Hello! I am no longer blogging on this site. You will find my new blog at http://www.mimosamorningswriters.wordpress.com. Hope you’ll take a moment to pop over and browse the site and read the entries made by the other writers I share the blog with. Your visit and support is appreciated! Have a happy summer!
My clothes are beginning to look ridiculous on me.
That is, ridiculously big on me. A few of my favorite t-shirts hang off my shoulders and cover my torso like a misshapen potato sack. I can slip into and out of jeans and other slacks without unfastening or unzipping. Articles of clothing I had to tuck away deep within my closet’s outer reaches because I had “outgrown” them–and I don’t mean vertically–are fitting me again, and it feels pretty damn good!
Since commencing my journey to a healthier me in mid January 2013, I’ve lost 30 pounds and have basked in the rewards that resulted from my hard work.
How does one go about losing weight? What worked for me?
It all begins with your “self.” You must acknowledge you have an issue, accept it, and act against it before the problem escalates. Secondly, say “I can.” Thirdly, open up some time for activity. You know that afternoon soap-opera you sit down to watch every afternoon? Or how about that nap on the couch in front of the TV. Or that moment you find yourself wandering into your kitchen for a snack you don’t necessarily need for its empty calories, high sugar and fat content. All three of those moments would be the perfect time to get up and move. Go to the gym. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Incorporate a bike ride. Take a hike. For those of you who are gym shy, don’t be. Trainers and staff are there to help. Allow them to set a course that’s best for you. Log what you eat. MyFitnessPal is a free site that allows you to create a profile, make friends, and keep track of your calories in and calories out. Speaking of calories in and calories out – the secret to weight loss is … are you ready? Drum roll please …………… Calories burned must be greater than calories consumed.
Finally, consider investing in a little trinket that’s motivated me to move, and then MOVE MORE. A Fitbit. It’s an accelerometer that tracks daily steps, calories burned, flights of stairs taken, daily activity level, distance traveled and even sleep patterns. Fitbit offers three different accelerometers and one wi-fi scale. Awesome site and awesome products. Best of all, MyFitnessPal and Fitbit accounts can be linked. I linked mine, therefore, my MFP is updated with my Fitbit stats anytime I come within 15 feet of my laptop. Beautiful!
One last note before I close. Age isn’t a factor. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re too old to lose weight. That because you’ve reached a certain age, it’s harder to lose weight. It’s only difficult if you don’t make an effort. Make the effort, and the weight and inches will trickle off. Some may experience a loss slower than others, but you never want to lose more than 1-2 pounds a week. Slow and steady translates to long-term and more than likely permanent results.
Incredibly, I am shrinking, not in height, but in circumference, surface size, berth, and width. It is not such an incredibly, impossible feat once you’ve made the choice.
We made it! I made it! My whole team made it! Hooray for Team Dixie!
If you’ve read my post from January entitled “Biggest Loser,” then you’re already familiar with my journey’s commencement on the road to weight loss the good, old-fashioned burn-more-calories-than-you-consume way. I’m proud to announce that I’ve lost 24 pounds to date. The challenge I participated in, which was loosely based on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” focused more on eliminating old habits while developing new habits that included making healthy choices, portion control, and supervised exercise routines than it did losing 10, 12, 15+ pounds a week. Our program’s leaders emphasized more on the journey and the process of losing one to two pounds a week in a realistic manner.
I commend each of my teammates for their effort and successes they achieved during the ten week long Whatcha Got To Lose Weight Loss Challenge. I also commend them for continuing their efforts. I’m privileged to have met and made seven other remarkable, dedicated individuals who I consider my friends.
Congratulations Crystal, Erin, James, Kris, LaToya, Theresa, and Tyler! There are no words to describe how thankful I am to each of you for motivating me to keep on going. We are all winners!
A special thanks goes out to the program’s administrators and to our team trainers, Marvin and Amanda, as well as Phil, who led Team Ritchie, whose participants also hit it hard and gave it their best! Way to go Team Ritchie! I am blessed to have also made lasting friendships with members on TR.
Last but not least, I thank my husband for his support and help with taking on the task of “Mr. Mom” every weeknight throughout the duration of the challenge, and to my parents, brothers, sisters-in-law (E&D) and my friends!
God bless you all!
Now, onto setting new goals:
1. Continue on my weight loss journey, making good food choices and exercising.
2. Blog more. I’m a writer. I have a blog. No sense having a blog if I don’t blog. So, I’m blogging.
3. To live, love, write, and be merry.
All my best,
What better way to start a new year and new you than to be one of several applicants to be selected in your local town’s fitness center’s version of the Biggest Loser challenge? I’m ecstatic, to say the least. The best thing about it is that you don’t get eliminated.
Who said losing weight was easy? Nothing ever is. But you are the owner of your fate. Only you can map out your future by implementing factors in the present.
I have struggled with my weight on and off for most of my life. Twelve years ago I achieved a 100-pound weight loss. Twelve years ago I only had one other to worry about beside myself. Today, I have two youngsters that I revolve around. They are my life, my light and the air I breathe. Since I became a mother, the weight I worked hard to lose steadily crept back on. And whereas I don’t regret having my babies, I look upon my achievements of the past with shame. How and where did I go wrong? A busy lifestyle as a busy parent overtook my priorities and overran my health. My health will be in jeopardy unless I take action.
Motivation and accountability is key for me. I like to exercise, especially when I make it routine, see results, and when I have friends to workout with. Sure, people can say whatever they want. “You’ve done it before, you can do it again—you know how to do it!” It’s not as easy as one may believe. It’s fun to exercise with one other person or a group of people. I’m a team player and I have achieved my best successes when I’ve been a part of a group journeying with me to achieve certain goals. My gym’s version of the Biggest Loser weight loss challenge is an opportunity of a lifetime. This is what I need to kick start my journey. With the help of phenomenal fitness and health experts and the individuals on my team, as well as those on team 2, I know that I will relearn how to implement tools to achieve my 100-pound goal and stay there for good.
See me not as an overweight woman and assume I am lazy, see me as the woman who is an achiever.
Top Three Motivations:
1. My children
2. My refusal to become a slave to the healthcare industry, depend on drugs to maintain good health and pay ridicules medical fees.
3. Saving my life.
Happy New Year 2013!
I’ve decided to take this semester off and concentrate on my long-standing love affair with words and story-telling, and the characters that hop around endlessly in my head. I have a story to tell. I have several, in fact.
Hunkering down in front of a desktop or a laptop with your fingers gliding across the key board is an exercise all writers/authors undergo. It’s a good exercise if you know what direction to take. For the last four years I’ve had this big picture story idea bouncing within the walls of my cranium. I’ve managed to get out several drafts, which is an accomplishment most cannot claim. But see, my little issue is that I’m a panster, which is the opposite of a planner or a plotter. A panster is someone who pretty much sets word to paper without a preordained outline. They write the story as it comes to them. There’s nothing wrong with that, except I’ve sort of hit a wall. Pardon the cliché, but that method of writing by the seat of your pants isn’t working for me.
I’m anything but a planner. However, the way I see it is that I’m on a path of discovery. So my creative muse and I have agreed to a compromise. I will continue to allow my panster side lead me on small wandering treks where I’ll reach for and grasp ideas as they manifest, while the other, more serious side of my mind will arrange those ideas in the right categories. A map. An outline. A set direction.
A couple of good books to invest in to help those who, like me, need a little push in the right direction is Debra Dixon’s GMC and Jack M. Bickham’s Scene and Structure.
I’ve got my work cut out for me, and I am as optimistic as ever.
~ Rick and Janie ~
My sickness bothers me, though I persist in denying it. His neglect rings louder than a church bell on Sunday, though I persist in ignoring it. My heart beats heavy in my chest, though I persist in squaring my shoulders.
Rick enters and beats a path toward the opposite side of the classroom. In that moment I wish I could disappear among the masses swarming the Ohio State University campus. He takes a seat next to Cindy and starts in on a conversation. The blonde goddess cheerleader laughs at something he says. From the corner of my eye I see her flipping her long, silky locks off one shoulder.
I suppose my company is no comparison with the slender-framed beauty. All five-foot-ten of lush is the queen of manipulation in her skinny-fit jeans, naval-length-second-skin top, and designer knee-high, leather boots.
I peer up at the board; my eyes go to the professor, Mr. Danner, unloading his text from a shoulder-strap bag. I’m trying not to let Rick’s silence or the absence of his friendship bother me. Just a week ago he cooked me dinner, and then we sat side-by-side under an unseasonably warm, mid-winter, starlit sky, talking. So what changed?
“Can anyone tell me the meaning and proper usage of a simile?” I barely hear my English professor over the pound of blood in my ears. He glances right at me. “Janie?”
I sink in my seat and stutter. The whole class laughs as loud as a live audience at the taping of a TV sitcom. Rick’s laughter is the loudest. My face flushes and I envision a dormant volcano that has suddenly become active.
“A simile is a figure of speech, ladies and gents,” the professor volunteers. He draws in his brows. “Come on guys—”
“We’re we going?” says a deep voice from behind. More laughter fills the room.
“Steven,” Mr. Danner says to the errant kid in the back, “why don’t you tell your classmates what a simile is?”
“Sorry, Teach. Dog ate my homework,” he says.
“All right, people. Pop quiz. Close your books and get your pens out.” A collective ‘aww’ follow’s the Prof’s instructions.
“A simile compares two different things and employs the use of the words ‘like’ or ‘as’ in the sentence.” That voice strikes me right in the center of my chest.
I peer over my shoulder and see Rick gazing back. His face reddens and he averts his eyes.
“Thank you, Rick.” Prof says in his ‘matter of fact’ voice. “Class, you all owe Rick for saving you the trouble of a quiz.” Applause breaks out. “Except you, Steven,” Mr. Danner adds. “I want a full page of similes, typed and single-spaced on my desk the next time class meets. They have to be fresh. Nothing out of a book or the net. Last thing I want is a list of clichés. Waste of my time.”
Everything after that point moves in a haze. Next I’m wandering across a campus courtyard burning a hole in my Chucks. I hear my name from time to time—familiar voices calling me. But I end up in my room, alone, staring at a picture of Rick and I taken at his frat house during a party. Each of us is holding a longneck. I laugh at the memory the picture conjures of him almost dropping the bottle. It was cold and the condensation made it slippery. I inhale and it’s like I can smell the hops under my nose. I close my eyes and imagine the sensation of the smooth tartness as it travels down my throat.
I reopen my lids and gaze at the picture of what others would presume to be a happy couple. My vision blurs, though I smile. He has a possessive arm wound around my waist. The way in which he held me against his muscled chest made me feel protected—wanted. That night, his frat brothers had hosted a freaky 80s party and Rick and I had danced to INXS’s “Need You Tonight.” So many times we’ve come close to kissing.
A shudder moves through me and my heart takes a small leap in my chest. Something always interrupted the moment, and I can’t help but wonder whether I scared him off. And now without any sort of explanation, he’s not even speaking to me.
Days and then weeks pass and my heart has learned to cope. Boys seem to pay more attention to me now that Rick is out of the picture. I have no complaints. My days are filled with friends, classes, assignments, exams and parties. Winter has melted into spring and finals loom in the near future. Over the weekend my roommate introduced me to her friend, Jim, and Jim is very—
My iPhone buzzes and I jump from my bed to answer it.
“Hello?” I say.
“Janie?” My blood runs cold to the soles of my feet.
“What do you want, Rick? Why are you calling?” Why now after months without speaking to me? Months of ignoring me. I am tempted to press the ‘end’ button.
“Janie, listen. I can explain,” he says in a shaky voice. I hesitate. “Janie, are you still there? I need to talk to you. You’re the only one I can talk to.”
“What about, Rick?” A sigh escapes my lips. An image of the blonde beauty from our English class assaults my thoughts. I wonder if she finally grew a brain and quit shimmying her double D bosom in his face.
“Not over the phone, J. I need to see you.”
I sink down on top of the bed. “Okay. When?” It has always been hard to say no to him.
A beat of silence trickles across the airwaves. Now he hesitates? “Right now,” he says. “Library.”
“Now?” I ask to make sure I heard him correctly.
“Yes,” he answers on an exhalation that sounds a lot like relief.
We end the call and I slip my iPhone into my back pocket. Then I set out across campus to the library. It is near dusk. At the top of the stairs a familiar figure steps out of the shadows. Wearing a black leather biker jacket and slim-fitting, faded jeans, Rick is all male and sex. Heat burns my cheeks.
“Hi,” I say, hating myself for sounding needy. He grins, showing off dental perfection. His arm lands on my shoulders and I stiffen like rod.
“Sorry,” he offers, and then drops his arm.
I shrug. “S’kay.”
He opens the door and I enter. We brush past tables and cubicles peppered with opened books and laptops. Students are studying. He leads me to a private room in one of the corners.
“Are we even allowed in here, Rick?” I turn to face him as he closes the door. The click has a ring of finality to it—a heavy reminder that our friendship and whatever more ended months ago.
He paces without saying a word. A warning bell sounds off in my head. What if he has an indecent agenda? Frat boy leads willing female to a deserted corner of the library and—
“Janie.” His gray eyes pierce me like an electric shock. His hand takes a shaky trip through his mass of brown waves. And then that’s when it hits me.
He’s sick and he’s dying.
My chest constricts and I can’t swallow the lump that has formed in my throat. “How long, Rick?” I reach out for him and he takes my hand in his. I’m vaguely aware of his thumb stroking my fingers.
“Sit down, J.”
“I can’t.” My voice cracks. “When did you find out?”
He shakes his head and drops his gaze to the floor before lifting those intense, gray eyes to mine, affecting me in ways that make me want to strip.
“I—I’ve always known,” he says.
I blanch at his reply. “What do you mean you’ve always known?” I release his hand and examine the Adonis from top to bottom. How is it that he never told me? We were once close—practically joined at the hip. Maybe he has some weird case of cancer that went into remission before starting college. It must have returned. That explains why he never made his move.
“When did it come back?” I ask.
A look of confusion mars his GQ quality face. “Wha-what?”
I tilt my head, imagining I’m wearing an expression that resembles a lost puppy. “The cancer. Or whatever illness that’s killing you.”
“Oh, hell, Janie. I’m not sick. And I’m not dying. At least, I don’t think I am.”
Now I’m confused. “Then what the fu—” I slap my hand over my mouth and stare at him wide-eyed.
“Janie.” He swallows hard. His Adams apple dips low in his neck. His eyes shift. Beads of sweat break across his forehead.
“You didn’t screw Cindy, did you?” Only a church mouse can carry a higher note.
He shakes his head and takes a step closer. “I never wanted to.” I nod, thinking. “But with you … you’re the only one I’ve always wondered how it would be,” he adds and brushes his knuckles against my cheek.
Moisture pools in my belly. “Then how come you never instigated? There have been a dozen or so opportunities.” He laughs and I continue. “Momma taught me well, never to throw myself at the foot of a man. That it’s always the man’s move.”
“That’s why, Janie. Because I think the world of you and I didn’t want to take advantage of you during those dozen or so situations.” He pauses and inhales. “I didn’t want us to be together for all the wrong reasons and regret them later.”
“So you do admit to being attracted to me.”
He nods. “You’re an attractive woman.”
I narrow my eyes on him. “I sense a ‘but’.”
“I’m gay, Janie.”
My heart stops and I sink into a chair. Soon my head begins to spin and I bend over, resting it between my knees. I hear the leather of his jacket creak has he kneels in front of me and places a gentle hand on my shoulder.
“Janie?” he asks in a tentative voice.
I peer up at him. “You’re not sick?” He shakes his head. “You’re not dying?”
“As far as I know.”
We stare long at each other. And then I begin to laugh. I laugh so hard my eyes begin to water and my sides begin to hurt. He joins in, his laughter ringing loudly in the room. I clasp his hand in mine and stand. “Let’s go eat. I’m hungry.”
Later as we’re sitting down to eat he says, “I’m amazed, Janie.” He wears a look of wonder on his face.
“For what, Ricky?”
“You’re the first person I’ve told, and you’ve made my ‘coming out’ the best experience any one in my situation can ever hope for.”
I can feel my face redden “I love you, Rick. You’ve been my rock since freshman year. Let me be yours.”
He answers with a wink.
“And now I have to tell you something.”
Rick raises a brow and leans forward in his seat.
“I met this guy, Jim, over the weekend—”
“Jim from the boat dock?”
I am surprised he knows him. “Yeah.” He waves his hand at me, urging me to continue. “Well, we went out and he kissed me—”
“You lucky bitch.” He laughs. I laugh with him. No words can describe the joy I feel to have my friend back.
I have an iPad is like saying I have a dog. I never imagined I would be competing with my eight and four year-old over who gets to cuddle the iPad. But lo and behold … the latest gadget takes the stage and mommy dearest has to wait until the kids’ bedtime to get my turn. There’s no hiding it or making excuses why the iPad can’t come out and play. Really? Seriously?
“Mommy, may I please play with the iPad?”
And I am resigned to say yes to the sweet-voiced child who posed the question. It doesn’t help that she clasps her hands at her front and looks up through sky-blue eyes that are wiser than any other almost five year-old I know.
Okay, so she gets what she wants. How can I not give in when my heart melts hearing the polite tone she uses when she asks. Once I give the go ahead, she doesn’t hesitate, takes it and sinks into the couch. Happy humming follows in the background from one satisfied little girl whose fingers move across the touch-screen interface with expert precision. That is until her brother comes along, and then I hear a shriek that can shatter glass.
Jeez! Or make me go deaf!
My son, adorable little boy who captures anyone’s breath with his piercing cobalt eyes and long lashes. Yep, I’m a sucker for that one too. Anyway, he has a polite manner in asking as well, just not around his sister. Huh. I LMAO at how one electrical device can cause such an uproar.
And then from my hubby I hear, “Mommy, I wish you’d take that damn thing back to the Apple store!”
“Never,” I answer in my best voice of doom.
Right then; there is no analogy between it and a dog except that they probably love the thing as much as they would a dog.
You’ll be thrilled to hear I have regained some control over the iPad. I now reward the kidlets with it for exhibiting good behavior, good manners, and for doing homework first thing. I’ve also set time limits for each. After all, it is Mommy’s iPad.
On a day where temperatures soared into the triple digit range my little family and I decided to escape to the South Eastern mountains of the United States. To our pleasant surprise, the temperature dipped twenty degrees. The low humidity and gentle breeze provided the perfect sort of day. The mountain top boasted magnificent views of the valley and neighboring hill tops. Cow pastures and meandering cows below looked like ants from our perch on top of the world. White and pink Rhododendrons were still in bloom, and we had fluttering butterflies accompanying us on our ascent. It was a peaceful journey, one that renewed my appreciation of our Mother Earth. So when you’re feeling lost in the midst of a chaotic jungle of everyday life, take a breather and take a hike. Open your eyes, heart, and mind. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff. Go and rediscover our beautiful world! Live, love, rejuvenate.
It’s been a while since I posted. But I’ve been around. Those of you who read my last post know I made a life altering decision to return to school. So far, I have American Literature from the Antebellum Period through the present day, and American History from America’s pre-history era through the Civil War under my belt. I loved both classes. I’m enrolled in an editing course during the second half of the summer. I look forward to it since I want to be a book editor when I “grow up.”
In the meantime, I did take a small break from my writing—at least the physical part of it. However, I never stopped thinking about my fiction world, my characters, and the direction they’re taking me. Now that I’ve resumed, I’ve been focusing on a male character who, ironically, started out as a secondary character in two other manuscripts. As it turns out, the louder and clearer he becomes in my mind’s eye, the more important it is for me to tell his story first. I would be committing an injustice to my series, my world, my characters if I didn’t introduce Jonas Langdon Trevore before the others. Jonas is a six hundred year old vampire descended from an ancient, malevolent fallen angel. Jonas and his kind subsist on the blood of a sister race of people who draw their extraordinary abilities from the sun. These people are the key to their survival, as well as the key to their destruction. But when Jonas runs into a situation that contradicts everything he believes in, he must choose between his lethal existence and a woman who holds the power to tame his heart.
More on Jonas later. An excerpt is available for your reading enjoyment.
Epiphanies can strike anyone at any time. Young, old, middle-aged, any age.
When I graduated from high school (AHEM) xx years ago, I did what was expected of me. I went to college. But I went to college not having a clue what to major in. I liked history, I liked cultural/international studies and I liked literature. So the classes I chose centered around the topics I enjoyed learning about. Two four-year institutions, three declared majors at different times, a couple of lifelong friendships formed–one who is like a sister to me–and one community college later, I had an Associate Degree in Applied Science. Yep. I sort of got lost in the mix, never having found my niche. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a flunky. Granted, I was a little misguided, but I held a good average. And after my sophomore year, I decided to go home. That’s when I earned my Associates.
My passion for writing and storytelling existed more or less like a shadow that moved when I moved. It’s always been a part of me, always there when I needed to escape, and it’s never let me down. My high school senior year English-Lit teacher gave me the choice between researching and writing a report about a past U.S. president or writing an autobiography. I chose the latter. And I’m glad I did. I had a helluva blast writing and reliving the first eighteen years of my life with my not so boring family, and our incredible experiences. Needless to say, I got an A+.
So why didn’t my destiny smack me in the face? Why didn’t the obvious bounce around like a jester wearing bells? Who knows? I’ll never know. Maybe I wasn’t ready to “grow up” yet. Maybe life had different plans for me at the time. Lucky me, I met my husband. We dated. He read and complimented me on my work–short stories, poems, little things here and there. Suddenly other things became more important and I shuffled my hobby aside to exist as no more than a little shadow at my heels. Then my husband and I got married. He went back to school for his Masters. I promised myself I would too … one day. Then we moved. Bought a house. Had a baby. And then another. Many years flew by. I embraced my hobby once more shortly before we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday over three years ago. Here we are in 2012 and I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. A published author in fiction works with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and a Certificate in Publishing backing up my name. What a mouth-full! But I’m damn proud and relieved to know where I’m going with the full support of my family and friends.
So my friends, the moral of my tale is: Do what you love. Do it well. Take your hobby and turn it into a career. Embrace it. Nurture it. It’s never too late. You’re never too old or too young.
The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation ~ Mark Twain