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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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Friday, August 30, 2013

Cel-A-Brate Good Times, C'mon!!!




Today is a good good day!!

First, I spoke with the band director last night and he welcomed my presence on the bus and at games and any amount of assistance I am willing to offer. So, whew!

I kept thinking about one thing Regina said Wednesday--and she always has a great perspective on things. She said she regretted the things she missed but never the things she attended. And she was right. I would've hated missing being at even one game. I mentioned Cowboy Stadium events and he doesn't seem like he's going to be as fanatical about them as our previous director, so that's good.

Anyway Friday Night Lights start tonight, and as always, our first game, more of an exhibition game, is across the Metroplex in another district. Woo hoo! Bring it on and more about the game probably Monday. Probably including pics 'cause I guess I also serve as the unofficial photographer.

(This was UIL last October.)

Second, this is post #700! Can you believe it?? It seems just like yesterday I hit #500. I started way back in 2007, and my posts were hit and miss. I didn't start getting regular and prolific until 2011... And I've noted that since the beginning of this year my page views have doubled on average. That's so cool. I don't know who you all are--if you're really reading or just coming across me on accident, but it's still exciting. I hope a few more of you might comment every now and again. I'd love to have that interaction with you, meet you, get to know you a bit.


Third, my mini-weight-loss goal of reaching 137 lbs. by September 1. Well, that's Sunday. Today's Friday. For the past couple of days, my morning weight is 137.x and my evening weight is 139.x. I'm going to consider it a win. Mainly because the intent of the goal was to get under and stay under the 140 lb. mark. I won't feel super comfy splurging for a few more days, but I'm happy and excited and proud of myself for finally getting over this hurdle.

Fourth, it's a three-day weekend!!! I'm gonna spend time in my yard and cleaning the house and relaxing. No pressure on the house- or yard- work. Just getting stuff done here and there.

I have lots of things to celebrate. What about you??

What can you celebrate??

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Adrift...


As you all probably know by now, Sonshine--my youngest--started his senior year in high school this past Monday. It was an exciting but slightly sad day for me. I'm excited that he's a senior and that he's executive officer of his JROTC battalion as well as a member of the National Honor Society and, of course, a member of the marching band. I'm just a little sad that he's on the cusp of true adulthood. Where did all the time go?

As you probably also know, I've been active as Band Mom for the past three years, but with the retirement of the previous band director, I find myself at a crossroads. The new band director has little knowledge of all that I really did for the band, and I'm not all that keen to raise his expectations. However, all that effort garnered me a few privileges. Namely free entrance to football games and contests because I traveled with the band and served as chaperone. Now, there's an assistant band director--no absolute need for a chaperone on the second bus.

I've been reluctant to introduce myself to the new band director though he did call me when he was first hired. Mainly trying to recruit my help in securing workers for Cowboy Stadium events. I nipped that right in the bud. I have no contacts. It was the previous band director who contacted everyone, including me, to round up TABC certified adults to run the registers. I haven't even worked an event yet this year, and the band has worked two so far. I don't feel too guilty about that. I've worked every event except maybe four (of all the ones we actually volunteered to work) in the three years Sonshine's been in band. In December, he'll be eighteen and can get TABC certified and work the rest of the events. :)

The real source of my melancholy is that I really love going to games and to the contests. I didn't mind helping the kids haul things into the stands or handing out half time snacks and ensuring the stands were as clean when we left as when we arrived. I don't want to be hauling props any more though. IMHO, students should be recruited for that purpose. I just don't want to miss out during Sonshine's senior year. I've been there the first three years, I should be there for the last one too.

My fear is that once I step forward, I'll get ALL the responsibility again, and I really don't want it, nor should I have to have it. I mean, I've paid my dues. I know I can say no. It's just that it's Sonshine and I know they need the help and I'm a softie.

I just want to be able to enjoy my senior year too, you know?? I've earned it.

Any suggestions??

Monday, August 26, 2013

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum...


Okay, okay so I didn't go to the Forum, but it's funny how things work out sometimes.

Friday I got home from work and I mentioned to DD and Sonshine that I wanted to bring home the BowFlex and get it set up. My in-laws gave it to us more than a year ago and it's been sitting in pieces in the warehouse of our office space.

Now that I'm getting close to my weight loss goal, I'm planning ahead for how to strengthen and tone what's left. And rather than spend money for a gym membership, I figured the BowFlex would be a perfect piece of equipment to have at the house.

DH left to go down to his mom's mid-day Friday and she'd sent me a list of good carbs from her NutriSystem website.

On Saturday I hung out with some dear friends and fellow writer group members hashing out some writer group business, but once we finished, we got to talking as women tend to do. I'd been happy-go-lucky all day (my new life's philosophy in action, remember) until we hit the topic of losing weight. My personal weight loss is going great and very pleased with my progress. I feel good and I'm very excited about how I look. Then I brought up DH and how frustrated I was with him and his efforts or lack thereof to get his eating and exercise habits in hand. And three of my friends commented on my change of emotion/demeanor. One suggested I have a talk with DH about how I was feeling--which is another one of my goals (to tell people how I really feel).

So Sunday mid-morning DH arrives home from his mom's house and announces it's time to get in shape and watch what he eats and he's gonna set up the garage as a home gym. So he brought home the BowFlex and set it up and then went and bought a treadmill and a big screen television!

I didn't react well at first and I'm not sure why. Wasn't this the very thing I wanted--including the BowFlex? Was it because he took the wind out of my sails? Was it because he planned to invade my early morning quiet?

Most of it was the money, I think. Money's tight right now. We had the cash to spend from fireworks season still, but there were (are) better ways to spend that money. And you guys know I've been trying to get our finances in order. So the expenditure peeved me. I did have a quick discussion with him about the expense and his reason was acceptable, so I didn't make an issue of it.

And also I felt like I had to now give up part of my day to clean up the garage. Most of the mess was mine and rather than him decide where everything got moved, I wanted to make those decisions.

I still had some lingering bad feelings, but while he was gone I gave myself a stern talking to. I want him to set and adhere to a routine. I want him to exercise. I want him to eat right. And I got the BowFlex set up without having to haul it and figure it out on my own. So why was I continuing to harbor anger and resentment? I decided to let it go.

By the time he got back, my pleasant personality had returned and the day proceeded on a mostly even keel.Getting the treadmill setup was another story, but the men finally figured it out. Whew.

And DH was up at 4:30am walking on the treadmill and watching tv on the new big screen.

But he's a noisy riser--not only his alarm, but the dang toilet. So I think I'm just going to be getting up at 4:30 as well. It's only 20 minutes earlier than when I've been getting up. Now I can cook my breakfast prior to my own exercising!

 So-- How was your weekend?
Friday, August 23, 2013

I'm at a loss today, so you get potpourri...


First--my cross stitch project is done!!! The stitching part, anyway. Now I just need to trim the aida cloth and attach the image to the frame. Woo hoo!


After that, I'll have to dig up another project or kit. I've really been enjoying the endeavor. Actually, I'm thinking of designing my own next project--a birth sampler for DD. I realize she's twenty-three years old, but she keeps making comments about the fact that Sonshine has one but she doesn't. Mostly she's joking, but Sonshine, as youngest child, has had way more things and spoiling than the girls did, so I think she sometimes feels jealous or deprived or something. So that'll be one of her gifts for Christmas.

Second--that 137 lb. mark is just days away. As I said Wednesday, I've been bobbing over and under the 140 lb. mark, but yesterday morning I was 138.4 and last night I was at 141.4. Still some calories to count and exercise to do, but I'm moving steadily closer.

Third--I love love love the new STAR TREK movie, Into the Darkness.


The digital copy was released several days ago and I've watched it four times already. I watch while I cross stitch and at lunch and while I'm exercising...I don't even have to really watch it, I can just listen when I'm cross stitching. I cry or get teary eyed at the end every time. And I love it more with each viewing. I've got a ways to go to catch up to the number of times I've watched the first film, which is easily over 150 times at this point. :)

Fourth--after too many years to count, I finally have a flag on my house! Sonshine put it up a week or so ago, and I'm super excited.






So what's  new with you???

And don't forget to have a spectacular weekend.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Making progress...but more adjustments to come


I'm this close to finally slipping under the 140 lb. mark for good. I keep dipping under, then popping back up. However, the amount I go over gets less and less as the days pass and I keep exercising and watching what I eat. I should make my 137-lb.-by-September-1st goal without a problem.

I've amped up the exercising a bit, so my body's still adjusting, but if I keep on keeping on, then I should be back to my new old self in a few days.

School starts Monday. There will be another round of adjustments as Sonshine gets, not only his class schedule, but his band practice schedule, as well as any other after school club (The Strategy Club) or organization (The National Honor Society) activities on the calender.

I don't know if I've mentioned my love of cross stitch. Back in the day--like twenty/twenty-five years back--I was an avid cross stitcher. I would design samplers and things for new babies and such. I bought pattern booklets and kits. At some point, life got busy and stuff happened and I stopped taking time to work on projects. Several weeks ago, DD started a project and I thought, "You know--I really enjoy cross stitching and I really miss working on crafts."

DD's project:


So I dug out some of my old stuff. I found a project I'd started probably a good twenty years ago, and which is really practically finished, and started working toward getting it done.I spend a little time each evening while I watch TV working on it. And I'm really really enjoying it and I'm looking forward to the project being done so I can put it on display.

My project:


See that little triangular section at the top? That's what I've been working on. I should have it finished in a week, no more than two. Woot!!


Do you do any sort of crafts??


Monday, August 19, 2013

I've been pondering for several days what to post today...


And here's what I came up with, because sometimes you can't plan these too far in advance!

First off, I had a fabulous weekend. Dinner Friday evening with best selling author Jodi Thomas and several other writer group friends. I had good interesting and just plain heart warming conversations with my friends Michelle and Regina.

Saturday was writers group day, board meeting and regular meeting, followed by a trip to a local Barnes and Noble for Jodi Thomas's book signing as well as visiting with my closest writing peeps. We brainstormed a bit and chatted a lot.

After aaaalllllll of that excitement, I traveled across DFW to my friend Angi's house and waited for our other friend Jan, along with her hubby and son, to arrive in town from Wichita, Kansas. Once they arrived we did more visiting and laughing, as well as eating and just had a generally grand ol' time.

Sunday I grocery shopped and did some laundry, but otherwise relaxed and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. I put no pressure on myself to accomplish anything else. I did a little weeding, though. Not because I had to, but because I just wanted to be outside and because I wanted a few less weeds. :) I also ended up replanting my surviving azalea. One finally died, but the other was doing okay. I decided to transplant it into a pot and put it where I could see it and give it a little extra TLC.






After grocery shopping, I scrolled through FB as I'm wont to do of a morning and saw a post about the top five regrets of the dying. I clicked through to read it and it just seemed to reinforce my new life's philosophies. Namely, be eccentric now, the only one responsible for your happiness is you, and today is special.

So this weekend I wore my blue feather boa to dinner and to my writers group meeting. I was so happy and silly that people were teasing me that there must have been something more in my morning tea than just tea. And I enjoyed the conversation and time with friends.

How was your weekend?? Did you have fun and live life to the fullest?



Friday, August 16, 2013

Fort Worth Friday...


...is back!!

Today, we're going to talk about Bass Hall. I figured since I went Casa Manana last week, Bass Hall would be a good place to visit this week!

Here's a gorgeous picture of the building at night and all lit up. This is not my picture, but is used with permission via Wikimedia Commons. (My pictures, taken by Sonshine, will follow.)


I've attended several performances (ballet, opera, and music) at Bass Hall which is as lovely inside as it is outside. I wish I could share some pictures, but I don't want to step on any copyright toes. If you click here, you can see some.

It's only been around since 1998, but apparently rivals the great concert halls of the world, and is the permanent home of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, and the Fort Worth Opera.





Have you ever attended a performance at Bass Hall?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NO! Just sayin'...


A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my lack of ability to say no to the things I should--like root beer, pretzel dogs from Sonic, fries from Mickey D's, and so on and so on.Weight-wise, I've been hovering so very close to and on the wrong side of the 140 lb. mark. I really want clear that hurdle and head toward the 130 lb. point. That'll be the next hurdle.

I've turned a corner and I'm ready to get 'er done. So I'm saying no again. Monday, DH asked me if I wanted a root beer from an eatery here in the business park and I said NO. All weekend through the beginning of the week, I said NO to the tempting things in my cabinets and fridge (things I have to have--like cereal or heat and eat items for Sonshine and DH). Instead, I chose protein or fruits and veggies. I like protein and fruits and veggies, don't get me wrong, but most of the time there's prep work or cooking involved and when I'm hungry, I'm hungry. It's hard to wait. And, okay, I get lazy, too.

In trying to utilize my exercise time to better (and safer and cooler) effect, I switched from walking around my neighborhood for thirty minutes to pedaling my bike pedals. (I bought just the pedals on a stand, not a full stationary bike.) Now, if I can double that effort and pedal while I watch TV--you know, cuz the new TV season is right around the corner--I can earn almost three times as many burned calories as that thirty minutes of walking. Woot! More calories for eating, and possibly saying yes every now and then to an icy cold can of A&W Root Beer.

To get the figures for calories burned from walking versus pedaling, I had to open MyFitnessPal, and I figured, what the heck, I'll start keying in my food and my exercise now. No time like the present, right?

I have twenty pounds to lose to reach my ultimate goal. I know it's better to have a target date for things, but I also know slower weight loss is better weight loss, so I'm just going to shoot for reaching 137 lbs. by September 1st. That's four pounds in three weeks. That's do-able. I've done it before. I've just got to keep saying no! Just this morning I said no to sleeping in because it was raining and just oh, so tempting to snuggle back under the covers.

What about you? I know two of my faithful friends/readers are also watching what they eat and trying to shed a few pounds. How are you doing friends??

Monday, August 12, 2013

Miss Saigon


So Friday I had a last minute opportunity to see Miss Saigon at Casa Manana, a local theater. Of course, I accepted.

 Above, Casa Manana photo taken by Andreas Praefcke, shared with permission via Wikimedia Commons.
Below, the promo poster for the show. Image used under fair use rights.



I'd never seen it before, so I found it quite interesting and, of course, sad. Musical and tragedy seem oxymoronic, but that is exactly what this show is. If you're unfamiliar with the story, it's the tragic tale of an American soldier who falls in love with a Vietnamese girl shortly before the fall of Saigon. He tries to get her out, but is unable to and is, of course, sent back home to America. Eventually he marries, though he still dreams of his Vietnamese wife.

The Vietnamese girl, meanwhile has borne the soldier's child and holds out hope that her soldier is coming for her and that he'll take her back to the States and they'll live happily ever after.

Eventually, things come to a head and the soldier, along with his wife, travels to Bangkok to make arrangements for his son's care. The girl is heartbroken to learn that her soldier is married, but insists they take the child back to America. Realizing her dream is now dust, she kills herself.

Sonshine, surprisingly, enjoyed it and said he'd wouldn't mind seeing another musical or play. He's not too sure about opera or ballet though.

I liked it too, and would love to see it on the silver screen, though not as a musical like they did with Les Miserables and like they're considering.

Have you seen Miss Saigon? What did you think of it?


Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Farm Report


Okay, so I don't have a farm. But it's been a while since I mentioned my yard. I've been doing a lot of weeding lately. Unfortunately, there are sooooo many weeds, it's hard to tell that I am pulling anything, until I started in on this patch. This is after day one:



And this is after day two:



I have many many more patches to go...but at ten to thirty minutes a day I'm actually doing pretty well. I might have them all pulled by next spring. Then I can start on the dandelions.

The Chinese wisteria is growing like a weed. It likes the heat apparently. The azaleas, on the other hand, aren't doing very well at all. I've added watering cycles so the timer, but I don't know if they're gonna make it.

Wisteria...


Azalea...


My mini-roses are blooming again too...that's a three-tiered planter. The yellow are on the bottom, the pink on the top. The middle one is taking a break I guess.



Last but not least, my corner flower bed. The plants themselves are green and growing, but no blooms for a while. One of the Sweet Williams just blossomed, but that's the only one.


Are you a green thumb?

PS--Sorry for the various picture qualities. Some were taken in the morning, others in the evening, so the light variations differ....


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting stinks...


Okay, so I've got this groovy new software for tracking my money and divvying it up for bills and savings and emergency funds. But I've got to wait for the money to come in before I can do anything with it.

And I've got this exciting new career as a freelance proofreader to help augment my day job income. Except, it seems as if I do a lot of waiting for the jobs to show up...

Luckily I haven't had to wait (much) for payments once the jobs are done. But, man, I badly want out of debt and some savings built up!! I know these things take time. I do. But ugh... Okay, enough whining. I shouldn't have gotten into so much debt in the first place, right? Right!

I think I scared off one gal the other morning. We emailed back and forth a couple of times and then she asked about cost. Actual cost was almost double what she estimated. Haven't heard back from her, and it's been almost two days... I also had a guy e-mail me and when I told him how much, I never heard back. You know, a simple, "I can't afford that right now." would have been polite and courteous. And I would have understood. I'm not the most expensive proofreader on the planet, but services aren't cheap either.

I've thought about adjusting rates again. I mean, several jobs at a slightly less expensive rate are better than no jobs at any rate, right?  I'll see how it goes. I've only advertised one place and the rest have been word of mouth jobs from my critique partners. That was before I raised my rates. One job (still waiting for it to arrive) since I upped them.

On the other hand, I've been reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I've gleaned that faith is a core component of achieving your goal. The other thing is, I'm a good proofreader. I'm worth what I'm charging, which is not the cheapest, but not the most expensive deal in town either. Tough call, though. In addition, I've been listening to some marketing webinars. Mostly for DH and targeted at the IT industry, but some things cross industries. And now I've got a few marketing ideas. I have to be careful still since I'm only one person and still working that day job.

In the meantime, I'm trying to expand my range of services, which will, of course, increase (hopefully) the inflow of cash.

What services would be helpful to writers, freeing up their time to actually write??

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Yeah, it's Monday...


It's even Movie Monday, but I couldn't bring myself to watch a movie. Just had no desire to do so, so MM is taking a hiatus for however long I feel like it.

But Fort Worth Friday will return. Sonshine and I had our date yesterday morning and he wielded the camera, so who knows how the pics turned out. Kidding! I'm sure they're fine. I'll be sorting them this week and prepping for future posts.

I still have one last day of pics from Nashville, but I'm sorta tired of the topic, so I'll just post the link to the albums once they're up.

I spent a lot of time on research last week. Not for writing purposes, as I've shifted focus, but for life/financial and business purposes. First I decided I needed an accounting software package for my proofreading business so I Googled those. What I found, eventually, was budget software. Which, yes, I need for business, but actually caught my eye for our personal finances. Its philosophy is simple: Every dollar needs a job. It's easy to use once you get how it all works. It's a very short, barely there learning curve. It also offers a 34-day free trial.

So I downloaded the You Need a Budget software. Herein known as YNAB. All the features are available in the trial. It's not an online thing like Mint.com, though the files are saved into Dropbox and sync with any PCs and devices like smartphones you're gonna use. Very handy!

I added all my data. Figured out how to tweak it to account for all my buckets. That's a term hubby and I use to refer to a specific holding account for something. Like the grocery bucket. All funds designated for food, would be in the grocery bucket. It opened my eyes to how poorly I've managed our money this year. I was--I AM--very disappointed in myself.

I had big plans--as short a time ago as Thursday--for my proofreading earnings. But now I see that aside from the $100 per month I'm putting in a certain credit card bucket (on top of the regular payment plus the payment rolled over from the other CC I just paid off), everything else just needs to go into the main coffer to replenish the money that's been spent here and there on random incidentals over and above the budgeted allowable amount.Yikes!

So back to the drawing board. But now I have my own income that I earn outside of our other business. I feel so much more free and happy and in control of things than I did just a few short months ago. Amazing what a vacation and an attitude adjustment will do for you.

Hope you had a great weekend!!!
Friday, August 2, 2013

Fort Worth Friday--NOT!!


Unfortunately, I am out of pictures of Fort Worth. Which means I need to make another trip around town to get some. I haven't had time to go adventuring, so my apologies. Which means I'm pre-empting today's Fort Worth Friday. I've a tentative date set with Sonshine to get breakfast downtown on Sunday and then meander around. He has an interest in architecture too. Fort Worth Friday should be back on track in two weeks. In the meantime...

Random stuff is random.

So this past Wednesday I talked about all the walking I did in Nashville last week and how I've been attempting to keep up the good work/walk (lol) since I've been back. The first few days were okay, but they got tougher. Especially at 5AM. So I skipped a few in trying to listen to my body's needs. I think I'm over the hump for now. And while the walking is great, it doesn't specifically target my waist line.

There was a time when I did calisthenics at least three to four times a day in conjunction with my trips to the rest room. I have a standard cache of things I do, and they were helpful in getting my blood flowing (cuz I sit on my keister most of the day) and working the muscles around my waist. Now I've got an expanded waist line and I don't like it. So I'm back to some calisthenics. Not the full regime, but getting there. And one of these days, I'll get back to serious calorie counting using MyFitnessPal. I just can't seem to say no everything I should right now. Though, yesterday I opted for home brewed unsweet tea rather than hitting QT for rootbeer or Mickey D's for sweet tea. One NO at a time, I guess.

Remember those life lessons I posted last month and waxed poetic about?? Well, between those and my much-needed, long overdue vacation (short as it was), I've got a totally new attitude. I needed one. I was getting kind of grumpy and crabby.

And I've got some new goals. Some of those life lessons come into play and some are financial. DH is having me listen to some marketing seminars so that we can get our business to a few new levels. Anyway, these seminars are also beneficial for me in the proofreading business when the time comes that I want to and can take on more work. And I found this really cool budgeting software. It sorta does what I do in a spreadsheet, but automates it. I'm using a 34-day free trial, but I really like it so I'm pretty sure I'll end up buying it. I was originally looking for an inexpensive accounting software for the proofing biz, but happened upon this instead. But I s'pose I'll still need an accounting package...more research. Though Quicken seems like the most popular. Maybe I'll look for an iPad app and see what I stumble upon.

So lots of cool and exciting things going on in my world at the moment.

What about you?? What cool and exciting things are going on with YOU?

I really do want to know!

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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