Monday, March 31, 2008

What are you reading...

As I mentioned awhile back, I've accepted a reading challenge from a fellow chapter mate of mine: read a book a week. And I'm on track.

Just finished: Blowing My Cover ~ My Life as a CIA Spy by Lindsay Moran. Not quite what I was expecting, and actually a little scary, if her stories are true, that this is the way the US Govt. trains its operatives.

Just started: Geek High by Piper Banks. I figured I ought to read a young adult romance if I'm trying to write one. From the little I read at B&N, it looks to be similar to the way I'm writing mine, mainly the 1st person point of view.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ready, set, go...

I have my new desk, built and loaded. The new fan for my old laptop was finally picked up and installed. My husband has graciously offered to drive the kids to school Tuesday through Friday so that I may dedicate the hours of 7am to 9am to my writing.

Wow. Now I guess I have to write.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Birthday

My middle child/youngest daughter celebrated her 18th birthday yesterday. We ate at Olive Garden, visited Barnes & Noble, the mall, and then went home and played some Rock Band with the new guitar we bought.

We had a lot of fun hanging out together and she loved all her presents. And she'll be getting her driver's license in the next couple of weeks. Yay! Then she can start driving me around.

Now two of my children are legal adults. Sigh... One more to go. We've got six more years for that. Now, if the little peeps would just spread their wings and fly out on their own.

I think I'd rather deal with messy diapers, ear aches, and the terrible twos than the teenager angst/stress we've been dealing with the last 6-7 years. Ah, well, all a part of growing up, I guess - even for moms.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Will Smith

Does anyone remember "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air"?

Who'd have thought Will Smith would be THE MAN he is today?

I just finished watching I AM LEGEND. The movie itself will not be one of my favorites to watch over and over. But Will Smith is a giant in the movie industry.

When it was over, I said to my girls, "He's awesome. He's my new favorite actor." The youngest one said, "And he's hot, too." Yeah, I'll admit he's a fantastically attractive man, the image above not-withstanding, but that's not what impresses me. His range and depth of emotion is just awesome.

I know I'm probably late getting on the Will Smith fan club train, but I don't watch a lot of movies and no TV to speak of.

Gotta a good Will Smith movie to recommend?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Good Time Was Had By All

My writing chapter's 25th anniversary was celebrated yesterday with a fabulous speaker and a lot of fun. Author Linda Castillo, a former member of our chapter, came and spoke to us. It was a festive day. But now it's over and time to look forward to the next major event, while still keeping up with the everyday runnings of the chapter.

I've finished two books in the last week, meeting my reading challenge goal. The first was 'Elvis Takes a Back Seat' by Leanna Ellis, a member of my chapter. It's a wonderful journey book with a teary but happy ending. The other book I read was the Love, Texas Style anthology of which I am a contributing author. I read each story with anticipation, except my own, which I've obviously read just a *few* times. The stories run the gamut from historical to contemporary, inspirational to sensual. Three of the authors are dear and good friends of mine, and I've gotten to know the others better through this shared journey. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every story, reading some of these gal's work for the very first time.

On another front, I've made great progress today, after partying and hanging out with my friends ALL day yesterday, I accomplished way more on my cabinet work today than I hoped to had I not had a meeting at all yesterday. Yay for me.

My only teenager (at the moment) is going to Mexico tomorrow with our church youth group on a mission trip. I've got to be up at 4am to get her to church for a departure time of 5:30am. She's planning on staying up all night so she can sleep on the bus. I however will be going to bed soon so I can actually wake up at 4...

My preteen will be home without his sister all week. The house will be relatively quiet without the bickering that normally goes on between those two when they are around one another for long periods of time.

Well, better get the beds made so we can crawl into them.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Progress on all fronts...

This weekend was busy and productive on all accounts.

On Saturday, I was able to get all my errands done, including grocery shopping and laundry, and a trip to The Home Depot for some wall paper removal tools.

And Sunday, despite the lost hour of sleep, church, and a 3.5 hour NASCAR race I was able to get the rest of the wallpaper and border, plus the crown molding, off my kitchen walls. My original goal was to get two small walls done, but small breaks to watch the race and put my feet up helped me push on and get it all done. Next task on the kitchen project list: seal the kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

And I even got a couple hours of time to work on my WIP. I wasn't as productive as I would have liked to be, but I still made progress.

And this morning I set the wheels in motion for getting my husband into his own office - we had to go get a desk for me as he's taking mine. My desk is mostly cleared out, but for my essentials, and I'm ready for the transfer as soon as the new desk is delivered and built.

And I started a new book for the reading challenge: Elvis Takes a Back Seat by Leanna Ellis (she's a chapter mate of mine). So far, so good.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Reading for fun...

Last night, I finished reading Johanna Lindsey's Captive of My Desire. It was okay. I was able to put it down without much trouble and probably could have left it unread. Except for the fact that I've accepted a challenge to read at least a book a week. So I pushed through to finish it.

Unless you're a die-hard fan of that author I wouldn't bother with this particular title.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's Snowing!

Yes, it's snowing in Texas. Something that happens usually once a year, and then not even what people who live in the upper half/third of of our United States that really do get snow would consider snow.

But for us here in Texas, it's alternately a nightmare as our state has no equipment to handle the ice and slush, and a delight for kids who get out of school. And for those of us who have moved away from snowier regions and truly miss the beauty of a freshly fallen snow, it's just wonderful.

This is the third "major" snow fall for our area this (school-based) year. It actually snowed on Thanksgiving. Large lovely flakes that just added to the holiday atmosphere.

This past Monday, some parts of our area (not mine, however) received a decent covering, and now today. Right now, we're getting the frozen rain/sleet, but it's supposed to change to real snow later on. We've sent our employees home for the day and now all is quiet.

I'm going to go hole up in my bed with some hot cider and my laptop and work on my current WIP.

What would you do on a cold rainy/snowy day, if you could do anything you wanted?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

It's time to vote!

If you're a registered voter, please go out and vote today. This may be one of the most crucial election years ever and you should be a part of it. Exercise your right to participate in one of things that makes our country one of the greatest nations on earth - I'm not saying we're perfect and that we don't have issues, but...

I have my voter's registration card and my map to my local polling place. I've researched the presidential candidates, and I'm ready to make my choice.

I am sad to say, though, I know nothing about any issues that may be on my ballot, or any of the candidates running for positions in my local area. :(

Did you vote?

Monday, March 3, 2008

When is enough enough...?

And when will we turn the corner?

It *all* started... about two years ago. Okay, not entirely. I'll only take you back to June of 2007 & we'll focus just on vehicles. Our (okay, my...) beloved Dodge Durango had a problem. The oil light came on and long story short, we thought we were slick by finding a local mechanic who could replace the engine cheaper than the dealership. And getting a two-fer on top of that. My brother had bottomed out his '99 Plymouth Breeze before he moved back to Nebraska, so for the cost of the dealership fixing just the Durango, this mechanic would fix them both for just slightly more.

Well... we got the Breeze fixed first because it was cheaper and we needed a second vehicle back. We had several other financial expenditures last summer as well, but we came through okay. Made it through the holidays without going into further debt.

Back to the car... we finally have the funds to get the Durango fixed and give the guy the go ahead. So we finally get it back, but the oil light keeps coming back on and the car is filthy and the paint is scratched and marred from all the time it was in this guy's "care". Bottom line: it wsn't fixed; he didn't put in a new engine, and he ends up getting evicted from his garage building the day we tow it back there to be looked at again. So we tow it back home. Then we tow it to the dealership. (That's $75 times 3.) Well, they're not going to re-use any of the components because who knows where they came from. So another $7k to $10K if we want the dealership to fix it.

But we need a third car. During all this mess we've hired on a second full time tech who needs a vehicle he can use. But I also need a car to run errands like pick kids up from school...

Fast forward to two weeks ago. Okay we have some extra money saved. We're going to buy a couple of used cars. So my hubby searches Craig's List and we find a pair of heaps that meet our needs. Last Monday, we buy an '88 GMC Suburban. It needs to be registered so we park it in front of our house, as close to the neighbor's property line as we can to leave room for our employees to park during the day too.... Last Tuesday we buy a '99 Dodge 1500 pickup truck. Nice. I'm happy I have a truck finally. And it's paid for. No additional debt.

Now in the mean time, the tranny on the Breeze is acting up, so there's another $800. The Scion needs another oil change (we put alot of miles on our cars) and the tire went flat. (Luckily we use Discount Tires and they fixed that one for free.)

Sunday morning I jump in my new (to me) truck and... it doesn't start. Argh. Dead battery. Okay. Easily fixed, but another $100. And today? Our suburban was stolen from in front of our house in the middle of the night, in the middle of a sweep of thunderstorms.

We call the police and they miraculously find it within hours, but... it's completely un-drivable. So another car and $3K gone...

When will it all end?

Addendum (3/6/2008):

Good news and bad... The bad: Tuesday afternoon, the truck's radiator cracked, spewing fluid all over the driveway. Cost? Another $800.

The good: Despite us not having registered the Suburban yet, our car insurance will cover the cost of repairing it or paying us back what we paid for it. Yay!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Well, I sure didn't know how motivating a goal and accountability partners would be. My critique partners and I had a working sleepover at the beginning of February. Saturday morning before we broke up, we set our next get together, and some goals.

My short-short term goal was to complete the first (very) rough draft by March 8th. I've been able to carve out some time to write almost every day, and I think I will actually have this done.

The next goal is to have the complete manuscript (okay, so it's only approximately 15K-20K words...) done by the beginning of April, ready for my critique partners to critique. Then it'll be time to polish it up for submission by May 13th. That's the deadline at The Wild Rose Press for Valentine's Day '09 stories.

It'll be my first official submission. I'm excited about it. I'll keep you posted.