Posts Tagged ‘health’

Weekly news round-up, the slightly late edition

So yeah, it’s been a few weeks. First I had an eye infection, complete with an ulcerated cornea, which meant absolutely no screen time. Then I went away to GNEW and was busy taking down my pavilion and driving home, so there was no posting. I meant to do it Monday, but I woke up with a migraine and, well. Yeah. So it’s been a while.

 

Today, I am the only one at Creatives. It’s a rainy day, and I’m enjoying the Acoustic Covers playlist on Sp0tify, and reveling in the fact that I don’t have a migraine. I have a chai latte with almond milk, an iced raspberry green tea, and, for the first time in a LONG time, a workable plot for Advent this year! YAY!

 

You guys, you have no idea how happy I am to have a plot. Carter’s Cove is easily my most popular story, but it’s HARD to write. Plot-wise, anyways. Because see, bodies and violence and save the world are easy to plot. It’s the fluffy, feel-good but not be total sugar because that’s boring stuff that is hard.

 

I’m also going back on a mini-reset this week – doing a Whole10 with my Facebook group. I need to get back on the wagon, and this seems the best way to do it. Also, I’m adding in a fitness goal, because I want to get my stamina up. Also, I need to get more Pokemon. Because, well, Pokemon won’t walk themselves.

 

Since I haven’t been posting, I’m going to just start my goals over.

 

Oh, and I finished Hope Never Dies and I have to write a review. Mini review: I loved it. I also saw Ant Man and the Wasp yesterday. Go see it – it’s fun.

 

Morning Pages: Going for all 7 days, per normal.

Non-writing goals: 1 more coif made for Her Highness for Pennsic. I want to do 2 more if I can, but the goal is 1. Also, 2+ hours on Conri’s trim. I’ve got 1 cuff for that done, and need 1 more cuff, the neckline, 2 sides, and the hem.

Writing goals: Plot out Advent this week. I can do this long-hand.

Fitness goals: Make my step goal (currently 3500 steps per day) all 7 days.

Life reboot: 2.0.

Life has been weird lately, and I’m not sure why.

Of course, I just got home from Balticon, and I’m sick (again – I swear Maryland is trying to kill me), so that might be part of it. I’m still glad I went -I spent a lot of time going to panels on the business of being an author, which is very different from the art of being an author, and one I’m learning about. I’d love to make a living out of being a writer, if only for the fact that I could share my writing with lots of other folks. I’ll always need a day job, sadly, because of my medical condition. And really, I like having a day job. It means I can pay my bills and not have to stress as much if I go to a con and don’t sell any books.

 

But being an author is expensive, guys. And it’s not just bandwidth for the website, or money for notebooks, or supporting my tea habit (which is not cheap, let me tell you). It’s buying swag to hand out at cons or signings. It’s gas money for conventions. It’s paying my editor, my cover artist and my book designer. It’s paying my artist friend to design the calendar. It all costs, and while I’m lucky that so far, I’ve managed to sort of break even, I really need to start doing things like marketing, which I will admit scares and intimidates me. For all that I’m not a shy person, going out and saying, “I wrote this awesome thing and you should buy it!” scares the snot out of me. Seriously. So I’m going to be very awkward as I figure this out. Consider yourselves warned.

 

I’m starting by getting my email list set up today, and I’ve got a Ko-Fi page, if you want to throw some money my way. I’m going to start blogging once a week (on Sundays, when I know I will be sitting down and have a steady internet connection, if nothing else), and those Sunday posts will include my plans for the upcoming week, and how I did on last’s week’s plans. So let’s get that started now.

 

This week, I’m working the day job on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, because Thursday, I have a colonoscopy scheduled. Yay! (not really) Because of my Crohn’s disease, I get to enjoy one of these every other year. Doesn’t that sound like a blast? Okay, that was an unfortunate turn of phrase. I blame Deadpool.

 

However, because of that, my goals for the week are modest. I’m working on the 2017 Advent story (which will start June 30, just so you know). My goal is to have 2 days written by the time next Sunday rolls around, and to set up my email newsletter. Also, I need to finish the Perils of Prague so I can give you all a review. So that’s in the list.

 

Non-writing goals: well, I’m working on a cardigan for myself, so I’d like to have that finished. For at-work projects, I just got some queen’s favors, so we’ll work on that as well. Time to work on my embroidery stitches! Goal is to have 1 favor embroidered by next Sunday.

 

We’ll see how I do. I’m setting modest goals for the most part, because I’m a great one for making unreasonable goals and then watching them fly by.

 

Also! The next Carter’s Cove book, Winter Storms, is out! I’d love some reviews, if you’ve read it! Let me know!

(writing/poetry/stuff) All the things swirling in my head, like blood in fog

I’m writing again. I’m also starting to venture slowly into poetry, which is weird, because I never thought of myself as a poet. But Amber introduced me to Rupi Kuhr, and I am in love with words again. She is amazing and wonderful and I highly recommend her to all people. Even if you think you don’t like poetry. This, to me, is more thoughts in motion than anything else.

 

I’m also working on books. I’m getting myself back into Advent, and will be re-releasing last year’s unfinished story in July, along with the ending. So this year you get two Advents! Because Molly and Schrodinger will be back in December as well. I’m also releasing Winter Storms, the second book in the Carter’s Cove series, this year. So much Molly! My mother’s smiling, I know she is.

 

I’m working on a few other things too. I’ve got an odd short story that I’m working on finishing up, about ghost helpers and the little shop they run. And I’ve finally started to work on Resonant Frequencies, which I’m hoping to submit to Viable Paradise in a month. If I don’t get it to the shape I want it to by the deadline, I’ll continue to work on it and go for next year. This year is the year of me doing things to push myself. Reconnect with myself.

 

I’m also still playing with Shanna and Talia but that’s kind of on hold. I’m trying to get my world bibles in order (using Archivos, which is amazing and you should all look into it) and so I’m doing more of worldbuilding than anything else. She will be getting her story. I promise. Just not right now. Both of them. And Faerytale Princess as well. I have so many stories, guys. So very many stories.

 

OH! And I’m going to be doing some book reviews too on here! First up, once I finish it, is Perils of Prague by Doc Coleman. Steampunky goodness. I can’t wait. Yes, I will be doing others, but I’m not sure what ones yet.

 

Finally, I’m starting to do The Artist’s Way again. I’ve decided that I’m not going to be online after 9 pm ET most nights, so I can keep my sleep habits healthy. My evenings are going to be spent writing by hand, since that’s something that feels comfortable to me.  More as I come up with it.

Whole30 and food news

 

I did a Whole30 in January and February of this year, and it pretty much changed my life. So much so that since then, I’ve listened to the audiobooks at least twice each (no, seriously, I have both It Starts with Food and Food Freedom Forever! on my Audible and I’ve listened to both recently, again), and I’m about to buy The Whole30. It’s amazing how different just eating real food has been. And it’s had an effect on my writing, which is why I feel I might be going overboard a bit in my love for it, but seriously, it has. So much so that I’m starting another round on June 1, not because I feel like I’m slipping (although by then, I might be) but because I want to enjoy all the fresh fruits and vegetables that will start coming in to the farmer’s markets, and because by then, I’ll have done my two cons and will need a bit of a reset.

 

And yes, this is a writing blog, but I wanted to talk about how your health in general affects your writing. While there is a certain weird glamour in being “artistic” and drunk/stoned and generally unhealthy, in the long run, it doesn’t bode well for your creative endeavors. Seriously. Take care of your body, and you’ll be able to be creative for a long time.

 

It doesn’t have to be Whole30, either. Find a lifestyle that works for you, and don’t get caught up in the minutiae of what you “Should” be doing. I know one writer who has a little foot pedal set-up in front of his couch. He bikes while he watches TV. Another writer I know runs (actually, quite a few of them do, now that I think of it). I’m hoping to get my bike going this summer, and getting a pair of roller skates. What about you guys? What are you going to do to get healthy?

(personal/writing/food/health) Yes, I can eat salads – in short, a month on Whole30 with Crohns

On January 4, 2018, I started my second attempt at a Whole30. I had made it 9 days in September before my guts rebelled, but I was determined this time (and better prepared, to be honest), and I completed the 30 day reset on February 2, 2018. I’m in the re-introduction phase now, to see what foods I’ll be adding back into my regular eating rotation, and what foods will be saved for when it’s really worth it.

 

I have Crohn’s disease, which is typically a disease that restricts your eating to very bland, very easy to digest foods. I personally have lived on the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) when I’m having a flare. The Whole30 involves cutting out all grains, all legumes, all dairy, all alcohol, all added sugar for 30 days. Doesn’t really sound like they’d go together, do they? I was skeptical too. Trust me.

 

It’s an honest worry. For the Whole30, your meals consist of protein, vegetables, fruits, and a plated fat. I could still have potatoes, and cauliflower makes yummy rice. I couldn’t put honey in my tea when my throat was sore. I couldn’t use my beloved gingerbread syrup. It wasn’t easy.

 

No, that’s an understatement. It was damn hard, and I almost gave up a couple of times. I was lucky to have K-J, Shannon, Amber, and the rest of my friends in my Food Freedom Group talk me off the ledge a few times, mostly when I was frustrated with life and wanted nothing more than to crawl into a bottle of rum and not come out. They pointed out how far I’d come, how good I was feeling otherwise, and how I would sabotage everything I’d done in one moment of frustration. And they were right.

 

You can’t do Whole30 without a strong support system, in my personal opinion. And not just for the frustrating moments. Your support system is there to suggest new recipes when you would rather spork your eyes out than eat another damn egg, or to help you with ideas for what to eat when you go out. They cheer you on with all the non-scale victories that you see along the way. And they help you soldier on when you feel like you should just give up.

 

The other thing about Whole30 is that it’s NOT a weight loss program. It’s about changing your relationship with food – learning what affects your body in a good way and what doesn’t, and learning not to reward or comfort yourself with food. The weight loss happens, but it’s not the point of the program. You actually are not supposed to weigh yourself at all during the 30 days.

 

So, back to the Crohn’s. I was a little apprehensive, but I decided I was going to do it. All of it. No hedging. At the beginning of my first one, I hadn’t been able to eat many raw veggies or fruits at all in years. Most of my meals were carb-heavy, and I hated the way I felt. As I sit here now, after the reset, I’m eating salads almost every day, with no issues. I have vegetables at every meal. I have discovered my love of coconut butter and I don’t even miss chocolate. And I have kicked my caffeine demon and my sugar dragon into a deep cave, where they are sleeping peacefully.

 

I’m also down 18 pounds, but that’s kind of beside the point. I have energy again. My guts don’t hurt. I sleep better. My mind is clearer. I feel more connected to people, and more compassionate. I have the ability now to stop and think before I say or do something. I don’t use food as a reward.

 

This isn’t over, though. I know this is a journey, and the only “end” is when I take my last breath. I’m not on a diet. I’m changing my relationship with food, and relationships continue to evolve. While I had a very positive experience with it this time, I still take my Crohn’s medication daily. I checked with my GI and my PCP before I started this. I would recommend you do the same.

 

But I would recommend, if you think it would help, and your doctors agree, to give it a try. I’ll be there to cheer you on. I’m already looking forward to this summer, when hopefully my dad will be doing this with me. If you decide to try it, please let me know!

 

In other news, I’ve decided that I need to start writing again. My friend Robert has called this year the Year of Teaching for his embroidery. I think this year for me is the Year of Writing. I have books and stories to tell. And honestly. I just feel better when I write. I did delete my Patreon account (I might set it up again later, but I don’t feel that I can do it now) but I did start a Ko-Fi account. You can donate there if you’d like. The link to buy me a cup of tea or whatever is here. I’ve set it up on the website as well.

 

I’ll be at RavenCon in April, and Balticon in May. I’m not sure what else I’m doing for cons this year, but we’ll see. Want me at your con? Drop me a line and let me know.

(personal/writing) Long days and not giving up

It’s the beginning of the year, and in my day job, I answer questions about 401ks, pensions, health savings accounts, and health and insurance benefits. So needless to say, I’m working long hours, because Annual Enrollment just ended, and tax season just started. Yay, OT! Boo, long hours!

 

I’ve also started my Whole30 (I’m on Day 5!), which has meant a lot more cooking and a lot less convenience. Do you know they put sugar in steak fries? You know, the kind you buy bagged in the store and bake in the oven? Yeah, look at the list of ingredients. Dextrose. Sugar. Blows my mind. But anyways, I’m having to cook again, and my roommate is being awesome by eating most of it with me. It should be another added stress, but oddly, it’s not.

 

It’s something I’m in control of, and it’s helping me gain control of other things in my life. Like doing 10 minutes of Arts & Sciences for the SCA (I’m working on a dress for me and largesse bags right now, and I’m up to day 21 for that), and writing 100 words every day (today is day 7). I’m not pushing hard, but I don’t want to break any of my streaks. They make me feel like even though things are tough, I can get through it.

 

I got my very first tattoo this past December, and it’s really helping as well, reminding me to continue, even if it seems like the darkness is closing in. If you don’t follow me on Facebook, this is what it looks like:

Every day is a journey. It’s one more step along a path that I’m beginning not to fear again. Maybe I’m starting to finally heal. I’m trying to blog at least twice a week, and we’ll see how that goes. I’m also trying not to wear myself out.

 

It’s a fine line sometimes.

Healthy attempt number god knows

Ah, January. That wonderful time of the year where everyone wants to get healthy. And yeah, I’m totally one of them.

 

I really just decided that I wasn’t going to worry about more than getting through the holidays this year. I survived them. I didn’t go over my highest weight from last year, although I got close, and and I got through it. Now, it’s time to work on getting better again.

 

That means I’m quitting the soda (again), and making sure I take my medications, which to be perfectly honest, I’m terrible at. I’m using my bullet journal to help me keep track of that, and I’ll be updating on this once a month. This month, my goals are simple:

  • Take all my meds for the rest of the month

Seriously, that’s it. I’m aiming for one goal a month, because I know from past experience if I try and do more than that, I get easily overwhelmed and say “Fuck it.” So the goal this month is meds.

 

What are you doing for your health goals this month?

 

(writing/personal) Pokemon Go!

 

Yes, I’ve gotta catch them all too. It’s fun, and I need some fun in my life. Besides, it’s something hubby and I can do together. And it’s good for us. I’m Team Yellow (aka Instinct) and if you want to find me, I’m CassieHobbes.

 

I’m also recommitting to writing (again). I’ve discovered that it’s just something that I need to regularly recommit to. So I’ll be in my writing studio, and hopefully I won’t get distracted by the Pokemon wandering around outside. (It’s so hard though!)

 

I’m starting to work on the rewrite of the second Advent story, now titled Winter’s Storm. And I’m outlining the sixth (!) Advent story for this year. This year, it’s going to be pretty interactive, so keep an eye out on the blog! And we’ve got the e-book and audio book of Winter’s Secrets that are coming! So much stuff!

 

Which is, of course, why my brain is suggesting a bizarre post-apocalyptic story. *headdesk*

(writing/health) Depression, and the continuing struggle

snowpocalypse.jpg

I was going through my pictures the other day, and realized just how dark this one is. This is my street, during a snowstorm a few years ago. And it got me to thinking about how dark days, dark winters, really, really affect me. And my writing.

 

I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that a lot of my Horseman books happen in the dark cold of a New Hampshire winter, or in the Shadow Lands. It’s a dark series, and for me, cold and dark have always gone hand in hand. I vaguely remember enjoying winter once, but now, it seems as soon as the days start getting shorter and it starts getting colder out, I start to shut down. I don’t want to do anything other than sleep. I hate being cold. I hate having to wear coats and gloves and YakTraks. I just don’t like winter.

 

But this winter seemed especially hard, even though it wasn’t that cold and snowy. My depression whispered to me during these long nights, taunting me, reminding me that I wasn’t writing when everyone around me was, I wasn’t doing much of anything, I was gaining weight and losing time, and didn’t I just feel awful about it? Never mind that pretty much NONE of that (except the feeling awful part) was true. Depression is like that – it’s a snake that whispers where no one else can hear, and it tells lies that sound like the truth, and it’s so hard not to believe it.

 

I can only imagine what winter was like before electric lights, before heated buildings, before cars to get to work. I luckily don’t lose power that often, so I don’t get to experience that. Even camping now seems less…rustic, and I know it’s because I chose to make it that way. And yet, winter isn’t just a dead time.

 

It’s a sleeping time. The earth doesn’t die – it sleeps, snug in a winter blanket, dreaming of the longer days and warmer sun that’s coming. Everything needs down time, and perhaps I’ve been looking at winter the wrong way. Perhaps, even though my depression is telling me lies, those lies are rooted in a truth that I’ve been ignoring: that even though technology insists we can go 24-7, all day, every day, that life doesn’t do well at full-throttle. That everything needs a break, a winter’s nap, and that I should see this time as hibernation, my body and my soul recovering from the stresses of life. I’m not hiding away from everyone – I’m recharging, waiting for the cold to roll back, and the soil to warm, so I can spread my leaves out to the sun again.

 

I’m not denying that I have depression. I will always have depression – there is no cure, at least not yet. But I can learn from it, use it, respect it and what it is trying to tell me. And realize that under the lies is a kernel of truth, and nurturing that truth is what I need to do.

(health) Making better choices

Waterfall.jpg

I love this picture. I love the feel of the greenery, of the moving water, of the sheer potential it represents. To me, running water and the outdoors is happiness.

 

I haven’t been able to do much in the outdoors over the past couple of years, due to a lot of weight gain, injuries (in large part due to that weight gain) and illness. For someone who grew up outside (and yes, I loved the outside when I was younger, although I admit I usually was curled up someplace in it reading), this has been a hard couple of years, and I’m almost positive that being inside and not able to hike and swim and walk the way I want to has contributed to my depression.

 

In August 2015, I finally admitted I needed real help. Not just nutritionally, but a coach who would administer the tough love and unconditional support I needed to get my life healthy again. I was lucky enough to find that in my friend Shannon, who is a coach for Herbalife. If you’ve ever met me, you know I LOVE food. Like, seriously, LOVE food. The taste, the smell, the mouthfeel – yeah, I’m a bonafide foodie, and for years, I was resistant to having anything to do with meal replacement shakes. Of course, it didn’t help that the ones on the commercial market like Ensure and Boost are full of chemicals and SMELL like chemicals as soon as you open the bottle. So I was skeptical.

 

Trust me, I’m not trying to sell anyone anything. For one thing, I know that my path isn’t everyone’s. We’re all different. But let me tell you, without Shannon, I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am. I’m walking again. I’m down nearly 30 lbs since August. And the shakes – well, to be perfectly honest, they’re amazing. I love them. (And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I can have cookies and cream cheesecake for breakfast. Okay, well, maybe a little.) And the best part? It doesn’t smell chemically. When I open my vanilla protein powder, it smells like vanilla. My hubby and roomie loved the waffles I made with them (reminder to self, make more waffles.).

 

For another thing? It’s not cheap. Now, granted, in the long run, it’s cheaper than eating fast food all the time, and it’s cheaper than medical bills. But it does require some outlay of cash.

 

But for me, it’s been worth it. If you are interested in talking to my coach, you can hit Shannon up – her husband Tom is a coach as well, if you want a guy instead. I can personally vouch for both of them – they’re amazing, and I’m lucky to have them in my life. Because of them, I’m looking forward to hiking this summer, and maybe, just maybe, getting my bike out again.