Archive for April, 2008

Inaya

April 28, 2008

I think she’s an even tougher character to write than Rhys. But then, he was pretty tough to write the first time I took a crack at him, too.

Fucking shape-shifting, middle-class, mother-of-two rebel cell leaders.

Pain in the ass every time.

Fun With Low-carb Cooking

April 27, 2008

One of the things that got out of control last week were my sugar numbers.

I’ve been spiking all over the place (one 1am reading put me at a startling 397). This has been a combination of stress and bad food choices. I’ve been partaking of the free lunches at work (and breakfasts – they brought in bagels twice this week), going out at night or ordering in cause I’ve been too tired to think about cooking, and etc. Problem is, this type of behavior just perpetuates itself. You eat crap because you feel tired and crappy, and the crap makes you feel tired and crappy.

Three separate over-300 readings this week, lethargy, sluggish brain, and some crazy-leaning thoughts at work and at home (the sort where I’m able to go, “Wow, I’m crazy!” before acting on them, thank God) reminded me that it’s time to get my ass back into gear.

The difficult thing about getting back on track is that I’m a total carb addict. It sort of goes hand in hand with being a diabetic. Comes with the same genes. Give me a few days in a row of complex carbs, and I crave and I crave and I crave. The longer I go indulging, the harder it is to quit.

So I sat down this weekend and put together some great low carb food to get me over the withdrawal period. The first being the Old Man’s great pumpkin whip (I substitute fat-free half and half for milk and lite cool whip for whipped cream). The second was this great recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies (modified by me for extra low carbness):


MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm cookies!!!

1 cup peanut butter (I found a 5-carb per serving peanut butter)
1.5 cups Splenda
1 large egg (I’m going to try 2 eggs next time – came out a little crumbly)
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (at least 60% cacao. I prefer 80% when I can get it)
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together peanut butter, Splenda, egg(s), and baking soda until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll dough into rounded tablespoon-sized balls and place onto ungreased baking sheet (or pan) 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350 until cookies are puffy and golden but still soft to the touch – about 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for at least 20 minutes.

After that, I started working on converting one of my favorite old pasta recipes. I’ve been sick of eating low carb tortilla variations for lunches, so I started cooking up my favorite easy recipe from Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite cookbook (highly recommended).

In this instance, I substituted spaghetti squash for noodles.

1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup bottled marinated artichokes (chopped)
1 jar pimientos (marinated red peppers)
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 large tomatoes
6 green olives
2 ounces goat cheese
Handful of chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Bake the spaghetti squash at 375 for about 1 hour. When it’s tender, cut it in half, scrape out the seeds, and then use a big spoon to scoop out the insides and put them in a big mixing bowl.

Heat up the olive oil and the oil from the pimentos and the artichokes in a big wok.

Chop up the tomatoes, pimientos, olives, and artichokes.


Now pour all chopped veggies and spaghetti squash into the wok with the warm oil. Add goat cheese and basil. Salt and pepper to taste, and combine thoroughly.

When I packed all of this up into tupperware containers, I got 3 lunches and tonight’s dinner all out of this one big pot.

With a little effort, you can live on good, low-carb food. In my case, it’s worth the added time if I’m going to get a clear head and optimal functioning for the week out of it.

Furnished! (the apartment-love edition)

April 26, 2008

The tree outside my balcony in full bloom….

Dining area.

This table used to be my pony workbench.

Perfect-sized kitchen! Would have preferred one open to the living room, but it’s big enough for my needs right now.


My great living room.

Note the National Geographics on the back shelf there.

Oh look, my balcony! (the tree is obscured by the sun there)


My green but roomy bathroom….



Bedroom/study (it’s a huge room!)



Walk-in closet!



Have I mentioned how much I love my apartment?

Yes, I realize I’ll love it a lot less when utilities come due, but for now, it’s marvelous….

21 Suggestions

April 25, 2008

Stolen from here. I agree with every one of these about 8,000 percent. Here’s why:

1)Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.

When I was 18, my high school boyfriend asked me to marry him. Twice. I freaked out both times. The first time, I deflected the question entirely. The second time, I had the guts to say no. When your whole body is screaming “no!” it’s time to pull anchor.

I split from him, got three degrees, traveled around the world, lived abroad, signed a book contract, and got a cushy job as a copywriter.

Last I heard, he was married to another girl we went to school with, still in the Marines while she worked a data entry job. During their last argument, one of them put a bullet hole through the roof of their house in the ghetto-ass-end of Vancouver, WA where we grew up. Hearing about this didn’t surprise me.

There’s a reason I’ve been incredibly picky about my partners since, and why I’ve avoided mention of marriage in all but one of my relationships since. Picking the right partner is crucial. Picking no partner, in my opinion, is a far better bet than picking the wrong partner.

Too much hinges on it.

2) Work at something you enjoy and that’s worthy of your time and talent.

“I want to be a writer, yo!”

Keep pushing. You get there. Sometimes, through sheer luck alone. But you get there. And trust me: it beats being a fucking secretary.

3) Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

It’s the “Cheerfully” part that I’m still working on. When I give, it tends to be in either sheer terror or misconstrued as gruff indifference because I like to pass it off like it’s really no big deal.

But selfless giving – when and if you ever get there – is incredibly rewarding, if done in the proper amounts (watch out for folks who take advantage). You learn a fuck of a lot about yourself. Sometimes you learn you’re not good at it.

So, you try harder.

4) Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

I’m not sure when this happened. I always figured myself for a pessimist. But you know what? I’m not. I’ll belt out “Always look on the bright side of life” in a crowded theater. I’ll bend rules. I’ll laugh out loud – really loud – and not care who looks, or who stares.

Life is too short to care about what other people think. I live out loud. The folks who disapprove the most are the ones too terrified to do the same.

5) Be forgiving of yourself and others.

We all lose far too much time hating ourselves, and wishing other people would ask for forgiveness. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you just have to do it.

I spent a long time hating everything about myself. It wasn’t until I realized that being a rhino – though totally different from being a unicorn – was still a valid, powerful, sort of thing to be. And the ludicrous idea of trying to be something I’m not… trying to change a powerful person into a something so against its nature… well, now it makes me laugh.

But I still have to keep the picture of the rhino on my desk at work. To remind me.

6) Be generous.

When you’re up, somebody else is down. When you’re down, somebody else is up. When I have money to spare, I’m generous to a fault. When the rug’s pulled out from underneath me… I had incredibly generous friends to help me get my shit together again. And you can bet that when and if they ever need me, I’ll be there.

It’s worth every moment.

7) Have a grateful heart.

Because if you’re not grateful, who will be? And then, what’s the point?

8) Persistence, persistence, persistence.

Hundreds of rejections, 11 books, 12 years. Chronic illness. Credit card debt. Job layoffs. Fall down seven times. Get up eight. Need I say more?

9) Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.

Because someday, you may want to trade off world traveling for a couple years for an actual house.

I’m working on it.

10) Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.

Kindness and respect cost you nothing.

11) Commit yourself to constant improvement.

And forgive yourself when you fall short. It’s been a rough couple weeks of rest and adjustment. But you just get back to it again. It’s a hilly road, but a road nonetheless.

12) Commit yourself to quality.

If you don’t want people to know you wrote it, you probably shouldn’t be writing it.

13) Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.

Relationships. Yeah. That thing I still need to work on.

You’ll note, however, that I’m still on speaking terms with my last two exes. That’s incredibly important to me. That took a lot of strength and grown-up resolve to accomplish on my end, emotionally.

Cultivating friendships, too, is difficult for me… I don’t know that I’m one of those people who will ever have a lot of friends, but the ones I have, yeah, I need to work harder at keeping them.

Bad at relationships.

14) Be loyal.

There’s no reason not to be.

15) Be honest.

Not just with other people, but with yourself. Know yourself. Stop bullshitting yourself. The sooner you stop telling yourself bullshit lies and excuses about why and how you live your life, the sooner you can start building the life you really want.

16) Be a self-starter.

Some days, the only one who’s going to kick your ass is you.

17) Be decisive even if it means you’ll sometimes be wrong.

No decision is still a decision. If you’re going to fuck up, fuck up big. Cause there’s always going to be a 50/50 chance that your risk pays off. No decision pretty much guarantees failure and/or complacency, and – above all – fosters a sense of victimization. “Oh, poor me! Things just *happen* to me!”

Not if you’re the one driving.

18) Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.

If you’ve been blessed enough to be born into privilege, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself. And I count myself in that privileged group. I was raised white and middle class. I have an education. I have no one to blame for my success or failure but me.

My chronic illness is one that’s manageable (more or less). And the person responsible for managing it is me.

Life is what you do with what’s been done to you.

19)Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.

And you’ll have a lot of great stories.

I’ve done a lot. I don’t regret a single minute of it.

20) Take good care of those you love.

Even if they don’t love you back.

21) Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your Mom proud.

Lucky for me, I have a pretty cool mom.

"We Already Have One of Those…."

April 24, 2008

Heh heh heh.

Spamalot

April 24, 2008

Took one of my dates out last night to see Spamalot (yes, that’s Clay Aiken now appearing in the Broadway version). Fun times were had by all.

I don’t know that I’m crazy about the ways they chose to “reimagine” Monty Python & the Holy Grail for the stage. I was overly worried there at the beginning that they were just going to do a line-by-line retelling of the whole damn movie. In which case, what would be the point?

But they mainly just hit the iconic scenes and add in some silly bits. The interesting choice was to… well, make everything make sense. Everything was connected, there was the silly plot, yes, but this one had a resolution. They find the grail. There’s a wedding. All the iconic scenes are full of knights Arthur brings on board.

What made Holy Grail so wacky was, in fact, the total lack of any real connection or continuity. It just made no bloody sense (they’re taken off in police cars at the end? WTF?).

But there were some good numbers (Lancelot’s being one of the best), and the highlight of the night was standing up with the whole audience at the end of the night and singing “Always look on the bright side of life.” Which, of course, I belted out loudly and enthusiastically.

The tickets cost an arm and a leg (especially in Dayton dollars), but it was worth it. It’s good to know that I can, on occasion, get a big city show (as it shuttles its way from Columbus to Cincinnati) in Dayton.

Seriously, this routine has got to change…

April 22, 2008

Crazy work all day to meet deadlines, come home, food while watching old Carnivale episodes, homework until 9:00, leisure reading and bed by 9:30.

It’s time to get the writing, working out, and video games in there. Seriously.

Things have been in such an upheaval cause of the move I just haven’t had the time to institute a proper routine. This one, I think, is a “recovery” routine. Keeping my head above water until things slow down.

I don’t like it, so I need to work on changing that this week.

Yes, this is also why things are quiet here, and totally empty of substance. Work is taking a lot of creative energy right now (don’t get me wrong – I love it! It’s just… it’s like crunch time for video game writers/designers, you know? That last hill before the launch when you’re frantically getting as much done as possible in order to launch a product, knowing it’ll still be slightly buggy and there will be things to iron out after the launch, but working your ass off as quickly as possible to make sure there’s the least possible amount of bugginess for the launch).

Also, got hit with some more responsibilities. This job is really pushing me as far as being able to wear a lot of hats and succeed in many different roles – writer, designer/developer, salesperson, trainer, project manager, coordinator, customer service, etc.

If you would have told me a year ago I’d be spending time at my job reviewing film footage and managing sales and marketing projects, I’d have laughed.

Oh, yes, I love it… but I’m working twice as hard – with four times as much responsibility – and still getting paid my “tech writer” salary.

Yeah, that’s supposed to change.

I’m also supposed to have health insurance that works.

I’m not holding my breath.

But life would sure feel a little less hectic if I had working health insurance and was being compensated appropriately, eh?

Yeah.

Le sigh.

New routine next week. Just need to iron it out.

Just like this project.

Stuff I Need to Work On

April 21, 2008

1) Getting into a writing routine here in the new digs

2) Cooking for myself again in the new digs (I’m so befuddled when I come home that making food just seems like too much trouble. But I don’t have enough money [less and less now that I have the new digs] to go out)

3) Make a new budget. I have yet to put together the Official Budget for the New Digs. Mainly because I know it’s going to be tight & moderately unhappy.

4) Finding a good source of laundry quarters. Washer/Dryer prices are obscene! $1.75 for a wash and $1.25 for dry. I brought $2.00 down with me last week thinking I had it covered. Oh no. Now I need to figure that into the budget as well, and plan to have the cash on hand for it (I no longer carry cash)

5) Fit my homework schedule around my writing schedule (and not vice versa).

6) Make a new workout schedule for the new digs.

I had a choice this month: Get the big work project done that’s generating a bunch of sales revenue, or finish Black Desert.

I chose to get the Big Work Project done. It’s official due date is May 1st. Black Desert’s is next year.

And, let’s face it: the day job pays my health insurance. Black Desert can wait an extra month to get finished.

Still. Kinda peeved about that.

Mainly, I’m teaching myself how to juggle. It’s loads of fun, but sometimes it hurts my head.

Danica

April 21, 2008

Did it.

(though the coverage, as always, has to make mention of her looks. Do guys who make big achievements always have stories that include notations on their looks? Puleez).

Things that aren’t silly unless you do them all at once…

April 19, 2008

… take 7 credits worth of community college classes (4 of those being Economics, with graphs. I won’t tell you what my last quiz score was, but I did pass the first test) while leading a work project projected to bring in eight figures, moving to a new place (you wouldn’t believe the amount of shit you realize you need when you go from renting a room to being an actual Adult), finishing the second book of a 3-book contract, attempt a social life, and work out how I’m going to pay for a gaming computer next month when the stimulus check comes in (Ok, I will prob’ly put the check toward my big credit card in the end, but it’s fun to dream).

Honestly, one class a quarter when you have a full time job and a book contract to fulfill is… more than enough. Two was…

Silly.

The rest of it is just par for the course.