Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In Memory of Gary McIntyre 5/15/38 - 9/1/08

Today would have been my Dad's 74th birthday. He only made it to 70. My dad was a reclusive alcoholic, but I always knew he loved me and loved my siblings, even if he didn't tell us and even if we didn't see him as often as we would have liked.

My husband and I often say that we wonder how long dad would have lived had he taken care of himself. You see, besides the alcohol, he smoked and his diet was lousy. To dad, a meal consisted of a huge steak. Perhaps a potato if he had one... but that's about it.

He never went to the doctor. Ever. He outright refused. I think he knew the damage he was doing to his body and didn't want to face it. So, he didn't. I still swear that he died at the moment he did because he heard the ambulance sirens in the distance and was determined not to go to the hospital. LOL.

I was blessed to be by his side, holding his hand, when he passed.

His life is a cautionary tale for mine. I don't drink. I don't smoke, but I've spent years eating terribly and not exercising and HATING to go to the doctor to be told, once again, that I had to get fit before it's too late. I still went to the doctor, but I dreaded it. Terribly.

Now, with the help of Spark People and community I've found there, I've lost some weight (lots more to go) and I've gotten active. This fall, I won't be so down about my yearly check up. I'll have some weight loss to show for my efforts, and hopefully better cholesterol numbers as well.

I don't want to keep abusing my body. I don't want to die, like Dad did, with people wondering, "How long would she have lived if she'd only taken care of herself."

Rest in Peace, Dad. I miss you.     

Friday, April 20, 2012

Another week- another update

This week I've put in 310 minutes of exercise (917  minutes for the month; 2006 since I started on Spark People).

And I have walked 84 miles since the end of February. :)

Drumroll, please..... after all that, I have now lost just over 15 pounds. Yay!

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Short Story Published

I have had another short story published on the web! Yaaaa hooooo! :)

Here's the link.

Now I'm going to see if I can figure out how to put links to all my  published shorts on my sidebar... wish me luck!

The State of Amy 4/13/12

I'm still sticking with my Spark People program and still tracking away! I've raised my monthly fitness goal to 1000 minutes. And so far I'm finding it a challenging but not impossible number.

I have now lost almost 14 pounds. Yay!

I am just shy of 70 miles walked since I started the program.

I'm feeling strong and healthier.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Not to get political, but... well, yeah, actually this is political

I'm not voting for President this year.

That statement makes me sad.

I've been voting since I was eighteen, and I don't think I've missed a general election - or if I have, it's been only one.

I'll vote this year, just not for any of the Presidential candidates on offer.


In a nutshell, I don't stand behind Obama's economic policies, and I don't agree with any of the Republicans on social issues. Rock and Hard Place, meet Amy....

While the National Debt continues to rise, Obama spends. I'm not even going to get into health care, mandates, foreign aid, etc. No, let's just look at the way his family has handled money while in the White House. The latest is that one of the Obama girls will be going with a few friends and twenty-five secret service agents to Mexico. It's being called a school trip. Um. Yeah.

This summer, the Obamas took separate planes and motorcades to their vacation, purportedly so that the first lady could get a few hours' jump on her vacation time. *sigh* The extra travel costs are estimated at $100,000. How much did your vacation cost last year? I try to keep ours under a grand.

And it's reported that Michelle Obama took about 42 days of vacation last year, jetting off to some beautiful locales.

So what does all that have to do with why I'm not voting for Obama? Well, the way I see it, if a person/family spends their own money and time too freely, then they won't think twice about spending ours. (And much of 'ours' was spent on these vacations. The Obamas don't pay for those secret service agents, they don't pay for Air Force One, etc).

I just can't stomach it. Especially not when most Americans are struggling to put food on the table, forget about vacations!

As for the Republicans. I can barely tell one from the other anymore. It seems to me that each and every one of them stands on their religious beliefs to dictate to us what is 'right' and what is 'wrong.' They are socially backward, imo. Abortion? Hell no! Gay marriage? As if!

Get with it, Republicans! The Gay rights issues of our times are our Civil Rights fight. I will not vote for any candidate who believes one law-abiding segment of our population shouldn't have all the rights afforded to the others. I just won't.

So, I respectfully withhold my 2012 vote.

Mark Youtube Link (Blues Guitar)

Mark and I posted some more of his guitar vids on youtube last night. Here's one of them!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The State of Amy....

Weight Loss:
Another successful week of eating healthy and exercising (I hate words with S's and C's- they're a bear for me to spell: Exercising, License, etc).

Drum roll, please....

I lost another 2.5 pounds for a total loss of 9 pounds in three weeks. Wheeeeeeee!

I have more energy and I don't feel as if I'm wanting for food - so what could be better?

After finishing the intricate afghan, I thought it'd be nice to work on a mindless project. I wanted to make Ona a small afghan using a 'mini pom-pom' yarn paired with a worsted weight. It's just simply a seed stitch border and then garter stitch body (knit, knit, knit, knit, knit.... (sigh)... you get the picture). I'm bored silly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I tried to set that aside last night and start on a scarf for entry into the fair. My concentration just wasn't there and I ended up tearing it out twice before putting yarn and needles away for the night. I was really afraid I was getting a migraine - because they throw my concentration off beforehand. But nothing yet (Yay).

I finished my fourth edit of Breather a couple of weeks ago and had good intentions of starting the first edit of Sonny Boye, but I just haven't gotten to it. I'm feeling the urge to write/edit again, though, so I'll probably either jump into that soon or write something short.

Mark has me reading his favorite series of books, The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks. It's addicting. *nods*

I guess the only new item to report is that poor Mark has been having wicked migraines. He missed almost two full days of school because of them this week. So I left work early on Monday to take him to his doctor and then again yesterday to take him to his chiropracter. Chiropracter said his C2 was out and his muscles at the base of his skull were so tight they were actually pulling his skull back.

No headache for him today. Yay!


Monday, March 12, 2012

The State of Amy('s fitness)

My weekly check-in:
Down another 1.5 pounds for a total loss of 6.5 pounds. I walked a bit more than 9 miles last week.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Brian and (one of) his trophy

Brian's getting quite a collection of Table Tennis trophies. The photo below is from this year's Rochester tournament where he won two trophies. He's the one with the ball cap on. (Good looking boy, huh?) :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weekly Diet Update

I hate to call this a 'diet' update because I'm trying to change my lifestyle, not be on a diet. Amy's Weekly State of Health? LOL

Last week I lost five pounds. I walked a total of six miles and ate less than 1500 calories/day.

Last night, I bit the bullet, stopped giving our Total Gym the stink eye, and began resistance training. I thought I pushed myself, but my muscles don't really feel it this morning. I'll have to go a little harder later this week.


2012 Afghan

I finished my afghan for this year's county fair. It's baby/lap sized and was a challenging pattern. In fact, there are forums on the web devoted to knitters helping each other out with this one.

Anyway, in the photos, you'll see a green seed stitch border- I added that to the pattern as well as a little green decorative stitching in the body of the afghan. I don't think the photos can do it justice, but the pattern has trees with crossing branches, a flower garden, and a leaf border.

I won second place at the fair last year - maybe this one will put me in first. *crosses fingers*

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dieting... dieting

So I really need to lose some weight. Really.

Years ago I lost weight on a low-carb diet and kept it off for a few years. I found in the long run it's not sustainable (for me, at least... and I wonder if it really is for anyone). But after years of false starts and failures, I figured I'd give it another try.

Three weeks ago, I started Atkins. I lasted two weeks. My food choices were so limited. I could have meats, non-starchy veg (I love my starchy veg!), small amounts of cheese, and ... and... ummm. Atkins bars/shakes. Yeah. Not so much. And I was hit with migraines. Ugh.

Soooo... this week (read: yesterday) I started on the Spark People website. It's a free website with lots of great trackers (nutrition, fitness, weight). I'm encouraged to eat healthy and count those darned calories, but that's okay. That's what I should be doing. So far it seems like a nice community.

After tracking my nutrition yesterday, I was impressed by the graphs and charts and suggestions I got. (You can see them below).

I like the graphs and the trackers and the accountability they give me. And speaking of accountability - I plan on updating here each week to say how I'm doing. So, if I don't post about my weight loss, you'll know I'm not doing well. :(

If anyone wants to join me, just let me know what your Spark People name is and I'll friend you on the site.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Shulz Mysteries

I've been reading Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Shulz mysteries for about a year. I pick one up when I don't have anything else on hand to read. I bought most of the series at a rummage sale and picked up the rest as I found them/searched them out. I am currrently reading the 11th of the 14 books in the series.

And I'm getting annoyed.

I had fun reading these books at first. The main characters are (for the most part) likeable, the stories move along pretty quickly (with perhaps an overabundance of cooking references, but since these are cozy culinary mysteries, I suppose that's to be expected), and the setting (Colorado Rockies) is very nice.

But here's what I don't get... and, yes, I'm doing bullets
  • A small Colorado town has this many murders? Really? Shouldn't they quarantine it so the rest of us don't drink that water? And, yes, I know they are cozy culinary murder mysteries, but still...
  • It's always bugged me how the author has to point out that Goldy's best friend, Marla, is overweight every blessed time she's in the books. Pudgy fingers, etc... I get it, the woman could stand to lose a few pounds... sheesh!  Can we get past that now?
  • Goldy is a nosy nuisance. Yes, yes, I know that if she wasn't, these mysteries would never get solved (and the poor town of Aspen Meadows would have a huge Cold Case problem *nod*). But she doesn't use an ounce of common sense. Her cop hubby even tells her that she needs to stay out of a case, but does that deter Goldy? Heck no.
  • Goldy's son, Arch. Grrrr. I mean the kid was cute in the first book or two, but he's growing up to be a hoodlum, a rude, arrogant, horrible little hoodlum. Does Ms. Davidson really think all teens turn into surly mutts who'll bite your hand off before you can say "Good boy"?
  • Goldy's reaction to Arch's 'moods'. For example, in the book I'm reading: Arch is being horrible - asking for all sorts of expensive gifts while at the same time being rude and secretive. Yep. And what's Goldy do? She starts buying him the things on his list! Huh. *scratches head* Seems counterintuitive to me. The child is 15 years old - if he was one of mine and he's going to sneak off, not tell me where he is, and then act as if I'm the bad guy.. well, guess what, kiddo? Birthday or no birthday you're grounded, you're not allowed to play on the lacrosse team with those thugs, and you don't get a darn thing for your birthday until you can show some respect.
  • And 15 year old Arch sneaks off and gets a tattoo. I found it amazing that neither Goldy nor her cop husband thought about how it's illegal for anyone to give an under 18 a tattoo without parental permission (unless laws are different in different states). Goldie didn't even show Arch how mad she was because she was afraid to make him angry. Yeah, right...
  • Ms. Davidson's 'small town' makes me shake my head. Goldy sends Arch to an expensive private school (full of snobs, btw) because the public school is so overcrowded (teacher to student ration = 1:50). Huh? I live in small town America. Our schools are NOT overcrowded. Isn't that supposed to be city schools?
  • Not getting facts straight. Goldy gives in and buys arch the $1400 guitar (on sale for $700!) he wants. Before she can get it home, she's whacked over the head with it (just after she finds an old friend stabbed). Ms. Davidson seems to think electric guitars are made of metal. Not kidding. The guitar gets dented. *headdesk*
And I could probably go on, but I think I made my point. (The point being that I'm annoyed).

I think it's good for a writer to remember that sometimes even a good thing can be spread too thin, and taken too far.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pet Peeves: Or the Toilet paper is on the wrong way

I've been thinking about pet peeves today.

I've been wondering if I really have any. I'm sure I do, but they don't seem to loom large enough that I can think of any at the moment. *thinks* Nope. I have this thing about hating having bare feet, but really, that's more of a hangup than a pet peeve. I mean, I don't care if anyone else goes barefoot, just don't let my tootsies out of hiding. My family makes a big deal (pretend heart attacks, etc)., if they see my feet.... yeah.

But that's not a pet peeve.

My sister Babby has two pps I can think of off the top of my head (which is probably pretty good since she lives three hours from me and I only see her a dozen or so times a year).

1. The toilet paper has to be on the hanger in a certain way. I think this is a common peeve. My question is: Who decides the right way for the TP roll? For me, the right way is the way it happens to go on the holder when I'm changing the roll.

2. The way things are stapled. I don't have the minute details on this one, but I know her papers have to be stapled a certain way. For me, as long as it hits that upper left corner, holds the papers together, and closes at the back enough that I won't get scratched, I'm happy.

Maybe it's because Babby is a perfectionist that she has these peeves. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not putting down her perfectionism. I'd love to have the drive to keep my house and car as clean as she does, or to know the night before what the heck I'm wearing for work, but I just don't. My house, car, and desk are always a bit messy. In the morning, I usually look at my feet, see what color socks I'm wearing, and dress accordinglyh (not kidding).

My husband, Jon, has this one pet peeve that I think (from my very informal technique of watching people walking down the sidewalk) many men share. For Jon, if you're walking down the sidewalk, or entering/exiting a building with two side-by-side doors, you should always keep to your right - as if you're staying in your lane while driving a car. He really does feel it's wrong to go into the left hand door of a store. I enter through the nearest door (or the left hand door if he's with me and I want to drive him just a little crazy). I even (gasp) exit from the post office down the same flight of steps I ascended when I entered (it's closer to the cross walk). Hmmmm... this is all making me sound a bit lazy. LOL. Perhaps I am....

I was thinking about this today because as I was taking a quick stroll during break, I found myself walking down one side of the sidewalk while a teenage boy was walking toward me. I was on the left. Of course I was (I think I like to be closer to the buildings than the street). He was coming straight at me. I did my normal game of watching to see if he'd veer off. He didn't. I moved to the right. *sigh*

I actually played this game of chicken with an older gentleman once. In fact I got within two steps of him before I gave up and veered before I ran him over. But of course, because of Jon's peeve, I have this little voice in my head telling me I'm on the WRONG SIDE.

Ah well.

So, what's your pet peeve?
I'll let you know when I think of mine. :)

Oh and as I passed a store today (walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk) I saw a cute little desk sign that read, "I'm so far behind I think I'm first." I need that sign.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I seem to read a lot of YA (young adult) books lately. I'm not exactly sure why. The funny thing is that I didn't read YA when I was YA.

I adored Hunger Games so much, that when I heard another YA dystopian was being highly touted, I figured I should give it a try. Divergent by Veronica Roth was a fun read, if I didn't think too deeply about the world Ms. Roth created.

I loved the book. I inhaled it. I had my nose stuck in it every extra second I had for about two days, and then I was done. It's a fast paced, violent romp through a dystopian Chicago, with a little romance thrown in. Almost a cross between Hunger Games and Ender's Game... almost.

But, like I said, I enjoyed it as long as I didn't think about the world Ms. Roth was building. I let myself suspend disbelief (though I had very little reason to) and just enjoyed the book while I was reading, and then later, when I was done, all these points that just don't make sense popped into my head.

I won't get into them as I'd have to include spoilers to do so. But I'll just say that if you look at her world too closely, it falls apart like Swiss cheese with too many holes.

But I loved the book. Go figure.

And even though the plot holes didn't throw me out of the book, sometimes the writing did. The author uses far fewer contractions than many other writers, and I found myself noticing it.  Many times, the characters (mostly teens) sounded stiff.

But, like I said, I loved the book.

I absolutely recommend reading it. Just be ready to suspend your disbelief....