Wednesday, September 15, 2021

GRL here I come...

The countdown has begun. Now that my Labor Day road trip has come and gone, it's time to ramp up preparations for my trip to St. Louis...not only for being there, but for not being at home or at work.

Last GRL in Albuquerque in 2019...

For home it's a matter of getting aaaaall the laundry done so DH has enough underthings to get through two weeks without necessarily having to do laundry and laying in enough groceries in advance. I usually shop on Sunday mornings, but I'll be out of town for one, and I'd rather avoid a major trip to the store at any other time and any other day. Might need to pop in for some fresh veggies, but that would be it. Thanks to my mother-in-law, I now have a second fridge to store extra perishables in. :0)

For work, it's a matter of making sure all the bills are paid in advanced or scheduled to be paid, as well as making sure the employees are prepared for my absence. Sure I can take care of stuff while I'm gone if something crops up, but getting things taken care of in advance is preferable. I won't be on vacation per se, but I won't be in regular work mode either.

As for the conference itself, it's checking last years' lists for notes about what worked and what didn't; what might be good things to have handy during various events (scissors!), and what are must haves. Then it's packing up what's needed for those events: SWAG and cover images and orange mints and Sharpies among others.

This year was going to be different in that I was supposed to participate in a panel discussion. Unfortunately, two of the four authors had to withdraw and us remaining two got relegated to author Q&As. I'm really disappointed about that... I don't know anyone in the group I've been assigned to, so I should go check out some of their books, read their bios on their websites or on Amazon and pray I don't make a fool of myself. This kind of un-prepped interaction is not my strong suit, but it is what it is and I'll make it through I suppose...

Hope you're having a great week...

Monday, September 13, 2021

A moment to remember...

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Home to see the fam...

As I usually do over Labor Day weekend, I went home to see my family.

We had another new baby, my great nephew Mayson, who is now 4 1/2, 5 months old. And sweet as sweet could be.

Last year, the new baby was Mayson's big sister Christine. She's grown into a funny independent toddler. Thankfully, she hasn't quite hit the terrible twos. But she's busy.

Here she is from last year... :0)

It can be a little chaotic with all the people in a small house, but it's good to be with them for a few days.

Hope your long weekend was relaxing and peaceful. Take care and see you next week.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Looking Ahead to 2022...

But Jen, it's not even September...


No, it's not, but the end of the year will be here before we know it, and my brain has been conjuring up things I want to accomplish. One of my laments this year is lost momentum and the things I meant to do but didn't...

 Hence the looking ahead.

Now that I know where next years' GRL conference is going to be--Portsmouth, Virginia again, a place I've already been--I can officially say I'm not attending. Had they gone to New Orleans, I would have to think long and hard. I loved the French Quarter and definitely want to go back again. If I can do it as a tax write-off, so much the better!

But it's not and I don't have to worry about it for another year.

The only events I'll consider for next year will be local. A local library, for instance, has a "Night of Romance" close to Valentine's Day and I've already committed to that for 2022. There's nothing else I usually do, but some friends and fellow authors attend other events that I'd like to get my foot into the door at. But I'll have to wait and see when and where and what they are.

What I am going to do is hunker down...

Instead of the conference expense, I'm thinking of investing some of that money in advertising and one or two super in-depth writers classes. A friend has raved about a certain instructor and his classes. His philosophy on publishing is one I bought into early on and perhaps a class or two will help me get to the next writing level.

That level being...reliably getting three books written and published every year.

I've yet to get three books written and published in a single year except for the very first year, but those were all lined up and ready to go for that purpose. 

It might take a year or two or three, but I'll get there.

Hope you had a super weekend. Here's to a great week!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Let's Talk Cereal!

If you've been a follower for long enough, you probably know that I LOVE cereal. I have since I was a kid. Cereal was a staple breakfast in our growing up and it was for my kids too. I don't eat it much these days because it's full of carbohydrates and sugars and I'm trying to head into my golden age a little healthier.

And I've lamented several times (or more often) how many UNNECESSARY cereal varieties there are in the grocery stores. At my local WalMart, cereal takes up the length of one full aisle on one side and about a third of the facing side.


Do we really need that many options??

What I did find a couple of weeks ago was this:

How excited do you think I was?? Yes, very!!

Unfortunately, the reality did not live up to the expectations. Maybe in a few years, when the science of things has progressed a little. But, then again, maybe it never will...

Now this cereal...

...which is not/was not available in my local area (because the player doesn't play for my hockey team) I would love to get my hands on. Not necessarily for the cereal itself, but for the novelty of it. I'd eat the cereal and save the box... Yes, I am a fan of Nathan MacKinnon's. He currently plays for the Colorado Avalanche.

In the mean time, I'll stick with good ol' Cheerios.

Have you a favorite? Please share in the comments.

Take care and have a great week.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Prepping for the conference...

In one day and eight weeks, I'll be headed to St. Louis for my annual genre specific reader/writer conference. The hotel is not canceling, the conference organization can't afford to postpone again, so it's on for who-so-ever shall come. I will be there. Masks are being required by the conference organizers and I'm completely on board with that. With the new strains, I have begun to mask up again.

Anyway, I'm looking forward it this year.

Primarily because I upgraded to "Featured Author" status and I'm going to be participating in a new event (for me)--a Storyteller Series Panel. I was able to find three other authors to join me and we brainstormed the topic "The Joys and Challenges of Writing MM Sports Romance."

In addition to the Storyteller Series Panel discussion, I get a second author lounge--an opportunity to sit at a table in the corridors outside the ballrooms where the panels are held and meet people. I bought a small table-top hockey set for passersby to play and try to win a prize. I'll have the whole table to myself this year, since the organizers are trying to be cognizant of social distancing as best they can implement it.


The other major change for me is being part of the Saturday book signing rather than the Thursday signing...usually the bigger name / more popular authors are at the Saturday signing, so that's another upgraded opportunity for visibility.

So I've made my lists and I've checked them twice, three times, four times...trying to make sure I have all my conference "ducks" in a row. I don't yet, but I'm getting there and I still have those eight weeks.

Now, if only I could finish the latest hockey book. I keep plugging away at it, but I still feel a bit lost in the weeds.

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

Monday, August 2, 2021

I'm Late, I'm Late...

Not to any "very important dates," but I kept meaning to do a report card on my 2021 goals as of the end of the 2nd quarter, but I just hadn't gotten around to it until now.

But honestly there's not much to say...I didn't make much progress on any of them. It was a rough quarter, topped off by a crazy 4th of July.

I'll be sending my Grandma a post card this week though. I'm doing okay there--not quite monthly but averaging every other. I think. Also August is her birth month, so some flowers will be ordered. She gets an arrangement for her birthday and Christmas.

Oh-wait-- I accomplished one thing! My home gym is complete as far as equipment goes. There are some empty boxes that have piled up that need to get tossed and a couple of random items that need to get taken to the warehouse.

I also need to figure out if I can get on the internet on the TV. I can do YouTube and watch my yoga channel, but I also bought another program that I want to try to access from out there.

The three pounds did get gone, although the inches did not. But that's a project for another day, well, another quarter probably. lol

The three I really failed on were learning about personality strengths, getting a handle on my housekeeping, and the brainstorming of characters and plot arcs for a specific series...

I continue to learn peripherally (via a newsletter and a Facebook group) about the Strengths, but I haven't taken that deep dive into *my* top ten as I had intended. And I probably won't get to it this year.

Now, housekeeping I'm working on. I've got a chore or two to do every day this week and we'll see how that goes and ramp up from there.

As for the brainstorming of characters and plot arcs...that series is still a ways down the road, so it wasn't critical that it all get done, but I am disappointed that I didn't make better progress. On the other hand, other things cropped up and that's okay too. I may re-evaluate that plan, spread out the due dates a bit. I can't plan too much of it all in advance though. If I know too much too soon, then I won't have much interest in writing any of the stories.

In other news--it's been a crazy summer for hockey. There was an expansion draft and then there was the regular draft and then there was free agency frenzy. And it was wild across the board. I'm scratching my head about a couple of the moves my Dallas Stars made. But only time will tell how those trades and signings will pan out.

Future road trip plan: Tennessee in 2023 to check out the nations largest Buc-cee's!! Of course it needs to be built first. Hence the 2023. And there are other things to see and do in Tennessee as well. :0)

Hope you're well. Have a super week.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Lake Conroe is As Beautiful As Ever!

The annual Lake Conroe Retreat is in the books. Yesterday was the last day/travel day, which is why I'm posting today instead of yesterday. We had a wonderful time as we usually do, and I got some issues sorted and made some progress on the book I've been struggling with for a couple of months. I should be **AM** good to go now. I should **WILL** be able to get this book done in time to publish it in time for my conference in October.

(I'm putting those positive vibes into the universe.) 😁

Here's to a great week of writing!! Catch you next week.

Monday, July 19, 2021

I'm Tired Just thinking About The Next Three / Four Months...

If I'm not on a trip, I'll be planning a trip...

Next up--Lake Conroe...

After that--a road trip home to see the fam...

And after that--a readers/writers conference...

And after'll be time for the holidays. Oh joy.

This past weekend, my JAG ladies gathered in Dallas. We hadn't seen each other since May of 2019, so it was def nice to gather with everyone willing and able to make it. I skipped out of Sunday events in order to get ready for and rest up for my work week as I am wont to do.

In preparation for the conference I was working on my website and FUBARed it, so will have to ask an employee for help today. Ugh. I'm a menace to myself sometimes...

DH managed the tree-trimmers this weekend. The tree that grows along the fence in the neighbor's yard, covers the corner of our yard as well. But it'd finally reached the point again where it was weighing down the power and internet lines. So now I--or rather, the lawn guy--can actually walk upright on that side of the yard and we're no longer in danger of power our internet outages due to tree.

The also cut back all the stuff touching the roof. Not just that original tree, but the one hanging over my office. It's a bit odd, but nice, to go outside and have so much openness. The squirrels are now in a bit of a pickle since they can't get from the roof to the trees any longer.

Hope you're well and have a great week...

Monday, July 12, 2021

Hello Friends and Followers!



Hope you're all well. It's been a couple of weeks and a lot has happened.

The Tampa Bay Lightning became back-to-back Stanley Cup Champs. 😒

And that's all we're gonna say about that.

* * *

The Fourth of July was another record-breaking year. I don't know the details yet. DH was exhausted when he returned home and spent the week resting & sleeping as needed. We'll sort the numbers this week.

Remember at the beginning of June where I whined about upgrading my status at the October conference I attend from "regular" author to "featured" author? I did upgrade and I am now excited to report that I was able to put together a Storyteller Panel with three other authors, including one of the most prolific and popular authors at the conference. She'll definitely be a draw. Our topic: The Challenges and Joys of Writing MM Sports Romance.

Now... Since I don't do physical books, I now have to come up with some swag ideas to give away. I'll definitely give away e-books, but I need to have something the participating attendees (ask a question, pick a prize)  can walk away with. So I've been Googling ideas. Amazon has coughed up hockey stick pencils, hockey player rubber ducks, and stress-relief squishy pucks. Hmmm...

* * *

I finally have my rowing machine... There's a tv. There's nice squishy mat. There's an aerobic step. The home gym is now complete in terms of equipment. Just need to replace the ceiling fans.

* * *

Have a great week...


Monday, June 28, 2021

Technology is a Pain in the A$$

I broke down and bought a new laptop. The old one has been with me since...I can't really remember, but a long time. I'm not one to buy new for the sake of new, but I had a little issue while on my writers retreat and when DH ran a few diagnostics, he was of the opinion that the hard drive had some bad sectors and might be in danger of failing. The battery had lost all it's charge years ago and I always have to be plugged in, which isn't usually a problem. Couple that with its age, especially its technological age, and, well, time for a new one.

Sadly, new devices come with so much added bloatware--all those programs you really have no need of (until maybe you try them) put on there by the manufacturer itself or by third parties who pay for the real estate.

There's no such thing as a PC with just an operating system loaded on it, allowing you to load the things you want / need and only the things you want / need. *sigh* But I have an IT company in my back pocket, so anything that could and should be removed was.

New devices are such a pain in the patootie, not only for that reason, but when it's been that long since one has had a new device, the user interfaces have changed a bit too and take some getting used to.

But the new laptop and I are making friends and I should be ready for my next trip in plenty of time. That and I won't always have to be tethered to electricity. Yay!

* * * * *

Update to Friday's post: Sad to say, the Islanders lost to Tampa Bay and the Lightning are making a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Let's go Habs.

* * * * *

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

Friday, June 25, 2021

Félicitations au Les Canadiens de Montréal

In an upset that no one in the hockey world expected--the Montreal Canadiens advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Last night, the Habs, as they're sometimes called, beat the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games. The Knights were one of three odds-on favorites to go all the way and win.

The Canadiens, on the other hand, finished 18th in the NHL at the end of the regular season (behind my Dallas Stars) but 4th in their division and earning themselves a spot in the playoffs.

Once making the playoffs, they took down the Toronto Maple Leafs, the League's 6th best team (by points) and then swept the Winnipeg Jets (only 14th best).

 This is their first trip to the Final since 1993--that's twenty-eight years!

After tonight, we'll know who they'll be playing--last year's Stanley Cup champs (the Tampa Bay Lightning) or the New York Islanders, who themselves haven't made the Finals since 1984. They've made the playoffs plenty of times, as have the Habs, but neither team has gotten to the Final in decades.

Despite losing $15 on my Stanley Cup Final wagers--$5 when the Stars didn't make it to the post-season, $5 when the Colorado Avalanche lost to the Golden Knights, and then last night when the Golden Knights lost to the Canadiens--I'm tickled red, white, and blue for the Habs.


As always, have a great weekend. :0)

Monday, June 21, 2021


Mental Health is a thing...not one I suffer from except on a very generic basis like the doldrums. But I'm aware of my mental health and I try to do things that keep me up and avoid the things that bring me down.

Stephen Johns logging miles at Notre Dame where he attended school and played hockey.

Photo credit to Jeff Toates.

It's not so easy for millions of people. Partly because of the nature of their particular circumstance and partly because of the stigma associated with mental health issues. Mental health care should be as much a part of society's routine and lifestyle as standard medical, dental, and vision care.

Mental health issues come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They happen for all kinds of reasons.

Once such reason is injury, especially prevalent in sports. Which gets us to the reason for my post...

A former Dallas Star, Stephen Johns, has been forced to retire from hockey after a hit in March of 2018 that was fatal to his career. As a result of that hit, he's suffered post-traumatic headaches ever since. He was off fans' radars for a good year and half while he tried to recover and tried to find answers. He's recovered enough in that he doesn't need to stay cocooned in darkened rooms any longer to keep the pain bearable. But there have been no answers as to how a normal hockey hit triggered something that Stephen will have to live with forever.

As a result of the pain and anguish for multiple reasons, including having to give up one the things he most loved--his hockey career--he fell into a deep depression. In a few interviews, he's confessed that suicidal thoughts were not uncommon in the darkest days. What's a guy to do when it hurts in myriad ways just to be alive? When the one thing you worked for your whole life is taken away by a fluke of nature?

But Stephen has found a new purpose (at least temporarily)--he's currently inline skating across America from his hometown in Pennsylvania to the Oregon coast in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of mental health.

If you care to follow his journey and/or to signal boost his endeavors, follow him on social media:



His trip is being documented by Jeff Toates, good friend of Stephen's as well as former Dallas Stars media guy (photographer and videographer).

As Robin Williams sadly prophetically said, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always,"


Friday, June 18, 2021

Juneteenth--the new Federal Holiday

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In case you missed it, President Biden signed the bill yesterday to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. I'm all about another mandated day off work. But we're not implementing it until next year. Maybe...

It appears as though we're not required by law to honor every single federal holiday with paid time off. As an employer, we honor six of ten and add in Black Friday. We also usually only work half or two-thirds of a day on Christmas and New Years eves. So maybe we're not adding it to the list of paid holidays...

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Hello There and Happy Birthday to Me

It's been longer than intended since I posted last, but my life really is unexciting right now. Even I was bored with myself.

But I celebrated my birthday this past Saturday while on a writers retreat with some lovely ladies and fellow writers.

We stayed at a lovely house in Granbury located on one of the small canals off the lake. Here are some pics of the lovely yard.

From the back porch...


Taken from a seating area just off the back porch... There's a small dock just below where that squirrel is.

Another seating area under the shade of three large oak trees. Even mid-afternoon it was pleasant as long as there was a breeze...

And the neighbors yard, as seen from the seating area above...

I also saw a goose family floating down the canal. A parent on each end and three goslings in the middle. :0)

It was a lovely weekend and I got a huge writing/editing task taken care of along with a little brainstorming help from the other ladies.

Hope you're well. Take care.

Friday, June 4, 2021

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade...

Back when I first registered for last year's GRL (2020), which became this year's GRL (2021), I did so as an "author" because the "featured author" tier sold out, as it usually does, in a matter of minutes. I'm not kidding. So I put myself on the waiting list for a featured author slot should one become available. That was a year and a half ago and I don't remember doing so.

However, I got an email from the organizers on Wednesday saying there was a slot available. I had forty-eight hours to let them know if I wanted to upgrade.

Did I?

I had to weigh the cons--the additional $100--against the pros: additional exposure by way of added opportunities. I talked to a few fellow authors, one in my genre and also attending and two online friends, not in the genre, as well as to DD. Three of the four were of the opinion I should go for it.

So I'm going for it. I let the organizers know I wanted the slot and am awaiting instructions for upgrade.

One of the additional opportunities is to participate in an author Q&A or in a storyteller panel (topic TBD by me or by someone else). Both of these make me nervous. Not because I'm nervous about talking in front of people. As long as I know what I'm talking about, I'm fine.

But because the Q&A is "on the fly" and my brain doesn't always process immediately or well until I've had time to think about things. Now I'd be talking about myself mostly, so that shouldn't be terrible. I know myself pretty well, right? But I attended some of these when I went to Albuquerque and Portsmouth to see what they were like and sometimes the questions do require more processing. Maybe I take a notepad and write down the questions to circle back to...

I'd prefer a storyteller panel because I could research and be prepared, but what could I possibly offer except a primer on hockey and the interest in that would probably be pretty small. And panel means more than one person and that means me soliciting others or others soliciting me to participate. The challenge there is that I'm new. No one knows me, I don't know anyone. Most of the attendees have been going since the conference started and they all know one another. This crowd can be a bit intimidating.

DD suggested I just not participate. Which is definitely an option. But I'd hate to let it go to waste...

So if I can come up a really cool idea for a panel topic, I'll go that route. If I chicken out, I'll default to the Q&A...

Topic suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Happy Birthday, Mom!!



Hope you have a super day tomorrow.


Unfortunately this is the only "recent" picture I have of my mom and me--and it's a good five years old now. We've lived so far apart for so long and traveling to her neck of the woods isn't a day's drive. And airfare is usually beyond the limits of my pocketbook.

But I suppose I should try to make something happen....neither of us are getting any younger.

Monday, May 31, 2021

All Gave Some, but Some Gave All...

 I hope you've enjoyed the long weekend, but never forget those who died to keep us free....

Monday, May 24, 2021

I hate to see a grown man cry...

St. Louis Blues captain, Ryan O'Reilly.

The St. Louis Blues were swept from the first round of playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche. Now, I don't really care about the St. Louis Blues; they've been a general thorn in the side of my Dallas Stars, and their goalie is a bitch.

However--seeing any hockey player cry when their hopes for a(nother) Stanley Cup have been quashed, really gets to me. They're such fierce competitors and seeing them this vulnerable and willing to show their heartbreak really gets to me. I feel it in my chest. Even now, thinking about it, makes my heart clench a bit.

Remember that personality strengths test I took?

The strength of empathy ranked quite high, which surprised me when I first got the results. But I guess this is one way that empathy manifests itself.

On the flip side of the Blues' loss is the Avalanche win. They're also a favorite of mine and I'm over the moon they've advanced to the second round. One of my other favorite player, Nathan MacKinnon, plays for them, so I'm excited for him.

* * * * *

Trying to get back on the KETO wagon today and will be doing a detox / cleanse for the next 10 days. It'll be interesting so see how it works.

Surprisingly however, when I weighed myself I hadn't gained as much weight as I imagined considering all the unhealthy things I've been eating for the last six months. In fact, I weighed in this morning at the upper level of my usual four pound swing. Now, I imagine the current high is actually higher, but overall, that's good news.

My main goal is not primarily the weight loss, nor the loss of fat, but getting back into ketosis and subsequently autophagy.

If you're not familiar, it means at its base level: self-eating.

When your body gets to this point it is removing debris and toxins from cells. The cells can then regenerate back to optimal functioning, whatever that may be. Autophagy has the ability to heal or really eat bacteria that is causing issues. For example--gum disease. A friend of mine had periodontal disease and after some time spent in autophagy, the disease had been eradicated from her mouth. I'm not sure how long that took, but I've known her for a while, and I'm going to bet less than a year.

That was of particular interest to me because I too suffer from periodontal disease. I've had boneloss in my jaw as a result. As a result of the severity of that boneloss, I had three teeth pulled and a bone graft applied. I'm on my way to getting posts and a bridge put in.

But I'd like for the periodontal disease be a thing of the past so that I keep the rest of my teeth. I'm only 53...

Now not only would that process heal my mouth, but I'm sure other parts of my body will also reap the benefits. Google-search "benefits of autophagy" if your curious as to all the other benefits...

* * * * *

I hope you've had a good week since last I posted.

Take care...

Monday, May 17, 2021

A New Addition...


The latest addition to the collection! :0) Aren't they cute?? I'd seen them when I was out and about with DD a few weeks ago, but didn't buy them as I didn't want to or need to spend the money even they weren't terribly expensive.

But DD ended buying them for me as a belated Mother's Day Gift (she did take me to lunch already), so that was a pleasant surprise.

 * * * * *

Yep, I missed two days last week, but life has been terribly boring. I've done little but work, read, and write.

So I hope you're well.

No guarantees of blog posts for the rest of this week. I've actually been considering dropping to once or twice a week anyway, so this may be a good time to transition. If I have something exciting to share, I'll let you know.

Have a great week.

Monday, May 10, 2021

It is done...

Despite two more games to play in their regular season, my Dallas Stars have been officially eliminated from the playoffs. While they won Friday, the team that needed to lose Saturday did not. Even if we won both remaining games, we'd only tie the team ahead of us, but the tie-breaker goes to a result, we're out.

As I mentioned several posts ago, I am so sad for the players. A lot of things conspired against them--including themselves--and they just couldn't pull it off.

On the other hand, there are so many things to be grateful for and I won't bore you with all of them, but they'll have a nice long off-season to heal up physically and mentally. DD and I will be ready and rarin' to cheer them on to great heights again next season.

As for me, I'm a little disappointed, but mostly relieved, not only for myself, but for my pocketbook. :0)

I can now ramp up the writing projects and plan for my upcoming trips (three of them!), including the annual GRL conference. Without hockey playing such a prominent role in my schedule and my mind, I can focus and produce.

Hope you had a great weekend and a lovely Mother's Day if you are a mom, or you celebrated the mother of your children, or celebrated with your own mom.

I called both my moms, had lunch with one child and received phone calls from the other two, and otherwise enjoyed a quiet weekend just me, myself, and I... (DH went to visit his own momma.)

Here's to a great week...

Friday, May 7, 2021

Happy Mother's Day

My momma and me...

My baby and me...

My hockey  partner in crime and me...

And my dear first born and me...

* * * * *

I am also a dunce...I messed up the new subscribe process, but I spent Wednesday sorting it out, so...

My mom (YS), my friend NC, and my friend GN, have been manually added to the NEW subscribe list. Any blog post will show up in your inbox at noon of the day I publish it. (I hope.)

Everyone else will need to re-subscribe because, as promised, the Feedburner lists/databases were deleted.

* * * * *

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Happy Hump Day

It's a beautiful day here in North Texas...and I'm stuck in the office. But!

I was given the Core Values Embodiment Award for our company for the month of May. :0)

Along with the honor, I get a $25 gift card for food, and I get to choose the next recipient.

Hope you're having a good week. Catch you Friday!

Monday, May 3, 2021

Spring Has Sprung


Our sweet Karma enjoying the fresh air and sunshine yesterday. Spring has officially sprung here in North Texas and thank goodness for that. We'll have more rain and storms, but the cold temperatures are a thing of the past for at least six months.

Another thing of the playoff hopes. My hockey boys lost on Saturday to the team they needed to win against. They haven't been mathematically eliminated, but the climb into that 4th place spot is now all uphill in the metaphorical snow. I'm not holding my breath.

But! I'm finally writing. These words may or may not be keepers. I'm just trying to get into my main characters' head spaces right now. Honestly, it's fine with me as long as I'm making progress some way some how.

Also this weekend, I hung out with my best girl friends for hours and hours, and it was wonderful to be with them in person rather than just across a computer screen, although being able to do that was a blessing over the last year. We're going back to gathering in person monthly despite our writers group not doing so yet.

Hope you had a lovely weekend and have a great week.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

What a Difference Two Weeks Makes...

Two weeks ago, I was feeling low, low, low...and pretty convinced my Dallas Stars were going to miss the playoffs. They're still not a lock, but as of Monday night, they're two (!!) points behind that 4th place team...with two games in hand...and one more huge game against said 4th place team on Saturday.

Two weeks ago, we were seven points back...

...and as of Monday we're the 5th place team!

Now, last night, they lost, but so did that 4th place team, so we didn't gain or lose ground.

But the boys now have a five game stretch against the teams ahead of us with their remaining two against the team we just passed in the standings. The Nashville Predators (the 4th place team for those keeping score at home) have an easier slate of games, but two fewer left to play. I'm not sure the scales balance proportionately in our favor.

But we're a scrappy bunch and we'll be getting one of our best players back from injury any time now. Will it be soon enough to make a difference? No telling.

While I'll be sooo sad for the team, I'd still be relieved if they didn't make it. I'm thankful last night was the last home game. I'm just tired right now.

But if they do make the playoffs, I'll be cheering them on in person as often as possible.

* * * * *

Overall, I'm feeling a bit better. Mentally and physically; mostly mentally, but physically too.

I'm working on the book again. I'm exercising again. I'm trying eat better again.

I just need to keep making the decisions I need to make...

* * * * *

Hope you're doing well so far this week. Keep on keeping on...

Monday, April 26, 2021

National Pretzel Day

Huzzah! Today is National Pretzel Day… 

Pretzels have long been one of my favorite snacks. Hard or soft, sticks or twists, I love ‘em.

I don’t eat them often anymore as they are 100% carbohydrates, but every once in a while (like maybe twice a season), I’ll indulge in the big soft twists at a hockey game.

Did you know that pretzels came about as the result of the strict fasting rules of the Catholic Church during Lent, aaaaall the way back in the Middle Ages?

In the 16th century, it was the baking of pretzels that saved the city of Vienna from the invading Turks. Monks in the basement bakery of a monastery heard the invaders and were able to warn the rest of the city. As a reward, pretzel bakers received their own coat of arms. has it that the term “tying the knot” may have come from the practice of Swiss royalty using pretzels in their wedding ceremonies.

Pretzels probably arrived in America along with the first pilgrims, but the first wave of German immigrants in the early 1700s most certainly brought them as well.

One of the best inventions ever was a bagel dog made with pretzel dough…sorta like a corn dog, only wrapped in dough rather than dipped in batter… Mmmm.

Again, the ones you find at ball parks or sports arenas are best, but these'll do in a pinch.

Are you a pretzel fan like me?

Friday, April 23, 2021

Are You "Languishing"...?

That's the word for the middle ground many people are feeling as we enter year two of the world according to COVID: languishing.

You're not depressed and feeling hopeless, but you're not bouncing out of bed and being productive at the pace you once were, back in pre-pandemic / pre-lockdown times...

You're feeling unfocused and blah, and even though you mostly have the energy to get things done, you lack the motivation you once had.

Not much changed for me when COVID hit and the lockdowns happened.

Our business was considered essential and the doors remained opened. No one worked from home except for the lone employee who contracted COVID and that was only for two weeks. Before and since, it's been business as usual.

On a personal front, my writer's group meetings went online, and my closest girlfriends and I gathered in Zoom every Saturday morning to chat rather than the once a month post-writers group gathering we'd done before.

Of course sports seasons were suspended for a while. Once our beloved hockey was returned to us last August, DD and I attended socially distant and mask-required watch parties. A privilege and luxury not every hockey town allowed depending on their location. With the new season (January), we've been allowed to watch hockey live, but socially-distant seating remains and masks are still required. However, some arenas still remain empty of fans despite hockey being played.

Through it all, I've persevered and felt and been my usual self. Until the last couple of months.

I few weeks ago, I chalked it partly up to the series of events surrounding the cookie book. First to the usurpation of my time and my writing plan / schedule for hockey book #5. And then I thought maybe the editor, with all her comments and desired edits, had messed with my confidence in my writing.

And maybe both of those things were catalysts, but they don't explain the trouble I've had getting back on the horse, so to speak.

But a friend and fellow writer shared an article ( and it really captured the spirit of how I've been feeling.

Take care of yourselves. Give yourselves and others grace. Do what brings you joy and creates energy within you. The mental health ramifications of COVID and lockdowns are going to be with us for years to come.

Take care and enjoy your weekend.