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2016 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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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I have my work cut out for me...

I spent some time yesterday putting together a list of all my unfinished (but would like to finish) fan fics. Some have higher priority than others. Some have been waiting so long already, what's a few more weeks or months or years?

Those two weeks I mentioned yesterday? My plan for my time is to write and get some of these stories finished. I realize every author probably has a few projects that will always remain unfinished, but some of these are so close I don't know why they're not actually finished.

"What about your original works-in-progress?" you might be wondering... Yeah, yeah...not nearly as fun or easy to write. My desire to work on them waxes and wanes with the seasons and I'm back in the "I don't know if I really want to pursue publication" mindset. That could be due to personal issues. Writing for real is work. Writing for fun is fun and provides a way to escape for a time. So who knows about all those original WIPs. I suppose eventually they'll get finished, too. But then again, who knows... :)
Monday, November 29, 2010

Mission Accomplished--

I had one major goal for the four-day holiday weekend:

Finish chapter 34 of my epic Robin Hood fanfic.

And I did it. After several major re-writes, I finished it (all 2700 words minus 2 of it) Sunday morning before noon and then put it aside to read later with a fairly fresh eye before sending it off to my wonderful beta-reader.

My openoffice.org word processing software sucks and its spell-check isn't turned on, so I'll read it this morning in MS Word before sending it along to catch any misspelled or missing words. Reading my work on two different computers and in two very different programs is very helpful for that. And that's all the credit that other software gets. :P

~*~

The countdown's on...eighteen days until hubby and son are off on their bi-annual stay at our fireworks store. This leaves DD and I and the dogs home on our own. This is a time when I get the bed to myself for two straight weeks. And I can snore my fool head off without being jiggled awake every once in a while. I won't have to make the bed or clear off his half from clean laundry or other stuff so he can sleep.

Over the next eighteen days, I will get the house C-L-E-A-N so I don't have to do but the basics. DD and I will talk about what we want to eat while the boys are gone--less cooking or things the men don't like. Either way, it's win-win.

I'll lose a few days to working the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and a couple to Christmas and to actually working the store on the 30th & 31st. Oh, and then there'll be Christmas shopping, but I think I'm going to delegate most of that to DD!! Then all I have to do is shop for her. Oh, yeah, I'm liking that idea.

And the rest of the days are mine. I can stay up late or get up early or both or neither. :) I don't have to consider my other half.

~*~

After a year and a half, I have finally had pumpkin cake! Heavenly! Although, I will admit I don't need as much frosting as I used to. But the cake itself was just lovely.
Friday, November 26, 2010

Craftiness at Half Off!

So I decided to go to Hobby Lobby today. I was hoping that despite it being black Friday, the craft store at 11:30 am would no longer be jam packed.

Well, it hadn't been jam packed at all according to the cashier, but regardless of the crowd, everything I bought, except one item, was 50% off. The one item was 30% off! So $73 worth of stuff for $36. Woo Hoo!! It was as if my trip was meant to be. :)

I decided to make little goodie bags for all the band kids and I wanted to include an ornament with their name and the year. We had all the other little things going into the bag, save the home made cookies, except the ornaments. We (DD and I) wanted something pretty easy to make, hence the trip to the craft store.

First stop, the wood section, hoping for a lot of something we could easily paint and decorate for 34 kids. No such luck. But when we went over to the Christmas section, we hit the jackpot. Letter ornaments--four different Christmassy designs. We ran into trouble with Ms though. There are five kids whose names start with M, but we could only find three of the four patterns, so unfortunately we have to have two dupes there. But the best part was they were only 49 cents each after the discount!!! Woot!!

So all that's left to do is personalize each one, bake the cookies and put the little goodie bags together. And deliver them of course. Can't wait to see their faces and collect all their hugs!

So Parade of Lights tonight downtown and then back home to work on these ornaments. This is one of the parts of Christmas I love the most--the unexpected giving and the reactions of the receivers.

What's your favorite part of Christmas?
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl

My dad died one year ago today, and in remembrance of him, I'd like to offer this...


Hmm...

I'm an aunt again for the seventh time. It's a boy, my third nephew. (Phew)

He was born yesterday (11.23) around 4/4:30pm CST, weighing in at 6lbs., 14oz.

Name: Austin James--although that's not the correct spelling for Austin. I think my sister used a y somewhere instead.

I'm not all that excited about this kid, to be honest, for various reasons.

~

My daddy died one year ago today. (Part of the *meh* surrounding my newest nephew, I think.)

~

I am wearing summer clothes to work the day before Thanksgiving. Even in Texas that's a bit odd. :)

~

My current fanfic-in-progress is finally moving along again. I was able to get quite a bit written yesterday and last night, I spent a few minutes outlining what still needs to happen. I had actually written some of the end bits some time ago and then recently I'd written some more whilst trying to overcome the struggle I was having with the current chapter. So I think, with all the alone time I'll be enjoying soon, I'll be able to finally get this story finished by the end of the year.

I'm definitely ready to have that story behind me so I can focus on other writing projects.

~

To cook or not to cook...we have decided to accept our invite to Thanksgiving dinner. However, I have already started defrosting my own turkey and will cook it on Saturday. I've had this thing for almost a year now. It needs to be eaten. Of course, it may not be suitable for cooking/eating after being in the freezer that long. If that's the case, I'll just go buy another another one.

One of these days, my children are going to start coming to my house for holiday meals and I'm woefully out of practice. As I mentioned a few days ago, I think I've cooked a holiday meal only once or twice since I've been married. I'm not complaining at all, but it's time I developed my own techniques and menu.

On that note, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
Monday, November 22, 2010

Progress...

...not really on the writing front, although I did get a bit done Saturday afternoon. Just not as much as I would have liked.

But I did finally get those last two sections of hallway wall washed down. *yay*

Our oldest daughter moved out last June and her room has been sitting empty since then. It has sort of become known as the dog room since the dogs' water bowl and their beds have moved in there. I hadn't wanted to re-do the room too soon on the off chance, daughter wanted to come home, but with each passing day and some new developments, that's unlikely for quite some time.

Hubby and Sonshine will be away for 2.5 weeks over the Christmas holiday working our fireworks store. In years past, I have usually taken on some sort of household project during the time the boys are away. Not last 4th of July but the one previous, I completely redid the living room. So I decided, that over Christmas, while they were away, I would finally do something with the dog room.

We'd discussed several ideas, including a TV room for Sonshine so that when his friend are over they can hang out in there rather than our living room, leaving us no place to be. Another idea is to make it a satellite office for our business, but that *really* doesn't appeal. We live so close to our office, but, on the other hand, sometimes you just don't want to go back to the place you spend way too much of your life.

But I want a guest room. And a place to write. I had extra energy to burn this weekend and was unable to focus on writing, so I worked on the bedroom instead. I removed the old dusty mini-blinds, pulled up *all* the baseboard and shoe molding, patched the holes in the walls, & sanded the patched spots. So I'll have more time during those two weeks to do the fun stuff, like painting and decorating (if the funds can be scraped up).

The next step is to finish primering the wood chair rail molding and the molding around the window (daughter had been working on this previous to her departure from the house). After that it'll be time to find bedding/pick a color scheme. I'm leaning toward orange, green, brown, & white. Daughter's favorite color is orange, so on the off chance she ever comes home...

After this room is done, either my bedroom or the garage needs to be worked on next. Really, in my room, I just need a new bed and new bedding. I'm perfectly happy with the decor. Of course, Sonshine might like his room finished, too...
Friday, November 19, 2010

Has everyone started their holidays early?

Again, my blog tour this morning was disappointingly short, which brings me back to mine.

Fall is here in force, even the edges of winter are creeping in. The days are decidedly crisp and the nights are deliciously cold. It's hot tea time all day now. Although that may be because I'm feeling as if I've got a bit of a cold coming on. Usually in the winter I have a hot and a cold beverage by my side.

My muse has come back to work part time and I'm anxious to get a couple of my fanfics-in-progress moving again. One is so close the the end, I can hardly stand it. I'm so ready to be done with it. I'm still stuck on the next chapter, but I've bypassed it for now and skipped to the next bits where I do know what's happening and then I'll go back fill in the blanks. It's been over a year now since I started writing this thing and posting it to Fanfiction.net and a LiveJournal account as I go. It started as an experiment and it's been a very wonderful experience, but as I said, one I'm ready for it to end. So to that end, my goal is to finish it by the end of the year. My goal is three or four more chapters max at 1700 to 2400 words per chapter. That's just under 10,000 (max) words by January 1. Seems a bit daunting, but I already have some of that written. It's just not in order or edited and revised and ready for publication/posting.

And if I could stop being distracted by TV and movies, I might make better progress. :) But sometimes the well needs to be refilled and so I allow myself to be distracted. Not only that but I also need to spend time with hubby and son...
Thursday, November 18, 2010

*chirp, chirp*

It's been quiet on my round of blogs... I guess that's a good thing--less stuff to read so now I have more time to post. Posting can be rather time consuming, like when you have images to choose and then format and then upload and then caption... But we're done with that for now. :)

So--news from across the pond is that Prince William has finally asked his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton to marry him. The wedding is scheduled for sometime next spring or summer. Thirty years ago next year, William's own parents were married.

I am a bit of royal watcher. More so in my youth (thirty years ago) than now, but I just happened to catch the announcement on TV when I went out to eat the other night. Otherwise I'd probably still be oblivious. My first thought was that William is starting to look more and more like his father and less like his mother. I don't necessarily think that's to his benefit. Second thought is that I still haven't forgiven Charles. Oh, I know it takes two to tango, but I certainly don't think he did everything he could have. And in this case, I think the age difference was a detriment.

Not so with Will and Kate (who's actually several months older than her prince). Plus I think she's been in the lime light for enough years to really know and understand what she's getting into. And she seems to be a stronger, more independent personality than Diana ever was.

Third thought is though William is second in line for the throne, I'm wondering if Charles (age 62) will actually be king. The Queen seems pretty spry for being 84 years of age, but I suppose he's young enough and will probably end up being king for a short time. For some reason, I thought he was older. I wonder if the Queen would ever force him to give up his claim and pass it directly to Wills. Highly improbable.

As a side note, Elizabeth is the last surviving head of state who served in uniform during the Second World War.

Okay, well, I got caught up in reading about the royals instead of writing about them, so I'll end this now and finish reading.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writers Retreat pictures...

We went to Country Woods Inn...if you want to see what the cabins and the grounds were like, check the web site. I failed to get many pictures of those.

The highlights of my weekend were, not necessarily in this order:

1) Ella, the sheep with the missing ear, who reminded of my dear stuffed neon green bunny, received many many Easters ago.

2) Annie Sam the resident pig who was quite cute and enjoyed a good scratching.


3) And Josh, our waiter at dinner on Friday night at a local restaurant.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pictures, yay!

Here are the pictures I promised...

First, the Veteran's Day Parade in downtown Fort Worth:

1) The beginning of the parade...



2) The tail end of the Harley riding vets...



3) A pair of walking vets...Army ground pounders from the looks of them.



4) Our band sans Marching Band Boy...



5) ...who walked with his JROTC battalion.



6) Quite the group, aren't they?



7) And here's Marching Band Boy, aka Private First Class


Writing retreat pics to follow in another post...
Monday, November 15, 2010

The mind is a terrible thing to lose...

I know I promised pictures and I did take them, but the cable that allows me to download the pics from the camera to the PC is still at home. Grr...

The weekend was fabulous and the rain was a no-show. It did get rather chilly overnight, but the days were gorgeous. We stayed at Country Woods Inn in Glen Rose, Texas. The accommodations were rustic and charming. The conversation with fellow writers, about everything from our works-in-progress to politics and religion to our children or grandchildren, was delightful. The setting quite conducive to writing--at least by all members of our party.

Pics tomorrow, I promise. *writes note to self*
Friday, November 12, 2010

Checkin' it twice...

I've got my list, I've checked it twice and thrice...

This is retreat weekend and I'm leaving the office in three hours or so. WOO HOO!

I've been working on packing for a few days now, but there are just some things you can't pack until the very last minute--toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant.

Other things I've been gathering into a pile, hoping I don't forget something important. I am a creature of habit and I can be an anxious person. In order to lessen my anxieties when I am away from home, I take certain things with me to provide that semblance of comfort.

So I'll check my list at least thrice more, once when I leave the office as there a couple of things here at the office I need to take home, the second when I stop by the store for those last few snacks and health & beauty products, and the last time as I load up my car to leave home.

No cleaning this weekend (although I *still* haven't finished that last section of hallway wall). Just lots of time for writing and brainstorming and critiquing with my fellow writers. YAY.

See you on Monday with pictures!
Thursday, November 11, 2010

THANK YOU

Thank a veteran today!

Monday I shall also have pictures of our local Veteran's Day parade.

My son marched with JROTC rather than the band today seeing as how it is Veteran's Day.

Is it Friday yet?

This weekend I'm off to a writing retreat with a dozen or so fellow members (and friends) of my writing chapter. I can't tell you where we're going or I'd have to kill you because I'm not in charge of getting myself there and I've completely forgotten the name of the place. I do know there are a handful of cabins, so we're all divided up. I'm sharing a cabin with my critique partners and an extra.

I've been working on my YA manuscript these past few days, getting ready for the weekend, trying to figure out what I want/need help with in preparation for submitting it in my chapter's writing contest at the end of December. I want to it to be completely finished/polished/ready to send to the final round judge (an editor from Berkley Books) should it make it that far and get requested. :)

I work about a third of a day tomorrow, maybe half and then I'll be off. I'll try to post on Monday, with pictures, of our weekend.

See you there, Regina! (And I sure have missed seeing you.)
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Naked Eye

...can see Jupiter. Yes, really. There's been a very bright dot up in my night sky for the last several nights, maybe weeks, and using my GoSkyWatch app on the iPad, I can't see any major constellations with stars bright enough to match that of this particular celestial body. Not only that, but the app shows Jupiter to be in that spot. Uranus is there also, just beyond it, but you can't see it without a telescope.

After some research (not conclusive by any means, but good enough for me), I have determined that, yes, Jupiter can be seen with naked eye and this body is probably it. Not only for the reasons mentioned above, but because apparently stars provide their own light (the little hazy halo you see around them) and planets do not. So this bright spot in my night sky has a clearly defined edge and no halo. I say it's Jupiter!

On to the sort of promised reviews...

TV

The Tudors ~ a Showtime series based on the life and wives of King Henry the VIII of England. Four seasons of fast paced, rich settings and costumes, gratuitous sex scenes, and some historical facts. The show doesn't claim to be completely historically accurate and one official site states plainly certain things that were modified to provide the maximum entertainment--that's what TV's all about after all.

I finished season two this past weekend and Anne Boleyn has just lost her head. I did learn that she was, of a sort, the mother of the Reformation. This period of history isn't one of my strong suits, but now I am reading and learning. That's always a good thing. :)

Movies

Bright Star ~ another documentary in movie format of the love affair, such as it was, between the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. I found the pace to be too slow for my taste, although I suffered through most of it before I got fed up and quit watching a mere twenty minute from the end. Not recommended unless you just really really love the poetry of John Keats.

Coach Carter ~ a sports film based on the life of Ken Carter, high school & college basketball player. The film was a bit more feel-good than actual events according to the bit of Googling I just did, but that's not such a bad thing. Coach Carter's (the film) main point is that academics are just as, if not more, important than sports. Sure, talent will get you to college, but if you're going to fail all your classes once you get there, what's the point? Over all, I enjoyed it.

Hoosiers ~ another sports film loosely based on the Milan High School team that won the 1954 Indiana State Championship. This film, set in 1951/52 very rural Indiana, is another feel good movie. No big message to impart, however, only that hard work and sometimes a little luck can go a long long way. If you like sports movies, this one is worth the time investment, too.

All right, that's it for now. I'll be back in a day or two, I hope.

Have a good day.

Oh, and though she doesn't read my blog, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister Kristen who turns 28 today. Wow, is she really that old now??? Not that 28 is old, I just wonder how time passed so quickly. :(
Monday, November 8, 2010

Refreshed

The weekend was everything it should have been. Relaxed and productive. I had hoped to get more writing done, but I'm content with what I was able to bang out. I even gained an hour of time. I wish that could happen every weekend. :)

Not only did I get a bit of writing done, and most of the laundry (including the important stuff like socks & undies for everyone), and most of my hallway walls (*must finish tonight*), but I also spent a great deal of time outside.

Where else can you rake leaves in November in a tank top and shorts and get a sunburn but Texas! Most of our leaves haven't changed yet and are still on the trees, but I filled a couple of yard waste bags with mostly acorns and dirt. We also had a fire in the pit going while my son burned most of my business trash with sensitive info on it I'd been hauling home for a good six months now.

And since last Wednesday evening, I have watched three movies and a season of The Tudors. Reviews maybe tomorrow.

I hope you all had as enjoyable a weekend.
Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday or Bust!

Well, I survived another week. And I'm rewarded with a weekend off, so to speak. No marching band contests, no writer's meetings or events, no Cowboy's Stadium concession work. Whew! I can sleep in tomorrow. Sort of. I have to be up at 5:30 to make a quick post for my RH fandom, but I can go back to bed and sleep for as long as I wish once that's done. YAY!!

My big goal for the weekend, aside from the normal laundry, is wiping down--I should say scrubbing--down the walls in my hallway. I have two big dogs who sleep in the hallway, and the walls at dog level are filthy, icky, and nasty. And I just can't stand to look at them any longer.

Marching band season is officially over and ended on a sad note. If our HS had won the football game last night, we would have proceeded to the playoffs and played in at least one more game. I think we had a chance except for the fact that one of our star players had to be whisked off to the hospital during half-time because his father had died or had taken a turn for the worse (and subsequently died). Needless to say, the football team lost their focus. So if you're the praying sort, please lift up the family of the EHHS football player who lost his father.

I held a baby last night for the first time in years!! A little ten-month-old girl. So sweet.

Well, it's time for me to get some work done so I can maybe start my weekend early and enjoy it.

Have a good weekend!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Star Gazing

I bough a really cool app for my iPad the other evening: GoSkyWatch. (It works on iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone.) Using GPS, I think (and therefore needs Internet access), it will triangulate your location and when you hold your device up to the sky or at the ground in any direction, it will show you what stars, constellations, planets, and other heavenly bodies are out there in that direction. Even through cloud cover and the earth's large sphere. It's very neat.

Last night though I couldn't see them for the clouds and distance, Neptune and Uranus were out there. I was facing south, though obviously these two planets are 'out' rather than in a southerly direction on the Earth's surface.

I can't wait until I'm way out in the country where there are no surface lights or nearby buildings to detract from or block my view. Maybe weekend after next.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Randomness...

Yesterday, I was totally exhausted. I could barely make it through the beginning of my day, pausing often to put my head down or my feet up and just close my eyes. I could easily have slept and slept hard. My plan was to go home, make sure there was something to eat and go to bed. But by that time I had already gotten invested in some TV watching and did not end up actually going to be until 9:30ish. Which was probably better anyway.

Then the dog started barking at 2:30ish. We don't have a dog door, so I stumbled out of bed and let them out and then waited for them to come back in, but dear doggy started barking again, and since I knew she wanted to chase night creatures rather than do any business I ignored her. Luckily she didn't keep on.

My alarm went off at 4:50. I turned both of my alarms off thinking hubby's phone would start jangling at 6:30 as it usually does, but no...my eyes popped open at 6:47. Marching Band Boy had to be at school by 7:30 and I'm usually poking *him* out of bed by that time. And, then, because I was so close to the edge of the bed, I almost fell out of it as I rolled over to get up. Luckily he was awake when I stumbled into his room.

So today is election day...the high school my son attends is a polling place. As a member of JROTC, he gets out of classes all day to serve as escorts and whatnot to voters. Nice. But he also had band practice this morning, so I received about a bazillion (okay, just a handful) of texts asking "where r u??" from the both the drum major and the band director ("we only have two practices before the game this friday") (They're learning new music for this week.). Which is fine as that is SOP on practice mornings. (Marching Band Boy does NOT have his own cell phone at this time so they come to me.)

I also got a text from another band member who is also in JROTC lamenting the fact that Ms. B (the band director) was not going to be happy about them missing practice even though the JROTC sergeants will be handling the paperwork.

I'm just thinking that if the band director gives my kid any crap about today, I may have to have a little talk with her. Until now, band has taken priority over JROTC. He even missed seeing his aunt when she was home on leave from Afghanistan because it was the last practice for the band prior to the UIL competition. He's never missed a practice or an event and probably has the highest attendance record for volunteer activities such as prop building for their UIL program and working Cowboys Stadium events. My son and one other boy showed up for prop building and ended up working the whole day instead of only half because they were the only two who did.

I like her mostly, but she's very contradictory. For example, this past Sunday was a Cowboys game and the band booster was scheduled to work our concession stand. We had to be at the school by 6:30 am to car pool to the stadium. Every other time, she has beat me to school and I am always way early. This past Sunday she wasn't there, although it was like 6:23 when I arrived. So I asked my son if I should call her and make sure she was awake--just to be safe. He shrugged. "If you want to." Thanks, kid. So I decided to call her. Basically, she was annoyed that I did so. "Well, it's not 6:30 yet." Right, but every other freaking time, you've beat me to the school, so... Had she actually still been asleep, I imagine she would have been grateful I called instead of waiting another 10 to 15 minutes to do so, right?? So you'd think she would have at least appreciated the gesture. Within a few hours the incident was forgotten. Ah, well.

Okay, well...I'm done venting for the moment. :)

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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