End of 2013: End of Challenge, End of Round One, End of Series

December 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

December 30, 2013

Read
Check it out. All the books I’ve read toward my 2013 Goodreads challenge. It looks pretty impressive, even though I was shy of my goal by two books. I’m not going to make it this year. In my defense, I re-read one book, Bared to You, at the beginning of 2013 and apparently that doesn’t count towards the challenge. I also branched out a little more, trying new things, and that turned into six books that I started and did not finish.

Fallen Too Far (Too Far, #1; Rosemary Beach, #1) Losing It (Losing It, #1)
Someday, Someday, Maybe Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)
Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2) Entwined with You (Crossfire, #3)

Write
I am still on hiatus, but I did renew my Writer’s Market subscription in preparation for the new querying process that I am still putting off. No need to rush into the second round of rejections, right? I’ll wait until next year on that one.

Also, a friend of mine shared this link with me from brainpickings.org: “Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing & Daily Creative Routine.” I liked it so much I put it in a Word document with a snazzy dragon border and taped it to my office wall. I find Miller’s no. 3 particularly inspiring:

“Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.”

Bliss
When I was in the first grade my teacher held some kind of drawing were the winner got a record or tickets to the circus or something. I don’t remember exactly what the prize was, because I didn’t win. What I do remember is that the girl who did win started crying when her name was called. As she stood in front of us to collect her prize, just blubbering away, the rest of us, sitting cross-legged on the floor, were all looking around at each other like “WTF?” (Okay, technically this was way before WTF was a thing, but you get the picture.) “Why is she crying?” someone finally asked out loud. “Because she’s happy,” the teacher said. As if this were perfectly natural. None of the rest of us thought it was perfectly natural. I thought it was just plain nuts.

Until this last Friday, when I finished watching the final episode of Nikita.

Then I got it.

If you’ve been following this blog you might have picked up by now that I LOVE the criminally underrated televsion series Nikita starring Maggie Q, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Shane West. Here’s what I wrote about it in one of my posts from my old blog, when I was so excited that it had been picked up for a second season:

Nikita—CW, Season Premiere Friday, September 23, 8/7c
Michael: “Someone has to undo what’s been done.”
Nikita: “What we’ve done.”

[youtube.com/watch?v=R08Wv2Nn9Yw]

Reformed political assassin Nikita has joined forces and is on the run with her lover and former adversary, Michael. Her student and partner on the inside, Alex, has turned against her and is now her greatest enemy. The secret killing organization Division is now being headed by the very scary interrogator Amanda. Season 2 is about to get interesting.
Why I’m Hooked
: Tight, thrilling plots about redemption and moral duality executed by forces to be reckoned with. Then there is Nikita herself, whose combination of empathy and single-minded drive to right her past wrongs are in stark contrast to the tough, ruthless killer that made her so valuable to Division to begin with.
Amanda: “It’s too late to save yourself. But there may be time to save others.”
Nikita: “Right now, I’d be wondering about who’s going to save you.”

Friday, December 27, 2013 marked the end of the fourth and final season of this fantastic modern day hero’s journey. The fourth season was only six episodes that aired over the – hello, nobody’s home! – Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but the fans and critics figured we were fortunate to at least get that. You know, as opposed to no season 4 at all.

And at the end, when the final scene faded to black and I hugged myself and cried because all of my beloved characters completed their journeys so magnificently, I figured I was fortunate and happy.

Nikita_Weights

Besides, I own seasons 1–3 on Blu-Ray, so even though the series has concluded I can still lift weights to Nikita on Sunday mornings. As long as I feel like. Which could be forever.

How was everyone else’s 2013?

Happy Crazy Fun Holidays

December 25, 2013 § 4 Comments

Write
December 25, 2013

Woo-hoo! I finished the rewrite of Book One of the Split into Two project. I really did it. It only took three times as long as I (on numerous occasions) estimated, but it really is done.

HAHAHAHAHA!

Me and Hot Tub Reader Vic taking a selfie in the park on Christmas Eve. And no, we hadn't started drinking yet.

Me and Hot Tub Reader Vic taking a selfie in the park on Christmas Eve.
And no, we haven’t started drinking yet.

Okay, but I am at a place where I can start the querying process all over again. And boy, am I going to put that off as long as I possibly can before the night terrors set in.

Right now, though, I’m just going to enjoy the rest of the holidays with friends and family. Here are some pictures from our Christmas Eve luminaria walk in my neighborhood.

Lining the Ridgecrest street near my neighborhood on Christmas Eve is tradition.

Lining the Ridgecrest street near my neighborhood on Christmas Eve is tradition.

I think the luminarias leading up to the wreath on the gate door is so picturesque.

I think the luminarias leading up to the wreath on the gate door is so picturesque.

Showing some desert love with the Cactus Tree.

Showing some desert love with the Cactus Tree.

You know I love a good angel and reindeer tableau.

You know I love a good angel and reindeer tableau.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Holiday Melancholy, Holiday Magic

December 23, 2013 § 3 Comments

Bliss
December 23, 2013

I finally watched Before Sunset (it had been on “very long wait” on Netflix) and it’s a good thing I didn’t watch it with a guy. I blubbered through most of the movie and I don’t think that would have made a very good impression.

It’s not that the movie ends all tragic-like—and it doesn’t—it’s that so many of the scenes just about killed me. After it was over I continued to sniffle as I poured the makings of a Black Russian into the cocktail shaker.

Frozen_BSunset_GryGse

Finally busted out the birthday goose.

Come next morning, I was still teary-eyed and melancholy and, for just a second, tempted to splash Kahlua into my morning coffee.

With its themes of disillusioned romanticism and missed chances to connect with the right person at the right time, I’m thinking maybe the movie struck a nerve somewhere.

Nah!

So, on a total last minute whim and to cheer myself up, I drove to the nearest movie theater and saw Disney’s Frozen. When I had heard that it was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, a book I loved as a little girl and read over and over until the spine cracked and the pages fell out, I knew I had to see this movie pronto.

Of course it was reimagined the way only Disney can reimagine it. Being in the theater with all the little kids, who oohed and ahhed and laughed and cried and whispered “oh, no!” and “that was cool!”—well, that was just priceless. It’s fun to say, sometimes, with a touch of cool cynicism, “Oh, the Disney version,” but really, it’s the reason we love Disney so much. It’s the fun and the laughter and the magic and the friendship and the family and the love. It’s the stuff we really can’t have too much of in our lives, especially around the holidays.

View of the cloud-and-snow-capped mountains from outside the movie theater after seeing Frozen.

View of the cloud-and-snow-capped mountains from outside the movie theater after seeing Frozen.

How do you cheer yourself up when hit with an unexpected case of the blues?

Girls Day at the Museum

December 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Bliss
December 16, 2013

This Sunday the gang met at the Albuquerque Museum to check out the 20th Century African American Art exhibit. The security guard warned us —very nicely— to not get closer than a foot to the art because otherwise an alarm goes off in a back room. It was totally me and Martha’s fault. Martha kept getting close to the paintings to better judge whether the colors would go with her walls, and I kept getting close to the photos to better check out the subjects—and not just the lean, shirtless young men on the motorcycles, okay.

The gang's all smiles after a morning of looking at beautiful art.

The gang’s all smiles after a morning of looking at beautiful art.

We also took pictures in the sculpture garden.

Dia and her dancing partner.

Dia and her new dancing partner.

Vickie's a big thinker.

Vic’s a big thinker.

Martha loves her some cowboy.

Martha loves her some cowboy.

You know I had to say hi to the bears.

You know I had to say hi to the bears.

After getting all culturized, we went to the Church Street Café for lunch.

All that cultural enrichment worked up an appetite for lunch at the Church Street Cafe. And Bailey's

Among other things, we discussed the winter finale of Scandal. The other patrons probably thought we were a little off. “I’m a little nostalgic for the days when it was all about Liv and the President and the dead intern,” was not the craziest thing we said.

Getting in the Holiday Spirit at the River of Lights

December 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

Bliss
December 8, 2013

What a week. Lots of overtime at work. Don’t want to talk about it. Let’s talk about the River of Lights instead. I went for the first time this Saturday, even though this event has been going on in Albuquerque almost as long as I’ve lived here. It’s held every year at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens. It was absolutely beautiful and loads of fun. I’ve posted some of the pictures below.

T-Rex

T-Rex

Frog on Lily Pad. This one brought out the little kid in us.

Frog on Lily Pad. This one brought out the little kid in us.

Eagle

Eagle

Hot toddy - coffee and honey Jack Daniels really hit the spot.

Hot toddy – coffee and honey Jack Daniels really hit the spot.

Buffalo

Buffalo

Parrots

Parrots

Spider in its Web

Spider in its Web

Giraffes

Giraffes

Zebras

Zebras

Elephants

Elephants

Lion

Lion

Warthogs. Another little kid moment.

Warthogs. Another little kid moment.

Monkey

Monkey

Rhino

Rhino

It was 30 degrees out, so after three hours of walking around, we were ready to get in out of the cold. When we returned to where we were supposed to catch the bus back to the park and ride, one of the attendants called out “Are you here for the bus? You just missed it.”

“Oh, no!” said Vic.

“What?” I said. “But the driver said we had until nine o’ clock. It’s only eight thirty.”

Train Station aka Park and Ride

Train Station aka Park and Ride

The second attendant said, “He’s just kidding.”

“It is way too cold out here for that!” I said.

Vic warming up by one of the heat lamps, waiting for the bus.

Vic warming up by one of the heat lamps, waiting for the bus.

Birthday Goose

December 2, 2013 § 2 Comments

Bliss
December 2, 2013

It’s my birthday, and I have to work. Not by choice, mind you. Love the day job. Ha ha!

This helps. A little.

Bliss120213_BDay Goose

Okay, a lot. Vic of the Hot-Tub Readers knows me well. Might have had something to do with the fact I was sipping Vodka at all the readings.

And tonight, I get to go see Catching Fire. So it’s all good.

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