Monday, Monday (Krissie)

It’s Monday, I’m still energetic (though in a shitload of pain, but hey, chest la vie. Or Det er liv, in Danish, but I imagine there’s an idiom. I have been studying Danish for 307 days straight (I’m doing Duolingo and it keeps track – it’s a free app and has tons of languages if anyone’s interested). I’ve also finally been watching the Craftsy courses I bought – I particularly like one on using precuts of Jenny the owner of Missouri Quilt Co. or whatever it’s called. there’s another on creative quilting with a walking foot, plus several others. I’ve been bouncing around, watching a lesson here and a lesson there.

Which brings us to the point that learning new things, or refining old things, is fun, rewarding, and really good for your brain. Yeah, it takes time, though for me it’s just part of my nighttime ritual. Instead of surfing or playing solitaire (well, I do a little of that) I do my dansk (the Danes don’t capitalize much) and Craftsy. The only drawback is that I do Pinterest and other craft ideas (look at patterns, etc) and it gets me energized at 11 at night, when I need to be falling asleep.

I might humbly suggest that you guys might consider taking a class. If I lived in civilization I’d love to take a hands on sewing class, but at this point my main options are on-line. (Though I’ve love to learn excel and they do sometimes have courses on that. I imagine I could also learn that on line).

I’m also relearning the guitar and learning new songs. I used to play a lot when I was young … I mean, really a lot. Guys would always get me to sing with their bands or just with them, I wrote songs, sang at weddings and benefits, etc. Richie and I first met over music. I’m slowly getting my fingers toughened up and can even play my Martin D-35 (which is a really stellar acoustic guitar). I stopped playing in my early thirties as writing became more demanding, and there have been so many wonderful songs since then that I never learned to play. Fortunately I have a decent ear for figuring out what the chords are for various songs, so it’s been fun and satisfying. I’m even learning “Elle a les yeux revolver” which inspired Black Ice and the ice series, arguably my most popular books.

So guys … any of you play the guitar when you were younger? Do you still have it around? Failing that, ukulele’s are easy and fun. In fact, back in 1963 I taught myself guitar on my father’s baritone uke – the four strings are the same as the top four on a guitar. I learned “Blowin in the Wind” and “We Shall Overcome” in the key of A. Ah, youth. Kennedy was still president and I was a sophomore in high school.

I digress. If you’re musical, drag out your guitar or buy a ukulele. Singing is really good for you physically and spiritually – the breathing, etc.

And learn something. I want you guys to do some research and find a course/class you want to take in the new year. Fuck losing weight – it never works and in the beginning the main reward is vanity. Check your local colleges and community centers, etc. Check on-line – Craftsy and tons more. If you’re not into it, tant pis (don’t know a Danish equivalent) but I don’t care. Choose something, and report back.

On a mixed note. Speaking of music, Mel Tillis just died. I used to sing “Mental Revenge” – one of his songs. And I’m sorry, but I saw that Charles Manson had died and I cheered. I don’t know if I believe in evil – I tend to think it’s sickness instead – but if evil existed there was a lot concentrated in that pathetic creature. I hope next time around he can expiate his sins. (No, I don’t want him roasting in hell if I believed such a thing existed).

Enough wickedness on my part.In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving. Richie and I will do it alone again (alas), but we’ll have fun. I’m going to try a canola oil piecrust – my aunt Ailie use to make fabulous pie crusts with cooking oil, so I’ll see how I far.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? I know, too many questions, but I’m curious.

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 11-28-16 at 10.35 AM

So shall we do a tap dance and tell you everything is fine? Not my style, but then, there are times you gotta pull up your socks and move on. (Bad Tim stuff).

I’ll go with our first holiday tradition – Stoop Soup. A treasured recipes from the 1970’s made by yours truly when I was a cute young wife living in an old farmhouse in the tiny town of Stannard, VT (where Bernie used to live). First, you cook a huge, fabulous Thanksgiving turkey. Then you strip the leftovers off the bones and put the carcass in a huge pot. You throw in an onion, carrots, celery, any leftover veggies plus peppercorns and a bay leaf and you put it on the back burner of the stove and you turn it on. You let it cook – well, it’s supposed to take 4 hours but I usually forget about it and get back to it in 6, 8, or 12 hours. And you can’t cheat and use a crockpot – it gives it a mushy flavor. When it’s time to go to bed and you can’t cook it any more, nor can you put it in the refrigerator because there’s no room with all the leftovers from Thanksgiving, you put it out on the door stoop, where, because it’s Vermont, snow is covering the ground and the temperature is, at the very best, in the low thirties. You put the lid on and go to bed.
For the next three months you pass it every day and think “God, I have to dump that mess in the woods” but you don’t touch it, and by the time Spring rolls around you make your husband trudge out past the fields into the woods and dump the incredibly horrible smelling mess of bones and mold and rot. Bring the pan back, scrub the hell out of it and start all over again next Thanksgiving.

On rare occasions you can vary the recipe by bringing the stock pot back in the next day, draining it over a colander, toss in some turkey, more veggies, a splash of sherry, a splash of soy sauce, and maybe some leftover rice (though if you don’t eat it all the the rice will swell up even more and become slightly weird). But then you miss the winter decoration of the stockpot on the door stoop, and this time of year it’s all about tradition, isn’t it?

This week I’m meeting Miranda Neville for lunch, going into Burlington to drop off stuff for Goodwill, going to NAMI meetings (tonight and Thursday), start decorating the house, write, sew, and keep my fucking sanity. Also, not cry more than twice a day.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

So what’s on your agenda, my darlings?

Pain and gain (krissie)

Well, it’s actually pain and no gain. 4About 6 weeks ago or thereabouts I decided to mend my ways on food, and since then I’ve cut out added sugar and white flours and fried, fatty stuff. I eat oatmeal for breakfast, a ww bagel w. healthy peanut butter for lunch, and healthy stuff for dinner, plus a small salad almost every night. Lots of fruit, other veggies (I could push the veggies) snack is usually a fiber one bar. Grazing in between that I haven’t been paying attention to, but mostly I think it’s amounts. I weighed myself a couple of times and the scale hadn’t moved. I haven’t weighed myself in more than a month but the clothes are still tight. So ….
Tomorrow I’ll weigh myself. But I’m also going back to MyNetDiary (Crusie calls her Nettie) to figure out what exactly it is that I’m doing. Because I’m in such pain, all over, but particularly my knees and shoulder. Losing weight won’t help the shoulder, which isn’t progressing as it should, but it’ll help the knees and the feet. and mostly I’m exhausted all the time, and it should really help with that.
I do happen to have fibromyalgia, which I ignore. I figure if you pay attention it only encourages it. But my problem (in terms of pain and exhaustion) might be as simple as a fibro-flareup. In which case there’s not a whole lot I can do but wait it out. But I refuse to give in (and fortunately because I’m not depressed I don’t think I have some dire, hidden disease that’s just waiting to pop out and kill me). But man, I am tired of hurting. I realized I haven’t been anywhere since I last visited Crusie, and that was in the fall, for God’s sake! Way too long.
There’s not a lot of things I can do under the circumstances, including the circumstances around Tim. But I can start tracking my food and putting effort into it.
So that’s what I’m going to do.
BTW a packet of instant oatmeal (gotta go back to making it) for breakfast, a whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter for lunch, a fiber one bar, a ciabatta with olive oil, a salad with 5 croutons all come to comes to 942 calories. I still haven’t added the salad (I figure lettuce and stuff is basically free), the cooked chicken that I’ll add or the careful amount of salad dressing, plus a combination of bananas, strawberries and blueberries for dessert.

That doesn’t seem like too damned much but in terms of calories and weight loss I’m sure it is. One thing I can do is have half a bagel for lunch. That would cut the carbs and the peanut butter in half. Oh, and that’s including the bottle of Mexican coke I allow myself in the afternoon. Fortunately I like my coffee black. I’ve also been having half a ciabatta, and they’re multi-grain with extra fiber so that counts too. I just have to make sure I stick at one half.

So I’m giving Nettie a run for her money, and I’m going to do what they always tell you to do and I always ignore. I’m going to enter what I eat for a few days (probably not an entire week) so I can see where all the calories are coming from.

I’ll report back.

Krissie: improvements

Photo on 8-26-14 at 10.54 AM So I noticed at the end of my run as the evil Mrs. Mullin that the skirt to my 9 lb. 14 oz. costume was suddenly fitting (tightly) 4 inches in on the secondary hooks. Got on the scale and weighed in … well, don’t remember, but today it’s 232.3. Which is down about 15 pounds from the last time I looked (I was getting perilously close to 250). Don’t know why. Well, I can think of a number of reasons.
Giving up the Diet Sodas. That makes the need for crispy, crunchy stuff less necessary.
Sweets are upsetting my stomach so grabbing a muffin or a cookie isn’t a smart thing.
My digestion has been in an uproar (I’m buying probiotics today since I can’t figure out what’s doing it).
I haven’t been hungry. I don’t finish what’s on my plate, which is weird.

Of course I flirt with the idea that there’s something wrong with me and I’m dying, but I ignore that since I’m doing my best to ignore depression and anxiety. But I don’t want to do anything to change things, so I’ll just keep on and try to avoid temptation.

It was probably good being so busy this summer too — it kept me away from easy access to food.

Now it’s time to see what exercise I can do. I’ve got the hand weights, and I need to go back to the pool. Walking’s not an option right now, but maybe some sitting exercises. Since I’ve made progress I’d like to continue it. I was toying with surgery, and I might go for an informational thing on it, but I do seem able to lose weight on my own so if I concentrate on being in the zone and pushing veggies that will help.

I might get a vegetarian cookbook, so I can center my recipes on veggies more. Any suggestions out there? I’d still eat chicken and fish – it’s just good to change focus.

Turkey chili tonight (I’ve been eating lots of avocados through all this). Yum. Someone recommended The Vegetarian Epicure. Others?

Krissie: Tough Times

I’m having trouble concentrating. I know you gotta accept the things you cannot change, etc. but all this drama and uncertainty is making me a little … no, a lot crazy. I want to lose myself in my book but I have all these things dragging at me and now, for some reason Erin isn’t answering my phone calls. Maybe she thinks it’s Tim calling, or maybe she thinks I hate her or maybe she hates me because I …
well, fuck it all. I’m having a hard time trying to shed all this stuff. I can’t even run away because I have such trouble walking and even driving.

So I was going to talk to you guys about acting and the interesting aspects to it and how I think it’s widening my creativity (the only thing I want widened about me) and I was going to talk about weight loss surgery and eating (it’s 1:30 pm and I haven’t eaten yet and I don’t feel like eating. Don’t know what I want to eat).

But I’m just too scattered and anxious and blue and worried and … you know the drill. I could get all involved with a pity-party but I’ll spare both myself and all of you that particular irritation. Bad things are too bad to waste self-pity on. And if it’s not that bad then why bother?

I’ll figure out something to eat, even though I’m not hungry, and I’ll TCB for a while. Maybe that will help.

Krissie

Lani: I’m the Green One

Sprouting up around the Facebook information garden are a myriad of scientifically dubitable personality tests. Which Scandal character are you? (Olivia Pope.) Which classic literature heroine are you? (Jane Eyre.) Which of Khaleesi’s dragons are you? (Yeah, I made that up, but I think I’d be the green one. Is there a green one?)

Daenerys-Targaryen-game-of-thrones-23107710-1600-1200

Well… it’s green-ish, I guess.

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Krissie: Ugh

Not that I’m seriously complaining. Who could, with such a glorious new granddaughter? I still can’t quite get over it.
Nevertheless, real life is intruding and I’m here to bitch. This comes perilously close to That Which Shall Not be Named, but it’s still okay.

Here are Jenny and Lani and my fast and loose rules about Refab. It’s not for us pushing our own books. It’s not for promo for other people. It’s most definitely not for complaining about sales and the publishing business and all that sort of misery. But it can get kind of gray. We want to celebrate when we’ve accomplished something, but it gets a little tricky when so many of us are putting out books. So we try to stick with cool stuff, like Kindle Daily Deals and the like, or audio versions, or stuff that looks like fun. If it’s occasionally unfair blame me. I’m just trying to keep us away from commercialism.

We can talk about managing to get words down, the problems with writers block and writing, though Jenny has Argh.ink for discussing writing and publishing. I have drama queen at www.anne-stuart.com which I seldom use but will use more often for the next month, and maybe I’ll get in the habit, but in the meantime if I need to bitch about not getting my words down or crow about writing a shit-load it’s gonna be here. And I’m happy to hear the rest of you talk about how many words you did or didn’t write if that’s what you’re doing.

Today I’m gonna bitch about promo, and it comes close to That Which Shall Not Be Named. But you know, I gotta crab to someone and you guys are it.

I’m celebrating my 40 years as a writer. Well, as a published writer of romance novels. My first book came out in April of 1974 when I was in utero (ha!) and I’ve been writing ever since. So Jenny and I were brainstorming on how to celebrate it and she came up with 40 days for 40 years, which made sense. Of course it’s taken me forever to get it together and time was running out so I’m starting it on the 21st (tomorrow) of March and going all the way through April. Not here, though, guys. On Facebook, and twitter and my website.

But all this stuff is a phenomenal amount of work. I came up with the list of prizes and freebies etc. a few days ago, and it took me about an hour (for only 9 days worth — I thought March had 30 days). Then I had to send the list off to my agent who handles some of the books, then make some changes. Today I had to write up tweets and FB entries for the first 10 days (hence discovering there are 31 days in March). Now I have to go and write blog entries for those ten days. Then I’ll have to go and scan photos and contracts and letters and book covers and the like. And get the prizes that aren’t Amazon deals together and ready to go (Richie will do the labeling and sending them out, thank god). Man, this is so much freaking work! I want to write books, she whines.

But how many writers are still going strong 40 years later? And still writing really good stuff? It’s worth celebrating, and no one else could write my blog entries, which are going to talk about my history and the business and stuff. Maybe I just need to accept the fact that I’m spending the rest of March and April doing this, and it’s worthy work. Except I never feel okay unless I’m writing. And that kind of writing doesn’t count.

So many people I know can afford assistants. Not me. Which ties into the very basis of all my mental health issues going back to my childhood. Which I’ll be happy to talk about but it’s too detailed to go into now. Bottom line is that it’s all up to me, and this stuff really is (it’s all the other stuff that isn’t, but I feel like it is).

But I digress. Coming here is fun and feeds my soul. Writing the other blog is usually a duty. But I’m hacking away at it, bit by bit, and maybe I’ll learn how to love it. Maybe.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing today, instead of writing something new or finishing up my great-nephew’s quilt. Grumble grumble. But Alison is coming home today — my son has gone to pick up his partner and their new baby at the hospital and is bringing them him. Such magic words! So that’s enough complaining for today.

Babies are calling.