Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My Fitness Journey

In the summer of 2017, I signed up to do Oxygen Magazines Challenge 3 - OC3 for short.  There were two coaches, and I chose Jamie Eason Middleton.  I was determined. The program lasts 90 days and every day you watch a video and do the assigned workout.  There's a meal plan too.  I was so into it.  I never missed a workout.  Until I fell down the stairs (ok, jumped thinking I was on the ground due to my poor depth perception) and broke my ankle.

Working out came to a screeching halt.  I was put in a walking boot cast.  I purchased a knee scooter and crutches.  This was midway through OC3.  I was disappointed - my first thought when learning my ankle was broken was "But tomorrow is leg day!)

I'd been big on always getting at least 10,000 steps a day with my Fitbit too.  That wasn't going to happen either. 

I gained some weight while my ankle healed.  Obviously.

So last summer, OC4 came up.  Jen Widerstrom (of Biggest Loser fame) was one of the coaches, and I chose her.  She even had a book, which I purchased, called DIET RIGHT FOR YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE.  Best money I ever spent.  I started the challenge at 154 and ended it at 137.  Numerous inches less on waist, hips, etc.  I did every workout.  I made the top 25 and got put in the Oxygen magazine.  I was proud of myself.

But I wasn't finished.  Then I went back and redid OC3.  I lost 7 more pounds.  Once done with that, I did a free challenge called Lean Body for Her.  And then it was time for OC5.  My coach was Amber Dodzweit Riposta.  She had workouts like I've never done before, so it was interesting.

OC5 just ended.  I've lost three more pounds, so I'm now at 127.  That's a good weight.  And I have some muscles.  I missed a few workouts here and there for various reasons, but I did almost all of them.  I stuck with the healthy eating and macros I learned from Jen Widerstrom.

And now I'm doing OC1, since I missed it the first time.  You can purchase past challenges and do them on your own.  I'm in the habit of working out now, I eat healthy 90 percent of the time, but I do have an occasional pizza or burger.  Alcohol is my biggest hurdle.  I do like my wine and beer.  I'm still working on that.

How did I stick with it?  I set a scheduled workout time, just like I do for my writing.  Of course, if something else comes up and I miss it, I have to do it later.  But I feel healthy and strong, which I love.

I'm 58 years old.  If I can do it, so can you.  Start small.  When I started, I couldn't do squats with any weight.  Same for step-ups.  I've gradually been increasing the weight so now I'm up to 15 and 20's.

It's not hard to create a new habit.  Try it.  You may surprise yourself.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Hot August Days

Here we are, in what is likely my least favorite month of the year.  August.  Where in Texas the heat index is so high it makes my stomach hurt to stay outside very long and where the air quality causes alerts.  As in, dangerous to breathe. 


The grass starts to turn brown, no matter how often you water it.  The electric bills soar, but I'm still grateful for air conditioning.  There are no good shows on television, and we've watched all the good ones on Netflix and Prime.  I read a lot, walk early in the morning (Hello, 7:30), and dream of fall.  Or what passes for fall around here.  Cooler temps, shorter days, and the return of all my favorite shows.  Yes!

Kids will be going back to school in a couple weeks.  Teachers start this week.  Back to school sales are running constantly, and there was just a couple of horrible mass killings at a Walmart in El Paso and a nightclub in Ohio.

So much darkness.  Arguing and hatred spewing and I don't even recognize our country any more.  I try to be light-filled, I try to love everyone and respect their viewpoints that might be different than my own.  I understand each and every person has their own journey to make, their own lessons to learn.  But that doesn't stop the pain. 

It.  Freaking.  Hurts. 

As does feeling powerless to do anything about it.  I tried the whole calling my representative, sending emails.  It was like a voice crying in the darkness.  Nothing changed.  I'm not sure why.  And on social media, I watch name-calling, finger-pointing, hatred and enmity and see the darkness swirling stronger.  I back away - back away from Facebook and Twitter - and retreat to Instagram where there are only lovely photos. 

I cuddle my new puppy, and love on my other dogs, and pray. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sunday Morning Musing

I woke up at 6 this morning, have taken my dogs out and fed them, given them their meds, and hubby and big dogs are back in bed.  I'm sipping coffee with my new puppy at my feet.

What?  Puppy?

I know, I know.  I have enough dogs.  My Macadoo is old and failing.  He's 13 which is super old for a Boxer and my vet says he has a Pancreatic tumor.  Once he leaves us (which will hurt a lot - he was our very first Boxer), I will have my Liberty Bell, who is 8, and my Peyton, who is also around 8.  He's a rescue so we don't know how old he is exactly.  I also have foster Keeper Truman, who is 4 and has a serious brain illness.  So right now, there are 4 Boxer dogs living in my home.  Dudley has been gone 8 months and I still miss him like a giant hole in my heart.  I never wanted a white dog, didn't even particularly care for white dogs, but I loved that boy.  And because of him, I now find white dogs beautiful.

Cue dramatic music.

As you know, I volunteer for a large Boxer dog rescue.  I'm on the Foster Committee and the Welcome Committee.  Friday as I was unloading groceries, a text came through with photos of the most adorable, 4 month old Boxer puppy.  He was being surrendered by his owner.  I fell instantly in love.

I showed my husband.  He, being the more practical one, had a lot of questions.  I answered them the best I could.  The main thing is Truman is immuno-compromised, so any dog coming in this house must be up to date on shots and can't come from a shelter.  Hubby finally shrugged and said, "Do what you want to do."

And thus, the miracle white puppy came to live with us.

I am in love.  I let my fellow rescuers know we would probably be adopting him.  (Who am I kidding?)  He gets checked out by our vet next week.  I even forced myself to look through applications to see if there were any approved applicants who might be the better home for him.  When I foster, I consider many options for a permanent home, but my main question is if the adopter's home would be better for the dog than my own.

But then look at this face.  Look at it!  He's loving and sweet, not a barker though just like my Dudley, when he wants something, he will bark to let you know.  He's only been here 2 days, but I'm already head over heels.

Since I work from home and hubby is retired, he won't be alone hardly at all.  He is crate trained and house trained.  I think the previous owner might not have realized that puppies can't hold it all night.  I got up at 1 am and took him out last night and I'll be doing that for awhile.  (The loose rule of thumb is how many months they are is how long a puppy can hold it.  He's 4 months, so 4 hours max.)

I'll know more after our rescue vet sees him, but I'm sure he'll be a great addition to our family.  I didn't realize how badly I was needing this.  A new baby.  He makes me so happy.

Look for updates.  I'm sure they'll be coming. soon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Hello Again - Morning Musings

It's been a long time since I posted here.  I've been blogging once a month over at Romance Gems.  For awhile, I was keeping a private personal journal, but even that has stopped.  But right now, it's my favorite time of day - early morning.  I've let the dogs out and fed them and they and my husband have gone back to sleep.  I've had my yogurt and am sipping on my first cup of coffee.  We're having a cooler than usual summer morning here in Texas and I'll be going outside to walk soon.

It's been a weird time for me lately.  Both my parents are gone now - 6 years for my mother and 4 for my father.  Both were very ill with different things and Lonnie and I took care of my dad until the end.  Now that part of my life has passed and my husband's health is failing.  No one knows what it is.  He's had tests and tests.  He has anemia and no strength.  He can only walk short distances.  When he comes up the stairs, he has to rest.  The other morning he almost passed out.  It's scary and sad and I pray the doctors figure out something.  We're cancelling a cruise we had booked for November because he won't be able to enjoy himself (he doesn't want a wheelchair.)

My first Boxer, my Mac Macadoo, turned 13.  Since Boxer's life spans are considered to be 8-10 years, that's OLD.  My vet told me he has a pancreatic tumor, which is the same thing my mom had.  For Mac, all we can do is love him and watch him and when it's time, set him free.  We've had him since he was 9 weeks old and it's hard to even imagine life without him.  The seasons change.

I've been working out and eating healthy.  I lost 26 pounds total and have kept my weight steady.  I'm stronger now than I've been in awhile.  So there's that.

My daughter sold the house she'd built 12 years ago and built a new one.  She stayed with us for 6 months until it was complete.  She's been in her new home nearly 2 months now.  It's beautiful and has an amazing backyard and I'm thrilled for her.

On Facebook, I've suddenly been deluged with friend requests.  Over 1500 in 2 or 3 weeks.  I've deleted some, blocked some crazy people trying to sell me something, and added a whole bunch of people I don't know.  As an author, I'm used to that, just not in the volume it's been recently.  I'm not sure, but I suspect this is due to that blog Romance Gems, which seems to be very popular.  What's weird if people I don't even know are sending me Private Messages almost constantly.  I've blocked some, unfollowed a bunch, and keep hoping it all settles down soon.  If not, I may have to reconfigure my personal Facebook account and direct all new people to the author page. 

I'm writing away - constantly busy - still under contract.  Working on a Colton's right now, with two more Harlequin Romantic Suspense on the horizon from the previous contract.  I love being busy.  I've been slowly putting up my backlist.  No new material yet, but hopefully someday. 

The RWA National Conference is going on right now in one of my favorite places in the world - NYC.  I'm living vicariously through my other writer pals on Facebook and IG. 

I'm still very active in the Boxer Rescue.  I love helping save dogs, though some of the things I see people do can destroy my faith in humanity.  No new fosters - we still have Keeper Truman - but I'm tempted on a weekly basis. 

That's it for now.  Morning musings, I guess. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A New Year

I haven't posted in awhile.  It's more than halfway through the second month of 2015 and I haven't felt even the slightest desire to show up here and post anything.  I'm busy - with writing, with family, with rescue work.  I'm content.  Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for the life I have.  My husband is my best friend, I work from home, and I'm debt-free.  No complaints there.

I wish I could motivate myself to exercise more.  Join that new gym, and actually go.  But I walk and occasionally work out with weights here at home, and I've lost 5 pounds by cutting my portion size down.  I always ate pretty healthy, I just ate more than I should.  I'd like to keep losing weight, and plan to, but basically I'm happy with myself and my life.

I just realized this is going to be one of those rambling posts.  Since hardly anyone reads this, it's ok.

I'm growing my hair out again.  It's blond, which is a color choice I haven't made in a long time. That's ok too.  I'll be 54 this year and one of the things I like about this age is the satisfaction I get from knowing myself and what I like and what I want.

Adding rescue work to my life has been wonderful.  Sure it's hard - rescue isn't easy.  Sometimes you see things you wish you could unsee.  Sometimes you learn more about human nature than you wanted to know.  Often it hurts.  But the dogs don't know any of that.  All they know is they've found kindness for the first time ever in their short life.  Sometimes they're not sure if they can trust it.  The foster dog I have now, Bridget, has been her 1.5 months and still isn't sure I'm not going to shove her out into the backyard and leave her there.  She must have been ignored as she's starved for attention. But then when she gets it, she's uncomfortable with it.  Like she is waiting for the hammer to fall, or the hand to strike.

But her forever dad is waiting for her - she has Heartworm treatment to go through - and he clearly loves her.  He seems patient and if anyone can show this little dog how to love and be loved, he can. This kind of thing makes it all worth it.  Reading my other rescue friends' stories and finding a tear in my eye, fills my heart.  This is work that matters.  I actually have made a difference.

And then there are my own personal dogs.  One nearing the end of his life, almost 14, deaf and nearly blind.  He's had a good life and been a great dog and I'll miss him when he goes.  Until then, I'll keep him warm and fed and loved.  The rest - two raised from puppy; they've never known a minute of hardship or cruelty, and that's how it should be.  Two more who were rescued and are what's known as "foster failures."  One who never left, one who was adopted and came back, and who will never leave again.  They fill my heart.  Frequently aggravate me, but always love me.

My job - my stories, my writing.  I love my agent and my editor and my publisher.  Though I'd love to win the lottery, I'm grateful I make enough to write full time.  I'm pretty content these days.

So there you have it.  2015 has begun and I hope the course will be steady and calm and peaceful.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Drive By Visit

I missed the entire month of November.  Yikes!  Let me recap, as succinctly as I can.

We went on a week long cruise November 9-16.  It was with other dog rescuers from Legacy Boxer Rescue.  We went from Galveston to Cozumel, to Grand Cayman, and Jamaica.  It was a lot of fun and I have tons of pictures posted on my FB page.

Still, here are a couple of them:

Came back from tropical weather to the first hard freeze of the season.  Light snow, low 20's.  Picked up two dogs from my daughters, came home, unpacked, started laundry, picked up three dogs (one foster) from the boarding place.  They stunk to high heavens so, despite the freezing temps, I put them in the tub one at a time and bathed them.  Lonnie dried.

And then my washer, which we'd been nursing along, died.

Exhausted, that Monday we had to go find a new washer, and I had so much catching up to do.  That entire week it seemed like all I did was run crazy and never catch up.  We chose a washer and Lowe's delivered it.  I washed and washed and washed.

And then the next week was Thanksgiving!  I grocery shopped, and got back to writing.  That Wednesday before T-day, I cooked all dang day.  And Thursday ate. Thursday was also our 27th wedding anniversary, which we decided to celebrate the next day.  Here are a few Thanksgiving pics.

 Friday we started putting up Christmas decor. I also had a Home Visit for Legacy (where I spend an hour with an applicant who wants to adopt).   Also, my foster dog hurt his leg and I had to rush him to the vet.  He was ordered to be confined to crate rest for the entire weekend and to take medication.  Finally, Friday night we went out to dinner to celebrate 27 years (we chose PF Changs!)

Saturday, more decorating, another home visit.  Sunday, finished the decorating and did laundry.  I sent Lonnie to pick up a few things at the grocery store.

Here's my beautiful tree!

Monday, back to work.   Here it is Wednesday, and I still don't feel like I've caught up or settled back into my routine.  Hopefully soon.

Because I have to get together stuff to make a basket for the local animal shelter.  And wrap Christmas gifts (I've done all on-line shopping so far.)  And write.  And write. And write.

Before I know it, Christmas will be here.

So now we're all caught up.  I apologize (again) for my absence, but will eventually get back on the ball.  Right?  Right?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mea Culpa

Sorry, I have been absent for awhile - AGAIN.  Life has been busy, I've been feeling my way around a new story as well as everything else.

A Secret Colton Baby is doing well.  It has hit Bookscan's List of top 100 Romances for 3 weeks in a row.  It was #31 for its debut, climbed up to #23, and this week is at #66.  Pretty strong showing! That makes me happy.

I'm working on another Colton Book - this time the Colton's of Oklahoma.  I'm book 3.  It's called the Surgeon's Salvation.  It's giving me FITS.  I'm over a third done, but having to go back and rearrange stuff.  FITS, I tell you.  Today was one of those days where I feel like I can't write my way out of a paper bag.  From experience, I know it will get better.

Right now I'm going to shut it down and go have a glass of wine.  Tomorrow is another day.