Friday, December 31, 2010
According to statistics, 97% of New Year's resolutions are never fulfilled. 40 to 45% of optimistic people use New Year's Day to make resolutions and set goals for the year. (statistics taken from the Miami Herald)
I'm going to be one of the 40 to 45% and hopefully in the 3% that fulfill.
Last year I only set two:
1) Write a book.
2) Be less judgemental.
I was successful with one. 1/2 isn't bad, right?
This year, I'm throwing #2 out. It's me. It's who I am. I'm judgemental, but I don't open my mouth about it so that's like not being judgemental, right? If no one knows that I'm judging them, it doesn't count!
On to this year...
1) Complete the rewrite of Dark Forest (and I mean complete it! so that I am querying by the Spring).
2) Better use of my time. This really needs fixing, folks. I'm not going to lie. Today, great use of my time. Yesterday? Not so much. I'm not in my early 20s anymore so it's completely unacceptable to be so upset over a football game that I spend hours (yes, hours) posting on messageboards about the team, coaching staff, GM and certain players. Not even joking.
3) Vegan. Not 100%. But as much as possible. I have a great start so far! This is for my health!
4) Run a 5k and a 10k. Notice I didn't put marathon. I've been running a bit with Lily, but her enthusiasm wanes after...oh, half a block. It looks like I'm torturing her. She hangs her head and looks up at me as she trudges along as if to say, "Mommy, WHY are you doing this to me?" The last two nights I've waited until the end of our walk, which has worked out better. I've gotten TWO whole blocks...in a row even!! If she can't step it up, though, I'll have to strike out on my own before or after our walks.
5) Finish the rewrite on my Dystopian as well. That will take place the latter half of the year.
I'm pretty good at setting writing goals and meeting them so I'm sure I can be 2/5 in 2011! Although I really will aim for all 5.
I'm tempted to throw in things like Organize the Garage and Organize the Closets, but who am I kidding? Those haven't been done in three years. Not sure they're getting done now. The key to success is setting attainable, realistic goals/resolutions.
Actually, I think I'll throw in one more...
6) Have as much enthusiasm towards everything in life as Pinky has towards her ball.
Wouldn't it be nice to tackle everything with the amount of gusto she has? EVERYTHING? (Even the digging of the hole at the end?)
What about you - any New Year's Resolutions this year?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
My Wednesday Wishes for the week:
1) Rain. The perfect writing weather! I have the time for it the rest of the week too. If you have some, send it our way! I'm all stocked up on new candles, yummy coffee and ready to dive into the forest.
2) Healing for Lily. Here we go again. Nothing like a poorly bred dog! My poor little baby. It's always something...or everything all at once. Right now we're dealing with a skin infection, an ear infection and an IBD flare up thanks to turkey from Grandma and roast beef from Daddy. I just want her feeling better, although I do like how extra snuggly she is when she's sick (isn't that just awful??).
3) A FANTASTIC 2011 for me, my friends (that means all of you out in Blog Land) and loved ones!
What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
My favorite gifts?
Rosetta Stone Spanish. It's embarrassing how little I speak after eight years of it in middle school and high school. The problem, though, is that they taught us Spain Spanish. My friends all speak Latin American Spanish (of differing versions). So do the children I teach. While I can understand what they are saying to me, I can only speak a handful of words in return. To educate, I need this language (especially at weekend fairs and when dealing with the pet owning public in Los Angeles). I'm SUPER excited to dive into this!!!
I got TWO wall calendars. One for the office, one for the living room. Both rescue American Pit Bull Terrier calendars - one from BAD RAP (My Dog is Family) and one from the Unexpected Pit Bull. Both adorable. They include stories with the pictures, which is always fun. Tomorrow, I plan to transfer all important dates from 2010 to these!
TWO filterless air filters! Yay! No more replacing filters. This will save hundreds of dollars a month! And help my allergies to my pets.
My stepmom does the BEST thing for all of us - we each get a bag. Full of goodies! It's so much FUN to take our time sorting through each small gift she has picked out especially for us. CANDLES! Socks (the warm, fuzzy, nonslip kind)! A pad of paper that hangs on the fridge for my grocery list!! So many other nifty little gifts. She has wanted to discontinue this for years, but we won't let her. It's tradition and we all just love it.
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. My partner in the non-profit bought this book last year. She's been trying a few new recipes a week and loving them. When she finds a good one, she forwards it to me. Haven't missed yet! She bought me my own copy AND a recipe binder. She started the binder already. Too cool! I made a lentil soup tonight that Erik and I just LOVED. I'm so glad there are leftovers for tomorrow night!
I got an awesome Vera Wang purse. Thanks Mom!!
But the best gift of all? A laptop desk with a FAN! No more overheating! I can spend hours blogging and writing without my computer shutting down. LOVE IT!!
What about you - what did you get for Christmas? What were your favorite presents??
Friday, December 24, 2010
Erik, Lily and I hope Santa brings you everything you've wished for this Christmas!
Don't forget to leave out the milk and cookies for Santa! And maybe a little something on the lawn for the reindeer too!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOODNIGHT!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
My Wednesday Wishes for the week:
1) The ability to control the weather! I want it to stop raining when I need to walk the dog and start up again when I'm home and ready to write! It would be nice to make it SNOW! In Burbank! That would shock everyone. And when I say control the weather, that means I can call down lightening and throw it at mean people as well. What good is weather control if you don't have THAT ability??
2) Donations. I wrapped a gift yesterday and guy left two PENNIES. Even better, I wrapped five for a very particular guy and he left me forty-five cents. Yes, the gift wrapping is offered free. I'll do it for you for FREE, but don't ask me for the bow and ribbon I paid for out of my own pocket if you aren't going to leave a donation because then we're out money. And you know where you can shove that attitude when I tell you so as well. On the flip side, I had a very grateful man watch me wrap his extra large globe, plus five other presents and he left me a twenty. Made a big show of it too - not to show off, but to show the line of people what donations means. Also, had the CUTEST teenage boys that only asked for one thing each, were so polite (including running to get me a copy of one of their books) and each left me $2. That kind of stuff just melts my heart. A dollar is a decent donation. But don't leave me two pennies please. You might as well keep those.
3) A Very Merry Christmas to all of you! May your holiday be bright, full of family and joy. May you all be safe and happy and healthy!
What about you - what are your wishes for our magical Wednesday?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Remember that feeling when you finish the first draft?
So much excitement as you type those two words.
It feels like this...
or maybe even like this...
But then the excitement wears off as you sit down to read what you just wrote. All those "I can tie this up later" moments that never happened. Now they have become "Ah ha!" moments. Or even "Oops" ones.
The work seems vast.
You roll up your sleeves and dive in. Again and again and again. By the fifth or sixth rewrite, you start to feel like that kitten on the turtle.
Doesn't this thing go any faster?
I think the more we rewrite, the more we refine our process and the quicker that little turtle moves. Or we realize we don't need the little turtle anymore.
As I dive back into Dark Forest again, I've been reading to get tips from others. To help refine my own process. Liz over at 8-Bit Words shared an AWESOME (sorry, no other poetic writery word for it) link and I want to be sure everyone sees it. I think it's very clever!
Revising by Color - and I'm not talking post-its like I usually do. This shows you how to do it on your computer with your MS. Amazing.
Nothing is ever a quick fix. This certainly won't be QUICK. But I think it can be thorough. I'm excited to try it!
What about you - any great revision tips? Are you riding that turtle?
Monday, December 20, 2010
We didn't do a tree this year.
Who am I kidding? We haven't done a tree in three years because of the cats.
Next year we're getting a FAKE tree, though. How much trouble can they get into with a fake tree? Maybe I shouldn't put that out there.
In the meantime, I have to content myself with decorating the house (because The Hubster won't let me decorate the pets).
This is our entertainment center...
(click to enlarge for better effect)
This is my beautiful grandma. Grandma was such a great cook. She also made killer Christmas treats - not just cookies. My FAVE was her Buttercreams. I would stuff my face until I was sick. Not literally. My tummy ached and I would have to rest before eating more (a few hours later). The best part is - they're super easy to make!
1lb confectioner's sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c. cream (scant)
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
Line cookie sheets with wax paper.
Combine ingredients and knead until creamy. Roll into balls. Place on cookie sheets and chill in fridge until hard.
In saucepan, melt together:
1/2 lb bakers semi sweet chocolate
1 inch off a block of parafin
Dip balls into melted chocolate, returning to cookie sheets. Refrigerate until hard.
My FAVE drink this time of year is a Peppermint Mocha. I make them at home on rainy days (or evenings). Here is my version of Starbucks famous drink...
2 oz espresso
1 c. nonfat milk (you can use whatever you want)
1 spoonful (LARGE spoon so it's probably a Tablespoon) SugarFree Peppermint Syrup
2 scoops cocoa powder
I have an espresso machine - don't be jealous. I got it at Target for $24.99! Best purchase ever. So I make 2-4 oz. depending on whether I want a Tall or Grande. Then I steam the milk on the side (sometimes I heat in the micro if I'm lazy...okay, I heat it in the micro most of the time because I'm very lazy). Stir in the milk, Peppermint Syrup, cocoa powder of your choice and - viola! You have a Peppermint Mocha and have saved yourself $4.55. Now, you have to play around with this to get it to your specific tastes. My husband likes more cocoa, whole milk and regular Peppermint syrup.
You can add whip cream if you'd like!
I am wrapping for donations tomorrow (for my non-profit) from 9-6pm so I won't be home to blog hop until the late evening, but I promise to visit you all then!!
Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Starbucks Peppermint Mochas, Christmas Decorations on every block, Wrapping Paper and Ribbons and Bows - oh my!
1) What Child Is This? - Harry Connick Jr.'s
What about you - what are your favorite songs this time of year?
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
My Wednesday Wishes for the week:
1) Magic Laptop - That's right. The internet isn't enough for me. I want a laptop that magically knows the links I need to research for my books AND I want it to organize them into files that are easy to find. Because it's SUCH a pain to keep up with and I lose soooo much time trying to find that darn link that I know I clicked as a favorite! That one I can never seem to find when I google it again because I'm forgetting a word or adding a word...Yeah, so magic laptop.
2) A personal trainer. Jillian would be nice. No, not really. She scares me. But I would really like one. I want someone to kick my tush daily. I love to workout. I mean, REALLY workout. I love hardcore sweaty workouts. But it's hard when your friends have moved away, you're trying to write books, you have a dog that needs two walks a day (and those aren't exercise because she sniffs more than walks), you have a business to run...so much gets in the way. I cut my workouts short. Or I skip them entirely. But a trainer seems like a luxury. After Christmas, I'll be diving in to my old workouts despite the time restraints. I need them to stay healthy. I need them to stay SANE. And there's no reason that I can't run through chapters or shiny new ideas while I'm working out, right?
3) A vegetable garden!
Wouldn't it be lovely to pull this from your own backyard?
I feel healthier just looking at it! One of my bestfriends started her own garden last year and has done quite well. We just don't have the room for it. Not if we want to allow Lily to have the run of the yard for her playdates. So maybe instead of a vegetable garden, I should wish for a magic yard - like the tents in Harry Potter! It will look like our normal sized yard, but once you step into it...rows and rows and rows of veggies and herbs growing, plus room for the dogs to run and frolic to their hearts content!
What about you? What are your wishes for Wednesday this week?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I'm about to overshare, but not in a gross way. So...The Hubster, wonderful man that he is, decided to surprise me with a surprise birthday party (which is now being called a barfday party) on Saturday. GREAT IDEA! Super sweet. But then he needed my help with planning so there went the original surprise part. I was very impressed that no one said anything to me about it (points to all my friends!) and some even tried to pretend they knew nothing about it when I brought it up.
Anyway, I get home from wrapping and the house is decorated like this!
How sweet! He did a great job...but...
Someone brought a BEAST into my house. Feeling that they couldn't miss the party, they came even though they weren't feeling well.
I got the call the next morning - stomach flu. MY WORST FEAR. Happy Birthday to ME! I sweated it out...and got it Sunday night. Oh, it was violent and painful and no fun!!!!
This is what I looked like in reality.
Only probably not even that good.
The best thing about being sick? When you're just starting to feel better. The storm has lifted. You know it's over. The major part anyway.
I had brand new pajamas from Leslie! Ooooh, how I loved those pajamas. I appreciate them even more now!
I got CANDLES from Mere and Mel - those candles were going to be my writing candles, but they ended up being my sick day candles. I have all kinds of ideas for my rewrite thanks to those lovely candles!!
Other favorites (not for my birthday, but from being sick):
Rice with Butter
But the BEST present that I got was...
My photography will never win me any prizes. This was the best of the bunch.
Nutschell stood in line and got me an autographed copy of Torment! Lauren Kate was even nice enough to write "Happy Birthday"! How cool is that!?! Made my birthday!
I'm sorry I haven't felt up to visiting everyone's blogs! I promise to try over the course of the day today. For now, I'm crawling back into bed in my lovely new pajamas!
Friday, December 10, 2010
One of my all time favorites - Choppin' Broccoli!
Frank Caliendo - and his amazing impressions!
I had a 2nd grader say this:
"I have a friend and he can communicate with dolphins. He speaks their language and they understand him. He can translate for humans." He went on and on and on, then he finished with, "Actually, that friend is me."
How do you even react to that?
One of the great things about my job is that the kids remember me. I went back to a school this week that I had taught at two weeks ago. The third graders were at recess as I was walking across the playground. "Look! There's Ms. Jennifer!" I hear. Followed by about four girls saying my name over and over as they ran up to me. Remember, my accident with the hair dye? "Hi, Ms. Jenn...heeeeeeeeey, what happened to your hair?"
Picture a very suspicious face like I did it on purpose to trick her.
I'm gift wrapping this weekend for my non-profit! Here's to hoping people are generous with their donations so children can continue to teach me dolphin speak and make fun of my hair.
What about you? What are your plans this weekend?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
My Wednesday Wishes for the week:
1) Christmas Shopping DONE! Because it's not. I'm planning to knock most of it out on Thursday. I will only have The Hubster left to buy for and he's making it difficult this year. "Nothing" has been his patented answer for what he wants. I remembered two books he had mentioned a few weeks ago in the bookstore so I bought those. He's worn his t-shirts out so I got him those. I'll pick him up some running shorts, I think. And he needs sweatshirts. See, if you don't request things (like candles!), you get practical gifts. Not that candles aren't practical. But I'm anxious to WRAP so I want to get the shopping done. Christmas music and pine scented candles and peppermint hot chocolate and wrapping!
2) That last cat! I got the females. Most important ones out of the way. We have one male left. He's spent two weeks watching us catch the others and he's refusing anchovies and mackerel and KFC. Can I tell as someone who hasn't eaten meat since they were 13 that it is a true labor of love to touch that yucky stuff as I set the traps?!?! But it will be worth in the end. A full colony trapped, speutered and back out to live their lives without bringing any more in. The restaurant where the older gentleman is the caretaker hasn't had a single rat outside since a few weeks after the cats arrived. He feels there is a benefit to keeping them around.
3) Magic. I want the ability to be two places at once. Not only would it be nice to be at home asleep while I'm teaching in the mornings...or at home writing!...I really need to be in San Diego AND in Los Angeles on Sunday. My dad and stepmom are visiting from Seattle. They will be in San Diego. At the same time, Erik's family party with all his favorite cousins is taking place here in Los Angeles. He doesn't get to see them more than once a year so this party means a lot to him. So, you see, I need to be two places at once. Magic would really help that. If I could split myself.
What about you? What are your wishes for Wednesday?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
In the midst of NaNo, I forgot my love of books. I have spent the last few days burying myself. Oh the joys of opening pages and stepping into another world. But my pile is actually LOW.
Yes, I said it.
My To Be Read stack is no longer a stack.
I am down to a single book.
I have three more coming in the mail from Amazon.
Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner
Matched by Ally Condie
CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh (and don't get me started on how annoyed I am that this has taken SO LONG to get to me...still waiting)
So they will be cracked open as soon as they get here but my goal for the month is ten books and this will only put me halfway there.
I have a library trip planned for Wednesday and I need recommendations!
Give me a world I can step into, get lost in and not want to put the book down until I'm finished. Give me sleepless nights huddled under the covers with the flashlight so I don't keep The Hubster awake! Give me, give me, give me!
Monday, December 6, 2010
I have a dilemma this week. Do I get with this? Or do I get with that?
Do I complete my NaNo novel, knowing that I will need to reoutline and change a few things already written in the 50,100 words? Or do I set it aside and go back into the forest with Eva? I was in the middle of rewriting Dark Forest when November knocked on the door.
I walked out of the forest and went underground while all hell broke loose in the world around me. It's dark down there. Claustrophobic. Uncertain. Not at all like the crisp, clean air in the forest, surrounded by green and the sound of the river rushing over fallen logs and smashing into large rocks.
(Cue music: in your head)
The choice is mine.
So do I get with this?
Or do I get with that?
Or do I get with this?
Or do I get with that?
I could go with this..
But this is kinda phat...
I think I'll go with this, 'cause this is where it's at.
Do Da Dippity.
What would you do?
I'm still undecided. At the moment, I'm enjoying catching up on some reading. I have at least six books to get through this month along with critiquing. I forgot how nice it is to curl up with a book on the couch while it rains. It can be just as lovely walking into that forest. Not so wonderful underground where the future is bleak, but not completely unpleasant because I still have so much hope for their future. Can I leave them stranded until next year?
I guess I'm asking for HELP. Or opinions anyway.
Friday, December 3, 2010
ODE TO A HYPERBOLA
As if I "forgot it"! I worked on it until it was done. Jennie not turn in her homework? GASP! The teacher would have fainted. When she/he came to, they would have declared a national emergency because there was NO WAY I didn't get my homework in (early, if I could!).
It's so much fun to look back. I don't know how I made it through those four years without having a heart attack. But I did. And you'll get a glimpse into them once a month or so...
What about you - do you have any delicious writing from your younger years??? Do you cringe when you read back on things? Do you laugh? Are you ever proud?
P.S. - Donea is having a FABULOUS NeToReMo this month. What is that? Well, hop on over (HERE) and find out! It's such a fun idea!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I survived the dentist! Whew! Poor man. I'm really good in that chair as long as you don't give me shots that make my heart race. I sit still and don't make a sound. He's such a good dentist, which is why I drive all the way to San Diego just to see Dr. Fenn. Worth the drive. Plus, I get to see my mom.
AND this little guy...
Sigh. He's going to be writer, I think. Such a creative mind. We were taking him to his pre-school last night (his mom is the Assistant Director) when he said, "That's not my school."
"No, it's a haunted house!"
"A haunted house?"
"Mmhmm. There's a MUMMY in there!"
"Oh no! I'm scared of mummies."
"You can stay in the car."
Well, I was brave enough to get out of the car but there was a lot of running around and hiding behind cars and bushes to avoid that Mummy. Then a GHOST appeared as we were opening the door. He pulled me out of the way just in time.
"Aunt Jen! The ghost almost got you!"
He watches waaaaay too much Scooby Doo, I think. But he has so much fun pretending. WE have so much fun pretending.
We pretend the couch is a train. We go to visit people we know and famous people we wish we knew. Sometimes I ride the train and he is the conductor.
We pretend the jungle gym is a pirate ship and we're pirates. The sand is water and there is an octopus waiting to eat us at the bottom. One of us gets snatched and the other has to fight valiantly to save the victim.
We pretend so many fun things. He's so good at it. So natural.
Trips to visit Mom are so much fun - even when there is a dental visit in charge and your hair ends up purple.
What about you - who do you love to visit?
Tomorrow, I'll be posting a flashback from my past - a poem I wrote when I was 16! I had a very productive time at Mom's digging out my high school poems and short stories. So much fun to relive those times!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
My Wednesday Wishes for the week:
1) New hair color! On a whim last night (never a good thing), I purchased a bottle of Mahogony hair color. Then, I had my mother with her ever failing eyesight, put it on my head. Yes, yes, laugh all you want. The result is...embarrassing. And the worst part? Not only had my hairdresser refused to ever color me red again, I'm now going to be caught redhanded. Or purple handed because there is definitely a purplish tone to it. With CHUNKS of blonde all over because mom missed spots. I'm prepared to go in on Friday and make atonement to the Hair Gods. I deserve every ounce of ridicule I'm going to get for the two hours I am in that chair AND there is no way that I'm getting out without a hairstyle of HIS choice now. At least my mother got an evening of laughter out of this. Her stomach hurts she laughed so hard. Yuck it up.
2) Is it eleven am yet??? Dental appointment at 9am. I can't wait until 11am because it will be over (knock on wood), I'll be in Starbucks getting a coffee AND then I'll be in theater to watch Harry Potter. YAY me!
3) Another week to finish my NaNo novel. 50,000 words does not a novel make in my world. Not with this story. So, did I really finish NaNo? I got just over 50,000 but I still have probably another 15-20,000 to go. Does that count? Well, I'm moving forward. I have decided to EXTEND my NaNo. I'm not going back to rewrites on the first book until I have this one completely out of the birth canal!
What about you? What are your wishes for Wednesday this week?