Monday, February 28, 2011

Slip, Sliding Away ....

"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be" - Marcel Pagnol

It's been an interesting few days. First, weather: Snow Friday -- a lot. Well over a foot. Snow Sunday -- more than they expected. Easily 6 - 7". Today? Ice, Ice Baby. Ugh.

I know spring is around the corner... I just wish it would hurry along. I keep seeing posts on Facebook about people putting in their gardens. I am green with envy.

Funny thing, though, some critter came out and ran around in the snow last night. When I took Dakota out, there were little trails everywhere! I wonder what it was, and what it was doing?

I need to take Dakota to the vet today, too, so I hope the ice changes over to rain early. It's supposed to do so after lunchtime. I won't drive in ice. Snow is bad, but ice is downright deadly.

Those of you whole are friends with me on Facebook already saw that Dakota seems to have kennel cough. She started on Saturday -- sounded like she had something stuck in her throat. But she did it over, and over, and over all day long. Then she woke me early on Sunday coughing. Though she didn't do it much the rest of the day (we kept her quiet) we need to take her in to the doctor.

Here's what kennel cough sounds like, for those of you with dogs:



Was incredibly busy all weekend, but did try to visit some of you. I'm SO behind, but am trying to work my way through the many hundreds of posts in my reader. Hopefully today I'll be able to do so.

How was your weekend?

=============================




You Are Sledding



You are a very self-aware person, but you never take yourself too seriously.

You have an ironic view of life and yourself. When things get tough, you can get philosophical.



You are easygoing and easy to please. You love to break out of your comfort zone.

You are too much of a generalist to specialize in anything. There are many fields you dabble in.



About 50/50 ...

========================

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pure Silliness

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." - Barbara Kingsolver

As most of you know, I've been struggling with my writing for some time now, though setting a small goal of 250 - 500 words a day has helped. Even so, writing that little bit had become a chore and my story was showing it. Not a good thing since it's supposed to be just this side of romantic comedy (my own genre that I call "romance that doesn't take itself seriously"... not "laugh-out-loud" funny, but still light-hearted).

A few days ago I decided that was enough. One of the ways I always got through my NaNoWriMo books (back when I actually won NaNo regularly) was by taking silly "dares" and popping them in -- whether I thought they forwarded the plot or not. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't (and were edited out), but mostly they just kept me writing, made me think outside the box (how can I add six live chickens to a book set in the city? How can I give my alpha male hero a frilly pink girl's bedroom set?) and made it fun.

We've all heard the adage: You can't edit a blank page.

So, agonizing in my first draft as to whether something is really important, whether is forwards the plot or not, staring at the keyboard worried that what I'm writing isn't appropriate for the story, thinking about the fact I might just have to take it out again, or that it might lead the characters down a road I wasn't expecting ... That had to stop.

The past few days, I've written the silliest things I can think of. IMHO they work within the story, they're fun to write (and hopefully to read) and I just don't care if they're moving the plot forward (though so far, I think they do). I start each writing session with the thought, "What can I do that's just plain silly in this scene? Something unusual, unexpected, possibly even out of character?" And then I do that thing.

Whether or not the story ultimately gets published, whether or not I end up red-lining half of what I've written, I don't care because it's slowly bringing back the joy in writing for me. That's something that's been missing for a long, long time. And then maybe once that's accomplished, I can be more productive. But for now, I'm just happy I'm writing.

=====================




You Are a Strawberry Milkshake



You are a patient and compassionate person. You are willing to accept people as they are.

You have a natural sweetness to you that others appreciate. You have a sense of humor about everything.

You are easily delighted and inspired. You think life is pretty great.

If things don't go your way, you always believe that you will persevere.



About half right ... I do like strawberry milkshakes though (as a strong second to chocolate).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things About Chiczofrenia

For more Thursday 13 Participants, click the banner above.

Dr. Laina Turner is visiting with me today on her virtual tour for her book "Chiczofrenia: Crazy is an Art Form". Sounds like my life!

Every comment during her tour enters you in a drawing to win a $40 Visa gift card, so make sure you not only comment here, but visit her other stops and see what she has to say.

Now, without further ado, lets find out 13 Things About "Chicozfrenia" (with comments from me in (italics):

1. Being crazy is an art form (something I practice every day!)

2. We all have a little crazy in us – it’s a good thing (thank goodness for that! I don't feel so alone in my lunacy now)

3. Women are fabulous (Yes... yes they are! I appreciate the women in my life more than I can say)

4. You CAN be superwoman (... okay, this alone is worth reading the book for, because I'd like to find out HOW)

5. You CAN say no and it won’t kill you (still working on this one -- anyone else?)

6. Compromise is good, just don’t give up yourself in the process (another something in progress -- I'm not a big fan of compromise)

7. DO have fun and enjoy what life has to offer (Okay! This one I can get behind -- who's with me?)

8. DON’T feel guilty (... because? and how? ...)

9. Surround yourself with a great group of girlfriends (YES! Best suggestion yet! Love my friends)

10. Be the best version of yourself (I am a work in progress, but I try to the best I can at even given moment)

11. Love yourself (... this is not an easy task)

12. Remember you ARE worth it (I keep telling myself that -- when do I believe it?)

13. You are stronger than you think (This one I realize, because I prove it to myself regularly)

Now an excerpt to illustrate some of these points -- doesn't the book sound fabulous?

WHAT MAKES US WHO WE ARE

Do you remember back when you were young and it was all about Barbie dolls and Baby Alive? If you had brothers, or even if you didn’t, there might be a Stretch Armstrong and some Hot Wheels thrown in. As young girls, we enjoyed playing house. Traditional play acting for girls and boys alike. Mimicking our parents and grandparents. Is this where we learned that we wanted to have that perfect life? Is it what all the people against Barbie and Ken were fearful of? I’m taking creative license here as I don’t know if anyone is actually against Barbie and Ken, but I think it sounds plausible. We played with the perfect Barbie, in her perfect clothes, her perfect corvette, and perfect Ken. Barbie and Ken never defaulted on their mortgage or had the corvette repossessed, and Barbie’s boobs never sagged, her butt didn’t droop. Did we feel this was how life was supposed to be? Perfect? How did you feel the first time you realized that life wasn’t going to be like Barbie and Ken living the life in the Dream House? Was it when you hit puberty and realized that you weren’t going to be 36-24-34? How did you feel? I felt cheated. Damn that fantasy.

Thanks for visiting, Laina! You can find out more about Laina at her website.

=========================

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Apologies and Bathroom Tile

There's nothing to match curling up with a good book when there's a repair job to be done around the house. ~Joe Ryan

I'm sorry I completely forgot to post yesterday. The weekend was just nuts and I don't know where my brain went, but I hope it's happy there...

RE: the bathroom renovations. This is pretty much it in a nutshell.

Ugly, twelve-year-old lineleum that was labeled "five year" when we bought it. You can't tell how really awful it looks from that picture, but the seams are starting to wear through and I can't get it clean anymore (it's badly yellowed):



The "tumbled marble" tiles we're using, laid but not grouted or sealed:




We used the same ones in DD's bathroom, and this is what the finished product looks like (grouted and sealed):




We LOVE the look of this stuff and are planning on doing the kitchen and entry way next year with the same tumbled marble. It's a pain to lay (because the pieces are slightly irregular) and it's about twice as much as tile, but we're just going to buy a little every month until we have enough. We were going to just use tile, but I know we'd regret it because the stone just looks so much better. I'll deal with the ugly linoleum for another year so I can have the stone. :-)

Have I mentioned how nice it is to have a handy husband?

The dog remains unimpressed.



===========================



You Get Your Energy From Goals



You are a driven and results oriented person. You always have an end goal in sight.

You bring a lot of purpose and meaning to your life. For you, small decisions and actions matter.

You feel like you are on an important mission, and you do your best not to lose focus.

For you, nothing feels better than accomplishment. You love being productive.




Yep... that pretty much pegged me.

======================

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Weekend Past

Home is where you can say anything you like cause nobody listens to you anyway. ~Author Unknown

Happy Monday all! It's President's Day (who else remembers when George Washington and Abraham Lincoln got their own holiday?) and my DH is off work -- for all the good it does him.

This weekend he's been tied to his work pager. I try to remember to be grateful that he has a job, and a very good job at that, but there are times I really, really hate it. He works very long hours, and he works very hard AND he has a long, traffic-filled commute. So he needs his weekends to decompress. This weekend, he didn't get that.

Still, he's managed to fill his home time by doing renovations to his bathroom that we've been planning for a long time. He's been picking up the stuff for it over the last several months, so it was ready. He did much of it yesterday, but will finish laying the tile today.

Next project is hardwooding our stairs. The carpet is so thin in places that we're afraid it's going to tear soon. The joys of home ownership...

How was your weekend?

==============

I haven't been able to say this in a while (for which I am truly grateful): It's snowing!

We aren't expecting much: 2 - 4", and it's the light, fluffy kind so I really don't mind. Besides, I know spring is on its way ... my woodpile is almost gone. AND, the warm weather actually melted nearly all the snow in the gardens directly in front of our house (it COOKS there), so I may even have daffodils in March, which is very unusual.

I'm so ready for spring.

===============



Your Style is Bohemian



When it comes to fashion, anything goes for you... especially if it's whimsical and fun.

You draw your style influences from all over, and you are a pro at mixing and matching.

You believe that fashion rules are meant to be broken. You don't need anyone to tell you what looks good.

You rock your own unique and free spirited style. And many people secretly envy you for it.



My own unique and free spirited style is called: comfy jeans and T-shirts. I know, crazy!! *G*

==================

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekends Off

Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them. ~John Shirley

I've decided to start taking weekends off. Weekends are actually my most challenging times to write anything anywhere. It's the time I have to build all of the next week's webpages for the LASR/WC sites, I have to upload the next week's reviews and work on editing them. My DH is home, DD doesn't do school ... generally, I'm busier than usual.

So, I hope you'll all understand, but from now until further notice, this will me a Monday - Friday blog (unless something amazing and stupendous happens that I HAVE to share).




You Are Confident



You like to be in the middle of the action, although you don't purposely seek attention.

You are very laid back and enjoy being around other people. You are surprisingly easy going.

Structure and rules bore you. You thrive on action and always want to be moving forward.

You are an adventure seeker, but you're also realistic. You want an adventure to improve your life.



Not really, but then I didn't like any of the shoes and chose the lesser of evils.

======================

Friday, February 18, 2011

There's Something to Say for Exhaustion

There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired. - Anonymous

Slept MUCH better last night.

It was a combination of things, really. I was incredibly tired from the night before, I'd gotten outside yesterday and walked the dog (it was GORGEOUS here -- in the mid-50s and sunny. I actually broke a sweat), and we started a new beginning agility class.

Normally a new beginner class isn't all that big a deal, but this one happens to be chock full of pit bulls. And before you think that means they're all horrible dogs, the reverse is actually true. They're wonderfully friendly, sweet dogs -- but when dogs start agility, they typically don't like to do the obstacles. It's one thing to "strongly encourage" a Yorkshire Terrier to go through a tunnel, it's another thing entirely to "encourage" 65 lbs of pure muscle.

One of the pits would just sit down at the entrance. While his owner was at the other end calling, I was trying to get him to just put his head down and look so he could see her (usually once they see their owner they'll run through). I'd push, he'd resist (usually I was getting lots of dog kisses at the same time, since I was down on his level). I tried walking him away (he was good with that) and then turning and running toward the tunnel. He'd stop and sit down.

Our instructor is a tiny lady who's about 5'1 and weighs maybe 100 lbs soaking wet. Between the two of us we finally got him through. And, after many times repeating the same scenario, he finally realized that the tunnel wasn't going to eat him and started going on his own.

But I was exhausted by the end of the night.

Interestingly enough, the most timid dog in the group is the one doing the best. And her confidence as she did each obstacle was amazing. It helped that her owner was SO enthusiastic, to the point she even rolled around with her on the ground. But it was great to see the little dog with its head and tail low start grinning and wagging her tail and looking proud.

It was a good night.

Here's a funny shared with me last night as well:



===================




You Are Nonfiction



You are mentally sharp and clear-minded. Facts matter to you, and you remember them well.

You are curious about the world, and many subjects interest you. You have a real thirst for knowledge.

You are willing to listen to any point of view, as long as it's backed up with facts and logic.

You have nothing against fiction, but you definitely feel like the real world is interesting enough as is!



That's pretty much true, except that I love fiction (though I read plenty of non-fiction, too).

======================

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thirteen Reasons I Didn't Sleep Last Night

How do people go to sleep? I'm afraid I've lost the knack. I might try busting myself smartly over the temple with the night-light. I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things. ~Dorothy Parker

Click on the banner for more participants


1. The voices in my head were talking too loudly.

2. I was hot (tossed the covers off). I was cold (put the covers back). I was hot (tossed the covers off). I was cold (put the covers back).

3. My husband snores.

4. My dog snores.

5. Full moon shining through the window.

6. Stuffy nose... but only on one side. Other side was so dry it hurt.

7. Worrying about not getting to sleep.

8. Started carrying on a conversation with the voices in my head.

9. Got a song stuck in my head that kept playing over and over and over...

10. Joints ached from laying in one spot too long. Got up and walked around a bit, which made the dog think it was time to get up.

11. Needed to put wood on the fire.

12. Stove afterburner started roaring and "poofing" flames which made me nervous, so I laid on the couch and watched to make sure the house didn't burn down (the new stove and I have a very uneasy truce).

13. Finally fell asleep thirty minutes before it was time to get up...

========================



Your True Eye Color is Deep Violet



You are a harmonious, peace-loving person. You are considerate and kind.

You are quite emotional and sensitive. Most people don't know how easy it is to hurt your feelings.

While you are a bit fragile, you're also extremely tough. You can dig deep.

When you want to get your way, you're assertive and gusty. You won't let anyone intimidate you.



About 75% right ...

==========================

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where Did the Time Go?

Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It's passing, yet I'm the one who's doing all the moving. ~Martin Amis, Money

Yesterday absolutely flew by for me ... I swear the hours just vanished. I'm getting more and more behind on the things I need to accomplish and it's very frustrating.

Yesterday I had a list of errands to run while DD was in her art lessons. I was as efficient as possible (including a 15 minute grocery store run -- literally. Except for the one time I got stuck behind a VERY old nun who was moving slowly down the cereal aisle and was also apparently deaf because my "excuse me" wasn't acknowledged... almost gave me the shakes, lol, but it's a NUN so I couldn't get angry) and still didn't complete them all. I have a laundry list of things to do for LASR/WC/Goddess Fish as well and my inbox just keeps growing.

Oy.

Just a week ago I was feeling pretty darn caught up.

This morning I got an email from cover model, Jason Aaron Baca (we interviewed him over at LASR last week) asking about my darling dog (her picture is on my website). It got me to looking around about Golden Irish dogs. I was amazed to find that there are MANY breeders of Golden Irishes, which is good to know. Not that we are hoping Dakota crosses the Rainbow Bridge any time soon, but we're just so pleased with her that it's a breed we'll probably repeat and highly recommend.

I read this blog post about the breed, which was very interesting. And I discovered that the reason she never really got "feathers" and has white patches (on one paw and on her chest) is because her father was a "working" Golden Retriever as opposed to one bred for the show ring.

DD took some pix of her yesterday. The snow has a hard crust on it now (from the partial thaw and then the bitterly cold temps we have now) and Dakota is enjoying being able to walk on top:






She also took some artsy-fartsy pictures as well:




She amuses me to no end... :-)

===================




You Should Play Poker



You are a crafty person, and you're always looking at things from all angles.

You can read people well, but you can also hide your feelings when you need to.

You are a natural strategist, and you're always thinking a few steps ahead.

You don't mind putting all your chips in when the time is right... in fact, it gives you a thrill!



That's actually pretty close ...

====================

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Day After Valentine's Day

I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon. ~Author Unknown

Not much to say today ... it's been uneventful. Yesterday we had warm, sunny weather (for us -- it was in the 40s) and the snow melted like crazy! It sounded like I had a creek running in my lawn (we have a culvert that goes under our driveway) from all the run off from the snow on my roof and the drifts around the driveway.

I took the dog for a walk, too -- it was just too nice to stay indoors.

For Valentine's Day, DH and I stayed home and watched "Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy". Truthfully, he watched and I sat in the living room and read.

Did you do anything special for Valentine's Day?

=====================




You Are an Adventurous Valentine



Your heart soars whenever you have the chance to do something new, and that goes double for Valentine's Day.

You would love excitement and novelty to celebrate this special day. You especially love surprises!

Your ideal Valentine's Day is unconventional, quirky, and not traditionally romantic by any means.

You don't like a lot of pressure on V-Day. You just want to have some fun!



That's about right.

=========================

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday!

Amount of time it takes for a dog to "do its business" is directly proportional to outside temperature + suitability of owner's outerwear. ~Betsy CaƱas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com

Whew! What a crazy weekend -- our party had 100 authors and more than 3,000 comments. Fun and craziness abounded. I'm still a bit pooped, but ready to get back to routine.

DH has jury duty this week, so we won't *exactly* be on routine, since he leaves late and gets home early, but even so, more than we have been. DD chose the pieces she's donating to the Brenda Novak Auction this year (she's donating a set of three earrings, a necklace and a bracelet/earring set) and has also started making more new pieces and pulling some older stuff that just doesn't meet her approval now that she's getting so much better at her "job".

We did manage to take Dakota to the dog park both mornings this weekend to get her wiggles out. She had loads of fun, except when she was being beat up on. I said something to another person about Dakota being a 99 pound weakling, and they said "She's 99 pounds?" ... am I the only one who gets what I meant?

Thankfully we didn't get the snow they were predicting. It was plenty cold (our trips to the dog park only lasted 30 mins or so), but no new white stuff, for which I am eternally grateful. We're expecting a warm up this week into the 40s as well, so I'm thinking spring might actually arrive as scheduled.

I'm hoping to get caught up on reading blogs, and do a little writing today. We'll see. Depends on how focused DD will be at school -- she's been a wee bit difficult of late.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Monday and a great week!

======================




You Are Warmhearted



You are a truly kind and loving person. You care for others deeply, and it's not an act.

You are one tough cookie, even though it isn't always apparent from the outside.

You have a lot of inner strength, and you can dig deep when you need to.

You are both patient and persistent. You are willing to wait for someone to come around.



About 75% right...

====================

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Weekend Hiatus

Hey all ... I'm going to be buried in blog posts and contest drawings this weekend.

See that black, red and white graphic up there ^^ ?

LASR/WC/Goddess Fish is giving away either a Kindle, Nook or $150 GC this weekend to someone who comments on our guest posts AND a pile of other stuff like four $25 Amazon/BN GC and uncountable $5 Amazon/BN GCs

We have 100 authors blogging over the next two days. Sadly, my biz partner has to work today and my admin is away for the day, so I am on my own.

The posts have already started (I found out what an "Agony Aunt" is! LOL...) so I'm heading over to work.

Feel free to visit. Every comment over there earns you an entry.

Back (unless I'm utterly exhausted) on Monday!

Have a great weekend :-)

=============================

Friday, February 11, 2011

Life in a Moment, Part Deux

I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine - she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights. ~ Terri Guillemets

In a moment of irony or kismet, after writing my post Life in a Moment about making sure we tell folks we care today, yesterday my mom landed in the ER.

She's been struggling with being able to breathe for sometime, though it worsened dramatically. Her current doctor told her "you're old and overweight ... it's nothing that diet and exercise won't fix." So Mom changed her eating habits, lost a pile of weight, started walking more (she's 78 y.o. so couldn't exactly start running a marathon) and it only got worse.

On Wednesday, I looked online and found her a new doctor (one who would both accept patients and take Medicare -- many of the doctors in her town won't take Medicare). He got her in the same day. Ordered lab tests for first thing Thursday. Then, upon getting the results, the lab called and told her to go to the ER immediately.

She called me en route. We were both terrifically worried, obviously. Every couple of hours she gave me updates: I have severe anemia and need a blood transfusion. I'm bleeding internally, but they don't know where. I'm being admitted for the night. And then finally the answer: bleeding ulcers.

These don't develop overnight. I'm so glad her new doctor took the time to really listen to her and DO something. Her old doctor should be strung up by his toes. Shame on him for assuming she was a complaining old lady. He had the opportunity to catch this problem before it got so severe that it was life threatening.

Life in a moment .... Thankfully, I talk to my mom almost every day. I try not to miss any moments. I've lost one parent, and still miss him every day so don't want to make the same mistakes again. She's the only Mom I have.

In any case, I was a little distracted yesterday. I did very little except wander around my house and clean it. I didn't write or visit blogs, and only did the bare minimum of work that was urgent. I'll try to catch up today.

For now, though: Go... hug your mom if you can. Hug your kids. Hug your husband. Hug your siblings. Hug a friend. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

=========================




You Should Bake Chocolate Cookies



You are easy going and fun to be around. You love to glory in each moment.

You love to be in a crowd, and you know how to work it. You are good at getting people to laugh.

You are confident and sure of yourself. You can handle criticism and don't take harsh words personally.

You like to be the center of attention, and you love complements. You take both good things and the bad things in stride.



Mmm... chocolate. But the quiz results? About 50/50.

====================

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Waiting For Spring

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

I've made some jokes about the snow melting here by June... but I gotta tell you, I suspect once it warms up above freezing on a regular basis, it'll be gone lickety-split. We had days in the low 40s this weekend -- two of them -- and we lost a good 8 - 10" of snow to the melt. Our mailbox is now above the snow!

I've started getting gardening catalogs in the mail -- it's so tempting to buy stuff, but honestly I don't need any more ornamental plants. I will go to my local Agway and get seeds (they have SO MANY CHOICES!) and then get some annuals later, but I'm avoiding the temptation of the catalogs so far. I think I'm going to plant at least one or two new veggies this year, just because. And, if my knee holds up, I'm going to expand the area of my garden a bit because you can't grow too many veggies.

I can't WAIT until spring.

I've written another 255 words and am actually thinking I might finish this story. Amazing ... I have a screwy timeline I need to figure out, though, because this story -- "Now and Forever" is actually going to be happening at the same time as the next story in one has apparently become a series in my brain, "Drive Me Crazy". Still, it's moving forward, slow and steady.

=======================




You Are a Zebra



You are a multifaceted and complex person. The front you provide is even a bit of an illusion.

You are a study in contradictions and strong contrasts. You believe that there is more than one way to look at things.

You also believe in accepting yourself. You feel different from everyone else, and you embrace that.

You inspire others to be their true selves and even flaunt what they've got!



Um .... okay. Maybe?

==============

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Life in a Moment

The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them. ~ Stephen King

A few days ago, a friend IM'd me -- she and her DH of many, many years had fought terribly, with horrible things being said (by him). Though there was certainly grounds for hurt feelings between the two of them over what caused the fight, it was very extreme. She was devastated and he barely spoke to her. It was bad enough for her to wonder if it would end her marriage.

Fast forward two days ...

I got another IM from her last night. Panicked. Her DH had had a heart attack that morning. He wanted to ignore his pains and go to work, she made him call the doc from home. They were told to get to the ER immediately ... and as it turns out, that was a wise decision. The doc told them that any significant delay would probably have been fatal. Her DH is in the hospital now, stable.

But, it got me to thinking. What if he hadn't made it? What if he'd died with all that hate and anger between them? He'll have a chance to say "I'm sorry" now, and I hope he takes it. She'll have a chance to be a better wife. I know she'll take it. But life doesn't always give us second chances.

I lost my dad more than twenty years ago to cancer. I was young and had better things to do than spend every day with him when he was sick. Oh... I visited him. I did things with him, but I certainly didn't spend as much time with him as I should have. And worse, I don't remember ever telling him that I loved him -- things like that just weren't bandied around by us.

Even though he was terminal, it seemed as though he'd always be there. Then one day he wasn't and I lost all my chances to talk to him one more time. My chance to tell him I loved him. Life doesn't always give us second chances.

Last night, my DH was working late (as is usual). I called him and told him what had happened and said that, although the odds were against anything happening to either of us before he got home, I wanted him to know that I loved him. I gave my daughter an extra few squeezes last night as well.

Life doesn't always give us second chances. Why not make sure you've told those people around you who matter just how much they DO matter? We tend to feel invincible, but things happen. From car accidents to terrorist attacks (you think anyone expected 9/11 to happen?). I even have a friend whose husband fell out of bed, and it killed him. Yes, really.

Make the most of this moment. You might not get another one.

=============================

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Jury Duty part Deux

“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” - Thomas Jefferson

“I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system -- that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up.” - Harper Lee


So ... my DH showed up for the jury pool (for the last time) yesterday. He'd just finished serving on the jury last week for the civil case he was selected for. Yesterday, they were seating five cases (with alternates, it comes out to needing about 70 jurors) and there were only 100 people in the pool.

Odds were good he'd get chosen.

The scary part? Two cases were for three months and one was for SIX months.

He laid it all out for the judge. Explained about how his job wouldn't let him take off that long, that he was the sole-breadwinner and long cases were a hardship he couldn't afford. The judge said he'd see what he could do, but no promises.

In a good news / bad news situation, DH was seated again, but only on a case that's scheduled for three days.

Phew.

Then he's done. Hallelujah.

It's snowing. Not a ton (they predict 2" by the end of the day), but enough to make it sloppy and for stupid people to cause accidents. Of course, it's on the one day I have to go out -- art lessons. I swear, it only snows on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. At least we won't miss agility (again) since it's supposed to be clear.

I'm having fun with my story. It's refreshing to actually enjoy what I'm writing for a change. I'm interspersing writing with reading, so haven't gotten tons done, but the reading I'm doing is as a writer, not a reader, so it's part of the whole "writing" gig.

Only got 230 words yesterday. But every word counts.

My local Agway has their seeds out. I almost bought some yesterday ... I'm planning my garden and, assuming the snow melts by then, will put in my "cold" crops at the end of April: peas, spinach, swiss chard. In May, I'll plant my summer stuff: cucumbers, squash, tomatoes. I might try carrots, though we don't usually have a lot of luck with them, and I'm thinking about beets (I don't actually like beets, but beet greens are good).

I'm SO ready for spring.

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You Are a Crow



You are highly intelligent and have a lot of mental strength.

You value self-reliance, and you work hard every day to improve your life.

You believe that life is magical, and you are always looking for new and exciting opportunities.

You follow your own path, and the turns you take are often unexpected and inspired.



Except that crows always make me think of "The Stand", the rest is true. I'm just not sure I like being a crow ...

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Super Superbowl

Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors. ~Frank Gifford

Watched the Super Bowl all the way to the end last night -- for those of you not on Eastern Time that may not seem that hard, but OY, it was for me. I miss California time...

Best part about the game? That is WAS as game. I watched to the end because, even though at halftime it seemed over, the Steelers rallied and it was any teams game after the third quarter. Well done, both teams.

Anyway ...

Before it started, DH said, "Who do you think is going to win?"

Being ever informed, I asked, "Who's playing?"

"Steelers and Packers."

I thought for a moment, having no idea who was expected to win. Went with my gut for the Cheese-Heads. "Packers."

"Cool, cuz I think the Steelers are going to win."

See ... that way, we could root against each other and make it fun.

A few things: I absolutely *HATE* the GoDaddy commercials. They're one of the reasons we don't let DD sit and watch the show. I swear, there is no more "family" entertainment anymore, and it frustrates the snot out of me.

Loved the Volkswagen Darth Vader commercial, but was sad how much was cut out from when I watched it at Melissa's blog. Here it is again, in its entirety, for those of you who didn't see it:



And I thought the Packers QB, Rodgers, was the reason they won. He got hit a dozen times (hello, offense... protect your QB!), his one wide receiver (Nelson, I think) was a fumble fingers (reminded me of Clifford Franklin in "The Replacements") but he kept it together. Every time I saw him, he looked focused and completely un-rattled. I was thoroughly impressed.

So ... good for you, Packers!

Speaking of "The Replacements" makes me have to post this:



In other news, I wrote 320 words last night during the game. LOL... usually I can't write with distractions, but it worked for me for whatever reason.

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Your Love Word is "Devotion"



For you, love is a doing word. You prove your love with the actions you take every day.

You are loyal and true to whoever you're in a relationship with. You don't give up unless things are absolutely hopeless.

You don't love easily or quickly. You only will fall for someone you truly and completely adore.

Once you love, you love intensely. You take love very seriously.



Yep.

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Day of Rest

Taking a day off today ... but I leave you with this video. Note: If you aren't a redneck or don't know a redneck, you may not find this as amusing as I did.



Have a great Sunday!

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

eBooks Steals and Deals!

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. ~James Bryce

Sourcebooks is giving away three free eBooks this weekend!

Get them from the Sourcebooks site here.

BN NookBooks:

Love at First Flight by: Marie Force

The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

Lydia Bennett's Story by Jane Odiwe

Kindle:

Love at First Flight by Marie Force

The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

Lydia Bennett's Story by Jane Odiwe

Plus BN.com and Amazon.com have these books really cheap:

BN NookBook: Fire & Ice by Dana Stabanow -- only $0.99!

Kindle: Fire & Ice by Dana Stabanow -- only $0.99!

BN NookBook: Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan Series #1) by by Laura Lippman -- 0nly $0.99!

Kindle: Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan Series #1) by Laura Lippman -- only $0.99!

Happy Shopping!

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There was far too much drama in my house yesterday. Not going to go into it, but suffice it to say that nothing much got done (including school -- because part of the drama was a lost schoolbook, which is still not found, so DD is buying a new copy). There were many tears, some of which were mine, lots of hurt feelings and just a really emotionally wearing day.

I'm hoping today will be quieter. We are expecting somewhere in the range of 5 - 8" of snow (because we didn't have nearly enough), but otherwise I'm truly praying for a quiet, uneventful day.

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You Are Engaging



You're the type of person who is always on. You are very playful, and you're always looking for new people to challenge and delight you.

You are both inquisitive and intellectual. You're curious about the world, and just reading about it won't satisfy you.

You can be a bit restless and flighty at times. You move on to the next thing freely and without regrets.

You are entertaining and a total charmer. People find you more interesting than you find them.



About 50/50 ...

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Friday, February 04, 2011

The Blog Post That Has No Name

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford

Melissa mentioned being jealous of all our snow. Melissa, I'd ship it off to you if I could. There's a guy down the road who stuck a sign in one of his drifts that says: FREE SNOW. :-)

LONG day yesterday ... DD and I didn't agree on a few things about school, like what it means to actually be "done" (yes, that means that your quiz AND your homework is finished) and how many times I should give her hints during a poem she was supposed to have memorized before we decided that it wasn't really memorized after all. There was much fussing and stomping of feet and "but, mom-ing".

Usually it's much easier, but our routine has been messed with this week with DH on jury duty (which means he's home a LOT more -- he leaves later and gets home earlier) and Wednesday with all the snow and DH home. I think it was Weds that really did it this time. Drama, drama, drama.

I'm in the midst of changing all my bank accounts to a new bank. Our old one started imposing fees on pretty much everything starting January 1st without any way to waive them (except having massive amounts of money with them ... uh, yeah, I'm going to keep my millions - ha - with you a 1 1/2% interest. Are rich people really that stupid?). It's SUCH a pain, though. With automatic deposits and payments set up and having to switch those and just all the other crap that comes with it. Thankfully, I've been able to do almost everything either online or via phone, so it's saved me many, many hours of running around.

Yesterday, I did not get any writing done, BUT -- and this was huge for me! -- I had an epiphany about the story and how to get through this painful part and on to the end. I swear, that moment at night when I'm laying in bed all half-asleep and dozy is the absolute BEST time for brainstorming. I think my brain is looser and more willing to think outside the box then. I wish I could simulate that during the day... I suppose I could do what Samuel Taylor Coleridge did when writing "Kubla Khan" (the poem was composed one night after he experienced an opium influenced dream), but I'll probably pass on that.

I have high hopes for writing today, provided DD keeps the drama to a minimum.

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Your Dominant Personality Trait is Ambition



You are a very confident, take charge type of person.

You know who you want to be, and you're going to do everything in your power to achieve your goals.

You throw caution to the wind. You know that risks are necessary to get ahead in life.

If you fail, you learn from the experience... and try harder next time!



Okay .... I'm good with that.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Snow Pix, Part Deux

I finally went out and shoveled off my driveway -- it snowed for a couple hours after DH did the last bit of snowblowing, so my job was to clear that this a.m. I waited until the sun really came out (it was snowing this morning a little).

Snow, snow everywhere:







Of course, I have to admit it's kind of pretty (as in: it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here):






Groundhog says it'll be an early spring, but I'm not sure how long it's going to take for those drifts to melt...

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This Post Delayed...

Until I can venture outside when it's light and take some pictures. BBS!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Baby, It's White Outside!

Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

It snowed all day yesterday, tapering off late at night as the first of our two big storms passed. We got a good ten inches yesterday and they're expecting at least 12" more today.

Art classes were NOT canceled, however, so we headed out in the snow. About 2" of snow had already fallen by this time but most of the main roads were clear. I dropped DD off at the art center, but there was nowhere to park, even on the streets (which I may not have done anyway. The drifts have pushed out so far, when people park on the street there is barely room for even one car to drive through -- and it's meant for two cars going in opposite directions. That's just asking for someone to hit you). Her lessons last almost two hours, so I opted to drive home. The roads were already getting worse, though, so the drive back an hour later made me a nervous wreck. Thankfully people were driving sanely, for a change (with one exception: note to the guy driving the Nissan Pathfinder 50 MPH in the lane that wasn't really a lane in order to get past the line of cars going 30 MPH... you're an idiot and 4WD does not help you stop any better than the rest of us) so our trip was uneventful.

Even so, I had one doozy of a headache when I got home, probably due to being so tense in my shoulders while driving.

I'm SO ready for spring. I wonder how long it's going to take our mountains of snow to melt?

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I managed to write 255 words yesterday. I'm clinging to my goal by the skin of my teeth ...

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You Are a Green Cake



You are a highly sensitive person. You can't help but be keenly aware of the environment around you.

You are naturally quite spiritual. You find happiness from living a slower pace of life.

You take time to savor every moment... and that includes every bit of cake.

You are not confrontational or aggressive. You believe that everyone should be given space to do their own thing.



And again, no. The last couple of quizzes have been completely wrong.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

No Vacancy

"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March." - Dr. J. R. Stockton

I wish that was the sign we could hang up for the snowstorm.

I spent the day running errands. I don't have time today (DD has art lessons), and I knew I'd be stuck in the house Wednesday and possibly Thursday. All over town (including on my street), there were bulldozers in action, scooping up snow and shoving it back from the sides of the streets and highways. Moving it elsewhere when there just wasn't anyplace to put it nearby. The drifts on the sides of the road are already almost as tall as I am, and we just don't have anywhere to put more snow. It's dangerous to pull out of stores and driveways because you can't see around the piles of snow to know if someone is coming unless you poke your nose out so far it could get taken off.

We went to the dog park for a little while yesterday, and I was amazed at how deep the snow was there. It's all packed down, hard as asphalt, but you can judge the depth based on other items in there. For instance, there are two picnic tables that have packed snow up to their benches and the teeter-totter doesn't teeter or totter. It's flat, lying on the snow. The gates only open one way and even then, just barely, thanks to the town digging out the ice and snow, but I'm really worried this next storm may put the place out of commission until spring and that would be very sad.

The joys of living in the frozen north.

I met my half-goal in writing yesterday. I did 258 words. My goal is 250 - 500, with a deep desire to hit the 500 mark. But I was out of the house for several hours and then had tons of work to do once I got home. I'm okay was 250. At the rate in which I'm writing, I'll have the first draft of "Now and Forever" done in 20 - 40 days.

All the errand running also meant I didn't visit any blogs yesterday. I hope to rectify that today!

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You Are Modest



You are a team player, and you like to make valuable contributions to the group.

Compromise comes easily to you, and you're willing to work hard to get the job done.

You are a peacemaker. You are very uncomfortable with conflict and confrontation.

You are highly observant and in tune with your surroundings. You like to blend in.



HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... no.

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