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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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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

For better or for worse...


...habits define us to a certain degree, to ourselves and to others.

Hey, look, there's the lady who always wears purple.

Oh, no, here comes the kid who never showers!

We all have them, good, bad and indifferent. We each have habits that endear us to people, and then there are those habits that drive others bonkers. Some of our habits keep us going day in and day out.

I'm fairly rigid in my habits and will almost always do a certain thing the same way all the time. Like, when I get home from work...I come in say hello to dogs and cats and kids, then I go to the kitchen and drop off any dishes from the day and sort through the mail, taking what's important. Then I take my stuff to my room and put it in the same place every single day. If it's not a work day, I still end up in my room putting my purse back in that same place so that I know where it is.

Not so with hubby. He comes home and drops his keys, wallet, and glasses in the first place he stops. If talking on his cell phone, he will head for the bedroom and drop everything on his night stand, but most of the time it's either the kitchen counter or the end table next to his chair.

Habits like bedtimes and getting-up times keep us (well, keeps me) on an even keel. Regular sleep cycles and meal times, as well as well-balanced meals and regular exercise keep us healthier both physically and emotionally. Why is it that more people don't realize this?

As for my not-so-great habits...I'm impatient with hubby a lot. And I annoy the kids. I guess I should ask them what they feel is my most annoying habit. :)

What about you...? Are you willing to share one good habit and one bad habit?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Not New, Not Improved


So there's this billboard I passed over the course of the last few days taking the Brown Eyed Girl to work.

It's for Shiner Bock, and it says: NOT New, NOT Improved.

And I loved it. If I drank beer, I might have switched. I never understood the philosophy of fixing something that isn't broken or improving something that tastes or works just fine. I get why they do it, but it's still bothersome.

The first thing I remember is the cereal, Special K. I used to eat it many years ago. And then they changed it. And I stopped eating it. Same with Grape Nuts. :(

More recently, a large organization to which I belong revamped their website. First, it was all back-end stuff, it looked the same mostly, though they'd added features. Now, I've been on PCs and the Internet a long time and I'm fairly savvy, but I hate hate hated the changes they made. The site was no longer user friendly. I could never find the same file or the same section twice. And if I did, it was never by following the same path. Ugh. Very frustrating. And then they decided to change the color scheme, the look and feel of the site. In general, I'm not opposed to the colors they chose, BUT this organization represents something and in my small insignificant opinion, the new color scheme does not represent that thing quite as well anymore. I'm not the only one. When the color changes were implemented, there was a lot of grumbling. And maybe it's more about the change rather than the changes themselves, because a lot of people resist change. Me included. But when something seems less friendly, less easy to use, or doesn't taste as good as it used to, there's something to be said for leaving well enough alone.

One last example is iTunes. Most people either love it or hate it. I'm mostly in the love it camp. The last upgrade brought significant changes to the user interface. A lot of folks were upset over that. And I'm not really sure what the purpose was. As of this post, I have not upgraded, although I'm sure there will be a point at which I have to otherwise things may stop working as well or altogether.

Is there a product that you wish had not been subjected to improvement??

NASCAR update: Danica Patrick started 1st, placed 8th. Not bad at all, considering there are 43 drivers.
Friday, February 22, 2013

NASCAR


I may have to start watching NASCAR again. :) If you've known me for very long, you'll know I went through a stint where I loved NASCAR. I watched it on Sundays, I discussed the races with people, I had driver stickers on my car, and I still have my fair share of collectibles. DH and I even attended two races; one here in Texas at Texas Motor Speedway and one in Arizona at the Phoenix International Raceway.

My favorite driver, back in the day, was Sterling Marlin.
I was NOT a Jeff Gordon fan.

One thing we learned about race tracks was that they have their own personalities, if you will. Texas Motor Speedway was a total party track. We could hardly get to sleep for all the noise and chatter and laughter going on late into the night. For our trip to Phoenix, we bought a pop-up trailer. A good choice, though not because of any sort of noise. In fact, PIR was the complete opposite of TMS. This was the rich/old person's track--they all had motor homes! And it was quiet as heck in the camping area.

The reason I may have to take up NASCAR again is because, for the first time ever, a woman will start the Daytona 500 from the pole position (that's first in the line-up, on the inside nearest nearest the flag pole if there are two lines). Last Sunday, Danica Patrick drove the fastest qualifying lap, giving her the pole.

It's hard enough to win a race even if you're a man, and there are or have been scant few women in the sport, though it's one of the few were gender really isn't an issue in terms of needing brawn over brains. You need endurance, a good engine, and a lot of luck.

I'm not really a women's libber, but it's good to see Danica taking a giant leap for woman-kind and showing girls and young women that with a lot of hard work and perseverance, you really can do anything you want in this world.

(borrowed from autoweek.com)
 
Are you a fan of auto-racing? Any particular kind? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Whatever Wednesday



Maybe you've heard of Minecraft, maybe you haven't. It's a video game and one that Sonshine spends a lot of time playing.

It's a cross between Legos on steroids and the Sims meet the Stone Age. The description according to WIKI: The creative and building aspects of Minecraft allow players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, gathering resources, crafting and combat. Gameplay in its commercial release has two principal modes: survival, which requires players to acquire resources and maintain their health and hunger; and creative, where players have an unlimited supply of resources, the ability to fly, and no health or hunger. A third gameplay mode named hardcore is the same as survival, differing only in difficulty; it is set to hardest setting and respawning is disabled, forcing players to delete their worlds upon death.

It's like watching girls playing Barbies--and it both cracks me up and tickles me to death. I'm sure there are girls that play, but it's fun and amazing to watch my son and a handful of friends get together in various worlds and create. They work together build communities. In fact, this past weekend, they thought up a constitution for their little world.

Here he is with the headset, talking to his friend, discussing the inventory on the alchemy store they've built.



 This is his character on the computer version/world. 

This is his character on his home game.
If you look close next to the head, there's a lighthouse he built.

In other news, poor Kitty got fixed and declawed Monday. She came home yesterday looking pathetic and having to wear a collar so she can't lick her paws or her belly stitches.



She wanted to clean herself so badly she finally took to licking the collar with her body going through the motions beneath it. It was funny in a pathetic sort of way. And she has to take this horrible pain killer that tastes nasty and makes her foam at the mouth. It was not fun trying to get that into her.

She should be right as rain in a few days.

I think my generation was the first to have in-home arcade games. Do you remember Atari and Pong??

We've come a long way baby!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A time for change...


First of all, there's a lot a bad juju out in the universe right now. From all the random, illogical violence happening across our country to the meteor hitting the atmosphere over Russia to some tragic deaths closer to my heart, it's been a wicked week. Hug the ones you love and tell them you love them.

Now what's this change I speak of?

Well, it seems every 12 to 15 months I have a sort of writing freak-out wherein I question my pursuit of publication. I know what writing entails. I know what a good story needs. I know about deep point of view, turning points, the black moment, and goals, motivation and conflict.

What I can't seem to do is pull all of that together to write--to finish--a book of my own. I reach a point at which it seems impossible to actually pull all of the elements together into a cohesive whole.

I've also come to the conclusion that I really enjoy the beta reading/proof reading process and I've finally decided to change tacks and give that a go.

To that end, I'm hanging up my shingle for proof reading services--see the text gadget at the top of the column to the left.

Way way back in the day, I sold Tupperware. I loved Tupper. I used Tupper. And I needed a way to make some extra cash, so I tried selling it. But somewhere along the way someone said to me: Some people are meant to be great Tupperware ladies and some people are just meant to be great hostesses.

I think that can sort of apply to me here. So I'm going to stop trying to write stories for publication, at least for the moment, and help others make their stories the cleanest, best stories they can possibly be.

Have you ever changed career paths?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fort Worth Friday


Welcome to the second edition of Fort Worth Friday.

One of the things I love about Fort Worth is that there's so much history here. The proof is in the wonderful old buildings still prominent throughout the downtown and surrounding area. I really love when these old buildings are given new life.

One such building is the Texas & Pacific Station. Opened in October 1931 to replace the previous building, this building served as railroad terminal and office space with warehouse space just to the west. It was designed in Zigzag Moderne Art Deco styling.


 Look at these cool, and I do believe original, doors!

This is part of the warehouse space I think. But there's another building just to the right of this arm and I'm not sure if that really what Wiki was talking about.
The building was run down and abandoned when we first moved to Fort Worth in 1999. According to Wiki (yes, I know what they say about Wiki), that area of downtown declined when the freeway (I-30) was built in 1958. In 1967, the terminal was closed when passenger train service to Fort Worth ended. After that, HUD was the lone tenant from the 70s to the 90s.

The lobby was returned to its former glory in 1999 and passenger service began again when the Trinity Railway Express extended into Fort Worth.

Much to my surprise and pleasure, renovations began on the building in the early 2000s and in 2006, the first lofts were for sale. A smaller adjacent building was built on the east side of the original. The north view of downtown is spectacular I'm sure. The southern view--I guess if you look past the freeway. According to another site, the warehouse building is also slated for renovations, but the economy has postponed those plans.

This is the addition they built to the left of the original.
It's more modern than the original building, sad to say.
I would have loved to see them duplicate the external architectural design.

I took these pictures of the outside (obviously), but did not attempt to go inside. To see pictures of the lobby, click here. And to look at what they've done with the lofts, click here and here.

 I still have more pictures, but another trip with my friends will be discussed this weekend.

Do you live in a city with a rich  history, architectural and otherwise??

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What? Moi?


Yes, it's true. I've been nominated for the Liebster Award.

My friend and chapter mate and fellow Blogger blogger Lara Lacombe nominated little ol' me. Thank you, Lara. That was really sweet.

However, there are some stipulations that come with this award...

The first being to thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog, which I have done above.

Second, answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.

Third, present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs)

And fourth, copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

Without further ado, Lara's questions and my answers:

1. What's your favorite writing/reading snack? Most definitely hot mint tea and/or water to drink. For a snack...probably pretzel twists.

2. Where have you always wanted to visit? Washington, D.C. There's so much history there, I'd love to soak it in.

3. What's your favorite accent? Scottish. Definitely.

4. What movie do you always watch when you find it on TV? Well, I don't have live TV, so I don't really know what they play over and over any more. But my go-to films are Penelope, Star Trek or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

5. What's your favorite hobby? Reading.

6. Say you can quit your day job and do whatever you want.  What would you do? Run a bookstore.

7. What made you want to start writing? Honestly, wanting to do it better than other people.

8. What is your favorite genre? Romance.

9. Where is your writing/reading nook? My bed or the loveseat.

10. What book do you wish you had written? Harry Potter, no question.

11. Early bird, night owl, or something in between? EARLY bird.

And now for eleven random facts.

1.I love birds.

2. I hate coffee. Love the smell, hate the taste.

3. I have seen Star Trek 2009 over 100 times.

4. I am an only child and the oldest of five.

5. I have lived in 4 different states in my life: CA, OR, NE, and TX.

6. I know how to sew.

7. I have lived in 2 countries outside the US: Denmark and England. In fact, I attended school in both countries as well.

8. I'll celebrate my 20-year wedding anniversary this year.

9. I have been seriously involved in two fandoms: JAG and the BBC's Robin Hood.

10. I have attended two NASCAR races. (Favorite driver: Sterling Marlin.)

11. I can write HTML code from scratch.

Here are the questions I've come up with...

1. Who is your favorite actor/actress?

2. Cabin in the woods or tropical island?

3. If you could travel back in time, when would you go?

4. Do you speak a language or languages other than English?

5. Cat person or a dog person?

6. Do you prefer books that make you laugh or make you cry (in a good way)?

7. Do you collect anything? If so, what?

8. What is your favorite holiday?

9. Favorite fast food restaurant?

10. Favorite current TV show?

11. Cowboy, guy in uniform, or athlete?

And the lucky recipients to be tagged...no one at the moment.

Unfortunately, of the few blogs I follow, I only know a handful of those folks well enough to spread the love. And one of them tagged me. Another was also tagged. And I haven't had time to reach out to anyone else. (If you're reading this and are interested, let me know.) So I'm afraid, this thread of the blog award/hop is going to die with me. :( Sorry Lara. I feel bad, but I appreciate the nomination and I enjoyed answering the questions.

So friends, pick a question - one of the ones I asked - and answer it.

See you on Friday for my second installment of Fort Worth Friday.
Monday, February 11, 2013

So sorry!


I got into work Friday and got involved in who knows what and completely forgot to swing by and post. I'm glad it wasn't a Fort Worth Friday.

The weekend was nice--drizzly on Saturday and bright and sunshiny on Sunday. There are six bags of leaves to show for my efforts, though I imagine I can fill probably twice as many more. At least. I even took a shovel to the leaves in the street gutter that had been parked on/run over for month and months. There's a pile left that's mostly mud and will need a shovel to clean up.

So it's a brand new week with a new set of tasks and challenges.

Also my chapter mate and friend Lara Lacombe nominated me for a blog award, however, I might have to disqualify myself. If not, you'll see the details on Wednesday.

How was your weekend?
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Not ready for the big time...


It's been a long time since I've had to teach a new driver. So I'm thinking, hey, we'll get Sonshine behind the wheel on the way to school. It's not a long trip and just enough driving challenges for the newbie driver.

Yeah, no...

With a lot of jerky stops and starts, he made it to the end of the block and we traded seats.

It'll be a trip to the church parking lot on the corner this weekend to get a feel for the car and to practice acceleration and braking before we put those to the test in real time/real world situations. :)

Poor kid. He was very nervous. I can't blame him, but all things considered, he did okay.
Monday, February 4, 2013

Watch out Fort Worth...


Once the Stock Show and Rodeo has left town, there'll be a new driver on the road.

After Friday's post I had to take Sonshine to the local DPS office to take his written exam for his drivers license. Only we couldn't find his Social Security card, which meant a trip to the Social Security Admin office to get some form verifying his number. Then back to the DPS. Only to be told there was a two hour wait just to take the written exam.

But, believe it or not, we had a little luck. A while back I'd noticed them building a Drivers License Center near to our house. As luck would have it, it opened Thursday afternoon. We left one DPS and rushed over to this new facility and were in and out in less than two hours!

So my baby is now permitted to drive a car as long as he has a licensed adult driver over the age of 21 in the car with him. He didn't feel comfortable hopping in the truck and driving home though, despite it being back roads the whole way.

And no longer do you carry a paper permit for six months. He'll have an honest-to-goodness plastic card in the mail in a couple of weeks.
Friday, February 1, 2013

Fort Worth Friday


It's back folks, and I'm super excited. I should start off with some introduction to Fort Worth, but I did that once, and I'm sure we'll cover some more of Fort Worth's origins in later posts when I talk about historical landmarks or events.

Today, however, we're going to hit the ground running with the...



Celebrating it's 117th year this year, the Stock Show and Rodeo comes to town every January. The kids get a day off school and a free ticket to attend. At least in FWISD--my teacher friend said they gave out tickets in her district, but not a day off.

I didn't actually attend the rodeo Sunday morning, we just drove through that area before it got crowded and snapped a few pictures. But I suddenly have an urge to go. Whether or not I will, remains to be seen.

Surprisingly, the event takes place in what we refer to as the Cultural District rather than the Stockyards, which would seem the more likely place. On the other hand, what better place for a stock show and rodeo than the Will Rogers Memorial Center??



Look at the lovely Art Deco architecture.


Across from the front entrance is a bronze statue of Will Rogers.


And along with the animal exhibits...


Is a carnival.


If you're a FW (or surrounding area) resident, do you attend the Stock Show?

The next Fort Worth Friday coming in two weeks!

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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