Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Goal Review...

On this last blogging day of 2017, it's time to do a final review on the goals I set at the beginning of the year. I've done quarterly check-ins, but now it's time for a final grade.

1) Write to my Grandma in Denmark every six weeks or so. I'm going to fail myself. I've not sent my dear Grandma a letter since the summer. Bad Jen. I'll be recycling this goal for sure.

Grade F

2) Call my moms every month or so. Didn't quite hit every month, but most of them. This goal too is moving on to 2018.

Grade C

3) Cook/eat better. Didn't do as well as I wanted to on this one either. Finances make it harder to eat well, because healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food. But we'll keep on keeping on with this goal too because DH is ready to make progress on his weight loss endeavors now.

Grade B

4) Clean out and organize my writing room. I did a couple of things a couple of times, but there was no major overhaul here. Is this task important enough to carry over into 2018? Nah. The state of my writing room isn't bothersome, so...

Grade D

5) Re-institute the cleaning plan. I thought about it in context of my quarterly goal updates and at no other time. I still really want to do it, so this goal carries over as well.

Grade F

6) Publish six books by September 2017. Well, nope...didn't get six books by the ninth month. I did get four books out by the twelfth month though. No major extenuating circumstances to blame. Just ran into a bit of writing road block in completing the sixth book, so all deadlines and tasks required got pushed farther out.

Grade F

7) Reach 120lbs. to 125lbs. as a weight goal. Reached this one in October. I've kept the weight off. I only gained about 4 pounds on the cruise and lost that easily. I've been enjoying the holidays and will get back on the wagon come January 2.

Grade A+

8) Walk the dog three times a week. I reported that I'd started this back at the third quarter review, but got lazy about it rather quickly. This goal is definitely moving onto the 2018 list as it's become more important to the dog's physical health than it was originally. So yeah.

Grade F

Well-- I didn't do so hot this year, did I? Average grade is a D-. Gotta do better next year, eh?

Hope you have a safe and lovely New Years!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

So, Jen, how are those books doing?

I've been a published author for all of a month and a half. But life has been a bit hectic since I pressed the "publish" button back in November and aside from just getting books 1 through 4 ready to go, I haven't spent much time or effort on much of anything besides prepping for the cruise (which I need to share some pictures from) and then prepping for Christmas.

There's still the New Years weekend to get through, helping DH down at the fireworks store, but besides grocery shopping for those couple of days, there's really no prepping to do, so I've been able to stop and breathe and start thinking about what's what as far as the writing/publishing business goes.

To the answer the question, though, in the grand scheme of things I don't really know. I got an email from PayPal notifying me that one of my retailers sent me $13.42 in royalties. YAY--my first author earnings. So begins the journey to repay the money I've spent on editing and book covers and other expenses over the past year and a half.

A quick peek at my Amazon/Kindle dashboard looks promising, but I'm not entirely sure how to process all those numbers. Also, it shows me sales from several foreign markets and the corresponding currencies, so I really don't know what a final royalty payment for that sales period will end up being. I won't get it until the end of January, so I have to be patient for a little bit longer.

Have a great New Year Weekend!

Please watch hockey on New Years Day and the day after--hockey will be going back to its roots with two outdoor games. Should be a lot of fun.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy Christmas from my house to yours...

Hope you're having a lovely day. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cruising the Caribbean

So... I was on a Western Caribbean cruise last week. My first cruise, as a matter of fact. We sailed on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas--a very large ship. About as large, we discovered, as the USS Nimitz, the aircraft carrier my Sonshine's been on. :0)

From the gangway onto the boat...

DH and I traveled with my mother-in-law, both my sisters-in-law and one of their husbands. Sadly, the other husband couldn't get the time off work. There were a few challenges, but I think that overall everyone had an enjoyable trip. I did, and DH and I have already booked another cruise. Same ship, same ports of call, although we'll be traveling on our own next time.

This was our cozy cabin...

I'm standing up against the door looking in. The closet was at my left shoulder, the bathroom at my right (you can see the door handle, just there). For the amount of time we spent there, it was roomy enough. We did have a port hole behind the curtain.

The first full day was a sea day and DH wasn't quite sure how to power down enough to relax. :0) But here he is trying...

Each cabin obviously has a cabin steward to come perform housekeeping duties. Harris came twice a day, once in the am and once again during dinner, leaving us a towel animal each evening.

There's more to come, but that's it for today. Have you been on a cruise? If so, where'd you go?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Birthday Sailor Sonshine

So Sailor Sonshine turned 22 yesterday! I haven't seen him in just over two years and I'm looking forward to hearing his voice and seeing his face and hugging him hard relatively soon. His ship is on the last leg of its journey and then I guess there will be some end-of-cruise stuff they have to do before he can get leave and fly home.

I think the last time I saw Sonshine was August of 2015 when we flew to Seattle.

Not that he'll ever see this, but he's the best Christmas present I ever got. :0)


Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Traditions, Part II

Wednesday, I mentioned the ornament tradition that's still alive and kicking.There are a few traditions, I'd like to get back to.

While I enjoy the concept of the Advent Calendar, I'm already seven days into the month and I'm going to be gone for a few more days, so I'll have to pass this year. I'll plan better next year.

(The current Christmas tree...easy to put up, easy to take down.)

The one thing I've been really lax about is the Christmas tree. I love having a tree up. I love the ornaments, I especially love the lights, but because of fireworks and the fact that we celebrate at my mother-in-law's house, I've gotten really lazy about breaking out the tree. The other reason is because our fake tree is decrepit (if we still have it) and I really don't want to cough up a hundred bucks or more for a new one. On the other hand, I grew up with "real" trees and the scent of pine in the house, and I would really like to do that again too. But, again, not this year... I need to assess the ornament situation. I want to do a themed tree, so that will require purchasing new ornaments and lights...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas lights. I want them all over the house and on the outside of the house, but the thought of all that effort is a bit daunting. Worse is having to take them all down again. I know, I know--I'm really lazy. I'll put some lights up this year for sure, because lights are one thing I don't go without this time of year.

I got a video the other day from sister-in-law who had her Angel Chimes out. After live Christmas trees, having the Angel Chimes is the tradition I remember the most. Last year, I bought my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law Angel Chimes and extra candles with the hopes of sharing the love. I need to find mine.

And the final tradition I'd like to bring back is the Redneck Gingerbread House. I miss seeing old GI Snow. Unfortunately, it's not as fun putting it all together without helpers, but this one really tickles me.

Are there any traditions you miss?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Traditions, Part I

A few years ago, I did a Countdown to Christmas series of posts and rambled on about many of the things we do (or did) in our house in regards to Christmas... Sadly, with the kids gone, many things have fallen by the wayside, but one thing that won't is the yearly ornament.

The kids all have an ornament for every Christmas they've celebrated. Any that have gone missing I've tried to replace. Sometimes I buy them ready to hang, sometimes I make them, sometimes I buy things than need embellishment.

Here a few ornaments from past years...

 I decorated a red bell for one of the girls and a green one for the other...not sure what Sonshine got.

 Three years ago, everyone got cross stitched Christmas bulbs with their initial and the year on it.

I'm on the hunt for this year's offering. I saw some cute metal plaid letters at Michael's the other day, but the display had been cleaned out and there were no more of the letters I need. Bummer.


I've had a background love affair with snow globes for a while and have some ideas on how to incorporate the concept into an ornament. So stayed tuned!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Weight Watching--or should I say Managing?

So going into the holidays, I'm not gonna sweat the temptation of treats. I've reached my target weight, I'm maintaining that weight just fine, and I CAN EAT TORTILLAS AGAIN!!

As long as I keep up with my basic exercise regimen, I'm going to enjoy holiday treats within reason. In other words, I'm not going to turn down a cookie or two--I just won't eat a dozen. I'll eat more protein and vegetables than I will rolls and sweet treats, but I will still have them. I mean, life is challenging enough as it is and there's no reason to turn something that makes life enjoyable.

As for the tortillas, Mission has a carb-smart brand and they are delicious. The Lavash bread is fine, but I love tortillas. Being able to enjoy them again without the carb guilt is fantastic!

The one thing I haven't had for way too long is my favorite pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. There's a very real possibility that if faced with that in cake or cupcake form, I will cave like a cheap house of cards and devour the whole thing. Perhaps, though, if they're made for the holidays and available to others, I'll be able to resist temptation!

What one food item is your downfall??

Friday, December 8, 2017

Arctic Air... BRRRRR!

Who invited this arctic cold front to Texas??

Yes, it was below freezing this morning on the way to work. I didn't realize it was that cold, although I knew it was close and I did not venture out to the gym this morning. Also because my right hip joint/ligament or something-or-other needed a rest day.

I even had snowflake frost on my windshield this morning. It wasn't so thick I had to wait for it to melt, but I just don't like it this cold. I like it just a tad bit warmer, thank-you-very-much!!

There were apparently snow flurries around the Metroplex yesterday, although I didn't witness any, and there was SNOW in San Antonio last night!!!

Fresh falling snow, especially in a place that rarely gets it, is so lovely that part of me always longs for one. The downside to having it in a place like Texas is that it tends to shut down the whole city because everyone seems to freak the heck out and driving becomes a nightmare. It's okay if it's on a Saturday or Sunday, but the chances of that are, you know, are pretty low.

Stay safe wherever you are and whatever's happening in your neck of the woods.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 4, 2017

The STARS at night are big and bright...

There's not much rattling around in the old noggin right now except hockey and cross stitching--so that's what you get. :0) I've watched or listened/slept through (only last night) the last four games and the STARS are on a bit of tear. They won three of four games prior to that.

They're winning against teams in their own division which is a very good thing as it puts them in a better position to make the playoffs come March and April.

If you want to watch a spectacular diving save by our goalie, click in at the 7:20 mark and watch--it happens right at 7:30!!

In cross stitch news, I finished the major project /Christmas gift I was working on and got it into Michael's for framing and it'll be ready for giving before Christmas, so YAY. I've started on some smaller projects which are also hockey related and for Christmas gifts. I should be able to get a couple of them done.

So anyway Happy Monday and Happy Holidays...