Monday, July 30, 2012

Family Competition

  Competitiveness. I believe we all have at least a little bit in us, don’t we? I will be the first to admit that I am competitive beyond belief. Throughout the years I have tried to mellow out. Just when I think I am doing better it sneaks up and bites me. At times I even feel bad for being so…spirited. Yea, that’s a good way to put it, spirited!

  I will use my nephew as an example. When he was younger I made sure to beat him at every game we played. I beat him at cards, board games, sports, and even go cart racing. We took him to Clifton Hill in Canada one time. Clifton Hill is right on Niagara Falls, and is a huge tourist trap. Needless to say it caters to families so there are all sorts of games everywhere. I do believe that my nephew did not beat me at one game that day. I even think my mom pulled me aside and asked me to let him win. To this I raised an eyebrow. I never recall that being said to any of my brothers growing up for I never beat them at anything. So WHY would I let up on my nephew? I am so nice, aren’t I? Of course, later on that day I felt bad for my actions. I would try to get him to play cards with me with full intentions of letting him win, I swear. Unfortunately he didn’t know this and wanted to watch a movie instead. Bad Aunt. Bad Aunt.
I'll never tell if that is really him or not!

  I thought for many years that maybe I had a problem with this outrageous behavior. What if it was just me, or my family, that acted like this? What kind of ludicrous people were we? Would we ever be forgiven by those we acted so ridiculously upon?

  Never fear, my worries were put to rest this past April. My two families vacationed together in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Our days were filled with touristy things such as Dollywood, and Pigeon Forge. (I of course kept an eye out for Reba everywhere we went. Hey, you never know!)  Our nights were filled with hanging out in the cabin. That cabin was furnished with a foosball table, air hockey table, and pool table. And if that wasn’t enough we brought our own games like Apples to Apples, and Bananagrams. It was during a game of Bananagrams that I realized I was not the only one to display a horrendous competitive streak.

  Bananagrams is a game kind of like scrabble, but with no board. You get x amount of tiles and have to use them to form a grid of connected words. The first one to use all the tiles yells ‘Split’ and everyone takes another tile. This continues until all the tiles have been used. The winner is the first one to successfully use all the tiles. All words must be legal, real words. After very little explanation on how to play from the Griswold’s we began our first game. As we went along I started to grasp the object and of course-ole reliable competitive snuck up on me. Suddenly, my little buddy, (my twelve year old fan) announced she was done, declaring herself the winner. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Griswold, looked over her words. Mother Griswold announced one of her words was not a real word and made everyone continue on. The look on twelve year old fans face was priceless, as was the look on mine. I was ecstatic to learn that I was not the only one!

Are you competitive to the point of losing family? Has there ever been a time when that competitiveness made you feel guilty? Want to tell me about it? Come on…spill! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Countries Unite...It's Olympic Time!

  The year is 2012. Do you know what happens in an even numbered year? Think now…  That means only one thing. The Olympics are here! That’s right, this year the Summer Olympics will be held in London, England. Athletes from around the world will converge on London and bestow upon us their talents. I cannot wait to watch all these amazingly gifted athletes.

  There are many aspects that I like about the Olympics. I love how the world seems to come together and cheer on the representatives of their countries, and maybe even others. I love how the reporters will always find feel good stories to tell. Those stories of what the athletes had to overcome in their lives, or country, to get to where they are. I love the dedication that these men and women have. I also love how we get to know the host country so intimately.
  I will be the first to admit that I like the Winter Olympics better than summer. One word. Hockey. J But that doesn’t mean I cannot relate to the summer sports of the Olympics. I can relate to all of them. I used to participate in gymnastics when I was young. I had to run all the time for conditioning in other sports I took part in, like soccer, or field hockey. I almost drowned swimming one time, but I still like to watch diving and swimming.

  There are two sports that make me scratch my head though. They are badminton and table tennis. Now, I played both of them when I was younger. It seemed that when I played badminton more time was spent chasing and picking up the birdy thingy than actually playing. I loved table tennis though. Maybe if I would have realized that it was, and still would be, an Olympic sport, maybe I would have stuck with it!

  Needless to say the Olympics are upon us, and I am happy. For me it is a time of awe and admiration. Each and every one of those athletes is an inspiration, and deserves to be applauded no matter where they finish!

Do you like the Olympics? Do you care for the Winter or Summer games better? What is your favorite Olympic sport?

W.P.I. - If you're planting a flowering shrub, toss a few banana peels in a blender with a little water (coffee grounds too if your shrubs likes acid) and blend. Mix your magic blend in with a garden trowel when you're preparing the soil. The tiny pieces break down easily and provide your shrub with nutrients. If you would like to go with a more conventional fertilizer I suggest you use a slow-release fertilizer. You won't need to feed your plants as often.   

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Winds Of Change

  The winds are blowing, the winds are blowing! No I am not talking about the weather again either! These winds are the winds of change. They have swept in, gathered me up, and put me in motion. Normally I do not like change, but these are good changes, and I am super excited. Well, mostly…

  Okay, so maybe I am biting my nails a little. See, I am not usually into change at all. I normally go by the thinking of why change? Change sometimes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If I find a certain food I like at a restaurant, why would I order something else? I have found that when I try something else I usually do not care for it as much as what I regularly eat. Then I get disappointed. That is how my luck usually goes when it comes to change.

  Sometimes you have no other option but to change. Sometimes a job may require a transfer. Sometimes restaurants close or they change the menu. Sometimes your favorite author doesn’t have a new book coming out for another four months, so you are forced to try someone different. I think you get my meaning. Sometimes change is inevitable.

  If you follow me regularly you know that I plan to move to Savannah in the near future. We have made some improvements to the house, and are just about to the ‘get a realtor’ phase. I am super excited about it. This will be a very, very good change, and one I cannot wait for.

  These past couple of months I have realized that one aspect of my life needed a change desperately. For many reasons I have slowly lost passion for something that I truly love. I was finding myself getting the life sucked out of me on a near daily basis. My energy level dropped dramatically. My enthusiasm about disappeared. I don’t like that Kelly. That Kelly found herself just going through the motions. That Kelly realized that the daily grind almost became a mental anguish. I am stronger than what I had become. I realized that I deserve to be treated better than a piece of gum stuck to a shoe. A change has been made in this department. This change is a little scary, but it will all work out alright. I am sure of it.

  So, the changes listed above are both good and scary. One thing for certain is that I will adjust. We all do, whether we like change or not. Change keeps us on our toes, and keeps us in the present. It’s just a fact of life when we live in an ever changing world!

  Do you like change? What are some things you refuse to change?  What is the biggest change you have made lately? Did you do it on your own, or was it a forced change?     

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fun With Words

  My friends and I try to choose a word of the week. It is usually a fun little word that we will use whenever we can in general conversation or texts. Some words stick with us longer than others. Some, although meant to be funny, end up being used in serious ways. I have a love affair with words and thought I might share some of them with you.

  I love to joke around. I was texting with a friend and picking on her. I couldn’t help it! She kept setting herself up for it. She finally came back with the words ZIP IT. I instantly loved it. Zip it became the words of the week. Every time I see those words I smile. To this day she still will fling them at me!

  Betwixt was another one we used recently. For some reason it came up in conversation, so we went with it. A friend used it in a text to me, saying, “Just betwixt us…” The words she told me after that were very personal, and heart wrenching. We have used the word sparingly since then, but I will always remember that text. It is still a good word though.

  This week the word aloof popped in my head. Such a strange word, isn’t it? Aloof. Just say it! I smiled just saying it. You try it! Come on! Aloof. J See? Did you find yourself smiling? How about in a sentence. It was hard for her not to feel aloof at work.

  How about befuddled? That is another great one. Do you know what befuddles me? The audience was befuddled while watching the magician.

  Discombobulate. I always seem to be discombobulated. It is my normal state!

  I love to lollygag. That’s another word that elevates my mood. They were just lollygagging around.   

  Finally, how about the word…doohickey? If that doesn’t make you laugh there may be something wrong. I love a word that can be used when you forget the name of something. ***pointing to refrigerator*** Buck says, “Get me a beer out of that doohickey!” Okay, that may be extreme, but did you laugh? Could you imagine Buck with a beer belly and no shirt? Maybe missing a couple of teeth?  His voice all gruff. Okay maybe that only played like that in my own mind. Sorry! "Get me that thingy out of the doohickamabob, please!" Now I did totally make that up. And I like it! You?

  Well, this was a fun one, but what kind of pictures am I going to get now? I may be left in a state of befuddlement! J

Are there certain words that just make you smile? What are they? Come on, spill! Do you and your friends make little games out of fun words?

W.P.I. - You can use old newspaper as weed barrier for your garden. Make sure you do not use the colored portions of the newspaper, as it contains toxins. I used two or three sheets on top of each other and had no problems with weeds. Over time the newspaper breaks down and gives back to the soil.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mini Meltdown

  I have to admit that last week ended on a bad note for me. Everything is fine, I was just all sorts of frustrated with something. Isn’t Sunday supposed to be the start of a new week? Someone or thing might want to tell my body that, because I continued on with my frustration from the last couple of days. I did damage to myself, and it’s all my fault.

  A couple of years ago the interest rates for buying a house were so low that the Charmed One and I said, “Let’s do it!” Now, for the record, the Charmed One would have been happy with a condo, or townhome. But nooo! Kelly wanted land. She wanted to be able to plant many, many things, wherever she chose. So we found a nice home on 2.2 acres of land. It had a little potting shed, a large vegetable garden, and a huge, huge, yard. It was everything that she was looking for. Right?

  (My switch from first to third person sometimes scares me!)

  Well, within the first few months I realized just how big the yard truly was. If I jumped on my riding mower and mowed straight through it took me almost three hours. Since then we bought another mower and with both of us mowing it cut the time in half. The vegetable garden, we learned, was probably big enough to feed all of Podunk. It was big.

  So let me add another thing here. I am the outdoor freak. My paying job is an outdoor job. I love all sorts of nature. The Charmed One is the indoor type. Although the Charmed One helps with anything I may need outdoors it is usually all mine. It is my blank canvas. I did not plant any vegetables this spring. I instead took a part of that large garden and made it into a Kelly garden. I planted a couple of blueberry and blackberry bushes and surrounded them with various perennials and shrubs. I mulched and mulched, and then I ran out of mulch. I got more. It has been in the back of our pickup truck for weeks now.

  Today was the day I was going to finish mulching everything. I started out early. Needless to say one thing turned into another and there is still mulch in the bed of the truck. I texted the Charmed One (who was working) and stated I was getting a for sale sign. I got a nice text back asking if I didn’t like the house anymore. That turned into a two page(?) text back. To make a long story short-I HAD A MINI MELTDOWN! I had major complaints about only having so much done in the three and a half hours I had been outside. I complained about my body hurting and the tears that were forming in my eyes. I complained that I hadn’t even got on the mower yet. I complained that I didn’t go shopping yet. I had a tremendous feeling of being overwhelmed and I let it get the best of me.

  A little while later Charmed One pulled into the driveway. We mowed the lawn together. As we finished the belt broke on my mower. I closed my eyes and shook my head. Tears were threatening again. I came in, ate some ice creamJ, and showered. I felt so horrible when I got out of the shower I had to lay down. I literally had no energy. It took all my might to get out of bed. I felt nauseous. I had hurt myself, and it won’t happen again. Sadly, I realized I am too old for this stuff!

Have you ever regretted a big decision that you made? Have you literally worked yourself until you couldn’t take it any longer? Is your luck anything like mine?    

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Finding Happy Through Query Hell

  This week I am writing and sending query letters to agents. This week my muscles are tense, and my head is throbbing. J This is a huge step in trying to get my book published, so I am hoping to get this perfect. Sadly, I am finding this process a little depressing, and that is even before I get a rejection! Well, since depressed is a state that I do not care to be in, I found a little happy to combat it.

  How did I do that? Thanks for asking! Let me tell you…

  I find some happiness in a certain food. It is a comfort food to me, and over the past couple of weeks I have ate waaaay too much of it! Yes this food has sugar in it, and yes I gave up most of my sugars. Most is the key word in that sentence. My happy food the last couple of weeks has cream. The Charmed One laughs at me because I buy one of those tubs that have vanilla and chocolate mixed equally throughout. You know…vanilla on one side, chocolate on the other? Anyways, I like to let it sit out, get real soft, scoop it into a bowl, and then stir it together until it almost becomes a milkshake. Yum. I’m thinking about it now. But I can’t. I had some earlier. My figure is starting to show how much I enjoy it, so I must quit. Soon. Yes, that’s it, I’ll stop very soon!

  Another thing that makes me happier is getting back to my second book. I am happy when I can just sit here and write. Part of my great escape not only is in reading. It is in writing also. Scenes float in and out of my head all the time, so I am happy when I get to finally sit and put them on the computer screen! Anyways, I am excited to get back to the story of Logan and Autumn. Logan is the hockey hunk, in case you forgot. Well, he has some concussion issues, and ends up in Autumn’s home. Autumn juggles time with her child, her business, and now a gorgeous hockey hero with some serious issues. In a few short scenes I hope to have them at a moment like this… Yes, writing their story is making me giddy!

  Finally I just want to say that YOU all make me happy. This is my 50th blog, and the stats are making me happy. You all coming here puts a smile on my face. I know that everyone has their own things to occupy their time. And I know that everyone has their ups and downs. I just want you to know that I appreciate each and every time you come here and read my rambling. I hope I make it worth your while, and maybe even put a small smile on your face. You all put a smile on mine! THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart.

What puts you in a better mood? Do you have a comfort food you go to? Is there a comfort food with low sugars? Have you ever submitted a query letter?  Do you have any advice? J


W.P.I. - If you are planting in a container, and live in a hot climate, you can line the inside of the container with bubble wrap. It helps to insulate the roots, and keep them at a cooler temperature! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Holiday Hangover

Feeling…blah? Are you finding yourself moping around with no pep in your step? Does your head feel funny? Do you just feel…lazy? Yes? Well you may be one of millions suffering from a holiday hangover! I am not talking about one of those I had way too many martini's type of hangover either.

  For us in the United States, yesterday marked our nations birthday, or Independence Day. For many of us that means we have a day off in the middle of the week. Some people will take a couple more off and make a vacation out of it. Some, like me, will head straight back to work. I’m pretty sure that is why I have felt a little blah (for lack of a better word) all day.

  I tell myself that it is because the holiday lands in the middle of the week. But honestly I think I am lying to myself. I always have Wednesday’s off. I do believe the holiday, for some reason I will keep to myself, has done it to me. Maybe it is because I didn’t really do much to celebrate the day. In years past we would’ve gone and bought fireworks to shoot off. We don’t really do that anymore because, well, I don’t like fire and explosives that close to me. My anxiety skyrocketed when we did that. I don’t go to watch them anywhere because I believe it is amateur night with drinking and driving, and I value my life!

  It’s not just this holiday I feel that way with though. Every year Christmas does this to me as well. Now that is one of my favorite days. Here in the U.S. we seem to start earlier and earlier every year. The anticipation, the excitement, and the songs all put me in the spirit. Before you know it the big day is here and gone. Usually about half way through Christmas day itself is when I get the hangover feeling.

  So I started thinking. Yes, that’s always dangerous, but it has to happen. I was thinking that I get a blah feeling when I finish a good book. You know that feeling when you turn that last page and crave yet a hundred more? That feeling! The feeling of I liked the world I was just in, do I have to come back to reality feeling. That blah type of feeling. From now on I’m going to call that the Book Blues. So if you hear me refer to that in the future you will know. Over the last couple of weeks I have been under the weather, so I got more reading done than normal. The four books I read all gave me the book blues. I read The Garden of Happy Endings, by Barbara O’Neal, True Colors, by Kristin Hannah, Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis, and At Last by Jill Shalvis. All of these books are brilliantly written, and all left me with the Book Blues, er...wanting more. They were wonderful reads that I would recommend to anyone.

It reads, "You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel as if you've lost a friend."
  I’m working off my Holiday Hangover today, and ready to start another book. I've learned that the best way to get over the Book Blues is to just jump right into another one. Fortunately I have quite a few to choose from!

Do you have a Holiday Hangover today? Do you ever get a holiday hangover? Do you have a quick remedy for it? Do you get the Book Blues? What book have you read lately that made you feel that way? Have any book recommendations for me?   

W.P.I.- Are slugs a problem in your garden? If you see them douse them with salt. Another way to get rid of them is to leave a cup of beer near your garden. You'll marvel at the amount of them that meet their fate by the next morning. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Splain Please II

  I want everyone to know that I don’t go out and look for strange stories to share with you. These things just fall into my lap. I’ve been holding onto one of these tales for a while. Waiting patiently I knew another one would leap out at me sooner or later. It finally did, and I hope you enjoy my meant-to-be-amusing ramblings. They have me scratching my head, and wondering…What in the name of Reba is going on???

  I moved up here to Podunk almost two years ago. It is not a very big town at all. It didn’t take me long to find this…store (?). I still scratch my head every time I go by it. Let me tell you though, every time I do drive by there are people there, day and night. Apparently there is a lot of money in this business. Had I had known that I may have opted to open one myself. I mean, come on. The overhead can’t be a lot. This drive up store carries one item. No matter what, the supply and demand for this one item in Podunk must be huge. What is it? That’s right peeps, we have a store designated only for the sale of…ice.  

  What am I missing? Why do so many people need ice? Even if their refrigerators didn’t have built in ice makers don’t they have the plastic trays to make their own? I guess I just don’t get it. I could understand if there was a campground near, but there isn’t. I mean there are not any race tracks close, no drive-in theatres, and no concert venues. Are there that many people going to parties here in Podunk? Are there uses for ice that I do not know about? I scratch my head every time I go past that little…store.

  Wait, it gets better!

  A couple of weeks ago the Charmed One and I had the television tuned to a local news station. I have to admit that I was only half paying attention because I was reading, or writing, or revising, or whatever. After a story Charmed One turned to me and said, “What a great idea!” I asked what the story was about, and in turn heard about the city of Charlotte using Solar Waste Stations at different spots in the city. I cannot explain the look that crossed my face. The Charmed One continued with the explanation of “special” trash cans with solar panels on them to decompose garbage quicker. Apparently they hold up to five times more garbage than normal trash cans. My look of no explanation quickly went to a look of horror. I simply smiled and said, “Is it really a good idea to put that on the city streets? Can you imagine the wonderful odor that will surround these “Waste Stations?”

  If you visit regularly you know I am pretty much a nature nut. I am all for energy efficiency and I am behind the whole “green” movement. But there are times when I have to scratch my head. Am I missing something? We have had three straight days of temperatures over 100 degrees. This whole week is supposed to be in the high 90’s. I really don’t think I want to be the one to open up one of these Solar Waste Stations to put my ice cream wrapper in there. Heated garbage doesn’t really appeal to me, and may make me not want to come back into the city. Let’s see how it smells after next week! J

  So, is there something I am missing here?

  I figured I’d give you a couple of signs that I have seen recently that I don’t really get either.

Okay, I understand this one, but it was too good to resist!

  Do you have a use for an abundance of ice? How many bags of ice do you buy a year, on average? Do you think solar paneled trash bins are a good idea in the middle of a busy city? Are there any “green” ideas gone bad that you know of?