Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve and there are tons of holiday related movies to watch: It's a Wonderful Life, The Christmas Story, Holiday Inn, White Christmas.

I'm watching Field of Dreams. It's one of my favorite movies and maybe it has more to say about the human spirit than any feel good holiday movie. It's about family, faith, regret, redemption, love. And baseball.

If you build it, he will come.

Go the distance.

Ease his pain.

Field of Dreams is also about making dreams come true.

Moonlight Graham. He's a doctor who played some minor league ball in his youth. He made it to the show, but no at bats.

Kevin Costner travels back in time to interview Burt Lancaster, asks Moonlight Graham what his biggest regret is. How it would kill some men to come that close and never realize their dream.

It's at that moment that Burt Lancaster utters what is my favorite movie quote of all time: "You know- we just don't recognize the most significant times in our lives when they're happening. Back then I thought that ,well, there'll be other days."

In 2016 I'm going to try and recognize the moments in my life that may have a huge impact. And I'm not going to let them slip by.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

And remember:

If you build it, they will come!!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

OK. Iowa Hawkeyes are 10-0! For the first time ever!

Please disregard my post from September 14, 2014. Apparently Kirk Ferentz is a genius.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2015


All of you out there who are eagerly awaiting the release of my next book "Bygones"…

Well, you'll have to wait a little longer. The official release date is May 15, 2016!!

In the meantime you can download my book "At Second Sight" for Nook and Kindle!! Get 'em while they last!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fly the W

Anyone seen any pigs flying?

Has hell frozen over?

A lifelong Cubs fan, I know the drill. There are periodic bursts of brilliance followed by the more frequent theatrics of the absurd. If you looked hard enough you could find a reason to keep watching, to hold out hope. Failing that, it was an opportunity to get a nice tan sitting in the bleachers.

But not this year.

This year, the Cubs are a team of youth: boys who either don't understand or don't care about the history of the curse of the billy goat, the black cat, the attempted capture of the foul ball by the man who shall not be named.

But there is also some experience. A few baseball veterans who can impart some wisdom to these young upstarts who don't know any better. But not too much wisdom to freak them out. To quell their fighting spirit. To put the hex on their natural athletic abilities.

The Chicago Cubs this year are a magical team, led by a savvy manager. Embraced by a hungry fan base.

They're fun to watch- rookie after rookie making play after play, hitting balls out of the park, rubbing their caps in solidarity. You've gotta love these guys.

They think they can do it. So I have to think they can do it. I'm buying in despite 107 years to the contrary.

Go Cubs Go!

Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel!

Fly the W!

I'm ready for a World Series run at Wrigley.

But this year, I really mean it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Quick FYI

I now have a Facebook page to keep everyone posted on the goings on of my books! Search my name (Lisa Nielsen) or go to and like my page to keep up with any new news, as Bygones will be coming out soon from Coffee Town Press. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wimbledon: A couple things...

Okay. So I'm watching Wimbledon today, the Murray/Pospisil match. I like Andy Murray, I'd like to see him win. But this Pospisil kid seems like a good guy. He's been playing some awesome tennis, making his first quarterfinals in a grand slam. He's got game, big serve, nice touch. 

So, he's battling against a top player, it's a critical point in the match, and Pascal Maria-who's one of the most respected umpires in tennis- gives Pospisil a time warning. That's right. The server has 25 seconds between points to serve the ball. The rule is almost never enforced. When it is, it seems it's only enforced at a critical time in the match. My personal idol, Rafa Nadal, notoriously takes a long time between serves. He could be given a time violation after almost every point. He isn't. It only happens when there could be a turning point in the match.

The same thing happened to Pospisil today. I watched the match and had no sense that he was playing slowly, taking too much time between points. So Pospisil lost the first set, it was 5-5, 30 all in the second set and Maria decides that's the perfect time to call a time violation on Pospisil. Really?

Either enforce it on every point or don't enforce it at all. 

Or get a time clock out there.

The other thing? Well, it's the women's shrieking. I can barely watch Azarenka or Sharapova for that exact reason.

No one will ever ever ever convince me that the grunting, squealing, shrieking of these women, Sharapova specifically, is anything other than gamesmanship. 

Sharapova's screams have become louder and longer than ever. She actually sounds as if she is in physical pain with every strike of the ball. I'm sure she means to make it sound intimidating, but to me it sounds like she's giving every shot every ounce of her energy- which is why it seems so comical to me when she makes an error. Really Maria? That crappy shot deserved a scream on the uber decibel level?

It makes me crazy. And it makes me ready to quit watching women's tennis.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good to be an American

It's been an interesting week.

After that despicable act of evil in a church in Charleston, at least some people are starting to wake up. I'm a Yankee but I understand that there are still some lingering southern hostilities.

We have to let them go. We are the United States of America and we can have only one flag. I know a few people from the south and they are proud proud proud to be southern. They should be. I have no problem with that. But the Confederate flag has to come down. It's a symbol of something sinister and should have nothing to do with southern pride.

It's starting to happen. Even Nascar is banning the Confederate flag. That can't be anything but good.

Also, the supreme court has made some bold decisions.

Upholding Obamacare? I don't know. I work in health care and I still don't understand all the ramifications. But those with Obamacare seem happy with it. To me, it appears the U.S. is finally catching up with other industrialized countries in regard to medical care.

Last but not least, there's the same sex marriage ruling. Finally. It was something that made sense, was so reasonable. Allowing people to live their lives the way they want in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I follow several folks on twitter who are from foreign lands. Seeing them tweet a photo of the White House in rainbow colors and applauding America, well, it gave me a warm feeling inside.

Now it's a good time to be an American.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What does it say about me that...

The employees at the Starbucks drive-thru know my dog's name?

It's May and I still have my little Christmas tree up?

I spend more money on wine than groceries?

My greatest delight is the afternoon nap?

I have a case of tennis elbow from playing Candy Crush on my new iphone6?

I plan to move north when I retire?

I'll spend a ridiculous amount of money on Blackhawks hockey tickets but I'll drive ten miles across town to save a dollar on a bottle of wine?

My idea of a perfect weekend is pouring rain and a full Netflix queue?

I start to hyperventilate if I don't have a book to read?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's All in How You Sound

I joined Netflix this year.

I know I'm way late to the party but I finally made it. I never thought I'd be interested. My satellite package already includes about a thousand channels that I don't watch. I have every available premium movie channel and I rarely watch any of them. Why would I want to pay even more money to have even more programming that I wouldn't watch?

Here's the thing: I LOVED watching The Killing on AMC. When I found out Netflix was going to be showing a final 6 episode arc for the show I had to see it. They have this really great special deal. One month free. So I signed up to watch the rest of the series. And it was awesome. The best, I think, of the entire series.

So just cancel then, right?

Not so much. See, I missed the whole Breaking Bad thing when it was happening. It didn't seem like something that would appeal to me. But hey-I still have a few free weeks. Why not check it out and see what all the fuss is about?

And it was awesome. I watched all 6 seasons in no time. Then there was the new Arrested Development episodes. House of Cards. And more.

Now it's a year later and I still have Netflix. It's a really good deal, not even that expensive.

So my nephew tells me about this BBC series that's kinda like The Killing. It's called Broadchurch. It was awesome. And I think it was even more awesome because of the British accent. It was so much better, smarter, more interesting than American shows.

Then there was The Fall, Hinterland. Even Black Mirror- another show my nephew told me about. It was a show with such an absurd premise that only a British accent could make it seem plausible.

It's all in how you sound.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Love Your Pet Day

Yes that's right. It's Love Your Pet Day.

Now my first reaction is to say: Isn't every day love your pet day? Of course it's my opinion that it should be.

I have a dog, a puggle. Her name is Ridley and she's an ANGEL. I would be the first to say that she is spoiled rotten. I don't have a problem with that.

I know that people like Cesar Milan and the Dogfather would tell me it's wrong. They'd say that how I treat my beautiful little girl can only lead to an unbalanced, recalcitrant pet. I'm sure they're right. That's why they've made lots of money dealing with dog behavior and I'm just a hack with a puggle who thinks she's the center of the universe.

Again, I don't have a problem with that. All day long I have to deal with crabby people. Whining, complaining, condescension, outright hostility. It can wear on you, drag you down into a pit of negativity. Even people who are normally bright and cheery can have their moments. I get it and it's okay. I'm one of those people.

And that's the problem with people. There's always something else going on. No matter what's happening, there's always a dark cloud looming, ready to move in and darken a nice day. We're just waiting for it, dreading it, unable to get past it.

We could learn a lot from dogs. Learn to live completely in the moment. Focus all our energy on what is happening right now.

But that's not possible. Which is why dogs are so awesome. I come home at the end of a crappy day and I see Ridley. She 's so excited to see me that she can't keep from wagging her tail. Where else could  I get that kind of response? Instantly I feel better.

That's why I spoil my dog. Because she's a sweetheart and she deserves to be spoiled. All pets deserved to be spoiled.

So Happy Love Your Pet Day!

This is my girl taking a snooze after she destroyed the little stuffed hedgehog I gave her. Life is good.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SNL Favorites

In honor of the 40th anniversary of SNL, these are among my personal favorites.

The Blues Brothers
Land Shark skit
Eddie Murphy in Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood
Mike Myers in Coffee Talk
Bill Murray as Nick the Lounge Singer
Martin Short as Ed Grimley
Gilda Radner as Roseanne Rosannandanna
Murray and Radner as Todd and Lisa
Dana Carvey Choppin Broccoli
Chris Farley as Matt Foley, motivational speaker
Dan Aykroyd as the French Chef
Molly Shannon as Mary Catherine Gallagher
Alec Baldwin's Schweddy Balls
Craig and Ariana - the Spartan cheerleaders
The Barry Gibb Talk Show
Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch as Sully and Denise

As a Chicago fan, I have to mention the "Cheeseburger, cheeseburger; chips no fries" take of off the Billy Goat Tavern
And of course Bill Swerski's Superfans

Best Weekend Update Anchors:
Dennis Miller
Seth Myers
Tina Fey

Best Host:
Alec Baldwin

Best Musical Guest:

What are your faves?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Debate Deflate Gate

I know, I know. The last thing you need is to see another opinion on the proper inflation pressure of a football. Especially from someone like me. Someone who is a football fan for sure, but someone who is pretty ignorant of the finer details of the game.

I wasn't going to do it. It's been scrutinized to death. Still. Here it comes. I promise I'll be brief.

So Tom Brady and the New England Patriots played the first half of the AFC championship game with underinflated footballs. Apparently that's how Brady likes his footballs.

From what I've heard from the experts, no equipment guy is going to take the initiative to purposely underinflate their team's footballs without the knowledge of the QB. And this QB is pleading ignorance.

I realize I'm just a girl with a passing knowledge of the game, but I'm pretty sure that Tom Brady has handled plenty of footballs in his time. I've got to believe that he could tell if one of his footballs was extra light on pressure. But whatever.

In all my time of watching football, I've seen some pretty crazy things. By "crazy" I mean subjective.

First and foremost, those in the know say that the refs could call an offensive holding penalty on every play if they looked closely enough. I'm inclined to believe that. So why on "this" play and not the "last" play? Are the refs just missing them or are there circumstances where they are looking for them?

It's a game of inches. The spotting of the football seems to me at times to be arbitrary. Two inches forward and a team continues their drive. Two inches back and it might constitute a major swing in momentum. I know that the spotting of the ball can be challenged or reviewed, but again: subjective.

Unsportsmanlike conduct? A player can be penalized for making a disparaging comment to someone on the opposing teams' sideline. Okay. But an upper echelon quarterback, like Tom Brady let's say, can go nose to nose with a ref over some perceived slight on his part, expressing his disapproval in what is clearly an antagonistic manner, and he walks away unscathed. Subjective.

Don't even get me started on what constitutes a catch.

All subjective and I'm sure there are countless other examples.

But here's the thing: The rules of football say the ball must be inflated to 12.5-13.5 pounds PSI. It's a rule. It's an objective thing.

Do I think that the Patriots would have lost if they'd used properly inflated footballs? Not likely. But still- they should have used properly inflated footballs. It's a rule. And it's objective. If you're going to play the game, follow the rules.

Otherwise, it's just football anarchy in what's already a field of gray.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A real author?

Hey everyone!

So, a few weeks ago I signed a contract with Camel Press for my manuscript Bygones. I've tried not to get too excited about it. Even though I have a signed contract, there's a long way to go. Anything could happen, so I've tried not to get too excited.

Still, I have a signed contract for my novel Bygones!!!

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me and I'm totally up for it. It's been a long time coming. Like countless struggling writers out there, I've spent hours and hours and hours researching and querying agents and publishers. I held my breath when I got a response, equally dreading and anticipating the answer. It was rejection after rejection after…well, you get the idea.

My first novel, At Second Sight, was a long journey. Ten years of writing, re-writing, editing, re-writing some more, querying, rejection, some interest and then more editing before rejection. It was my baby, a labor of love. How could absolutely no one out there share my passion for the story?

But no one did. I consoled myself with stories about now famous authors being rejected on their initial attempts. I knew I was one of hundreds of thousands of writers out there who felt the same way.

So I put it away. I worked on other things. But it never left me. I knew it was a good story. There had to be an audience out there for it.

Hello Kindle. Hello Nook.

It was terrifying but I did it. Even though no agent or publisher thought it was worth anything, I put it out there. It's not a best seller, but from what I've heard, it's sold more copies than most books that have been self-published. I consider it a success. The fact that I just sat down and did it, wrote a novel, was a success. But it's nice that some people have read and appreciated my story.

So check it out! At Second Sight is available for Kindle and Nook. If you read it, please leave a review.

But hey! I just signed a contract for my novel Bygones!

Hopefully it'll be coming soon!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bowl Slayer


Watched the Tax Slayer Bowl today. Please refer to my post dated:  September 14, 2014

Nuff said

Thursday, January 1, 2015

To sleep...

Yeah, I know. It's New Year's Day. 2015. A new chapter. Time to bid farewell to the past and look forward to the future. Time to ditch bad habits and make improvements. Time to take better care of ourselves.

So you'd think my post today would be about New Year's and all the changes I intend to make so that 2015 will be my best year ever.

Guess again. This is what I want to talk about.

What does it say about me that the best part of my day is when I get to go to sleep at night?

I know, this is a busy time of year. The holidays are fun, but with them comes parties, shopping for presents, putting up decorations, taking them down. It's time to get together with friends and family. There's driving long distances, bad weather. Stress.
And of course there's the food. And more food. Then a little bit more. And wine. I eat and drink everything in sight and only feel worse because of it.

It would only make sense that lately when I lie down at night to sleep, I thank my lucky stars. A chance for peace and quiet. Time to rest the body and mind. I have to do it. I tell myself that anyway. In order to make it through the busy days of November and December.

But really I'm just kidding myself. It's not something new. It's not related to the busy holidays.

Every night before bed, I take the dog out to do her business. The minute she's back inside she runs to the bedroom to stake out her spot. I join her and pick up a book to read a few pages before sleep. Ridley cuddles up next to me and soon I hear her soft snoring. I read until I can no longer keep my eyes open- usually just a chapter or two. I flick off the lights and lay down. Get comfortable. A few thoughts flit through my mind before drifting off. Then I'm out.

It's a ritual. One I look forward to more than any other part of my day. So what does that say about me?
Is it a coping mechanism? I can lose the worries of the day in darkness. It could be that when I'm lying in bed, there's nothing else I should be doing. My only goal for the foreseeable future is sleep.

Or maybe I'm just tired and my heated mattress pad covered bed is so warm and comfy.

It's probably a combination of all of the above. But whatever it is, it is. And I have no idea what that says about me.

And oh yeah. This year I resolve to drink more water.

And write every day.

Happy New Year!!