Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008!

Other than the fact that I've been too busy to blog lately, Blogger.com has decided to force me to use a different log in just about every time I access my account here. Wordpress is looking pretty good, folks!

But, it is a good thing that I gave up my other little blogging gigs because I've been cranking away on the books and now on school stuff to get ready for the big day soon.

Other than writing my fingers to the bones, I've been busy getting organized, and this happens to be my general goal for 2008 (other than continue to inch this weight off...15 lbs down...20 to go). It's not that I'm that unorganized, but when it comes to stuff around the house, I tend to work in organized chaos.

I received a purse organizer from my sis for xmas and that sort of got it going in my closet. That followed with me buying a shoe rack, and wow, it is amazing how much room I have in my closet now. I also tossed out a lot of old clothes. I was brutal. I tossed out anything I hadn't worn for the past year at least once, and I now have two boxes of stuff for the Am Vet's next visit. Of course, that teamed with the new job and the fact that I'm down one size required that I do some clothes shopping on the web. So, I probably replaced everything I chucked out.

The next big house organization is going to be our family room, or as we call it the dog room. It's an 18x24 ft room that opens out to a large porch, and our dogs pretty much hang out there during the day. It's got our one and only working TV, one of my bead work areas in the corner, and furniture that came over on the Mayflower. My husband has resigned himself to the fact that the beads will probably stay, though I'm not sure of this myself and may move them all into my office since I usually am writing as I make jewelry for my site and for my books. Therea are just about beads and jewelry making stuff in almost every room of the house now, and that includes our guest bath, which I've turned into my temporary metal clay studio.

Whether my beads stay in the dog room or not, I'm looking into some craft organizers like the one pictured here from Best Craft Organizer.com. These babies aren't cheap, but boy, they sure look nice and organized! Of course, I've got way more stuff than would fit in something like this, but it's a possible place to start.




Well, I've got to get back to the school stuff. I'm this far from finishing up my last syllabus. Shew! Have a wonderful New Year, and if you are looking for an easy black eyed pea recipe, check out the one I posted last year here at fatand40. I will be throwing mine together tonight so they are ready in the morning for us to nibble on throughout the day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

So Not a Tyra

Today I spent hours and hours shooting for my new DVD that will go with my book Picture Yourself Making Metal Clay Jewelry. I have never enjoyed getting my picture taken, and I have to say video cameras are even worse! We spent at least 3 solid hours working, probably got at least an hour of film, and I would guess that maybe five minutes of that is usable. Luckily, I have a very talented video editor, so hopefully, this poor guy will make me look like I know what I'm doing and not like a babbling idiot.

Granted, I didn't have a specific word-for-word script written, but you'd think I could say two sentences in a row without screwing it up! For all those empty-headed models and actresses out there who I know now aren't as empty-headed as I thought, I have new found respect, and I salute you!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hair Today Gone Today

About a year ago, right before the my defense, I had the brainy idea of getting my hair cut, like in a "real" salon, not just my husband giving it a trim in the bathroom. As I had feared, I ended getting a major hatchet job on my hair. It was still pretty long, but the woman layered it rather than give me the simple cut and bangs that I had asked. So, it was a mess.


A year later now, most of it had finally grown out, but it was the point that it needed some cleaning up. Not only do I start my new job in less than a month, but I will be filming my new metal clay DVD next week, so eek! Something had to be done about the mane.


As I was driving to work the other day, I passed by a place called Tease. Hmmm...it's close to where I live. I have to do something, right? The trims from DH just aren't cutting it. So, I braved it and went it. And believe it or not, I managed to find a sweet young woman who actually did what I asked her to do when cutting my hair. In fact, she was leery about whacking off five inches like I asked, but after I assured her a few times that I really wanted it cut, she went for it. She even got the bangs right.


While on the phone, I told my husband what I had done, and he threatened to get a mow-hawk, but when he saw it he was fine. It is still below my shoulders, so it's not like it's really that short, but it looks so much better. I even bought a few things to help with my tangles. I told her how I have a hard time combing my hair after I wash it, and she suggested a few things they had there. They call them "products." I felt so fashionable as I left, my hair finally in control, my little bag of beauty products in hand.

[image link]

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Reading and Cat Pee

Because my friends know I write and teach English and all that, very often they want to give me some book to read. "Oh, you like to read? Then you'll like this." The problem is, though, I don't really have time to read for pleasure. Yes, I read, but I read because I'm prepping for class or I'm researching something I'm writing about or I'm reviewing a jewelry book. Who has the time to sit around and read any more? :(

Plus, of course, there's the selection of what I read. I'm pretty particular. After graduating years ago with my MA and being forced to read lots of hard-*ss literature, I remember thinking I'd love to sit down and read some trashy novels for a change, but you know what? When I actually tried to do it, I couldn't. They were just so awful to me, that I couldn't suspend myself in the stories any more. So, it was back to the classics.

Any way, recently a friend of mine insisted that I read Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian by Weiss. And, I will admit the book does sound interesting. However, I protested to her that I just don't have time to read for fun right now, especially now with the holidays and the end of the semester and book deadlines out the wazoo. But, she insisted, pressed the book in my hands, and would not let me give it back to her until I was done. And, she did want it back. She even showed me the book sticker with her name on the inside cover.

So, I thought, okay, I spend a lot of time in the vet's office bringing in my cats on a weekly basis, sometimes twice a week, so I slipped it into the pocket of my cat carrier with the idea that I could read a few pages here and there every week while I wait. The other day, I was siting there waiting to bring in one of my cats for her weekly fluids and I pulled out the book and started to read. I glanced down and noticed a small wet spot on a few of the pages. Eek! My cat was so freaked about going (again!) to the vet, she had peed, and it had leaked onto the book. Crap!

See, I told you not to give me books, people! Dang it! So, I went to my often visited www.amazon.com and ordered a new one for my friend. It's going directly to her house too because I'm so busy now I can't imagine how I'll manage to see her before the first of the year. At least now, I have the book and can read it at my leiser, which probably means not until this summer.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Burn Calories Grading Research Papers!

My pound of turkey is already history! I honestly felt like I wasn't as good about the diet thing last week as I could have been. Getting off the wagon for a few days made it very difficult for me to find my way back to my normal eating routine, and that especially included writing down my food, which I totally hate with a passion. However, it really makes a difference for me, so I know I have to do it.

My hope was that I just hadn't gained anything that week, so I was thrilled to find out the pound I had gained the week before was gone the following week. Actually, I was more amazed because along with struggling with my routine, I hadn't been able to exercise as much as usual due to the huge load of grading that hits just about every writing teacher around the end of the semester. As I was lugging home moutains of research papers to grade, I was asking myself, "Is there a better way? Why oh why did I have all my classes do this to me now?" But, of course, that's part of the problem with writing classes; students have to build up to writing the "big" research paper. It's not like I could make it their first assignment. Okay, I could, but that would not be a nice thing to do.

Maybe it was the stress of grading while trying to make headway on my two books that burned off some of the calories, but either way, it was a relief and renewed my faith in the whole system.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Results Are In

So, the turkey verdict is...... one pound! My strategy seemed to work for the most part. I ate a real Thanksgiving meal including my favorite green bean casserole, gravy, stuffing, turkey, and even a piece of pie, and I ended up gaining one pound that week.
I know that I really should be grateful, and I am, but of course, part of me is asking myself if it was worth it considering it will probably take me at least two weeks to get this one pound off!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Bummer

Last year at Thanksgiving time, one of our house guests ended up in the emergency room, not due to the food but to other health issues he had. This year, because of a book deadline looming among other things, we opted for a quiet Thanksgiving with no guests and we had hoped no emergency room visit. Alas, poor Nee Nee started having a diabetic episode around 12:15. I had just finished working out in hopes of fighting off some of the dinner I was about to chow down on, when I noticed he was walking around the living room like he had no idea where the heck he was at. This is not the first time this has happened, so we sort of know the drill by now, and we have unfortunately gotten to know the staff at the emergency pet care clinic. You don't even want to know how much it costs. But, what is a cat mommy to do?

He ended up having the stay the night as they pumped him with something to bring him down to normal levels, and as you can see by the picture above, he was home the next day with a not too happy look on his face. He was fine but very needy, making sure that either my DH or I were in the same room as he was all day. I must have picked him up to smooch a hundred times that day, and he just never could get enough.

"That place is a bad, bad place!" he told me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Day Tricks

Normally, we have a few guests for Thanksgiving dinner and my DH cooks a fabulous and fattening meal with way too much food that we continue to gorge on for about a week afterwards. However, this year due to our guests having some health issues and me having some work issues (a book deadline that's coming up soon) , it will be just two of us for dinner, and we both want to avoid the Thanksgiving spare tire that normally shows up a few days later. I just spent months getting rid of 15 pounds and I have about 20 to go, so I don't want to undo all my hard work and start at square one just so I can OD-on chery pie.

Therefore, we decided to try to come up with a turkey dinner plan that we could both deal with, which resulted in some pretty tough negotiations around here lately. DH is low-carbing it, so he can eat a lot of foods that I can't and visa versa, but we managed to come up with a compromise that I hope will work for us. My main issue is the amount of food. With WW I can really eat anything, just not large quantities of anything. So, rather than DH make is wonderful cherry pie that I will then have after dinner as well as the next day for breakfast and lunch, I bought us two pieces of frozen chocolate pie pieces. Instead of a huge casserole of green beans (which is a favorite of mine), he's making a smaller version of it. He's opting for faux mashed potatoes for himself (mushed up cauliflower) and I have one small sweet potato for moi.

It will still be a lot more food than I'm used to, but hey, it is a holiday. A pound or so I can deal with. Five pounds, though, means I'm at least set back 5 weeks from where I am now, and that is a place I don't want to go!

May you also have a happy, healthy, and not-too-fattening Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Back to School Shopping

Because of the new teaching gig starting in a few months and the fact that I'm down a size now and can't imagine myself down another size by the time school starts in a few months, I went ahead and did a little back to school shopping.

I know most women are supposed to love to shop, but I guess I'm not like most women. I love to have the stuff in my closet, but I hate to go out and get it. On-line shopping isn't too painless, so I don't mind that. For example, LL Bean is a pretty decent semi-casual but not too casual place for teacher clothing. I also have luck sometimes with J.Jill, on sale items of course because their prices are normally on the high side. But, I really needed some suit/career type clothing, so I trudged out to Sears the other day.

I pulled out the "new" size I can wear, headed into the dressing room, and was pleasantly surprised that just about all of it was too large. The skirts almost fell off and pants were too roomy, especially in the waist. Could it be I'm really into the next size, at least at Sears?

With this little thrill in me, I headed back out to get the same items one size smaller. As I'm thumbing through one of the racks, a petite woman was also looking and then reached past me for an item, "I need a 4," she tells me. Pop! There goes my little bubble of delight.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Direction 4 Fatand40

After explaining to a web-friend of mine about all the changes that have happened to my life over the past month or so - good changes, exciting changes, but scary changes as well - she put it like this: "It sounds like you have come to a cross-road in your life."


Exactly!

Here is the short version of what's happened over the past few weeks: I got the job of my dreams, a full-time tenured track teaching gig at a school I adore; I received yet another book deal (in the middle of another book right now already), one I thought wasn't going to start until January but is starting now instead; I realized I'm going to have to cut down on some of my smaller writing jobs, my blogging especially.

Granted, none of this should be that much of a surprise to me. I went back to school so that I could get a job just like the one I finally landed. I sent in the proposal for the book because I knew I wanted to write it. I went into blogging on a lark, thinking it would just be a fun way to earn a little cash but mainly with the idea it would be a good way to promote my other writing work, which it has.

Still, I've had to make some really difficult decisions. I love the blogosphere. I love writing blogs and getting paid to do it, even if it's not a huge amount of money. I love the people I've met and worked with as a pro blogger.

But yet....I know that I want to teach and write my books as well, and I just can't do it all. I also know I'm very lucky to have to make decisions like this, even though, hey, I've earned it. As I explained at one point in my interview for the job when asked if I really thought I was ready to teach full-time: "I went back to school and got my Ph.D. so that I could teach here full-time. Yes, I'm ready, and I want this job."


Though it took years to get here (actually 9, but who's counting?), it still feels like everything is changing for me overnight. So, I'm walking down a new road, but I'm taking very small steps because I'm just trying to get my bearings. I know I'm headed in the right direction though.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

14.5 in 16

Yes, I know. I have been a bad fat and 40 blogger as I've not had time for fun blogging these days, but I have been a good fat and 40 weight watcher. In 16 weeks, I've lost 14.5 pounds and I'm comfortably down into the next size. I still have to weigh in this week, and I don't feel too confident, but I've learned it is really hard to tell sometimes when it comes off so slowly. And, it is coming off, so that is what I have to keep remembering.

I can't say that I've been one of those people who have tried a zillion diets. Most just don't appeal to me because I'm a little bit of a picky eater, but that's what I like about Weight Watchers. You can really eat the foods you want for the most part, even if you are like me and have a number of foods you don't like that are required on most diets - like milk. I can't tell you how many diets I read tell you to drink milk - ick, gag me, barf-0-matica! While WW does suggest you drink it because it's healthy, the reality comes down to the points and what you total up at the end of the day. So, what would I rather drink, milk or a lite beer before going to bed? Errr...nuff said.

I had someone comment awhile back about how she was having a hard time with the WW program, and I agree that the first few weeks are rough. Heck, it just is not easy to watch what you eat - period - the end. But, after the first few weeks, you can get into the groove and find little tricks that work for you, so I hope she stuck with it, at least to get over the two week hump.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fat Rant Find

I saw this video clip posted over at my friend Stevie's blog, La-Story. I agree to some extent on Joy's creed for fat people - We should not keep our life on hold because we are fat. But, of course, I also have to admit that I haven't worn a bathing suit in about 5 years!



I don't agree, though, that it's something we should just live with. As I posted in a comment on Stevie's blog, "How many fat old people do you see walking around?" None? That's because obesity can kill you or at the very least shorten you life span.

I also gree that size zero and double zero is just insane. However, size 8 and 10? Obviously, depending on how tall you are and your age, I don't think getting down to an 8/10/12 is out the question, hard to do, but not impossible.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

12 Hours Before WW Weigh-In

My thoughts starting the night before....

"These pants feel loose. Maybe I lost a pound this week."

Waking up the next morning....

"Oh, my Gawd! I'm so bloated! Why did I eat all that pop corn last night? What was I thinking!"

Getting dressed before I leave to WW meeting....

"These pants still don't fit me like I want them too, but maybe I lost at least 1/2 a pound."

Climbing into the car to drive to WW meeting....

"Oh, geez, I'm huge. I can barely fit this seat belt around my stomache."

Driving to the meeting....

"Please, just don't let me have gained anything. I'll be happy with that, no gaining. Even if I didn't lose even a 1/2 a pound, as long as I didn't gain back any weight this week, I'm good with that. I can live with that."

At the meeting, standing on the scale, holding my breath as I peek over to see the WW woman write in my card....

Exhale, "Ah, really? Oh, thank God! A pound?"

Start breathing normally again.

12.5 pounds gone, so many more to go!





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Friday, October 12, 2007

Academic Publishing - "Uncle Already!"

So, it's official. I'm giving up on academic publishing. I have had a real struggle with this personally because of the fact that I make money writing non-fiction, so why spend time writing academic work (which is way harder) for no obvious financial gain?

Today, I received an email from a group that had conditionally agreed to publish an article of mine as part of a book. For over a year now, they have pretty much sat on it. I made it through the first peer review. Then I was asked to participate in the second peer review, and I was super careful to thoroughly examine each article I was sent (a total of 3). All of the articles had a good deal of grammar problems, and I guess that should have been a sign.

The latest email explained that the book was changing, they had way too many articles for it, and that attached are peer reviews for me to use in revising my article so that it could be reviewed again (3rd review). I looked at the reviews. One says my article is total crap and I could say the same dribble in a table. The other says my article is fabulous and I should include pictures. What the?

This is just a little of the saga that has gone on with this supposed book for over a year now. I won't bore you with any more details.

It's not that this one issue has turned me off. It's been just about every place I've sent something. I send it, and maybe I hear back. When I do hear back, it is sometimes even a little encouraging. Then I get something like "We will get back to you in a few months." The months come and go and nothing. I write them back and, again, zip. It's just amazing to me how unprofessional these people are who are supposed to be "academics." You can't email me a simple canned "thanks but no thanks" email? I know they are all probably very busy, but heck, if you can't do the work, then don't take it on. There really is no excuse for soliciting a call for papers and then not following up on your end of the deal.

I hate to say the cliche "those who can't do teach," but in this case it really seems to fit. I write and get paid for it. They don't.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Episode #3 of Metal Chik

I'm a little behind, but this is a cool video from Metal Chik.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Finally! A Break Through!

In my Dee Nile post early, I complained about hitting a plateau of sorts. I guess 3 weeks counts as one, but whatever it was, I finally managed to lose another pound. Yes, pathetic that I'm so glad to lose one pound, but after 3 weeks of nothing, I was seriously starting to lose faith. I added two days of exercise, just 20 minutes each day, and I kept my hand from venturing into the nut jar that is out every night on the kitchen counter. Even now, it sits there trying to seduce me, and it is still hard not to just dip my hand in for a quick cashew.

Other than that, I really didn't suffer much during the week. I even managed to go out to eat at Outback, which I found to be a very diet friendly place. I haven't eaten there much, but I knew I could at least have shrimp, so it seemed safe for me to go, unlike a place like Friday's who has deep fried mac & cheese for appetizers. We had a coupon, so I looked them up on the net. Yup, I'm never, ever, never going there, ever. At Outback, though, there were lots of choice, fish, shrimp, lobster, and lots of steamed veggies. Plus, they didn't push the bread on you like most places. We had a loaf; I had a few pieces. That was it. They didn't even ask if we wanted more, which I guess some people might think that's a bad thing. I was just relieved.

So, here is to 10.5 lbs. I don't miss you!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Welcome 2 October!

I love this time of the year! My two favorite months are October and March. One reason is due to the weather. About now, the temperature in Florida is starting to change. It's very subtle, but while it still gets into the mid-80s down here, you just don't sweat as much as you usually do. In fact, at 8:30 this morning, it was 74 degrees! The wind is blustering and it's been raining some, so to us natives, it really is starting to feel like fall.

Another reason I like October is because of Halloween. I spent most of my childhood wearing costumes of some sort as I was always pretending to be someone else, so I have a fondness for Halloween in general. It's too bad we lose that affinity for pretending when we grow up. Today I have a lot of school work to do since I have class tomorrow, and I've got a new jewelry book I'm working on that I hope to bang out a few more pages on. Maybe today while I'm working, I'll pretend that I'm actually a world famous novelist and that instead of grading essays, I'm actually making the finishing touches to my latest novel manuscript.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Dee Nile, Dee Nile, Dee Nile

C and I have a mutual friend who is dealing with a weight issue - or actually I should say not dealing with it. She was very ill about a year or so ago, got through that, and of course, it really whacked out her body. Now, she's very into all the organic food and health food, but she's also gained a lot of weight, something her doctors have told her now that she really needs to pay attention too or she could become sick again.

When C spoke to her about it, she said, "I know what the problem is. I don't eat enough." Huh?

This all comes from the idea that if you eat less your metabolism slows down and it makes it much harder for you to get the weight off, but that's really when you are dieting, which she isn't. And, because she's eating all organic food, she's under the impression that she's eating healthy. So, it's a whole game of denial (and we aren't talking about the river in Egypt!)

I was heading to Dee Nile myself recently because I've been at a stand still with my weight loss. After 3 weeks, still nothing! I haven't gained (thank God!), but I haven't lost either, and I've been telling myself "but I'm doing everything the same." Then I got real.

Since school started up about 5 weeks ago, I went from exercising 5 days to 4 days a week. Then there are those darn nuts my DH sets out every night. His low-carb diet is fine with a few nuts every night. In fact, he actually eats no dinner and then a cup of nuts at night. Me? Well, I would stop by the nut jar, take out a few, like 3 or 4, and then move on. But, add that over 7 days, and if you know anything about how many calories nuts have (zillions!) you get the picture.

So, I'm on day two of not sticking my hand in the jar, and so far, I added one night, 20 minutes, of exercise. I'm also really making sure I stick to my 20 points so far. As WW likes to say, "If you bite it, you write it."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Book Deal!

Told you I was busy! Here's my latest project!

Call for Entries
Book Title:
Picture Yourself Making Metal Clay Jewelry: Step-by-Step Instruction for Forming, Firing, and Constructing Finished Jewelry

Publisher: Thomson Course Technology
Series: This text will be part of the publisher’s “Picture Yourself” series.
Author: Tammy Powley
Contact Information: tammypowley@yahoo.com
Estimated Publication Date: May/June 2008
Call for Entries Deadline: December 5, 2007

Book’s Focus: The focus of this book is super simple to make metal clay component projects (charms, pendants, beads) teamed up with basic jewelry techniques resulting in projects which allow readers to make finished jewelry pieces showcasing their metal clay creations. Audience: The audience is the interested hobbyist who has very little if any metal clay or jewelry making experience.

Project Descriptions: All metal clay projects will be designed to use low-fire metal clay (either PMC3 or Art Clay 650) and will be small enough to allow firing by either a hand-held butane torch or hot pot. The projects will include instructions for both making the metal clay component (such as beads or a pendant) as well as incorporating this item into a finished piece of jewelry (such as earrings or a necklace). Therefore, other jewelry techniques including basic bead stringing and wire work will be covered as well.

Gallery Format Submission/Instructions: All items submitted for the gallery must be sent in digital .jpg format, min. 300 dpi, emailed to tammypowley@yahoo.com by Dec. 5, 2007. Please include “metal clay gallery” in the email subject line. Along with the image of the finished jewelry piece, include type of clay used, form of firing used, and any other materials information. Though low-fire clay items are encouraged, since that is the focus of this book, other types of clay items will be considered for gallery inclusion. Those artists selected for the gallery (included in the final published copy of the book) will be required to sign a release for publication form and will have their names and contact information (if desired) included in the gallery section.Project

Format Submission/Instructions: Though the author will create the majority of projects for the book, some projects by guest artists may be included if they are deemed appropriate for the scope of the book. Entries should include projects using low-fire metal clay (either PMC3 or Art Clay 650) and should be fired using either a butane torch or hot pot. A list of supplies and basic techniques should be included along with step by step digital color images of the process. (The author will write up complete instructions for any accepted projects.) Images should be clear, high quality, .jpg format, min. of 300 dpi, and emailed to tammypowley@yahoo.com by December 5, 2007. Please include “metal clay book project” in the email subject line. Those artists selected for the projects section (included in the final published copy of the book) will be required to sign a release for publication form and will have their names and contact information (if desired) included in the text. The author will also send them a free copy of the book when it is released for publication.

Disclaimer: The author will accept submissions in good faith and as she deems appropriate for the book; however, this does not in any way guarantee publication since other issues such as space, page numbering, page breaking, etc. can require the publisher to make alterations to the finished text without the author’s knowledge.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Looking 4 Pro Bloggers

I'm putting my Executive Editor hat on. I've been blabbling about this all over the place, so I figured I should post it here as well since I have a few million readers here:

Company: Creative Weblogging
Job Title: Blog Editors
Description: Live blogs in need of editors right now:
http://www.gambling-weblog.com/ (7 posts a week/$225/mo comp)

http://www.bizplanhacks.com/ (7 posts a week/$225/mo comp)

http://www.tjacobi.com/ (5 posts a week/20 a month for $112.50/mo)

http://www.endzonebuzz.com/ (5 posts a week/20 a month for $112.50/mo)

http://www.digitalmusicfuture.com/ (5 posts a week/20 a month for $112.50/mo)

http://www.p2p-weblog.com/ (5 posts a week/20 a month for $112.50/mo)

http://www.igotspam.com/ (5 posts a week/20 a month for $112.50/mo)

Also, we are opening to talking to any experienced bloggers who have current high-traffic and high PR blogs (6+) in the following fields and may be interested in working with Creative Weblogging: social networking, business, finance, pregnancy. Considerable blogging experience is required. For those who have the level of traffic and quality we are looking for, compensation is negotiable.

Please send us a brief email to recruiting @ creative-weblogging.com requesting an application and specify which topic on the above list you are applying for

For more information about content requirements (no. of words, etc), and basically how it all works, see our Get Paid to Blog page.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Close But No Cigar


I was really hoping to be able to say that I've lost 10 lbs this week, but nope! I'm still at 9.5lbs. I know, what's a half a pound, right? Considering it will take me another week now to get rid of it, that little half pound is significant.

I was actually pretty good last week, but I had two issues that probably messed me up. First, now that I've lost weight, I just realized a few days ago that I need to consider recalculating my Weight Watcher's points, and sure enough, after I did that I learned I need to eat 20 not 21 points now. One point? Yes, but really, over a week, that's 7 points.

The other issue was my well-meaning husband who made some low-cal soup. The recipe came from a WW cook book, and he's made it before, but in typical DH fashion, he has to make enough to feed the entire state of Florida. And, I really like this soup. So, it was difficult to figure out portions when he had quadrupled the recipe. Low cal soup or not, if you eat a lot of it (which I did) you'll have more calories than you need.

On the up side, I didn't gain any weight, but I so want to be able to say, "I've lost 10 lbs!"

Hopefully, I can say that next week.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I'm a Chik at Metal Chik



I've started blogging a few times a week at a way cool new site called Metal Chik. Along with my posts, about 3 times a week, each week, they have a new how-to video like the one posted above.

Monday, September 03, 2007

So, So, Slow!

Just a Weight Watcher's update - It's coming off but so slowly it's very hard not to get discouraged. In my previous WW attempts, it came off about 2 lbs a week. That was with following the plan, the occassional spurge but nothing major, and going to Jazzercise 3xs a week. If I didn't exercise, I was down to maybe 1 lbs or 1/2 lb a week. That was when I was in my 30s.
As C. has so kindly pointed out, "You'll never be that 30 year old girl again."
Right now, I'm in week 8 and have lost 8 1/2 lbs. I know it's coming off, but I'm basically doing what I did back then: following the plan, minor splurge but still using my extra points and nothing more, exercising 4-5 times a week a min. of 45 minutes doing low-impact aerobics. I'm lucky to 1/2 lb off each week now.
As the WW instructor said, "If you lost 1/2 lbs every week for a year, you'd lose 26 lbs." Err, yes, but back when I was younger, I'd do that in about 3-4 months!
So for all your 30 year old girls out there, get it off now and keep it off. From what my 50 year old friends say, it only gets worse.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kitty Old Folks' Home

You know you are at the vet's office too much when the staff greet you with, "You're back here again today?"

My three cats have entered into their mature cat years now. So far, Nee Nee is diabetic, Gray Boy (pictured) has a thyroid condition, and Sissy's kidney's are going.

The most recent diagnosis is Sissy, and when I was getting ready to bring her to the vet (due to a general lack of appetite, which is so not like her since she takes after her mom and is normally a little piglet) my DH predicted, "It will have some sort of syringe involved." This is because we give insulin shots to one cat and thyroid meds via a syringe to the other cat already.

His prediction was correct. Along with a special diet, we will have to start giving her weekly injections of liquids to go under her skin as a way to hydrate her because her kidneys no longer are able to process them. Luckily - I guess - I've had to do this before with one of our dogs (who is no longer with us after 16 1/2 years). That and the fact that I'm used to giving shots now, it didn't faze me too much. Now, of course, how the girl cat will handle it is a whole different story.

Friday, August 24, 2007

From Prada to Janite?


I played hooky today and went to see Becoming Jane with C. As I suspected, it was a semi-entertaining story, and I emphasize the word, story! Also as I suspected, they'd have a way to skinny girl playing Jane.
This is not to suggest that Jane was fat, but back then, if a woman was as thin as Anne Hathaway, most people would have thought her family couldn't afford to feed her properly.

As a true Janite, I couldn't help but a feel a little uncomfortable with the liberties Hollywood took with her life, and when we left the theater, my uneasiness was confirmed. C., who has seen most of the movies based on Jane's books but has read no biographical information, was going on about how sad her life was and how awful it was that she died at such a young age (according to the notes posted on the screen at the end of the movie).

I then tried to explain to her that (a) she died in her forties (though, yes, to us in the 21st century that's young); (b) that she'd never have been able to write all those novels (which are actually 5, not six as the notes also said, and that's because I'm not counting her unfinished novel and I guess they are); and (c) finally, the whole story is fiction so don't stress too much for her because it's hard to say really if any of that happened at all, and I'd bet most of it didn't.

She was shocked and protested! No, the ending said she died young, and then her boyfriend actually named his daughter after her.

Err, yes, but young then and young now aren't the same, and Jane is a pretty common name, especially back then.

When I got home, I pulled out my copy of A Memoir of Jane Austen by Her Nephew. Though it's in pretty rough shape from being accidentally used a chew toy by one of my dogs the 15 years or so that I bought it, I fell compelled to read it again now.

For a full review of the movie, which I tend to agree with, see Contact Music.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cat Condo 4 Rent

We are now on the map! We have a Target that is only a few miles away. No more driving to the next county, yeah!

On my first trip to the new Tar-ge', I thought it would be nice to buy by kitty babies a cool cat condo. It's wasn't too expensive, about $30, and I always say I'm going to get them one, so I finally did.

Of course, it took my husband, the nuclear scientist to put it together, but now it's up and looking tre chic next to my Piliates reformer in the living room. When I told DH that I bought it, he said, "You know, you could have just brought home a card board box and they'd be thrilled." Yes, but this is so cool looking.

Well, so far, I'm the only member of the household who thinks so. We are going on 48 hours and no cat takers. I even put some of Sissy's toys in there, her hairy snake and one of her rats she loves to torment. She gave it a look, like, "Why did my mom put my toys in there. Now I can't play with them." And she wandered off in a huff.

Both DH and I have tried on two separate occasions to stuff a cat in there, but they are acting like we are trying to stick them in a garbage disposal. "Cats in China would love to have a cat condo like this!" But, they just lock up their little legs and squirm until we let them go.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Party Hardy

I finally got the library crew together for lunch after some emails and numerous phone calls. One of the things they teach you in WW is to take charge of your food experience when dining out. My attempt at this was to decide on where we'd eat. I opted for a place I knew I could get a half a shrimp salad sandwich (minus the bread) and salad with vinaigrette dressing. The few people who emailed me back were fine with this.

Fast forward.....Day of the lunch....

I just finish my 3 mile Leslie Sansome DVD, when the phone rings and it's D. from the library. I notice too there are other messages on my voice mail saying the same thing, "We have decided to meet at the super fattening place rather than the safe place where you can eat shrimp." Okay, they didn't say it in those words, but that's what my brain heard.

Their reasoning for this was that the fattening place had bigger tables and there were a lot of them coming to see me. How sweet! But, dang it!

Fast forwards....Phone rings again....

It's C. and I start immediately babbling about my food hurdle at lunch. What the h, e, double toothpicks am I supposed to do? She calms me down and says, either split your lunch with someone or when you order immediately ask for a to-go box and put half of your food in there right away. "A-ha!" She's brilliant. I reason that I can even give my half box of food to someone there to take back for one of the pages (who is a big kid and eats every one's leftovers).

So, I luck out and one of the gals agrees to split the turkey wrap with bacon and guacamole. She'll take the fries and I'll order a side salad. Lunch is fun. They are such a great group and I'm having a good time, glad I came, etc.

Then....ca - zing...They start in on me..."Did you know it's S0-and-So's last day today? We are having a big party for her. She'll be here in about an hour. You should stay. We've got chips dips, MJ made her famous mac-n-cheese, B. made her layered Mexican cheese dip, yada, yada, yada."

I had met them there on purpose to avoid this sort of problem, (a) food, food, food, and (b) sucking up my entire day so I couldn't get any work done. They all have this illusion that since I'm not punching the clock there any more that I don't actually work any more.

The pressure was intense, especially because the girl they were having the party for is someone I worked with a lot and helped with school stuff, so they worked that angle like there was no tomorrow. But, I persisted. "Oh, I wish I had known. I have to get some where and then I've got so much work to do when I get back to my computer." I said all this as I pulled myself away and walked back to my car, which I had parked away from the library parking lot.

Yes, I did feel bad that I didn't go, but I also realized that the whole party hardy issue (there's a party, birthday, etc. there almost every day) was one reason I gained so much weight while working there. I just refuse to go back and do that to myself again. Can't! Won't!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Poor Anonymous

I know I haven't been over here in a while, been bizzy, ya know. Funny thing was that I was thinking of bopping by and talking about how I lost another lb...yes, slow, but it is coming off. Or, I was thinking about writing about how I finally got some scam artists to stop calling me.

But, then I got this really funny comment posted on my blog here and I just had to laugh. No, I'm not going to approve it because it's a very meany weany post. The person had a lot of nasty stuff to say about how I'm a sucky writer and how every writer worth his or her pencil (notice how my pronouns matched there) should shun me.

Of course, this same person doesn't have the ca - hoonas (I have no clue how to spell that, sorry) to sign her name. Nope. She signed it Anonymous (and I just have this gut feeling it's a her because we gals can be so catty like this sometimes). No name, just her unsolicted opinion. Um, yes, nuff-said.

Monday, August 06, 2007

My Blog Story Published

Toby Bloomberg has a very cool site called Blogger Stories.

On this blog/site she publishes the stories of bloggers and how they got started in the blogosphere.

My story was just published over there today, way cool!

If you want to tell your story, check out her Welcome page that gives you the how-to.

It's a good opportunity to promo yourself some if you are a blogger, and I have to admit that writing out "my story" about blogging was more challenging than I had expected. It really made me think, so it is also a good exercise. How did you start? Why did you start? Why are you still doing it? With all the blogging I do, I don't really have time to think about this sort of thing that often.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Little More Progress

After a little over three weeks back at Weight Watchers, I've lost 7 pounds. Of course, I have a long way to go before I see a comfortable size 8 again, but I am starting to notice a difference in my clothes finally.

Another three pounds in the next few weeks will mean 10 gone before school starts, and that means a lot when you have to be in front of people talking. Teaching is really a performance. You need to dress right, feel psyched, and be prepared to engage your audience, who nine times out of ten are not thrilled to be there. The first day, especially, is critical. You want them to leave thinking, "Maybe English sucks, but Dr. P seems okay so maybe I can survie this semester."

If a class doesn't like you, it's just an awful experience for everyone. About six or more years ago, I had the unfortunate duty of taking over a class because another adjunct had left two weeks into the semester. So, I had to go in there and basically tell them she's gone, I don't know why, and now you have me. And, to top it, we had totally different teaching styles. I mean, I couldn't "be" her. Other than a handful of students, the rest hated me and acted like it was my fault she left. 95% of the class were high school students, and they just wouldn't cut me a break. Near the end of the semester a few more warmed up to me, but it was one lonnnggg semester!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Off Liners

The day of leaving my crappy library job, I made sure to get emails of anyone I wanted to keep in touch with. Everyone said the usual like keep in touch and let's do lunch and we will miss you, so I figured I'd get their emails and just do that, keep in touch.

Of course, I'm on the net just about all day because that's where the majority of my work comes from. I write for three web networks and teach two English classes on the net. So, email is my way to connect to the outside world. I even turn off the ringer on my phone unless I'm expecting a call because I don't want to get interrupted to yap with a friend who doesn't understand working at home is, well, work, or some guy who wants to sell me a water softener.

I'm trying to load up skype now, in fact, so that would mean even fewer phone calls. If my stupid firewall would just chill, I'll be in business.

But there are some weird people in this world who don't use email. Some of them even have emails, but they never check them. Or, like one friend of mine from the library, she sets up free email accounts and then forgets to check them until months later, so they are gone by then and she has to start all over again.

Now, if I call any of my library buds on the phone or they call me, they feel free to talk for as long as they like, telling me the same old stuff: work sucks, nothing has changed there, they miss me, I'm so lucky I got out of there, and work sucks.

I reply with the usual as well: nothing is going to change there, get out while you can, did you check so-and-so is hiring, and nothing is going to change there.

This has been particularly frustrating lately because I'm trying to set up a time to meet them for lunch before school starts because I know then it will probably be close to impossible to do that since I'll be in the classroom 2-3 days a week and teaching on the web as well as still doing my writing gigs. I can't possibly call each individual person to schedule something like this, as they all work different schedules which change weekly, so I'm trying to do it via email.

A few have replied, but my friend with the continually new email hasn't (though she claims she emailed me already...poor thing), one email bounced back due to a spam filter, and the rest, nada. I just don't get why people ask you to email them, and then never check their email.

The whole off-line world is become more and more bizarre to me.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lettuce and Lemon Water Diet

While I was pretty good last week on the old WW diet, Saturday night had a slight issue with cheese...oh...and wine. It is our normal routine on that night to pop upon some nice wine and munch a little. My dh is low-carb and it works for him, so he gets some really yummy cheeses to eat with the wine. While I didn't have my normal amount and I did count it in my WW points book, still, as the weigh-in day neared I started feeling really guilty.

What if I don't lose anything!? What if I gained?! What if that cheese went directly to my *ss?

My scale was giving me all kinds of crazy readings. I actually took one day and weighed at different times and recorded it because I was curious at how differently I'd weigh depending on the time of day, and the range was anywhere from one to three pounds different.

So, a few days before the WW meeting, I resolved to purge myself and drink tons of lemon water and eat only salads with low-cal dressing. The first day was tough, but I managed to eat way under my points. The second day, I relaxed a little but still had points left by the end of the day, and considering the number of points I have (not much) that's saying a lot.

Honestly, I'm not sure if it was the two days of lettuce and lemons or maybe the fact that I did stay within the points range for most of the week or that I had exercised a few more days than the week before, but I was rewarded with a three pound loss on weigh-in day. I was ready to be thrilled by one pound, so the relief I felt after getting the news, well, you can't imagine. I was seriously freaking out the day before.

That's a total of 5 1/2 lbs in my first few weeks back on the program. Go Weight Watchers!
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Curse Thee Isaac Newton!

About a week ago, I finally threw in the towel and returned to Weight Watchers. With school on the way, it was time to either do it or give up, and the thought of walking into the classroom wearing a moo-moo and flip flops was enough to get my big *ss back to WW.


Long story short - I figured out that my scale and the one at WW was weighing me the same after my first visit. So, I made the mistake of weighing myself during the week to see if I was making progress, and I was thrilled to see that I had lost 4 lbs. Of course, I knew this was water weight, and I wasn't even that thrilled at the idea of 4 since my past tries at WW had given me a 5lb loss on the first week. Still, I figured 4 was good.


When I went back the next week to weigh in, however, their scale said I'd only lost 2.5 lbs! What the? I mentioned to the WW staff member that my scale was previously weighing me the same at home, and my home scale at read a 4 lb loss. She asked me what time I'd weighed myself that day, first thing in the morning? Yes. Well, it's gravity she explained. That we all weigh less when we first wake up and as the day goes on we weigh more, up to 2 lbs more.

I know I should still be happy with my small weight loss, but still, gravity sucks!

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Free Pilates

Well, it's free to me at least...My sister is downsizing to a smaller house, and among the many items her and her family of six are having to find new homes for (which also includes a pool table and about 2 or 3 dozen - no lie - bikes) is her old Pilate machine, or reformer as I've just learned they are called.

She originally got it from QVC, but of course, some how lost the DVDs that went with it, so I'm winging it a little. I've seen it demoed on TV before and I went by YouTube and found a ton of videos, so I've getting a routine down. Like the mat work I've been doing, it's a butt kicker! I'll probably get a DVD for it eventually.

I'd love to take a class, and in fact, a new Pilates studio opened up around here recently, but talk about expensive! Dang! I got on its web site and was looking around thinking maybe I'd check them out. I saw something on the home page that said "$249 membership" and thought, "Hmm..$249 a year? That's not that bad." When I read on, I discovered it was $249 a month! not a year! Yeah, needless to say I'm back to my home DVDs!

I mean...honestly! Who can afford that? I grew up taking dance lessons until I hit about my late 20s, early 30s, and I've taken a lot of yoga, and neither of those are cheap because of the training involved for instructors and studio space you need, especially for dance, but come one! Is Pilates only meant for rich people?

Friday, July 13, 2007

On the Radio

Check it out! I'm going to be l-i-v-e on the radio...or at least the Internet radio...over at Chick Tech this Weds. 6pm est. I'll be talking with Jennifer Mattern about professional blogging. She's an indie blogger and I'm a network blogger, so we'll be covering both sides of how to make mulla by blogging.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

So, So Busy!

After finally leaving my CLJ, I had visions of cleaning out and reorganizing my office, making jewelry - for fun actually, catching up on house work, that sort of thing.

Well, obviously, I was completely insane to even think that could happen - that I'd have "extra time!"

Instead, I'm busier than ever. Not but a few weeks before I was to leave the library, I received a wonderful opportunity to work on the management end of one of the networks I write for. Basically, I ended up replacing one job with another, but now, this job I get to do from home and I don't have to deal with "the public" like I did at the library.

I'm also on the brink of overload with the two summer classes I'm teaching on-line. I'm thinking..."How did I agree to do this?" By the time my summer classes end, one of my fall classes begins. Yes, summer is almost over so that means syllabi to write, handouts to copy, etc. Ugh!

So, this is just the long, rambling way to say that I haven't written over here - on my one blog for no other reason than to blog, blog - because I'm busy.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Door Closes - Another Door Opens

Today was my last day at my crappy library job. I couldn't help but feel a little choked up as I gave and got hugs and promises for future lunch dates. It is hard to believe that I've been there five years (and two months). Of course, my practical side hates to give up the steady paycheck, but it is time to move on. The reason I took the job in the first place was so that I could go to school, and I've been there done that - stick a fork in me. There is no future for me at the library, and even if there was, I have never had the intention of becoming a librarian.

Even before leaving, I have been blessed with a number of new opportunities coming my way. I am taking on a larger class load in the fall, and I have recently accepted a part-time gig as the Executive Editor over at Creative Weblogging.

The hardest part of leaving the library is saying good-bye to so many good people who I really consider to be friends now. One of the younger women who works there even made it a point to tell me how my encouragement has made such a difference with her choice to continue onto grad school after she gets her four year degree. How can that not bring a tear to a teacher's eye?!

Well, shoot, I'm getting all goofy about it again, so I'll just leave it at that. The door is closed. Now time to walk through a new door.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Riding on Handlebars

With the heat here and the rain coming in the late afternoon, we are definitely in the throws of summer.

The other day I was driving back home from the vet after picking up some more insulin, syringes, and cat food, and I noticed various group of kids traveling down the side walks.

One group had the signature kid riding on the handlebars of another kid's bike, and I couldn't help but feel nostalgic. It probably didn't hurt that I was listening to the oldies station: "Bye, bye Miss American Pie..."

It was nice to see children out and about and doing dangerous stupid crap instead of glued to the TV or video games. I remember summer days when we'd head out and be gone all day, running around barefoot, riding our bikes, drinking gallons of Mello Yellow (none diet of course).

I found the song on YouTube:


So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die."this’ll be the day that I die.


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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bad, Bad Shoes

Starting in the fall, I will be back in the classroom. All summer I've been teaching, but it's all been on the web, so my normal teacher attire has been casual to say the least. Though my official return to teaching started last spring and I did have to actually enter a classroom in person, I managed to get by, but the shoes were starting to become an issue.

My "teacher shoes" (as in not my beloved Birkenstocks) are on their way out. When I was teaching full-time about 5 years ago, I invested in an assortment (black, white, navy, brown, etc), and they are now ready for retirement. But, I so dread shopping for shoes!

I know. Who doesn't enjoy a new pair of shoes? My fear of shoe shopping dates back to Catholic school when we were limited in what we could wear, and with a size AA foot, that didn't leave me many options. If I could have worn tennis shoes or sandals (which either tie or buckle), I could have managed, but of course, both were no-no's.

One year my mother ended up buying the the ugliest shoes on the face of the planet. I wore them to school one day, and my friends asked me why I was wearing "retard shoes." They reminded me of the shoes you used to see poor kids who had suffered from polio wearing along with their leg braces. So, I never wore them again and spent months getting written up for wearing tennis shoes (which were denim and suede - hey, it was the 70s). I tried to convince Sr. Rosetta that they were actual shoes, but she wouldn't buy it.

Fall semester starts in about two months, so I have to get my courage up and venture out soon. Ugh!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Virginia Woolf, You Are Not

Though it may seem to some people like my various part-time jobs are unrelated, they really aren't. For example, I'm a part-time English instructor and I'm also a part-time blog recruiter/trainer of sorts. In many ways, my tasks at these jobs are very similar. I have to help people write. This often requires that I tell them how not to write.

Very nicely, of course, I have to point out grammar problems or organizational issues in their writing and try to explain the correct way they should be writing the essay or blog entry or what-have-you.

Sometimes my student/trainee takes my "help" the wrong way, which is understandable. No one likes to be told he/she is doing something wrong. But, sometimes they try to support their wacky writing by telling me things like, "It's my style" or "I was trying to be funny."

I'm never really sure what to say to something like this. If writing comma splice after comma splice is style, then I'm at a loss. To me, when a nobody (in terms of writing career) writes like this, it means you simply don't know when and where to place a period. Learn the rules first. Then when you become a wildly famous writer and say that Dr. P in your ENC101 composition class taught you everything you know, you can write in whatever style you wish.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Feels Good!

I can't help it, but that song is going through my head. Who sings it? "I feel good...you know that I would now....doodle doodle doodle do"

Any way, I turned in my letter of resignation at my CLJ today! Since it's Sunday, and I am one of the few pathetic souls required to work Sundays (every Sunday for the past five years mind you), I was able to sneak it into my boss's office without anyone knowing. He'll find it when he comes in the next morning. I know. It sounds chicken, and while I am a chicken, I had to do it today because I won't be back there until later in the week. I wanted to be a good employee and give them a full two weeks notice. Thus, it had to be today.

The gal I was working with knows, and she was freaking out: "Whose going to work every Sunday? OMG, they will probably try to make me do it! I'm not going to do it. Yada yada."

Maybe I am putting them in a bad way about the Sunday thing, but it is really time for me to move on, and I don't think they will be all that surprised. This CLJ was perfect when I was going so school, but now I'm not going to school, and I have so much work as it is, that I really had to decided to cut something. This was my first choice, obviously.

Ahh...to be a fly on the wall tomorrow :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Early Mornings at the Vet's

As we continue to get the whole diabetes issue figured out for one of our three cats, I've been making bi-weekly treks to the vet. We are trying to figure out the correct amount of insulin to give him, so this requires a glucose curve test, which basically means they take and test his blood over a period of hours (I know, poor baby).

After doing this about five times now, to say that we are both sick and tired of going is an understatement. Because he has to be tested soon after he eats and then throughout the day, we have to get there between 7:30 and 8am. Then I wait for the first test results to see if they'll keep him that day or not. If it's too high or too low, we go back home.

So, this means I'm left sitting in the waiting room with no cat for about 15 to 20 minutes as they give him his first test in the back. I've seen other patients come and go and have learned the main reason why they have us come so early in the morning - these are the problem patients. They all have something majorly wrong with them or worse. They hobble in with little casts on their limbs or cones around their heads or maybe they can't even walk so their owners carry them in.

I've seen people leaving there and crying on their way out. Yesterday morning as I was waiting for Nee-Nee (a nickname of this cat), I saw two people bring in a very old dog. She was thin and had white all around her snoot. I was so tempted to caress her nose, but I held back because it always pisses me off when people approach my own animals there. I'm worried they may stress them out even more and end up getting bitten. I'm not even sure if she could really see me because of the cataracts in her eyes. But, it made me think of all the other old dogs I've cared for over the years.

So, Nee-Nee's glucose was actually low for a change and they were going to feed him some more and keep him for the day because they thought they could complete the test even though he was on the low side. I felt badly that maybe I hadn't given him enough to eat, but like his mother, he tends to be a bottomless pit, so he's never really full. As I left, I saw those same people leaving as well, sans the old dog, and they were crying, and I realized - crap - they just had their dog put down! Maybe I should have touched her old white nose!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Have This Great Idea for You

Right now, I'm working on a few book proposals. One is for my dissertation that I hope will turn into a fabulously popular text in the academic book market, the other two proposals are for my bread and butter jewelry making thing. Proposals are tough to write for me because you basically spend a lot of time on them with no real assurance that all that work will turn into a book....that you'll get paid for no less...some day.

So today when I was talking with a friend, it was really hard for me to know what to say when I got the, "I have a great idea for a book for you" comment. This is something that as a writer you get used to. Same with jewelry making. Everyone has a "great idea," but they want you to carry it out.

It's very difficult for me to know how to handle this. I try the ol, "If it's such a great idea, then you should do it." But, oh, no, they don't have the time, and hey, I'm the writer! I should do it. They don't mind giving me their great idea. It's all mine. Just remember them when I get those big royalty checks.

Hell, people...I'm full of "great ideas!" I've got them coming out of my ears and other parts of my body. What I don't have is time to do them all. I've actually been seriously considering taking on a part-time assistant because I have so much work, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it would be just about impossible for me to do. I basically need to just clone myself.

As I spoke with my friend today, who was very insistent that I should drop everything and write this book...she went on and on with one idea after another...and yes, it is actually a good idea for a book...I kindly told her that I thought it was a good idea but I just didn't have the time right now. But I so know this is going to come up again when we talk in the future. So, what do you say to these people to get them to shut up about their great ideas?!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Black Hole of Academic Writing

Since graduating, I have tried to be a good little post Ph.Der and send out academic articles for possible publication. The trade writer side of me is still not comfortable with all of this writing for no money, but I know this what I'm supposed to do. I write articles about boring stuff that no one really wants to read, it gets peer reviewed, and if anyone does decide to publish my boring article, I'm supposed be totally thrilled because I can add it to my CV. This whole process is supposed to validate me in the academic community. "See, folks, I've been published by Prestigious Journal X,Y,Z, so I'm super duper important."

So, okay, all of that I can live with. Even if I don't get paid and even if the average person would think my academic writing is a yawn-fest, I, at least, still enjoy the research and writing process. But what irks me about all of this is the black hole that my articles seem to enter. I've got 2, going on 3, articles floating around out there, and I have yet to hear boo from these prestigious journals. If it's crap, then tell me it's crap and be done with it, but to sit on my work for months, even close to a year for one article, is just (I think) outrageous.

Now, I have heard a few peeps here and there from them, but usually I hear back when I've totally forgotten about them in the first place, sometimes as long as 3 months or more. Then I'm thrown a crumb: "We are still working through the review process. Thank you for your patience."

For my third article, I sent out an abstract, and honestly, I'm to the point now that this will be my last attempt to publish any more academic articles until these three articles either pan out or fizzle. With the amount of time and energy I've spent on them, I could have published a book or two. If this is how academic publishing normally operates, it's amazing anything managed to get into print at all.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I'm Glamming It Up

Check out some of my latest press over at Glam.com in its "Meet the Publisher" series. I'm not sure how I'm considered a "publisher" exactly since the only blog that isn't really owned by another company is this little ol' one here, and heck, probably Blogger owns all this wonderful content I'm writing for all I know ;)

But, I'm so glad my little sister took some decent photos of me about a year ago. They have really come in handy with this sort of thing. I hate getting my picture taken. It's pretty much up there with root canals in my book, and she just about had to sit on me so she could slather all the make-up on me too, another thing I'm not so great at.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

English Professor Plans Meth Lab

Last week, for whatever reason, I had another one of my mega allergy attacks. I never know when they are coming or why they come in the first place, but about every 2 or 3 months, sometimes longer sometimes shorter, one will stop by for the day and drive me crazy. Usually, it means a day full of sneaking my head off and going through at least a few boxes of Puffs Plus.


So, today during my trip to the grocery store for my usually weekly stuff, I had the brilliant idea of getting some heavy duty Claritin-D to stash for any future attacks. I knew they were no longer in the regular spot and that I had to get them from the pharmacy, but geez! I felt like any minute a bunch of cop cars were going to roll up to the store with a blow horn, "We know you are in there English teacher slash writer slash jewelry designer. Come out with your allergy pills and you won't be hurt!"

I had to show my driver's license, write an extra check because I had to pay for them right there (not with my other grocery items), the pharmacist had to fill out paper work, and I had to sign something. I guess I was signing a form that said I would not go home, crack open the box of 5 pills I just bought for $6.99, and start a meth lab or something.


I found some info about this and a coupon (of course after I bought these darn things) on the Clartin web site:

Federal legislation takes effect on September 30, 2006 that imposes a deadline on moving allergy and cold products containing the active ingredient pseudoephedrine (PSE) off store shelves and placing them behind the pharmacy or customer service counter. This legislation will make it harder to find longer lasting allergy and cold decongestants. Interestingly, many allergy and cold sufferers surveyed were unaware of the changes both in the law and on the shelf product reformulations.


Some how I can't image this deterring any real drug dealers out there.

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Tuesday, Already?

Yup, it's Tuesday already. I'm back to writing in my food diary. I'm still not thrilled about it, but I am better, adding more 'thoughts' and not just, 'crackers, 100 calories." But, nope, didn't lose anything this week. In fact, I'm up 1/2 a lb.

While I was pretty good at staying around 1700 calories, I've been just awful at keeping up with my exercise, and so I know this is the price I'm paying. Past experience has told me that even if I were to starve myself, dieting (for me) doesn't really work unless I workout too. But, I'm not totally discouraged. I did write in my food diary every day, and I did stick to eating prety well 99% of the week. That, at least, I will take as some progress.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Dear Diary, I Hate You

This has not been a good week. Things started to go downhill last Saturday when my DH had this brilliant idea of using large scallops he got at Sam's and dinner rolls to make little mini-scallop burgers. He marinated various scallops in various sauces, sauteed them, and then we garnished the rolls with a mixture of condiments.

I was being bad that day, so I didn't write down anything in my food journal. What's the point?

On and off throughout the week, I attempted to write things down again like I have been for the past few weeks, but for whatever reason, I just never managed to stick with it.

Knowing that weigh-in day is tomorrow, I called C. and explained my latest hurdle, and really, this has been one that I've had issues with forever. I really hate keeping a food journal.

"But," she protested, "You are a writer. This is what you do."

"Keeping a list of food and calories is not writing."

Then she put on her shrink hat and told me that I need to figure out a way to make it into something other than just writing a list of food. Make it a personal journal, a scrapbook, something that I would want to do.

"Yah, yah, yah," and I told her I'd think about it.

At first, I poo-pooed the idea because along with hating to write down my food, I am also not a big fan of writing long hand. I just don't do it very often, and since I write so much, I have trained myself to write on a keyboard. But, hardcopy journals are way more easier to drop into your purse, especially when you have a CLJ that doesn't allow you to use a computer for anything that could be considered "personal" use.

So, I thought about it today, and I think I have what I hope is a solution to my distain for the food diary. I dabble in paper arts, alterted books and such, so I have a small collection of paper-what-nots, stickers, decorations, etc. I went into my stash and pulled out some pretty stickers I've been hoarding for no real reason and decorated a few pages of my journal. Then I added a few thoughts like, "this sucks," and "I burnt my tongue on my lean cuisine pizza today." I will admit it was much better, but we'll see. Maybe I'm onto something here, a food dairy slash art project.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pasta Diet

Someone sent me this via email, and I thought it was funny.

ITALIAN PASTA DIET -- IT REALLY WORKS !!
1. You walka pasta da bakery.
2. You walka pasta da candy store.
3. You walka pasta da Ice Cream shop.
4. You walka pasta da table and fridge.

You will lose weight!
And...
For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

> >> >CONCLUSION> >> >

Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tuesday Weigh-In 05/08/07

I had my official Tuesday weigh-in and considering I've had tummy problems since Saturday, I'm not too upset with gaining 0.2 lbs. Hey, it could have been 2 whole pounds versus tenths!

I'm not sure if I've been fighting off a stomach thing that's been going around at my CLJ or if it's that I've increased my fiber intake and have not been taking in enough liquids.

The latter is C.'s take on it. But, I'm feeling a lot better and hope to actually get a short work out in today. Just in case, I've made myself a huge thing of ice-tea and plan to try to be more conscience about drinking. C. is right to some extent. I have not been very good about drinking as much as I should (at least beverages other than wine :) , and I have been eating at least a salad a day (before my Saturday problems started). Now that things have settled down in tummy-town, hopefully this ice-tea thing will take care of that and I can try to get another pound off this week.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Breakfast at Bob's

A friend of mine whom I haven't seen in forever wants to have breakfast with me next week. I told her I'd lost a few pounds, and where does she want to eat? Bob Evans!

I know C. would be flipping out if I told her, but I think I can do this. In fact, last discussion with C. we talked about eating out. She says she just can't do it and lose weight. Me? I like to eat out, and I don't do it often. What I've been trying to teach myself to do, though, is not treat every time I eat out like some sort of special event, thus allowing myself to pig out (okay, my anniversary was special, but that comes once a year).

Part of me wonders if my breakfast friend subconsciously is trying to sabotage my diet. She's bummed about her weight, so even though I've only lost 2 messly pounds, she can't help but think of the most fattening place on the face of the Earth to eat.

But, I went to the BE web site and looked around. As I suspected, it doesn't look good, but I think I can get away with hot tea, water, an English muffin, and an egg or two. That would be filling but not way over the top. Actually, eggs are great because they are not real high in calories and their protein is wonderful.

Right now, that's my plan for breakfast at Bob's. On a good note, it will be after my weigh-in day, thus hopefully, I'll have some extra insentive to be good.

DNA with Dr.Hsien-Hsien Lei

Fellow pro-blogger Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei has recently announced the birth of a new blog, Eye on DNA, and I just wanted to wish her the best of luck. Lei or Hsien, as some people call her, is a great writer who can really break down some intense scientific mumbo jumbo into verbiage that the average person can understand.

While it may not seem like DNA is related to fighting fat after 40, it actually has a lot more to do with it than you can image. I think many of us are predestined to a certain degree. Like it or not, as much as we can fight off the battle of the bulge, a lot of comes down to our genes and what our ancestors bestowed upon us, the good, the bad, and the fat.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Smart Snacking, I Hope

Two of my three classes are over with, and I just have to give a final (and grade the final, calculate, and upload of course), and then I'm done with class number three. This third class is my only traditional "in the classroom" class because my other two were web-based. Because of that and the fact that for the most part this has been a wonderful group of students - all women - nine total - and all but one really worked hard for me this semester - I wanted to treat them while they take their final, sort of ease the tension a little because I know they'll be totally freaked.

So today while shopping I had to figure out what I could get them that would not impact my diet. Obviously, these snacks are really for them, but I don't want to bring something that will tempt me, even if I only nibble.

As I strolled down the snack isle, past the Oreos, the Yo-Yos, the yummy wedding cookie with the white powdered sugar...well, you get the picture...I had to find what I'm calling "smart snacking." One wonderful find was a box of individually wrapped bags of gold fish crackers, nine a bunch. Ah, nine students, nine little bags, this was good!

But, I needed cookies too. I remembered that one student didn't like chocolate (I know, weird, yes), so I found a box of tea cookies; something like ten cookies only have 140 calories. Excellent!

Finally, for the chocolate lovers, I opted for a zip lock bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. Again, calorie count wasn't killer, but even better, they zipped up so if there are any left I can easily hand them to a student to bring home to one of her children.

I've really enjoyed this class. Most of the students were in my class last semester and have just been a wonderful way for me to return to teaching after stopping for about a year so I could write my dissertation. They are all so eager to learn and serious about school, so different than most of my web students who turned in just about every assignment late and had more excuses than you could imagine.

I remember one class when I was explaining how to find good sources for a research paper they were working on, and I mentioned the difference between something like People magazine and a peer reviewed journal. I told them that they were scholars now, so they had to be very particular about what they used to support their analysis. One woman's eyes just popped open when I said that. The look on her face was "Me, a scholar?" And, then she sort of sat up straight in her chair and looked right back at me, so proud of herself, as well she should be.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Young Dancer Needs Your Vote!

Ah, to be young again! This is my 17 year old niece demonstrating a number of dance methods including ballet, jazz, and tap. In fact, at the end of this video she has some wicked tap going on!

View it here and then go to Youth Noise to vote. She also has it posted there, but the quality isn't as good I don't think. Look for the stars at the bottom of the page once you get there and click to add your vote.

I know I'm totally prejudice, but I've viewed a number of the videos that are at the top now, and I think she beat them big time!

Shocked & Amazed


I came this close to not stepping on the scale today, even though I promised that Tuesdays would be my weigh-in day.

First, there was our anniversary dinner on Saturday night. Though I had plans to try not to leave there totally stuffed, I also knew this was going to be really hard, so I kept my calorie count down to about 500 before going to dinner that evening, living off of a little fruit and vegies most of the day. And, as I had predicted, even with bringing half of my entree home (macadamia nut encrusted snapper with vegies and rosemary infused potatoes), I still managed to feel like I needed someone to carry me out to the car.

So, okay, then back on track on Sunday. I did eat my leftovers, but other than that, I again relied on vegies and fruit to keep everything else low. I even skipped my one real glass of OJ for the week. (heavy sigh)

Monday, again I'm back on track. This day was our actual anniversary - 4/30 - celebrating 19 years - Wow! But I was good and by about 7p.m. had only taken in around 1,000 calories. C. also had suggested upping my water in-take to counter balance my Saturday fling, which I did. Thank goodness, too, because my adorable DH came home with German wine and yummy cheeses to sample.

So, that's why this a.m., as I rolled out of bed, it came to mind that maybe I should skip the weigh-in. I really expected bad news. In fact, as I planted my tootsies on the scale, I was thinking, "Just don't let me have gained anything, and I'll be thrilled."

But, no! I actually lost 2.4 lbs! Yes, I'm still in shock.

I went back to my food journal to see when I seriously started all of this and it dates back to 4/19, so that's 12 days, just shy of two weeks. It is still sinking in. This is actually working, even with my occasional tumbles off the wagon. My goal for the month of May is to get 5lbs off. That's about 1lb a week, so I think I can do it.

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