Monday, October 27, 2014

All NaNos Eve...



This Friday isn't just Halloween....or "All Hallows Eve"...it's also the day before November 1st....which is also the eve of National Novel Writing Month.

All Nanos Eve. <cue eerie music>

Sounds sort of ominous, eh?

Even though it shouldn't be something to "fear" (it's, actually, a lot of fun), it is something to prepare for. At least, for me. I've been participating since 2011 and, oddly enough, that's the only time I ever "won". In subsequent years, I've always started, but found excuses not to finish.

I'm, usually, a seat of the pants (or pantser) type of writer. I don't outline...I don't make very many notes and the ones I do make, I seem to forget about. Two years ago I found some notes for my abandoned story a few months after NaNo was over. I'm not sure how much of a difference those notes would have made, but they might have added some spark to the flame.

Who knows?

Anyway, I'm a bit (not too much...just a little) more prepared this year.

I decided I would work on some notes and see where that might get me. I wound up coming up with ten good story ideas that could carry me through to the finish line and, hopefully, to a completed book.

I also decided to do things a bit differently this year. Instead of one story, I'm going to work on a compilation of short stories. Hopefully ten. That way, I only need to do five thousand words per story. Now, should one story take over and I go to town, all the better.

If you're doing NaNo, this year, I wish you luck and let me know how your progress goes. If you'd like to 'buddy up', you can find me here.

If you're not participating this year, say a little prayer for those of us who are :)





Monday, October 20, 2014

Survivin' and Thrivin'!



There a lot of ways we can make our stay on this Earth better. One of the most important and one that contributes to the amount of time we're here is taking care of ourselves.

Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp, Michael Di Gesu, and Diane Wolf  the focus of this blog hop is to bring awareness to disease prevention and early detection, as well as touching on things we can do to improve our overall health.

I don't really have a "cause" to discuss, per se', but I do want to talk about one of the greatest means of preventative medicine.

Eating right and exercising.

About a year ago, my wife and I watched Hungry for Change on Netflix and it really changed our life. For the first time we really started paying attention to what we were eating. This was just the start of our journey, though. We then checked out Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead , which was another eye opener. The success stories we saw motivated us to give juicing a try and, while we could never get the full grasp of the "juice cleanse" (the furthest we got was four days), we still gave it a shot and it helped build on the foundation of getting healthy.

Then, about two months ago, my wife's job hosted a health fare for their employees (and spouses...which would be me), so we went. They gave us a battery of tests from circulation to cholesterol, to heart and stomach screening. We also talked to nutritionists and health coaches about diet and exercise.

All in all it was a good experience....until we got our test results. Most of the results were within 'normal' ranges, but there were some high numbers there. Cholesterol and blood pressure, which was deemed "pre hyper tension" and something to keep an eye on. While my wife's numbers were better, we decided to make some drastic changes....starting with how we eat.

We had flirted with the "Paleo" diet in the past, but it was a short romance and all that meat wasn't settling well with our digestion. After some more discussing and research, we decided to go with what I can only describe as "Vegan-esque". True vegans abstain from all animal products. If it comes from an animal, they don't eat it. For us, though, this means no red meat or chicken and no diary products. We're still eating fish and eggs, but the staple of our diet is fruits and vegetables. I've found that I don't really miss meat and there are tons of great alternatives for dairy...from coconut milk to Natural Balance butter. We're wanting to get to the point where we can ditch the processed substitutes and all that sodium, but that's further down the road.

Right now, we're transitioning nicely and losing weight as we go.

They say that the key to being healthy is "80% what you eat and 20% exercising", so you can't really talk about getting (and staying) healthy without discussing exercising. On that front, we've been doing a lot of walking (neither one of us have ever been big on running) and we bought Fitbits to help us track our progress. We've also been working with kettlebells and our Total Body gym to help cover the 'weights' portion of our regimen.

In my mind, enough cannot be said about eating right and exercising as preventative measures for getting and staying healthy.

So, I wish you all good health and I'll leave you with a couple of things that have really helped me in my journey for wellness: (I know I've mentioned these before, but they bear repeating)

1. MyFitnessPal: Experts are always saying that you should keep a 'food diary' if you want to lose weight, and they're right. MFP is an excellent tool to not only help you keep track of what you're eating (calories, sodium, etc.), but it's also a great way to keep track of your progress. You can also have 'friends' to help you along. I know I've posted this before, but you can find me here.

2. After researching a few of the 'smart pedometers', we decided to go with the FitBit to help us keep tabs on how far we're walking and being active each day. I also like it because it can track your sleep patterns. You can also link it up with MyFitnessPal to get a bigger picture of your goals and progress.

3. If you don't feel like putting a ton of money into weights or just don't have a lot of room for a bench and bar, kettlebells are a good alternative. We've been starting slow with the below video:



 It's a nice primer and even includes warm-ups and cool-downs. I've also mentioned the kettlebells a few posts ago, if you want to check that out, as well.

Best of luck and stay healthy!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Dream Big!



When my wife and I are out and about, I sometimes look around and think 'How did this person wind up with that person? What's the circumstances that brought them together?' Many times it's obvious, but other times...not so much.

I'm sure my friends probably thought the same thing when they met my wife. Personality-wise, we seem to be polar opposites. Even though we both have a great capacity for imagination, mine is more grounded in reality where my wife's is.....well, not. For her there is nothing that isn't possible. The only thing ever standing in her way is minor obstacles.

She's definitely a 'glass half full' type where I'm still wondering how the glass got there and who's going to empty it.

We started out as a long distance relationship. I lived in Northern Kentucky and she in Vero Beach, Florida. A place I had never even heard of, much less knew where it was. When we first started talking about taking our relationship to the next level, I was stumbling over logistics while her first statement was, "We'll make it work."

And we did.

When I (hesitantly) told her about my writing ambitions, she didn't scoff, laugh, or roll her eyes. She got this huge grin on her face and said "I can't wait to read your first book and then see it in the movies!" She's behind me, on whatever I want to do, 110%.

She's not only a dreamer, but she's a BIG dreamer. Initially her attitude had me flummoxed, but the more I was exposed to it, the more I started thinking along the same lines she did. While I still think my ground in reality is still more stable than hers, I'm learning to let some of it go and really wonder just what might happen if we dream big. When I saw the picture above, my wife was the first person I thought of....for many reasons.

As long as I've known her, she's been talking about getting an RV and travelling around in it. Now, when she first brought it up, I mentioned things like money, working around a job schedule, things like that. Her reply was, "Yes, I know....we can work that stuff out later."

And I'm sure we will.

Lately, I've found myself applying that same attitude towards my writing. Finish 'that book'? Of course. No doubt about it. How can I be so confident? Well, as a wise person once told me....

"We can work that stuff out later."

Blessings continue to abound.

Hope you all have a great week.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thank You!


I managed to....just barely ;)

First of all, I'd just like to say a huge Thank You! to all of you who stopped by and blitzed yours truly yesterday. It was great to see all the encouraging words and fun comments (Alex Cavanaugh's was priceless). I especially appreciated those who stopped by and joined up.....I hope I won't disappoint you, too much :D

Secondly, a big thank you to D.L. Hammons for organizing and masterminding the whole "Blog Blitz" phenomenon. He also does a lot of other cool blogging activities, so go check him out if you haven't already.

It's always nice to see a reminder of just how great the blogging community is and how blessed I feel to be a part of it.

Again, thank you all.






Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: October, 2014


Man, do these first Wednesdays of the month creep up fast. Almost....ninja-like. And speaking of ninjas, I have to give a shout out to the Ninja Captain, himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh. The father of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Thanks again, Alex, for coming up with such a great venue for writers to share their writing dilemmas as well as support their fellow word spinners.

This month, Captain Cavanaugh's sidekicks...some might call them co-hosts...are, the kinetic Kristin Smith, the enigmatic Elsie, the spectacular Suzanne Furness, and the fantastic Fundy Blue! Drop by their respective corners of the blogosphere and show them some love, if you're so inclined.

Oh, and I almost forgot....happy One Year Anniversary to the IWSG site and Facebook group. You'd be hard pressed to find more hard working and helpful writers anywhere on the 'Net. Thank you all for your efforts and support.

Slow month as far as insecurities are going, I'm happy to say. Not only am I getting words out there on a couple of old projects, I'm still gearing up and prepping for NaNoWriMo, as well. It's only a month away and I have a lot to do. I think this is going to be the most prep I've ever put into a NaNo, so I had better be crossing the finish line. If not, though, it'll make for a heck of IWSG post in December....haha.

Anyway, not much going on here so I'll be dropping by and seeing how you're doing with your insecurities....if you have any. If not, I'll just say 'howdy'. :)




Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Five.....Follow Up!


Two weeks ago, I mentioned five things going on in my life. Nothing very interesting, mind you, but five things nonetheless. I thought it might be even more (or, possibly, less) interesting to follow up and let you know how things turned out.

1. The job search still goes on. I've sent in a few applications....one, believe it or not, for a weekly food critic column and the other for a county clerk assistant. Again, I'm still very thankful that I'm in a position to be able to be choosy on this front. I haven't heard anything back from either (and not really expecting to), so the quest continues.

2. It's been over a month since I've had any red meat and I'm not craving it in the slightest. The lack of dairy hasn't been missed, either.....besides my cream cheese dip. The non-dairy version just doesn't cut it. I guess because we never really tried much of it, I'm really enjoying sticking with fish for the moment. Salmon, cod, grouper, talapia....all very yummy stuff. I've also lost about nine pounds, which is always a plus. Or a "minus", depending on literally you look at it.

3. Scrutinizing our eating habits has led to more exercise. More walking as well as working on the Total Body machine has me feeling more energized that I've felt in months. I picked up a Fitbit to monitor my walking so, if you're using one too, add me there if you want. The Fitbit links up nicely with MyFitnessPal, so you can find me there, as well, if you're looking for more friends. I also went out and bought some kettlebells. Trust me, the exercises with them have been a lot harder than they look. I only did the three shown below and am so sore, it's not even funny.  Wow...




4. The visit from my mom was great and, even better, I didn't wind up getting picked for jury duty (whooo hooo!). I had to go down for one day and it was interesting sitting in on the process, though. Two drug related cases and one stalking/cyber stalking case. The first guy was accused of growing and selling weed. I don't think he even spoke English because he had headphones on while a translator (I'm assuming) spoke quietly into a mic as everyone else talked. The second case was the stalking one and, I hate to even say this, but the guy looked creepy as hell. Even dressed in the nice suit, he still looked like a stalker type. I know you shouldn't judge people by how they look, but I just couldn't help it in this case. The third case was a guy accused of selling cocaine. There was a lot of questioning of us, the prospective jurors, as to any prejudices or preconceived notions we might have concerning each case and the accused. Luckily, I was boring enough to fly under their radar, so I wasn't chosen for any case. Before I went, my brother in law had said I should have gone in with a rolled up newspaper and waved it around while shouting "Pick me! Pick me!". He said that's how he got out of it and, knowing him as I do, I totally believe that. 

5. Not much has changed on the writing front, which is good in a way. Still plugging away, still taking down notes, and still prepping for NaNoWriMo in November. At this point, I have a pretty good jump on things and anticipate a check in the "win column" this year. Oh, and I'm also still reading King's On Writing. Good stuff abounds. 

Hang in there and have a great Friday.




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