Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back to the Grind

I tried to do a whole lot of nothing this weekend. I think I accomplished that. :-)

Watched some WWII movies, including The Guns of Navarrone with Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, and David Niven. Great movie. Also started watching Band of Brothers - I borrowed it from my brother with the promise that I would take very good care of it.

Tonight we have our chapter meeting. And I'm going on very little sleep. My dog's fight with the thunderstorm last night kept me awake. He was running through the house, back and forth, back and forth, barking at the thunder and lightning. Needless to say, I wasn't sleeping very well.

What did you do over the weekend?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Today is not about sales and picnics, but wars and remembrance.

Today is not about food and shopping, but sacrifice and bravery.

Remember those who fought for our country, for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on those far away battlefields, for those who found their rest years later after living with a lifetime of memories.

Freedom is not free.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women of our armed forces, both past and present. Thank you for your sacrifice, for your courage, and for your bravery.

Friday, May 26, 2006

This is Victor Meldrew from the BBC comedy One Foot in the Grave.

I like this picture for a variety of reasons (this show even made my hubby start watching BritComs because it's so darn funny), but today, it's because I feel like I've had it "up to my ears" with work.

Today just did not want to end. While I sat at my desk, staring at the work I still needed to finish, I felt the tension in my neck and shoulders, the thrum of nervous energy waiting to be unleashed.

Three day weekend! kept running around and around in my head.

And yet that clock just kept moving slower and slower and s-l-o-w-e-r.

I left ten minutes early. Don't worry - I was done with everything I needed to do for the day. I just couldn't sit there another single minute. I felt trapped - just like Victor.

The American work ethic is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it helped build this nation into what it is today - full of faults, but still one of the best nations on earth (in my humble opinion). On the other hand, Americans do not know how to relax. We get precious little "down" time. And when we DO have the day off, we're so busy trying to play catch-up that we really don't have time to just sit and do nothing.

I work with a guy from Great Britain. When he tells his British friends back home that we only have a maximum of two weeks for vacation time per year, they gape in astonishment. They can't believe it.

And on days like today, neither can I.

I hereby officially announce a petition to make the work-week four days instead of five and three-day weekends every weekend.

Who's with me? :-)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Summer Heat

It's only May 24 and it's hot. Yesterday, I woke up to a very humid, sticky day. And I was not happy AT ALL.

I'm not a heat person. Summer's exhaust me. I can't stand to be outside in the heat and if I am, watch out - you'll have a very cranky person around.

Memorial Day weekend is coming up and there are those who will flock to the beaches, the swimming pools, and the great outdoors. Well, I'm willing to go for a picnic, but I better darn well have a big area of shade to sit in.

It's not that I loathe summer. I like the slow, summer days, the laziness that permeates everything for a time. School is out, the kids have a chance to play, and it's the perfect time to read a few books on the front porch (in the shade and as long as it's not TOO hot out). I used to love summer vacations as a kid. Of course, I wouldn't go outside much. My favorite activity was staying in the nice, cool house (Mom would usually get up early and shut all the curtains to keep the house cool for as long as possible without turing on the a/c) and reading. I always favored doing household chores instead of farm chores. Sure, I did my share of scooping ditches, chopping weeds in the bean fields, and irrigating (although I was never very good at starting pipes), but I didn't do it with a smile. Especially when it was hot out.

I like the ambience of summer - I just can't stand the heat. And in Nebraska, especially in the eastern part, you're going to have heat and humidity to contend with.

Are you a heat person?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Link Day

I've been perusing Web sites today and thought I'd send you in a few different directions.

Find out how authors got their ideas at Backstory, and then head over to Quotes for Writers and find the perfect inspiration.

If you miss the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons as much as I do, go to The Calvin and Hobbes Archive. The snowmen remain my favorite.

And just for kicks, read this article on how the BBC interviewed a cab driver who they thought was a computer expert! Then go here to watch the video - hilarious!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Classic Movie Weekend

After the baseball game on Saturday (and yup, I got a sunburn on the areas I missed with the sunblock), I decided to go rent some classic movies. Since my daughter was going camping with her dad, I had the evening to myself. What better time than to relax and watch a few good movies?

The first movie I watched was a Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman film called Notorious. This is also an Alfred Hitchcock film.

Set just after World War II, Alicia's father has just been convicted of treason to the United States. Because of her German background and her father's contacts, Devlin (Grant), a U.S. agent, recruits Alicia to spy for the U.S. on some shady friends of her father's down in South America. But how far will she go to help her country? This is a great flick - the acting is superb, the plot wonderful.

I also rented The Maltese Falcon. Yes, I've never watched this before. But I took care of it yesterday! A great mystery flick featuring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, the ruthless detective. A must see!

On tap tonight is another Cary Grant film, Arsenic and Old Lace. It's directed by Frank Capra (of It's a Wonderful Life fame) so I'm sure it will be a great flick.

What's the last movie you saw?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Weekend Funnies

Just got back from a very hot college baseball game. I feel like I could sleep for a decade. Why does heat do that to you? Oh well - we won the game anyway. :-) My brother and his family came last night from western Nebraska and we got to hang out last night and today at the game. It's been fun.

For a great laugh, check out this website - Angry Alien Productions.

My favorite is Casablanca!

Friday, May 19, 2006


Last night I had a really, really bad craving for warm, chewy, gooey chocolate chip cookies.

I didn't cave and go buy any, but y'know what? I think I just might have to get some this weekend. Just a few. Maybe one or two. Because last night I did my monthly "let's try this on and see if it fits now" and I could wear two more pairs of shorts.

No need to jeopardize future fashion purchases over junk food, right? :-)

But darn...those chocolate chip cookies sound GOOD.

What junk food do you crave?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Edits Are Done!

It's after 11:30 p.m. My eyes are drooping, my dog is wondering if I'm completely insane, and I know that 7 a.m. is going to come way too early tomorrow.

But my novel is done. Completed. Finished.

All new material to be written has been, well, written. All edits that needed to be done are done. All thoughts that I wanted to incorporate have been incorporated. Well, you get the idea. :-)

Now I have to get my synopsis in shape to reflect the changes, format the manuscript (I have to write in TNR, single-space for some reason, otherwise my creativity flees), print it out, and send it off.

And then...it's time to work on the next one! Whether or not I give myself a break in between novels is unclear. I really don't want to take a break. I'm anxious to work on my WWII inspirational - that will probably be the next project. I'm about half-way finished with it, so if I concentrate hard enough, I might be able to complete it in a few months.

So tell me...where are you at with your writing projects?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Clean Houses and Finished Books

I printed out a quote that said, "Women with clean houses do not have finished books." I think Joy Held said it, although I'm not quite sure who that is. But she is right. My house isn't anywhere close to being spotless. I've tried to tell myself that it just doesn't matter if there are sprinkles on the floor from my daughter's birthday cupcake decorating, or that the kitchen table is overflowing with odds and ends, or that my living room is really just my daughter's big play room.

I couldn't take it last night, though. I can only live with a mess so long before I must do something about it. So I put down my manuscript and got to work. And really, it only took me about twenty minutes or so to get everything to a level that I could live with. I vacuumed, threw away a bunch of stuff I didn't need, and managed to make the house liveable again.

Once again, balance comes to mind. I find so many things in my life require balance. Spending time with my daughter vs. working on my novel...I can't cut out either, so I must balance the two so that my daughter is happy and I am happy. A clean house vs. a messy house - when it gets too bad, the creative juices are interrupted by my brain demanding I go and clean.

So maybe I'll make a bit of a change to Joy Held's quote. How about this: "Women with pristine houses do not have finished books." :-)

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Weekend

What a weekend! My daughter's birthday party was a smash success! We went to the local fun center and had a blast. We raced go-carts, played miniature golf, ate pizza and cake, played games, and even went on a ride that takes you four stories high, then drops you. NOT my favorite, but my daughter went on it three times! She just loved it.

She was pretty tired on Saturday, though! For my mom's Mother's Day gift, my daughter and I took her to a Victorian house where they serve high tea. Dressing up and wearing Victorian hats is encouraged in this place! After we came home, we watched PBS's cooking shows, and then Molly fell asleep on the couch. I couldn't resist taking a photo.

My monitor, unfortunately, decided to permanently quit on Saturday. On Sunday, I went and bought another one at Best Buy - not the kind I wanted, but I didn't have enough money to get that particular one. So I settled for a big, bulky monitor that was on clearance. I'm just thankful to have a monitor that doesn't turn white anymore!

I did manage to get some editing done on my novel last night. I'm just going through it one more time to check for spelling errors, grammatical problems, etc. My goal is to have it out the door this week. It's time to move on!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Six Years Ago Today...

...I gave birth to my daughter. It was an intense labor - only four hours long. They had to induce me as I was ten days over due. And she came out so beautiful and perfect.

She decorated all of the cupcakes shown above (plus about ten more) for her friends at school. She used Scooby Doo sprinkles and made each one unique - just like she is.

Tonight we'll be having a birthday party at a fun center with pizza, cake, go-carts, games, and lots of fun.

I truly believe she is a gift from God - and I thank Him every day that He gave me such a wonderful child!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Calories, Carbs, and Proteins - Oh My!

My diabetes management class went well last night. I knew a lot of the stuff they taught just through my own research, but the dietician's talk was well worth the time. It amazes me how our serving sizes are so out of proportion to what they should be. When you go to a restaurant, you are often given much more than one portion of food - it is often three or four times what you should have. The key is to eat a portion and then save the rest for later! :-) But keeping track of the calories, how many grams of carbs are in each portion, and the amount of protein you eat at each meal is challenging. I haven't been doing a great job of that, but now that I know how to do it, it should go smoother.

I felt good about myself when I left. Other than my slacking in exercise (oh, ok, and those chocolate chip cookies) I've been doing pretty good with my "new me" plan. I plan to hit the gym again tonight - can't wait. Both the nurse and the dietician said that exercise is THE most important thing you can do to keep your blood sugar levels good, to lose weight, and to just feel better.

I also had to learn how to use my blood glucose monitor. I'm not a big fan of pricking my finger, but I guess I'll get used to it. I'm looking forward to seeing how my sugar levels are throughout the day. Last night they were really good, which made me feel better. I'm so glad they caught this early because it really motivated me to get healthy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It's That Editing Thing

I'm going through my manuscript one final time - this time with paper and pen. I sat on the couch last night and went through a ton of pages and let me tell you - taking a week off from looking at the novel has done me a world of good. I'm not as close to it as I was, enabling me to see things I need to fix. When 11 p.m. rolled around, I was not happy. I was on a roll and I think I could have stayed up much later than that if only I didn't have to get up and go to work. :-)

I have my first diabetes teaching class tonight. I'm anxious to see what I can do to further my education of this disease and to keep myself from getting any complications. Of course, I'm sure they'll tell me that I can't gorge on chocolate chip cookie dough!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Root Canals and Monitor Woes

The root canal went fine. The hardest part was the shot (or rather, all SIX shots), and after that, I didn't feel a thing. I just sat back and watched my movie, Stalag 17, and tried not to think about all the things going on in my mouth. The doctor did a great job, said everything turned out picture perfect, and that I shouldn't have any discomfort. Well, I really didn't for the rest of the day, other than I couldn't chew on that side.

I went home a bit shaky and my mom fed me tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, then I took a two and a half hour nap. I felt much better when I woke up!

My monitor is going out on me. I'm not at all happy. I know it's the monitor because I plugged it into my laptop and it did the same thing. The screen will suddenly go white and stay that way for awhile. So...I went shopping for a monitor yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't find any in my price range that are the flat screen models, and I think I'll have to settle for one of the big bulky monitors again. Ah well. What's important is that I shall have a monitor that works!

I was also quite bad Saturday night - I bought some chocolate chip cookie dough, baked five cookies, and ATE THEM ALL. What's even WORSE is that I then had a few of the left over cookie dough blocks yesterday morning! I made myself throw the rest of the dough out and nearly wept when I did it. Those cookies tasted so darn GOOD. Sigh...I really really hate this diet thing sometimes. No, it's not a diet - it's a lifestyle change. Well, at least I took a long, hard walk Sunday morning to try and make up for my fall off the wagon!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Nebraska City

To celebrate my brother's birthday, we went to Nebraska City last night where my other brother has been all week for job training. It was absolutely beautiful. This is where the founder of Arbor Day lived, and trees stretched as far as the eye could see.

We had a wonderful dinner at The Lied Lodge , then took a long walk through the trees where we saw deer, rabbits, and birds. The Canopy Tree House wasn't open last night, but I have every intention of going back to take my daughter to it. She absolutely loved seeing all the animals and exploring nature. I also want to go back so that I can go inside the Arbor Lodge. We were able to walk to it and see the outside. It's surrounded by a beautiful park of trees, a fish pond, and a gazebo.

When I was growing up, I always despaired of the fact that I lived in Nebraska. I always thought it was so darn boring. But since I've moved to the eastern part of the state and become involved with the Nebraska State Historical Society, I've discovered that Nebraska is not boring at all. We have some truly wonderful treasures here in our state. I'm starting to explore those treasures more and more, and it's really opening my eyes to a lot of my state's history.

In Other News...

I don't know how much writing I'll get done this weekend. Maybe I'll be able to rouse myself long enough to get some formatting done on my novel. But I have the darn root canal tomorrow morning. Blech!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Art of Chivalry

The speaking engagement last night went great! It wasn't a large group - about twenty senior citizens, or so, but they were all so gracious and polite.

The gentleman who asked me to speak was a gentleman in every sense of the word. When I arrived, he was waiting for me at the front entrance of the building. He kindly escorted me inside, held my chair out for me to sit at the table, and then politely introduced me to all of the others at the table. After eating, giving my speech, and talking a bit more, it was time to leave and he escorted me to the front door, shook my hand, and said what a pleasure it was to meet me.

He was a marine in the Pacific Theater during World War II, a junior high history teacher for 30 years, and he loves the Wizard of Oz. He lost his wife about 2 1/2 years ago, and I could tell that he still missed her dearly.

I want to go back and have coffee with him, sit and listen to his stories, sit and just talk about anything. I think we have relegated senior citizens to the side of our society simply because they are not "young" anymore. It's a shame. I would much rather sit in a room of senior citizens and visit then I would with a group of my own age. Maybe I'm weird for that, but that's how I feel.

The article I referenced yesterday (which was rather long, but well worth the read) talked about how we, as a society, have become obsessed with being young. We do everything in our power to stay young - plastic surgery, pills, diets, clothing, etc. But there is a certain dignity in getting older - maturity, wisdom, and responsibility must be had at some point in our lives. Why do we fight it? I suppose there is a natural tendency to want to stave old age off for as long as possible.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Speaking Again

Tonight I'll be speaking in front of a senior citizens group here in town. The man who asked me to speak wanted to know if I'd present the same speech as I did at the Bess Streeter Aldrich function. And of course, I said yes. :-)

I'm looking forward to this evening - meeting new people, sharing my story, and just having a nice time. They are giving me dinner, so what more can I ask for?

The writing has been on hold this week - too many other activities. I don't think that's necessarily bad - it gives me time to let my manuscript "sit" before I go back and make any changes.

If You Have Time...

Go here and read this article called "The Perpetual Adolescent." Some interesting insights. What do you think?

Monday, May 01, 2006

On Brothers

My older brother is here from western Nebraska for the week to do some job training. Last night, all three of us siblings - me, my younger brother, and my older brother - went over to my mom's house for supper. And it was yum-a-licious. Fried chicken, mashed potatos, gravy, sweet corn, and of course, sugar free chocolate pudding. Yeah, so I blew my diet yesterday, but it was only one day. I think I'll survive.

After supper, we sat around and talked about growing up and all the different things we used to do. When we'd play king of the mountain on the front steps, I'd always be the one to get shoved off. And then there was the time we were playing king of the mountain on a huge snow pile. I ran off the "mountain" and right into an electric fence. It was quite a jolt, especially since I was wet from the snow. My older brother and I used to play motorcycles. We'd get the t.v. trays out, put on some cool sunglasses, motorcycle helmets, sit on the couch, and we'd "drive" off. My younger brother and I would frequently put the baby kitties into my doll stroller and walk around the farm, "traveling" to far and distant lands. We'd then stop at the "inn" (our house) and my mom, the "innkeeper" would give us lunch. :-)

I've found that growing up with two brothers has prepared me for dealing with men in this world. In fact, I've always had more male friends than female. I've also not been jittery about going out and doing hard labor, like scooping ditches or chopping weeds out of the bean field. Granted, I didn't want to do those things, but when you grow up on a farm, you just gotta pitch in or nothing will get done.

My brothers used to beg and plead with me to play baseball in the front yard during the summer time, but more often than not, I waved them off and kept my nose buried in my book - usually Nancy Drew. :-) But I did my fair share of playing with them, and I still remember how we'd play with the plastic bat and ball, leave "ghosties" on first and second, and have to chase the ball into the cow corrals sometimes.

Through the years, I think we've only grown closer. We've had our share of sibling fights, but I don't think I've ever told my brothers that I hated them and that I never wanted to see them again. We just didn't feel that way. Granted, we got into screaming or yelling matches, but it would all blow over and everything would be ok. We have a loyalty to one another that has only been strengthened through the years.

Even though my marriage has been very difficult the past few months, they've both given me tons of support. In fact, we always try to be there for one another. I feel so very blessed to have them in my life.

What a Difference a Day (or Two) Made...

Dinah Washington sings a wonderful tune called "What a Difference a Day Made." While the lyrics are romantic in nature, it perfect...