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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Here's to a happy and prosperous 2012 for us all.  Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Dilemma...

Okay, okay, I know, opposites attract.  I get it.  For years Frank and I have marveled at the fact that we are so opposite and yet things just work.  

Until now.

So I made the mistake of asking what we were going to do for New Year's.  Keep in mind that for the most part, we are home-bodies on New Year's.  We never got the babysitter and went out; if we went anywhere, the kids came with us.  It's always worked and when we weren't out somewhere (which, in itself was rare) we were home and made a nice little party just for us with all of our favorite snacks.

Anyway, one of the first options was to see what the band was doing.  I think we were both hoping for just a small get-together with JUST the band and our families.  That is not going to work out.  In fact, one of the guys already has a big shindig planned and extended the invite to all of us but to be honest...that is so NOT going to happen.  

I have issues.  HUGE issues.  I have good reasons for these issues and because of them, in the past, it was decided that we NOT go to one of these shindigs ever again for the sake of our marriage.  It was bad.  This led to a discussion of what we could do, what we should do, blah, blah, blah.  I am not one of those people that feels that we need to be joined at the hip all night on New Year's.  If he wants to go and hang out with his friends for a little while and I go and hang out with my friends for a little while and then we are home together at midnight, I am A-OK with that.  

He is not.

It's hard to make compromises in situations like this.  We have each bitten the bullet and gone to a social function where we were uncomfortable and I think we are finally at the point where we can comfortably say to one another "You know what?  I'm not going to do that anymore."  It sounds cold, I know, but there it is.  I don't want him to be uncomfortable and while I know he doesn't (STILL) understand my discomfort, he begrudgingly accepts my discomfort and doesn't want any issues that will cause harm to our marriage arise again.

So where does it leave us for New Year's?  I still don't know.  I hate to see him miss out on something where all of his friends are, but not enough that I am willing to subject myself to things that I find repulsive and behavior that I am against.  Not anymore.

If I could, I would gladly just stand firm and sing "Should old acquaintance be forgot..."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Want to Finish 2011 Strong!!!

Okay, I'm not going to lie to you, I really had some very unrealistic dreams of what my book sales would be.  To say that I fell short of them would be a severe understatement.  So what I want to do is to just remind all of you, my faithful readers - who just might have gotten an e-Reader for Christmas - that my book "Jordan's Return" is available on Kindle and Nook along with other formats on Smashwords and then, of course, in paperback on Amazon.  Here are all of the links:
 
Kindle

Nook

Smashwords

Amazon.com

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see some sale action this week like I did in that first week of release so if you got a new eReader or know someone who did who is looking for something to read, "Jordan's Return" is a good place to start and it's still only $1.99!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Round Up

It goes by way too fast!  For all of the plotting, planning and preparations, Christmas, itself, comes and goes too fast.  All of the shopping and wrapping and whatnot all comes to a head in a frenzy of flying wrapping paper and within 30 minutes, three months of work is done.

Crazy.

We had a wonderfully relaxing Christmas Eve with a quiet dinner for just the four of us.  Then we opened our doors for our annual Christmas Eve dessert open house.  In years past we've had over 30 people come by and say hello and this year we had 20.  I realize it's an open house but it would have been nice if those that weren't planning on coming could have at least replied to my email reminder to let me know that they weren't.  Bad manners, people.  I now have enough dessert to feed all 20 people again two more times!  Luckily we have some friends coming from out of town tomorrow that I can share some of the sweets with.

Christmas Day found me and Frank up before the boys.  That's two years in a row that that's happened!  Actually, funny story here, when I went to bed the night before, Frank was sitting on the couch watching some TV; it was after midnight and the bike my mom had got for Michael still had to be put together.  I reminded him of that fact and he was like "I'm just going to watch a little TV and then I'm going to do that".  I woke up somewhere around 2:30 and found him sound asleep on the couch and no bike in sight!  So I woke him up and out he went to put it together.  THAT is dedication!

Presents were opened, pictures were taken and honestly, I spent the rest of the day in my jammies and loved every moment of it.  The boys fought at one point, then Frank and Michael fought and then I got annoyed and yelled at everyone...ah, Christmas...

I hope that all of you had wonderful Christmas' and spent time with people that you love because really, that's what it's all about.  It's not the presents and the shopping and the money, it's about the birth of a Savior who loved us and passing that love along to those around us.

Even the ones who DON'T RSVP when they should...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 2

Okay, I'm not going to lie, this movie is my absolute FAVORITE Christmas movie.  I watch this one year round but as a family, we make sure that we watch this one when we're all together and we can quote the whole darn movie!  Don't even get me and Nick started!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 3

I had lost track of this special for years and then I stumbled upon it somewhere and now it's part of our annual Christmas movie marathon.  LOVE MR. MAGOO!!! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 4

This one is a long standing tradition in out house but can you believe that I didn't see it for the first time until I was 18???  That's just wrong, isn't it?  Now, it is a Christmas Eve tradition and although everyone loves the ending, this is one of my favorite scenes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 5

Okay, I know it's not a Christmas special or movie, but I absolutely LOVE this song!  Crazy, I know.  Plus, this was before Mariah Carey got completely annoying. Feel free to sing along!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 6

This is still such a sweet little movie.  I'm not a huge Tim Allen fan but this was when he was truly funny in this one.  And the boy that plays his son is just so darn adorable that I just want to hug him!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 7

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch...but who doesn't melt when the Gringe's small heart grew three sizes? Sorry, Carol, but this is still one of my favorites!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 8

I do love the classics!   Today, Frosty.  This is one of my favorite scenes from this special.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 9

Oh, come on now... who doesn't find themselves singing this a time or two during Christmas??  It is still a classic even if the claymation technology is a little rough.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 10

Christmas movies and specials are all in the same category to me.  "Elf" is actually a favorite of my son's and it's okay, but there are definitely some funny parts in it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 11

You know, you just can't beat a good claymation special and I have three that I love, including this one - Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  And really, who doesn't love and remember Fred Astaire?  Classic!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas Specials - Day 12

I LOVE Christmastime.  I am telling you, Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday and one of the things that I love the most is that there are so many great Christmas specials on TV to watch.  For the next twelve days, I'm going to pick my favorites to share with you!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Tale of Two Soldiers...Part Three

They are two young men who never met and yet they keep coming together in my life without knowing it.  Back in July I had written two posts on them; one was killed in action and the other had just won the right to join the Marines.  

This weekend, I was on Facebook on Saturday and saw this picture:
And it was Saturday night when I got to talk on the phone to my nephew as he was preparing to leave for boot camp.  I've been encouraging my sister for months that this is a GOOD thing, that this is an amazing accomplishment for her son.  He overcame cancer, he beat the odds and instead of hitting the easy button, he chose to join the Marines!  She should be proud!  She should be happy!  I have to admit that now that the time is here, I'm having a hard time being upbeat.  I mean, look at this face:
I'm just the aunt/godmother and I don't see him hardly ever but I miss him already.  Boot camp is not an easy thing and even though he has battled cancer and it was horrible, this battle is something completely different.  I could not love him anymore if he were my own and I hate to think about all that he is going to endure over the next three months.

The bottom line, though, my own personal misery aside, is that there are two mothers that won't have their sons with them for Christmas.  For one, there will be phone calls and Skype and eventually, they will have their Christmas's together again, for the other, she will never have that.  My heart breaks for both of them.  

It isn't just the individual who is in the military, it is their family as well.  I have so many friends who have children serving in branches of the military all over the world and I never understood even part of what they go through until recently.  I pray for my boy's safety.  I pray that he perseveres and finishes well and that it is all that he wants it to be.

I pray for all of the mom's out there with children serving...you are the bravest of them all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Boy and His Frog...

We went to see The Muppets this weekend - just me and my boys.  Nick has always had a "thing" for Kermit the Frog and so when this photo of Kermit was in the background of one of the scenes, we both laughed because of the similar one we have of Nick.  

 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Backpain, blogging and books...

It's been a rough week for me around here.  That's why I haven't posted in a few days.  Last week I did something to my neck and shoulder and I have been in chronic pain ever since.  Finally on Thursday a dear friend who is also a physical therapist took pity on me and came over to help me out.

I'm sorer than I was before.

Honestly, it felt GREAT when she was doing all of the massaging and stretching but the next morning I felt like I had been hit by a mack truck.  I'm not sleeping well and I'm really starting to get rather crabby about the whole thing.  Although I have to admit, the soreness is different than it was before; like this soreness I can live with whereas before I would just cry from the pain.

I want to thank those of you who have sent suggestions on how to get started with a blog tour.  I am looking at a couple of different options and I think that by January, I should be good to go.  I honestly need a week-long writer's retreat to get it all done but that is CLEARLY not going to happen.  Although, this coming week we were supposed to be in Florida visiting my in-laws and we had to cancel due to finances.  I already had gotten approved for the time off at work so technically I could have had the week off but again, due to finances, I really need to be at work.

Bummer.

Book sales have slowed a bit and that kind of makes me sad.  I know, though, that I am largely responsible since I haven't been doing a whole lot of promo stuff for it due to back pain and misery and a busy schedule.  We went and had dessert with some dear friends last night and we were discussing the whole book thing and I was saying how it's been interesting how the response has been to the book in general.  For example, some really good friends have not bought it.  They've not congratulated me, they've not offered to buy the book, nothing.  Then there are people that I know who I wouldn't have expected to get excited about the whole thing who have gone wild over it.  It's bizarre to say the least!

So here I sit, in pain, looking forward to a weekend where I can actually accomplish something and achieve some books sales, too.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Anyone know how to organize a blog tour?

So in my attempt to become a "known" author, I have to get my name and book out there to the masses.  Merely having it for sale on Amazon, Kindle and Nook is not enough; I have to market it.

I have talked to several other self-published authors like myself and they recommended doing a blog tour.  Not wanting to push my luck or annoy them with my constant questioning, I did not ask how they got theirs going.  Probably not my smartest moment but there it is.  

From what I understand the premise is that my book and me are the topic of a blog post on a different blog every day of the month for a month.  That means that I have to come up with 30 blogs (that actually get decent visits/traffic) who would be willing to help me with this.  It means sending out 30 PDF copies of my book for free for review, it means really opening myself up for critique.

I had researched a couple of book review sites and they were all backlogged until in to the new year.  It's not that it's SO far away, but I'm not even sure how to approach them about doing it.  There is still a bit of a stigma about being self-published.  What I thought was a good thing, isn't embraced quite so much yet.  And speaking of that, I have been a little shocked and disheartened by people that I know and am close to, who share that sentiment.  I'm not a real author; it's not a real book.  For the sake of protecting the insensitive, I won't expand on it but suffice it to say, it hurt.  I worked for years on this book and it took a lot of courage to step out of my comfort zone and do this.  I may not be on TV or be in the newspapers but I'm still somebody who is following my dream.

But enough self-pity; anyone out there know how to get a blog tour started that would be willing to help me get started?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Amazing Race Outrage!

Okay, so MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT!!!  If you did not watch last night's episode and DON'T want to know who was eliminated, stop reading now.

So my Sunday night TV show is "Amazing Race".  I have to admit that in the beginning of the season, I really wasn't overly impressed with anyone.  I had plenty of teams that I did NOT like from the get-go, but it took a few weeks before I was actually cheering for a team.  Snowboarders Tommy and Andy became my favorite team because they were Christians who weren't afraid to discuss their faith and they were just fun, lighthearted guys who were really quite enjoyable to watch.

Last night was the final four.  Tommy and Andy were in the lead.  Well the other three teams, at some point, all ended up with cab drivers who decided to work together.  So when they were all racing to the "pit stop" for this leg of the race, TWO of those teams were going to the WRONG place!  Tommy and Andy had made a mistake but with two teams heading in the wrong direction, they could have recovered.  Well, the cab drivers all talked and the two teams going in the wrong place, ended up in the RIGHT place!  

I was pissed!!!  

I'm sorry, but that was just wrong.  Those teams did not get the "clue", they had wrong information but were rewarded with the finish line!!!  

I don't know if I'll be able to watch the finale next week.  I may still be too mad.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Great Birthday Weekend!

You know, I never would have guessed it but turning 43 has been pretty darn good.  I have had a great weekend and even as it is winding down, I'm still feeling really good about it.

So I went to breakfast with a friend Friday morning and sat and talked and laughed until it was time to head to work.  And other than the very YOUNG cashier guessing an age that was a little too close for comfort, I had a great time.  Thank you, Cathleen!

Once I got to work, my desk was covered in all of my favorite vices - chocolate and Coca Cola!  There was Dove Dark Chocolate, two six packs of bottled Coke, Mint Milano cookies (bless you, Fran!) and an adorable Mickey Mouse Christmas sign and the biggest treat was a gift certificate to go and get a pedicure!  Thank you, my sunshine!  You know who you are!  There was a double chocolate cake and everyone sang and it was just a wonderful time that it was all okay to be at work!  LOVE my office!

Got home and Frank and the boys got me Chinese food (which I ate in my jammies!) and another chocolate cake and we just hung out and watched TV and laughed.  It was wonderful.

Saturday night was the company Christmas party which was just fabulous.  I don't think that I've ever gone to an official company Christmas party like it before and I was pleasantly surprised.  We had a lovely room at the local country club and the food was fabulous and we all laughed and had a great time.  I got to dress up and even though Frank fussed, he got dressed up, too, so we had a really nice date night.


Sunday isn't so great...Michael isn't feeling well and I had to go and do the cleaning gig but it's still all good.  I had some dear friends buy my book and so that makes me happy and appreciative of the support. You guys ROCK (and again, you know who you are!).


So I might now have been in Disney World, but it was a pretty magical weekend just the same!  Thank you for all of the birthday wishes!

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's My Birthday!!!

You know, I've spent quite a few birthday's at the house of the mouse and it has spoiled me!  I wish I was there today.  Sigh.  But even though I am not, I am blessed to have time to have breakfast with a dear friend, cake with some awesome co-workers (who are now also friends), dinner with my family and a lifetime of amazing memories thanks to the people God has blessed me with in my life.  

While I'm sure I'll have trouble just sticking to one wish when I blow out the candles, my list of things that I am thankful for is much, much longer. 

My main wish for today is book sales.  I am so close to hitting my goal of 50 sales that I can almost TASTE it!  If you haven't had the chance to purchase your copy of "Jordan's Return", click HERE for Kindle, HERE for Nook, or you can even click HERE for paperback.  

Thank you!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Birthday MeMe...

Welcome to The Queens's Meme
7 Royal Questions

Someone in the castle is having a birthday today. Homer says it's not him. Who, oh who, could it be?!  Whether or not it's your birthday, you should be able to answer these age-related questions. Sounds like fun, eh? Or not. I'm going to talk to the birthday girl. She needs a good talking to.

1. If you could turn back the hands of time, where would you go?

In my own life?  I'd probably go back to the age of 20.  Purely for vanity reasons.  I was in really good shape back then!  

2. What was your favorite age and why?

There were two points in my life that I really enjoyed my age.  I'd have to say the first was 19 - my friends were my whole world and every day was fun - and then again at 30.  Different friends but life was still full and fun.

3. Travel into the future 10 years. How do you picture your life?

Right now I'm dreaming of being a famous author who has a real publisher and agent and I see my kids having direction in their lives.  Nick would be married, Michael would be in college and Frank and I would be celebrating over 30 years of marriage.  It's a good picture.

4. Did you ever take part in a birthday surprise? Tell us about it.

I threw a surprise party for a friend once.  I think she knew.  Personally, I hate surprises.  I've had several thrown for me on my birthday or for my first baby shower and I always felt ridiculous.

5. Pretend it is your ultimate birthday party. What five people, living or dead, would you invite?
 
Ooohhh...I LOVE this kind of question and hate it at the same time.  When you list the fantasy people, all of the real people in your life get all huffy like "Why wasn't I on the list?" and then I have to remind them that it's not REAL!  So five fantasy "Famous" people?  Okay, first would be Susan Mallery (author) because I love her work, next would be Walt Disney (no explanation needed), Neil Patrick Harris (because he makes me laugh), Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin - because together, they also always make me laugh!
6. Let's have cake!  Forget about candles and flavors and balloons. Who jumps out? 
It's a toss up between Jon Bon Jovi or Roger Taylor of Duran Duran.  Both yummy and worth sacrificing the cake!  Plus, they'd get to add to the whole "fantasy" birthday guest list!

7. And finally, make a wish but not just any ole' wish. Make it count.
Done!

Actually, my birthday is tomorrow but I thought it would be fun to get in to the spirit a little bit today!