Monday, May 16, 2022

NASCAR Day

GENTLEMEN! -- START! YOUR! ENGINES!

If you've been around these parts long enough, you might recall, I did a stint as a NASCAR fan way back in the day. I'm still a fan I guess, I just don't watch the races and I don't go to any races and I don't collect NASCAR collectibles. I still have my collectibles, though, and in fact, DH came across one of my favorite NASCAR collectibles while re-arranging the garage in preparation for Mom's arrival.

Let me introduce you to Sterling Marlin--my favorite driver back in the day...


This is a cardboard stand-up (that has seen better days, lol) and seemed pretty popular in NASCAR circles back in the day. Might still be, but I don't play there, so I don't know. You might have seen these in grocery stores in the beer aisle especially during big game events that might happen in your town.

This standup was bought on the down low from a bar in Phoenix when DH and I traveled there for a race waaaay back in 2001!

But I'm here to talk about NASCAR DAY, which according to the National Day Calendar website is:

"Each year on the third Friday in May, NASCAR Day recognizes the drivers, celebrities, corporate partners, media, and the millions of fans. They all come together to raise funds for charitable causes across the nation."

Sounds like a fun time, as NASCAR races are.

There's nothing like standing shoulder to shoulder with 100,000 of your best friends while while 40+ stock cars come barreling around turn four to start a race. Everything roars and vibrates... It's a pretty amazing experience.

As is camping at a NASCAR track. We did it twice. Once here in our own back yard at Texas Motor Speedway and once at Phoenix International Raceway. Each track had its own personality--TMS was a total party track, PIR seemed to be the retirees. Loads of fun either way.

So if you're a NASCAR fan, take a few minutes on Friday May 20th to celebrate NASCAR and your favorite driver and yourself as a fan.

Have a great week!

Monday, May 9, 2022

What's In A Name...? A Brand Name, that is...

"Name Brands" vs "store brands" is my topic.

My mom, bless her heart, hates the store I shop at with a passion. But that's the place I shop. Have for more than a decade and have no desire to change that habit at this point in time. :0)

But it's gotten me to thinking...I buy a lot of store brands, which, in my case, means "Great Value" or "Equate"--and she's not said a word about either since she's been here.

But there are a few things that I don't ever buy the store brand of. Ever. Probably more for a perceived issue of better quality than the reality of it.

I'm sure we all have favorite brands. This first one has nothing to do with quality, however.

Until I die, I will use Palmolive Dish Soap. And it has to be the original green kind. Why? Because I took bubble baths in it at my grandparents' house when I was a child and the smell of those memories is a cherished one.

Some people will only buy a name brand mayonnaise. Not me. I couldn't care less about mayo.

On the other hand--let's talk about cheese. I will buy store brand shredded or block cheese any day of the week...but I will never buy store brand "American" cheese. It's gotta be Kraft singles for grilled cheese sandwiches or nothing, baby.

I also buy Hunt's spaghetti sauce over any other brand. I don't know that I've ever tried the store brand, but that's not a product I'm willing to try. No reason why, to be honest. Hunt's is tried and true for us.

And I think those three items are the extent of my "pickiness" when it comes to name brand vs. store brand. I'll give anything else a try.

What about you? Any product you'll pay more for the brand name of??

Have a super week!

Monday, May 2, 2022

First Quarter Report

This is way late due to my unexpected trip out of town, but I had it written and ready to go. No sense in wasting already written words, so here is my scorecard...

1. Sending post cards to Grandma--I'm one card behind. The first one got returned due to a postage glitch and then I ran out of stamps and the local post office has been without its credit / debit card machine. So yeah... But, overall, I'm doing better...

*update...I'm on track now. I sent out cards right before I left and one right when I got back. So yeah.

2. Exercise regularly/up my game--With few exceptions (due to the super cold weather and one late night), I've gotten on the elliptical every day. I've only upped my game in so far as I'm up to 15 minutes worth of effort. I haven't switched out any of the other equipment or added yoga back into the mix yet. But 1st quarter, right? Get the habit established and then we'll add in and switch up.

*update...due to Mom's arrival and all the upheaval from getting her settled and into various doctors appointments, this one is on hold for a few more weeks.

3. Cook & eat healthy/stick to a food plan-- This has been a struggle. I'm a comfort/stress eater and issues with getting my mom here have caused some anxiety. I'm not doing terrible, but I'm not doing great. However, this is one area where I'm really giving ,myself some grace. We'll see how it goes in the 2nd quarter.

*update...due to Mom's health this is now a thing, we are working towards a balance between freshly cooked meals, meals prepped in advance, and easy but healthy "scrounge" meals.

4. Housekeeping--I've stayed on track. I hit the marks each week, but I haven't yet upped the game to any real degree, unless you want to count picking up dog poop regularly. I'll need to decide what to add for the 2nd quarter.

*update...this became a priority for various reasons, but execution will take some time due to the aforementioned arrival / upheaval...

5. Writers Group Treasurer Duties--A+ on this one. I've caught up and kept up.

*update...got a little behind while gone, but now that I'm getting caught up with day job duties, this is back on the priority list.

6. Publish One Book--I'm on track for this. I finished the last of the editing and got the epilogues written this past month. April is for getting all the files created, reviewed, and uploaded to retailers and aggregators. ISBNs have been assigned. Release day is June 24. I'll start working on one of the other two Works In Progress in April, just to dip my toe in, get re-acquainted with the characters and the plot. Then I'll go from there...

*surprisingly, still on track. I had scheduled a lot of lee way here, so barring anything catastrophic, this looks good to go...

7. Hone/Learn My Craft--Doing okay with this so far. I've listened to several of the webinars from one of the online conferences I paid for. But this item is low priority and has gotten bumped a time or two so that I could do other things. But I recently read an admonition that resonated. Any epiphanies in and of themselves from books or webinars or blog posts aren't going to do much. I have to put in the work. I'm not sure what the work is just yet, but I need to figure it out.

*update...not as critical considering everything else right now, so on hold for the time being. There are too many other things on my plate at the moment to worry about this, but because emails don't expire and the conferences I registered for allow me three years of access, I have plenty of time.

8. Double My Etsy Inventory--So far so good. :0) Surprisingly. I took a few minutes a couple of weeks ago to assess my progress, and noting that I was only a little behind, set out a schedule that allowed me to get caught up.

*update...another thing that's fallen off the priority list altogether. On the other hand, due to drama in Etsy circles, I'm looking at creating my own store platform not via Etsy, so I'm researching store templates. But still not a priority--just a thing to do when I need something "fun" to think about/do.

9. Read, read, read--On track. I set my Goodreads Challenge at 104 books and I'm pretty sure I'm ahead of schedule. Granted, my pace has dropped off a little, but that's okay.

*update...I might have gotten behind because I didn't read at all while I was gone. OTOH, I was ahead before I left and I'm a fast reader, so catching up/getting back on schedule should not be a problem.

10. Keep up with Goodreads admin--missed a few check-ins this month, so I need to do that and then write that bi-monthly appointment in my planner.

*update...completely dropped the ball on this, but again, not a priority. I think I'll just put that on hold until the start of the third quarter.

If you set goals for the year, how are you progressing??

Have a great week...

Monday, April 25, 2022

Miscellaneous Monday

 As hoped / intended I'm back... I've got some Miscellaneous Monday items to share with you.

* * * * *

MaskIt!

They take blood products pretty serious in the State of Oregon...

In the ladies rooms, at least at the airport in Medford, there were little plastic bags available to seal your blood-soaked sanitary products into. One for napkins, one for tampons. Of course the only place I saw them was the airport, so... Nothing like that in the bathroom at the local Walmart. The concept is great. Can't imagine what the cost is or if whatever those little plastic bags are made of is good/bad for the landfills...


 * * * * *

Nate MacKinnon

I've finally treated myself to a new hockey/pajama shirt. I've been coveting this one for a while and when I received the up-front payment on a recent proofing job, I decided to buy it. I also had a discount code for the site, so I basically saved shipping charges. Either way, it wasn't as much as it would have been otherwise.

I don't talk much about him because his name and his team name is verboten in our household by my hockey partner in crime... buuuut Nate MacKinnon is my second favorite hockey player after Sidney Crosby. Funny enough, they are from the same small town in Nova Scotia. Sid was a hero of Nate's growing up, because why wouldn't the greatest player in the world who was from your same hometown be your hero?

Nate too is becoming an elite player, and his team has a very good chance of going all the way to and winning the Stanley Cup Final. *fingers crossed* I've got $5 on Nate and the Avs.


* * * * *

Speaking of Sidney Crosby

While tootling around Klamath Falls early on in my visit, imagine my pleased surprise to come across this. :0) I don't think anything more needs to be said.

Have a super week, catch you next Monday.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Home Sweet Home

 

I have returned to the State of Texas...along with my momma. It really is a state of mind, lol.

Anyway, due to health reasons, she's a member of our household now. I promise that not every post is going to be about this. :0) I'm hoping to get back to my regular planned topics, but we're still in a bit of an adjustment phase, getting her set up with doctor's appointments and settling into routines and such.

* * * * *

Oregon was as beautiful as you'd expect. Lots of trees and green-ness. Also--deer where my mom lived out in the country. Two other things that there were a lot of in Mom's neck of the woods--double wide trailer homes and solar panels!

Here are a few pictures from Oregon...

Mount Shasta in the southern distance (across the border, actually, in California).


Deer in the back yard...they'd just jumped over the fence into the yard when I took the dogs out at one point. Once I recovered my wits, I was able to get this (not great) picture.


And here...if you have the volume up loud enough--is the sound of the wind through the pine trees. Such an amazing sound.

But we escaped Oregon in the nick of time because this week--SNOW! They're supposed to get one to three inches every night all this week. Yikes!

And

Whew!! ~ that we traveled to Texas before that hit. :0)
 
Hope you're all well, my dear blog readers.
 
I'm going to shoot for once a week for the next month or so until things settle around here. Bear with me.
 
Have a great week.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Update...

 Hello...

*waves*


 Just a quick update to explain my lack of posting... 

I had to make a last-minute trip out of state to help facilitate my mom's move to Texas. In fact, I'm writing to you from Oregon.

It's been a challenging couple of weeks trying to keep up with a minimum amount of day job and make progress here, plus keep up with Mom and her three fur babies.

I don't have much brain power or energy left for much else.

So there will be no posts for at least another couple of weeks.

Thanks for you understanding, patience, and any prayers you want to send our way.

Take care.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Strengths Spotting - Jen's #10: Focus

Courtesy of IMGBIN.

Strengths spotting in oneself and in others is highly encouraged in the BFA circles...

(BFA is the Better-Faster Academy, where my Strengths Guru, Becca lives, eats, and breathes. It's geared towards writers, although most of the advice and information can be applied more broadly.)

So I've been trying to be aware of how each of my strengths manifests itself in my daily living. It's quite interesting to make those connections. Now every aspect of every Strength doesn't always apply to every person and some of that has to do with the placement of the Strength as well as the Strengths around it which will hinder and help in various ways.

But DH and I had a conversation last week about what I thought were ways that he could make better progress in his various tasks and projects, so I suggested we revisit his Strengths test results and then come up with ways to utilize them to help him make progress on his priorities.

The whole whole purpose of knowing your Strengths is to lean into the top five or ten and utilize the things you're already good at or wired for to ratchet up your game. Whatever that means for you.

* * * * *

So my number ten Strength is Focus. According to one of the reports I received after taking the test, this is why I succeed using Focus:

"You have a powerful ability to prioritize, set goals, and work efficiently. You avoid time-consuming distractions and stay on track toward an overall objective."

And that's mostly true. The challenge for me is that at work, I wear many hats and so the duties of some of the hats (receptionist, answering phones, for example) derails my ability to get into a zone and efficiently concentrate on and complete some of my other responsibilities.

In my writing endeavors, on the other hand, I've implemented the actions they suggest: carving out dedicated time and eliminating distractions. That's why I get up way before the rooster crows to write and churn through other admin tasks related to writing and publishing. And it's worked brilliantly.

At work, we've been discussing the need for our techs to have a chunk of time that's sacred to them so they can focus on assigned projects. I want in on that. I want a time block each week so that I too have time to deep focus on a couple of recurring tasks. I get into a groove and then people want to randomly speak to me and pull me from that groove I'm in.

* * * * *

Hope you're having as great a week as I am... :0)

Monday, March 14, 2022

Miscellaneous Monday

Meet Fiona the Hippo!

Have you heard of Fiona the Hippo who's Internet famous? She was born six weeks early but survived. She's been immortalized in children's books and news segments for years since her birth in January of 2017.

Fiona celebrated her third birthday in 2020 with a special "cake."

Image borrowed from the Cincinnati Zoo website.

Did you know that before 1909, scientists placed hippos in the same group as pigs? Despite their outward similarities with pigs or wild boars, hippopotamuses are closely related to whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Hippos are semi-aquatic mammals that are native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are the third-largest land mammal after elephants and rhinos.

Who knew?!

* * * *

Black or Green?

Image courtesy of iStockPhotos.com

Let's learn some things about olives, shall we?

Did you know that the olive is a fruit? Because of the stone or pit inside that is actually a seed.

Did you know that about 90% of all olives are used to make olive oil, the other 10% are used as table olives (aka the ones we eat).

Did you know that all olives (color-wise) come from the same plant? It's all a matter of maturity. Green and yellow olives are at the beginning of the ripening cycle, while the purple and black coloring comes at the end of the ripening cycle. Black olives are usually artificially colored.

Did you know that olives must be cured and fermented before they can be eaten? The process can take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on what's used to make that process happen.

I like both; how about you?

* * * * *

Class of 1986

I graduated high school in 1986...which is whatever, but I came across this interesting bit of trivia:

In 1986, Oprah Winfrey became the first Black American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show!

And sooooo many years later, she's still going strong.

* * * * *

Why Christmas is Celebrated on December 25th

While doing a bit of research on holidays in medieval Scotland I learned that the reason Christmas is celebrated on December 25th is because it's exactly nine months from March 25th, the theorized date of Jesus's conception.

The church in Rome began celebrating Christmas back in 336, but the most of the Eastern Empire continued to celebrate Epiphany on January 6th for another half-century. Christmas didn't become a major Christian festival/celebration until the 9th century.

* * * * *

All my babies are under one roof this week--mine!! So excited to have Sonshine and the Brown-Eyed Girl home for a few days. DD is on spring break, so it's gonna be a fun time hanging out and visiting.

Have a super week. I sure will be. Pictures to come!

Take care.


Monday, March 7, 2022

National Cereal Day

Image courtesy of IMGBIN.

 

After National Sons Day, which I mentioned last week, National Cereal Day, might be my second favorite "national" day of something.

If you've been around these parts for a while, you probably know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE cereal. I've been a consumer of cereal since I was a little little girl. That's a long long time. :0)

Of course, I don't eat it as much these days as I used to since it's full of sugar--yes even the "healthy" ones are carb-based and carbs=sugar eventually.

We do keep a box of Cheerios in the cabinet at all times as DH likes to snack on them and occasionally he'll get on a breakfast kick, and Cheerios are the easy go-to. I, too, will occasionally break down and have a bowl as a treat. But Cheerios are not my "favorite" and so it's easy to resist the lure of cereal on a regular basis.

When I walk down the cereal aisle, I'm constantly flabbergasted by the sheer amount of cereal flavors / themes. And not in a good way. I have to think there are more than 100 varieties of cereal, most of it sugary unhealthy crap. And I say that as a huge fan of the sugary unhealthy crap. lol.

Most of my dismay comes from the question -- do we really need so many choices of anything--much less sugary unhealthy breakfast food? In every aisle, there's probably (at least) 50% more options than we really need of any given type of product.

But we're here to talk about breakfast cereal, and my faves all revolve around chocolate.

If I were going to spend a week eating nothing but cereal (a girl can dream, right?), these would be my choices:

  • Frosted Flakes, eaten with chocolate milk
  • Corn Pops, eaten with chocolate milk
  • Cocoa Krispies, eaten with regular milk
  • Frosted Mini Wheats, eaten with either kind of milk, but probably chocolate
  • Raisin Nut Bran, eaten with regular milk

What about you? Are you a fan of cereal? What are your favorites?


Thursday, March 3, 2022

National Sons Day

Mark your calendar for tomorrow--March 4th. If you have a son, that is. :0) It's National Sons Day.

Sadly, I haven't seen my sonshine for a few years... BUT!

He's coming for a visit in a couple of weeks and I'm super excited.

The Brown-Eyed Girl is coming too, so I'll have all my babies here for a few days. I'm thrilled, to say the least, but back to the son in this post...

We could have been scrolling for quite some time with the sheer number of pictures I have shared of Sonshine over the years, but I'll narrow it to just a few. Of course, I'll be getting some new ones for my collection, which I'll definitely be sharing. :0)





That boy--I tell you. One of the few loves of my life. He's ornery and stubborn and prone to fish tales. He's a self-proclaimed *$$hole. But he's mine and I love him to the moon and back.

Can't wait to see him.

And you have a great week.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Before & After

It's not much, to be honest...I didn't do any work, DD did. And also no major changes were made--just an addition to our kitchen as we prepare for my mom's arrival. We were just getting by with the amount of food storage space we have, cabinet wise. But adding another person along with the additional stores required has pushed the need for some additional space into the "must address" category up from "would be nice."

To that end, I bought a little cabinet. And we went from this...


To this...




It's not quite as tall as I pictured it, despite, yes, having the dimensions...

And there's still no food in it, because deciding what to move around does take some thought. And I have to take all the space into consideration. Do I want to re-arrange everything? What would work best in the free-standing cabinet versus what would work best remaining in the installed cabinetry.

It'll be a bit like Tetris, which I love and was rather good at back in the day when I played it a lot. :0)

I am slowly crossing things off the "Prep For Mom" to-do list.

Have a super week...

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Figuring Out How to Use my Planner

Which sounds more ridiculous than it really is. Maybe, lol.

Some of it has to do with Personality Strengths and how our minds are wired. Some folks just don't need planners at all, some prefer electronic versions. There is no right or wrong -- just what works for you.

Last year I had a planner... I hardly used it, but I didn't experience the "nope, not for me thought" that some folks in my Strengths Facebook group would say they had.

Sometime in November, I ordered another planner similar in layout as last years and definitely by the same company for that reason.

After a little pondering and a little trial and error, I figured out how to utilize the pages to keep track of stuff.

It's a lot of writing when I need to transition from one week to the next, but that's okay because that means I'm less likely to forget certain things.

I'm sure the details and the process will evolve as the weeks and months go by, but for now, things are working, and I'm happy to have been able to consolidate a lot of information into one place and keep track of what I need to do and what I've done.

Are you a planner user or do they give you hives when the rubber meets the road?






Monday, February 21, 2022

Miscellaneous Monday ~ Hockey Edition

Sidney Crosby Reaches 500 Goals

My favorite player, Sidney Crosby, became only the 46th player in NHL history (over 100 years), to score 500 goals in his career. Quite a feat considering there are some 700+ players in the NHL in any given year. He'd have had at least 100 more if not for "work stoppages" and close to a year of not playing due to concussions.

Image from the NHL on Instagram.

* * * * *

Jake Oettinger ~ Personal Puzzle

Check out this little puzzle--made just for me by DD. The subject there is our young Dallas Stars goalie when he competed on behalf of the USA at the World Juniors Championship back in 2018.

I'm hoping for another puzzle featuring another favorite player of mine, but I might have to flat out ask for that one. This one was a surprise. :0)

* * * * *

A Little Help From Our Friends

Marc-Andre Fleury is another goalie in the NHL. I've been a huge fan of his pretty much since I got into hockey. One of his fun little quirks is the appreciation he shows the goal posts and crossbar for helping him out on the ice. I tested this and it should work. You'll have to click the little arrow on right side of each image/clip to see the next.

If it doesn't work, click over and cycle through this short amalgamation of video clips. (No Instagram login / account needed.)

Have a great week...

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Understanding My Personality by Strength

 

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Gallup divvies up Personality Strengths into categories, which we'll get to in a moment.

For those of you just now getting blog posts via email, go here for the context of Strengths and how I found them, and then come back...

Clifton Strengths are divided up into "Themes" as follows:

Executing (purple strand)

Influencing (orange strand)

Relationship Building (blue strand)

Strategic Thinking (green strand)

Looking at my full strand above, all my Influencing strands are low (#19 and lower). For those of you who know me well, does it make sense that none my Influencing Strengths rank high at all?

My top ten / top eighteen Strengths are a just about equal mix of the other three, but break out like this:

Relationship Building (blue) 7, Executing (purple) 6, & Strategic Thinking (green) 5.

The actual top ten, which are the ones Becca says to lean into the most, are as equal as can be for an even number (4, 3, 3).

I'm gonna share all of my Strengths eventually, but for now I'm share my very lowest Strength at #34 and that's Achiever.

What? Wait!

I know, right? Crazy! Because, again, if you know me, I tend to get a lot done, but that's because of the four Executing Strengths I have in my top ten.

If you're intrigued by Clifton's Strengths, you can visit their site for more information. It's really quite fascinating.

There's more to come on this, so stay tuned. :0)

Have a super day and rest of your week.

Monday, February 14, 2022

A Night of Romance

It's not what you think, lol.

Picture taken by the husband of the lady in purple who is the only one not an author.

She is, however, part of a group that promotes Texas authors and she wanted the picture, but she graciously allowed us all to grab it.

Anywho...

For the last handful of years, the Hurst Public Library hosts an event called "A Night of Romance." Almost a dozen of my writer group peeps have attended over the years and I was invited a few years ago as well.

While I'm not traveling to conferences for the next couple of years, I'm happy to participate in anything local.

So that event was held this past Friday. A good time was had by all. Sadly the number of authors in attendance was way lower than in years past. One has a new career and was unable to attend. One has moved out of state. As for the rest, I'm not sure. Lingering COVID fears / hangovers maybe? Next year, I'll have to remember to share the opportunity with my writers group as soon as I get the email from the coordinator.

Here's my table...

This year there was also belly dancing!


Just FYI, belly dancing is not for skinny women with no hips. :0) Kudos to these women.

I don't get a lot of purchases at this thing, partially because I don't have physical books, which I might have to work on for next year. Maybe have one or two books ONLY in physical form, but also because it seems like a lot of the visitors are much older women who don't read m/m romance or are women with their other halves, neither of whom are interested. And I get it. It's a bit of a niche genre.

I also think the fact that it is mm romance needs to be more obvious as well. Maybe I need a new table runner that includes "author of MM romance" or one that bears my tag line...

Lots of time to ponder and prepare.

This year I also participated in the panel. There were four of us and we just answered general questions. Thankfully the questions were sent in advance to I could percolate my answers ahead of time.

If you'd like to watch the panel, click here.

I had fun as always and am looking forward to next year already. If you're in the local area, maybe you can stop by.

Have a great week.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Super Bowl Ads

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Super Bowl is a few short days away.

Despite living in the state of Texas where football rules from "tiny mites" (ages 5-7) to pro--Texas is the home of America's team (the Dallas Cowboys), dontcha know?--I hate football. Always have, always will, but it's become a thing that companies and organizations unveil their best and brightest advertisements during the Super Bowl. Why not? Annually, it's the most watched programming on television.

Today, we're going back in history. Way back. In 1984, I was two years shy of graduating from high school!

One of the big ads that year? One that arguably changed the world? One that changed the nature of commercials, most especially Super Bowl commercials...

It's called "1984" and it introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer. It introduced the notion that PCs weren't just for big companies and big government.

It was sandwiched in between ads for other PCs from Radio Shack, Atari, and IBM!

And here we are thirty-eight years later, and just about every one carries a personal computer on their person, maybe two or three of them, with Apple leading the charge with its iPhones, iPads, and Apple watches.

Personal computers of the portable variety seem to rule most lives.

Ever since that fateful Sunday in January of '84, there's an annual susseration across America about the upcoming Super Bowl commercials. I was more aware of it when I was younger because my mom was a TV watcher and as a young adult because of my job and the company I kept.

That's not been the case for many years, however, because I'm not much of a TV watcher and, as mentioned, not a football fan. Even when I do watch TV, I rarely watch commercials. Have they permeated to certain streaming platforms? Yes. Do I pay attention to them? Not at all, except to occasionally ponder how dumb a particular commercial is and wonder how it made it to the air.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm not swayed by advertising--not very often anyways--and certainly not by TV advertisements.

Do you look forward to the Super Bowl Commercial hype & offerings each year?

Do you have a favorite or one that stands out for you?

Have a great a weekend and enjoy the game if you plan on watching...

Monday, February 7, 2022

National Pizza Day!

Image from IMGBIN

February 9th is the day--order or buy or make your favorite pizza pie and celebrate!

If we're talking frozen pizza, my favorite brand is Red Baron and the standard purchase for the fam is thin crust pepperoni.

If we're talking delivery, it's Pizza Hut all the way, baby. I don't know that I have a favorite per se, but I enjoy toppings that the rest of the family hates--olives and bell peppers. I enjoy red onions (keep the yellow, keep the white, blech), which DH will eat, but DD won't. I also like jalapenos which neither enjoy on pizza. One other topping I enjoy is a cherry pepper. The fam are not fans of those either.

So if I'm ordering a pizza and get all or half to outfit as I so choose, I go for ham, green or black olives, and red onions. Occasionally, if I'm feeling spicy, I like a jalapeno and chicken with BBQ sauce pizza.

I've tried cauliflower crust, which isn't bad at all. It's time and labor intensive to make, but it tastes fine. I haven't tried too many pre-made ones because they're too expensive.

What's your favorite kind of pizza?

Thursday, February 3, 2022

National Tater Tot Day

Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Who doesn't love a crispy golden brown (orange??) Tater Tot? I prefer them over fries most of the time, especially when they're cooked to perfection. Slather them with ketchup and YUM!

So, Tater Tots were invented back in the early 50s by Ore-Ida when they trying to reduce food waste, namely leftover potato slivers. Tater Tots were the end result. The name itself is now also trademarked, of course.

Not sure when the day was founded to celebrate these tasty treats, but February 2nd is now that day. So go buy some Tots and enjoy.

Viva la Tot!




Monday, January 31, 2022

Back to the Clifton Strengths...

This is the "DNA" strand that represents my Strengths. The 34 Strengths are divided into four groups, each represented by a color.

As you can see I'm bottom heavy in a certain groups of Strengths. We'll talk about those next time.

So....

Back in the fall of 2020, I read a book called “Dear Writer, You’re Doing it Wrong” by Becca Syme. In it, Becca challenges a lot of the notions handed to newbie writers as they join the ranks of writers’ organizations.

Some of the most popular are:

  • You have to be everywhere on social media.
  • You have to have a newsletter.
  • You have to plot /outline.

I’ve balked at many of the things I was taught I “must” do. For a long time, it didn’t matter much. I was nowhere near ready to publish. But as I moved forward in my writing journey, not only did I learn more about both the business and craft of writing, but I matured in my writing self.

I watched as those around me put things into practice and I drew lines for myself. I definitely felt out of synch with many of my writing acquaintances. When getting to know other authors, I’m often met with metaphorical raised eyebrows because I don’t send out a newsletter. Blech. Boring. I blog twice a week, why do I need a monthly newsletter?

BUT!

In the above-mentioned book, Becca questioned every premise. And then she went on to explain why not every author has to do every thing or may not be successful at certain things.

It all routes back to Gallup’s Clifton Strengths. Becca is a Certified Strengths coach and, as she is also an author, she found a way to use the CliftonStrenths to help authors write better faster or explain why they struggle with certain things.

The case for anyone to really be successful, not just authors, is to lean on your top five to ten strengths. Those bottom fifteen strengths—don’t worry so much about them. You want to lean into the strengths you’re already using and are good at.

In the book, of course she references the Strengths. Between her premise that no, I didn’t have to do everything and that it was okay not to, and that Strengths have something to do with why I do the things I do, I was intrigued. I took the test in November of 2020 and learned what my thirty-four Strengths are in order.

Most of them made sense to me. I scratched my head at couple of them being so high, but as 2021 chugged along I’ve had some epiphanies about them.

I had planned on talking about my top ten Strengths last year, but I just couldn’t seem to make it happen.

I’m being a little more pro-active in terms of blog topics and posting for 2022, so I’m actively working on topics and will be researching when necessary and pre-writing when necessary. So look for posts about my Strengths throughout 2022.

These days, when someone says “you should do this” or “you should try that,” I have now trained myself to ask, “But should I?”

I took a class geared toward writers back in November of 2021, and I really felt at odds with the instructor because she kept making the assumption that everyone could do this thing she was telling us to do. I tried to phrase my answers to homework in such a way that the others would understand, without me calling out the instructor directly, that not everyone works the way she’s saying and that it’s okay if you don’t or can’t.

And I’m done with taking classes for a while. While refreshers are a good thing, I haven’t learned anything new from a class in a while. Not only that, but I have two years’ worth of conference presentations at my disposal as well as a folder full of emails from a writer whose teaching resonates with me. I’ve coughed up enough money for the time being.

So the first post on one of my Strengths will be forthcoming. Sometime in the month of February. Even if it’s the last day. Those posts will take a little more thought and research.

Anyway, we survived January. Here’s to a good February.

Take care friends and have a great week.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

National Spouse Day

 

 
Dearest Husband (DH) and me on our cruise in March of 2020.

Yesterday was National Spouse Day--a day created to spend time with and appreciate our spouses as opposed to Valentine's where were we celebrate love and romance.

We met in Omaha, Nebraska while he was in the military and I worked for a private contractor servicing the dining facility where DH ate--basically I was a kitchen worker!

We dated for the less than a year, much to my mother in law's consternation probably, but DH and I have been married for 28.5 years now. We had some rough and rocky patches along the way as all couples probably do, but we're here now for the longer haul.

We left Omaha and moved to Texas back in '99 when his mom went through some dicey medical issues. Thankfully, she's still with us. And now we're facing the next phase of our journey as my mom comes to live with us.

Here's to another 28++++ years.

Have a great weekend & spend some time with your spouse / significant other.

Monday, January 24, 2022

WORDS of the YEAR ~ 2022 Edition

(image courtesy of istockphotos.com)


In early January of 2021, as I was scrolling through Facebook one fine morning, I found a meme that said the first four words you found in a word-search like chart of words were your words for the year.

Last year's words were creative, adjustment, gratitude, and strength. My thoughts on their potential can be found here. http://www.jenfitzgeraldwriter.com/2021/01/words-for-year.html

Looking back though...

Creativity--even though I struggled with the writing of books, I came up with two new series ideas to go with the Christmas books. I also came up with a new cross-stitch pattern idea which I created and which sold a handful of times.

Adjustment--there weren't as many adjustments as I expected; the wheels of change move slowly in our company. Maybe this year.

Gratitude--I have have definitely grown more grateful this year for various and sundry reasons.

Strength--looking back, I'm not sure where / how this came into play since none of the concepts I mentioned in last year's post came to pass.

Of course this 'words of the year thing' is the result of a meme, but they're fun to ponder nonetheless.

I can across another such meme a few days ago and this year's words are: creation, love, connect, alignment.

Last year I had a creativity, this year I have creation...a natural progression. We'll see what I can create this year.

Love following last year's gratitude? Makes sense. I'm trying to love people better. The world needs more kindness and love. Plus my momma's coming to live with us. I have a have a chance to be with her and love on her.

The year of connecting. Well, with Mom coming to live us, we'll definitely be re-connecting. And I'm looking forward to spending time with her after all these years we've been living on opposite ends of the country.

My last word is alignment...I'm not entirely sure what this portends. I was so excited about my personality strengths--that I still haven't fully shared with y'all--but there's a lot of talk in the Strengths group about getting into alignment with your top ten strengths so that you can be better / be faster at whatever you do because you're utilizing your strengths to their fullest potential. I'll take some of that, please. But it could also have to do with my physical body...I don't doubt a session or two with a chiropractor would go amiss. :0) There are other more internal ways for this to be important as well, but that's for me to discover.

So once again, words for 2022:

CREATION, LOVE, CONNECT, ALIGNMENT

It'll be interesting to see how these play out over the next year.

Take care.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

National Squirrel Appreciation Day



Tomorrow is National Squirrel Appreciation Day and if you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know I love the squirrels. I take picture all the time and I've shared those over the years as well. We buy squirrel food and have a little squirrel station for food and water about a dozen feet from the house at the base of an oak tree.

From several years ago...

In honor of Squirrel Appreciation Day, I decided to read up on our furry friends and share a few tidbits with you. So here we go...

  • Yes, they are in the rodent family, but not same order as rats and mice. Their order includes chipmunks, marmots, groundhogs, and prairie dogs.
  • They are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa and were introduced by humans to Australia.
  • Tree squirrels can descend a tree head first due to their ability to rotate their ankles 180 degrees allowing them to grip the tree bark with their back claws.
  • Not only do they have excellent vision, they have a good sense of touch.
  • They have whiskers on their limbs as well as on their heads. The scientific term for whiskers is actually vibrissae.
  • Once past the rigors of the first year of life, squirrels can live 5-10 years.
  • Squirrel tail hairs are prized for fly fishing flies due to some special quality of those particular hairs.
  • They are primarily herbivores, preferring nuts, seeds, fruits, fungi, and green vegetation. They may eat insects or meat when face with prolonged or severe hunger. Early spring is the hardest time for them to find food because the nuts they buried are beginning to sprout and they won't eat them at that point...
So there you go!

Hope you have a great rest of your week & weekend. Talk to you later...

Monday, January 17, 2022

Before And After

I love Christmas / fairy lights. I've shared that I have a string of red / white / blue lights along the chair rail in my office. They are set on a timer and are glowing and waiting for me when I get up in the morning.

Pulling down the Christmas tree is always sad for me merely because of the loss of the glow & ambiance in the living room.

So I decided I wanted to keep the warm glow to my living room. Now, years ago, I painted the living room with two colors and an interesting paint job and I wanted to put my new lights along the line that separates the two paint colors.

So I went from this...




Just FYI, the front wall is all blue.

And here's the result:



And I love the way it turned out.

Have a great week, my friends!