Day Seven

Day seven weight gained:  let’s just forget it for today.  My total loss so far is down to 2.8 but it’s too early and I haven’t had enough tea yet to do the rest of the math.  I’m not sure what I did wrong yesterday because I worked out, had a buffalo chicken wrap for lunch (gave John all the chips) and two Mike’s Light Lemonades when I got back from NJ, had no other cheats, and I put weight on again.  Either the scale has gone haywire or someone fed me ice cream in my sleep. 

I took the boys past the house.  Ryan wasn’t quite smiling even though I told him he’d have his own room.  I think he’s doing like me, he’s trying not to get his hopes up.  Today I call the mortgage company.  This should be an adventure.

No writing yesterday.  It just wasn’t moving.  I think my brain has shifted to focus on getting things together for this weekend.  That happens sometimes.  I was in the middle of a WIP the week before Ryan had his surgery at Shriner’s, and I was moving right along in a scene when I suddenly couldn’t think of the next word.  Nothing was going anywhere, so I gave up for a week and got my act together, did some crocheting to relax, and left for Philly on Monday afternoon.  We were there ’til Friday and I started writing again the Tuesday after.  Mind you, 4th of July weekend isn’t as big a deal, and I’ve got WIP’s cooking (yes, plural) that I’d like to see come to fruition, so this is a little frustrating.  Maybe it’s just the house stuff taking over my mind.  I’ll have to see what kind of creativity I have when I get to work.  Sometimes that’s all it takes is those stolen moments between contracts or during lunch to get my fingers flying on the keyboard.


Day Six

Day six weight gain:  1.4 pounds.  Total weight lost, 3.6 pounds.  Darn that chili, but there weren’t a lot of options.  After house-hunting and shopping at Wegman’s, we came home hungry but there wasn’t much to eat that didn’t take a while to make.  I made John some sausage but I didn’t have anything for myself that I could eat during the first Phase of the SBD so I had the last of the chili along with more than my share of curds.  (How often can we find cheese curds in SE PA?)  Otherwise I was perfect on my diet but apparently sometimes perfect isn’t enough. 

I’d love it if John offers to make dinner.  I’m so darn tired of cooking, I could cry.  Then again, spending the week turning down baked goods, chocolate, and beer, I’m ready to cry anyway.  I think that’s why I felt edgy last night.  I had this feeling that something was crawling under my skin.  Last time I felt that way, I gave in and had a chocolate chip cookie and a small fries at McDonalds.  I felt better, but that started me on a path that gained me 10 pounds.  I don’t want to go there again.  My tight shorts aren’t so tight anymore and my knee isn’t bothering me.  I’m sticking with this, and hopefully the crawly feeling will pass.

We may have found The House.  I really liked the layout.  The carpet shag is fine, even though it’s stained in the high-traffic areas.  The basement freaks me out a little; the floor is that tiny white tile I had in mind for the entrance to Paul’s bar at the end of Release point.  I can’t see myself walking barefoot on it, it’d just be too cold and I have permanently cold feet.  But there’s a nook off the dining area for a small office, the kitchen is bigger than we can use (small cooking area plus large eat-in area AND a dining room), it’s got a 2 car garage and a huge basement.  The seller had an in-house salon going on; the basement door off the driveway leads into a small space with three sit-down dryers and a hair washing sink.  There might be water damage around the sink but I don’t plan on using it unless one of the boys gets lice again.  (Ugh.)  I didn’t even mention the back yard, which is HUGE.  It’s got a deck the size of a small yacht, a hot tub, a koy pond, a shed and gardening space.  The front porch reminds me of my great-grandmother’s apartment in Allentown.  I was a little concerned with the concept that we’re technically in the city of Norristown there—no more relaxed country living like here—but I’m sure I can learn to deal with it.  The garden is just amazing; I’d be terrified to not do half as good a job as the seller did.

The down side is that they’re asking for $219K.  I’m going to ask Kim to find out what the seller still owes on the mortgage, but the listing says “motivated sellers” so I’d like to know how motivated they are.  This week isn’t good for house-hunting (end of Q2 at work) so we’d probably have Mom and Dad come see it next week, but I can talk to the mortgage company about how to get things started.  If they’ll take $160K, I’ll start packing.

I didn’t get any writing done; I dabbled with Jake’s story but realized that I started him out as a sexist and had to change that before I went to bed.  I finished the spiderghan (finally) and decided to work more on the knitted scrapghan.  We watched Saturday Night Live; they replayed the first airing, with George Carlin as the host.  He did a brief stand-up and at one point he asked, “Do you ever watch old movies and wonder if the people in the crowd are dead now?”  Too creepy. 

Day Five

Day Five:  weight lost, 1 pound; total weight lost, 5.2 pounds.  I had a feeling that would come off pretty easily.  I mght’ve lost more, but I enjoyed a few rum & diet cokes at the end of the day.  I didn’t snack in the afternoon and even managed to resist McDonalds when I dropped the boys off.  (I had a bottle of water and a piece of gum.  I’m so proud of myself.)  🙂 

We’re looking at one house this afternoon, but John’s already seen it; he likes it, and it’s in a great location in a nice little neighborhood.  I’ve got a good feeling about this place, but I’d have a good feeling about any house that comes with a hot tub.  

Otherwise we have nothing else going on this weekend, which is fine with me.  I’ll get my workout in, pick up a few things we’re out of, and relax.  On the drive home last night I let the iPod go on shuffle and a few songs got me thinking about my friend Adele’s series that she just sold; it’s a unique concept centering on a classic T-bird with a GPS system that has the power to grant wishes.  She sold it just on the idea and is now writing the books to go with it.  I know Casey and Becca isn’t exactly a unique story idea; Grace and Paul are closer to unique because of the plot; Kara and Josh is a lot more unique, with the story centering on the first female MLB ballplayer.  (I had to make myself stop working on it so I could work on Grace and Paul.)  Now I have a new idea, about a guy who writes romance novels and has to hide what he’s doing until he realizes, he’s so busy writing and working his day job that he hasn’t had time to experience a romance in his own life, and he wants to make sure he’s not off-target.  He’s not interested in a long-term thing; he just wants to drum up some material to write about.  He collaborates with a female bartender and things go on from there. 

I was reading recently that editors like to know they’re going to get “more of the same” from an author.  That makes me nervous because I may be hopping genres, not out of romance altogether, but Jake’s story would be a romantic comedy and I’ve never written one before.  According to Michael Hauge, the key element of a romantic comedy is that someone is hiding something from someone else.  But I have to write what I have to write.  It’s more fun that way.  (I know there’s a story in me with autism as a key element, and there’s nothing comic about that.)

Okay, so I have the characters, plot and conflilct; I’m just not sure where it’s going.  So that could take a good portion of my time.  My idea of a perfect weekend.  🙂 

Day Four

Day four:  weight gained, 1 pound.  Total weight lost, 4.2 pounds.  It’s not my fault.  I did everything right, even resisting the massive “sweet” craving I endured when I came home last night, but I made turkey chili with peppers, bella mushrooms, black olives, onions, tomato sauce and a few slices of pepperoni.  I guess it was the 3 (small!) bowls I ate that did it.  I have a feeling that with careful food selection and exercise, I can balance that out before the weekend is over. 

Going back to my insane rant on the price of gas and then my complaint that ethanol is to blame (“By a Thread”), ran this article today:  I’m not saying I was right or wrong, I’m just saying the article is there to read (because the article states both pros and cons.)  I’m also leaving the whole FarmAid issue alone.  Do what you gotta do.

I made more progress on the story last night.  I think Paul and Grace are turning into friends.  She let her guard down, and she knows he knows about her past.  The only problem is, from here, I’m pretty much erasing what I had and I’m starting all over again.  On the other hand, it’s kind of fun.  My writing voice has changed considerably from when I first started writing this MS 3 years ago.  I like it better now.  The way it was then reminds me of the way I wrote when I was in high school.  (Very character-centered but in a going-through-life-with-blinders-on kind of way.)  My mom used to believe that everyone should be a parent before they become a teacher.  (She taught first grade after being an at-home mom for {cough, cough} years.)  I’m starting to think that no one should write before they’re 40.  Otherwise they might not have experienced life enough to get an idea of what’s really out there.  At my age, I still have plenty of the idealism that I had “way back when”, but it’s tempered by my time in the real world.  If I know more now than I did when I was 30, I hate to think how much more I might know when I’m 70.  If this blog is any indication, I won’t be afraid to tell everyone, too.  I’m going to be one of those boring old ladies who makes their grandkids yawn to death by telling them what life was like fifty years ago.  Back in the day before VCRs and cell Phones.  (Did I ever tell the story about how I tried to call TicketMaster for Bruce Springsteen tickets while dialing on a rotary phone?  Hey, it’s all we had.  Needless to say, I still haven’t seen Bruce in concert.)

The odd thing is, I still wish I’d paid more attention to my grandparents’ lectures.  They had so much more to tell me than I listened to.  My loss.

Day Three

Day three:  weight lost, 2.2 pounds.  Total weight lost, 5.2 pounds.  Oh yeah, I’m happy.  In fact, I put on a pair of pants this morning that I was fully prepared would make me look like 10 pounds of potatoes in a 2 pound bag, but much to my delight, they fit pretty well.  Another ten pounds and maybe I can get into my brown slacks.  😉  (Another ten pounds and I’ll have to give away my khakis because they’ll fall off of me.)  Just FYI, too, I only plan on doing this “day” thing for the first two weeks.  Or if this is what keeps me on the ball, maybe I’ll keep doing it.  I just don’t want to turn this into a weight-loss blog. 

I moved past the scene I was stuck on, or at least, past the moment I was stuck on.  I’m still working on that scene but I think I can use it to deepen the feelings between the characters.  Grace lets her guard down, and Paul sees there’s something in her that he’s badly lacking in himself.  I’m excited to get back to it today.

I read an article yesterday on how to be an optimist, and part of it was the simplest thing that never occurred to me.  Just smile.  It mentioned an experiment where people were asked to watch cartoons while holding a pen in their mouths (I’m assuming they were biting down on it sideways; otherwise I’d envision an expression of surprise), and those who did found the cartoons funnier than those who didn’t.  The theory is that the facial muscles expressing a smile triggers something in the brain to believe that the individual is happy, therefore he/she should emit happy brain chemicals.  They came up with this theory by reversing the physiology, that when the brain thinks it’s happy, it emits happy chemicals that tell the face to smile.  I tried it and it helped me relax a little and get into the scene.  I plan on grinning while I continue to work on the story.

I picked up groceries on the way home.  $160 later, I didn’t get a single bad snack.  On the other hand, I was dead tired, and wondering when that energy burst was going to hit me, the one I had when we started the Atkins Diet.  It seemed like 3 days into the diet plan, we both had more energy than we knew what to do with.  I was hoping for it when I got home, pushed myself to work out (it doesn’t seem so awful anymore), made dinner, and sat down to play on the computer.  Only I couldn’t sit there for long, so I shut it down and went to crochet.  Half an hour later I was folding my laundry, and by that time I was standing so I decided to cut up the veggies for our turkey chili tonight.  Before I knew it, it was 10:00 and I hadn’t remembered to have dessert.  (I even got 2 packs of sugar-free Jello.)  Be careful what you wish for. 

At the supermarket, I came out to find a giant red pickup had swiped its paint on my rear door.  I was steamed but I decided to keep my cool.  I wrote a note that I left on the windshield (“Thanks for scraping your paint across my car, you DICK.  KARMA”) and drove away thinking about how often that happens.  I have a veritable rainbow on my fenders and doors because of ignorant, discourteous morons like that.  With any luck, compound will take it out, and since I have nothing else planned this weekend, it occurred to me, I could get some compound and really good car wax and make Max look way better.  While I still don’t absolve the moron in the parking lot, it was nice on my part to be able to turn a negative into a positive.  That’s not exactly my forte, but I’m learning.

Day Two

Day Two:  weight lost, 1 pound.  Total weight lost, 3 pounds.  At first I looked at the scale and was mad because I thought I’d gained a pound, and that’s hard to do when you’re denying yourself fun stuff like low-cal cupcakes or a single nugget of dark chocolate (and we won’t even talk about the fudge the boys divided for their dessert).  Then I remembered what I weighed yesterday, and I realized I was down a pound, not up.  I did work out, too, but the book advocates a “core workout” every other day, and yesterday was it.  I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to squeeze a 20 minute workout into my Friday, since I have to leave at 2 for the boys’ camp cookout, then drive to NJ for visitation drop-off.  I’ll have to manage.

I may be stuck on Release Point.  I made the scene make sense, but I can’t seem to stop them from arguing.  I have a bad history of not handling conflict well in my real life, but that seems to be spilling over into the story.  How are these two going to fall in love if she can’t see past being mad at him to realize that he’s only trying to help?  Sure, he screwed up his own life, but he’s looking for redemption, even though he’s going about it from the wrong direction.  I’m going to have to work on it.  I spent most of last night on it until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  Maybe I should switch to caffeinated tea for my dessert.

Day One

Day One:  weight lost, 2 pounds.  Total weight lost, 2 pounds.  Hey, it’s only day one.

Yes, I worked out.  I made myself do it, and promised myself that the endorphins would make it worthwhile.  I don’t know if they hit, though, because after I worked out, I sat on the couch to watch the news and I passed out for 20 minutes. 

Still, I resisted all temptations.  (It wasn’t easy.  I forgot I had 2 packs of 100-calorie Hostess Cupcakes in the ‘fridge.  I can’t have them for the first 2 weeks, so they might wind up being Alex’s.)  I also didn’t turn on the laptop after I got home.  Maybe that had something to do with it.  I’m almost done with the baby spiderghan I started in mixed colors; the afghan barely made a dent in them.  Tonight I put on the edging and that’s it.  On to something else so I can continue to use up my yarn stash. 

I pushed forward with the rewrite, but I think I’m stuck.  I want Paul and Grace to meet on equal terms and I can’t seem to get out of his introspection.  Granted, he has a lot to think about, but still.  The way the scene had been set up, they crashed into each other, but I have to change that; it’s not realistic.  Even when I’m deep in thought while I’m walking, I’d notice if someone like Paul Dante was about to cross my path.  (Did I mention that Josh Holloway is my placeholder for Paul?)  We’re not looking at houses today, though, so maybe I’ll take a SBD (South Beach Diet) walk at lunchtime and see if I can’t clear the logjam in my head. 

Kick Me, Please

Lately I’ve developed a habit of not listening to the Universe when it’s talking to me.  I’m determined to go along my merry way, ignoring the fact that Someone Out There is trying to tell me something.  It seems I’m too busy listening to dumber, louder voices.  Why else would I have bought that tub of Toll House cookie dough and eaten most of it as dough?  What was I thinking?

RIP, George Carlin.  You were a pioneer in both comedy and broadcasting, not to mention you sure tweaked those boys at the FCC.  Not that I could ever compare my meager skills to yours, but we both had an affinity for words.  Your talent with language is something to aspire to.  I will always admire your clarity of vision, and I wish like crazy I could know what you’re thinking when the election comes to pass later this year.  I’m pretty darn sure you wouldn’t miss it.  Unless, of course, where you are, you already know the outcome.  🙂  Wherever you are, I bet there are people laughing their butts off and saying, “You know, he’s right.” 

Between knowing that George died of heart failure and Tim Russert died of a heart attack, and I got on the scale this morning and was sorely disappointed in myself, I’ve decided I need to do something about this so I don’t die like they do.  It’s a scary thought.  I’m 41; George was 71, Tim was 58.  As relatively young as I am, I’m not ready to go yet, but if I don’t take care of myself, starting NOW, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.  I don’t even fool myself into thinking that talent-wise I’m on the same plain with either of those two, but still.  These are people I never thought had a problem with their hearts, who died from virtually the same problem.  Much as I admire them for their talents, I don’t want to end up the way they did.  I hope this tidbit scares the bejeebies out of me.

Even before I’d heard this morning that George Carlin died, I picked up the latest South Beach Diet (Supercharged) book and started reading.  The new version advocates short, intense workouts.  If they only knew, I hate working out.  I mean really hate it.  The book asks for just 20 minutes a day of intense workout–and supposedly, the calorie-burning continues after the workout, thus kicking the metabolism into gear–but even that much makes me want to cry.  I don’t know what it is; working out just isn’t fun.  It’s 20 minutes away from writing (as if I don’t allow myself numerous distractions with that darn jigsaw puzzle website) or crocheting (I worked my hands off this weekend) or just goofing off.  But goofing off is what got me to this size in the first place.  I think I need the workout to remind me what kind of damage goofing off has done. 

I’d post my weight as motivation, but that’s just too humiliating.  Instead I’ll try to post my losses or gains.  I’ll also post my workouts.  Hold me responsible, people.  I’m pretty sure both George and Tim, though they never knew me personally or I them, would be happy to know that their lives influenced others.

The savage beast

If I were writing erotica, that title would have an entirely different meaning.  🙂  My friend Steph writes erotica and blogged about it yesterday.  She’s pretty cool and has an amazing command of the language.  If you’re interested, check out

I haven’t posted in a few days.  I was trying to get my head back together after a little emotional turmoil.  It’s not over yet, but it’s fading.  They say time heals all wounds.  I don’t think so.  I think it just makes the wounds easier to live with.  They never really go away, even when you can accept them.  It’s kinda like a tattoo you wish you’d given more thought to. 

I haven’t written a word of fiction since Sunday, since I got my NJRW entry in and then gave myself the night off.  It turned into four nights off, until yesterday.  I wasn’t feeling all that great; the boys were both home and together, which of course meant noise.  I sat looking at my Favorites, wondering what else I could read to keep myself from thinking too hard, when it occurred to me that maybe the reason I wasn’t feeling so hot was because I’d gone a few days without listening to music.  (It didn’t help that my iPod was out of charge.  I still don’t know how that happened; I hadn’t turned it on since I got back from NJ on Sunday.)  I charged up the Pod and put on the headphones and chose the Playlist for “Release Point”, all the songs that I heard while I was working on the story–and since–that made me stop and think, “Oooh, that fits Grace/Paul/the scene where…”  Fifty-something songs in all.  Probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on.  Some of those songs really made me feel like I was in the scene as I was writing it.  Once in a while I’d hear the song and work on the scene but the song would end before the scene was over, so I’d put the song on “repeat” and get back to work.  I’ve heard Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” at least a hundred times and I’m still not tired of it. 

Anyway, I put the playlist on and opened an online jigsaw puzzle, but something about hearing the familiar music kicked me where I badly needed to be kicked.  I heard that inner voice again, telling me “You have to keep working on this.”  So I did.  I shut down the puzzle–and thank God; those things are addicting!–and opened the manuscript and started reading again.  Then I started writing.  I added a page before I had to stop and get dinner started.  It made me feel human. 

Music truly do hath charms to soothe the savage beast.  (Yes, I know it’s actually “breast” but I like my version better so I’m claiming poetic license.)  I need to turn on the music and escape myself more often. 


I like that word:  retraction.  It’s a combination of two words, “retro” and “action”, as in going back in time.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Especially when there are days when I put my foot squarely in my mouth and I wish I could go back in time to prevent myself from making that particular mistake again. 

I’m not even published yet, and it seems I already managed to p*ss someone off with my post about hoping Willie Nelson doesn’t throw another FarmAid concert.  Rather than go back and remove what I originally posted (in the interest of fairness, in case anyone else wants to know how offensive I was),  I’ll write right here that I was wrong.  I didn’t realize just how much good work the FarmAid organization does for the American farmer, as opposed to the corporate farmer.  I have recently learned these are two completely different animals. 

That said, I still think those farm subsidies the government hands out to farmers could now be better put to use by another equally deserving segment of the American public.  Any one of them.  Pick a card, any card:

Special education in public schools (my personal favorite). 

Children’s hospitals. 

The homeless. 

The uninsured. 

Mental health institutions.

Police and fire departments (woefully underappreciated!). 

The public hospital system.  When was the last time a single Tylenol pill cost you $25?

There are hundreds of thousands of other groups who deserve assistance, attention and respect, along with the American corn farmer, who’s currently “doing pretty well”, as I’ve been told.

I hope all those nice folks at FarmAid (and thereabouts) who’ve taken the time to comment and share their time, wisdom and information with me will understand when I don’t write them a check.  This is America, after all, and we can each choose who we want to receive our largesse.  Unless, of course, the government decides for us, but there’s nothing I can do about that.  Except vote.

Remind me to never EVER bring up the Iraq war.  (Prayers, as always, to Chris Costello and his brothers in arms.  Come home safe and soon.)