Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Category: Exercise

I Did Intend To Keep Updating…

One could surmise, from the silence following my previous post, that I dipped my toes back in and then ran away to hide. That is only partially true. It turns out that life is really busy, and still not very balanced, and I’m still feeling a bit odd about writing in full sentences instead of 140-character blips.

I ran over a lady with my bicycle last week. That’s always a great way to start a paragraph. I suppose in the interest of accuracy I should say that I ran inTO a lady with my bike, as no part of my bike actually squashed any of her body parts. However, we both ended up on the pavement with various scrapes and bruises, and she was definitely on the bottom of the pile. It’s one of those situations where any number of things could have gone better, including me calling out my presence earlier, but despite that I feel very strongly that when one maneuvers into faster-moving traffic of any kind one ought to look to be sure one is not about to be run over first. This applies to a person stepping out to cross a road, a car changing lanes, or a person walking along a paved multi-use path which has a speed limit and people on bikes, horses, roller blades, and regular old feet all using it at the same time. But apparently not everyone sees the value in this. And they get run into with bikes. Let that be a lesson to you.

And now I don’t know what to talk about next. Odd, how the ability to create a segue between written segments deteriorates when one does not practice it, but my ability to spell and punctuate doesn’t seem to have suffered much. I feel like I should just develop typing Tourette’s and randomly shout out updatey things:

I killed two cacti this year!
All three of our printers are broken!
I’ve been scrapbooking!
My stove and microwave are so advanced they probably combine to make a spaceship!
Yay spring is on its way!
I quit my chauffeuring job!
We get our milk delivered to our house!

Yeah, that’s pretty much all I’ve got for now. Fingers crossed that the next update comes less than seven weeks from now!

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Milk and Exercise

I promised last time to tell about adventures in milk. Through an acquaintance, we have had a supply of raw milk lately–lovely full-of-fat, cream-rises-to-the-top-to-skim-off-and-put-in-my-coffee, straight-from-the-cow milk. That’s really all the adventure has been, but it’s been wonderful. I do love milk.

In other news, you may remember that I joined a gym last week. This is in part because it’s the cheapest way for me to have access to a lap pool all year round, since the condo complex’s pool is only open between Memorial and Labor Days, and I do like swimming. Also, I tend to be more motivated to follow through on goals if I’m paying something for them–so paying for a gym membership significantly increases the likelihood that I will actually exercise. Nine days in, the theory holds. We’ll see how it does over the course of the next few months. I am doing cardio and I used my free introductory hour with a personal trainer to set up some weight training to help me reach my goals, which I admit is mostly to feel less like a lazy slug. Maybe not the most noble goal, but a goal nonetheless.

Most of the rest of what’s going on isn’t ready for public announcement yet, but it’s taking up a lot of brain space and it’s hard to not talk about. No, it’s not a book deal. No, it’s not a baby. Sadly enough, it’s not even another dog. But it’s cool!

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Oh My Goodness October Is Halfway Gone

How did that happen? This is craziness. Give me back my year!

Needless to say, life has continued on its “busy” trend. As I told a friend earlier today, I am alternately awash in activity and then entirely free, wondering what I’m behind on since surely I should be doing something. That pretty much sums up the last few months.

So, how are things going? Well, Matt has a stable job that we have every reason to believe will continue beyond his graduation from seminary, which will happen (fingers crossed) this coming May. I finished my manuscript and have made progress on writing a really lovely query letter, but it’s not quite there yet and I keep getting bowled over by things that Need Doing Now, so it’s not quite ready to send out on its own yet. My goal is to get it there by November 1.

Also, I’m pretty sure of what I’m going to be working on for NaNoWriMo this year, which I’ve signed up for despite the fact that I will be out of the state for at least half the month, given the current schedule.

I am a creature of habit, and recently I’ve realized that several of my habits of late are not as productive or constructive as they should be, though it’s better than it could be. Nonetheless I am endeavoring to improve, and on that note I have joined a gym and committed to a regular exercise schedule, thus far with widely varied results. Not varied results as regards working out regularly–there’s only been a chance for two workouts yet, and I’ve done both of them–but varied results in the level of extreme pain I experienced in the hours following said workouts. My hope is that more exercise will lessen the pain factor considerably, which would be good if I mean to continue with the exercising.

Shiloh is doing very well lately, especially since as a result of both Matt and I returning to more beneficial schedules, we’ve re-instituted our former habit of taking nightly walks, and Matt has returned to his habit of getting up early and taking a long walk in the morning as well. She’s loving it. We’re not displeased, either.

In other news, the library had its annual book sale, and then I found a used bookstore that was going out of business, so I bought a bunch of books that I otherwise wouldn’t have acquired because they were cheap! Yay books! Also, I’ve been really enjoying some nonfiction reading that I stacked up for myself alongside my usual fiction consumption.

Last but not least, I’ve been meaning to talk about milk, but I’m out of time for now, so that will have to wait until next time, which I full intend to be much sooner than the middle of November.

Oh yeah, I turned 28 about a week and a half ago; had a lovely quiet day and thus far my 29th year of life is treating me tolerably well. Can’t complain.

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Refocusing

It seems that every so often–sometimes longer, sometimes shorter–I find it necessary to step back and refocus. People who don’t know me very well laugh when I give them my standard self-description: tall, blonde, and easily distracted. “Easily distracted?” they say, “You read huge books in one sitting!” As if that’s the pinnacle of focus and attention. Seriously, people, I read books in one sitting (or as close as I can get) because if I don’t, I’ll get distracted, put it down and more than likely forget I ever intended to finish it. And because it’s a convenient way to be distracted from other things I’m supposed to be doing.

Sometimes I’m conscious of allowing distractions to edge their way in, and other times I look up and realize I have no idea how I got so far off track.

So I’m refocusing. Matt’s out of town again this week on a nice long wilderness backpacking trip courtesy of Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries, so I’ve got plenty of time and space to clear out the mental cobwebs.

Family: Happily, one of the aspects of my life that hasn’t slipped much lately. Goal is to maintain and deepen time/interaction with family.

Career: Two aspects of this, the writing and the day job. As the day job looks much different now than it did 6 weeks ago, and looks more and more likely to disappear sooner rather than later, I can dedicate more time to the writing. In the current job market, I’m leaning toward investing myself in writing rather than wasting time and energy trying to find a nonexistent position. Regardless, I need to set short and long-term goals for my writing, and I need to find someone to crack the whip and make me stick to them once I set them.

Finance: We spend more money than we ought. We have a peculiar financial situation, and it often results in a rather lax view toward budgeting and savings. I’m taking steps to adjust our mentality on that, beginning with trying out the MVelopes.com service.

Health and Wellbeing: I caught up on sleep last week, and it’s a wonderful thing. I’ve also gotten myself swimming semi-regularly at the apartment complex pool. I’m working on setting up a regular time to take Shiloh to the dog park, which gives us both exercise, and I’m really really (really) going to recommit to my WiiFit schedule.

Recreation: Much of this also falls under exercise, since much of our recreation is active, but I’m making sure I block out time for reading. We also got an XBOX 360 recently, and Fable 2 allows us to log into the same game together and kill bad guys. I’ve STILL got a big unfinished quilt that needs to be completed. And I do very much like meeting people for coffee.

Personal: I am learning about the care and keeping of cacti (turns out they do best in steady, diffused light, not direct sunlight, so Bob2 is back in the office) and I am contemplating installing a window-box-style herb garden on the porch railing, if I can be reasonably assured I won’t kill them all. My writing definitely counts in this category, too, for a variety of reasons.

Friendship: I generally operate with a bit more distance than some people in terms of friendships, so once I plug back into my “usual” sources of information and communication, there’s not much of a course correction that’s going to happen here. There are a few people, though, who I want to be better friends with, and I’ll be intentional about getting together with them.

Community: For all intents and purposes, the church congregation serves as our community. I’d love to get more connected in the neighborhood and the town eventually, but right now it’s just not possible. I’ll be keeping an eye out, though, and laying the foundation to move on that when the time is right. Meanwhile, maintaining relationships with people in the church, our small group, etc., are the standard.

Household: Goal is to do a general sweep of the house every night to tidy up – clean the kitchen, run the dishwasher if necessary, put the stuff that always lands on the dining room table away, corral the dog toys, find the remotes, etc. Once a week laundry and vacuum, and we’ll be cutting back drastically on eating out.

Spiritual: This one’s between me and God, but it’s definitely part of my consideration in refocusing and being deliberate about how I spend my time.

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Non-Writing Things

It’s cold outside today. No, not just “I might wear capris instead of shorts” cold, 53 degrees cold. That’s like. . . 30 degrees colder than yesterday. And I have to say, I love Colorado. You just never know what you’re going to get.

Also, the jeans I was so happy about last week? They’re still fantastic, thanks.

Shiloh has turned into velcro-dog this week. She’s been extra-cuddley, extra interested in being nearby, to the point of settling down next to the Wii Balance Board for her morning chew while I exercised this morning. She’s currently leaning against my desk stool.

Mom and I were talking this morning, and realized that there might be a connection between my recent discipline in exercising every day (okay, 8 out of the last 9 days) and my positive outlook on the manuscript work. It certainly isn’t hurting, at any rate. And I’m still having a good time with it. I’m less of a push up weenie already.

Pretty much everything else proceeds as usual. I’ve got one scene that needs a bit more emotion, and then I’ll be reading the latest chunk of manuscript out loud before I send it along to critique partners and mentor. And then I’ll be jumping right in with revisions on the tail end of the book.

And since I haven’t posted an excerpt in a while, here’s a bit of Kerris’s-rusty-horsemanship-meets-headstrong-horse for you:

I lost my stirrups and hung on somewhere halfway down Zayiit’s shoulder. Beating hooves drilled out any thoughts except trying to haul myself back into the saddle with the untrustworthy fist full of mane I’d managed to hold onto.

Barak appeared on foot up ahead, though I had no idea how he got there. He shouted commands and set himself to block the horse’s path with his considerable bulk. For a moment I almost believed if he could get a hand on the reins Barak could haul the horse to a stop, but in the end it didn’t matter. The last tendrils of Zayiit’s sparse mane slipped through my fingers.

Good times, good times.

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The State of the Novel

It’s been a rough week in terms of writing, and I’m not sure why. “Frustrated” and “overwhelmed” aren’t the adjectives I’d really like to use to describe my mindset a month before The Last Deadline, but that’s been the deal so far this week. I haven’t been idle, though. The house is cleaner than it’s been in months, and I’m making good progress with catching up on our financial records (it’s been six months since that happened, which probably contributes to the money meltdown I’ve been having recently). I did some reading for my critique partners, though I still haven’t sent them comments and I feel horrible about that.

Randomania:

  • I found jeans that actually fit me, waist, hips, and length–and they’re only $50. It might be a certified miracle, and I might be a Wrangler girl for life. For any other tall, thin gals, check out both styles of their Ultimate Riding Jean. They are love.
  • While I was at the store looking for jeans, I found a fantastic pair of boots. Too bad I don’t have a real reason to get them, other than their utter yumminess.
  • We’re in the market for a french coffee press so we can cold-brew our coffee without as much fuss as it currently takes. Cold brewing leaves out the acid and oils that upset my stomach, but maintains all the benefits of full, rich flavor. Matt usually drinks his coffee iced, anyway, which means up until now we’ve been brewing hot coffee and cooling it. And, you know, I can heat it up if I’m in the mood for hot coffee instead of iced. Unfortunately, to get one that seems like it will serve us well for some time to come, we’ll need to spend a bit of money. See the aforementioned money meltdown to deduce my feelings on that score.
  • There’s a fantastic incentive for hosting a Pampered Chef show in September, and I’d love to take advantage of it, but I fear that between The Last Deadline and the money situation, I’ll have to watch it pass by.
  • So far, staying on track with the Wii Fit stuff. I am such a push-up weenie.
  • I’m going for a bike ride to clear my head before returning to the novel for some manuscript-kicking this afternoon.
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We went skiing yesterday. Beautiful day, yet again, but more crowded than usual since we forgot that it’s getting into Spring Break season, which means midweek skiing is busy. I fell three times, all for really dumb reasons, but I’m not feeling too bad today. Mostly my calves hurt, but I think that’s because we forgot to make our banana milkshakes last night. We were both pretty much dead tired.

In other news, I keep falling more and more behind on those reading journals (I have 16 to do now – they’re going to be short when I get to them), and I was going to work on them today but the finance department has tons of receipts that need stuffing, so I’ve got to give that priority.

Also as regards the day job, up until now we’ve kept track of how many phone calls we get and what they’re for (i.e. if they’re calling to give us an address change or they didn’t get a receipt or whatever… there were about 15 categories) and now we’re no longer doing that. I feel oddly bereft. I mean, it’s not as if I do all that much anyway, and now I don’t even have to keep track of phone calls? This job just gets cushier and cushier. Before long, I’ll be playing receptionist from home. Hah!

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Motivation… and Inertia

The Colorado Weather Gremlins smiled on me this morning. After a week of cold nasty rain/sleet/hail/snow, we’re sitting pretty in the mid-70’s with a high of 85 predicted for tomorrow. Everything’s green and glowing from all the rainfall, and there are still streaks of snow up in the foothills, which makes it all very picturesque. Apparently this is fairly normal for spring up here except that it’s about four weeks late. Who am I to argue?

In light of the beautiful morning, I broke out the new bike shoes and took that Brewing Ride I’ve been wishing for all week.

Unfortunately, half the Denver Metro area did the same thing – at the same time, of course. Since there were too many people on the path for the first part of the ride for me to talk out my plots (too busy dodging people with their dogs on those stupid extender leashes – seriously, who really thinks that’s appropriate for a bike path? Hiking in the woods in a park that mandates -and- enforces pets on leashes, I can see. Letting your animal run hither and thither potentially in front of passing bikes is just asking for trouble. I promise when my husband rides by he’s gonna hurt Rover if Puppy Shmuppy gets in the way, so get yourself a real leash. Sorry. End rant.) Anyway, as I was dodging pets and small children and NOT talking to myself out loud, I reflected on the fact that my work-at-home part-time job spoils me. Usually, I ride in the dead middle of a weekday. I wave at septuagenarians and secretaries out for a lunch break walks, and the occasional pair of moms pushing strollers. Weekends on the bike path are crazy. I’m swearing them off from now on.

At any rate, the traffic thinned out after I took the turn to ride up the hill to the top of the dam. I couldn’t believe all those families with pets and kids didn’t want to climb a mile and a half in the sun, either, but there you have it.

It gave me a chance to talk to myself about my book, and I figured out that the whole reason I was having trouble putting that scene into words is because it shouldn’t be shown at all. All the info can be conveyed in conversations surrounding the incident – I don’t need a whole meeting set up with me pulling puppet strings to make sure everyone says what they ought, and more interesting the other way, as well.

Now I just need to sit my tush down and write it…

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Fighting The Elements

Have you ever noticed that just when you get in the right mood to go outside and exercise, everything conspires against you?  I had so hoped to have a nice, long bike ride this morning, but when I got up it was 40 degrees and raining.  Not just raining, mind you, but pouring (for Colorado) with whipping wind.  Yesterday this storm system dropped golf-ball sized hail a bit east of here, and they’re saying it’ll turn into snow tonight.

It’s crazy.

I mention this primarily because I often brew while riding my bike outside.  Having the distraction of pedaling, steering (you know, not hitting any of the power walkers on the bike path), and that tinge of burning muscles frees my mind to really roll ideas around, see where the holes are with various potential approaches, and work through the best way to flesh out a scene or series of scenes.

And since I need more brewing at this point in my writing, a power-brew bike ride seemed like just the thing, until I woke up and realize I’d be very cold, soaking wet, and probably sick by the time I brewed enough to make it worthwhile.

Riding inside on my trainer never has quite the same effect.  I’d consider heading over to the elliptical trainer in the complex fitness center if I knew I’d have the place entirely to myself.

You see, part of the reason my power-brewing works is because I talk out loud as I work through things.  Most people on the bike path don’t notice because they’re walking and I’m riding, and I pause in my debates as I call, “Passing on your left!”  But in the fitness center I have the distinct feeling I’d make a fool of myself, induce someone to call the authorities to have me carted away, or both.

This doesn’t mean I’m stuck or blocked, just that it’ll probably be an extra day or two of back burner brewing until I’m ready to tackle this rather pivotal scene.  Would’ve been nice to bike through it a little faster, but I haven’t got much choice.

Do you ever use physical activity to channel or focus your mental activity?

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