Friday, June 29, 2012

The fun has begun...

My first fellow Robin Hood fan girl arrived last night, and we went to eat at a local BBQ joint--awesome brisket--and then spent the evening chatting and sharing life stories and talking about writing. (She's pursuing publication also.)

The rest of our peeps should be arriving in another two hours or so and then the real fun will begin.

In keeping this short and getting back to my house guest, we'll get straight to the final installment of...

The Twelve Days of Jen

On Wednesday I said I had only one gift left to share, but I lied. I realized just last night that there was one more gift that I'd forgotten to mention or even get a picture of. That has been rectified and so I share with you the last two gifts.

Firstly, the one I'd forgotten: new dishes: twelve place settings for a mere $100 and no useless saucers.

Remember back in April or so, I posted about my Revereware kettle that was on its last legs:

I did tell my family that I absolutely was getting a new one as one of my birthday/Mother's Day gifts. They were all so excited to see my reaction when I opened it, but it was rather anti-climactic, I thought, since I knew I was getting it.

Regardless of the lack of surprise (the set of HP books was a real surprise), I was thrilled to get it. :)

I've shared all my cool gifts and now I'm off to have fun with my friends. Have a great weekend and see you on Monday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And exhausted...

I've still been productive, but I'm feeling the strain. I'm getting tired so easily, but the end is in sight.

Last night, I spent way more time than I should have putting up new mini-blinds in the bathroom. I won't go into detail, but they do look good now that they're up. I had planned on adding a window treatment only to realize for the second time (doh) that the brackets for the rod did not extend far enough past the top of the mini-blinds to actually be able to install the rod. I knew it was going to be an issue and even looked for longer brackets when at the Home Depot exchanging the too-short (width-wise) blinds I bought the other day. They carry them, but had none in stock. Ugh!

I'm also on stand by for a trip to the fireworks store. DH may have to come home to sit in trial and listen to the prosecution's forensic expert and ensure he accurately represents the findings. Experts are not supposed to be biased either way toward the defendant, they're just supposed to present the facts. Many a time has DH told an attorney--a defense attorney-- "your client is guilty as sin, make a pleas or take a deal". Seriously.

Anyway, this trip couldn't come at a worse time. I still have things to do before my big weekend. On the other hand, it's forced rest. All I have to do is drive there, be present while the boys run the show, and drive back. The problem only lies in how long it'll all take. If it's today, no problem. If it's tomorrow...well, I have dinner plans.

Quick update--just talked to DH and they don't need him after all. So I'm off the hook. On the other hand, he's expecting to be busy at the store this weekend, so now I have bribe convince bribe DD to go down there and help out. She's not going to be happy about that.

On top of all that cleaning, I've been revising. Not as much as I would otherwise, but I'm still making progress. I'm also writing again. I need new words to earn the next charm, you see. So yesterday I opened an old project, one I'm going to use for my chapter's 30th anniversary anthology.

(If you remember, I have a story in the 25th Anniversary Anthology as well.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I wrote over 1100 words yesterday, which felt really good. I've done nothing but revisions for about three weeks now and I'm feeling a bit weary. But I'm gonna push through and finish the damn story. Eventually. My new deadline is July 21st, my next writers group meeting.

Speaking of revisions and writing, I'd better get to it. But before I sign off, let's check out another giftie. Oh, heck, let's do two. We're almost done.

The Twelve Days of Jen

I raved about this movie several weeks ago, well, I guess a couple of months go, actually...I enjoyed it so much I told DD I wanted it for my birthday. And I got it. :)

And at the end of the birthday/Mother's Day shopping frenzy, there was still some cash left, and I wasn't about to let DD just have it--that's my money after all, so I told her to just give it back to me.

One more giftie to go and I'll share that on Friday.

In the mean time, keep cool!

Monday, June 25, 2012


This weekend was a busy one. What with my JAG meet and continued revisions and the ongoing preparations for my Robin Hood meetup...

The JAG meet was fun as it always is, seeing gals I only see this one time a year. I taste-tested a new hor duerve that I'm going try at home one of these days. My friend called them jalapeno poppers, though I think that name can also refer to other similar dishes and others might call this one something else. Any who, you get fresh jalapenos and de-seed and de-vein and cut them in half, smear a dollop of cream cheese in the pepper half and then wrap in bacon. Grill or bake or broil! Yummy!!

JAG is usually playing via DVD throughout the weekend and, at any given time, you can find a handful of us enjoying it.

Who remembers the writing room? Yeah? Well, it's also called the dog room, but I spent some time and money making it more writing room than dog room. I still have a couple things left to do, but this is what I accomplished this weekend:

I've been trying to get this plate rack up for months, but I just could not get the anchors I bought to install all the way. I think I was hitting a stud. Instead I did a few calculations and determined the center of the wall, measured outward the correct amount to *drill* holes for a different type of anchor and WA LA! Yes, I used a power drill and had so much fun. So my rack is up and it just needs the plates. (I'll share those in a week or two.)

I also used the drill to deepen the holes so that I could put the other shelves back up. I had to go buy new shelves--narrower ones and I moved our whole collection of DVDs into the writing room. I still have some other shelves to put up, but they're the wider ones and will go on the bottom half of the wall for books and other knick knacks and things.

This didn't require drilling, just a hammer and a nail, and yes it is hanging lop-sided on purpose.

The following thisngs have been up for a while now, I just haven't shared them:

Sonshine's Lemony Snicket books are in my writing room ans he's not of an age to truly appreciate hard bound books. Also, he's a little old for Lemony Snicket these days. This hangs to the left of the above sign. And to the right of it hangs my bird clock which actually chirps at the top of each hour.

Lots of pictures today, and we're almost done!

The Twelve Days of Jen

More books, a pair of them, detailing the legacy of the Indians of the Americas. It's interesting, though dry. I've had a tough time plowing through them. Mom, I think you'd enjoy them, too, and will probably send them along at some point.

Hope you had a nice weekend. Was it productive or lazy??

Also, this was post number 500 !! Can you believe it??

Friday, June 22, 2012


So I have fifteen followers now. How cool is that? Okay, so I know a lot of people have way more than that, but I'm always tickled when I see a new one. Hey, Lara!!

Fan girl meet ups are imminent!!

This weekend is my JAG meetup. Tonight is dinner (leaving at 2 today to go early and visit), tomorrow is hanging out at someone's house and visiting some more. I've changed my mind about going. These are my friends and I only get to see most of them once a year. So I'm going to go and hang out and have fun. (After I run some errands in the morning.)

I know there's a parallel here to my family whom I'm terribly bad about keeping in regular communication with. (Hi Mom.) I know, I know. Really, I do. One of these days, I'm gonna do better. I swear.

Next weekend will be Robin Hood meetup. Other folks have met up in twos and threes so I think this will be the largest gathering--there will be five of us. One will be coming from Minnesota, one from Colorado, one from Kansas, and one from southern Texas. Two will fly, two will drive.

I'm just thankful they agreed to come here this time as I wouldn't have been able to justify the expense of going somewhere else to meet people I'd never met before. And since they are coming here, the least I can do is pay for the food. I'm also putting together goodie bags for one and all to remember our time together. I need a few more things for those bags, but I'm running out of time. Time to brainstorm.

In preparation for the RH meetup at my house, I have been busy cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. I normally clean this time of year anyway while the men are gone, but because strangers are coming, I've amped it up just a bit to include things I might not normally do. Like clean the ceiling fans and the windows (just certain ones). Clean out the fridge. Mop all the floors. Cut down the dead hedges. (That may fall by the wayside, though.) get the idea.

As I was cleaning last night, I came across a picture of Marching Band Boy.  During UIL competitions, there's a photography company that moves amongst the kids while they're on the field and captures images of them. Then you can go online later and look for your kid and buy copies. I've bought a mug the past two years as well. By the time he's done with high school, I hope I'll have a set of four. :) Any how, I came across a picture and my heart just swelled right up. In case you're new here, I brag about my son a lot. I love my daughters, I really do. But my son...he's something else. Yeah, he's sixteen. A typical teenage boy, not wanting to do his school work and copping an attitude and everything else that goes with that age and gender. I know that, I acknowledge that. But he's so awesome. So here he is (though not the UIL photo as I don't have a scanner.):

(This was taken at a football game last fall.)

And now to wrap this up, another installment of the Twelve Days of Jen. We're getting close to being finished now...

A candle warmer lantern...

The one with the candle I got for Christmas and I thought a pair would be nice. The light bulb is not powerful enough to melt the candle all the way through like the other candle warmers you can buy that heat from the bottom up, but it provides a nice little light in the kitchen at night so that I don't have to turn on the big fluorescent light every time I want a drink of water. But I think I'm going to find some decorative wall bracket/plant hangar thingies and hang them in my writing room.

And that does it for this week! Happy Friday and see you back here bright and early Monday!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Road Trip!

So yesterday I got leave the office behind and go on a short road trip, though it was enough for me. I had to pick up a hard drive from the Tarrant County D.A.'s office and run it south to DH. It was a lovely afternoon for a drive, and even though the temps were supposed to have been in the 90s, it was actually quite nice driving with the window down. Here was my view most of the way down:

When I got there I saw the new toy the boys bought. DH is planning on showing fireworks videos while there are customers in the store. When not showing off cool fireworks displays, the younger boys, Sonshine and his friend, whom I will refer to as Board Boy (skateboard reference), will get to enjoy playing Xbox games on the shiny. If only I had one of those suckers at home to watch my favorite shows. (Maybe for our anniversary this year. Hmm....)

Last Saturday was writing meeting day and I picked up my new charm. There's two new from the last picture you saw--the boot and the small oval-shaped disk on the left. It reads: Aspire.

Speaking of writing, I'm at the place now where I usually quit working on one story and begin something else. Why? Because I'm at the hard part now--layering in the emotions without telling and being repetitious. Maybe I should just tell and then go back through and re-write to show. For example, "She was pissed." versus "Her fists clenched and she saw red. Heat suffused her fast and she checked the urge to deck the son of a gun." Big difference. It looks easy doesn't it? Not always so.

But I was thinking this morning as I was walking (up to 2 times around the building now), and as I told my encouragement partner, "how about just 125 words instead". Makes little sense to you without details, but what that means for me is to focus on a paragraph at a time, instead of thinking of the whole manuscript and feeling overwhelmed. One paragraph, then the next and the next until I'm at the end. Sounds like a plan.

And now, the Twelve Days of Jen

New ear buds and new headphones so I can listen to my iPod or watch TV shows or movies on my iPad without bothering anyone and also so I can hear over all the other noise in the house. We ended up buying DH his own set of headphones for Father's Day because he also watches videos and TV shows on his iPad and is going deaf.

And that's it for today! Have a great rest of the week. See you Friday.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Alone at last!

For the next seven days, it's just the dogs and me. The men have departed and DD is gone as well.

What to do, what to do??

The two main things on my plate are to revise book one and to clean my house. Cleaning also entails completing small projects. So far, my bedroom is almost done. I need to dust and clean off my dresser and then mop the floor. I started with that room first because it was easiest and because it's my sanctuary. I like it when it's clean and tidy and the bed stays relatively made. :)

The house normally gets a good cleaning while the men are gone, but this year I'm also having guests towards the end of that time frame. Some fellow Robin Hood fans are getting together at my house. It's got to be clean, clean, clean. First impressions and all that.

And with everyone gone, no one else has to be considered but the dogs. And they're easy. They get the same food day in and day out, no thought or preparation required. As for me, I've discovered that Albertson's has a really awesome cobb salad in the deli and I'm gonna pick one up every night. (See if I can't drop a few more pounds this week while I have to feed only myself and can eat whatever I want to do that.)

On the weight loss/get healthy kick I'm on, I ordered a set of bicycle pedals last week. The first few nights I only did 20-25 minutes, but yesterday I decided that I was going to pedal for the length of an episode of Bones, and I did. I'm going to do that every night and see what happens.

I'm walking twice around my office building each morning, calisthenics during the day, and now this bike pedaling. Of course, with this amped up calorie burning, I'm hungrier too. But as long as I'm careful about what I use for fuel, I think I'll lose more than I gain.

(All right, enough of that, even I'm getting bored.)

The Twelve Days of Jen

So today, because I'm wearing a pair, and that made it easy to choose the next giftie...socks!

 I'm wearing the blue pair today...

On a slightly more melancholy note, I'd like to remember my dad. Not only was yesterday Father's Day, but it was my dad's birthday. If he were still alive, he would have turned sixty-five this year. Sadly, he died in 2009, three days before Thanksgiving at the age of sixty-two.

I love you, Dad!

Friday, June 15, 2012

How could I have missed it???

Yesterday was Flag Day! By some prophetic twist of fate, I was wearing a pair of my patriotic socks--the ones that most resemble the flag. And to honor Old Glory, here she is:

Just to note, gas prices have dropped to $3.18 around here at the local mega gas station. Others stations are charging anywhere from $.01 to $.20 higher.

Yesterday, when I left for work, Fat Patches was sitting on top of my truck. I lured him down, gave him a quick scratch and took off. I think he was a bit lonely, as his people were gone. But they're back now from wherever they'd gone for the week.

Here's a bit of video of one of my dogs--everyday when I get home, I have to let them out. That's just the routine even if they've recently been out. Anyway, Sammy, our German Shepard, goes out to the same spot of grass and rolls around. It cracks me up, so I thought I'd share. A few months ago, before mowing for the season had taken place and after there'd been some rain, that spot was still flat because she goes out there and rolls around everyday.

The Twelve Days of Jen

I love Sharpies. And for my birthday, I received a brand new batch of them, along with that handy-dandy little tin container to keep them in. Now, Sharpies have all kinds of uses and you never know when you might need one. So I recommend that all women keep a Sharpie in their purse.

And since it's Friday --have a great weekend, y'all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lizard Love

In our back yard, we apparently have three Texas tree lizards living in a pile of rocks. We've had them for years--the lizards, not the pile of rocks. So last evening DD calls me over to the kitchen window saying one lizard is chasing the other. I'd only ever seen one, but we spotted yet a third as we watched. I speculated on whether it was parent/child or male/female activity. And I found out a short time later...*whoa*

Fat Patches

As promised, this is Fat Patches:

Fat Patches is the kitty who lives across the street. With a name like Fat Patches, I'm pretty sure he was named by one of the kids. I think it's totally cute, as is the kitty. And so sweet. Since I no longer have a kitty of my own, I get kitty fixes by petting Patches. he's very friendly and enjoys the attention. I love to pick him up and feel the internal rumbles of his purring. Last night, I could hear it as well as feel it.

One more:

And last but not least...

The Twelve Days of Jen

I wanted a picture frame for my official picture of Sonshine in his marching band uniform, and I got one:

Have a great day and see you back here Friday!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bonus Birthday Post


Today is my actual birthday!! As of 4:16 pm (if I remember correctly), I will be 44 years old.

I'm feeling happy today, so I'll be warning everyone to keep their grumpies or bad news to themselves.

As you know, I celebrated my birthday on Mother's Day, so there will be no presents today, but that's okay. We may go out to eat, maybe not. Maybe just dessert or something. Maybe not...

I've been trying to lose weight by just altering my eating habits and doing some minor calisthenics during the course of each day, but then I eat something not so good and ruin it. The weight is coming off, but slowly (6.4 lbs. in 5 weeks), which I know is generally better. I'd hoped to lose 24 lbs. by June 29th, but that's not going to happen. But you know what, I'm feeling good, so I'm not going to sweat it. As long as it keeps slipping off, I'm happy.

But DH did say he thought my breasts looked smaller, which was good. (Though he wasn't as pleased. :) But in order to help boost the weight loss, I've given up the beans (carbs) for lunch and switched to meatballs (protein). And just this morning I bought a set of stationary bicycle pedals--not a whole bike, you know, just the pedals. I need to increase the number of calories I burn each day. I've started walking, but my feet can only take so much, and I've wanted a set for quite some time now, so I broke down and bought one. We'll see how it goes.

The Twelve Days of Jen

Since I'm already talking about weight loss, I'll share this gift--which I *did* ask for. Two pound weights to use against under-the-arm flab. I do *not* want that. :)

And that's it for today. I'll see you tomorrow!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Here we are again...

Another Monday, another work week, and yet another post. I've really gotten excited about this blogging thing lately, though I'm not sure why. Part of it comes from having my camera back in working order. Pictures add a lot, I think, and sometimes words just aren't enough.

This weekend was crazy. No not really, though I keep thinking that word in my head. On Saturday, Sonshine and I worked a Cowboy Stadium event--the Brothers of the Sun concert. The brothers: Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. Jake Owen and Grace Potter opened.

We weren't all that busy as our stand was behind the stage. And we got to close down right after the intermission between Tim and Kenny's performances. I must say, Tim was awesome. And when he came out for his encore, he performed another four songs. Kenny is not one of my favorites as a person, though I enjoy his songs, one of which is a current favorite and which I did not hear before we left. (bummer)

Because they shut us down early I was home earlier than expected. YAY. But working totally wiped me out and Sunday was a pretty big bust for me. I slept till after 9am which is very unusual for me, even on the weekends. I like to be up early before everyone else to enjoy the peace and quiet and to get some good writing or revising done. And I slept really, really hard. When I woke up I just felt like lead. And had the dogs not started making noise I might have slept longer. (yikes)

After that I had to go grocery shopping, which I also like to do early before the store gets crowded. And because my Neighborhood Walmart does not carry one of the only brands of food one of my dogs can eat (due to her allergies) I had to then go to Pet Smart. Argh.

And believe it or not, I actually took a three-hour nap. I was finally somewhat refreshed at that point and got some chores started. But my brain just could not engage with looking at words on the virtual page so I skipped any and all writing/revising yesterday and continued my Bones re-watch.

Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave...

This morning on the way to work I hit the post office. I'm glad to report that the American flag has been replaced. It was looking a bit ragged last week. I keep an eye on it, you see, because several years ago, that flag was in terrible condition. It gets frayed from flapping in the breeze each and every day. I get that. But this was really too much. The flag was ripped along the stripe lines at least a quarter of the way, and for a flag in that condition to flapping in front of a post office?? I'm sorry, but that's unacceptable to me. And so I went online and complained. Yes, I did. The flag was replaced post haste and to this day a new flag is usually up there within days of me noticing its condition again.

And now, the next installment of...

The Twelve Days of Jen

Jar candles: sweet lavender, coastal waters and fresh cotton scents. I've only burned the lavender one so far.

On Wednesday, I'll introduce you to Fat Patches and share another of my cool prezzies.

Keep cool!

Friday, June 8, 2012

To work or not to work...

The choice was taken out of my hands yesterday. The Internet and phone line went dead in our office. Most of my duties require the Internet to accomplish, believe it or not. That's kind of scary to think about, isn't it? Maybe my boss and I need to have a conversation about that...

On the other hand, I couldn't work yesterday and no phone calls. So I piddled all day with a couple of websites: one belonging to a friend, whose husband I am helping figure out Dreamweaver and CSS, and the band website, which has needed some updates and a spring cleaning since I took it over last year. It was a mess and now, not so much. The person with probably much less knowledge will have a much easier time navigating the files.

Thank goodness I got my words written yesterday morning at home, though. Without Internet at the office, my files, which I access via Dropbox from both locations, couldn't be updated with the versions from home. But then...(blonde moment)...I realized last night, I had my laptop with me yesterday and I could have written on my laptop. *duh* Oh, well, that band website stuff really needed to be done. :)

So the Internet apparently came back up shortly after I left the office yesterday (early) to go to my friend's house and the guys were inundated with phone calls. Figures. Just like washing your car. Today I will be catching up on a few things that I couldn't do yesterday.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for:

Day Two of the Twelve Days of Jen !

So I'd asked for my very own copies of the Harry Potter books in hardback. I am very rarely willing to spend the money on hardbacks, but I love these books and I want them on a shelf in my writing room and I want them to look nice.

I expected one, maybe two of the books, but instead I received all seven of them!


While I love the books, this cute cardboard Hogwarts trunk really was the icing on the cake of this gift. The books will go on a shelf, and the trunk will remain displayed in my writing room.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Adrift... and The Twelve Days of Jen

Now that summer's here, I'm feeling adrift. Without classes dictating when Sonshine has to be at school, I have to redefine my morning schedule. But how do I want to do that? I know. It's up to me. I wanted to start walking again, but do I do that at home or here in the business park? I should be getting up early and writing/revising, but again, at home or at work? I suppose, I'll work it out eventually.

Anyway...I've had things to share for a while, so lets get started...

In case you couldn't tell by the color scheme of this here blog, I'm somewhat of a patriot. Yes, I love my country and what it's supposed to stand for. My bedroom is decorated in a red/white/blue scheme, with flags even and some Americana knick knacks. Some painted by my dear mother.

I found these socks a few weeks ago. Cool, huh??

Sonshine has been a Lego fan from way back. Of course, at his age, he needs sets that are a little more challenging (and are expensive). The last few years he's received several Star Wars sets and I finally got them hung up in his bedroom: (top: Luke Skywalker's X-wing fighter shoots bottom: Darth Vader's Tie fighter)

He has Han Solo's Millennium Falcon as well, which we had pics of from Christmas and which is still at the fireworks store and not hung from the ceiling:

We haz drums again! Our foot pedal on our original set of drums broke and you you can't play without the foot pedal. I like to play with the kids, plus music helps keep the brain active. So here they are:

And last but not least, the twelve days of Jen.I celebrated my birthday on Mother's Day and got twice the haul! And as promised, in no particular order, is one of my wonderful gifts:

It's not the most exciting gift, but since there are so many other cool pics above, I thought I'd include one of the more boring gifts. *But* without this camera battery charger, we wouldn't *have* any of the other pictures!

And so Happy Hump Day to you!! We'll see you Friday with next installment of the Twelve Days of Jen. :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Monday, Happy Summer

So today is the first day of summer for my Sonshine. But does he get to lie around and sleep today?? No siree. Sonshine and his good buddy (since Kindergarten, even) are with DH buying an awning and retrieving the boat from the warehouse.

No work for me today either. We're taking a family day and going to the lake. DD is even going along, which is unusual, but cool. My two sisters-in-law will be there too.

Anyway, I won't bore you all with more lake pictures unless they're of something really cool and interesting, but we'll start the Twelve Days of Jen on Wednesday--I have pictures of all my Mother's Day/birthday presents finally, along with one or two other things.

So have a great day wherever you are and whatever you're doing. I'll catch you on Wednesday.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Hell??

So last night, DD went to Subway to get dinner. And then she called when she was almost home and said to come outside as she wanted to show me something funny.

So I trek out to the driveway and this is what I see on the hood of the truck:

Believe it or not, this little lizard rode all the way to Subway and back on the hood of the truck!!

DD said she tried to shoo it off at the corner when she first left, but he wouldn't. So she just went. As did he.

When she got back, we tried again to get him off. Then he jumped onto DD's arm. See here:

And then he finally jumped to the grass and scampered off.

Just crazy!

Do you have a wild or crazy animal story?? Please share.

And have a great weekend. :)