Monday, December 27, 2010

Something to write about...

In the past months of 2010 it has been difficult to find time for blogging, let alone my personal writing.  However, I have been blessed with work to keep me abundantly busy.  Now that the new year approaches my only resolution is to keep writing.  Write as much and as often as I can.  That typically consists of late nights into the wee hours of the morning in order to find quiet "me" time.  The best part is knowing I have a goal that is within my grasp!  Any day now I should be getting news, whether good or bad, on my recent submission of my favorite manuscript.  We'll see...in the mean time I have a lot to plot and something to write about ;-) 

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tree Shopping

For the past five years or more we have had a very LARGE tree that took hours to fluff and straighten, let alone the hours of adding lights and decorations.  This year we are downsizing.  Hubs has a prelit 6' in mind.  I protested, loudly, and suggested a 9' at the least.  It's not easy to go from a gigantic green to a wee twig in one Christmas! 

Our dilemma lies in WHERE to buy.  I have friends in retail who all tout their favorite store, but nothing beats a good ole fashioned online hunt.  I have an idea what I want, but also have a feeling I want what I can't have.

Here's what I want:

And here's what I will likely get:


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ghost Stories

It's one of my favorite times of year when the weather changes to a crisp cool breeze, the trees drop their green for a shade of orange, red, and...dead. Nothing brings out the spooky like a backdrop of dead grass and trees with a chill in the air and a good ghost story to tell around a fire (well, a fire pit with Smores of course). I've heard stories from friends and acquaintances alike, but nothing gets the chill up the spine like experiencing a ghostly encounter yourself.

I'll share mine with you, but in return I ask that you post your comments in the form of a ghost story too :)

The year was 2002, spring time. I had just returned from active duty and happily settling in to our new home with my hubs and oldest son. The house was built in a new subdivision, barely cleared of trees and brush for all the homes that popped up years later.

Hubs was in the garage building me a bookshelf. I had walked out, closed the door behind me, and as I got halfway through the garage the tape player/radio that was sitting on a shelf by the door flew off and landed in front of me. Had I not ducked when hubs yelled out to me it would have knocked me out. Now you're thinking "well slamming the door closed could cause it to fall"...yes, but it didn't fall and I didn't slam the door. It was well after the door was closed and "falling" outwards 20 feet to land in front of me would take someone or something throwing it.

The follow up incidents to this is what made me want to sell and move. Hubs was asleep in our room across the house, our oldest was asleep down the hall from our office, and I was up working on school work in the office. All of a sudden I hear the living room TV turn on. I walked in thinking hubs had gotten up only to find the remote sitting on the arm of the recliner and no one around. I turned it off, threw the remote on the cushion of the couch and started to walk out. The TV came on again. I turned around, slowly as every horror scene of Poltergeist ran through my head, to see the remote sitting back on the arm of the recliner and the channels change before it shut off again. I slept like a baby that night...nearly wetting myself and crying for my momma!

A couple nights went by and hubs and I were lying in bed watching TV when we saw a very tall figure or shadow of a person walk by our bedroom door. The way our house was set up and the direction the shadow moved was from our front door (our son's room was near the front of the house down the hallway also) through our living room and past our room to the back sliding doors. Neither of us moved. I asked hubs if he saw that and he replied, "nope, I didn't see the tall person walk by our door. " Yeah, we both jumped out of bed and ran to our son's room to check on him before searching the rest of the house. We heard our bulldog (Lou) growling and when we saw him staring down the hallway from our son's room he just laid down and kept growling...

Needless to say we moved.

Here's a link to a pretty cool site that has some urban legends, ghost stories, and superstitions to get you in the Halloween spirit: Urban Legends Online

Monday, October 11, 2010

Annual Costume Ideas: 2010

Every year I try to put together a list of costumes that stand a chance at being unique for Halloween costume contests. This year is proving to be tough to top my ideas from last year. In case you missed them here is a recap:

  1. Roasted Marshmallow: Big white t-shirt, stuff it with pillows or foam fabric, spray paint brown/black flame marks on it, wear brown tights; you can also use a wooden dowel or real stick to put in the back.
  2. Jail Bait: jail house stripes (dress/shirt & pants) and fish hooks/etc. on a fishing hat.
  3. Calendar Girl: Get a calendar and pin the different months all over a shirt and pants.
  4. English muffin: Wear a size too small jeans so you have a muffin top, get a plain t-shirt and use a paint pen to color a British flag on it, and talk with a British accent. (seriously considering this one!)
  5. Hula Chic: wear a grass skirt and lei with a hula hoop around you
  6. Diet Dr. Pepper: scrubs, face mask, slim fast (any diet bar) pinned to scrubs, chili peppers (necklace/or pinned to scrubs), optional stethoscope (did this one in 2006)
  7. Arch Angel: angel costume with golden arches (McDonald’s anything)
  8. Blackberry: wear all black, use any type of plastic berries (paint them black) and hang on costume or as necklace, use pipe cleaners to make antenna for head.
  9. Redheaded Step-child: red wig, plastic step stool to carry/hang, and a pacifier.
  10. Ying Yang (couples idea): one wears black sheet with white dot painted on it, the other a white sheet with a black dot. (Did this for Bobbie and Erin one year!)
  11. Faux Pas: Any sweatshirt/t-shirt will do, just add fake fur in the shape of a paw (get it, paw/pas…)
  12. Teepee’d: Wrap yourself in toilet paper, add face paint like a Native American and a feather headband for comical accessories.
  13. “Yoga”: dress in yoga gear with a Yoda mask (this was funnier when I first thought of it).
  14. Bed of Roses: pin fake roses to a bed sheet, carry a small pillow or pin it to the sheet also and wrap it around you (also thinking about this one).
  15. Goldie Locks: wear all black, get the little gold locks and hang all over the outfit; a blond wig may help with hinting at what you are dressed as.
  16. Book Worm: use two or three sheets of poster board to fold in half (like a book--be really creative and write on it or paste magazine pages), wear a solid color as to not distract from the 'book', wear big fake reading glasses.
  17. Invisible Woman: (very easy) buy a sheet of cammie netting; when people ask what you are dressed as, wrap it around you so they can't see you.

New ideas will come as I compile the 2010 list. In the mean time add your comments for suggestions or catch some others on my facebook page! Happy Costume Hunting!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Things I've Learned from My Two Year Old...This Week

As a parent I expect the unexpected with my boys. A ball stuck on the roof, broken vase/glass/or electronic that was an "accident", even a pre-teen meltdown. I've been through it once, what's a second time going to bring that I can't handle, right?

Most people cope well with chaos. It's the mayhem that keeps me on my toes. Mayhem being our two-year old son. He's full of imagination, a total ham, and loves to give hugs and kisses to his momma...and the dogs (the order varies!). Every day I learn something new, and often times have to clean up whatever lesson he left for me.

Here's some of those things:

1.) Spray starch (a whole spray bottle to be exact) makes a wood floor very slippery...until it dries and becomes one of the strongest adhesives known to man.

2.) Potty training consists of standing ON the toilet and aiming...for both #1 and #2.

3.) You can teach a new dog old tricks...with a twist:

4.) Spiderman doesn't "sit" in time out :
5.) When you hear, "Watch me, Mommy!" a first-aid kit should be close by as it usually involves a band aid, splint, or tourniquet afterwards:

6.) The "uh oh" you hear just before the toilet flushes means you're buying someone in the house a new tooth brush or he just gave one of the dogs a swirly.

7.) Handing a two-year old a water hose...is just plain dumb:

I cringe as I write this only because I know the silence in the background is not a good thing unless he's sleeping.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Habits

"Habit is habit, and not to be thrown out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.- Mark Twain "


As you can see I have made it a habit to neglect my blog. I will try to coax that habit down and my writing back up. I have also coaxed my bad habit of smoking so far down the stairs that I dug a six foot deep hole and buried it under the basement. Yes, it's been four months and nary a craving for one.

What habits do you have (good or bad)?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reading the news of an old friend's good fortune (book getting published [jealous it's not mine] very excited for her) I realized how lacking I have been with my own goal of submitting two manuscripts this year. I'm about finished with the first book in a series. The problem I am having is that I already plotted two others in a new series that just popped into my head this weekend during training.

Don't ask me how the two correlate (training and book ideas of completely different genres), but it all came together rather quickly on the reverse driving we did Saturday. The angel on my shoulder is saying study, the devil is saying grab a Swiss Cake Roll and lounge pool side. Between the two, neither is saying write so I will listen to my gut and finish my study guide then take my laptop pool side instead.

"There are three difficulties in authorship; to write anything worth the publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to get sensible men to read it. -C.C. Colton"

Happy Monday, bloggers!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Launching A Star Contest

It's that time of year again! Space Coast Authors of Romance (FL-STAR) have opened it's annual contest, Launching A Star, as of July 1. Follow this link, STAR, to read the rules and regs and get your WIP or completed manuscript entered by midnight September 8th!

Happy writing!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Her Name...

It's just after midnight on Monday, June 21, 2010. Eight years ago today my wonderful Hubs and I married. We have been together many years, blessed with two sons, two male dogs, a wonderful home and community, loving friends, and an amazing family.

I love my hubs and our boys with all my heart, and adore their quirks and habits that make them "boys". Hubs spoils me more and more every year with fabulous anniversary gifts, and I must say that this year is by far the best! We knew we wanted more than one child. I was so happy to have boys, though often asked if we were going to try for a girl.

I felt lonely being the only female in the house. Always outnumbered and way too much testosterone. So after a loooooong Fathers Day of priming Hubs about it, I finally went and got us our baby girl.

Her name...is Lola:
Lola D. McLaughlin (the "D" stands for Diva). She is called a Mastador which is a Labrador and Mastiff cross breed. At 14 weeks she weighs 25 lbs. Though she should grow to be 90-100 lbs, she will still be my baby girl.

Happy Anniversary, Hubs!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where's the Beef?

Juuuuust when we see a silver lining in the constant blows of bad luck--WHAM--we get hit again!

Hubs was in the mood to cook his homemade sauce and meatballs. When he pulled out the chop meat he realized it had gone bad, and instead of just throwing it away, well...see for yourself.
Yep. He put it down the garbage disposal. Apparently there was a leak. The violent thrashing from the blades and pressure from the water spewed it all over the inside of the cabinets. Not only did it seep out onto the floor, but it also embedded chunks of meat into just about every spray bottle, cleaning agent, and garbage bag stored underneath. *shudder, cringe, gag*

Upon closer inspection we found that there wasn't so much a leak as there was a dime sized hole where the rancid meat, and God only knows what else over time, escaped.

One trip to HD coming up. Pulling out of our driveway we see this:
Ha! At this point we have to laugh. A half hour or less after getting the broken garbage disposal replaced we end up eating out. Where's the beef? Who needs it when we've got Boston Market.

40 Days...and 40 Nights

Funny that today, the 40th day without a cigarette, it rains. It's not on the level of flooding the Earth and ridding the world of evil, but it certainly makes my lungs happy to know I can throw on my running shoes and hit the pavement without dreading every breath.

With the chaos of the past couple months, there were numerous excuses that rationalized having one. I didn't. I'm glad I didn't. Now I can focus on getting faster and stronger so I can reach my personal goal of beating my Marine Corps run time from 1997--ooof!

Now if you will excuse me I have to go curb my hubby's foul language (before our toddler starts saying it) as he rips the garbage disposal out from under the sink while covered in raw chop meat...oh yes, that blog will soon follow!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 21...

No dead bodies, no physical harm to idiots who try my patience throughout the daily errands, and no "unreasonable" tongue lashings to stupid drivers...that does not include the involuntary act of flipping the bird. I think that action is connected to another bad habit entirely.

So I've made it three weeks. Doesn't seem like a big deal since I once hit the two year mark before going back to the habit. Only time will tell if I really have the self-discipline everyone else thinks I have to keep away from the ever so enticing nicotine. Most people have a smoke after a big meal or with a big cup of coffee, but mine stemmed from boredom.

Right now I am blessed to have little boredom in my life. With the insurmountable studying that will continue for the next 7 months, an active toddler who lives up to his name...every second of the day, a pubescent pre-teen with an agenda of his own that hubs and I are expected to keep up with, and the daily fun of errands, job searches, and dirty diapers, I'd say I have a lot to keep me busy.

Still...one cigarette could calm my nerves, make me breath that deeeeeeep dragon breath, and exhale a cloud of nicotine induced happiness just like that. But alas, I will suppress that desire and head to the fridge for another water and maybe a block of cheese for lunch. PFFFLT! Day 21 with more to come.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 12

You know that feeling you get when you want to extend your arm, fold your hand into a fist and slooooowly lift your middle finger at the jackhat that quickly stepped in front of you in line at the grocery store?

Oh wait, what about when you are standing in said line and the same jackhat engages the cashier in conversation about his medical procedure that he has to have done, therefore taking away her attention from her job and slowing the check out process while you are PATIENTLY waiting with your two-year old that thinks he's Spider Man shooting his web at the candy and chips and climbing in and out of the cart onto the conveyor belt...
Did I mention this is day 12 of me not smoking?

The amount of studying I have to do with my current academics is what's keeping me sane. Sound crazy? Perhaps to some, but to me it's like my writing. I can hide between the pages, losing myself in the words, finding an oasis of knowledge that makes sense to me. Just as I write new worlds, and characters, and events, I can read the reality that we have at our fingertips but rarely bother with--the constitution, our state statutes, and what our rights really consist of.

I know, it sounds boring and mundane. However it keeps me from extending my fist and flipping the bird at jackhats as well as duct taping my mini-Spider Man to the grocery cart while I shop. Let's see if I can make the next 18 days with this same logic ;-)

They say a bad habit takes 28 days, but I disagree. I know day 30 will make the action of reaching for a lighter and cigarette less appealing than confronting what drives me to smoke in the first place.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day Six

It has been six days since I stopped smoking.

After this past Saturday I realized my body hates me. The youthful stamina I thought I could pull off in my physical assessment failed to show. My enthusiasm was there, but my endurance ran to the sidelines to puke while I kept going the course.

After what I thought was a tough morning, I was quickly brought back to my days in boot camp where you never know what will happen. I sure as hell didn't expect the afternoon "nature walk", and my body sure as hell didn't expect the two days of pain that followed. My lungs burned and yearned for a puff of nicotine, but I didn't give in to the pain. I'm thankful for it. It was a very good reminder that I'm not getting any younger. Also a good reminder that I still have a chance to get my butt back in shape and keep it that way before it's too late.

Consider the options; I quit and get my butt back in shape, or I keep smoking and struggle-physically-through the academy and have to quit anyway if I want a job in a good department. Most of the departments in my county have implemented the no smoking rule (or will by the time I graduate).

I know the effects it has and can potentially have on my body. I see the immediate damage it has caused since undergoing a vigorous workout on top of the required physical training for the academy. I have a goal. I want to reach that goal. In order to do so I have to make it to day 30 without a hitch. One month. What can you do in one month that can match my quitting smoking?
I can't disclose much about my training over the next months/weeks/days, but I will keep you posted on my no smoking/get my butt back in shape goal.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's the difference?

We've all heard the phrases 'stuck in a rut' or 'finding my niche', and let's not forget 'getting your groove back'. Most of us have used these phrases, but what's the real difference between a rut, a niche, and a groove? The defintions are similar, but what I see that makes them different is how they are used in a sentence.
Check this out: (Dictionary.com)

RUT: noun, verb,rut·ted, rut·ting.
–noun
1. a furrow or track in the ground, esp. one made by the passage of a vehicle or vehicles.
2. any furrow, groove, etc.
3. a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising: to fall into a rut.
*according to #2 a rut and a groove are the same thing...(according to the rest of the definition there are also mating deer involved).

NICHE: noun, adjective, verb,niched, nich·ing.
–noun
1. an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.
2. a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one's niche in the business world.
3. a distinct segment of a market.
4. Ecology. the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.

GROOVE: noun, verb,grooved, groov·ing.
–noun
1. a long, narrow cut or indentation in a surface, as the cut in a board to receive the tongue of another board (tongue-and-groove joint), a furrow, or a natural indentation on an organism.
2. the track or channel of a phonograph record for the needle or stylus.
3. a fixed routine: to get into a groove.
4. Printing. the furrow at the bottom of a piece of type.
5. Slang. an enjoyable time or experience.

*Yeah...sounds like a rut.

A recess in a wall, a track or furrow, it's all basically a rut, a niche, or a groove. So next time you are stuck in a rut just remember that it's really no different than finding your niche and getting your groove back.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blog-ish

I've been a bad blogger. My once a week (sometimes twice) routine of posting to the blogosphere has fallen severely short. Why? (Whether you ask or not) Because I've been reading all of my 'to read' books that I haven't, until now, had the time.

Here's three that I've finished since the first week from 2010 hell:

  1. I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
  2. Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton
  3. Fallen by Lauren Kate

My current re-read is Stephen King's Stephen King on Writing. His fundamentals (mechanics) about writing have basically put it in black and white...okay, literally put it in black and white for me.

Two years ago when I became a member of STAR I knew little to nothing about writing other than what I wrote. No clue. None. Now I have a pretty good idea what I'm writing and why I write it. I actually had a conversation with one of my main characters in a dream about where the plot needs to twist in my current WIP. One of the tips fellow members gave was to read different genres that I was interested in, even while writing. It keeps my mind busy during down time, but keeps my writing fresh as I continue with my daily goal.

Not to mention my love for curling up with a bag of Milanos, a cup of hot espresso, and a good book on an unseasonably cold day in the Sunshine state ;-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bucket List

I've been busy working on my bucket list while I have the time. Look to the right of this post and guess which one I'm busy with right now?

Let's just say I'm NOT screaming 'Geronimo' or 'yeeha' this week. But I am closing the gap on the whole tank driving thing, and my word count is sure to beat last year's ;-)

The good thing about bucket lists is that you have your whole life to complete them. What's on yours?

Monday, January 18, 2010

For Marla

Today I would like to put a spotlight on an amazing young woman. I first met Marla in high school. Always the bubbly personality that smiled at you in the morning, Marla never put her self before others. She's a giver. Her hands and heart work for Christ.

This month she embarks on a journey that will transform her. Hiding behind the bubbly smile is a woman who faces a struggle, physically and emotionally. Her blog Off the Couch On the Journey will take us with her as she finds time to post about her experience while attending the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge.

I know her heart is stronger than her doubt, and she will accomplish great things during this journey. My best wishes to you, Marla. May God be your guide as you have guided others to him.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Not Just Cold...

It's not just cold outside here in CFL...no, it's STUPID COLD! The chance of snow flurries last night should have been an indication that I would need more than a sports bra, workout pants, and my fuzzy slipper boots to step foot in my garage this morning. I was going out with good intentions to slip on my running shoes and pull my sweatshirt out of the dryer, but my slippers were warmer and the dryer was cold. PFFFLT.

Global warming my a$$. I think it's just a ploy for scientists to divert our attention from some other global catastrophe they can't quite explain so the feed us this crap because they can snap pictures of melting ice caps and penguins with fruity drinks and umbrellas.

From my understanding, as the earth spins on its axis it is also gradually turning upside down. Little by little Australia will no longer be on the bottom of the visual globe. We'll be side ways (not in my lifetime) then upside down (not in my children's lifetime). It's likely the same result as Mars. After all, "they" (the smart guys) say we are also inching closer to the sun.

Here's a theory: if the planets follow the same pattern of rotating, spinning, and flipping, then eventually they all get sucked into the sun--devoured--as new planets are formed and fall into orbit. At some point in the orbit life (humans or non) is sustainable, creating a new Earth. It's a never ending cycle. I know, crazy theory, but it makes more sense than the crap the smart guys try to feed us. Perhaps our man made journey into space is typical from previously devoured planets and that is how life is formed on the newer planets. See? It's feasible. Wow, I think I have a plot for good Sci Fi story!

I'm not sure how I went from it being STUPID COLD to writing in a new genre, but you get the picture at how random this day is going to be. I hope everyone is staying warm. I'm enjoying my slippers, fuzzy robe, and homemade espresso ;-)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I resolve to...

It's a new year. My outlook for 2010 is pretty much the same as it was this time last year...with one exception.

I WILL WRITE EVERY DAY.

That's my first and foremost resolution. The rest are:
  1. Not only will I write everyday, but I will write a minimum of an hour everyday. This is to make sure my writing time becomes part of my daily routine. A block of time set aside with NO KIDS, DOGS, or HUBS. I love you boys, but mamma's gotta get her ink on ;-)
  2. No more Dunkin Donuts...Hubs bought me a new espresso/cappuccino maker that rivals the little bistro in Portugal where I fell in love with dark cup of sin in the first place. I vow to not only learn how to use it, but to use it often.
  3. Go golfing with hubs at least once a month; and that does not include Wii PGA Tour 10. He's already upset that my golfer is better than his.
  4. NO DIETS! I refuse to "diet" this year. The cost of food and gym memberships isn't worth the roller coaster of emotions trying to fit back in my size 8's. My phat ass is quite sexy in my 12's and as long as I get my normal ration of chocolate I'll be fine.
  5. Work out. No diet doesn't mean kill myself running everyday, but I still need to maintain a healthy heart. Heart disease is the number one killer of women my age so I resolve to work out at least three times a week. Not to mention I should be using that blasted Gazelle hubs bought me for Christmas. PFFFLT.
  6. Make it to Nationals. I'm the newly elected VP for our writing chapter; it seems fitting to go this year. Yeah...we'll see how this pans out with work, school, the academy, and of course my boys!
  7. Submit, submit, submit. I want to get four submitted this year, along with at least three contests. There's no other way to know if you're good enough unless you put yourself out there.
  8. Wear heels. I'm a flip flop chic with a fetish for shoes that I never wear. This year I resolve to wear heels at least once a week.
  9. Be confrontational. I usually avoid confrontation for the sake of keeping the peace, but this past year has proven that I let people, especially my job, take advantage of me when I should have stood up for myself. Guess what 'people'? I now have a pair, and I'm going to reach down and grab them every time you try to push me down. *whhhhiiiiichaaaaa*
  10. Last, and by far the least, I'm going to smile. Not all the time, just every so often. Just enough to make people paranoid at what I may or may not know, may or may not do.

Those are my 10 resolutions, all feasible.

*My muse is currently playing hide and seek so this will count for my writing today.