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 (http://www.4women.gov/woman/). 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....