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 I'm still keeping up on exercise.  It'll be a while before I see any positive effects on my weight, but I don't mind that.  I'm in it for the long haul, and besides, I got good news back from my annual exam.  My doc ordered extensive blood work and it all looks perfect (his word choice.)  That doesn't mean I don't have some hidden malady lurking that may surface at any moment, but even if that's the case, at least I'm starting from a great baseline.

The writing is going really well lately.  I've had a string of inspiring ideas for both new stuff and stuff in progress.  I don't think that it's purely irony that I'm working a day job and so I don't have as much time to actually write.  I think that going to work, just getting out of the house and actually talking to lots of real people every day, helps generate those ideas.  It's not always direct.  I don't have customers come up to me and ask about what would happen if someone meets their perfect mate a certain way.  More often than not I'll be sorting through my media or I'll be discussing the right size for a dog collar when bing! a totally unrelated idea pops into my brain.

I think that my mind is like a pool of primordial ooze and that in the house it's too sheltered from the random bits of protein that fall from the sky or blow in from a strong wind that help spark life.  Now that I'm out in the open, there's protein galore.

It means I have to be even more disciplined with my time management so that I can work, write, garden, get housework done and have an occasional sit down in front of a good movie to rest my brain.  

Oh, and sleep, though I can hear my DH comment that sleep is for the weak.  Or maybe he meant week.

Eh.  Like chocolate, I like sleep too much to give it up.  Everything in moderation.

Exercising the brain

 Exercising, whether it's running or with a Jillian DVD (oh, how you kill me Jillian!) has woken up parts of my brain that had gotten kinda sleepy.  I'm convinced that exercising has helped me finish a 6600 word story, and has given me fresh perspective on a book I wrote.  

Surprisingly (to me,) I've scrapped the idea of writing the book again from scratch like I've been planning.  I sat down and did a light (non-critical, just reading as if I wasn't the author) read of the opening and decided that messing with a good thing would be a mistake.  Besides, I've been torturing myself over how to open it differently, and I don't think that any of the ideas were an improvement on what I've got.  Instead, I'm going to keep reading this, aloud as much as possible, and when I hit a real sticking point I'll start working on there, probably from scratch.

Part of this decision was influenced by something that happened on a project I was co-writing with someone.  We'd started and restarted a book several times while deepening the story and the characters, and filling out the world.  When we got stuck, my co-author went back and read our original opening and got sucked in.  She told me that she found it more entertaining than she'd remembered, and that maybe going back to that original wouldn't be such a bad idea.

So this afternoon I started to get a niggling feeling that I might be throwing away something that works just fine.  A cold reader would be a better judge, but I've pretty well run out of those, so I just have to go with my gut on this one.

The good news is that the book will be done much sooner, and the extra good news is that I'll be able to incorporate some of my newer ideas later in the book without having to start from scratch.  I think the book will be stronger overall than if I'd just started over.

That means that I'll be able to start working on a brand-spanking-new book a lot sooner than I thought.  I've been writing short stories here and there, but, aside from Nano books, in the book department I've been developing things that have been in the works for years.  For a lover of first draft writing, it's been tough going.  I've learned to be a better writer in the process (I hope!) but it'll feel good to start absolutely fresh.

That reminds me.  I should take a peek at some of those Nano books.  I put them away and forgot all about them!  I think more exercise may be in order ....

Ping! and run away

 I really thought about letting this blog fade away like the clouds up at our place when the sun heats up enough to evaporate them.  I really loathe the ads here.  I hardly ever post on livejournal.  But I have a lot of friends on livejournal, so I guess I'll stick it out.  That means I'll have to post often enough to keep this place on the active list.

Speaking of clouds, my son and I have started a running regimen.  He wants to get in shape for the military, and I'd like to have a shape again. I'd also like to admit my weight to someone and not have them say "Wow, really?  You don't look like you weigh that much at all!"

This is one of several arenas where the similarities in our personalities combine our powers for evil rather than set us at each other's throats.  

He's learned a lot from me, including my method of cheerfully whining through sarcasm.  
"Wow, running up this hill is so fun!  Let's do it again!"  
"Yeah!  Let's do it tomorrow, same time!  I hope that it's damp and cold just like this morning."  
"Me too!  It's like running in the rain, all cold and stuff, but without the nice clean air.  Ick yuck clean air, glad we don't have any of that.  Smoggy clouds are much nicer."
"And how.  Hey, I've got an idea.  Let's sprint the last stretch!"  
"Weee!  I can't wait!"  
"Me neither."  
"I feel like puking but I can't because my stomach is empty."  
"Yeah.  It's awesome running when you're really really hungry."

And so on.

Right now we're basically doing wind sprints.  Eventually we hope to run the whole stretch, whatever we decide our stretch will be, without walking.  It feels good to exercise again.  Yay!  I remember this!  It was sooo fun!  I don't know why I stopped and started sleeping in and having a nasty breakfast while writing on my books and stories.  What a horrible way to start a day.

It'll be even more fun in winter.  Yay!

Cars R Not Us

 Most of you have heard by now that I was in a car wreck, and our car was totaled.  I wasn't totaled--just a little knock to the head (yes, I got checked out by medical professionals)--but apparently I'm not immune to the whole emotional fallout thing.  I have triggers and it'll take a while to desensitize them.  Like my DH likes to say, we all have scars.  Mine are still fresh, and it'll take a while for them to scab over.

I don't have a lot of identity tied up in our vehicles.  I'm fond of them, and they're a major thing in my life, but they're not as intimate as a home.  Still, there's some relationship stuff there, not like with a living thing, but still stuff.  Sometimes cars feel alive, and have personalities, and I do a lot to take care of mine.  Oil, maintenance, keeping them clean, being aware when there's a little off sound or feel to them.  

I miss our red Corolla a lot.  Our previous car was running like a champ, but getting on in years and mileage and we needed a new car because reliability after 200,000 miles tends to drop off.  Now that older vehicle, with 236 plus thousand miles on it, is once again our main vehicle.  I feel like I'm hanging from a cliff's edge by my fingers.  It's irrational, I know.  I think as I heal back from the (gawd, I feel so emo for using the next word) trauma, I won't feel so vulnerable.  We do still have the pickup truck (though it needs repairs) and I can have the Chevy Nova fixed up if something happens to the Sentra.  But that will be falling back on even older vehicles.  

This is where living in a rural area can be kind of a bummer.  It's over an hour walk/jog to get to the nearest bus stop and grocery store (they're within a few blocks of each other.)  Longer going the other way, uphill.  Biking without a shoulder on those steep curves and blind hills is extremely dangerous.  Without a vehicle, our ability to shop and get to work would be beyond inconvenient.  And we're not set up for living off the land with only occasional trips into town.

I wonder if the kids' school bus can legally give me a ride ...

Anyway, it sucks feeling this fragile.  Time, blah blah blah.  It'll be better after all the insurance stuff is taken care of, I hope.

Dizzy blonde

 I had my first dizzy spell in a long time.  This feels much different from the Never Ending Dizzy Spells of Yore which were caused by some sort of disfunction never pinpointed by science (but for which they gave me an MRI and seizure tests and dispensed, er, interesting drugs to try to resolve.)  This was low blood pressure brought on by exercise and a change in elevation that my body decided was too extreme.  I'm still dizzy now (about fifteen minutes later) but this doesn't feel unusual or bad to me--I have low blood pressure anyway, which is good for long-term health, but occasionally bites me on the ass at other times.  I feel like I'm a little woogedy and that it will resolve once my body figures out that duh, we need more pressure in the system to function.

I say this often but it bears repeating--I hardly ever post here.  If you want to read a more regular blog about all things kzmiller, visiting my other blog.

After about a week of half-assed puttering around, I'm back to daily exercise with Jillian.  Man, she kills me, in a good way.  I got in a good 20 minutes of cardio and 5 minutes warmup before the dumb dizzy spell, which btw I don't think was caused directly by the exercise.  Let me 'splain.  As I get more fit, my blood pressure lowers.  I'm noticeably stronger, I have much more endurance, and the best flexibility I've had since college.  It's highly likely that my blood pressure, which has crept up to about 113/75, is back down to my normal at 110/70.  I'm betting that any little thing, like, say, working my ass off for 20 minutes straight at some serious cardio and then working out hard on floor exercises and then (oops!) standing rapidly back up to do more standing cardio is going to make me dizzy.  I'm hoping that when I hop over whatever hurdle is at the core of this (lazy cardio-vascular system not responding quickly enough?) the dizzies will go away.  Until then, I have little choice but to sit it out.  It's just too stupid to work out while dizzy.  There's no sense in working out to improve my health and then breaking my arm or cracking my head should I pass out.  That's anti-healthy.

Speaking of anti-healthy, I had really, really good fish tacos at the Hawthorne Fish House last night.  Actually, although the fish is deep-fried I'm betting it's not all that bad for me.  Mmmmm ...  And the conversation is awesome.  The Fat Straw Writers rock.  I like hanging out with people who are all smarter than me.

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Still here

 Hrm.  That was weird.  I tried starting this post three times and it kept quitting on me and going back to my journal page.

Poopyheaded software.

Anyway, today's weigh in: 169 pounds.  But!  But, I have been working out, and I've lost an inch off my waist.  Eventually I'll stop building muscle faster than I lose the equivalent weight in fat.  I blame Jillian.  Her workouts have a lot of strength moves.  (You're killing me, Jillian!  I'm not convinced that sweating that much is good for me.)

I also calculated my age with the Living to 100 calculator.  98.  I should be so lucky!  As long as I can look good doing it.  Okay, maybe look decent.

I'll settle for non-gross.  Which means I'll probably have to stick with Jillian's workouts.  Dammit!

In the TMI department, I had my first lesbian erotic dream in a long time.  I'm sure it means something is going on in the deep recesses of my psyche, well, it would be, except that I don't think I have deep recesses.  Corners and spots under furniture with alarming piles of animal hair, yeah.  Dark pasts and skeletons in the closet?  Sorry, I'm just not that interesting.  Anyway, I had to say no to the hot babe because I'm faithful, even in my dreams and yes it's absolutely still cheating on my husband even if it's with a woman.  Sorry, me lovely ... I'm sure it would have been grand, especially the way you kiss.  Yowza.

In the writing department, I'm still revving up for the master's class.  I hope I'll be able to take it.  The universe is throwing up mega-roadblocks.  That's usually a sign that I'm being tested for my dedication to the craft.  I really don't want to fail this test, and yet, day job, important.  Seeing my DH in September, very important.  I don't know what I'm going to do.  I can't wait to find out how this story ends.

Okay, enough chit chat.  Time to get some work done today.  Or maybe have a popsicle.  Maybe both.  Dreyers real fruit popsicles, btw.  They're still horribly bad for me, but I can pretend they're not.  Have a good one, and if it's hot where you're at, stay in the shade and drink lots of water.  Your mommy told me to remind y'all.

Books meme

 Snagged from mkhobson's post.  Name fifteen books that have stuck with you.  Don't dwell--give yourself a fifteen minute time limit.

Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
Stone Garden by Mary Rosenblum
Chimera by Mary Rosenblum
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Prince by Machiavelli
Strong on Defense by Sanford Strong
All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot
Lions Blood by Steven Barnes
Story by Robert McKee
Heavy Weather Sailing by K. Adlard Coles
Roget's International Thesaurus
Dune by Frank Herbert
Saga of a Wayward Sailor by Tristan Jones
On the Nature of Things by Lucretius
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

I was sad that I couldn't include my favorite Mark Twain stuff, because they weren't his books but his essays.  The collection I most read I seldom read all the way through because the partial pieces don't work for me--incomplete stories don't stick with me.  I thought about not including the thesaurus, but actually as a kid I read it.  I skimmed some of the entries, but read through ones that interested me to learn about how English words interact and overlap and such.  I also looked up a lot of the ones that I didn't know, especially foreign terms that could often be found in the back of my OED (which I considered putting on the list but then realized I hadn't actually read it.)  

I wouldn't say that these books are hands-down the most important books in my life, but they certainly sprang readily to mind, and some of them, like The Prince, Story, Elements of Style and All Things Wise and Wonderful, I've read many, many, many times.

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Snurk

 I am a snurkoid.  I've been sicklebar mowing the shoulder-high grass, but even if I wasn't, there's so much grass pollen out there right now I may as well just find a drain and park my nose over it for the next couple of weeks.

Snurk snurk snurkity snurk snurk.

The tender area under my eyes feels bruised from overactive, irritated sinuses and yes, sometimes I rub my eyes even though I know it's wrong.  They just itch so, so bad.  Eyedrops don't help much.

I think I'll go take a bath and just allow the snot to drip off my face and pool in my lap.  

Argh, I'm rubbing my eyes again!

Time for some Claritin.  Sadly, I can't take anything that works faster (Claritin works, but you have to give it a few days) because of my heart arrhythmia.

Sometimes it's gross to be me.

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The back is back

 Weigh in: 165.2 pounds

My back injury is much, much better.  One of the things that might happen when there's an injury is that the muscles can spasm or lock up to form a natural cast.  My DH's leg muscles did that when he broke his leg (and it worked so effectively that he didn't know he'd broken his leg until Xrays taken much later when he aggravated it by pushing a hay bale with the side of his foot, tweaking the bone just right so that it reminded him there was a problem.)  

Apparently my back was doing something along the lines of a cast or spasm, because after a hard work out, I stretched out for about a half hour while my body was still hot and sweaty.  At first there was no effect on my flexibility.  The best I could do was form a 90 degree angle with my torso and legs.  I did butterfly stretching, downward dog, runner's stretch and back through the sequence again, spending at least 30 seconds in each position.  Additionally, while in downward dog, I shifted my weight from one foot to another, rocked my hips, and kept gently adjusting my spine.  

Finally, something relaxed in there.  When I went into runner's stretch after the third time through the cycle, my regular flexibility had completely returned.  It happened so quickly, in fact, that I didn't trust it, and went through the stretching cycle again.  Still there.

I've been sicklebar mowing the past couple of days.  Really hard work.  My back's been fine.  It's my hands that get sore, gripping and forcing the heavy machine around by the handlebars.  I haven't had to ice or tigerbalm my back, and I've been getting good sleep.  Another health victory.  Yay!

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Back home, back ack

 Our vacation in Ireland was amazing, especially the part where the whole family got to spend almost endless time together doing interesting stuff and seeing wonderful places.  I mostly talk about that on the other blog.  

As far as my weight goes, I didn't gain a single pound there.  Weird, but kewl.  Actually, not so weird, since we walked all over the place and usually ate only two meals a day.  And yet, still weird because those two meals were very rich, and I often had two, even three drinks every day.  The cider, mmm, it comes in pints!  And in both apple and now new pear flavor.  I think they rolled out the pear flavor in anticipation of me coming out to Ireland.  They're really thoughtful that way.

The weigh-in this evening, just after 11pm, 168.2.

I injured my back, darn it, and so I have to go through the regimen.  Ah, what's my regimen?  Glad you asked.  Now, if you're injured someplace, don't do this stuff unless you either A. have had this ilk of injury before and know *positively* what it is and B. it doesn't keep hanging on and on and on with the pain (say, gets worse after three days, or is unchanging for five days.)  I know you people, you crazy sort that think their broken legs are sprains and popped discs are back strain and that burst appendix is mere indigestion.  You're the sort that doctors wish there were more of, so they wouldn't keep getting overburdened by hypochondriacs, and yet also wish you'd wise up and get in before that arm gash goes to gangrene.

I knew I hadn't hurt my back all that badly.  Nothing went snap, crackle or pop.  Although it was painful, I wasn't incapacitated, and it only hurt if I aggravated it--not constantly.  I'd even forget for long stretches that there was anything wrong.  I didn't feel it until the next day, I was able to do exercises using proper posture and remain completely pain free (that last phrase is particularly important) and although it got worse over the next couple of days, it then started to get better.  Yay!  

Having established that this is a minor strain, I:  used ice a couple of times a day.  Right after the injury, if I'd known I was injured, I would have iced for 5 to 10 minutes each hour, but I didn't, so oh well.
Used 200 mg of ibuprofen after any kind of exercise, or when my back felt particularly bad, and before bedtime, but not more than twice a day and never in conjunction with alcohol.
Tiger balm before bed.  (I love my husband.  He thinks the smell of tiger balm is sexy.  Alas, he can't appreciate it right now.)
On the really bad day and the next day after, no booze.  Not even a half glass with dinner.  Although I feel pretty good right now, I've still had no booze.  Why not keep the fast healing moving along at top speed, since I'm already here?  I'm not sure if alcohol actually bothers healing rates, but it makes sense to me that I don't want to distract my waste cleansing system with other jobs.  
Light exercise every day, whatever is possible to do without causing pain.  
Lots of rest in the position of least bother for the injury.
Stretching 2-3 times a day to the warning point.  You know the warning point, where the injury says ouch! Not so fast!  Yeah, take it to just that point where it says yowza, and then back it off a tiny bit so you're in discomfort, but not pain.  Don't play dumb with me, you know the difference.  Discomfort is that thing that makes you want to tense up, but you're able to make yourself relax and breathe and it's okay, just quietly there.  Pain won't shut up, and scrunches you up, and when you try to relax it gets worse because now you've given up what little support the injury had to protect itself from damage, so now you're damaging yourself.  Don't damage yourself, okay?  This is supposed to be good for you.
If the stretch leaves you zinging or you want to reach for the ibuprofen, go ahead and do that, and tiger balm a bit, but don't do that stretch again for a couple of days at least.

So that's my regimen.  It seems to be working well. I'm actually sitting in a chair and I'm not restless or eager to get out of it or anything.  Yay!  Here's hoping I didn't overdo the exercises tonight and that I feel great tomorrow.  I'm icing and feeling the tiger balm working as we speak.  G'night.