Archive for August 2013

cooler

 

The determination was made that a dedicated space for working out was needed at our home. This means that construction will have to take place. In order to accomplish this, we need room in the garage.

Let’s reflect on the definition of the word “garage”. Merriam-Webster states that the word is a noun that means:

   a shelter or repair shop for automotive vehicles

We built our house eight years ago and not one single tire has ever touched the floor of our garage. It has been nothing more but a storage area that becomes more and more full as each year passes by. There are boxes out there that HAVE NOT BEEN UNPACKED from when we moved in. Essentially, everything out there is either Christmas decorations or trash.

I was very happy to have this gym project as a catalyst to clean out all this useless mess that takes up the same room as two full sized vehicles. So we get to work….Hub, the Kittie, and I start clearing paths and opening boxes and filling four giant trash bins. As the day wore on crap started to get spread out into the driveway (which also leads to random drive ups “hey are y’all having a garage sale?” or “how much do you want for xxxx” and I’d yell back “It’s all free!” and Hub would yell, “DAMMIT NO! Nothing for sale! NO!” A lot of really confused people drove off while I dealt with being yelled at for ‘inviting people to rob us’) and now I’m losing track over what is or is not trash.

I walk over to one of the six (not a joke) Coleman coolers we’ve unearthed and bend over to pick it up and Hub shouts, “DON’T OPEN THAT!!!”

I freeze, giving him a sideways glance.

“I mean it,” he says. “Don’t do it.”

Now Kittie is interested. “What’s in it?” she asks mysteriously.

I stand up and say, “Yeah, what the hell is in this?”

Hub says, “I don’t know what that was.”

What……???? I ponder this and say, “So….are you telling me….that this is…a casket?”

Hub chews his lip for a moment and says, “Yeah. It is.”

“EW!” the Kittie and I exclaim and I carry it (held far far away from my body) to the curb w/ the trash cans, three computer monitors from 1990, a tricycle, and an ENTIRE box full of hangers (we had a fight over the hangers and when I threatened to remove an eyeball with one of them he backed down).

After sweeping, admiring our good work, and going inside to shower, we decided it was time to go to dinner. As we drive off the Kittie gasps from the back seat and says, “OMG, Dad…the casket is gone.”

Sure enough the casket, the tricycle and monitors have been removed from our curb.

I hope they don’t bring that damn casket back…..I hope they don’t actually USE that casket…for anything. Blech.

This week I’m so excited to introduce to you Melissa!

Name:  Melissa Engler

Melissa Engler

Occupation:  Actress
Theatre:  Resident Artist at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX

1.  How did you start acting?  My first play was when I was nine years old. It was a high school production of The King and I and I got to say one line. “You like us, Mrs. Anna?”  I was hooked. I also remember a community center production of Stone Soup in which I believe I brought the potato.

2.  What project are you working on right now?  Right this minute, I am choreographing The Pajama Game for Bayou City Concert Musicals. Then, I have a week of vacation before I start working on You Can’t Take it with You at the Alley.

3.  Tell me what rehearsals are like?  Fun. Hard. Mind-numbing. Awesome. Intimidating. I think it depends on where you are in the process. At first, it’s usually a lot of table work (reading the script aloud, listening to design presentations) and then we start to put it on its feet in the rehearsal hall. That typically goes on for a couple of weeks before we move downstairs into the space for Tech rehearsals where we add the set, lights, costumes, makeup, all the magic stuff. Tech can be hard. They forget to tell you that in acting school. It’s long days and people are tired and often grumpy.  I always remind myself I could be digging ditches.

4. What is your favorite part about being an actress?  Is it totally shallow to say pretty costumes?  That makes me seem like a bad actor. Let’s see, for me, I’ve always been shy and withdrawn and I have a hard time expressing myself to others.  But, when I’m onstage, I get to tell this other person’s story and say her words and fight her battles and there’s something really freeing about that. Especially if she wears a pretty costume.

5.  What type of roles do you enjoy most?  I really like broad comedy. Farce. It’s so challenging because your timing has to be so perfect to make it land with the audience. But, when you really feel the rhythm of the piece and the audience is right there with you it’s euphoric!

QUICK HITS

1. When you blow out your birthday candles, in what type of dessert are the candles stuck?  A wheel of Brie

2. Mustard or ketchup?  Mustard

3. Have you ever eaten a bug?  Probably, but not intentionally. I’m not a picky eater though, so I’d go for it. I’d totally win that part of Fear Factor. Is that still a show?

4. If you got to name a street what would you name it?  One Way. Only it wouldn’t be. Then people would be really confused and I’d be all, “Take that, losers!”

Name:  Krista Kraft

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Reigning Mrs. Wyoming U.S. Universal 2013

Cause: Animal Rescue

  1. What attracted you to the U.S. Universal pageant?

It’s a really long story, but the bottom line was I got in contact with my director when she was involved with a different pageant. She decided to cut ties with that pageant and I stuck with her through the process. Turns out I made the right decision!

  1. Tell me about the competition process? What was the hardest part?

We met for about four days in Fort Collins, CO and then had the pageant on the fifth day. My favorite part was finally getting to meet everyone in person. In this age of technology we had all been friends on Facebook for almost a year before the pageant so it was just great to finally be able to meet everyone in real life. Hardest part….do you need to ask?? THE DIETING!!!! I am lazy and I love sugar so having to be disciplined and exercise was hard on me. I lost 25 lbs at my lowest point so bonus for remembering what it was like to fit in my clothes instead of bust out of them!

     3.  Talk about your cause. What type of events do you attend?

My heart lies with animal rescue. I got into animal rescue transport a couple years ago and have participated in driving 32 dogs on their way to new homes or animal rescues across the country. In January of 2013 I also became a board member for our local Humane Society. I am on the Animal Care Committee with them so I participate in adoption events once a month out in the community. I was also taking pictures of adoptable animals at our local Animal Control and really need to get back to doing that!

     4. What are your plans for competing in 2014?

At this point, my husband says I will be competing as a divorced Mrs. if I ever contemplate doing it again. I will give him a few months and see if I can change his mind. 🙂

    5.  Tell me about some of your favorite things. 

My favorite things are travelling with my husband (we were married in Edinburgh, Scotland and it is my favorite city in the world to date), spending time with my pets and homeless pets, rooting on the Pittsburgh Penguins (even when they piss me off), and my monthly Bunco nights.

QUICK HITS:

  1. What is your favorite hot beverage? Hot Cocoa I guess. But only with whipped cream in a can or marshmallows. I prefer my beverages cold – Red Bull, Diet Pepsi, fruity alcoholic girly drinks, etc.
  2. Do you prefer cake or pie? Cake. It has frosting!!!
  3. If you had to only use chopsticks or a spork to eat with which would you choose? A spork – it’s multifunctional! Although I suppose a chopstick might be handy to poke someone’s eyes out.
  4. When you replace the toilet paper roll…. Over or under? OVER!!! The answer is ALWAYS over!!!

You can stalk Krista here on Facebook and learn about the U.S. Universal pageant here and generously donate and/or volunteer to the Rock Springs Humane Society here.

I don’t try to say things that may be deemed offensive nor do try to goad people into making the same type of statements. But every now and then, things just happen.

You remember Michelle Miles from Fairly Famous Friday…. Well, conversations like this seem to happen between us all the darn time.

ME: I want to pat ponies for a living, Michelle. I may or may not have brought that up in the past so since I couldn’t remember I thought I’d tell you that patting ponies is what I wish to be doing.

MM: You may have mentioned that, yes. I need to be writing. Full time.

ME: I want us to do these things. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. So we can do these things. And leave town. Forever.

MM: Yes. God YES please. Oh, I forgot to tell you I’m reading the most fantastic book. It’s so good. I have professional envy.

ME: So you read books and have professional envy? I watch YouTube videos of Dr. Dean Richardson fixing racehorses and I have professional envy. Something tells me I’m way off base while you are probably as good as that author even though I have no idea who she is.

MM: You really need to get out more.

ME: I’m watching horses on YouTube.

MM: Well, if you were reading some books you may learn new things.

ME: Are her books about horses?

MM: No. She writes historical romance and she is really good. I could never do that because I’m too lazy to get all the details right. That’s why I write fantasy. I can make shit up.

ME: Can you make up a world where I pat ponies?

MM: You really have a one-track mind.

ME: Isn’t it fun? It’s a fantasy of mine and since you are an awesome writer I thought you could write that for me.

MM: I can’t. I have to give a presentation on world building and I have no idea what I’m talking about.

ME: So given the fact that you make shit up wouldn’t this be the same thing?

MM: Not if you are trying to give an example of how to perform that task.

ME: Yeah, I can’t even make up anything for us to talk about in this email.

MM: Well, what do you think of me having a “Name My Christmas Novella” contest?

ME: OH! I have a name for it: “Jesus Walked In My Tub”!

MM: Ok. You’re done. And I’m going to hell because I laughed at this.

 

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You know how people (usually boss-types) enjoy talking about having a good work-life balance? I always found those conversations annoying because, frankly, if I didn’t have to work my life would be much more balanced.

Sadly, I have to work because I enjoy things like shelter and nutrition so I just accept that in order to have those things my “life” is interrupted by “work”. The last work-life conversation I had with my boss went like this:

BOSS: Do you feel like you have a comfortable balance between work and life?

ME: That depends. Can I get a week of paid vacation each month?

BOSS: No.

ME: Then yup, I’m good!

My problem right now is balancing my life with working—-OUT! My workouts are no less than 45 minutes and are usually closer to 60-65 minutes not counting prep and getting myself cleaned up afterward. I have been trying to get no less than 4 work outs in a week (five is my goal and six would be best) however, I have missed two days of lifting because life is interrupting the workout.

It’s a difficult and delicate balance. Gotta work. Gotta take care of family/homelife …. so now I’m faced with the decision of how “selfish” do I get with my time. Frankly, I (like most women I’m sure) take on as much as I can for as many as I can in the household allowing my needs to go to the wayside. Since no one in the house is a toddler I clearly need to allow myself the opportunity to be who I want to be in the manner I want to handle it.

So the responsibility shift from everything around me to just me may seem selfish, believe me, it is not. The more I have for my own sanity the more sanity I can share!

And now….. to plan my next week of workouts!

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This is my first Fairly Famous Friday post! I hope you enjoy this series! Stay tuned for more Fairly Famous people and you will get bragging rights when they are Hugely Famous!

Name: Michelle Miles

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Profession: Author of contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance fiction

Credentials:

I currently write for Ellora’s Cave and am also published with Samhain Publishing and DCL Publishing as well as indie published. You can find my books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks and wherever else eBooks are sold. For a list of all my published works, visit my website.

  1. How did you begin writing?

I’ve been dabbling in it since I was in high school. I wrote my first novel when I was 16 on notebook paper. I used to write and illustrate my own Indiana Jones comics with a friend. I also wrote a lot of fan fiction too (Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner). But it wasn’t until 2001 I got serious and decided to pursue a career in publishing.

  1. What type of groups/schooling do you belong to/participate in to ‘stay sharp’?

I became a member of Romance Writers of America in 2004 and immediately joined several local chapters. I’ve served on the board as President, Treasurer and PAN (Published Authors Network) Liaison of three different chapters to learn the industry. The wonderful thing about RWA is all the workshops that are offered to unpublished and published writers. Plus the annual conference is a wealth of information. Plus I read a lot of craft books and have those “go-to” books I use almost every novel: Hero & Heroine Archetypes and 20 Master Plots as well as Romance Writers Phrase Book and the Emotion Thesaurus. I can’t live without them.

  1. How do you handle family life/writing life balance?

Very carefully. 🙂 I work full time so I write almost every day on my lunch hour. I plug the ears with the iPod and hammer away at the keyboard. When I have a deadline looming, I write at night. I have a super understanding/supportive husband who wants to see me succeed. I pretty much eat/sleep/drink writing. I’m always thinking about the current book or the next book or what my next big idea is.

  1. What would your one piece of advice be to a writer trying to get started?

Never give up. Never.

  1. What are you working on right now?

My editor sent edits on book 3 of my fantasy romance series, REALM OF HONOR, so I’m working on that due in a couple of weeks. I’m also in the midst of writing book 4 of the same series as well as book 3 of my GUADIANS OF ATLANTIS series…and brainstorming book 2 of my urban fantasy series. Plus brainstorming for new material. See? I told you I ate/slept/drank it.

 

QUICK HITS:

  1. What is your favorite pizza topping? Pepperoni
  2. If you were to participate in the Olympics, what sport would you participate in? OOOO! WINTER. SKI JUMP. LOVE THE OLYMPICS!
  3. What is your favorite brand of nail polish? OPI. That stuff rocks.
  4. Which item in your closet is your very favorite? My Coach bags and Louboutin shoes. Actually the Louboutin are sacred and not allowed to touch pavement again. Ever. LOL

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All About Michelle:

Michelle Miles is the award-winning author of fast-paced, fun-filled paranormal, fantasy and contemporary romances. She is the author of the Ellora’s Cave epic fantasy romance series, Realm of Honor which includes her latest book, Only for a Knight, the second in the series set in the Celtic Otherworld.

 

Currently, she is writing and publishing her Guardians of Atlantis series about the sexy men of Atlantis and the women who love them. She is also the author of the Coffee House Chronicles, a contemporary romance series set in and around a coffee house, as well as an action-adventure series The Adventures of Ransom and Fortune. She is a member of Romance Writers of America®, PAN Liaison of the Dallas Area Romance Authors chapter and member of the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter. Her work has placed in the highly-acclaimed Writer’s Digest Writing Competition and the Stroke of Midnight Contest sponsored by the Passionate Ink chapter. She is also a contributor of the charity paranormal anthology, Entangled, which has donated over $10,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Where to find Michelle:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Plotting Princesses | Amazon

 

I really don’t tweet. I know how to use Twitter and have an account so I suppose I should TRY to tweet, but I’ve never been able to get into the tweet.  There are some folks w/ AWESOME tweets so here are some from this week: