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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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Blog Archive

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I finally did it--


Cleaned up, formatted, and converted a manuscript for publication that wasn't practice and didn't belong to a friend.

I did a proofing job for a gal and she asked about the cleanup and formatting. I was honest and said I wanted to break into that market (such as it is) but hadn't done any yet. I offered to do hers for free and if she wasn't happy, then all she'd lost was a week or so of time and she could hire someone with more experience. She agreed. So I dutifully cleaned and formatted and converted. It was a great test as it was a really long manuscript, just over 90K words.

Anyway, she was pleased and said she'd recommended me to others and told her editor as well so that she could recommend a quality proofreader and formatter to others. And there we have it!

Wanda's book is a 90K+ word historical romance ficton taking place in biblical times.



I've also been working with my critique partner to get two novellas published, though I've been wearing my editor hat for the last couple of days. I'll switch to cleanupper, formatter, and converter in another day or two when we're sure the books are ready to go. Can't wait...

Even though they're not my books, it's very exciting!



Monday, October 28, 2013

I wanna talk about me!


Well, don't I always? ha ha ha!!!

Really more of an update, I guess...

Sonshine needed to get his eyes examined and we made a (Saturday) morning of it. Mostly because the optometrist opened her doors later than I expected. I mentioned a while back that I thought I was at the very beginnings of the big change we women go through. A few months ago, I started having trouble seeing things up close--words on a page or my cross stitch projects, etc. I bought a couple pair of magnifying reading glasses to get me by, but figured I ought to have them professionally evaluated. Glad to report that Dr. Bean said my eyes weren't bad enough to require prescription glasses just yet and that the magnifying reading glasses were fine for a while longer.

Homecoming for Sonshine is next Friday--Saturday was the first homecoming parade in quite a few years. They modified the parade route, so I couldn't walk to it, but the school's not that far, so DD and I met DH up at the school to watch. Sonshine had to march with his JROTC battalion rather than the band.

 In his new uniform as we were leaving to drop him off...




 That's my boy right there up front on the far left...



After we dropped him off to get ready for the parade, DD and I went to The Home Depot and I got a pumpkin! (I got other things too, but pictures of that later.)


Before...


After several hours of work, this is the result...

Yeah, I so had to go there! But I wanted another pumpkin, so I bought another at the grocery store...pics of that once I carve it.

How did you spend your weekend?



Friday, October 25, 2013

Keeping busy offline...


You know I'm almost tired of being online. I'm not sure why. Might have something to do with my depression. But I feel the need to remove my Internet presence. It just seems like everything is so inter-connected there's no separation and anonymity anymore. Not that I want to necessarily be anonymous, but there's something easy about hiding behind a screen name. Maybe hiding's not the best word. Maybe protecting yourself is a better way to phrase it. Or separating your professional self from your personal self.

But short of removing it all...I'll just stay offline.

I've been keeping busy with lots of other things. Reading, as mentioned Wednesday; cross stitching Christmas projects; football season; just hanging out with my family. Not back to yard work yet though...

One of the things the kids and I do is play Rock Band. It's an Xbox game. I play drums. We go in little cycles and we've been back on again. I like to play for several reasons... mainly because the kids ask and are still willing to let me play with them. I also like to play because of the obvious benefit of music to the brain. Despite the fact that I almost always play the easy setting, it's not always easy. I've found a disparity in what the game deems easy. But I digress... I like to play because I want to keep my brain active and challenged as I grow older and this is a fun way to do it.

It took me ages and ages to earn my first 100% (meaning I didn't miss any notes I was supposed to play), then it took me another age to earn the next. But I've earned two 100%s in the last few weeks!

Here's my most recent accomplishment...Minority by Green Day, one of Sonshine's favorite bands.


How do you like to spend your offline time?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Almost forgot again...


Still pulling out of my dip into depression. Stuff happened and it didn't do my body or mind good. But I stopped listening to the news, so that's helped.

Meanwhile, for the first time in five or six or seven years, the high school is doing a homecoming parade. Sonshine will be marching with his JROTC batallion, not the marching band. I'm really excited, so expect some pictures on Monday.

In other news, I'm reading a book:



So far, so good. This was made into a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. Might just have to check it out... Then again, I haven't been much into movies lately.

Read any good books lately??


Monday, October 21, 2013

M.I.A....


Yep, I missed posting last Wednesday and Friday. No excuse other than I had a lot on my mind, work was busy, and since I didn't have anything exciting that I wanted to share, I just plum forgot.

But we're -- okay *I'm* -- back, though still with little exciting going on.

Other than -- it's fall!!! Friday night while we were at the football game, a cold front moved in and we now have some true fall temperatures. It's so gorgeous. I even had to break down and turn on the heat. It hasn't run much, just needed to flip it over so that if we needed it, it would come on. Yesterday morning when I went to the grocery store, it was 44* outside. Brrr....

Pretty soon, it's going to be leaf raking time again. I'm gonna stay on top of that chore as best I can. And seeing as how marching season is almost over, it should be easier. Maybe I can even get back to other regular maintenance, not that it's no longer stifling hot.


Today's pic is of Friday night's scoreboard with fifty-nine seconds left in the game--





Yeah, we spanked 'em...


I hope you enjoyed your weekend!



Monday, October 14, 2013

So....


It's been a while since I've posted about the yard or the house. Probably since before school started. And as much as I've neglected those things here on the blog, I've neglected them in real life too. The house has gotten minimal attention, but the yard...not so much. Aside from a random mow here and there, I've neglected it.

I feel disappointed in myself about that, but there's so much other stuff going on at the beginning of a school year that I am generally involved in. Not to mention any work things over and above the usual or writing group events and business. And of course I have to rest in between in order to maintain the pace. So ongoing yard maintenance goes by the wayside. No weeding, little watering, no tending... I've even neglected the bird feeders during the week. Poor things.

I had high hopes of keeping up with that stuff, but it didn't happen. I've found that I can no longer tolerate the heat as well as I once could, so even when I did go out, if it was hot, the heat zapped my energy and I got less done than I planned.

But marching season is almost over, so life will get less busy. And fall, while here according to the calendar, hasn't quite reached us weather-wise. Any time now though. And I'm looking forward to it. It's my favorite season. Especially the colors--the reds and the russets and the yellows and the oranges. I guess I should go dig up my decorations and enjoy it inside until it arrives outside.

What's your favorite season?


Friday, October 11, 2013

Today's post has been cancelled...


I leave you with this...



Got it from the Net, not mine.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mum Shopping...


My girls and I went mum shopping for Sonshine last evening. Homecoming is in a few weeks and he's gonna be ready this year!

Wishful Wednesday and the perfect school will return next week. Maybe.

So we started with a pre-made base from the local grocery store.


Then we bought extra goodies to embellish it with....






And after four years, I deserve a band mom mum, so...



More detailed pictures once we've got them ready.

Monday, October 7, 2013

U.I.L. or BUST!


U.I.L. -- From the U.I.L. website: The University Interscholastic League exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests. The UIL was created by The University of Texas at Austin in 1910 and has grown into the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world.

U.I.L. October 2012, Elk Stadium, Burleson High School
Show music: Mysteries of the Nile

Sonshine's high school marching band has attended U.I.L. for the last I don't know how many years. But not this year. Sadly, they're not ready. Their readiness (and scores) have declined over the past three years. And, this year, the new band director has decided not to take them. I don't blame him for not wanting to take them, though I do believe their lack of preparedness lays partially on his shoulders.

I'm disappointed because what the hack are we working towards anyway besides just playing at football games?

This past Saturday, DD passed a pair of school buses and a pair of Enterprise trucks. The buses were full of some high school band and the Enterprise trucks no doubt full of instruments and possibly props and all on their way to a contest.

How well I remember those days. Sonshine's first year in the band was the hardest but ultimately the best. I cussed out the band director several times that year--the 56' boat prop (seven 4' sections on casters) was heavy as heck. But it was memorable. They attended a handful of contests and generally scored 1s and 2s (more 2s than 1s though) and they marched in several parades.


This year...well, y'all know all about this year.

There may be hope however. There's an organization called Drum Corps International that Sonshine is interested in. It's gonna up his game ten-fold in all areas. Video games will be a thing of the past. Cost-wise, it seems reasonable. We can handle it IF he gets in. The big question is is he going to step up and not only stay on top of his studies, but make time to practice too.

I did tell him he had raise his grades to and maintain Bs in all his classes or the whole endeavor is a no go. I guess we'll see what happens.

As for U.I.L., even though Sonshine's band isn't competing, DD, Sonshine and I decided to go anyway--as mere spectators this year. Sadly, my UIL mug collection will forever remain incomplete.



Friday, October 4, 2013

Mum's the word...


Our weekly football game was last night rather than tonight. It's going to be a long day.

On the football front, we won 54 to 47. It was a close game right up till the end. Our boys fought to hold on to the win, blocking a catch by the other team in their end zone in the last ten seconds of the game. Go, Hills!

On the band front, it was also pretty good. Sonshine had a good time.



Speaking of mums-- our Homecoming is in a month. Sonshine has never bought/made/given a mum to his girlfriend of the year. This year he doesn't have a choice. His sisters and I are going mum shopping next Tuesday and we're gonna make sure he has a nice mum to give to his sweet girlfriend. I told her last night since he'd never given one, he's been saving all his money up and that she was going to get a freakishly huge one. Her eyes got very big. We were joking and only because last week was Homecoming for the team/school we played and some of those girls ended up with mums that could have served as armor or a shield they were so large.

Stay tuned for the creation of the mum and then the giving and wearing of the mum!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wishful Wednesday


Last week on Wishful Wednesday, I started a new branch of the series about the perfect school. If you missed it, you can go back and caught up. It's not very long and is the jumping off point for my wannabe inner philanthropist's big endeavor.

First, I want my school to look something like this...


Birmingham Business College, image from Wikimedia Commons

...or even this...

Wellesley College Tower Court, image used with permission from Wikimedia Commons

What do you think?? I think I like the first building better.

But buildings don't matter if what goes on inside of them is crap, so let's get back to the institution itself.

A few more of my ideas are that it should be a year-round endeavor. Nine weeks on, three weeks off, which also gives us three tracks of classes/lessons. All children in a given family would be put into the same track.

Of course, there will be certain times of the year when everyone is off, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas/winter break/NewYear, and Easter/spring break. Other federal holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day would need to be factored in as well. But those details can be figured out later!

So now onto more important things like what we are going to teach these kids. Obviously the basics. Whatever the standard requirements are in math, English, science, etc... But what about those things they no longer teach that we can see the effects of these days? (At least here in our district. I don't know about the rest of the state or the country.)

How about penmanship?
Economics?
Political Science?
Wood shop/metal shop/auto mechanics?
Home economics?



I know there's probably a ton more.

One of my followers home-schooled her kids and another teaches at the college level. Ladies, I'd love to hear your suggestions.

And I'd love to hear from anyone else as well.

What have we gotten away from teaching our kids that has had a negative impact on society and our nation?

Thanks for sharing!

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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