Wednesday, December 27, 2006

End of Year (sort of) musings

I was reading some friends' blogs recently and was reminded that the end of the year is indeed here. I have finished a complete novel, 55,000+ words - pretty right on for a YA/middle grade story - and have been very busy with work. Over the Christmas weekend holiday, it seemed no one was working. Our work has gotten backed up and it will be a miracle if we get to Christmas day or the day after Christmas by the end of Sunday night. So you know what I will be doing on New Year's Day? - Working as I did on Christmas Day and the day before Christmas and the several days before and after Christmas (even traveling to my parents house and spending some time with family, and traveling home, I worked). Do you think I will see a bonus for not skipping out on the holiday weekend and taking advantage of it being a holiday? Probably not, although it would be nice since my supervisor even admitted that not many people worked the weekend or even Christmas day. And it shows. We have reports right now that are 100 hours out of turn around (what that means is that we are still working on dictation that was done on the 22nd of December and everything has a base standard of 24 hours turn around, so once it hits that 24 hours, it goes out of turn around and thereby is considered late. So now we are working on items dictated more than five days ago and tomorrow, they will be 115 hours late (because all the while we are clearing dictations, the facility is dumping more work on us. Not that I am complaining because lord only knows I need the work and need to get my lines up to over 10,000 every pay period (I'd like to hit a few 11,000 and 12,000 pay periods but so far in six months I have hit only one 12,500+ pay period) I am hoping this will be another (but of course this goes on the new year since this pay period ends the 10th of January).

Okay enough about my musings on work. The holidays are almost over, a new year is upon us and we will soon be given a chance to make new resolutions or set new goals (as I like to see it).

So before I forget to write my resolutions down for the upcoming year, I will share them with you all:

1. Lose weight/start exercising a bit - walking or joining Curves are my two choices. I don't do well by myself so exercising within a structured environment would benefit me.
2. Write more often, not just when the urge hits me. Maybe start a "wild diary" as a friend calls it so that I write something every day, even if only for 5 minutes a day.
3. Post more often on my blog with updates on everything. Share my family's doings with you all.

As you can see, I don't have too many resolutions/goals but they are doable and reasonable - the losing weight/exercising one will be my toughest so it is my number 1 goal. --

Hope you all have a blessed and wonderful year. Hope all my writing friends and buddies have prosperous and profittable years and that contracts for publishing are only a few days away for you all. Signing off for the year - see you all in the postings - E :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas favorite movies

Okay, now my all time favorite movie is "The Sound of Music". The reason this one holds up for me is that it is the first movie I ever saw in a theater and I saw it with my mother and grandmother. It was awesome to be only about 7 or so and see this movie in a theater. I had never been and to be sitting with my mom and grandmother was unbelievable. My grandmother loved the theater, whether it be a movie theater or an opera house or live performance theater - she loved to go.

I can remember seeing an interview with the real Maria Von Trapp several years after first seeing the movie and it was pretty cool to go - wow - what trials and tribulations she went through. She worked very closely with Julie Andrews to perform the part and get everything correct, lol. But I have to say, Julie Andrews is pretty awesome in and of her own right.

So no matter what, I try every year to catch The Sound of Music on TV when it runs in December (although this year I have a feeling I have already missed it and so may end up watching it at my parents this weekend sometime - if they have the DVD or if it is playing - I need to check the listings soon).

If you've not seen the movie in a while, watch it - you will get some true family values from it; you will get some laughs and some tears but you will definitely walk away from it feeling good about yourself.

So ends my journey on the virtual advent calendar - sharing memories, favorites, food and such - see you all in the postings - E :)

Christmas food/recipes

Now I'm not one to cook but I love to eat (and it shows, unfortunately). In our house when we were all coming together for the holidays, my mother always made lots of things. One of my favorite things she used to make was those dessert bars - the layered ones with the graham cracker crust, the chocolate chips, coconut, Eagle's Brand Sweetened Condensed milk, and usually pecans. My mother would do two batches some years, some with butterscotch, some with chocolate - so we had a variety.

Well as I've gotten older, guess what, I can't eat those bars any more - seems I've developed some food allergies and yup, you guessed it - nuts are big on the list. And those bars are not any good without the nuts for some reason - lol - but alas, if someone makes them without the nuts, I'll eat them.

another thing we do foodwise is ham - we always have ham on Christmas and Easter and turkey only on Thanskgiving - we never have turkey on Christmas which is good because I'm not a turkey fan. So we have all the fixings that go with ham and lots of them.

But as with everything, food should be taken in moderation - because in the end it will haunt you - I know - over the years, I've enjoyed too many good meals that my parents have fixed and now am in a world of hurt - bad knees, bad back, achy shoulders - you know all the things that come from being overweight - probably have some other health issues that I don't know about yet - oh well, hopefully soon, it will change -

So enjoy the food, family, and merriment but please do so in moderation - see you all in the postings - E :)

Christmas Traditions

Being that we moved a lot during my formative years, we didn't really develop too many traditions in my family. We always had to wait until my father was up before we could open presents and we couldn't wake my parents if only one of us was up. Kind of silly, I know but my father was in the military and was always up before we were most of the time. He worked different jobs while in the service so that dictated the types of shifts he worked. But he was always around for the holidays, no matter what - I don't remember him being at work on Christmas or anytime during the few days before or after. Maybe it was because he was on odd shifts and I didn't realize he was gone.

I tried this tradition with my own kids when they were younger, but that flew out the window. They couldn't go into the area where the tree was until everyone was up and they couldn't wake mama and daddy before a certain time (but kids have a way of not being able to tell time - lol). So now, we have no waiting until everyone is up, it happens if one child is up, then everyone soon follows.

Christmas happens very quickly now and it is a shame - Used to be that we would open gifts, have a nice breakfast and then go play with our new toys. Now, unfortunately in this fast paced world we live in, we open gifts and then just go on our way and forget all the traditions and fun and amazement we once knew.

see you all in the postings - E :)

Christmas Memories

Here we are less than a week away from Christmas day and I have not done any shopping per se, just a few little things. I am participating in this Virtual Advent Calendar, which I think is a cool idea and hope I can do this justice.

Being that my father was in the military and we traveled a lot, I was born in Japan, and we have lived in several of the East Coast States as well as Texas and Germany, I can say that Christmas had always been an adventure. One of my earliest memories, although it is more a Thanksgiving/Christmas combined one, is the year my father told us he was going to war; he was supposed to go to Vietnam at the time (I was like 7 and didn't really know all these big names or places). He had already explained to us that this was all bad and that he may not come home for a long time, if at all, and we had said all our goodbyes.

Thanksgiving day, he steps off the plane in Germany (I think he was supposed to rest and switch planes in the area) and was handed new orders. He was to spend time in Germany and the family would be joining withn the next few weeks.

My mom, my two brothers and me had just sat down to Thanksgiving dinner; my mother had already said the blessing and was about to carve the bird (yeah, I was hungry), when the phone rang. It was my father but I wouldn't believe it since he had already told us we may not hear from him for a while. I had a mini argument with him on the phone about him not being my father. My mother finally took the phone from me and when she hung up she was crying. I was mad at tihs man who had made my mother cry. Little did I realize at the time that she was crying happy tears.

So we sit back down to the table and she says the blessing again - I was not wanting this, I wanted to eat. Anyway, after we ate, she explained to us that we were moving to be with my father soon.

Now mind you, we had just moved from West Point, NY to Columbia, SC and still had boxes everywhere. We didn't even get a chance to really unpack before leaving for Germany. We left as soon as the winter break hit and were overseas in time for Christmas.

Germany was an okay place to live - even living on an army base. It was cool because we were pretty self-contained - like a city within a city - we had our grocery store, theater, schools, housing, fresh bread (a local man and his wife brought bread and candies in their station wagon every day), and everything was within walking distance.

Back then, parents trusted us kids to do things on our own, even 7 or 8 year olds. We were allowed to walk anywhere on the base as long as we let our parents or whoever was in charge of us at the time where we were going.

I just remember being thankful that my father didn't have to go Vietnam and that was one of the best Christmases we had.

See you all in the posts - E :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Second week of December already

Before you know it, Christmas Day will be upon us and then a new year. I am hoping to finish my NaNo story this week but may not. Since work has been low and all, I'm hoping to get quite a few words in the next day or so to really bump up my count and have the story completed by Friday (that is the goal) but then again, work could pick up and we will be swamped and not have a break - lol

When the story is completed, I am exchanging with another Nanoer to do some commenting/editing/thoughts on so I can revise. I'm possibly thinking of going with PublishAmerica for publishing this one but will just have to see.

On another writing note, Echelon Press is doing a Fast & Feastive contest and that is due by Saturday. I'm thinking of entering that one if I can come up with something. Also, the South Carolina Fiction Project is due the middle of January and I'm going to try again on that one -

If I don't get any postings before Christmas - blessed be all of you and hope you have a joyous and merry Christmas; happy channuka, kwanza or whatever you celebrate during this holiday season. If nothing by the new year, hope you have a chance to spend it with loved ones and that your resolutions are keepable, no shooting for the moon, just something attainable. May have to post some New Year's Writing Resolutions right after the new year - I hope whatever you do, that you are safe and prosperous in the new year. See you all in the postings - E :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

WIP - some other updates and the like

Okay, NaNo officially ended Thursday night at 11:59:59 (according to the site) your time - so at 11:59:59 EST (my time) I had posted 40,220 words - I am enjoying the story and hope to hit 55,000 to 60,000 words by the middle of December - that hopefully will wrap the book up but then again, if the girls decide to take some more twists and have some more surprises, it could go on longer, but I think that 60,000 is a good goal to shoot for. Yesterday, I wrote almost 3000 words on the story - so go figure, the story just keeps having these little surprises pop up and the girls can't explain them. Some things they are finding out are helping get to the goal but right nothing has been settled.

Band stuff is officially over until next year and then I will have two in the marching band (if band fees don't go up so high I can't afford it) so until the spring concert, the only band stuff I have to worry about is getting the kids to practice at home like they should.- haha - easier said than done with teenagers

As for the new look - I really don't like it but it got me a blog that I could actually put links to the side and not in the postings. I'm not impressed with the new beta blogging - as I have to log in every time I open a blog to post a comment. I only had to log in once and windows and the blog site would remember me and my passwords, et cetera. This logging in every time I open a new blog post or my dashboard, or someone else's blog to post a comment is ridiculous. Yes, I've made a mention to the guys in support and what they sent me back hasn't helped. So I guess I'm stuck having to log in a gazillion times a day.

Last week our Sisters in Crime group did a combined November/December dinner and mystery theater production. It was fun. I got play a part in the production and then we had to email our guesses for whodunit to the president. I was one of three persons who guessed correctly so they are going to do a drawing for the prize - which is an autographed book of an author who had come to speak to our group last year. If you have never participated in a mystery theater production or seen one, I highly recommend it. They are loads of fun and really bring out the actor in everyone, even those with no acting experience at all - The group really enjoyed our small production - and even the audience members (those with no parts) helped out.

This month is semi busy but nothing like November - so until next time, - see you all in the postings - E :)