Monday, April 15, 2024

Miscellaneous Monday


I've been debating audio books, but the cost has been prohibitive until recently. Apparently Kindle Direct Publishing offered an AI audio narration beta program. One of my writer peeps tried it out on a stand-alone title. She just did it, so she doesn't have any results to share at the moment.

I too have one audio book title in play via Apple only, published March 2023, and after some research, it doesn't look like I've sold a single "copy" of that audio book. Is that mostly because it was available via Apple only and that's not a platform conducive to audio book sales?

The question I pursue audio anyway if I can distribute through all the major audio platforms (such as Audible)? At the moment, my cost would be $0, so that seems like a no brainer, doesn't it?

On the other hand it's a lot of work for a questionable outcome and I've got to re-do the first series first, so I think I'm going to have to pass for now and hope that costs won't be prohibitive later.

* * * * *

Regal Princess / Princess Cruise Line

Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Next year, I'll be cruising once again. In celebration of my in-laws 40th wedding anniversary, they (the in-laws), along with one sister-in-law and her hubster, and DH and I will be cruising the Western Caribbean. I've been wanting to go on another cruise since the last one (right before the covid shutdowns!), and now I've got one booked. I'm excited about being on the boat but I'm very much not looking forward to the long lines / long wait to actually board. I have a plan though--I saved the walker I bought for my mom for just this purpose. :0)

* * * * *

Let's do a quick check-in on my goals...but you know what? It doesn't look like my goals for 2023 were updated to 2024's goals. Huh. I had to go dig up the post. But onward:

  • I'm still reading.
  • I haven't gotten to pay off any cards because my inheritance is still waiting some information from a CPA.
  • I have not lost any pounds.
  • I'm still using Hinge Health and am doing yoga, alternating days.
  • Healthier eating has been a challenge.
  • I've not spent any time in a manuscript on a weekly basis.
  • No housekeeping routine as of yet because of a shake-up at work, but my guest room is shaping up.
  • Grandma has been sent her letters.
  • I had a slow start to the reading, but I'm now in reading mode, so catching up.
  • And I'm working on cross stitch patterns for my online store/s.

Not where I want to be in the Health & Wellness category, but I'm doing okay everywhere else.

* * * * *

Stanley Cup -- Here We Come!!

I might have mentioned a time or two that my Dallas Stars have been a popular pick to win the-hardest- trophy-in-sports-to-win amongst the hockey writers that I read and pod-casters that I listen to since the beginning of the season. (It takes 16 wins to win the Stanley Cup, but could take as many as 28 games to accomplish.) Anyway...

The Stars were the first team to clinch a playoff berth, as they say, and now, DD and I are the proud owners of tickets to the second home game of round one, dates yet to be determined.


And that, dear readers, is that. Hope you're all well.

Catch you in a couple of weeks.


Monday, April 1, 2024

Time Keeps on Slipping, Slipping, Slipping...


...into the future...


Life Returns to Normal


The road trip is in the rear view mirror.

My friend's visit came to an end.

Life returned to normal.

And now I have things I want to accomplish.

My desire to finish books has returned. It didn't come back in a rush because you long-time followers know that I wasn't sure it would come back at all or that I even cared if it did. But it has. The feeling have been simmering for a while and broke into a boil more recently, but being excited about my books and about writing and telling stories feels good.

My first project is a re-vamp of the first series, including new covers and some Amazon A+ Content graphics, for which I got an amazing deal from my cover artist.

The books were originally written in some weird second person, present tense which is prevalent in fan fiction but *not* in commercial fiction.

Why I did that, I have no idea, but I've been meaning to edit all those books into proper third person, past tense for years, but doing that until recently has been a tedious chore. The advent of AI platforms means I can make AI do the hard work. I still have to edit and tweak what it gets wrong (dialogue), but that's a much easier and less time-consuming endeavor.

I also want to finish book seven, which has been sitting un-done and un-touched for too many years, so I've been re-reading and percolating those heroes and that story, as well as brainstorm a plot and character ideas for books Eight and Nine. :0) I'm ambitious, aren't I?

* * * * *

Just a quick shout-out to my friend's visit because I haven't done that yet...

My friend Angela is a fellow writer and a fellow hockey fan, and we agreed that it would be fun to attend a hockey game together and, long story short, we made it happen.

She flew into Dallas to see her team play my team in my team's barn. Now, her team isn't so good right now and we both knew the chances of the Stars beating the Coyotes were high--which they did--but it was more about the experience. Surprisingly, she wasn't the only Coyotes fan in the crowd. We spotted a handful of them.

And we had fun, both visiting in general and watching hockey. Well, I enjoyed it. I shouldn't speak for her. ;0) She also got to meet a shared online friend that she'd never met before, so that was cool for her as well.

Here we are, post game:

* * * * *

So Q2 starts today, and I've been ruminating on what specific goals I want to work towards and accomplish over the course of the next three months. I also needed to update my Vision Board to keep those tasks / goals front and center.

So here are the things I'm working toward this quarter: a new cross stitch pattern for the online store; planting a Chinese wisteria in the bird feeder bed to a) provide shade for the birds / bird feeder and b) provide food for bees; read two non-fiction books (about money probably); get my eating habits back on track; and lose at least 5 pounds. I also want to finalize the converted text of the first two books I mentioned above.

* * * * *

I've also spent some time out in the yard -- HELLO SPRING -- cleaning out the squirrel buffet area of the yard. I churned up the old mulch and pulled the weeds. The weeds I tossed, but I relocated the funky mulch and dirt to a large low spot in my lawn (see that dark patch in the upper right edge of the image).

I also took down and tossed that white bench hanging off the tree at the top of the image. It was falling apart. I like it a lot, though, so I looked for another and happened to find them on sale at Hobby Lobby where I just so happened to have a gift card. I bought two since it was basically a two-for-one deal.

I'll buy some fresh mulch in a week or two, I'm thinking red this year for a pop of color, and fill in all the spaces around the rocks and fill up the bordered space to help my tree retain any moisture come the heat of summer.

* * * * *

And some good news--the Brown Eyed Girl and her soul mate *and* Sonshine are coming to visit. Sadly, not at the same time, but I'm not complaining. The Brown Eyed Girl will be in town over Mother's Day, and Sonshine will visit for my birthday. So YAY!

And that's about all I have to say for now.

Take care and see you in a couple of weeks.


Monday, March 18, 2024

A Whirlwind of a Road Trip...


This is my first picture ever of Buc-ee. I was introduced to the beaver at the Madisonville (TX) store by my dear friend Michelle. I don’t think either of us expected things to turn out this way—me dragging DD all over the southern United States to visit every Buc-ee’s there is. :0) But I think she’d get a kick out it.

Any who, day one (Saturday) was mostly about travel. But we planned a visit to the Memphis Zoo to get some physical exertion after seven hours in the car. And the Memphis Zoo is awesome. So if you’re ever in Memphis and have the time, visit their zoo.

DD and I had an awesome experience with a lion... We got to hear the lion roar! And it was just the most amazing thing to watch him and to hear him as it echoed and vibrated in the air. It was just more incredible than I can really describe.

Check this out...same critter, two different perspectives:

On Sunday, we hit the first of two Buc-ee's locations with lunch with a friend sandwiched between beaver sightings. We also traversed the bottom section of the Appalachian Mountains which was both a surprise and very beautiful. We weren't on roads with any kind of steep drops, but they were very windy and very narrow and so just a little anxiety inducing.

This doesn't do the scenery justice, but here you go...

We also got to experience Atlanta traffic at rush hour and, yowza, it was more harrowing than cutting across the Appalachians!

We passed the Olympic Torch Tower which was actually not the official Olympic Torch Cauldron from the 1996 Olympics.

Monday was our trip to the World of Coca Cola Museum, lunch with another friend, and two more Buc-ee's visits.

The museum was fun and we got to taste all kinds of Coke products from around the world. I took some pictures, but am just sharing this:

Tuesday was another looong travel day with a stint through Dallas traffic at rush hour to cap it off. But we had fun and made it home in one piece--obviously.

Now to turn my attention to my friend's visit. She arrives tomorrow and *we're going to hockey game together!* Her team is on town playing my team, so that should be a lot of fun.

I'm very excited. :0)

Take care and catch you in a couple of weeks.


Monday, March 11, 2024

Postponed Due to Beavers


Your regularly scheduled blog post will return next week. DD and I are visiting new beaver dens…

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Life is a Highway...


Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Have you seen Hamilton? The Broadway production now showing on Disney+...

DD loves the production, and I've gotten suckered into watching a few scenes now and then, but had never sat and watched the whole thing start to finish.

Until a couple of weeks ago. I'd been reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill again and in one chapter he discusses the Stock Market crash of 1929 and its cause, so I did a Google search on that, and then somewhere in conjunction with this mini research jaunt, I read that, while we learn how important Thomas Jefferson is in our history, Alexander Hamilton played a crucial albeit more background role in the forming of our nation. Which led me to sitting and watching Hamilton from start to finish.

And isn't Lin-Manuel Miranda amazing too? He wrote the book, wrote the score, and played Hamilton himself in the original production!

Image courtesy Wikipedia.

And then, wouldn't you know, DD learned that Hamilton is coming to Dallas and will be performed at the Winspear Opera House--guess who's going? :0) We have tickets and a parking pass. Now, sadly, Lin-Manuel Miranda is not performing in this particular production, but it ought to be a fantastic watch anyway.

* * * * *

Back to Doing...

Last post I reported that the to-doing had tapered off, and so it had. BUT! I've been really working hard to get back to getting things done despite the changes in my schedule and routine.

I also have motivation--a friend of mine is coming to visit and she's a pretty meticulous housekeeper. And while I can't get the whole house to a level of clean that's I'd prefer, there are some rooms (guest room, anyone?) that I can definitely make nice. 

So I am doing again while trying to build up strength and stamina.

* * * * *

The bursitis I experienced last year seems to be a thing of the past, thank goodness. The Hinge Health physical therapy regimen has worked wonders and I'm super pleased with its efficacy. If you have Blue Cross Blue Shield, I highly recommend it. There are several areas (hips only being one) to choose from.

I've also added yoga back to the mix. I alternate my Hinge Health routine with the yoga and the yoga has added a new level of challenge. And it feels good.

The next thing to conquer is the bad eating habits we've fallen into once again.

* * * * *

And after four and a half years, I've finally seen my dear friend N in person once again. We met for lunch this past Saturday, and it was so lovely so sit and chat and catch up.

So good to see you, N!!

* * * * *

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Started reading The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel and it's super interesting. He talks not about psychology mumbo jumbo, but about what drives people to make the decisions they do about money. He's divided it up into twenty items / chapter, and there are a couple of them where I felt like he was speaking directly to me... *Jen makes notes to not forget those points.*

As I said, very a interesting read and I highly recommend it.

* * * * *

And that's all I have for this edition. Have a super week.

Catch you later!