New Year, Not-so-new Goals

I took some time off blogging last month, mainly because, holidays. With all of the extra stuff on the to-do list, something had to give, and I figured it might as well be the blog, since the writing had already given.

I did get some other things accomplished. For one, I decluttered the basement. After living here for 23 years, that’s no trivial thing. My family is amazed. And while I was decluttering, I found fabric my mom had given me years ago to sew her a couple of things. Which was great in that, if I completed them, I had something to give her for Christmas, not an easy thing to find. Which was not-so-good in that it was another project to add to my to-do list (hence no blog). That really wasn’t a problem as I like to sew; it’s just one of those things I haven’t had time or energy for much in the past few years.

Luckily, my energy held out until after Christmas, and I was able to complete the projects (the last one at 9PM on Christmas Eve). And she loved them, so it was totally worthwhile. The whole family had a good Christmas, so that was even better (and we were all well this year, too!).

DH and I had decided not to get each other anything since, after all, we had a new kitchen and were in the process of buying 28 acres in TN. Except I couldn’t do that, so I bought him a couple things to wear. LOL–he did the same.

Skeet at right while Isis gives DD a kiss

We got an addition to the family, too–a four-legged one. This is Skeet, the neighbors’ dog that we pet-sat for a couple years ago. She’d run away, and DH found her in the pound. The neighbors aren’t really in a good place to keep a dog right now with their jobs (he is out of town all the time, and she is rarely home) so we adopted her. As before, Skeet and Isis get along great, and we knew Skeet’s really sweet and affectionate (and totally destroys dog toys, but only dog toys, so that’s OK).

What I’ve been reading, abbreviated version (since it’s been a while):


ROW80/Writing Update: As mentioned above, not much writing has gone on in the past couple months. I had a great start to NaNoWriMo, but that stopped cold soon after that as I ran out of outline and had no idea where my story was going. Some people write well that way; me, not so much. I needed to step back and regroup, but just as that happened, the holidays came along. So my new goal for this ROW80 is the same as last time’s: finish the WIP. I did figure out a few things while not writing, so that’s a start. This week, I want to at least spend time planning or working things out each day, if not actually writing.

What about you–how were your holidays? How did you do on your goals, if you do that? And what are you up to now? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

My Town Monday: Rottweiler Labor Day

Wolfgang and Evita are expert loungers

Today is Labor Day in the U.S. It’s supposed to be a day of relaxation, of enjoying time with friends and family, and most of all, an extra day off work for those of us with a traditional workweek. In honor of the holiday, I’m going to share a bit about those in my house who have relaxing down to a science:  our dogs, Wolfgang and Evita.

Wolfgang and Evita are Rottweilers, a breed that carries a lot of misconceptions.

The biggest misconception is that they’re aggressive and vicious. This is an unfortunate result of the Rottweiler’s popularity with thugs and gang members before they moved on to pit bulls (another misunderstood breed). These lowlifes often trained the dogs to be aggressive, and engaged in dog fighting. While some Rottweilers may have that temperament, it’s usually a result of breeding for it and/or training, and the exception rather than the rule. Rottweilers are more often big babies that crave attention and love people, especially kids. They’re a great family pet, and while they can be playful and rambunctious, they’re also gentle with smaller children and tolerate grabby toddlers with ease.  They are, however, fiercely protective over their own family, and if someone appears to be threatening a family member, the dog will aggressively protect his family.

Some other facts about Rottweilers:

  • There are two primary types: American and German. American bloodlines are typically bigger–100 – 120 lbs.–while German bloodlines tend to go around 80 lbs. German lines have larger, boxier heads with shorter snouts, and their mahogany markings are darker. German bloodlines can be found in the U.S.  Our dog Wolfgang is German-bred, and Evita is American-bred. American Rottweilers are more likely to be out of show spec as far as AKC guidelines go. Being bigger to start with, they’re more likely to have been bred extra-large, up to 160 lbs.
  • The breed originated in Germany, and is named for the town of Rottweil.
  • Rottweilers make great family pets, but demand a lot of attention. Like any big dog, they need plenty of room to run and play. Daily walks are recommended. Some will want to chase critters; others won’t. Wolfgang is very interested in chasing squirrels and rabbits during walks; Evita couldn’t care less. In the house, Wolfgang enjoys gerbil TV. They don’t require grooming, but love to be brushed, and shed like crazy when the seasons change.
  • They aren’t yappy dogs–ours typically only bark when a person or dog is in view, and not always even then.
  • Rottweiler puppies are exceptionally cute! They can also be destructive chewers – and don’t “grow out” of chewing until they’re around three years old. Older dogs will still occasionally chew. They love hard chew toys like Nylabone and Kong toys.
  • Wolfgang’s first night home

    Their lifespan is considered to be about 10 years. Our two past dogs lived to be 12 and 14. Evita is 12, and Wolfgang is 5 years old.

  • For show purposes, they are classified as a Working breed.
  • Rottweilers’ tails are docked at birth. The story behind this is that in historical times, Rottweilers were often farmers’ dogs, and accompanied merchants to the marketplace. After the produce/livestock were sold, the dog would carry the money home in a pouch around its neck. The lack of a long tail to grab made it difficult for robbers to get to the money pouch. Today, tails are docked because of tradition, although I wouldn’t want to be around a full size, wildly-wagging Rottweiler tail! From what I’ve read, the practice has fallen out of fashion in Europe (according to Wikipedia, it’s banned in some countries).
  • While traditionally a herding dog, Rottweilers also commonly serve as guard dogs, service dogs, and do police work.
  • They get a bad rap in the media, but Rottweilers can also be heroic. We’ve read stories of Rottweilers pulling unconscious or disabled people from burning buildings, bringing food to a diabetic person about to slip into a coma, and of course, saving their owners from being victims of crime.

Rottweilers work hard and play hard–and when the work’s done, they are experts in relaxation!

If you’re in the U.S., happy Labor Day! Did you do anything special for the holiday? We’re having a cookout for my dad, whose birthday is today (Happy Birthday, Dad!). And whether or not you celebrate Labor Day, who’s the best at relaxing in your home?

And if you want to experience some extreme cuteness, check out these videos from the Animal Planet show, Too Cute. The first one starts with a commercial, but it’s totally worth it to see the five-week-old Rottweiler puppies wrestling with each other, and with toddlers! 😀

What’s in your wallet–er, desk?

I’m going through a branding lesson in a writing workshop I’m doing right now, and I’m finding some interesting things this week.


One assignment asks us to look at our writing area – whether that’s a desk, corner in the dining room (my first writing area), or where ever. The instructions were to list what’s ours. Mine included a weird assortment of things, along with ordinary stuff like my computer monitor, cell phone on charger, and a box of tissues. Among them were:

  • The Road Ahead by Philip Tarnoff, a nonfiction book about America’s highway infrastructure
  • The Writer’s Guide to Psychology by Carolyn Kaufman, Psy. D
  • Headphones
  • A Pokemon action figure of Psyduck
  • A brass star paperweight – prize for a writing contest!
  • A vinyl record in its sleeve – 2112 by Rush
  • My Camaro mouse, which I don’t use, because it’s not comfortable, but so cute I had to have it!
  • Stuff on my bulletin board, which includes a “What Would Ozzy Do?” bumper sticker and a Far Side cartoon showing “The untold ending of D.B. Cooper”
  • A binder for my “How to Revise your Novel” materials when I’m working through a revision
  • Several candles and a Scentsy burner, for those evening when my husband had Taco Bell for dinner – or the dog seems to have had
  • Three, new-in-package Camaro convertible Hotwheels I got at a Camaro event where they had tons of ’em

So what does this stuff say about me and my interests?

Evita and Wolfgang (photo by PhoDOGrapher)

Obviously, my writing and my day job are my passions – my computer is my primary tool for both of these. Both are creative pursuits; while the day job is less so than the writing, it pays the bills (neatly stashed in my letter sorter beside the computer). Camaros are obviously a passion; not only do I have my Camaro mouse, but also my two framed pictures and the Hotwheels. I also like Rottweilers – evidenced by a Rottweiler pen, pictures on my bulletin board, and figurines on the hutch. My family photos around my desk remind me what’s most important!

Some passions aren’t so much anymore. I used to spend more time playing video games, particularly long, role-playing games, especially Pokemon. I still enjoy them, but I just don’t have time to play them any more. I still like my Psyduck action figure,  because it still holds true that if I were a Pokemon, I’d be Psyduck, because like me, he has chronic headaches.

What’s on your desk, or in your work area? What do you think it says about you?

And what would Ozzy do?

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