formed a line for us out to the bus. And the parents patted them on the back and said, “Nice game” and “Look forward to seeing you guys next time.”

As they left the field that night, Coach Williams grabbed Coach Hogan and said to him: “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.”
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rambling...

'Cause it's my blog, and I'll ramble if I want to.

Okay--finished the final read on the MS. One thing accomplished.

Reformatted all the interview pages for one of my the Web site pages, and got it all uploaded. Two things accomplished.

Four of five contest entries judged. Almost three things...

Now I just got to get through church tonight--dealing with @ 75 three- and four-year-olds and a dozen uncommitted leaders gets trying.

And back to the Web site...
Monday, January 19, 2009

When it rains it pours...

Not an exact match for what's going on, but three weeks ago, I was bored silly. Didn't have much to keep me busy, everyone was absorbed in their preparation or recovery from the holidays.

Now I'm up to my eye balls in things to keep busy with.

I'm judging my writing chapter's annual contest. I normally enjoy judging. But I have a couple of entries I just don't know what to do with. One is pretty--I don't want to say bad, because we all have to start somewhere--but it's rough. And sometimes it's hard to find anything nice to say except, "Congratulations for that taking that step and entering the contest." But I focused on a couple of issues. And someone else can point out the rest.

I'm the new Web mistress for the chapter as well. And what an undertaking that is--I knew it was going to be, and was one of the reasons I actually ran for the position. I'm probably one of the few people in the chapter who has more than a passing knowledge of the back end of a Web site. And so it is now my job to clean it up. The gal who originally designed it--and we love the original design--had some extensive code *on every single page*. So my task is to clean up all the code and clean up the files. Yikes. When I first took over the updates, it was overwhelming--even for me. And all I had to do was one page. A minor change of information. There was sooooooo much extraneous stuff, I just didn't know where to start. Because I play with the code--I don't look at the design view, the what-it'll-look-like view--I saw all that gobbeldy gook and felt like a three year old told to clean her room. There was no way I could deal it. I had to recreate the page from scratch. Actually, create a template to use for all the pages. It took me two days to get all the pieces-parts to fit together properly. And then I began to systematically re-create each and every page with the cleaner, sleeker, slimmer page. Ahhh... it's so much better now. I've been waiting two years to get my hands on it. And now it's mine, all mine...

I'm also supposed performing a final read on a manuscript for an e-publisher. I made the mistake of reading the whole thing first--and know I don't want to go back through and mark all the errors...but I've got to. Argh...

Started watching The West Wing through Netflix. I can spend several hours in front of the tube there...

But I did get my employees W2s all taken care of. Finally. Whew.

Well, back to the NTRWA Web site...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Schools

My son is almost failing English again. After the hassle we went through during the six weeks previous to the six weeks just ending, why did his teacher not call us as soon as he started faltering again? Did my husband's trips to the school in three successive weeks not indicate to her that he was serious about staying on top of and being informed about our son's performance?

Just from being the PTA ringleader at my son's elementary school and dealing with the teachers at that level, I know that being a teacher is hard work. And it gets harder the older the kids get, but it just seems this particular teacher is taking the easy way out, and I have no clue if my son is really learning anything of value from her.

I realize teachers aren't paid enough for what they do. Aside from parents, teachers play a significant role in the lives of our children. Maybe if it were harder to be a teacher, like becoming a doctor or lawyer, we'd have a better people in place. On the other hand, maybe we'd have a larger shortage. But if the money's there, maybe not. We don't seem to lack for doctors or lawyers in this country.

Also, here in Texas, it seems we now teach toward the Benchmarks and TAKs tests.

Hey--What if we actually taught our children the subjects properly? Maybe they'd be able to pass real tests and really learn what they need to know to succeed in college and in life.
Monday, January 5, 2009

A few steps closer...

toward my 2009 goals. (You remember: a clean house/a finished house & a tidy yard)

The staining (& sealing) of my kitchen cabinets is finally done. The last section was completed yesterday. All *I* have left to do is paint the doors to another (built-in) cabinet. The rest is on my dear hubby.

My entertainment center (which is to say, the corner of our living room where all our entertainment devices are stacked, not an elaborate shelving system) is tidied and un-dog-haired. I pulled every cord and cable off and removed every individual component and dusted and swept. Everything went back in an orderly manner, with all excessive cables wire-tied neatly.

My back yard and patio is cardboard box free, but no completely leaf free. There are *a lot* of leaves...once the leaves are gone, the fleas are next. (Yes, my poor dogs are flea bags, but that is also on my goal list: to de-flea my house, dogs, and yard.)

After my busy weekend, I feel old and achy. I'll skip any heavy manual labor today, and rest my weary body, but back to the leaves tomorrow!

Here's to a clean and tidy new year!

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's a brand new year...

After brunch with a girlfriend, I spent the day alone...a nice little surprise,and I enjoyed it greatly. I generally don't make resolutions anymore, but I wanted to get the new year started with a clean house and yard.

So I alternately read and cleaned my house--I don't have the energy or stamina to go on a full-scale rampage any longer so I have to work then rest, work then rest, etc...

My main bathroom almost as clean as I can get it. It needs a little more scrubbing--I have a green tile floor and the grout is a lot stained and needs some TLC, but that was beyond me yesterday. Not that I didn't scrub and mop the floor, 'cause I did, but the grout needs some extensive elbow grease.

My kitchen, hallway, and living room was swept throughout the day. A (small) section of my backyard was raked and the leaves bagged for pickup today. And the patio, which could have won a Redneck-of-the-year contest, was tidied. I even did a few loads of laundry.

A another week's worth of days like yesterday would be a lovely way to get my new year started on the right foot.

My goals for 2009 include getting my kitchen and living room finished, and getting grass rather than weeds to grow in my backyard. On the writing front, I'd really like to finish another manuscript.

What are your goals for 2009?

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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.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America