Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This years swag haul...

Since I was a supporting author and had my own events to attend, I didn't have as many opportunities to see other people's stuff. I did attend the Featured Authors Signing to scope out some of this year's swag. It was a lot of the same. Some people had So. Much. Stuff.

This is my haul...

I saw a lot of goodie bags... (not pictured) Just cellophane with candy and maybe a pen and notepad or something. Which is all well and good, but people have such different taste in candy. Or they don't like chocolate. Or are allergic to nuts. Or don't like caramel. I don't know. It seems like a waste to me.

Books are given away as prizes in almost every workshop and reading and q&a session. I came home with a handful this year. I definitely want to read two of them. I haven't read the back cover blurbs of the others yet. They'll all be donated to the library at some point because I keep very few physical books these days.

I did notice, though, that rainbow anything was very popular, so my brain is whirring... I'm thinking small little cross stitch something or others. Heigh ho, heigh ho, off to Pinterest I go. I'll let you know what I come with later.

On the 100 Things Challenge front, I cleaned out the glass and mug cabinet and am getting rid of this:

Making progress. A trip to the donation station is in order soon.

Have a great rest of your week.

Monday, October 29, 2018

What makes you happy?

Aside from rainbows and butterflies or whatever, what does it take for a person to be satisfied or content with their life?

Last summer (2017), while on our retreat to Lake Conroe, one of my dear writer peeps brought a worksheet that listed twenty-five of the most common vital needs. Most people have 5 to 7 seven needs requiring fulfillment on a regular basis, whether daily or weekly, monthly, etc.

personal time doing for others recognition for achievements movement sleep
approval and acceptance order and closure time alone territory financial security
one-on-one attention group relationships empathy humor spirituality
touch having a project variety of experiences structured time unstructured time
being with people anticipation competition learning something new listening to music

When my girlfriends and I first talked about these, a few jumped out at me right away.

Sleep--check. Minimum six hours a night with occasional naps to make up what I need.
Personal time--check. I am an early bird and get up super early to enjoy the peace and quiet of the house.
Movement--check. I always feel better when I get my exercise in. I definitely need to get back on track with regular exercise.
Time Alone--check. Early mornings and working from home Tuesdays and Thursdays give me that time.
Listening to music--check. Everyday. In the car if I'm alone. At the office via YouTube. My iPod is docked in my home office.
Humor--check. My Puck Soup Podcast is a staple. I get new content seven times a month, but I often re-listen to a favorite episode.

As I look at the list now, some other things that didn't strike me then, now do.

Having a project--as you probably know by the number of posts there are about cross stitching in this blog, I generally have a project. Usually the cross stitching, but I occasionally do other crafts or work on the house and yard. Also writing.

Doing for others--I've volunteered forever in various groups that I've been a part of. My writers group, the PTA, Band Boosters, my daily chat room.

Structured time/unstructured time--I don't like having my day so structured that everything is scheduled, but I do live by a fairly regular routine and I have a lengthy TO-DO list that keeps me productive each day.

What about you? Any of those needs strike a chord with you??

Friday, October 26, 2018

How is it almost November...

...and there's no rest for the wicked or the weary in sight.

Isn't this the time of year when life is supposed to slow down? The weather changes, the holidays approach, clients and customers don't call because they've used up their IT budget for the year. (oh, wait, most of our clients are on contracts)

I've got lunch with a friend or two. There's a possible writer peeps gathering. And then there's Thanksgiving. A couple of Stars games are in the mix too. That's just November.

December means prepping for Christmas and fireworks season. There's my writers group holiday party/meeting. There are more hockey games. There's even a chance I'll get a visit from... (drum roll lease) ...Sonshine!!! Please keep your fingers crossed. :0)

In the everyday, there's being with DH and going to the gym and reading and cross stitching and maybe even some writing. I really need to get on that. I need a new book or two out by next October.

On top of all of that--as if that isn't plenty--a dear family member is having some severe health issues, so that'll continually be on the radar.

Hope you're all doing well...

I'll see y'all on Monday. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Old Towne Portsmouth...

Last Friday morning, I took some time to get outside and enjoy some fresh and get the blood circulating. I love history and as you can guess, Portsmouth was full of it. I didn't do much reading of the history, just enjoyed the sights. Namely in the form of buildings...I love old buildings. I love imaging who lived in them, what they looked like on the inside once upon a time, as well as what they might look like now.

So just a few pics from my jaunt around Portsmouth.

 I find these interesting with the stairs going up the second floor, which presumably is the main level of the house. Meaning the bottom level was probably for servants at one time.

 I like these too, with the front porch.

 I like the bay windows on this one.

 This is obviously a two-apartment house, with the porch/balcony on the upper level.

 Here's another with the stairs going to the second floor, but it also has two chimneys.

I'm pretty sure this one also has a basement level floor that is hidden from view. I wonder if that top-most window goes into an attic room or if the middle bedroom and the second?/third? floor has super high ceilings and the window belongs to it...

I saw one house (no pics) that was, I think, four levels (basement, two regular floors, the attic). With all kinds of random stairs attached, it had obviously been divided up into apartments. It would be so interesting to see the original layout and then how and where they added bathrooms and kitchens when they divvied it up.

And then here are the few other pictures I took...

The sunrise view of my 9th floor room. That ship there in the middle of the frame is the USS Bataan--in for some repairs or upgrades.

The river is the Elizabeth River...

My roomie and I took the water taxi across the river for lunch on Friday.

Here is a random boat sailing the river one day.

On Sunday I took a partial scenic route back to Raleigh...through the countryside of southeastern Virginia and north central North Carolina. It was a truly lovely fall day with cool temps and a brisk wind. The trees were all sorts of lovely colors and the small towns were so charming.

I passed cotton fields and a gin along the way...

 I'm used to seeing hay in humongous rolls like this--not cotton!!

 And that concludes my pictures...

I had a busy but wonderful time and am definitely glad to be home and back into the regular routines of my life--that even includes eating and exercising. :0)

Have a great rest of your week. See you on Friday.

Monday, October 22, 2018

2nd Stop--Portsmouth, VA for the GRL Conference

Sorry I missed Friday, but Thursday was a whirlwind and Friday was busy and I just didn't have a chance to sit down at a computer and get something posted.

So Portsmouth is a charming little town and the conference was a success in as much as it could be for this being my first year attending as a writer.

As a supporting author, I had to pay a little higher registration fee, but I was able to participate in the supporting author book signing Thursday morning as well as schedule two author lounges; lounges are an opportunity for fans or prospective fans to chat with an author. No book selling.

Here is me at the signing:

My setup was minimal because I needed to make sure I had the funds to get/be there. I didn't spend a lot on swag--I bought pens and paperboard coasters. I gave away more coasters than pens which is fine. I sold one physical copy and convinced maybe a dozen or so people to download the free ebook.

I did learn a few things:

A) I do need some sort of  table drape. I tried to buy one a month or so ago, but the image I wanted to use wasn't high enough pixels per inch to allow it to look okay at a larger size. So I didn't end up getting anything. During the signings and other author lounges, I looked at what other authors did. Bottom line...even just my name will work, if that's what it comes down to. But I have an author slogan, so I can certainly incorporate that if I choose to.

B) My book full of QR codes was well received and I got several compliments on having it. So that's a standard going forward.

C) Even if I don't have physical books, I need to print 5x7 copies of the covers and use those standup acrylic frames to show off all the titles... I'm not sure why I didn't think of that this time. (and have the QR codes handy)

D) (and my least favorite but not unfamiliar lesson) Swag is king and draws the crowd. I only took one opportunity to check out swag this year and was amazed by what was on offer. Mostly all I could think of is "why"? I guess mine is not to wonder why, but to provide meaningful and interesting goodies. I have a few months to decide if I'm going to next year's (probably) and then I need to decide on swag and start gathering.

I did get to explore the area a bit too and I'll post some pics on Wednesday.

Hope you're all well and happy Monday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

1st Stop--Raleigh NC to meet BFF Jenn

I made it safely to the first destination of my whirlwind week. I'm in Raleigh to meet BFF Jenn.

Here we are, Jen (me) and Jenn (the bff), aka the J Crew to the gang in the chat where we met.

Have a great week, I may or may not see you on Friday. :0)

Monday, October 15, 2018

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring...

...he went to bed, and he bumped his head, and he couldn't get up in the morning.

I remember singing that as a child. :0)

It's been raining for hours at the time of this post. I'm surprised there hasn't been a flash flood watch yet. My back yard is saturated and flooded. We sit at the lowest point of the block too, so everything flows to us and then out to the street.

Also, it's not supposed to rain in September and October. I want my Indian Summer.

Books arrived in Raleigh as scheduled. BFF Jenn opened the box for me and there are some kind of fingerprints on some of them...not sure how or why. She took pictures so I could file a complaint if I choose to. I'll see how many are affected when I get there. *sigh*

In other news, the Dallas Stars are 3 and 1 at home. Just so you know--they've won every game I've attended. Coincidence?( lol, of course it is) Saturday's game was awesome. I'm loving just having tickets and being able to go if I want.

Hockey season is wreaking havoc with writing because I have little interest at the moment in putting nose to the grindstone and finishing books. At the very least I should be studying my craft to help me finish these books or I should be working on fleshing out characters for current and/or future books.

Alas, hockey and the conference have filled my brain to the brim... Once I'm back though, it'll be time to do something writing-related every day.

Anyway, hope you have a great week. I may or may not get to post this week, but I'll try.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Very Good News...

Happy Friday, y'all!

KDP sent me an email the other day that my books have been shipped and are scheduled to arrive Saturday in Raleigh. Woo hoo!!

Thanks to everyone who sent good vibes into the universe. :0)

Also...FALL has arrived. Temperatures have reached the cool-over-night and warm-during-the-day balance that I love so much. I've had the windows open whenever I can to get rid of the stuffy AC recycled air.

In other news, I am handing off the reins of the contest I've been running for my writers group to a chaptermate. I'm very excited to place the contest into capable hands. Of course, I've taken on another, though smaller, program for the chapter because I just can't seem to help myself. But I don't have to do much of anything for that until January or February, so: Yay!

Preparations for my trip are winding down aside from the packing, which requires laundry, which will happen tomorrow. Just a few more minor things to get done as far as conference event prep goes and if I don't get to it, nothing bad will happen.

Anyway, have a great weekend and I'll catch you Monday!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


So the stage version of Frankenstein is coming back to theaters at the end of October...

Johnny Lee Miller and my fave Benedict Cumberbatch alternated playing the doctor and the creature during its live run.

I've seen BC's creature and it's amazing. Unfortunately, the encore of his performance as the creature is the day I'm returning from my conference and I don't arrive until the show's already started...

JLM's turn as the creature airs on the 29th. I'm debating on going. I know JLM is also amazing as the creature, but--the creature gets the bulk of the stage time and I do so love BC, so... I'm torn.

If you haven't seen this, you absolutely should.

Click on the graphic to get to the theater-near-you search page.

Hope your week is going well...

Monday, October 8, 2018

The countdown begins...and other random stuff.

One week and one day until I head east for my conference. I have a lot to get done this week...

Mostly packing. Hang on while I go grab my suitcase...Okay. Loaded into the car. The rest is making sure everything I need for the author signing and the author lounges is ready to go.

As I've mentioned before, at last year's conference I saw a lot of physical books, but no easy mechanism for e-book readers like me to get to the retailer of choice for any given book one might have wanted to purchase. My brilliant idea was to create QR codes for each book for each retailer. Which I have done.

Now I get to assemble book covers, back cover blurbs, and said QR codes into a document for each book and print everything out and put into a folder so that people can browse and hopefully buy.

I also have to prepare work for me being gone and do a bunch of stuff in advance of being gone.

In other news, I was given the go ahead by DH to buy my first Stars jersey.

I must say, it was a difficult decision...John Klingberg or Alexander Radulov. You can see who won. One down, three to go: Radulov, Mattias Janmark, and Tyler Seguin.

This week's 100 Things Giveaway includes board games, scarves, and some more Tupperware.

On the cross stitching front, I finished the gifts I was making for gal I said got me into hockey. I enjoyed the author Q&A at the bookstore and then delivered her gifts and wished her well. Then I thought I could turn my attention full time to the latest sampler I designed--remember the "Sunday Project" I talked about a while back? I was all excited about it becoming my primary project. But as I was happily stitching away yesterday, I remembered a sampler I want to stitch for my older daughter for Christmas. And so, the Sunday Project remains the Sunday Project. :0)

Hope you had a great weekend. Catch you Wednesday.

Friday, October 5, 2018


As I must've mentioned somewhere :0) the Stars home opener was last night with DD and I in attendance. And they won! Definitely a nice way to start the season.

But I realized a few things...

Being even a partial season ticket holder means I'll (obviously) be attending a lot more games, which means...

A) I have to come up with a game day dinner-to-go because eating arena food every time will be too expensive. Not only in terms of dollars, but also in terms of calories and carbohydrates.

B) Even though it'll usually be late by the time I get home, I still have to make a point to brush my teeth. Teeth care is a must for me these days as I have various mouth issues, so this is going to be a challenge I have to win.

C) I need to solve my shoe situation for games. Arenas are cold. The floors are concrete. My feet are my barometers. If my feet are warm, I am warm. My sneakers have never kept my feet warm. Next game I'll try my boots.

D) I need to solve my "Stars Gear" situation. I mean--you have to wear gear right?? You can't go in just any old thing.

I have two Dallas Stars shirts. One is just a generic Victory Green team shirt, the other is a player shirt. Both of which are made of regular tee shirt fabric. Neither of which will keep me warm enough once the weather turns cold. And who wants to wear a jacket over their gear??

The Hangar (the onsite team store) has all kinds of hoodies and jackets and jerseys. The stuff's not cheap, so I'll have to save up and look for coupons and discount offers and slowly build my collection of layers. Long sleeved tees, lightweight jackets, jerseys. I'm a firm believer in layers.

Perhaps for Christmas I should request gift certificates and such for The Hangar and :0)

On a side note, George Strait dropped the ceremonial first puck. I forget how much I love his music. Did you know he has more number one songs than any other artist in any genre of music? He is also third only to Elvis Presley and The Beatles with the most gold and platinum albums in the history of music. Pretty damn good, eh?

I'll leave you with this. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Stars at night...

...are big and bright!!

So, yes, I got to see a few faves and missed out on a couple of others. That's the way it goes. Maybe next year. :0)

Fair warning--I'm horrible at smiling for the camera, so in a couple of these pictures I look super dorky.

Here we go...

Not the first picture I took, but far and away the most coveted:

Little ol' me and TYLER SEGUIN!!!

As for the rest...(well, a few are still on DD's phone). But what I do have at the moment...

Me and:




It doesn't look like Alex was having a lot of fun, although I'd seen him smile a few minutes prior, so maybe he was tired...maybe the language barrier...

DD and I had a wonderful time hanging out and taking pics with our Dallas Stars.

Be loud!! Wear green!! Go Stars!!

PS--As far as my 100 Things Challenge item...I won a purse in an auction many moons ago but never used it, because it was more fancy than everyday use and it wasn't really my thing. Also I was after other parts of the package. So it's been sitting in the closet for the better part of ten years.

Have a great rest of your week.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Here we go...

I feel like I'm about to hit the crest of the first hill on a roller coaster ride. Life is about to get crazy.

This past weekend, we traded in the cars. The lease on the Rav 4 was almost over and the Scion was about on its last wheels. I joked that we now have his and hers Rav 4s, because we replaced the Scion with a Rav 4. Mine is a lovely plum color and DH's is the standard storm cloud gray.

Not only did I get the 2018 version, but DH upgraded me to the XLE as opposed to the base model LE, and between the two, I've been blessed with some lovely new bells and whistles.

Like a sun roof!! Like dual temp controls! Like push button start! Like GPS capability on the display screen (it needs a specific app to be loaded on my phone, but no more squinting at my Google Maps on my phone). Like a pull screen for the cargo area so no one can see what kind of stuff I might be hauling around. There are probably a few more handy dandy perks I haven't yet discovered, but this car is awesome and the best perk: it's costing us slightly less than the original.

In other equally exciting news and the cause of mi vida loca, hockey season officially starts this week. For the Stars, opening night is Thursday and yours truly will be there!! More than likely, I'll be at the AAC on Saturday as well for the second game.

Friday, I'm hoping to get to Dallas for the book signing of a brilliant young woman who is probably 90% responsible for me being a hockey fan.

But tonight--keep your fingers crossed for me. DD and I will be heading to Sig Flags over Texas this evening for the Dallas Stars Season Ticket Holder Event. There will be players available and interacting with fans!! Please send good vibes towards North Texas that DD and I will come across our favorite players and be able to get pictures with them.

If we're all lucky, I'll have pictures later in the week. >>insert big cheesy grin here<<

And then my con is now just around the corner. Two weeks from tomorrow, I'll be board a plane toward the east.

There will be as much down time and naps as I can muster so I have the energy for the rest.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.