Mon. March 12, 2018: Healthy Eating #UpbeatAuthors

 

Okay, when I picked myself up off the floor from this . . .

Why would today’s topic make me laugh?

For a couple of reasons. First, it was my birthday yesterday, which meant healthy eating was the last thing I worried about.

Second, because yesterday was also when we “spring forward” — and I can’t tell you how much I resent losing an hour of sleep ON MY BIRTHDAY. I take it very personally.

However, for the most part, healthy eating is more the normal part of my day than the exception. Why? Because when I eat properly for my body and my life, I feel better.

I rarely drink soda, and never “diet” soda. I eat very little junk food or processed food.

I’ve cut way back on sugar, especially refined sugar. In my baking, I’m working on substituting honey for sugar whenever possible, and then adjusting the rest of the recipe around it.

I don’t use fake sweeteners.

I do, however, drink whole milk, use real butter, etc.

I also grow as many of my own herbs and vegetables as possible. I believe in the mission that Edible Landscapes teaches, “Have your yard and eat it, too!” I currently rent, which means much of what I plant is in containers; but when I own my own place, there will be very little traditional lawn, and very much wild space and native plants — and many more vegetable beds.

I love to cook, and that helps me eat healthy, too. I read cookbooks the same way I read novels, and with the same pleasure. You might even say I “devour” them. I own many, many cookbooks — and even use most of them. I often use the recipe as a baseline, and then experiment from there.

The cookbooks I use most frequently and can’t live without are:

MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT FAVORITES
THE NEW BASICS by Julie Russo and Sheila Lukins
THE MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK by Mollie Katzen
MARCELLA CUCINA by Marcella Hazen
THE NEW ENGLAND COOKBOOK by Brooke Donny
THE WAY TO COOK by Julia Child
JULIA’S KITCHEN WISDOM by Julia Child
THE POOR POET’S COOKBOOK (I bought that for 99 cents in San Francisco in the 1980s and still love it) by Ann Rogers
BEARD ON PASTA by James Beard

I often test drive cookbooks by checking them out of the library and cooking a few recopies from them. If I like the book enough, I buy it.

Control the food, control the population. Food is a social justice issue for me as much as it is a pleasure. We have the right to access fresh, healthy food. That means we have to put people into government who do not destroy environmental protections. If the soil and water are polluted, our food will harm us instead of keeping us healthy.

If we allow corporations to use pesticides to kill bees, we won’t have food. If we allow sterile seeds to be our only source, the corporation who creates the sterile seeds can decide not only WHAT we eat, but IF we eat.

That is not acceptable to me.

Growing as much as I can keeps me connected to the process — there’s a lot of joy as well as a lot of flavor in eating something you grew. I also know that the soil is good and free of contaminants, the water I use the same.

I am still an omnivore, although more and more of my choices veer away from red meat, and, over time, over meat in general.

Cooking makes eating healthy much easier. I enjoy cooking. I don’t believe it’s “too much work” to cook for myself (although I often cook for more than myself). I believe I deserve healthy, well-prepared meals. I enjoy the process of making them. Granted, vegetarian meals tend to require a great deal of chopping, which means you need a good set of knives. But it’s worth it.

Roast chicken is easy — half an onion and lemon juice in the cavity, a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper over it, 5 cups of water in the roasting pan, cover, put in an oven for 2-1/2 hours and it’s tender and delicious.

Mashed potatoes are easy, and the secret is to warm the milk before you add it to mash (and always use whole milk and real butter, along with a bit of salt and pepper).

Steamed broccoli is great with a little seasoned salt over it.

Steamed green beans get an extra kick from some lemon juice or hollandaise sauce.

Moosewood Favorites has a great eggplant stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes — the potatoes are mashed with cream cheese instead of milk and butter. There are a mix of spices in it, along with diced red peppers, carrots, and peas. The filing can be eaten on its own or used as a side dish for other food.

Dice up a few fresh tomatoes, add some cooked corn and diced onions. You’ve got a salsa that’s great with steamed fish. Add some parsley, fresh spinach, oil and balsamic vinegar, and you’ve got a salad.

Fresh herbs can brighten up even the most boring meal. And no meal needs to be boring. Experiment.

If it doesn’t work, you’ll know and try something different the next time.

I never enjoyed eating until I started to cook. Once I enjoyed cooking, tasting and eating are part of that. I used to only enjoy cooking for others. But I got tired of both the expense and the quality of eating out.

My rule of thumb when I’m in a restaurant is I only order what I wouldn’t/couldn’t make at home. As my home-cooked repertoire grows, what I order when out shrinks!

The positive part of that is it makes me try new dishes instead of ordering the same old, same old when I’m out. It also encourages me, when I like something I’ve tried in a restaurant, to figure out how to cook it at home.

Decide what foods make you feel good, not just while you’re eating, but after. What fuels your body and your spirit? If you genuinely listen to your body instead of stuffing it with empty calories, you’ll start to align with foods that are better for you and that you wind up enjoying more.

Try that this year — grow a few things you LIKE to eat. Take sensual pleasure in cooking, tasting, preparing and eating food, even if it’s for yourself.

Worry less about calorie counts and more about nutritional value, taste, and presentation.

You’ll find yourself naturally gravitating towards healthier foods.

 

Published in: on March 12, 2018 at 4:35 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 12, 2018: Healthy Eating #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. March 9, 2018: Moving To the Weekend

Friday, March 09, 2018
Waning Moon
Cold/Sunny/Snowy

All seven websites are off my old host. I still have tweaking to do before I invite you to some of the others, but, for the most part, it’s done.

I could weep with relief.

I was so exhausted yesterday by the time I was done that I wasn’t much good for anything else.

This morning, I puttered around some, and prepared for a morning meeting with a potential client. It was fun, but we’ll see; they may need to go in a different direction. It would be a huge change for me, but not an unwelcome one.

It’s my birthday weekend, coming up, and I’ve got some fun stuff planned. I’ll tell you all about it next week! 😉

Published in: on March 9, 2018 at 2:33 pm  Comments Off on Fri. March 9, 2018: Moving To the Weekend  

Thurs. March 8, 2018: (Webhost) Moving, Moving

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Waning Moon
Stormy and snowy
International Women’s Day

I sat down to work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY yesterday morning. I am SO CLOSE to finishing.

And realized the chapter I’d written on Tuesday was from the wrong point of view.

This book is carefully structured in POV shifts in alternating chapters. I screwed up. Odd chapters are supposed to be from Bonnie’s POV, even from Rufus’s. Well, Chapter 31 is from Rufus’s. I’m ready to bang my head against the wall.

I was so tempted just to keep going, but I couldn’t. It changes the action. So I had to go back and rework the material. Something I couldn’t afford on any level on this deadline.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to read the latest post.

And hop on over to the GDR site for a post on Intent.

The Cerridwen’s Cottage site is re-designed. I don’t have all the material uploaded yet, so I’m not officially sending people over there yet. I’m happy with the re-design. It’s giving me ideas to do a few tweaks on the Coventina Circle and the Nautical Namaste sites.

I might add a plug-in on the Devon Ellington site. The Twenty-Seventeen template works for that, but I want to change the background color on the page without writing new CSS code. I’m hoping a plug-in will fix it. If not, I’ll leave it white. White’s easy to read and to navigate, and, considering how much content I have on the page, it makes sense to keep it white. I have to figure out how to activate the social media stuff.

The Twenty-Seventeen Template did not work for the Cerridwen’s Cottage site. I switched to Twenty-Sixteen and am much happier. The Gwen Finnegan and Jain Lazarus sites are on Twenty-Sixteen, and I think I might move Coventina and Nautical Namaste to them, too, mostly so that I can do background colors on the page, and not just the border.

I’m unlocking the Fearless Ink site and prepping for that move. That’s the last of the sites that has to go. I’ll cancel my hosting package with 1&1, once it’s safely moved. Then I’ll be able to move, in 60 days, the registrations for all three domains, over to NameSilo. And I will be free of 1&1.

I will never know how much business that webhost has lost me, because of the lack of customer service, downtime, lost or delayed emails, and then, refusing to let me post jpgs unless I pay a separate monthly fee. I’m well rid of them.

I’m much happier with the new designs on the various sites, and the flexibility being on WordPress gives me. I’ve learned a lot. I still have a lot to learn, but at least I’ve learned a lot.

Once the sites are up, I can get back to writing and marketing. And creating new content.

I’d already rewritten the Fearless Ink content when I tried to move from 1&1 to Green Geeks. So it’s a case of putting in the time to the design, and then uploading the text already written, tweaking as needed. Maybe adding some graphics.

The new logo is back in re-design. As much as I liked it, a good friend pointed out that Freudians would have a field day with it. So, back to the drawing board.

I’m working on the newsletter, which will go out either the end of this week or early next week (probably early next week).

I have a meeting tomorrow morning with a potential new client. I hope it goes well — even in the emails setting it up, we seem to have a good time. Their work is a bit out of my wheelhouse, but it intrigues me.

Later today, I need to head into Hyannis and pick up some bus tickets; heading into Boston this weekend, if the weather holds.

I’m playing with new series title ideas for POWER OF WORDS. I want the double entendre without being cozy-mystery-cutesy. Unfortunately, everything I’ve come up with so far sounds vaguely unsavory and naughty in the wrong way, so no good so far.

I didn’t use the exact word I wanted above so  the bots pick up that term and start posting awful sites in the comments?

Onward.

Which seems to be my mantra lately!

 

Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Waning Moon

I moved the Cerridwen’s Cottage website all by myself. I’m so darned proud. For me, a non-IT person, it was a big deal. It’s a big personal milestone for me.

Yesterday, I started building it live. I’m hoping to move the Fearless Ink site late this week, and then maybe get to build it early next week. And then I’ll be done with 1&1 as far as hosting go. They still hold my registrations for the moment.

I also finally understand why I’m having the problem on the Welcome page of the Devon Ellington Work site. Even better, I understand how to fix it!

Now, I still have to learn how to do a drop-down menu . . .

There’s a storm coming in, so I might not get to post tomorrow, although I hope to do so on Friday. I hope it won’t be as bad as they say; I’m getting a little weary of the storms. As long as the power holds . . .

Working steadily on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Playing with ideas to finish POWER OF WORDS. Got re-ignited for NOT BY THE BOOK — there are good bones there. If I can pull it off, it will be a worthwhile book. Working on FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

It’s a good busy.

A potential client liked my pitch, but wanted me to do a proofreading test before talking any further. I did. It was a timed test, full of the errors that set my teeth on edge. So, we’ll see. The money would be great, but I need to know more about the parameters.

My flash drive is full, so I started a new, 32GB drive. I moved over pertinent files from the old drive and sorted them properly. Let’s hope I can keep this drive organized.

I’m reworking the media kits for TRACKING MEDUSA and the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and looking for some fun, additional material to add to the Jain Lazarus site.

I need to put together some more material for the Coventina Circle site, and put together the pieces for the SAVASANA AT SEA giveaway I want to do in a couple of months. I’m also working on some ads for the different books and stories. I want to see if they make a difference. Friends of mine tend to have good luck with Facebook ads, and they’re usually reasonably priced, so we’ll see.

I’ve had a terrible headache for the past few days. I hope it lets up when the storm moves in.

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 2:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm  
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Tues. March 6, 2018: In Between Storms

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Waning Moon

It’s been quite a ride the past few days, and looks to be the same going forward.

The storm Thursday night into Friday into Saturday was bad. At the same time, we were much luckier than many others on Cape.

I stayed put on Friday. Couldn’t work on the computer, because of power fluctuations. It could hurt my old Macbook, reliable as it is. But there was no way in heck I was going out in that storm, unless absolutely necessary. And it wasn’t. We cleared off the deck, so only the large, metal table is there. We moved the two potted evergreens on the front steps next to the step, back against the house, so they wouldn’t blow over.

The storm worsened all through Friday, and, a little before 8 PM, we lost power. Losing power here means we can still cook (gas stove). However, even though we have gas heat, an electric switch controls it, so we lose heat if the power goes out.

Went to bed very early. Woke up at 10 PM, with the winds screaming. I like to lie in bed and listen to a storm, but this was pretty extreme. Woke up again around 3:30, and it had quieted down. I started making a list of everything I needed to do once it was light enough to see. The cats huddled on the bed with me, not liking the noise.

We were lucky to get the power back on a little before 5 AM. Plenty of places on the Cape will probably be out until at least tomorrow.

And there’s another storm set to come in tonight/tomorrow.

The wind and rain were still pretty bad on Saturday, so I didn’t go anywhere. We had a few more power fluctuations, so again, no computer. A neighbor’s stockade fence was uprooted, and twisted bits of it littered the street. They’ve lived here for nearly two years (bought the house from a long-term resident), but made it clear they don’t care to get to know any of us on the street, so no one has the contact information to let them know what’s going on.

Sunday, it was clearer, although cold and blustery. I ran some errands, like getting in cat food. It was too windy and sleeting off and on, so I couldn’t really get outside for any clean up. Plus, I was tired, which makes no sense, but I was. I did a couple of loads of laundry.

So what did I do, when I couldn’t use my computer and work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which is behind again? As someone who has always been good at staying on top of deadlines, this is very frustrating.

I re-read POWER OF WORDS, the material that will comprise three of the four books covering auditions through filming the end of the first season. It holds up; I like it. The way the relationships ebb and flow, the collaborative, creative energy between them, works. I need to find a way to get the writing back on schedule, so that I can get the fourth book finished. I may need to write the fifth book, covering the second season, and then I want to release them one-a-month over five or six months. They are of a piece. They are not quite a serialized novel. They are more of a serial novel, in that they all are puzzle pieces. I found satisfying places for each to stop, but there is always more story. I’d like to go through several years’ worth of filming, with other creative projects blooming for them all. I might write the books covering the second and third seasons, and then write an epilogue.

But first, I need to finish the first books. Books 1 and 2 have had numerous rewriters, and are close to ready to go. Book 3 needs some more work, and I have to decide where to break it to create Book 4. Probably at the midseason break.

I need to find a new series title, and new titles for each of the books in the series. I need to figure out if they get their own subdomain, or if I just add a page to the Devon Ellington Work site.

But first, the books have to be finished.

But before THAT, I have to finish THE SPIRIT REPOSITTORY, the one that’s actually on deadline.

The problem I’m having is that my subconscious mind thinks it’s done and has moved on to other stories. Plus, I got a new idea for a thriller that won’t let go.

Somehow, I have to corral these creative impulses and creatively focus them so I can stay on track without dampening anything.

I’m so, so close to finishing REPOSITORY. Now, I just have to get it done.

I had a good morning session on the book yesterday, and then, again, today. I’ve almost hit the predicted word count — I think I will go two chapters over, which will still put me in the wheelhouse for the genre.

Yesterday was an up-and-down day at a client’s, but, on the good side, I wrote and designed four solid ads for them.

Back at the client’s today; I’m hoping it will be a calm day.

Published in: on March 6, 2018 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 6, 2018: In Between Storms  
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Mon. March 5, 2018: A Place That Gives You Peace #UpbeatAuthors

 

Wow. That’s a more complicated topic than it should be.

If you’d asked me about a place that gives me peace when I lived in New York City, I would have said the place that gives me peace was Cape Cod. When I couldn’t get to Cape Cod, I went to the Hall of Gems at the Museum of Natural History where it was dark, and, in between tour groups, quiet. I have no idea what it will be once they finish renovations. Probably light and loud.

I moved to Cape Cod in 2010 because it was the place that gives me peace, and that’s what I wanted for my writing.

Of course, living somewhere is different than visiting.

Sometimes I feel peaceful here; more and more often, I do not.

I love walking on the beaches off-season. Race Point in Provincetown has been a favorite of mine since I was six years old. Craigville Beach, close to where I live now, is where I often nip down for a quick hour or two in nice weather. I love the nature sanctuaries, especially Long Pasture and Ashumet, with all the holly trees.

I love my back deck, which is covered, with skylights, and, in summer, I turn it into an enchanted garden. When the Summer People invade, I don’t have to go out; I can escape to my back deck and enjoy myself, whether I’m reading, writing, or just being.

My meditation space, in my current bedroom (which is larger than my first NYC apartment), gives me peace. Every morning and most nights, I “just sit” in my practice, preparing for or letting go of, the day.

I find peace in my yoga practice, be it at the studio or at home. I used to find it at Kripalu, until they stopped enforcing their no cell phone policy and people started using their phones everywhere, including the Silent Dining Room.

I find that I need to seek peace multiple times a day, since so many people can’t stand quiet (because they might have to face who they really are, and it terrifies them). Because they can’t stand to face quiet themselves, they are determined to destroy it for those around them.

So I’ve built places and spaces, some within my own imagination, to find peace.

I have an inner place to find peace, one I’ve constructed inside of my imagination, one to which I can retreat whenever I want or need to. I won’t describe it here; that will destroy it for me. But it means I can take my “place where I find peace” with me wherever I go.

 

Published in: on March 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm  Comments Off on Mon. March 5, 2018: A Place That Gives You Peace #UpbeatAuthors  
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Thurs. March 1: New Month, A Willed Start

Thurs. March 1, 2018
Full Moon
Sunny and mild

Full moon! No full moons in February, but, once again, two in March. Interesting times, my friends, interesting times.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see my “To Do” list for March.

Check out Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was a good day, working with my client on some ads for her line. We’re juggling the spring 2018 and the fall 2018, and will shortly look ahead to spring 2019. Reminds me of working on the calendars and almanacs, where we’re working two years ahead.

Some good work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY yesterday, and, after a busy day today, I look forward to digging into it this weekend and finishing! I will be so happy to get this manuscript off my desk and to my editor. And then, in a couple of weeks, getting it back and fixing its problems. Clock is ticking on this one.

Once REPOSITORY is done, primary focus is on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, with secondary focus on RELICS & REQUIEM. Those deadlines are looming faster than I’d like, too. But, if I hold to the streamlining my editor and I talked about on MYTH, it should chug along quite nicely. And parts of RELICS have been writing themselves in my head over the past couple of months, plus i have a solid outline for it, so that’s a relief.

THE FIX-IT GIRL and NOT BY THE BOOK are still clamoring for attention; I need to do another pass on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC before we send it out on submission. And POWER OF WORDS (I’m rethinking the new titles for the series yet again, so I keep referring to it by its original title which can’t be used in publication) is pulling.

I don’t mind a strong creative flow, I just have to keep on top of everything.

I’m going to start the webhost move on Cerridwen’s Cottage today; I’m hoping it will be smooth; in the best of all circumstances, I can start building live on it tomorrow; in the worst, sometime next week. I kind of liked building the subdomains live, even though I know it’s not the best choice. But it’s easier than getting a temporary URL, changing everything in the pHp admin, then changing it back, then trying to move it.

I have to praise A2 Hosting for their help. Whereas 1&1 can’t be bothered to provide the tech support for which they’re paid, or even respond to anything with more than “call us” — which is NOT an option for me — A2 has been willing to work with me and find solutions. At least, so far! I’ll know for sure once all three sites are moved!

We’re supposed to get a major storm tonight going into tomorrow. I hope it’s not as bad as they say. I’d like to be able to hold tomorrow’s appointments.

As far as today goes, I have appointments and website stuff in the morning, yoga, taking my mom to doctor’s appointments, and grocery shopping on the way home, just in case the storm is as bad as predicted.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

Hopefully, I can post tomorrow. If I can’t, due to the storm, have a great weekend!