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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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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*

 

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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