Thursday, May 31, 2012

Query Critique

I had a professional query critique on Tuesday night. It was done on Google Plus (kind of like skyping - but with a group). And the query was shared on-screen. This is a really fun way to do a critique session. I mean...of course it's always best to do things in person, but when you can't, this is a great option.

I learned a lot, not just from my own query but from other writer's queries too. It was apparent that we all made similar "mistakes." None of us seemed to want to over sell ourselves. It's kind of funny. I mean we've got to sell our manuscript to get an agent to want to read the pages and writers may not have any problems with that portion of the project. But...when it comes to talking about ourselves. . . well, most of us just seem to suck. We can't think of the relevant, important things we should be saying in a query.

For example, I was querying a story about a girl with a mental illness. I totally neglected to include anything about my experience working with kids with behavioral and emotional disabilities. I also "forgot" to include the fact that I have a B.S. in psychology. Silly, silly me. And I heard others say the same sort of thing: "I didn't know what to say."

How 'bout you? Are you quick to offer information about yourself in a query? Can you pinpoint the important things you should say, and pare down the frivolous fluff?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A MAJOR Milestone

Okay...so it might not look like much to you. A simple little key chain with a washer linked in it. But that silly little bauble means a whole lot more to me.

See, I've been trying to lose weight for about a year and a half. One of the main reasons I took up the challenge was because my ankles were starting to get . . . stiff, weak, wobbly... I can't think of another good word for it but whatever IT is, it was due to the weight those ankles were under.

So, I joined Weight Watchers and started really paying attention to the food I was eating. It wasn't that the food I was eating was bad, it wasn't. It wasn't that the food was really unhealthy, it wasn't (at least most of the time). The problem was the portions and the lack of exercise I was doing to counter the calories I was consuming.

But this past weekend I finally hit a MAJOR milestone for me: 25 pounds!!!

I stepped on the scale and was pleasantly surprised - I was down 25 pounds. It's taken me a while to reach this goal but I did it!!! And Weight Watchers gave me my little key-chain charm medallion as a mile marker!!! 25 lbs. down, on that marker.

And, it probably helped me reach yesterday's goal too - hitting under the 9 minute mile mark!!!

So, if you're thinking about challenging yourself to lose a few pounds or a hundred, I want to encourage you. If I can do it, so can you! And if you want to chat about it, I'm "hear" to help you. I'd love to hear what advice you have, what challenges and what trials you've been through too. So, if you're on the same weight loss journey, let's travel the path together. After all, everything's better when you share it...except maybe a piece of chocolate ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Run for Your Life

There was a day when I realized I was out of shape...okay that's a nice way of saying the "F" word...F.
A.T.! No one wants to admit it. I sure didn't. I love to bake, cook and create my own recipes...

So....what was I supposed to do? Give up baking? No way! Stop cooking? Seriously? Quit creating my own recipes? You've got to be out of your mind.

The only way to lose a little weight (okay a lot of weight) was to take up some heavy-duty cardio workouts. And, I've never been one for dancing. I'm a clutz - okay? I have about as much rhythm as a slug. So there were only a few options left available to me:

Swimming - I hate the cold water in Oregon
Kick boxing - maybe
running - it's free and you can do it anywhere (even in the rain).

My mind was made up...running it was.

So, for the next year and a half, I took up running. And, this past holiday weekend I hit a goal!!! Finally.

I've been trying to get under 9 minutes miles and it hasn't been easy for an old, overweight, out of shape woman. BUTT...and it's a big one...mine, I DID IT!!!!

I ran over 7 miles running 8.35 minute miles! I know that might not sound like much of an accomplishment to you. But to a 50 year-old woman, that's some HUGE accomplishment.

When I started running, I was running a block then walking a block, running a block then walking a block and I was never running faster than twelve minute miles . . . even when I finally ran that full mile. So, this past weekend may not mean much to anyone but ME!!!! YIPPEEE!!!!!

Now....I just have to find a way to do it for another 19.2 miles!

Hopefully, I'll figure it out in the next couple of weeks - because my marathon is just around the corner. Let's hope it's a downhill corner ;)

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Day to Remember

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day may be a holiday meant to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces but it's also used to remember loved ones who are gone. We've always gone up to the cemetery to make sure the gravestones are being maintained. One time my sister's letters fell off her name. The staff doesn't always notice, but we sure did.

Of course they fixed it as soon as we pointed it out. But we also like to make sure the flowers look good. We usually use silk flowers. They used to look cheesey but nowadays I can rarely tell the difference between "fake" flowers and real ones.

Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day and originally was meant to remember the Union soldiers in the Civil War.

Now it's also used as a day off to spend with family and friends eating good food and picnicing.

However you spend your holiday, I hope you have a healthy and happy one :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Earth-Friendly Friday



This is a product I love on my Pinterest page and I think it's worth sharing again and again because it's an all terrain vehicle designed by a 21-year old girl. That's younger than my daughter. Way kewl!!! It's not just a vehicle that can go in snow, water and land...it can also hover!

Check it out here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Worms Crawl In

The Worms Crawl in the Worms Crawl Out
In your stomach and out your snout

Do you remember singing this song as a kid?

I do.

If you want to hear the music that goes along with it, check it out here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Word for Wednesday

This is a game for writers - and even wanna be writers

Or especially Wizards of Wordom

Here's the word of the day:

Word: pansophy - \pan-suh-fee\ -


Do you know what it means?


Take a guess


Then scroll down


Further and . . .



Further



It is :
universal wisdom or knowledge

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Research and Revisions

I'm working on another new story...duh...what writer isn't...? But this one involves some mental health issues - no not mine - the character in my story. 

I've been working on research and revisions in the story. So tell me, how do you do your research? Do you simply google and click or do you interview sources...and this is for fiction not nonfiction.

I've been doing a lot of on-line research and I'm thinking of talking with some parents (that I know - whose child is effected by the illness) I just don't want to seem insensitive. What advice would you give, if you've done this sort of thing?

Thanks.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Running, Water, Dehydration

I was running last week and it was warmer than usual. My leg started to cramp. I've never cramped up in a run...I know weird but it's true. The problem was that I was dehydrated from the run and sun...

If you want to read more about cramps and running and dehydration, check it out here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Brown Rice Syrup/Sugar

I just thought everyone should be...aware:

brown rice sugar and brown rice syrup have high levels of arsenic. It may not be harmful to adults . . . but then again, it might be.

So make informed choices.

And, if you're interested, check out these links here and here or just google brown rice sugar and arsenic.





Thursday, May 17, 2012

I WANT A DO-OVER



Okay so Lars and I have been married for nearly 30 years. I'm thinking why not do it all over again?

I'm thinking we could do it again with a big party...get all the old crew back together again for a re-newing of our vows with all our friends and family.  Wouldn't it be fun to have another wedding now that we're older and wiser... ;) and know what we're getting into this time...?

I know I'll never get back into that wedding dress but we could rent a couple of tuxes - get some fun dresses that make our old worn-out mom-bodies look good again. We could even have one of those pretty Ace of Cakes (look-alike) cakes (I wish) with music and celebrate the next 30 years...

What could be more fun than family, friends, and some good food...plus it would be a fun reason to see each other again...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Word for Wednesday

Word for Wed….DISSOLUTE

Guess what it means...

Do you know???


Will you say???

Scroll down to find the answer if you aren't one of the few who just know


Further



Further




Def:  Loose in morals and conduct; marked by indulgence in sensual pleasures or vices.


Interesting word.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gifts for Life

The great thing about this gift is that it should help me get healthier and hopefully fitter too. This is a present that will encourage me to want to exercise more...

My kids got me an IPod Nano for Mother's Day so I can listen to music while I run. I can plug my micoach into the Nano and listen to my songs, podcasts and books while micoach cuts in every now and then to tell me to speed up or slow down...usually micoach is telling me to speed up tho'.

This is super Kewl since I'm gearing up for the marathon next month and my runs have been getting longer and longer and lonelier and lonelier. Now I can turn on my tunes and have a little someone to take along with me.

Hopefully, this gift is going to make it easier for me to run, and run, and run...

How 'bout you...any special health-minded gifts for you?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows: I had high hopes for the replaying of my youth especially since it had Johnny Depp and Michelle Phiffer with Tim Burton too. Unfortunately, I was let down. It wasn't scarey... at all. I was only hoping for a little bit of scariness but I didn't even get that. It was fun hearing the names from my past: Barnabus Collins, Angelic, Dr. Julia Hoffman, those were fun to hear :)

And we all had a nice dinner. Mother's Day 2012 - it was a fun feasting day.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Doggie Dash May 12, 2012

This morning is the Doggie Dash! It's an Oregon Humane Society fund raiser. So if you love dogs or pets of any kind, come out and support the PAWS - I mean cause ;)

I'll be running with Sasha the 2.5 mile course. Plus it will be fun to see a variety of pets, breeds and dog owners :)

My hubby will be running along side me and my sis and a couple friends will be there too. It will be downtown on Portland's waterfront.

The run starts at 9:00 a.m. but there are events all morning long. If you are interested, check it out here.

Earth-Friendly Friday




June 9 is the date for "Avenues of Art," an art auction to benefit New Avenues. The event will be held on the third floor of the Pioneer Place Mall from 6:00 - 9:00 PM. Up for auction will be 100 pieces of art made by local professional artists on the theme of "reclamation", as well as collaborative pieces made by youth in conjunction with local professionals. There is no admission fee and there will be complimentary food and drinks.

For more information, you can visit www.newavenues.org




Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sit and Sip

I've never collected much of anything but every once in a while I see a beautiful cup or saucer and I just have to have it. Perhaps it's because tea is such a wonderful liquid. It's warm and soothing when you're sick and it can be refreshing and exhilarating in the summer in the iced form: iced-tea.

And there is only one liquid that is consumed more than tea: water.

How 'bout you, do you have any items you collect?

Here are a few of the tea cups I've collected over the years. This one is my favorite:



But this one is pretty too:

 And I love the flowers and pretty patterns:

And even if the cup doesn't come with a saucer, sometimes I still buy it:

And the cups don't even have to be old or delicate. They just need to speak to me, like this one:

It's like drinking from a flower...at least that's how I think of it.

So sit and sip some beverage and enjoy more than the day. . .remember to even enjoy the vessel you're drinking from :)



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Useless words

I usually do a word for Wednesday post but this past week my son and I were out to lunch and talking (guess what about???) ...yep, words and the ones that might seem a little redundant or - and I love words - but there are some pretty useless ones in the English language. Now, word lovers, hear me out...

Irregardless is a pretty useless word. I mean, after all, regardless means having or showing no regard - according to Dictionary.com and irregardless means regardless. . .

and what about

Reiterate...that's another fairly useless word.

After all, what does iterate mean? According to my old friend again Dictionary.com, it means to repeat again.

And what does (re)iterate means...why the same exact thing. It means to repeat again.

If you don't believe me, check with my old friend dictionary.com and you will see. Re-iterate is a useless word.

How 'bout you . . . any pet peevish words that seem a little useless to you? Share 'em in the comments section and help us all learn a little more about the language and become better educated.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Eye Candy

I'm thinking of eye candy . . .

And not this kind (even tho' he is my fav actor...and the man can sing - which only amplifies his appeal to me) but no - not this time - I'm thinking of real eye candy or something that makes eyes look a little better (while they help a person "look" or at least "see" better too).

Now, I have my idea of appealing and probably everyone in the world has a different idea...except when it comes to Gerard Butler of course. I think everyone (or at least every woman) would agree with me when it comes to him...I mean just look at those baby blues..that's what Frank was singing about...or, maybe he wasn't but what the heck, I can think of GB when I hear the swoonster wailing about those baby blues...because of course my hubby has brown beauties. But I digress from the point here - lingering a little too long on GB...

Anyway, I lost my fav pair of glasses (out on a run). My backpack ripped open (only time it has ever happened) and my glasses were lost forever. So, I had to go get some new spectacles so I could see again.

Here are the choices  I had to choose between:




My conservative look:


My whimsical look:




My in-between the two look:

My sporty look:



So ... I couldn't make up my mind...

My family all didn't like my whimsical look...So, which one do you think I got?

 Really...what do you think?


Well, I had to be true to me.

The glasses I loved the most of all are the whimsical ones ;) ha! That's the only way to be true to me. And, I'm not going to be told what not to wear. Not even if my kids laugh at me and my husband rolls his eyes. I love my Ziggy glasses.




Monday, May 7, 2012

Manicures and Margaritas

It was Cinco de Mayo and give me a reason to celebrate and I will definitely make an effort.

I had to have margaritas and. . . well why not...margaritas and manicures and . . . facials?

It was a fun afternoon of soaking feet, and pampering hands while sipping on a few different blends of margaritas.

My daughter and I wanted to add a little beautification to the process so Wah-lah Elphaba look a likes :)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

TWINS

Sometimes people look alike, sometimes words sound alike and sometimes twins can seem confusing. With human twins, you might think you're seeing double and with word twins you might not know which word to use.

A couple examples of Word Twins:

Like Accept and Except

Accept is to take, receive or approve. Except is to be excluded. They sound so similar and even look alike but they are very different.

Affect and Effect. This is one pair of words that can be seriously confusing.  Affect is to influence or to create an emotional response. Effect is the result or to "take effect" which is to become effective.

I hope this helps you when it comes to worrisome words and confusing twins.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sasha and her new bandana

Every morning Sasha begins the day talking to me. I don't know if you remember Scoobie Doo but I swear they got the idea from a husky. Sasha talks almost as well as Scobbie...seriously. And Kara likes to dress her up like a little girl with her pretty bandanas that highlight her eyes.

Isn't she pretty?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Designer Fabric

My front yard benches are a nice place to sit and chat when a neighbor walks by but last year Sasha ate my bench cushions. So, I needed to recover my cushions and there just happened to be a fabric sale this weekend. Wheee-----perfect timing for once.

So off I went to the fabric store to pick my pattern. But . . . all the choices. Should I pick blue? Yellow? or perhaps a color that would hide the dirt...but that wouldn't be "sew" pretty ;)

I spent a long time wandering the aisles trying to pick my fabric pattern...but there were polka dots, strips, and even Victorian designs. In the end, I went with a Better Homes and Gardens fabric that reminded me of spring. . . now if only the rains would stop.

To cover the cushion, I started with the foam and the fabric spread out on the floor. I had to find a lot of room to see what I needed to do. I laid the fabric and the foam out so I could cut it to size.

 Then I sewed it together. I thought it turned out pretty colorful and it will definitely feel so much better on my behind. Now I just need to make some pillows and get a fresh coat of paint on those seats.