13 Things I’m Thankful For

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of whining lately.

Way too much, for my tastes.

About things that feel big and burdensome at the time I’m whining about them, but seem real small in the grand scheme of things when I think about how bad it could really be. So I thought I’d take some to list out some of the things I’m grateful for.

  1. I’m in pretty good health. I know so many who aren’t right now.
  2. I have a spouse who is a good husband, father, lover and friend. We may fight every once in a while, but we always pull through stronger than before.
  3. I have access to the internet. Seriously, I don’t know how people got by without it.
  4. The bills are getting paid. Things may be rather tight these days, especially with the major medical bill$ we’re facing, but at at least we’re dealing.
  5. I have true, supportive friends. Not a whole slew of them mind you, but the few I have are wonderful and I’m beyond grateful for them.
  6. My children are healthy and happy. There are those who are dealing with children that aren’t so fortunate, and my heart goes out to them for the challenges they face.
  7. I have wonderful parents. The only way they could possibly be more wonderful is if they were rich and shared their wealth with me.
  8. I have a book published, a second contracted, and more in the hopper. I’ve finally got my break into the publishing industry, and I feel it can only go up from here.
  9. I have enough wine to get me through the weekend. Need I say more?
  10. I have a good job in a time when so many are struggling to find work. (Although I wouldn’t mind a lottery win soon so I can retire early)
  11. My 3 boys (husband and sons) haven’t eaten me out of a house and home. Yet.
  12. I don’t have to buy any breast or butt implants. Nature has given me an abundance.
  13. I’m thankful for all my readers, although I’m still a little shocked anyone’s interested in what I have to say. *blows kisses*

What are you thankful for?

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

13 Ways To Write Faster

I’ve started NaNoWriMo more than 2 weeks late (I have a good excuse at least – I was finishing up another book!). So chances are quite slim that I’ll win NaNo with such a late start, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to put up my best efforts to get as much of the first draft done on this new manuscript as possible this  month. I’m going to try to break my own normal writing pace to the application of the following tips and techniques:

  1. Try waking up an hour or so earlier than usual, and writing as soon as I wake up when my mind is still in a semi-lucid state
  2. Or, write late at night just before I go to sleep, when my internal editor is too tired to interfere
  3. Write in the voice that comes natural to me. Don’t over-think it
  4. Plan ahead – have an idea of what I’m going to write before each session
  5. Write in timed sprints
  6. Create a writing ritual, which could include a special location to write, music, incense, etc.
  7. Don’t self edit as I write
  8. Don’t go back and edit what I previously wrote until I’ve finished the entire draft
  9. Touch type without looking at the keyboard (last time I checked, I can type up to 90 words a minutes)
  10. Allow myself to write out of order – if there is a particular scene begging to be written, go ahead and write it
  11. Get rid of distractions. Turn off the tv, go close yourself up in a room somewhere, turn the ringer off the phone
  12. Do research ahead of time (or write about stuff I already know)
  13. Use the tools I’m already familiar and comfortable with. Maybe this isn’t the time to try that new software program …

13 Books On My TBR List

I’ve got quite a few books on my TBR (To Be Read) list, but here’s 13 that I actually own that are either sitting in a pile on my nightstand, shelf or on my Nook waiting for me to read them:

  1. City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane
  2. The Abs Diet by David Zinczenko with Ted Spiker
  3. Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML by Eric T Freeman and Elisabeth Freeman
  4. Enemy Overnight by Robin L. Rotham
  5. Grimspace by Ann Aguire
  6. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
  7. Butterfly Tattoo by Diedre Knight
  8. Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair
  9. Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
  10. Beyond the Rain by Jess Granger
  11. The Mark of the Vampire Queen by Joey W. Hill
  12. Taking Chances by Shiloh Walker
  13. The Force Unleashed by Sean Williams

13 Horror Movies I Like

I like scary movies. Most of them don’t actually scare me much – except the ones with creepy evil aliens and body snatchers – but I do find them entertaining. My husband is the same way, except his kryptonite are zombies and clowns instead aliens. The result is that we often disagree on what’s scary, and I usually end up laughing at the movies that have him cringing.

Anyway, here’s thirteen scary movies I like and my scream rating based on how scary I found them, not necessarily how much I enjoyed them).

1. The Thing

5 out of 5 screams

2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

4.5 out of 5 screams

3. Alien

5 out of 5 screams

4. Aliens

4.75 out of 5 screams

5. The Amityville Horror

3.5 out of 5 screams

6. The Skeleton Key

4 out of 5 screams

7. The Others

3 out of 5 screams

8. Arachnophobia

3.75 out of 5 screams

9. I Am Legend

3.75 out of 5 screams

10. Poltergeist

4.25 out of 5 screams

11. The Prophecy

3 out of 5 screams

12. Firestarter

3.5 out of 5 screams

13. Final Destination

4.5 out of 5 screams

What horror movies do you like?

13 Things I Wish More Men Knew

Seems like at least once a week I hear a male complaining that he doesn’t understand women. So I thought I’d help out by providing this list, for starters. If men could grasp the items on this list, they’d be a lot closer to understanding the opposite sex:

  1. Silence is not always golden
  2. Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should
  3. She wouldn’t have to nag you about it if you would just do it already
  4. Scratching yourself can’t possibly be that fun
  5. Every woman you see does not have to be scoped out
  6. Foreplay begins with how you treat her outside of the bedroom
  7. There really is such a thing as a platonic cuddle
  8. If she’s not in the mood, there’s a good chance it’s your fault
  9. Logic is not required for emotions
  10. It’s wrong even if she doesn’t know about it
  11. You’re less likely to pass so much gas if you eat / drink better and stop holding it in
  12. Disregarding how she feels is disrespecting who she is
  13. It’s rather easy to put the toilet seat down. Even for you.

What else do you wish more men knew?

13 Ways To Get Out Of the Dumps

I was suffering from burnout big time for the past week and a half or so. Had some serious trouble with my mood, concentration, appetite and sleeping well. At last I think I’m coming out of my funk, fortunately. There were quite a few things I did that helped me lift my spirits, but here’s 13 of them that just may help you out too if you feel as if you’re drowning in it all:

  1. Revisit your priorities. You’d be surprised by how much stress is caused by you either a) taking on too much b) not doing the things that are most important to you first, or c) doing things you don’t like for the wrong reasons
  2. Take some days off – or at least some nights off from household chores and/or other productive work – to  just relax
  3. Talk about what’s bothering you with someone who will listen, instead of keeping it bottled in
  4. Work off some frustration with physical activity, such as kick-boxing. Alleviate stress while getting some exercise in
  5. Turn off the internet
  6. Turn on some funky music and dance
  7. Read a good book, watch a good movie/show or play a good game
  8. Spend some quality time with family and friends
  9. Allow yourself to vent. Sometimes a good cry or a good yell (at the appropriate culprit, of course) to get it off your chest is all you need to feel better
  10. Discuss ways you and your spouse/family/co-workers (or whomever is at the source of your frustrations, if applicable) could work together to reduce or eliminate your stress factors
  11. Get rid of the kids and go out (or stay in and enjoy the peace and quiet)
  12. Molest your spouse (or entice them into molesting you, if you prefer)
  13. Focus on one thing at a time. Don’t worry about anything else until that task is accomplished

13 Signs Of Burnout

  1. Your nice filter is turned off.
  2. You’re snapping off at people for the littlest things.
  3. You drag yourself out of bed kicking and screaming.
  4. Your morning glass of OJ or cup of coffee would be much better with a shot of vodka.
  5. People asking you for help/favors tick you off.
  6. People asking you anything ticks you off.
  7. People talking ticks you off.
  8. The fact that there are people, ticks you off.
  9. Your body aches all over even though you haven’t done anything physical.
  10. You’re tempted to just quit EVERYTHING and try living as a bum for a while.
  11. The voices are telling you it’s okay if it’s a crime of passion.
  12. You can’t unwind enough to chill out.
  13. You’re way too tired to go to sleep.

13 Ways To Find More Time

I’ve got a lot going on. All of the time. I often have more to do than I have sufficient time to do it.

I suspect that I’m nowhere near alone in this.

But there are ways to manage, other than skipping on sleep (something I’ve done but don’t recommend). Here are just 13 ways to find more time to do whatever it is you want to do.

  1. Make to-do lists. Check off tasks when they are complete so you’ll have a visual representation of what you’ve completed and what you have left.
  2. Don’t take personal calls. You can call them back later.
  3. DVR your favorite shows to watch later when you DO have time.
  4. Wake up an hour or two earlier and get some stuff done.
  5. Set dates with yourself. Schedule a dedicated block of time on your calendar and treat it like you would a meeting or appointment. Don’t stand yourself up.
  6. Set deadlines for yourself, and do your best to meet them.
  7. Cook and prepare meals ahead of time or plan for meals that are quick to prepare.
  8. Steal time during lunch breaks if you can to get some work done while you nibble.
  9. Use your Paid Time Off to get out of work. You don’t have all those vacation, personal and sick days for nothing!
  10. Hide from everyone. Leave the house, go to the library or the coffee shop. Even if you have to stay at home and hide in your closet with your laptop for a couple of hours – do it.
  11. Turn off social networking programs. My alloted time for social activity is very limited for the rest of this year because I have so many projects I’m determined to finish up.
  12. Multi-task. Fold those clothes while helping your kids with homework, and voila – you’ll have saved 30 minutes
  13. Treat your time as if it were money. Spend it wisely, budget it, invest/save what extra you have, and splurge every once in a while for fun

13 Challenges In Teaching A Kid to Read

School is back in session, and so my 6-year old just started the first grade a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve got to tell you – the homework isn’t at all how I remember it! Lots of math and logic problems early out of the gate, which isn’t too bad but the way the questions are worded sometimes, they not only trip up my kid but also my husband who’s supposed to be helping with the homework. Basically, my husband checks over my son’s answers, and then I have to check over my husband’s checking.

I’m almost afraid to see what second grade is gonna be like.

But even the homework is a walk in the park compared to the reading lessons I’ve been giving my child daily for a couple of years now. Ever try to teach a young kid how to read? It’s rather tricky! Here’s a list of 13 reasons teaching a kid to read is a challenge:

  1. Read (present tense) and read (past tense) are spelled exactly the same but sound different
  2. “bear”, “bare”, “hair” all rhyme, but “hear”, “hare”, and “hair” don’t
  3. “snow” and “know” rhyme but neither rhyme with “now”
  4. “where” and “there”, sound alike, but “here” doesn’t sound like them
  5. There’s a trick to learning when a word is using long vs short vowel sounds
  6. Trying to teach a kid to sound out words, when sometimes a letter doesn’t make a sound. Silent ‘e’. And silent ‘k’. Silent ‘c’ when next to ‘k’. Silent ‘g’ when next to ‘h’
  7. The seemingly random interchangeability of ‘c’ and ‘s’ and ‘f’ and ‘ph’ (why IS it cellphone instead sellfone?)
  8. Does the letter ‘k’ really have a use in our language? It’s silent in “know” and “knee”, does nothing but reinforce the sound ‘c’ is already making in words like back and heck, and could be replaced by ‘c’ in almost every other instance
  9. I, eye, aye and the letter ‘i’ all sound exactly the same but mean very different things
  10. Be, bee, the letter ‘b’
  11. See, sea, and the letter ‘c’
  12. Pea, pee, the letter ‘p’
  13. There’s no ‘w’ in the word ‘one’ even though it sounds like there should be. But there IS a ‘w’ in the word ‘two’ even though it sounds like there shouldn’t be.

It’s almost amazing that anybody ever masters the English language!

13 Shows I’d Like To Watch

Who says there’s nothing good on television? If you can navigate past the crappy stuff, there’s plenty of good stuff to watch. Or at least I think they’d be good, if I had time to watch them. I DVR a few shows right now that I’ve seen pretty much every episode of so far: Fringe, Eureka, True Blood, House and Private Practice. There’s also only a handful of shows that are no longer running that I also watched faithfully: such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Legend of the Seeker and Girlfriends.

Here’s a list of 13 more shows I’d love to watch if I had the time (in no particular order). The ones in pink are ones that I’ve tried to watch, but I’m grossly behind  - at least a couple of seasons, or more. The others, I haven’t even seen a single full episode of yet.

  1. Supernatural
  2. Stargate SG-1
  3. Star Trek: Deep Space 9
  4. Dexter
  5. Warehouse 13
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. Spartacus
  8. X-files
  9. Buffy
  10. Star Trek: Enterprise
  11. Lost
  12. Entourage
  13. Merlin