Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Today I Will, Because I Can

At the beginning of the year I set two physical goals for myself. One was to lose at least 50 lbs. The other was to walk or bike at least 2017 miles in this year.  I'm half way through January, and am happy to report that I'm on target for both. To date I've walked/biked over 45 miles and lost nearly 5 lbs.

But this past Thursday morning, after a restless night, I slept in, then told myself I didn't need to get up and do my daily exercises, especially climbing on my recumbent exercise bike for 30 minutes minimum. I whined and wheedled, trying to convince myself that it wasn't important that day to meet my daily miles quota to keep me on track.

Then I remembered something, or rather someone. A lot of someones, actually.

I have several friends and family members who have passed away in the last few years. And I have a lot of friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and social media friends who have had or are facing horrible physical challenges and diseases. Some are even facing the reality that their days on this earth are few.

That's a very sobering thing to remember while snug in bed whining to your cat about peddling a few miles while watching the previous night's The Daily Show.

Shame on me!

I am 64 years old, and while I am overweight, I  enjoy excellent health. Yes, I have some arthritis and stiffness, but nothing too bad or debilitating. So far any discomfort can be handled with the occasional ibuprofen.  I am truly fortunate. And I never want to forget that, not for one minute.

In the end, I got my lazy fat ass out of bed, climbed on the bike, and rode it for 6.02 miles. And I'll do it again tomorrow and the day after.

Why?

Because I still can.

I do it for me, and for those who cannot and wish they could.

Every mile is for them.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Take It All Back

I Will Not Be Silenced by Mecronin
On November 16th I wrote a blog titled Trump Is My President. And I meant every word  of it. Every word, even though I had grown to despise Donald Trump and what he stands for, does, has done, and wants to do.

But today, after the last few weeks' revelations, I say to you all:

TRUMP IS NOT MY PRESIDENT!

And no matter how long he occupies the Oval Office, he never will be. Ever. I will NEVER refer to him as "President Trump." Never. Ever.

I was willing to give this oozing infected sore of a human being a chance. I really was. But not now. Not after the reports of just how tight his ties are to Russia. Not after watching him nominate people hell-bent on destroying our government's agencies and our way of life. Not after watching Trump and his power-hungry smug family pick our pockets and make themselves richer, along with their cronies.

No. No. No. A thousand times NO!

I don't know if there is any legal way to stop his inauguration. But if there is, I hope with every cell in my body that it is done. This man has no right to take the highest office in this country, knowing what we know now.

He may have won the election, one way or another, but he hasn't won me, and as long as I still have my right to freedom of speech I will fight this pus pocket. I will march. I will write and call my representatives. I will watch the news and pay close attention. I will do what it takes to fight this travesty.

I may be a fat old woman, but I will not be silent or still.  There's too much at stake.

I'm sure I'm going to get hate posts and e-mails about this blog, but so be it. And if any of you still think Trump is the best choice for this country, just know that I'm going to be marching against you too.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A Hope Chest for Retirement


When I was a girl, young women had hope chests. These were long wooden storage containers, usually lined with cedar. Some were fancy, some plain, but all were real solid furniture.

The idea behind a hope chest was for young women to collect household items they would need once they got married. Some of this gathering started after a woman was engaged and some started in high school in high hopes of getting married one day.

HOPE chest - get it? Since I never married, I guess I just didn't have enough hope, although I am a rather hopeful sort.

I remember some of my older cousins showing off items they'd purchased or were given to add to their hope chests. Although I never had a hope chest, even at a young age I'd received a few handmade items for it.

As I started cleaning out my belongings to downsize for life in an RV, I found the only two hope chest items I still have. One is a quilt top that was made for my mother when she was only about 12-13 years old. It had been made for her hope chest. The butterflies on the quilt are made from scraps of her old dresses and one square contains her initials and the date the quilt was made - 1937. It had never been finished off and she'd passed it down to me when I was in my early twenties. I decided to finally have it finished off into a quilt to use in the RV as a bedspread and blanket. It will be larger than I need, but will be a lovely memory of my mother in cramped quarters. And certainly cheerful!


The other hope chest item I found in the back of my closet was an old thin white box containing two embroidered pillow cases. (Remember when people actually added lace and embroidery to pillow cases?!) There's even a card in it saying it's a gift for my hope chest. I'm not sure yet what to do with these. They are yellow with age, but so sweet. Maybe I should wash them and use them in my RV too, but they are 100% cotton and will require ironing. Sheesh, I don't iron now, let along do it in an RV! I'm not even taking my iron with me.

As I ready myself for retirement, I have started a "hope chest" of things I'll need for life on the road. It's not made of cedar but is a lowly cardboard box with "RV" scrawled on the side in thick black marker. The quilt will go in there, along with a few other items I've picked up along the way or have received as gifts.

Right now my RV Hope Chest contains a set of Corelle dishes and matching plastic glasses, two collapsible lanterns, a cell phone holder, collapsible measuring cups and spoons, battery operated can opener, a hand operated food chopper, wind chimes, a cute personalized message board, and some items for organizing clothing. I've also received over $100 in gift cards to purchase RV-related items. Most of these were given to me during my last birthday and this past Christmas. A lot of items from my apartment will also be able to go with me, though most won't make the trip, like my beloved Ninja Kitchen System or my Keurig machine. But the Instant Pot definitely goes!

Hmmm, a hope chest for retirement. Could become a thing! Could an RV or retirement gift registry be far behind?

FYI - I could use a sewer hose fitting and a water regulator. A collapsible bucket, drinking water hose, and nesting cookware would also be nice. Believe me, I have a long list and it's getting longer by the day as I read up on accessories that will make my life easier on the road. Oh, and let's not forget some bear repellent.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

365 Days of Smiles

A lot of people would agree with me that 2016 was full of negativity. Hate speech, hateful behavior, and fights broke out everywhere, for real and online. I put this squarely on the election, specifically on Donald Trump, who I have come to despise and fear. I have never seen any one person whip people up into such emotional turmoil in my life, both for him and against him.

Who knows what in the hell 2017 will bring with him at the helm of our government. I shudder to think...

Which brings me to my personal little world.

I am still depressed and angry over the election. And don't you DARE tell me to "get over it."

But I do recognize that I am responsible for my well being and outlook on life, so I plan on tackling 2017 by looking at the simple things in life and celebrating them. One each day. Even if my day has been terrible. Even if the news is horrific. Each day in 2017, I plan on posting on my personal Facebook page something that made me smile that day, whether it be as simple as my cat sleeping, or a good meal, or a friend's gesture.

Each and every day, I will find something good in the day. And I will feel better for it.

I'm sure there will be days with lots of really great things, just as I'm sure there will be days with few. That's life in general, not just post-election life.

So come visit me online at my Facebook page to see what small slice of my life I'm celebrating that day. And if it makes you smile a little or a lot, it's a bonus for me.

BTW, I do monitor all comments, and snotty, negative and hateful comments will be deleted.


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Bring It On, 2017!

Making 2017 Count is my battle cry for this new year. 2016 seemed rife with negativity, not necessarily in my personal life, but in general. I blame the US election for that and the rise in global terrorism. But I can't control those things. I must live with and through them. I must be willing to take a stand when necessary in a positive way.  But I can be responsible when it comes to my own year's activities.

On a personal level, 2016 was not a bad year:

  • I decided how I wanted to spend my retirement and started making plans toward that.
  • I cleaned up a lot of personal debt, am in a good stable place, and am saving more.
  • I wrote 3 novels.
  • I'm healthy, and while I didn't lose any weight, I didn't gain any. Seriously, my weight is almost to the ounce the same as on January 1, 2016.
  • I made a lot of new friends. Many new people came into my life this year, mostly through my new RV connections, and I have become personal friends with many of them. A gal can never have enough friends.

So, what's up for me for 2017?

Glad you asked. Here are my goals for this year:

  • Successfully co-chair the 2017 California Crime Writers Conference.
  • Complete my 2017 miles in 2017 challenge, which goes hand-in-hand with more exercise.
  • Lose at least 50 lbs. 
  • Downsize my apartment for retirement aka minimize the crap I own. Someone posted on Facebook about disposing of 5 items a day, big or small. I like that. So most days, I will either toss, put in Good Will pile, or in the sell or save piles, 3-5 items a day.
  • Finish Odelia Grey novel #12 - a major priority since it's already tardy
  • Finish Winnie Wilde novella #3
  • Begin Granny Apples novel #10
  • Finish my novel Finding Zelda, which I've been working on for several years here and there.
  • Read at least 40 books in the Goodreads 2017 Reading challenge. Yeah, I know a lot of people read more, but remember, I'm also writing books, and by the time a book is done, I have read it at least 10 times and don't count that.
So bring it on 2017, I'm ready for ya!


Saturday, December 31, 2016

A 2016 Fail Does Not Spell Failure

In January 2016, I made only one resolution: to walk or bike 2016 miles in the year 2016. You can read my pledge here.

I'm not going to mince words, I failed to meet that challenge. I came no where near it. I started off hopeful and determined, mixing up walking with miles on my exercise bike. I actually did quite well until about mid-July, then it all went to crap in a sneaker. In fact, by the end of August I had chalked up about 1200 miles, over half way to my goal.

Um, that was just after when I started becoming obsessed with making plans for retirement. Seems I can't walk and plan my future at the same time. Then there was the election frenzy that devoured both my time and emotions and turned me into a thumb sucking idiot on November 9th. I'm not making excuses, just taking a good look at what happened.

After August, I stopped tracking my progress and only exercised sporadically, but I'm sure I added more miles. Sometime along Thanksgiving I stopped wearing my Fitbit, but according to my Fitbit records until then I added about another 120 miles. So it's a safe guess that I walked or biked somewhere around 1500 miles for the year. Not my goal, but not a total slouch either. Kind of a slouchette.

So here I am, standing up before you all and saying:

LET'S TRY THIS AGAIN, SHALL WE!

Yeah, that's right. I'm not giving up.

My exercise goal for 2017 is to put 2017 miles on this old body of mine, come hell, high water, recession, or nuclear war.

Well, okay, maybe a nuclear war would stop me, but until that happens, I hit the road on January 1st.

Just think of all the miles I can chalk up walking the protest lines when Trump begins his reign of terror!

If you would like to join me and many others in turning this challenge into reality, join the Facebook Group 2017 in 2017.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Spoiled Crazy

Something I learned this past weekend:

You don't really understand how spoiled your cat is until you have to explain your pet's idiosyncrasies to your new cleaning lady.

This past weekend I hired a cleaning lady. She's only coming once a month to do the deep cleaning, but it's still a real treat. I walked her through my large one bedroom apartment and explained what I needed and expected. Along the way, I pointed out B's toys, B's paper pile, B's dishes, and explained B's habits and needs, and how after cleaning, said toys and paper pile had to be placed back where she'd found them.

After the woman left, I realized that B came off like a spoiled little diva and I came off as a dotty cat lady.

Guilty on both counts.

I do spoil B. She's 18 years old, has kitty dementia, and is my only fur baby.

But you don't really realize HOW MUCH you spoil your pets until you explain your pet's routine to a non-pet owning person. Trust me on this.  And it didn't occur to me until several hours after the woman left.

I also had to explain that no matter how often she came to clean my apartment, she would never see B because B is deathly afraid of strangers. But not to worry, I told her, B is real, just as the poop in the box is real, the bag of kibble is real, and the kitty bed is real.

And just in case she still thought I was making it all up, I showed her a photo of B.

Yeah, I'm not crazy, not by a long shot.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Regifting a Blog

I didn't think I could add anything to the Christmas Blog I wrote in 2015, and hope you don't mind my re-gifting these sentiments. There's nothing to update and revise, it's still how I believe Christmas should be celebrated for me personally.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas 2016.

I thank you for reading my blog and humoring me in my rants and shameful book promotion.

Sue Ann



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

No F**king Apologies

Yesterday I went on a red hot emotional rant on my personal Facebook page, complete with language that would make a sailor proud. Later than night, someone asked me if I had to put money in a "swear jar."

No, I told her. Not in my house.

Nor do I apologize for my salty language.

The funny thing is, in spite of growing up in a house where there was a ton of swearing, I never really got into it until I was in my late thirties. And the older I get, the more I seem to swear. Not all the time, but enough and at specific times. Usually when I'm really upset or angry.

Sometimes when I let a word or two slip around someone who does not know me well, they take in my silver hair, rosy cheeks, doughy body, and big smile, and do a double take. I guess fat old ladies aren't supposed to swear. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Most of my books are extremely mild when it comes to swearing. My Granny Apples novels are almost devoid of anything shocking. The Odelia Grey books only on occasion contain a swear word and then only if it fits the character and situation. There's not even a lot in my Winnie Wilde romances, though there is plenty of steamy sex in those books.

But here's a real shocker to many readers: authors are not their books or their characters.

We are individuals who create those characters. I will admit that there is a bit of each one in us, good and bad, but we are not them.  Since I am a middle-aged, plus size paralegal, I am often asked if I am like Odelia Grey. No, I usually say. Odelia dresses better and swears less. And that's the truth.

So from time to time, you're going to hear me swear. I make no apologies for it, just as I make no apologies for my personal beliefs and leanings. Nor should anyone.

Often other writers tell me that I should be more careful about exposing my true self online, that it will turn away readers. Those writers show nothing or very little of their true personalities in social media. Others of my colleagues let it all hang out, much as I do. It's a personal choice.

However, if you are shocked by my language, or any of my personal commentaries or beliefs, then you should not be following my personal page on Facebook. That's where Sue Ann Jaffarian, the individual, hangs out, for better or for worse. If you need a sanitized version, then you should follow my Author Page or my Fan Club Page. I'm a good girl there.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Little Cheese With Your Whine?

I was about to take a leap of faith. Faith that I'd done my homework and faith in things lining up just right and ahead of schedule.

It's scary.

It's nerve wracking.

It's exhilarating.

This past April I got the notion of buying and traveling in an RV when I retire. At first I expected to do my research and leisurely buy the RV in 2018 or early 2019, closer to when I actually retire.

Then a funny thing happened.

My dream caught fire and became an obsession. I researched types of RVs, even rented one. I visited RV shows and dealers and lurked in Facebook groups until I finally landed on the one I wanted: a Winnebago Travato 59K.  This obsession became so real it started breathing and eating up my time and thoughts almost constantly. I started thinking I should buy the RV NOW. Seriously, I would buy it now and have it ready even though I wasn't retiring for at least 18-24 months.

Yesterday I was hit with a fire hose of cold reality in the form of a financial adviser, who is also a long-time friend. Bottom line, I should not buy my beloved RV now. Or rather I could, but it would not be advisable at this time.

My inner child kicked and screamed and threw a tantrum. But ... but ... but ... I want to, I whined.  I love instant gratification. Who doesn't? I wanted that RV NOW, just as a toddler wants that cookie NOW.

My friend assured me he wasn't saying don't, just don't do it now. He also assured me that my plan of traveling in an RV is perfect for me and definitely doable, but I needed to wait to pull the buying trigger. Then he outlined why based on my finances and other goals, and it all sounded like solid advice.

Whine.

So I slept on it and this morning, well-rested, I could see his point clearly. I didn't like it any better, but I saw what he was seeing in the crystal ball of my future finances. He was seeing way ahead, to a time when I would no longer be working and collecting a nice paycheck. I was only seeing the shiny object in front of my face. Sometimes we need that dose of reality. Sometimes we need to listen to the voices around us. Not to the naysayers, but to those who are seeing the big picture on our behalf.

As I said to a Facebook friend yesterday when I suggested this hold on the purchase might happen: My dream is delayed, not deleted.

And it's not a long wait, but the benefits of waiting will pay off. And it's not like I have nothing to do in that time. Besides my day job, I have books to write and a home to dismantle.

Sometimes dreams are delayed for the right reasons.

But I'm still whining and stomping my foot in frustration.

At least let me have that moment.

Okay, that felt better.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Give Me Your Banners!

NEW CONTEST!

We need a new banner for the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club, so all you creative types, put your graphic talents to work.

RULES:

  • Banner must be sized correctly for Facebook banners (see pixel requirements in pic above).
  • Banner must embody what the club is about.
  • Entries must be in a suitable format (JPEG, etc).
  • Send entries to contest@sueannjaffarian.com.
  • Entries must be received by 9 pm Pacific Time, December 21st.
  • Contest is open only to members of the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club. (You know you want to join!)

Once we receive all entries, I will post the top 3 chosen by me in the club for voting by members.

Winner will have their banner posted at top of club AND will get their name in the 12th Odelia Grey book, TOO BIG TO DIE.

NOTE: By entering, winner agrees to release all rights to banner to Sue Ann Jaffarian for publicity use without remuneration or value.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Book Ideas. Yeah, They're Out There!

I'm blogging today over at the Midnight Ink Blog. Talking about book ideas and how to get ya some. Check it out!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Yes, Another Book Give-A-Way!

THE GHOSTS OF MISTLETOE MARY, my 9th Ghost of Granny Apples book, will be released on December 6, 2016. So ...

It's Contest Time Again!

Three (3) lucky winners will win a signed copy of THE GHOSTS OF MISTLETOE MARY.*

Here are the details:
  • Become a member of the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club on Facebook.  Come on, you know you want to join. And here's the link so you don't have to hunt for it.
  • Send your name and snail mail address to contest@sueannjaffarian.com. If you skip #1, your entry will be deleted. We do check.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Deadline for entries is 9 pm pacific time, December 4, 2016. Winners will be announced on Monday, December 5th.

*Note – if you prefer an e-book edition instead of a print edition, please put that in your entry e-mail. Entrants outside of the US are eligible, but winners will only be awarded an e-book. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Shop Small. Big Benefits

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is Shop Small Day. It's a day to shop and spend your dollars locally at local businesses.

This time of year a lot of us, me included, go straight to Amazon or big box stores for gifts. It's only natural to want to save money and have the convenience. But our neighborhood stores and restaurants need our love and our bucks too. So support them this Saturday, and every day, as much as you can.

This Saturday is also Indies First Day, a day to celebrate independent bookstores.

On Saturday, November 26th, at noon, Mystery Ink Bookstore in Huntington Beach will be having a gathering of authors to celebrate Indies First. I understand Mystery Ink will also have THE GHOSTS OF MISTY HOLLOW, my latest Granny Apples novel, on hand. So come on down and say hello and get your signed copy.

And while we're on the subject of the new Granny Apples book, I'll also be attending the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore's Holiday Party on December 10th. Again, a great store hosting a lot of authors on one day. THE GHOSTS OF MISTY HOLLOW and RHYTHM & CLUES will also be available there. 

November 26, 2016 - Noon
Mystery Ink Bookstore
8907 Warner Avenue, #135
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

December 10, 2016 - 2:00-5:00 pm
Mysterious Galaxy
5943 Balboa Ave. Suite #100
San Diego, CA 92111

And remember, if you can't make a book signing, just call one of the above bookstores and they will make sure you get a signed copy.