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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.

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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