In which it’s Tuesday and there is no mail

. . .I hate it when the mailman gives us a miss. Even when the mail is just catalogs, at least we’ve gotten something.  Not finding any mail in the box leaves me wrong-footed on the day, somehow.

So, a rambling kind of post while the backbrain gets on the case.  I need, let’s see. . .six? seven? scenes, a climax, a denouement, and a wrap up.  Is that so hard?  Oh, and a cast of characters.  If the backbrain isn’t forking over, yet, on the Actual Writing Front, I can edit the working lexicon down to a reasonable list.  Thirty-five hundred words is probably a little long in the dramatis personae business.  Do you guys like your Players List in the front of the book or the back?

I’d like to thank everyone who has helped in the various fundraising efforts we’re presently undertaking, whether by subscribing to our Patreon account, supporting Splinter Universe, or directly supporting us, through PayPal, and by check.  You guys are amazingly kind and we are humbled by your generosity.  . . .Please note that I speak here for myself and for Steve.  The cats aren’t really on top of the whole Where Crunchies Come From thing; they leave that sort of thing to Staff.

Weather-wise, we’re into our second day of rain, here in Central Maine, and the snow is, for all useful purposes, gone.  As far as my eye can see, there is mud, and last year’s brown grasses, and bare, grey trees.  We look to have lost three buffer evergreens over the winter.  Some of the maples are pushing out buds; can’t really tell about the birches, or the ash.  Well.  A few weeks will tell.  Meanwhile, the daffodils are making a valiant effort to rise tall and get the trumpets out.  I fear me this will be one of those seasons when they give their all, but fall short of a win.  Hopefully, they’ll prove me wrong.

Given that the snow is now gone, we can see, among the dead grass, the Trash of Winter, which means that, if it ever stops raining, we’ll be able to go outside and stamp around the property, picking up soda/beer cans, shreds of blue tarp, old paper bags, the occasional whiskey bottle, and who knows what else.  The process by which trash gets under ten feet of snow is a mystery to me. A friend suggests that it’s put there by snowmen, who are pissed off by humans sticking carrots  in the middle of their faces.

Makes as much sense as anything else.

One of the results of having been stupidly ill for ‘way too long back around the winter holidays, was that I lost 10 pounds.  Now that it’s been a number of months since I regained my health, and I haven’t regained the weight, I’ve gotten ambitious.  I like being. . .less close to 200 pounds, and would like to widen the distance by another 10 pounds, if possible.  I can’t say I much care for the method by which I shed the first 10, though, and, as someone who was very thin for most of her adult life (insert Ironic Theme here), I don’t actually know how to go about dieting.  I would go to the gym and exercise and walk in order to keep flexible and strong, but as far as I’ve ever been told exercise isn’t really an effective way to lose weight.  For now, I’m just making a conscious effort to Eat Less Food (which is tough, because, having also been, ah. . .cash challenged. . .for most of my adult life, “wasting” food is a big no-no).  Now that Winter is Out and Mud is In, I’ll be able to get walking again, which will be a relief all around, and I guess if all I do is not backslide those 10 pounds, then I’m that much to the good.

And now?  Time to get back to the backbrain.

See you on the flipside.

Sprite, on Author Assist
Sprite, on Author Assist

11 thoughts on “In which it’s Tuesday and there is no mail”

  1. The nurse in charge of yelling at me, suggested an ap: “My fitness pal” that you might consider.

  2. I’m jealous of the “not so near to 200#”. I’ve always told my husband (facetiously) that I needed to have a “temporary fatal illness” – or something. (grin) My sympathies that you had a rough health period earlier in the winter. My DH is quick to tell me that exercise at least creates muscle and muscle burns more calories than other tissue, when the body is at rest. However, the “eat less food” seems to be obligatory. Sigh! Anyway, until it gets hot, walking is a VERY good start. I’ve got bad feet and knees, but have been giving it a try none-the-less. I’ve lost 5# in the last 2 weeks, but gained 15 over the winter. We had bad weather and I baked – and sat at the computer or tablet reading – and eating. So, go walking, but please keep writing too. I need that for my “other addiction”. Good luck and thanks for the great stories you folks do. (No need to post this message, if you don’t wish. Just wanted to commiserate.)

  3. Wow, just looking at Sprite’s picture made me sleepy – them’s some powerful sleep pheromones!

  4. I am not really a social media kinda gal, but fell inlove with Shan and Priscilla, and then with Sharon and Steve..

    You rock! You both have. given so much fun and entertainment to so many…God Bless!…Thank. you!


  5. The myfitenesspal app has been working pretty well for me. It makes it easy to log my weight and food. My mom has diabetes, and my blood sugar approaching dangerous territory. I can track my carbs too. With all that data, I get to do science about what works and doesn’t for me. I’m a little under 200# now and that makes me happy.

  6. Hmm, the 10,000 foot view on dieting says simply to do things that either/or/both 1) reduce the caloric intake and 2) increase the exercise level. All of the plans and routines are down at the 10 foot view level. They describe details of how you choose to implement #1 or #2. I’ve been advised that a rational combination of the two is best. For myself, if I don’t go all nutso and try too hard on either 1 or 2, I lose gradually (albeit with ups and downs) but consistently over a few months. If I get too dedicated, I seem to quit (prematurely, of course). Hope that perspective helps…

  7. Hi. Condolences on your evergreens, and Good Luck to your daffy-down-dillies!
    Re. dieting, I wish you success AND HEALTH! Just “less food” can be unhealthy if you don’t keep it balanced. On the “do as I say, not as I do” front, make 1/2 your plate veggies (a VARIETY of leaf/stem, root, and fruit types & colors to get the full range of nutrients), and only 1/4 each lean protein and high-fiber carbs. Don’t cut out carbs entirely, though, since they’re brain food, and we story-hungry fans need your brains! (Not in a zombie way, I promise!) I always wonder which came first when witnessing another anorexic-looking model proving a lack of brainpower.
    Re. dramatis personae: in the back is fine, as long as you make sure to put a highly visible note about its existence in the front! For the digital version, you don’t want to have 3/4 of the sample taken up by not-story, but make sure even those readers who don’t back up from page 1 to see the front matter *will* see that note.

  8. Recent research on pay-as-you-lose plans gives Weight Watchers the best marks. Their plan is easy to follow, allows you to enjoy ethnic foods as well as meat-and-potato, and can be followed without joining a meeting, although the social support was very important to me. Another way of looking at it is keeping portion sizes in control, and totally allow your stomach to empty between meals. Boy, it sounds good when I say it. I wish I were following it!

  9. I just lost 20 pounds that I gained during chemo. Nine more to go.

    I lost the weight the same way I’ve always lost weight (thyrotoxic episodes aside)–I keep a food diary. MyFitnessPal doesn’t work for me, because I also track a bunch of vitamins and minerals, but if you’re not interested in that, it’s as good as (and probably better than) some of those available. I’m also fond of Chron-O-Meter, but I prefer diary software rather than a web form. I used to keep my diary in a paper planner until I found FitDay.

    I’m in the habit of weighing my food (which is not necessary, but I like precision), so I know exactly what’s going in my mouth at all times. Of course, insisting on that precision has steered me away from a lot of mindless eating, because if you have to figure out exactly what’s in a food that doesn’t come with complete (or any) nutritional information on the label, it’s often easier to eat something else for which the data is known. For example, a piece of fruit instead of the brownie that sits invitingly at the Whole Foods checkout. Or most of the food you find in the bakery or the prepared foods section.

    Getting started isn’t easy, but once you get into the habit, it’s hard to do without. The real reason I gained weight during and after chemo was that I was too tired and out of focus to keep my diary. If I don’t keep track of what I eat, the extra couple hundred (I figured it out later, just as an exercise) calories consumed each day adds up subtly but rapidly.

    Good luck, Sharon. Just don’t lose too much, because a little bit of padding as we get older is actually more healthy than not.

  10. since you asked – For a cast of characters, either put it in front or put it at the end with some way for me to find it aside from reading the entire book and then finding out that useful bit of data. I’m in the camp that wishes I had seen it earlier and feels deprived of content when there is not enough story to fill the pages (let me know ! – color the edge of the pages on physical books- something). I don’t know how e-books handle it.

    now to diet info –

    As if you needed more info on diets- the last meta-study I read said they all worked and how well they worked correlated with how well one stuck to them more than the type.

    Bear in mind the goal is to reduce net caloric intake – so if you exercise for 400 calories and eat 300, you are still ahead of the game. I find that if I am exercising and eating well, my mind says “I’m doing two healthy things- I must be getting better”

    I heard a piece on NPR recently- a group of hotel maids said they weren’t getting any exercise (ie going to the gym) despite their day jobs which are all motion and moving things around. The study divided them into 2 groups -one control and one they educated on the fact that what they did all day is exercise. Educated group improved on a number of health fronts (presumably they controlled for amount of attention given by the experts to each group).

    Eat healthy things first, process emotional stuff by writing or talking or moving, not eating, schedule in treats so you won’t feel deprived (and still have some awareness of what you are eating). Don’t trade food for sleep- just get enough sleep – you can’t get rid of the food and feel more rested.

    Try eating ‘clean’ for a few days and see how you feel- then adjust eating accordingly. The better for your body you eat,the less appealing the treats will be.

  11. Just reread post and then comments…belatedly realized that most of us forgot your question: where to put list of characters?
    [Note: I almost didn’t click “submit” ’cause I realized belatedly that I argued both sides of the question and probably didn’t help much…still maybe some part od the following will resonate and help a little.]

    I have to agree with Bob. It’s VERY frustrating to get to the end of the story much sooner than you expected, since there’s “obviously” so much book left (whether it’s seeing the physical pages left or the “% read” notation on an e-book). Most books are going so great, you don’t want them to end and there’s an unconscious feeling of “Wow, what else is in store in the many pages remaining?” When the story “suddenly” ends, before all the pages are done, there’s almost a feeling of being cheated. So, I agree. If ANY additional material is put at the end of a book, please warn the reader up front somehow. Something like “At the back is a list of characters AND, lucky you, some bonus material on xyz.”

    Still, having the list at the front can seem cumbersome and a little scary. Having it in the front seems to say, “The characters are going to be so many and so hard to keep track of that you’d better read up on them first. The author seems to be saying, “Keeping track of characters is going to be YOUR job, ’cause I’m not going to make it easy through the story.” Only at that point, I want to get started on the STORY, not read a list. Still, if the book is part of a series, maybe I’ve forgotten all the characters and how they’re related.

    So, that brings up another choice… In a series, every author seems to have a different technique of “reintroducing” past characters. Some authors are more intent on making each book a “stand alone” than others. If one just wants to continue the story and not worry about re-explaining who everyone/everything is, then that list of characters is critical for the story to make sense to newbies or to those of us with less than perfect memories! Seems to me that every author would want each story to be accessible to new readers and so satisfying that the new reader wants to go find all the previous works of that author. So either the list is critical OR a deliberate, interesting, and creative (grin) interweaving of the “who everyone is and how they’re related” has to be included. Hmmm, you know? I think I just talked myself into going back and re-re-re-reading all your books… Or however one appropriately shows having already read all the books/stories at least 4 times before. (grin) All your stuff is amazing and much prized. Thank you for feeding my addiction with more great work! Wish I weren’t living on a fixed income so I could afford to send more $.

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