Monday, December 30, 2019

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020


It hasn't been a bad year. In fact, it's been quite good in many respects if just plain busy--too busy for my liking. It sped by much too fast, as I've whined about often. But I'm glad it's coming to a close if only so that I can plan for being less busy at some point in 2020.

In years past, I've graded myself on the accomplishment of my goals as listed to the right, but I'm not going into details this year. I'm giving myself Ds and Fs across the board. I didn't do well at all at much of anything.

Now, I'm not sure if I post my goals for the new year prior to or following New Years Eve & Day, but this year they're coming after. I've been thinking about them, but I haven't got the specifics nailed down yet, so probably next week. I know--you can't wait. :0)

My Christmas was good, how about yours? As we do, we gathered at my in-laws home for Christmas Eve. Food was delicious as always, company was a treat, and gifts were awesome. I got the two things I wanted most, so whee... Thank you to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for those.

And then, I got a thing I would have wanted had I come across it myself. Whether I would have bought it for myself depends entirely on the price, although I'm thinking, considering the giver, I could afford it.

Anyway, it is priceless gift for several reasons, and one I'll love and treasure for years.

Are you curious?

Okay, well, here it is:


In case it's hard to tell, it's a matted collectible photo of Sidney Crosby--my absolute favorite player--three-time Stanley Cup champion, kissing the Stanley Cup in June of 2017. That was the second of back-to-back titles--the Penguins also won in 2016. That was the first time it'd happened since 1997/1998.

Thank you, Kayla, for this gift--you're a girl after my own hockey-loving heart. 

 So dear readers, may the new year bring peace, joy, and prosperity to you and your families.

See you in 2020.




Friday, December 27, 2019

There's a Reckoning Happening in RWA


Suffice to say some shit went down in RWA over Christmas. Yes, on the 23rd, 24th, 25th... While everyone should have been spending time with family.

An issue serious enough that I've heard a few people say that RWA might not recover.

If you really want to know about it, type in RWA and racism into your favorite search engine. If the name of a Chinese-American author pops up, that's the thing...

I missed it all because the only people and organizations I follow on Twitter are hockey related.

In case you haven't cottoned on--I'm not your typical author. Not by a long shot. I don't track my sales, I don't read my reviews, and I certainly don't spend a whole lot of time creating a vast network of fellow authors just to have numbers. I don't publish a newsletter and I don't have an authors reader group.

I wouldn't even be a member of the national organization if I didn't have to be in order to be a member of the local chapter. They pissed me off several years ago, but my local group is worth the cost of admission.

At this point, I'm seriously considering not renewing when the time comes. That decision depends on a lot of things several which I don't even know right now.

Anyway, it's been a heck of a day and I'm feeling pretty beat down over it all.

So thank goodness it's Friday.

Y'all have a great weekend.





Monday, December 23, 2019

Toasted Turkey with mayo and Lettuce...


It's my new favorite thing to eat. Besides a bowl of cereal, of course.

A couple of months ago, I got a toasted turkey sandwich from a little place in the business park where our office is located and since then, it's a thing.

It's not that there's anything extra special about this place's sandwich making skills or ingredients; it's the combo of the toast, the turkey, the lettuce and the mayo.

Instead of hoping one of my employees was going to this particular place for lunch every day, I finally broke down and bought my own ingredients and have been enjoying toasted turkey with lettuce and mayo for a couple of days now.

So it's the day before Christmas Eve... My shopping is complete. My errands are complete. My wrapping is complete. All that's left is to be-ribbon up the Christmas morning presents and tidy up the house a bit. And if those presents go without ribbons...that's okay. The house is mostly tidy, so it won't take long to finish and then it'll be Christmas...

For being one of the most important / biggest holidays of the year, we only get a day and a half off of work... Seems to me we should have a four day weekend like at Thanksgiving. Ah well...

Anyway, Merry Christmas to one and all. And if you don't celebrate at all, enjoy the break.


Friday, December 20, 2019

The Bullet Journal


I'm thinking about trying the Bullet Journal system for being more organized and more productive. It looks to be the advanced version of my general list making and requires a little more pre-planning and forethought and organization.


That's not a bad thing, but is it going to be more trouble than it's worth? I have one friend who uses a physical journal but has tweaked it to suit her needs and I have another friend who is more electronically minded.

Now I'm all for electronic but there's something to be said for grasping a concept with a physical book, tweaking it to my needs, and then going virtual. Possibly. Depending on my needs and the tweaks--going virtual might be "out of sight, out of mind." And I'm thinking this might also help me get back on track with daily tasks.



I have yet another friend who uses the happy tracker. She has a physical notebook with printed pages, sorted into various categories, and she rewards herself with stickers on the days / for the tasks she completes. I did that for a while and it worked for me as well, so I'm thinking I could combine the concepts.

Which means going virtual might not be the best option because if that journal--whatever form it takes, and right now it's a composition book I had lying around--is not in front of me, reminding me to open it, to read it, to look ahead, to plan, and to reward with stickers, then it might not happen. And that would defeat the whole purpose.

This year has flown past and the beginning of next year is going to be busy, busy, busy, and I feel like I could use some help in staying on top of all the moving parts.

And so here is the beginning of my journal...



I doubt I'll get too artsy with it...some people like to do decorate their journals, and whatever works for them. But for me it's wasted time. I'd rather be reading. :0)

It's an interesting concept and we'll see how it works for me.

Have a great weekend...




Monday, December 16, 2019

Holiday Down Time...


Not that there's always much of it and the late Thanksgiving is really biting into time in general. We are down to a week and a day until Christmas Eve Day. And we do celebrate Christmas Eve at my mother-in-law's house, so theoretically, I'll only have until noon-ish that day to finish any sort of shopping.

Hopefully, it won't come to that...I despise having to go out the last few days before Christmas and deal with all the crazy people and crowded stores. To that end, I have completed my shopping except for Sonshine. I can buy him stuff later since he won't be here in town with us.

But the title says "down time" so let's talk down time. My down time consists mostly of reading, but I do occasionally watch something other than my handful of regular TV shows.

When I sit and wrap, I usually watch something I've watched before, many times. That way I can listen more than watch and I don't miss things because my eyes are on the wrapping, not the TV.


My go-to for many years has been Penelope, a live-action fairy tale type movie. Not sure what I'm going to watch on Saturday, but probably Penelope and maybe some Harry Potter thrown in too.

Do you have any must-watch films of the season?

I love the old "A Charlie Brown Christmas" as well as "The Little Drummer Boy."
 



Apologies for missing last Wednesday and Friday, but time just got away from me...

Have a great week.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Two weeks and a day...


Until Christmas...

That late Thanksgiving really threw everything off, didn't it?

Luckily I got Christmas money and am making good progress on shopping...

I've been whining about this to my writers group, but this last half of the year has flown by. Considering all the hats I'm wearing and hockey, the first part of next year looks to do the same.

Anyway, I hope you had a good weekend.

Catch you mid-week--

Friday, December 6, 2019

TGIF




There's not much going on really, either at work or at home, but after the holiday last week and my travels I missed three days of work at busy juncture of the month and I spent most of the week getting all caught up. So whew.

I'm just ready to be home for a couple of days,futzing around with this, that, and the other, cleaning house, putting out whatever other Christmas decorations I can find.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

There's a reckoning happening in hockey...


It's scary and it's sad. But maybe it'll be cathartic and healing. And maybe, just maybe, hockey will be held accountable and eventually become for everyone...

A few weeks ago, an NHL coach was fired. Upon his termination, the floodgates opened and story upon story of how much his players hated him came out.

And then a player tweeted that another NHL coach--a mentor of the first coach--used racial slurs against him and said that he felt he never made it to the pros because this coach had the GM bury him in the minors.

And that was all she wrote... the hockey version of the #metoo movement began in earnest.

Players of all stripes from all levels of hockey are airing their stories of hazing and all kinds of abuse.

As a result, yet another coach is now under investigation.

It's not pretty. It's--as I said up top--scary and sad. It's disgusting and shameful, and my heart hurts for all of these guys.


Hockey is probably getting a huge black eye right now, but I hope, in the end, the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions and that moving forward, players from mini-mites (age 5 &6) to all all professional leagues find safety and healing.

Yikes.

On the other hand, I've got a trio of podcasters who were players not so long ago and they want to point out that the whole hockey barrel shouldn't be spoiled because of a few bad apples. And they're right--just because a coach is strict and tough doesn't mean he's abusive. But there's a line, there's a limit.

Anyway...that's what's on my mind right now, among the dozen other things going on in my world.









Monday, December 2, 2019

Hello and Best Wishes...


I hope your Thanksgiving was as pleasant as mine. We gathered and ate and visited and video-chatted with Sonshine for a few minutes since he couldn't be with us. A good time seemed to be had by all.

The drive and the weather were unremarkable which is a blessing this time of year, especially for all points, say, north of Wichita. We had a half-hour's worth of flurries on Thursday which was both a blessing and a disappointment. I would have liked to have enjoyed a little more snow--a dusting maybe? Enough to cover the roofs, and the lawn, and the cars, but not enough to make driving detrimental.

We came home Saturday to allow for a day of rest and recovery and preparation for the new work week. The drive was uneventful from Omaha to Gainseville, aside from some patchy fog during that first hour on the road. But it wasn't so close as to restrict our view of the pavement of the lines, so while tiring to the eyes after a while, not too dangerous or scary.

Once we passed through Gainesville, however--which is the first five miles inside the Texas border--there was traffic. Unexplained traffic... Traffic would slow down and speed up--but not all the way, slow down and speed up--but not all the way, and just be unusually slow. There was no accident... There was just nothing. And it was so frustrating, because when you're at the end of a ten-hour drive, you want to be done and out the car and home, and yet, you're forced to spend an extra 30 minutes in the car FOR NO REASON.

Okay--

Obviously we made it safely and can now begin the express train ride to Christmas and New Years...




Friday, November 22, 2019

Hockey Fights Cancer


Last night, DD and I went to the Stars game...but it wasn't just any old game.

Last night was Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the AAC when the Stars put out the word for fans to bring unopened LEGO sets for the LEGOS for Little Warriors project founded by a very young man who lost his own battle with cancer just this past August.

Many of the players have foundations that support various causes or charities or offer special events and outings. John Klingberg, one of our defenseman, sponsors Klinger's Kids and last year for Hockey Fights Cancer Night, Klingberg had Brody Nelson and his family in for the Victory Green Carpet treatment, culminating in dropping the ceremonial puck and enjoying the game in a suite.

Last night, Brody's sister dropped the ceremonial puck in her brother's stead and received a standing ovation in return.

Anyone who wanted to could pick up an "I fight for sign" and so I did...



LOVE YOU MIMI!




Wednesday, November 20, 2019

My Hockey Crush / Boyfriend


Look at this face!


This is my favorite Stars player Roman Polak... No, he's not the hottest or the most skilled player on the team, but last year he came in when several players were out due to injury and post-traumatic headaches. And he played. He was physical for us and he stuck up for his teammates, letting others know they couldn't push the Stars around and he just really endeared himself to me.

So much so, I spent money on a custom jersey with his name and number. :0)

Anyway, he went down in the first game of the season with what ended up being a cracked sternum. But he's back now and I couldn't be more thrilled and THANKFUL that he's healed and of course that he's back on the ice.

Anyway--happy hump day! See you Friday.




Monday, November 18, 2019

Feeling Motivated


After way too many hours sitting and sorting spreadsheets and numbers this weekend, I was feeling antsy on Sunday. I really wanted to read, but my eyes were bothering me and I needed something that didn't require glasses. So I finally got down and dirty in the garage.

Sonshine left behind about a dozen boxes full of stuff and they've been stacked in a corner gathering dust and cobwebs for five years now.

DH and I want a little more space in the garage for some elbow room as well as one more piece of exercise equipment, which means Sonshine and DD's boxes need to be relocated. Well, Sonshine is not here to go through his stuff, so the job falls to good ol' mom.

I threw away all the clothes. Bugs had gotten into one box and they were icky. I also figured if he'd needed them, he would have dug them out in the half dozen visits he's made home since he left. The boxes that will be heading his way, some way somehow, got relocated to an empty cabinet--may as well not clog up twice the floor space, right?

There are still a few boxes to rummage through and there's some cleanup to be done, but it felt good to be physically active (aside from the twice-daily bike ride) and I felt like I accomplished something.

Most of the Christmas decorations are in a pile and I was half tempted to start decorating...but I wasn't quite ready for that project just yet.

I gotta say, it feels really good see that funk in the rear-view mirror. :0)

Hope you had an enjoyable or productive weekend as well.


Friday, November 15, 2019

Where has the year gone...?







I've lamented the passing of the year before. I thought I'd have more time to relax and breathe, but that hasn't been the case and 2020 is looking to be just as busy.

It seems that now that the kids are gone, there's less ebb and flow to the year. No summer without the school-year-routine to look forward to as a time to do less.

Now it's just one thing after another after another and how did this happen?

Well, mostly it's my fault because I say yes to things that maybe I shouldn't, but part of it seems to be the reality of various aspects of life and the things I've chosen to do with it.

For example...I'm a hockey fan. I've chosen to be a season ticket holder which means attending up to 41 games each year. Which is too many and I've mentioned that before, so I've opted to sell my tickets to many of the weekend games. But I like the perks of being a full season ticket holder, so I'm on the fence about going with a smaller package. And there are other things that go along with it and it's a way to spend time with and bond with DD.

As a writer, my goal is to write and publish books. Now I'm not aiming to be a USA Today Bestseller but I would still like to publish at least two books a year. That means writing and planning and all that good stuff.

As a writer, I'm also a member of a writer's organization...which means monthly meetings and being involved. I might be a little over committed this year, but after August when I pass the torch, I'll have one job and the following year...I'm taking the year off. I deserve a break.

As a writer, there's also writer's conferences. I've limited it to just the one unless the national organization of my writers groups has one in Texas, but that's not happening again for a few years, so I'm safe. I know a lot of authors do several each year, but I don't make enough money from my writing to support that, so no.

As a person, I have friends and family...

So life gets busy and if you're not paying attention, another year whooshes by.

I'd like to be a little less busy, so I think I'm going to work towards that.

Take care and have a great weekend.







Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Whew...


I'm still stuck on book seven of the Ten Rigs series. I have no idea why I'm stuck yet again or still-- I haven't decided which it truly is. But as I mentioned last Wednesday, there are plenty of other projects that need my attention and so...

I turned my attention to planning/plotting a new book. There's a possibility of a hockey anthology with some other authors from the conference, so I'm planning the book and writing the book. Even if the anthology itself doesn't come to fruition--I'll still have a new book to publish.

It feels good to be (slightly) more energetic and productive on the writing front.

Of course, this cold front is somewhat of a mood killer, but it's sunny today, so there's that.

The exercising twice a day continues on as well even though I was very bad last Sunday and again yesterday... But I've been holding steady weight-wise. As long as it's not going up, I'm fine for now.

I'm crossing things off my to-do list regularly and not too many new things are getting added, so the load is lightening just a little. WHEW!

So...back to work for me, crossing stuff off. Have a great rest of your week.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Don't tell my Darling Daughter...



But her cat keeps snuggling with me in the early mornings. I don't know if Karma snuggles with DD that much, but she does with me. Not any time anyone is around to see, but every weekday morning around 3:30 when she realizes I have woken up, she creeps over and lays down for some lovin'.

This morning, she was also overseeing my workout.

Speaking of workouts...I've made a concerted effort to get back to working out--for all that sitting on my recumbent bike and burning 100 calories or so could be called a workout--twice a day. That twice-daily burning of energy has helped me feel a bit more energetic. I have a ways to go, but I'm headed in the right direction at least.

I still have quite a few things on my plate and just got another, but I'm working at getting some things off it too.

About a decade ago, I was juggling two presidencies--band booster and writers group. I made it through the six-month overlap and I can do it again. It was a matter of taking care of the tasks that were next up on the schedule, which ever organization it was. Now band booster was a weekly cycle, luckily writers group was only monthly.

Anyway, I just need to keep my lists handy and updated. I need to plan ahead and stay on task. two things I'm pretty good at.

Hope you had a enjoyable and/or productive weekend.



Friday, November 8, 2019

TGIF



I'm not feeling quite this out of gas, but I can't deny I'm pretty run down. As I mentioned Wednesday, I've been feeling meh and I have a lot of stuff on my plate.

This weekend, I'll be able to make some progress on writers group things without having to stuff them in around the day job or be interrupted by the phone or pulled into a meeting as I find a groove on something.

And after a way-too-long passage of time, I'm having lunch with my dear friend N tomorrow. Can't wait to see you!!

Have a great weekend y'all!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Hello again...


Yeah, I've been AWOL. There's not much going on and a lot going on and I've been feeling really meh about life in general.

I suppose I could have published some fun memes, but that would have required effort and, quite frankly, gumption was in short supply.

I'm dragging myself out of the doldrums, slowly but surely. The weather is helping, as is the win streak that my hockey team is on for the moment.


As of this writing, they've won four in a row and the last seven of eight.. After being touted as a serious playoff contender this season, their first nine games were nothing to write home about. They won only one of them.

If they hadn't turned things around when they did, a few heads might have rolled and their playoff chances would have been severely dashed. They still have a tough road to the playoffs to traverse, but their chances are still pretty decent.

I'm finally making some progress on some projects, except actual writing. It's the same book I struggled with previously and then left alone for eighteen months. So I might need some help with that plot line. In the meantime, there are plenty of other books and series and characters I could and need to focus on.

So I hope you're all well and doing what you gotta do to take care of yourself.





Wednesday, October 30, 2019

STARS WIN AGAIN FINALLY




It was a much needed win--talks of firings have been rumbling around the fan base and those were staved off for now.

Our goal scorers minus one:  (images courtesy Dallas Stars)

 ROOPE HINTZ

ALEXANDER RADULOV
scored a hat trick
(three goals in a game)


TYLER SEGUIN

Joe Pavelski also scored a goal...

DD and I thought about leaving after the second period, but Rads scored a goal in the last few minutes, so we stuck around and thank goodness we did.

Hope you're having a great week... Catch you on Friday.


Friday, October 25, 2019

STARS WIN!


What better way to end the week with a third win in a row!






For maybe the first time ever, I attended a Stars game without my daughter--although she was there with other friends. I was there with an author friend from the conference I just attended. While she lives in Pittsburgh, her family is here in the DFW Metroplex and she's a Stars fan.

My friend got a puck from one of our star players, Tyler Seguin, probably for wearing a jersey of his from way back when he played in Europe during one of the NHL's lockouts. That was super cool to see. And now I want to try to solicit a puck from my man, Roman Polak, once he's back on the ice. His sternum was cracked in game one during a collision with the boards, so I've been missing him a lot. And, to be honest, so has the team...

So happy Friday friends. Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The things I did in Albuquerque...


Aside from attend the conference of course.

As I mentioned last week or the week before, I wanted to go on the Sandia Peak Tramway and so I did.

The top of the tramway sits at 10,378 ft. above sea level. I'm not one for heights--I mean being on the solid ground of the mountain was fine, but the dangling from a few inches of cable to get there part was a little nerve racking. But you're reading this, so that means I survived the trip. :0)

Here are some pictures.

Going up...


See that little brown dot in the low center? That's the shadow of the tram car!




The view to the east of the Sandia Mountains...


The view to the west of the Sandia Mountains, basically Albuquerque and surrounding communities down there.



The view going down...


Sandia Peak was Thursday afternoon after the book signing. On Saturday morning, I went to see some petroglyphs. It was a gorgeous morning with a gorgeous blue sky, a fresh breeze, and good friends.

And just FYI--my camera's phone does none of these places justice.



You can't really tell in the photo, but the contrast of the yellow flowers and the green foliage against the dark rocks was spectacular.


 Gorgeous blue sky!

Various critter tracks...

And those were my two adventures into the surrounds of Albuquerque.

One thing I found amusing during my drive into and out of New Mexico were the signs along the highway (where there were no cities and therefor no bars) that continually asked people to report drunk driving. (Not that drunk driving is amusing of course.)

Hope your week is going well. Catch you on Friday.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Conference Time...


The conference was busy and fun and here I am at one of the author book signings...




The main doors were just to my left, so I got a good spot. This is my view of the rest of the room...




And for a nice change of pace, ballrooms with windows...!




Going to these things is always a marketing-learning opportunity. How are other authors presenting their books? What kinds of swag do they offer? How do they present themselves? I made a few notes.

Next year's con will be in St. Louis. I was hoping it was someplace too far away and that I didn't want to go to, but then they had to pick a city I could drive to again (it's 10.5 hours) and more compellingly--a city with a hockey team. The home of this year's Stanley Cup champions, no less. So I guess I'm going.

The question becomes--do I want to be a featured author rather than just a supporting author. The difference is about $100 and two additional opportunities to get in front of potential new readers. I have until February when registration opens to decide...

Hope you've had a great weekend. I did. I'll share pics of my adventures around Albuquerque on Wednesday...



Friday, October 18, 2019

Road Trip


Day 2 of the Great Albuquerque Road Trip...(Wednesday)

After enjoying the hotel breakfast, Pauline and stopped to see the Cadillac Ranch on our way out of Amarillo:





You just walk up, take a look, add your mark if you like, take pictures and head out. It was fun to see.

A little farther west, we hit the geo-mathematical mid-point of Route 66--not that we traveled the whole thing, but it a neat thing, so we stopped.





And then we arrived safe and sound in Albuquerque mid-afternoon.

Have a great weekend and I'll share more next week once I'm home.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fort Worth Stockyards...


As I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, if you follow me there, in the twenty years I've lived in Fort Worth, I've never made a trip to the Stockyards.



But when you have a friend visiting Cowtown from across the Pond what more fitting place is there to go?

We had delicious brisket tacos from Riscky's Barbecue, checked out the Stockyards Collection and Museum in the old Exchange Building, and then caught the "cattle drive."

Brisket tacos:

 


Fort Worth's humble beginnings: the layout of the original fort.





The "cattle drive":



Have a great rest of your week.