Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Party Like a Three-Year-Old Rock Star

This is my youngest niece Kaitlyn--she's wearing her rock star glasses and candy necklace she got in her Christmas stocking and looking as cute as a bug...

Happy New Year

I hope 2009 finds you healthy, happy, and content.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year

My Christmas vacation was good--too long, but not long enough. I found myself crying as we pulled onto the freeway out of town. I miss the mid-West.

We arrived in town before my sister and her crew, and enjoyed a calm and relatively quiet Monday evening and Tuesday day. Once they arrived all heck broke loose--four little girls, aged just-turned-three to almost eight, were swept up in hugs and kisses and rough-housing for the next four days--not by us five, however. Our family, with two adult daughters and a just-turned thirteen and into video games son, is used to a quieter and more orderly existence. My brothers and youngest sister seemed to just have to rile up one of the four little ones. And those four had issues of their own added to the scenario.

However, it was good to see my dad. He's in declining health for
various reasons, and I'll have to make sure I get to NE more often, just in case.

So all in all, a good time for most. I wish I could go back and maybe do a few things different during the visit, but there's always next time. And I'm thinking of having them all down here for Thanksgiving next year--

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas to me...

Just a little blog stuffer to brighten my day...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Down to the wire...

I leave for Nebraska in 6.5 days and I'm not done shopping. Argh...

Then I find out my family doesn't do stockings... What!!! No stockings?

Well, we do, so I had to buy seven stockings--three for my littlest sister and two brothers and four stockings for my nieces. *And* all the goodies to go in them. My siblings will get mostly candy and an ornament to remember our Christmas by; the nieces will get lots of fun stuff from stickers to hair doodles, and any other little goodies I can find for them. I hope they enjoy them.

Each year, I buy my kids a special ornament--one that has special meaning as to who they are or what they are into this year at whatever age they happen to be. When they move out they will have a batch of ornaments for their first tree and they can reminisce about Christmases past.

Normally, we have two trees in our house--a large one that is formally decorated, and then the small one with all the kids' ornaments on it. This year we just did the small one since we'll be out of town on the big day. The tree also includes those ornaments that the kids made over the years, from clothespin reindeer to paper doily angels with a child's face glued on. In fact, the paper doily angel with my son's face on it is the tree topper this year.

My oldest, who is almost 21, tells me every year how much she likes this tradition and looks forward to seeing what kind of ornament she'll be receiving.

Do you have a special Christmas tradition in your family?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Humor

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On writing...

Why do we write--those of us who feel compelled to do so?

Some enjoy the process. Some have stories in their heads that they have to get out. Some want to see their name on a book cover.

My interest in writing began with fan fiction. Not so much the writing at first, but the reading of it. When we first moved to Texas, money was tight. Too tight to buy books, and I sped through the local library's offerings pretty darn quick. My husband suggested I go online and find fan fiction--we had been watching Star Trek: Voyager at the time and that's what he suggested I search for. So I did. And I found a lot of stuff--some good, some not so much.

Then I discovered the TV show JAG and fell in love. I watched all the shows (re-running on USA Network) and moved on to JAG fan fiction, which I devoured like a hungry lion. As I read, I discovered some really good authors. And a lot of crap. Once I finally read through all the really good stuff I could find, I realized how discerning I was. Most of that probably came from the fact that I am a reader anyway, having read hundreds of books in my life. So I had a standard on which to base my determination on what was good and what wasn't.

And I finally decided that I could do better. So I did. I've written many a fan fic in several genres over the years. Looking back on those early fics, I can see how my writing has improved. Not that I'm up there with Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele or Tom Clancy. And I also know that I struggle terribly with certain aspects of creating a story.

But I'm a competent writer. I'm somewhat anal about spelling and punctuation, and I know there's always room for improvement on descriptions and such, but it is all a process. (As a side note, I'm listening to a Danielle Steel book in audio format, and let me tell you, her writing isn't perfect either, but she's Danielle Steele and can get away with it.)

All this blather to say that yesterday I posted a short JAG Christmas fic to a (JAG) message board I visit. Today I went back and found a dozen or so messages letting me know how much these various people enjoyed my story--and that they hoped I'd write/post more. Very feel-good & ego boosting. And I'll admit--it's immediate gratification. Better than slaving over a 350 page manuscript for months and months that may or may not ever see the inside of a bookstore.

So do I continue to pursue publication when I can get what I need from posting fan fic to a message board? I know I'll never be a Nora or a Danielle or a Tom, never make much money at this endeavor. One never knows, but I'm realistic--looking at my life and what's truly important to me. Writing is a hobby at this point. One I'll continue to pursue, and I immensely enjoy being around other writers and talk craft, and I enjoy learning about the craft. But when the frustration of not being able to string together a series of rising conflicts makes me want to throw in the keyboard, isn't writing fan fic and the immediate feedback I get a better investment of my time? And most writers will agree that any writing is better than no writing...

Well, I'm off to look at my 2009 budget and then maybe I'll work on a fic that I started a while back.

Read any good fan fic lately?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him...

Christ the Lord.

For one twelfth of each year, most of the world proclaims the name of Jesus.

Yep, pretty much for the whole month of December most of the world, and certainly the U.S., celebrates Christmas.

Well, guess what, you can't have Christmas without Christ. If God hadn't sent his Son to be born in a manger, there would be no celebration. There'd be no Hanukkah, no Kwanzaa either--it'd just be another month.

But the world decorates, sings Joy to the World and Oh Holy Night, and spends more money than they should to show family and friends how much they love them, all in the name of Christ.

Just remember, the greatest gift of all was Jesus--who came to earth as a man so that we wouldn't be afraid of Him in His true form as God and willingly paid the price for our sins. He who was without sin took on the sins of the world so that the world could be reconciled back to God.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." ~ John 3:16

Have you accepted the greatest gift of all?

Friday, December 5, 2008


It's cold here in North Texas! Overnight we had lows in the twenties. Brrr!

When I took my daughter to school it was still just below freezing. While I wore my scarf and gloves, I did go without a coat--I'm trying to get ready for the real cold in Nebraska. (I will wear a coat up there for sure, though!)

My brother said it was pretty cold there right now...And I can't wait to enjoy a white (or even greyish) Christmas. It's been ten years since I spent Christmas in a snowy place. Maybe God will give me an added blessing of a fresh coat of snow overnight on Christmas--just to clean up the little part of the world where I'll be.
FYI- I shamelessly stole this from the Internet--this is not North Texas, but this is what I long to see...

Speaking of snow, do you have a special memory featuring that fluffy white stuff? Do share... (I'll share mine later.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I went Christmas shopping this morning...

First stop: Office Depot. Yes, I Christmas shop at Office Depot. I even found a super-dee-duper gift for my younger daughter for cheap cheap. It was on clearance for $50 but when the gal rang it up, it was only $20! I even asked if that was right, and the checker assured me it was. Wahoo!!

Next stop: Target was dead so it was nice for me to meander around the store and look. I found several good movies on sale--we cataloged all our movies a couple of weeks ago and we have... 178 movies! So my goal is to put us at or above 200. We usually buy 20-25 new movies each year at Christmas anyway so it's not really going to be a problem. (I did buy other stuff, but I won't bore you with a laundry list.)

Last stop: Albertsons--my sister wants a Longhorns hoodie and they used to carry that stuff. But now they are strictly Cowboys--ugh. Now I have to find someplace else--is Steve and Barry's going to be open for Christmas?

So how's your shopping going?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Movie Review

We watched "The Holiday" last night, with Jack Black, Kate Winslett, Jude Law, and Cameron Diaz.

It was a little slow getting started, and I had a hard time with the beginning of one of the story lines, but overall a cute movie. It had a an interesting plot twist I didn't see coming, but was a delightful surprise. I'm not sure if it's one I'll watch again, or over and over as I do some movies--maybe if I fast forward a bit to where the action starts to pick up.

Seen any good movies lately?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Home Stretch

Wish I had a picture!However, I'll just tell you I have a kitchen floor. WOO HOO!! There's very little baseboard molding up as of yet--only behind the appliances so that we could put them back without having to move them again. But the expanse of laminate is beautiful to behold.

My husband and son worked doggedly this weekend to make it happen. There were a few glitches along the way, but nothing that wasn't overcome. Tonight, I think they plan on working on electrical--putting on the last few outlet covers, installing new light fixtures--they're tired of being on their knees.

The unfortunate casualty of this endeavor is my family room. They set up the power tools in there and now I have a nice coat of sawdust over the whole room. I'm just happy I didn't get around to cleaning it last week! I did spend a good fifteen minutes this morning wiping down the washer and dryer, however. Whew!

Now were somewhat back to normal for a week or two--maybe. Have a I ever mentioned how much I hate this time of year...?