Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Check In: One-third of the Way There!

This week's post will be short and sweet.

Writing:

LBC total is 1158, shy of the 1750 for the week, but considering the week I've had, I'm amazed I got that much. As it is, this total still brings me to a grand total of 6464, which is only 536 words away from goal for the month. I may or may not make it, as I am heading out of town on a family emergency. The bulk of my writing was done in a notebook, so longhand, while waiting for my boys at various places, so I'm really glad I brought the notebook.

No prompt this week, due to lack of time (see the last sentence).

Weight:

Weight is awesome this week--well, it was until last night's Valentine's dinner at Olive Garden.

My weight before Olive Garden:


That's down a whole two pounds from last week. As of this morning, I'd blown that and was back up to 197.4, but still below 200, and that weight without exercise, as my ride to the airport is arriving at 6:30 this morning (will have arrived by the time I get this done, likely). Next week, I may not be home yet to check in on my scale, but I'll be careful of my calories and make sure I keep up my exercises this week. I won't have access to my treadmill, which I'll miss (that's my Netflix watching time, too, and Caprica's getting GOOD), but I will have access to snow and rolling hills. I'm tempted to head over to the Sleeping Giant State Park and see if I have an easier time of it hiking it than I did last summer with my boys.

Time to sign off and get this posted--my ride is here in 10 minutes and I have yet to brush my hair, change my shirt, finish my coffee and put on my make-up. In that order. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mysterious Monday: Cancelled Due To Award


















REALITY Award:

So, last week, friend/former classmate/fellow blogger Mae Claire nominated me for this award. I was very, very flattered to say the least. Mae and I took a class on Indie publishing together, and she was my inspiration to start blogging. To say that Mae has taken to blogging and social media advertising of her work would be an extreme understatement. While I struggle to put up three blogs a week (but I think I’ve finally settled on the format), Mae blogs almost daily; she is the one who gave me the idea for Mysterious Monday with her Mythical Monday blogs. If you’re interested in paranormal romance with a twist of history, visit Mae’s blog to learn about her recently published book Weathering Rock.

Mae, I am flattered to be recognized. Thank you! Here are the rules: Visit the blog of the person who nominated you, thank them, and acknowledge them on your blog *waving to Sheri*
Answer the questions listed below and nominate up to 20 bloggers whom you feel deserve recognition. Visit their blog and let them know.

Cut and paste the award to your wall.

Now for the questions:

If you could change one thing, what would you change?

Last week, my answer would have been very different, but that was before my mother went into the hospital again, and was released a mere two or three days later. Again. She has been passing out and they don’t know why. She has Alzheimer’s. Every day is a struggle for her and particularly for my dad, who is her sole caretaker. They live 1200 miles away, so I can’t be there; I am also an only child. Every day, my dad goes to work driving a school bus and comes home to cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and taking care of my mother and her cat. He is 76 years old. He should be enjoying life. She is only 74 years old. She should be enjoying life. Instead, their golden years have become rusty metal years as this disease eats at them, heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit. Everyone wants to help, but no one really can. The doctor insists that she’s not advanced enough for a home, but how does the doctor know? We still know so little about this disease and the doctor doesn’t see the Hell my father lives through on a daily basis. By sending my mother home, they gave him a reprieve, lifting him out of the fires just a bit, only to dump him back in. So if I could change anything, I would find a cure for this horrible disease that ravages the mind and leaves the body whole.

If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

Twenty-six. I was still footloose and fancy free, single with no kids. I was finished with college and the world stretched before me, still full of wonder. Old enough to no longer be a child, young enough to not yet be jaded. At that age, I had my own apartment, my Oscar-kitty, a job or two or three, and control over every aspect of my life. These days, I am at the whim of others nearly constantly—my children, my husband, my in-laws, my parents, my clients. I would love to have that control back in my life.

What is the one thing that really scares you?

Again, this is an answer that would have been far different last week—it would have been heights or bees/wasps/spiders/cockroaches/snakes. Today, it’s winding up like my mother. I am terrified of that loss of control that she has, her inability to remember the smallest things (like, did I eat lunch today?), and the violent, nasty person this disease turns them into. Mom has swung a chair at my dad and wished this horrible disease on my (then ten year-old) son, all without remembering it later and all of it “justified” in her eyes at the time.

There is only one thing that terrifies me more—the death or severe injury of one of my children, particularly since they both want to be in the military, thus increasing their chances of this happening to them. I would take death or injury on myself, but to see that happen to one of my children—if I thought of it every day, I wouldn’t be able to breath for terror.

If you could be someone else for the day, who would it be?

This is a hard one—do I want to answer as Mae did with a job title or do I want to choose an individual? I think I’ll stay with the job title, since you never truly know what someone’s life is like until you do step into their shoes for a day, and then it’s not always hunky-dorey. So, what sort of thing would I like to be for a day? The problem is, as a writer, I have an active imagination and unfulfilled dreams. 

Would I like to be a full-time writer? Well, of course! Would I like to be a horse trainer? If you saw my blog on horses, you already know the answer to that. Would I like to thrill to the adrenaline rush of being a rally car racer? Oh, you betcha. How about an astronaut, viewing our world from a vantage point that only a handful of people have ever seen? Gods, yes. What about a stormchaser, like Mae put for this answer? That could be cool, too; I’ve always loved the excitement of a good storm. But I think in the end, I would probably choose to be an artist or maybe a photographer. I’ve always loved the idea of putting a pencil to paper and creating a picture of whatever it is I see, either with my mind’s eye or with my physical eye. I would love to be an artist with licensing, like the heroine in Christy Oleson’s Her Scottish CEO wants to be, and for many of the same reasons.

I have a very small list of writers that I know, particularly those who blog regularly. Here are some of them who I hope will participate:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five For Friday: The More Things Change…


This FFF comes inspired by a bit I heard on the radio last night. The question was, what would you miss most if you suddenly couldn’t have it—your cell phone, cable TV, or the internet?

1. Cell phones: Yes and no. I love the convenience of texting for quick answers and being able to keep track of my kids. I run a business, though, so I hate being constantly on call. Plus, I hate the extra bill from it—nearly as much as my off-season power bill with five of us on it. I could live without cell phones again.

2. Cable TV: Well, since I’m always working pretty much, I don’t get to watch TV very often. In fact, the only show I watch with any regularity is the new Hawaii Five-O, and that, I watch during the week in dribs and drabs on the On Demand channel. So, I could live without cable TV.

3. Internet: Another tough one. I love to play on the internet, and a lot of my work is done on the internet, both writing and job-related. That being said, the internet does suck up an inordinate amount of my “free” time. I’d miss it at first, but I could get used to being without it again.

4. MP3 Players: I could easily do without these. I had an Ipod for a time, but it gave out and I’ve been without it or any other MP3 for months now. It is kind of fun to have music when I get on the treadmill or take a walk, but when I’m on the treadmill, I watch something on Netflix or a DVD, and when I take a walk outside, I don’t really need the entertainment.

5. E-readers: Another thing I could take or leave. I like good old-fashioned paperback books. That being said, I know a lot of excellent authors who never would have made it out of the slushpile at the publishing houses, simply because of the whole “bad timing” thing. Today, they make a decent living on average selling their e-books on Amazon or B&N Nook or Smashwords. I plan on going the e-publishing route at first, mainly because my audience is used to seeing me in various online venues.

So what 21st century/late 20th century bit of tech could you do without? What one or ones have you come to rely on?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Check In


Words:

I kicked ass this week! I got so far ahead by getting up a bit early a few mornings and just writing. Good thing because my evenings were crazy. I was very happy with my word count this week, especially when you consider that was all in Quantum Kiss. I also managed to get all of the blogs written, even though last week’s Wednesday was late by a day and today’s is running late.

At any rate, total word count required for the LBC is 1750 and I got the year—yup, I wrote 2013 words this week in Q.K. That brings my total for the month up to 5346 out of a total of 7K that I’ll need by the end of the month. Now, the sad part is that I haven’t had the time/energy to write anything at all in the past two days, except my Monday blog; today’s blog is being hard pressed between work and kids and hubby who needs electric shock therapy (as in the man’s either frakkin’ nuts or he’s holding out the winning lottery ticket on me).

I’ve been reading a bit more this week, too. Christy Oleson’s “Her Scottish CEO” has been on my Kindle Cloud Reader while I dry my hair each morning, an erotic anthology titled, “Secrets” sits on the shelf by my throne, and I’ve had a couple of favorite fan fic authors post new stuff this week. Add that to the blogs I try to keep up on, and it’s been a busy reading/writing week.

Prompt: You find a Djinn. What happens?

Vocab word: diaphanous: filmy, sheer

Weight:

Wow! I am very happy to report this weight this week:



I was only planning on 197 point something, so the extra half a pound really fired me up. Mind, today is my reward day. If I make my weight, I don’t worry about calories today. I've been in a naughty celebratory mood today.

To mix things up a bit, hubby and I bought a steamer. We love fish and chicken (well, I love fish and chicken—lol) and the steamer is a nice, healthy way to cook both meats and veggies. Now to find some good steamer recipes. Hubby tries to spice up his food with hot spices. This week he made the mistake of trying a habanero pepper. His fingers stung for two days afterwards. I enjoy garlic and a bit of onion, but nothing too hot. At Tijuana Flats (a place I no longer frequent), I go for the wimpy sauces. I thought the steamer might be nice because my blood pressure was through the roof; of course, that could have been a product of the teen, who is my best helper and confidante one minute and out to kill me by acting stupid the next. Either way, it won’t kill me to eat healthier (I hope).  

On the exercise front, I want to save for either an elliptical or a stationary bike at home, to ease the pressure on my broken toes, which are not enjoying the cooler weather we’ve been having. I also told my teen that I really want to be able to be able to join the gym so I can use their pool once in a while. I’m getting awfully bored with my routine, although it’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I just want to get the weight gone so that I can bring it down to exercising three or four times a week instead of six.

I realize I'm kind of all over the place and I apologize. Today has been a "herding cats" kind of day and now it's an hour past my bedtime, but this post is so close to done and I don't want another "day after" check in post. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mysterious Monday: What Lies Beyond


This Mysterious Monday is unfortunately brought to you, inspired by the death of a neighbor. The man was not in good health and didn’t take care of himself, so while death is always a shock, it is sometimes buffered by events, as this man’s was. My younger boy and I had seen the man just hours earlier, outside in his motorized wheelchair with one of his house-mates, who is also wheelchair-bound. We’ve known these people less than a year, and the man who passed was not one of the more social ones of the group, but it still brought tears to our eyes. It also made me think of what comes next.

Christians believe you go to Heaven or Hell or possibly Limbo, depending on how good you were in life, if you were baptized, or were a good Christian, etc. Hindus also believe in a Heaven and a Hell, all with varying levels of comfort, depending on how good or bad you were. Buddhists believe in rebirth of the soul—if you were good in your life and did good deeds, you would be reborn in human form with a good family and live a happy life; if you were a bad person and performed evil deeds, you would come back as some form of animal. Wiccans believe in rebirth, as well, with a stint in the Summerland to reflect upon your previous life before your memory is erased and you are returned to Earth.

Now I was raised as a good little Protestant Christian girl, but as we moved a few times and got away from going to church every Sunday, I explored other religions. I really liked the ideas of Buddhism for a time, but then I found Wicca and something of that religion spoke to me. I liked the idea that while my body might die, the essence of myself could live time and time again. I don’t like the idea of not remembering past lives, past loves and past deeds, but perhaps it’s for the best. Past lives are not always pretty lives.

More and more as I get older, and my parents near the end of their mortal lives, at least in this go-around, I wonder about what comes next and hope that, of all of them, Atheists are not right. I don’t want this to be the absolute, final End of it all. I love the idea of the Summerland, with a warm sun on my face and cool breezes to keep me comfortable as I reflect on my former life before moving on to a new one, hopefully having subconsciously learned from my past mistakes.

Photo courtesy of Victor Habbick on FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What about you? Do you believe in Heaven or Hell or other lives? Do you just want this life to be over when it’s over? Whatever your beliefs, I hope that your afterlife or your next life are good to you. Blessed be!  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five for Friday: Love Songs

I've decided to keep this week's Five for Friday simple. Like a toddler at a parade, I'm going to sit on someone else's shoulders and let them do all the work. But I am going to keep it in the Valentine's theme, and so here are five of my favorite love songs:

1. At Last--the Etta James version. There are no other versions, IMHO. What a beautiful voice, adding its richness to a beautiful song.


2. Time in a Bottle--Jim Croce. This is the song hubby wanted for our wedding. I (stupidly) overruled him and chose something else that I don't really like as much.



3. Kissed You (Good Night)--Gloriana. A new favorite about new love. The story in the video is just heart-wrenching, too.


4. The Way You Look Tonight--I know it was originally by Frank Sinatra, but there are a couple of very talented singers who do this song credit, including Michael BublĂ© and a real cutie, Harry Connick, Jr.



5. I Need You--Leann Rimes. This was a hard choice. I adore this song and her voice is magical, but I was on #5. Then I realized--I can do five more another time! I can even do themed ones--Five Female Singer Love Songs, Five Classic Love Songs, etc. So, I'm going to let myself enjoy this one.



So there we are--five beautiful love songs for your Valentine's week. Hope you enjoy!



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Weekly Check In: A Day Late


Yesterday was a very stressful day in my home, despite good news early on. I got a phone call that brought bad news, news I was used to hearing even last year, but that came as a shock at this time. Everyone is all right, and it did not turn to tragedy, as it could have, but it did keep me from writing when added to all my other stresses in life that are happening right now. But enough about vague laments, on to the good news.

Words: 

I DID IT! I made the word count in the Little Bites Challenge, exceeding by 10% where I needed to be this morning. Yesterday’s day end count (so this morning’s) was supposed to be 3K; my count this week for Quantum Kiss is…3,333. Done by hosting/participating in a few sprints this week to make up for days when I was unable to find time to write in it at all. Not only that, I finally edited Story Prompt #2 and uploaded to my fictionpress account (I have yet to upload to the Wordpress account), as well as (obviously) completing my blog posts for the week.

All of the word count numbers were written yesterday; by the end of today, I need to be at 3,500, so I’m still sitting pretty. Hubby & I don’t go out for Valentine’s Day—too crowded everywhere—so I may get time to write later.

This week’s word count goal is to once more complete the LBC with words to spare. I’d also like to get my blogs written ahead of time, so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.

Prompt: Love potion #9: You (or a character) have made/stumbled upon a supply. Do you/they use it? If so, on who? How do they react? What are the consequences? Set it whenever, wherever you want.
Vocab word: Buss—to kiss.

Challenge: Write 500 words based on the prompt and use the vocab word.


Weight: 

Yay, me! I exceeded my goal for the week, which was to be 199 point anything. I actually leveled out last week at 200.2 for about three days. I was practically starving and the scale wouldn’t budge. I decided to tweak my metabolism, and for two days, I ate close to the top of my calorie allowance. From the very first day, the scale moved down. I actually was 0.2 pounds less on Tuesday than my Wednesday weigh-in.



Kept the exercise the same, with Sunday off. In fact, hubby and I went out to breakfast Sunday morning, something we used to do every week, but have not done in months as we’ve been losing the weight. We stayed away from the buffet table, sticking with pre-portioned food, and asked about portions (how many eggs, for example). Pancakes and French toast were nowhere on our own personal menus. The breakfast wound up being late in the morning, since we slept in (our only day to really do so usually), and therefore was more of a brunch than a breakfast. We were so full, we didn’t need to eat again until supper time. The only exercise we did get that day was taking a walk down by the restaurant, which is at a fish camp and has a small petting zoo and rescue horses.

Now, next week’s goal is to be 197 point something, which may be difficult considering that Miss Monthly has just showed up, bringing cramps and cravings with her. In fact, I was so stressed yesterday that I wound up turning on the TV and vegging. I rarely just watch unplanned TV anymore—no time. It also lends itself to mindless munching, which I gave in to, very likely exceeding my calorie count for the day on undocumented calories. The other bad part about this time of month is that I really don’t feel like exercising. At all. All I want to do is curl up with the remote control and a half gallon of chocolate chocolate chip ice cream with a bag of pretzels for dipping; maybe some fettuccine alfredo with garlic cheese bread for supper, still curled up on the couch letting my brain rot.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mysterious Monday--the Power of the Love Stone


I’m sure this week’s theme for Mysterious Monday is not so much a mystery—as Valentine’s Day is closing in on us this week, all our thoughts turn toward our current relationship status. Whether you have a sweetie, are looking for a sweetie, just plain over the whole sweetie thing, or whatever, one thing we all have in common is our need for love. Whether that love comes in the form of romantic love or platonic love, you can quite literally hold the means to get that love in the palm of your hand. Gemstone magic can be that means.

There is a wonderfully beautiful type of stone called rose quartz, aka pink quartz or love stone. Its pink color comes from “impurities” that bleed into the naturally white quartz. The one that I had for many years was tumbled so that it was smooth to the touch. It was cool when I placed it in my hands, warming with the warmth of my body. When life seemed too rough to believe, I would hold this stone in the palm of my hands and close my eyes; gradually, my breathing would slow and positive thoughts would fill my head.



Quartz is a very powerful conductor of energy; rose quartz therefore is a powerful conductor of love energy. It is used for finding love, maintaining love, and helping one to love and forgive oneself. This stone attracts all sorts of love—romantic love, love for children, love of self, friendship, etc. It eases anger and sadness, and can even help you to feel at peace with the world in general, alleviating the stress of all the negativity that bombards us every day. A word of caution—no magic can force a particular “target” to fall in love with you; love stones will attract the one who is right for you, not turn Bobby from his love for Michelle, for example. This would be a negative use of a positive emotion, and could have whiplash negative effects in the long run.

In healing, it is used for healing emotional hurts such as grief or guilt, as well as balancing the flow of blood to cleanse the body of impurities. It has a powerful association with the heart chakra so that it naturally helps to balance body, mind, and spirit. If you’re feeling stress, do as I mentioned above and hold your love stone in your hand. Close your eyes, then breathe in and out slowly a few times; breathe in love and purity in the form of white or yellow or pink light, breathe out negativity in the form of black and darkness. Love stones are not a “cure” however for proper medical care—they help to alleviate symptoms and lower your stress while increasing your blood flow, but for any physical or mental health issues, you should always consult your physician.

There are many ways to use the love stone—it comes in a variety of forms, as well. Tumbled stones are polished with no rough edges and are therefore more comfortable to hold or to use as jewelry, either as a pendant on a necklace or in the form of a bracelet, earrings or a ring. You can keep these stones in your purse or your pocket, in the cup holder of your car or hanging from the rear-view mirror. Keep one in your desk at work if you work an office job or in your locker at school if you’re in school—should you be reading my blog if you’re still in high school? Untumbled love stones are just as powerful but would most often be found in a bowl or just set out somewhere in your home. Many people place them in their bedrooms or in the “heart” of their homes (this can be the physical center or the social center, such as the living room or the kitchen or the dining room). Love stones also come in towers, but they are not as common as the smaller variety and are definitely more expensive. Wherever you keep your stone, keep one close; think of it and hold it daily and see if you see any improvement in your stress levels or love life or both.