Sunday on the sofa

Well, the title kind of says it all.

I’ve got exams to grade, and we have people coming over to dinner, but I just can’t seem to bestir myself towards productivity.  This is the second to the last week of Premier League soccer, so, naturally, most of the morning was spent on the sofa, huddled around the laptop cursing and screaming and drinking lots of tea.

It’s ridiculously beautiful out today and I did manage to go for a run–good thing, too, because I’d skipped out on my Wednesday cardio session.  So, I narrowly avoided having to write SHAME in huge block letters across my exercise chart.  Whew 😉  Seriously, though, the Healthy Me campaign is going great.  I’ve lost 3lbs so far, which might actually be too much too fast, so I’m in the happy position of being able to increase my calories rather than decrease them.  Sweet timing, since I’m making this for desert tonight.

Since I finished up the current draft of ABSENT earlier in the week, it’s time to turn to a new project while I wait for reader feedback and let things percolate.  Next on the docket is continuing to draft UNDER THE BRIDGE, a dark urban fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest.  I got encouragingly positive feedback (plus some great suggestions) on the first three chapters of this when I workshopped it in Dallas a few months ago, so I’m psyched to really dive in and hammer it out.  It’s all outlined and ready to go.  Stay tuned 🙂

Well, hope you are all having a pleasant Sunday with plenty of couch time.


Writer’s Workspace: 4/30

Welcome to this writer’s workspace.  Here’s what’s happening liiiiiiiiiiiiiive at Miranda’s desk:

What I wish I was working on: the final five chapters of ABSENT (I am, at last, that close!)

What I’m actually working on:  writing an exam for my World Prehistory class.  But, if I’m lucky, I’ll finish that before the day is out and be able to return to the last frantic push to finish revisions on the novel 🙂  Newly added to this version: sex, death, and a side of betrayal.  Much juicier than version 1.

In general, the last week was one of nearly apocalyptic productivity for me.  I wrote over 10K words, watched almost no television (except, of course, Dancing with the Stars), and let everything else slide (laundry, errands, grocery shopping, personal hygiene…okay, kidding on that last one, but you get the idea).  Hence both productive and apocalyptic.

I also, for those of you following my mission to get healthier (e.g. lose 10lbs by August 31st) stayed pretty well on my new regimen this week.  I made all 3 of my cardio workouts and 4 of the 5 scheduled stretching/back-exercise sessions, meaning I had to write SHAME on my chart of shame for one day 😦  I did even better with the eating portion of the equation, keeping the calories below 1800 four days and below 1600 on three days.  I lost 1 pound, which puts me ahead of schedule.  Hopefully I’ll be strong willed enough to keep this going.  Wish me luck (please!).

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Snippet from the screen: “The morning of the funeral was brilliant and clear, which felt wrong to Emily.  Indecent, somehow.  Sun reflected off distant minarets and the chaplain from the British base said a few words over Alexa’s grave.”

On the iTunes: “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys

Keeping me company:  nobody, and everybody.  Sid is home this week (and the next two!) as he takes a vacation between jobs (yes, the upheaval has been resolved and Sid will be starting a new position in late May…more to follow when the details are declassified ;).  So, Ramses, being a disloyal little feline, is snuggled up down the hall in Sid’s office.  No doubt they are plotting my downfall together (or at least thinking of ways to make a mess in the apartment).

Out the window: disappointingly normal early spring weather.  Gone are the 80 degree days.  It is sunny and cool.  I know I shouldn’t complain, but heck…it’s chilly!  I want me some global warming induced summer sun!

No time to procrastinate today, so no time to hunt down procrastinatory links for you, dear Reader!  Apologies…but I’m off to the gym!

Regime Change

In my opinion, to be a happy and productive writer, one must also be healthy.  Despite my insatiable love of food (see yesterday’s blog post), I’ve always striven to be as healthy as a I can.  In some regards, I do quite well.  I eat almost no processed foods or beverages and I cook most of our food from raw, whole, organic products.  In other areas, I miss the mark by a mile.  My favorite foods are full of fat — cheese, butter, cream, cured meats.  And then there’s the whole exercise side of the equation.

I hate to exercise, and when it comes to things I don’t enjoy I can be one big lazy fool.  Motivation is a major issue and I’ll latch on to any excuse to avoid exercising.  When I was younger, my metabolism was awesome and I could get away with this.  Not so anymore.  I’ve gained 10lbs in each of the last two years.  While I might be starting with the advantage of being slim, that won’t be the case much longer.  Extrapolate out 10lbs of weight gain a year for a few more years…a troubling and unhealthy trend by any measure.

So, regime change time. I have to start exercising and eating more moderately (let’s just say that little trip to France didn’t help matters).

Enter another problem: I am a woman of extremes.  I’m always either boiling hot or freezing cold, starving to death or so full I’m gonna throw up, bursting with energy or so tired I JUST CAN’T GO ON.  This little character flaw extends to every exercise and weight loss endeavor I’ve attempted.  Usually I wake up one morning and announce I’m going to get fit and lose weight.  I rush to the gym, totally overdo it for about a week, and starve myself on a calorie restriction diet.  This results, as you might imagine, in injury or physical collapse.  The outcome:  I stop exercising.

Time to learn the art of moderation.

I resolve to exercise and eat moderately with the goal of gradually, rationally losing 10lbs by the end of the summer.  Since I’m big on accountability (it’s the only way to avoid the “any excuse to stop” mentality), I’ll use a few tools to help me stay on track.

First, with regard to food, I’ll keep track of my calories on  This site is free and provides a number of handy pages for counting calories, entering activity (calories burned), and tracking progress.  It informs me I’ll need to keep my caloric intake under 1800 calories a day to meet my goal by August 31 (either through calorie restriction, calorie burning, or a combo).

Second, I’ll reinstate a tool that’s helped me in the past: Miranda’s Chart of Shame.  This is a simple excel spreadsheet I worked up that displays each day of the week with the type and amount of exercise I should do that day.  If I do it, I get to cross it off.  If not, I have to write SHAME in bright, huge, block letters on the day in question.  The chart is printed and displayed on the front door of the apartment, for me to look at every time I come and go.  It’ll be there, JUDGING ME, every minute of every day. For the first month, I’m going to start gradually with 3 days a week of cardio, 1 of weightlifting, and 5 of stretching and exercises for my back (from an injury sustained the last time I tried to exercise regularly).  After a month, I’ll reassess based on my progress.

Third, I’ll post my progress here on the blog — the good, the bad, and the ugly.  At the end of each week, as part of a general weekly update, I’ll include whether I met my exercise and dieting goals for the week or not.

I’m hopeful this system will work.  It is a good time of year to start adopting better habits, after all.  Nicer weather makes it more enticing to go out and exercise, and all that colorful spring produce makes it easier to eat right.  So, wish me luck, guys…and if you want to join in my crusade to get healthy, let me know!