Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Weigh-In

I haven't talked about my diet or exercise in a while.  Mostly because I haven't made any progress on it in a while.  I'd been doing the "I'm fat and I don't care" thing.  I do care, but not enough to do anything too drastic about it.  I didn't make my unhealthy situation any worse, but I didn't improve on it either.

Last week I noticed I was having very serious pains in the afternoon.  They started around 2 pm and by the end of the workday I was ready to die.  I had, "enough wind to sail my own damn boat" along with the other major gastrointestinal distress that goes along with it.  If I'd thought about it, I could have recorded an entire soundtrack of material for Jason's Masterpoo Theater series.  But I didn't think of it.  I was thinking, "What the #&*%$ is wrong with me now???"

I decided it couldn't be anything to do with lunch.  I ate something different everyday and it wasn't anything different than any other week.  For breakfast I was eating the same thing as always.  Yogurt and a breakfast bar.

After a week of it, I decided I had to do something drastic.  I felt like crap.  So I took a page from the diabetic nutritional guide that my co-worker Judy was following and announced to Drew that I was no longer eating lunch.  I was drinking it.  I picked up some Boost drinks.  They make a bunch of them for all different things.  I picked the Calorie Smart one because it's lower in sugar.  I don't have diabetes and despite my size, I'm not even close to it, but I figured I should go low-sugar anyway.

Incidently, the Boost Calorie Smart is the same nutritional formula and values as the Boost Glucose Control one and it's a $1 less.  A fact that Judy was thrilled to hear!

I also picked up the Glucerna snack bars.  Again, they're for diabetics, but I wanted to do what Judy was doing so we could encourage each other to stick to our diets.  And it's just more fun that way.  We've tried the Glucerna Caramel and the Double Chocolate bars and I have to tell you....they rock!!!  Oh my god I love them!  They're better than candy bars!  Both in taste and nutritional value.  I have the shake and snack bar for lunch and it surprisingly keeps me satisfied until dinner.

Unfortunately I kept having to make visitations to the bathroom.

Ok, so it wasn't lunch.  What in the hell was it?

We finally discovered the culprit --- Fiber One bars.  I only had the yogurt for breakfast and skipped the bar.  I was fine all day long.  Normally I eat the Aldi's bars, but I didn't want to make trips to multiple stores, so I got the Fiber One bars while we were at Wegman's last week.  No biggie.  I've eaten them many times before.  Never had a problem.  I don't know if something change in the product or if maybe something about the bar with the yogurt did something, but that was my problem.

Unfortunately I can't just eat yogurt for breakfast, so I opted for a different breakfast this week.  Bagel thin with one scrambled egg and a Laughing Cow Lite Swiss wedge.  The egg nukes in one minute, so it's a fast and healthy breakfast.  And super yummy!  I have a cup of soy milk with it to top it off.

Now I feel fantastic!  I feel so good I started running on the treadmill again!

And I lost 3-3/4 pounds this week.  I'm down over 23 pounds for the year.

Thank you Judy and Drew for your support and encouragement!  (Now to get Drew to make himself a healthy lunch instead of eating out every day.  When he's ready.  ;)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Card Catch-Up

Happy Memorial Day.  I'm inside as it's an ugly, rainy day.  (Who are we kidding?  I'd be inside on a nice day too.  Me and the outdoors don't get along.)

I've taken a break from writing because it's making me a little crazy and when that happens then the characters get completely off-track.  I've decided to do a little catch-up on the cardmaking thing.

Below are little name place settings I made for the TOPS Awards Night last month.  They're so cute.



Below is the Mother's Day card I made for our mothers this year.  Obviously couldn't post this before Mother's day.  That would spoil the surprise.



Below are the card swap cards from Karen's workshop which I didn't get to attend as I was out of town.  :(
Top to bottom, starting on the left...Christie, Me, Karen, Stacey, Terrie, Shirley, Teresa, Judy, Drew (mostly me), and Jessica.  The theme was "masculine card".  All the cards were very impressive!



Below are my cards for the next swap at Shirley's house in June.  The theme is Wedding or Graduation card.  I did one of each.  I will probably tell them the Graduation card is Drew's.  (Yeah, right!  I'm telling them I did both.)  I was inspired to make these, which is the only reason Drew is still in the swap.









Below are Birthday cards from my popular "Mackenzie-Childs Inspired Collection."  I made these when I had an anxiety attack Saturday and was so full of energy that Drew was expecting my brain to explode. When I'm home and have an anxiety attack it's hilarious.  When I'm not home, not so much.



That's it for today's cards.  Enjoy the rest of your holiday.
~Steph

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Belated Mother's Day

I meant to post this video for Mother's Day and forgot.  It's from Barats & Bereta.  It's not new, but I still think it's one of the most hilarious videos ever.  My mother can appreciate this since she raised two completely opposite girls that didn't get along in the slightest.  Today we get along pretty good.  The fact that we're hundreds of miles from each other might have something to do with it.  :)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Past Week...

Here's another really long post so my parents don't think I died, or something...

Last weekend Drew & I traveled to Kingston with my mother-in-law Robyn for a wedding.  It was Robyn's side of the family that they didn't often see.  Being out-of-town guests, we were invited for the rehearsal dinner on Saturday night.  It was held at the Hillside Restaurant in Kingston and it was amazing!  The food was awesome, the slow jazz trio (featuring the bride's brother on sax) was probably one of the best I've ever heard, and the company was fantastic.  Everyone was so friendly and relaxing.  We laughed a lot and had a great time.

The wedding the next day was held at Lake Minnewaska State Park.  It on the top of a mountain overlooking the lake below.  The view was breathtaking!



I loved the theme, which combined Hebrew and Asian themes.  And they blended them flawlessly.  (The bride Celeste is a serious karate enthusiast.)

You can see more pictures of the wedding by click on the webalbum link below.
Jaron & Celeste's Wedding

Note: I still have to caption a lot of the photos with the names.  

But my favorite person of all was this guy!!!



I have no idea what his name is, but I called him Black Les Grossman!!  (You have to have seen the movie "Tropic Thunder" to get that joke.)  It's hard to see, but he had the beard, the gold chain, the phone, the moves.  I mean it!  Dude was amazing!  I was enthralled watching him.  So much so that I didn't really mind sitting in the sun for 1-1/2 hours during the wedding.  (Jewish weddings are kinda long.) 

Tom Cruise would have been impressed.  Woulda and shoulda.

* * * * *

Tuesday night, Drew & I dined at the home of my favorite yogini Theresa.  Then the three of us went to see the GuruGanesha Band at the Auburn Public Theater.



It's hard to describe without making it sound ridiculous, but essentially it's a band of super-talented musicians who happen to be yogis.  They play spiritual mantras, bluegrass, gospel and fusion rock.  It's a musical wapatula! I love yoga and meditative music, but this is even beyond that.  And so talented!  Just amazingly energetic and peaceful.



Hans Christian (the North German on the far left) played a couple solos on these beautiful string instruments that blew me away.  I picked up his CD on the way out.

If it's your thing, check them out.  If it's not, check them out anyway.  A little culture never hurt anyone.

* * * * *

Last night was the American Idol finals.  As she does every year, Kelly held the party.  I don't actually watch the show, but I do go to the party.  I didn't mind the finale this year.  It's long though.  Too damn long.  It was nice to see Neil Diamond sing.  I've been a fan since I saw him in concert about 15 years ago at the Dome.  We had free tickets, so we went.  Fantastic show!

The only other thing I walked away with was:
1.  Unitards should be universally banned.
2.  Jennifer Holliday needs to sing at every AI finale!  She's got one helluva voice!  And she's funny as hell to watch.  (Yeah, I said it!)  It made my night though.  It chased the vision of Fantasia in a Unitard away.

* * * * *


Our rose bushes are in bloom.  Just thought I'd throw that out there.



* * * * *

And finally, I'm still writing my novel.  Every spare minute I get is spent writing about it.  Almost every other second is spent thinking about it.  It's an entire world in my head that's constantly moving and changing.

Chapters 1 & 2 are completed.  Except for the last final editing, they are done.  I have about 28 chapters to go.  Sound like a lot?  Yeah, it is.  I researched what the length of an unpublished writer's first novel should be.  About 100,000 words.  (We don't count pages because it's written in Word and the pages don't match up.  And trying to format it in a way that it would makes a person crazy.  I know, because I tried that.  Ugh.)

The two chapters I've completed averaged 3,250 words.  I have a feeling later chapters will be longer.  So the total book might not be 30 chapters.  Probably 25.  But that's what I'm looking at for length.  Which means I have to expand my story because I have approximately 15 chapters in mind at this point.  But there are several aspects to the plot and sub-plots that I could definitely explore more thoroughly.  No biggie.  Not panicking (a lot).

So, how many words can I write in a day?  Varies, because I've been very busy lately.  On a good night (four uninterrupted hours of pure writing bliss) I can pound out 1,800.  That means it will take me 55 days to complete my novel if I can do that every single night.

I find that depressing.  I wanted to finish it next week.  A bit naive maybe, but so many of my friends want to read it!  And I want them too because I love it so much!  And I want to sell it.  Then write more stuff.  So people can buy read more stuff.  Thus completing the circle of life.

I decided to see what "real" writers do.  (By "real", I mean people that actually write for their living and don't need other day jobs to pay the bills.)  Stephen King writes 2,000 words per day.  He doesn't stop until he hits 2,000 either.  It takes him the morning.  His books are normally 180,000 words in length and he can finish the book in three months, not including whatever pre-writing plotting/outlining and post-editing he has to do.  Another great author, John Grisham wrote The Pelican Brief in one hundred days, and The Client in six months.

Ok, maybe I'm not doing so bad after all.  I said Chapter 1 & 2 were done, but I have a half dozen more in the works.  I find I like to jump around and write other scenes when the mood strikes me.  That's usually before work or during lunch.  When I have a few minutes to type out a key scene that I know by heart and know won't be changing much.  

After discovering how far away I was from being done, I went to lunch a little disheartened.  At the end of the lunch hour, my friend Kelly came up to me and handed me back Chapter 2.  I'd printed it off for her to review.  I adore her, but she can be a tough cookie to please, so I figured if anyone would give me an honest opinion it would be her.  She whispered to me, "That.  Is.  Getting.  Good."  I was a bit stunned.  "I love the sexual tension.  Don't change a thing."  And she meant it.  Seriously meant it.

Fan Squee!!!

I think this will be a very productive weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lousy Update

This is a quick update.  Mostly for my parents.  I haven't posted anything in a while because I've been super busy since getting back from vacation.  But it's not the kind of busy that anyone wants to hear about.  I'm not sure anyone wants to hear about the stuff I do write anyway, but it's there.  Deal with it.

Drew and I have been making great strides in cleaning up the house.  We are collectors.  The only thing that keeps us from being horders is that all the cats are still alive and we don't get the newspaper.  We just can't stand to throw away anything.  Everything looks like something we might use someday.

Something happened a few weeks ago and I snapped.  I just started cleaning stuff out.  It took Drew longer to come around than me, but I think once he started to see how much easier it was to clean and find stuff when the junk is gone that he was on the bandwagon because he started ditching things too.

Another thing that's kept me even busier lately is my writing.  I'm writing again.  I mean, seriously writing again.  My obsession with how much I hate 50 Shades of Grey has fueled my need to write something better.  So, I'm going to write my own trashy erotic novel.


The Game of Hearts
A Lyssa Winfield Smut Mystery
By SKDeal

Dr. Lyssa Winfield is an anthropologist with a taste for exotic cuisine, fashionable shoes and expensive purses, which is why she’s left her field of study to work as a high-profile software development manager for Markison Industries.  When her job comes under threat from a mysterious source, Lyssa’s assigned hunky security expert Alexander Dane to shadow her.  As the threats become more personal, Alex finds himself guarding every aspect of his charge’s life.  The closer they get, the more dangerous things become; a fact which scares Lyssa even more than her stalker.  Everything’s at stake for Lyssa.  Her job, her life --- and most of all --- her heart.  Can she uncover who’s out to get her without losing them all?

It's a working title, by the way.  I don't like it, but I have to have something right now.  And "Smut Mystery" will probably be changed to "Sexy-time Mystery" or something more appropriate.  But I've discovered that I really like using the term "smut mystery".  Sounds funny.  And now my co-workers and friends come up to me and say, "Hey!  How's the smut coming?"  That's funny as hell!  

And of course everyone knows about this because I cannot stop talking about it.  Somehow I made it through TOPS tonight without saying anything to anyone there, but it was hard.  It's because I'm completely in love with my characters and the story.  

The erotic part isn't kinky, but it is very, very detailed.  I'm hoping to prove to readers that you can have "vanilla" sex and still find it hot.  Even more importantly, you can have sex and a plot too.  (Ask anyone who's read 50 Shades -- none of them can tell you the plot.)  And to top it all off, there's humor.  (Of course there is!  I'm writing it!)

I've completed various sections of the book (I don't work in order --- never have, never will).  But I know the entire story.  It gets enhanced on a daily basis too.  As I think about the scenes, I find ways to improve situations and characters.

I've given parts of the book to a few people to test it out on.  So far I've had an overwhelmingly wonderful response.  And I didn't just pick friends that would coddle me in my efforts.  I picked people who would tell me the truth.  I've taken my criticisms well (few as there have been) and it's helped me improve the story!  But so far they've all wanted to read more.  This is amazingly encouraging!!!

So, you probably won't hear much from me in the next few weeks.  I've made only a few cards and the ones I did were sent to blog readers, so I wasn't going to post them anyway!

Ok, gotta go!  I have to change the color of Alex's hair and I need to give his buddy Chase a goatee.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

And Home Again...

Back from vacation...physically.  Mentally, my brain is still having a great time.

The trip home added a new addition to my list of things that should die.  This time it's an entire chain of stores.

Books-A-Million.  I hate you.

I used to love that bookstore.  We stopped there on this trip to browse the clearance bins and to see what's new.  I should have guessed it was going to be a disaster when I was greeted by a big display for Fifty Shades of Grey, which is such a horribly written book that even the author said, "What do you mean people are reading it?  It's crap."  I will agree with her on that point.  I could go on for a very long time about just how awful that book is, but I'm trying to put that experience behind me.

Back to what really must be wiped from the planet.  Books-A-Million.

Drew and I decided to get an audiobook for the ride home.  I had some pirated ones in the car already, but we really wanted to listen to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Instead of complaining about having to pay $18 for it, Drew reminded me I was circulating positive money back into the financial flow of the Universe.  Or something like that.  He was right.  So I took it up to the register.

The checkout girl, like almost all checkout personnel in stores now-a-days, asked if I was a member of their book club.  "No."  Did I want to be?  "No."  It's only $20 a year.  "Definitely not."  She proceeded to spend a good five minutes explaining all the wonderful aspects of being in their club.  "Still...no."  She then told me I qualified to receive three magazines for free for two months.  "Not interested."  I think she was disappointed in me.  At this point I put on my best "I know this is your job, but you're pissing me off" look.  Complete with stern jaw, terse smile and sympathic eyes.  It probably looked more like I was trying to hold back a fart.

After nearly ten minutes of trying to pay for my item...only my item and nothing else...we finally escaped.

Me:  Well, that was extremely annoying.
Drew:  Very.
Me:  Books-A-Million just lost another customer.
Drew:  Two, actually.
Me:  This is why I pirate media from the internet.
Drew:  I'm starting to agree.

To make matters worse, the audiobook was boring. I'm not sure if the book just doesn't translate well when read aloud but three CD's into the nine CD set and even Drew was bored.  I will grant the author Seth Grahame-Smith credit for being an excellent writer.  I just wanted to hear less about Abe's life and history, and more about vampires and hunting.  The little bit he'd gotten into by the time we stopped listening was done quickly and predictably.  It just wasn't exciting enough for the very long drive from SC to NY.  I'm looking forward to the movie though!  Very much so.

Does anyone want Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on audiobook?  It's free.  I won't even make you join my club.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tropic Thunder

Since Drew got to pick our theater date this week, I decided I wanted to watch something inhouse.  There's a decent selection of blu-ray movies here, so I went thru and picked Tropic Thunder to watch.  I loved it.  Robert Downey Jr was brilliant and Jack Black was hilarious.  My favorite part of the movie was the fact that Drew had no idea it was Tom Cruise as Les Grossman.  HAHAHA!

We watched the extras at the end to see his make-up test and found out that the whole dancing thing was Cruise's idea.  There wasn't even any music at the time.  He just improved it and Stiller liked it so much that he re-wrote the script to include the dancing scenes.  Genius!

The promo video they made for the MTV Movie Awards was in the extras also.  Again, Robert Downey Jr just makes this scene.  I'd tell you why, but you have to watch it.  Super, wicked funny.  Go watch it HERE.  Embedding was disabled or I'd just put it here to be watched.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We watched another episode of Game of Thrones.  #3.  No one was killed or screwed in this episode.  And so far it's my favorite.  Not because there was no blood or other bodily fluid, but you got to learn more about The Wall.  I'm fascinated by The Wall and the wild creatures behind it.  Need more of that stuff.  More dark fantasy, less political/royal turmoil.  It reminds me too much of something I could see on the History Channel.  If the History Channel actually showed quality shows about history instead of shows about ancient aliens and fast cars.  I like Top Gear, but really?  On the History Channel?

My fave characters so far are Jon Snow and Tyrion.  Because I'm pretty sure they're the smartest people on the show.  Yes, the half-dressed barbarians are very nice to drool over and I'm sure the viewers enjoy the scantily-clad whores, but I like the smart characters.  Because they are my only hope to...


Kill...the...Queen's...brother.  

The more I think about it, the more the JCPenney catalog model needs to go.  Mr. Perfect-Hair-Swarmy-Cocky Smile really needs to die.  I hate him so much, I refuse to learn his name.  Honestly, I can't keep up with anyone's name in this thing.  Just Jon, Ned (or is it Ed?), Catherine and...well, that's about it.  Just the people with names you can remember.  Actually, I'm not sure if her name's Catherine either.  Eh, doesn't matter.  I'm sure she'll die soon.  She's gettin' kind of whiny and stupid.

Also, I don't know if anyone's noticed, but all the evil characters have sex doggy-style.  Seriously.  Go back and look.  I think it's funny that the white-haired chick and Ronan of Conan (no, I'm not looking up the damn names!) didn't get my interest until...well, until she introduced him to cowgirl!  Coincidence?  Someone who read the series will have to enlighten me on if this was a staple in Martin's books as well.  I bet it is.  I bet as a wee-lad he walked in on his brother and sister going at it that way and thus was born a severe psychological issue that's making him and HBO a fortune!

I probably shouldn't watch shows like this.  I get way too involved with the characters-who-shall-not-be-named.  But pleeeeeeeeeeeease...someone kill them.  I'd even take an easy death.  Like Jeffrey or Joffry or Toffee.  Preferably by Ned/Ed and maybe-Catherine's kick-ass daughter (not Salsa-for-brains, but Iyadaddadadingdong).  That would be cool.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A First!!!!

When we're in Myrtle Beach I always promise to go see one movie.  I despise sitting in movie theaters, but the ones here are so comfortable and nice that I don't mind.  Unfortunately there wasn't anything playing that we really cared about.  Ok, anything playing that I really cared about.  Drew will see just about anything.  But there was one movie in particular that he requested and I gave in.  I didn't do it gracefully either, but we did go and see the movie he asked for.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits in 3-D


It was our first 3-D movie.  The glasses weren't very comfortable since they had to fit over my regular glasses, but after a while it didn't bother me.  Mostly because the movie was hilarious!  I loved it!  If I had known that Martin Freeman (Dr. Jon Watson in Sherlock) and David Tennant (previously Dr. Who) had lent their voices to the movie I might not have been so pissy about having to go see a kid's movie.

Yes, there's a couple jokes that only grown-ups or geeks will get, but there wasn't a lot of them.  It was just funny!  It was the type of movie I imagined Monty Python would make for kids.  It was goofy.  I encourage everyone to go see it, 3-D or not.  Then you'll understand what Ham Night means!  I need to have Ham Night.

The 3-D was neat!  It was a lot better than I expected.  The last time I saw a 3-D movie you had to wear the blue and red glasses.  This was a LOT better than that!

Also worth noting --- the preview for Rise of the Guardians looks incredible!!!!!!!!!!  Check out the trailer at http://www.riseoftheguardians.com/.  The trailer playing on a huge 3-D screen blew me away!  I cannot wait for that!

The preview for Brave looked good too.  http://disney.go.com/brave/index.html


Meanwhile...IT'S HAM NIGHT!

And the List Grows...

My list of "People That Need To Die" is growing by leaps and bounds.  Actually, I should call it "Fictional Characters That Need To Die".

A couple of days ago I put Laurie and Carl from The Walking Dead on the list.  Honestly, I don't have a reason to add Carl...yet.  But I know from the various Facebook posts that Drew mentioned he'd seen that Carl isn't going to EVER be in the house.  He needs to go.  Laurie is just a *bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep*.  I hated her before I ever saw the character.  Just one of those things you have a bad feeling about.

Tonight, Drew and I watched the first two episodes of Game of Thrones.  Oh lord!  You can add about half that cast to my DIE ALREADY list.  Those characters are supposed to be on the list though.  They're evil douchebags.  (Forgive my language Momma, but they really are.)  I look forward to them dying.  And you know they are going to die.  I think everyone's going to die on that show at some point in time.  As Cobra says, "Every episode...someone's gonna get killed...someone's gonna get screwed."  The Queen and her brother have already screwed (each other - major ew!) so I can't wait for them to get killed.  Especially her.

After the two episodes, I asked Drew if we could stop watching for the night.  It's a great show, but it was depressing the hell out of me.  Mostly because the aforementioned jackasses aren't dying fast enough.

Oh!!!  And you can add to my list of "Fictional Characters That Effing Rock!" --- white walkers.  Need more white walkers in the next episode.  Preferably to kill off the King's son.  Little prick.

And speaking of little pricks --- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister as the Queen's dwarf brother rocks!  I'm not sure if he's supposed to, but I love him.  His one-liners and advice to other characters is fantastic!  I have a feeling that character is going to be more than just a lord that likes to drink and whore.  That he's actually quite brilliant and will be one of those reluctant heroes for the good side of the war in the end.  Might just be hopeful wishing on my part.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

AAAAHHH!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Drew and I went to the beach for a nice long walk.  We don't don bathing suits and play in the ocean.  It's not our thing.  But we do like to walk and occasionally stop to look for shells.

After an hour or so my water shoes fell apart.  They were a $10 bargain I've owned for a couple of years, so I'd gotten my money's worth out of them.  And it was kinda funny to watch me take them off as they were falling apart and Drew was having to run around catching the parts before they floated out to sea.

That's when I noticed my legs were bothering me.  "Drew, my legs sting."  We stopped and looked at them.

"OH MY EFFING GOD!!!

Both legs from the knees down were swollen and covered with red splotches.

"WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME???"

It was really creepy and kinda scary.

"I HAVE HOYT'S DISEASE!!!!"

I couldn't remember the name of it at the time.  I do now.  Cellulitis.  Hoyt's had it twice, each time after coming back from Myrtle Beach.  Are the two facts related?  No one knows.

Thankfully, after a shower my legs were fine.  Apparently my legs are allergic to the ocean now.  Great.  They've never given me a problem before and I've been in the ocean many times in my life.  Also, my hands and arms were fine.  It's really just stupid.

~~~~~~~

And just for fun, watching Humans Vs. Zombies right now on Chiller.  It's a hideous homemade movie.  It's gotta be homemade because it's terrible.  I'm not talking B-movie hideous.  I'm talking they used a hand camera and a video editing program from 1995.  No production company would ever put it's name on this piece of junk.  It's given me ideas of writing crap scripts and selling them to Chiller.  I was going to do that for SyFy but this movie is actually worse than theirs.  That's pretty bad.