Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weight Loss for People over 40

Hey folks, something of interest maybe to those of you who are 40+ and trying to lose weight or get healthy. I'm journalling about my journey of weight loss on the blog Fitness and Weightloss over 40 so stop by and join in the conversations, or just say hi.

I also started a new google page to lead people to the blog above. If you've never tried to create a web page, or are afraid of the complicated programs usually needed, or just don't have time to mess with them, try them out. It's FREE it's easy, no comlicated downloads or hard to learn programs, just type and click pretty much like posting to a blog. Check out my page here, and then try one of your own. It's in BETA so they're looking for folks to use the system and give feedback. Let your voices be heard.

Actually I just had to edit this because I DO have the above blog, but the google page I have changed to use as a writing website. Since google only allows 3 sites per user the above google page is actually my personal writer's website for now.


What do writer's need most of all when it comes to computers? Okay besides a high-speed internet connection. POWER. I don't know about you but I open so many programs and pages every day that it can be difficult for a computer to keep up. I just got a new computer so it might be a while before I max out the RAM on this baby, but I have always felt like that with each new computer, and where it did take awhile, it did happen eventually. What I found out on my Dell from last time is that adding RAM isn't as scary as it seems. Actually it's quite easy. You can buy a dell memory card and slide it into a slot in your computer in about 30 minutes and that includes all the disconnecting and reconnecting of wires and such. So see it really is easy. I think anyone who isn't a computer 'geek' for a living is a little scared of the inside of a computer. It seems, and is such a powerful thing, so complicated, so misunderstood, but really, they have made things like adding video cards, memory cards, and the rest so push-button easy you just snap it into place and GO. Take a minute to find out how easy it is and ramp up your power. You'll be really happy at how much better and faster your computer works.

Dealing With Hearing Issues

I found something I have to get. This is a big issue for me. I'm not deaf. Not completely anyway, but to give you an idea of the hearing loss I do have, my tv has to be on it's loudest setting, WITH the surround sound on at IT'S loudest setting for me to understand what's going on, and when I watch movies I always have the captions on for the 'hearing impared'. So with that in mind you might see how a cell phone conversation can at times be a challenge. I have to really press the cell phone to my ear, and still have to ask the speaker to repeat a lot. So these amplifiers might really help me a lot. It sure would be nice to talk on the phone and not have to constantly ask the person to repeat themselves, and feel like I really understood everything that was being said.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Healthier Me

I've been reading a lot lately about the air quality in homes being responsible for many of the common illness we either push aside as just a common sniffle, or alergy, to big things like bronchitis. Also being in a home full of smokers the things I've read about Austin Air air purifiers and the ability purifiers have to clean out the smoke in a room to the point where it isn't even on your clothes, or your hair. I have to admit, even as a smoker I hate the way it make my hair smell. I could quit, but that's not a likely solution. When we moved out to the country I thought, oh wonderful, clean air.... lol, sure, well, it's not city smog that's for sure, but there are things out here that definately SMELL. It infiltrates the house. I'm not JUST talking about the animals either, although a male goat in rut is a rather odiferous animal, and it does tend to just infiltrate the house, I'm talking about the chemicals used on the fields all around us too. During the spring especially it really gets into the air all around and even inside. That's why I've been researching air purifiers. I'd like to say it has something to do with my writing, well except to make me healthier and more prolific.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Way Vacations are Supposed To Be

I have family in Florida, but they live on the gulf side so if I want to take the family on Orlando vacations we have to find places to stay, or drive across state which is kind of inconvienient. Not to mention staying with family is difficult. It starts out fun but you rarely end up doing the things you really wanted to do on vacation especially when those things are across state. Last time I went down and stayed with my aunt on the gulf side I wanted to go to Ft Lauderdale to see the area I was born (my mom was on vacation--talk about poor planning) and I got twenty excuses as to why it wasn't a good thing to travel across state at that time. Now sure, August isn't a great time to spend several hours in a car in southern Florida, but I could have handled the heat. I let her talk my out of it and I've regretted it to this day so from now on when we go to Florida on vacation, we make it a real vacation and do it the way vacations are supposed to be done, as far away from nearby relatives as possible.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Shopping Adventures

I was at my local WalMart today looking for a new office chair, and some new shoes. I like the ones I found online better though. Naot and others are easier to find online when you live in an area where stores are a long drive away and even then pickings are slim. Since I'm not a big fan of walking around malls, this is great. It saves me time, and now, more importantly GAS. It's not that I need fancy shoes most of the time, but I still like to have nice shoes to wear on the rare occassion I actually go out.

Our Own Worst Enemies.

I wonder if there will ever be a point where as a writer I can look back at past work and not find some fault to pick on. I know when I've written things a long long time ago, they look awful now, but since I had gotten to the accepted publishing area I've found my work to have grown enough that it's not that, but there's always a line I'd have written differently. When I wrote the piece, whatever it is, I was happy with it. Editors were happy with it. Everyone was happy. Then a month, two months, a year later I pick it up to read again and while the story still moves me, there's always something to pick at.

I've read big name authors saying basically the same thing, but I wonder if it's just an over-critical mind, or a reality. I know a lot of authors say they do the same to other author's published works, and yet I don't too often find myself doing the same thing to other author's works. Perhaps we're our own worst enemies sometimes.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Strike Fear In Your Heart

What can give a writer a heart attack faster than a double cheeseburger with extra large fries? The words FATAL SYSTEM ERROR.

That coupled with your computer is infected (oh let's make it interesting -- 362 instances of infection) can give any writer a coronary. The above scenario was me two nights ago. My old trusty computer, a mere infant at 4 years old--okay, in computereze that's extreme old age, but for me it was still doing it's job and working fine--more importantly it had ALL my files on it. Yes, some files were backed up on my external hard drive, and thankfully safe, but some--(foolishly some very important ones) were not.


Gone forever.

Rest in peace old faithful.

Cry for a few minutes over all my manuscript files gone. Yep, that was the foolish part. I had all my article and short stories backed up, but... my manuscripts, gone. Gone for good. Well except for the published hard copies, but if I ever wanted to do anything with them again I'd have to re-type all 300-400 pages of any of them.

Not that I ever would. I mean I haven't messed with old manuscripts in all the time since they went into print, but hey, you never know. They key here is I CAN'T. That is the painful thing that hangs in the back of my mind.


Gone too soon.

Before you think I'm sitting here in a pool of tears, let me tell you that every cloud has a silver lining, even if it's caused by one hum-dinger of a storm.

I have a new computer (thanks to a really REALLY great husband).

Couldn't really afford it, so I feel kind of guilty saying I LOVE IT.

It has the new Windows Vista op system, and I was shaking in my boots because I remembered back when I got my last computer how much I hated XP after being so used to 98SE.

Yep, it took a little while to get used to Vista, but wow... I have to tip my hat to Microsoft, they really came up with an interesting and fun operating system with some really cool new features.

I've heard a lot of complaints about it, but I think they're widely due to people feeling overwhelmed by the difference between the old and the new. It is so much different than it's predeccesors.

It took a long time to download all the updates for devices, but everything's up to speed now, and oh boy I'm happy.

On another side note--I got HIGH SPEED last week. Yes, out in the middle of nowhere I'm finally in the modern age of Internet. About time huh? That's the way it is out in the country, light years behind the rest, but when we finally catch up, yahoo, we're rollin and happy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's A Good Thing

I think the whole country is on a diet. I know I am, but there's no fear of feeling like I'm alone in it when every second or third commercial I see on tv, or ad in a magazine, or online is for weight loss pills, exercise equipment, or some other diet aide. It's a good thing really. As long as folks research what they are using and feel comfortable with what they're getting. Some of the claims are a little outrageous to my mind, but I don't have to use pills because I'm happy enough taking things slowly. I think too many people, myself in the past included, are caught up in the 'right now' need to see results. It takes time to get rid of the pounds safely. At least, as long as I see the ads I know I'm not the only one going through the struggle though. And for a nation that is one of the heaviest on the planet, that's a good thing.

In Real Life

When I watch movies, or even read character descriptions in books, I sometimes think 'man, those characters must use a lot of anti wrinkle cream'. I mean think about it, do you often see an unattractive hero or heroine, or an aging hero or heroine complete with wrinkles and sags? Of course not, wrinkles are not romantic. Saggy bodies are not sexy. The problem with that is we as a society have begun to equate such ideals as we see them on the screen, or read in a book with reality, and all of the signs of aging as a curse. Sure, there's nothing wrong with doing everything you can to look your best, and that includes cosmetics and creams, and well we all know the nip and tuck business has never been more profitable as its realm has left the confines of Hollywood and you find face lifts and boob jobs in Nebraska as often as you do in California. What's wrong with a hero or heroine that has a few wrinkles, or sags a bit though? Wouldn't it be nice every once in a while to see someone you can honestly identify with as a leading man or woman? I watched the movie 'Charlie Wilson's War' the other day. It was fantastic and I loved every moment of it, and then I watched the behind the scenes features of this true story and got to see the real Charlie Wilson. He's not a bad looking man, but well, Tom Hanks beats him hands down... would it have been a real crime to make him appear a little more like the weathered 'cowboy' ladies man congressman he was in real life?

Level of Sophistication

Sometimes, when I'm writing, I wonder how the 'other half' lives. I mean some of the characters I write about live far more extravagant lives than I could ever dream about. I've been to the homes of people in that class. The types that not only have a bar in their 'entertainment' area, but a bar with a sink, and built in consoles for storage of expensive bottles of wines, and other liquors, even wine refrigerators to keep the bottles perfectly chilled. Me, I use the plain old refrigerator in my kitchen. A couple of bottles, or a box (yep, that will give you an idea of the level of sophistication we're talking about here) of wine, and I'm good to go. Still, it's nice to dream about having such luxeries even if I'd rarely use them. It's nice to have people come over and offer them a fine glass of chilled wine from the bar rather than pulling out the box from the fridge.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Impact of Illness

Since my family is going through the impact of a member going through cancer treatments, I've found The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch to be an inspiring and helpful look at the struggles he went through dealing with cancer, and his philosophy of life to be enriching. My mother-in-law is living with me now because she can't cope with every day things such as making food, or remembering her pills due to a run of chemotherapy, and even if another look into that life weren't helpful in the practical sense, it is invaluable in feeling like you're not alone in the things you face when going through it. There's really nothing that can adequately prepare you for dealing with cancer treatment personally, or helping a loved one deal with it. You can see others go through it and never realize the toll it takes on the entire family, the friction that can arise between family members in how to deal with the patient, the fear, the worry, the exhaustion of caring for someone going through the treatments. You do it because you love them and want the best for them, but you just don't realize how tremendous the impact will be. This is an inspiring book for anyone, but if you, or someone you know is dealing with cancer directly, it's almost required reading.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Whereever I May Roam

Depending on what type of traveling I'm doing (and who is paying the bill) I like to stay in hotels. Now most people probably wouldn't argue that point, but trust me, when in 'livestock/farm' mode there are other options -- staying in spare stalls in the show arena--sometimes necessary if security is an issue, sometimes just nice because the work just starts after the show day ends, and preparing for the next day's show often means being up until midnight, so sacking out at the show barn just makes sense in that way as well, it is also a lot of fun to be a part of that after hours commradarie that takes place between all of the 'stay at the barn' crowd. In some cases the barns are not all that pleasant, but for the last two reasons we want to stay 'at the barn' without staying 'in' the barn, so we stay in the trailer. Now it's okay, I mean we have matresses, and portable cots, and most of the comforts of home from coffee makers to portable DVD players, so it's not exactly roughing it (depending, of course, on your idea of 'roughing it').

But there are times I just do not want to stay in a barn, or in a trailer no matter what 'comforts of home' we have with us, so, that area of life being what it is, and costs being what they are, and the fact that we are paying for it, means I'm on the hunt for cheap hotels. What's really nice now is that even the cheaper hotels usually come with small refridgerators, coffee pots, even complimentary coffee making supplies as well as full-sized beds (okay that goes without saying, but just for comparison, a bed beats a cot, no matter what kind of mattress you have for the cot). I think age has something to do with it too, in years past, sleeping in the show barns had a sort of excitement that went beyond the necessity of working late, and even the fun of the after hours crowd... it was just fun period... lately, that boat has sailed and achy bones and chilled muscles overtake any 'fun' of sleeping in a barn at night.

Showing is still great though.

It does make me enjoy book tours and such much more. I'm not footing the bill then, and the hotels are just that much nicer--as a rule. At least, up until now I've never been asked to stay the night in a book store. LOL