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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 28, 2011

Side Effects

I've just realized the side effects of my exercise--after only a day or two--duh!

An increased appetite! My goodness, it seems as if I have been hungry for several days and now I realize why. A good thing--the exercise is obviously working; and a bad thing--I have to make sure I eat things that won't counter the exercise too much. More proteins, I think, and more roughage.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The point of exercise...

...well, for me anyway, is to keep the aches and pains away.

I'm very sedentary. I sit at a desk pretty much all day and when I go home at night, after I cook dinner, then I'm lounging on the sofa until bedtime. Needless to say, after a while, my muscles start to complain. So I've been walking again. First thing in the morning once I get to the office.

Today, I added distance. My body'd grown accustomed to the previous route. I was no longer breathing heavy nor were my leg muscles feeling the effort. Time to ramp it up. It felt good. I also take time to stretch throughout the day. Every time I use the restroom, actually. Once I've completed my business, I take a few minutes to stretch my back muscles.

I've heard/read that a person my age should be active for an hour a day. Not only does it help you physically, but mentally as well. It seems like a tough thing to accomplish, but I'm working up to it. :)

And here are a few more Christmas pictures...

Bear in mind, we now do Christmas at our fireworks store and no one looks that great first thing Christmas morning. :)

Here we are checking out what Santa stuffed in our stockings.





























Monday, December 26, 2011

Post-Christmas Recap

Well, Christmas was Christmas in my hubby's family--my sister-in-law and brother-in-law-to-be were two hours late. Ah well...

Some pictures...

What other kind of tree topper would a fireworks seller have??

That's a #4 cone fountain, btw. :)

















Our pile of gifts.













And our grumpy old dog, who for some reason wanted to sleep under the tree...
Friday, December 23, 2011

Movie Time

All right, I've watched a few more movies since the other day...

Elizabeth--the story of Queen Elizabeth I, aka Good Queen Bess. Also attempts to explain how and why she became the Virgin Queen. I prefer to watch movies I've already seen when wrapping because then I don't have to pay so close attention. I'm sure I missed a lot of interesting bits since I was wrapping (not looking at the TV and making noise), but I probably won't sit through it again.

Hope Floats--after she's humiliated on national TV (when her best friend announces she's been having an affair with Birdee's husband for a year and half), Birdee goes home to rural Texas to lick her wounds. Once there, she's forced to deal with her past, including her young daughter who's angry about the whole mommy/daddy thing, her abandoned nephew, her eccentric mother (who makes oddities with real animal furs, skins, and pelts), her father who's in a home with "Old Timers", and a man who's loved her since they were teens. Love, love, love this movie.

Jane Eyre--last night DD and I watch the 1996 version of this with William Hurt as Mr. Rochester and Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane. (No wrapping last night, so I could actually watch this.) Eh, it was okay. The acting was fine, but it was a slow film...and I really don't see how the two fell in love, but so they did and lived happily ever after.

Well, off to get my morning walk in...

And I leave you with:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Little Drummer Boy

One of my all-time favorite Christmas shows. I couldn't watch the whole thing this year, though I wanted to. (My copy mysteriously disappeared about two years ago.)

But thanks to You Tube:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Almost done...

I have approximately $23 left to spend on DD and then I am finished with my shopping. A mere four days left, but then I can concentrate on all the other little things like baking and bathing dogs and prepping for the (short) trip.

I'm happy with the gifts I bought this year, and I think everyone else will be pleased as well. We found A LOT of good deals this year, so Sonshine especially will receive a bit more than he might have. DD should be happy with her haul as well.

The tree is up, with lights as it is pre-lit, but no ornaments. Only a few leftover candy canes. But that's okay. The tree is UP and there is a place for all the presents. Last year, we didn't even get that far. Next year, we'll do decorations. Hopefully new ones.

And I leave you with this:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Movie Roundup...

I watch a lot of movies in a short span of time this time of year. When I wrap Christmas and birthday gifts, I set up my card table in front of the TV and enjoy my favorites over and over again. :)

So over the past three days I've watched:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ~ my tied-for-first favorite of the whole series. It's got romance in it, which I'm a sucker for, so there you go. But it can't be watched without watching the previous five and the following two. :)

Becoming Jane ~ the story of Jane Austen starring James McAvoy--the only reason I agreed to watch it. About halfway through I asked DD if it was going to end sadly. She declined to tell me how it ended. And I was right. Gah! Give me happily ever after every time, thanks.

(Becoming Jane led to...)

Penelope, another film starring the lovely James McAvoy with a much better ending. Penelope is a live-action fairy tale type of movie. Just a cute little story. And a very sweet, sigh-worthy kiss towards the end.

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days ~ two pretty people working at cross purposes for their own ends end up falling in love. The scene in the bathroom gets me every time.

Save the Last Dance 2 ~ a made for HBO b-grade movie starring the hot and hunky Columbus Short. Overall a cute movie and the lead-in to the love scene very breath-catching.

Don Juan DeMarco ~ Johnny Depp in one of his more charming roles as a young man who takes on the persona of Don Juan DeMarco to deal with the suckiness of his life. Marlon Brando plays the psychiatrist with 10 days to retirement who talks Don Juan down from the roof of a hotel. Over the course of the next 10 days, as he listens to Don Juan's story, Dr. Mickler (Brando) undergoes his own transformation. A bit cheesy in parts of the beginning, but the rest of it makes up for that.

(and last, but not least, and probably not really last...)

Dirty Dancing ~ in his breakthrough role, Patrick Swayze plays not-really-a-bad-boy Johnny Castle, a dance instructor at a family resort in the Catskills. He and idealistic young Frances "Baby" Houseman develop a relationship that leads to his being fired. It's a sweet coming-of-age story, actually more about Baby than Johnny, and a perpetual favorite.

There will be more movie watching over the next few days, so stay tuned. :)
Monday, December 19, 2011

The Final Countdown...

Exactly one week until it's officially over and done. Christmas, that is.

I have a few things left to buy, namely for DD who was with me on Saturday when I banged out most of my shopping. I couldn't very well buy for her with her, now could I?

Sonshine celebrated his 16th birthday on Sunday. His birthday was Saturday, but he was busy busting his a** with his dad and then in the truck on the road home. We had presents and his favorite dinner and cake on Sunday when they got home. He was pleased I think with his haul.

Today, the men are back on the road, heading to the wilds of central Texas, as fireworks season is once again upon us. The burn bans were lifted and we're hoping people are extra excited since they couldn't shoot last season (4th of July).

Wednesday afternoon is a bit of a time out for me as I have a couple of girlfriends coming over to the house to visit.

After that it'll just be last minute preparations for the big day.

And don't forget to stop and remember the reason for the season...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Whew...

The band concert is over, concessions have been sold. In reality, had I requested reimbursement for everything I bought, the band would be in the hole. So I won't.

My kid, aside from marching band, is part of the jazz band. And last night he did a bit of improv--I was so proud and excited to see him do that. Had I known the director was going to give some of the members a chance to show off, I'd have had my camera at the ready. But I saw it, which I think is really all that counts. ;) I just wish I could show him off a bit.

All that's left for me to do is the remainder of my Christmas shopping. Which is only maybe 2% done. We were just now able to fund it. But luckily I know most of what I'm buying so it's just a matter of going where I need to and getting it done--with a little help from my elf, of course, also known as my darling daughter.

My men are on a road trip to Illinois to pickup the storage unit full of stuff my husband bought off of eBay. (I know what you're thinking.)

After all the craziness of the last few days, my house was a wreck. Unfortunately, my dog needed to go out this morning at 4:30. And then I couldn't go back to sleep. So I started cleaning house. Nothing major, just sweeping my bedroom and the hallway and tidying the living room. I feel more relaxed about everything else now that the living room looks better. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done, but little by little, it'll be clean by the time the men return. Luckily, they won't be home long enough to mess it up again. :)

Happy shopping!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Checking in...

The kids worked a bit more on the Redneck Gingerbread House. Windows were installed, lights were strung, and the dog took care of business...

















































And I got started on decorating ornaments for the little goodie boxes for Sonshine's band mates.
Monday, December 12, 2011

And so it begins...

...my super-dee-duper busy lead in to Christmas. I didn't think it was going to be this busy, but when I finally started assessing all the things I have to do...well, I won't bore you with my list of things to do between now and the 24th, but suffice it to say, I'm going to be plum tuckered out.

And it's not starting off well because I worked Cowboys Stadium last night and I wasn't home until 12:40 or in bed until 1AM. So today I'm sleepy and achy. :( I did walk this morning, though I was achy, but that was precisely the reason I went. Work through the aches, as it were.

I think next time I go in for my annual, I'm going to ask the doctor about a referral to get my arthritis officially diagnosed. Good gravy, for price I'm paying for my health care and the fact that I'm not getting any younger, I ought to start taking advantage of having it.

And since I do have so many things on my plate, I need to go make a list and get started, sooo...

Happy Monday, Y'All.
Friday, December 9, 2011

TGIF

Yes, I've said it before, but I'm certainly glad it's Friday. November and December are slow months for me and so my days at work can get tedious. Yesterday, I watched four straight episodes of Private Practice online via Netflix without a single phone call or interruption of ANY sort.

I could have been writing. I SHOULD have been writing, but was wholly unmotivated. I reached a milestone in my story and I guess my muse thought that meant she could go on vacation. BUT I did pay the entry fee for my chapter's writing contest, so I do have to come up with a new, real title. It had a working title but it was so unimaginative, I couldn't stand it any longer. And I need a short (300 words or less) blurb as well. Sort of like the back cover blurb. I worked on that the other day and have gotten feedback from my CPs, so now there's tweaking to do.

Tomorrow is the holiday party for my writing chapter. Election results will be announced, awards will be handed out, cool door prize drawing will be up for grabs. General fun to be had all the way around. :) Tonight I have to bake pumpkin cupcakes and put together my gifts for my CPs.

Update on the gingerbread house: all we did last night was put the dog house in place and set the regular house in place on its marshmallow supports. I did take pics, but they're not worth uploading right now.

On a side note, I signed up for/participated in a fic exchange. My offering was finally posted to the exchange community yesterday and received nine lovely comments. I was full of squee all day!

So happy Friday and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Construction Progresses

Though we've been taking it slow, Sonshine is very excited about this project this year. He's never helped us with it, but he's having fun.

In the first two pics, Sonshine adheres the graham cracker siding to the "frame". In pics three & four, DD creates the accompanying dog house.














































Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Groundbreaking

As mentioned yesterday, the construction of the Redneck Gingerbread house has begun. In previous years, we've used a cookie sheet covered in foil, but have found as time has passed that it's just not quite enough real estate. So this year, we graduated to a larger plot of land.

Here's Sonshine cutting our section of plywood. Also, if we transport it to the fireworks store, the plywood will provide a more stable, solid base.















~*~*~



The plywood was covered in aluminum foil and the snow(plain white frosting) was added.










~*~*~


The driveway has been laid (chocolate frosting) as well as a few stepping stones (red Fruit Loops). Sonshine adds the grass poking through the snow.

On the left you can see some large marshmallows. There are five in all and they will provide the base for the house.

This is were we left it last night so that the snow could set.



*******

I also have pictures of my Christmas lights...

Around the garage door:
















And in the inside of my living room window. It's a bit harder to see.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

The kids helped me put up outside lights around the garage door. YAY! I put up some lights in the living room window. They have little snowflake ends and are quite cheery. I also bought window clings at Target--snowflakes for the front storm door and Nativity clings for the back door window. There is garland in the living room, kitchen, and bath.

The Redneck Gingerbread House will begin construction this evening. :) And I think the tree will go up next weekend. I'm feeling decidedly Christmassy. I have to buy gifts for my critique group this week--an ornament for our mini-exchange and some pots and soil so I can give iris bulbs. And I have to bake pumpkin cupcakes on Friday for my writers meeting on Saturday. It's going to be a somewhat hectic week.

On a side note, it has rained off and on since Friday, I think in equal measures. Which A) makes it seem more like Christmas to me, and B) is very good because we desperately need the rain. The level of our lakes and rivers is down so far I can tell even from a distance. My immediate area is only in the second level drought category: moderate, the rest of Texas is either "drought: extreme" or drought: exceptional". Yikes.

Happy Monday, y'all!
Friday, December 2, 2011

Misty, moisty morning...

...when cloudy was the weather.

Yep, it's drizzly here in North Texas, though a bit warmer with the cloud cover. And we desperately need the rain.

On a side note, the burn bans in McLennan county, where our fireworks store is, and neighboring Hill County, have been lifted. That means we get to sell this season. Thank goodness. We hope that because there were no fireworks sales on the 4th of July, people might be inclined to go overboard this New Years. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

TGIF--it's been a good week at work. I was productive both work wise and writing wise, but I am glad it is the weekend. I have tentative plans to connect with a critique partner or two via Chatzy at various times over the weekend to continue my writing streak. I gotta get this story finished. It's a matter of principle. :)

Have a good weekend y'all.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To blog or not to blog...

I want to post today, though at first I didn't have a topic in mind or a bee in my bonnet. Now I do. (:

Social media for writer/aspiring writer. Does using social media help aspiring writers generate sales once they've sold the book?

It's an interesting debate and I think the answer is yes and no. The problem is that most aspiring writers have a following of other writers and personal friends when they begin the journey. And that's okay. And eventually, I think, friends of friends and friends of other writers might find you and join the bandwagon. But that takes time.

Some people find social media fun to use. But it's time consuming, and so does an author spend his/her time working the media or do they spend the time writing the best damn book they can?

I guess that's for each individual to answer, but I'd think one would err on the side of writing the book. You can't have fans or sales if you have no product.

I know people who start blogging or tweeting or what-have-you and go great guns for a while and then their activity dwindles and you never see them online. That's frustrating for the followers.

Personally, I have an author website that has seen no updates in quite some time, but while this blog consists of my personal musings on a wide variety of topics, I post fairly regularly.

And the real kicker is that I have 8 followers. I don't know who half of them are, but it's kinda cool. :)

Have a good day.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Terminology

I hate the term "African American." Not only because it's politically correct, but because 99 times out of 100 it's an inaccurate label.

This past weekend, I worked with a teacher from my son's school who graciously came to help us out and work the register at Cowboys Stadium. He's black.

So I asked him what term he preferred: African American, black, or something else. I don't often come into contact with black adults I feel comfortable enough to ask this of. I ask the kids, and most of them prefer to just be called black. Okay.

So Mr. G who's in his sixties has been around a while--been through all the hubbub surrounding black Americans. He told me when he was a little boy about having to drink from a water fountain outside, about having to ride in the back of buses.

His preferred appellation: Negro.

He told me there are three major umbrella races in the world: Caucasian (Americans and Europeans), Mongoloid (the Asian peoples), and Negros (Africans). Also he says Europeans are/were much more accepting/less racist than us Americans.

Not that this is an exhaustive survey (yet) but I thought it interesting.
Monday, November 28, 2011

Not a good way to start the week...

My 3.5 day weekend was very relaxing. (I say 3.5 because I worked Cowboys Stadium on Saturday afternoon/evening.)

One of my critique partners and I met every morning at 8am via a chat room and did writing sprints and worked on our current WIPs. On Friday, we even did some cleaning sprints. :) I came away from the weekend with way more accomplished on my WIP than I'd planned or expected. So I'm excited and thankful for that.

If you want an easy online chat, Chatzy is awesome. You don't have to download anything and you don't have to create an account if you don't want to. And your chat room stays active as long as you use it at least once within every 14-day cycle. (So keep that link handy.)

Thanksgiving was a relaxing quiet affair. The food was delish--if I do say so myself.

So this morning it's back to the real world and I'm dropping kids off at school at ten after seven, stopping by the grocery store for lunch for the week, and taking my walk around the business park this morning. Now, unfortunately, I am my husband's alarm clock. But that requires him to keep his phone next to him when he sleeps and to ensure that the ringer is turned on. So I call him daily at 7:30. Only today he didn't answer. So I tried calling the home phone, hoping the incessant ringing would stir him enough to wake up and then call me to say he was awake. No dice.

And because I had no idea what was on his schedule this morning and he'd slept in until 10 or 11 or noon over the weekend, I didn't want to leave it to chance. Which meant I had to drive home to wake him. Luckily it's only six miles.

Then as I climb into the car, Sonshine texts me to say he's left his school ID at home and he can't go to class without. Lucky for him, I was going home anyway.

Just as I pull into the drive, my phone rings. There's hubby calling me to say he's up. Grrr... But I still had to get the school ID and all my other keys (po boxes and filing cabinet). I zip back by the school to give Sonshine his ID and finally get back to the office.

Whew...but now I'm behind on all my morning tasks which makes me cranky.

Ah, well...now I'm here, caught up and moving on to the next task.

Have a good week. :)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thansgiving

Well, it's that time of year again: Thanksgiving. When we're all supposed feel thankful for something. Of course, I do.

I'm thankful for my family: my husband, daughters, and Sonshine. My mom, step mother, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, in laws.

I'm thankful that my oldest daughter is on her way to recovery. She's been evaluated and approved for a halfway house. It's still about three months before she's back in town though.

I'm thankful for better financial circumstances than last year.

I'm thankful for my friends, real life and online.

I'm thankful for my health and that of my family.

I'm thankful for my dogs, Honey and Sam.
Friday, November 18, 2011

TGIF

Yep, thank goodness it's Friday. I'm dragging this morning. I was up till midnight thirty on Wednesday night and midnight last night. I'd love nothing more than to crawl back in my cozy silky fluffy bed and drift off for another hour or two. Unfortunately, I'm at work.

But it's Friday, so tomorrow I can sleep in. And next week is Thanksgiving break for Sonshine so I don't have to do the school run each morning.

It looks to be a beautiful weekend, so I'm going to spend some time on the yard and see if I can't cross a few more items of my lists!

Thanksgiving will be spent at home this year so I'll be cooking. I'm thinking ham (yum), mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, rolls, corn, and pumpkin cake.

Happy Fall and Happy Friday!

Have a great weekend!
Monday, November 14, 2011

Where has the time gone...?

School started just yesterday and now it's almost Thanksgiving.

WHUT??

Where did my fall go?

Okay, so in Texas, fall comes later in the official season--trees are turning colors now and are so lovely to look at. The temps are fluctuating between on the chilly/cold side and on the perfect side.

It'll be Thanksgiving in a week and a half.

How did the second half of each year become so crazy?

Oh, right--a teenager in high school and involved in a group. In our case, marching band. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm glad my son has a group to be a part of. It's not one big happy family, nor is it a large group of nerds--there are clicks and groups in the band as in the school in general, and many of the kids are popular. But they come together with a common bond--love of music (some more than others)--and they can do it extremely well when they've got their acts together.

Fireworks season is in five weeks and, much as I hate to acknowledge it, Christmas is six weeks away. The new year in seven.

Over all, the year has been much approved over last, so I have no real complaints.

On a side note, DD and I worked on the back yard on Saturday. Most of the yard was mowed and the clippings bagged. We still have a bit to do, but it's amazing how much difference it made. I know my lawn--if I even have any left--is infested with weeds, but when it's cut and green, it still looks mighty nice.

All right, so it's Monday--and I have some stuff to do!

Hope you had a great weekend, and here's to a good week.
Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frustrated and Ready to Quit..

I won't, but I so want to.

As Band Booster president that is.

Last month we couldn't have either the board meeting or the regular meeting. The board meeting because we didn't have a quorum, the regular meeting because no parents sowed up. Oh, wait--one did, but she was 10 minutes late and we were just about to walk out the door. I haven't seen the treasurer in months and we don't have a budget.

I'm not hopeful about tonight's meetings. Really, what's the point? It's the same thing each month: we need people to become TABC certified and help us by working at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

The band director has canceled a couple of fundraiser attempts--an arts/crafts fair for Christmas and a garage sale in the spring. I was going to recommend we kill the arts & craft fair anyway because we didn't really have enough time to plan it, but I think the garage sale would have been a big hit in our neighborhood. On the other hand, one less thing I have to worry about.

On the other hand, I have to revise and update the bylaws which is not a problem at all and write some policy and procedures. Not a big deal either.

So I'm going to get some feedback from the band director about what's next on the agenda and what she needs a hand with. We'll go from there.

I'm much rather be at home tonight, cozy, watching TV or reading, than at these meetings.

*sigh*
Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Back and Other Random Things

We gained and hour of time yesterday and shifted our daylight hours backwards. It was a bit odd leaving the house this morning in the daylight. I felt as if I was running late. :)

My writers retreat was a lot of fun. About ten members of our chapter booked rooms at a local bed & breakfast to get together as writers and to do writerly things. Our president remained holed up in her room for pretty much the entire weekend and cranked out about 10K. Don't get me wrong, she wasn't unsociable. She joined us for breakfast both days, emerged periodically to get a beverage and to say hello, but she went there to write and that's what she did.

My critique partners and I shared adjoining rooms. We weren't quite as productive as Madam Prez, but we all got something accomplished and left the retreat happy with whatever progress we made.

I've been stalled out on a story, unable to make progress on it for quite some time. Occasionally I open it up and read through it and *want* to work on it, could never really do more than piddle with it. Something obviously wasn't working but I just couldn't figure it out. I'd also had a comment from a chapter mate last year which I didn't really want to acknowledge, but after asking my CPs for help, I changed a few details which actually addressed that comment and made the story better. So I'm excited that I can finally move forward with it.

I finished my Glee rewatch this weekend. And then, yesterday, I picked back up with Grey's Anatomy.

And now it's Monday morning again and work is calling.
Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Friday...

...and I'm leaving early.

One of my CPs will be picking me up at home at 1PM and we'll be off to the wilds of Irving!

I have officially started Christmas shopping. Actually, I started in October while at the U.I.L. competition--I bought Sonshine a t-shirt that says "trumpet" across the front. And last night I found a puzzle by one of my favorite artists, Charles Wysocki. Not that I'm a big "art" fiend, but I love Americana and that's his subject. I have three separate series of collector plates all featuring his work, not to mention calendars. Anyway--I bought the puzzle and told DD to stash it for a Christmas gift for me. :)

I also found a new purse. And I bought it. I'm so not really a purse ho, but I can rarely find a purse I like. I settled for the last one because I needed one so badly. So this time, I didn't hem and haw. I just bought it.


















Anywho--have a great weekend.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dispirited...

I'm feeling glum today and stressed out. Last night I watched another movie and some more Glee. There'll be no more comments on Glee as it's a re-watch and I've said what I need to say. If you try it and like, we can talk!

First movie attempt: Batman Forever starring Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman, Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carey. After about twenty minutes I had to stop. This version, a sequel to Batman Returns, was too cheesey, too comic book like, too many stupid cliche jokes and caricaturish and no. I'm not overly fond of Jim Carey either. I much prefer the remakes, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight starring Christian Bale as a more likeable, flawed, *human* superhero. (And I find him much more attractive to boot.)

Second movie: The Family Stone. Ah, Dermot Mulroney whom I love and first discovered way back in the mid-eighties in a series of ABC Afterschool Specials. Anyway, it's Christmas and Dermot's character Everett brings his stuffy, uptight girlfriend home to meet the family. Hilarity and calamity ensue. While I enjoyed the film, I didn't quite get it the first time around as there were a few key issues left too ambiguous, but now it's just a fun dramedy and I laughed throughout. And I want a house like the one the Stone family grew up/lives in:



Anyway, maybe more tomorrow, however we're on the downhill slide to my retreat weekend so I'll be busy prepping for that...
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This and That--

This weekend is the annual writers retreat that my writing chapter sets up just for chapter members. My critique partners and I will all be attending and sharing two adjoining rooms between the five of us.

It's going to be a lot of fun.

I've attended every band event since school started, waited on humid buses with rowdy/antsy kids during rain delays, gotten wounded in the line of prop duty, served countless dinners and snacks, but I will be missing this Friday's football game. DD will be serving dinner and handing out snacks in my stead while I hang out with my writer buddies.

Food, friends, fun and writing!

I'm swinging back towards writer mode, though what I'll be writing remains to be seen. Probably nothing new. I have a dozen things in various stages of completion so I think I'm going to concentrate on finishing a few things. (What a concept, huh?)

I've also been in watching mode.

Last Friday, I re-watched The Notebook for the first time in many years, maybe for only the second time ever. The first time I watched it, I blubbered big time. This time, yep, I cried again, though the blubbering at the end wasn't quite as intense since I did know how it ended this time 'round. But why did this film evoke such strong emotions in me? Partly because of the chemistry between the younger leads. I had read previously and then again on Friday that Ryan Gosling (whom I think is really a spectacular actor) and Rachel McAdams had quite an adversarial relationship. There's a fine line between love and hate (I'm not saying they hated each other--they dated for three years) and that passionate emotion spilled onto the screen. Partly I think because the writers took the time to build the relationship. There are twelve steps to intimacy and romance writers are encouraged to include as many steps as possible in their books to create a believable relationship between the hero and heroine. No, you don't have to follow the steps in order, that's another blog post for people who are interested. Anyway, I don't know if the screenwriters followed them in order or included all of them, but they built a believable relationship--

This wasn't supposed to be a dissertation on The Notebook, just a little review. Many people think it overly sappy or whatever, but I like it. And I think it requires a bit more study and breakdown to see just why it works for me.

On Friday, after the movie I was still bored and needed something else to do. So I moved on to Glee. Glee is the FOX comedy about a high school glee club whose members all struggle for acceptance and popularity in their school. The kids are a mish-mash of religions and ethnicities; half girls, half boys; one kid in a wheel chair; and every sexual orientation.

They've sung songs from R&B to show tunes to pop to classic rock and from every decade since the 20s (Louis Armstrong's "When You're Smiling"). The story lines are very over the top, but it's funny, though I don't recommend it for youngish children. I wouldn't even recommend it for high schoolers, to be honest.

So anyway, I blew through season one over the weekend and have started season two.

Last night, we watched Miracle--the-based-on-a-true-story story of Herb Brooks who led the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team to victory over the highly favored Russian team overcoming tremendous odds to do so. Highly recommended!

Then, at the request of my son, we watched Facing the Giants, the second inspirational movie written, created, filmed, acted and produced by Sherwood Baptist Church in a subdivision of Albany, Georgia. The film doesn't match blockbuster quality and it's a bit slow at the beginning but it's a feel-good movie full of positive messages about God and faith.

As for writing mode, I've finished an exchange fic I signed up for and am ready to send it off--as soon as I come up with a title. Yesterday, I read through the first chapter of another fic that I am thinking of posting as a WIP hoping I'll be motivated/pressured to finish it. I'm still on the fence about that. I might wait until I have a few more chapters under my belt. I also did a read-through of one of my short original works-in-progress. That one needs some work and it's been teasing me, so I think that's what I'll be tinkering with for a little while.

And that's all folks. :)
Friday, October 28, 2011

BAND OF THE WEEK

We had a football game last night and it rained again. It was also supposed to be Middle School Night for us. This when our feeder school bands come to the game to play with us. Unfortunately, they were late and so in turn we were late. Plus it was raining and it was *COLD*. And for some reason they changed venues on us again. (WHY???) Had we stayed with our original stadium, we would not have been (as) late.

By the time we got to the stadium, it was decided that the middle schoolers would get their snacks and then go back to their schools. As far as we were concerned, the show would go on. Sort of. Only the drum line would get to play. Luckily we were the away team, so we weren't responsible for playing the Star Spangled Banner.

The other team's band played the SSB and then left. Their cheerleaders left. Their drill team left. They had three--and I mean THREE--people on their side of the stadium.

When our band marched into the stands, our team was losing, 6 to 0. The drill team was in place and the cheerleaders moved on to the track and off we went. Our drum line played cadences and kept us all going. Yes, it was cold, yes, it was wet. But the rain sort of stopped for a while, so it really wasn't too bad. At least I didn't think so and I am not fond of the cold by any stretch of the imagination.

When our team finally made a touchdown, the band SANG the fight song!! Cool, huh? :) I wish I'd had my camera to get a picture of that.

We left at half time, winning 9 to 6. I was told the game was called at that point as it was too cold for the players on the sidelines.

So I nominate the Highlander Band as the band of the week for the FWISD.

Go Hills!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Accomplished!

Whew, I'm tuckered out. But I feel so accomplished. :)

Yesterday, DD and I spent the afternoon doing yard work.

First we made two trips to the dump; first trip was to haul all the trash from the office/warehouse that I'd bagged; second trip was a bit more we couldn't get the first trip from the office and then the small pallets, the broken awning frame, some scrap wood and the cardboard box that the new shed came in from the back yard.

After that, we ate lunch and caught our breath. Then we were off to home to tackle the front and side yards.

I worked on the holly and got it trimmed back somewhat. I did, however, come to the conclusion that it'll be much easier to A) clear out all the dead leaves underneath it, and B) shape it and keep it shaped nicely, if I get a chain saw and cut the individual bushes back to their main trunks and start from scratch. Some of the off-shoots were too thick for the hedge trimmer to cut, so it looks a bit misshapen. On the other hand, it looks 100% better and the holly no longer tries to poke you when you walk up the ramp. :)

DD did all the edging of the curbs and driveway and all the mowing. I bagged all the hedge trimmings and monkey grass and magnolia leaves--we have nine bags of leaves, trimmings, and grass! And that was just the front and side yards.

We still have a few tasks to do in the front, but it looks soooooo much better. I have my lists and have crossed off some tasks and added a couple more.

Today will be recuperation day. Neither DD or I are used to so much physical exertion in a single afternoon.

Can't wait to continue...!
Monday, October 24, 2011

Moving slow, but still trucking...

I'm pretty tuckered out. It was a long, busy weekend.

Friday night we (the band) had a football game, of course. It was homecoming. We were visitors (HUH??) and we lost.

Saturday we attended U.I.L. We didn't advance to area, though a lot of bands didn't. I am of mixed feelings about this. Yeah, it would have been way cool and a lot of people in the know at the competition couldn't believe it, but on the other hand, we're all tired and ready for marching season to be over. While it was a very long day, one good thing was that, in the end, we didn't use the prop. It was too windy and there weren't enough helpers to wrangle the prop as well as the pit percussion onto the field. The band director was disappointed, but I was relieved.

Saturday night we had three extra boys spend the night at our house, so...one of the boys, bless his heart, said to my son, "You have a cool house and really cool parents." Awww...

Sunday we (some of us) worked Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

Needless to say, I didn't get much done in terms of my yard. I did get a mower and a weed whacker and I have my plan in place. Tomorrow I'm taking half a day and DD and I will be making a dump run and attacking the yard.

I'll keep you posted.
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Slowing down, but not by choice...

Well, the warehouse now requires someone with knowledge. Knowledge of all the stuff that needs going through--either what it is and whether its any good or whose it is and what we need to do with it.

There's also the "boneyard"--a pile of parts. Mostly computer cases and broken CD rom drives and the like. They're going to the dump if I have any say so. No need for the junk to be cluttering up my space.

Work is really S-L-O-W right now and I am so bored. :( Today I brought my cross-stitch. And my iPad with my new game on it.

I wish I could go home and be productive there. Or buy a new (to me) lawn mower and weed eater and get started on my yard. Or sleep. Yes, I could close my eyes right now and sleep for a couple more hours.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Progress!

I did some cleaning! Not at home yet, at least not the things I mentioned yesterday. (But I did start the lists!)

Part of our office space includes warehouse space. We keep our boat and pop-up trailer in there, as well as our beloved Dodge Durango that no longer runs. :(

But in addition to those large items we have A LOT of crap. It's the catch-all place. If we don't know what to do with it, it goes out in the warehouse.

I'm tired of the mess and chaos there too. So I decided that every hour or so, I'd get up off my butt and work on something in the warehouse.

I filled one whole contractor bag (the super large/strong trash bags) with trash, another with foam--the stiff kind that comes in around computers and stuff. I have two stacks of cardboard--small boxes and large boxes. And a pile of miscellaneous trash like an old mop, used fluorescent light bulbs, and boxes of Sheetrock mud from when my father-in-law taped/bedded/mudded the wall. We'd had a large window looking into the warehouse--we took out the window and replaced it with wall.

Now, there's stuff set out all over the floor so that DH can see what we've got and make a determination as to what to do with it. Our boxes and boxes of archived paperwork are stacked neatly, though they need another go-through. Any and all tools are being collected and set in a big pile so they can be put back into the correct cases or cleaned or both. Boxes and spools of cable are all in one spot.

There's still a ways to go, but I'm feeling good about it. I'll keep going until I've run out of steam or it's done.

And I've started my lists for my yards: front, back, and sides. The overall project seems much more manageable now that it's been broken down into smaller, easier to accomplish tasks. Now I just need energy, time, and the right tools.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

spring er...Fall Cleaning

I'm feeling anxious to clean. One of the reasons I hate remodeling/home improvement projects so much is that the house is never really returned to the state it was in before the project started.

Case in point--we had a new roof installed at the end of June/beginning of July. There is still a pile of tree limbs in my yard from where the roofers trimmed the tree over one side of the house. There are still two small pallets leaning against the house, one from the shingles and one from the new shed. The large cardboard box that held the shed pieces is still lying next to the trash bins. The new shed DH wanted rather than the money is still empty. There was a ramp into the old shed and decorative rocks thrown behind it. The rocks and the concrete pieces are in a huge pile outside my back door.

Case in point--we had some work done inside the house at the beginning of August: flooring throughout the house and new door and window casings in many rooms. The large saw used to trim the casing is still in the (sorta) finished garage and there's sawdust everywhere. (We use the garage for storage, not cars.) All sorts of things that were moved into the garage while the house was in chaos are still in there. There are three boxes of flooring in my bedroom, stacked at the end of my bed. There are no vent covers over the two large rectangular opening in the hallway for airflow into the A/C unit--hubby wanted custom-made wood ones.

At first the weather here was unbearably hot, so the yard remained trashed. Then school started (marching band/football games) and it was still hot. Now it's October and while it's cooler, we are navel-deep in marching contests and those things will wear you out.

BUT I want my yard back and I want my house back and I want my garage back.

Where to start, where to start?

Maybe I need to make a list, breaking these projects down into small, easy-to-accomplish tasks.
Monday, October 17, 2011

U.I.L. Here Comes the Highlander Band

Next Saturday, we'll be traveling to the U.I.L. competition. According to those in the know, we have a fantastic chance of advancing to area. Our program is better than two years ago (the last time the band was eligible to advance) and the performance is outstanding.

This past Saturday, we attended "pre-UIL". We got scored (all 1s and 2s) and received comments on what's good and what needs work. This week will be cleaning up all the minor issues. Not to mention homecoming is this week. So we'll be out late Friday for the football game/homecoming--but, thank goodness, report time to school is not until noon-ish, so everyone will be able to sleep in!

If we make area, marching season will extend one more week. We are all on the fence about this. We're all tired. The kids are obviously doing most of the hard work, but those of us supporting the band (DD and me and one dad who drives the equipment truck and those handful of prop helpers who have to load and unload the equipment truck) are feeling the strain as well.

Still and all, I think it would very neat if we make it. It'll look good on Sonshine's scholastic resume. And if we do make it, it would only be the second time in the history of the Highlander Band. Even better!

*fingers crossed*
Monday, October 10, 2011

I must be boring you...

...with all the marching band stuff, but that's mostly what life is about this time of year for those with children in a high school band.

We participated in the USSBA competition this past Saturday, which turned into somewhat of a disaster.

So it's October in Texas...well it's obviously October everywhere...so what does that mean? Not much really. The weather patterns are wonky everywhere and after the summer we had, well...I don't even know what's normal anymore. All I know is that rain is welcome, any amount, anytime.

Except Tuesday evenings, Thursday or Friday nights (whichever day we happen to playing), or Saturdays during the month of October.

Also the wind. Good gravy.

The marching band prop this year is really just a backdrop. The competition music is called "Phoenix Rising." The prop is seven 8' panels velcroed to seven frames with the music "logo" (a phoenix) and the title painted across them. The panels are made out of 4' x 8' lightweight insulation panels duct-taped together to create 8' x 8' panels.

On Thursday it was windy, but the band director insisted we proceed. Luckily the wind was blowing mainly north/south, which is the way the field is situated. Once we got on the field, we were good to go. It was the getting the prop put together (because the panels are not on the frames for transportation) and onto the field that was tough. Once we were lined up on the field and hiding behind/on the rolling platforms, everything was fine.

The competition on Saturday was a whole 'nother ball game. It was even windier and we didn't have enough people to assign two people per section. So we lashed to carts together. A good idea in theory. And it would have worked beautifully had there been NO WIND.

There was wind however. Great continuous gusts of it. It was nearly impossible to assemble the prop (THANK GOODNESS we arrived first and performed second which just meant we had time and space and no audience whilst wrestling the prop.). It was tough. The prop took some licks, but we finally managed it. It was difficult to get the props on the field--part of that was my fault--but once we got situated, it got worse. We ended up having to take two of the panels off their frames and the rest of us were fighting to keep ours in place long enough for the band to complete their performance.

We managed it. Just.

We didn't know if we were going to the finals, but we already knew the props wouldn't be regardless, so packed onto the truck they went.

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon of watching other bands, most of them much larger than we.

We took first place in our division and made it to the finals, though it wasn't much of a victory since our division consisted of two schools. But we took all the awards--music, color guard, etc. Whatever they gave out awards for, we earned them.

Finals were supposed to be a better test of our capabilities and talents--all the first place schools would be competing against each other. There were eight or nine schools that made it.

Fast forward to 6:30ishPM. The finals begin at 7 and, this time, we perform first. Weather had been brewing all day, but remained (safely) to the south and west of us.

At 6:45 I excused myself for a last trip to the restroom. No sooner do I return to the group when the wind changes and the temperature drops by a good 15/20 degrees. No kidding. Just like that. If it wasn't such bad timing, it would have been really cool. I'd never really experienced that type of change before.

Anywho, we were on the verge of darkness, and now the weather is heading our direction.

But the show must go on!

And on it went.

After we played and hauled butt back to our bus and equipment truck, which were parked at the very other end of the parking lot because we arrived first that morning, we loaded the instruments and dug out rain ponchos. And had a snack.

Except the weather was pretty much upon us and they moved the rest of the competition to the gym. Then one of the parking lot guys was telling us to get inside and fast. I had already started shooing the kids on the bus since the rain was starting to fall and the lightning was creeping closer.

The band director had gone back to the stadium to see what was going on or to get scores or something and had taken the two other official teachers with her--so now I'm in charge of 40-some-odd teens.

Now I've got to get everyone back off the buses and headed toward the gym. Oh, except wait--two of the kids had gone to use the restroom! So I had to wait until I saw them returning and redirect them toward the gym.

So we finally get into the gym and watch the remaining bands play. Several had dropped out--needing to get on the road because of the weather I imagine. Just a note--this competition is mostly basically a warm-up for UIL in two weeks. It gives freshmen a chance to perform at this stadium to get a feel for the size and the field and process. So if you drop out, there's no major impact. And of course with the weather, it's understandable.

Unfortunately, because the competition was interrupted by weather and only two or three bands performed outside and the rest (that stayed) played inside, it wasn't a fair contest. So.....

They broke it up and gave out two sets of awards. One for the bands who were able to play/march on the field and one for those who had to perform at a standstill in the gym.

So we were cheated out of an opportunity to compete against larger, better funded bands in other divisions because of weather. Yeah, we took first place again. But to me it is a disappointment in that we didn't get a true opportunity to shine and to prove ourselves.

But the kids were all kinds of AWESOME!! (most of them, anyway :)

I'll try to get some video.
Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm still here...

I have two posts partially written, but then I got distracted and busy and haven't had a chance to finish those thoughts.

Anywho...

We had a football game last night and it was the first time to utilize the props for the half-time show. Grrr...the band director thinks we're super heroes--and I guess to a certain degree we are, always pulling off these prop feats. :)

It was windy last night and the the props are tall and light weight and wanted to roll all over the place and/or flop over. We really need two people per section--one to pull, one to push--not because the pieces are heavy (unlike last year) but because they roll away and sideways quite easily.

And I didn't get to see last night's half-time show because I was behind the prop holding it up. I'm a bit bummed because, according to the band director, they pulled it off--even after many things were re-written and re-choreographed. This morning they'll be tweaking last minute minor issues in preparation for Saturday's competition.
Thursday, October 6, 2011

Skating...

I've been skating, figuratively speaking.

I'm the band booster president. I'm not doing what I probably should be doing, though to be fair I don't really know what that is. The band director isn't that warm or fuzzy. She's not that forthcoming and she's incredibly busy. October holds not only football games, but marching competitions. We even have one of each on the 15th.

As the days and weeks and months have passed, I've learned the things I should have done. So far, I've been reactive, rather than proactive. And some things just can't get done after the fact. :(

There was no booster club last year and the director took on what she needed to. I don't know what the organization was like before that. The bylaws hadn't been looked at/updated/amended since 1984--and if they had, there was no evidence of it. There's no policy and procedure manual to say what should be done and when and by whom or what committees there should be. I'm sort of re-inventing the organization. Lucky me (and I say that *very* tongue in cheek.).

I have a pair of meetings this Thursday--a board and regular booster meeting. I hate these things because all I seem to do is beg people to give, whether it be bottle water, a case of soda, a box of snacks, or their time by taking the TABC training and working the concession stand. It's not my favorite thing to do and so far it hasn't really worked. I'm not really sure what it is I should be saying and doing otherwise. But I know as a parent I wouldn't to always be begged for help I may not be able to give.

Today and tomorrow will be spent preparing for both meetings. I got a lot done last week, thank goodness, so it'll mostly be finalizing agendas and jotting down notes.

Once we get through October and the last of our competitions, I can turn my attention to the bylaws, the policy & procedure manuals, and the next event: the Christmas concert. We talked about providing concessions as a minor fundraiser, so one of our discussions will be about that.

It's time to get a handle on this band booster thing--wish me luck.
Friday, September 30, 2011

More Adventures in Marching Band

More lightning!

Last night as the band played during halftime, the stadium announcer announced that the incoming storm was less than eight miles (the magic number apparently) away and that everyone should take shelter in their cars until it passed and the game resumed.

The kids played until their program was finished despite the approaching storm--they only had a few minutes left--but the storm was moving quickly.

Once the program was finished we made the mad dash off the field. Most of the band headed back to the stands to grab their stuff, put their instruments in the cases, and hand them off to the Blue Crew who loads the equipment truck. Meanwhile, the pit percussion players and helpers (me and another mom lugging the drum major stand) went directly to the truck with the pit instruments and (obviously) the drum major stand, trying to get everything jammed into it before the storm reached us. It gets quite crazy and chaotic, but we eventually got all the kids on the buses.

Since I am "just" a parent, I usually can only have 20 kids on my bus, but in the mad scramble to take shelter, more than 20 kids ended up on my bus. Not a major deal, I didn't think, at least while we were just waiting out the storm.

Of course, my son had to get overheated and with it came an awful "I-think-my-head's-gonna-explode" pounding. DD and I had a small cooler of cold drinks so we put a bottle on his jugular and made him drink some Kool-Aid. Of course he wanted water, so I schlepped across the parking lot to the equipment truck to get him a bottle of water, (note to self--keep a spare bottle of water in my cooler) where the band director happened to be taking shelter in the back of the equipment truck and mildly chastised me in so many words for getting my kid some water--which I would have done for ANY KID who needed one--but not anyone else when they were all hot and thirsty. Too bad. But, a few minutes later, she and another parent rolled the cooler holding the bottled water to the buses and handed them out to everyone. (And then griped that there were too many kids on my bus. Really??? They're on the bus and safe. Isn't that the important point right now???)

The kids in the other bus, left with only one adult (a mom who'd never been around these kids before) decided to get a bit rambunctious. They were hanging out the windows interacting with the cheerleaders and drill team on the bus on the other side of them. When the bus driver told them to put up the windows, the kids didn't want to listen to him or to the mom. The bus driver went in search of someone on the cheerleader bus and it was only then that I realized there was a problem.

So once we got them fairly squared up, I stayed on that bus. I'm pretty strict with them because, quite frankly, crap like that isn't going to happen on my watch. It's just not. And they know I'll separate them or even tattle to the band director if they don't behave, and I don't care what they think about me for doing so.

Maybe I should have checked if there was an adult on that bus in the first place, but is that really my responsibility??? Yes, to a certain degree, I think, but ultimately isn't it the band director's job to make sure the kids are properly chaperoned/supervised. You really can't trust most high school kids to act like adults. You just can't.

Anyway...the game will have to be completed on Saturday evening, but whether the band will be in attendance is unknown at the moment. There's a Cowboy Stadium event Saturday morning which the band director is working (as is Sonshine, DD, and myself) and I'm not sure the band director is going to want to go, considering a) there's another Cowboys Stadium event Sunday that she's working, and b) we already did our half-time show...

So....
Yeah...
We love marching band season. :)

We were on the bus for about 30/45 minutes when the game was called. The storm, while mostly north of us, was too big and there was just too much lightning (but little rain) to be safe. So we went back to school, unloaded the kids and the instruments and had to keep them in the building until parents showed up. Fun, fun, fun...
Sunday, September 25, 2011

On the news...

Our local FOX news visited Sonshine's high school Friday morning...

Unfortunately, time ran out to interview the band director, but the band can be seen in the background.

What's especially nice is the acknowledgment of the football coach in regards to the cheerleaders, drill team, and band in sticking around during the previous week's game through three rain delays.

We didn't home until almost 2am.

Football Friday: Eastern Hills HS: MyFoxDFW.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Road Trip!

I went to Rockport, Texas with hubby this week. He had to meet with a lawyer on a forensic case and I tagged along. I was originally planning on visiting the USS Lexington again, but the BEACH was right there across the street from the hotel and I decided to relax on the beach instead. It didn't quite work out the way I'd hoped, but that's okay.

It was a gorgeous day!

Some pictures...

The seagulls enjoying the shade before I shooed them away to setup camp:




















The view toward the Gulf of Mexico:
















And hubby relaxing on the beach:

To be fair cell/landline service had been down all morning all over Rockport, so this was the best cell service he'd gotten all day and was just checking in with the office before enjoying a couple of hours respite before getting back in the car for the seven hour drive home.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Adventures in Marching Band

So last Friday was a football game (although no school--the game had been originally scheduled for the day before) and we were on the list to feed the whole crew. No problem.

On Friday it looks a little overcast and gloomy with rain in the forecast and the thought crossed my mind that the game might be cancelled and did we (not me, but DD actually) really need to spend the whole day cooking chicken patties and macaroni and cheese?

But yes--the day cleared up and we (DD) proceeded. We dutifully showed up and prepped for the meal while the kids were still marching. They ate and got dressed for the game.

By the time it was time to load the buses, the rain had arrived and the lightning was flashing. The band director told the kids they were probably going to spend a lot of time on the buses and to deal with it and act grown up about it.

By the time all was said and done, we had three delays, a total of probably three hours on the bus (we were five minutes from school, so the trip to and from took little time), and by the time we got home it was 1:50 am Saturday morning.

Our cheerleaders stayed, our drill team stayed, and the band stayed to keep our football team's spirits up. We won the game like 47 to 6 or something.

The other team's cheerleaders and band bailed after the second delay (which was the first after the game had actually gotten started). How sad. :(

Luckily I had a decent group of kids on my bus and not the major trouble makers. I had one trouble maker, but his friends were on the other bus, so he was a bit neutered.

Once the game finally got going with no further delays, the kids ended up having fun and getting into playing again. We had to play our half-time show from the stands, but play they did.

Fun times!
Friday, September 16, 2011

I suck as a writer...

...this is rather tongue in cheek, but then again...

So let's see...I've been playing around at this game of being a writer, pursuing the ultimate goal of being a published author for eight years now.

I started off writing fan fiction, took original fiction under my wing and continued to write fan fiction, and now I fiddle with my original fiction and bang away at the keyboard churning out quite a lot of words worth of fan fiction. (Some of my writing chapter mates who don't even know what fan fiction is don't write that much. *hee*)

I know my abilities and my limits as a writer. I know what I do well and I know where I need to work harder. Not that I do, 'cause it is *hard* work and most days I just don't wanna.

I am in the middle of an online class (I mentioned this the other day.) about sexual tension and how to get it on the page. It's been quite interesting and I'm learning something.

So yesterday I read this lovely piece of fan fiction. From first word to last, I was enthralled, gripped, and moved by this story. When I was finished, I was emotionally wrenched, but ultimately satisfied.

The scary part is that most books I *pay money for* do not move me that much. My theory on that is when I buy a book, the author has a finite number of pages to make me love her characters--not even the whole book. She's got maybe 1/4 to 1/2 of the book to really make the hero and heroine and their story grow on me. When I read fan fiction, I'm already invested in the characters. I've seen the show, or watched the movie, or read the book. The fan fiction author doesn't have to sell me the characters, though she does have to sell me the premise.

This story was a romance with a pairing that I hadn't been overly eager to embrace, but the premise was intriguing and so I began. I read all afternoon. All 57K words of it.

And when I was done, my thoughts were: "This was brilliant. Beautifully crafted and executed." and "I suck as a writer."

If a fan fiction author can write like this, then I'm doomed after eight years of being a student of the art/craft of romance writing. Of course, for all I know, in her real life, she could also be a proud member of RWA and have twelve best-sellers. (Though I don't think she'd still be writing fan fiction...)

The point is, I occasionally come across these pieces of fan fiction, as lovingly labored over as any best-seller, and I suddenly feel completely out of my league.

I suck as a writer...

(and, yes. I'd like some cheese with my whine, thanks)
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Drama, drama, drama...

My son, the drama king. I tease him, but really he's very dramatic for a teenage boy. Also, he's very good at it, so you get a two-fer and a flashback.

(1) One day last week Sonshine stayed at the after-school program to hang with his girl and do some homework. When I picked him, he announced that he'd been conscripted into the after-school program play. I was quite excited about this as the last time...

...(flashback) he was in a play was when he was in the fifth grade and also for the after-school program. That play was called, "Santa, You've Got Mail" and Sonshine played Mr. Walker, the postman/narrator. He was thread that tied all the singing and skits together. And he was awesome! That's not just proud mom talking-- a lot of other people said so, too. We encouraged him to take drama in middle school he was so dang good. (He opted for band instead.)

This play is called Team Edward vs. Team Jacob and has something to do with the Twilight series. He plays Robert Pattinson the actor who portrayed Edward Cullen in the Twilight series.

(2) Last night I got a phone call from the band director around 7:30--odd because Tuesday is late marching practice and she should be in the midst of that. Well she was, but this is how the call went:

Ms. Band Director: "You need to come get Sonshine." (she doesn't really call him that :)
Me: "What's wrong with Sonshine?" (I didn't call him that at the time)
Ms. Band Director: "He passed out."
Me. "I'll be there in five minutes."

When I get there, he's flat on his back on the sidewalk, the color guard coach next to him, holding bottles of frozen water to his neck. His hair and shirt are soaked as they had, of course, poured water on him to cool him down. He's somewhat coherent, so we sit for a few more minutes until he's with it enough to walk to the car.

So basically the doofus was marching with his long sleeved hoodie on in the over 100* heat. Granted the sun was not shining on them at that point, but still. They march on a concrete parking lot that still holds and releases the heat of the day. *duh* Anyway, when they were given a water break, he lay down and then passed out.

He's still feeling the after-effects this morning in the form of a headache and all over body ache...

Silly boy. :)
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What's going on with me?

Not much, really...

Our server crashed at the office so I have been without e-mail since Friday. It's been sort of odd to be without e-mail because I am in it and communicate via e-mail for just about all aspects of my life. It's more the lack of contacts and userids and passwords that's been the bigger hassle, as I keep all that information in Outlook. :( We may get it back, we may not. *fingers crossed*

I've started a re-read/discussion of the Harry Potter books with some online friends. Deadline for finishing book one is this coming Sunday. I finished reading it the other day and have begun re-reading it. Since I am the coordinator of said re-read, I'm responsible for coming up with the discussion questions (with a little help from Google).

Band Booster prezzing is going okay. Not great, as the band director is pretty busy and it's difficult to get things done--certain things she supposedly needs to handle. I'm not sure. I might just have to test the waters and explain my position and if she does indeed need to be involved, then how much can I do? If she doesn't, then I proceed. On a happy side note, the band director decided we weren't working the event at Cowboys Stadium this weekend. Instead she's running a car wash.

Writing Chapter is going okay as well. The elected president-elect resigned a month or so ago and it's been a challenge to find someone qualified to step into that position. I resisted at first, but eventually decided to accept the call. So this weekend my appointment as president-elect should be ratified. My biggest gripe is that no one wants to step up and volunteer. The chapter can't run magically by itself. And while I could probably pull off president, newsletter editor, and website director by myself--I shouldn't have to.

I've also been taking a online class on sexual tension and how to get it on the page. I aced the first homework assignment. Though I didn't do the second or third assignment (that's about the time my e-mail went bye-bye). It's been quite interesting with interviews from big name authors and examples from published books as well.

I have a bit of an epiphany . . . I've always lamented that my love (read: sex) scenes tend to run more to the porn end of the spectrum (more physical descriptions) than the true LOVE scene (the more emotion-packed scene) . . . and while reading comments from the class instructor on others' homework, it finally clicked - - and now it seems like a *DUH* moment -- But I struggle to write or should I say *show* (rather than tell) what those emotions are. But how do you show love or lust? What are the physiological responses? I guess there's a fine line between the truly physical and the physiological... I don't know... I'm confusing myself again.

All right, well, I'm done. That's what's going with me...
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mom and Sonshine's Little Adventure

So I get a call from the kid yesterday, late morning.

"Um, Mom...I can't go back to class until I get this shot..."

Aw, crud. He'd brought home a paper at the end of last year and it disappeared and I forgot all about the shot. Until the phone call.

All right, so off I go to school to pick up Sonshine. After a quick detour to the house to get a book, we go to Care Now. Sign in. Go to Wendy's for a quick bite. Back to Care Now to finish waiting.

"Oh, excuse me, Sonshine's mom? We just ran out of the TDAP vaccination, but the Arlington location has it. I've called ahead and they know you're coming."

Lovely. Back in the car we get and drive for fifteen minutes, wait another thirty, get the shot, wait ten for any bad reactions, wait to pay and then finally drive Sonshine back to school. (What--he had band practice after school--he *had* to go back.)

I finally get back to the office and try to figure out where I left off and what I had left to do. Did I mention that I felt like I was coming down with something...

On the up side, it was a gorgeous day and I got to be out in it rather than stuck in my chilly office. :)
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's cool, it's cool, it's SOOOOO cool here!!!

...cue Charlie Brown music...

*Snoopy dancing*

Yesterday when I got up and let the dogs out, it was 69*/70*. I opened all the windows in the house and they stayed open ALL day. I sat out on the back patio yesterday morning as well, enjoying the delicious cool temps with my hot tea and laptop.

Right now, 9am, it's ONLY 63*!!!! I'm wearing a sweater in my office!!!

We have not seen temperatures this cool in at least 90 days!!!

Yes, I'm excited. :)

I wish I were at home again, on my patio with hot tea and my laptop. Alas, the work week has started and I have more than enough on my plate.

Have a good week, y'all!
Friday, September 2, 2011

TGIF

Oh, my, yes--I'm ready for the long weekend.

My body aches from the waist down. I was up and down the bleachers last night, handing out cups and handing out cups and handing out cups. Also picking up cups and trash, etc.

The band was awesome. According the band director, this is the earliest the kids have really known their competition music and their routine this early in quite a few years. Lots of other people had lots of good things to say, too. Even the district's head guy over all fine arts said they were great!

We had a couple of kids who were really *really* nervous, one having a mild panic attack before taking the field. Another young was just so down afterwards because he messed up. But he's a freshman and it was his first time on a football field in front of a major crowd.

But bad me--the one thing I forgot was my camera and my phone does not take videos. And even if it did, I have no idea haw to get them from phone to Internet...

From last week's performance for the parents, Sonshine "assuming the position of attention"--also being in JROTC, he tends to take it to the next level. (They are not required by the band director to salute, nor do other band/JROTC members salute, but my son . . . *rolls eyes*)

Also--one of three BAND MEMBER(s) OF THE WEEK!!!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's the first game of the season, folks!

And the Highlander Marching Band is ready to take the field!

I'm excited about the first game of the season. The kids looked awesome last Thursday when the performed a sample of their contest program for the parents. I can't wait to see them on the field tonight.

Videos to come!
Monday, August 29, 2011

What Would Nanny Do? (really LONG post)

DD and I have been watching "Nanny 911"--a reality TV show where a British nanny visits the home of an American family (supposedly for a week) and tries to help the family with their biggest/most problematic parenting issues.

It's been quite interesting and I was pleased to note that a lot of the problems faced by the families with younger children were not things we struggled with when our children were small. Things like bedtime and chores and sleeping in one's own bed.

These days, only the two youngest are still at home. Sonshine is 15, soon to be 16 and DD is 21.

As we watched episode after episode after episode, I began to ask myself: if one of the two nannies spent a week in our house, what would she see and what would she say? So I've been thinking about that...

On a side note, one episode featured a family who moved a lot. Dad was a contractor and flipped houses. The family's own house was unfinished. One of the children felt very insecure--every time he made friends and got settled, the family moved and the kid had to change schools and start all over. That got me to thinking about Sonshine's room...physically it's finally finished--flooring, molding, etc. I feel bad having let his room go unfinished for so long, but that's water under the bridge. But now that that part's taken care of, I want his room *finished*. His bed is back together and all his furniture is back in place--minus one ugly white sewing table that had been a catch-all for junk and dust. I cleaned it out and moved the bookshelf in it's place. Even with the large bunk bed (all wood with the double-size bed on the bottom) his room is, well, roomy. :) He has a collection of hats, so my next goal is to get him some sort of something he can use to display them. What good's a collection, if you can't see and enjoy it? And after that the closet. He's got a lot of children's books shoved in the top of closet and other toys and things he never uses/plays with. He and I are going to spend some time next weekend going through that stuff. And then I'll be ready to call his room finished.

DD's room, on the other hand, is a disaster. She's an adult, so I think there's a fine line between what I can and can't do. But it is my house and she doesn't pay rent, so I do have some say so. I'll be thinking about my expectations this coming week and then they'll be made perfectly clear to her.

(And all the while as I type, I can hear Nanny Stella's lovely British accent.)

So what would Nanny Stella say about our household?

I think she'd say the kids don't help enough around the house, especially considering their ages. And she'd be right. DH tells me that all the time. :)

I also think she'd say...

It's ridiculous that Mom has to play alarm clock for the two men in the house. DH is 42, Sonshine is 16. They are both old enough to be responsible for getting themselves up in the morning. And she'd be right. Honestly I can't tackle that one right away, but rest assured it is on my list of home improvements.

She might also say eating dinner together as a family and not in front of the TV is important. I know she's right, but I don't know how easy it would be to pull this off. We don't even have a proper dining room table--though we do have a card table and chairs which I'm willing to set up. I'll have to think about that one.

And the biggest thing she'd probably say is that Mum has to assert her authority. Many times I let them get away with smart mouths or bad attitudes and not completing tasks I've asked them do. I've started working on that. :)

My biggest problem is consistency and follow-through. I know that these are probably the most important factors. And I'm awful about them in almost all aspects of my life, but *fingers crossed* that I stay firm.
Friday, August 26, 2011

Sleepy

I could use a nap right about now. It's too warm and I just ate and I woke up at 4AM worrying about Sonshine's band shirt. I ended up getting up and running it through the washing machine. I went back to bed after starting the washer and dozed until 6:30am when I just had to get the show on the road.

If there wasn't a client in the office, I'd put my head back and close my eyes for a while. Instead, I'm slogging through my latest fan fic (slogging because I'm so sluggish, not because of the story--I *love* this story) hoping that my super-dee-dooper relaxed brain will create some really good stuff.

That's all, Jen out. :)
Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School

Well, the first day of school is no longer the big deal it once was, for mom or for the kids, though Sonshine was eager to get back at it. Mostly because (I think) more time he can spend with his girlfriend.

He has a few adjustments to make to his schedule as they put him back into geometry but didn't put him back into JROTC.

Another week and DD begins the fall semester at the local community college. She attended both summer semesters, passing all three classes with flying colors. Let's see how well she does with a full course load. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's Up??

Not much. Just thought I'd check in.

Sonshine starts back to school on Monday. YAY. Though this summer has not seemed as long as past ones. I think because he was busy with school-related activities (mainly band camp) for most of the summer. I think I mentioned somewhere (maybe not here, but one of my other outlets) that they've tacked on an extra hour to the school day. I don't mind so much since I know where he is and what he's up to, but really are they just going to teach him more of nothing? He's going to have re-arrange his schedule and shuffle classes around--they failed to put him in JROTC. Surprisingly. He wants to stay in it (unusual for the most part at this school) and they didn't put him back in. DD on the other hand, did two years (for PE credit) and was outta there faster than our recent rains disappeared. :)

We slept in our own bedroom last night. Thank goodness. The ceiling fan in the writing room is terribly noisy and if I woke up any time after 4am there was NO going back to sleep. I still need to move the dresser and the armoir back in, but that's a task for tonight. I sorta hate to do it as the room looks so airy and roomy right now. But I think Sonshine would really like his room back.

The kids are going to the dump today, taking as much of the old molding and trash as they can fit into the truck. Luckily its a big full-sized sucker and can haul a bunch.

I think I'm going to miss this month's writing meeting. My house still needs a lot of tidying and I have two band related events--one Friday night and a Cowboy game on Sunday afternoon/evening. I think I'll stay home and rest on Saturday. Or get something accomplished around the house. And rest. Take it easy.

The writing is going, albeit slowly. But that's okay.

I'm going to admit it right here, right now, publicly that I'm no longer writing for publication--well, official publication. I do love to write, but it's really fan fiction that tickles my fancy. So I'm going with it. I'll write and post as the muse allows. But I also love the editing aspect so I'm going to hone those skills on my critique partners. Maybe someday I can make some money doing that.

So Rick Perry, my state governor, has joined the run for the White House in 2012. I don't know much about him, though I've gotten the impression that he's a more liberal Republican and that some of his acts have not benefited issues that I hold dear. But his recent words about easing the burden on small businesses got my attention. I guess I need to see what those smarter than me have to say about him.
Monday, August 15, 2011

It Rained!!

For about 4.5/5 hours Saturday morning.

I think it started somewhere around 4am, though that's a guess, and it rained until 8:30/9am. It didn't rain as hard as I would have liked for all that time, but beggars can't be choosers, I know.

Saturday remained "cool" only reaching the mid-80s temperature wise. Sunday was a little warmer, though I don't think we broke 100*. But today we're back to triple digits.

The house is 98% done. Now it's time to put it all back together. My FIL starts a new job today and will return next weekend to finish up minor things.

Tonight, I'll go over my new bedroom floor with a couple of coats of Mop n' Glo before moving my furniture back in there. I'll dust my ceiling fan and all the shelves and decorations. Then each piece of furniture will also be wiped down before it gets to return home.

Unfortunately, our bed money had to be spent to buy additional boxes of flooring, so no new bed anytime soon. :( I will have to buy new sheets though.

Once we're back in our room, we'll work on getting Sonshine's room put back together. His room & furniture will undergo similar cleaning in the process. Despite his penchant for falling asleep on the couch, he is looking forward to getting his own bed back.

I did get to enjoy my writing room yesterday though my bed's still in it and I didn't actually write. I cross-stitched and listened to music. It was nice and cool and quiet. :)

Pictures tomorrow.
Thursday, August 11, 2011

The end is in sight...I hope. But not.

RE: home improvement

DD's room will be finished today. The new molding is up and painted. FIL will be touching up the walls around the molding where it's all raggedy from pulling down the old molding. She'll begin moving back in tonight.

With DD out of Sonshine's room, we have two choices--move our bed into Sonshine's room and leave him on the sofa for another week or allow him back into his room and move into the home office. If we do the latter, we'll have to move all of MIL/FIL's equipment and supplies into the kitchen. Which is not a big deal.

They are also working on the hallway. New molding has gone up in there as well and walls are being painted.

Then our bedroom. New flooring and new molding.

THEN back to normal and cleaning up. My floors have not been mopped in probably three weeks. My backyard is a disaster area. My front yard needs some serious TLC.

BUT it's TOO DANG HOT!!!!

Tomorrow we tie the record of 42 days in a row of over 100* temps, Saturday we break it and there's no end in sight...not for ten days at least. We have a 30% chance of rain Saturday, but I doubt we'll see it.

*sigh*

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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