Monday, August 22, 2016

Eye Candy

The hot weather made us think of other things that are hot, both past and present. Enjoy!

Hugh Jackman

Gregory Peck

Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor

Ryan Reynolds

Gary Cooper

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday Needs a Laugh!

Who doesn't need a laugh on a Monday? Here are a few favorite chuckles from some of us at the Rockville 8. We hope they make you smile!

Nichole Christoff

What do you call an alligator who is also a detective? An investigator!

Misha Crews

Why is the farmer a pillar of his community? Because he's always outstanding in his field.

Lisa McQuay

What do you get if you cross an elephant and a rhinoceros? Elephino

Why couldn't the flower ride his bike? His petals fell off.

What do you call a computer that sings? A Dell

Keely Thrall

Let's makes like a shepherd and get the flock outta here.

What do you call a deer with no eyes? No idear.
What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs? Still no idear.

What do you call a hot sheep? A wooly sweater.

Your turn!

Do you have a joke to share?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Making Waves and Memories

Since I just returned from vacation, I thought I'd tell a story in pictures. I didn't do any writing, but as Stephen Covey suggested, I sharpened the saw. In other words, I rejuvenated myself and just allowed my mind to let go of everything that's been stressing me.

Storm rolling in. (copyright)

Aftermath of the storm. (copyright)

Waiting for the play, "Lost Colony," to start on Roanoke Island.
The play was really well done. The fight scene at the end even included
a woman on fire. My daughter said that after the actress ran into the wings,
she saw the stage hands throw her down and extinguish her.  Later that
night, my daughter pointed out a shooting star over the set, which went all
the way across the sky from left to right. (copyright)

The pier. I loved the colors.

Fishing boat. The stark white boat looks
so fresh and crisp against the sky. (copyright)

A sand crab trapped at the bottom of the stairwell. We tried to catch him to take him back to the beach but he ended up jumping in the pool. My daughter worked for 10 minutes in 9 feet of water to dip him out of there with the pool net usually used to skim things from the pool. I taught her to crab at a young age and she did me proud. However, when she tried to go up the stairs with him in the net, he leaped back out and was back to square one. We had to leave him because he was too agitated at that point.
This was one angry little crab. (copyright)

After being inside for ten minutes, my daughter said,
"I"m worried about the sand crab. Can I go check on him?"
She went back to rescue him. Even prouder of her concern. (copyright)

My husband and daughter in the foreground, leaving the Wright Brothers Memorial,
the site of the brother's first flight. (copyright)

A serene sunset. (copyright)

All three of us were sunburned on various parts
of our bodies. I'm in the foreground on the raft, my daughter in
the ring. My husband said I looked like a sarcophagus. (copyright)

We went to a nearby national park because we heard that
you could drive through the park and see bears. We saw this
guy on our second trip, standing by the side of the road. He
was right outside my car window, which was as close as anyone
should be to a bear. (copyright)
Sunset at the national park. (copyright)

A wedding at the nearby pier, on the top floor. I thought it looked
magical with all of the lights. My husband is in the doorway downstairs.
Two pictures of the pool and the steps to the beach on our last night. I loved looking
at the pool at night. (copyright)

Monday, July 18, 2016

In Which Keely Makes the 3 Month Meth Mark

Last Labor Day weekend, I woke up thinking I'd sprained my pinky finger in my sleep. It hurt, but I didn't think on it beyond, "ouch" and went about the business of having fun with my visiting mom.

A few weeks later and the "sprain" hadn't improved. A Google search after that, and I was certain I had nerve damage. Off to the doctor and the start of a four month odyssey of tests and uncertainty that ended with a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis (PA).


I've suffered from psoriasis since the age of twenty, after a perfect storm of Mono, Strep throat, and antibiotics decimated my immune system. Psoriasis isn't fun. Nope. It's a flaky nuisance designed specifically to make the sufferer feel about as confident in their body as an underweight, molting, three-legged rabbit with tics and a carrot allergy.


But, you know, one puts on one's big girl panties and muddles through. In the last few years, I'd finally come to a workable detente and figured I had this particular hassle figured out. Creams, lotions, potions, and patience.

Ha, ha, surprise!

Now, it's not like I think my self-congratulatory, "you've got this, girl" pats on the back triggered some weird-ass karma, but it is beyond frustrating that I'd just settled into a maintenance routine when the PA decided to take roost.


The good news, of course, is that PA is treatable.


Sunday, July 17 marked the three month anniversary of my first dose of methotrexate. I take 8 tiny pills once a week and a dose of folic acid daily. My skin has improved exponentially (good-bye sucker flakes!). The joint tenderness that had, between onset of the pain to first dose, spread throughout my entire body, has decreased to the point where I no longer move like the Tin Man in need of a lube job.


Of course, the drug makes booze a bit of a danger. Stupid liver incompatibility. As a result, I haven't had a drink since April 15. Turns out, I miss the social aspects of alcohol consumption a lot, but the physical drag that can come from drinking just a bit too much, just a little too often, not at all.


Another BIG win since clearing away the fog of pain and lethargy of a regular drink after work: I've spent a lot more time on my writing. The result: I've finished a round of revisions on my WIP, resubmitted to the editor who requested them, and dug into book two of the series.

I'm not always sure about what's causal vs. correlated, but the story I tell myself each day is that I'm functioning better because I'm treating myself well.


Seems like a positive "happily for now" place to end things, so I'll sign with this question: how do you handle the sideswipes your body slams you with as you age? Emotionally, logistically, or other...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Midsummer Night's Reading Dreams

A number of the Rockville 8 ladies are out on vacation - and who can blame them?

But let it not be said that we can't field a varied and compelling beach read list however brief it may be! Read below for what Lisa, Misha and Keely are reading now and what we're diving into next - and let us know whose pages YOU'RE turning this summer!

Misha Crews

What I’m reading: Dark Angels by Karleen Koen

How’d I find it: I love this author, and always try to read anything she writes. Her first book, Through a Glass, Darkly, is one of my all-time favorites. Dark Angels actually came out several years ago, and somehow it slipped under my radar at the time of publication, so it was quite a treat to find it!

I recommend it because: It's overflowing with fascinating characters, complicated love stories, and intrigue. Lots and lots of intrigue! Plus, it's set in the 1600s, in the court of Charles II, and Koen handles the historical details beautifully.

What I’m reading next: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hopkins. 

Lisa McQuayWhat I'm reading: The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

How'd I find it: I've read other works by this author and just adore her. I read Marianna first and couldn't put it down, even going back to my favorite parts to re-read them when I was finished. It stayed with me for a long time and I kept thinking about all of the plot twists and hint that she subtly gave us to lead us to the conclusion. 

I recommend it because: it has a fascinating setting, historical mystery, centers around a fascinating occupation, and the characters are unforgettable and well-drawn. 

What I'm reading next: That Thing You Do, by Maria Geraci. I met her recently and had some great conversations with her. I'm betting her books are equally wonderful. 

J. Keely Thrall

How'd I find it: Funny story, in the wake of Fifty Shades of Gray, a pal recommended author Cherise Sinclair for anyone who wanted to read well done BDSM romance. I admit, I was curious so I scooted on over to Amazon, looked CS up and bought the first book at the top of the search...which happened to be book one of Blake's Masters and Mercenaries series. 

I recommend it (the whole series) because: it's goofy, over the top, kick butt fun. Blake's characters aren't people you'd meet in real life, but who the heck cares when you're having as much fun as they are blowing s*** up, roughing up the bad guys, and having kinky sex? That said, in each book, Blake deftly pulls the heartstrings as her h/h work for their happily ever afters. When I need a break from heavy, I love the wild, kooky ride I take each time I enter this world. 

What' I'm reading next: Good golly, I have no idea! Suggestions, please! 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Back to the Books
I took a hiatus from writing, not because I was tired of it but for other good reasons which I’ve discussed before but don’t really want to rehash here. What does matter now is this—once you’re ready to start your writing again, how do you get your writing groove back?

I decided to look into what others have written about this. This is a compilation of all the advice that resonated with me.

On the website Live Write Thrive, guest blogger Janice Kersh gave a list of ways to start writing again. My takeaway from what Janice said is that you must create a ritual such as having a certain type of tea or reading a poem that puts you in the mindset.  It should be something that triggers the start of your creative process, whatever that might be.

The full text is here.
At The Write Practice, Marcy McKay suggested to let go of the guilt. You will not get the time back you’ve spent away from your writing. Another thing suggestion she made is something that has worked well in the past for me—to set a minimum goal for yourself that you must complete each day.  Whether it’s one page, 250 words, one scene, etc. just make sure that you complete your goal each day. See more on this here.

Nathan Bransford notes that you must realize that your first day back will not be productive. It will not be perfect and it will not be good. Accepting this fact will help you muddle through that first session. More on what Nathan said is found here.

At Standout Books, Paige Duke says to be intentional and organized. One way she suggests is to use an organizer. I used to use one of these and when I was faithful with it, it worked very well. I think that I need to dust it off and start using it again. It would help me plan and carve out time to do my writing. More on this here.

One last thing on kick-starting your writing that Janice Kersh said that resonated with me is to recognize that your writing style may have changed. Embrace what comes next and go with the flow. I do feel differently than I used to—not like I don’t want to write but not the same, either. Perhaps that’s part of why I don’t know what to do—because I’ve changed. So, if I’ve changed then maybe my process needs to change as well. This is something I’ll have to consider as I find my new normal.  

Does anyone have any other suggestions for getting your writing going after a hiatus? I’d love to know what they are.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

Happiest of Father's Days!

One of the most attractive things about a man is his prowess as a good father. When women see men who are engaged and active in the raising and care of their children, they go a little gaga. Is it any wonder? The species is propagated when good men are able to ensure that their progeny continue on. It is in the providing for and the care of these little ones who are unable to care for themselves that we see what a man is made of and if his line will blaze into the future as a mighty warrior. So here's a big thank you to fathers everywhere who have wiped noses, encouraged perseverance and roar-dom, who have helped us up when we've fallen, who have dried our tears when we feel like life has defeated us, who inspire us to be better than we ever thought we could be. We love you. And we thank you for your sacrifice. Happy Father's Day!!!