Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: A Look Back....

2016 was a horrible year for celebrity deaths, and since it was an election year, sales were iffy across the board.  But it wasn't for a lack of trying!

Began the year catching up my Youngling in Spelling, then we resumed lessons at home, after a relaxing week at Grandma's.  Set up at the Women's Expo in Indy, but only sold 2.  Was told the publicity for the event just didn't exist, and we were also competing with the Home Show.  Plus, our booth was in a bad place, and the promoters didn't even link us with the NY published keynote speaker.  I also think this was the month I met Billie Brown in Indy for dinner at Texas Roadhouse, since her grandmother was in the hospital.  Granddaughter A began Head Start, to see if she was ready, and after a few weeks, she really enjoyed it.

Think we spent Valentine's Day at I started sending out queries for Kira's Slice of Pizza.

Held a meeting with friend B, who agreed to work on the print versions of the AU covers.  I drove around campus and took pictures of buildings that would coincide with the 6 books.  Also began working on my 1st Fairy story.  House-sat for Mom and Dad while they were in Florida, watched the NCAA Basketball tournament, and attended the Eagles Craft show, selling 4 print copies and 4 of the CDs.  Celebrated W's 12th birthday at Outback

Arranged for Kira to be edited AND for covers created; went to the Madison, IN Author's Fair and only sold 2, plus ran into a problem with my hotel deposit refund, which ended up costing me $98 in overdraft fees, which D promptly paid, but began holding it over my head every time an issue arose.

Celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary at the Schnitzelbank in Jasper with the kids, and Texas Roadhouse by ourselves.  Melissa Bennett and I drove to Nashville, TN and went to the Opryland Hotel to look around before going onto the Weekend With The Authors convention.  Introduced her to several of my friends, and we had an enjoyable afternoon.  Ate dinner at Jack-In-The-Box before meeting up with a few of her friends for a birthday party and eventually driving home!  Ended up taking 2 detours; one in Nashville, when we missed the turn and spent 45 minutes in stop-and-go traffic; the other when we missed the turnoff to 41 and went a mile out of our way to find another turnaround spot.  Also set up at an Author's Fair in Edinburgh, In and didn't sell any, but had a good time with my dad when he drove me to Lafayette.  Met my uncle and cousin at the Indy 500 and enjoyed it.

Set up at the Heaps of Jeeps festival and while I didn't sell any, I did barter one for a CD, and networked with Helping His Hands agency.  A friend informed us of a house he was selling, so we went over and looked at it.  It was just what we wanted!

Filled out the application for the mortgage, and was approved!  I also began working on a needlepoint pillow for my niece, and discovered an interesting fact:  No one bothers me if I'm sewing.  Finished my Fairy story and began a Ghost one.  Celebrated S's 22nd birthday and the 4th of July.  Drove to Peoria for the Writers On The River at the casino, and while I only sold 4, had a good time and lost my complimentary $10 on a slot machine.  Had to stop at 1am to find a hotel so I wouldn't fall asleep.

Set up at the Watermelon Festival and only sold 2. Spent the month packing up the house, taking W to football practice, and back-to-school activities.

Had to meet with W's teachers to update his learning plan, and had to remedicate him.  Also set up at the Wine and Art festival (0). the Bicentennial celebration (11), and the Kentuckiana Book Blitz (2).  My poem for the Bicentennial was an instant hit with everyone.  Signed the papers for our new house:)  Granddaughter A started Head Start and thrived:)

We painted, sanded, and began moving into our new home:)  I went to Imaginarium in Louisville, and only sold 1, but the networking was awesome!

Attended the CHRP retreat, then set up at the Indpls Christmas show, and sold 22:)  Enjoyed staying with my SIL from Wed-Sun, plus seeing my cousin Pam and friend K and her parents.  Thoroughly moved into our home and cleaned out the old one.  Cleared the dining room enough so we could host Thanksgiving with Sara's boyfriend.

Decorated the house for Christmas, plus unpacked and rearranged boxes.  Had a small Christmas morning, but relaxing and enjoyable.

Books Read:  75
Print: 31
DNF: 5

Karaoke titles added: 148
Thurs: 81
Sat: 67

What are my goals for the coming year?  Check back in a few days!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Flashback Friday: All I Want For Christmas Is A Shower....

Dec 2006:
That heading may sound weird to you, but all will be explained shortly! 

After Thanksgiving was over, my spouse had a three-day weekend, so we spent it getting rid of more unwanted furniture and finally moving some of 'our' things in, like the desk and computer, and our couch.

Floor mats were purchased, so we didn't have to stand on a cold basement floor as we showered, and a small space heater helped with the temperature.  K's birthday was spent in Terre Haute at the lazer tag place, and his cousin Josh and a few friends arrived to join in the fun.  W was too young for the game, so he amused himself by playing with the arcade game controls.  Afterward, we went to dinner at either Outback or Longhorn Steakhouse.

My birthday fell on a Wednesday, so I treated my friend Jackie to lunch at Fazolli's and presented her with an early Christmas gift of quilting materials.  To my surprise, my spouse arrived home that night and took us all out to dinner!

Christmas Eve, we packed up our meager presents and went to spend the night at my parents' house.  After attending the Christmas Eve service and waking up with happy kids, I hopped in the shower and enjoyed a private bathroom shower for the first time in two months.

K agreed with me later that it was 'the BEST Christmas present' of 2006!

Next Month:  NFL playoffs!

Present Day:
This has been a horrible week for celebrity deaths.  Carrie Fisher passed away Tuesday, and then her mother, Debbie Reynolds, followed her on Wed.  My old elementary school principal, Mr. Kendall, passed away on Thursday, and one of the Jeff math teachers, Mr. Skibinski, also passed away on Wed.  I'd gone to school with one of his sons, Joe, and we'd shared World History together.

I'm also at my parents' house for the week, after celebrating Christmas with my aunt's family on Monday, then coming up afterward.  I've binge-watched Game of Thrones (SE2 and 3), and now PBS is running Downtown Abbey, which Mom and I are both watching.  Heading home tomorrow, after picking up MDQ and ME, who are off until Jan 10th.  W has to return to school Jan 4th.

Tomorrow will be my annual 'Year in Review', so see you tomorrow!


Friday, December 23, 2016

Flashback Friday: Robbed!

Dec 1996:
Oops:  I accidentally posted this as happening in 1995; however, I was incorrect.  These events happened in 1996. 

After we returned from Thanksgiving, I went over to our storage unit and retrieved our Christmas decorations.  I spent all day putting up the tree and other decorations, then the following day, sent D back to storage with the empty boxes.  A few minutes later, he called me.  Tammy, the storage unit manager, had noticed a different lock on our unit and was about to call us when she spotted D at the entrance and flagged him down. 

D said we had NOT gotten a new lock and gave her permission to break it.  When they opened our unit, they discovered it tossed.  What had happened, Tammy said, was someone had apparently watched me open it, and after I'd left, broken our lock, took what they could immediately carry, taken inventory, then placed their lock on our unit to return for the rest later.

What they needed me to do was see what was missing.  Among the missing items were:
-My tupperware demo kit;
-Our entire box of Christmas presents;
-My suit bag, containing my good suit and the two dresses I'd worn in both my friends' weddings.

I was floored and furious, since a prized picture collage was damaged.

I also felt extremely violated, and told D we needed to move out of the city asap.

We didn't have renter's insurance, so my mom took me downtown one day and helped me buy our Christmas gifts for that year. 

dragged insisted we attend Christmas Eve services that year, though K rebelled.

Christmas Day, we drove down and spent Christmas with the in-laws.

Next Month:  Making a decision

Present Day:
Presents are wrapped; plans for next week are set; tomorrow I have to both bake cookies AND go get a few last-minute gifts.

Tomorrow, I'm also making appetizers for dinner, since I have to sing at Midnight Mass, and have to be at church at 11pm.  The good news:  The weather is going to be in the 50s or even 60s for Christmas!!

If I didn't mention it, our organist fell down her stairs at her home and broke both her ankles.  Fortunately, another parishoner stepped up to play the organ for us.  The choir serenaded G when she was moved to rehab, and she was extremely touched by our gesture.  So were the nurses and other patients when we walked around the floor singing carols!

No karaoke this weekend.  Have a safe and merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Friday Flashback Pt 2

Dec 1986:
Brief Recap:  I graduated from VU, and had a tearful goodbye with not only my roommates, but my recently-reunited boyfriend, JF.  My 21st birthday was a non-event, since it fell on a Friday, and we were leaving for Florida bright and early the next day.  My mom fixed me a rather watery homemade strawberry dacquari after dinner.

We arrived in Florida to warm and sunny weather!  Saturday was spent recupperating from the trip and chatting with Grandma, but on Sunday after church, we went out to dinner and I had my 1st official 'real' strawberry dacquari!  My sister had ordered hers virgin, and I'm not totally convinced our drinks hadn't been switched.

Christmas Day dawned 85 degrees, so after opening our presents, Mom, Wendy, and I hit the beach.  The water, however, was FREEZING!  There is a picture sequence which shows W and I with our toes in the water....then W knee-deep and looking uncertain.....then her horrified reaction when she went in up to her neck!

We also went to my Uncle Bill's house in Naples, where I bonded with my cousin Kelly over her new electronic keyboard, plus we played Mom's new murder mystery game, which involved a video.  W had received U2's Live At Red Rocks, while I had requested Don Johnson's Heartbeat (his 1-hit wonder!).

My aunt let me shut myself in her room and call JF for a few moments.  I also looked forward to New Year's Eve, but to my disappointment, I wasn't allowed to join in the festivities because we were headed back to the airport for the return trip home.

Next Month:  Reunion and finally celebrating my 21st birthday!

Present Day:
The house is decorated for Christmas; we've turned over the keys to the other house; all that remains is to get the outside stuff (canoe, gang box, lawn mower, trash/recycle cans) tomorrow, when the temps are supposed to be in the 50s.  The temps have dipped into the teens this past week!

Finally made cookies yesterday, and today Alexandria and I plan to make Oatmeal Raisin ones.

Cookies Baked:  18 Doz (6 each of Choc. Chip, Holiday Chip, and Winter Chip); however, only 14 Doz were packed away!  Gave away 1 doz to DJ Brower.

Presents Bought:  2

Cards sent:  0.  Christmas letter has been written, but not printed.

Have a GREAT weekend!  We're meeting my parents for dinner at Outback in Terre Haute sometime this weekend, to celebrate mine and K's birthdays:)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Flashback Friday: I'm A Bad Blogger!

Since my return from the Indianapolis Christmas Toy and Hobby Show, I've been busy with moving mountains of boxes into our new home and unpacking them as fast as I can!  I didn't even open my laptop for three weeks, ugh!  (Thankfully, only had 418 emails in my inbox, so it only took me 45 mins to wade through them!)

I'm going to attempt to catch up on these FFs....think I left off with Nov 1996.

Nov 1996:  
I had talked EY (now ES, lol!) and KC into attending our VU Homecoming celebrations the year before (forgot to mention that!), and we'd had such a good time attending the basketball game and enjoying the dance, that KC and I decided to do it again.  Her boyfriend V accompanied us, and we did enjoy the game, but the dance was rather a bust, so we went to CW Dandy's.  During the Electric Slide, KC was accidentally shoved, so she left, and I ended up having a guy try to pick me up.  He couldn't dance it well, though, and I tucked that incident away for use in a future story!

We spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws, and put up their decorations.

I think this was also the month I finally got my tube put into my right ear, which was a painful process until the nurse clamped my head still!

Nov 2006:
I spent the entire month packing up Grandma H's breakables so little W wouldn't break any.  We also went rearranged furniture, gave away some, and moved ours into the house.  For Thanksgiving, our friends in Bicknell invited us over.  I took Bacon-Tomato cups.

Dec 1976:
Went Christmas shopping with Mom at Sears on the Levee; W and I are both doing 'The Fonz' (thumbs up) in the picture.  For my 11th birthday, my Uncle Bill and his new g/f Karen came, along with her son Joe.

For Christmas Eve services, I wore a quilted red skirt, and the next day both my sis and I received costumes:  Mine was a ballet tutu, while W received a bride costume.  W also received an Ernie puppet (from Sesame Street).  I'm wearing red PJs with feet in them.  We had Christmas dinner at Grandma and Grandpa G's on Medford St, then visited with mom's friends the Groustra's.  Enjoyed seeing Peter, Tim, and Vicki again.

We saw several movies over Christmas Break:  Silver Streak (Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Jill Clayburgh), King Kong (with Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges), and Candleshoe (Jodie Foster).  Also saw the trailer for a new movie coming out, called Star Wars, but didn't have any desire to go see it.

Dec 1986 (Pt. 1):
After a month of moping around and playing 'will he or won't he' be mine with the AF officer, and hearing how miserable JF was without me, I finally gave into pressure the day I received my graduation notice.  I called JF, fully prepared to simply leave the 'I'm going to graduate after all' message on his machine, but he picked up.  After he congratulated me, an awkward silence followed.  He told me A had mentioned I was miserable; I laughed and said I'd heard the same about him.  Another awkward pause, then he asked if I wanted to go get some ice cream, and I said sure.

He picked me up and before we'd even left the lobby, we'd shared a kiss, a hug, and the 'Oh god, I've missed you so...' conversation.  We went through the drive-through at DQ, then finished our reunion at his place.

My graduation day, my parents, Granny and Grandpa M and Aunt Julie arrived for the ceremony and an impromptu birthday party.  Dad had driven down the Pontiac T-1000 that W drove, so I could come home when finished, and he wouldn't have to make another trip.  I was thrilled; I finally had wheels for the next week, and wouldn't have to borrow a vehicle to get to JF's!

Since my birthday fell on a Friday, and I knew we were flying to Florida the following day, JF and I spent as much time as possible together.  He took me out on the 17th for a special meal, and we decided to try the long-distance thing.  After he left for work on the 18th, I spent the entire day cleaning his trailer from top to bottom, plus I made him a cake and left a loving note on the table.  EY, BJG, KC, and I then left for dinner in Evansville, and to drive around looking at lights and trying to cheer me up, since the thought of leaving him after reconnecting again so soon was depressing.  We had a moment of hilarity:  We went up a narrow street to see where it led, and it turned out to be someone's driveway, and they were throwing a party!  We turned around and did it again; the 3rd time, someone actually opened the door, so we moved on, lol!

When we returned, I called JF and found out I'd managed to reduce him to tears with my actions and note.  With tears in my eyes, I told him, "Ask me to stay and I will...", but he said he could not afford to put me through Ball State.  I told him I wasn't asking him to, but he told me to 'stick with the plan' and we'd see how we felt about each other in 1988.

I think I cried myself to sleep.

The following day, I tearfully packed up my belongings and officially checked out of room 138 Emison Hall.  BJG didn't make things any easier by playing Michael W. Smith's 'Friends' over and over.  I finally drove off, and Mom fixed me a rather watery strawberry dacquari for my 21st birthday, since we would have to get up early and get to the airport.

Next Week:  1986 Pt 2.

Present Day:
I've got nearly everything unpacked:)  We bought at 7.5' tree and decorated it, plus today began decorating the rest of the porch and inside.  The dryer was hooked up on Monday, so we've begun fully living here now.  All that remains is the kitchen table and chairs, a few odds and ends in the living room, and some more stuff in the basement.

Kyle's birthday last night went well; his g/f Alicia came up and we'd bought K a 1.75 lb T-bone while the rest of us had teriyaki and peppercorn pork loin.

No 'roke last night, and I've bombed the last few times.  Hopefully tomorrow I won't sound too bad.  I'll be singing the following songs tomorrow:

Love Me Do-Beatles
Love Is Strange-Mickey/Sylvia
Love Me Like You Do-Elle Goulding
Love of a Lifetime-Firehouse

Weather-wise, the cold has arrived!  After weeks of high 40s, we've now dipped into the 20s.  BRRRR!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December Reading Schedule

As expected, I spent most of November moving into our new house.....
-Move completely into new house  Almost....still have stuff in basement
-Thoroughly scrub down old house  Still working on it....
-Have a good Women's Retreat  Check:)
-Do well at Indpls Christmas Toy and Hobby Show  Sold 22:)  VERY Happy with that total!!
-Pay B  Not yet...
-Start making payments for cover artist and editors for Kira and Heart Song  Not yet
-Finish Ghost Story  Not yet
-Mail Secret Project #1  Not yet

Books Read:  Made it halfway through one.....
NetFlix Movies:  Watched Season 1 of The Crown and started on Gilmore Girls reboot.

Health:  Thyroid is stable, plus went to dentist and have NO cavities!  I am showing early gum disease, so treatment begins in Jan....along with my cataract surgery.  Ugh.

Songs Added To Good List:  7
                                    Thurs:  4
                                         Sat:  3

December Goals:
-Finish moving into new house/organize furniture  Check:)
-Scrub down old house and turn over keys  Check:)
-Bake cookies  Working on it....
-Celebrate both K and mine b-days  Check:)
-Decorate new house  Christmas:  Check:)  
-Buy Christmas presents/wrap them
-Send Christmas cards/Write holiday newsletter

Reading Schedule:
Serpent's Shadow-Rick Riordan (2nd half)  DNF
Swift as the Wind-N.E. Riggs  LOVED it!!  
Tomb of the Moon-N.E. Riggs
For The Love Of Kaitlyn-Jennifer Wifrey Touching story!
No Easy Day-Mark Owen

All That Remains-SM Shade (Finish Bk #2 and read Bk #3)  Finished #2:)
Betrayal-Aleatha Rom

We Belong-Pat Benetar  Nailed it!
Freedom-Wham  Did well:)

We Can Work It Out-Beatles  Did okay....
Freedom '90-George Michael  Went better than I thought!
We Didn't Start The fire-Billy Joel Slightly too low.

We've Got Tonight-Kenny Rogers/Sheena Easton
Friends and Lovers-Gloria Loring/Carl Anderson/ From This Moment-Shania Twain
What Do You Say-Reba McEntire

Last Christmas-Wham  Nailed it:)
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer  Too low; ended up 'rapping' it!
I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas  Nailed it!

Love Me Do-Beatles  Bleh.....too low!
Love Is Strange-Mickey/Sylvia  Nailed it:)

Love Me Like You Do-Elle Goulding Slightly low....then an hour later, someone else did it better!
Love of a Lifetime-Firehouse  Too low in parts.

Why only 4 songs?  A) The rotation on the 10th was 2 hours long, so was only able to do 2 songs; B) I always do 'fun' songs on my birthday weekend, but this year I'm including at least 2 from my regular list; C) Christmas falls on Sunday, so I'll be uber busy Christmas Eve; and D) I'll hopefully be spending some time with my parents during the final week, as I did last year.  The 'Love' titles will continue in Jan 2017:)