Category Archives: Personal

It’s Already Been Two Weeks

Every time I hear “two weeks” in almost any context, I think about Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. LOL! I can’t help it!

Anyway, I’ve been at my new job for two weeks already! It seems like I’ve barely been there a day or two but I’m starting week three. Sheesh! ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s been great – amazing, creative people who feel to be more like me than at any place I’ve ever worked. I never thought I’d work at a video game company! ๐Ÿ˜› But being around all of this creative energy is bringing out some of the best parts of me. I’ll let you know how it goes. ๐Ÿ˜€

31 Years Ago Today I Met My Hero

Image of the word LIKEHe thinks it’s so silly that I count the years since the day we met, but I like to think that deep inside he thinks it’s cute. ๐Ÿ˜€ย  Haha! I like to say my excuse is that I was in accounting and finance for over fifteen years so that’s why I can’t help but count things.

In any case, today is the 31st anniversary of the day I met John! ๐Ÿ˜€

It was before social media existed in it’s current form – mostly only blogs and websites back then – so I think it’s safe to say that John is my first “like” – haha!!

I Feel Like a Kid Going Back to School

Big smile emoticonIt’s Sunday evening here, and I have just finished getting ready for tomorrow. Normally, that means I’ve thought a little about what I’m going to do tomorrow, maybe set out a couple things – papers or notebooks usually – to remind me of things I have to do. This whole “getting ready for Monday” process generally takes me less than five minutes.

Today – not so! Tomorrow <drum roll, please> I START A NEW JOB! Woohooo!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s been thirteen years since I worked for someone else. (I know, right?!) But when I talked to the people at Massive Entertainment and they explained what they were looking for, I couldn’t believe how awesome it sounded! I had to have this job! By the end of the last interview, I literally said to the HR person, “I can’t believe you’re going to pay me to do this!” ๐Ÿ˜€

Thankfully, they didn’t offer to lower my pay. Hahaha!!

So tonight, I went through my entire closet trying to decide what to wear – especially since I’ll have my picture taken for my badge and that will last forever. Then I pulled out the brand new Wonder Woman backpack John bought for me as a Congratulations present, and tried to think of what I might need at work. I added a couple protein bars, a pack of tissues, and a bottle of water (I always carry water everywhere, or at least a bottle I can constantly refill). The backpack is still open as I try to figure out what else should go in it.

After thirteen years, it is weird to have to be someplace else at a time someone else has decided doing what someone else says in the way they want to do it. Or at least, that’s what I’ve been trying not to stress about. Honestly, this company is totally cool. If I’m understanding this right from John – yup, we’ll be working at the same company! – I have some leeway in what time I want to start/end my day, so I can still make going to the gym part of my normal day. Plus, everyone in Sweden is telling me that working for a Swedish company is so laid-back that I might actually find the pace too slow until I start doing my work on my own. That’s another thing that made me feel more relaxed about this big change – it’s probably not going to adversely affect my goal and new habits to get over the burnout I had in 2018. ๐Ÿ˜€

So here I am, mostly ready for my first day at an outside job in well over a decade and the only thing I think will be an issue is being tired tomorrow. I think I’m getting too excited to sleep! ๐Ÿ˜€

Looking Forward to a Fresh Start

Happy New Year, Everyone! ๐Ÿ˜€

Kitty before haircut Jan 2019

Before my haircut and color today!

I went through some difficult things in 2018, burnout being the hardest hitting. But I’m looking forward to a calmer, healthier 2019! ๐Ÿ™‚ One of the new things I’m going to try is – to stop trying so hard. I have spent several years learning all the best techniques for running and marketing an online business. Not all of it works for a writing business, but the biggest problem is that it’s difficult to do anything consistently when you move a lot.

But it looks like we won’t be moving for the foreseeable future! YAY!! So while I’m going to ease back into trying to rebuild my business, I’m also going to make some changes that may not only take the pressure off me but also help me to truly connect with YOU better! ๐Ÿ˜€

One of those changes is to stop worrying about blogging “correctly” – taking time to come up with a catchy headline, working out the SEO in the post and the headline, getting a good image or two on every post, etc. As you can see from the last year, choosing to only blog “correctly” or not at all made me choose not to blog much at all. That’s not a very friendly thing to do! Haha!

So I’m going to try using the blog to actually communicate with you! What a concept! Haha!!

The posts may be short or long, five days a week or one (but I’m aiming for more shorter posts rather than fewer longer ones), with or without pictures, maybe sometimes they’ll even be video posts instead of written posts! They’ll probably have lots of exclamation points and smiley faces!! ๐Ÿ˜€ย  (Neither of which is professional, but they are ME!)

And hopefully we’ll actually get to know each other better. ๐Ÿ™‚

Where did this idea come from? I listened to the audiobook of Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking a couple weeks ago, and it really made me rethink how I communicate with my readers and fans. Not everyone will like my new approach. It’s going to be way too much information for some people, and that’s understandable.

But the people who really get me and my writing will probably love it – and if that’s YOU, YOU are why I’m doing this! ๐Ÿ˜€ I want us to get to know each other better, and I want to help you understand where my ideas come from and why I write the way I do. Some people think what I write is weird – too many Christian characters for some, too many swear words for others. But if you know where I’m coming from, it may make a lot more sense to you.

Sunny outside our apartment

The view from our balcony at 10:30 in January in Sweden – sunrise was only 2 hours ago!

I’m also going to sometimes post about things that don’t matter AT ALL in the big picture. For instance, today I am so excited because IT’S SUNNY OUT and I have a hair appointment!! LOL! Why post this? Because this is what friends talk about – things that are making them happy in the moment. ๐Ÿ˜€

Okay, gotta run. I have some things I have to finish (or START – like my next book!) before I get my hair cut today. I’ll talk to you more again soon!

Love and hugs! ๐Ÿ˜€

Follow the Cheerios!

young woman in coat with green fence

Uhh…where was I going again?

I apologize that it’s been ages since I wrote here in my blog.ย Iโ€™ve really been struggling the last few months to understand where I am in my career and in my life. We have moved so many times over the last twelve years, in and out of other countries, back into the United States and then away again, that I feel like a child whoโ€™s been spinning around โ€“ laughing at first and loving the dizziness, and then eventually falling down, nauseous and in tears.

Even though Iโ€™ve been a full-time writer since the beginning of 2006 โ€“ meaning, I didnโ€™t have an additional/outside job โ€“ Iโ€™ve only published eight titles. Of that, only three are full-length (75,000, 85,000, and 100,000 words). Three are 10,000-15,000 word โ€œshort stories,โ€ one is a 45,000-word short novel, and one is a boxed set. I tend to be quite good at not comparing myself to others โ€“ except when I find myself sitting on the floor, nauseous and in tears.

I was super excited to move to Sweden eight weeks ago, so Iโ€™m not feeling sad because I didnโ€™t want to move here. But I havenโ€™t had the energy or emotional stamina to do anything. The last couple weeks Iโ€™ve decided to apply all my energies to figuring out the problem and fixing it. Eventually it occurred to me to Google โ€œburnoutโ€ and see if that was at all close to how I was feeling. It wasnโ€™t close.

It was spot on. (See this article from Psychology Today.)

So now my energies are directed toward healing and recovery. Itโ€™s interesting to me how emotional burnout is. I thought it was just something that made you feel drained in the area of your work, and that made you physically tired and needing a rest. I hadnโ€™t realized it could make you feel emotionally empty.

Now that Iโ€™ve been able to narrow down the problem, Iโ€™ve read all kinds of things that I think might help. Some articles are directed toward rest and light exercise, some are about nutrition, some focus more on the depression aspect and how to get past that, some are on healing the spiritual and so finding the other areas healed as you move forward. (Here’s a followup article from Psychology Today on overcoming burnout.)

But what do I do as Iโ€™m pursuing healing, before Iโ€™ve actually found it? I got an idea a few days ago from one of my all-time favorite films.

Monsters, Inc.

Near the beginning, when Sully and Mike are hiding Boo and trying to figure out how to get her back to her own world without getting caught, they are all in Sullyโ€™s apartment with Boo coloring on the floor. She starts doing that toddler thing, rubbing her eyes, trying to stay awake, eyes drooping. And Sully gets her to follow him to his room by laying down a trail of Cheerios.

This always makes me laugh! He treats her like a puppy, making a food trail for her to follow and then making a pile of newspapers in the corner for her to sleep on.

And Boo follows him, eating one Cheerio at a time on the path. All goes well until she sees Sullyโ€™s big, comfortable bed. Then she leaves the Cheerios trail and climbs up under the covers.

Apparently, Cheerios are the modern-day bread crumbs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Watching this scene again โ€“ I found it and embedded the video here โ€“ made me feel like that was something I could do right now. Follow the Cheerios path. One Cheerio at a time. At least until the trail gets to a place where I finally feel like I see something I want.

Right now, I honestly feel like I have no idea what I want or what I like, let alone what I love and want to do for the next ten or twenty years. Am I still a writer? Do I still love it? Or even like it? I donโ€™t know. Apparently, this is how burnout feels.

I donโ€™t have any answers to my problems and challenges yet, but at least I can laugh about the one thing I can do right now: look for Cheerios.

I found a Cheerio when one of my readers told me not to give up on my writing. I got another one when a friend repeated the sentiment. Another Cheerio came in the form of a new friend who loves my new chick lit series idea. Interesting how all the Cheerios Iโ€™ve found so far are leading me along the writing path. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What about you? What do you need direction in? Where can you look for Cheerios, for someone cheering you on in one direction or another? Or have you had a negative reaction to something โ€“ โ€œOh, I donโ€™t like thatโ€ or โ€œI definitely donโ€™t want to do thatโ€? Those could be Cheerios leading you away from the path that is not going to work for you right now. Only you can know, and it might take you some time and some contemplation. Take the time. Itโ€™s worth it.

Follow the Cheerios! ๐Ÿ˜€

Where Have I Been and Where Are We Going?

Write Now Workshop Podcast logoI can’t believe it’s been two months since I posted here! Life has been so crazy busy! I’ve been training to run the Carlsbad Half Marathon THIS SUNDAY, I’m getting ready to teach my annual time management class for writers, and about the time I stopped blogging here I’d decided to work on my goal of launching my new podcast before the end of the year!

Wow! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€

Now that I have another place to post interesting tidbits about writing, I want to focus more on my fiction here. I’ll announce next week a new little (huge!) challenge I’m going to take part in, and the results of my first-ever reader’s survey! (Click here to take it if you haven’t already. Keep in mind, members of my mailing list can win free books for doing stuff like this, so sign up on the right or in the pop-up box to join us!)

I’ll also update you on My Public Display of Dieting. I’ve been pretty stable, with some ups and downs around the holidays, so nothing particularly interesting to share. But since the half marathon – my 5th! – is on Sunday, next week will be a good time to catch you up as I race toward my goals. Haha!

That’s it for now. Have to go record a podcast for Sunday – because I’ll be running Sunday! Woohoo!!

My Public Display of Dieting – Run, Baby, Run!

Kitty and John at Disney World

Black Widow and Iron Man at Disney World for John’s birthday this month!

RESULTS: Lost 2 pounds for a total loss of 23 pounds

I did it! I finally hit the button and registered for the 2018 Carlsbad Half Marathon! Woohoo!!

So…

Now I really have to focus on getting back onto the wagon. I picked out a training program I found online that I’m pretty sure I can do. (Someone reminded me that whatever I can or can’t do is all in my head. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So true!) The race is 12 1/2 weeks away, so I start the training on Monday.

I bought more protein shakes (they help me feel “even” inside and keep me from jonesing for sugar) and more vegetables. I also bought some new Jolly Rancher Green Apple flavored Pop-Tarts! LOL!! So mostly I’ll be eating wisely. ๐Ÿ˜€

Between the exercising and stretching and eating better (and less!), I have great hopes to still meet my goal to be my fittest by my 50th birthday, including losing 50 pounds. Only another 27 to go from my start date In January 2016. And if all goes well, I’ll lose at least 12 more pounds before the race. (That will certainly make the running easier!)

I’m nervous. No one likes to fail, and it gets harder to try again every time you do try and fail. It’s easier to just give it up entirely.

But I really love the feeling I have when I’m running strong. ๐Ÿ˜€ To get that back, I’m going to have to work hard. Maybe harder, if it’s true that getting in shape gets more difficult every year. But when I think of how great I’ll feel…it seems worth it to push forward into a potentially difficult time.

I’ll let you know how it goes. I look forward to sharing lots of good news with hopefully only minor setbacks. ๐Ÿ˜€ And I look forward to hearing your encouragement along the way! Thanks in advance!

My Public Display of Dieting – July 2017

gelato burger

A gelato burger from Carrello’s – we cut ours in half and shared it

RESULTS: Gained 1 pound for a total loss of 21 pounds

I’ve put off this post until the very last day of July hoping that I will change what I’m doing and see some progress. I’m sad, disappointed, and frustrated to say that I haven’t changed any bad habits at all.

In fact, a Facebook Memory post from one year ago today said that I’d lost 28 pounds! But now I’m down to 21 – having gained 7 pounds in the last few months. Why?

Combination of things – an innocent bit of fun celebrating my birthday, followed by John staying home the last few months to write his next book, followed by a vacation to Michigan where we ate and drank every favorite and missed food, followed by us getting more and more down as we wait to find out when and where the next job will be.

I’m actually not that concerned about my birthday celebration, our anniversary celebration, or our vacation to Michigan and its accompanying overeating and drinking.

It’s the fact that I have no willpower to eat less when John is home cooking every day. I don’t have willpower to eat less when John eats a bigger serving. I don’t have willpower to eat less when I’m feeling down about our life situation. (Not knowing when you’re moving or where to is getting old.)

I don’t know (in fact, never knew) why in late December 2015 I decided I was done being overweight and out of shape and decided to do my 50 pounds in 50 weeks challenge. But I wish I could find that switch and flip it again!

I’ve been saying I want to be my fittest by the time I’m 50 – that’s about 34 weeks away. I could still lose 30 pounds in 34 weeks and win the prize! But what do I need to do inside my head to make that happen?

I’m usually pretty motivated and doing fairly well in the early parts of the day. It’s from about 3pm to bedtime that I’m going into the red calorie-wise and sugar-wise. I know it’s emotional eating. I guess I just have to dig deep inside and ask myself what I need to do to change my heart and mind. (Being by myself all day most days when John was at work all day, I did MUCH better – but because I hate to cook. John loves to cook, and I love to eat what he makes.)

It’s decision time.

What’s most important to me? The comfort of the moment? Or a long-term goal that will improve my health, peace, and happiness?

The same questions can sort of be applied to exercise. I’ve done almost none since the last race five months ago. Granted, I’ve been catching up on work that was put off during our hard times of the last few years. I’ve really been in the groove, putting out two titles already this year, with a third one coming out in August. Exciting!

But my back hurts more than ever. (I hurt it exercising about a year ago, and I haven’t done much to help it.) This is no small matter when you consider that a friend of mine had major back surgery last year and was told, if I’m repeating it correctly, that it was from sitting at a computer all day for years and not doing any stretching or strengthening. Even the weather can’t keep me from doing that because those are indoor activities.

And yet, I’ve barely done anything. (Though I am typing this post standing at my standing desk!)

Why am I writing all this here in a very public place? To shame myself into acting? Shame isn’t a huge motivator for me, actually. Shame would lead me to just stop posting about it. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m posting because I need to confront myself and my decision-making process. I want to succeed.

I’m posting because some of you may have gone through – or are now going through – a similar soul-search, asking yourself “Why?”

I’m posting because hiding is not a positive action. We need positive actions to improve our health – physical, emotional, spiritual, the whole health of the whole person.

And if we keep working together, we can succeed together! ๐Ÿ˜€

Don’t stop trying! We can find a way to do this!

EXCITING NOTE: After I posted this, I went back through the blog here and found that I was still down 28 pounds in February when I ran the Round the Bays race here in Wellington. So I’d kept off those 28 pounds for 7 months! The weight gain started when John stayed home and cooked every day and my exercise decreased dramatically. Okay, that is information I can work with!!

Look at your calendar or think back to when things were going well. What’s changed? What can you do to get back into circumstances more conducive to better health? What circumstances can you change?

If I can make some changes and some progress in August, I’ll post more often and tell you what’s working for me…just in case it gives you ideas for you!

My Public Display of Dieting – June 2017

Kitty and John at Hobbiton, New Zealand

John and I in front of a Hobbit hole in Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand

RESULTS: Gained 4 pounds for a total loss of 22 pounds

I missed checking in last month because…well, I was going to say because I was busy, which I was. But honestly, I kept waiting for good news to post and it didn’t happen. Mostly because I didn’t really try – hahaha!

First we had my birthday celebration in March, then we ate some yummy things at Easter, then it was our anniversary and our anniversary trip in early May, then our two-week trip back home. So LOTS of extra eating and enjoying it and not trying to watch my calories much at all.

Chocolate Stout Pie slice

Grand Traverse Pie Company’s Chocolate Stout Pie – only in June

That being said, I DID write down everything I ate in the My Fitness Pal app. (I’ve entered what I’ve eaten every day for a year and a half now!) And I often had a protein shake for breakfast to start the day well…and so I could have Grand Traverse Pie Company pie for lunch every day. LOL!

Also, by the time we got to the last few meals of vacation (all the plane food from nearly 24 hours of flying), we were completely ready to go on a diet. On the first day home, our grocery shopping including about six different fresh vegetables! LOL!

So…here I am, overweight but FINALLY ready to hit the Restart button! YAY!

The scale said I weighed 177 pounds yesterday, or about 80 kilograms. To lose 50 pounds from my original high weight last January (2016), I wanted to hit 148 pounds, or 67 kilos. From today, that’s a weight loss goal of 29 pounds.

Okay, the line is marked in the sand now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Time to dig in and work on getting to be my fittest and healthiest by my 50th birthday! That’s 9 1/2 months away.

I can do it!

How about you? How are your goals coming along? Do you need to hit the Restart button? You can do it! ๐Ÿ˜€

My Public Display of Dieting – April 2017

Kitty and Frosty about to go for a trail ride

Kitty and Frosty about to go for a trail ride

RESULTS: Gainedย 2 pounds for a total loss of 26 pounds

Well…um…yeahhhh….hahaha! ๐Ÿ˜€

All I can say is – my birthday was last month! And for ten days, ย John treated me to so many awesome things from horseback riding to meals at little cafes to big Whittaker’s dark chocolate bars. And I loved every single thing! Haha!!

In fact, that’s why I didn’t post anything last month – I didn’t want to weigh myself. ๐Ÿ˜€ ย But the Monday after my birthday I put away all the sweets and cut back on my snacks and took advantage of a free week at the gym. I just finished my last day there today, and I’m going to be able to do a lot of that stuff here at home.

So now I have 11 months before my 50th birthday – 11 months to lose another 25 pounds, gain many pounds of muscle, and train better so I can run my fastest half marathon ever before my next birthday. Woohoo!!

I will say one thing – I was eating pretty healthy, a lot more veggies, for a few weeks before my birthday, and then I got busy/lazy and didn’t cook myself anything because I was racing to meet deadlines. I could REALLY tell the difference in how I felt! Now John is home and cooking for both of us and I already feel better having eaten two vegetables today. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Between more vegetables and tougher and more frequent exercise, I’m looking forward to feeling better than ever. And it won’t hurt my self-esteem at all to see myself looking better than ever before, too!

Have you hit the Restart button lately on nutrition and exercise? How’s it going?