Other than the keeping soda out of my diet my goals aren't going anywhere this Month. It's almost half way through Feb and I'm not accomplished any of them.

I probably only have excuses, though this excuse is a rather good one. I've been spending most of my free time to do those things in my Goal list this month to work on some Freelance Gigs for one of my best clients. Two projects with a potential on going work load intermittently. So I paid enjoyment comes before free enjoyment.

I'm waiting on the Tax Refund to get in so that I can buy a program to teach the girls how to type properly. So that's the main hold up on that.

And a good share of my personal projects are going to drop off the cliff because I will have no more lunch hour to work on them either having to split my lunch between actually eating and then picking them up later in the afternoon. If all goes according to plan, Shea will be getting up around 4:30a and I will try to as well, in which time I hope to throw in at least a 15 min work out, hopefully more than that and then have about 1 hour to do other things. Because I'll have to deal with cooking breakfast if they are so inclined to eat eggs and toast again, the girls will be getting up to start our morning routine at 5:50a so we have enough time to eat.

It's very possible we have a very life altering change coming up - no we aren't expecting another child!

Now before you say anything negative, this first topic is a matter of money and of incompleteness of the courses. Shea has withdrawn from school. Not because he couldn't handle it, but because with the recent 2% increase in Social Security we are in the struggling again area. Another reason Shea opted to do this was because the classes he was taking weren't really going to take him in the direction he wanted to go. They were too simplified and not actually real courses he'd have to take. Pretty much none of those courses would transfer to a 4 year school if that's any indication of what type of classes these were. (And as a side note he was also denied financial aid AGAIN! even with a 4.0 with 18 semester hours for his last semester.)

So now Shea is trying to get back into the shipyard. We've had a few good points in these past few weeks. Shea has definitely gotten further along in the process than he has in the past few years. He has an interview, written and practical test tomorrow. Wish him luck!

If Shea gets this job we have some major things to work around. The biggest being what to do with the girls after school. I think it's going to end up me taking half my lunch to get the girls and get back to work until 5pm. Mam and Pawpaw might be able to help out too. If they can we'll probably try to set a schedule so that we all know what's going on.

This now also causes an issue of What's for Supper? Who's going to cook it? We have several ideas but none we've really discussed more than it's a possibility.

And the last final change is going to be the amount we actually get to see the girls and wake up times. Shea will likely go to bed at 8pm for his 4ish am wake up call. I will probably do the same. It'll give me a few hours to have some peace and quiet, get some freelancing done and hopefully I can throw in a work out before I need to get the girls up at 6am.

Wish us luck and pray Shea gets this job. We really need the money.

As a side note, if he gets this job we won't be to New York until Christmas, at which time we WILL be going provided any health barriers don't get in the way.

Well I had meant to post this at the beginning of February but I kept forgetting.

  • Continue to leave soda off daily menu and lower carb intake (increase vegetable/fruit intake)
  • Finish Headache Diary Web App with out syncing/database/api options.
  • Rewrite last Chapter of Revolution to a non-cliffhanger ending
  • Start teaching the girls to type
  • Write The First Hunt Short Story

Not very concrete goals, and I really need to try to add some workouts, but that's really not going to work. I might add play ddr or zumba with sam to the list a couple times a week. At least I can rely on Sam to help me want to do it. Maybe start trying EA Active again we'll see. Wii Fit would be useful but the board takes batteries ugh! We'll see how it goes, I might see about getting things set up again on Wii Fit

January Goals:

  • Cut out the soda
  • Switch caffeine intake to brewed tea with splenda
  • Cut down on the number of carbs and increase vegetable intake!
  • Add missing scenes and information to Revolution for A Dark Journey
  • Add an additional book to Revolution (I don’t like the ending)
  • Decide what application I want to work on (this is for fun and will be a slow process since it’s only on my lunch hour and my weekends)
  • Finish Knife of Dreams
  • Install Scratch on the girls computer and show them the basics of the program
  • Decide which books to start reading – Harry Potter, or something else?
  • Do 20 min Hotel Room Workout on M, W & F

I haven't had soda for the most part since the first week in January. I had some when Dairy Queen opened up for lack of anything else palatable, but it wasn't caffeine yay! - 100% done

Switching caffeine was slightly easier done than I thought. I haven't really had much caffeine in a few weeks. I have tea every so often, and hot chocolate at work. I also am finishing off the vanilla cappicino I have at work but much less than the servings say added with my hot chocolate - 100% done

Cutting down on the carbs and adding vegetables is hard on a budget. I will continue to try. I did lose about 8 lbs so I'm happy with that and most of that I know is the whole cutting out the soda thing. - 20% done

I did finish most of the new scenes for Revolution, I didn't finish one tho. I started adding a new book to it. Though don't think I'm liking it. I'm also working a short story. - 80% done

I have started working on a Headache Diary App. I really need one. It's a work in progress. - 100% done

I did install scratch for the girls. They had a blast the first day. Kathleen wants to learn how to make a web page so that required her to type better, I will have to work on that before she can get going - 100% done

I finished Knife of Dreams AND The Gathering Storm AND Towers of Midnight AND started A Memory of Light - 300% done

I have decided against reading to the girls. Instead I want to find chapter books Kathleen can read to her sister. Though if I do we will probably read Harry Potter - 100% done

Working out has been an utter fail! I'm really not sure how to add it to my daily routine. I need to find some motivation to do so. - 0% done

It's almost halfway through the month and I'm still doing well.

I have complete 4 of my goals.

  1. Finished Knife of Dreams (half way through The Gathering Storm)
  2. Decided I am going to read the girls Harry Potter AFTER I finish Wheel of Time
  3. I installed Scratch on Kathleen's computer, though they've not played with it much since then. Though she did ask me to teach her to make a webpage. So first is learning to type. If anyone knows any good beginner typing games I'm all ears!
  4. Decided I am going to do my Headache Diary App for my project this year. And Laravel 4 went into beta 1 today WITH documentation so AWESOME!

I've pretty much kicked caffeine's butt! I haven't had soda in about 4 days and I slide on the temptation to get some this weekend when I had to run out on Sunday to get Sam some ginger ale cause she wasn't not doing so well - stomach bug. I have managed to find a method to rid me of a caffeine headache - Tylenol plus a cup of tea! I've only had one cup of tea since Saturday and thus far no headaches. My current caffeine intake is 1 cup of tea in 2.5 days. We'll see how long that streak goes. I am not fond of tea at work as it's way to relaxing and I end up more sleepy than I was before so not a good thing at work. That will put two of the goals in the finished pile once I'm sure it's done with. Then it's just to stay on the band wagon hehe.

Carbs are easy to lower but I end up hungry. Veggies are a bit harder to include because I'm either the only one who eats them or Samantha eats them all lol. Hopefully I'll find a solution that works well for me.

Exercising is my down fall. I've managed 2 workouts this month. I think I may end up having to schedule them in the morning. That means 20 mins less sleep on days I really want to stay in bed. Which for me is most days. I'm not lazy, I just enjoy laying in my bed all warm and cozy like. I might try 15 mins before but we'll see, that's still pushing my limits. I need my sleep and I like it to be 8 hours of actual sleep and not 8 hours of lying in bed, which is why I go to bed at 9pm so that I have enough time to actually fall asleep.

I missed a workout Monday. I didn't make it up on Tuesday because I had a massive headache. That's 3 in 2 weeks. Not feeling good about that at all.

But I did get another 15% or so through Knife of Dreams. We should get A Memory of Light Thursday just in time for Shea to read on the weekend. It will be a Wheel of Time weekend for both of us. The last book, I'm rather excited to get there. I'm glad that I will be reading the last few books in a straight row, I'll have a good handle on events unlike all the books in the past.

I don't know if I'll ever reread the Wheel of Time again. I really don't know. I spent a good 18 years of my life with the Wheel of Time. It is because of the Wheel of Time that I met my husband and I will eternally be grateful for that fact.

My Headache App is coming along. Laravel 4 will be out in beta soon with documentation so I'm excited to start working with it.

I think I'm going to have to cut out caffeine in it's entirety. I'm not sure tea is going to work for me. I'm pretty sure a good majority of my headache yesterday and today has to do with caffeine withdrawl as a small cup of Dr Pepper Ten helped the most of it go away. I still have neck stiffness which will cause headaches and I'm having random ice pick headaches above my left eye and a little bit of tension there as well.

I'm trying to stay hydrated with sugar free fruit punch, that only has 5 calories per 8 oz, it's the best I can do. I just can't drink water. When I was younger I could all day, but I grew up on city water, and then I moved to the boonies and we had a well, so the water was disgusting to drink. Then I moved back tot he city and the years of not drinking it make it disgusting too. I can do bottled water or water that's been in the fridge for days in a plastic bottle but it has to be dead ice cold and can't get warm. Yesterday I think I had 3 16oz glasses of it. Almost 8 cups, but I did have a cup of tea too. so that's closer to 7 and a half cups of water. I'm on 2 16 oz glasses so far today and it's only lunch time.

The title says it all. Tomorrow is the release of the LAST book for the Wheel of Time Series - the LAST book. My husband has been waiting nearly 23 years for it to finish. What started out as a trilogy is now what 14 books?

Our copy has shipped from the Amazon facility and they say it'll be here the 12th, but Amazon usually overestimates the delivery time, so we should have it sooner. I won't know until it actually hits a Fedex facility. But Shea started school today so he probably won't have much time to read until the weekend anyway.

Maybe if he does then I will sit down and read Knife of Dreams. I think until I finish it, I will be spending my weekends doing that.

On the topic of reading, Kathleen started trying to read The Chronicles of Narnia. I'm not sure she's at the right comprehension level to get it, but she's reading most of the words so that's great. If I can find the Harry Potter Book 1 I think I might start reading to the girls AFTER I finish the Wheel of Time Series.

It is my goal to finish The Wheel of Time before I pick up any other book. I have a ton on my wish list to read. And probably even more I'd like to reread again. Yes I like to reread some of my favorite books, on top of that list is The Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony and The Talent Series by Anne McCaffrey and potentially the Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind, but don't know about the latter.

I will be trying again with the Nerd Fitness's six week challenge. They are tied into this months goals. It starts tomorrow. Hopefully I can get into the swing of things easier.

I thighs are sore from my Friday workout, squats kill them lol. But it's all good, my arms are a bit sore too but not as much as my thighs.

This challenge's goals:

3 fitness goals

  1. Cut soda out of daily routine - because soda is my only source of caffeine, I need to wean myself off the instant dose in one shot to a slow dose of the same size (switching to brewed tea)
  2. Adjust Diet: Cut down carb intake , Increase fruit/vegetable per meal (fruit with oatmeal, salad/soup for lunch, frozen vegies with dinner)
  3. M, W, F Bodyweight workout - starting with 20 min hotel workout.

Personal goal:

  • Begin working on a headache diary web app/mobile app with api.

Today Kathleen told me she told her sister how to get a My Little Pony Wallpaper on her tablet. So I went and installed Scratch for her. I showed Kathleen the very basis of how to start and she started right in. She has big plans. A swinging chase scene and some swimming through a jungle area.

She seems excited about it. I'm going to work on a basic worksheet that we can use with scratch that she can try to do herself and I'll help her along the way. We'll see how it goes, I'm going to give her a few weeks to play with scratch with out any instruction. I'm a firm believer if you don't try something then you won't ever learn what it does. Just dive in and try to make it do something.

I also installed Scratch on the laptop for Sam hopefully it'll work okay for her on that dinosaur.

I decided what I wanted to do for my App this year. I choose this app because I wanted something I would find useful AND something I hadn't seen yet.

I'm calling the app Headache Chronicles. It's a Headache Diary, but it will also log hour weather updates. It will include everything that is in must headache trackers plus this unique feature. I know I find myself wondering if it's a pressure thing or if it's a weather thing, this might help me figure that out.

Here is Draft 1 of the Specification that I intend to have on the first alpha/beta release of the software:

3 Projects in 1 Features

  • headache diary api
  • headache diary web app
  • mobile diary app (iPhone/Andriod/HTML5)

Headache Diary API

  • Register New User
  • Lost Password?
  • Login/Logout
  • Create New Headache
  • Edit Headache
  • Delete Headache
  • Sync with Online database
  • Hourly Weather Gathering
  • Get All Headaches
  • Get Headaches in Date Range
  • Get a Headache
  • Get all Weather
  • Get Weather for Time Frame
  • Edit User Account

Application Functionality

  • All API implementation
  • Works Offline
  • Syncs with online database when connection is available
  • Calendar of Headaches
  • Chart Weather & Headaches

I intend to use Laravel 4 as the base framework, hopefully it's released soon so that I can get some questions answered that are critical to this application.

Yesterday didn't go so well. I was supposed to start workout but because of the massive incapacitating headache I had it didn't happen. And it's probably not going to happen today either as a make up day. Maybe Friday will be better.

I can feel the tension under my eye and in my neck and shoulder so I know today's going to be another bad day.

This headache I expect, this headache is typical of my headaches, I think the pain and stress from the one last week is making these ones worse in 'temperament' than usual. I can get through this but the caffeine regime is going to have to wait until next week, cause I'm pretty sure cutting down on the caffeine now could cause more harm (which could also be the reason it got so bad last night, one can versus two cans is a big difference even with a cup of tea.)

So here's to hoping tomorrow is a better day. And that today is a much better day than I think it will be.

Well today I tried Chai Tea for the first time. It smelled good, and it tasted pretty good. It was a sample packet we got in something or another. Supposedly Tea has as much caffeine or more as one can of Dr. Pepper, however I have never had the same affect for a headache as I do with the can of caffeine.

But today I ready why that is the case. Because there is a reaction with the caffeine and the natural chemical tannin of tea that works to slow down caffeine absorption. So that is why it never seems to get rid of a caffeine withdrawl headache. It probably would given enough time.

So my current plan to switch out the soda to brewed tea is probably the best way to do it. I've cut myself down to 1 can a day for breakfast and then one cup of tea in the afternoon with lunch. This will work only if I can get some tea in the house. Only thing we have is a family pack of tea that makes 1 quart. I don't need quite that much. Though I might think about making it at home, and bringing it to work where the splenda is free.

After the soda is gone in the house, I think there are three cans left if no one has had any at home yet lol. I will start with 2-3 cups of tea day. Not only does it give the caffeine fix, but it increases good liquid intake - ie: no sugar. And yes I will try to drink tea with out sweetners but I'm pretty sure that's as bad as plain water lol. But we'll see.

Not related: Yes I'm trying to blog everyday.

Well I managed to see in the New Year. I didn't last much longer than that though.

This morning we were woken by gun shots at 6am. Some nut job was firing a gun behind our house in the alley back there. I did go back to sleep aftewards and didn't get up till about 11am. The girls were kind enough to let me sleep. Though they do need to practice being quiet a bit more - a lot more :P

My goals aren't going to start out great. I'm still kicking the soda, mostly because we have it and second because we couldn't afford to get the things I wanted to this shopping trip. Christmas and Kathleen's birthday took a toll on our finances.

Speaking of finances, THANK THE LORD that my insurance is actually only going up $25 a pay check instead of $200 plus. I had one hell of a bad weekend, I'm pretty sure that migraine was all about stressing out over it on top of the rest of my headache days.

But my goals are getting a hit of productivity, not because it's a goal but because it really is something I wanted to do. I added in all the missing scenes I thought were already in there but weren't. I still have information that needs to be included, threads of the story that kinda just didn't do anything. I have to rewrite one scene because in the process of adding in a few of the lose ends it changed the battle plan a lot. So I have to rewrite it. And I've worked on pieces of the last book. Though it may not be a last book I'll probably not be happy with any ending I can have. But then I don't intend to stop writing these stories once I finish them so that's probably the reason they just keep going the way they are. But I don't have any main action to the story so not sure where it should go, I need to think on it before I can actually start writing. This book will fill out the WAY back story so it's a keeper.

I also started filling in my good reads profile. I intend to use it to keep track of my progress on The Wheel of Time. Now to make time to finish reading Knife of Dreams. I use to have so much time to read lol, what happened to it all.

Kathleen was not happy about her birthday, no friends showed up to her party and she was sad. I feel bad for her. I'm thinking we will end up moving her birthday party to January for her school friends, but not we will not be doing a skating party again. Blew $125 dollars on our kids to skate on their own pair of skates, 3 pizzas and 2 2-litters of soda and the room for the family to hang out in for 1.5 hours. Not worth the money.

Thankfully Sam's birthday is in warmer weather and we can go to the Beach Park for like $30 for most of the day.

This year I am going to change the way I do resolutions. I'm still going to set milestones for the end of the year, but I'm going to set smaller goals to achieve those milestones on a monthly basis, we'll see how that goes.

Milestones for this year

  • Lose weight - ulimate goal: 136 min 130 prefered
  • Continue working on A Dark Journey stories
  • Write at least one application for the web and mobile platforms
  • Finish the Wheel of Time series finished in February
  • Teach The girls the basics of writing a program (only if interested)
  • Start reading the girls some chapter books

I am going to make smaller goals on a month by month basis. So here are January's Goals

  • Cut out the soda
  • Switch caffeine intake to brewed tea with splenda
  • Cut down on the number of carbs and increase vegetable intake!
  • Add missing scenes and information to Revolution for A Dark Journey
  • Add an additional book to Revolution (I don't like the ending)
  • Decide what application I want to work on (this is for fun and will be a slow process since it's only on my lunch hour and my weekends)
  • Finish Knife of Dreams
  • Install Scratch on the girls computer and show them the basics of the program
  • Decide which books to start reading - Harry Potter, or something else?
  • Do 20 min Hotel Room Workout on M, W & F

At the end of the month I will reevaluate my goals to my milestones. Smack me if I don't. Seriously send me a message if I've not updated at the end of January about what it is in February. Accountability I think is going to be the key to success. So here goes the upteenth try at a Better Me!

Well not sure I measure up to anything I said I would do but here goes.

My Resolutions

  1. Learn a new framework
  2. Learn more about Unix System Administration
  3. Blog/Journal at least a little each day
  4. I’ve signed up for Code Year. It’s a weekly programming project aimed at teaching programming. But it might be something good to keep the mind > thinking.
  5. Eat Healthier
  6. Now that I’m working I need to spend more time with my girlies both together and alone.
  7. Find a non-computer, cheap hobby.
  1. Yes I did learn a new framework. I picked up Laravel and have writte a few tiny applications with it. I'm waiting for Laravel 4 to be released so that I can do more in depth stuff with it as working with out documentation is rather hard for me at the moment. I also learned python and ruby, tho I haven't actually done much other than learn the basics.
  2. Not really. I tried, but the computer died that I was using so I didn't get far. Though it's still a goal
  3. Nope didn't do well with that I started out strong, but fell through. However I did complete a 90K writing project that I'm still working on and refining with more to write and flesh out.
  4. I again started out strong with code year, but it was all review with very little new stuff. I'll probably hunt and peck through a few concepts that I want to learn about
  5. Didn't eat any healthier, though I did try. And again will try again this year.
  6. I didn't spend more time with the girles but we still had a wonderful year.
  7. Still haven't found a non-computer related hobby. Shea's taken up photography so that's great. I think my writing is starting to push strong again. I keep having a pull to go back to DM but I really don't want to get sucked back in. So when the urge hits I start writing more for A Dark Journey. The problem with that is I always get side tracked with little programming things I can do to make my life easier. Though I think I'm done with that at the moment, I still want to index character appearances in scenes not quite sure how to do that well yet. As I don't want to search the who set of files for them not at least on demand.

I also improved my work flow by adding git to it and automatic ftp to when I edit to the dev server. So I think I had a good year all in all.

If I remember I'll make my resolutions, though I think I will be doing them slightly different this year than in prior years.

Shea wrote another peice I'd like to share with ya'll. I hope you enjoy it as much as he had fun writing it.

It all started when I was creeping through the forest, late in the afternoon. The great light in the sky was going to sleep for the day. Pale shafts of light came through the trees to light my way, although I had no need for it here in my woods. It had rained last night; the ground was still soft and damp. My woods had a clean smell to it after it rained, like the world was new. It was days like today that could almost make me forget the troubles and the invaders.

I wandered, only part of me paying attention to foraging. I started to think of friends and family long past, those that had fallen to the invaders. As always my mate came to mind first, she had been taken six moons back, but it was still fresh in my mind. She had been a hen like no other; her large breast and dark coloring were spectacular. She could strut in a certain way that would make every tom in the forest ready to fight to get her attention. But there were few who would challenge me, not if they wished to live. She had affected me like no other, so much so that when she was taken I could not bring myself to seek another mate. I was sad that we had never had chicks; but in a way also glad. They would have always reminded me of her, and probably gotten into more trouble than I could get them out of.

I turned my thoughts away from her; they were always too painful and too distracting. I thought of Grey Tom, the old grey beard had not been a tough old bird, but he had been smart. He was the one that taught me the most about the invaders. It was this cunning that had kept him alive all these seasons. But that had changed a few days ago, when the invaders seem to come in force. He had been taken, like an untold amount of others before him, like an indefinite amount more would be. I had no idea how to stop the invaders. All I could do was fight and try and survive.

The invaders had come long ago, further back than any grey beards memory. They came to kill my kind, and other animals that shared this forest. I grew up learning how to avoid them, and how to fight them. They used strange tools to fight with because they had no natural weapons. These tools showed that these invaders had some intelligence, but that was the only thing that did. “What kind of creature kills without reason, or need, and destroys the world around them?” I had asked the question countless times trying to understand my enemy. The only answer anyone could give was that they must all be mad...

All of a sudden I heard a sound and froze. My mind had wandered as I walked home. Now my mind raced, replaying the sound in my head. It had been an unnatural sound, like nothing I had heard before. I listened, and heard a faint rustle from directly ahead. I sniffed the air, but the wind was from the wrong direction. It could only be an invader, or more than one, they were oft to cowardly to come alone.

I cursed myself for being so careless. Seasons of survival took over, and I took in all my surroundings while trying to not look nervous. The invader had to be behind the large tree just ahead of me; there were not enough bushes to hide his kind. To my left was a open field, not really an option. To the right was home, a large stand of ancient gnarled trees that my flock had held for the last few seasons. Behind me the forest spread to the other side of the world where the invaders had come from. I could turn in any direction and outrun it. These creatures were slow, and clumsy, but dangerous none the less. Madness seized me; I was not running, not today, maybe not ever again.

I flared my tail feathers and puffed my chest, dropping my wings low and tensing to make it look like I was going to fly. Then I strutted, I knew I looked magnificent; an incredibly large and succulently tempting target. “Slowly” I thought, “draw it in, let’s see how dumb it is.” I strutted toward the right, putting the tree between us. If it was an invader, it would have to move to see me. “Come and play” I called to it softly; knowing it could not understand me. I wanted to laugh at my recklessness, even as a small part of me screamed inside my head that this was insane. “COME PLAY” I screamed knowing it could wait no longer.
And it began, the invader stepped out away from the tree and time froze… that is the only way I can describe what happened next. We stared at each other over the short distance for what seemed like forever as I got my first look at it. It was truly and ugly thing, it walked on two legs but it’s other two were deformed. It held its fighting tool in the other two, using them like the thieving raccoons that roamed these woods. It had only a little bit of shaggy fur on its head and no feathers. It was covered in what looked like the skins and furs of its victims. This drove home the point of how barbaric these creatures truly were; and made me wonder what would happen to my kind. I let that thought wash over me, along with the memory of my lost mate, and let the madness have me.

Screaming in pure rage, I took flight toward the invader, as it raised its tool and pointed it at me. That part of my mind that was still sane took note of everything that happened next. The invaders tool made a sound like thunder as fire and smoke came out of it; and the ground behind me exploded with a shower of dirt and leaves. In that small amount of time I had closed the distance. The rest of me no longer cared, I had run enough, and my kind had suffered enough.

The invader had just enough time to realize its mistake and scream in terror. My claws extended and beak still open with my scream I attacked. My talons latched on to its chest; sharp enough to go through the skins it wore to sink into its flesh. My beak sank into its throat which was soft and unprotected. The tangy taste of blood was soon in my mouth and it fueled the madness. It beat at me with its top deformed legs as I buffeted it with my wings. It staggered around in a vain attempt to get me off of it. In the end, it stood no chance, as I tore more and more flesh from its throat; its screams turned to a choked gurgle. Finally its fighting slowed, and it fell to the ground. I moved off to the side to watch it die.

As the madness slowly left me, I realized I had a new mate, a new purpose, not only for me but for my kind. No longer would we suffer these invaders. My flock had watched the battle from the safety of the trees and began to cheer me from above. I looked to the other toms and the hens that were there. I knew I had to be a grisly sight, covered in all the blood. “No more” I said. “No longer will we run and hide; no longer will we merely die. When the great light in the sky returns next, is a day that the invaders gather to give thanks on. But we will change that, when the great light returns we will make them pay for their evil. For on their day of thanks, we shall invade.”

And the crowd goes wild.

I didn't do the last 6 week challenge at Nerd Fitness. But I'm going to set up a 30 Day Challenge for the month of November.

  • Finish NaNo for the first time
  • Do as many push ups, crunches, squats and one arm rows as I can in 30 minutes in the morning

The fitness goal is to ultimately lose weight with out counting calories. I will weigh myself Nov 1 first thing in the morning and then not look at the scale until Dec 1 first thing in the morning. The only thing I plan to track is how many of each exercise I do on a given day. (and of course word count)

Wish Me Luck!

My wonderful husband is taking Comp One in school. He wrote the following essay that I had to share with everyone. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did and as much as his teacher did.

There are few things I enjoy more than coffee. Making coffee actually borders on a ritual. There is a process when followed that can give one an incredible sensory experience. Let me try and describe what I mean. Take this journey with me, so that the experience may be shared and enjoyed by all: coffee beyond caffeine and the wonders it holds for all the senses.

I start with the beans, a dark roast this time. The beans are extremely dark brown, nearly black and really shiny. The shine is from the oils that cover the surface. This is my normal choice for mornings. I do not want to wake up too fast. Dark roast beans have less caffeine, but an incredible amount of flavor. The smell of coffee is actually weak at this stage; the roasting smell is more prevalent in these beans right now. After I have chosen the bean, I move to my grinder.

My grinder, a creation of pure beauty, is small, yet powerful, and not overly expensive. I favor a Burr grinder; it uses two revolving abrasive elements, such as wheels, between which the coffee beans are crushed with little frictional heating. The process of squeezing and crushing of the beans releases the coffee's oils which are then more easily extracted during the infusion process with hot water, making the coffee taste richer and smoother. I load my grinder with enough beans to make an entire pot of coffee, making sure the beans are distributed evenly so that they grind better. I turn it on and listen to the sounds that it makes. The grinder itself makes a high pitched whirring noise, that can be disturbing but I listen past that to the sounds of the beans being smashed and shredded. I listen as the crushing sounds diminish and all that can be heard is the whirring of the grinder, and I know it is time for one of the best parts of my ritual.

Turning off the grinder, I then remove the part that holds the grounds. I open it slowly so as not to spill it. For someone who merely drinks coffee this scent may just be the smell of coffee, but for a true coffee lover it is so much more. I inhale deeply of the scent of fresh ground coffee. This is a smell like no other. One can smell the darkness of this bean, the richness of the taste that will come from it, the boldness of the long roasting process. All this comes to mind just from the scent.

I move on to the next part of the process almost sadly. The grinder was set to a medium coarseness for this brew, which is best for a standard drip coffee maker. I check the consistency of the grind to make sure there are no large parts of the beans left in the container. Large pieces in the grind makes the coffee weaker and not as flavorful. If any large parts are found I remove them before putting the grounds into the coffee maker. Sifting through the grounds also releases some of the beans that was ground to fine and has become a light dust. The upside to this is the smell it releases to the air, which is almost as good as when the container is first opened.

The bean is ground and checked so it is time to move to the next step. I set up the coffee pot. A part of the process I could literally, and probably have, done in my sleep. I measure out the water; I can tell how much water is in the pot just by the weight. The water is added to the coffee pot and the filter is placed into the basket. It is finally time to put the grounds into the basket, but not without one last smell of the wonderful aroma. I make sure the grounds are distributed evenly through the basket and are lightly packed down to add a little more flavor. Now it is time to close the lid on the basket and flip the switch. The switch that will let the wonder that is coffee fusion begin.

All that can really be done at this time is to watch, wait and drool a little. To keep myself distracted, I clean the grinder as I listen to the chug, chug, chug of the water as it begins to percolate. I am done by the time the sweet aroma of brewing coffee starts to fill the air. I inhale deeply, and listen to the agonizingly slow drip of the coffee, as it starts to slowly fill the pot. For someone waiting on coffee, there is an eternity between drops as the pot slowly fills.

In days past, when the world was young and we did not know better, people waited for the pot to finish filling. But no longer are we that backwards a people. I use a Brew Station coffee pot that lets me fill my cup from a spigot and not disturb, or have to wait for, the brewing process.

I stand in front of the coffee maker watching it get to the point I know is enough to fill my favorite coffee cup. I caress the stoneware cup in my hand in anticipation, the smooth surface of it a comfortable friend that has been on this journey with me numerous times. I love the color and patterns on it, red with black lines and a black interior, one of the countless mugs that were presents from my daughters.

At last there is enough in the pot to fill my cup. I place the cup to the spigot and watch this wonderful black liquid fill my cup. I see the steam rise from it as it fills and curse the slowness of the filling. Then it is almost time, I bring the cup up close to smell what I have been so patiently waiting for. The smell makes me close my eyes and shudder in anticipation, as the warmth of the cup spreads through my hands. Finally I take that first sip, slowly letting the heat and the flavor spread through my mouth. The explosion of flavor makes me sigh as I swallow that first sip, and I relish the warmth as it slowly spreads to every part of me.

With a smile of satisfaction I turn away from my coffee maker. I start to walk out of the room, when the wife says “There is something so wrong with you.” My smile gets bigger as I lift my cup and leave the room.

Copyright © 2012 Shea Wilkerson

Today starts Nerd Fitness' next six week challenge. I am attempting to participate.

Challenge #1 (Aug 6 – Sept 16th)

  • Follow the Exercise Routine everyday (STR: 2, STA: 2, CHA: 1)
  • Lose 5 lbs by the end of the challenge (CON: 3, CHA: 1)
  • Eat vegetables with every dinner (CON: 4)
  • Finish the first Draft of Revolution (and world building editing) (WIS: 2)

I have my veggie and chicken 'stir fry' sitting in the fridge to warm up and portion out with bags when we actually buy some freezer bags lol. Exercise plan is worked up and I'm ready to complete what I can tonight. Weighed my starting weight and know where I need to be at the end of the 6 weeks. And I'm working on Revolution AND there is at least one if not more books/novella/stories to follow that. So I'm pushing forward on this whole weight loss thing.

I'm not tracking calorie intake or expenses this go around. I'm not going to track calories the rest of my life so there is not point trying now. The goal is to eat healthier, get moving and just feel better about myself. And hopefully in the process I'll lose weight too.

Also joined Fitocracy as a fun motivator.

This post is two fold. The first is I hope to be picking up on writing here again. I play on Leveling Up My Life and writing about things here. The first challenge starts August 6th and will last for 6 weeks. I'm still deciding on my goals and how to distribute points and such. That will probably be a post all of it's own.

I don't want to diet. I don't want to count calories. We don't eat bad for the budget we have. I'd gladly eat more vegetables, but that is probably going to mean a bigger food bill since only Sammi and I really eat them. We'll see when we go shopping this weekend. Need more veggies that's a big key I think.

The second reason for writing is that I have actually been writing a series of novellas. I wrote the first two in in 20 days. The third novella is taking much longer. Not for lack of wanting, but I'm finding that since I went to the doctor about my elbow I feel it getting worse so even typing is hard at home with out a proper desk/chair combo.

What's wrong with my elbow? Well it's in pain. It started out with my left wrist bothering back in college. Wasn't carpal tunnel and it wasn't bad for whatever it was. I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and he put me on anti-inflammatory drugs to take the swelling down. I felt better, but the day after I stopped taking them I pretty much started to ache. But I've been having headaches again so I haven't been taking the meds cause I'd been taking things the doctor told me not to take with the meds. So my elbow has been in pretty much pain. So I type what I have to at work and not so much for fun right now. I'll be starting my meds again until my next appointment.

I've had a nerve conductive study done and it was abnormal, ulnar nerve entrapment. No bug surprise, so now I wait for an appointment with an orthopedic doctor for the next step. Fun fun. I hate waiting.

But back to the writing. We watched the last Vampire Underworld movie and it sparked my imagination and I started writing. Apocalypse via vampires is basically what it boils down to. I've enjoyed it greatly, though it has gone places I hadn't intended as any good character driven story does. Once I finish the last novella, I plan on going through and making a few notes on some aspects of the world to include, work on description and the word I as it's a first person POV. That'll be the first step in editing. While I don't think it's worthy of publishing I might self publish once I don't feel self conscious about putting it out there. Also debating if I do if not to write under a pen name, just so the shy girl in the corner can remain the shy girl in the corner lol. But either way it's a possibility.

The Girls are out of school. Well mostly Sam has the rest of the week to finish off but she has officially graduated preschool. They had their little ceremony last night. It was cute and we are all proud of her.

Kathleen's last day was last Friday, she did really well this year. We are proud of her and impressed with her skills thus far. They definitive have to know a lot more than we did as kids. She's reading well, she's writing well and excelling in math, just like her mama.

Sam is excited to be going to Kindergarten next year. I'm worried about clothes for my little thing. She is barely into big kid clothes, she's going to be wearing jumpers mostly just so her clothes stay on. This is a girl who is too tall for 3Ts but too skinny for 4Ts. She eats like crazy, Shea calls her a Hobbit cause she is always eating. But you can't fault the girl for wanting broccoli and carrots and grapes and strawberries. She does not ask for junk, always vegies and fruit. Though she does love popcorn and will ask continually for a hot dog lol. That's my kid for ya. Her sister's only vegies is a salad... mind you her salad is lettuce, cheese and ranch. That's all. Nothing else lol.

We are going to do something special for them. Shea says we need to get Kathleen an art box that we can keep her art materials safe in. Something she'll take care of and treat well. No idea what to do for Sam, the easiest kid to please but she's the hardest to shop for.

I hope they have a great summer with Daddy. Shea's applying for school for next fall, so it'll be a new challenge then I think.

I know it's been a while since I wrote. I'm getting bad again.

Sam turned 5 at the end of March. Where does the time go?

We celebrated her birthday on the 27th, she got a Mater Guitar from my mom and dad. She said it was the best birthday ever! She really liked her rock guitar. It's a real acoustic guitar.

On the 31st we had her party, we went to the skating rink. One of her friends who already knows how to skate came, and if it weren't for her Sam probably wouldn't have skated. But she did.

She got a lot of Cars things, a few clothes and $60. She made a haul. Kathleen got her an angry bird stuffed toy and she loves it, she hasn't put it down much.

She'll be in Kindergarden next year. Life with two school age kids is going to change our routines a bit I'm sure.

This Saturday Shea's mom was the Emblem for her society for Mardi Gras. Our sister-in-law Amy was the Queen. Both were very gorgeous in their gowns. We left the house around 9am and ate breakfast, and got to the hotel in Mobile a bit too early. So we went to the Colosseum and watched Mam practice walking in the Emblem train and mask. Then we went back to the hotel and got our rooms.

The girls spent most of their time in the bedroom. It was cold this year unlike last year so we didn't mind. We watched one parade where the girls got quite a few toys instead of tons of beads. That was good we really don't need the beads.

Kathleen was in a rush to get dressed she kept asking what time it was. She knew at 5pm we would be going to take baths and such. Shea took a nap from about 3 to 5 and we came in to start our primping process. 5 was probably a bit to early for the girls but they enjoyed the time we had. They loved their dresses. Sam even stayed awake during the performance. She did try to sleep but we wouldn't let her.

All in all it was a good day. I will get some pictures up soon.

January started off good. But I slacked one too many days and I didn't get any blogging done. Oh well. Though I will try my best to do at least once a week. My life isn't very eventful. Go to work, hang with the babies and hubby for a few hours, sleep and then start all over again.

This weekend we have Joyce's Mardi Gras ball. The girls are looking forward to it. There is a few things we need to do in order to be ready for it. The packing type things, and entertainment for the girls needs to be thought of.

Shea's doctor appointment with the sleep apnea doctor is tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get some news on what we can get done, and if we'll have equipment for a better nights sleep.

We have completed our taxes and getting a refund back. I'll be getting a new tower for my computer and Shea will be getting a Digital SLR camera to hopefully start a career move. The girls will be getting my pc once I get a new one. Theirs is going out the door. It's like 6 or 7 years old. It's Shea's computer from TWO times ago. Both computers from last time bit the dust. Mine a few Christmas' ago which is the reason I got this one, and Shea's bit the dust shortly after he got a new one for not apparent reason.

The rest will go into the rainyday fund until Shea gets a job that we won't need to pull money out of it to live.

I missed a few days of blogging for no particular reason. I don't have an excuse other than I forgot lol.

Kathleen failed two hearing tests because she had a cold. We went to the pediatrian and she had fluid on both ears. She's on a round of antibiotics. Hopefully that will clear it up. We'll take her back for a well check in a bit and check on that and all the other glorious things for a well check.

Sam has an appointment tomorrow to followup on her ear infection. Hopefully she's cleared up. We are thinking about getting her hearing and speech tested if they are.

Shea's got an appointment with for his sleep apnea with a doctor in two Tuesdays, we hope he can get a sooner one so he can sleep better.

And my test came back normal. yay! Second year in a row.