Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dang my kid is beautiful. Then again, so is her best friend (picture #2)! Her sister isn't half bad, either (picture #3)!

Friday, December 28, 2007

For those of you in the Upper Midwest, DO NOT BE ALARMED! There are no animals dying!

At least not in the horrible ways you may be "hearing."

No, rather, my hubby got his Christmas wish — bagpipes!

Why exactly did I mention those to my parents? I'm not sure... Oh well, he's a happy camper and is actually getting a little better.

I do think the long horns on the wall clash with the pipes, though! *grin*

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Well Christmas has come and gone, and still no word back on Ghost Mountain. I don't even know who ended up with it TO critique. I was talking to my sister about it, and a thought occurred to me: what if it's an author I don't like? Then if THAT PERSON doesn't like my story, I can be OK with it. But what if they do and I don't like their stores? Interesting dilemma, isn't it?

We spent Christmas with my family. First time in 10 years, to be honest. Anyway, this is a picture of the lap quilt I did for my grandmother. The blocks are the Lord's Prayer.

As for gifts, I got a lot of jewelry, a book on angels, one on saints, a few on Celtic Christianity, Pirates of the Caribbean Scene-It, and some knitting stuff. The kid got mostly clothes and fairies (she likes fairies!), and hubby got coins and bagpipes. Yes, I said bagpipes. No, he has NO IDEA how to play. My mom got the "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" DVD game and we spent some time playing that. I've learned that I AM smarter, but not by much.

Only other homemade gift I did this year was a purse set for my step-daughter. I'm not sure she liked it (she's hard to "read" ya know...), but I think it came out really well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Just got home from visiting family for Christmas (will post more about that later) and downloaded the pictures from my camera. This one I had to post because it was so darn cute!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Haven't posted in a bit, because life was in the way. Did get a lap-quilt finished for my grandma for Christmas, and a purse set for the oldest. I'm ready for the holidays to be over because we're going to be traveling this year and that always stresses me out.

Am still losing weight. Down a bit more and have only 30 pounds to go to reach my goal. Some days that seems like a LOT. Some days I'm not sure how I managed to lose as much as I have.

Found out I am (borderline) narcoleptic. Guess that explains why I get so dang tired, huh?

Finally, I STILL haven't heard back from the Ghost Mountain critique. I have no idea who read it, or when to expect it. I was told "before Christmas" so it could be any day. Or not.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Game is on!!! And you're IT!

Describe ME in one word - just one single word. This is really fun.

Here's how to play: 1. Post a comment here with my one word.

The Game is On!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I haven't posted in awhile, and for those expecting some witty comments, forget it. I feel like ranting and this is probably the safest place to do that. Be prepared to get upset.

At what point did parents stop teaching personal responsibility? How old do children have to be before they are required to act like adults? And why do the people who DO behave responsibly seem to get screwed in the process?

I grew up in an area of the city where being a white female was a serious minority. I didn't know "white guys" could even PLAY basketball (with the exception of Larry Bird, that is!) until I attended college in Missouri. I've seen more people get *stuff* because it was entitled to them. I've seen a ton of people — people of each and every color and creed — demand their share. And what did they do with it? Usually squandered it away.

Now we have kids buying and playing video games with "R" ratings and the parents can't figure out why the kids are more violent. GIVE ME A BREAK! Today music and video games and movies and even television programs have the ratings posted! It doesn't take a genius to check that stuff!

But instead, let's make excuses. Let's milk the system for all we can and then wonder why the next generation doesn't bother to do the simple things like return phone calls or take initiative, let alone the big things like pay their own bills or follow those pesky laws they don't like.

And then there are people like me. The ones who TRY to follow the laws. The ones who WORK hard for what they have and even put their own wants and desires on the back-burner because it's not the right time to get or do "whatever." We are the ones who ultimately pay for the nonsense of the "I need it, I want it, I deserve it, you owe me" sect. After 30+ years of it, I'm tired. And I really despise having to explain it to the kid.

Maybe life would be easier if I was a taker, but I'm not. And with the world filling up with more and more takers, I am starting to feel like some endangered species. As we head into the Christmas season, these aren't the feelings I'd hoped to be filled with, yet I see it everywhere. How can I fix it? How can I even fix my own little corner of it? All I can do is teach the kid.

I just hope it's enough...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Well, I was right... Had to get the kid...
What a mixed week.

I gained a pound. A full pound. Amazingly, I really wanted to LOSE that amount, so now I have to lose two pounds to make the WW official 50 pounds. Dang it.

For those who read the comments, I did mail off the first 50 pages of Ghost Mountain and it will be at the coordinator's tomorrow. Gotta love "priority mail." Now I'll be doing edits on other places. I love my critique group, but it does get hard to keep up with the edits while adding new and exciting material. Or maybe I'm just stressing.

Yeah, I know that's going on, and I know I need to make time for myself, but I don't see that happening anytime in the near future. Add the chaos of the holidays, and it really won't happen.

Oh, and the teen ager has a sore throat today, but went to school anyway. I'm waiting for them to call and say she's sick, come get her.

And I broke my toe on Sunday. It's still in the "pretty" Technicolor stage and hasn't reached "rotting fruit" shades yet. Still hurts like heck, though.

Sometimes, ya just feel like you need a vacation....

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thanks to all who commented on the summery. I made some changes. How's this?

Ghost Mountain is a paranormal cozy set in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Cerridwen “Cerri” Baker, named after a long-forgotten Celtic goddess, is 36 years old and the mother of three. She has spent her entire life trying to fit in by not following the mystical, wise woman path her mother and sister embrace. But when her husband’s job forces the family to move to South Dakota, Cerri starts getting information from her Lakota spirit guide about a murder at a Native American holy site — Devil’s Tower.

Calling in an anonymous tip to the FBI makes her a suspect in the murder, and now she must convince the arrogant and suspicious Special Agent Joseph Oliver that she isn’t involved.

As Cerri struggles to balance her desire for normalcy with her spirit-driven destiny to help those who can’t help themselves, she finds herself at the mercy of Agent Oliver — as well as a killer protecting a deadly secret.
I sent the first 50 pages of Ghost Mountain to my mom and sister for them to look at. I want to mail those pages to the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America's mentor program. I wonder if the author who reads them will like my book. What if they don't? What if they do? I feel like I'm posed right on the edge of this. Scary!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How does this sound? Dumb? I hate writing summaries!

Ghost Mountain is a paranormal cozy set in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Cerridwen “Cerri” Baker is 36 years old, married, named after a long-forgotten Celtic goddess, and the mother of three who has spent her entire life trying to fit in and not follow the wise woman path her mother and sister embrace. When the Baker family moves to South Dakota, though, Cerri starts getting information from her Lakota spirit guide about a murder at a Native American Holy Site — Devil’s Tower.

Cerri must balance her desire to be normal with her spirit-driven destiny to help those who can’t help themselves.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm not sure I'll make the NaNo goal this year. Real life stuff seems to be blocking my fictional life, but I have written more than 2,000 words and the month is still young, so there's time.

My real goal this month, though, is to submit the first 50 pages of Ghost Mountain to be critiqued (the deadline for that is Nov. 15) and to write a synopsis of the story. I want to look for publishers by the first of the year. Of course, I still have to finish it, but what the heck!

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's started....

Today's Goal: 3,334 total
Currently written: 853

Guess I better get on the ball!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The kid didn't take marching band, but she she had to wear the uniform anyway! Last night was a concert -- both local high school bands played and then they had a "drum line" competition. Weirdest competition ever. No trophy, no judges, no winner. But she had a good time and the bands played fantastically! (Easy to say, since her best friend is in the band at the other school!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Finished a pair of socks this weekend. Through the "way it goes" I spent the weekend alone and rather than raid hubby's stash of Hershey's Kisses or his ice cream supply (so not fair that he can eat all that!), I decided to finish this project. The pattern is called "Hearts" (hard to see in this picture, but the design is hearts). The yarn is "Socks that Rock" from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the color "Mustang Sally." This is the first pair I've done for ME! I like them.
Pics from the hubby's birthday October 15. The cake was made by yours truly with a special pan my mom gave me a few years ago. The pan has a "tunnel" in it, so you cook the cake and can then fill it with frosting, pudding, or (in this case!) ice cream! It was a yellow cake with strawberry ice cream.

No, there's none left.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

From an e-mail sent by a good friend:

Three Things to Ponder:

1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments

Cows - Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that, when investigating Mad Cow disease, our government can track a single cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington ? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

The Constitution - They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.

The Ten Commandments - The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this: You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery", and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, dear hubby!
Happy birthday to you!

(I'm such a brat!)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Completed two swaps at This one was called "Craft My Theme Round 2." Each participant listed five themes and then our info was sent on to someone else. The name I got had listed purses as one of her themes.

This little handbag is SO SOFT. I crocheted it with two strands of yarn, one "big chunky" and the other a fun fur.

These are magnets made out of polymer clay. The pink rectangle is supposed to be an evening bag and is my least favorite of the three.

This is my "large project" and is a purse, checkbook cover, and credit card holder. As you can tell, they're all embroidered with a "Parisian woman" theme and sewn from the same fabric. I liked this one so much I'm going to do the same thing for my s-d as a Christmas gift.

OK, so this one is just a little goofy. I was looking up purse crafts online and found the bra purse. I thought "why not?" I also did a cigar box purse, but forgot to take pictures of that one. I threw some tea light candles in the box, too.
For those who know me, this will NOT come as a shock. I am not a patient person.

When I decide I want something, I want it now. Not in a year. Not in the Spring. NOW.

I do, on the other hand, like to work for what I want. I also like to stay motivated. Right now, though, I'm in a weight loss slump. I'm losing more slowly and I don't like it. I've even started a mild exercise program, but the ticker doesn't seem to get any closer to that 50 pounds mark. Yes, I could up the exercise, but let's not be crazy here.

I'm seriously thinking about getting my belly button pierced. My husband just shakes his head and mumbles something about marrying a wild woman. My parents (I know my mom reads this!) will probably wonder what they did wrong. My sister will say "awesome" and I just might get cool navel jewelry from her for Christmas. My 14-year-old daughter wants to make it a "bonding moment" and have hers done too. (I think NOT! She can do it when she's older and can pay for it herself!) My 20 year old thinks it's great and I should take her sister to see it done.

But what if I loose a bunch more weight? If I make it to where Weight Watchers says I should be, I'll probably look more like a Barbie Doll than a real woman. Yes, I have boobs. I could probably lose 15 pounds just by having them reduced!

So what do I do? Do I shed another 40 some pounds? Do I only get to the 50 pound mark before getting it done? Do I just forget about it and decide I'm too old and wise for it? (Yeah, me! Wise? Whatever!)

I'm stuck. The more I think about it, the more I'm sure I'll get it done, it's just a matter of when. Back to the waiting game, but at least now I have something to think about while I wait!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I mentioned the other day that I did two swaps at Here are pictures from the NaNoWriMo Swap. (For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writers Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words toward a novel during the month of November.)

I did 30 of these little boxes. If you go by "words per day" NaNoWriMo is 1,667 words each day, so there is one of these for each 1,667 words. There is a small treat in each one. Hope my partner likes the treat, because it's the same thing for 30 days!

OK, I'm not sure what a scarf has to do with writing a novel, but it was one of the things my swap-buddy said she'd like.

This notebook is for her to write down ideas. I mean, really, what novelist DOESN'T need paper and pens?

The T-shirt says "The cure for writers cramp is writers block." I love that! I also embroidered a bookmark, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

Finally, box of writing prompts. I'll admit, these aren't all the BEST prompts, but I'm not sure exactly what my swap-buddy writes, so I went generic. There was also a candle (chocolate scented!) in the box I mailed out.
My crafting buddies still don't have their packages. Dang it! I so want to post pictures of my projects!

Maybe tomorrow....

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Spent the weekend working on two swaps I'm in at Love that site. I blame my sister for pointing it out to me.

I did the "Craft My Theme" swap and the NaNoWriMo Swap. I hope my partners enjoy what I made them. I'll post pictures as soon as I know they've received. Since I have my blog listed in my profile there, I don't want to spoil it for them.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

This is great -- and oh, so true!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

For those of you following my weight loss journey, here's an updated picture. I had to get all dressed up for a banquet last week and Loving Hubby took a picture before we went. I don't usually dress like that! *grin*

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's bad enough that the kid is in HIGH SCHOOL, but now she's going out on dates, too? This is her right before the homecoming coronation/dance. On the up side, I like the young man. Very nice and respectful.

I just wish she wasn't getting older. What happened to the little girl who wanted to build her house in the backyard so she wouldn't ever have to move away?
My husband has ringworm.

Ok, not really, but that’s what he’s claiming.

Let me explain.

My husband and I are very different. He’s a country boy and I’m a city girl. His ideas of necessities include bullets, beef, and beans. My list is more practical and includes haircuts, oil changes, and trips to the bookstore. My husband is a “we’ll make it work” kind of guy and I’m a “if I can’t do it right the first time, what’s the point” kind of gal.

Makes for interesting viewpoints around the house.

Well, hubby decided that his hair was a bit long. In the past he’s asked me to cut his hair, and I’ve politely turned him down — usually by pretending not to hear him ask or by suddenly remembering an errand I needed to run. He’s even purchased one of those Wal-Mart clipper things with all the fancy attachments in an attempt to persuade me.

And every few weeks, my loving, persistent husband would ask. Taking his cue from our teenage daughter, yesterday he had finally asked so often that I agreed.

I really thought, how hard can this be? He only wants a trim, right? And this razor thing is supposed to be foolproof — at least that’s what the picture on the box said.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. There’s a reason people go to school to learn to cut hair. My husband is now living proof of that reason.

We put a towel on the floor to catch the clippings, hubby sat in a chair and I got started. The buzz of the clippers sounded and I lowered it to his head.

Do you have any idea how dumb a 40-year-old man looks in a reverse Mohawk? I do now.

My first thought was “I can’t believe he talked me into this.” Followed shortly by “Maybe I can still even it out.” I still can’t believe he talked me into it and yes, at that point it could have been evened out.

But I didn’t stop there. It would have been better if I had.

I got the top of the man’s head evened out and started working on the back. OK, truth be told, it had some mullet-type qualities (think “Dog, the Bounty Hunter), but a fashion guru my Texan-born and bred husband is not. I was pretty sure he didn’t know what a mullet was, let alone what it looked like. I started on the back, trying to calm the mullet-like qualities of the butcher job… I mean, haircut.

Finally, I was finished with the big stuff. His hair wasn’t perfect, but it was cut.
I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in public with him and our teenage daughter wouldn’t be any more embarrassed by dad.

Then I noticed that one stray hair.

“One little clip,” I thought, “then it will be over.”

There must have been some Earth tremor right at the moment I lowered the clippers. The next thing I knew there was a clipper-sized chuck of hair falling to the ground from about an inch above his ear.

I was shocked. Short of shaving it all off, this one couldn’t be hidden.
I had a momentary thought that maybe he wouldn’t notice. It is on the side of his head and my husband isn’t always the most perceptive person.
I told him I was done — in more ways than one! — and he sauntered into the bathroom to take a look at my handiwork. All my delusions came shattering down when he yelled. Profanities. Loudly.

He’d seen the side of his head.

So, rather then admit he pestered me into giving him a haircut, he’s claiming ringworm. In his mind that’s a better explanation. He also claims to be cured.

Maybe that means he’s been cured of his pestering.

Somehow, though, I doubt it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's been a week now, and every day the kiddo is excited to go to school. Every day she tells me tales on the way home -- tells me of the adventure she had that day. She's told her friends that she loves school. A subject that she had always disliked is now one of her favorites.

I'm happy for her, but sad for myself. I wonder if she would have always loved that subject had I not home educated her for the past eight years. Or did I just instill a love of learning that she wouldn't have gotten in a traditional classroom? That was one of my biggest goals, you know... to teach her to love learning.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Here's something to point out: That graph at the top of the page is more then half way across! That meas I'm on the "downhill side" of my weight loss journey! Kinda cool, huh?
For the second day in a row, I've watched my baby leave the house to be "thrown to the wolves." (OK, maybe not literally, but still....) My little girl has started high school!!!

After years of celebrating "Not Back To School Day," it was a little weird to be checking to make sure she had all her supplies. And the house was so quiet! I don't think I'll ever look forward to the day summer ends. I'll never understand those parents who can't wait for the kids to be back in school.

So yesterday morning, I made her stand there so I could get a picture. And yes, she reminded me that parents only do that when their kids start kindergarten. But, hey, I gave birth to her, so that affords me some rights, doesn't it? *big grin*

My life will never be the same. Neither will the lives of all those teachers, administrators, and students who she comes in contact with. But at least I know I gave her a strong foundation to build from.

Monday, August 27, 2007

OK, so I've got pictures! I have naturally curly hair, so the curl is all mine. In the "straight" pictures, that was the first time EVER I'd had my hair straight.

Just to give everyone a clear idea, here's the before.

And the after (where it's straight)

And the curly/natural stuff!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Change of plans... Hair appointment is now tomorrow. Drat!
I'm nervous. With 40 pounds down and about another 40 to go, I'm ready for a change, but clothes ain't it. Heck, any clothes I buy now won't fit for long!

So, I'm doing NEW HAIR! And we're talking really different. I'm getting some BLUE hair!! (No, sis, not the old-lady blue!) I'm also doing a new cut. Still a medium length since
  1. My hubby likes it longer

  2. Tall women usually look better with medium to long hair

I'll post before and after pictures tonight when it's all said and done!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I haven't been blogging much just because there's so much going on in my life! YIKES!

Did want to say that today's my birthday though. ;) My family knows me so well... I got pens and writing paper! Gotta love it!

Friday, August 10, 2007

WOW! I've just realized that the ticker says I've lost over 40 pounds. WOW!

That's 40 packages of butter. 4 big bags of flour. One really big bag of dog food.

I'm in a bit of a weight "yo-yo" lately. I stayed the same for so long and then I lost 2.2 pounds and then gained 2 and this week I lost 3.8. I'm hoping that I don't gain any of it back next week. This yo-yo thing is discouraging.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I spent yesterday Geocaching in Spearfish with Oscar the Wonder Dog. No one else in my family enjoys it as much as I do, so it was just the dog and me. We got nine (8 in Spearfish, one only about 5 miles from our house) for the day. A personal record.

Oscar took a dive yesterday. Spearfish (which is about 50 miles from my house) has a creek that runs through it. Now, I think it's larger than a creek, but it's not a river, so whatever.... ANYWAY, one of the caches was right next to this body of water. I find the cache and sit down to sign the log. Oscar has his two front paws in the water and is lapping it up. Then he stops and climbs on a different rock (closer to me). I thought he was coming to me.

I was wrong. He jumped in and took a swim. I think he stayed in there about 2 or 3 minutes was all and I was laughing the whole time!

Later, we found this church. One of the caches, a micro, was hidden near here. I thought the church was so beautiful I just had to get a picture. It's on the national historic registry, too, so the place has been here for a bit. I may try painting it next.

Today was filled with sewing. Did a few pillows out of old t-shirts for the kid, hemmed some jeans for her, put elastic in a pair of shorts my sister made (also from a t-shirt) and did a few more bookmarks. Tomorrow will be more embroidery, I think.

Notice there's not a lot of WRITING in any of that....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Finished another knitting project. These socks will go to the kid's best friend.
Today is a big day at our house. The Kid got her learners permit.

South Dakota makes you take a test to even get the permit, and she took it (for the second time) this morning. The first time, she didn't do so well. The Kid doesn't test well, and we all know that. Doesn't help when she gets "cocky," though, either.

So, after a few days of studying (and reading the HP book!) and an online quiz, and studying, and having me and her dad pull questions out of the book, and a little more studying, she did it. She came out of the test room with a million dollar smile that told me all I needed to know....

I'm proud of her, but I wish she'd stay little for a bit more....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another few pounds closer to my goal. At the official weigh-in this morning I was down 2.2 -- not bad for two weeks.

For those who missed it, I did have a bet with my hubby that I'd be down to a size 14 by Aug. 8. Well, I did it and already have won the bet. I went ahead and bought some new clothes yesterday (a pair of pants and a few shirts) with the help of the kid. Got some really cute things. One of these days I may not have to shop at the "fat chick store" at all! Although it does feel good to be at the smallest end of *that* scale!

Finished the latest Harry Potter book and am re-reading the previous ones for anything I might have missed. Also working on the matching sock I posted about earlier.

I'm trying to get some Christmas crafts done. What I'd love to do is set up my two sewing machines somewhere I could LEAVE them and sew when I get the "urge" and then move on to something else when I get the urge for that. Unfortunately, we don't have the room around here and I can only leave the sewing machines on the kitchen table for so long before it annoys the heck out of me. (My hubby, on the other hand, claims to not mind. What a great guy!)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Finished the first of Bob's socks. I used the Zodiac Socks pattern from "Hip Graphic Knits." The socks knit up pretty quick. I just hope the girl I did them for likes them....
Here's a picture of my grandmother with my kid (on the right) and my niece (on the left).

I've been thinking about names for the past few days. My family has always called me "Jenni," which makes my kid laugh because I've been "Jen" to her all her life. Heck, I was "Jen" since I left for college more years ago than I care to admit. Come to think of it, I haven't been called "Jenni" for half my life! But, since my dad's name is Jim, it was too confusing to have a Jim and a Jen in the same house.

Being back home, though, I was "Jenni" and "Aunt Jenni" for two days. It took a bit of getting used to, but now part of me misses hearing it.

Isn't it odd that we have names we're given and then we have names we select? Or am I the only one who does that?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Went to Omaha for my grandmother's 90th birthday and did some serious shopping. Too much eating, so will skip weight watchers this week... You'd think I'd learn, but no....

Oh well! Maybe next time!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Van Gogh has nothing to worry about. I will not be taking over as one of the world's greatest painters anytime soon, but I did paint this in watercolor today. I've determined that once the kid starts school (September 4), I'll have a bit more free time. I'm trying to find hobbies to fill that. (Heaven forbid I actually work or write!) I'm not sure painting will be it, but I guess this isn't so bad for a first try.... (My sis or Steph will probably let me know through polite comments! giggle!)
Found a new way to do dishes at my house... OK, not really, but this picture was just too cute NOT to post!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I've gotten a lot of knitting done lately.

These socks are a "Dobby" pair -- Harry Potter fans will understand. The "M" goes on the outside of the leg and the kid, who is at camp, doesn't even know her socks are finished. Of course, what she really wants is a Weasley sweater, but sweaters take FOREVER for me to knit! Poor kid....

The blanket is for a young lady who is expecting in September. I know it's not much, and she will have more trials and tribulations then a little blanket can sooth, but it's something. And the young lady is trying. Gotta give her some credit for that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I broke through my plateau. I lost a whopping 3.8 pounds this week! I feel so excited that I'm back on track....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The dang ticker went the wrong direction this morning. I gained six-tenths of a pound.

More than anything, I'm upset with myself. I'm feeling sorry for myself, yes, but I'm angry, too. No, I didn't need to snack as much as I did, but I hate the fact I seem to have a slower metabolism than everyone else in the house, too. It doesn't seem fair....

What I really need is to get "re-motivated"...

Monday, June 25, 2007

SPAY and NEUTER your pets!! How hard is this for people to understand?

I woke up this morning to find six or seven little kittens in my wood pile. They aren't mine!!! My pets (with the exception of Oscar the Wonder Dog) are all fixed. Every one of them! All three cats, and both "big" dogs. Now I have seven kittens in my yard and it is supposed to be 100 degrees again today.

Every summer I end up taking at least one batch of kittens to either the Humane Society or a local pet store. Every summer I hear my daughter say "but Mom, they're so cute...." Dang it!

She's right, you know. They are cute. And so tiny....

Now I'm waiting for the Humane Society to open so I can take them there. (Just called the pet store and they won't take them for fear of distemper.)

GET YOUR PETS FIXED! Especially if you're going to let them roam around outside....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'm sitting here checking e-mail and reading the blogs of my friends (and some "famous" authors who I wish were my friends!) and wondering if blogs really work. I don't know.

One of my friends is a mystery writer under one name and an erotic romance author under another. She blogs under her mystery name regularly and was able to guest blog under the other name. How do you do that? Does it help sales? Does it just keep you from the WIP you should be writing?

In my pre-author life, I did public relations for a large company in much need of PR work. My "day-to-day" job was to write and edit the company newsletter. Consequently, I know the value of a good editorial. It's uplifting to the reader and therapeutic for the writer. A good editorial can assemble the masses and be a valuable tool for the company.

Isn't a blog the same thing? Doesn't it keep the writers name in the public eye (or at least on a Google search)? Doesn't it allow those of us who don't take social stands in our work a forum to speak about topics which are important to us? (On a side note, I just finished Betty Webb's "Desert Wives." FANTASTIC book!!)

So how should those of us just starting out use a blog? I hope my friends will read and want to comment, but will a post like this get my name out? Or is it just a therapeutic outlet for me? Or just something to write since I'm mildly stuck at a plot point in Ghost Mountain and have no external deadline to finish the novel by? Should I be looking for a group of people to blog with, like my mystery/romance buddy mentioned earlier? Does anyone else write paranormal mysteries who would want to start a blog?

What do you think? Is a blog helpful at this point in my career? Or am I just avoiding the work?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Guess who came home??? OUR CAT!

Wanna hear the whole story?

Last night, the kid came to tell me that she heard a meowing under the house. I woke hubby and told him that we'd heard a cat. The brave man that he is went down to the crawl space, but found nothing.

This morning, I could still hear the cat. DANG IT! So I asked hubby about putting the infamous Have-A-Heart trap back down in the crawl space. After only mild hesitation, he agreed.

This afternoon, the kid had made plans to go ice skating. No more than 10 minutes after leaving the house, hubby calls to tell me that Little Jo had returned. She must have jumped on top of the trap, and then into the room. She was meowing to be let out of the room (we had left the trapdoor open a few inches so we could see if the Have-A-Heart caught anything), which we'd closed off so as not to lose any MORE cats.

She just came prancing around like nothing had happened. This was truly a miracle.

Honestly, I thought we'd never see her again. Hubby is so happy he almost started crying. (Not an easy thing to admit for such a macho-guy, but it shows how much this really bothered him.)

I'm happy for him, too!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lost 0.8 of a pound this week. Not bad considering how much "junk" I ate (but aren't *real* smores good?)

The cat is gone. Little Jo must have escaped, because she's no where in the house. It's broken hubby's heart. I wish I could ease his pain....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Well, we made it home. The trip to Yellowstone was amazing. We saw Old Faithful, the Noris Geysers, the Porcelin Basin, Mamouth Hot Springs, Midway Geyser and the Artists Paint Pots. The natural beauty of the park is amazing. There's no other word, really.

The drive was long, though. All though Wyoming, through the mountains and then through the park itself to the KOA was an adventure in itself. The views were stunning.

The wildlife was even better! I saw a wolf (even though no one else did and they've been teasing me saying I imagined it -- I didn't have time to get the camera ready!), an osprey, an eagle, lots of bison (which we see closer to home at Custer State Park, so I wasn't as excited about that), a pair of wolf cubs, lots of elk, a moose and a bear. I still have two days of pictures to download, so maybe the wolf cub pictures and the bear will make future posts.

On a sad note, we seem to be missing one of the cats. She's the "scardy cat" of the bunch and the oldest kiddo -- who generously offered to housesit for us -- didn't see that one the entire time we'd been gone. This kitty is also the most lifely to "punish" us for leaving, but she hasn't shown up around here yet, either. She's an indoor cat, so I'm more than a little concerned. The kitty shouldn't have left the house and should be out from hidding by now. (This is hubby's favorite of the cats, so that's weighing on my mind, too....)

On to happier things. Here's some of the pictures I took on the trip. Yep, only some since I took close to 150 of them!

We got to Old faithful within 10 minutes of it's next eruption. We didn't wait too long and still got to see this amazing natural beatuty.

The Artisits Paint Pots are fantastic. Each of the different pools are colored with either a type of algae, a minineral or something. The effect from the top is much the same as if you took a used paint pallet and washed it. The colors that run through the area look like that. This picture doesn't even BEGIN to do it justice!

The kid and her best friend enjoyed the Midway Geyser Basin. OK, so the kid enjoyed counting the number of hats which had blown into the steaming hot water. (She counted seven.) Her best friend really enjoys science, so she had a great time looking at the geysers themselves. This area was so warm that it fogged out my glasses when we went passed it.

These falls are just one of the many at Yellowstone. This one is near the Noris area and is made from the Gibbon River. Oh, there's a geocache real close to this spot, too!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Made it to West Yellowstone KOA. More to follow.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Here we go again. I'm packing because I'm leaving in the morning. Tomorrow, we head to Yellowstone's West entrance. I'm a little nervous, but looking forward to the trip!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back from Pierre, where my daughter competed in a few state-wide competitions in Job's Daughters. She earned two first places (one for memorization and one for a painting she did) and two third places for her team events. I'm proud of her. She did well. Plus she played her clarinet during the meetings, and I know she was worried about that.

I was selected to be a state officer for the group, too. To me, that is an amazing honor and I'm very excited to do it.

Then I found five more geocaches on the drive home.

We leave again in a few days for Yellowstone. I'm looking forward to going camping. We may stop at Little Big Horn for a night on the way back and that should be interesting, too.

Nothing new on my story. I'm a little upset with myself for not working on it more diligently, but I guess I have to be HOME to do that, right?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I've been back for a week and it seems that I'm busier than ever. I'll try to fill everyone in later. For now, though, here's a pic of the kid (she's the one in the cape and crown). Dang it -- she's growing up!

Oh, and I lost that 3.4 pounds.... again..... But I'm headed out of town for the next two weeks, so I have no idea what that will do to the waistline....

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Like a bad penny, I am back.

First, let me tell you, Mayhem in the Midlands was AWESOME! I learned so much from the panels I attended. Some were funny (sorry, but with titles like "Vampires have feelings too: making fantasy characters work in a realistic world" how could they not be?) and some were just plain informative (like "Central Casting: Where do characters come from?"). I took probably fifteen or twenty pages of notes in the two days.

I met some *real* authors, too. Karen Hall and Lori G. Armstrong don't count since they're both in my writers group here. William Kent Krueger I met a few weeks ago. (Side note: He won major points with B for the simple fact that this famous author remembered him. B thinks -- as do I -- that Mr. Krueger is a great guy, so you should all buy his books just because of his niceness!) I did meet Margaret Maron, Nancy Pickard, Betty Webb, Lee Killough, Craig Johnson and a host of others. I also had a fascinating conversation with Libby Fischer Hellmann Sunday morning.

One of the highlights, though, has to be meeting Honora Finkelstein and Susan Smily. Never heard of them? That's OK. This writing team has four books out: The Chef Who Died Sauteing, The Lawyer Who Died Trying, and a cookbook to go with each. They write the same type of stuff I do. AND (now, this is the important part of my story!) said they would like to read my manuscript and forward it to their agent and publisher when it's ready! *Doing the happy dance here! I think I can hear Steph screaming for joy, too!*

All of this good news didn't put a damper on my weigh in this morning, where I gained back exactly what I had lost last week. Oh well! Easy come, easy go doesn't exactly fit here, but you get the idea.

Now I must go finish the manuscript!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'm packing. I hate packing.

I'm leaving for the writers conference in the morning. I also am not a morning person.

All my clothes are already in the car. It's the "extras" that I don't have finished. Which earrings will go with which outfits? How much free time will I have? Should I bring one book to read? Or three? What about knitting? How much yarn should I bring? I think that's the stuff that confuses me more than anything.

I don't want to forget anything, but I don't want to take everything I own, either! Grrr.....

On the weight loss front, I'm not sure this coming week will be a "good one." I lost 3 pounds last week, but went a little wild on the comfort food yesterday and will be doing a lot of eating out this weekend. I *did* pack workout clothes, though, since I know there's a fitness center at the hotel.

I'm excited and nervous. What if I go and find out that my writing isn't what I think it is? What if I find out that I suck? (Worse than just stinking!) What if....

Wish me luck and I'll try to post from the conference. (The computer is already packed, too!)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Well, I now know where to put a body at Devil's Tower. It doesn't matter how many times I see this majestic rock, I'm still in awe of it.

Isn't it beautiful? Is it any wonder why the Native Americans hold it sacred? Any wonder why it was our country's first National Park?

Oh, and I got four geocaches on the way! *big grin*

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Didn't gain or lose this week. Stayed exactly the same. It was a little depressing since I had walked three miles the day before, but I'll survive. And I didn't go to the ice cream shop on the way home, so that's a minor victory!

Only one week until I leave for Mayhem in the Midlands. I'm such a dork that I have scouted out geocaches along the route and in Omaha to do. I know, a little odd, but everyone needs a hobby, right? *smile*

I got "Charmed Knits" last night. It's an entire knitting book based on Harry Potter. There are some really cute patterns in there! I'm not sure I'll ever actually finish a Weasley sweater, but I can quit loosing the pattern now (I had printed it off the internet and I put it somewhere safe, I'm sure....).

Monday, May 14, 2007

Day two of the WOMAN challenge and I walked three miles!

Sorry, just had to brag!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

She's now 14!!

That scares me! Maybe it wouldn't scare me so much if she wasn't so pretty. Or smart. Dang kid.

We celebrated Mother's Day yesterday so the Kid could have today for herself. I believe that everyone needs a special day sometimes and what's more special then the celebration of your birth?

Hubby got me a very awesome tea light candle holder. One side says "Eternal Hope," the next "Endless Faith," third says "Everlasting Joy," and finally "Enduring Peace." The Kid got me a Willow Tree figurine called "Mother and Daughter."

But, really, the best gift of all came not in a thing but in words spoken by the kid. Last night, after they'd showered me with my gifts and hugs, she said to me, "I wouldn't have minded sharing my day, Mom."

Now, that's a cool Mother's Day gift!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My 8 Names, what's yours?

1. YOUR REAL NAME: Jennifer

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (first 3 letters of real name plus izzle): Jenizzle

3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME (fav color and fav animal): BlueBear

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, and street name): AnnRadarHill

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2
letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom's maiden name): BlaJeTay

6. YOUR SUPERHERO NAME (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): GreenWater

7.YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (grandmother/ grandfather's first name): JeanJack or IrmaHerb

8. YOUR GOTH NAME (black, and the name of one your pets): BlackOscar
I've just registered for the WOMAN Challenge ( Maybe that will get me moving more. WOMAN stands for Women and girls Out Moving Around the Nation.

Here's what it is:

This May, thousands of women across the country will embark on an eight-week walking challenge for better health. They will be part of the WOMAN Challenge-that is Women and girls Out Moving Across the Nation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health is coordinating the WOMAN Challenge to encourage women to get 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week and to kick off the eighth annual National Women's Health Week (May 13-19, 2007).
What is the WOMAN Challenge?

This free eight week challenge encourages women and girls to walk 10,000 steps or get 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. The WOMAN Challenge begins on Mother's Day, May 13, and ends on July 8, 2007.

Maybe I can get a team set up and we can motivate each other. Or at least appeal to my competitive nature. Any takers? Steph? Heather?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The workshop with William Kent Krueger was FANTASTIC! Not only did I get to spend time with real writers, I learned so much. I'm even more eager to attend Mayhem in the Midlands now!

Not only did I go to his talk and book signing Friday night and the workshop on Saturday, but I was lucky enough to have dinner with him both nights. Now, I'll confess I haven't read his work, but it's next on my "to be read" pile.

Sunday was busy as well. The Kid was confirmed at church. It was one of the largest confirmation classes with 22 kids. Very nicely done. One of the other confirmands (is that a word?) is the Kid's best friend. The two girls are inseparable. If I had to pick a friend for my Kid, I doubt I could do much better then this young lady.

AND it was Shrine Circus weekend. That's where I was supposed to be, working for the Job's Daughters or Daughters of the Nile. Instead I did "Jen and Family Stuff." (Well, the kid and I worked the Friday afternoon performance and the kid worked the Friday night and Saturday afternoon ones as well.) I felt guilty not helping, but wonderfully refreshed to do so much for myself.

Even with all the excitement of the weekend (the writers conference and confirmation and such) I managed to lose 1.2 pounds. I've decided that small victories are what I need. So this week's "mini-goal" is to loose enough to make the ticker say 30. Heck, that's not even half a pound! Then I get to do something just for me -- another angel for my collection, a trip to the bookstore, something.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mayhem in the Midlands, a small mystery writers conference in Omaha, Nebraska, is just a few weeks away and I’m incredibly excited about attending a real mystery writers conference.

Years ago, I served in the U.S. Air Force. Every class or conference or workshop served to “re-Blue” the military men and women who attended and I have the hope that Mayhem in the Midlands will do the same for me.

Even before Mayhem, though, I’m spending the weekend at a local writers workshop. William Kent Kreuger will speak May 4 and 5 in town, and that should be another “re-Blue” moment for me. Ghost Mountain is going strong at 22,000 words. My critique partners seem to like it. Now to finish it and get it published so I can quit my day job!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Well, last week I may have gained, but I lost this week! In fact, I lost twice what I gained the week before.

My biggest problem is I HATE exercising. I don't have time for it. Between running here and there and everywhere to get *stuff* done, there's not much time for me. I guess that's what it boils down to -- time for me.

I plan to make exercise a bigger priority. To be honest, that's one reason I got Oscar. I planned to take him on walks and I know that would be good for me. And I have. Just not as often as I wanted.

Right this minute I could be in yoga/pilates class. But I'm not. I skipped it this morning. Maybe I'll take Oscar on a geocache and then I won't feel so bad. I just wish that exercise was something I could be more motivated about....

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm sitting in a coffee shop, not drinking coffee.

I'm supposed to be working on Ghost Mountain, but I'm a little stuck. How do you get an FBI agent to believe in ghosts? Should my main character's leg be broken after a car crash? Why? Why not?

To make it worse, I know I have revisions at home that I could be doing, but I didn't bring those. And then, I actually wanted to have all 80,000 words for this story done by June 1. Since I'm only at 20,000 (well, 20,374) I don't see that happening. So now I'm upset with myself for my lack of self-discipline.

Found out that the kid was accepted for the open enrollment. She will be attending a public high school about 15 miles from our home (just in the other school district) starting this fall. Now if only I can get the school people to decide what they need to enroll her since they keep changing their minds.

OK, the guilt is getting to me. I'm going back to the novel...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


For the first time in 16 weeks, I actually gained weight. One full pound, even.

Actually, that's pretty much the way my week has gone. It's had it's peeks (Yeah, Oscar!) but the rest has been some pretty low valleys.

Oh well. Back to the water bottle and the gym in the morning!

Monday, April 23, 2007

OK, so I forgot how tiring a new pup can be! And I obviously live life on the edge since the cat was sleeping, too!