Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review and 2014 Plans

Last night or early this morning, I had a dream featuring my dead cousin. He was murdered back in October, and while we had been inseparable as children, family circumstances separated us in our teens. I never knew the man he grew into. In my dream, we were digging garbage out of my house and yard, sorting stuff out for recycling. Nicky drove up in a battered truck wanting to confront someone he blamed his problems on. He didn't look like the last pictures I had seen of him, the full head of hair threw off my recognition. I woke up when I realized he is dead.

What a way to start the end of the year. But it was a positive dream. I was rooting out what doesn't work for me and I'm not blaming anyone else for my faults. My finances, health, and writing are not where I want them to be thanks to my choices.

Same song, same lyrics, every year.

But if you're expecting me to go dig up what I swore I was going to do in 2013 and beat myself up for not doing it in this post, nope, I'm not doing it. I do have changes on my mind and I have already tweaked my KanbanFlow checklists, so this is more what do I have to look forward to than what I regret.

Writing including Blog posts: I shunted off the original work again, despite having a productive word count. That's okay, I'll pick it up for 2014. Blog posts I wrote and typed and never posted (as you can see by the post-dated post I've been posting today). I can post daily--see Discipline Under Fire--so I don't think posting every week is an impossible task. So Tuesdays will be my blogging day and I'll compose in Blogger's editing window, so I won't gather typed posts that I don't post.

Three writing projects at once is too many. I never should have let the Muse team up with the Perfect Girl who thinks everything must be done as son as I think of doing it. However, bouncing between two projects hits the sweet spot. Rather than concentrate on meeting a word count--even though I will track it--I'm making a list of what I want to work on for 2014.

  • First draft of Strix: Forget the Sun
  • Second draft of Stellar Gift of Death
  • Post TDKR: Weapon of Shadows
  • Post Part of the Night: the Wayne Legacy
  • Rough draft of the next story in Signs and Portents

Health: I'm officially a diabetic now, my Achilles tendons have been tight every morning I get up for weeks now, and my hips have been tightening and causing me pain. I have to exercise and I have to overhaul my food choices.

The Primal exercise program I developed worked well until I stopped doing it. :p So that's where I'm starting tomorrow with that mix of body-weight exercises and yoga routines. Plus the elliptical machine since my blood sugar and weight are so out of whack I need more exercise to bring it down.

I know what to do food-wise, but I didn't buckle down during the holidays. Holidays are over now, so no more excuses.

Finances: I refuse to beat myself up for what has happened, so my goals for 2014:

  • Pay off car
  • Get current on all bills
  • Stay current on bills
  • Reward car payoff with laptop purchase
  • Remodel bathroom

That's all I'm putting on myself for 2014. Now I have writing, posting, and cleaning to do.

Have a happy New Year, everyone!

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, July 19, 2013

Adventures in Hot Water

You know I've actually got a few other blog posts written, I just didn't post them because I didn't have a picture I need or something. This weekend I really need to catch up on that. But for today in July, let's cover what happened yesterday.

So Thursday started off normally: woke up, went to the bathroom, started getting dressed for work, and spotted a trail of water between the toilet and the tub. "Oh, no what's happened to the toilet?" But the water trail continued behind the toilet to the water heater next to it. Here's the floor plan that I'm working with currently. The water heater is more circular than what I drew.

The water was seeping out of the bottom seam of the tank and dripping to the floor; not exploding like the Allstate commercial. I turned the water to the heater off, stopping the drip, and consulted the reference books and Internet. Everything agreed that unless you see the leak in the connections or the T&P Relief Valve, your tank was screwed and you had to buy a new one. Oh and you should drain it every six months or once a year to get rid of gunk collecting on the bottom. Guess what I have never done after it was installed in 2000?

So I call in to the paying job that I will be out dealing with the crisis. No leaks on any of the connections to the top. While I waited for daylight to find a hose to drain the tank, I emptied and moved the freestanding cabinet between the water heater and the door so it's out of the way. Then I had a "wait when was the last time I threw out stuff from the bathroom" moment, that I curtailed before it sidelined the make a path to the water heater project. Plenty of time to throw stuff away when I move it back in.

About 7:30 a.m., the sun was up enough that I took a yoga mat and looked at the pipes under the house. The advantage to having an off-the-ground house: easy access to plumbing. The disadvantage: still managing to get your butt wet when lying on the yoga mat in the dewy grass to look at said plumbing. Near as I could see, everything was bone dry under the house. So I grabbed the only loose hose I found in the yard, connected it to the drain valve, ran it to the bathtub, and followed all the directions to drain the water hater tank.

Nothing came out of the hose.

The water heater held forty gallons of water. Even though the leak had stopped without new water coming in, forty gallons had not leaked out. Heck, I don't think a gallon leaked out at that point. I double-checked the directions. Still no water. Around 9:30 a.m., I went to Uncle Scott and asked what did he know about water heaters.

He went over everything I had already checked off, but added new bits of information. He had unhooked the hose I was using because it had gotten clogged with something and forty gallons of hot water water was too much for a single person. Mom discovered what was going on when she spotted us looking back under the house again.

His first idea was the T&P valve had went off, but the excess water hit the floor instead of the drain. Nope, it worked like it was supposed to. Second idea was sediment had blocked the drain. We finally got a trickle of water to come out along with rust and some shell-like substance. Third idea was the leak was coming from the shut-off valve and running down between the tank and the shell. We close everything up, tighten the shut-off valve, and turn on the water. The water resumes welling up at the bottom seam.

"I think you're right. You need a new water heater."

So Mom and I went to lunch and bought a new water heater. Keeping in mind that forty gallons is too much for one person, I downgraded to a twenty-eight gallon unit made by Whirlpool. Putting in a tankless system was out of price range, and neither was redoing the plumbing to put it in a different position. Unfortunately, the twenty-eight gallon water heater has the same diameter as the old forty-gallon one just shorter. Which Mom and me both didn't realize, so I had to make a second run to Lowe's for longer pipes to make the connections to the existing plumbing.

But before that part, we had to move the old heater out of the bathroom with most of the forty gallons still inside it because it won't drain. Girls and boys, water is heavy. We finally get it to my back door with the dolly (and after pausing to go air up the dolly's tires again). Uncle Scott huffed. "If your car wasn't there, I'd pitch this down the steps.

"I can move my car." I grabbed the keys and backed the car away from my back porch. Before I can return to help get the water heater out the door, it flew from the door, hit the concrete porch, and gushed water all over the driveway.

"It pitched itself," Uncle Scott said once we both reached the back porch. It also took out a chunk of my concrete step when it hit it, and broke off it's drain valve. Without the valve, the tank gushed all the water it was holding all over the grass. We let it drain while we put in the new one.

So now I have a new hot water heater, icky stuff is still draining out of the old one (we've reached a slime status, I don't want ton know what it is), and have a load of stuff to take back to Lowe's that it turns out we didn't need. There's no way for a drip pan to fit in that corner of the bathroom, hell, the heater barely fits. And I'm trying not to be snarky to people who point out that it's short enough for me to put shelves over it when I don't want it in the bathroom at all so I can have a straight hallway wall with a pocket door.

All for the sake of hot water.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, May 03, 2013

19 Things to Do This Weekend

Okay, so I started jotting things down that I need to do so I won't feel guilty about seeing Iron Man 3 (item #8) as long as money allows it. I reached the end of the sheet of paper and had 19 items. What the hell brain? What happened to our plan to do a little every day so the weekend isn't spent catching up on everything?

Okay, in my brain's defense, 15 items on the list are one-off projects that can only be done at home and hey, this is the first weekend home in a while to do them. The rest are usual chores that I have to do anyway and maybe a few items I can do while at the paying job today. But still, I made the list thinking five items top.

JIMM's birthday went off without waterworks and he racked up some really nice gifts. He's reached the stage of walking with support, so it won't be long before he walks without help.

My blood sugar hasn't hit the 200s since Tuesday, which was the day I was clogged with a head cold. I called in, took some medicine and then went back to sleep for five hours. I don't know if it's the medication (which I've only missed one dose of and I know I packed it, damnit) or if it's the diet. Either way, it's good news to fasten onto. Especially when the weight didn't budge.

And after researching a couple of yoga studios in Baton Rouge, I'll be getting a new yoga DVD either with this pay check or the next one. For the price they charge, I'd want to go to class at least three times a week. Usually the class that sounds like it will help the most is only offered once and then at times that don't work with my work schedule. A DVD is more cost and time effective, which is disappointing because I want to work with an instructor again. And I can test drive my choices via YouTube.

And now I've got 20 things to do this weekend. :p

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Hot Bod Post 04

Well, it's been an interesting week. Last Wednesday I was diagnosed as an official diabetic. So Thursday April 25, I weighed and measured myself and restarted the SHRED diet with the intentions of following the exercise recommendations as well as the food. Doctor's orders: log blood sugar numbers before breakfast and before supper and take my prescription medication twice a day.

Weight189 lbs.
Neck38 cm
Bicep28.7 cm
Forearm26.2 cm
Bust116.8 cm
Waist105.9 cm
Hips117.6 cm
Thigh59.8 cm
Calf38.9 cm

I can safely say I went off the diet over the weekend, but it was a birthday party. I didn't gorge myself, but we have established that my stomach and my eyes have no idea what normal portions are.

Exercise hasn't been as consistent as I wanted. Thursday and Friday I did as close to thirty minutes on the elliptical machine as I could. Saturday my thighs ached but it was a rest day, so okay. Sunday, same pain and I had to get a massage. Monday, the pain receded to just above my knees and on Tuesday, my legs were back to normal but I was fighting a head cold that put me back to sleep for five hours over my regular eight. The cold has finally dissipated enough for me to consider working out this weekend. (I'm hoping; I still don't have much of a voice.) Each check mark that equals one point on the Joe's Goals graph below is fifteen minutes of exercise.

My weight didn't change, but the other measurements did.

Weight189 lbs.189 lbs.
Neck38 cm37.0 cm
Bicep28.7 cm28.3 cm
Forearm26.2 cm26.0 cm
Bust116.8 cm114.0 cm
Waist105.9 cm105.7 cm
Hips117.6 cm118.2 cm
Thigh59.8 cm59.4 cm
Calf38.9 cm38.5 cm

My fasting blood sugar is slowly coming down. For the past two days, it has been 173 and 191. I'm not sure if the medicine has kicked in or if it's my food choices and portion control, but I'm not going to stop either one now.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Kindra's Personal Score Badge

Friday, April 26, 2013

So About April

This is the time of the year when my goals get derailed and I never recover. This year I'm declaring April a skip month and looking ahead at May. In fact, I think we should skip it next year as well. Let's consider the good and bad columns.

Good Things About April

  • My sister's handfasting ceremony went off without any problems day of.
  • My adopted nephew's first birthday is on the 28th

Bad Things About April

  • Mom (with my assistance) sewed two wedding dressed that ended up too small. The saga of the dress has been one stealer of spoons that made me neglect writing blog posts for this month. Luckily, a dress was found Thursday before the wedding last Saturday.
  • I found out my credit score is not good enough yet to refinance the house and consequently restructure my debt load.
  • Boston Marathon bombings.
  • West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion.
  • I ignored Strix: Forget the Sun for a whole month.
  • My division at the paying job is merging with another division. Not losing my job, but not sure what all the ramifications will be either.
  • My six-month check-in with my endocrinologist and my A1C came back with 9. Everything above 7 is diabetes.

    I am officially a diabetic now.

Yeah, April has added up to that kind of month. Please, let's just skip it next year.

Fun stuff before the serious stuff. My baby sister picked out Hodges Gardens and we all found a new place to gather for family visit. Not too far even for the Texas bunch and the cabins are fully furnished (central AC and heat, full bathrooms, full kitchens, sheets and towels too!). I don't have any pictures of the ceremony yet, but here's the best shots of what I do have.

Me and Atticus all dressed up.

Both families together at the site of the hand-fasting ceremony.

My parents.

Close-up of the wedding dress finally found on Thursday by the bride and groom. For those who care about that sort of thing, it's a Vera Wang.

I've had two days to absorb the shock of the officially a diabetic news. The first day was spent pounding the stop button on my GDTape that kept trying to play "you're a worthless, pathetic, lazy, idiot for not taking better care of yourself." Mom and Dad didn't have the hysterics that I thought they would, and the elliptical machine is now in my living room. The Coates stubborn gene is also coming out. I'll be damned if I'll throw myself on an insulin injection. The weight is coming off and will stay off. My neck and shoulders have been tied up in knots two mornings in a row, so I'll leave it to the readers to see how well I'm listening to myself.

Ideas to deal with diabetes.

  • Go on the SHRED diet again with Primal choices. I've got no judgment when it comes to portion control, but I was doing better on it.
  • Daily exercise. I don't get enough aerobic activity, so I want to work that in with the borrowed elliptical machine.
  • Check finances and see if I can afford a yoga class. If I can't, buy a new yoga DVD.
  • Weekly weigh ins and measurements recorded on FitDay.com.
  • Figure out a treat for six weeks of good behavior. A weekend trip sounds great, but I decided on the beach instead of Hodges Gardens. Six weeks from now falls on June 5th.
  • Follow doctor's orders better: take my medicine and monitor my blood sugar.

So, I might as well consider May an adjusting month as well. This is a bunch of new habits to absorb.

May Boulders

  • 20 days of writing on Strix: Forget the Sun
  • 31 days of exercise
  • Adjust my budget after paying off a loan and make room for a yoga class
  • Test blood sugar before breakfast and before supper.
  • Take medicine in morning and before supper.
  • Research a yoga class for after work.
  • Use my checklists daily.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Kindra's Personal Score Badge

Friday, March 29, 2013

Leaving Town Again

Nothing better than starting the day off with an early wake-up from a mild nightmare. Nightmare because it woke me up thirty minutes before the alarm went off. Mild because once I outline it, most people will probably say "what's so scary about that?". I was driving with someone wearing a coworker's face (not someone I deal with on a regular basis, but I ran into him at the elevators the other day) and we found a little brick house for sale so we stopped and looked at it. (There is an empty brick house down the road that will probably be put up for sale soonish, the house in my dream resembled it slightly.) I decided to buy it. (I just had the meeting with the CCFairy on refinancing my house yesterday.) Then the dream shifted to me meeting with Dad and my sister who lives in Texas discussing my desire to purchase this brick house, which shifted in location to between my current house and my parents'. This meeting was taking place in my current living room. Then my father's younger brother knocked on my door to speak to my father and he was moving into the brick house with his children and step-children (all who are old-enough to have their own places to live). And I knew my father had hijacked my buying this house by telling his brother before I had a chance to even make an offer. I spluttered something at my sister, who never answered me and wouldn't look me in the eye either. I turned to my father with his brother right there and spluttered again. "How can you let THESE PEOPLE have what I wanted?" My father's brother sneered, "She's just like her mother." Then I was watching them move in and Dad backed a car that they don't own up to my window and told me to get in "Mustard is at the Monroe house." And that's when I woke up.

These people are just some of the ones I call the white trash I'm genetically tied to. Them moving next door to us again (yes, the trailer I kept wanting to fire a cannon at was one of the children) would be a nightmare for everyone. No, I don't think there is anything in the wind that this could happen. But I really didn't need a dream about family dysfunction when I have to take my mother to my sister who lives in Shreveport for wedding dress stuff.

And Mustard was out all night and ran in after I stumbled to the door after this dream. "Monroe house" doesn't mean anything to me, but it does resemble how my parents refer to houses in the neighborhood by who lived in them when they were children or who built them, and not by how they look to help me identify the location.

Other news, based on recommendations, I've been trying out Feedly to replace the Google Reader. The interface is better after the changes they made yesterday, but I'm finding it hard to get my feeds down. I accidentally got logged into Google+ when I couldn't convince Google that my account name did not need to be the same on my YouTube account. *headdesk* Bye Internet anonymity, I'll miss you. I still don't know what to do with Google+, which is the same way I feel about Facebook.

Can't think of anything else to deal with. I have to run out and buy cat food before we leave so toodles.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, March 15, 2013

Have I Spent Any Weekends at Home This Month?

Out of town to see friends this weekend, and hopefully we can squeeze in Oz: the Great and Powerful. I survived last weekend's trip with my parents, and got more writing done than I feared I would, and picked up some smoke but managed to keep it off the papers for the most part, yeah! But as I passed the pile of cans to take to recycling that haven't left yet while I got in the car this morning, I couldn't remember when I was home last to deal with that stuff. I could look up my previous weekend plans, but more trouble than I want to go through for an answer. I'll just have to stay home next weekend.

I'm slowly catching up on reviews that I've been procrastinating on since the funeral. The "I'll do that later" procrastination has tipped over into "you’re worthless scum for not doing that!" guilt; and I'm slowly battling past that to actually leave the reviews on the merits of what I read. And I haven't even faced Facebook yet. Next week, I swear.

So Google Reader is shutting down. *Sigh* Add finding a new RSS reader to next week's to do list. I've hit my resigned point over the news, and just hope I won't run into any headaches trying to move my feeds over to a new reader.

And that's all I have for today. Time to post this and concentrate on Strix: Forget the Sun.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Hot Bod Post 3

No pounds lost to report this week, though my body measurements shifted all over the place so something is still working. I think I've hit the point where I must start exercising again. And since today was the first day since Daylight Savings Time started that I actually woke up with the alarm clock, I should be able to start next week. Boy, I miss the lamp. The timer went wonky and would not shut off when it was supposed to be off after the time change. :p

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, March 08, 2013

Hot Bod 2013 Post 2

186.5 pounds at the weigh-in, lost 4 in one week! WOOT! I noticed my pants felt looser, so I was expecting at the most two pounds lost. So what a lovely surprise I got in the morning. And without exercising because that has so not happened this week. Here's the weight change graph since April 1, 2012.

I'll be honest, I have been hungry on this diet. Some times because I can't eat according to the schedule and some times because of the portions. Did you know one serving of Brussels sprouts is six of them? I'd fill up one of my smaller containers, so I was probably eating three servings at once. At least that was healthy item to overeat on.

And Atkins protein shakes, *sigh.* I was in a bind this morning by running out of food I can have (I don't want to do heavy grocery shopping until after we get back from Biloxi), so I stopped at Wal-Mart. They fulfill the SHRED diet's calorie requirements and fulfill my low-sugar no grains requirements, so I bought a pack of six. Tried my first one today and I am not a fan. They have been regulated to the "put in lunchbox when there is nothing else and no money" section of the fridge. The book has fruit smoothie recipes in the back, so either I will make those or switch to Naked brand bottled fruit smoothies, which also fit all the requirements.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

I Need More Self-Correcting Clocks

Oh good, I don't have to be my mother's entertainment this weekend; Dad is coming too. *Sigh* I don't gamble, so what I get out of these trips is peace and quiet without my usual distractions to write. However, when I took Mom the last trip, I discovered that even when I gave her the television, had all my papers covering the table at the hotel window (best light), and was hunched over them with pen in hand, she still had to talk and talk and talk and TALK because I was THERE! She was supposed to be napping; she came back to the room to nap!

I love her, but Dad's ears will be there for her to yak to and I will be using the mp3 player and earphones to enforce my writing time. Hopefully, I'll avoid the papers-absorbing-cigarette-smoke this time.

This is one of those free association posts, but it will sound like I'm bashing the 'rents. I'm not, but… okay, here's the story. Dad came to me with a request earlier this week: to look up my grandfather's insurance policies and see what is what with them. To which, he didn't even have to finish the request because I was already giving the answer that we all have to give the public who is confused about what the Department of Insurance actually does. "We don't track what policies the citizens of Louisiana have bought; we regulate the companies and agents who sell the insurance." The spiel can get longer, but that's essentially what many people want and we can't it give them. So Dad's just as confused as many other citizens; no big deal.

Except… except, I've been working there twelve years come May. And you guys have never asked me about details so you know what I do and who I work for? I don't feel hurt, but rather a pull between two voices in my head once I had that realization. Voice One: *Shrug* Maybe the DOI should address how confused people are about what we do. Voice Two: Let it go. You know you're not the kid they give a shit about, so why are you even surprised? They don't know anything important to you and it's safer that way.

I know this is a situation to listen to Voice One. But Voice Two is inside me, and I'm more puzzled that I have this need to hide what's important to me and protect it from everyone.

Okay, enough serious shit this early in the morning. I have to go put my hours in on the paying job. I'm not looking forward to Daylight Savings Time this weekend either. I also need to review things I have read AND answer people's birthday wishes. Pete's sake, why is that making me freeze up?

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, March 01, 2013

Hot Bod 2013 Post 1

Good news, I have maintained 191 pounds since the end of November 2012. Bad news, that's seventy-one pounds away from my goal weight. I'd settle for losing half of it by Krista's wedding and be pleased with my appearance at the event. And I'm not upset with the plateau. With the eating choices I have made and lack of exercise, I'm surprised I haven't gained.

So Mom gave me SHRED the Revolutionary Diet book for my birthday. She's been raving about a talk show host using it (the show isn't one I watch so my brain hasn't retained any names) and has started it, so I'm not really surprised that she helped it along to my house. However, nothing in the plan--except maybe the exercise—goes against Primal principles and it covers six weeks. So I've decided to give it a solid go, with a few tweaks.

Not tweaks on the food or the exercise (I've decided after the wedding, I can go back to the Primal exercise plan), but the schedule. Here's what the book has: Do not eat the last meal within 90 minutes of going to sleep. (pg. 16)

  • 8:30am – Meal 1
  • 10:00am – Snack 1
  • 11:30am – Meal 2
  • 1:00pm – Snack 2
  • 3:30pm – Meal 3
  • 7:00pm – Meal 4
  • 8:30pm – Snack 3
My bedtime is 8:00pm, so no way this will work.

Okay, I think I've done all the math right.

  • 6:30am – Meal 1
  • 8:00am – Snack 1
  • 9:30am – Meal 2
  • 11:00am – Snack 2
  • 1:30pm – Meal 3
  • 5:00pm – Meal 4
  • 6:30pm – Snack 3
That fits my life, and close to how I already eat. Now I have to make the meal plans fit what I have in the kitchen already since I can't buy groceries until next week.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

I'm Semi-Ignoring Politics Today

Happy Sequester Day (and that's all I have to say about that).

So I'm thirty-six-years-old now and will just put this year's birthday down as odd. I still haven't celebrated it properly, and it doesn't look like I will until sometime in March. I'm not disappointed, more befuddled by responsible adulthood once again.

No nasty ramifications from the funeral, so my back is slowly unkinking itself. I read in the DF thread at Making Light that someone had noticed their body reacted to stress/conflict by curling into a defensive position. I'm not sure what defensive position would leave me with a knot between my spine and right shoulder blade that made turning my neck impossible last week. Maybe I was punching things in my sleep instead? Not intending to invalidate their anonymous experience, but see if my body correlated.

Combination yeah-bummer news: the CCFairy presented me with four options for the next step to take after my income tax refund comes in and I pay off my Visa card. I took a deep breath and asked the parental units for their opinions. We all settled on option 2 with a couple of additions: Refinance the house, pay off all non-student loan debts, buy a new car, put a temporary roof on the house, and postpone the big remodel for a year (maybe).

Dad point out my flailing over a new roof ruined when the back of the house is tore off during the remodel—WASTING MONEY freakout—is unnecessary when I can take the slightly used material from the temporary roof and build a shed or something. I was so scared of wasting money that idea never occurred to me. But I have been looking forward to the remodel this year, so bummer. Yet new car because Rizzo is slowly dying, yeah!

The house is cleaner than it has been in ages and not setting off my clean-now panic. Yesterday I had a lapse, but it didn't turn into a disaster area. So overall, I have to say UfYH's 20/10 timing and general motivation has worked in spades.

The next change I want to really implement is to start my day with 15 minutes writing before I even get dressed. Time isn't the issue (I have plenty of it in the morning), motivation I don't believe is an issue (I want to work on stuff), but I picked the wrong time to put it onto practice. Thursday during the busiest week we've had at the paying job in a while. Now I have a new month to try it out in.

February goals altered drastically on the 17th, not that I made a formal note of it then. The new February goal of surviving my grandmother's funeral without being committed or incarcerated by the Extended's dysfunction was successful. That's enough to make one swear off funeral attendance forever more. So how did I do on the other February goals?

February Boulders

  • Use BodBot for a month. – Didn't happen at all. Damnit.
  • Cut out grains as much as possible. – This I've been much better about post-funeral.
  • CCFairy's homework is due Feb. 20th. -- Done
  • Write 20 days on Strix: Forget the Sun. – January: 3 typed days, 2 rough draft days, two background detail days. February: 2 typed days and 5 rough draft days. I must break this cycle.
  • Read through Stellar Gift of Death and wiki catalog details on aliens and locations. – Ugh, I haven't even printed it out yet.
  • Post all the TDKR fanfics. – Have one left to go and it needs to go through the spell checker, so my time issue isn't because I'm wasting time with fanfic.

So looking at the month starting today.

March Boulders

  • Write 20 days on Strix: Forget the Sun
  • Read through Stellar Gift of Death and wiki catalog details on aliens and locations.
  • Post all TDKR fanfics
  • Pay off Visa card
  • Follow the SHRED diet
Hopefully, changing the order will help me kick up my priorities.

Let's close up with a couple of webcomic recommendations. But I'm a Cat Person has reached its second year anniversary. I raved about Erin Ptah's And Shine Heaven Now, and this is her original comic dealing with supernatural shapeshifters and the humans they serve.

io9 reviewed Namesakes so I checked it out. All our fairy tales exists as parallel worlds and people from Earth are sent to them to complete the story. Wonderland gets multiple Alices, Oz gets multiple Dorothys until now when something goes wrong, and an Emma goes to Oz instead. We've got murders, conspiracies, and a Wicked Warlock of the West (it's a title don't you know). I plowed through the archive in two days.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, February 22, 2013

First Thing I've Wrote All Week

It has been a week I don't want to repeat. We had the funeral on Wednesday, and everyone in our dysfunctional family behaved. My comment has been "We didn't have to take anyone out and beat them with a stick; it was a great service!" Here is the tribute page the funeral home put up for my grandmother with the obituary. We had 83 signatures in the guest book, so at least that many people came to a Wednesday afternoon funeral. She started thinking that no one would come toward the end.

UfYH helped me get on the ball as far as housework goes for this past week. The only things out in the kitchen are the water bottles I need to refill and put back in the fridge. Make-up that I put on for the funeral is still out and I need to put that away. And paperwork covers the writing desk in my home office. That's it. Given how I have (especially under circumstances like this where other people need more of my energy than I do) let everything go to the point where a marathon cleaning session is a must, this development feels HUGE.

I took Mom out for a spa day to help her relax and got my hair cut. My hair has an interesting characteristic when the weight of the length is taken off. It flips out like Mary Tyler Moore's. The student and hairstylist instructor didn't believe me until they kept using the hair dryer and brush to make it curl under and the hair would come off the brush the wrong way. A flat iron finally got it flat so I could leave the beauty school.

This morning when I woke up, half my head is still flat. The other half flipped out. :p

This is the first thing I have been able to write in a week. Just when I thought I'd have breathing time to write (just to keep my flow going, not expecting to produce anything useful), the phone would inevitably ring with Mom needing something. And I'm not trying to sound like a selfish bitch, but I need my coping strategy too! Object lesson for this week: write first before housework when the normal routine has been thrown out the window.

Weekend plans: grocery shopping and new cell phone shopping. Last Friday, the damn thing did not ring when Dad called and I didn't have it on silent. Then I plugged it in when I got home and the next morning it was dead. I think it was a battery issue because I got it to charge after checking it, but overall, I'm not in love with this phone so I should find one I like better. Also on the agenda: finishing the thank you cards and any other paperwork Mom needs help with.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My grandmother just died

3:45pm Neller Ree Vampran drew her last breath. My mother was with her. I wish I had more pertinent details of her life to share. I did this biographical interview thing back in high school, but where the hell is it now?

It's not a big shock, she's been declining for over a decade, and it's been especially bad for the past three months.

Best way I can help my mother is by helping with logistics and cleaning their house. I don't think my mother has seen me on a cleaning frenzy before, and certainly not one aimed at her stuff.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, February 15, 2013

Daily Chores and Me Take Two

Last I checked in with Mom, Mama Ree was responding well to the treatment and was due to move out of ICU for another room in the hospital. It's been a few days so I don't know if that has happened yet or not.

I spent the weekend, Lundi Gras, and Mardi Gras dealing with a nasty head cold. I'm still coughing, but I can breathe through my nose even if my voice still lives in another register (or maybe it's just my hearing). The achies are gone, which goes the longest way to making me feel functional again.

So all the chore changes I wanted to implement last Friday fall on this Friday instead. Which is all good, because I found Unfuck Your Habitat this week. Despite my Jerkbrain's insistence, my house is not a disaster area. I'm fairly good at putting things back where they go. My fall downs are dishes—that spills over into the rest of the kitchen—vacuuming, and dusting. So why do I keep having freak-outs over not following my checklists and staying on top of the chores? Third-generation packrat who knows just how nasty it can get if I let my ass fall into the inertia of laziness.

The second part of this issue is I have time scheduled for the chores in the morning before I leave for work, but I haven't been waking up on time so everything has fallen off schedule. I know the biggest issue with that is going to bed on time, which hasn't happened in a while, but last night it didn't happen because I was finding my kitchen again. Yeah, definitely time to have every chore on maintenance level, so I can use the free time to exercise and write and relax.

What I like about UfYH's tactics (besides the sighs of relief with the before and after pictures "I'm not that bad yet") is her insistence on breaks. You either work for 20 minutes and take a 10 minute break or work for 45 minutes for 15 minutes. It may have took four 20/10s to find my sink under all the dirty dishes last night, but giving myself permission to sit at the computer for ten minutes in between sessions was liberating. And I didn't cheat and stay on the computer longer after the timer went off.

So the goal for this shake-up is to keep all the chores at maintenance level (where a few minutes everyday equals done) and to move it back to the morning unless that's completely impossible. Currently, my chores are broken down into what must be done daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.

Daily Chores

  • Make bed
  • Empty sink of all dishes
  • Spend 15 min. on budget subtasks
  • Worked on Writing Project #1
  • Worked on Writing Project #2
  • Worked on Writing Project #3
  • Set out stuff for tomorrow
  • Exercise for the day
  • 30 min. on website maintenance
  • Weekly chore for the day
This works—except for the minor fact of actually DOING them—so the only tweak I'm making is to change the time limits to 20/10s.

The goad attached to weekly chores that if you miss doing them, you aren't supposed to do them again until the days rolls around next week. That way two weeks' worth of ick factors into making you do it. Your mileage with this tip will vary; since I don't remember the last time I vacuumed, it's probably not working as intended.

Weekly Chores

  • Monday – take garbage out to main can
  • Tuesday – Update Fiction Tracker
  • Wednesday – Vacuum whole house
  • Thursday – Change litter and clean bathroom
  • Friday – Pick up whole house and Post to blog
  • Saturday – Laundry and Cook meals for the week
  • Sunday – Weekly Review, take body measurements, add measurements to FitDay.com, and write Hot Bod post
This would be the stuff that's not being done in a timely manner.

Doesn't matter what weekday I put vacuuming on, it doesn't happen. And when it does, I'm cramming it into my weekend. So first thing is to officially move it to the weekend, Sunday in fact. What was on Sunday for diet and exercise tracking is moved to Thursday. Updating the Fiction Tracker works better on Fridays when I'm writing other blog posts, so that leaves Tuesday free to pick up the whole house.

Updated Weekly Chores

  • Monday – take garbage out to main can
  • Tuesday – pick up whole house
  • Wednesday – change litter and clean bathroom
  • Thursday – Take body measurements and add measurements to FitDay.com
  • Friday – Write blog post, update Fiction Tracker, and write Hot Bod post
  • Saturday – Laundry and cook meals for the week
  • Sunday –Weekly review and vacuum whole house
The Kanban Flow looks a thousand times better with those streamlines. The only thing I have left to do is add in the Writing Projects #2 and #3.

Weekend plans: As much as I would love to see Bruce Willis blow up Moscow, I'm broke when it comes to movies. So I'll stay home and work on my taxes and see if I will be unbroken in the near future.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, February 08, 2013

Derailing the Plans

I feel like crap, coming down with the post-nasal drip cough. I dragged my butt to work, dragged my butt home, and the plans I had was to tweak when I do what chores and blog about it followed by curling into bed and not getting up until Monday.

Mom calls me when I get home needing a ride to the hospital after dark. Mama Ree is back in and she has pneumonia. I wasn't planning on celebrating Mardi Gras but I can't believe she's back in on a major holiday again.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, February 01, 2013

February's Here Already

Time is relative, but I think that was the fastest January has ever flown by. So how did I do on my monthly goals?

  • Exercise 30 days in a row. – I managed 10 days. Exercise also doesn't travel well.
  • Cut out grains as much as possible. – No, I didn't stay away from the sweets like I should have.
  • CCFairy's homework is due Jan. 18th. – Done.
  • Finish all alien languages for Stellar Gift of Death - I'm going to run a day over.
  • Write 20 days on Strix: Forget the Sun - I have wrote and brainstormed, but not 20 days worth.
I could have done much worse.

February Boulders

  • Use BodBot for a month. – I want to kick up my exercising and push what my body is capable of. This web-app tailors exercise programs for you.
  • Cut out grains as much as possible.
  • CCFairy's homework is due Feb. 20th.
  • Write 20 days on Strix: Forget the Sun.
  • Read through Stellar Gift of Death and wiki catalogue details on aliens and locations.
  • Post all the TDKR fanfics.
Another do-able list; let's hope I get more done.

I had a good time this past weekend. I ended up playing a wizard, which I don't recommend after too little sleep and too early for cleaning. It was a fun adventure, even if we didn't get to finish it.

This weekend's plans: avoiding the Superbowl and starting Krista's wedding dress. And if Mom isn't up for sewing, I've got writing and housework to do.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Kindra's Personal Score Badge

Friday, January 25, 2013

How did I manage to do that?

So CVS had an awesome sale on Coke products (4 twelve pack cases for $10) along with a spend $30 on specially marked items and you'll get $10 CVS Cash to spend in the store. Mom leveraged this deal into a lot of Coke products. I saw that many things on my shopping list were some of their specially marked items, especially make-up, so I made it my first stop on my shopping trip yesterday.

Why did make-up end up on the list since I don't subscribe to the must wear it every day or there is something wrong with you beauty culture? I do managed to put away my insecurities about how I'm turning myself into a clown with it for special occasions and sometimes those special occasions are just so my mother doesn't bitch about it. I wore make-up to the dinner theater event with Sha-Na-Na last weekend at IP Casino and the lipstick wasn't working right. It finally slid on after generous use of Chap Stick. "How old is it?" Mom asked. Turns out, I bought it when I moved back home from Natchitoches in 2000. So yeah, time for a new tube of lipstick.

Where my title comes from is going into CVS, picking up stuff that was on my shopping list (so I really can't blame it on impulse buys), and surprise at the register: $107! "How did I do that?" Needless to say, I earned the $10 CVS Cash and spent it on more Diet Dr. Pepper and Sprite Zeros (wiping out the store of both and the store was already out of regular Cokes when I got there). So my grocery spending next month will have to reigned in, but if I ration right—which I should do so I won't miss out on sleep—I shouldn't have to buy soft drinks until April.

We made it to IP Casino just in time for the show, which was awesome! The only bad thing was feeling so rushed because there was no buffer in the schedule. The next Friday night show we go to, I'll be sure not to schedule a meeting after work the same day. The only bad thing about the trip was my papers picking up second-hand smoke.

Money matters: The meeting was good, so there was no reason for me to be so nervous about the outcome. My homework assignment this month is to find a contractor to give me a pro bono quote on how much the house renovation may run and to apply any tax refunds to my debts. The hold up: my family doesn't know any contractors.

The online calculator I found made the whole thing sound so out of reach, and I'm not even planning anything massive.

This is what I've come up with this go around. The wall between the kitchen and office that also separates the bedroom and bathroom is the end of the original house. This plan means tearing off the addition that contains my now kitchen and back bedroom and building on a larger kitchen, a master bedroom with en suite bathroom and a closet, a laundry/mudroom with a walk-in pantry, and extending the roof to cover where I park my car. My living room and office remain the same with a few minor tweaks. I want to a built-in desk in my office and I'm leaning toward re-purposing the old kitchen cabinets for that. The bedroom I sleep in now (top right corner) will become a guest bedroom. The current bathroom's plumbing will be fixed to code (real bathtub faucet, real shower installed, NO MORE HOSE FAUCETS) even though I'm planning on reusing most of the fixtures. The toilet is only a few years old and the bathtub is enamel-covered cast iron. I'd rather keep using it than tear an outer wall down to get it out. The roof needs to be replaced and Dad pointed out from this image the roof profile will probably need to be changed all together. Since I know the house will have to be recovered in new siding and I'd love to have more insulation along with central AC and heat, the idea of changing the roof didn't faze me. Considering how well I usually handle the idea of change and how I have waffled about what to do to my house to make it better, Dad was probably expecting this:

Instead, I was like this:

Totally not the end of the world.

Off to my friends this weekend, and a one-shot D&D game is in the plans. I'm thinking of actually not playing a ranger. :D

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, January 18, 2013

So About This Week

So I made a new item for the checklist; Friday is blog post day. And today is the first day I have been able to fulfill it. *Sigh* The goal is to be more communicative than last year. Beating forty-nine posts isn't that hard, but I'm already off to a less than stellar start.


No guilt. Okay, so what's been going on in the past two weeks?

My grandmother was discharged from the hospital on Jan. 3rd, and is in therapy at the nursing home because she had been flat on her back for two months at the hospital and they expected her to get right back in her wheel chair and go to dialysis. Mom reports that she's back to moaning and complaining about everything, so our opinion is she must be feeling better.

The sixteen straight days of rain and gloom and cold finally broke yesterday with real actual sunshine! It's still cold, but sunshine! We've missed you! So why was today this first morning I had to deal with ice on my windshield?

And I accidentally gave my parents a kitten two nights ago. I was ready for bed and shutting down the computer when I heard mewling and not in Mustard's voice. I even went so far as to look at him when I heard it again. Nope, my cat wasn't making the noise. I put my coat on over my nightgown and headed outside and called out. A lanky cat just out of kitten-hood but not fully adult sped out from under my house and immediately twined around my legs. Practically skin and bones when I picked him up and it head butts my chin and being that night was predicted to be one of the colder nights of the year, I brought it inside.

Mustard went into grumpy old man mode with bouts of crazy dervish. The kitten, white with splotches of orange stripes, didn't do anything to antagonize Mustard, but rather "hi, big cat" and found the food bowl and inhaled what was left in it. So my theory veered to lost or dumped; the kitten was too used to people and other cats.

So I called Mom to see if she heard of anyone losing their cat or wanted one. She heard Mustard's growling in the background and offered to take the kitten to her house. Mustard finally stopped chasing his own tail and growling when I threatened to lock him in his cat carrier and put it in the bathroom so I could get some sleep. The kitten's still at my parents and doesn't belong to anyone in the neighborhood. My mother's not a cat person. She tolerated the ones we had when we were kids because a) they lived outside and b) we loved them to pieces. She has no idea what to do with this kitten that just wants to rub your legs all day long.

Haven's last two episodes finally aired last night. My reaction:

combined with "Thank the Powers That Be we are getting another season!" If we hadn't, I would have to go find the writers/producers and demand answers from them.

Diary of a Gold Digger requested that we loyal readers pass out a shout out to her blog, so it will eventually lead to a book deal. I enjoy train wrecks of family relationships (remember I call those others that have a genetic tie to my nuclear family the "Extendeds" for many good reasons), so you guys might like it too.

I ran across this article: Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year, and feels like it makes sense. Much of my habit changing habits never get a chance to stick, but the inner chorus/monkey mind (that is a great term the Buddhists use, must remember to use it more often) starts in on the "how I'm such an awful failure of a person to even try" tape until I give up or just avoid whatever made them hit play. This belief needs to die a horribly fiery death, and be replaced with something else.

Changing your beliefs isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. There are two steps.
  1. Decide the type of person you want to be.
  2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.
Based on my goals for 2013,
  • I am a person who exercises every day and avoids process foods about 80% of the time.
  • I am a person who manages money well to maintain a lovely home that is welcoming to friends and family.
  • I am an indie-published author.
Now it's time to start scoring small wins, so I can feel like this:

Weekend plans: Mom hasn't had a break since we got back from Texas for Thanksgiving, so we're going for a girls' weekend at the IP Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi tonight. Vicki Lawrence is doing her stage act there tonight and Mom had free tickets. Now, I'm too young to have watched the Carol Burnett Show (but she will always be Miss Hannigan to me) regularly, but me and my sisters loved Mama's Family. They were Southern and just as dysfunctional as our own; what's not to love? That's what I'm looking forward to while Mom gambles responsibly.

The only wrinkle is I have to meet with my CCFairy after work and find out if I have any hope of remodeling the house or if I will just get to pay off bills. Yeah, I'm a little nervous about this step and trying not to think too hard about it.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012 Reflections and 2013 Goals

Thanks everyone for the well wishes for my family. My grandmother is hanging on a bit better, though her doctor suspects a fractured bone in her leg that is the reason why it remains swollen. She's been on bed rest for almost a month and it shouldn't look that bad with as much fluid as they pull off of her.

Uncle Scott coaxed some more life out of the washing machine, so I've taken that appliance off the shopping list for now. Mom got hit with a nasty virus at Christmas, then Uncle Scott, and Friday I thought I was getting it. Turned out all I got was mucus-production overdrive in the sinuses. Just enough to make you feel like drilling a hole in your head will help, but no fever or actual impairment. At the same time, it sucks all desire to actually do anything.

So instead of going through my 2012 Goals and pointing out how I failed the big fat failure for another year while I'm hydrating my body, I'm letting Least I Could Do sum up the year for me:

(Apparently, sinus pressure and going slightly dehydrated makes me crankier on myself.)

There, done, clean slate time and be realistic about what you can accomplish.

Rewards for the daily chores I loathe utterly does work, but I need to schedule in time to spend the rewards. Yearly goals fall apart at some point in the summer. And I don't track or put off tracking.

I declare 2013 the year I give myself LESS to do. But the less are doozies, so who knows if this will make me less crazy. The yearly goals:

  • Lose weight
  • Remodel house
  • Self-publish an e-book
And that's it. Thank goodness I have all year, right?

I thought about breaking it down to quarterly goals, but I think monthly will be easier to concentrate on. Then all I have to do is to remember to set those up every month.

January Boulders

  • Exercise 30 days in a row
  • Cut out grains as much as possible
  • CCFairy's homework is due Jan. 18th
  • Finish all alien languages for Stellar Gift of Death
  • Write 20 days on Forget the Sun
Yeah, I'm building in some slack time, because I will take it and then get on the guilt train for doing it. Enough of that crap. This year I will not be taking that train, at least not as long as I have before.

Read Free!
The BookWorm