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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, August 29, 2018

What was I thinking...??


So I read a book called "5 Secrets of Story Structure" as it was free and, honestly, I don't even know why.

And then I fell down the rabbit hole of copying the list of ten items. And then I watched a movie to see if I could pinpoint them as an educational exercise. And then I decided to figure out the structure points of the book I'm working on.

The book I'm trying to get done and to an editor by September 15th. The book I want to have published by the time I leave for my conference mid-October.

It took me an hour and half or so to get my little worksheet filled out.

Then it took me two hours--two hours--to hash out the first four (of ten) with a writer friend until we both felt everything made more sense. Oh. My. Goodness.

The good news is...the book will be all the better for doing it.

The bad news is...chances are I can't get the book done by September 15th.

So plan b is to print the cover, put it in a clear plastic frame/stand thingy and have it available for pre-order.

And then work like a lazy fiend to get it done in time to publish no later than Thanksgiving.


Monday, August 27, 2018

Road Construction...


So we live along a stretch of East Loop 820 in Fort Worth. The highway narrows down to two lanes a bit north of us and at rush hour, as you can imagine, it gets clogged up for several hours.

A few weeks ago, lanes were shifted, barriers put up along various sections, and work begun.

But on what??

Well. It turns out the DoT is adding a lane in each direction.

Yippy skippy! About dang time...

Only...

It's going to take about four years.

I get that these things take time, but this is a stretch of approximately half a mile. WHUT??

Unfortunately, there are a few challenges--the highway crosses over a small lake on one end and merges into another highway on the other. Along the southbound side of the highway is water overflow drainage, so they have to do whatever it is they need to do to allow that overflow to remain available, which I think, means building a ledge/bridge for that new lane.


Luckily I rarely have to utilize the highway. Only to get to the gym, but that's at the butt crack of dawn and I can take back roads if I have to. :0)

So, yeah, four years of road construction.

Friday, August 24, 2018

My hockey wall...


My office is an ode to my various interests and obsessions as well as to my odd sense of interior design.

Hard to see with the light glaring at the camera, but you can probably see the fairy lights. And on the right side of the left window is a Stars car window flag. :)


My Charles Wysocki collectors plates (one set of three, actually) that I've had for over 20 years. Just to the right of those is...

My BBC Sherlock wall. Note the sampler there on the left... That was a blog post subject many many moons ago.


My desk and the wall above, chock full of random goodies that make me smile or were gifts.

Now this is the piece de resistance... my shelves full of more randomness, suck as my rubber duckie collection, my dala horse collection, my Matchbox NASCAR collection, along with keepsakes from my trips to Nashville. Draped around the top is a Fourth of July garland, because I love that too.


I have a little section of wall between the window and the corner that has been designated the hockey wall--the back of the door and the wall space next to it is also hockey wall, now that I'm thinking about it...

(The back of the door is really a shrine to Tyler Seguin... Yup, I'm that kind of dork.)


But this particular space only had a Tyler Seguin pennant along with a couple of "posters" -- a.k.a. expired calendar images of Tyler and his teammate Jamie Benn.

Remember those little baby samplers I shared a couple of weeks ago? Well, one got framed and is now on the hockey wall. :0) Of course, Jamie Benn had to come down. He's not a favorite of mine so I passed him along to a friend.

And now the hockey wall looks like this:


And the sampler itself...


The wall still needs a little work, but I have a few plans.

Stay tuned...


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Getting into a routine...


I have successfully set a new routine in place...

I prefer to get my trip to the gym done in the mornings. I also write best first thing in the morning, but for the longest time, my trips to the gym were chewing up two hours. That was also back when I was in weight loss mode and I needed to burn enough calories in a day.

Now, though... I'm in maintenance mode and fat-utilization mode, so I don't need to work out as long or as hard. I've cut the length of a trip to the gym almost in half, leaving the rest of that early morning quiet available for writing.

It's been working out (heh) really well. I get my workout in, get my energy for the day, and I get my brain online enough to write. So I'm getting writing time in every day as well. And now that I'm in writing/editing mode, that's a wonderful thing. No matter what happens during the day, I've spent time with the words already.

Remember when I said it was crunch time almost two weeks ago? Well, now it's really crunch time. At that point, I hadn't fully grasped how much work was needed to get this book done. Now I do. I told my editor I'd have it to her by September 15th. That gives me three and a half weeks to get the book sorted and cohesive and finished.

I think it's going to take more than just the hour I have each morning. Granted, on Saturdays, I can work for three or four hours, so that's good, but I might will have to start carving out time here and there during my workday (the boss is lenient that way) to make sure I can send the book off by the deadline. Starting today...

Have a great day. See you Friday. :0)

Monday, August 20, 2018

My Sunday Project


So I have larger hockey-themed cross stitch sampler I've been itching to start. Unfortunately, I have a couple of smaller projects that are gifts that I'm trying to get done.

Instead of denying myself completely until I'm done with these gifts, I decided to work on this larger project on Sundays.

The gifts fit in a quart-sized zipper bag and I tote one back forth to work each day or the current one sits on the dining room table for quick access when I have a few minutes, like in the mornings when I'm waiting for DH to be ready to leave or when I'm waiting for the kettle to boil.


On Sundays though, I'm going to lay out my new project on the dining room table and work on it.


Sunday before yesterday, I cut it to size and bound the edges.



Yesterday, under the watchful eye of my sweet grand kitty, Karma, I made hash marks along the edges for easier stitching.

 

And then I got ONE letter done... On my way! :0)


Hope you had a great weekend.



Friday, August 17, 2018

Carb-free treats...


They take some getting used to, that's for sure...

This week I made Keto peanut butter cookies and Keto chocolate.

The peanut butter cookies were very, very dry and crumbled in my mouth as soon as I took a bite. They were good with milk though.


The Keto chocolates were okay. I've always had a sweet tooth and while these weren't sweet exactly, they should take care of the any cravings. I did add a tablespoon of Stevia to counteract the bitterness of the cocoa powder. Next time, I might add two to see if that adds any actual sweetness to them.

And yes--I used my deviled egg plate as a mold. :0)


The biggest issue with the chocolates, if you want to consider it an issue, is that they have to stay refrigerated or else they melt back into a puddle of chocolate goo. (See the center blob of chocolate.) Mostly it means I can't take them with me without packing them in a cooler with ice.

Next up on the Keto recipe experiment... Pumpkin Cheesecake. **adds ingredients to shopping list

Image from this URL: https://www.heyketomama.com/keto-pumpkin-cheesecake/

Have a great weekend!! 

 
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Meatball Experiment


Meatballs are an easy and economical way to add more protein to my diet. Unfortunately, the pre-made kind don't taste all that great plain. So that means sauces of various kinds. Having spaghetti sauce every day would get pretty tedious. A-1 Sauce, though I love it, has sugar in it. It's not a large amount per serving, but it would take 3 to 5 servings to cover the meatballs, because...

The one thing I've discovered is that the meatballs are so much better when they're submerged in whatever sauce I want them in so that the sauce really infuses the meatballs.

I thought enchilada sauce would be a nice change of pace, but I only used one serving (1/4 cup) and there wasn't enough for it to really soak into the meatballs during the mini-slow-cooker process. Next time around, I'm using 1/2 cup of sauce. Adding sour cream and olives and maybe some shredded cheese would make a really nice little dish, don't you think?

Remember I mentioned the Buffalo Ranch concoction? Yeah, I tried that on the meatballs. Um...no. It's great on chicken. I could snarf it all day long. On the beef meatballs? Not so great. But live and learn, right?

The other thing I just thought of as I sat down to write this post--gravy! Plain brown or beef flavored gravies. As a change of pace, it's worth a try.

Any recommendations? I perused the condiment aisle and surprisingly, options are pretty slim. So many things have carbs and sugars. Ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great week!!


Monday, August 13, 2018

THIRTY THOUSAND WORDS!!


So I've been churning out the words every day, reaching and exceeding the 600 word goal. As mentioned in the subject of this post, I've crossed the 30K word mark of the book as a whole. The goal was originally 32.5K with the belief that I'd be close to the story actually being complete. But with the progress I've made through the actual story--still in the middle of chapter 6 of at least 12!!--I'm definitely looking at a few thousand more words and at least another week.

I know some of the words already written will be deleted because they don't fit the narrative any longer, but new ones will take their place. Whether it will take more words or fewer words in the rewriting, I have no idea.

Resetting end goal to 35K. Leaving the deadline as this Friday for now, because I'd still like to do that, but with the understanding that it just may not happen. And the only reason I picked Friday is because Saturday is writers group, and for encouragement and acknowledgement from one another we can report written words, edited words, and finished books, as well as submissions, sales and rejections. I really wanted to be able to report finishing the book.

So onward I go each day, curtailing my workout a little bit so that I can squeeze in the time in the morning when my brain works the best for the writing.

Hope your weekend was as enjoyable and productive as mine...

Catch you later!



Friday, August 10, 2018

It's CRUNCH time...


I took the notion at some point in the last month that I wanted to have a new book ready by the time my October conference rolled around. I knew I couldn't write one from scratch, so I dug up a book I'd written years ago, and as I've already mentioned started converting it from being a male/female romance to being a male/male romance.

I've made good progress, am making better progress. I contacted a cover artist... Here are the two preliminary covers she sent me. I like the left one better, although it needs a few tweaks.




I've arranged editing services--trading with a close friend in exchange for me starting a guide for one of her series.

Now all I've got to do is finish the book and get it turned into a cohesive whole. The other day I figured out I needed 600 words a day by the 18th to reach the target word count. Now that doesn't necessarily mean the book will be done, but it gets it dad-gum close, although having it done, no matter how much work it needs, is the goal.

So for the next seven days, I'm planning on being pretty focused on this work-in-progress. I'm glad it's the weekend and I'll have two whole days to work on it.

Have a great weekend and please send your creative vibes my way!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

I Need to Eat More...


Not an utterance I'd ever thought I'd make, but it's true. I've dropped too many pounds.

Remember, I talked about the moratorium on carbs except for what comes naturally in meats and veggies...? As my body transitions from not sourcing its energy from food (as much) to sourcing it from my stored body fat, I have been feeling draggy. After stepping on the scale, thinking about what I've been eating, and a convo with DH, it seems I'm not eating enough. More protein is definitely in order.

Meatballs are a quick and easy way to get more protein in my diet. Relatively inexpensive too, which is good for my beleaguered budget. Unfortunately, I'm going to get tired of spaghetti / marinara sauce quickly. BBQ sauce has too much sugar. But I did mix Ranch dressing with Buffalo sauce the other day for dipping chicken, so I'm going to make a slightly larger batch of that and slow cook a serving of meatballs and see what happens.

I might add the carb-light tortillas back in...there are only 4 net carbs per serving and it gives me something in which to eat egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, and peanut butter, so thinking hard about that. Plus it'll soothe my bread craving and helpfully keep me from breaking down and cheating horribly at some point.

Anyway, hope you're all well. Stay cool and hydrated--it's still hot hot hot here in North Texas.








Monday, August 6, 2018

Yeah, so I missed Friday again... My reason and other random stuff...


I don't have as exciting an excuse this time. I wanted to share an animated GIF for posterity, but could not, for the life of me, get a hold of the original file. It was taking too long and I had other pressing, work-related things to get done and so...it fell by the wayside.

I still don't have anything exciting to share, but life cycles on.

My patio chair began to unravel (the really thick and super-long ponytail holder-like elastic that connects the seating to the frame) and as a result, I *had* to purchase a new one. I sit on the patio just about every day, weather permitting, so... This is chair number three in close to ten years. The first one lasted a long time, that second one, not as much. Which, while I didn't want to have to buy a new one, the broken one wasn't my favorite. Not surprisingly, it was also the cheapest.

This new one has a foot rest--that I cannot use because I am TOO short-- and reclines back much farther than the last one (like the first one too) and has a shade thingy (also like the first one). The second one had a cup holder that I found useful a time or two, so I might try to get it off the broken one and onto the new one. :0)


I'm also thinking about dragging this one inside everyday to protect if from the elements. But that's a pain. On the other hand...it's a really nice new chair and I'd like to have it around for a good long while. Maybe just a cover?

I wrote some words this weekend Sunday which was quite exciting. Over 1500 words, which was really exciting. This morning on my way home from the gym, I tested dictating part of a scene. The result was 230-ish words (about a page worth). Not bad. I need to learn to add in the punctuation and possibly new paragraphs, but for the first test it wasn't horrible. Unfortunately, if you stop talking, the app stops recording, so you either have to say filler words or press record again when you want to continue after a spell of silence. Since the app is free, I'll just deal with it for now. If I get really proficient--many months down the road--I'll think about other better options. On the other hand, if I get more proficient, I may not pause to think quite as often, so... >>shrugs<<

I'm taking an online class as well as reading a writer-help book. The class is good so far, the book also good so far.

Hope you had a great weekend. Talk to you Wednesday. :0)



Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Also Frustrated...


I've been working on formatting my books for print... Meaning applying styles and headers and page numbers and breaking my Word doc up into sections, etc., etc., etc...

I've been working on this task (not daily, but often) for over a month now. I started off with one issue and I finally got that figured out, but then I have a new issue. And it's frustrating and I really just want to get the thing done and the books printed.

*sigh*

Back to the drawing board today.

I may start from scratch. Ugh.

I don't want to have to pay someone, but at some point I'm going to run out of time to keep messing with it.

But that point is not now, so...

Hope you're having a great week.




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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