Good Health

Some of you who’ve known me for a while know that I’ve had a struggle with my weight. I peaked at 350 somewhere around 2000 and had pre-diabetes. I got serious about being healthy in 2006 and lost 100 pounds, 10+ inches around my waist and generally felt really good. My blood sugar levels were normal and I had lots of energy. I maintained my weight for a while but I fell off the wagon in late 2007 as life as I knew it was falling apart. 2008 was a good year for many reasons but once again I slipped into old habits and gained back half of my previous loss.

Andrea and I are making a conscious effort to get back into shape. Gone are eating out, late night trips for fast food and the general unawareness of what we’re eating. Tonight, we cleared out all of the high sugar, high fat, low nutrition foods in the house; dumped the perpetual bowl of candy and chocolate into the trash. We stocked up on lots of components vs. prepared foods. From now forward, we’re going to be aware of what and how much we eat.

I’ve been down this road before. It’s time to stop resting and get walking. Eating healthy is only part of the solution. Eating smart – smaller meals spread throughout the day to increase metabolism, getting regular exercise and portion control are keys. It’s time to shed the weight gained and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.

I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being winded after carrying groceries into the house. I remember the feeling of satisfaction when I moved down a notch on my belt (instead of the guilt having to move up a notch). I remember being able to get on the elliptical machine and go for an hour rather than throwing in the towel after ten minutes. I remember clothes in my closet fitting. Memory isn’t enough. It’s time to get healthy.

I want to do things that I simply can’t now. I want to learn how to rock climb. I’d like to learn a martial art. I want to look in the mirror again and see a healthy me. Life is about choice and I choose a healthy one.

2009 née 2008

2008 is past, replaced by a new year and new hopes.

It was a rocky year, filled with good and bad. Divorce, and marriage, deaths on Andrea’s side of the family. Kittens and a new puppy. A historic election and rocky economic times. We’re still in for a bumpy financial ride but everything else is looking like its trending upward.

I did alright on my goals from 2008. Not bad, but the best I could manage under the circumstances:

Personal:

  • Finalize the divorce
  • Get out of debt
  • Be happy

Writing:

  • Write 12 new short stories (finished #13 on New Years Eve)
  • Revise and polish 12 stories
  • Submit 12 stories for publication (sent out 21 submissions, 2 accepted (1 electronic, 1 print), 1 pending, 1 anthology in hand)
  • Submit a story to the Writers of the Future contest quarterly

Work:

  • Finish migrating out of my hands-on role to more of a managerial one
  • Successfully manage and complete all planned projects
  • Come up with brilliant new projects for people to work on
  • Grow the company

For 2009, I want to continue the good trends I’ve already set. It’s going to be another busy year but I’m more prepared to tackle it. My goals for 2009:

Personal

  • Be a better husband (because there’s always room for improvement)
  • Build a better budget and get out of debt
  • Apply for Permanent Resident & move to Canada
  • Lose the weight I gained in 2008

Work

  • Less micromanaging, more delegating
  • Hire, hire, hire.

Writing

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas

End of year business, refinancing, the holidays and one last writing deadline is making life extremely busy. I probably won’t have much free time until January, but I wanted to share a little news.

Last week, Andrea and I flew to California. I had a few business meetings to attend, all of which went well. We enjoyed the moderate weather and a late night walk at the beach at the Montage in Laguna Beach. Saturday morning, we flew to Las Vegas and stayed over the night.

We stayed the night at the Bellagio. We enjoyed the buffet and the view of the fountain from the 28th floor. We played some slots, and I even played some poker. Above all else, we did what we went there to do. Around 7:45PM PST on the 13th of December 2008, we were married in a simple ceremony.

Our plans going forward are fairly simple. Right now we’re wrapping up a refinance of the house and car but very soon we will begin the process of moving to Canada. Over the winter, we’ll be cleaning out the house and packing up our belongings (mostly books). Much paperwork to be filed and lots of research to be done (since I’ll still be working for a US company but living in Canada, taxes will be more involved, I imagine). I’ll discuss the process in more detail as we go, because it’s interesting.

Exploring the Northwoods

Dogs #1 and #3 survived their visits to the vet yesterday, so armed with canine antibiotics we’re packing up the truck and heading to the Northwoods of Wisconsin to visit family for the holiday. It’s been nearly 10 months since we’ve seen my Dad and more since I’ve seen the rest of the clan. Andrea hasn’t met any of them yet.

I expect to fall behind on email, twitter, and LiveJournal. Don’t have too much fun without me.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating it. Give your loved ones a big hug and pay remembrance for those you can’t. Life is too short to waste it on tomorrows.

It’s pretty, Bishop.

Andrea is a baker (as well as a writer), and I like to eat. We’ve been talking about making gingerbread for Christmas. We made our first experimental batch last night. We made a dozen gingerbread men in various costumes. The best were the gingerbone (skeletons) and the ninjabread man. Next time we’re going to try making a ninja outfit out of fondant. I neglected to take pictures before they were consumed, but I promise to take some the next time.

We’ve taken to spending some quiet, romantic friday nights, watching tv and having some wine. We were sitting on the couch, waiting for the gingerbread to cooled when the power went out. It’s not unusual to loose power, even in clear weather. I flipped on the scanner and heard: “did anyone see the bright light to the west?”, “…transformer…”, “…looked like a spotlight…”. It didn’t take long for the power grid to switch to a new transformer, but somewhere in the process our internet died. Another router fried.

We made a trip to Frys to pick up a new one, but they didn’t have the one I wanted. We stopped for a bite of lunch at Hooters (when did they get boneless wings?). There’s a Tiger Direct store nearby, so we headed in that direction with the intent to stop by and check out a comic book store on the way. We wanted to pick up the second volumes of The Walking Dead and 100 Bullets, and I’m on the look out for Transmetropolitan.

Right next door to the comic book store was a pet store that I’ve bought from before. That was probably a bad thing. We forgot to go look for comics and the pet store not only had a mix of two of my favorite breeds, but she was on sale.

Behold the Puppy!

She’s a Neapolitan Mastiff/English Bulldog mix and should be between 75-100lb when full grown. It’s a good thing we have plenty of room now, and are planning to move to a place with a fenced in yard in the country next year sometime. Between our new puppy, the boxer and the blue heeler/border collie, we’re full up on dogs.

We haven’t decided on a name for her yet, but we’re leaning towards Ripley.

Week in review

Another busy week or two and I’m still failing to blog consistently. Mea culpa.

A week ago Thursday, Andrea and I went into Chicago to see The Most Interesting Show in the World, hosted by Jim Rose. It was a slimed down version of his famous circus, featuring The Amazing Kenichi, Melody Sweets, Leonid the Magnificent, Johnny Fayva, Lilian Stepanova, and Mark “The Knife” Faje. We had great time, apart from the show starting an hour later than we were expecting and the parking ticket. I’d love to catch Jim Rose again, but probably not inside such a small club. There were no more than 30 seats available, all of which were taken or reserved by the time we arrived.

We went to Windycon 35 on Saturday. I saw Trey and Tim from the writers group, met Tobias Buckell briefly, and got my copies of Mike Resnick’s “This Is My Funniest” 1 & 2 signed. Not a bad day. The theme of next years Windycon 36 is steampunk. I can’t wait.

I finished the story I’ve been writing for the Footprints anthology and submitted it on Friday. Today I finished a story for Byzarium’s Flash Fiction contest. The contest uses a piece of artwork as the prompt for a 500-word story. This was the second story I’ve written using the artwork of Kiriko Moth as inspiration. She’s an amazing artist and I hope to see more of her work in the future.

My two immediate writing deadlines are met. Next up I need to type up and start revising my Tesla story. I met my goal for the year of twelve new stories, but now I need to revise them and hit the slush piles hard. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I’ll be working on stories for the upcoming Federations and Shine anthologies. Lots of hard work ahead but I’m looking forward to it.
We picked up some new books this week. I’m slowly getting caught up on the reading I want to do, so expect more posts in the coming week, along with a book giveaway.

Live from Times Square

We walked through Times Square earlier this evening, hours before the first poll closed. The crowd was large and people were still filing in. Hours later, after the post-trade-show meetings and work were done, I sat down and watched the acceptance speech in awe. A block and 31 stories away, I could hear the people cheering.

Fear of crowds be damned. I left the hotel and let the noise be my drummer.

In Times Square, the people cheered and cried. Chants of “Oh-bah-ma” and “Yes-we-can” rang clear. Cars honking. Passengers waving. Signs waving. Camera’s flashing. Strangers embracing in celebration and saying, “we did it.”. We. A victory for us all. Ethnicity, sexual preference, gender, citizenship, it did not matter.

Empowerment.

I was overwhelmed by the surge of emotion, of hope and possibility. I teared up several times, looking up at the digital billboards proclaiming the historic news: Barack Obama, President-elect. Never in my thirty-three years have I seen or experienced anything like this. It looks like my generation has its Lincoln or Kennedy. A catalyst for change, a driving force for prosperity. It’s about damn time. Maybe the US can shed it’s reputation as the biggest dickhead and start working with the world instead of trying to cram our ideologies down its throat.

Celebrate and cheer now. We’ve a lot of work to do. We still have bigotry and intolerance to fight and a long road to walk before we can hold our head high and be proud of our record of human rights. At least now, we’re on the right road.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

One distinct advantage to a multinational relationship is duplicate holidays. We couldn’t make the trip back to spend the day with Andrea’s family, but we invited mine over and cooked up a small feast for the three of us.

Neither of us have ever cooked a whole turkey before so we opted for a turkey breast in a bag. It turned out to be the most delicious, most turkey I think I’ve ever had. My attempt at a Thanksgiving dinner last year wasn’t bad but pales in comparison to this. Hot apple cider, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn and dinner rolls, capped off with a homemade pumpkin caramel cheesecake. A great meal all around.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. We opened up the windows and aired out the house. The leaves are turning and the temperatures are dropping gradually. It shouldn’t be long before the first deep frost and a bit of relief from the fall allergies.

I haven’t been paying much attention to football this year, but we turned on the Chicago Bears and watched what ended up being an exciting game, especially in the last quarter. I was sure they had the game wrapped up with a one point lead with eleven seconds left on the clock but Atlanta really pulled out all the stops and drove down the field for a field goal with one second on the clock.

A good weekend spent with loved ones.

Back in the saddle; this leather is suprisingly comfortable.

September was a difficult month. Fall allergies raged out of control. Legal wrangling related to the divorce and financial stress made sleep a challenge. T minus 30 days and counting.

I’ve been thinking about writing but not actually getting any done. September broke my 2008 streak of one new first draft per month. Sitting down with enough energy to concentrate and be creative wasn’t happening. I thought about writing. I read. I highly recommend The Savage Humanists, edited by Fiona Kelleghan.


“The Savage Humanists” (Red Deer Press)

I also, finally, read Watchmen. Yes, I admit it. I have never read it before now. I’ll probably have more to say about it another time. I’ll just acknowledge that I understand why so many people were moved by it. The movie is coming out in 2009 (pending the ongoing legal battle with Fox).


“Watchmen” (Alan Moore)

I am fairly disorganized and I have a difficult time being productive when my work environment is cluttered. Quite the oxymoron, I know. I write my first (and sometimes second) drafts longhand. I was doing it all in one notebook and flipping back and forth was getting both tedious and ultimately brain-melting. I picked up a couple new spiral notebooks and last night, for the first time in weeks, I got words out. Just shy of a thousand words on the Tesla alt. history story that’s been kicking around since last year’s workshop.

Things aren’t looking any easier in the foreseeable future. October is going to be a busy month. I’ll be attempting to blog on a more regular basis as well as catch up on my writing goals for the year. Final preparation for D-Day, which involves refinancing the house, is ongoing. Then, literally as soon as I’m done at court it’s off to New York City for a tradeshow. NaNoWriMo is also in November. I won’t be officially participating; instead I’ll be attempting to write 50,000 words worth of short story.