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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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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!

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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