Gotta Have Goals….

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I am extremely goal oriented. I like spreadsheets and gold stars and checking things off of lists.

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In the last year, some of my spreadsheeting behaviour got a leeeetle bit OCD and some of my goals weren’t necessarily the healthiest. So I took off my fitbit, shut down my workout tracking spreadsheets, and tried to get back to a healthy mindset.

I am not going to lie, strangers in the internets, the last few months have been difficult. There has been stress hitting me from every direction. Job stress, home stress, divorce stress, (single) parenting stress. All in all, it’s been a distressing few months.

This might not be the best way to fight stress...

This might not be the best way to fight stress…

I’ve had a lot of insomnia, some not-so-healthy eating patterns (I would probably eat 0-1 times/day if I didn’t see other people), and decidedly too little movement. Those things, combined with a medication I’ve been on that apparently causes an average gain of 1-3 lbs/month (doing the math, have been on it since September, I am completely average), mean that I’ve gained a fairly significant amount of weight since September. This displeases me.

Things need to change.

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My big four goals for the year are (1) more sleep (I’m hoping this will level out again soon), (2) more writing (this is seeing an uptick), (3) more movement (this is where I need the most work), and (4) more job satisfaction (there are plans).

I think I need to re-fitbit (or something similar) and start spreadsheeting again. I’m going off my (prescribed) drugs (totally keeping the recreational angel dust), so I should sleep better and hopefully be able to take off some of the weight immediately. I have a very active 4-year-old and I’d like to be able to keep up and pick him up when he wants me to, because I know that won’t last much longer.

How do I say no to this little face?

How do I say no to this little face?

 

It sometimes seems I’m caught in a vicious cycle. I am stressed, so I don’t sleep. I don’t sleep so I don’t get up early. I don’t get up early so I don’t write or exercise. I don’t exercise, so I don’t get the much-needed stress relief. And repeat.

That about sums it up.

That about sums it up.

 

It’s baby steps. Taking that 20 minutes to go for a quick walk. Actually going to the pool when I bring all my stuff to work. Being in bed and ready for sleep by 11 so I can be up before 6. Setting reminders to eat and giving it a go even when it seems too difficult. (I can usually manage to down something liquid, so having protein shakes on hand might not be the worst idea I’ve ever had.)

I imagine in just a few weeks, I'll look just like this.

I imagine in just a few weeks, I’ll look just like this.

In the end, though, it’s about looking at my life and deciding what the real priorities are. Changes won’t happen if I’m not going to commit to making them. It’s true that I don’t have a lot of leisure time for exercise during the week, but I have more on the weekend, and I can find time if I really value it. So what’s stopping me?

Once I can answer that question, then I’ll be in business.

If finding the answer comes with cash money, I might be slightly more motivated.

If finding the answer comes with cash money, I might be slightly more motivated.

40 Before 40 – Update the Third

I am 1/4 of the way through my 40th year! Things have definitely been going a little better the last month. I’m feeling better (back is better and no more sickness), I’m getting into a new routine (although it’s still hard with Bean…I get to have a routine, and he has to have two routines), and I’m getting things done!

Let’s get started, shall we?

7. Sing a new song at karaoke. On May 6, I totally did this. I sang “Punk Rock Girl.” AND THEN! last week, I sang yet another new song! I am now a new song singing maniac. (I do not have any photographic evidence of me singing, so you’ll have to take my word for it.)

14. Try hot yoga. I did this! On May 5, I took a hot hatha class. I hated every second of it. Seriously. Never again.

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19. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday. So much cheese was made!

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My cheese making setup. Please note the small green stool there. I needed that to reach all the things. My kitchen is a bit on the tall side and I am decidedly not. My friend Elizabeth said, “In the kitchen of giants, you are still queen! You have killed the jolly green giant and used his head as your stepping stool.” Pretty much…

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Curds and Whey (no spiders here!)

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Weighting Games..aren’t you imPRESSed? (Ha! SO MANY PUNS!)

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Parmesan ready to enter the cheese cave for it’s long (9 month) nap

 

27. Get back into my DIY habits – I used to do a lot more homemade stuff. – getting started on that with my cheese. And I have a lot of berries and figs coming, so there will be jam.

This is the face of a domestic goddess.

This is the face of a domestic goddess.

32. Try a new (to me) cheese each month – this month’s cheese was a dry cow’s milk cheese called Cougar Gold from Washington (state).

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My 40 before 40 challenge

Update the first

Update the second

Upcoming Goal Reaching!

I’ve already got a few things booked and paid for coming up

I bought tickets to the opera (6), so that’ll be in the June update. We are going to see a Portland Opera production:

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My friend Alisha and I are taking a barre class (8) and then drinking recovery beers this week!

I signed up for a knife class, and I think that qualifies as (10) take a cooking class. Besides, I need to figure out how to stop stabbing myself now that I own sharp knives.

Bean’s summer vacation (17) is going to be primarily spent in South Dakota where I’m hoping I can take him fishing (20).

I’m back on track with my Swedish lessons (24) which is not going to help me at all when I get my passport stamped on my trip to Iceland (35).

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As for the rosé tasting (18), this is going to be scheduled soon. I want to limit it to 10-12 attendees, (including the adults that are contractually obligated to be there by either (a) being me or (b) dating me), so if you desperately (or even moderately) want to drink pink wine in my back yard in July, let me know and I’ll tell you the dates I’m looking at.

 

Practicing...

Practicing…

 

June is going to be the month of pie and jam and summer award reading books…

Sweet Dreams, Cheesus

I’m gearing up for another #40before40 milestone. I was supposed to be hanging out with Jimmy Carter this weekend, but due to my April back injury, I decided to postpone. Instead, as I have the weekend kid-free, I’m going to make cheese!

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I’m planning on making three types of cheese, because I am an ambitious fool.

Saturday afternoon, I’m going to make a Cabra al Vino (or two). This is my favorite type of cheese and I’m excited to make two of them and age them differently! FOR SCIENCE!

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Sunday morning, I’m going to start my Parmesan (this is the #40before40 goal cheese). And as soon as I drain the whey from that, I’m going to make a German whey cheese that uses wine.

Lest it seem like I’m getting carried awhey (ha! Cheese puns!), I’ll have you know that when I was inventorying my cheese supplies and looking at recipes last night, I had six cheeses on my list. I totally cut back because I have a day and a half to do this AND because goat milk can get expensive, yo!

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The hardest part of making an aged cheese is the waiting. (The weighting is not as hard. Weighting MAKES it hard. I don’t even know where I’m going with this.)

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The German whey cheese will be ready immediately. The Cabra al Vino will be ready in three and six months respectively. The Parmesan won’t be ready until my birthday.

Party with the wine-soaked goat!

Party with the wine-soaked goat!

It’s been years since I made cheese – five – and I’m excited to get back to it. I’m thinking of designating one Sunday a month for cheese making and I’d be happy to have anyone over who wants to cheesemaker. I have all the weird ingredients and equipment you’ll need to make anything from a mozzarella to a brie, to a Gouda, to a Romano.

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(Related: I’m going to need a cheese sitter in August. Duties include turning my cheese over, checking for improper mold growth, and I guess feeding Mr. Fish and watering my plants. Cheeses are the first priority, though.)

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I’ll post pics of my cheeseventures next week when I do my #40before40 update!

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TOIFD! – Four Things Freya’s Day

Happy May, and even more importantly, happy Friday!

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I hope everyone survived Cinco de Mayo (i.e. the day that even Trump likes “the Hispanics”) and Star Wars Day.

I’ve been trying to blog post all week but have mostly come up with such scintillating topics as:

  1. Editing sucks,
  2. Writing synopses sucks,
  3. Spreadsheeting for 8+ hours a day without food or pee breaks sucks, and my favorite:

4. IMG_5683

 

But since none of those topics are either interesting or in need of great elaboration (except maybe the last, and I really need someone to cross-stitch that for me), I discarded each of those topics. Instead you get four potentially amusing anecdotes.

 

  1. I am bad at poker. I always, always lose. Part of this is probably because I’m actually bad at it, and part of it might be my rather abysmal poker fae. (Heh. Typo, but I’m leaving it. My poker fae sucks!) I was talking about poker a while back with a friend and mentioned that the only time I’d ever won big at poker was when I was playing strip poker on a bus in England. We’d altered the rules so that the person with the best hand removed an article of clothing. I won most of the hands! By the time we arrived at our destination, I believe I was only wearing my t-shirt. As I reached the conclusion of this story, it occurred to me that maybe the other people were losing deliberately so they could keep their clothes on. Literally in 19 years, that was the first time I ever contemplated the fact that I’d really not had a legit winning streak.
Mr. Rogers says my poker-playing partners were not very good neighbours.

Mr. Rogers says my poker playing partners were not very good neighbours.

  1. I spend about one evening a week watching too much Criminal Minds and then reading a bit before bed. Earlier this week, I really wanted some comfort reading, so picked out some Stephen King. The next night, the serial killer in Criminal Minds was Tim Curry! My scary evening pastime came full circle.
Sewer Clown is Soothing

Sewer Clown want to sing you a lullaby

 

  1. I know I mentioned a Romantic Times convention summary, but you know what? That’s so last month. I will give you the highlights, though. I attended some good session, met with an editor and an agent, and got to meet some really fantastic people. On the afternoon I arrived, I met up with Elizabeth Hunter (every time I type her name, I type Hunger…do not know what that’s about) for gin o’clock. Elizabeth introduced me to Jeffe Kennedy, who introduced me to Jeni Burns and Shaila Patel. There was gin and champagne and cover models and a distinct lack of edibles (not including the cover models). So very much fun.
GIN O'CLOCK!

GIN O’CLOCK!

me and Elizabeth

me and Elizabeth

Champagne with Jeni and Shaila

Champagne with Jeni and Shaila

 

  1. Speaking of RT…the last full day I was there I had the opportunity to attend a panel on writing serials. It was the best author-led session that I attended. All of the speakers were very good and had excellent things to say on the whys and hows of writing a book in serial format. In addition to Elizabeth Hunter, the speakers were the aforementioned Jeffe Kennedy, the hilarious Killian McRae, and one of my favorite fantasy writers (and almost-neighbor) Meljean Brook. I’ve been interacting with Elizabeth for quite some time, so even though it was our first face-to-face, it didn’t feel like a new meeting, so I managed to not squee in front of her when we met. However, I’ve never had any interaction with Meljean, and I regard her as highly as I do Elizabeth. When I went to introduce myself, I completely lost my head, you guys. I started to hyperventilate a little and I think my voice might have hit a register that only dogs and vampires can hear. She looked a little concerned, and I have to thank Elizabeth for stepping in to say the things I was unable to say. Things like “my name is Amy” and “I also live in the Portland area.” That was even more squee action than happened when I met James Marsters. (I’m now having to cross a few people off my “I want to meet” list, because I don’t actually want to pass out on them. Sorry, Neil, Margaret, and Madeleine…it just wasn’t meant to be. We can’t even talk about what would happen if I happened across Hiddleston, Cumberbatch, or Tennant.)
Jeffe, Meljean, Killian & Elizabeth...

Jeffe, Meljean, Killian & Elizabeth…

 

I’ll have more book reviews up in the next weeks – I just need to sit myself down and write. And read. And write some more.

Happy weekend!

 

Cover Reveal: Elizabeth Hunter’s “The Staff and the Blade”

This will come as a shock to no one, but I’m pretty excited about Elizabeth Hunter’s next release.

“The Staff and the Blade” is the newest in her Irin Chronicles, and it steps away from Malachi and Ava and concentrates on Damien and Sari. I’ve been following the development of this story as Elizabeth’s been posting about it on social media, and you guys! I am already buying stock in Kleenex in preparation. I think Ms. Hunter is going to rip my heart out and stomp on it a little.

*sigh*

SB Facebook banner

Synopsis

Warriors. Lovers. Enemies. Legends.

The Staff and the Blade

Damien and Sari. Their union became pivotal in Irin history. But to understand their ending, you must go back to the beginning. A young singer and a hardened warrior meet and mate, but their life is torn apart by violence, betrayal, and grief.

Yet no matter how much pain and anger stain their lives, bonds in the Irin race cannot be abandoned. Damien and Sari will never truly leave each other, because those who are destined cannot be ignored.

The Staff and the Blade is a novel in four parts. It is the fourth book in the Irin Chronicles.

“She hates me as she loves me. Wholly and completely. Sari never does anything by halves.”

Wattpad readers: Read the first novella in The Staff and the Blade: DREAMS in serial format. A brand new chapter will post every Thursday until the final book releases. Please visit: https://www.wattpad.com/user/ElizabethHunter for more information.

Excerpt:

“You’re calling me naive?”

“Yes.” She leaned forward. “You may be older than me, but you’re still the noble Irin warrior of ages past. This world is not black and white. It never has been.”

“You think I don’t know that?”

“You think every scribe has a conscience and a code of honor because you do.”

He looked away from her.

“Not every scribe is noble. Not every Irin wants the Irina back. Not every one of your brothers would sacrifice himself to protect me or any of my sisters.”

“I know I’m no saint. None of us are.”

“No, you’re honorable. And decent. And good.”

“Sari—”

“And I love that about you,” she continued, even as her throat started to close. “I love your honor. I love your decency. But Damien, the world is not like that. It’s a hard, cruel place with countless shades of grey. People are selfish and weak. We do things…” She choked. “We do horrible things because we think it’s the only way to survive.”

Damien turned back to her. “There is nothing you can do that would make me love you less, Sari.”

She gave him a bitter smile. “That’s because you don’t know what I’ve done.”
~
Copyright 2016, Elizabeth Hunter
All rights reserved.

 

See what I mean? ONE EXCERPT AND I’M ALL EMOTIONAL AND CAPSLOCKY!!!!

Dammit.

Anyway. You’re really here for the cover and that thumbnail up there didn’t do it for you, did it. Let’s get on with it. It is so gorgeous. Those shoulders. Those forearms. The tattoos. I am totally judging this book by the cover.

The Staff and the Blade - Ebook Small

 

You know you want it almost as much as I do, don’t you? Well here you go.

Pre-Order Links

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/StBKindle

iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/SBiBooks

B&N: http://tinyurl.com/SBNook

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/SBKobo

SW: http://tinyurl.com/SBSmWords

GR: http://tinyurl.com/SBGoodreads

Wattpad: http://tinyurl.com/EHWattpad

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