Detcon 1

Well, that's my plane booked and my flight booked for Detcon 1 in July. Just felt the need to kibbitz with some writers and, I guess, go to Detroit. As usual, it will be a solo trip.

So, if you'll be there, let me know. I'm letting you know now. You see how that works?

When It Rains, It Rains

Saturday was a gorgeous day in Iowa, with temperatures in the 80s. We were out a bit. I have the sunburn to prove it (slightly red. Not going for skin cancer here.)

Sunday was a rainy day. And we needed a relaxing day, as our storm radio kept alarming us awake until about 12:30. We didn't get the ping pong sized hail many of you had, but we were prepared to take cover at a moment's notice. So, what did I do with Sunday? Napped and hemmed new curtains. Such a life.

This week the temperature will fight its way back into a seasonal 60 degrees.


Writing this week continues to be the novella. I am thinking about maybe going to Detcon, but I haven't looked into it at all yet. Stay tuned.

Have a great Monday.

Rejection, Reassurance, and the Writing Group

Hmmm...there's that feeling I'd been missing since I hadn't written many short stories recently. The awesome feeling of REJECTION!!! (Da da dum!!!) That would be four in the last two weeks, three of which are right back out there, and one of which is in the revision factory. If you add that the Abigail Rath rejections, it's been a...well, it's been a typical writer's year for my writing. Because rejection is the name of the game.

The rejections have been nice rejections. People know me. People are nice to me about my submissions and my writing. In two cases, the stories have gotten praise, but the available slots are few, and I knew that going in. In one case, the story was actually lost, and my long game of waiting did not pay off. And in the final case, rewrite suggestions, which is why this story is back in the hangar.

There have been times when it's worn me down. Even when rejection is punctuated by acceptance, writers focus more on rejection. And you have to figure out that the alignment of the planets (your story) with the sun (an editor's tastes and needs) and the moon (whatever other factors you can think of to throw in there, like did they just buy a story like that, or do they hate that particular kind of thing, or did you have typos in your letter, or did the editor have a bad burrito experience), well, all of this makes it any wonder that anything gets published ever. So it goes.

You might remember my hearty essay on not giving a damn. What I'm finding pretty helpful right now is the value of not writing in a vacuum. I have great readers who are supportive and reassure me when the need is there. I hope I can do the same for them. Becoming a published writer is not immediate gratification, and it's good when you have people in your corner, because lots of things about publication are capricious.

So, shout outs and kudos. And yeah, still just doing the best art that it can. These circulating stories have legs. It's a matter of time.

An ISU Alumna Talks about VEISHEA Suspension

For those of you who don't live in state, most of you, you may not know that my alma mater's usual spring celebration VEISHEA, the largest student run festival in the country, has been suspended this year due (yet again) to another riot.

As an undergraduate, VEISHEA to me was an opportunity to showcase the college. I was a member of the chemistry club (odd English major that I was), and we decorated and put on a show to the nines. We sometimes won first, sometimes second best open house, our chief rivals being biology. There was a parade, and a variety of festivities. There's always been too much drinking. Some fires were started in frat row, but things escalated seriously in 1988.

VEISHEA's first riot happened in 1998 when I was still working on my Masters at ISU. It was a bit of an embarrassment, of course. There were task forces to decide whether we should still have the festival or not. In the end, the festival was moved from May to April, in hopes that cooler weather would dampen darker spirits.

But it did not. VEISHEA riots have occurred every few years since then. One year the event was cancelled all together in an effort to stop the mobs. This year, we did it again. And this year, someone was hurt again when a light pole fell on them. Why are we pulling out lamp posts? The spirit just moves us, man. Thanks to social media, arrests are being made. Good.

Most of the alums I talk to think we should just shut it down, and I agree. All of the good that the festival used to do in the past has vanished, only to be replaced by this negative publicity. No one goes to Dairy Industries for ice cream anymore. No one cares about VEISHEA pies or club displays, or even nostalgia alum visits for late night Campaniling. Nope, it's all about if the students and visitors will riot this year. And you know, that stinks.

I sincerely hope that this year's suspension leads to permanent cancellation. The harm has been done, the festival is irretrievable. The vandals have won, and that just makes me angry. But when people start getting hurt, it's time to let it go.

Getting in Shape: End of Week 24

And in a dizzying week of workity work work, we're back. How'd we do this week?

Beginning Wii Weight: 223.8 (My heaviest ever after this summer.)
Wii Weight on 3-25-14: 205 (a loss of 1.1)
Total: 18.8 pounds LOST

Added Intelligence: This is the new high. I have spent most of my week in the 203.5-203.7 zone. I'll tell you what's going on shortly.

Weight Watchers on Initial Weigh In: 224
Weight Watchers on 3-25-14: 207.6 (a loss of 1.4)
Total: 16.4 pounds

What's going on: As I mentioned the 205 is the new ceiling. I had a big indulgence last night (pizza AND ice cream) but I have no "food events" this week, and so I decided to spend all my extras on one days. The rest of my planner is cute now. At the top it says "Remember the Zookie." and how many points I can have for the day, plus how much exercise I need to do each day. I'm in the zone, and I expect great success this week.

What's working: The Wii Fit U Meter gives me a wonderful idea of how much exercising I'm really doing. It means that I must take more time to work out, BUT at the same time, it's more honest. It's also fun. I mean, I've walked around Chicago, New York, and Sydney. I'm currently in London. I've also climbed the Statue of Liberty, the Pyramid of Giza, and I'm almost up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. What's not to like?

What do I need to improve?: Well, work has been full. I mean as in robust. So, you know, eating seems to be a way to cope when you aren't enjoying yourself. I refuse to fall back into that trap, so focusing on one really good treat, being satisfied, and finding happiness where I can, that's what I'm working on. I believe that I have the exercise under control, and when I get the happy under control, the food will follow. Pretty sure about that.

My new hope is to be below 200 by the end of May. Here's hoping!

Notes of Interest

After a weekend of pure registration, finally got back to the writing today. I'm revising the weredog novella again, with hopes of turning it into something more viable.

What I seem to be doing with the rest of my time today is meetings, soup making, and exercising. So, hopefully there will be a review of Captain America: Winter Soldier this week. Full time job is full time, so we'll see.

Psychological Check In

So, how are we doing?

Well, I haven't lagged off entirely, but I have to tell you, I have been letting a few things go. I don't get delight in every day right now, and I should. There are several times when I should stop doing something because I don't want to, or I should do something because I want to, and I'm not doing that. That has got to stop, so I'm working on doing more of those emotional check ins.

It's really easy to sink back into goals when you are goal oriented. Don't let yourself do it.


I feel tired a lot. I wonder if my thyroid med dosage is too low, or if I'm not getting enough sleep (sleeping like a rock when I do sleep, but I get up awfully early), or if I'm just not re-energizing myself with creativity and delight enough. I'll watch this situation, try focusing on delight and creativity, and if there's not improvement, talk to my doctor. I'll wait until the summer, because once I'm out of school, well, I won't be getting up so early, and I can tell it's sleep dep.


Meditation/Deep Breathing? Not every day. Bad Catherine. No cookie. When I feel the need, I do. I *am* practicing mindfulness. Not too scattered on the tasks. So that's something.


Creativity? Just got two stories off. Frustrated this week, like I knew I would be, because work is pretty much ON this week. It's just a week. Gotta keep that in perspective. Then it's back to getting the real writing done.


So. I'm healthier than I was before therapy, still, but not as healthy mentally as I was when I left. I think living in the moment and just doing what I want would help.

Getting in Shape: End of Week 23

Well, I am skipping Weight Watchers this week in lieu of seeing some friends. So, those stats will remain for another week. However, bad news on the Wii front.

Beginning Wii Weight: 223.8 (My heaviest ever after this summer.)
Wii Weight on 3-25-14: 206.1 (a gain of 1.7)
Total: 17.7 pounds LOST

Weight Watchers on Initial Weigh In: 224
Weight Watchers on 3-25-14: 208 (a loss of 1.2)
Total: 16 pounds

What's happening here: I went to Portland and came back weighing the same, BUT I kept eating badly and not paying attention to what I was eating. I would start over again next week, was the message in the back of my mind. I continue to be loosey-goosey with points, and again, no exercise in the world can countermand that.

What's new: Exercise. The Wii Fit Meter and I have decided to burn 563 calories a day, based on my current efforts, and my intended weight loss. That's like double exercise, which is what I said I was going to try. Also, this week is registration week at work, which, frankly, gives me no time for creativity. I'm tired all the time, working with a sleep deficit from the conference, and not too happy at the moment. David would be unproud, so I will try to change that, but that always has an affect on weight loss and eating habits.

What's going to change: I have already figured that if I work out the Wii required calories, and I divvy up my Weight Watchers extra points, I have 44 program points a day. That's huge, and yet, I can eat over that if I don't pay attention (which might account for my weight problem.) So, here are the new food rules.

1. No extras. If you haven't counted it, you don't eat it. Even sniglets of cookies, one pretzel, etc
2. No eating after 7. You've been falling back into the snack habit. Drinking, yes. Eating? No.
3. Because you eat out so much, you need to think about ways to cut back on food when you eat out. Each eating out meal costs you an average of 22 points, which is not good. I would suggest making a healthy snack and eating it before you go out to eat, and then cutting back on what you eat. Let's give this a try.
4. Keep working out as you are. I know it's time consuming, and it's no fun sometimes, but healthy writers live a longer time to write when they are done working.

So, I'll check in next week. This, ladies and gentlemen, is called accountability. I knew that we'd get to this point eventually, and I would need to be in a public forum to keep going. Otherwise, it's easy to skulk away.

Let's keep it in perspective. I've lost some weight. I need to do more if I want to lose more. Health-wise, it's helped the knee, the breathing, the stamina, and the reflux. I will only feel healthier if I lose more. Not a vanity move here. :)

Keep stepping!

What I’m Enjoying, Right Now

Time for something completely different. What am I enjoying right now?

1. My husband. While I always enjoy Bryon, recently he's been particularly considerate and charming. I'm also proud of his abilities to make and craft things that I could not begin to.

2. Licorice tea. I used to hate licorice tea, but now I'm enjoying it, and threatening to sip away the entire department supply.

3. Russian gingerbread. A particular weakness, but only about 60 calories a round, and oh so good.

4. Being dry. I love Portland. It's one of my favorite cities, but it is damp. My last two days in Iowa, my feet have been dry. Methinks that's going to change today, however.

5. The Wii Fit meter. My weight loss has stopped for more or less the last two months, but the Wii Fit meter acts like a personal trainer. We're supposed to burn 536 calories a day now. Of course, watching what we eat with Weight Watchers continues.

6. My new belt. I have lost so much weight I've had to get a new belt. It has skulls all over it, not exactly work dress, but pretty subtle so only those in the know can see my rebellion against The Man.

7. Having several writing projects to get out. I've just sent out two short stories. I have a novella to revise, a short story to finish modifying, and another short to produce from scratch. Also, I have a novel I'm working on. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, I'm feeling good about being productive.

8. Cooking at home tonight. Cheeseburgers made with lean ground beef, 2% Colby Jack slices, and low cal buns. Oven fries, (shoe string potatoes baked in the oven, covered with a little oil and Spanish paprika.) Maybe some sliced mango for dessert.

I hope you are all finding things about the day that you enjoy? Feel free to share.