Thursday, January 28, 2010

Learning to dance in the rain


Everything about my system is all discombobulated this week. Can't sleep. Can't eat. Can't think.

I'm blaming it on the chili dog I had on Monday. But it could just as well be the nasty cold weather and the inversion and the fact that except for a quick trip to Lehi on Monday, I haven't left my house in 9 days.

Or maybe that not leaving the house thing is a symptom and not a cause.

Whatever.

It's the end of January and I'm blue. This happens every. single. year. And it has happened every year for nearly thirty years. I discovered the pattern a long time ago when I found some old empty pill bottles and realized they'd all been prescribed on January 20-something for three years in a row. So then I went back and checked my journals. Yep. A pattern.

You'd think that after thirty years, I'd be ready for it but it always takes me by surprise.

This year, it's not quite as bad as usual. I think it's those new supplements I'm taking. But still. Here it is. If I had to boil it down to its essence, it's the "I'm a loser and my life sucks" mood, with today's particular version being the ever popular stinkin' thinkin' chorus of, "I have too much work and I can’t do it because it’s too hard and I’m a lousy editor, writer, typesetter and people will hate my work and not pay me and never use me again and hate me because I charged too much for nothing and I don't know why I bother because everything is too hard and it always takes longer and costs more than I expect it to and then it eventually fails anyway."

(Can you see why I have the Proud Drama Blogger award?)

I was talking to a friend this morning who gave me some words of wisdom—statements to combat and replace the dark ones that try to drag me into the abyss. They considerably improved my day. Maybe they'll help you too.
  • “Oh, you again.”

  • Success does not mean perfection! I don’t have to be perfect to be successful. My work doesn’t have to be perfect to be worthy of the hire.

  • If someone works long enough, they’ll get laid off or replaced. It happens to everyone.

  • Anyone with character will have people who don’t like them.

  • Everyone has critics. They crucified Christ and He was perfect.

  • Oh well, lots of people like me; sorry that you don’t.

And with that, I'm off to dance in my happy place.


Now playing on my iPod: I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas

(I love how that one girl in the front starts dancing and it spreads through the whole crowd; staged, yes, I know, but still, the concept is one I aspire to. I want to be a girl who starts people dancing.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

100+ Reading Challenge



So I was looking at the Debut Author Challenge and realized that most of my titles I can't even get before late spring or summer because they aren't released yet. That won't do me any good.

I looked around for another challenge and one of my favs at Callapidder Days won't start until spring either.

Bummer.

But I persisted and found this one.



The goal is to read 100 or more books in 2010. Easy-peasy.

Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

And you can count re-reads and books you read for other challenges. Now that's my kind of reading challenge!

[LINKS GO TO MY REVIEWS]

JANUARY
  1. Once Bitten — Kalayna Price (3)
  2. Exposure — Brandilyn Collins (4)
  3. Dark Pursuit — Brandilyn Collins (3)
  4. Hush, Hush — Becca Fitzpatrick (3)
  5. Servant of a Dark God — John Brown (4.5)
  6. Sapphire Flute, The — Karen E. Hoover (3.5)

    FEBRUARY
  7. Devil's Food Cake — Josi S. Kilpack (4.5)
  8. Last Waltz, The — G.G. Vandagriff (4.5)
  9. Bright Blue Miracle — Becca Wilhite (4)
  10. Previously Engaged — Elodia Strain (3)
  11. My Fair Godmother — Janette Rallison (4)
  12. Tribunal — Sandra Grey (4)
  13. Alma — H.B. Moore (4)
  14. Chosen One, The — Carol Lynch Williams (4.5)
  15. Route, The — Gale Sears (4)
  16. No Going Back —Jonathan Langford (3.5)
  17. Fablehaven 4: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary —Brandon Mull (4)
  18. Courting Miss Lancaster —Sarah M. Eden (4.5)
  19. Counting the Cost — Liz Adair (4.5)
  20. Murder by the Book — Betsy Brannon Green (3.5)
  21. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet — Jamie Ford (4)
  22. In the Company of Angels by David Farland (3.5)
  23. Santa Maybe by Aubrey Mace (3.5)
  24. Undaunted, The by Gerald Lund (3.5)
  25. Gravity vs the Girl —Riley Noehren (4.5)

    MARCH
  26. Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows 1) — Kim Harrison (4)
  27. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter — Seth Grahame-Smith (3.5)
  28. Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, 5) — Patricia Briggs (4)
  29. Fablehaven 5: Keys of the Demon Prison —Brandon Mull (4.5)
  30. Tombs of Terror —T Lynn Adams (4)
  31. The Dark Divine — Bree Despain (4.5)
  32. Wrong Number —Rachelle J Christensen (3.5)
  33. Dangerous Connections —Julie Coulter Bellon (3.5)
  34. My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, 1) — Rachel Vincent (4.5)
  35. My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, 2) — Rachel Vincent (4.5)

    APRIL
  36. Alcatraz vs the Knights of Crystallia —Brandon Sanderson (4.5)
  37. Farworld: Land Keep —J. Scott Savage (4)
  38. Impossible —Nancy Welin (4)
  39. Wicked Lovely —Melissa Marr (4)
  40. Women of the Book of Mormon — Heather B. Moore (4)
  41. Secret Sisters —Tristi Pinkston (4.5)
  42. The Thorn — Daron D. Fraley (3)
  43. Mr. Monster —Dan Wells (4.5)
  44. Fade Out (Morganville Vampires, 7) — Rachel Caine (4)
  45. Kiss of Death (Morganville Vampires, 8) — Rachel Caine (4)

    MAY
  46. Grave Peril —Jim Butcher (3)
  47. Lightning Thief, The —Rick Riordan (4)
  48. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo —Stieg Larsson (2)
  49. The Good, The Bad and the Undead (The Hollows 2) — Kim Harrison (4)
  50. Every Which Way But Loose (The Hollows 3) — Kim Harrison (3.5)
  51. A Fistful of Charms (The Hollows 4) — Kim Harrison (3.5)
  52. 33 Habits of a Really Good Man — Yvonne Swinson (4.5)
  53. The Road Show — Braden Bell (4)

    JUNE
  54. Soul Identity —Dennis Batchelder (4)
  55. Soul Intent —Dennis Batchelder (4)
  56. For a Few Demons More (The Hollows 5) — Kim Harrison (3.5)
  57. The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows 6) — Kim Harrison (3.5)
  58. Marked (House of Night, 1) —PC & Kristen Cast (3.5)
  59. Grave Surprise — Charlaine Harris (4)
  60. The Hunger Games — Suzanne Collins (4.5)
  61. The Demon Lexicon — Sarah Rees Brennan (4)
  62. Life Expectancy —Dean Koontz (4)
  63. Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1) —Laurell K Hamilton (3.5)
  64. Shudder — Jennie Hansen (3.5)
  65. Shadow and Smoke —Tanya Huff (2)
  66. Enchantment Emporium, The —Tanya Huff (3)
  67. Betrayed (House of Night, 2)—PC & Kristen Cast (3)
  68. A Time to Die — Jeffrey S. Savage (4)
  69. Princess of Glass — Jessica Day George (4)
  70. Band of Sisters — Annette Lyon (4)
  71. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner — Stephenie Meyer (3)

  72. JULY
  73. Pillage — Obert Skye (4)
  74. By the Light of the Moon — Dean Koontz (4)
  75. Icebound — Dean Koontz (3)
  76. Sole Survivor — Dean Koontz (4)
  77. The Fourth Nephite — Jeffrey S. Savage (4.5)
  78. Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson (5)
  79. Ill Wind (Weather Warden #1) — Rachel Caine (4)
  80. Heat Stroke (Weather Warden #2) — Rachel Caine (4)
  81. Chill Factor (Weather Warden #3) — Rachel Caine (3)
  82. Windfall (Weather Warden #4) — Rachel Caine (4)
  83. The Sharp Edge of a Knife — D.N. Giles

    AUGUST
  84. Shiver —Maggie Stiefvater (3)
  85. The Iron King – Julie Kagawa (3)
  86. Fallen — Lauren Kate (4)
  87. Catching Fire — Suzanne Collins (5)
  88. Mockingjay — Suzanne Collins (5)

    SEPTEMBER
  89. Cold as Ice — Stephanie Black (4)
  90. Key Lime Pie — Josi S. Kilpack (5)
  91. The Limit — Kristen Landon (4)
  92. In Their Footsteps — Tess Gerritsen (4)
  93. Thief of Hearts — Tess Gerritsen (4)
  94. Paranormalcy — Kiersten White (5)

    OCTOBER
  95. Summer in Paris —Michele Ashman Bell (3.5 adults/4 teen girls)
  96. Altared Plans — Rebecca Talley
  97. Ghost Town (Morganville Vampires #9) — Rachel Caine (4)
  98. Grave Surprise (Harper Connelly #2) — Charlaine Harris (4)
  99. An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connelly #3) — Charlaine Harris (3)
  100. Clockwork Angel — Cassandra Clare (4)

    NOVEMBER 
  101. The Quick and the Thread (Marcy Singer #1) — Amanda Lee (4)
  102. Dead Pan (Daphne Martin #2) — Gayle Trent (4)
  103. One Door Away from Heaven — Dean Koontz (4)
  104. Dragon Tears—Dean Koontz (3)
  105. Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye (Psychic Eye #1) — Victoria Laurie (3.5)
  106. Better Read Than Dead (Psychic Eye #2) — Victoria Laurie (3.5)
  107. A Vision of Murder (Psychic Eye #3) — Victoria Laurie (3.5)
  108. Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery #1) — Lorena McCourtney (4)
  109. Pigs in Heaven —Barbara Kingsolver (4)
  110. Saving Fish from Drowning — Amy Tan (3)

    DECEMBER
  111. Moon Dance (Vampire for Hire #1) —J.R. Rain (3)
  112. Dead Girls Are Easy (Nicki Styx #1) — Terry Garey (3)
  113. Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1) —Amanda Hocking (3)
  114. In Plain Sight (Ivy Malone Mystery #2) — Lorena McCourtney (3.5)
  115. Deadly Sanctuary — Sylvia Nobel (3)
  116. Vampire Moon (Vampire for Hire #2) —J.R. Rain (1)
  117. Deeper Water — Robert Whitlow



    Sometimes I never get around to writing a full review. So, here's a quick rating system: 0 = HATED. Could not even finish it. (These books I don't bother to put on the list here.)
    1 = Didn't like. Cannot recommend to others.
    2 = Didn't like—but other people might.
    3 = Ambivalent. Liked some things about it; not others. Probably won't read again.
    4 = Liked. May read again sometime.
    5 = Loved! Own or want to own; will read again and again.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    2010 Debut Author Challenge


    I did a lot of reading challenges a few years ago. I even hosted some here.

    I love doing reading challenges. I don't know what happened. I think I just suddenly forgot that I liked to do them or something.

    So I'm kicking off the new year (it's still January, I can still say that, right?) with a fun challenge—The 2010 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren.

    From the Story Siren's site:
    What is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge?
    • The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year.* I'm going to challenge everyone to read at least 12 debut novels! I’m hoping to read at least 30! You don’t have to list your choices right away, but if you do feel free to change them throughout the year. I will also be focusing on mostly Young Adult novels.

    • Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on Amazon.com/BarnesandNoble.com/GoodReads/Shelfari, or any other bookish site.

    • The challenge will run from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime!


    Here's my list (which I will most likely add to later):

    Come join me!

    Somebody likes me

    My bloggy friend, Connie Hall, gave me this award. I'm trying to remember if I've met her IRL. I think I did at last year's Storymakers conference (the next one is happening in April and I've already signed up).

    I've had Connie on my blog reader for some time now (although I'm more of a lurker than a commenter). We have quite a bit in common—love of books and writing, friends (I know almost everyone on her blog friend list), Yahoo group. If you don't know Connie, go check out her blog.

    Now, the rules for this award are:
    • Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

    • Pass the award on to up to 15 other blogs that you enjoy.

    • Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

    I have 115 blogs on my reader—and yes, I read them faithfully, although I don't usually comment.

    I hate having to pick bloggers for awards—how do I decide who to award and who to leave out? A lot of my favs have already gotten this award, so...

    To make this easier for me (because it's all about me, here, right?), I've decided to give this award to a few of my blogging friends who have books coming out soon (because I love books and I want to give my friends their props). All of these books are on my 2010 To Read List and they'll all get some type of review here. In the meantime, I hope you'll go check out their blogs.

    Drum roll. . .


    Annette Lyon at The Lyon's Tale

    I can't remember how I first met Annette. Probably at a writers conference somewhere, and probably introduced through Tristi. I love Annette and I love her Word Nerd Wednesday posts. Annette usually writes LDS historical fiction but her new book, Band of Sisters (due to be released in March), is set in the present day, five women coping with life while their husbands are fighting the war on terror.



    David West at Nephite Blood, Spartan Heart

    I first met David IRL when he came into Provident Book. We talked books and publishing. Now I read his blog. He comes up with the funniest images sometimes. And the list of books he reads are definitely weird oddball eclectic. His debut book, Heroes of the Fallen, is due to come out any minute now. I'm excitedly awaiting a copy. (Picture me tapping my foot impatiently.)



    Josi Kilpack at What is a Sundial in the Shade?

    Again, I can't remember how I met Josi but I think she's wonderful. She offered to let me stop at her house during my Road Trip with Megan. I love Josi's books and her blog. Devil's Food Cake, #3 in her culinary mystery series, is coming out in February. Sadie Hoffmiller, the character first introduced in Lemon Tart is a wonderful busybody who gets herself into lots of trouble. She continues her adventures in English Trifle. I can't wait to see what she's up to in this one. The cover alone makes me drool!


    Julie Bellon at Six LDS Writers and a Frog

    I've known Julie forever. She tended my youngest daughter while I worked and was instrumental in searching for dirt on my DH (back before I married him). (She didn't find any.) Julie posts on the Six LDS Writers blog on Thursdays. Her new book, Dangerous Connections, is coming out in March. I'm sure I'll do some sort of review here where I pretend not to like her book but really, she is adored by romantic suspense lovers everywhere.



    Karen Hoover at A Writer's Ramblings

    I met Karen through the Utah Chapter of Blogger Babes. I really wanted to publish one of her books, but Rosehaven tanked before I could do it. Her debut book, The Sapphire Flute, will be released in March. I just got an ARC and I'm excited to read it. (I'll be posting a review on March 25th.) Her book isn't posted on Amazon yet, but you can read about it HERE on her publisher's site.



    Kimberly Job at Scribbled Scraps

    Someone already gave Kim this award, but I'm doing it again anyway. Kim was one of my girls when I was Young Women's President a million years ago. I moved. We lost touch. Then we met up again through mutual friends. Her blog has evolved, from tips on scrapbooking (which I loved) to info on books and her writing life. Her debut book, I'll Know You By Heart, is a romance to be released in March. It doesn't have a cover design yet, so I'm using a photo of her which I stole from her new website. (Isn't she lovely?)


    Sarah Eden at Sarah M. Eden

    Sarah's blog is hilariously funny, especially her "I Need Friends Friday" posts. I met Sarah at last year's Storymakers conference. Yes, I was a groupie and had her sign my copy of her book, Seeking Persephone, (which IMHO should have won the Whitney Award for romance). Her new book, Courting Miss Lancaster is coming out in March Can't wait!



    Sheila Nielson at Sheila A. Nielson's Blog

    Sheila and I have been in the same writer critique group for 10 years. She is a talented writer and her debut book, Forbidden Sea, isn't coming out until July but it's a great one. (Isn't that a stunning cover?) Sheila has several blogs. In addition to her personal blog featuring her adventures as a librarian, she also has one spotlighting Forbidden Sea, one that shows her incredible artwork and miniature jewelry, and one for her amazing doll collection.


    Tristi Pinkston at Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author

    I can't remember how I met Tristi but she's definitely become someone that I call a friend IRL (as proven by the fact that we've gone to both Twilight movies together). I enjoy her blog which is a great mix of life and humor and book reviews. Tristi is best known for her historical novels, but she's recently branched out to mystery. Her book, Agent in Old Lace, was her first suspense novel. Her next one, Secret Sisters is due out in April. I've read it and would classify it as a cozy mystery. Ida Mae is a hilarious character who tends to become overly involved in the lives of her friends and neighbors. Secret Sisters doesn't have a cover yet.

    And that's it for now. Look for reviews of these books (and others) coming soon.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    I got all my sisters with me. . .

    You know how when you show up somewhere and someone else is wearing the SAME THING YOU ARE? And it's totally mortifying?

    Yeh, well. Me and my sisters are just nerdy enough that we think it's cool. We got matching shirts at Kohl's.

    The triplets: Me, Suan, Elaine
    — and Mom in the red.


    Now playing on my iPod: We Are Family by Sister Sledge


    The one where she falls in love at Kohl's

    One of the main reasons I came out to KY was to help my Mom buy a new wardrobe. We all chipped in for her birthday and Christmas gifts and gave her a big pile of cash for new clothes. I came out to help her spend it because—you know mothers—they fritter their money away on their kids and grandkids and have nothing left for themselves.




    So on Saturday, we hit Kohl's. I don't shop at Kohl's much because although I like it, most of my clothes are hand-me-downs. Plus, Kohl's can be expensive.

    Unless, like my sister, you know how to play the game.

    Oh. My. Gosh! We bought $800 worth of clothes for only $270-ish. It was amazing!

    Here's how you do it.

    First, you sign up for a Kohl's charge card. (You'll get 15% off on that first purchase.)

    Then you go online and give them your email address so they'll send you special e-mail offers—like free shipping, if you order online.

    They also mail you things—like 30% off coupons (that are re-usable) and "Spend $50, Get $10 Back" to spend another day.

    Then you wait for them to do their big clearance sales—like right now when they're clearing out all their winter things to make room for their spring and summer items. Time the clearance sale with one of their promotions and voilá! It's Cash Central.

    We bought almost everything off the clearance racks, which were between 60 and 80% off retail. The other stuff was 40 to 50% off.

    Then we got the 30% off—on top of that! Yes! I couldn't believe it either!

    We had to use my sister's Kohl's card to get the extra 30% off but then, we paid it off with cash right there at the register before we left the store. So she got all this credit and points or whatever, and now they'll send her more coupons. (The more you use your card, the more coupons you get.)

    And then, when we got home, we ordered some clearance things online that weren't in our particular store. We got the clearance price, the 30% off AND free shipping!

    And if it doesn't fit or we don't like it when it arrives? We can return it to any Kohl's.

    I'll definitely be picking up this romance when I return to Utah.

    Now playing on my iPod: At Last by Etta James

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    The one where Avatar makes her barf…


    I've been wanting to see Avatar since it came out. My kids have seen it. My friends have seen it. Everyone said it was exactly the kind of movie I would love.

    And they were right. . .except for one teensy, weensy problem.

    The 3-D made me ill. Literally.

    Halfway through the movie, I started feeling like I was going to hurl. It only got worse. By the time it was over (it's nearly 3 hours long), I couldn't even stand up straight. I kept bouncing between the wall and my dad on the walk out to the car. Good thing I wasn't the designated driver. I'm sure people thought I'd started drinking a little too early in the day.

    I felt nauseated and hung over the rest of the day. (We'd gone to the first showing at noon.)

    But anyway—here's my review of Avatar. My Dad & I went on a daddy/daughter date to see it. I was sooooo excited. I haven't been on a daddy/daughter date in years and years and years.

    The trouble with seeing a movie with your dad? You notice every swear word. Even the ones that usually fly by you. And the partially clothed natives on Pandora? I held my breath a few times, hoping there were no wardrobe malfunctions. It was a tad embarrassing.

    The storyline was fairly predictable—the mean white humans tried to take over the good blue aliens' planet. One human goes in as a spy, falls in love with the princess, becomes a hero. Blah, blah, blah. Nothing new here, but it was good for the type of show that it was. I enjoyed it.

    I thought the battle scenes went on a little too long. You knew what was going to happen in the end, so why prolong it? Maybe that was for the guys.

    The 3-D and all the special effects and camera/CGI work? ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! For that alone, I'm glad I saw it. My guess is it's going to win some awards. Visually stunning.

    I recommend it with the reminder that it is PG-13. Expect swearing, barely there clothing, and lots of violence. If you're an adult, go before you let your kids see it. And definitely, watch it in 3-D. It's worth it even if it makes you woozy.

    And my dad? Well, he didn't get up and walk out—and now he wants to learn how to do 3-D movies himself.

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    The one where she gets caught wearing pajamas in public. . .


    Did I tell you my parents recently moved from the house they'd lived in for nearly 30 years? To a cute little house in a new neighborhood?

    Okay, so it was two years ago, but when you're separated by nearly 2,000 miles, it seems like a recent move.

    My aunt moved too—into a cute little house down the street. She has a Wii. So my first morning in KY, I dutifully trek down to my aunt's house to do my Wii Fit. Yay, me.

    But I forgot to bring workout clothes so I just threw my coat on over top of my pajamas. What's the big deal, right? It's a long red & white striped t-shirt and gray & white striped pj pants. They don't really match but they cover all the important stuff. No problem-o.

    My aunt was home when I got there but then she left to run errands. When I finished my workout, I stepped out onto the front porch, making sure her door was locked tight behind me. And then—

    Then I realized I didn't remember which house my parents lived in. Their street is made up of LOTS of cute little houses that all look pretty much the same. I hadn't counted the houses on the way to my aunt's house because I didn't need to. She had a snowman and a cat statue in her front yard. It was easy to find. But my parents have. . .nothing in their yard to set it apart from the others.

    Uh-oh.

    No cell phone. No way back into my aunt's house. No idea which house to go to.

    And to make matters worse, I was concentrating on that dilemna so hard that I failed to notice the patch of ice in front of me.

    Step. Swoosh. Splat!

    So here I am, this crazy lady, in her pajamas, limping from house to house, trying to figure out where I belonged. I narrowed it down to two houses—one had white trim and the other had cream trim. I felt reasonably sure it was one or the other.

    Eenie, meenie, minee, moe. . .

    Just as I raised my hand to knock on the white-trimmed house, I heard a dog barking inside. Definitely not the right place. I hobbled away as fast as I could, hoping no one had seen me trying to peek through the little window by the door.

    I stood on the doorstep of the cream-trimmed house, crossed my fingers, took a deep breath and knocked. I could see an awkward situation looming if I'd guessed wrong again.

    I don't think I've ever been more happy to see my mom's smiling face! And before I leave? I'm buying them a garden gnome to put in their yard.


    Now playing on my iPod: Don't Worry Bout a Thing by SheDaisy

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    My Summer Vacation in January


    We didn't get a real vacation last year, what with all the summer hoopla and everything (you know, the stuff that had absolutely nothing to do with anything at all).

    I've been going back to Kentucky to visit extended family every other summer for the past 30 years—and last summer was supposed to be my year. Didn't make it. I was a little sad about that.

    I thought about going over Thanksgiving, but there was that whole back surgery fiasco. (DH is a new man, btw. Walking upright and everything!)

    Anyway, I had resigned myself to the fact that it would be 2011 before I made it back there again, when Super DH (the one with the giant heart on his cape) gave me a round-trip plane ticket as a combo birthday/Christmas/anniversary present. (Isn't he wonderful?? Poor guy. He doesn't get to go. Has to stay home and work.)

    So tomorrow, I head off into the wild blue yonder for a full week of R&R. Nothing but fun, and fun, and lots more fun. And naps. Plenty of naps.

    And I don't even care that it's the middle of winter and will be freezing cold outside because my parents have indoor plumbing and this new-fangled invention called a "furnace"—yay!

    I may or may not post while I'm gone.

    (Not sure I like this pink and blue design but thought it was time to take off the Merry Christmas one.)


    Now playing on my iPod: Red Neck Woman by Gretchen Wilson

    Saturday, January 09, 2010

    Against my better judgment. . .



    I've decided to bow to peer pressure and make some goals for 2010.


    It's not that I really mind making goals. I do it all the time. I just hate the New Year's hoopla—and the depression when I immediately fail to achieve those goals. It just makes the seasonal depression worse. I mean, why do we have to do this in January anyway? Why not in May?

    Whatever.

    So here are my goals for the new year:
    1. Play more. I don't play much. I want to play, to do things that bring me joy—just for the fun of it.

    2. Write more. And I can be off to a good start because LDS Publisher is doing a Book of Mormon short story contest and I just happen to have a partially written B of M short story already. Just need to polish it up!

    3. Read more. Always. If I could figure out how to get paid for reading, I'd just read all day, every day.

    4. Comment more. Someone whose blog I visit (but now I can't remember who) said they were going to send emails to authors whose books they read and like this year. I think that's fabulous. I'm going to do it too.

    5. Exercise more. I'd like to finally do a 5K this year—walk, not run—but I'm not going to set that as my goal. However, I've been increasing my Wii Fit time incrementally, but I want to do it more thoughtfully now. So I need a plan. Maybe that should be my goal. To make the plan.

    6. Dejunk and fix-up more. Keep on keeping on with that project.

    7. Launch my business more. Okay, that doesn't really make sense but all the others ended with more, so this one has to as well. I've been working on a new face for Rosehaven. More on that soon. I hope.

    Now, I know that these are very loose, open ended goals. Exactly the opposite of how you're supposed to set successful and achievable goals. I don't care. I did it on purpose. I may bow to peer pressure, but only so far!

    What are your goals?




    Now playing on my iPod: Let's Get Loud by JLo

    (I like Ellen's version better but can't find the whole thing online.)

    Friday, January 08, 2010

    Sites for Readers

    Some of my favorite blogs and websites for readers.

    Sites for Writers

    Some of my favorite blogs and websites for writers.

    Other Blog Addictions

    Links to other blogs that I like to read

    Bloggin' Babes

    Links to the members of the Bloggin' Babes (Utah Chapter)

    Totally Cool Family

    Links to blogs by my Totally Awesome and Totally Cool Family!

    Author Friends

    I love supporting my author friends. Here are some of my favorite LDS authors and links to their blogs.

    (And yes, I've met each and every one of them.)

    (And yes, I'm a name-dropper.)

    Delicious Downloads!


    Isn't this button just delicious?!

    And that's only the beginning.

    Once again, my daughter, McKenna, has designed some delightful items—full of fun and whimsy.

    To start with, she has a FREE downloadable Birthday Calendar. Yes, that's right. FREE.

    You download it, print it in color onto cardstock, trim it and stick it to your fridge with a magnetic clip. I think it's darling (and no, I'm not at all biased). I downloaded mine today. You should go do it too, right now, because it's free for a limited time only.

    She also has some darling Valentine patterns that you print, trim and fold to make a little "puzzle purse." These are only $2.00 for the printable pattern and you can print as many as you need. I love the Victorian Valentine.

    You'll want to check her site, kennalyn.com, often because she'll be adding more items very soon.

    And if you want to do a mom a favor, someone posted her site on Kirtsy. As of posting time, she's in the Most Popular column, under the title, "HOLY CUTE! Printable birthday calendar, and FREE, too!" Just go find it on the list and click on the link to vote for it. You don't have to have a Kirtsy account to vote.

    And if you want, you can also post her delicious button on your blog sidebar. You can get the code for it HERE.

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    What do I love most?


    Remember my dejunking and fix-up the house project I started last summer? The one I blogged about HERE?

    You might think that the project has been discontinued or forgotten because I haven't been talking about it. And while it's true that the Yard Sale sort of threw my for a loop and stalled me out a bit, and that I had to put some of the renovation projects (aka: things that cost money) on temporary hold due to various "life happens" events, I'm still moving forward, even if it's at a snail's pace.

    In fact, I just marked off a bunch of stuff on my Project Lists on the sidebar. (Go ahead and take a look. I'll wait.)

    I've been thinking about all the things that have been stumbling blocks to me and keep me spinning my wheels. I think a big part of my problem is that I'm a "Depression Era" thinker living in a "Throw Away" world. It just about kills me to get rid of things that I might need some day if. . .
    • we lose our income

    • there's a disaster

    • the world comes to an end but we don't die

    So I think myself around in circles and end up paralyzed. Over and over again.

    However, one thing that has helped resolve some of this for me is turning 50. Surprise! It's changing my thinking. Something happens when you realize you've been here longer than you have left. You realize that you have limited time to do all the things you still want to do in this life. You have to start prioritizing and making time first for the things you want to do most.

    Lately, as I'm confronted with new ideas or projects, or I'm trying to make decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of, I'm asking myself a new set of questions, the most important of which is, "What do I love most?"

    For example, I love(d) making and selling my Twilight-inspired perfumes. But it's very labor and time intensive and there are things that I love more—like writing/publishing. If I have to pick between the two, I'm dropping the perfume.

    And so I did.

    As I dejunk a room, I find lots of little knick-knacks that I love—but there's not enough room for them all. So I have to ask, "Which one do I love most?" That's the one I keep.

    And that Yard Sale thing and my plan to sell the leftover items on ebay or KSL.com? Well, I'd love the money that might generate, but I love the freedom of it BEING GONE and the time that I'll save by giving it to D.I. even MORE.

    So, as soon as it warms up enough that I can stand to spend a few hours in the garage, it's outta here.

    Loving something most means clearing out the clutter and making the time and space for it.

    Now playing on my iPod: Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen

    Friday, January 01, 2010

    Warm and Toasty... Again


    On Tuesday (yes, the day before the big winter storm AND the day I'd planned to take down Christmas), our 250 year old furnace finally gave up the ghost for good.

    Well, sort of.

    We'd been coaxing it along—gluing it back together with chewing gum and duct tape and tricking it into working for a couple of winters now. Then on Tuesday, it said in a very snarky voice, "No, I'm not going to fall for your shenanigans anymore. I'm off to Heater Heaven and there's nothing you can do to stop me!"

    Then it downed a handful of pills and I thought it was all over. . .

    But a very nice furnace repair man came over Tuesday afternoon and pumped its stomach, forced it to breathe, and put it on life support so we could survive the next couple of days.

    I didn't get Christmas taken down on Tuesday because of the furnace fiasco. It snowed a big one that night and all the next day. My storage shed which has all my Christmas boxes in it is now blocked by two feet of snow. Bad news: Christmas may not come down until spring. Good news: Lots of extra time to read—in between resetting the furnace so we didn't freeze to death.

    Today, a nice furnace installer man came and pulled the plug on the old guy, hauled his bones off, and put a shiny new energy efficient furnace in its place. I like this new furnace. It keeps me toasty warm and doesn't talk back at all.

    I think I'll keep it.