Saturday, January 13, 2018

Amazing Race: Belgium! Plus Ink Master, SE10

I arrived home Wed and discovered my DVR wasn't set up; I only caught the last half hour.  Finally last night, I remembered I could probably watch it online, so I did:)

Turns out I didn't miss much.  Contestants rode the same plane to Amsterdam, then the same train to Antwerp.  There was some confusion about where to go next, but they all managed to complete the Sky Ladder (ladders attached to a 200 ft crane), which meant they had to climb to the top before their ladders disappeared, and retrieve their clue.  I THINK two contestants' clues fell before they got to the top, but I THINK they still had to reach the top first.  At any rate, it was on to the next challenge.

They had their choice of either a printing press or trying to asses the value of a diamond.  Some apparently had never seen a printing press, or have any concept of how a typewriter worked, and after not understanding the letters were BACKWARDS, they gave up and switched, which proved even more difficult.  Granted, some excelled at this, while other floundered.

Team Slam Dunk finished first, only to discover they had to wait for another team; this was the 1st head-to-head challenge.  Team BB was next, and their objective was to put 8 sacks of french fries on a cart and wheel it around an obstacle course.  Cody easily won it, since Cedric first dropped one bag, then ran into a corner and dropped everything.  C and Jess won the leg, and $2500 a piece.

Team Slam Dunk then had to wait for the next team, Yale, and won that one.

Then it was Yale's turn....and kept getting beat by:

They finally beat Goat Yoga, who promptly lost to:

April was too tired against either Eric or Daniel, and they were eliminated.

Now For Ink Master, Season 10:
I was interested to see if I remembered any of the ones who won the Ink Master Angels, and truthfully, the only one I remembered was Sparks. 

Dave and Co divvied up the 24 contestants by having everyone do a tattoo, then critiqued it blind.  3 returning Masters, Steve, DJ, and Anthony, would be coaches, and would rank the tats in order to choose their teams.  At the end of the 1st round, the teams looked like this:

DJ:  (took rank # 1, 2, and 3):  Matt (Jewish Guy), Josh, and Deanna

Anthony:  (#4, 5, and 7):  Warren, Jason, Daniel.

Steve (#6, 8, and 9):  Katie, Garrett, and Rollie.

Next, the remaining artists had to tattoo again, this time either in Japanese, Traditional, or Literary Women's Faces (?? Check this).  After being critiqued, the coaches would pick.  If the others wanted the same artist, then the ARTIST would choose.  The remaining 9 chosen were:

Team DJ:  Frank, Sparks (YES, he was chosen!!), and Lil' D.

Team Anthony:  Linzy, Amanda, Mike.

Team Steve:  Jeremy, Fame, and Gary.

The remaining 6 not chosen were sent home, rather disappointed.

See you next week!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Flashback Friday: 1st Speeding Ticket....Pt 1

Jan 1988:
Did I mention the speedometer on my LRBS (little red bomb shell) was broken the day I took possession of it?  Therefore, I had no idea how fast I'd been driving down to see CS; I was simply following traffic.  Until my father got around to having it fixed.

Turned out I'd been making the 3 hour trip in a little over 2.5 hours, because I'd been driving nearly 85-90 mph!  So it's a miracle I didn't get my 1st speeding ticket until now, 5 months later.

I'd gotten word the pictures of our Christmas Dance were in, and CS had picked them up.  Curious to see them, and the fact that a friend of his, who was also rapidly becoming a good friend of mine, was in the hospital, and you have a recipe for disaster.

I was six miles away from my destination, and heading up a hill.  My little 4-cylander T-1000 had issues going uphill, so I naturally sped up a bit, so I could make it w/o holding up traffic, or being passed by everyone else.  I was nearly to the top when I happened to glance behind me.....and saw the red and blue lights.  Alarmed, I pulled over.  Prayed for a warning, since it was my 1st offense, and also nearly blurted out, "I'm on my way to see your boss", since DH was on the staff as a night jailer at the time.  But I held my tongue......and meekly accepted my ticket.  I'd been going 73, but he knocked it down to 68.

I often wonder if I'd a) told the officer who I was headed to see or b) told DH about the ticket, would I have gotten off with a warning or if DH would have been able to 'fix' it?

At any rate, I was rather appalled when I saw the pic of CS and myself; I look horrible, while he looked great!  Also, I spent a rather enjoyable day sitting on the foot of DH's hospital bed, eating his dessert.  I found out later my sweatpants had a hole in the crotch, so he was enjoying the view (yes, I wore underpants!).  I was mortified when that fact was revealed.....

I was also questioning my sanity about continuing this relationship.  On the one hand, we enjoyed each other's company; on the other hand, the whole point of dating is to find one's life partner.  I already knew I had no intention of ever marrying him, so why was I still driving down?

When I arrived back at BSU, I promptly called the number on the back of the ticket and asked who to make the check out to.  And mailed my payment the next day.

Next Month:  Fallout From Speeding Ticket and A Memorable Valentine's Day.

Present Day:
The snow and ice is back with a vengeance.  Kids don't have school; I didn't go to karaoke because the weather was supposed to arrive between midnight and one am.  I did NOT want to drive in icy conditions, so I curled up with SE 2 Episode 4 of The Crown, and went to bed.

Today I'm doing laundry, and IF I venture out, I'm making D drive.  In fact, as I type this at 12:30 pm, there are some FAT snowflakes falling outside!  Our trash pick up has even suspended services for the day,  Thankfully, ours was picked up yesterday, and our recycling is next week, so we're unaffected by it.

Since I may have to spend a few weeks with my parents (to be decided next week), I've decided to sanitize my house from top to bottom, beginning with the kitchen and working my way forward.  So far, I've only done half my counter top.  Hopefully I'll do the other half, stove, dryer, and washer today.  Maybe tomorrow I'll get the floor swept and mopped, and my pantry reorganized.  Check back next week.

Stay warm!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Flashback Friday: Blizzard of 1978!

Jan 1978:
These were taken after the blizzard, where school was cancelled for at least two (wonderful, to an elementary student!) weeks.  The snow was up to our roof; the cars were completely blanketed by the snow, and we had HUGE icicles!

My sister W on the left; I'm on the right.  I can only assume we were headed to church.  One nice thing about those long skirts; I was able to hide my thermal underwear under them, and keep my legs warm!  I wasn't allowed to wear pantyhose yet, and back then, tights (like my sis is wearing) were for 'babies' (she was in the 2nd grade).

Showing how high the drifts were; this was taken from our front porch.  For several days, our front door was frozen shut; we had to go in and out through the garage.

Obviously taken after more snow had melted.  That's my dad on the right, shoveling snow off the car.

My sister remembers the tunnel we created through the front yard, from the driveway to nearly my window (far right).  We were chatting the other day, reminiscing about *those days* and thinking how lucky we were that our 'cave' didn't collapse while the three of us were in it!  Three, being myself, W, and her best friend K, whom I lovingly refer to as my 'other' sister.

Present Day:
We're headed to Indy tomorrow, to have our Christmas party with my dad's sister and her family.  Mom and I have spent this chilly week (-16 on Monday, -1 on Tues, 19 Wed, 7 Thurs) watching TV, cooking dinner, and searching for the Daily Guidepost devotionals she bought, but cannot find.

Dad has aneurisms in both knees, but only one is causing him pain.  He finds out more on the 15th; I may have to come spend a few weeks if he has to undergo surgery.

Will I attempt karaoke tomorrow night?  I'll probably sing one song, then determine whether or not my voice is up for the task.

Stay warm everyone!!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Amazing Race, Season 30

I had such a good time blogging about BB last summer, I decided to do the same thing with AR, esp since everyone's favorite players *cough cough* are racing this year.

Team Chomp: Joey and Tim
Team NBA aka Slam Dunk Cedric and Shawn
Team BitchFit aka Ring Girls Dessie and Kayla
Team Indy Car:  Alexander Rossi and Connor Daly!!!
Team Extreme  Kristi and Jen
Team BB aka "Jody' aka Cody and Jessica
Team Ocean Rescue Lucas and Brittany
Team Goat Yoga Sarah and April
Team Yale  Henry and Evan
Team Firefighters  Eric and Daniel
Team Well Strung:  Violinists Trevor and Chris

Trip To Iceland:
Team Yale, Indy, and BB got off to an early lead. along with NBA.  Team Yoga seemed to be lost, having gotten directions from the flight attendant.

Jody won the 2nd challenge, followed by Yale and Team Extreme.  Jess told Cody, "You just beat Yale in a spelling comp.  How cool is that?"  

Cody:  "People tell me I'm smart."

Jess:  "Duh..."

Jody found the answers to the 2 questions, and were off to the pit stop.  Kristi and Jen were hot on their heels, finding Phil 1st.  Whew!

So to begin next leg, here's the line up:
NBA 30 min penalty, since Cedric told Shawn to 'pay attention to the Ps and Os'.
Eric and Daniel

Ring Girls elimnated by thousanths of a second.  WOW.....never in the history of the Race has a leg been that close between the final 3 teams.

So far, my favorites are Indy, Yale, and Chomp; they seem to work well together.  Grudgingly, I have to admit Jody is working well together too.

Coming Attractions:
Sometime during this race, they will face off head to head with another team, plus they'll be switching partners!  WOW!  Can't wait to see the expression on 'Jody's' face!

Stay tuned till next week....

BTW, I had to dismantle the comment section.  I was tired of getting hit with spam comments.  If you want to comment, hit me up at kenziemichaels (at) gmail (dot) com

Monday, January 1, 2018

January Goals: Happy New Year 2018!

Last Year, I Resolved To:
-Finish writing Heart Song  Made it to Ch. 6.
-Publish #4 of my Sci-Fi Rom series (Check!) and write #5 (Began it; still on Ch. 2).
-Get books #1-6 of my Arbor University Tales (Women's Fiction) series in print  Formatted and ready to go; still waiting on print wraps
-Successfully help my 6th grader bring up his grades in Math, Social Studies, and Language Arts All but Math; he DID advance to 7th grade.
-Lose another 5 lbs or more  Check; I've boomeranged up and down, but think this is a score:)
-Cut back on signings; instead of 14 like last year, only do six which cost money, and a few local ones which are free.  Totally blew this one in April.  Ended up doing another 14.  Did do the free local ones and the Watermelon Fest.
-Organize my basement office  Nope; not yet
-As for the karaoke songs, well, I'd like to maybe hit the 'P' titles?  I'm beginning the year still on the 'Love' titles.  I'm thinking there may not be many 'N' or 'O' titles.  I could be wrong.  Still on the last of the 'O' titles.

2018 Goals:
-Write #5 of The Chosen
-Promote Whispers Anthology
-Limit my craft fairs and set up only at:
     -Author's Fair in April, in addition to a local event.
     -May:  1st Friday AND Opening weekend of Farmer's Market
     -June:  1st Friday
     -July:  1st Friday
     -Aug:  Watermelon Festival and GenCon (IF we get approved)
     -Sept:  1st Friday, maybe Paletine's event; Eminence Harvest Festival, and the Evansville                             Fairgrounds event.
     -Oct:  Imaginarium
     -Nov:  Indy Christmas Show, maybe the Christmas Stroll.  This year, I was exhausted and                           skipped it.
-Finish Heart Song 
-Set up a few local signings at our coffee shop/brewery.
-Get our Green House torn down, and the Brown House emptied.  I've decided to move my office into the Brown House (provided the spouse approves!).
-Continue participation in the MFRW Blog Challenge 2018.  Kenzie had a good time, so maybe I'll do it this year??  Or switch off every week?  Month??
-Lose 5 lbs each month.  If I succeed, I'll be down to 200 lbs by this time next year.  Starting weight:  232

Monthly Goals:
Buy inventory  Check:)  Bought copies of HS, CA, and half of what I need of Kenzie's.  TP and Orion still to be ordered.
Write Ch 6 of Heart Song
Get my clothes out of the box and into a rubbermaid 3 drawer chest
Organize boys' room
Lose 5 lbs
Pay cover artist for Winning Her Heart AND order copies
Pay for March event  Cancelled
Buy new Prayer Journal and calendar  Check:)
Finish watching Criminal Minds (Check!) and The Crown before binge-watching Game of Thrones
Start watching The Ranch on Netflix

Reading Schedule:
Tomb of the Moon-N. E. Riggs
Clayton's Star-Jillian Jacobs

Secrets and Lies (HOB #4)-Susanne Matthews  Amazing, well-thought out story!  DRR!
Back To School-Dylan Cross
Green Castles-KL Montgomery
This Regret-Victoria Ashley
Perfect Stranger-Morgan Kay
Meet Me In Fantasyland-Mary Martinez
Naughty or Nice-Amber Skyze

White Liar-Miranda Lambert
Miles To Go-Celine Dion
Same Auld Lang Syne-Dan Fogelberg

White Rabbit-Jefferson Airplane
Modern Day Delilah-Van Stephenson
Who Are You-The Who
Angel Of The Morning-Juice Newton

Who Can It Be Now-Men At Work
My Favorite Things-Julie Andrews
Who Knew-Pink
Blaze of Glory-Bon Jovi

Only The Young-Journey Nailed it, though slightly scratchy.  Might sing it again!
Open Arms-Journey Nailed it:)  Voice cooperated!
O Christmas Tree LOL....this version was slightly slower; started out good, but went downhill by vers #3!
Opposites Attract-Paula Abdul Bleh...
O Come All Ye Faithful Bleh; wrong key
O Holy Night  Nailed it!  My favorite carol!

Oops I Did It Again-Britney Spears
Our Lips Are Sealed-Go-Gos
Out of Touch-Hall and Oates
Out Here On My Own-Irene Cara

Owner of A Lonely Heart-Yes
Over You-Daughtry
Over You-Miranda Lambert

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: Am I Full Of It?

The past two years, I've heard of people selecting a 'Word Of The Year'.  I've never formally done this; my 'word', if you will, has been 'breathe', since I run on an ungodly amount of stress.  Some of it is external, but quite a bit is internal.  I think that's why, as I look back to this crazy year we've had, 2017 will be the year of extreme selfishness on my part.  As you scroll down, you'll see why.

Jan:  I was cheeky enough to offer an idea to a neighboring county's magazine, and was knocked back down to earth by having to rewrite it.  Very humbling experience.  You'd have thought I'd learned.  My mom lost her BFF, and I went home for the funeral and to reconnect with friends.  I also sent Kira off to an editor AND contacted my cover artist.

Feb:  Had another humbling experience while singing a funeral.  Spent this month doing edits, and received a nice shiny cover for Kira's Slice of Pizza (Chosen #4 of Kenzie's sci-fi series), which then released on the 23rd:)  Watched a very strange Super Bowl; Patriots came back from a 21-3 score at halftime to being down 28-9 at the end of the 3rd quarter, to win the game in Overtime, 34-28!

March:  Spent the month reformatting all my self-pubbed titles, so the interior copyright page matched on all.  Spent a week with my mom, doing a video inventory of all her jewelry, plus drove up to Indy for granddaughter A's choir concert.  Set up at the Eagles Craft Fair, and surprise surprise....someone had dropped the ball on the advertising.  We were competing with another craft show in the area, and hardly anyone was at ours.  I'd sung the praises of it to two other authors, who were not too happy with little to zero sales.  Plus, had a 'WTH' moment when my CA story was deemed 'too dark and twisted' for the gentle readers, and would I be willing to revise it?  I ended up writing TWO stories in two weeks.  Yes, I was furious.  K decided to move in with his friend C, in order to help out with her financials.

April:    Spent another week with mom, who was flabbergasted at my thought process while I was writing story #2.  Had a good Chrism Mass practice, even obtained copies of CA.  I was so blown away by seeing it, I apparently forgot to pay home to an email which put my nose out of joint, since it implied I'd done it on purpose.  HELL NO I didn't do it on purpose!  Again I was furious, and was by now, 2nd guessing my decision to be a part of this project.  But, I'd promoted it; worked hard on all 3 stories, and by God, I was going to see it through.  Found out about a free Vendor's was a bust.  Again, the organizer dropped the ball, so there were no signs or any advertizing.  Then I took NE Riggs to Kentucky with me, and a huge storm knocked out the power in the surrounding counties.  I only sold one book, and that was to an aspiring author I'd met the night before during the panels.  In fact, N and I weren't sure we were going to make it home, but by the time we arrived closer to Evansville, the water level had gone down.

May:  Our brown house was broken into, so Ed brought over another key.  Plus, he told me to go ahead and clean both houses out; just give him a percentage.  I was heartbroken to learn that all the LPs in the green house had been stolen, save for the 5 I'd already pilfered!  I also set up at the Farmer's Market, Birds of a Feather, and at B&N with the other RCW members.  Attended the Indy 500 and when Takuma Sato of Japan won, we joked about 'being in cahoots with Japan, not Russia'.  K also moved back home, right in the middle of Rendezvous traffic, having realized C was only using him as an in-home baby-sitter for her son Z.

June:  Spent the month emptying out all the computer crap in the Brown House, and hauling stuff to the scrap yard.  Set up at the 1st Friday; collected A and J for the summer; and apparently ticked off a fellow author without knowing about it.  I honestly thought we were joking around; I'd wanted to read her new book, but when I read the 1st page, it was so badly edited, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it.  K wanted to read MY new book, so we did an even swap.  Apparently my offer to 'take a red pen' to her baby didn't come off as joking as I'd thought.  Granddaughter A began heavily campaigning to live with us, since her mom had lost her housing.  Took Miss Alex to Brown County for her birthday, to go horseback riding.

July:  Spent 3 weeks at my parents' house, house-sitting while they visited my sister.  Volunteered at an event, and enjoyed myself.  I was also blogging heavily about the new season of Big Brother.  Step-daughter came down for 4th, and promptly got into a shouting match at a woman across the street.  Granddaughter A pleaded with her mom to be allowed to live with us, and after much discussion, her mom agreed.  I got in touch with the school to see what needed to be done in order for us to enroll her.

Aug:  Had a GREAT time at the Watermelon Festival!  Family drama ensued.  After being in school for 2 days, A went home for her Sweet 16 party.  D and I had to be in Indy on Monday, so let her take a personal day, so we didn't have to make 2 trips.  She had tonsiitis, so was out sick on Tuesday.  Wed morning, I took her to an ortho appointment, and she expressed a desire to be home schooled.  I told her no; J overruled me and asked me to look into it.  I sent off an app.  Thursday, A decided she wanted to return home.  We said no, and got my SIL on my side.  Thursday night, though, A announced 'everyone' was on her side.  I was furious, and on Fri, told the school she was going home.  Sunday night, after she left, I posted a vague vent on FB and went to bed.  Monday morning, I was called out as a selfish narcissist.  I was floored....took down the post and apologized to A for the drama.

Sept:  Attended three shows, and sales began to soar.  Reconnected with friend BJC from high school.  Emptied all but three appliances from the Green House:)  Officially signed with Stardust/Erotes Press, aka Hydra Publications out of Louisville, owned by Frank, the organizer of the Author's Fair.  Another 'WTH' moment; when I signed on, apparently other romance authors panicked, because my 5 orphaned books were *gasp* 'erotic romance', and OMG, they can't have their names associated with a 'smut' author.  Give me a break....

Oct:  Imaginarium was a blast!  Teacher's Pet rereleased, and I'll admit, I was a little stunned as to how I would buy my author copies.  But buy them I did....and went as Danaerys Targarian (Game of Thrones) on Halloween.  D was involved in an accident, which totalled the truck.  No one was seriously injured, thank God!

Nov:  Had a BLAST at the Christmas Toy and Hobby show, then came home for the Women's Retreat.  Discovered two friends were doing a signing at our local coffee house....then discovered my 'indiscretion' back in June.  I was floored as to why K was so mad at me....and then we patched everything up when I told her I'd had no intention of marking up her book; was absolutely NOT in 'competition' with her....quite the opposite!  I'd enjoyed the general story of her book, just wishing it had been better edited, IMHO.

Dec:  Spent a very quiet month, baking cookies, and buying presents.  Bought my spouse a new GMC truck, a 2017 'holdover'.  It's in my name, due to having the better credit score, ha ha!

See what I mean?  There's a saying if one person points out an issue, fine.  If two or more point out the same issue, then there's clearly a problem.  Maybe the person in Aug wasn't far off the mark?  Maybe it's not narcissism, but I've been extremely selfish and conceited this year?  

I shall try to correct this obvious flaw.  Am I really a self-centered, self-righteous brat?  This 'look back' has had quite a humbling effect.  And somewhat depressing.

Moving On To Happier News.....

Books Read:  58
       E-Book:  34
           Print:  22
            DNF:  3

Karaoke Songs Added:  140
                            Thurs:  53
                                 Sat:  87

Friday, December 29, 2017

Flashback Friday: Valuable Lesson Learned

Dec 2007:
I was happily relieved at the start of December.  I'd just endured a horrible 1st attempt at NaNoWriMo; I'd managed to 'win', but the experience had scared me and turned me into someone I NEVER wanted to be again.  I was also gaining confidence in my blogging skills, and turned my attention to baking cookies, getting ready for the holidays, and even moving my hubby back into the house.

Which sounds funny; in fact go here for the rest of the story.

I also discovered not everyone shares my sense of humor, but instead of simply skimming my post, two other fellow bloggers were caught by the Blogger Trolls and threatened to pull their support.  Which terrified me at the time; I mean, what new author wants to learn she's 'offended' her new friends and have them leave her high and dry?  I was supposed to be interviewed by one, and due to the 'controversy', she chose to interview someone else.  I took down the 'offensive' part of my post, but later stewed about it.  What happened to the 1st Amendment rights?  Who were these unseen readers who objected to song lyrics that had played at least twice a day on public radio stations across the country?  On a particular show on the weekend?  It made no sense.

I tried to be philosophical about it.  Maybe different rules applied to Blogger.  Maybe I had gotten such a swelled head about the release of book #2 and the fact I'd just written my 9th book, and hadn't taken in to consideration what I was doing.

After a week of carefully censoring every word I wrote, be it in an email, a comment on someone's blog, or even my own post, I wrote this post after being 'zinged' by a sermon at church.  It seemed to work; the incident had blown over, and all was forgiven.

It didn't take the hurt away; the fact I remember it at all is proof of it.

What Did I Get For Christmas That Year?
Colts pjs, a huge box of paper, some clothing, and candy.  Mom had gotten me a new coat, but it didn't fit, so when I took it back, I hit a sale and got a whole lot more!

Both my MIL and my mom ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, so this was also a stressful month.  Thankfully, both recovered!

Present Day:
The cold has found us!  It snowed Christmas Eve, just enough to cover the ground.  Our choir sounded wonderful, and while I was slightly croaky, my voice held.  Christmas Day was nice and relaxing; I fixed appetizers (meatballs and the Chicken-broccoli filling), then the ham later.  We played Cards Against Humanity well into the wee hours, and my spouse discovered just how twisted my sense of humor can get at times!

Did I mention my dad got me another large box of printer paper for my birthday?  Perfect timing, since we just ran out of the one he'd bought me ten years ago!

Tomorrow, we're heading to Lafayette to celebrate with my parents.  This year it's my dad's turn for the medical issues; he'd been complaining of knee pain, and after an X-ray, he was told he had an anuerism in that knee.  He had a CAT scan on Tuesday, and we're still waiting on the results.  I'm going to stay up there for a week or two.

I'll be back later with my annual 'look back' post, so have a very happy New Year!