Progress Report: November

I’m back on track; I got so nose-to-the-grindstone, I failed to look up long enough to assess my progress.  Oh well, the next report will sum up the year.

My Progress on Game Plan 2014:

  1. Get my novel published:  I will get editors, a cover designer, and a publisher.  I will.
    Progress:  I am writing and editing and writing.  I had a lull in motivation because the fine editing is super-tedious, sort of like tearing out a seam and stitching it right again, or re-doing a hem on a taffeta over-lay.  I decided to get at it, and guess what?  Not so bad after all.  I’m almost done. I have a FaceBook friend looking for an agent.  We plan to keep each other motivated.
  2. Knit or crochet yarn stash into hats for charity: I have a lot of yarn stash.
    IMG 4872 225x300 Progress Report:  November
    Loved-One is a good sport to pose for me. Sasha’s photo bombing, as usual.

    Progress:  I got Loved-One’s sweater finished and it’s HORRIBLE.  It slides off his shoulders and the sleeves hang down to his knees.  Maybe he was bigger five years ago when I started it.  I plan to try shrinking it.

  3. Make enough money writing to pay property taxes:  Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in 2013.
    Progress:   Another newspaper, a weekly wants me to write.  Yay.  Also another contact for re-vamping a website.  A maybe. Right now we’re just at the proposal stage.
  4. Expand my platform: a key to successful selling of a published book, I’m told.
    Progress:  Still growing  Fastest on Twitter; I just passed 800.  In the grand scheme of things:  paltry.  Still, progress is progress. BlogHer,SheWrites,Instagram, Twitter, FB page; Google+,Pinterest.
  5. Experience Night at the Museum with Two More Grandkids.
    Complete!  Yay!  Miss K and Mr. L.  Mr. L plans to be a paleontologist when he grows up.  Miss K has her heart set on fashion design.  The two kids were congenial enough, but they never really talked to each other.  Really interesting dynamics.
  6. Travel Route 66 with Loved-One:  I plan to get some sponsors and write about out trip. Progress:  This goal is post-poned until spring or fall of 2015.  Drat!  But on the happy side, Wrestler One and his Loved-One got married in September in my back-yard.  What a wonderful goal replacement.  In the meantime, Loved-One and I took a road-trip to Utah.  Loved-One is now on board with road trips.  I got a new app, RoadTripper, to help with the planning and documenting. The trip is the vacation, not the destination.
  7. Volunteer:  Complete. Last year I tried a women’s shelter.  Maybe this year, the food pantry.
    Progress:  Success with “1st Way Pregnancy.”  Volunteering is going so-so.    (This shelter mission is “To provide loving assistance, emotional and financial support for women and girls who find themselves in a crisis.”  The values of “1st Way Pregnancy” match mine, that is: empower women to make life-affirming choices by offering financial and emotional support.  Rather than shaming and coercing with rules and regulations.)
    I’m learning a lot about myself.  I really like to be in charge; or at least self-directed.  It’s humbling to relinquish control, especially when I believe I have improvements to offer.
    Oh my!  The folks at 1st Way think I’m a computer genius.  They hired me to re-vamp the website.  Yay!  And what a pleasant surprise.
  8. Read two book a month:  This goal doubles my 2013 rate. 
    J Progress Report:  Novemberames McBride, The Color of Water
     A true story about a Jewish woman born around the same time as my dad (circa 1922) marries a black man and has about a dozen children.  I loved the book in and of itself, but I especially liked it because it supports Dad’s and Thaddeus Mosley’s picture of race relationships during that time period.  I read the 10th anniversary edition of the book.
     Progress Report:  NovemberStacia Friedman, Tender is the Brisket:  I won this book from a blogger.  Hmmm…two books this month that feature Jewish mothers.  This book took a bit for me to get into, then I really liked it.  Humorous and with a lot of family drama, a some romance thrown in for good measure.  I wonder if this classifies as ChicLit.  I liked it and will definitely read more of Friedman’s books.  

    From past months:
    John Greenberg, A Feathered River Across the Sky
    Sue Monk Kidd, The Invention of Wings
    Matthew Kelly, Rediscover Catholicism. 
    Elizabeth Berg, Never Change
    Louis Erdrich, The Round House
    Kate Atkinson,  Life After Live:  A Novel
    Doreen M. McGettigan,  Bristol boys Stomp:  The Night That Divided a Town
    Adela Crandell,  A Land of Milk and Honey
    Eric Larson,  In the Garden of the Beast
    Beth Nonte Russell,  Forever Lily.
    Graham Greene,  Our Man in Havana.
    Michael Allan Scott,  Flight of the Tarantula Hawk – A Lance Underphal Mystery. 
    Linda Lawrence Hunt,  Bold Spirit:  Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America. 
    Rachel Thompson, Broken Pieces (interviewed)
    Guy Kawasaki, APE
    Hilary Grossman,  Dangled Caret (interviewed)
    Candice Millard,   Destiny of the Republic.
  9. Get new carpeting for the lower level:  Ugh!
    Progress: Complete!  We ended up cleaning the carpet with our Kirby attachment and hiring someone to stretch it.  Good as new! And saved a lot of money.
  10. Send St. Patrick’s Day photo cards to friends and family: Progress:   Complete.  I got  great feedback from my Welcome Spring card.  Several people thought they just received an invitation to something; they weren’t sure what.  They loved the pictures and the surprise out-of-the-blue greeting.  I think I’ll do this again next year.
How are your plans for the year going?  any obstacles, or are you right on track?  I’d love to hear from you.  What do you think about my carpet idea?  Oh, and do you have any books to recommend?



Gratitude Monday, Link-up #56

Last week Mom told me she refuses to work on Sunday.  I decided to take a lesson from her book.  Except for getting the netting in from the water garden, I did not do a lick of work.  Mom is so wise, and I am so blessed that I can just be a slug for a day.  I failed to do anything else productive.  And guess what?  I’m raring to go this morning.

So here’s my gratitude list this week, in no particular order:

  • 401K funds with employer matching:  Even a huge nest egg is much bigger thanks to my past corporate life.
  • Warm spells:  The pond water had a solid block of ice.  Thick enough to hold a full-grown deer. DSC05988 300x168 Gratitude Monday, Link up #56 The netting froze into the water.  Thanks to some spring-like weather, we only got it out.  Thanks to Love-One and his sledge-hammer!  The heater and the aerator will take good care of the koi for the winter.
  • Shopping local:  Our cabinet retailer got a brand-new drawer sent to us, free-of-charge.  I’m sure it’s partly because she remembered us from 11 years ago and trusted we weren’t the sort of folks that stand in our drawers.  (Kitchen drawers, we do occasionally stand around in our drawers, but not in public.)
  • Flute music:  Playing my flute is really good for my soul.  I can’t explain why, but it sure is good for me.
  • Order out pizza on Bears Sunday:  I didn’t even have to cook!
  • “Virtual Friends” that become real friends.  You know who you are.  Who would have thought I’d be connecting with people from New York, California, and Texas, let alone India and Australia.  I love our chats.
  • Dreary days with rain: This morning I woke to NPR telling me the rain would turn to snow by this afternoon. sang out a mixed up version of Dan Folgerberg’s song, Old Lang Syne:  “and the rain turned into snow.”  I know, I know, the lyrics are really “and the snow turned into rain.”  I can sing it anyway I want from the comfort of my cozy-warm bed at 5:08 in the morning.
  • Starting over:  Okay, this week, I will exercise.  I’m determined.  See what a day of total lethargy can do to me?
  • Hoola Hoops:  so much fun and a great way to exercise.  Who invented these anyways?DSCN3722 180x300 Gratitude Monday, Link up #56 I can hole hoop indoors, too.
  • Things discovered by accident:  I just discovered how to get a space between the bullets.  Double ‘control/return’, add bullet.  A little thing I know, but look how much better my list looks.

What’s on your gratitude list this week?  Please join me and Laurel at Alphabet Salad for her link-up.

 Gratitude Monday, Link up #56

Photo Friday #12: Deer Me

I watched these deer rummage around for food: leftover flowers, blades of grass, and their favorite, felled mulberry leaves.

A bit like Bambi on our frozen water garden, slipping around on the ice. Lucky for me, no sign of Flower!

What’s in your lens this week?  Please leave a link and let me sneak a peek.

 Photo Friday #12:  Deer Me

Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come

It’s Columbus Day.

I wake from another dream about a way to feed the hungry with beans. “Beans to You,” has farmers dedicate an acre of their bean crop. Packaged in 2 lb. mesh bags and tied with a ribbon, a cookbook filled with bean recipes from local people.accompanies the donation.  I hold on to this idea.  It could work.  Really.  Beans are very versatile.

IMG 0004 2 300x225 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We ComeI get the newsletters sent, but a lot of error messages resulted. Drat! I sent another request to the tech support.

At breakfast (another delightful and homey meal of yogurt, fruit, robust coffee and waffles) I meet this Christina.  She’s running from New York City to San Francisco.  Why?  She’s raising money for the Navy Seal Foundation.  To find out more about Christina, her run, and where the donated money goes, check out her website:

DSC05759 300x168 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We ComeWe find a few points of interest, thanks to RoadTripper.

We stop at Fort Bridgers.  Jim Bridgers created the fort as supply stop along the Oregon trail.  Later, Mormons took it over.  They burned it to the ground when  they realized the military was on the way.  Since we’re traveling in off-season, this is a self-guided tour.  (Later we will find out why, but for now we are mystified.)

DSC05756 168x300 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We ComeDogs really are man’s best friend.  A special cemetery plot holds the remains of the army’s mascot.

We are almost out of Wyoming, when RoadTripper suggest another stop:  Bear River State Park.  Oh my, this place is beautiful.  Look at the fields and streams and animals.  What a beautiful park, and just a half-mile off the interstate.  True, the wind rustling through the prairie grass is interrupted by the sound of the semi trucks passing nearby.  Still, we cannot actually see the interstate, so we pretend the noise is the rushing of water and the wind in the trees.  Wait a minute.  Maybe it is the rushing of water!

DSC05785 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come DSC05777 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come

We’re closer to Utah and Park City than we thought.  We have one more stop for lunch.  We go to a place recommended by RoadTripper.  It is closed and for sale, along with the motel it is right next to.  But, we meet the owner.  He offers to sell it to us cheep.  We decline, but….

He send us to his restaurant in the small town of Coalville.

polar king Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come

I am sure this was a Dairy Queen coverted to a Polar King, converted  to a Mexican restaurant.  The food is pretty good, so I add a picture and a review to RoadTripper.  By the way, the whole town seems as quirky as this restaurant.  We love it.

We get to the Hilton Grand Resort about 5 PM. We get some groceries at Smith’s hoping for food for breakfast and lunch food and bottle of wine. Shoot, no wine. The only thing close was near-beers like one that gave me a chuckle: “Poligamy.”

In Utah alcohol only state owned liquor stores, that close on Columbus Day. Drat.

The accommodations are wonderful: A full kitchen, laundry room, dining area, living room,fireplace. Upstairs we have a sitting room, bedroom, and full bath. We are right on ski slopes and a little city of restaurants and shops. Neither me nor Loved-One ski, and there’s no snow.  The slopes are great for hiking.

Whee!! I feel like royalty.IMG 0007 2 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come

We have but one problem, make that two.

  • Problem #1: The TVis mounted above the fireplace. This looks beautiful.  But…
    • the sound projects into the upstairs rather than the living area;
    • our necks get crinked looking that far up.
  • Controlling the temperature is impossible.
    • A loud fan blows straight down on to the bed. It clicks off and on every few minutes.
    • We just doze off between onslaughts of freezing cold air just before we’re bombarded again.
    • Loved-One and I take turns going downstairs to adjust the temperature. Then we get hot.

I half can’t wait for tomorrow to come, and half do want just a few more moments to sleep.  Oh well.  Tomorrow is another day.




Gratitude Monday #55


Some Mondays I have a hard time getting my gratitude on.  Not this week.  I seem to have shaken the blues right out of me.

snow Gratitude Monday #55


Top on my list is a new free-lance opportunity.  Yay!  I just might make my writing goal this year.  But that’s just the beginning.  The publisher said I’m a really good writer.  And that’s not all…. Oh, I’m just bubbling over.   So here’s my list this week:

  • A publisher that responds to my “thank-you” with, “No, really.  You are good. I read everything you write.”  (Perhaps he sensed my disbelief.) I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read everything, but maybe what I write in the local paper.  Still!
  • Loved-One who said, “How many people have to tell you before you believe it.”
  • Beanie, who told me about her local paper, which provided the new connection.  And it was she who said, “You better call your mom and tell her.”
  • Mom who got as excited as I am.
  • Belly laughs:  a friend told me she decided she could help at a bake sale, but didn’t want to be the organizer, so she put her name on the very last line of the sign-up sheet.  No one else signed-up, so she’s the leader by default.
  • Big fluffy snowflakes that fall silently in still air.
  • Designer yarn for the hat I’m knitting. For me!
  • Hotter shoes and their easy return policy.  The best fitting shoes, I’m telling you, and if one pair is a little too big, no problem.  No matter that I don’t have the receipt, they’re in the wrong box, and I got them 2 months ago.
  • Electric blankets:  Nothing nicer than slipping between toasty warm sheets in a cool bedroom.
  • Pressure Cooker ham and scalloped potatoes:  The recipe only took 15 minutes to cook.  I made it in a Pyrex bowl inside a canning pressure cooker.  Besides it being quick and super-tasty, I had no trouble with the clean-up.  I’m making pulled pork in 45 minutes today.
  • Finally finishing the sweater I knitted for Loved-One.  It’s HORRIBLE.  The sleeves are too long, the cuffs are baggy, and the shoulders droop off my wide-shouldered man.  Did I already say “Belly laughs??

What’s on your gratitude list this week.  Please join me and Laurel at Allphabet Salad  by clicking the link below.  See what’s on other writer’s list, too.

 Gratitude Monday #55


Photo Friday Link-up #11: Veterans Day

This week I celebrated Veterans’ Day with a local High School.  Grades 4-8 joined parents, teachers, administrators, and veterans.  Every single veteran stood, some with help, when he or she heard her name.  The school band played the theme song for each branch of the military.  As the music played members of the audience stood if they ever had a family member in that branch of the service. I stood for each song.

So moving.

untitled 300x300 Photo Friday Link up #11:  Veterans Day

What’s in your lens this week?  I’d love to take a peek.  Please grab the link and share.

 Photo Friday Link up #11:  Veterans Day

If you want to know more about Photo Friday or my photography, please click here.

Gratitude Moday Link-up #54

IMG 2789 300x225 Gratitude Moday Link up #54My to-do list is getting longer every day, and for some reason, editing my book slides down on the priority list.  This weekend, I disconnected from the internet (sort of) and got some body-moving tasks done.  I also got to do some fun things with grand-children and friends.

So good for me!  While moving my body, and traveling to sites in my car, I had time to let my mind wander.  Sometimes I forget how important that is for my heart and my soul.

I re-centered and gave my book top priority.  That first, then my other writing.  So here I am, late in the afternoon, offering my gratitude list.  In no particular order:

  • The word “still.”  A four-letter word with so many meanings:  Still waters run deep; are you still working; home-made hootch from a basement still.  I’m still thinking.  What a wonderful language.
  • A favorite breakfast place.  I know the wait-staff; I am surprised by old friends, and the menu is scrumptious.
  • Good shoes.  Hotter, you make my heart sing.  The shoes are so comfy I feel barefoot with protection.
  • Health Insurance advocate, April.  I love the convenience of the internet, but sometimes I like to talk to a real person.  April, you got my primary care provider straightened out.  Well, not quite.  Even you don’t know why another (strange to me) doctor got assigned.  But, you will figure it out and get back to me, and you talked to my real PCP, and you assured me she is still my PCP, no matter what the card says; and you assured me I can call you anytime because, well because that’s your job.  Thank you, April.
  • Gas prices coming down.  Yay!
  • An exercise buddy.  I could go to the gym by myself.  It’s just more fun with you.  And to tell the truth, I go more often and have more fun when you are there.
  • Restoration Hardware.  Great Christmas ideas.  Did I say Christmas? No not yet.  Okay, yes, I have a file of ideas started.
  • A wood-burning fireplace.  Cozy up with my knitting, a good book, or a telephone call.  Oh, I almost don’t mind the cold weather.
  • An upstairs laundry room.  I can hear the laundry cycle, put my beautiful hand-made book mark in my book, and get a chore done, without it feeling like work at all.
  • Tulips.  I dug up the canna lilies and replaced them with tulip bulbs.  The hope of spring sleeps.

DSC03191 300x168 Gratitude Moday Link up #54

Snow is on the way tonight.  It’s snowing in the state just west of us.  Maybe tomorrow morning my office will look like this.  I’m ready.



Please join me and Laurel at Alphabet Salad with a Monday gratitude list.  I promise you won’t be sorry.

 Gratitude Moday Link up #54




Photo Friday #10: Perspective

I almost took this photo by mistake.  I mean, I looked down at my iPad to read the latest version of “Wired,” and there it was staring back at me:  pictures of my dining room chandelier through different lenses.

perspective2 Photo Friday #10:  Perspective

What’s in your lens this week?  I’d love to take a peek.  Please grab the link and share.

 Photo Friday #10:  Perspective

If you want to know more about Photo Friday or my photography, please click here.

RoadTripping: Day 3

I wake from a dream where I solved my newsletter import/export problems. Like Watson and Crick, I hold on to my vision.  I can fix this.  I can. I delay us leaving by two hours, sure I of my solution. I do not succeed.

We get up, swim, have another breakfast of waffles and scrambled eggs.  Really, really good eggs.


I spent most of the day editing the exported spreadsheet from my old newsletter (not working) in hopes that I can import when we stopped.  Well, I’m riding in the car anyways, I can look up as often as I want to see the sights.

These haystacks remind me of impressionist paintings in the Chicago Art Museum.  Who says Nebraska is dull?road trip day 3 6 RoadTripping: Day 3


It rains and sleets and snows. We stop at a rest area and take a picture. Other than that  it’s drive drive, drive. With a couple of quick stops.  road trip day 3 4 RoadTripping: Day 3

road trip day 3 5 RoadTripping: Day 3

road trip day 3 7 RoadTripping: Day 3
Isaac loves flowers

We stop at the Living Memorial Garden in Sydney, NE. This was a peaceful walk-around of flowers and memorials for people of the area. Some were military memorials, but mostly just regular old and young people. Another find thanks to RoadTripper.

We see some wild-life.


road trip day 3 2 1 RoadTripping: Day 3

We see beautiful dark blue clouds like I’ve never seen before.  As we drive along, I understand they are created by humans, from this monstrosity.  A chemical plant perhaps?

road trip day 3 3 1 RoadTripping: Day 3


We stop at the Ames Monument in Wyoming to the men who worked on the transcontinental railroad.  Directions from RoadTripper are great.

road trip day 3 1 1 RoadTripping: Day 3

Some ranchers come by, perhaps worried  we are no-good rustlers.  They may have been well-wishers or curious, we did not stick around to chat because of their glowering looks.  We high-tail it out of there.

We stop in Green River, WY at another Hampton Inn.  I’m beginning to welcome the predictability and the warm chocolate chip cookies at the end of the day. And the complimentary wifi.

The tech support for Newsletters agrees to export/import my subscriber list. Yay! I really dreaded doing more manual editing of the list. I only made it to the middle of the “g”s. I sleep a lot sounder. No problem-solving dreams await me this night.  Ahhh…

Gratitude Monday #53: Sunshine and Happiness and a Party

A sunny day, the day after Halloween, the day after a blustery, cold Trick-or-Treat, the day of our annual Halloween Party.  Yay, for sunshine, Yay for 50 degree weather.  That leads my gratitude list this week.

And here’s what else is on my list this week, in no particular order:

Flute music:  At last I am back to practicing, which makes me feel very, very happy.  Nothing like a flute and the music to “Frozen” to wash away the blues.

Three verses to Happy Birthday and three birthday boys to sing it with me and three successful birthday cakes to join the fun.Halloween 19 Gratitude Monday #53:  Sunshine and Happiness and a Party

Teenagers who help:  Miss E and her two besties came, helped rake leaves and created the most not-lame scavenger hunt ever.  Now we have more than little kids games.

A leaf pile big enough to bury six kids over their heads in leaves.  While they are standing no, less.

Fountain pens:  I love the feel of words sliding onto paper, even if it’s just a to-do list.

Restoration Hardware catalogs:  I may have my Christmas shopping done.  What?  It’s not even thanksgiving.

Little ones who help:  Miss S, who helped with the bloodshot deviled eyeballs, and Mr. C who helped with the piñata.Halloween 2 1 Gratitude Monday #53:  Sunshine and Happiness and a Party Halloween 31 Gratitude Monday #53:  Sunshine and Happiness and a Party

Teenagers who aren’t afraid to look foolish.  A certain Mr. D in a schoosh too small Mr. Incredible costume really made my day. (No need for documentation, the memory is enough.)

Spiced hot cider.  No explanation needed.

Red Velvet donuts and three people who made sure one was saved just for me.

Cousins who love to be together.

Fishing for Grandchildren:  The most funnest game ever.  A picture or two is worth more than a 1,000 words.Halloween 13 Gratitude Monday #53:  Sunshine and Happiness and a PartyHalloween 16 Gratitude Monday #53:  Sunshine and Happiness and a Party Halloween 14 Gratitude Monday #53:  Sunshine and Happiness and a Party

What’s on your gratitude list?  Hop on over to Alphabet Salad and join the fun.


 Gratitude Monday #53:  Sunshine and Happiness and a Party

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