Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Writing Update

So, it's been a while. Blogger sure has changed since I last posted in here!

All right. Remember how I was doing that whole writing-a-novel thing back in November? November is done and gone, and I emerged triumphantly with the first draft of a mediocre novel. Hooray!

Seriously, mediocre is a good thing for me. This was my 8th year participating in National Novel Writing Month, and it's the third time I've finished. It's the first time I've had a novel that I've even wanted to look at after the month was over - mediocre is the best I've achieved so far. In nearly a decade. So I'm going to take it and run with it.

I printed out the first couple chapters the other day, and I read the first two. It doesn't suck. It's not good, and it needs a ton of work, but I think I can actually do this.

For the first time, I'm going to seriously work on this thing to try to get it published. I'm actually feeling like a writer now - not just someone who wants to maybe be a writer someday. I'm a writer now. I'm going to make this thing good, I'm going to shop it around. I'll probably get a lot of rejections. But maybe someone will see the promise and give me a chance, like the guys who picked my story for the 30 Covers, 30 Days project.

Think about it - House Hunting in the Afterlife could be a real, honest-to-goodness book someday!

So I want to take this chance to say thank you to all of you, my loyal readers, for supporting me, encouraging me, for continuing to ask about my novel and word count during November. Thank you for taking an interest, and keeping me interested in my own project. It doesn't stop here. I just have a first draft. I need you all to keep encouraging me - ask me how the editing is going, ask to be one of my beta readers. I can't do this alone.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Here is my motivation, my inspiration, my determination to finish my NaNoWriMo novel this year.

This is my cover:

Awesome, right?

It was designed by Scott Buschkuhl, who is a real, actual designer.

I absolutely love it. It's so perfect - now I just need to write a novel that lives up to its cover!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A New November

Once again, November is upon us. Once again, I'll be writing a novel.

I'm rather excited about this one. The novel itself is interesting, and different than anything I've written before. I'm delving into the humor/satire genre for the first time. I really hope it ends up being as funny as it is in my head. We won't know until I start writing, though.

It's called "House Hunting in the Afterlife." Here's the synopsis I wrote for the National Novel Writing Month website:

A young professional looking to buy her first house goes to bed one night dreaming of vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors and wakes up to the end of the world. After a quick stop at Target to see if they have any Missoni products left, she takes the Afterlife's Parade of Eternal Homes tour. If you're going to be living in a house for the rest of time, you better make sure it's something you can stand.

As I said, I'm excited about it. Another tag line could be, "In Heaven you don't need to bathe - in Hell, you don't get to."

It's funny, right? Man, I hope so.

There's something that the powers that be at NaNoWriMo headquarters have started doing the past few years. It's a project called "30 Covers, 30 Days." The idea is that a team of professional designers create covers for 30 novels being written each November. Based solely on the title and synopsis, I submitted my name for consideration. The other day, I got an email from the head of the team who picks the novels. "House Hunting in the Afterlife" was chosen as a finalist - my title and synopsis were being sent to a designer, who is also given 2 other titles for consideration. He gets to choose which one he'll make a cover for.

He picked my novel.

I got an email today asking for some more details on the novel, but the designer is reportedly "super excited" to design a cover for me.

To put this into perspective, thousands of people participate in NaNoWriMo worldwide. Hundreds (if not thousands) of people submitted titles for consideration to the 30 Covers, 30 Days project. 30 novels are chosen in the end. One cover, one novel, each day in November. One of those is mine.

One day in November, you'll see the cover for "House Hunting in the Afterlife." I'll be sure to share it with you.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Blog Challenge: Day 5

Day 5: A photo of yourself two years ago.

Yup, that's me two years ago. At least, the date the photo was uploaded to Facebook was two years ago. Actually, now that I think about it, that might be older than two years ago. How about another one?

Hmm. This is proving difficult. Two years ago was 2009. In 2009, Domo came into my life. I have a LOT of pictures of Domo. Like this one:

That was during Domo's first trip to Vegas, an he was enthralled by the Enchanted Unicorn slot machines.

Or this one:

Domo and a gorilla at the zoo in Omaha. That was his first trip with me. I found him in Omaha.

And of course, in 2009, Domo also traveled to Mexico:

He was a little paranoid about Mayan sacrifices.

Oh, and he also helped me move in 2009. Here's a picture from that:

All right, that's probably enough Domo pictures.

I'm completely amused that I took a blog post that was supposed to be all about me and turned it into a photo album of Domo around the world. I love blogging.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blog Challenge: Day 4

Day 4: Your favorite photograph of your best friend.

Ok, so this one is a little awkward. I don't really want to just post a photo of my best friend without her consent - and since I don't even use names (other than my own) in this blog, I'm not going to to post her face as well. So here's her tattoo.

She's got a story behind that as well, but it's also not my place to tell that story. But it looks cool, doesn't it?

I've known her for 20 years. Since 5th grade. That's a really long time. There are few people in this world (especially if you exclude family) who I've known that long. Even fewer people if you factor in who I'm still in touch with. From those early years? In touch with very few people I've known for 20 years or more.

Normally she and I would be hanging out tonight. It is Friday, after all. But she's busy tonight. Since I don't have a car, she's usually the rock star who drives me around, even though I'm often out of her way. We usually hang out on Fridays. Fridays are fun.

Ugh. I just realized how horrible this blog post is going. It's not fun to read, is it? I'm not really having the most fun writing it. Maybe it's time I told a story about my best friend.

Back in the day (were we in high school?), we decided to write a novel together. We didn't have a plan, we didn't have a plot. We didn't even have characters - though we probably hadn't even put an entire page of writing onto paper before we had a concept and a working title: A Princess and Some Dragons. And from there, the story of Camielle and the dragons began. I would describe it as a young adult novel. We did finish it, if you can believe it. We finished the first draft and started rewrites. The file still exists somewhere on my computer, and I believe I have an old printout of one of our drafts. I was supposed to send it off to a publisher after so many years, regardless of whether or not we had finished the revisions, but I haven't done it yet.

Maybe it's time to revisit "A Princess and Some Dragons." Actually, the title ended up being "The Dragon Stone," I believe. And we were going to make it into a trilogy.

I think I have a project for the weekend...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blog Challenge: Day 3

I'm behind a day - yesterday I literally didn't have time to do my post, unless I wanted to compose it and post from my phone - and I'm really not patient enough to deal with that keyboard long enough for a blog post. So here's day 3.

Day 3 - Your idea of the perfect first date.

I've been on a LOT of first dates. A lot of them - the majority, in fact - suck.

But in order to have a perfect first date, you have to have the perfect guy. He has to be able to hold up his end of a conversation. He has to be able to pay for his small coffee at Caribou with something more substantial than the pennies from his couch cushions. He has to be dressed appropriately, and he has to show that he at least cares a little bit about personal hygiene.

Of course, the event itself does matter. I mentioned Caribou Coffee - that's not a bad place for a first date. I always like coffee shops because it satisfies the whole "public place" requirement (since I meet all my dates on the internet and you have to be safe), and I enjoy coffee. And it's nice to have something caffeinated in case your date is a snooze. It's important to do something social. A movie sounds like a good idea at first, but you never get to talk to anyone at a movie - without being an ass, anyway.

You know what would be really fun on a first date? Mini-golf. Vaguely sporty without requiring much physical exertion (minimal sweat), and plenty of opportunity to talk and get to know one another. This could especially be good if it were someone you were already friends with. There's plenty of potential for playful teasing. It would be awesome!

But I don't want to think too much about dating right now, because it just gets me down. Gotta think about other things. Like the fact that Project Runway is on tonight!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blog Challenge: Day 2

Day 2 – A photo of something you ate today.

Tomatoes. I ate tomatoes today.

They're my after-work snack today. I did not have tomatoes on my Subway sandwich today. I always look at the tomatoes before they add them to my sandwich. They looked sad and nearly white today. The Subway employee even got out another tub of tomatoes to see if any of those looked better, but they didn't. Very disappointing, considering it's tomato season right now. You'd think they could get some local produce. Eat Fresh, my ass.

I should have tried to grow tomatoes this year. Never got around to it early in the spring, and then I was sick for a month. After that, it was too late. I'd like to successfully eat something that I've grown myself, but so far that hasn't been possible. Last year, the tomato plant died due to lack of nutrients in the soil - that's the only explanation I can come up with, because it got decent sun and plenty of water. The year before (using potting soil instead of just the dirt in the ground) we got actual tomatoes on the tomato plant, but the squirrels always got to the fruit before it got ripe, and the plant never had much of a yield.

Maybe next year. Of course, I don't know where I'll be living next year. I plan to move in the spring, and I might be getting an apartment or condo that doesn't have a balcony or any sort of garden-type opportunity. But that's ok. Someday I'll get there. Someday I'll be able to eat a tomato I grew myself.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Blog Challenge: Day 1

This is a 30-day Blog Challenge.

I need to work on getting back into the blog, and I think this will be the way to succeed. It's a kick in the pants.

I'm back, Blog-land!

Challenge Day 1: A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was.

That's me. It's laundry day. My biggest challenge today was figuring out how to take a picture with the webcam on my netbook. This picture you see is the result. That's me.

In all seriousness, though, my day was a typical Monday. Work always feels rushed on Mondays because we have a meeting in the morning - every week. It's good, really, but I never feel like there's enough time for my work. I was already a little behind because some things took longer than I expected they would at the end of last week. Very frustrating, but at the same time, I'm a better worker when I'm busy, so that's good, in the end.

The other good thing about being at work is that work is delightfully air-conditioned. I'm living in an AC-free house right now, and it's really been a rough summer. There's been a lot of humidity and heat, and it's really been wreaking havoc on my leg.

Of course, the storms came through today. I work downtown in one of the kinda-tall buildings, and I could hear the thunder. I could also hear the wind, making the building creak and squeak. It doesn't inspire confidence, but I know that the building is designed to withstand the weather. It was still raining slightly when I left the office in the afternoon, and it felt fantastic. The humidity was still there (obviously), but the temperature had really gone down. It was a nice break, but I already feel the heat creeping back up again.

So, there you have it - a boring blog post for a boring day. But that's just the way it goes. Some days are boring, right?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hospital Living: Part 2

By the time I was admitted and had a room at the hospital on Thursday, I realized that I hadn't eaten all day other than two pieces of toast, and that had been breakfast.

I'm entertained by this hospital because they call the food service "Room Service." When you get your bed, they give you a menu (unless you're on a special diet, in which case the doctors and nurses decide what you should be eating). I'm on a general diet, meaning I have no restrictions so I can eat whatever I want, and whenever I want. However! Don't try to call in your dinner order after 6:30 PM, because that's when room service stops taking orders.

Of course, I'm just starting to get settled in my room (a private room with a horrible view but decent TV), and the nurse points out that it's almost 6:30, so I should order my tray (they don't refer to it as a meal or food - aways as "your tray"). Quickly glancing at the menu, I select the lemon baked cod and small garden salad.

I wait for my food.

I'm starting to get hungry.

Suddenly my transport arrives. They want to do another ultrasound on my leg just to be sure there are no clots.

My nurse says they'll leave my tray, and it should be waiting for me when I return.

So, I mentioned a transport up there. After being admitted to the hospital, I haven't had to walk anywhere - beyond the bathroom, that is. They always bring a wheelchair. It is a good thing because I don't think I could have walked all the way to the ultrasound and back. But I didn't even have to walk to my room in the first place. A kid (who looked way too young to have a job at a hospital and way too scrawny to push around someone my size) brought a wheelchair and brought me to my room.

Anyway, back to the ultrasound. Under normal circumstances, they probably wouldn't hurt anyone. But with my swollen and burning leg, the procedure is awful. It hurts to have anything touch my leg at any given time. For the ultrasound, they need to touch my leg. Youchies.

When I got back, my tray had arrived. I sit on the edge of the bed and have at it.

It's not the best fish, but I really wanted to eat, so I lifted the cover and was a little surprised at what I saw. It was a standard dinner plate, with a small piece of fish on it, next to a garnish of something green and a cherry tomato. That small side salad was truly a small side salad was truly that - small, sad little bowl with about 3 pieces of iceberg lettuce, a cucumber and another cherry tomato.

Hmm. Portion control is going to be a piece of cake.

Good thing I wasn't overly starving. I may have had nothing to eat all day, but this amount of food seemed perfect in context.

I ate a couple bites of fish, and it was good. But the next thing I knew a guy was there to drain half the blood from my body. He was nice, but I should have asked him what it was all for. He had to take samples from both arms. It took him a while of staring and prodding at my arms before deciding which one to poke - his personal philosophy as a lab tech was to poke people as few times as necessary, which he did for me.

Then I got to finish my dinner.

And now I'm done with this post because I'm getting loopy from the drugs and should probably take a nap. Once again, not proofreading. My apologies.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hospital Living: Part 1

I know I'm not going to have time to write this all in one blog post. Not going to happen. So I'll start when everything began: Tuesday.

I woke up in the morning very cold. Shivering, hypothermia type of cold. Tooth-clattering, hands-shaking, painful cold. And I was a little dizzy.

Thinking about getting warm as fast as possible, I figured a nice hot shower was my best option. Showering is tough when you're violently shaking, but I made it through somehow. Just out of curiosity, I checked the thermostat to see if the heat had gotten turned off overnight. It hadn't, and it was the same temp it always was in the house.

The next thing I thought of was that I must have a fever. 98.3. Not high. Higher than average for me (I usually run a cool 97.7), but not a fever. I went to work.

I was still dizzy. Halfway down the street I thought I should turn around. I was a little nauseated because I had taken my vitamin on an empty stomach that morning. But I thought that would pass and everything would be fine once I got to work.

All was not well. If anything, I felt worse when I got to work. I sent out a plea for someone to come pick me up and take me home so that I didn't have to bus home and do all that walking - I was still really dizzy.

Turns out it was a good thing I went home. My stop-mom picked me up and dropped me off at home on her way to work. It means so much to me that she did that for me. So much. When I took my temp again, it was over 102. One giant nap later, 103.3.

I take some ibuprofen for the fever and commence freaking out. It was somewhere around here that I was starting to realize how much my leg was starting to hurt. The back and side felt like they were burning, and they were red and hot to the touch.

So I did what any thirty-something would do in this day and age: the Almighty Google.

Pain, redness, hot to the touch? All symptoms of a blood clot. Deep vein thrombosis. As in: can kill you if you don't take care of it fast.

The freak-out is instantly amped up. I made a post on Facebook, seeing if someone could take me to urgent care.

A friend jumped to the rescue. She and I were friends way back in elementary school but had gradually drifted apart over the years (as happens to most friendships from elementary school). She took me to the clinic I wanted to go to (the same clinic where I see my primary care doc). There was no wait at urgent care (note: this never happens).

The doc there identifies the problem in my leg almost immediately. He's 98% sure once I tell him about my fever.


No, it is not anything related to cellulite.

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the subcutaneous tissue or other deep tissue of the body, most commonly happening in the legs, hands, and face.

But, he wasn't 100% sure there wasn't a clot, so he scheduled an ultrasound on my leg to check for clots later that evening.

My step-mom to the rescue again! She took me to the hospital (because that's where you get ultrasounds).

Ok, changing to a faster method here. I'm starting to fall asleep thanks to the drugs.

The ultrasound was negative, so I started taking antibiotics for the cellulitis.

It didn't help. In fact, it started getting worse. A lot worse. By Thursday, I still had a temp over 100, the redness and swelling had spread to the entire lower leg. The pain was unbearable.

Call to the doctor's office and they told me I should come in to see my primary care doc. I did, and he said that the best option, since the infection had obviously gotten worse after 24 hours of antibiotics, was to be admitted to the hospital for a few days and receive IV antibiotics.

The hospital. Admitted. Inpatient. IV.

Yes, this is happening. And I couldn't even go home to get stuff. They made me go straight there to start treatment right away.

And that's where I have to stop for the night. It's bedtime for this sicko.

Monday, May 2, 2011

So Much to Say

Yesterday morning, I wanted to write a blog post, but couldn't find the words. Now I have too many.

I'm working on a post about same-sex marriage and the controversy surrounding it in Minnesota right now. That's going to have to wait. I want to be able to devote my full attention to it, and right now my mind is on other things.

I wanted to write a post about my 5k on Saturday, and how much it meant to me to have so many friends come out to support me and walk with me. Again, there are other things on my mind right now.

Last night, I watched Game of Thrones on HBO, then started getting ready for bed. Shortly before turning in for the night, I remembered I had wanted to post to Twitter about how much I'm enjoying Game of Thrones so far, so I did that. That's when I started seeing posts about a special announcement that the president was going to make. Rumors were flying that it was something about Osama Bin Laden. I saw the tweet from the White House with a link to the live feed of the president's speech.

[Side note: in looking for that link to post up there about Game of Thrones, I happened to discover that I can access the new "HBO GO" service. Seems incredibly awesome, and it's extremely distracting. If you're an HBO subscriber, check it out. You have access to every episode of every HBO show. Holy buckets. Must get back to blog post, but it's so pretty...]

I turned on the TV. For some reason CNN wasn't working. I turned to NBC while also watching the feed from the White House on my computer.

Twitter was going nuts. Everyone was waiting up to see what Obama was going to say.

Finally, more than an hour after the White House said he'd be speaking, Obama was talking, telling us that Osama Bin Laden is dead.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing. I mean, my initial reaction was surprise. And I'm not sorry that he's dead. But I don't seem to feel the joy that so many others have felt. I didn't jump up and down. I watched because I knew it was going to be historic. Remember the date, folks. 5/1/11. They're going to talk about that in history classes. Your kids will ask you about it when they're teenagers and discussing it at school.

However, countless people have died. This cannot be ignored. The death of one man doesn't end this, and it doesn't change the fact that so many had to suffer through the loss of their loved ones.

Partially because I'm distracted, and partially because I think it's appropriate, I'm going to share the quotation attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. that's going around Facebook today. I have no idea if he actually said this, but I would believe it of him. I'm seeing a few different versions in my Facebook feed, so I'm choosing the one that I like the most. I tried to find out if it came from a speech, but only found part of it. But I still think it's a fitting sentiment for today.

‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If Only

For nearly 30 years, I've been convinced that if only I had a boyfriend, all of my problems would be solved. Everything. I'd be deliriously happy, and everything else would just fall into its rightful place.

So far, life hasn't worked out that way.

I've had boyfriends. I've even been happy with some of them. But it never really seemed to resolve things in other aspects of my life.

I also think that this delusion of mine has kept me from getting the most out of my relationships. I've gotten it in my head that having a boyfriend is the solution, so that every time a new man came into my life, I was convinced that HE was the solution. I fell too fast, and in most cases let my clouded ideals blind me to what was really going on. Every time a relationship ended, or a date didn't go well, I would tell myself that he wasn't the key to the puzzle. It'll be the next one.

It never was. And it never will be.

My most recent failure has taught me that it's not about the boyfriend. I've managed to find happiness on my own, without the man. I've got a pretty good thing going on lately, and none of it has to do with the fact that a guy just blew me off last week. It's other things, all adding up. I'm making myself a better person, and I'm loving myself for it. For once, I'm truly making things all about me.

Maybe someday, eventually, I will find a guy who fits into my life. When that happens (if that happens), I will embrace it. But I won't let the next guy who comes along ruin what I've found for myself, unless he proves himself to be just what I need.

I have a new mantra. No longer will my foolish fairy-tale notions rule my life. It's not worth it. My heart is worth more than that.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dear You

Dear You,

I don't know what happened, but I'm no stranger to this experience. However, I thought this time would be different. You seemed different from all the others before you.

I thought we had a good thing going on. Apparently that was all in my head. I haven't heard from you in five days. That doesn't sound like much when it's written down, but considering that since we met, there have only been a few days where we had no contact at all. There was always something.

I smiled every time I got a text from you. My bus rides out to see you were wonderful, because I knew you would be there at the park and ride. Spending time with you was a joy and I never really wanted to go home, but I knew I had to.

Was it because I was taking things too slowly? Usually I'm different, but this time I was trying something new because I thought it would help. Apparently I was wrong.

The whole time, I was clouded by how I felt for you. Did I see things that weren't really there? Was the touch of your hand merely imagination? I'm sad that none of it was real in the end, because I really liked it.

I'm choosing to remember the you in my head rather than the you you turned out to be. It's better than feeling defeated and worthless yet again.

Originally I thought I'd be spending time with you tonight. Instead I'll be watching "He's Just Not That Into You" on DVD, since apparently I need to get that message.

I still wish it could have been different. I wish you could have said something instead of completely ignoring me. I think that would have hurt less...

- me

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Relationships and Jumping to Conclusions

I've been dating The Guy for almost a month now. In all honesty, this is about as long as my relationships tend to last. And that's only if I get past the first date.

Right around now is when most guys realize that they aren't interested in me in "that way," and they tell me (or just let me figure out on my own) that they just want to be friends - which really means that he has no desire to ever see me again, but he doesn't want to have to see me cry. I'm used to it by now.

But that also means that I'm starting to get a little paranoid about my situation with The Guy. We have (very loose) plans for the weekend, but other than a few scattered text messages on Monday, I haven't heard from him all week. I know that he's really busy - that was in one of the texts he sent on Monday. He has work and school and all the stress that comes from both of those things. But that little corner of my heart keeps nagging me, telling me that he's not really so busy. He's just trying to figure out how to let me down easy.

Because they all, eventually, let me down. Story of my life. Why should this guy be any different?

I hope he is different. I really hope he is just insanely busy and hasn't had the time to get in touch with me. Maybe he only thinks about me when his day is over and it's too late to send me a message because he doesn't want to wake me up.

I guess I'll find out on Saturday. I'm already ready to update my Facebook relationship status, but that seems to be the kiss of death for me - as soon as I acknowledge the fact that have a boyfriend, boom - he's gone. This time I'm going to talk to him. See what we're doing, where we're going.

Ugh. I don't want to do that. I want it all to make sense, like the way it always feels when we're actually together. I don't want to have to talk about it. And I don't want to be the girl who nags her boyfriend about not contacting her enough. I'm not that girl.

It's all going to be fine. Unless it's not. I can't be entirely optimistic on this one, because if it goes horribly wrong this weekend I'll be so disappointed. Beyond disappointed. But if I'm completely pessimistic, then it won't work out anyway because I'll be so convinced it'll fail.

I hate waiting.

I really like this guy. I really want it to work. I want to have a real relationship. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quarter 1 Results: 2011

or: Everything's Coming Up Becky!

Nutshell summary of the year so far:
* Moved in with siblings, ergo saving money on rent
* Purchased netbook computer for portability so I can further advance my writing – the best part was that this was a comfortable purchase, financially, despite the meager bonus handed out at work
* Secured a season ticket package for the Twins
* Met a guy on the internet who is actually turning out to be a viable relationship option for me – but this is still developing news
* The Get Healthy Initiative (or GHI) is progressing smoothly thanks to a gym membership and a lot of encouragement from friends and family – and so far the numerical result is 25 pounds lost.

That’s right, folks. I’ve lost 25 pounds. Numbers girl that I am, I can’t help but do some math around this. In the first quarter of 2011, I lost 25 pounds. If I keep things up and lose at a similar rate, then I could assume a 25 pound loss each quarter of 2011. That means I could lose 100 pounds this year. Now, I know that’s ambitious, but I’m just a little giddy and optimistic today. I know I can’t expect to have the same results quarter after quarter (and 4th quarter is notorious for knocking everyone off the healthy bandwagon), so I’m not going to set my goals for the rest of 2011 yet. We’ll get there. But I am going to say that I’m shooting for another 25 pounds by the end of the second quarter.

You heard me. By the end of June, I hope to be 50 pounds lighter than I was back in the dead of winter. You might even see me at a beach. Maybe. Of course, I’d probably have to buy a new swim suit before that happens. But still – 50 pounds. That’s the next goal.

I’m still training. There’s a 5k coming up at the end of April that I’m really starting to get excited about. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to run part of it (shooting for about a mile’s worth, but spread out over the course of the race, but I’ll adjust that goal as I get closer to race day). And the half marathon is still on the table for November. I’m doing it. So far my only goals related to that race are A) show up and B) finish. Those will likely be adjusted as well. Except for goal A. Gotta do that one, it’s the most important – if I don’t complete goal A, I can’t do any of the other goals.

What’s that? You want to hear about the guy? I can’t say much yet. It’s only been a few dates. But I like him. I like talking to him and I like spending time with him. I like being close to him. It’s still early, though, so I have no idea if he feels all these same things about me. It could be my lack of experience in these things (seriously, it had been a year and a half since my last date), because I really just don’t know how to read him. I’m guessing he must feel something, though, because he keeps agreeing to see me again.

As you can see, it’s all going well. Isn’t this the point in the movie when everything starts going horribly awry? Either that, or hilarity ensues. I’m going to hope for the latter.

By the way, thanks to everyone for all your support during this Get Healthy Initiative. It’s really motivating to check on your Facebook status and see that over 35 people “like” it, and it’s inspiring to see the @ replies on Twitter. All of you coworkers, you’re helping, too. I love the encouragement. I wouldn’t have had a strong first quarter without all of you. Keep it coming.

Friday, March 25, 2011

On Google

I specifically remember someone telling me in college to try Google as a search engine. The Internet was still relatively new to us – we were at the beginning of the generational wave that relied on email to communicate with professors and classmates. Most of us had been using your typical MSN or Yahoo search when trying to find something useful or specific on the Internet. But then my friend told me to try this new thing called Google. Better than any search engine that he knew about. It was cool, and he insisted that sooner or later, everyone would use Google. The way he talked about it, you’d think he held stock in the company.

Fast forward 10 years.

(Holy crap. 10 years. This reminds me that I got an email about my 10-year college reunion, even though it’s not until June of 2012. But that’s another post entirely.)

Today, my life seems to revolve around Google. On my computers at home, Google is my home page – on my Google web browser, where I check my Google email and read the Google News. Even this blog uses Google to its advantage (and to mine – without Google Analytics, I would have no way of knowing where all of you are when you read this). I buy things using Google Checkout. My phone? Android – which is also Google. On that Google-powered phone, I also check my Google email and find directions from place to place using Google Maps (with navigation). I even have the Google Sky Map to tell me what stars I’m looking at, even if it’s daytime.

“To Google” is a verb. If you want to give a snarky response to someone who poses a stupid question on an internet message board, you can post a link to “Let Me Google That For You,” which will send the questioner to a web page that looks just like Google, but it shows someone else typing the question into Google and getting the response.

Google is everywhere.

Ten years ago, there was no way for me to conceive of what Google would become. How could I? But today I was reading an article (which I found through the Google News page) talking about Android 3.0, and I realized that Google is practically omnipresent in our society. And then I remembered my friend, telling me to try this cool new search engine. Now Google is everything.

What simple thing do we have today that in 10 years will be as ubiquitous as Google is now?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Crazy

I love shopping sometimes.

Three months ago, you wouldn't have seen me say that. Well, I used to hate shopping for clothes. It was depressing. I always seemed to end up in the same size, if not the size bigger. It was an adventure, trying to squeeze into the largest size they carry in any given store.

Today, though, was different. I strolled into the changing room with the same size I always wear. I knew that some of my pants are a bit big on me these days thanks to the weight I've been losing, but it could be just that they've gotten stretched out. The pessimist in me was convinced that I wouldn't be able to get into a smaller size - the regular size would just be more comfortable now.

I tried on the jeans. A little tight, but that always happens with these kinds of jeans - by the time I get home, they'll be too big. I decided to go ahead and get the jeans because I'm getting desperate for them.

I also tried on a pair of work-appropriate slacks. I had no problems at all buttoning or zipping them. I looked at myself in the mirror and noticed a significant bagginess around the butt region. These pants were too big.

The pants were too big! It's been YEARS since I've had that problem. I poked my head out of the fitting room and asked the attendant for a size smaller. She smiled and said she'd be right back. After a minute or two, she was there, and I went for it. I thought about holding my breath, but decided that wouldn't be a very good idea. So I just took them off the hanger and put them on my legs. And you know what? They went on fine. They weren't too tight in the thigh. I could button them and zip them.

I looked in the mirror again. They weren't awkwardly tight. I could breathe. It was amazing. I wear a size smaller now.

I've lost enough weight that I need smaller pants. This is a milestone. Where's the champagne?

So to celebrate, I went ahead and spent some of my tax refund in advance. I bought a new little netbook PC. I'm using it now to write this post. I think it'll be great for when NaNoWriMo comes around again.

Also, did I mention that I had a date yesterday? It was amazing. Wonderful. We sat at a coffee shop and chatted for about four and a half hours. I loved it. Never a lull in the conversation, and we have a lot in common - but not too much that it would be boring. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, though. I have to let things happen at the speed they happen. I don't want to scare another one off.

But yeah, I'm in a great mood today. I have new pants. New SMALLER pants. And a new smaller computer. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I wish I weren't so tired right now. There's a lot I want to talk about in this post.

First of all, I have a new pic to use in all my online profiles.

Thanks to some random nerdery I associate with, I became aware of an artist named Len Peralta. He does... well, really nerdy/geeky stuff. He's most known for a project called Geek a Week, where he made trading cards featuring notable faces in the geek community. You can read all about it here. Anyway, they're selling the cards on Think Geek, so I think I might head over there one of these days and actually buy them.

But Len also has a project called Flip Face, where he'll make a custom avatar for you. After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, he announced on Twitter that he would take $5 from every Flip Face sale and donate it to relief efforts in Japan if you indicate "Help Japan" in the special instructions when you order. Bonus, because it's Japan, he'll do the avatar in an anime style. So I'm on board, I ordered my new face, and there it is up there. I love it.

You see, I'm completely torn up about what's happening in Japan. There have been a lot of earthquakes lately it seems, but for some reason this one was the one that really hit me. I'm emotional about it, and I feel completely useless. So if I can buy a custom-drawn picture of myself and help? I'm going to do it.

I like creative ways to help others. Sure, $5 is minuscule compared to what is needed, but it's better than nothing. I don't have a lot to give, and so I had to do something.

Plus, I'm also supporting an artist. One I'm a fan of. That counts for something, too.

Ok, that took longer than I thought it would. Other stuff I want to touch on: I have a date this weekend. The guy makes me smile, and that counts for a lot in my book. We'll just leave it at that.

And I'm going to a new gym. Not Lifetime. This one is in the building where I work (exclusive for tenants of the building). A couple work buddies and I took a class over our lunch hour today. It was amazing. Hard work, but worth it. I think I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

And that's all for now. I need to go to bed. I'm super tired.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fat Love in Primetime

This entry is entirely about the show Glee. It will contain spoilers through the episode that aired tonight. If you care and you're behind, please catch up and then read this episode.

All right, disclaimer out of the way.

I'm a big proponent of fat acceptance. If you're not familiar with that concept, it ties in with the idea of "health at any size," which implies that a person's health isn't solely determined by the size of their body. Overweight people, especially women, have it rough in our world. We're imperfect - far from it - in the eyes of our society. Because we're not thin, we cannot be beautiful - at least that's what we're taught from a very young age.

That's just a bit of background for you (if you're interested in reading up on fat acceptance, check out the website for NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance).

Glee is currently one of the most popular shows on TV. It even got the post-Super Bowl spot, which I think is impressive. Granted, that was probably one of the worst Glee episodes ever, but that's ok. The story line I want to talk about really started last week.

My favorite character on Glee is a guy named Puck. He's a tough-guy, bad-boy type, and very good-looking (even with that stupid mohawk thing). Another character is a girl named Lauren. And she's a Big Girl. She's also tough (she's on the school wrestling team).

Last week, Puck announced that he's got a thing for Lauren. Actually, it was an episode this past fall when Puck said that Lauren "rocked his world." I thought that they would just drop that story line. But it was in the Valentine's Day themed episode when they brought it back.

Members of the glee club were supposed to sing love songs. Puck, in his infinite wisdom, decided to sing Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" to Lauren. I thought it was awesome - as someone who is personally unashamed (most of the time) of her own fat bottom, I find nothing truly offensive about the song. I love that song (along with "Baby Got Back," I think it's one of the best fat anthems out there). But Lauren didn't really take it well. One song about fat girls wasn't enough to win Lauren's heart.

And this is the amazing part - throughout the entire episode, Puck continues to pursue her, and Lauren keeps shooting him down. He's not just after her because she's big - it's because she's "badass." Lauren is a girl who oozes confidence despite how she looks. She's not going to snatch up Puck just because he shows an interest - she isn't going to stoop to that. And I respect her for it.

Though, if Puck were after me, I'd be all over him. Dude is hot. (Don't worry - he may play a teenager on TV, but the actor is in his late 20s).

Anyway, where was I? Right. Puck and Lauren. He actually uttered the phrase "How hot is she?" after she sang her song in tonight's episode.

Hot. A fat girl. On primetime, national television. On one of the most watched shows on TV. We now have a precedent for fat love in primetime.

I love it.

However, I'm worried. I'm afraid they're going to turn it into something... more than just a teenage romance plot line. They're either going to turn it around and make it about Lauren's health, or Puck is going to "wake up" and realize that Lauren isn't conventionally attractive. I doubt they're going to leave it as it is. I just hope they actually get together before they end the story line.

Am I reading too much into this? Maybe this isn't some grand gesture of a trend toward size equality in America. Maybe it's just a TV show.

Either way, I'm enjoying it. I like seeing the hot guy chase the fat girl. Hopefully the rest of the world will follow suit.

EDIT: This doesn't mean that I'm going to give up on the whole weight-loss thing. I have my own reasons for that, and I'm still determined to do it. It's still going well.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Fire

Most of you who read this little blog are either Twitter followers of mine, or you're my friend on Facebook. If you've seen any of my posts on either site for the past few Mondays, you'll notice that I've been losing a bit of weight.

I feel fantastic.

I started on January 24. That morning, I weighed mumble-hundred and mumblety-5 pounds. (Come on, I'm a lady. I'm not giving out those numbers. Maybe eventually, but I'm not that comfortable right now with the whole world knowing that number.)

Now, this morning, I discovered that the number had reduced by 13. Well, at first it was about 35 pounds less than a few weeks ago, but that was a fluke - a corner of the scale was on the rug in my room, skewing the output. When the scale was solidly on the bare hardwood floor, it was that mumbly number up there minus 13.

13 pounds!

I'm noticing it, too, in my clothing. My jeans are almost too baggy. My work pants are looser. My shoes are even fitting better.

How have I done it? I've lost weight before. I've been a Weight Watcher twice in my life - the first time I lost over 40 pounds, which came back and brought friends. The second time I only lost about 25 pounds and hit a plateau, which I hovered around for well over a year. Then I quit and started putting on the weight again.

I know how Weight Watchers works. I know what needs to be done to lose weight. It's a basic formula - calories in, calories out, right?

But those of you who have struggled with weight issues know that it's never that simple. On paper, sure. It's a piece of cake when you just think about it. But the problem is that your head always gets in the way. That pesky brain has a hard time wrapping its little grey matter around the concept: eating less crap and moving more = weight loss.

Well, that's not entirely it. My brain gets it. I think it must be my subconscious. My will. I know what it takes, but to actually do it? That's been nearly impossible in my life.

I know that I've barely started this adventure this time around. Maybe I'll hit another plateau. But I'm trying not to think that way.

You see, I've realized that it's all about the way I think. I'm entering this adventure with an entirely different mentality about how I'm going to lose the weight. I keep thinking about how much I want it. And I've tried hoping and wishing and praying. When it comes to something like major weight loss, that sort of thing just doesn't cut it. It requires action - both physically and mentally. Even emotional action.

In my first week, I lost 3 pounds. In all my previous weight loss attempts, I lost much more than that in the first week. But that's not a big deal - because this time feels different. I know it's different.

After that first week, I really wanted to go to Caribou Coffee and get a white chocolate mocha. But then I told myself: I didn't lose 3 pounds by drinking mochas. I was drinking tea. So instead of getting the mocha - even though I was convinced that I really wanted it - I got a cup of tea.

I wanted a bacon cheeseburger and fries for lunch. But I told myself: I didn't lose those 3 pounds by eating burgers and fries. So I went to Subway and got a chicken sandwich with no mayo and lots of veggies.

I went to a Super Bowl party that week, and I was surrounded by fantastic-looking food. I didn't completely deny myself, but I also told myself: I didn't lose 3 pounds by gorging myself on snack foods and chocolate covered pretzel rods. So I ate enough food to sample the things that looked good, and I limited myself to one chocolate covered pretzel rod.

And you know what? The next morning when I weighed myself, I was down another 6 pounds, for a grand total of 9 pounds.

NINE POUNDS. That's something. Granted, on a person as large as me, it's barely a dent in this ample frame, but it's still noteworthy - especially to someone like me who has struggled with this for my entire life.

You see, I really like food. I REALLY like food. But it's nothing that I can't control with the power of my mind. I love things like french fries. So you know what? I eat french fries on Friday nights when I go to the bar with my buddies. One night a week, it's not going to hurt me to eat fries. In the last 3 weeks, I've eaten quite a few Friday night fries. And I'm still losing weight.

But you know what else I like? Shrimp. And shrimp isn't that bad. In fact, tonight for dinner I'm going to make a salad with shrimp and toss it with a light balsamic vinaigrette. It will be great.

This morning when I stepped on the scale, I was down another 4 pounds, bringing the grand total to 13.

It feels really good. I love the way this feels, and I love all the encouragement and kudos I'm getting from my friends, family, and coworkers.

It's all in my head. I want this, I know what I need to do, and I know what I need to stop doing. I'm moving more, and I'm eating fewer fried foods and sweets (in general - I haven't cut them out completely), and I'm drinking less diet soda and more tea and water.

I can't wait to step on the scale next week.

I can't believe I just wrote that. "I can't wait to step on the scale next week." That must mean I'm doing something right.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Single in America

I've got a lot of blog posts simmering on the back burner right now. Tonight's topic: Valentine's Day. Have to go for this one while the time is right.

I'm single. Most of you knew that, but for any potential new readers out there, that's my current status. Single. Not married. Never been married. Never had a relationship for more than 4 months. Nothing that can be described as anything other than "casual."

Normally, my single status doesn't bug me. I date every once in a while. That's fine. It's fun, I enjoy it. But I also have a strong support system of family and friends. They keep me sane.

A friend and I were emailing today about marriage. She's not married, either, but she is in a solid, committed relationship and has been since college. They like where they are, and they feel no need to be married. That's fine. I get it. I think it would be weird if they got married - it's just who they are.

But the conversation got me thinking. I'm 30 years old. Single. Never been married.

And, somehow, these two simple facts - age 30 and never married - made me feel inadequate. No, it's more than that. I feel like I have somehow failed in life because I'm not married. I look at the important people in my life, and I realize that a large percentage of them are now, or have been, married. My mom and dad are both remarried after their divorce (which is an impressive feat for my lesbian mother). My grandmother on my dad's side has been married forever, and my grandmother on my mom's side has been twice widowed, now on her third husband. The majority of my family, in fact (with the exception of a couple siblings and some cousins), is married, or at least has been married at some point in their lives. Even my best friend has been married.

So what's wrong with me? Why haven't I been married? Nobody has even been in a position to ask me to marry him. And, somehow, this is my problem.

It's our society. Our culture dictates that there is a certain order to things in life. You grow up. You go to college (or you don't). You graduate, and you get a job. You meet a nice boy or a nice girl. You fall in love, and maybe even move in together. You get married, you buy a house, you pop out babies, then you watch those babies go through the same thing. The cycle continues until you die.

Have you ever noticed how incredibly difficult it is to be single in America?

Everything we do is designed for couples or families. Tables at restaurants have a minimum of two chairs. Tickets for events are commonly sold in pairs (and if you win them on the radio or something, it's ALWAYS a pair). Traveling? Try paying cab fare without having a partner to share the cost. Living by yourself is difficult, too, as everything in our culture is designed for a double income. Without roommates, paying for all the costs of living is astronomical. I can't afford to live by myself, even though it's what I really want to be doing right now. As it is, I can't afford a car because the expense of that on top of everything else is too great. I don't have a family plan for my phone because I don't have a family. I think the only thing where it benefits me to be single is my health insurance.

Being single is expensive.

And, of course, there are things like Valentine's Day. Yes, it's the day where all the advertisements tell you that it's the day to be with your special someone, to tell them how much you love them - hey, maybe it's a good time to buy her a ring and get married. Because that's what you're supposed to do.

It's things like this that just perpetuate the concept that marriage is a natural part of life, and that it's expected of everyone. And if you don't get married, you're going to end up being the crazy cat lady.

So, in honor of that, I leave you with a loving picture of my valentine this year:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but I'm going to give a little bit of background just in case this is news for you. I've been playing on a Pub Quiz team for a couple years now. (A couple years? Has it really been that long?) It's a team of five people - we were all coworkers when we started playing - and we play monthly quizzes at Brit's Pub in downtown Minneapolis. Each quiz consists of 6 rounds of questions:

1. Current events - 12 questions
2. Pictures (we're given a sheet of paper with 10 pictures on it, and we have to identify them - sometimes it's movies, sometimes people, sometimes flags - that sort of thing) - 10 questions
3, 4, and 6. General knowledge/trivia - 12 questions
5. Music round - 10 questions. They'll play a song and we have to identify title/artist (sometimes this varies, but there's always a music round).

Points are tallied at the end and the top 4 teams walk away with prizes. The scores are logged and at the end of the year, there's a "Grand Final" for the top teams to determine the champion for the year.

Historically, my team (Meditations in an Emergency) has performed adequately. We put up a good fight, and usually finish in the top 10 or so (there are probably around 30 teams each night). Last year at the Grand Final, we were miserable - got off to a rocky start and climbed our way up to mediocre. It was borderline embarrassing.

We qualified again for the Grand Final in 2010, and the event happened last night. We were short a teammate, and none of us were very optimistic. Our performance hadn't been the best in the past few months. We went for the fun of it.

Round 1 was pretty easy. Most teams got a majority of the answers correct, and at least half the room was ranked in the top 4 places. We were up there, but not at the top.

Round 2 was tricky, but my teammates figured it out pretty quickly. We had to match up pictures of Time's Person of the Year with the year they won the honor. We lost 3 points on that round, and we were still near the top of the pack, but not out in front.

Round 3 was average, and I don't think there was much turnover in the rankings.

Round 4 must have gone well for us. As we're listening to the rankings, I catch the news that our team is out in first place.

We were in no place to count our chickens, though. Round 5 is the music round, historically our worst round. We usually drop a few places by the time it's done.

There's usually a theme to the music round. When it's announced, I know that this time it's going to be different. The theme? Musical theater. They'll play the beginning of a show tune, and we have to identify the musical it comes from. No need to name the song or the artist - we just have to name the show.


The first song starts, and we're off to a great start. "Happy Talk" from South Pacific. So many familiar songs, so many shows that someone in our team knows. Phantom of the Opera. The Lion King. Rent. Evita. We knew all of them but one, and we were able to make an educated guess. None of us had seen Les Miserables, but it's one of the more famous shows these days. And the music sounded like it could be from that show. We wrote it down.

It was right.

We swept the music round.

A feat never before performed by Meditations in an Emergency.

This meant we were still in the lead. We were still winning. After the music round!

One more round remained. We knew some of the answers. Some of the questions were easy. Some were guesses. Some we had no clue. In the end, we had no idea if we were still going to be on top. But we had a chance.

My heart was pounding as the answers were read. We got more wrong than I would have liked, but it wasn't an embarrassing performance.

The final scores are announced, and they always start from the bottom and work up the list. Two teams tie for 3rd place. Neither of them is our team.

2nd place announced. Last year's winners. Not us. I know what this means in my head, but I can't really reconcile it until I actually hear our name.

Meditations in an Emergency. First place in the Grand Final. 2010 Brit's Pub Quiz champions!