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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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Thursday, July 28, 2011

*sigh*

Nothing new to report, really. It's still hot.

Life goes on in a never-ending cycle.

We'll be getting some work done around our house starting next week. My father-in-law is suddenly unemployed, though I don't know the real story. But they need money. We have some and we need some work done, so...

I'll be getting flooring in my writing room. And FIL will be painting/installing the floor molding as well. After that I'll just have to order the desk and do a bit of decorating and I'm ready to rum I mean write!

Sonshine's room will probably also be getting flooring as well as molding done. He has no molding at all, at the moment. I'd taken it all down to paint his room eons ago. Then life happened and we never have gotten around to finishing it.

There are few other projects, but I won't bore you with those right now.

It's nice and quiet here in the office. No one here but me, so I'm going to sign off and write while the writing's good.

Keep cool. :/
Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday, Monday...an update of my boring life

Another Monday, another work week, another blistering day here in North Texas. When will it (the heat) all end? Is this the new normal? If it is, we all better get adjusted and start dealing with life as it is, not wishing it would return to the way it was. That never works out well for anyone.

I've taken to watering my front lawn on Sunday evenings. The main part of the grass gets about two hours, the trees get watered all night. Grass can be more easily replaced than 50+ year old trees, so the trees get soaked once a week now. The back yard is completely brown and crunchy. I can mow the lawn by raking, the strands of grass/weeds are that dried out and brittle. I have to rake again--one of the trees in the back yard is losing its leaves. And I haven't even finished raking from last year. Gah!

Dealing with the band director is going to take patience. Good thing I have a lot of that. It'll also take a forgetful/forgiving spirit. I'm more of the first, less of the second. But I have discovered she's a lot of bravado. If you challenge her, she backs down. An interesting concept for me since I'm fairly non-confrontational. But I have a feeling there may be a few of those this year. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I'm the band booster prez, she's the band director, and while she has a lot more knowledge about this endeavor, I have some power. And she can't do it without me. I'm glad I had last year to get to know her some without the pressure of this relationship. I know how to deal with her. Speaking of band boosters, I do have some things I need to get done!

We held a car wash this past Saturday and brought in $268 from between 15 and 20 cars. We are doing it again next Saturday. Oh boy. Despite having an awning, I ended up helping the kids and cracking the whip and getting a sunburn. I think next week, I'll wear a t-shirt!

Writing room still on stand-by, booster stuff taking precedence at the moment.

Writing in general is happening, though I've been bad about revising my young adult now that I have all my critiques back. Plus I need work on chapter two. I have two weeks to get those done for the next critique cycle.

I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II for the third time yesterday afternoon. In 2D rather than 3D this time. I caught a few things I missed before, so that was nice.

The house in general is a mess. I'm thinking of taking a partial vacation--only work half days for two weeks and spend that time at home, writing, revising, and cleaning my house. Though I might wait until school is back in session so I have the house to myself. :)

I haven't given up on walking though it's been a few days. I figured the car wash, a meeting at Cowboys stadium, and going to the movies was enough exercise for the weekend. But tonight, I'll be back out on the route. I finally realized the other day, most of my aches and pains were gone. So the walking has served/is serving its main purpose. Now I just have to get back to watching what I'm eating and stop ingesting the bad stuff. I'm fixin' to have a banana for my morning snack, so that's a start.

My oldest daughter is in a facility down near Houston and doing pretty well. Her letters have all been upbeat and she insists she ready to make this chance work. I think she's sincere, and I hope she beats the odds, but the real world numbers say only a small percentage of heroin addicts stay clean permanently. I don't know of there's a correlation to the length of time you were an addict before getting clean, but she has addictive tendencies in her personality, so that won't help. But fingers crossed. And if you pray, please lift her up. (Thanks.)

All right, it's that time. Catch you all later!

And keep cool. :)
Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ouch...

Just whining today because my mouth hurts. I have an abscess on the roof of my mouth, next my bridge. And it hurts. I've been popping a lot of ibuprofen lately and if I stay on top of it, then I can mask the pain, but right now it's throbbing--though probably cuz I was messing with it, not for lack of drugs. I have hot tea to help, but it's just a little too hot, atm. If it doesn't get better by tomorrow I may have to break down and go to the dentist. Grr...

Tonight is the first band booster board meeting, starring me--the band booster prez. I'll be spending part of today making sure I'm ready for it. Though I started that process last week, a last minute check is never a bad thing.

Sonshine came to work today to play WOW all day, so I have company. He's a pretty cool kid--most of the time, when he's not being a typical teen-age boy. But even then... :)

Okay, tea's cool enough to drink (for me) and working its magic already. (Ahhh....)

The room is at a stand still, partially because so many other things are going on and partly because I've been so dang exhausted. I don't know why, though. I crash at 9:30/10PM and sleep until 6:30AM. That's a lot of sleep for me. I even took a cat nap yesterday afternoon.

I walked last night. I forced myself out the door to walk around at least one block, but ended up doing all three, though at a slower pace. Tonight, I'm not sure if I'll be up for walking after my meeting. We shall see.

Okay, well, enough rambling and babbling. I'm going to do a little bit of work, number crunching and what-not, and then maybe some writing.

Stay cool!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where to begin...

I'm band booster prez. First board meeting Thursday evening. Oh boy, oh joy. Speaking in front of people used to scare the shspit out of me. Thanks to two years as writing group chapter prez, I can do it with few qualms. Well, as long as the group isn't too large. And I know what I'm talking about. If I had to speak to, say, a Cowboys Stadium full of people, I might faint from nerves. But I digress...

Fulfilling my duties in this position is going to stretch me further as a person. I'm not really looking forward to it, cuz growth and change can be scary. But I knew the job was dangerous when I took it, but take it I did. For my kid. For the other band kids I'd grown to love last year. For the band director. And yes for myself. I'm a volunteer. I like to be part of a group. Sometimes, yes, I even like to be in charge. Even though I'm more of an introvert than an extrovert.

Now, I didn't seek out the job. The band director asked me if I'd do it. Last summer the co-prez died and his wife did not rise to the occasion and the band director ran the band on her own last year. It was a lot of work and pressure for her especially as she's also the primary care-giver for her 85-year-old mother who is somewhat incapacitated. I readily agreed to take it on.

And now my heartstrings are being tugged. Almost half these band kids can't afford or won't be able to pay their band fees. Now the band director doesn't turn them away, she waives the fees she can and the band booster picks up the rest. But that means we have to raise just that much more money to cover those costs. And now it seems our major source of income--the NFL--may not pull through for us. As long as the lock out goes on, there are no NFL games for us to work at Cowboys Stadium. Yes, there are other events scattered here and there at the stadium like concerts and soccer, but we never make nearly as much money. We average $1500 an NFL game times three or four time a month...

So I'm in "beg" mode. I've modified a letter provided by the band director and will be soliciting sponsorships for twenty-five kids. And that's just for marching season. Other things, including band trip scholarships, will come later.

So shameless plug, if you can spare $5 or $10 (more is of course welcome), please consider making a donation to the EHHS Highlander Band. Visit their website: www.ehhsmusic.org and the Paypal button is at the top. If you'd rather pay by check, make checks payable to EHHS Band Boosters and mail to EHHS Band Boosters, 5701 Shelton Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76112. And pass the word if you know of others who'd interested and willing in supporting the arts, but especially supporting the kids here on the east side in Fort Worth. (Thanks!)

And that wasn't even the point of this post! Oh well.

If you have ideas for how to raise money please let me know. Though, FYI, direct selling doesn't work well around here. We're having two car washes the next two Saturday mornings and the band director is thinking of doing a "movie in the parking lot". I have some ideas on how to expand that...

And now it's time to get some other stuff done!

Keep cool!

(Update on new roof and writing room soon.)
Monday, July 18, 2011

PERFECT

I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II twice this weekend. I loved it just as much the second time as the first. I caught a few more minor things during the second watch that I didn't realize were interesting or important on the first watch because I was so excited and mind-boggled the first time 'round. And, yes, I'll be seeing it again with a friend as she hasn't seen it yet. I may break my record of seeing the same movie in a theater more than once. It's currently at three for Star Trek 2009.

The movie stuck with the book pretty darn close. It's been a few months since I read it, but as far as I can tell and from what I've heard, they didn't change much. Of course they had to leave some stuff and out and gloss over a few things due to time constraints, but that was to be expected.

Loved, loved, loved it!!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Lethargy

It's too hot right now to be excited about much of anything. The heat drains one's energy pretty quickly if you have to be out in it. Luckily I only have to be out in it a few times a day for very short stretches.

But while I took a break from walking Monday because my legs ached so bad, I did get back to it last night. I'm walking three full blocks at a brisk rate in about 20/23 minutes. My calves still burn from the inclines so I'm not ready to add another block quite yet, though I'd like to be doing at least thirty minutes.

My back yard is dry, dry, dry. It hurts to look at it. When the weeds are dead, you know there's a drought. I may actually have to start watering, at least the front and the sides which are still mostly green. I started watering my trees out front (a pine, a magnolia, and a mimosa) as they were just starting to look droopy. It may just be my imagination, but they look more perky to me.

The old shed was torn down and hauled off yesterday. Now we need to replace the rotted floor and wait for the new one to be built.

My lawn mower is at the shop. It's been there for like three weeks now. The guy called the day after I dropped it off to ask if it was still under warranty, which I'm pretty sure it wasn't, because he didn't want to proceed until he knew how he was getting paid. I told him I'd look for the receipt just in case and call him back. I called the following day and told him I couldn't find the receipt (and got a lecture about saving my receipts) and that I'd pay for the repairs. So when I called yesterday and it still wasn't done and he told me it was because he didn't want to do work when he wasn't going to get paid, I was a bit peeved. I've been without a mower for almost a month. Needless to say, my yards need to be mowed. I reminded him a bit impatiently that I'd already told him I would pay for it. "Oh, I'm sorry, my fault." GRRRRRR.

I downloaded a bunch of free books to my Kindle last night so reviews may be coming soon. I'm currently reading "After the Fire" by Kathryn Shay. So far, so good. It's kept me reading, not wanting to put it down. Though I do, cuz sleep is sacred. But I was up early reading some more. There's some language, but it's cops and firemen, so I think it's realistic. No sex so far, and I'm not sure of the heat rating, so we'll see how that pans out. We're following a fire fighting family--three siblings are smoke eaters, two are not. The story revolves around the three who are. There's a lot of tension in the family because of it. The dad was also a fireman and died in the line of duty, so the two siblings who aren't fire fighters can't understand or relate to the others. I'm guessing by the end of the book, there'll be some resolution there. After a big fire where a lot of fire fighters died, the three siblings reassess their lives and try to make right what they've allowed to go pear-shaped. So when I'm done today or tomorrow, I'll let you know how it turned out.

Big day on Saturday for writing meetings--board meeting, general meeting, critique group. Oh, boy. But I'm looking forward to it. Mostly. Not the board meeting though. There was a little kerfaffle this past week. I know one of the parties will be at the board meeting, not sure about the other. So we'll see. The general meeting will be boring. It's not a topic I'm too interested in right now, seeing as how I'm not planning a traditional route to publishing. The critique meeting will be...interesting. Our group hasn't quite defined how things are going to work. I'm trying to get a consensus, but I'm not sure if that's going to work. If we can't hash it out this weekend, as co-founder, I'll make the decision.

Well, marching band boy has to be at school soon and I have to get him there, so I'm signing off!

Stay cool, stay hydrated!
Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday, Monday...

Here we are again. Monday morning. It's still hot here on the great (by that I mean large, not awesome) state of Texas.

I accomplished A LOT this weekend and I'm very happy about that. In addition, we spent quite a bit of time together as a family. We weren't all doing the same thing, but we were in the same room interacting, which was nice. Some days I think we're not that dysfunctional. :)

My to-do list contained about 20 or so items, all of which were accomplished except two (both mine). I was too pooped on Sunday to do them.

And and and...I've been walking. My feet, calves, and thighs will corroborate my story. Three blocks and about twenty minutes worth. Once I'm acclimated to this, then I'll add a block and so on and so on. Of course it'll be easier once the weather cools off too.

The writing is going well and I'm making progress on two tales: my original short story and a JAG fic. My short story tipped the scale at 7300+ words this morning. Only 200 to go to reach my goal. I think eventually it will exceed that as I've finally come to the place where I can see that I need to add some stuff.

And I know the last chapter (that I haven't gotten to yet) will definitely need revisions based on changes in the first two or three chapters. So I'm excited about that too. The JAG fic is undergoing some major revisions as well and I'm excited to experience my writing M.O. once again. Nothing I can really explain, at least in writing, but this is like the fourth story where I've done this similar thing and so it's nice to know I have a method that works for me.

The spare room was on my to-do list and one of the tasks I failed to complete this weekend. My next task is scrubbing the floor in preparation for the floor treatment. I bought steel wool yesterday at the grocery store, so I have what I need. I think tonight, I'll be getting started on that.

And last but not least, the final Harry Potter film comes out Friday! We have our tickets bought and will be seeing the 4PM show on Friday. This'll be my first and last Harry Potter movie in a theater. That makes me kind of sad.

Well, the boss has arrived, so I guess it's time to get my work day started. (ha ha)
Friday, July 8, 2011

Yesterday...

...was so boring I thought I was going to cry. It was slow in the office, everyone was gone and it was just me. Plus, the weather has been practically unbearable and our office A/C is barely keeping up. I mean when I'm hot in the office, you know it's hot outside. GUH.

So I forced myself, really, to work on continuing revisions of my short story. I have another week or so to work on this before I will be submitting it for critique to my critique group. I was so sure I was going to reach the 7500 word mark, but now, not so much. Maybe, I'll hit it, maybe not. But it'll be close. I'll have to wait to see what my CPs say and then perhaps I'll be able to flesh it out even further. *fingers crossed*

I also have a fan fic I've been wanting to finish. It's been languishing on my hard drive for about five/six years now and I really really DO want to finish it. I think today is going to be a repeat of yesterday, so that will be my WIP of choice.

I have a few real work related tasks to take care of before I can open up my story, so I'm off!

Stay cool--
Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Roof...

So much for normal...

We're getting a new roof, new gutters, and a new metal shed. All with no money out of pocket. The workers started yesterday and the first workers arrived as I was leaving at 6:55 this morning. So for the next few days the roof and yard will be crawling with strangers and the house will be filled with banging. Oh joy. But, hey, for a new roof, which obviously adds to the resale value of the house and a lower electric bill, I can live with banging for a few hours for the next few days.

The old round vents are going by the wayside and new vents that extend the length of the roof are going in. According to our roofing guy, our electric bill should decrease $2 for every foot of this stuff we have. On top of that, we have a solar powered attic fan, valued at $500. That will pull air in or suck it out, I don't know which, but will definitely help in lowering the temperatures in our attic space.

New gutters and downspouts will be a godsend. I think we'll need to add gutter guards, though so all those leaves and pine needles don't fill them up and clog the downspouts. Half the gutters are/were hanging by the skin of their teeth.

The new shed--meh--I could have lived without it since we have a huge wooden shed in the other corner of the yard, but hubby wanted it so we're getting it. Of course, now, we have to build a foundation/floor for it as the old one was pretty rotted out. A little money out of pocket, but not much.

So that's what's going on around here. At least for a few days...but I really dislike all the upheaval and have almost had enough already.

Calgon, take me away...
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Whew...

We have survived another 4th of July season. It didn't go as expected, but where's the fun in that?

Life should now return to normal.

I'm still recovering from the weekend (two *very* late nights and a LOT of activity) and I'm still pooped. Though I am trying to stay active...I walked last night for about 25 minutes. And I'm going to do my darnedest to keep it up. I need that exercise for many many reasons.

The writing room is on hold for a few days until I catch up with sleep and writing and get acclimated to a new normal: band camp for marching band boy begins today. It's only once a week for him for the next month (and then two full weeks worth right before school starts), but that means it's time to put on my band booster president's hat and get that tumbleweed rolling. Yee haw!

I've received three critiques on the first chapter of my YA novel--and all most of the comments were valid (though whether I make changes is another matter entirely). It's funny though that none of those three critique partners commented on the same thing--not one single overlap. Granted, this chapter have been gone over and gone over so all these comments were rather trivial, but that just goes to show how subjective critiquing is. :)

And I know I promised pics and vids of fireworks, but I'm having trouble getting them off my camera--well, it's more that the camera is dead and won't charge up so that I can get them off. Grr... I'll have to see if DD has the magic touch and can get it to work.

And I'm glad you made it to the show Regina, it was good see you and your family. This is the first time in, oh, six years that anyone from NT has shown up.

Well...time for work. Have a good day!
Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Writing Room . . .

. . . is coming along. I have completed the third coat to the door molding and I'm satisfied with the result. Once it's dry, I'll DAP it. I also finished the shelf brackets and worked on the peg rack. I finally realized I'll need to buy an unpainted wood shelf for those racks and paint it myself rather than buying a pre-made shelf. It would have two different finishes and I think would look funny once "installed".

I have been toying with the idea of pin-striping the bottom half of the wall. As I may have mentioned, the bottom half of the wall is not sheet rock--it's real wood paneling. Not large sheets, but rough, textured planks maybe six to seven inches wide each. So there are seams where one panel buts up against the next and so on. So that little trough would be the ideal place to add a lovely line of white. I've been nervous about it for two reasons . . . a) because hubby isn't always into really creative decorating and b) because, if I do try it and looks crappy or hubby really can't stand it, how do I fix it?

Well, I decided to try it. In the corner behind the door. DAP is paintable, so if it looks ugly or I completely muck it up, I can paint over it with little impact. I only have one seam done so far and have come to a realization--I like it! But because the panels were left in a natural state, not planed down to a smooth surface, but left with the knots and texture of a real tree, the seams are uneven, not only from one seam to the next, but also within each individual seam. The section of seam at the top might be wider or narrow than the section at the bottom due to the vagaries of the panel. Hmmm... I'll have to do a few more and perfect my technique and see how it looks/goes.

And I've had an epiphany about my room. I've been lamenting the darkness of the room due to the paint color I chose to paint the paneling. I was hoping for a bright sunny room. However, I've come to realize that it's not the paint color that's making the room look so dark, though it is a contributing factor. It's the fact that I have two large trees about twenty feet from the house right outside this room--both in full leaf at the moment--which means the sun can never shine directly in the room. And right now, with 100 degree temperatures, that's actually a good thing. Come winter, when my trees have shed their leaves and it's chilly here in North Texas, I'll have the sunlight not only to brighten the room, but to warm it! I feel so much better now. Silly me. :)

Next step, the floor, but only once the paint dries.

Have a great weekend!
Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Friday!

I really wish I didn't have to work today...I had the day off yesterday and now I'm looking at a holiday weekend. But the first of the month brings necessary tasks at work and I will attempt to get some of them done.

Yesterday, I met with two of my critique partners. They came to my house to get something accomplished, which they both claim to have done. Now me...it's my house and I work differently at home. I didn't get as much accomplished as I might have had my CPs not been around. But that's not to say I didn't get anything done. I got a little done.

Similar to my friend Regina, I work on a timed basis. Usually in 45 minute cycles. :) I write while (say) the washing machine runs. Then I get up switch out loads, use the restroom, refill my beverage if needed and get back to work. Or I sweep and dust or do dishes or clean the bathroom, etc. I could *so* be a stay-at-home mom/wife/housekeeper/writer if only I a) I didn't have to work and b) could come up with decent plots to keep me in story ideas.

Unfortunately I do have to work and I struggle with plotting.

I'm in the middle of revising a short story, working to get it long enough to be classified as a novelette, at least 7500 words. That won't be a problem. I'm at 6300 words and (only) through the second chapter out of five. I think I'll surpass my goal quite easily.

I'm alternating that with revising my young adult novel, of which the first chapter has been made available to my CPs. Unfortunately I'm not sure when I'll get any critiques back.

I'm incredibly lucky in that I am usually a fast worker (in my writing endeavors). My day job allows me a lot of free time to write or revise or critique. Unfortunately the members of my critique group are not similarly blessed and I usually have to wait for them to write something for me to read or to critique something for me. Someday I may be able to find someone who can keep up with me. :)

Anyway...I made no progress on my writing room yesterday. The day before however, though I really didn't feel like doing anything, I did accomplish most of what I planned to do. The door molding received its second coat and looks much less streaky. I think a third coat will take care of the rest. The seams around the wall have been DAPped and all looks quite tidy and lovely. I didn't make it to The Home Depot for outlets but seeing as how I don't do electricity they wouldn't be switched out till after the holiday anyway, and I did get part of a third coat on my brackets and peg rack. Oh, and Sonshine installed the door knob so I can keep the dogs out.

Next up will be the floor. I'll have to scrub it good and clean, down on my hands a knees. Scrape up all the paint I've dribbled and then I think the first coat will be a clear coat.

So now let me get on with my day.

See you Tuesday with some fireworks video.

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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