Monday, July 30, 2012

It's finally summer here in Texas...

Of course, it's been summer since June 21, but it's been nice. But real summer heat has finally hit Texas. The actual temperature is supposed to hit 106* today. UGH UGH UGH

I didn't take my doggies out for their walk last night because it was just so hot. One missed it, the other didn't seem to care. I promised Sammy that I'd take her tonight. UGH

In other news, I have revised my contest entry. I finished it yesterday, mid-day and then put it away to rest. It's now about a 1/3 of a page longer than the allowable 10 pages, so I have to find a new place to cut it off. Or start the story farther in as one first-round judge suggested, which means I could submit a little more of the story. Decisions, decisions...

It's official, I'm a Batman fan girl. I bought myself a tee-shirt on Saturday. (I was already in the store when I saw it--I didn't go in search of it on purpose.) I'm also considering seeing the third film in the theater again. I rarely go to the movies, but for me to see the same film in the theater more than once: it's serious. :) No fan fiction of the horizon, though.

The writing room is almost finished. The latest addition is a 50" HD television, now hanging on the wall. DH bought it for the fireworks store, and went and got it for me and mounted it. I was just going to buy a small TV for in there along with a new Wii balance board so I can get back to doing Wii Fit aerobics. But, hey, I'm not going to complain.

I haven't watched a movie on the TV yet, but I'm looking forward to that. I just can't decide what to watch first. (It'll probably be Harry Potter.)(Probably 6 or 7.1.)

All we need now is a desk and a pair of comfy chairs and this room is set.

Hope you had a great weekend and here's to a good week.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fort Worth Friday

Quick NEWS!!! I just received notification that I finaled in a (writing) contest that I entered. I'm so excited.

Now...unfortunately, the original post for today will have to be postponed as the pictures I took for it are on my old hard drive.

So in lieu of pictures and random ramblings from me regarding those pictures, I'll leave you with a video created by the city. It's only a minute or so..

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

So Monday night, DH, Sonshine and I went out to eat and to the movies for DH and my 19th anniversary.

(minor spoilers ahead)

We saw The Dark Knight Rises starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Anne Hathaway.

I am posting an image of one of the movie posters. I'm guessing the film studio won't mind if I sell a few more tickets.

The movie was fantastic. They referenced the first two films of the trilogy and wrapped the whole thing up in a pretty box and a bow. As far as I can tell, this iteration of Batman is over. And I'm glad. Not that I wouldn't like to see Mr. Bale as Batman once more, but Bruce deserved some happiness, and he finally got it.

I watched my fair share of the Super Friends back in the 70s and 80s, but I was never really drawn to the comic book super heroes. So I'm not sure how I ended up watching the first film, Batman Begins, but I'm glad I did. Christian Bale did a great job of making Batman human. I realize his alter ego, Bruce Wayne *is* human with no special powers derived from spider bites, nor did he land on earth from another planet, and that Batman is just the man playing dress up. But whether as Bruce Wayne or Batman, Christian Bale infused the character with empathy, fallibility, and vulnerability.

Great performance were also rendered by Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman--a trio of Hollywood's most venerable actors.

Have you seen it? What did you think??

Monday, July 23, 2012


The weather on Friday was a bit nuts. Not crazy, make-the-national-news nuts, but some thunderstorms blew through with some wicked wind, dropping the temperature seventeen degrees. Clumps of leaves were pulled off the trees and all the dead little branches were shaken loose. (kinda hard to see, I know)

Remember Fat Patches? The neighbor's cat I shared a picture of several weeks ago? Well, it seems his family wants to move away. I got home Friday and saw a for sale sign in their front yard. Now, it's silly to be so saddened by this since I hardly ever even talk to these people. But they've been living across the street for many years. They moved in when their oldest was a baby, still in a carrier, and he's now maybe eight or nine years old. Then we watched them have two more children, the youngest still under a year old. :( I guess it just signals the end of an era...and of course Fat Patches will no longer be available for kitty fixes.

All the computers/servers in our office were upgraded last week in preparation for a new massive software implementation designed to help us become more productive and manage our resources better and then subsequently make more money. So it's been a slow few days as I learn to navigate Windows 7 and get all the programs and tools I use to do my real job loaded back onto the computer. Then of course there is re-bookmarking all my favorite Internet sites. Yada, yada, yada...

A chapter mate of mine just shared with us the dangers of using images off the web...she was sued. It's all said and done now, but as you can imagine, it was expensive and frustrating and time consuming. Number #1 lesson: disclaimers do not matter. If you didn't take the picture and don't have express permission to post it, you are in copyright violation. Lesson #2: take/post your own pictures OR join a stock photo site.

I went back through my blog--all five years of it--and there are very few images I've used that don't actually belong to me. So, yes, I'll be going through and replacing those if possible. If I can't replace them, I'll just put in a place holder. Who's going to go back and read those old posts anyway???

Last week I also sorta kinda finished a book. Not ready-to-submit finished, but send-to-critique partner finished. So I did. I told them a) to be harsh and b) not to rush, though I am anxious to get their feedback.

And yesterday, I finally got to working on revisions of A Snowball's Chance in Texas. I worked on it all day between laundry and other random chores and made excellent progress. The story is so much better now. It really truly is. I'm going to have to cut more words as the addition of the fixes added more words than I had available, but that's okay. I knew I was going to have to rework the beginning anyhow and get to the sex scene sooner. I'm hoping to save the prologue though.

I'm going to have to start yet another new story to get new words for my next charm. Despite the fact that I have five or six stories that need to be finished. I can take a month, possibly two (though not in a row) to do revisions, rather than write new words, and still earn a charm. But for some reason, I always feel compelled to write new words. By the time this book in a year program is over, I'm going to have a half dozen *more* stories to revise. Unless of course I just become that good. ha ha ha ha ha

I was going to work on the new story yesterday, but didn't quite have enough of the story worked out for my personal needs in order to start it. So I worked on the revisions as mentioned above. And I'm so glad I did.

So I leave you today with a picture of my charm bracelet with the newest charm: the lone star of Texas.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fort Worth Friday

Here it is, followers and gentle readers--my idea! A series of posts on the history of and other interesting things about my (adopted) home town of Fort Worth. Mostly it'll be about down town and the cool historical things that can be found there, but we'll hit a few other more current things here and there too. I love love love history and without further ado...


I just read, in preparation for my posts, that Fort Worth is "the most typically Texan of all Texas cities." I know what they mean, but it's kinda hard to explain. One of FW's slogans is "Where the West Begins." which helps to do so. FW is a unique combination of Old West and urban city.

It began life as a lonely outpost and is now the 16th most populous city in the US and the 5th most populous in Texas. The first settlement was established in 1840 or so and in 1873, Fort Worth was incorporated with a population of 500. Today we have 741K folks working and playing in our fair city.

This is the boundary now, according to Google maps:

Fort Worth is also considered the county seat and the courthouse stands prominently in the middle of down town:

(this picture is one I took)

If not a resident of FW or surrounding areas, have you ever visited? What did you think?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What a difference a day makes...

I'm back on the happy train after it came to a complete halt the other day due to a branch on the tracks.

Yesterday, I was able to break the 10K word mark on a different manuscript from the one that hit the tracks on Sunday. Not by much, granted, but I deemed it ready enough to be sent forth to my critique partners for a very thorough raking over the coals and I sent it out. It's the first thing I've sent along in quite some time and it completely made my day to do so.

Am I ready to dive back in to the other manuscript I've been going round in revision circles on yet? I don't know. But as soon as I'm done working today, I'm going to give it a try.

Follow Me - Why?

Follow me or don't. To be honest, I don't really care.

Last week I got caught up in the social media trend, thinking that because I was so close to finishing and submitting, it was about time I waded in. So I did. I got on Facebook and updated my profile a bit and friended a few people. I was then friended in return by many others. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do now. It's not intuitive to me. My original intention was to connect with my family, which I have yet to do because I can't find them. (Mom, please find me and friend me: Jen FitzGerald in Fort Worth.)

Following a person here on Blogger or on Wordpress or Pinterest or wherever doesn't really mean people are actually reading what you have to say. Of my seventeen followers, two of whom are the same person, how many of them do you think read this blog every MWF? Five or six maybe? Eight on a good day?

I joined another group although I wondered what the purpose was and still do. This group seemed to me like all those other things all wrapped up in one package. I was sort of gung ho, reaching out, making friends, joining a group, creating a group. But this week? Meh. I'm not feeling the love. I have other things that are more fun for me. Visiting all these people's FB pages is not fun. It's a time suck and one I have no interest in. Am I shooting myself in the foot? Maybe. Am I showing my age? Quite likely.

I'm not really sure social media is my thing. I like my blog and I like blogging. I have a website that needs a bit of updating, though not much, and I have Facebook, with which I'm going to connect with my family, because that's what they do (obviously not what * I * do since I can't find them without help).

If I get lucky enough to develop a readership, I'll reassess my needs at that time. Otherwise, I'm just going to do what I've been doing.

How do you feel about social media? Are you knee deep or neck deep? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Crazy Weather & Disappointments

Yes, it's July all over, but here in Texas that usually means sunny and hot for extended periods of time.

Except, we've been cooling off on a regular basis with mild thunderstorms and light rain that have no tornado producing elements in them what-so-ever. I'm not complaining because it's been lovely to enjoy relative coolness in the evenings. Now that I'm walking the dogs each night.

In an effort to get the dogs to sleep until *I* want to get up (rather than 3am) I have starting walking them each evening. One at a time because Honey walks so slow these days. Honey walks to one end of the street and back (we live in the middle of the block), but Sammy, who's a little more spry and excited, gets to go to one end and then to the other. For the most part it's been working thank goodness and I get to sleep until *I'm* ready to get up.

So I've been trying and trying and trying to finish revisions on one of my manuscripts. But I've been struggling. I set myself a deadline only to postpone it. Twice.

Yesterday, I took a step back and determined why I had been having such a hard time with the story.

Sure, I figured it out, but now it mean MORE revisions. Ugh. I'm ready to be done with this story. But finish it I shall. Eventually. Just not right now.

I'm going to move on to one of my other WIPs--one that seems closer to being finished and see if I can't make that happen.

No pictures today, but soon. I have an idea for a series of blog posts and I'm rarin' to go with it.

Happy Monday.

Friday, July 13, 2012


This week wasn't particularly stressful or busy, but I'm definitely glad it's Friday. I just want to be in my house, not in my office.

I have my truck back! The men took used it while they were gone selling fireworks and I was stuck driving the little Scion. It's a good car, don't get me wrong, but I'm short. I like being in a bigger vehicle so I can see the lanes and cars around me better. Also, this Scion (cuz we have two, with two different body styles) has a really horrid blind spot for me, especially at night.

Anyway, I got it back in better condition than it was when it left. DH had it washed and detailed and filled the gas tank for me before handing me back the keys. Wasn't that sweet? It's nice to have it back. See:

I know it's hard to tell how clean and shiny she is in this small picture, but trust me, she looks better than she did. Now, I just need to get the oil changed and I'm ready for my road trip to OKC!!

And the city is finally putting my street back together. Back in February, they tore up the cross street in order to put in new water mains or new sewage drains or something. So the cross street and about a third of our street has been tore up and a hot mess for almost six months. But it looks as though they're getting ready to re-pave.

This is how it looks right now--they dug up the messed up parts the other day, so the "street" is now several feet lower than normal.

The city created gravel slopes so folks could get *up* into thier driveways.

It may be hard to see in this picture, but the west end of our block is way lower than the middle and east end. This photo is looking east...

Needless to say, I'll be glad when they've put my streets back together. Coming around the long way and then always turning the truck around to park in front of the house properly is a hassle.

On that note, I'm going to bid you all a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I have to eat more? WHUT?

Yes. I have discovered that I need to eat more. I've been trying to eat more. But you know what--it's harder than it seems.

Some of you may remember back in April, I do believe, I announced I wanted to lose weight. A lot of it. Twenty-eight pounds to be specific, by June 29th. It did not happen.

I cut out sugar, cut out more carbs, and increased my calorie burning efforts.

Today, I am a mere *seven* pounds lighter than I was on May 6th, when I officially started the program. (My personal program, that is. Not a famous one.)

I do feel better, mostly, but I still want to get rid of a few more pounds.

I think the biggest problem is that when I'm doing well on the exercise efforts I don't compensate with additional calories to feed my body and it goes into starvation mode and begins to hold on to the padding I'm carrying around. And I feel hungry all the time, which I hate.

This week I have made an effort to have more (healthy) snacks on hand. So I've added fruit back into my diet. I had resisted them, aside from berries, because of the sugar--yes, I know it's healthy sugar--but still. So bananas and apples are my friends once again. So far so good, I haven't felt as hungry and I'm working on that. Now I just have to stay consistent with the exercise. I'll let you know how it turns out.

On other fronts, Marching Band Boy went to band camp yesterday and came home with a new instrument. He mainly plays the trumpet, but has also done stints on the baritone.

Last year, he commented on several occasions about how the French horn always seemed to have the coolest parts of their show music.

Needless to say, he came home with the French horn yesterday.

You're saying that's not a French horn. (Am I right?) Well, actually, it a marching French horn, also called a mellophone. It's a brand new instrument and MBB is thrilled to be playing it.

Are you musically inclined? I'm so not! If you are, share your instrument...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday, Monday...

The men have returned for good. DH will be back to work today and Sonshine turns into Marching Band Boy tomorrow morning.

The three/four week break was great. I had fun. I met online fan friends face-to-face. I caught up with other fan friends. I cleaned my house really well. I finished some small projects.

I didn't lose any more weight though I exercised like crazy the first two weeks. I wrote and revised little last week--though I did get a bunch done this weekend. I didn't finish some of my small household projects.

Now it's time to look forward, get back to work, both day job and writing wise, and set & meet some new goals.

A week or so ago I mentioned my intention to be more interactive with my family. I'm terrible about staying in contact and this is my family--*my family*. I get so involved in everything going on in my life right here in North Texas that I forget about them because they're not right here. And it's really sad. Granted, they could contact me too. But someone has to go first right? And that someone is going to be me.

So one of my new goals is to be in contact with various members of my family on a semi-weekly basis. So in every two-week period, I pledge to be in contact with every member of my family. That's about seven people/families: my mother, my grandmother, my step-mother, my two brothers (individually), and my two sisters (also individually). (Time to add a page to my spreadsheet.)

This is so not what I expected to write about today, but sometimes these things just happen. Though I really do know how I got here. :)

Last weekend, as you may recall, I invited four women I'd only known online to my house for the first US BBC Robin Hood fan meetup (hence all the cleaning and projects). The weekend was a blast and now I'm going to share pics. Not of the ladies because I don't have permission to put their lovely faces on the 'Net, but some other things, like:

This is the lovely gift they all chipped in to get me for opening my home to them:

It's just a black lacquer finish box with a tile (I guess) with the Outlaws mark on it. It was a surprise and very thoughtful of them.

These are things I bought/made for them, because no fan meetup is complete without fandom related goodies.

So we have a travel mug with a unique insert--we each liked a different character, so there's a different character image in each one; an inexpensive photo album with a picture of Robin's gang in the front photo insert and inside is a card with the meetup info. Then we can all print of pictures from the weekend to put in there and preserve our memories, there's a small squirrel (an inside joke from the show); a button that says "jigger off" (a show-related expression); and an outlaw tag (made by my own DD).

The ladies were most pleased with their goodies, too.

And this last picture is of my Robin Hood action figure standing next to a bottle of Huntingdon wine--in several versions of the legend, Robin is considered the Earl of Huntingdon, so...

And there you have it!

Have any of you met new friends online and then subsequently met them in person? What was the common event, hobby, or thing that brought you together?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Getting back to normal...

It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm definitely ready for my life to return to normal.

The Fourth of July was not as busy as we'd hoped, which also translates into not as profitable. :( Usually the 3rd and the 4th are the *big* selling days and they still were this year, but since they fell on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, they were slow in comparison. And I mean really slow. Two years ago, we had customers pretty much from four pm until midnight. Not so this year.

We also thought the weekend just prior would be busier as well, since many people would probably celebrate then, but it wasn't as busy as we'd hoped or expected either.

We haven't counted the money yet, but when all is said and done, we'll be in the hole. I won't go into a lot of detail, but something's gotta give or we may as well sell the store and go back to just buying and shooting fireworks for our own enjoyment. Even at several thousand dollars a year, it'd be much less hassle and a lot more fun.

A few pics from the store...

We all sleep in the store bedded down on air mattresses:

On the 4th, I caught a catnap on the shelf under the counter:

Had I a blanket, I would have been quite comfy and could have slept much longer. I did get a bit of sleep, though; enough to keep me going through midnight and the 2-hour drive home.

We had someplace we had to be yesterday morning and I ended up taking the day off work. I guess I really needed it. After two weeks of going, going, going, I had worn myself out. After DH and I got home, we both took a nap--and I ended up napping for five hours when all was said and done. It felt so good, let me tell you.

There's no rest for the weary, however. Or very little. Sonshine turns back into Marching Band Boy next Tuesday, so I'll have to don my Band Booster president hat once more.

Speaking of weary, it's going to be a long day. After staying up an hour past my bedtime--which I only did because I'd napped--my dogs woke me up at 2:30ish. I tried to ignore them, hoping (against hope) that they'd settle down eventually, but I finally had enough and rolled out of bed shortly after 3. Yes, AM. This has been ongoing for months now and, let me tell you, I'm wicked weary of it.

I let them both out and then in again, hoping that was all they needed. But no. It turned out one water bowl was empty and the other was in the garage and the door was closed. Once that was rectified, there was still whining and carrying on. And then eventually a big puddle of puke. So after mopping that up, finally, they settled down.

I was hot and awake, so I went back to the book I'd stayed up late to keep reading. It's called Scarlet, written by A.C. Gaughen. It takes the Robin Hood legend and turns Will Scarlett into a girl masquerading as a boy. It's a really well-written, fast-paced read and I'm quite enjoying it.

And now, I've got to get some work done today, though I do think, I'm leaving early to catch another nap and get a start on my weekend chores. I have a feeling it's going to take me longer than usual to get them done.

I hope I didn't come across too whiny, but I am tired. Monday will be better. Have a great weekend and see you then.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Go out and celebrate! Shoot some fireworks. Have a great time and celebrate our country: the lad of the free and the home of the brave.

Sure we have problems. A lot of them. But, you know, we really still are the most free nation on planet earth.

The following picture, while not one of mine is what I see when DH shoots off his finale. The sky is filled with sound and color and smoke. If they seem close enough to touch, it's because they almost are. The air reverberates with the thundering of hundreds of artillery shells all going off at once. It's quite something.


Monday, July 2, 2012


But I was relieved that everyone left as early as they did--not because I wasn't enjoying getting to know them and spending time with them.

But because having company for extended periods is a strain, especially if a) you're not used to being around a lot of people all the time, and b) they are people you don't know and you're trying to present your best self and you're the hostess and you can't disappear to grab a two-hour nap though you desperately need one. :)

The first Robin Hood fan meet up went off without a hitch. And we're all still alive to tell the tale.

We talked and laughed, learned about each others husbands and/or children and jobs. We watched (only) eleven episodes of the show during our time together. And watching a show you love with several like-minded friends is way more fun than watching alone. I think all of us have this problem. Our significant others had/have no interested in the show, nor do we have any in-person friends with whom to share the experience.

It may have been fitting that the first meet up was at my house as this is several blocks away:

(And only in America with the "Crime Watch" sign underneath!)

I hope we can swing it again next year or the year after and have a couple more US fans be able to join us.

And that's it for today. It was a long weekend and I took Friday off, so I've got to get caught up.

If I'm not here on Wednesday it's because I couldn't get on the Internet to post. If I don't see you, have a wonderful Fourth of July!!