Thursday, January 25, 2018

Health Update First of 2018

Monday was my check-in with the endocrinologist. Last check-in was early November 2017 and I had just started the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet just then and we wanted to see what would happen. I didn't stick to the eating plan during the holidays, but I did show good numbers at the beginning.

However, my A1C crept up: 8.0 from 7.7 in August 2017. So my doctor said I have to get my morning numbers under 150 in a month by going back on the eating plan and increasing my exercising. Otherwise, I'll have to start taking bedtime insulin. My family history is once started on insulin, they never got off of insulin. So naturally, I'd rather not be on insulin especially since there is no other method of delivery other than injections. *Shudder*

Eating plan: Chose a meal to have carbs with, lunch or dinner. You can have whatever you want but you have to eat it in one hour, otherwise your body pushes out another dose of insulin and then the cycle starts all over again. In my pre-holiday experiments, I found lunch worked best for having normal blood sugar on my after-supper check.

Beginning weight is 191 lbs. My muscle tone is pitiful flat. My fasting blood sugar level on lab day was 188.

Monday: I made the carb meal breakfast. That was a mistake, I was ravenous for supper and the dressing I put on the salad shot my sugar up. Tuesday: I saw it was the salad dressing because I ate the exact same meal for supper minus the salad. Wednesday: Since I was leaving early for my chiropractic appointment, I thought about changing the carb meal to supper. I changed my mind by lunch and ordered a taco salad. It got made with refried beans and rice in the salad. I never order it with them, but decided to eat it like that rather than cause a fuss plus the chocolate cake I picked for desert. Even though I finished in the hour time frame, my blood sugar shot up and stayed there. Supper ended up being chicken noodle soup because I had convinced myself I had carb-free meals in my freezer and I didn't need to stop for a salad. I didn't. Thursday today: the blood sugar came on down over night 159 is higher than we want, but better than what it was when I went to bed. I had a carbs in my Chinese lunch but I didn't go get any chocolate. And I will pick up a salad on my way home tonight.

NOTE: Carb or carbohydrates is my short-hand for food that sends the blood sugar skyrocketing. It's a list of starches and certain vegetables and fruits.

Exercise: I had made up a routine of yoga and body-weight routines and then refined it with actual rest days back in December and promptly didn't do it. I dusted it off, refined it again, so I know what I want to do, but I still have the issue of when.

  • The alarm is set for 4:30 a.m.
  • I have to leave the house between 5:45 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. to miss the worst of the commute traffic and get to work on time
  • paying job is 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and once I eat lunch there's no time to workout then
  • usually get home between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • supper, writing, or a little unwinding
  • bedtime at 8:30 p.m. for 8 hours of sleep.

Seriously, if we had the Flintstones' push cars so I'd have constant exercise on the commute, I'd be the healthiest damn person on the planet. :p

Right now, my plan is to do my most involved workout on Saturdays and do the others as soon as I wake up on workdays. Hopefully, I won't have to shift my wake-up time.

Also my chiropractor fussed about how I'm sitting too much while at work. "Forty minutes you need to get up and move." I experimented two days with slotting in a stretch after thirty minutes of sitting/two of my fifteen micro-sprints and that worked. I found some office appropriate yoga moves so I will add those in next week.

I'm tagging Monday, February 19th as my monthly check-in with the blog and my doctor. See you then.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Sunday, January 21, 2018

But we already had snow?

This past week was so off-kilter and it wasn't just due to me fighting off a head cold all weekend.

  • 1/15 = Off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • 1/16 = back to work because I didn't have a fever despite the head cold making me miserable since Friday. I didn't realize how bad the weather was predicted to get. We were sent home at 2 p.m.
  • 1/17 = Louisiana iced over. Didn't lose power this time, but all the interstates and major bridges were shut down.
  • 1/18 = The temperature was so cold we still didn't thaw out until the afternoon. Paying job remained closed.
  • 1/19 = Everything opened up so back to work. It felt like a Monday and I forgot to do my Friday updates. Driving was dicy with ice in a few spots on the surface streets that had been shaded all three days.

The weirdest thing is we don't get two freeze events like this in one winter. I'm troubled that it's a climate change sign that we can't recover from.

Or maybe the ice zombies are coming for us all.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2017 My Year In Fic

2017 My Year in Fic

2017 Fiction Word Count

Progress Bar from Writertopia

  • January: I spent mostly on the Star Wars: My Home is You with a sprinkle Zy's Universe at the end of the month. All I did with Zy's Universe in 2017 was moving the background material I'd corralled in TiddlyWiki into Scrivener, and I don't think I finished that job.
  • February: Writing Star Wars: My Home is You and Zyverse moving.
  • March: Writing Star Wars: My Home is You and Zyverse moving. Writing Rescue the Farmboy AU on a few days at the end of the month.
  • April: Dropped working on Zyverse for the rest of the year, so it ended up being all Star Wars: My Home is You with two days of Rescue the Farmboy AU.
  • May: Star Wars: My Home is You and 1 day of Rescue the Farmboy AU
  • June: only Star Wars: My Home is You
  • July: had a few blank days but I also started my dental implants process, so we'll just assume my jaw hurt too much to write. I did finish Star Wars: My Home is You first draft and started editing.
  • August: Editing Star Wars: My Home is You and at the end of August I got started on putting my website, the BookWorm's Library, back online.
  • September: Editing Star Wars: My Home is You and the Library.
  • October: I started tracking how much time I was spending on the different projects by using the fifteen minutes on each task and writing down the time on my calendar. I found more time this month to write Rescue the Farmboy AU while I was still editing Star Wars: My Home is You. The BookWorm's Library went live, so my continuing Library editing focused on recreating the Reference Wiki. Also during this month, I read Chris Fox's book 5,000 Words Per Hour. He uses micro-sprints to add up to 5,000 words per hour. So I put the fifteen minutes I was doing into the micro-sprint idea.
  • November: I started using Chris Fox's spreadsheet to track my progress in micro-sprints and across projects. His idea is you have to know what you are writing before you can increase it. At this point, I'm still tracking and haven't put much effort into increasing my word count. Progress on writing Rescue the Farmboy AU and Tumblr posts, editing Reference Wiki and Star Wars: My Home is You.
  • December: Writing Rescue the Farmboy AU, Reference Wiki, and Tumblr posts. Editing Star Wars: My Home is You and started posting it in AO3 on 15th.

*Snort* I don't think I like the breaking month-by-month format, so I doubt I'll use it next year. But hey, I did not burn out and skip a whole month of writing! This is solid progress. I'm much stronger on tracking what I'm doing, but I'm putting way too much on my daily plate.

Stories I Finished:

Star Wars: My Home Is You still needs some beta-reading at the end, but it's finished enough to post for people to read.

Stories I Didn't Finish:

Zyverse: I need to finish the moving it into Scrivener, so I can edit what I already have written and move into new stories in that universe.

Rescue the Farmboy AU: I found the movie script online for A New Hope so I no longer had to depend on me transcribing the YouTube snippets! Writing is moving so much faster now on that, but I do think I will have to rewatch during an editing pass so I can describe the sets.

Never touched Strix: Forget the Sun for the whole year.

My favorite story this year: Star Wars: My Home is You

Story most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion: Strix: Forget the Sun because I keep forgetting to write it!

Most fun story: Rescue the Farmboy. Luke and Biggs go to the Imperial Academy, and Luke ends up with both Vader and the Emperor wanting him alive and dead respectively. They hitch a ride back to Tatooine with the Senator of Alderaan, but Vader ends up with Luke despite their best efforts.

Stories I wrote that I never thought I'd write: Still Star Wars fanfic. After an awful fix-it fic I wrote back in high school when Kevin J. Anderson ruined Yavin 4 and a missed chance to write for the Star Wars Adventure Journal, I figured I was content to just read, watch, and cosplay. Episode VII awakened more than just the Force.

And I reread that filed high school fix-it fic, it is awful. The only believable part is the petulant teenager because I was a petulant teenager writing it.

And now I feel Disney-Lucasfilm ruined the sequel trilogy they started. I have no idea how this petulance will come out.

Hardest story to write: Strix: Forget the Sun because I keep setting it aside.

Biggest disappointment: That I forgot about Zy's Universe. Again.

Biggest surprise: Micro-sprints and tracking them! I've been doing micro-sprints my whole writing life, but tracking them is the secret of keeping myself focused on the writing task at hand and how I can tell my defective brain that yes, I have accomplished this much today.

What's your favorite piece of dialogue you wrote this year? From Rescue the Farmboy's version of A New Hope (I haven't decided if I should keep the movie titles or not):

     Telepathy works easiest between Force users and Force sensitives. It takes effort and concentration, but less effort than if you’re trying to send something to someone who isn’t a Force user. Form the words you want to say, speak out loud if that helps, and push the words into the connection between us.
     His eyes were already closed, but he squeezed his eyelids tighter. “Hi I’m sorry.” Then he shoved the words and just his words into the connection that still looked like a wire.
     He felt the words hit her like a blow and a headache began. Her mental voice shook a bit when she responded. Not so much effort. Kriff, you’re powerful.

What's your favorite piece of description or narration you wrote this year? From Rescue the Farmboy AU:

Nothing distracting was happening, kest! Damn the Empire! Her hands curled and her fingernails dug into her palms. She thought she had hated the Empire before with its brutality against non-humans and its rigid tyranny against democracy and its subjugation of any protest with callous military might. Now pain lanced her palms but that didn’t halt the shaking vibrating her arms. This was hate, a hot fire under her skin, wanting to seize the Emperor in his black robe and set him alight with it. Her ears under her hair buns were already aflame.
     “Leia,” General Kenobi said.
     She twisted to stare at him, not that she could see in the dark. But why take the chance of giving away their hiding place? The entry ramp was extending down with a hiss of hydraulics.
     We do not need voices, Padawan. General Kenobi’s voice in her head was amused by her confusion, but soon it turned grave. Do not let hatred dwell inside you, Leia. Hate leads to suffering.
     She couldn’t articulate her feelings into words as the boots marched over their heads. That sound and the idea of the Empire just elicited an inner howl of grief that pierced like the hunting cry of a stalking bird now extinct with the rest of Alderaan. The vortex was numbing the fire, but felt like it was pulling her down into the never-ending cold.

Looking back, did you write more fic than you thought you would, less, or about what you predicted? I reached about 47% of my goal, which is ended up being more words than I wrote last year, but it only turned out to be 282 words per day.

Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them? Tracking is so useful for shutting up my brain that keeps swearing I never do enough of everything (writing, chores, etc.). I feel good that I'm not wasting my free time at the paying job, but I need to transfer it to the weekends and holidays.

Did you meet last year's goals?

That's a no, and boy, how is it a no.

  • Reach 130,000 words in the stories in Zy's Universe.
    • Edit Stellar Gift of Death to a draft ready for beta reading -- didn't start
    • Edit "Words of Parting" according to the feedback I got -- didn't start
    • Edit "Blue Man on the Porch" to a draft ready for beta reading -- disn't start
    • Write a short story on Xeryl's background -- didn't start
    • Write the Ail 12 on vacation case that ended in a shootout (new take on the "Case of the Hideous Medallion") -- didn't start
    • Plot two sequels to Stellar Gift of Death -- didn't start
    • Begin writing the next novel in the series -- didn't start
    • Move story projects into Scrivener -- started, didn't finish
    • Pay for more Dropbox storage
    • -- Done
  • Finish rough draft of Strix: Forget the Sun
    • Move what is already done into Scrivener -- didn't start
    • Finish rough draft according to beat sheet -- didn't start
  • Finish rough drafts of Star Wars AUs
    • Write Star Wars: My Home Is You (Dark Empire AU) -- FINISHED, posting now
    • Write Star Wars: Rescue the Farmboy (Original Trilogy AU) -- continuing to write this one
  • Post regularly to Intentionally Left Blank -- I didn't keep up with this.
  • Redevelop FanFiction Garret -- This remains lowest on the list of priorities here. -- Never worked on this.
  • Set up a professional website -- This is in the research stage. -- Never researched this.
  • BookWorm's Library maintenance -- Had to reinstall the entire site from my backups this year.
  • Add the Part of the Night series to -- Finished
  • Add more fanfics to AO3 -- Never started.
  • Work on home concentration. -- Namely I need one day of the weekend with a solid chunk of writing in it. I'm thinking of trying a day off a week to forestall my taking a whole month off instead around May. Results: I didn't work every day, but I didn't set an official day off. So with tracking, I didn't lose a month of productivity.

My daily writing plans to help the above list of goals get done:

  • Write 600 daily words. Can be split among the projects. -- After much trial and tribulation, I finally got the formula correct on my Excel spreadsheet to count when I made my daily word count goal. (It is so saved on the template now.) I had 58 days of meeting or exceeding 600 words a day.
  • Schedule a day off during the week; maybe why I fade out by May is because I don't. -- I didn't schedule days, but with tracking I kept a better focus on what I was doing all year. I missed some days writing, but never a whole month.
  • Spend 45/15 after I get home editing Stellar by Ali Luke's Two-Year-Novel Plan. -- This did not happen. I'm really sure it won't with my schedule the way it it.
  • Work in meditation time with Brain FM. -- Didn't try this at all.
  • Do more chores in the morning so I have evening time for writing. -- More chores in the morning is just a good idea all the way around.
  • Reward myself when goals are reached. -- 2017 was a bad year for reaching all my goals.

Do you have any goals for the coming year? The goals from my 2018 one-page business plan are:

  • Reach 130,000 words in the stories in Zy's Universe.
    • Edit Stellar Gift of Death to a draft ready for beta reading. Use Ali Luke's Two-Year-Novel Plan.
    • Edit "Words of Parting" according to the feedback I got
    • Edit "Blue Man on the Porch" to a draft ready for beta reading
    • Write a short story on Xeryl's background
    • Write the Ail 12 on vacation case that ended in a shootout (new take on the "Case of the Hideous Medallion")
    • Plot two sequels to Stellar Gift of Death
    • Begin writing the next novel in the series
    • Finish putting story projects into Scrivener
  • Finish rough draft of Strix: Forget the Sun
    • Move what is already done into Scrivener
    • Finish rough draft according to beat sheet
  • Finish rough drafts of Star Wars AUs
    • Write Star Wars: Rescue the Farmboy (Original Trilogy AU)
    • Write Lucinda's story
  • Post regularly to Intentionally Left Blank
  • BookWorm's Library maintenance
  • Add Media Center to BookWorm's Library
  • Post to Tumblr
  • Add more fanfics to AO3
  • Work on home concentration. -- I want a day of nothing but writing on the weekends unless I have other plans.

My daily writing plans to help the above list of goals get done:

  • Write 600 daily words. Can be split among the projects.
  • Work in meditation time with Brain FM.
  • Do more chores in the morning so I have evening time for writing.
  • Reward myself when goals are reached.

Here's to 2018. We'll get through it together.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Not Really a Resolution

Generally, I gave up on sweeping resolutions that will change my life for the better that usually fall apart in March. I have goals I want to accomplish this year, noticed I need to rely on my checklist more often, and left it that.

Then yesterday I had to file a month's worth of paperwork that I had piled up in my inbox at the paying job. Today I'm chipping away at my receipts and other financial paperwork that I piled up at home.

*Snort* The saddest realization is if I had used my checklist daily, neither of these things would have had time to build up where it takes all day to deal with them.

So today is a catch-up on everything but writing day because I'm away from home for the weekend. 90 minutes spent on the budget and bills and I'm not done yet. So I'm looking forward to finishing tomorrow. Not tonight because I have dish-washing and cooking to deal with.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Surprise Sneaux!

Guys, it snowed all day Friday, December 8th. The weather people had said it wouldn't accumulate and once again Mother Nature proved them really, really wrong. It finally ended around three or four. Fortunately, the powers that be told all us state workers to stay home so we didn't have a repeat of Snowstorm Jack 2008. Unfortunately, the power went out around 7 am and it hasn't been restored yet (when I started writing this around 9am 12/09/17). My uncle has a generator and that's where I'm charging the phone and laptop. My house has natural gas for the stove and a heater in the living room, so I can cook and stay warm.

However, listening to the desktop computer's battery beep for hours and losing the internet (which was more a problem for the phone) makes me want to get a whole house generator. That's probably a 2019 or 2020 goal.

The tree behind my uncle's tractor: I have never seen steam from tree bark like that but all the trees were doing it Saturday morning. Power restored 4:10pm on December 9th. That wasn't a long wait at all.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mustard is gone

He stopped eating Friday, so I brought him to the vet Saturday. They kept him overnight to get him re-hydrated to do blood work. He perked up and ate food last night, but today he went back down again. Not eating and barely moving. The bloodwork came back that his kidneys were failing. So I made the decision to let him go. 6:14 p.m. today September 17, 2017.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mustard has congestive heart failure

So here it is, the end of June and for the year I was going to pay off my debts and finish the house improvements, I'm not doing to well on that score. In May, I had a termite swarm inside my house so now I have a three-year contract with Orkin. Mustard had his annual check up, lost weight since he had stopped eating. I thought it maybe due to needed a Senior formula food. He's 13 years old now, which according to the chart in the vet's office means he's the equivalent of 68. I started him in Iams Active Senior and he woofed it down.

By June, Rizzo the car has a suspicious rattle that sounds like I lost a another strut. Thanks to boneheaded financial decisions on my part, I have to push it getting repaired until July.

June 14th, I came home with steaks. Mustard has stopped being interested in his food again but is all over me to get some beef. Yell at Mustard for trying to trip me. Heard and felt sound in my teeth. Thought "Oh shit, I've chipped one" and ran to the bathroom. The bridge on my right side fell out. The back anchor tooth is broken off at the gum line. Most of what's left of my canine that is its front anchor point comes out of the crown. I've lost count how many of these bridges have destroyed my underlying teeth and fallen out. I knew they wouldn't be able to glue back on and I was completely leery of losing my virgin front tooth like I lost the one on the left and one of my back molars in just a few years (if that long). Thursday, the first words the dentist tells me after looking at the X-rays, "I think implants are the way to fix this."

What I would use a time machine for: Go back to when we started the bridges in my mouth and suggest just three implants for the missing teeth we wanted to hide. Give undergraduate college me the knowledge about Primal and Paleo eating and how mashed potatoes and white bread and sodas were what will pack on the pounds. Fly on an airplane before deregulation of the airline industry happened. Go to the future when everyone is aghast over how stupid Americans in the 2016 - 2017 election cycles and petition to live there.

So by July 21, I have everything worked out for the dental implants surgery-wise and financial-wise. My check-in with my endocrinologist could have been better, but that was my fault for not eating properly or exercising. We came up with some solutions and I'm incentivized to work on them because I'll heal faster if my blood sugar is under control.

July 23: came home to Mustard having labored breathing and alternating between hiding from me and just laying down in the room I was in and not moving. He refused to eat the canned cat food, which has never happened before. I mixed together dry and canned Thursday night and he ate that. Saturday morning, we're at the vet's office at 8am. Mustard can't be bothered my the usual fit he shows them.

So the diagnosis ended up being fluid in his lungs from congestive heart failure. He's home now with two prescriptions to take that don't cost a fortune and an appointment next week to see if the prescriptions need to be tweaked. He ate, peed, and drank water once I got him home and now he's hiding from me again. I have no idea what his life expectancy is at this point, so I have to remember to ask that with the follow up visit.

Right after that I'm scheduled for a well woman's check up and probably my first mammogram. Then the week after that, dental implants. Then I should be able to perform bill catch-up on the next payday.

Read Free!
The BookWorm