Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring Detoxing with Abby - Days 1-5

Spring Detoxing with Abby –

Friday – Went to the Golden Arches for one last hurrah. Oh, French fries, how I love thee! Got home, cleared out fridge and freezer to get rid of any temptations. Mm, it’s a waste to throw out chocolate chocolate chip ice cream. I’ll finish that tonight. What the hell. Grocery delivery comes with teas, grapes and blueberries, yogurts, fish and chicken, fresh veggies. Last glass of wine. And the ice cream.

Friday night – about 10. Starting my spring detox with sleepy time tea and quiet music to meditate. 
For two weeks I'm going to focus on positive thoughts and foods for mind and body. 
There's been so much negativity in my life the past couple years that it's really affected my attitude and health. I'm not going to allow that anymore. And this next fortnight is another step in that process.

Day 1 – decaf tea steeping as I take care of the cats. Weight myself and take measurements. Ugh and double-ugh. I look and feel bloated, with puffy dark circles under my eyes. Which are bloodshot. Triple ugh. An hour later, my brain is saying, “Okay, enough joking. Where’s the real stuff?” Drink water every hour. Decide to move – 30 minutes on the treadmill at a 2.9 pace, pushing the incline up to 6 for twelve minutes. Then, Ballet Beautiful one hour class. Who would think that such small movements would make your muscles go ‘hello! We’re awake!’ Breakfast is eggs with salmon and cheese. And tea. Lunch is a salad with chicken and two tablespoons (yes, I measured) of lite Italian dressing. Water, water, water. I swear I’ll hit 10k steps just going to the bathroom. Lots of tea. Dinner is salmon, salad and corn. Sleepytime tea at 10 to help me sleep.

Day 2 - Caffeine withdrawal not as bad as I expected. But I'm seriously craving cinnamon rolls. Some gentle yoga, meals same as Day 1. Water, water, tea, tea. Grapes and blueberries when I feel like snacking. What the heck. Almonds and cranberries – counted out. More water. Sleepytime tea.

Day 3 - Really REALLY hard eating salad when everyone else is eating pizza. But I didn't give so I'm rather proud of myself for that. I think I see a difference in my face but not sure. Could be wishful thinking. I mean, wouldn’t it take a bit longer? Sweet cravings hit as I’m watching The Crown. Grab a yogurt then Sleepytime tea. The cats have caught on – when I make the tea, they know it’s nearly bedtime.

Day 4 – Okay, the body’s catching on. Cravings are REALLY hitting hard. More grapes, more chicken, more tea. Annnnnd ---- crash. Headache city here. Crap. I forgot how bad caffeine withdrawal could be. Add in salt, sugar and alcohol and the body is SOOOO not happy. Sleepytime tea takes the ‘oh, my God, I’m going to cry’ edge off, but still can’t sleep.

Day 5 – I guess I fell asleep at some point because Panda decided I’d slept late enough, and he’d waited long enough for his breakfast. Cat on bladder, head butt to the chin, then turn around and several swishes of the tail in my face. Okay, I’m up. Tea steeping until the darn thing could climb out of the mug. It helps. By noon, I’m doing better. Kinda. I'm hydrated and can see the puffiness has gone down in my face, especially my eyes, and my stomach is a bit flatter. Still, I'm REALLY wanting a slice of pizza right now! I can do this! I might turn into a tea leaf by the time I'm done though.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dreams and writing in the middle of the night

You know how people say you should write your dreams in a journal because they tell your deepest desires, fears, etc? Well, I do write my dreams down. They're my stories. Freud and the psychology world can have a field day considering some of them!

My first published story - came from a dream that woke me up, would not let me go back to sleep until I wrote it down. At 3 o'clock in the morning! So, ever obedient, I got up, cranked up the computer and wrote the scene between Serena and Keith in his playroom. I emailed it immediately to Angela, whom I was working on something else with. I didn't remember sending it to her, but about noon the next day, before I'd had a chance to go back and tidy it up, I had a reply from her basically saying - drop the other stuff and go with this.

So, I learned - when the dreams grab hold of me, I get my butt out of bed and write. (The cats usually like this as they get breakfast much earlier.) The dialogue, the story flow, descriptions and emotions - somehow they all seem surreal, yet more real at the same time when you get up in the darkness. When things are still and the rest of the world is still asleep, the mind lets it all out and the fingers fly across the keyboard.

I'm not saying it's always written perfectly. I'm still not sure how many errors were in that first scene. But the flow is there. The thrust and passion of the story comes out and the characters speak loud and clear as my mind hasn't had time to fill up with other, more mundane things.

I didn't think I could duplicate that process in the daytime. It just seemed so special, so rare. But I found it this summer - during my June writing blitz. I learned how to take the nighttime dream phase and channel it into a focus in sunlight. Call it the muse, or a writer maturing, but the story rushed out of me non-stop and I had a hard time keeping up with it all.

And I loved every minute of it. It was a turning point for me on a couple levels. First, I realized I did have the discipline to sit down and write every day without getting caught up in the distractions of social media or computer games. Second, I'd discovered how to 'flip the switch' and channel it, work with the story and characters.

The first of the Carnal Connections series will be out soon. It's the first of many things - first in the series, first self-pub'ed, and first in a breakthrough I had as a writer. I hope you find yourself as lost in reading Sean and Jessica's story as I did in writing it.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

New Start!

Alrighty then! No caffeine and I'm galloping off like a herd of turtles. Yup, no specific direction at no speed. Sigh.

I've done quite a bit of preparation for my Month of Cleaning and Clearing. I went through all the cabinets, the fridge and the freezer. Tossed out what wasn't on the 'approved' list for October - okay, I ate the ice cream, because, well Fudge Ripple! And let things run out - like the creamer I love for my coffee. There were leftovers that I made into a slow cooker 'everything in the pot' soup. It's a bit bland, but delicious and filling and since I hate throwing away good food, I feel better about it.

I've reworked the grocery list to get this Friday on payday - lots of fresh veggies, not as much meat, chicken and seafood as I would normally get, but it's labeled organic, so I'm hoping it tastes better. The total should be about the same for not as much. I figure if I'm eating better, that's all right.

The Cleaning and Clearing mode isn't just in the kitchen though. I went through my make-up and overhauled it. I kept picking things up and wondering 'when did I get this?' Some things were months' if not years' old (I'm a semi-hoarder) so quite a bit went straight into the trash can I'd cleverly put by the dresser. It's not easy to do, but... to know that what I've got is new/freshly opened, stuff I like and will wear and, most importantly, is flattering, well, it's a good feeling. I'm looking forward to a more streamlined prep time tomorrow morning! No more fumbling around, muttering to myself looking for the color I want. It's all right out in front ready for me to choose.

Now, time for 30 minutes walking and 30 minutes of yoga, then writing!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Start inside out and everything else

I'm charging forward in October and putting ME first.
Here's the plan -- 
I'm taking care of my body with only healthy foods - no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, as organic as I can; thirty minutes at least of walking and yoga daily.
The yoga will be a part of the mental and emotional care. The other part will be ignoring politics and debates and people who demand I chose a side. I do NOT have to chose a side. The whole world has gone batshit crazy and it really doesn't want to be fixed. Everyone arguing is so insistent that they've the only right idea that they refuse to listen to anyone else - so you know what? I'm no going to listen to any of it. The world will keep right on spinning without me worrying about it.
And by the end of October I will have cleaned out everything I haven't used in the past six years since I moved east.
So, if you require your Facebook friends to follow your every political debate, and require action for every single thing in life - Bless you, but I don't have the time, energy or craps to give for it right now. I'm in the second half of my life and I'm, finally, going to put me first. I've been a daughter, sister, wife (albeit briefly) and mother/cousin/aunt all my life and I think it's time I figure out just who I am alone.
So, yeah, starting next Sunday - my posts will most likely be about my cats, writing, and the occasional idiot that crossed my path (okay, I live a stone's throw from the Potomac - so that'll probably be daily). And maybe, if I'm lucky, an epiphany or more about life.
Politicians and professional athletes can go jump off the Washington Monument for all I care right now.
Have a nice day. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Exercise reboot - take three

Sigh. Muscle spasms yesterday were soooo painful! I'm now restricted to walking and yoga. The doctor said she wished she had a camera to take a picture of my expression. She knows I want to avoid the middle-age, menopause middle and that I'm really trying to stay active. I tried to talk my way into doing the Denise Austin DVDs, other routines, anything... she just shook her head at every 'offer' I made. Then she dropped the kicker - walking only, no 'high impact' intervals at all. Well, that just had me practically begging for something more. So, she said there wasn't a step limit.

Win! I think. The Doc knows me and I think I just got played. In fact, I'm 99% sure she let me do all that to think I'd won with no step limit. I'm not sure I care. I can walk until the cows come home and finish up with yoga and the stretches she wants me to do.

I'll start with the aim of getting 6k steps a day for the first week. If my back feels good, I'll bump it up 2k the second week. Cross your fingers!

I need to redo my walking playlist for slower songs - I mean, when the Rocky theme starts, the feet have to move as fast as they can! Any ideas? Please post them!

I've pulled out all the yoga DVDs and books, again. And am going back through them to come up with my own sequences. Do you have a favorite? Anything that really helps your back and core?

So, here we go again - hoping the third time is the charm.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

the good, the bad, and finding a balance

Oooo, Abby was bad. *hangs my head* I went a week without working out. I could feel my back start hurting again, felt it in my body, but still didn't. But... I had two incredible brainstorms - the Hallow's End trilogy, which I've got outlined and bubbling about in my head, and the working title Seduced by His Song - about a singer/actor (think Justin Timberlake) who sleeps with a bartender (Sean and Jessica have slowly built up a sort of relationship over five years) who is caught in his hotel room the next morning - because he raved about his 'incredible night' on a radio program after he'd checked out. (Yup, inspired by Orlando Bloom's encounter). This is seriously the most flowing story I've done since Model Fantasy, which I wrote in the week between Christmas and New Year's.

Soooo - June is going to be all about finding balance in everything. What will help is being able to take 2 1/2 weeks of vacation from the day job and I can focus on writing and not juggling everything about real life. It's really what I'd like to do every day of my life and is my dream.

This is the plan (subject as always to the voices in my head!) - I'll get up at the usual work time - about 6am. Put on the workout clothes as soon as my feet hit the floor, take care of the cats, have a half cup of coffee while doing that, and do a workout - the workouts are going to be mostly Denise Austin's DVDs and some yoga thrown in. Which means by 8am, 830 at the latest, I should be at the computer ready to write. Writing until the stomach says 'yo, we're a bit empty down here', take a short break, and back to writing. Now, I've found that sometimes I need an exercise break, so I might pull on the sneakers and hit the treadmill for 15 minutes or so. And write all afternoon.

When the voices let up or the back screams 'enough!', I'll stop for the evening, do some sun salutations to stretch out (closely supervised by my cat yogis, mais oui), and relax a bit.

Now, this current inspiration - Sam Claflin is the model for the hero - Sean Livingston. No 'star' for the heroine - I have a perfume ad of a brunette up on the wall. Sean is a superstar - his ex-wife says he has three redeeming qualities - situational awareness of when to keep his mouth shut isn't one of them though. Jessica has worked in the super ritzy London hotel since she was eighteen, working her way from dining room waitress to assistant bartender/private room manager in five years. She has a few secrets that trickle out! Jess is one of the few Sean trusts - he knows she's figured a few things out about him, but has never said a word to the tabloids. When his foot-in-mouth moment lands her in trouble, Sean sweeps her off to a Caribbean island and a few other places. (I'm talking super steamy just about everywhere when these two are in the same room!) Oh, I've also got a few pics of couples horizontal on the beach and am playing Chris Isaacs' Wicked Games quite a bit!

Now, off to the day job, while the voices keep going...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

making progress day by day

Three weeks in and I'm rather proud of myself. I'm doing bellydance five days a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays are my early days in to the day-job so if I hit the snooze button I don't beat myself up about it. I keep a pair of sneakers and socks at the office and make sure I get in at least a 20 minute walk at lunch. The other five days, I do at least two DVDs, so an hour or so of dance on those days. I'm watching my portions, trying to cut out the sweets (that's a continuing battle!), and drinking water like a fish.

I've noticed a few things. As I mentioned on facebook, my hips and lower back aren't hurting as much. Bellydancing has really helped there. I didn't start out going full-tilt with the shimmies and hip circles, but gave my body a week or so to adjust and loosen up. And it's paying off. Before starting, I was in what I call constant awareness of pain in my back. Constantly going to the doctor... well, I don't have time for that, or the money. I am extremely reluctant to take pain meds of any sort. (I take a Claritin and my brain is fuzzy for hours, as if wrapped in cotton.) Yoga has helped in the past but I think I've found something that really works for me. Even if I don't lose any weight or inches, the decreasing pain and discomfort more than makes up for it.

Now, I am hoping I lose some weight and inches, of course. I took my measurements on May 1 and will take them again on the first day of summer. I'll post them so that accountability is helping me stick to it. 😃  No pictures though. I'm not that bold.

I've been going through drawers and the closet - lingerie, socks and workout clothes were done last week. Work/casual clothes the week before. It's so lovely to open up doors and drawers and know that what I'm looking at fits, is ready to wear and are things I want to wear. I'm still a bit amazed that I had so many socks that were that worn down in the heels, or how much I had that had elastic that was so stretched out. Those things alone were taking up so much room!

Then last week, things came to a semi-screeching halt - BRAINSTORM! The images, the voices, the characters - they took over and last Saturday I wrote. This week, if I was home, I wrote. I still got my dance in, and took care of the cats, but that's it. Writing Annie and Charlie's story was an obsession. Last Saturday I beat my personal record for daily word count - 11k in 33 pages. I'm absolutely loving this story - triplets, a mysterious town with a magical history, witches and ghosts, murder and sex. The hero is a NYC cop who moves to Hallow's End to escape his pain and the heroine is a triplet who comes into her magical inheritance. It's part of a series and the other two in the triplets are getting their stories ready.

Have a lovely week!