Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Writing Plan – Buwahahahahahahaha!

So I started off with my big goals:

Keeping up hope...

TWO First drafts this year. Scheduled for June and November as usual.

TWO previously started books FINISHED (one of my intended is 1/3 done, the other 2/3 done, so pretty much this amounts to a third book).

TWO Edits of previously written books.

And then this is the tricky one: SELL TWO BOOKS. I have 4 that I think are done enough, and TWO agents are currently reading the full of Medium Wrong, so if I get representation for THAT, I will let said agent guide on which OTHER book to push out. If neither wants it, I will continue to shop it, as the agent nibbles of 2 for 2 seems like I have my package in order. I even had 4 more on my list but they wanted synopses so I didn't send, but I had to send a synopsis with one of the fulls so now it is written so those are just emails.

My tactics

Dedicate one hour daily to writing (more on those WriMo months, but I've gotten out of the habit) – blogging doesn't count.

Rotate editing back into my commute time (I really could ALWAYS be editing but then I would be reading much less, so I am going to alternate.)

Get back to PLANNING. No pants for me. I started three books in 2016 that petered out because my plan was too squirrelly.

If I hit writing blocks, other than WriMos, allow short stories to rotate through.


January: I will be PLOTTING. Working at both the stories I intend to finish this year and getting a feel for which is more developed. I will also continue querying Medium Wrong if I don't hear from either of the agents that have it in the first few weeks. And I will finish the short stories I started to get back in the practice of actually writing daily.

February: I will edit Kahlotus Disposal Site so I have a #2 ready to go.

March: I will finish the book chosen from my January efforts.

April: I will assess Undoing, another epic—this one new adult, that is meant to be a trilogy, each in three acts and has the first two acts written, but I already know serious revisions, as it may end up rather timely in the current political climate. Also work on plotting my BuNo book.

May: Edit book #2. Which one depends how things go.

June: BuNoWriMo. Which book idea depends a bit how things go between now and then...

July and August: Endangered and Undoing are both epic, enormous projects.... Imma commit to working on one of these in July and August while I also assess and plan the rest of the year.

November: Only other pre-commitment at this point is that I write a book for NaNoWrimo.

Promotion Plan

I have some abandoned (or nearly) spots that I need to get back to. I also want to shoot for blogging twice a week—helpful or at least relevant in the first half, entertaining or at least silly in the second. If I have author interviews I will do those Wednesdays, except first Wednesday which is Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 Fitness Plan

The Problem: I am at least 100 pounds overweight (gads that sounds scary) and everything I've tried in the last decade has not worked.

The OTHER Problem: I need to work on my core and flexibility.

So here is the plan:

Eating: I am on my own 5 nights a week now. I am working out a 2 week rotation for a meal plan that will use weight watcher points, but also the Type A diet (only approved foods for Type As). If I am eating the same things and I have pre-calculated, then it should be easier. I will plan in a few slurges... number and size dependent on the calculations I make for my plan. (I've done an initial, but I need to fine tune it with the exact points and Type A list)

Sleep: Get enough of it. 7 hours is hard during the week, but there is evidence it helps metabolism efficiency.

Cardio: Continue my walking. Add in 2 days a week of dance (I will be looking for videos, but may just find a good dance list and call it good.

Strength/Flexibility: 3 days a week of core (just 10-15 minutes... any recommendations for a video?) and 2 days a week of limb strengthening (lunges, squats, weights) and stretching (these will be my dance days—so two workouts a week to shake things up)

So there... that is THAT plan...

Any of you doing new years fitness plans?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Most Fantabulous Holidays to All of You!!!

First, to get it out of the way, I will have the complaint portion of this blog...


2) They made me get a flu shot. Last year they made me and I did. But I kept asking what would happen if I DID NOT and nobody would answer the darn question, so this year I tested it. I did NOT get it... well today they finally answered the question... continuously escalating consequences that could end in termination. I need my job. But you all KNOW how I feel about it. If you don't, I suggest you read A Shot in the Light. So GRRRRRR.

3) My kindle charger disappeared and I need it.

4) Part of my desired gifts to give have been out of stock.

5) We have an ugly sweater day tomorrow and I am thoroughly annoyed. I have been poor way to much of my life to spend money on a sweater I will only wear MAYBE once a year for a a stupid occasion. Now had this been a thing when I was in my 20s and it was a real party with booze, I probably would have trekked myself to Goodwill for a dumb sweater. But I am middle aged with no room in my house for extra crap, a student in college and another who still needs financial help now and then. I have a Christmas colors sweater and I am calling it good enough, but if anybody calls it ugly I'm going to be pissed.

Okay, so enough of the grumbles.

In the positive...

1) Son is home from college for three weeks!

2) Starting Friday I get 11 days off!

3) Harry Potter marathon!!! (every Christmas)

4) Remember my new eating thing? Not much meat (turkey and fish is all), not much dairy... well I found ALMOND NOG!!!

5) I have great family and friends and am really ready for this reboot.

6) I thought THIS was the best idea ever: Welcome to being Santa 

Next week I plan to PLAN *BUWAHAHAHAHAHA * which is my typical mode for preparing to start the year, so I intend to be here a couple times.

But in the MEANTIME, I wish all of you amazing holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Slightly Lately Insecure… Erm…

So Hallo, fine peoples! Sorry to screech in here tardy. Life interrupted last night and the blogging thing didn’t happen. But here I am… only about 5 hours later than usual, which in some cultures is pretty much on time…

So what am I late for? Insecure Writer’s Support Group First Wednesday!!! Welcome!

Always so judgy...
The question this month is: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Well SHEESH… we all know how MY plans go… Okay, so maybe you don’t. Let me e’splain. No. Is too long. Let me sum up…

Five years ago I had just met my first deadline for a to-be-published by Penguin (Berkley Prime Crime) cozy mystery. I was flying high and sure I could leave the day job by this point in my career. But a thriving book business was also being simultaneously flooded with brand new “I can publish myself” authors.

Now I am not knocking self-publishing. Done right, many authors produce fantastic books. I still hold up Helena Soister’s The Compass Master as one of the best books I’ve ever read. And tons of people do a fine job. BUT, having tried that thing myself, I know doing it RIGHT is more work than just finding a publisher to help you. The trouble was, many people were also NOT doing it right… and sales for people began falling… and then life interfered (bloody inconsiderate sometimes, that life) and so a self-publishing year that coincided with a life pelting me upside the head year threw me off my supposed fast track. This year I’ve published ONE short story and have ONE YA book with an agent. I’ve written no full novels (though I have written a couple short stories). I am scrambling to get myself back up on the rails, but I am butt heavy so my center of gravity is off.

What was the question?
Oh right… five years… Well I hope to GET this agent (or another). I have three fairly done YA books, so if someone finally wants me and likes me, maybe I can get some help for final touches and have that YA career launched. I also have a fairly done mystery I think I am going to try with, but I don’t want to confuse things with the agent process… I know a single agent is what most want to be…

Anyway, in five years I hope to be on a traditional publishing track putting out about one YA and one Mystery a year, with an occasional thriller mixed in for good measure. I would LOVE to break out, but I’ve come to believe you can’t count on that. I just want to be back in my zone. Writing regularly, supplementing my income, getting the retirement stream flowing well enough that at least I can retire as soon as I’m eligible (nine years this month until I can access my retirement money and it is sooner than that that my age and years of service is enough for health benefits in perpetuity).

Is that a plan? Hardly. But I am scrambling here… thus my insecurity…

Anybody have a better plan?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Political Climate, Going Viral and Coming Together

In case you didn't notice, there was an election in the US last week. And all hell has broken loose. And anything I can say will barely skirt all the issues, but I feel like it is important for the piece I really DO have something to say about, as background, if you will.

The candidate who won said a number of horrible things during the election about Mexican immigrants (and even about a few US born Mexican Americans—for instance a judge he said was not trustworthy on an issue because of his heritage). He said some horrible things about Muslim Americans and Muslim immigrants. He made some aspersions about Black Americans, unable to go to any subject from bringing up black people except “inner city problems”. As if black people are not more diverse and their problems and issues more varied than that. He made a lot of derogatory remarks about women, suggesting they were worthless unless they were pretty. He said some of the women accusing him of sexual assault “were not pretty enough” to sexually assault—as if if they were pretty he would have, but less attractive women were not worth even that. He bragged about sexually assaulting women, claimed he gets away with it because he's a celebrity.

So there have been protests about his winning from the people who did not want him. Some of them have included violence and vandalism, though I have also heard there have been some paid people in there committing the violence with a goal of de-legitimizing peaceful protests.

But on the other side there have been many many incidents of people emboldened by the hateful rhetoric doing hateful things. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented hundreds of cases, some of them in elementary and middle schools, causing children to fear their parents would be deported, or direct hateful acts or speech to the kids. My own story falls in this category but is just one of HUNDREDS if not thousands.

If you have an incident to report, go here.

Last Thursday

A post about this went viral Thursday (more about that shortly) so you may have seen this previously, though I am giving a bit more detail here, as I know more than the brief text from my daughter which was the basis of my original Facebook post. Plus there has been followup.

On Thursday at noon, my daughter, age 21, was at her boyfriend's apartment (he was at class) and decided to walk the two blocks to the store to get something. On her way she passed a house with four men, just a little older than her on the porch. They called the typical “flirty” taunts to her and she ignored them. Then one came off the porch, came at her, grabbed her butt and said, “this will be mine. I've seen you around before. This is a free country now, bitch."

She ran. She was worried she would be dragged into that house with the four of them so she ran back to her boyfriend's apartment and when he got home from class they went to the police station. She was warned it would be her word against the four boys, so it was likely all that would happen was a warning, but it would be on record and they would be warned.

And I shared how traumatized she was, and me, by extension, on Facebook and proceeded to have the very bizarre experience of going viral.

Going Viral

When I shared I had a couple friends ask if they could share, and I said they could. I felt like hearing the story of a friend would be more real to some people, so I said they could... but it ended up shared and shared and shared... Almost 700 times.

At first people were very supportive. They sent love, and were compassionate. A few people were ruffled because I did call for conservative friends to try to police their own, and they said this was not conservative behavior... I get it. It isn't. But it IS behavior directly reflective of the conservative candidate saying “I just grab em by the pussy”. I was calling on people to make it clear that this behavior is not acceptable from that side and to ask their candidate to condemn it in sharp terms.

But anyway... Overnight strangers began to show up. And BOY HOWDY, do I now know what Internet trolls are about. The most common response was “this didn't happen”, but I even got accused of trying a ploy for my 15 minutes of fame. I was lectured about not going to the police (she did), told she needed to fight back (statistics show running is safer if it is a possibility). But it was frankly exhausting. Total life of its own

Coming Together

We are in desperate need of some unity... of supporting each other in spite of differences. Of making a stand to stand up for people being mistreated. Of defending peaceful processes and condemning violence. I don't believe I am alone here. I think we can disagree on politics and still commit to caring for each other—for ALL others.

In that vein, I think many of you have seen the safety pin movement... I know it has gotten a bit of scoffing and a bit of poo pooing. But I think it shows some promise if it is done right.

Here is some history on something similar done during World War II.
For the record, here is a really good link on what “doing it right” means.

By day I work in an office dedicated to inclusion, which by definition connects to “climate”. It is my goal that enough people wear these that people who fear victimization look around and feel a little safer, and that people who might victimize others look around and know they will not get away with it.

There are also unity rallies, all over.

Please commit to not letting hate stand. To defending our fellow human beings and to calming what could end up really ugly if it continues to escalate.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

An Interview with Lisa Koosis, Author of Resurrecting Sunshine

Hallo, fine peoples!!! Need a break from election shouting, crying, cheering, catastrophizing? I've got something more fun here... Remember when I announced Lisa's book release at the beginning of October? Well I read her book and then fired her some questions, so today I am going to share them with YOU!!!

Without further ado, Welcome Lisa!!!

1)  So just to give us some background, you allude in the acknowledgments to this being the book that wouldn't die. When was it first written and could you share a little about this topsy journey?

Absolutely! And thank you so much for having me.

I wrote the first draft of Resurrecting Sunshine in 2009, and the draft was so bad that I filed it away, never to be looked at again. And honestly, I didn’t think about it again for a very long time. I went on to other manuscripts, ones that I thought had a better chance of going the distance. But then maybe a year and a half after I’d put it aside, I woke up in the middle of the night one night, thinking about that godawful manuscript and how I might fix it.

It became something of an obsession after that. I rewrote it and rewrote it. Characters were added. Characters were deleted. Characters were added back in. The ending changed twice. Eventually, I called it done and started querying agents. Lots of agents. And I got back plenty of encouragement, some wonderful feedback, and rejections by the bucket-load.

A few times I quit, and I mean quit the whole thing; querying, writing. It wasn’t the first manuscript I’d queried. It wasn’t even the second. I’d watched other people fly by me, landing agents and book deals after having spent, by far, less time in the novel-writing world, and much less time querying. And after a while, it gets exhausting. But I kept coming back to it. And eventually, after yet another round of revisions, and a whole series of domino-like events, I signed with a fantastic agent, and less than a year later I had two offers on the book.

2) You managed a very difficult task. You include real time, memories, dreams, and simulations, all seamlessly. An impressive feat. Did you consciously do anything to keep these all so distinct? Did this create any challenges for you, or things you had to work at in editing?

That aspect actually came pretty naturally. I wanted the book to have a drifting, dreamlike feel, and to have places where dreams and memory and reality blurred a bit. Logistically though, it did present a few challenges in editing, the biggest being just keeping the timeline straight since I was essentially weaving together two stories: the story taking place in the present, and the story of the events leading up to Sunshine’s death.

3) So the major themes I saw here were identity, self-determination, grief, and fate. Did I miss any big ones? Can you speak a bit about how YA, speculative fiction, and "organic process" might have influenced how your themes developed?

I’ve always believed that speculative fiction provides the perfect backdrop for exploring very human themes, because it puts everyday people/characters in extraordinary circumstances and allows us, as writers, to examine them under this sort of literary microscope. To add to this, I think YA takes us to a particularly formative time in life, when everything is naturally intensified.

But that said, a lot of the themes in Sunshine came from a very personal place and definitely emerged through more of an organic process. I had just separated from my husband, and I think without even realizing it, I was exploring through writing the very themes I was experiencing in my own life right then: loss, identity (who do you become when you lose the person closest to you?), personal responsibility, and most of all, trying to understand how you move forward when it seems impossible to do so.

4) So about cloning... I feel like the story you've told is the very personal ramifications, but for the sake of blowing this wide open, if cloning, complete with memory upload were really possible, what do you see as the biggest danger?

If I’m honest, I think there’s no limit to the dangers, both practically and ethically. One of the ideas I’ve always enjoyed exploring in fiction is the idea that what science can do, science will do. Sometimes it feels as if we advance so quickly, that our laws and our morality can’t keep up. I think that’s a truly scary thing.

Follow up: how do you feel about inspiring other works that would like to use this technology? (I have a story idea I'd love to develop, probably novella length--I'd of course give credit)

To think my speculative technology might inspire someone else is incredibly flattering. I’m all for it!

5) If you could be cloned, would you?

Oh lord, no! One of me can get into enough trouble all alone! (Although there is something to be said for having someone else to do the laundry and take care of the day job so I could just write.)

6) If you could clone a deceased loved one, would you?

I feel like this should be an easy question to answer, and yet somehow, it isn’t. I’d like to be able to say no way, that it would be wrong, that I would never even consider such a thing, that it wouldn’t truly be that person anyway. But emotionally, thinking about seeing someone I’ve loved and lost even one more time—particularly if they’d had their memories restored—I’m not sure that the temptation would be as easy to say no to as I’d like it to be.

7) And since 7 is the most magical number, what can we expect from you next?

I’ve always been a little bit superstitious when it comes to talking about what I’m working on, for fear that I’ll rob the project of some of its energy. But I can say that I’m planning to stay in the realm of young adult science fiction, which has started to feel like home to me.

Thank you so much, Lisa!  It was great to have you here! And thank you for being so candid!

Author Bio: In high school, much to the dismay of her guidance counselor, Lisa Koosis traded AP English for a creative writing class and a class in speculative fiction. She never looked back. Lisa is a member of the SCBWI, an ambassador for National Novel Writing Month, and an active member of her local writing community. Her short stories have been published widely. When she isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her out walking her dog, or chilling with her cats.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My Favorite (Writing) Thing

Hallo fine peoples! Another month gone already? Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group's Monthly meeting! If you don't know what this is about, it is a LARGE group of writers dedicated to a bit of support for this process that we all do differently, yet all seem to experience many of the same things—most significantly, insecurity.

This month the question is: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

And let me tell you...

There is so much I love about writing. But really my FAVORITE thing is when I have a couple strands of story and a place I need to get to and I get this big swoopy moment of genius where the idea comes that will pull it all together. It doesn't happen OFTEN. Not even every book. Sometimes it happens in the planning. Or the writing. Or even the editing. But it is like this fireball to the gut—a good time—like a roller coaster almost—where this enormous weight lifts and this airy feeling of genius settles, however fleetingly.

It can't be forced, but I can give you a couple ways it might be triggered.

First: The problem needs to be sufficiently complicated or you are just not going to feel that clever solving it.

Or you could get one of these...
Second: Being naked helps. The shower is a good place for this, though it can strain memory to remember it until you are dry enough to write it down. Or likewise (also naked) that early morning not quite awake, but conscious time. (if you sleep in clothes this is never going to happen because you are too busy wrestling the strangling bindy pajama monsters that are trying to choke you)

If you can't be naked then this combo: Busy body, quiet mind. Like a swim or power walk with no music and minimal human interaction—something where your body is GOING but you don't really have to think too much.

So there. What is YOUR favorite aspect of writing?
And who is NaNo-ing?

Now go see what some of the others have to say...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Are You Ready to NaNo!?

So sorry for a two week skip. That was very bad of me. I am offering myself up for a spanking if anyone feels they must. Not sure exactly where my head has been. But now it's time to gear up for NaNoWriMo, so I need to get with the program.

I've got my victim, suspect, and have planned my inciting event, along with the characters who will be there... I just need to sort my clues and how they will pop up then plop them on a timeline.

For anybody wanting the personal touch, don't forget to join BuNoWriMo in addition to the formal NaNo site. It is a bit more personal—smaller group so we get to know each other.

As for what I am writing—a mystery. My buddy is off a breakup so I offered to kill her ex, but I am planting it in Portland in my Micro-brewery setting—I am starting with the grand opening—going BEFORE the other book I wrote, hoping to figure out the character piece that was off before so people love Kenny like I love Kenny.

So who else is playing? Are you planning ahead or diving in the day of?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What is this THING you speak of: Ready?If only

So WELCOME friends to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group first Wednesday meeting! You can find out all about IWSG here, and I encourage you to join if you have not already. Tons of great friends, support and resources. Plus the knowledge we are not on this journey alone.

If only it were this easy...
As a format, the group has been throwing out a question each month. October’s question is this:

When do you know your story is ready?

And the truth is, this is the crux of my problem. I have published 6 books and a short story. All published with DEADLINES. Because you see… I will keep tinkering and thinking “just this one more thing” forever unless somebody kicks me in the back side and says TIME!

Now three of my books (and the short) I had external deadlines imposed--an editor waiting for the book and a date it had to be there by. And that worked out pretty well… well the 2nd book was rough, as they edits they asked for were pretty large. But mostly that all worked out. I had to say “good enough” and because they were going to a professional editor, I could trust somebody else would call me out if they were not ready.

The flu trilogy was different. That was me trying to publish serially and because the first part WAS GOOD I dived, but then I didn’t want to leave people hanging too long waiting for the rest… sort of a forced speed of it that only allowed so many iterations.

Yet here I sit with probably 12 completed books, at least 5 of them pretty near ready, and I keep tinkering… I am calling one DONE. Maybe I will start with that.

Now go visit some people who have their act together, because clearly you aren’t going to learn anything useful here… erm…

Friday, September 30, 2016

Resurrecting Sunshine: Teaser and Cover Reveal

So I got an ARC yesterday, waiting for me when I got home. And I am very excited to read it. Here's why...

Lisa Koosis is MEGA talented. I first met her when I did my first ABNA contest and she was supportive, but also quiet, peaceful. One of those people who just seems very nice. But she is also a bit shy. Slow to jump into shenanigans. Never, in—what is this, 8 years ago? Never loud or aggressive or rude. And also never flashy or showy. I think that may be the trouble. She has been a top runner in several contests over the years, but I think she's been a bit timid about formal querying, and she hasn't gone the self-publishing route because I believe she knows she is to reserved for that sort of promoting.

So here I have in my hot little hands, her first book that is going to be sent out into the world. And I just want to give it a little amplification. I can be noisy. I can shout. I can get excited and tell all of you. For day I am just teasing you, but in a couple weeks we will be back here with an author interview so you can get to know Lisa a little better.

From Goodreads:

At seventeen, Adam Rhodes is famous, living on his own, and in a downward spiral since he lost the girl he loved. Marybeth stage name Sunshine was his best friend from the days they were foster kids; then she was his girlfriend and his band mate. But since her accidental death, he's been drinking to deal with the memories. Until one day, an unexpected visitor, Dr. Elloran, presents Adam with a proposition that just might save him from himself. Using breakthrough cloning and memory-implantation techniques, Dr. Elloran and the scientists at Project Orpheus want to resurrect Marybeth, and they need Adam to "donate" intimate memories of his life with her. The memory retrieval process forces Adam to relive his life with Marybeth and the devastating path that brought them both to fame. Along the way, he must confront not only the circumstances of her death but also his growing relationship with the mysterious Genevieve, daughter of Project Orpheus's founder. As the process sweeps Adam and Marybeth ever closer to reliving the tragedy that destroyed them, Adam must decide how far he'll go to save her."

Comes out Saturday!!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Culling of the World

So I read a blog piece this week that got me thinking. I know. That's dangerous. But it was about the moments in history where something, natural or man-made, causes a sudden fast drop in human population. Things like the Bubonic plague, typhoid Mary, the Spanish flu. But also World Wars, land wars in Asia, and natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.

Well this article pointed out with the HUMAN variety, there was always an ostrich.

Lemme esplain... No, is too much. Lemme sum up...

First you have to watch this Blackadder sketch about the Ostrich that started WWI.

The point is world conditions can get to a point where ONE LITTLE THING will set off a stack of Dominos. The ostrich. But the more important thing is everything needs to be poised... the Dominos stacked.

And the article noted how we are poised right now... just like that. The xenophobia trickling across the globe, the hike in natural disasters making everyone nervous, the world seen in real time because of cell phones. It isn't just the US. This is the stuff of Brexit and Putin's Imperialism, it is girls disappearing in India because nobody cares to keep them safe, it is rainforests converted to grazing land because profits matter more than air. But in the US is is the hate rhetoric, cops shooting innocent people, corporations buying our government.

It's frightening. When I think about my kids and whether they will ever have kids—what will their world be? Will a natural disaster on the scale of an asteroid or the supervolcano just wipe out everyone? Or will it be the more subtle allowance of companies to poison our water so we all die slowly? Or will there be a revolution because we live in a country divided between nationalism and populism?

So what will be our ostrich? Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bloodtype, Curls and Balderdash

Erm... In otherwords, an update post, but I am doing some very large-ish new things.

Look--I am sunshine!!!
Eating for my Bloodtype

So in the entirety of my time blogging, any time there is a “start” (year, school year, whatever), I have announced I am starting a diet. I follow Weight Watchers, which is a good one as these things go, but in the entirely of the time I've been blogging, it has done me not one spec of good... Well a spec here and there, but quickly regained specs those were.

I've managed to not gain anything in about 2 years, but prior to that I gained weight rather quickly. As “exercising in my spare time” became “writing in my spare time” my seat got wider and wider (Butt + chair = writing taken too far—more butt does NOT make for more writing)

And the fact is, those Weight Watcher attempts through this—crikey, 7+ years—have not been bad attempts. I mean I really tried. So I needed to shake things up.

Now I am not a person who was thinking about anything extreme. I am particularly averse to low-carb suggestions. I mean I will take the “no processed crap” or the “avoid white stuff” (sugar, flour, rice, bread) as legitimate, but giving up fruit makes no sense at all to me. So I resisted.

And then I found validation.

See... I had seen the Bloodtype diet discussed, most notably from our friend Jessica Bell who happens to share my bloodtype. And types O and B (and to some degree AB) are supposed to be carb-avoiding paleo eaters, my ancestry, as denoted by my genetics and manifested in my bloodtype, has geared me to be a pescatarian—a fish-eating vegetarian... And Jessica felt so good... and I've seen her recently—in May, and she LOOKS so good... And this whole genetics and what we process best rings so true to me—I am fully half Scandenavian—of COURSE fish is what I am geared for. In the mean time I CAN have those carbs (the good ones).

Now there are good and bad foods in all the lists, and I have not remotely begun learning them all. Like all legumes are not equal—I am best with black beans and should avoid chick peas, for instance. But I am trying to make the transition to not eating meat. It says OCCASSIONALLY poultry. But not the mammals. I am reserving that poultry thing for when hubs cooks—we only eat together two nights a week and he is willing to do one night veg or fish, but not both. I bought some frozen ahi steaks so if he has a burger or something, I will have an alternative, but I can eat a little chicken.

I noticed though, this weekend, after nearly 2 weeks of very little, he made it, then wasn't home so I had it both nights, then I had Kerrytown Bookfest so he made Sunday dinner too (turkey tacos) and it was all WAY too much. That quickly my body is reacting negatively.... like it sits heavily in my gut, not wanting to leave...

If anyone else is interested in investigating eating to their blood type, this is where I have been going.

Embracing the Curly

About 18 months ago I noticed the under layer of my hair had ringlets. I was curious, so I gave myself a trim and realized without the weight, the next couple layers up were ALSO sort of curly. So slowly I've been talking to my curly headed friends and learning about how, instead of fighting them, I can actually make them a little awesome.

So this is where it is at the moment... not as fuzzy, bit more curl
So September 1, as with the other change, I committed to REACHING FOR the Curly Girl method. I am not there yet. It is a conditioner-only (conditioners have enough of the washy stuff for anyone with non-oily hair, and curly, by definition, tends to dryness). I've only washed my hair 3 times this month, and this week, for the first time, I am going to try to go all week. I will probably stick to that until I run out of shampoo because I am unbelievably cheap.

The other tricks are leave-in conditioner, and some people use a curl definition product. And then a couple tricks like “plopping”--which is, after putting in the leave in conditioner, turning upside down and letting your hair sort of fold into a t-shirt which you then wrap around your head for a significant part of drying—the idea is it allows the curls to dry without the hairs' own weight pulling the curls out. [Plopping video]

I'm liking it so far—my upper layer has gotten a bit curlier and I am not even doing all the stuff yet. (like with the diet) I'm doing part of it and trying to LEARN.

For instance today I figured out that my hair has 3c curls underneath (tight spirals) and 3a on top (bigger curls) (it was 2b on top before I started—just some wave), and I have low porosity, which means it doesn't absorb stuff (not conditioner, not water) as well, so if I deep condition, I probably need heat to really get it in there. The recommended products are different depending on these things.

So probably 90% of you don't really care about all that, but it has been satisfying to find something about myself that instead of trying to change away from, I can instead dive farther into. If that makes sense.

And Finally, the Writing

So my August short story is mostly done... I need to wind it up. But I HAVE started my September short story. Last month was psycho-thriller. This month is definitely sci-fi—much more so that my Parallels entry. I didn't manage to get Medium Wrong queried because I am a gutless wonder with no self-discipline. Or something. But it is still on my list.

And I am plotting about three different things to see what sticks for my November plan... I haven't written a whole novel this year and it's scaring me. So I want to go in with what is closer to a real outline. Maybe I will even story board it.

So how is everyone else doing? Did you start anything new with the new school year? Do you think it will stick?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Have You Got The Time?

Hallo, fine peoples! And Welcome to Insecure Writer's Support Groups first Wednesday meeting...

This month the question is How do you make time in your busy schedule for writing?

And you know what? I'm not sure. So let me tell you a story about what WORKED initially—the FIRST time I made time. I was so clever...

See, as my kids reached middle school, first one, then the other, fired me from their nighttime routine. More specifically, they were more interested in reading on their own than together. The first time it hit was right about the time I started writing fan fiction (the end of 2005). I took a bath each night, and began taking a notebook... but suddenly I had an extra 45 minutes for my bath in the fall of 2006... And three years later it happened again... I'll tell you what. Ninety minutes you never had before is a GENEROUS amount of time to write in when it has no other earmarks as to what it is for...

Sadly, a couple years ago I had the steam knocked out of me... I tried to do too much and got tired... and had a few letdowns and felt disheartened. I took up a few TV shows I love. And I decided I needed to read more... and I do more puzzles in the bath... and my writing time has been gobbled away. I write some, but I need to pick that time again to write DAILY. Because this is NOT working.

So sorry I have lost the answer... Maybe you should go read what some OTHER people are doing to find a better solution!!!

Also... The Memory of Things is out... This beautiful book was written by my good friend Gae Polisner. It is set in the immediate aftermath of the twin towers falling and has totally rave reviews from very impressive people. Gae's books are literary YA--the sort that make it into classrooms for thoughtful discussion. I received mine yesterday, so if you need me, I'll be reading.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mind Those Teeth!!!

I bet this is the only blog you see about teeth today, but I have an excuse.

So I just got a deep cleaning. For those of you unaware, this is what happens when you neglect your every six month check-ups and fall back on flossing. You end up needing then to dig in there and do a little cleaning UNDER the gumline.

My mouth hurts.

So don't do that. Floss at least 3 or 4 times a week. Go to the dentist every six months. It may not be your favorite activity, but it is better than the other thing...

And it's got me thinking... Teeth can be a really striking part of a person's appearance. I remember falling for a guy named Wendell in college because he had the same wonky teeth as David Bowie. He also had the two tone eye thing, but both were blue with brown specs, rather that one of each eye, but never mind. The mouth... that the crooked could appeal to me so much because it reminded me of Bowie...

Some people really love straight, white teeth, and don't we all want them, but that filed eye teeth thing movie stars do? Not for me. Gimme natural edges. I also prefer bigger teeth to smaller teeth, but it's not a deal breaker.

But OTHER than that straight, white teeth thing... how often are teeth mentioned in fiction? I mean grody teeth are shorthand for meth-heads, so there is a genre or two that get into that domain...

There is a Zadie Smith novel actually called white teeth... about a heroine with NO front teeth at the start... I remember liking the book but it's been ages, so I don't remember much about it, though I know white teeth were something associated with class and self confidence.

So how do YOU feel about teeth? Do you include them in your descriptions? What are your favorite tooth mentions in books? Unusual teeth on characters in movies or TV?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Writing First

Hallo, fine peoples! And Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group's August Meeting!

I'm Hart! And I'm Insecure!

(Hi Hart)


But anyway, the IWSG is running with a question these, which is a relief, to be honest. I only have so many blogable events related to my insecurity or anti-insecurity, so this makes things much easier. The question for August is this:

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published? 

But see... The answer depends on emphasis and interpretation...

Because I was an aspiring writer even as a teen. I had half a dozen story starts... and I was an aspiring writer in grad school when I wrote 200 single spaced pages of a horror novel that petered out.

And I was REALLY a writer when I wrote fan fiction. These were the first novel-length works I actually finished and I shared them as I went. The first of THOSE is this:

Baby Snape and his mum by Sir Aristocrat

The Other Prince: Eileen Snape's Story. It was a terrific dark tale about the sister of a man who got entangled in Voldemort's charm and it was his undoing. So Eileen vows revenge and uses all sorts of illicit magic to create and raise the boy who would be Voldemort's downfall. It was written before Deathly Hallows came out. I started because I had a theory: That to prove themselves to Voldemort, Death Eaters had to kill their own fathers... but by the time I got into it, I loved the writing for writing, remembered what I wanted to do, and woke up the tale that this blog is really about.

The first book I wrote thinking I was going to publish it and be an author was Confluence.

204,000 words at first draft. This tale was about a family that moved to a college town because the father takes a position at the University. The five-year old daughter makes friends with a homeless man who lives in the woods behind their house, unbeknownst to her parents, and the teenaged daughter gets tangled in some teenage stuff. I still love parts of this story, but I tried to do too much. It could be three books. The teenager, Jessie, trapped me. See, her voice was so fun that I started adding to the story and it just got way too complicated. I think Jessie's story, and Trish (the mom) and Hannah's stories are separate. I'd like to get back to them, but as of now, they are behind several “less to do to ready them” tales.

So go check out what other aspiring authors did first...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Where are the Tall Girls?

In books, I mean.

Other people may not be nearly so sensitive on this subject but I am very tall, as women go—about 5'11”. And it seems like especially in YA all the heroines are these little tiny things (the Mistborn series is the latest of many) or else no height is mentioned... believe me... if the heroine was tall, it would be mentioned.

Nancy and Barb--note how Barb stands out
I suppose the culmination of this thought, though, was watching Stranger Things last week. I thought Nancy was an emaciated pixie. But somehow, next to her, Barb just looked large. And I so identified.

Now I never made Barb's hair error—gads--being large enough to be somebody's mother makes you want to be DAMN sure not to have their mother's haircut. The glasses were bad, too, but that is just an 80s side effect—everyone with glasses had those. But yeahnana on the hair...

Anyway... that big friend that the boys never looked twice at? That was me in Jr. High and High School. And the closest I get in books is Lady Brienne, but Lady Brienne WANTS to be a warrior—her size suits her. What about the tall girls aching to be normal? The ones who didn't want to be basketball players, where tall becomes a super-asset. And I'm not talking side kick, or worse, nemesis (why are tall girls the villains?)

Anybody have any book recommendations for me with heroines that are TALL?

How I feel in every picture ever...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Narrow Escape and a Plan *BWUHAHAHAHAHAHA*

So I was in group 5 for jury duty and groups 1-7 were dismissed without ever having to show up. I confess to some small disappointment in this. I'd rather people watch than work, to be honest. Though the looming to-do list would have grown. And I have a couple students, who we call scholars because that sounds more important and all, who are at places in their projects where they need regular help. But they probably wouldn't have minded fooling around for a few days instead of working, too, though they are both winding up with us soon, so time is of the essence as they say.

But back to my missing out on jury duty... I still think this would be a fascinating experience in group dynamics. We will see if my number ever comes up again...


Two plans, really.

There is the WRITING Plan and the FITNESS Plan. And I feel safe to make them now, as we are approaching start of the school year (a natural beginning) and son leaving home (an ending that might also be the end of my wasting quite so much time)--the real thing this ending means is the end of nightly meals. I am content to eat the same thing for 3 nights in a row, which means I could just cook twice a week.

See, my husband was at home for years, when the kids were younger... then, about 3 years ago he got a full time job that runs into the evenings, which left ME making dinner. I had nearly never made dinner—he is the better cook, and more importantly, likes it better. Once upon a time I could come home and dive into social media while hubby cooked, then after dinner could come back to writing.

Anyway... the Writing Plan is:

An hour a day starting August 1
A focus in August of finally getting Medium Wrong queried
A short story every month other than Wri-Mo months
Broadly a cycle of edit two months/write one month

And the Fitness Plan. I used to walk full way, round-trip to and from work—nearly 5 miles a day. In January I changed exercise strategy, trying to “sprint” more and I put in a bus trip in the middle of my commute. It cut my walking time in about half, which through the cold and ice was nice... I kept doing it through spring as there were no weight consequences. And now it's hot. But I think maybe my body has had the break it needed so that adding on walking again might give me a bump.

As for those sprints, I didn't keep them up. They were hard. I know. Whiny baby. They also didn't seem to do much. What I think might be the better focus is just to get strength-building in there. I plan to do 10 minutes a night, after work before dinner, alternating core and extremities by day.

Anybody else thinking about plans?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Short Story Up and Other Misadventures

I mentioned this short story, eh?

I shared it here because it is probably only going to be an insanely large phenomenon for a short time. I mean surely people have lives to get back to... and if they don't, then consider my story not a story, but a warning... erm... so rather than try to publish it traditionally, or even self publishing with art annallat, I just shared it here. Not a bad idea to have a writing sample on the blog anyway, eh?

As for Other Shenanigans...

Are there others? I seem to be surprisingly shenaniganless these days. It's sad, really. So instead of reporting on shenanigans committed, maybe I should take it upon myself to PLAN some.

Who's with me?

Chalk graffiti is a good one... Silly art that does no damage. I promise not too many penises. Erm...

Should I move all the tea bags at work so when someone goes for chamomile they end up with lemon zinger? That is probably just mean.

The little boots help, too.
I have a very tiny spider who keeps returning to hover above my keyboard. And there is a rule around here that under a certain size I am just not prepared to end a life, but man is she starting to get on my nerves, reminding me my house is not terribly clean and she is surely not the only bug within my desk area. But make no mistake, past a certain size, all bets are off. (also—hairy legs on a bug or more than eight legs? Death sentence) Outside I am more tolerant.

So who is watching Stranger Things? I've had several strong recommendations for it, but am almost done catching up on Black Sails so have not gotten there yet.

I hope all of you are having a great week! What shenanigans are you up to!?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Juxtaposed Lives

I am going to delay my summary of my last three push-up days until tomorrow, as I am having some rather profound thoughts I'd like to try to make sense of.

I had a staff meeting yesterday.

For those of you who don't know, I work for an office focused on Health Equity and Inclusion as part of a health system. We are trying to set systems into place so our environment is more welcoming to diverse groups of people—diverse not just in a racial sense, but in terms of (dis)ability, sexual identification and orientation, age, socio-economics, religion. All of it. Because while our experiences may allow us comfort with one or another type of diversity, the fact is, we all have groups we have not been exposed to, and it takes some training to be open in the face of the unknown.

Anyway, because of the work we do and who has a passion for the issues, about half of my colleagues are black. And you know what has been going on.

Our meeting was sort of a workshop—scheduled weeks ago, but at the end there was a moment where a very brave coworker pointed out that US, in our space and with what we do, cannot really separate our mission from what has been going on in the outside world. She admitted to the difficulties championing our mission, when she has had to have very difficult talks with her kids about the realities of how to stay safe.

Another coworker confessed when he started college he thought he'd be dead by 21, because that was what happened to young black males in this country, and that recent events have brought back fears some fifteen years later.

Think about that. Belonging and identifying with a group where you honestly believe you are likely to die before really reaching adulthood, not because you are doing anything wrong, but because of a group you happen to be born into.

And then on my way home... I ran across swarms... of a totally different sorts. Groups ranging in sizes from one to ten, all chasing down a damn Pokemon.

Now I don't have any problem at all with this—it seems fun and people are getting outside and getting exercise (though it is the perfect set-up for a sci fi story, which I plan to write ASAP). At the time that sci fi story was all that was churning in my head—the plot to distract us all...

Only when I got home did I realize how much these two things created an enormous contrast. Who has the luxury to be distracted? How can people disengage from the seriousness of what's happening. It feels to me like things may go really wrong before we wake up and I can't help but be afraid. Afraid partly because I sort of think it needs to happen. I can't see power yielding voluntarily.

I think though, there are things all of us can do. For starters, I don't think most people are intentionally racist, but because of media and cultural messages, and because we surround ourselves, most often, with people who are “like us” we all have inherent bias—and we all should make a point of knowing ourselves well enough that we can at least learn to be conscious of it.

Go take this test:

Young Turks covered this last night—I will watch for the link to share that coverage, too. I watched it live. (am watching it) but they post segment links later. Here it is.

Also, can we all pledge in our daily lives to try to talk to and get to know people who aren't like us. I am sure most of you know, but in case you don't, you will find, in the end, people are people. There are good and bad people of all sorts, but MOST people of all sorts are good people.

Most black people are good.
Most white people are good.
Most Muslims are good.
Most police are good.

And so on and so on.

So by all means—have fun, get your exercise, seek your Pokemon... but let's not lose sight.

Please please please practice compassion. People are protesting because they are hurting and things are bad. Cops have hard jobs and deserve our support, but when lines are crossed, they can't be above justice. But assume people mean well until you see otherwise. Don't paint groups based on the bad actors.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Days 18 and 19 of 22: Push-Ups for Veteran Suicide Awareness

Day 18:

So if you are one of my personal facebook friends, you have seen this before. I apologize. But really, I think it is the best lead in.

Push-ups. Harder during a hot flash.

And it's true. Today is my 14 and 8 day... And it was hard. But not impossible. I did it.

Day 19:

16 and 6... Today was the first day the dog actually took enough interest to help, so my right ear is also clean. It wasn't too hard up until 15 and 16 of the first set, then the second set I know my form sucked... but my last set my form has sucked since I got to the knee push-ups. Hopefully getting to where they all happen in one set will resolve that.

The helper in question, Joel

And for content, I am going to do this today because I know I have more potential readers on a Monday than most days and my last day will be Wednesday (for push-ups—Thursday for blog)

This has seemed like a real slog. Long and cumbersome.

But if we want to solve this issue, that is what it takes. Not one day of feeling sorry this happens, but a long-term commitment to doing something about it. A long-term campaign to spread awareness not just of existence of the problem, but of the symptoms and what can be done about it. So we need to all approach this as a marathon. Be vigilant. Watch out for your friends and acquaintances. Let them know you are available if they need you, and don't be afraid to help even if it isn't requested.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Days 16 and 17 of 22: Veteran Suicide Awareness Campaign...

So I did my push-ups yesterday, but this is as far as I got blogging about it:

So it's official. Upstairs push-ups are easier than downstairs... not by a lot, but enough to make me question whether there is a gravity difference. Erm...

I did two sets of 11 today, so YAY! It wasn't easy, but I managed. If I do 12 and 10 tomorrow then add two to the first set each day, then by my last day I will hit the 22 in one... so that's the plan...

Today I also did my push-ups... 12 and 10, as I said... Sorry about not getting yesterday posted. I got side-tracked with a daughter visit, plus I had a late dentist appointment, so my evening was short to begin with.

Now I am finally to the weekend... You know... all work weeks should only have three days. Hopefully I don't spend the weekend arguing with racists on Facebook. I know... not the forum to change hearts and minds but I have a really hard time when people act like they are relaying facts and they are really just parroting a biased sound bite. I study disparities for a living, so believe I am rather expert in whether racism happens or not (it does), sometimes at an institutional level (say the police force or justice system—where it is undeniably true—not in every city, but in enough I would call it most). I live in one of the top 20 liberal bastions in the country where my kids attended well integrated schools and had diverse peer groups and STILL the police here have been seen to behave in racially biased ways. I don't believe it is intentional, but it is how it happens.

But there is better news...

I think this was the OTHER Veteran bill, but you get the idea.

Obama just (yesterday) signed a bill intended to reduce veteran suicide. Here is a news clip on it

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Day 15 of 22: Veteran Suicide Awareness Campaign

Hallo fine peoples!!! And we have hit the two-thirds mark!

I was with the knee push-ups: 8, 7 & 7 again today... A little easier than yesterday... easier enough that I realized how much it also works my abs to be in that position... so that's something. Not sure what, but something...

Makes me think a little about all the parts of health. Veterans, at least when they are first home, are so physically healthy. But their emotional and spiritual selves are badly in need of healing. And I don't think this is a one-size fits all thing. I mean there may be things that help most people... maybe veteran groups so they can see they are not alone and that the things they are going through aren't shameful or even abnormal. Some people will thrive with loved ones surrounding them and some will find that stressful... I guess maybe what the loved ones need to do is offer, but not be offended if the answer is no.

Here are some resources for family members of returning veterans

Other Stuff

Summer has also finally started to feel like summer. I love summer, but I will confess my idea of summer would allow me to sit by a pool or a lake rather than having to wear real clothes and be presentable.

I also learned this week that I have a chronic condition... funny that you can have something and not know it... I have very mixed feelings about this... it seems so permanent, which is scary. But it explains a lot, which is nice... and as chronic conditions go, this is a relatively small complaint. I have non-allergic vasomotor rhinitis... basically, it is a swelling of the nasal passages that causes me to recover from colds poorly, and makes my nose a bit runnier than other peoples... (I do tend to carry a tissue). So now I know why I seem to have colds last forever, even though I'm not particularly more likely to catch on in the first place... sort of takes immunity issues out of the equation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Day 14 of 22: 22 Veteran Suicides a Day Awareness Campaign

Okay, peoples... am I back on track? I think it's a little early to make such a claim, but I DID DO 22 knee push-ups today (pillow under the knees)... I did them in 3 sets: 8, 7 and 7. I think I will do another day of that, then try it in two. I sure feel a lot more pathetic than strong... I've never had any upper body strength, but on top of that I am both out of practice AND heavier than I should be by a lot. Gotta work with what it is!

I also wonder how much of my weekend flop is I feel like I am running out of new content... The topic remains very important, but I don't really know new angles to approach it from. So let me reach out to families. I have never been a veteran, but I have loved people who are suicidal and it is frightening and disempowering. If you know anyone who is struggling to support someone struggling, know they, too, need your support.

Writing Life

I also need to get back to getting organized. I've been called for jury duty later this month, which, should I be chosen, will throw a wrench in things, so I think in the first half of the month I am going to PLAN... maybe write a few scenes to get a feel for some of the options of what I might write... maybe think about a short story... but then plan on really implementing the plan after than threat of jury duty is off the table.

I have really mixed feelings about this jury duty thing. It sounds tiring, paying attention all day. Surrounded by people. The introvert in me would like to get out of it. At the same time, the justice process fascinates me. Then again, I am a person likely to get kicked off a number of sorts of cases... I am strongly anti-business most of the time. And I am high in empathy, so likely to hear a defendant sympathetically... I guess it will go how it goes...

Have you ever been on jury duty? How did it go? Did it throw a wrench in the rest of your life?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Day 13 of 22: The Delinquent Push-Up Blog for Veteran Suicide Awareness

So I have a confession. Over the three-day weekend I only got my push-ups in once... My brain sort of melted and I got tangled in busy holiday things and so I only managed Sunday and I did not blog once, so this is me, getting back on track...

I thought having rested a day push-ups might be a bit easier Sunday. I was dead wrong. In fact I ended up back at an angle again. COULD NOT do the knee kind... When I get to it today I am going to try knee again and see if the problem was not a bad knee, basement combo. When I did the knee push-ups on Friday I had a pillow under my knees. The yoga mat on the basement concrete is not the equivalent of that.

These days of fireworks and such offered a good reminder. We watch our dogs cower as if the world is ending and it is easy to understand how a person who has been to war—where all these noises coincided with real danger and sometimes death—would be thrown back into memories, sometimes too strong to distinguish from reality.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Day 12 of 22: 22 Veteran Suicides a Day Push-Up Awareness Campaign

So I shoved the chair out the window... Not literally. But I decided full knee push-ups down on the floor couldn't possibly be any harder...

I was wrong. And a little right. Easier to get a grip—the floor being larger than a chair and all... and easier on my hands with no corners, but that angle makes the upper body work harder. So I split it in 4:  6, 5, 6, 5... I did them... They weren't pretty, but they were relatively legitimate, and I have 10 more days to improve...

As for suicide... a friend just shared about a murder/suicide she encountered today... I don't know what the rates are for homicide by veterans, but I do believe spousal abuse runs high and that IS related to domestic homicide. I think chasms caused by absence, training in authoritarian relationships, an emotional divide that can erupt (one life goes one direction with spouse gone, the other goes another away at war)--all these things increase chances. The study I found suggests PTSD is why there is a higher murder rate by veterans (and it DID say it is higher)--but a person who is still decent at his core will not murder without remorse... thus the murder suicide combo.

It's funny—I often advocate that a military-trained person is more fit to have certain kinds of weapons, since they are trained in safe use. But this information suggests otherwise. Not that I think a blanket move to remove guns from veterans is the answer, but perhaps health care providers reporting on state of mental health and suggesting storing them away from home or giving them up for a time if there are issues present?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Day 11 of 22: 22 Suicides Veteran a Day: Push-Up Awareness Campaign

Half way...

So I did my push-ups last night, I just didn't do the blog part until now. I had a trivia night for Game of Thrones and no time at all to get anything written.

Chair push-ups... MAN... This is seriously harder than anything that has come earlier. I had to break them into 3 sets (8, 7 and 7) and I couldn't bend my arms as far for fear I wouldn't be able to push back up, so this is going to be a challenge...

My suicide thought for the day is to keep in mind COMPASSION. I hear people say sometimes that suicide is selfish, but in fact the brain of a person contemplating suicide is not working right--it is telling them their loved ones would be better off without them. It may look selfish from the outside, but we need to step back from our own perspective and see someone hurting.


The month of writing is over, though I didn't manage to write much... The month got away from me with family stuff, college stuff, and frankly... distractions... Game of Thrones is over for the year and I maybe should come to terms with the fact I let that dominate pretty much everything else when it is releasing new episode (the last two this season were perfection, as were the 4th and 5th--I am calling this season one of the best)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Day 10 of 22: 22 Veteran Suicides a Day Awareness Campaign

I made double digits!!!

Good thing today was a little easier, as tomorrow I go from dresser to chair...

But today... today I still broke it in two, but it was 16 and 6. That is better than the 11, 11, or the 12, 10 splits... Right?

Man, I am worried about the chair ones...
Me, tomorrow

But enough about Push-ups. Lets talk about Veteran Suicide. Source

* The rate of suicide by veterans has been fairly steady since 1999. The lowest it has been is 19 (daily count on average), but 20-22 is more common, so this problem has been around a long time.
* In Washington and Idaho (where I am from originally) more than 25% of ALL suicides are by veterans.
* Among the general population suicide is more common in younger people, where among veterans, rates are lower among younger people and more common in older age groups.
* Women make up a quarter of NON-veteran suicides, but only about 3% of Veteran suicides. Now half of PEOPLE are female, so women are half as likely as expected among civilians. Women are about 15% of Veterans, so they are significantly LESS likely here—instead of half what would be expected, it is only about 20%.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 9 of 22: Awareness Campaign for 22 Veteran Suicides a Day

Why isn't this getting easier? I used that low dresser again today... and it seemed harder than yesterday for some reason.

I am thinking I am getting fatigued... both physically and of the daily blog... But the cause is worthy, so I will continue to plug away.

Following up on the “where to find help” I shared yesterday, I thought I would also share some potential signs someone might be suicidal. These are from the Mayo Clinic Site.

Suicide warning signs or suicidal thoughts include:

* Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as "I'm going to kill myself," "I wish * I were dead" or "I wish I hadn't been born"
* Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
* Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
* Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
* Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
* Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
* Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
* Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
* Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
* Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there's no other logical explanation for doing this
* Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again
* Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above

Warning signs aren't always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Day 8 of 22: Push-Up Challenge, Veteran Suicide Awareness Campaign

So I realized yesterday that I was meant to have moved from counter to table, so today that is what I did... well not table, but a dresser that is probably 10 inches lower than our counter.

I delayed on the push-ups, eating first... and maybe that helped. I expected these to be harder than yesterday, but they really weren't. Not easier, but not harder. I still split them 11 and 11.

So today I am sharing some resources. If you think someone might be suicidal, it is really important to get them help—far better to err on the side of caution than to underestimate the chances and have them do it.

The National Institute of Mental Health[] has a page with websites and a hot line. Additionally, if you truly fear for somebody in the present, you can call 9-1-1.

Additionally, hospitals sometimes have triage systems and definitely will take in a person who is suicidal.

If in doubt, find help.