Monthly Archives: January 2011

>Health Update

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It says it’s a funny snowman, but he looks a bit deranged to me. My husband found it and sent it to me. Ever since Calvin and Hobbes, I’ve love demented snowman pictures.

What’s my point? Well, this winter has been pretty brutal. January especially. And I had been doing so well….

With a plethora of stresses bearing down on me, I fell back on some bad habits, as I mentioned previously. I added it all up. In just part of the month, I estimate drinking at least 50 cans of Pepsi, 4 2-litres, and eating as many as 3 pizzas in about 12 days. Among all the other fast food lunches I won’t bother to mention. I have cooked a few good meals, but that’s only a drop in the bucket of junk I’ve consumed. And yeah-boy-howdy did it show up.

I mentioned that my BP was up. Wanna know what it was? Are you sitting down? 178 over 130. Yeah……not to great, huh?

Well, I’ve followed through with the Zithromax faithfully. Consumed absolutely no caffeine (sipped on some Sprite, though. Sipped.). Eaten practically no salt. Lots of fresh fruits, juice, and only the smallest meals with meats totaling no more than 250mg of sodium. I got to get some recipes!

I’ve done really well. So, why has my head hurt so badly that it literally has prevented me from sleeping the last three days? If I managed to actually doze off, the pain would wake me right up. I wanted to cry, but that only made it worse. I was worried it would cause my BP to spike even further up the scale. So, Honey made me an appointment (the one the urgent care doctor wanted me to make anyway) with my regular doctor, and drove me – three days, no sleep….yeah, I’m not getting behind the wheel of a car.

Here’s the news. Since today is the last day of my meds, and I’m still showing various symptoms, she had me tested for flu. Came up negative, but she didn’t like that I was still running a fever. We’ll see in a day or so.

I’m not allowed to return to work because of the fever, and because Medea has been diagnosed with the flu. Dang.

The headache, she strongly feels, is a combination of cold turkey caffeine withdrawal and BP. Sounds about right. She did prescribe me a pain med for tension headaches and it’s shaved a few points off of it.

I’m to return in a month. For a check up. And I went home without any BP meds. Why? Because it was only 142 this time. Yep, it dropped 36 points, to even lower than before. She wants to see how far I can bring it down on my own. So do I. I gotta tell you, I was relieved. Big time.

On a side note, two and a half years ago, I had pneumonia and was given Prednisone and Levaquin. I took them together shortly before going to bed and woke up thinking I was having a massive coronary. I was terrified. The next night, I took the pills separately and far apart. It was much better, so I finished them out. Ever since then, my BP has been elevated. And a few months ago, I swear I saw something on TV about Levaquin not being good for you…..all that to say this: if you get prescribed Levaquin, look into it first.

So anyway, I just wanted to let all of you know I was doing better (thank you so much for all your thoughtful words) and bring you up to speed with the BP. I’m whipped, wimpy, and sluggish, but also thankful and relieved. Alas, no more cheeseburgers or pizza. I’ll find a way to still have ziti, spaghetti, and chicken parmesan, though. Watch me =P

Hope you’re having a great, and HEALTHY week!

>I Been Bad. Gotta Be Gooder Now……

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Ah, my bloggy friends. I’ve been a bad girl. Sigh…..

With all that’s been going on the last two or three weeks, I’ve regressed. I’ve been drinking sodas. Many, many sodas. With caffeine. And eating really bad for me foods. And snacks. Emotional/stress eating. It’s a hard habit to break.

But now, I’ve got no choice. Went to the doctor. Got another bad case of strep (thank you parents, for sending your sick children to school and masking fevers with Motrin and Tylenol. A clue – they tell us pretty much everything about their lives!).

And this time, the doc said I need to do something about my BP. That’s cool. It takes away my wiggle room. No more excuses. No more procrastination. No more. Period.

I’m doing the same thing a co-worker is doing. She’s giving herself a specific amount of time to do something about her situation. She, like me, doesn’t want to go on meds……

This is a result of my lifestyle; my choices. I cut out sodas last year and dropped 10 points of my BP. Watch me do better than that.  I’m pretty good with deadlines. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have some accountability. Gotta work that out somehow.

So, for the meantime, you’ll see me here and there till I get this figured out. Right now, I’m gonna take a Zithromax and find something to eat. That’s as unsalty as possible.

Hope your week has been a good one!

>Top Ten Countdown Music Blogfest….A Day Late!

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Alex stopped by yesterday and said I could still post my top ten music list. Ain’t he the sweetest?!!!

The only problem is….I ADORE music. All kinds of it. And what I listen to depends on my mood. Still, I did manage to narrow it down to just ten. It was difficult and I may need therapy, but I did it.

I picked songs that, no matter what, bring a smile to my face. They make me close my eyes and go somewhere else. They do it to me. In no particular order, here they are:

 Rambling Gambling Man – Bob Seger
Because it’s straight up rock-funk. I prefer the original version when he was very young
 In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel
Because it’s beautiful. I prefer the live version; it showcases various talents. And I never want the song to end.
 Living For The City & Uptight (yeah, I cheated) – Stevie Wonder
Because I grew up with Stevie. These are only two of many I could have picked. Besides, I always cheat on these kinds of things. You would have been disappointed if I hadn’t….
 Do Ya – ELO
Because it has a part in the middle that I just go bonkers for. Since I was a teenager. 
 He Reigns – Newsboys
I love the words and how the music adds such drama. And it’s very upbeat.
 Ray of Light – Madonna
Because when no one is looking, this is a song I can spaz-dance to. And at the end, she sounds like she’s having a fun time.
 Wonderful – Adam Ant
Because he wrote this after coming out about being bi-polar and could see more clearly. It’s about regret. And it’s beautiful. He still struggles….
(When I was a teen and he wore all the costumes and war paint, I was ga-ga over him!)
 She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult
I love the darkness of Cult and this song is, to me, an in your face flip-off. It’s an upbeat sort of song, to be kinda dark. I’ve loved it for years and years.
 In The Mood (For a Melody) – Robert Plant
Because, well, have you ever listened to it?!!!!! If you haven’t, I suggest you youtube it and listen. Eyes closed.  The video doesn’t match the song AT ALL. That voice…..ahhhhhhh……

Bad – Live – U2
Because it’s a beautiful song and this live version really showcases Edge’s talent. 
Love that dude. If I had a bucket full of wishes, one would be to play as well as he does…..
HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Goo Goo Dolls – Without You Here
Yes – Lift Me Up and The Calling
Robert Plant – If I Were A Carpenter
Loreena McKennitt – The Mummer’s Dance
The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
Eddie Money – She Takes My Breath Away
B-Tribe – She Moves Through The Fair

>Just A Quickie For Now

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Hello everyone! Just a quick post to let everyone know I haven’t fallen off the earth….

I had hoped last week to get caught up. That didn’t happen. Busyness. Stress. Tons of errands. Unexpected stuff. Appointments. Fighting off whatever it is that’s trying to catch me……

Yay for orange juice, vitamins, and sudafed!

And, AND, the little post office down the road from me-looked closed down when I went there Saturday morning. Grrrr! I never make it to the one in the center of town before it closes…..so, I may be shipping out the winning prizes through Office Depot. Maybe. Unless I get to leave early one day this week…..sigh…..

I’ve missed two blogfests *sad face* that I was really looking forward to. I may still post them when my head is straight and I’m vertical and alert instead of horizontal and dopey %~}

I also have some awards to pass around.

I hope, oh I hope, that by the middle of the week, things will be going more smoothly and I’ll be back in my groove.

Till then: LOVE YA, MEAN IT, BYE!

>Theresa’s 400 Followers Fiesta!!!

>Most of you already know Theresa Milstein from Substitute Teacher’s Saga.. However, if by some chance you don’t, go over and check her out. Theresa posts about her adventures in teaching, writing, and life. Her writing is witty, humorous, insightful, and encouraging. AND, she’s having an awesome giveaway to celebrate 400 followers!

This is the Grande Prize!
query critique by Nicole Zoltack whose publisher is Desert Breeze Publishing!
Also up for grabs:
 A signed, hardcover copy of Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden

A signed copy of Carleen Brice’s Orange Mint and Honey

 Across the Universe ARC by Beth Revis
With an Across the Universe Bookmark

 The Hating Game by Talli Roland
Your Choice:
The paperback version that will be released in March
OR
The e-book version now
 A paperback copy of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief

A paperback copy of James Bradley’s Flags of Our Fathers

 A hardcover copy of Chuck Sambuchino’s How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack

 A paperback copy of James Woods’ How Fiction Works

 Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
SWAG
 The Hunger Games Bag Clip Keychain in a bag

Two Nicole Zoltack magnets – Knight of Glory and Woman of Honor
Here is how to enter:
Must be a follower (old 2 points, new 1 point).
Tweet, post on Facebook, put on sidebar (1 point each), or devote a post (5 points).
Leave a comment telling her:
lf you want the query critique.
Your top 3 picks between books and swag.
How you promoted the contest.
Total your points.
Provide your e-mail address.
The winner will be chosen on February 4th!
Good luck!!!

>Haiku, River of Stones, And Confession

>Every Wednesday, Jenn from You know……that blog? hosts the Sensational Haiku Wednesday. This week’s theme is deception. Here’s my entry for the week:

do not be deceived
by the stillness of their forms
now they simply rest
forces of nature 
tiny little juggernauts
miniscule tempests
children tend to live
passionately in the now
beware when they wake
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Fiona Robyn and Kaspa are hosting the writing project known as A River of Stones. The object is to make daily observations of things that can be observed in everyday life. For more information, click here.

Here’s my observation:

The snow lay in dirty piles at the edge of the road, forgotten, used up, and discarded.

********************************************

I know I haven’t been around yet to visit. I will be. This week has been busier than I expected. No reading. No mailing. Not even housework. I did manage to cook a meal. Just one. Sigh…..
I’m working on it, though. Promise!

>Does Anyone Win An Argument With Strider?

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In November, during nano, I finally experienced what most of you have known about for quite some time. I had a major character take the reins from my hands and assert his own will upon my carefully constructed outline. 
Of course, I was most unhappy about his sudden independent streak and I let him, and everyone else, know about it. As a result, I still haven’t figured out exactly how I’m going to end the book, but it turned out that the story is much improved. I refuse to give him any snaps or high-fives; I don’t want to encourage anarchy. He does have my respect, though….
So, okay. I can deal, to a point, with a character changing part of a story. But, lately, I’m feeling a bit like Mo (Inkheart for those of you who’ve never read it). Characters not of my own creation are calling out to me, demanding my attention.
You may recall that I had a whole reading list lined up. Ha!!! Let me show you how it’s turning out.
I did finish this book. For it’s time, it must have been very frightening and I think Wells was visionary in his depiction of the Martians and their probable advanced technology and physiology. 
Still, I was glad to finish it…..

I was supposed to read Of Mice and Men next, but this book kept calling to me; and I answered.
I loved it. Really. It’s beautifully written and one of my favorite things is how it treats families.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend this book for your TBR list.
I believe I read somewhere that L. K. Madigan intended to write a sequel.
I hope and pray she will get the chance…..
Honey wanted to watch a movie Sunday night. So, for dinner, we had breakfast and watched Despicable Me. Oh My Gosh! It’s adorable! We laughed out loud all the way through it. I actually like this movie better than Up, which is pretty awesome.
If you haven’t seen it, go get it and watch it!
Since I skipped Of Mice and Men, I intended to start that one next. 
Uh huh….
While flipping through channels before starting the movie, we came across Fellowship of the Ring. 
All I could see in my mind was Strider, sitting in the bar, watching the hobbits get drunk and forget to be cautious. 
Mind you, this isn’t the Strider from the movie.
This is the one from the book.
The one that can be a bit unsettling at times.
Okay. I can deal with reading change ups, too. What I’m struggling with, and don’t laugh too hard, is the time of year it is. 
See, I feel like Fellowship is an Autumn read. Not a Winter read. 
All evening, I told Strider that it’s just not the right time of year to let him and his companions out. 
He’s terribly stubborn. 
He narrowed his eyes at me.
I told him that I needed crisp, colorful leaves and frost on the ground. 
He pointed out that there’s plenty of snow right outside my window. 
I sighed.
I reminded him that all the colorful leaves were gone and that Rivendell would feel all wrong. 
He uncrossed his  ankles, removed the pipe from his mouth, and leaned forward, staring hard into my eyes. 
I sighed deeply. 
He settled back into his corner.
I guess I’m reading LOTR next….
Does this happen to any of you? To you talk to characters that others have created? Do ya reckon I need a huggie jacket?
Happy Monday 🙂

>Winners, Updates, And Some News…..

>All right. Maybe it’s part of getting older, but I gotta tell you. I’m ready for the snow to go. I’ve loved winter all my life, but this year, I just can’t deal with it. Snow days are great. Except, I can’t seem to get back into the swing of things. And all this dry weather has wreaked havoc on my sinuses (and nearly everyone else’s I’ve talked to).

On a funnier note, the dry weather has caused a comical, but terribly frustrating problem. In the mornings, while getting ready for work, I can’t do anything with my hair. It has so much static, it literally stands straight up, and then plasters itself to my face. Un. Bee. Leave. Able.

All that to say this: I finally drew names Thursday night. Old followers got their names put in twice and new followers once. I printed off the names according to the sets specified, cut them out, folded them twice, and put them in a pot. Yep, a pot. Then I let Honey draw from each set while he watched Family Guy.

The winners are:

What the Night Knows-Val Zdero
Odd Thomas-Summer Frey
Harry Potter-Melissa Wideen
Narnia-L. Diane Wolf
Creeper Calendar-Lola Sharp
Steampunk Calendar-Lydia Kang
Zen of Zombie-Ellie Garrett
Watchers-Carol Kilgore

Congratulations to the winners and many thanks to everyone who entered. This has been a lot of fun for me 🙂

Unexpectedly, I have had several things come up that I have to take care of tomorrow, so I don’t know how quickly I will be able to get to the post office. I will try to have everyone’s package mailed out by the end of next week, if not sooner.

Reading Updates:

First of all, Theresa encouraged me to join in the 12 Literary Resolutions for 2011. Ann from Inkspots & Quills found this great list of literary resolutions. And guess what? They’re doable!!!!! Theresa’s in and so am I. Evangeline (Co-Teacher) is also going to do it, yay!!! Why don’t you check it out and think about joining us?

 For the month of January, we’re supposed to read a classic novel. I’m reading these two (since they’re pretty short):

Wednesday night, I was exhausted. As soon as I got home, I got ready for bed. Literally. And, once I was snuggled under the electric blanket, Roo tucked under the covers beside me and Kitty Boss between my feet, I finished two books: 

This book, for me, was very different. And I loved it. Today, I loaned it to Assistant Director and I really want to know her opinion of it. It made me cry at the end (like a really good book should).

If any of you have ever read this, please let me know how you felt about it. I’m not going to do a review; I’m just going to recommend it.

This is the book I won a while back in a contest Theresa hosted. I read it in an hour, but let me tell you, it’s a beautiful read. Lyrical. Haunting. Insightful. Dreadful. Healing. And, there’s a sequel! You know I’m gonna get it, right? Again, no review (it’s the middle of the night and I’m sleepy), but I’m going to highly, highly recommend it. Thank you so much, Theresa!

As soon as I finish my two classics, I’m going to read the book from Lisa Maliga, Notes From Nadir, woohoo! I’m making up for last year, for sure!

Okay, now for some news. Warning –  it’s some hard news. I was running through facebook and read a post Theresa had put up. Fellow blogger, and published author, L. K. Madigan was recently diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. I read the author’s post, and I was moved to tears. What courage! What grace!

Theresa’s post on facebook (and I would link it but I don’t know how to link a post from fb) pointed out that Ms. Madigan had just published a book (her second) that came out in October, and perhaps her family would be aided by sales of the book. It’s called The Mermaid’s Mirror and I found my copy in the Teen section of B & N tonight after work.

I found out that her first book was well received, even winning an award, so I’m really looking forward to reading this one. She and her family will be in my prayers.

I’m posting about this and adding a link to B & N on my sidebar, hoping that curious people will either buy the book, blog about the situation, or both.

Also, please remember to keep our friends who live in Aussie-Land in your thoughts and prayers. Many of them have friends and family who have been displaced by the terrible flooding. Denise from L’Aussie Writing published this link on her facebook page. It’s an anthology of short stories, 500-1,000 words, any genre, any age. And, 100% of the sales profit goes to the Flood Relief Fund.

Please take a moment to read the link and consider doing a post, linking on your sidebar, and/or submitting a story for the anthology.

I think that almost catches everything up. I’ll be around sometime tomorrow. I really enjoyed visiting Monday and Tuesday (snow days) and I got spoiled. Sigh……

I can’t stop yawning now, so I’m off to bed. It’s 2:45 am, but I think I’ll schedule this to post later. I don’t know anyone who’d be awake at this hour……

Have a wonderful, and SAFE weekend!

>Sensational Haiku Wednesday!

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Jenn from You know….that blog? hosts the Sensational Haiku Wednesday. Haiku is poetry that consists of three lines, 5-7-5 syllables. It’s really not too difficult and it gets easier each time you create one. I’m getting hooked on the exercise of it. Why don’t you go visit and linky up and give it a try?
This week’s topic is Doldrums. I went a little crazy and did a two-parter. It’s still a bit uneven, but that’s okay with me. 
I’ve loved faithfully
Endured your cold harsh beauty
Since I was a child
Now I am older
I find you bleak and severe
The weight of you cruel
the sound grew and intensity built and I waited and watched as more leaves leapt from the ground and joined in the merry dance of the wind



Reminder: Today is the last day to enter the Favorite Things Giveaway. It will officially end at 11pm EST.

>In A Quandary

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Ask me how much reading I got done yesterday. Go on, ask. NONE! Honey got off work early and he played WOW and I blogged. It was fun catching up with everyone, so no biggie. I can read today after I get my housework finished. Yep. Another snow day 🙂

I do have one big problem, though. While visiting yesterday (and Sunday), I saw several people struggling with the same problem. Should they work on their current project, an old project, or the new shiny that keeps distracting them? 

All I could think of as I read these posts was, man, that’s rough. How do you make that choice? I offered what little consolation I could and just hoped they would figure out which way to go.

Guess what? Now, I am facing the same dilemma. I’m supposed to begin editing my nano story. Yeah, well…. I just can’t seem to make myself do it. Why? Because my first wip, my favorite one that’s ever occupied my brain-pan, has come a-calling, and WILL. NOT. LEAVE. 

I stopped work on it at the end of the summer because I ran into a plot issue. A major one. Now, it’s resolved itself. Plus, I’ve gotten a few other pieces of clarity that I didn’t know were missing until the MC, Tangi, showed them to me. She’s followed me around everywhere the last few weeks. Well, since about the middle of December.

When I wrote the Harry Potter piece for her, she set up camp in my thoughts and now refuses to leave. I hear music and she shows me scenes. And I want to write them.

Edit the nano story? Listen to Tangi? Where is Obi Wan Kenobi when I need him?!!

Advice?

Oh, yeah. One more thing. Tomorrow is the last day to enter for the giveaway. It will officially end at 11pm EST. If you haven’t been by, go check it out. See if there is anything you’d like a chance at winning!