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2018 Goals

  • Regularly write to my Grandma in Denmark.
  • Call my moms monthly.
  • Walk the dog three times a week.
  • Cook and eat better.
  • Re-institute the cleaning plan.
  • Work on my writing career--such as it is.
  • Reduce body fat and maintain current weight.
  • Take dance lessons with DH.
  • Do more crafts!
  • Take ballet and/or ice skating lessons.
  • Attend more STARS games.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's freaking hot...



I took this pic Monday at the gym...note the temps. This morning they were 108* and 109* across the board.

Yikes. I have given up my moratorium on carbs and have utilized the power of ice cream to keep cool.

I had to.

On another note, I finally got an official computer/desk chair for my home office.


I'm not sure what the urgency was, as I've been sitting on a sewing table stool for these many months since I got the PC in my office...

I mean, I borrowed Dan's office chair the other day--for the first time ever--and he was suddenly worried there was going to be a fight over it all the time. I don't even like his office chair. I just needed something cushy that one evening.

The next day (Tuesday morning) I was dragged off to Office Depot for a new chair. I'm not really complaining. I like the new chair. We had some extra funds. I needed one.

So anyway, how are you doing this fine summer day??



Monday, July 16, 2018

In the interest of reducing my carb intake... (again)


I've given up the protein bars I'd been eating and also bananas.

The protein shakes have few or no carbs--why do the bars have 18 to 20?? Ugh.

I've been eating bananas with the protein shakes, chocolate or caramel, and it's quite a delicious combo. Saturday, the banana was a tick to soft for eating so I blended it into the shake and whoa!! that was delicious.

A shame I've decided to switch fruits. On the other hand, berries have the fewest carbs of all fruits, so I bought blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries this weekend. It turns out that neither blackberries nor raspberries mixes quite as well with a caramel flavored shake as the bananas, so I'll have to consume separately, which isn't a big deal.

My first week back at the gym went better than I expected. I wasn't as sore as anticipated past the first day, but I didn't jump back in at all the same weight levels that I was at when I quit, not did I run through the full routine. I'm working my way back to that slowly.

The expending of energy has definitely made me sleep hard. It was relatively easy to get back into the early-to-bed routine--but then again, I'm not really a night owl and never stayed up more than and hour or hour and a half later, so... >>shrugs<<

I had a productive weekend and hope yours was good or enjoyable--whatever you needed it to be.

The dog days of summer have arrived here in Texas--stay cool and stay hydrated.







Friday, July 13, 2018

It's official...


I'm out of stuff to read.

Okay, not really, of course. But every fan fic in progress I've been following is complete, there's been nothing new that looks interesting when I search my various fandoms and pairings.

So the universe is telling me it's time to do other things.

Catch up on cross stitching and pattern-making.

Continue brainstorming the new series.

Continue to prepare for the October conference.

Prepare for a writers retreat happening two weeks from yesterday.

And the really important task: WRITE.

No pressure there.

Also, how did it get to be JULY already?

But, really, I should be writing.

Something.

Anything.

>>sigh<<

In the absence of inspiration and plans for new words, I'll just have to edit something old...

Hope you're keeping cool and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

So I have a physical copy of my book in my hand... Wheeee!!!!!



This is the proof of book one on the Ten Rigs Texas series...

It definitely needs some tweaking, both the cover and the innards, but I was more excited about seeing it, warts and all, than I expected to be. The print proof of book two should land in my mailbox in the next few days.

As I've mentioned, I hadn't planned on offering print books before each book's 1st birthday, but because I went for supporting author status at the conference I'm going to in October, I have to have physical copies for at least a couple of books. I decided to start with two. If I can get them tweaked easily enough, then I might attempt getting book 3 and maybe 4 done as well. But we'll see. I also have to keep costs in mind...

Anyway--YAY--so cool!!




Monday, July 9, 2018

This and That...


Hard to believe that half the year is over... The last month has been busy, the last week has been busy.

Sooo...fireworks season wasn't a great as we'd hoped. We bought more fireworks than we probably should have and spent way more on advertising than we probably should have for a season with a burn ban in effect. The fireworks will keep for next season and the next, so that's not a major issue, but chances are that we'll stop with the advertising. We have no definitive way to know if we're getting the customers or if they're just being reminded to go buy some and hitting the closest-to-them stand.

But in better news, a book series I read ages and ages ago, and I mean ages ago, is finally in e-book format. I bought it and am looking forward to reading it again. It's also available in audio format and I might get that too...

I finally got around to formatting books one and two for print and got covers done and submitted to Kindle Direct Publishing. My print proofs, one for each title, are on the way for my review. I'm another step closer to being ready for my conference in October.

Speaking of October, despite SO MUCH HOCKEY in May and June, I miss it a little. The new season doesn't start until October, so I'm having to ease my withdrawal symptoms by watching World Cup soccer and baseball.

On the writing front, I'm no closer to finishing book seven than I was a month ago, but characters for my new series have been bubbling around in my noggin for a couple of weeks. Five of my six core characters have names and occupations; a handful of supporting characters also have names and jobs. A few characters have some backstory.

I haven't gotten to plot lines in more than vague idea terms, though. I really want to know these characters well and have their romance plot come from who they are and where they've come from. I also want their lives to be really intertwined so that readers will wonder whose book is next and be more invested in their story.

The last series didn't work that way and it was anybody's guess--even mine--as to who would show up in the next books. There was some crossover with a few characters, but no one a reader might look forward to seeing. I wanted to come at a series a different way this time around.

And now that the 4th of July has come and gone, it's time for life to return to some semblance of normalcy. It also means that Jen has gone back to the gym...starting this morning. Getting out of bed at the sphincter of dawn was tough, working out was tough. But it felt good too. My body had started to let me know that all that lying around was not kosher. My butt's going to be dragging for probably a good week, but maybe break I took will have set my body up for burning the fat.

Despite not going to the gym, I did do stuff here at home, mostly, and I counted calories and I didn't gain any weight back. But my tummy is still there and has maybe grown a little. So, yeah...

Hope you had a lovely holiday week!!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Do I Want More House...?


In the last couple of weeks, I have been a guest of friends with considerably larger homes than my own. In getting to these friend's homes, I had to drive past newer, larger, more expensive neighborhoods than the one I live and I wondered: if I could afford and upgrade, would I want it?

And the answer is, quite frankly, no.

The size of my house is perfect. Enough rooms for what we need and not so large that I can't clean it myself in a weekend if I were of a mind to. Which I'm not, but I could do it.



The yard is a decent size. We live in the middle of the block. And we don't currently have any overly-noisy neighbors.

DH is not especially fond of our house or the neighborhood we live in, but even when we get around to moving, I still don't want a bigger house. A little nicer one, for sure, but not much bigger. On the other hand, I'd love more property. I'd love to be out in the sticks where I can watch the weather roll across the countryside and see the crops growing. Maybe someday.

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Birthday America!!





Monday, July 2, 2018

Hello there!


Long time, no post... Okay, it's been a week, but it's been a busy week and I didn't plan well. I spent four days out of five down at the fireworks store and the one at the office trying to catch up on everything it was too difficult to do working remotely or that I just couldn't get to.

Whew.

Weekend before this past weekend I was at a writers retreat I was going to tell y'all about, but it just didn't happen. It was a good time with a small group of writers, most of them from my actual writers group. Our hostess is always willing to share her knowledge and the things that have worked for her as well as answer questions. I'd heard most of her success-story before, but a refresher is never a bad thing. I gleaned a couple of tips and made some progress on a WIP, so a good weekend, all in all.

This recent past weekend, I got all caught up on household chores that had been neglected for the last couple of weeks in the run up to getting DH off to the fireworks store as well as being gone myself last week. Much as I hate chores, it felt good to get everything crossed off the list.

In addition to a copy editing job and updating a book series guide, I've also been trying to get books one and two formatted for printing. That's not the hard part although it is rather tedious and I'm having to create a how-to so they'll all be formatted identically when I get around to doing the other four books. The covers are the biggest challenge...but my hostess from the retreat had an answer for that as well, so I'll see how that turns out.

Summer arrived with a bang, didn't it?? Hope you're keeping cool.


Monday, June 25, 2018

The 2018 NHL Draft




DD and I only stuck around through Dallas's pick at #13. As I said in a previous post, it was more the experience of attending since it was here in Dallas than any great interest in the actual draft. Most of these boys won't be playing in an NHL game for a few more years, so we don't care much about it. But each pick only took a few minutes, so we stuck around for Dallas's and were still home before it was completely dark. YAY!

But before all of that, I attended the Draft Fan Fest, which is what exactly what it sounds like. The event started at noon, although I didn't get there until about  3:15. I jumped in a line for autographs and got Stephen Johns' autograph--the same player who was the guest at my podcast event the night before.

I got my picture taken with the Stanley Cup!! How freakin' cool is that??



After seeing the Cup, I was gonna go grab a bit to eat, but then I saw the autographs was way too freaking long for the person who came after Stephen John--I honestly don't even know who the guy was--and realized that people were already in line for

drum roll please

Jamie Benn--the Dallas Stars captain and one of the team's two most popular players.

There's a sweet young woman in my life who loves Jamie Benn. She was supposed to come with DD to the Draft, but her little boy was sick and she's a single mom, so she stayed home to care for her little one.

I stood in line for close to two hours to get an autograph for her. I can't wait to see her face when I give it to her.



Because there were so many people for autographs, there were no selfies allowed, so all pictures had to be taken while waiting in line and around other people already standing in front of him.

A fun day was had by moi!!


Friday, June 22, 2018

Puck Soup Live


So the Puck Soup Live event was freaking awesome. Had a wonderful time and got to meet my podcasters!! Here are a couple of not-so-good pictures because I am a horrible photographer. I am also bad at selfies and had to ask each of the guys to actually take the picture for me. In addition, I'm horrible at smiling for the camera, so in one of the photos I took, I have a horribly dorky expression on my face and you don't get to see that one.

 Dave on the left, Greg on the right.

 Special guest, Stephen Johns, a defenseman for the Dallas Stars.

 And a not-quite as dorky-looking Jen with Dave.

Next up--the NHL Draft this evening.

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Found a project to work on...


Finally took some time to look at any other projects currently floating around in my files and found a pair of books (a duet, linked together by siblings) that I can convert from male/female (that's how old they are) to male/male romances...and do something with.

I'll be at a local writers gathering/retreat this weekend and will spend some quality alone time with these books. I'd already started the conversion process of one book, so YAY. The other one will be a lot more tricky since there's an unplanned pregnancy that's an integral part of the plot. I'll have to figure out how everyone can/should be related now and reduce the unplanned pregnancy to a sub-plot...

Now that I have something concrete to work on, I'm looking more forward to this weekend and hoping I can make a lot of progress.

But the next two days are gonna be busy, PUCK SOUP LIVE PODCAST (I'm SOOO excited!!!) event on Thursday night and NHL Draft event on Friday. I might just want to sleep all weekend.

Have a great rest of your week...

I might have something posted Friday, I might not. Just depends. I'll be back Monday for sure.





Monday, June 18, 2018

Talk about being forced kicking and screaming into gear...


So...writers group was this past Saturday and it was fun as it always is. I caught up with three out of five posse members.

In light of needing to get all my ducks in a row for the conference in October--mainly getting physical books printed, I asked my friends what the first thing I needed to do is.

The answer: format the manuscript for print.

Okey dokey--Google is my friend. Found several tutorials and I was on my way. Once I got the gist of what was required, it was a snap. All things I'd done before for another project.

One of my friends also had a coupon code (allowing me to do them for free) for one of the print-on-demand (POD) vendors, good through June. So I have two weeks to get at least two books formatted and uploaded along with a full cover (front, back, and spine) images... Yikes. I'm hoping to get four done.

Along with the proofing job and the series guide I'm working on and all the other things going on at the end of the week, it looks like I'll be busy busy busy... Yikes again.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Finally getting my rear end in gear...


Not in the writing sense, but in the prepping for the writer conference I'm attending in October.

I've talked about swag a couple of times and I've known what I wanted: pens and cardboard bar coasters.

Almost everyone loves pens, so that's almost a given. As for the bar coasters...I didn't come across any last year at the conference, so I may be a trendsetter. I have a handful from a con I attended years ago. I do use them.

Here's what they look like:


I'll probably also invest in either postcards or bookmarks...people like autographs at this con, so it might be nice to have something sign-able. One thing I noticed was missing last year were QR codes to e-book versions of people's books. I prefer e-books and I have to think there are others who do as well, so for each book, I'm going to have a sheet with QR codes to each retailer...

On the book front, I've decided on getting only the first two books in physical form. This is mostly a cost-based decision because I have to buy them and then ship them, so yeah...

As I'm writing this, all the things I need to do are bombarding me--time to make a conference preparation list me thinks!

Tomorrow is writers group and I'm super excited to see my posse after a two month hiatus. In the interested of being fifty and fun and fabulous, I will be wearing my new hockey jersey to the meeting. :0)

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Happy Birthday to Me, Part II...



The view from my seats...

I am the brand new owner of a pair of (half) season tickets to the Dallas Stars. I will get to attend twenty-one games over the course of the 2018-2019 season. I don't know which games I'll get to see yet as the NHL league schedule hasn't been released yet and I don't get to choose... But that's fine. I'm happy to see almost any other team. :0)

How long till hockey season...?




Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Happy Birthday to Me...


My birthday gift to myself...





Monday, June 11, 2018

What a difference a month makes...


On May 4th, I wrote about the state of Jen. I vaguely remember the things that were weighing me down at the time, except the weather which I mentioned specifically.

I've moved on and things have gotten better mostly. The weather has warmed and turned sunny (and humid) and is better for my general outlook on life.

The one major thing that happened is still there. At the time, I was upset and angry and scared. I've had time to process the issue. I talked with a friend, did a little more research, and I was able to get a better grasp of what the issue really is. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do at the moment but work around the issue. So work around it I will.

Another issue is... I haven't written much for months. As I've said more than a few times, I should be writing...

BUT

I've also said that this is my journey. A Facebook friend (a person I have met in person) and fellow author recently wrote a post reminding all of her writer friends that our journey is indeed unique. It doesn't matter if you write fast or slow. If you publish 1 book or 5 or more in a year. We each have real lives to work around. Jobs, partners, children, pets, extended family, and on and on. And we each have to accept that about one another. Unless we walk a mile or spend a day in someone else's shoes, we cannot know what's best for that person. We cannot judge.

I have author friends who seem to be chained to their computers a lot and they seem miserable. I've never wanted to be that author. Also, unlike many, I'm not trying to make a best-seller list and I'm not trying to make a living. The only pressure I want is the pressure I put on myself for the right reasons--I'm ready and willing to get the next book written, edited, and published. The wrong reason is that much of the publishing world says I need to churn churn churn.

I'm going to turn fifty years old tomorrow. I want this time in my life to be as fun as I can make it. That means I write when I'm damn good and ready to do so. I make no excuses when people ask. I made the choice and there are consequences. Here comes the pressure though: I need and want to get back to it soon. I do enjoy it and I have a conference to get ready for.

Of course, now I have a proofreading job and a series-guide-updating job and several clients for whom I do website updates and places to go and 4th of July coming up. *sigh*

It is what it is, I guess. Better get to it.

Have a great week.

Friday, June 8, 2018

#ALLCAPS


For the first time in the franchise's forty-four year history, the Washington Capitals have won the hardest trophy in sports to win: the Stanley Cup.

Alexander Ovechkin, the Capitals long-time captain in anticipation of receiving the Cup.

Ovechkin getting the Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

 Ovie circling the rink with the Cup as each team member gets to do.

Ovie handing off the Cup to Niklas Backstrom, the Caps' second longest-suffering member.

Congrats to the 2018 Stanley Cup champions.


The loss by the Knights didn't hurt quite as much as I expected...I guess after three straight losses, it was probably inevitable and just a matter of time. Sure the Knights could have won last night, but could they have won three straight? It's happened once in the Stanley Cup final, decades ago.

The 2017-2018 hockey season is officially over and I'm glad. There are a few more things going on, but no more actual NHL hockey until mid-September. It's a good thing too...I do have things to do...

Have a great weekend and ROCK the RED in support of the Washington Capitals this weekend.

 
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Astronauts Wives Club...


So I finished watching The Astronauts Wives Club, a ten-part tv mini-series, based on the book of the same name, chronicling the story of the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts. It covers a span of approximately ten years.


The thing I loved about the series is the look into history of the time just before and just after I was born. The clothes, the hair, the seeming simplicity of life, especially for women. The only degree a woman was expected to get was her MRS. Of course, things were beginning to change during the 60s. Women and blacks were experiencing awful oppression and changes were simmering.

It really hit home how gender biased the time period was when one of the wives of an Apollo astronaut decided to get a divorce as her husband had basically abandoned her and their children (one of whom had Down's Syndrome and leukemia and eventually died at four-years-old). She was told even by her own attorney that she was better off staying married because it was so difficult for a woman to obtain a divorce at that time. One scene depicts her access to bank accounts being ended. Her saving grace was that her husband wanted the divorce to marry someone else. As an aside, only seven of fifty marriages (of all 60s era space program astronauts) didn't end in divorce.

Watching some of the women attempt to pursue their own dreams and being put in their place over and over was painful. I know we've still got a long way to go for women and for people of color and for people of other religions and faiths as well as for people of all sexualities, but thank goodness it's still not that...

It might not be a show for everyone, but I really enjoyed the look into the past and liked the show for what it was. I like that it didn't try whitewash or ignore the issues the book brought to light like how much pressure NASA put on the wives to keep all troubles away from the husbands when they were home. The struggles the wives went through, depression and alcoholism. The attempted cover-up of the real reason why three men died in a fire.

Anyone else watched this? What did you think?

Monday, June 4, 2018

The happy couple, post vows...



The drive down along Highway 281 through the Hill Country was gorgeous. The venue was gorgeous. The wedding itself was lovely. The company fun.

Sending out best wishes to the happy couple.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married...


Congratulations to my dear nephew and his fiancee, today, the day of their wedding.


All the best to you both.

Much love from your favorite Auntie Jen


Monday, May 28, 2018

Some Gave All...


Thanks and condolences are inadequate.




Friday, May 25, 2018

Nate Schmidt...that is all...


My new favorite player is Nate Schmidt. He's been a great player for the Vegas Golden Knights and I've never seen an interview where he wasn't smiling. He's also pretty articulate and seems happy to talk to the media.




I know you don't care what he has to say, but here's YouTube video of a interview from last fall right before training camp.


Happy Friday, y'all...and enjoy the weeknd, but always remember SOME GAVE ALL...
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Fancy Royal Wedding Hats


My royal wedding hat started off as this...


And ended up like this...


It's not quite done though. Other things were going on at the gathering and I wasn't quite sure what else to do, so left it for later. I want to dress up the folded up part there by the feather, I just need to figure how to arrange more red beads and gold ribbon into something that looks okay.

I have a family wedding in a couple of weeks... Do I dare wear my new hat??

And here is the group in wedding hats. Most of them wore hats from the 40s and 50s that belonged to our hostess's mom. I have pics of most of those too. So lovely.




Monday, May 21, 2018

Congrats to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex


As I mentioned last week, JAG weekend coincided with the weekend of the Royal Wedding. Our hostess DVRd the wedding and we watched it later than the 6AM CST start time once everyone arrived.

It was a lovely wedding, but what really got me the most was the pure joy and delight on the faces of the bride and groom. The smiles and the greetings as they saw each other for the first time and were close enough to one another. The bit of conversations as they waited for the flower girls and page boys to complete their duties. The Duke thanking his father for escorting his bride partway down the knave. The smiles and the joy. Oh, I said that already, but goodness, they were both beaming, it warranted a repeat.

That's why I love reading romance and why I enjoy writing it--the hope that you can capture those feelings between two people. (Not that I'm particularly adept, but hope springs eternal.)

Just a few screen- capped moments...

The first real look.

Meghan says hi.

And, of course, the kiss.
 
 
Friday, May 18, 2018

TGIF and TGIM

TGIF you get, yeah? It's Friday. I'm happy about Friday. Who isn't?

But what's TGIM you ask? Thank goodness it's May...

Because it's the weekend of the annual JAG meet where we no longer worry much about JAG. As I mentioned a few posts ago, we're celebrating the royal wedding with hat decorating.

I'm excited to see these ladies again, hang out, visit, catch up on everyone's news. I'm a little excited about my hat too.

Have a great weekend!!
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dogs vs Cats


Rayna on the right, Karma on the left...sharing space relatively peaceably.

I have a dog, but I have to confess... I am a CAT person.

I prefer the soft fur and purring to coarse hair and barking.

I feel bad for my dog sometimes because there's a cat in the house and she tends to get more attention than my sweet doggy. I have nothing against Rayna or dogs in general, but I grew up with cats. I like cats. I love cats.

Are you a dog person or a cat person?


Monday, May 14, 2018

Happy Mother's Day...


For all my followers who are moms, I hope you had a lovely day yesterday. I communicated with all of my babies and both my moms, so a lovely day.

This is my mom and me a couple of summers ago, visiting Sailor Sonshine in Seattle.


Here is my lovely Brown-Eyed Girl and me last summer...


And here I am with Sailor Sonshine and DH on the same trip to Seattle.



I don't have a picture of DD and me because she gets twitchy about pictures...

But she's the only one of my babies close by and she bought me much appreciated gifts for Mother's Day.



Friday, May 11, 2018

So guess where I'm going in June...



The 2018 NHL Draft will be here in North Texas. I'm so excited I could spit. Not because I care all that much about the draft, but because a) it's a new hockey experience to partake in, b) there are fan activities prior to the actual draft in Victory Plaza of the AAC, c) an evening spent with DD, and maybe the most exciting of all...

Puck Soup Live Dallas Edition.


The guys who create my favorite hockey podcast will be in town covering the draft and they have done live shows in other cities they've visited as a result of traveling for the job (hockey writers). As soon as I heard the draft was going to be in Dallas, I was pretty confident they were going to at least attempt to get a live show set up. And they are. Waiting eagerly for the announcement of tickets.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Maybe this year, Ovi!


In Monday's post, and many others, I said I was rooting for the Pens to win their third straight Stanley Cup.

Unfortunately, the Pens lost to the Capitals on Monday evening.



So Alexander Ovechkin (Ovi) finally gets his chance to play on for the Stanley Cup. This is the first time in the Ovi era (since 2004, when he was signed to the team) that the Washington Capitals have made it past the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Of course, they have to win the best of seven against the Tampa Bay Lightning and then against whoever wins in the West: the Vegas Golden Knights, the Winnipeg Jets, or the Nashville Predators. The Jets and the Preds play each for the change to play Vegas in the Western Conference Final.

In equally exciting news, the Capitals became the first Washington D.C. based sports team representative since 1998 to reach the conference finals in one of the four major North American sports. Congrats to them!


Monday, May 7, 2018

Happy Hockey-versary...


Two years ago around this time, I started watching hockey. It might have been more mid-to-end-of-April than the beginning of May, but whatevs--

I embraced hockey and fumbled around trying to figure out how to watch my Dallas Stars play hockey whenever the mood struck. Alas, my first year attempts were in vain and I didn't get to watch much Stars hockey.

Last year, I was all into playoff hockey again even though the Stars didn't have a chance, and I finally figured out the best way to get Stars hockey on my TV--I had to upgrade my cable package. Which meant, of course, the monthly cost would go up. I spoke with DH and he had no issue with that and so, this past year, Fox Sports Southwest and Dallas Stars games were available to me.


Despite the Stars just missing the playoffs again, I am a happy hockey fan.

Watching the Vegas Golden Knights defy every expectation this year has been a lot of fun. Their whole fan experience looks fantastic and I hope that I can make a trip to Sin City one of these days to enjoy the spectacle in person.


I have also been rooting for the Pittsburgh Penguins, back-to-back Stanley Cup champs (2016, 2017), to get the three-peat. I can't say it's all been fun and games there because they played a tough opponent in the first round and are currently playing in the second round. Playing the same team they've vanquished the last two years in the second round--a team that you can imagine wants to end the heartbreak. A team who has never made it past the second round in about a dozen years. A team with a star player who deserves a Stanley Cup win in his lifetime. (Maybe next year, Ovi?)

Let's go PENS.

Let's go KNIGHTS!

Have a great Monday and a great week.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The State of Jen...


Life is meh at the moment. Lots of not great stuff going on. The weather has been kinda dreary too which isn't helping. Any one crappy thing going on probably wouldn't be so bad, but all the things piled on top of or next to each other isn't fun. So yeah, life is just meh.

My other main life motto, aside from A Time for Everything, is "this too shall pass."

The sun will return in a day or two.

And all the other things plaguing me will either get better on their own or I'll have to take some action and move on.

In the meantime, it is Friday, so I have the weekend to chill out and I have hockey to watch.

Have a great weekend.
Monday, April 30, 2018

The Chapstick Conundrum...





I am a user of Chapstick. I have been for many years. I don't generally lose them before I use them all up these days, but I do have multiple Chapsticks in quite a few places at various levels of usage. To name a few:
  • my bedside table drawer
  • the car
  • my purse
  • my desk at the office
  • my desk at home
  • on the coffee table
  • in the kitchen
These are the places where I obviously spend a lot of time with the exception of the car...but I can't be digging around in my purse while driving, so I need one handy. I also need them in my purse so that when I'm out and about, which I am upon occasion, I also have one handy.


And while I'm not upset to this degree when tubes of lip balm get shuffled...things are wonky until you re-stock the location that's missing its designated flavor. :0)

Are you a Chapstick/lip balm user??


Friday, April 27, 2018

It's a Jen Thing...


I have met my soulmate. For an odd duck like me, that's not easy to do. I march to the beat of my own drummer and I have a weird sense of humor that can come off as rude if you don't get where I'm coming from and my world, geographically speaking, is pretty small. I live 12 minutes from where I work. I work for my husband and we have three employees. I spend time once a month with 30-odd other writers, six of whom are some of my closest friends.

And that's about it. I travel occasionally, like to the conference I attended last October, but I'm not the personality that jumps right into a group of people and charms them. I hang back, I don't talk much, I listen, I wait for invitations. It gets lonely sometimes.

But.

I recently switched online chat groups. Not because I didn't like the ladies I was hanging out with. I did. A lot. But one gal lives in Germany and her kids were getting home from school when I was just getting online, so rightfully so, it was time for her to be the mom and pay attention to her family. Her writing workday was essentially over. The other gal lives here in the states, but is more of a night owl and has various issues crop up and would just disappear on me, leaving me alone, which was not why I was in a chat room.

I had been getting emails randomly from another gal you might have heard of (Kristen Lamb) to join her band of merry creatives in a chat room for forty minute timed sprints. You can do anything during those forty minutes--write, edit, work your day job, exercise, clean house, whatever--and then come back and report your productivity, chat for a few, and then get back into another forty minute sprint.

So I went. I lurked the first few times, because, hello, nervous newbie here. But eventually I started chatting and reporting and then wielding the timer. Getting to know the core group as well as those who are more sporadic visitors.

And I "met" Jenn.

We clicked. We share a sense of humor. We share a lot of similarities. For example, anyone who knows me, knows I don't go anywhere without a travel mug of tea. Well--she takes coffee with her everywhere she goes. We like the same music. We're both writers. We're close in age. We're both moms. Anyway, as I said, we clicked.

It's been great. Also, I've become a text-er. I mean, we don't text all day everyday like teenagers, but our interactions are not limited to the online chat. We share stuff outside of the 9-5 workday. My love of hockey rubbed off and she decided to watch a hockey game to see what it was all about. We even Facetimed while we watched and chatted for most of the time she was able to watch. (She's on the east coast where it was later and couldn't watch the whole thing.) While she's not watching playoffs like I am, she does ask about the results of the games she knows I'm following.

Awww...

It's just that, throughout my life, I've just had so few people with whom I've clicked that much and that quickly. It's a gift at this point in my life and I'm so thrilled to have found her.





Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Social Media Conundrum...


As an author, I'm supposed to be on various social media platforms so as to...

Be out there to connect with fans, to network, to help advertise my books...

I guess.

The problem is...unlike the gripes I hear from writer friends...social media is not a huge draw for me. Well, most platforms aren't. There are a few I can get lost down the rabbit hole, as it were, but those aren't the ones where my (potential) fans are.

Many moons ago, Kristen Lamb was the speaker at my group's annual/biennial conference. One of the things she said that stuck with me was: Find what you enjoy and do it. If you don't like the medium, it will show and could be counter-productive.

Facebook for me is a time-filler. I have no problem spending time there--if I'm bored. I'm rarely bored.

Twitter is another place that my writer colleagues seem to congregate. Twitter is mostly a mystery to me. I don't get it. Although, it's making a little more sense to me of late as I've had to get alerts from a podcaster I follow because he's going to be announcing an appearance in Dallas I want to attend. He tweets A LOT. How does he get any work done with the number of tweets he makes, not to mention the probable metric-shit-ton of tweets that he gets...? So I have it, but I'm a consumer.

I'm on Instagram too, but again, as a consumer of only a few--and I do mean only a few--other accounts. I do post on occasion, but only random or interesting images. I doubt anyone sees them, but whatever.

I have this blog of course. Why why why do I need more than a blog and a Facebook page? Quite frankly, I don't think I do. I don't offer a newsletter because--I blog three days a week (usually). If someone wants to know me, then can stop by or they can subscribe to the feed.

You know what sells books? Not social media. Not newsletters. Not blogs. The next book sells books.

Now if only I could write the next book and the next one as easily as I can spend time on social media. *sigh*

Monday, April 23, 2018

Time to get back on the wagons...


Now that I've reached a point in time (good weather, after a writers group meeting), it's time to get back on the wagons I fell off of. Those wagons are as follows:

a) the exercise wagon
b) the healthy eating wagon
c) the writing/publishing wagon
d) the prepping for my October writers conference

In addition to that, there are activities at work that require my participation, so that's a new wagon maybe?

a) I'm still not in the mood to hit the gym again really, so the home treadmill will have to suffice for calorie burnage. The plan for now is @ 26 minutes in the morning and in the evening to burn a total of 320 calories a day. That's on top of general daily calorie consumption and my thrice weekly walks to the post office while working from the office.

b) I purged the house last week of anything filled with sugar or carbs that is remotely tempting to me--by eating it. (I didn't get to grocery shop last week, so it was also eat or starve. I opted not to starve.) That included jelly beans, tortillas (despite being the carb-light variety), yogurt (except I left one at the office--darn, I'll have to eat it), and any remaining dried fruits. It's back to veggies and protein for a week or two until the jiggly puff of a belly I'm sporting recedes. Then we'll see.

c) This is going to be the toughest wagon to get back on. I'm not feeling the words. And while I'm not looking to be a best seller on any list and support myself, I still owe any new and/or loyal readers the next book at some point (sooner rather than later) and I do want to finish the series. Also a new book will keep the royalties steady--which I need for...

d) Conference expenses. I've registered and bought a ticket, but I'll need funds to pay for the hotel and food come October. In the meantime, I need to buy swag and order physical books. Swag is cheaper, but physical books are more important. One conundrum is which books do I get in physical copy and how many of each. I have six books as of now, hopefully seven by the summer.

e) DH aka Bossman is trying to better the company and take it to the next level, so we're reading a book, chapter by chapter and discussing it. This particular book also has audio to go with it, so I've got to find time to get started on the audio and make sure I'm prepared to discuss Ch. 2 today...


It's time shake off the lazies and get motivated.

Have a great week...
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

VEGAS SWEEPS LA



So that happened.

Each series is best of seven. The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the L.A. Kings in a sweep.

This is no longer just the best story in hockey this year, but probably the best story in all of sports.

No one had any expectations of a rag tag team of players culled from those not high enough in the hierarchy of other teams to be protected. They came together. They bonded. They rallied around their new home when tragedy stuck last October. And they won. Their first away game. Their first home game.

And won and won and won enough games to make into the playoffs. Not just sliding in as the second wild card team, but as the champs of their division.

And then this.

Not much to say, but GO KNIGHTS GO!


Monday, April 16, 2018

The Shelf Life of Tupperware...


So way back in the day--I'm talking thirty years back in the day--I used to be a Tupperware Lady. No, I wasn't very good at it. I loved the product and the people I met. In fact, the Brown-Eyed Girl is named after the lady who took me under her wing.

I think this was long before personality tests were a factor in gauging what a person would have a good temperament and personality for. While I'm not shy once I get to know people, I am an introvert, so getting up in front of a group of strangers and making cold calls for any reason is not in my wheelhouse.

Anyway--I was a Tupperware Lady for a while--but my point is that after thirty years I still have quite a few pieces that I still love and use.

It's a good product--manufactured to stand the test of time.

Probably my all time favorite piece of Tupper is this...the two-cup measuring cup.


 We still use all of our microwavable pieces, like these, on a weekly basis!

And once upon a time, I used to have all my perishables stored in what Tupperware calls Modular Mates--different size containers to stack and arrange to use up all your available space. While I'm not longer that organized, we still use a few to keep our sugar and flour safe from pests. I did have to by some new lids for the few MMs I still use a few years ago, but the containers themselves have held up remarkable well.


Any Tupperware ladies or lovers out there??


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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