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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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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 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??


Friday, April 13, 2018

All peanut butter is not created equal...


A month or so ago, I talked about cinnamon. Today I'm talking about peanut butter. I love peanut butter...well, most peanut butter.

I love to slather peanut butter over a carb-lite tortilla and chow down. Inevitably, I would eat two of them, not just one. And I couldn't understand why I craved them so badly. Remember that I wondered if there was something in peanut butter my body needed and was therefore craving??

And then I was talking to a friend and she pointed out that regular peanut butter has a lot of sugar in it, and of course, sugar is addictive. So it all clicked. She recommended I find a natural peanut butter.

Which I did, and it is absolutely not the same. I no longer eat more than one tortilla/peanut butter roll because the satisfaction level--and the sugar content--has dropped significantly.

It's not a bad thing, because, let's face it, good for you or not, peanut butter is still high in calories. I've been negligent in my exercise regimen and really don't need the extra calories.

I'm really trying to get back on track...despite a dozen-ish serving-size boxes of jelly bird eggs I stocked up on before Easter... :0)

Otherwise it's time to get back to lots of protein and veggies...fewer sugars no matter the form they take--I'm talking about you craisins and dried apricots!

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Jelly Beans...


Yeah, probably one of the worst candies you can eat...all sugary and sticky. But, man, I love them. For the last many Easters, I have resisted the lure because I don't have children requiring Easter baskets that require a trip through the seasonal/Easter aisles of Walmart. But this year, because of my writer's group celebrations, I braved the Easter aisles and found single serving boxes of Brach's tiny jelly bird eggs.

And then I kept buying those five-packs until they didn't carry them anymore. Minus two boxes, this is what I have left...



So today, because I'm feeling a bit silly and happy about spring, I'm going to rank my favorite jelly bean flavors/colors... I don't really know the flavors per se of all the colors though.



From least favorite to favorite...

1) RED--they used to taste like soap or something, now not so much, but the red ones are still always ranked last.

2) PURPLE--I've never been a hug fan of grape-flavored anything.

3) YELLOW, ORANGE, PINK, WHITE--I have no preference here. Whatever shakes out of the box, I'm fine with.

2) GREEN--for no other reason than it's my favorite color. Technically, they could be lumped in with #3.

1) BLACK--I love black licorice. Black Twizzlers. Nibs. Yum.

What about you? A fan of the jelly beans or no? Have a favorite color/flavor? Do share!!


Monday, April 9, 2018

Regular hockey season is over...


I'm a little sad about that, because no more Dallas Stars hockey... But as I mentioned last week, Playoff Hockey begins Wednesday.

Due to various wins and losses this past Saturday the Penguins will not be playing the Blue Jackets, nor will the Golden Knights be playing the Ducks. I guess that was how things would play out as of Friday's wins and losses.

But anyway...sharing this...


Friday, April 6, 2018

So, hey, it's Friday...


And there's supposed to be a post here...but inspiration has been a bit thin. My brain is full of lots of things that y'all don't care much about; mostly hockey, cross stitch, hockey, hockey, and the hero of an(other) anthology I'm mostly coordinating as well as participating in.

But what the hell, it's my blog. :0) I can ramble on about whatever I want, right? You can choose not to read.

So my Dallas Stars are officially out of the playoffs. They play their last game Saturday. The last regular NHL season game will be played Sunday. The first round of the playoffs begins next Wednesday.

My Pittsburgh Penguins play the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second year in a row. The Pens won last year in five games.


My Vegas Golden Knights--one of the sports stories of the last year--play the Anaheim Ducks. This is the Golden Knights first year as a team, so they have no playoff history. The fact that they're here says a lot. Absolutely no one in the hockey world would have taken that bet at the start of the season. Also they're number one in the division. The Ducks made it to the third round last year. I don't how much of last year's team is intact. I do know they were first in the division last year, but slid into the playoffs this year on a wild card slot.



If these two teams face each other at all--it will be in the final round and for the Stanley Cup. I've mentioned before that I want both of them to win. The Pens are going for their third Stanley Cup in as many years and the Golden Knights are going for their first Cup in their first year as a franchise. It's impossible to pick one over the other.


Cross stitching also involves hockey because I'm working on hockey-related patterns for my Etsy shop, so yeah... (speaking of which, I need to upload a few new ones today...)

The new anthology is going to be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward getting my own story written as well as reading the submissions of the other authors. The premise is all of us female writers are setting up our male writer friend on blind dates because no one can believe this sweetheart is still single.

Okay, I've successfully rambled enough to fill a post, so signing off. Hopefully, I'll have something more interesting to say next week.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND--IT'S SPRING IN TEXAS--WOO HOO!

*as a hockey note, first round hockey playoffs are always within a single division, of which there are four in the NHL.



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I am SO not feeling the words...


Really.

I have books to write. Well, one book at the moment. Book 7 of my series. I've started it. I'm just shy of 15K words with a projected goal of 32.5K words.

What's the problem you ask?

Well, if I knew, I think it probably would be less of a problem. I love both the heroes, I still like the premise, I like the series, but I'm just not feeling...something.

But I want to write. I have the desire to sit, open up Scrivener, and put words to page, but when I think about opening the book 7 file, I just feel meh.

So I'm working on other things. I've a got another anthology in the works with a group of writer friends and there's always fanfic--I do have a fic hanging out in the world that need to be finished.

At least I'll be writing and being productive, right? And maybe the other thing will work itself out or I'll skip it and switch book 7 with book 8 and work on 8 instead.

And Happy Hump Day...

Have a great rest of your week.




Monday, April 2, 2018

Hope is (not) still alive and (ain't) dangling by a thread...


My view of the ice!!!

This is obviously not an Easter thread... *snort*

Saturday night I went to the Dallas Stars' last regular season home game. They won in spectacular fashion and I had seats I don't normally have--down in the lower bowl. (a gift from a client)

Between our win and the loss of not only our opponent, who's in our division, and that of another team in our division, we still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs.

I'm not expecting that particular miracle, because not only do we have to keep winning, certain other teams have to keep losing.

But anyway, I digress... DD was able to get a puck autographed by Dallas Stars legend Mike Modano for her best friend, so that was also cool.

And I was able to get some fun videos and pictures of the guys somewhat up close and personal.

Not that anyone cares but me...here are some pics I took.

Note the basketballs and hockey sticks/pucks on the light fixtures around the AAC. The Stars share the American Airlines Center with the Dallas Mavericks as far as sports go.


 Those are the nosebleed seats where I usually sit. From this vantage point they look worse than they actually are. I like being up high with a full view of all parts of the ice.

 The penalty boxes, where the naughty boys take time out. In between is where the game officials (not referees, who are on the ice) sit in case a ruling from Toronto is needed on a play.

The Dallas Stars players bench...filled with hot hockey boys during game play.

And now for some players...

 The boys warming up...
 More warming up...

 The number one star of the game, John Klingberg and one of my favorite Dallas Stars.

Another of my faves...Mattias Janmark.

And Tyler Seguin--my #1 favorite Star--but, then, I think y'all knew that. :0)
And last but not least, a video of the Reunion Tower with their Dallas Stars lights going off.



Hope you had a lovely weekend and a lovely Easter.


MONDAY AM NOTE: This post was written late Sunday afternoon. The Stars were eliminated Sunday evening when the Colorado Avalanche lost to the Anaheim Ducks... *sigh*

 

Friday, March 30, 2018

GRL, Part 2...


I received an email a few days ago that supporting author slots have become available at the conference, so it's now official--I'm a supporting author.

The question is: What titles do I prep for print and how many do I get of each?

Realistically, as a relatively unknown author in this genre, I'm probably not going to sell a whole lot of books, but I have to have some. The advice I was given was to do a pre-order thing via the conference Facebook group and see what kind of interest there is... I might. I might not.

Remember when I talked about swag awhile back?

While it's mostly been confirmed for me by others that swag really doesn't equal sales, you have to have something for people to walk away with. Along with the book question above, I have to decide what kind of swag to spend my hard-earned royalties on.

I want pens for sure. I'm going to self-print business cards with my book covers on them, maybe twenty or thirty of each book with website/social media info on the back. I might get some sort of banner as a visual draw. And then I'm thinking some inexpensive bar coasters that look like a "welcome to city name" sign. My series takes place in the small fictional town of Ten Rigs, Texas, so it seems fitting. I already have the design in mind...I just have to find the image.

I also bought my plane ticket, so I have accommodations, travel, con registration all taken care of... I have five months to figure out the rest. And to get that next book written. Time to get busy. Well, busier. :0)

Have a great weekend. I sure will!! All about that on Monday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Let the thermostat wars begin...


Finally, it's officially spring here in Texas.

While spring doesn't bring terribly warm temperature in general, it does bring wind and rain.

Along with the rain comes...humidity.

Unless it's really hot, humidity doesn't bother me all that much.

Unfortunately, DH and DD have a much lower tolerance for humidity and, so, between now and June when the heat really starts to ramp up, the thermostat wars will wage.

They'll kick on the AC to remove the humidity from the house and I'll kick it down once I start freezing. They don't realize that it really doesn't take much to reduce the moisture levels right now, but they kick the temperature down too many degrees and the AC runs and runs and runs and then my teeth are chattering.

*sigh*


Monday, March 26, 2018

Working from home...


I work from home each Tuesday and Thursday. For as long as I've been doing that, I've worked from Sonshine's old room/DH's home office because there's a nice desktop and two monitors which, I confess, I'm spoiled for now--especially when doing the day job. It's just so much easier with two monitors. I can have browsers and applications open and I don't have to flip back and forth between windows and applications to do things like reconcile bank accounts. I have my bookkeeping software open on one side, the electronic bank statement on the other. Easy peasy.

All I had in my writers room was the laptop and working on much of anything but writing on that single screen was a challenge.

The issue with me working on that PC in DH's office is that if DH wanted to work from home on a Tuesday or Thursday or come the weekend when I have things that just need a desktop and two monitors to work on--like a chapter contest--well, two bodies, one PC... You see the challenge.

So the plan has been to get a second desktop and a second pair of monitors for me and, though it's taken a while--money's been tight, it finally came to pass. I am now able to work from my own office with my big windows and all my stuff and with two huge monitors. DH can do his thing on the weekends and I can do mine.

Another benefit of this is that I'm generally cold-natured and my office is way on the other side of the house from the AC unit, also on the west side and getting afternoon sun, with enough AC venting to keep me comfy but not freezing. :0)

I spent the weekend getting the new PC loaded up and setup with software and browser links to all the stuff I access on a daily basis and tomorrow, I'll be sitting pretty.

I also had to buy yet another dog bed... The dog is where I am. In DH's office, she sprawls across Sonshine's former bed, now her bed, that functions as a guest bed when we have visitors. My office has no such amenities, and sleeping on the laminate floor has to be her choice. I also ordered a window perch for the cat, because, yeah, I'm a sucker for my critters and I like having them around.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Hockey IS just a game...


Every now and again, tragedy strikes closer to home for most people than school shootings across the country or weather disasters across the globe.

My mom called me the other day to share some tragic news about a dear friend's family. And that's on top of news a week or so earlier about a member of our own family.

I don't know exactly how either one of these two people feel about their losses. I can imagine, but I haven't been in their shoes. I've been close, with the death of my dad. For one situation, though, I can imagine all too well.

The point is, of course, that for all my lamenting about hockey, my prattling about writing, and my gushing about whatever, those things are all unimportant in the grand scheme of things. It's the people in our lives that matter.

Hug your significant other, your children, your siblings, your friends. Tell them how you feel about them any chance you get, because you just never know when they're going to leave this world or when you might.






Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Playoff hopes and dreams are fixin' to be dashed...




Last night was the STARS six loss in a row--their longest loss streak this season.

Why now, boys? Why now, when every point counts??

Granted, they haven't been mathematically eliminated as of yet, but you know they're feeling the pressure pretty heavily right now.

On a brighter note, their next few games are here at home, and they have a great home record. Unfortunately, they'll be playing one of the best teams in the league.

Please send out all your winning vibes and good wishes to the Dallas Stars for Friday's game.

Thanks and keep your fingers crossed--can't hurt, right?



Monday, March 19, 2018

This latest online class is kicking my butt...


So I moved on from one online class to another in my quest to figure out how to improve my plotting skills.

What I'm learning is that I am not a plotter. Which I sort of knew before. The few times I've actually, really plotted, I didn't have any desire to sit down and write the book because I knew what happened.

So I guess my real purpose in taking classes is to figure out what kind of information I need about my two main characters and possibly the plot in order to start writing.

Class #1 is called Conflict Hurts and the lessons made enough of an impact that this was the second time I took this class. I still like those lessons, though some were a challenge too. They echo a book I read the year before last which also resonated with me.

Class #2 is called Plotting Via Motivation. The lessons start off easily enough and the information we're required to gather about our protagonist/s is good stuff. It's when we got to the part where we needed to summarize the overall plot of the book that I started twitching. I know it's the 20K foot view, but it's not clicking with me. Generalized concepts make little sense to me. I learn much better with specifics. With examples. Sometimes. Even though I've read the other participants' homework, I'm still having trouble coming up with the point by point progression of my own book.

*sigh*

Bear in mind, than much of the info in these two classes and in the book I read is the same, just referred to by different names and explained in a different fashion.

I'll do my best for the rest of the class. Even though I really want to give and quit because it's too hard.

And, YES, I'd love some cheese, thanks. Swiss, sharp cheddar, or pepper jack, please.

On a lighter side note, the weekend was good. My writer's group celebrated it's 35th anniversary and a fun time was had by all. Now it's time to get back to my own work, except...I'm struggling.

But no way out but through.

Have a great week.




Friday, March 16, 2018

The clock starts ticking at 5PM...


Once I leave work, I feel like I'm on the clock--more than I do during the day at work.

By the time I get home, I have three hours to cook, eat, watch tv with DH if that's what we do, wash dishes, do whatever else I might want/need to get done, and be in bed to read for a while and turn out the lights by 8:30--all in order to get up early enough to go to the gym.

Any night I might want to watch a hockey game means staying up way past my bed time and throwing the following day off track.

I've been thinking about going to the gym in the evenings instead, for a couple of reasons...

1) to switch things up and surprise my body. I've been going to the gym really early for going on two years now. My body might like a change of pace.

2) I might like a change of pace.

3) I can watch/listen to hockey games at the gym.

4) I can sleep later and not have to get up when it's super cold--not really an issue until we cycle around till next winter, but it's a consideration.

5) Summer's coming and it's going to light out and just generally "day time" for longer and I might want to enjoy that.

I'll keep pondering this question for a bit...

Anyway, it's Friday, so the weekend is upon us. Have a great one!!



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

So...Netflix anyone...?




Apparently Netflix is celebrating twenty years of DVDs... Have DVDs really been around that long? Probably longer for Netflix to think a mail order service was a worthy business model, so...

We've subscribed to Netflix since 2005 and the first DVD we received was...


And, yeah, I think that was the first show the whole family gathered around the tv to watch together. We've watched all the older Star Trek series (all four of them), save the original, several times since then. There's a new series airing, but that's a rant for a different day.


Netflix streams via the Internet now and we no longer get DVDs, but I still really love having it as much as I ever did. It was especially handy during all those years we didn't have cable tv.

These days, Netflix also offers exclusive shows. I guess with all the other streaming services, they needed something to keep or gain subscribers.

Are you a  Netflix subscriber?


Friday, March 9, 2018

Doing the Friday Snoopy/happy dance...


So it's Friday. :0)

The weather is easing, so it looks like it's time to head back to the gym. Tomorrow. Yep. My body is also griping about the lack of enough physicality. Sure, I've been using the home treadmill, but it doesn't really compare to a workout at the gym.

Writers group contest is winding down, so YAY for that.

Writers group 35th anniversary is this month. Guess who's in charge of that? Yep. That'd be me. In celebration, our group put together a continuity of short stories. The free book can be downloaded from Smashwords. I do have to do a bit more shopping for prizes and decorations for the meeting, but nothing major.



In other exciting news, I finally sold a couple of hockey jersey patterns from my Etsy shop. That was quite exciting. I finished a new pattern and will be working on the stitching this weekend so that I can get a picture of the finished project and make the pattern available online next week. Actually, I finished three patterns that are all variations on a single theme. I'll get around to stitching the others once I'm done with the first one, but one is Christmas themed and the other is winter themed, so there's not a huge rush, right now.


We had  a good visit with the Brown-Eyed Girl and her roomie. She/they opened b-day gifts and Christmas presents and now I'm staring down the calendar at Darling Daughter's birthday as well.

Anyway...time to get this up and start heading toward the weekend.

Have a great one.




Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Happy Hump Day


Sorry, no post today. Just out of it. Busy. Lots of things on my plate... Have this instead.


Monday, March 5, 2018

All cinnamon is not created equal...


And Walmart sucks.

A goodly number of years ago, I asked the doctor about my undiagnosed arthritis. My mom has it, my grandma has it, so it stands to reason I have it.

She recommended a daily dose of one teaspoon cinnamon and one tablespoon honey as management for the joint inflammation and subsequent aches and pains.

If I was going to use this in lieu of an actual prescription, I was going to find the best of each I could. I researched cinnamon and discovered that Saigon Cinnamon was the way to go. I found a local honey and started my regimen.

It took weeks, probably, but it did begin to work and the aches in my knees became a thing of the past. Only on the wonkiest of weather days do I experience any aches.

So I'd been buying my Saigon Cinnamon at Walmart because that's where I shop, but a couple of months ago, my particular Walmart stopped carrying the only brand of Saigon Cinnamon they carried and started carrying some sort of store brand organic cinnamon... and YUCK!

And it's just not the same. It doesn't dissolve nicely and is kinda slimey and I don't even know. But I've kept on with it because I was too lazy to stop at different grocery store and get the good stuff.


But I finally stopped at the Albertson's between the office and the house and stocked up--the good stuff happened to be on sale, so I bought an extra jar while I as there.

So much better. The regular stuff is fine for cinnamon sugar on toast, but if you want to combat arthritis, use the good stuff.

This concludes my Walmart/cinnamon rant and my PSA for the week. :0)




Friday, March 2, 2018

Happy Birthday My Brown-Eyed Girl!


Thirty years ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl ever.


Happy birthday, sweetheart. I love you so much and so proud of all the you've become and overcome.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

You want me to be a mentor???


My writing group started a program to get all our unpublished members published. It's called, unsurprisingly, GetPublished!. I didn't name it.

Sure, I've been a member of this group since 2006, but I've only been published since November of 2017. Do these people think I've listened to or retained everything I did actually listen to over the years? Do these people think I've done it by the book?

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Y'all and I both know better.

The chapter prez called and asked if I'd be a mentor. After I laughed, I reminder her of my own rookie status, but she assured me it was more about encouragement and accountability than anything.

Encouragement and accountability I can do.

I've reached out to my mentee, but we haven't had a chance to actually talk about our partnership going forward and what she really needs from us working together.

I'm looking forward to getting to know my chapter mate a little better, though, and just because I'm on the mentor side of this relationship doesn't mean I'm not going to benefit.

So we'll see how it goes. :0)




Monday, February 26, 2018

The Royal Family


So... One of my random minor interests for a long time has been the British Royal Family. The quote-unquote fairy tale of Prince Charles and Princess Diana happened back when I was in my formative years. Most young girls probably had a passing interest, right? I mean, upper crust, but common girl meets and falls in love (maybe) with the heir to the British throne. What's not to get caught up in?

(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

And like many, I bought into the Diana-as-a-victim portrayal for many years. There's no doubt she struggled and had issues and a horrible lack of education-in-dealing-with-being-royal and not much in the way of a support system. But Charles, too, faced his share of issues and challenges.

I recently watched a six-part documentary on the Royal Family and it really rounded out my knowledge of things. I'm not a super-fan/follower, but over the years, I've really gained a new sympathy for Charles and have come see/believe that he was never the bad guy that news rags and magazines made him out to be. Of course, it takes two to tango, as the saying goes, so he's not absolved of everything, but it appears Diana was a lot less innocent than she appeared.

Any other royal watchers out there?


Friday, February 23, 2018

GRL, here I come for a second time!


I have a conference reservation. I have a hotel reservation. I don't yet have airfare, but that isn't cheap enough yet. I was told (whether true or not, I don't know) that airfare is best bought 58 days from your departure date.

In October, I'm going back to one of the few cons that solely represents my genre. I had a great time last year and am looking forward to another enjoyable experience. I was hoping to go as a supporting author (opportunities to hawk my wares) this year, but those slots sold out in under fifteen minutes. I'm on the waiting list, so please keep your fingers crossed that they add slots or that enough current slots become available for me to upgrade.

This year's GRL will be in Portsmouth, Virginia; I'll get to add yet another city and state to the list of places I've been, so that's nice.

The other really exciting thing is that...I've earned enough in royalties so far to actually pay for my conference registration!!! That just tickles me pink. The goal as the months pass and royalties continue to trickle in is to pay for the whole trip. :0)

This is the fun and exciting part of the publishing journey.

The hard part is writing the next book. Working on that...

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How do you feel about peanut butter?



I love it. I've been eating a ton of it lately and I'm wondering why.

I've heard it said that when you crave a food it can mean that your body is missing something, and it's trying get that something by craving a food that contains it. Well, that was a circular sentence, wasn't it?

According to the nutritional info, the thing peanut butter has the most of is protein. But I consume a lot of protein from other sources, so that doesn't seem likely. Maybe my body needs one of the dozen plus vitamins and minerals found in PB. It's certainly not the carbs...although I understand these are the good carbs, not that bad kind. So maybe?

Any ideas?

What foods do you crave often?

Monday, February 19, 2018

A busy and disappointing weekend...


The Stars lost again in spectacular fashion on Sunday. They gave up five goals in the 1st period and only came back to grab two of their own during the rest of the game. It's like someone flicked a switch and turned their talent off. Ugh.

In other sports news, DH and I watched the Daytona 500 yesterday, which was fine. There were a couple of major wrecks, but as I haven't really picked a driver to follow they weren't as devastating to me as they could have been. :0) It's been a while since I followed NASCAR and the driver landscape has changed a lot. I'm not planning on getting super into the sport again, but most fans have a driver or two to pin their weekly hopes on. I've got my eye on a handful, including the guy who won yesterday, but will watch a few more races and narrow it down to 2 or 3.

Going to my writers group meeting on Saturday was the boost I'd hoped for, but that meant a lot of work for me yesterday. Our group is putting together a collection of short stories to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Guess who's in charge? Yes, me. Although I'd wanted to be in charge of it since the 30th anniversary, so it's fine. Anyway, I thought I was going to be able to parse out the proofreading, but a couple of my helpers sorta bailed, so I spent yesterday proofreading a handful of short (3500 words or less) stories. Then I remembered I had to like put together some specialness for the celebration, which is next month. Like ordering the memento, planning table decorations if any, starting a power point presentation for a thing I'm planning, and sending out emails as needed to accomplish all of the above.

On another note, I got my hind-end back to the gym starting yesterday. Went again today. I stopped going because of the super-cold temps that early in the morning and also because working the contest takes a good hour, so that's when I'd work on it. But the contest is running smoother, so I don't need as much time. Anyway, I was feeling the adverse effects of not going and now that it's warmed up, I had no more excuses and every reason to go. So...yeah. Back at it.

The next thing to get after is writing book 7. I just need to park my behind somewhere, fit on the noise-canceling headphones, and write.

How was your weekend?




Friday, February 16, 2018

TGIF


This is how I'm feeling about life right now...


Not that I drink, but it's the thought that counts.

It's writing group weekend, so things are looking up.

Hope you have a great weekend.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Conflict Hurts!


I'm experiencing conflict right now!! I want to write book 7 and I'm struggling. UGH UGH UGH!!

About a month ago, I mentioned a class I'd taken last June and how I wanted to take it again... Well, I tried to contact the instructor, but I had her email wrong, so it bounced back and I was really bummed. But then an announcement for that very class came through me email and--yay--I'm currently knee deep in the middle of it.

I'm enjoying it as much as I did last time, but it's also challenging and frustrating in equal parts as I struggle through the psychology of my characters wounds, beliefs, and coping mechanisms.

Building conflict is a thing I really need to wrap my head around to tell effective stories. The instructor did say it took her years to get a handle on it herself, but she also has part of a psychology degree under her belt. So, yeah... I have a big learning curve when I get a lot of info thrown at me. It takes me a while to parse things. I feel like an idiot sometimes, needing everything spelled out for me, and that's frustrating because I'm not a stupid person. Not a rocket scientist, to be sure, but not stupid.

I really need to pinpoint my best learning style.

So, anyway, I'll persevere and study and try, try again. I may also take the class when she offers it again in the fall, but I don't think, in the grand scheme of things, this is the strict method for me. Many instructors say, "take what works/resonates and leave the rest." There are definitely things I'm learning, that I'll take away and apply, but as far as starting where she starts... I don't know.


Another class just came through my email that sounds right up alley, so I'm considering it despite the cost. But I really want to grasp this concept and how to make it work for me.

Well, happy Hump Day! See you Friday.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Sophie's Choice...


Time for some hockey talk. We haven't done that in a while. :0)

Over the weekend, the Dallas Stars had an opportunity to move out of the Wild Card slot for the playoffs and into an actual playoffs berth. True, they'll have to hold onto it, but they've had the Wild Card slot for a good month or so, so chances look promising.

One point separated the Stars and the team ahead of them in their division, the St. Louis Blues, going into the weekend with two games on the schedule for both teams. Did they make it??

Well, the Stars won Friday's game earning them two points, but so did the Blues, so there was no change as of Saturday.

On Sunday, the Blues played early and lost. The Stars had to have known this going into their own game. So what did they do? They lost in spectacular fashion to one of the five worst teams in the league. Ugh.

Granted, there were a couple of factors going against them, but they played like crap, even for them and even with the things they had to deal with.

Anyway, the answer is no, they didn't pull it off. They're no better off, but, on the other hand, they're no worse off. The team now has four days off to get their act together. On Friday, they play...guess who?...the St. Louis Blues. Someone's going down.

Now onto my dilemma.

I have three favorite teams, all in different divisions. The Stars can play both of the other two teams at various levels of the playoffs. While the Stars are my home team, the other two have very compelling story lines for why I would want them to win--

The Pittsburgh Penguins are going for a third Stanley Cup in a row. Due to changes in the league over the last dozen years, two in a row is difficult enough. Three would just be phenomenal. And as the saying goes, "If any team can pull it off, the Penguins can." Collectively, those boys have played a lot of hockey in the past three years--not just NHL, but other competitions as well--and they're tired. But after a questionable start back in October, they're lighting it up now in the last thirty or so games heading toward the post season. So, yeah, go Pens!


The Vegas Golden Knights are going for their very first playoff run in their very first year as a team. They've already broken numerous records for a franchise in its first season. They are, to pretty much everyone's surprise, first in their division at the moment and they've hovered near the top for most of the season despite a spate of injuries to their goalies--of which every team only keeps two on the active team roster. They've had three goalies come in this year from their minor league teams who've all done a yeoman's job of guarding the net. They could actually pull this off. What's not to love about this narrative? So, yeah, go Knights!


And then, of course, are the Stars--they've been to the playoffs only twice in the last eight years, losing once in the first round and once in the second. They've made it the Stanley Cup playoffs twice since moving to Dallas twenty-five years ago, winning only once in 1999. Would I love to see my hometown boys (I say hometown, but only four players are even American!!) get to the playoffs and win the Cup. Just because they're my team and it'd be super cool to have hockey eclipse every other sport in this state for a while. So, yeah, GO STARS!


What I discovered in watching Friday night's Stars game against the Penguins is that I definitely want the Stars to win right now, during regular season play. Why? Because they need to make it to the playoffs before my Sophie's choice can even be a choice. They need the points to climb the standings.

Any suggestions on how to choose when the time comes?


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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