Monthly Check-in for July!

Six pounds! I’ve lost six pounds this week even though I’ve slipped a couple of days and splurged on way too much chocolate or blew off the gym (more than once). In the past month I’ve lost six pounds and I’ve noticed that my clothes are starting to get too loose. Yesterday I was wearing the same track pants that I’d worn on my first day at the gym. On the first day they were tight. Yesterday I kept having to grab them to keep them from slipping down!

Okay so it’s not much of a blog post on anything deep or insightful but I’ve lost six pounds. And if I have my way next month I’m going to lose some more. Maybe not six pounds. Maybe a little less or maybe a little more but the important thing is the scale is moving in the right direction now—going down instead of going up!

Saying Goodbye

So this week I’m doing the last chapters on the third book of my Speak of the Devil series. For the fifth time. That’s right. Five times writing this story. Because it’s the last. Not just the end of my contract. The last book in the series. No more Faith Bettincourt.

I thought for a while about turning her sister—Hope—into a new heroine and write about her attempts to find love but the demoness in question didn’t like that idea. Apparently she’s had enough of love. Not that I can blame her. I wrote her a crappy situation and if I were her I don’t think I’d be in the mood to find love either.

But during the conversation in my head it wasn’t that she didn’t want to find love that stuck with me. It was the questions I had asked myself as I faced finishing this novel for the fifth time in a year. Usually a rough draft takes me between 4-6 weeks but this one has taken me over a year. Why? What was I afraid of? Why didn’t I want to let Faith go?

And the answer is simple. Faith is my first romance heroine. She’s my first published book. She’s my first series of books. She’s like my first child almost. And together we’ve reached an end. It’s time for Faith Bettincourt to get her Happily Ever After. It’s time for her to go live in other peoples’ hearts and in their e-readers and on their bookcases instead of being hidden away on my hard drive.

It’s time for Faith and the whole crazy Bettincourt-Morningstar clan to move on with their crazy lives. And it’s time for me to move on and mess with other fictional character’s lives.

But no matter how the rest of Faith’s fictional eternity goes, or however many other heroines I get to mess with, I know there’s always going to be a small part of me that always loves her most. She was my first after all.

Boyce Avenue Has Just Taken Over My Brain

I was grumbling to a friend of mine online recently that my writing music has gotten stale. With the moving and all the other things going on I haven’t revamped my writing playlists in a while. My exercise playlists have both been refreshed recently so they’re still fresh and interesting to me. But I haven’t actually changed my writing playlist since I started Luck of the Devil two years ago. Since I’m almost finished with the third book—hopefully by the end of the week so countdown and keep your fingers crossed—I figured it was time to revamp my lists.

So this girlfriend who is more an enabler of all things whiny and author like than just a mere friend sent me the name of a group called Boyce Avenue and told me to give them a listen. And oh did I fall in love. Piano versions of songs that are already on my playlist? The perfect transition music as I’m finishing up this series and trying to come to terms with what I’m going to write next.

So between Boyce Avenue’s music and her desire to find me pretty male muses for the new series I’m plotting this GF of mine has managed to keep me somewhat sane and helped revamp my playlist. Maybe I need to make her my muse instead?

While I’m figuring out if she’ll let me turn her into a kick ass romance heroine or if she’ll cut off my ‘pictures of men in well cut suits’ addiction (I told you she was a good enabler) enjoy some Boyce Avenue and maybe drop me a line—do you shamelessly abuse your friends for inspiration? Do you use them as muses? Do you let them choose your muses? What’s on your playlist? And most important—have any guys in suits you prefer to drool over? I’m always looking for new muses.

Boyce Avenue "We Found Love"

I Am An Organizational Muppet

It pains me to say this. Heaven help me it pains me to say this but I have to accept that I am an organizational muppet. I can’t stay organized and focused to save my life most days without some form of help. In fact, I’m so bad at organization that I have actually gotten distracted by organizing things to the point of not getting things done.

I try to be organized. I’ve read books and I’ve laid out goals and at one point I even let someone else try to organize for me. That still gives me nightmares. Even now I’m getting cold sweats thinking about the way my desk felt violated afterward someone else started to muck around on it.

Then today, while I was flipping through yet another potential organizational app for my phone a friend of mine looked over and said what may have been the most obvious thing I’ve never heard. She looked at my phone with it’s color coded to-do list and then back at me and said “It’s not that you have a problem with getting organized it’s that you have a problem with overextending yourself. No wonder you can’t get anything done.”

So I looked down at my Standard Saturday 26 item to do list and thought you know maybe she’s right. Maybe I do have a tendency to overextend myself. I was always the girl who had to take all the AP courses in school, be in a dozen different activities and work myself to exhaustion. It definitely didn’t stop when I went to college—the student loan payments and the paper on my walls in fancy frames can attest to that—and I think it’s gotten worse now that I work from home and have my kids.

So this week—purely as an experiment because yes I am that dorky—instead of trying to find a more efficient way of handling my to-do list I’m going to try cutting things off of the list instead. Maybe then I can start getting the clutter sorted. Now, to organize what clutter needs to be sorted and what clutter needs to stay…

Sometimes You Can’t Kick Your Own Butt

So today I had my last free session with my personal trainer Becky. I adore Becky. Becky is the one who set me on the goal of completing a 10k run and a triathlon. Becky is the one who stops me in the gym every time she sees me to tell me I’m doing good no matter how crappy I feel or how little time I manage to do on the bikes or the treadmill. Becky is an awesome personal trainer. And if I could afford her I would pay to go work out with her every single day. Every. Single. Day.

But I can’t afford Becky’s fees. Not that Becky isn’t worth every single penny of it. It’s just that Becky is not in my budget. The great thing is that Becky understands this. Becky is cool with this. Becky is cool enough with it that she’s gone out of her way to help me set up my own training program and even gave me some tips to prep for my first couple of races. If it’s not obvious already—Becky is the shit.

So with all this in place when we met today Becky decided to kick my ass right and proper for old times sakeMy arms are sore, my abs hurt and if it was possible I think my ass would file a cease and desist order against the very phrase ‘step up lunge’. And OMG after today I may have to find a way to fit Becky into my budget once a month or so as a treat. Because I’ve never felt more sure that I could actually meet the goals I’d set for myself.

Sometimes It’s Just Bloody Brilliant

So today was my first really difficult cardio workout that wasn’t a running based workout and not to toot my own horn but I’m feeling pretty good about things. I managed to get 30 minutes in on the stationary bike at a reasonably good pace (15-20 mph) and then I got in the pool and did a half mile worth of laps.

Then sometime during the sweating and the cursing and the gasping for air as I seriously began to wonder if I’d bloody lost my damn mind even taking this training on that’s when I realized that triathlon training was a lot like writing. Sometimes it sucks, and there are a lot of times it’s hard and I just want to give up and call it a day and then curl up in the fetal position, but then there are moments it’s just brilliant. Absolutely wonderfully brilliant and all the pain is suddenly worth it for the feeling of accomplishment you get when you say I biked 9.3 miles today and then managed to swim a half mile directly afterwards. Not to mention it does wonders for the creative. So if you’ll excuse me it’s back to writing now.

Om…Maybe Not

So today I tried yoga again as an “off day” activity around my triathlon training. Last week I tried Hatha Yoga and quickly got bored because all it seemed like I was doing was twisting up and then nothing. Just breathe. Okay so what am I supposed to do besides sit here and breathe? Nothing. Just breathe. Yeah that doesn’t work. My brain doesn’t like to sit still and breathe.

Then the trainer suggested power yoga. Because power yoga would allow me to move more and I could concentrate on the movements. No such luck. I went into a heated room where a woman—who showed up 5 minutes late—talked about things like intentions and moving peacefully through our days while we hung around upside down in downward dog.

Meanwhile, I’m upside down going: when are we going to move. Shut up, you’re not supposed to be thinking. You’re supposed to be breathing. Well of course I’m breathing—breathing is an involuntary action I don’t actually have to think about doing it. But the instructors says to think about your breathe. But that doesn’t really make any sense because it’s an involuntary action which means nature designed it so you didn’t have to think about it. Okay just clear your mind. Just zone. Hmm, does this pose make my butt look bigger than it already is? Do I need to stop by the grocery store after yoga for bread? No I think I have a loaf. Why am I still hanging upside down in this stupid position? Weren’t we supposed to be moving in this class? Man I wish I’d just gone running instead.

Forty-five minutes in I’d droved myself insane with all the thoughts I wasn’t supposed to be thinking that I just called it a day. Folded up my mat, made vague motions toward the child care center and beat a retreat like there was a pack of people who could clear their mind on my back.

Obviously yoga is not for me.

Day One of the Rest of Forever

So today I started on an almost year long goal that I set for myself. I’ve officially signed up for the Kennett 10K (May 2013) and the Philadelphia Triathlon (June 23, 2013). Which is basically insanity on my part because if you know me you’d know that I quit being an athlete years ago—aka post kids I became a nice chubby suburban housewife that writes romance novels and volunteers with the PTA. Sure, it sounds like a great life (and it is) but it has it’s downsides. Mainly the fact that I’ve become a chubby housewife and that’s led to some problems like High Blood Pressure, larger jeans sizes, and an official diagnosis of “prediabetes”.

I want to change all of that so for the next year (or so) I’m going to be focusing on getting in shape and I thought I needed a goal to get me there. I started out with the Kennett 10K and the trainer my MD sent me to for a start up session suggested I consider triathloning as well for a bit of cross training. Instinctively I wanted to say no and that’s what made me say yes. My instincts haven’t really gotten me into a good spot so it’s time I try going against them and doing something that scares me. Hence the training for an Olympic length triathlon—1 mile swim, 25 mile cycle, 10K (6.2 miles) run—and a 10k.

After meeting last week with a nutrionist, a trainer, and a triathlon coach I’ve started a training program. Today was my monthly diagnostic day. Which was exceptionally depressing. I’m 190 lbs, a size 16, taking BP meds, and on average consume upwards of 2000 calories per day. Then they put me on the machines. I managed 10 minutes on the spin bikes at 15 mph and 300 meters in the swimming pool doing it in 50m laps. At the end of it I was pretty sure my legs were going to fall off and all I wanted to do was hurl, let someone give me oxygen, and then hurl again. It wasn’t pretty. But it was a start. And we all have to start somewhere don’t we?

And just so we all have a good place to start at here’s a picture of me starting out (well close to starting out it was taken when we closed on the house last month). Hopefully we’ll be comparing it with a much slimmer, healthier picture on June 23rd.

Me and My Hubby Ben on around 6.1.2012