Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Building a Bucket List #92-98



  1. See the Tokyo Tower
  2. Visit the Wrangell St. Elias National Park
  3. See the San Antonio Missions
  4. Learn how to surf
  5. See Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janerio
  6. Visit the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
  7. Visit the Palenque ruins

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Building a Bucket List #85-91



  1. Visit Times Square
  2. See Sitka National Historic Park
  3. Visit Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
  4. Learn how to make lace
  5. See the Arcopolis in Greece
  6. Visit the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
  7. See the Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Building a Bucket List #78-84


  1. Visit Lake Clark National Park
  2. See the Burg Al Arab Hotel
  3. Tour Independence Hall
  4. Learn how to refinish wood furniture
  5. See the Pyramids of Giza
  6. Visit the Noatak National Preserve
  7. See the Taos Peublo

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Reading List and Mini Reviews November 10

I've been doing a fair amount of reading lately so here's whats been added to the Books Read List since my last update.


Assault or Attrition by Blake Northcott

This is the second book of this trilogy. I thought that it was a good second book: it kept the feel of the first book while allowing the characters to grow and change. It was a really enjoyable read.



The finale of the Area Mode Saga. This book did a good job of wrapping up the trilogy but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the first two books.  Matthew, the main character, got steadily less likable and harder to relate to while other favorite characters got pushed away and out of the spotlight. Still a fun read but not as good as the first two.


This was a fun light read.  It's quite the adventure with a biker gang of witches, a talking dog and a shape-changing griffin.  The pacing was a little strange at times but the laugh out loud moments did a good job of making up for it. 


So, I accidentally read this prequel to the series before any of the actual series. I thought that it was a fun read and I definitely grabbed the first book of the series when I was done but I suspect that I would have gotten more more out it if I'd read any of the series first. Either way, it is a fun spy romp and origin story for a unique character.


The is the first book in the Housewife Assassin Series. I really enjoyed reading this book.  The main character Donna is an intriguing mix of housewife and assassin. The contrast of her two roles and their demands on her time is fascinating and entertaining. I definitely recommend this book and I plan to find the time to read the next book in the series sometime soon.


This murder mystery with a hint of romance was an enjoyable read. There were plenty of twists and turns that left me guessing until the very end. The mystery may have been a bit overly convoluted but it definitely made for a good story. It was also an interesting exploration of the ethical issues surrounding vigilantism as they affect police work.


I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book and I must say that it was totally worth the wait. Manners and Mutiny is the last of a four book series and it does a nice job of wrapping up the plot lines and character arcs featured in the series.  It was a fun romp through an enemy-occupied airship with an insane vampire and an odd array of weapons. It was fun to see more of Madame Geraldine in action, and I just love who Sophronia ends up working with.  In other words, I absolutely adored this book and I'm sad that the series has come to an end. I may end up re-reading the Parasol Protectorate Books to see if I can spot any more of the girls from the Finishing School Series.





Monday, November 9, 2015

Weekly Weigh In November 9

Looking at the statistics for this week, I clearly didn't carry my phone/pedometer around but I still managed to increase both the number of steps for the week and the average number of steps per day.

This week I'm working on the consistency in my workouts. My goal is to do the morning workout every morning this week and go for a dog walk every night. For the morning workout I've increasing the weight that I'm using and pushing myself to do more challenging versions of the exercises. In the evenings I'm working up to starting Couch to 5K again. This week I'm just getting out the door with the dog for a walk each night. I don't expect to do any lunchtime workouts this week because I'm focusing on study for an exam in Anatomy and Physiology.

Statistics:

Morning Workouts: 2
Lunchtime Weight Lifting: 0
Evening Dog Walks: 2
Bedtime Yoga: 0
Step Counting:
     Monday: 10894
     Tuesday: 11258
     Wednesday: 7580
     Thursday: 9335
     Friday: 14071
     Saturday: 6363
     Sunday: 319

     Weekly Average: 8545
     Last Week Average: 8428

     Weekly Total: 59820
     Last Week Total: 58996

     November Average: 8167
     November Total: 65337

Current Weight: 245.4 pounds
Last Week: 244.6 pounds

Weight Loss/Gain: 0.8 pounds gained

Starting Weight: 249.4 pounds
Highest Point: 250.2 pounds
Lowest Point: 238.4 pounds

Friday, November 6, 2015

Writing Update November 6


I went a little crazy and decided that I wanted to do NaNoWriMo again this year at the last moment. I've switched stories a couple of time now. I started out trying to put some work into Shattered Live but that is definitely a project that needs some serious outlining. Instead I'm playing with something way less serious that will give me the opportunity to play around and add some silly twists in the story.  I'm a little concerned that I won't be able to give NaNoWriMo the time it needs and do all the studying I need to do for my classwork, so we'll see how it goes.

Statistics:
Words Written: 4175
Scenes Outlined: 0
Times I've switched Stories: 3

Works In Progress

Untitled (NaNoWriMo 2015)- Writing First Draft
4175 / 50000


Hive Mind (NaNoWriMo 2010) - Editing and Writing Second Draft

55308 / 90000


Thriller - Brainstorming and Outlining

0 / 50000

Outbreak (NaNoWriMo 2011) - Resting

54270 / 90000


Steampunk Seasonal Serial - Writing First Draft

15809 / 50000

A Guide to Inter-species Dating - Writing Rough Draft

1751 / 50000

Shattered Lives - Brainstorming and Outlining

181 / 50000

Greased Gears - Writing First Draft



9326 / 50000

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Building a Bucket List #71-77




  1. Visit Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
  2. Visit Kobuk Valley National Park
  3. See the London Eye
  4. See the Sagrada Familia in Spain
  5. Watch every episode in the Star Trek Universe
  6. See the Hollywood sign
  7. Visit Kobuk Valley National Park

Monday, November 2, 2015

Weekly Weigh In November 2

I'm playing with different statistics to track that better match my goals than just tracking weight. I've decided to do NaNoWriMo this year so we'll see how that affect my ability to focus on healthier choices. It'll be interesting balancing NaNoWriMo writing and the lunchtime workouts.

Statistics:

Morning Workouts: 1
Lunchtime Weight Lifting: 0
Evening Dog Walks: 2
Bedtime Yoga: 0
Step Counting:
     Monday: 10109
     Tuesday: 10543
     Wednesday: 9404
     Thursday: 10835
     Friday: 10056
     Saturday: 2514
     Sunday: 5517

     Weekly Average: 8428
     Weekly Total: 58996

     November Average: 5517
     November Total: 5517

Current Weight: 244.6 pounds
Last Week: 249.2 pounds

Weight Loss/Gain: 4.6 pounds lost

Starting Weight: 249.4 pounds
Highest Point: 250.2 pounds
Lowest Point: 238.4 pounds

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Building a Bucket List #64-70


Dragon's Breath Spring in Yellowstone National Park


64. Go to the San Diego Comic Con

65. Go to Dragon Con

66. Visit the IƱupiat Heritage Center

67. Visit Katmai National Park

68.  Visit Kenai Fjords National Park

69. Visit The White House

70. Visit the Taj Mahal

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Building a Bucket List #57-63




57. Climb the Eiffel Tower

58. Visit Gates of the Arctic National Park

59. Visit Big Ben

60. See the Doctor Who Experience

61. Visit the Sydney Opera House

62. Visit Glacier Bay National Park

63. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Building a Bucket List #50-56




50.  Visit the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

51. Build a Teardrop Trailer

52. Visit the Great Wall of China

53. Knit a Sweater

54. Visit Cape Krusenstern National Monument

55. See the Statue of Liberty

56. Visit Denali National Park

Monday, October 12, 2015

Weekly Weigh In 10/12/15

Just going to drop this here and run.  Life's a little crazy with the day job, class, being the doggy hotel and helping my parents prepare to move. Hopefully, I'll have more to say next week.

Statistics:

Morning Workouts: 3
Lunchtime Weight Lifting: 2
Evening Dog Walks: 1
Bedtime Yoga: 4

Current Weight: 244.6 pounds
Last Week: 244.8 pounds

Weight Loss/Gain: 0.2 pounds lost

Starting Weight: 249.4 pounds
Highest Point: 250.2 pounds
Lowest Point: 238.4 pounds

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Building a Bucket List #43-49

Grand Tetons on a Cloudy Day



43. Learn to make Tiramisu

44. Go Camping on Horseback

45. Visit the Grand Canyon

46. Ski in the Alps

47. Learn to Paint with Acrylics

48. Learn how to throw a Pot on a Potter's wheel

49. Visit the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekly Weigh In Oct 5


I'm still doing battle with the sugar beast but I'm making my way back to healthier eating. I'm working on building consistency and mental discipline.

I'm going to gradually add in a few more statistics to better represent my goals.  The scale is not the end all be all of getting healthy. I need to keep this in mind especially since I'm getting compliments on my weight loss even though the scale is up a few pounds. I must kill the urge to argue with people who think I've lost weight.  The tape measure and increased physical ability is way more important than the scale. Let's repeat that about a thousand more times until it drowns out the cultural focus on the number on the scale.

Statistics:

Morning Workouts: 2
Lunchtime Weight Lifting: 1
Evening Dog Walks: 0
Bedtime Yoga: 3

Current Weight: 244.8 pounds
Last Week: 241.8 pounds

Weight Loss/Gain: 3.0 pounds gained

Starting Weight: 249.4 pounds
Highest Point: 250.2 pounds
Lowest Point: 238.4 pounds

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Board Game Spotlight: Pandemic



Pandemic is one of the favorite games of everyone I play with.  One of the strengths of Pandemic is that it is a cooperative game. All the players are working together to cure the diseases that are represented with small cubes covering the board, which is the only way to win the game.  There are, however, numerous ways to lose the game: have eight outbreaks, run out of time (run out of cards in the player deck), and running out of disease cubes to place on the board.

The original Pandemic has really good replay-ability on its own with multiple difficulty settings.  I have the first expansion: Pandemic On the Brink. It adds new event card and player roles as well as new challenges. Virulent Strain selects one of the disease colors and gives it specific abilities with each new epidemic which makes it harder to treat and cure.  Mutated Strain adds a fifth disease that behaves differently from the other four. Bio-terrorist introduces a player role that works against the other players in the game.

My current favorite set-up is to play with both the Virulent Strain and Mutated Strain challenges on an easier difficulty.

I haven't yet gotten a chance to play with the Bio-Terrorist challenge. I hope to change that soon since one of the members of my game group is eager to be the Bio-Terrorist.



You can find Pandemic and Pandemic on The Brink on Amazon or at a Local Game Store



Friday, October 2, 2015

Writing Update Oct 2

I took part of the week off from writing as a self care strategy. The Day Job was particularly demanding of my physical and mental energy.

I'll be sticking to 200 words a day for one more week before continuing to increase my minimum word limit.

Statistics:
Words Written: 651
Scenes Outlined: 0

Works In Progress

Hive Mind (NaNoWriMo 2010) - Editing and Writing Second Draft
55308 / 90000


Thriller - Brainstorming and Outlining

0 / 50000

Outbreak (NaNoWriMo 2011) - Resting

54270 / 90000


Steampunk Seasonal Serial - Writing First Draft

15809 / 50000

A Guide to Inter-species Dating - Writing Rough Draft

1751 / 50000

Shattered Lives - Brainstorming and Outlining

181 / 50000

Greased Gears - Writing First Draft



9326 / 50000

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Building a Bucket List #36-42

Sunrise Sept 25th 2015



36. Visit San Juan Island National Historic Park

37. See a live performance of Newsies

38. Visit City of Rocks National Preserve

39. Visit Craters of the Moon National Monument

40. See a live performance of The Book of Mormon

41. Visit Hagerman Fossils Beds National Monument

42. See a live performance of The Lion King

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Building a Bucket List #29-35




29. Visit Mount Rainier National Park

30. Hike to the summit of Mount St Helens

31. Visit North Cascades National Park

32. Go on a four-wheeling trip

33. Tour the Portland Underground

34. Visit Olympic National Park

35. See the Louvre

Friday, September 18, 2015

Writing Update Sept 18

I'm still working solely on Hive Mind at this point and I'm definitely falling back in love with writing.  I'm not sure that Hive Mind will ever get up to snuff but I'm learning a lot by going through the editing process. I can't wait until I get to start re-writing Outbreak. One of the challenges I've been having is that I've forgotten some of the details in earlier edits so I go back and read the sections. The real problem with that is that I can see how much work still needs to be done. I just have to keep reminding myself that there will be several more rounds of editing. At least I'm getting rid of the typos from NaNoWriMo.

For your entertainment, here is one of the more mangled sentences:
The converasation between the cousins was interrupted by the reappearanmce of Captain XCharles and Minerva. 

Except for the weekend when I went camping, I was able to consistently write each day. I also mostly made up the words from the weekend. This coming week I'll be writing a minimum of 200 words.

Statistics:
Words Written: 984
Scenes Outlined: 0

Works In Progress

Hive Mind (NaNoWriMo 2010) - Editing and Writing Second Draft

54657 / 90000

Thriller - Brainstorming and Outlining

0 / 50000

Outbreak (NaNoWriMo 2011) - Resting

54270 / 90000


Steampunk Seasonal Serial - Writing First Draft

15809 / 50000

A Guide to Inter-species Dating - Writing Rough Draft

1751 / 50000

Shattered Lives - Brainstorming and Outlining

181 / 50000

Greased Gears - Writing First Draft


9326 / 50000

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Building a Bucket List #22-28


22. Publish a Novel

23. Weave a blanket

24. Read War and Peace

25. Visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

26. Learn to drive a motorcycle

27. Go hang gliding

28. Visit the Oregon Caves National Monument

Monday, September 14, 2015

Weekly Weigh-In Sept 14

I'm up a little this week but I actually expected it since I was camping this weekend and was a bit sugar obsessed.  It be water weight so next week should have some major improvement as I step it up in my workouts.

Statistics:

Current Weight: 245.8 pounds
Last Week: 241.8 pounds

Weight Loss/Gain: 4.0 pounds gained

Starting Weight: 249.4 pounds
Highest Point: 249.4 pounds
Lowest Point: 238.4 pounds

Friday, September 11, 2015

Writing Update Sept 11

I'm working on maintaining a regular writing habit.  I've been letting my day job take over my life and I want to really work on carving out time and space for things that are important to me.  This week, my focus has been to write at least 100 words a day. Next week, my goal will be to write at least 150 words a day and I'll continue to increase the number of words until I reach a reasonable number for continuous writing in the time that I have available. I'm hoping to reach the point where I can easily write 1000 words a day.

I'm really enjoying my return to writing. Immersing myself in my stories feels like coming home. I didn't realize how much I'd missed these stories and writing until now.

I'm currently focusing on re-writing Hive Mind since it is the farthest along and it should be easier to gain some momentum on.  This first draft almost feels more like an outline to me.  I think this is probably a good sign of how much I've grown as a writer. Also, looking at my project list, I think I need to stop starting new projects. Of course, a couple of these are failed starts from NaNoWriMo since I started the full time day job. I'm definitely looking forward to working on and actually finishing these projects.

Statistics:
Words Written: 341
Scenes Outlined: 0

Works In Progress
Hive Mind (NaNoWriMo 2010) - Editing and Writing Second Draft
54324 / 90000


Thriller - Brainstorming and Outlining

0 / 50000

Outbreak (NaNoWriMo 2011) - Resting

54270 / 90000


Steampunk Seasonal Serial - Writing First Draft

15809 / 50000

A Guide to Inter-species Dating - Writing Rough Draft

1751 / 50000

Shattered Lives - Brainstorming and Outlining

181 / 50000

Greased Gears - Writing First Draft

9326 / 50000

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Building a Bucket List #10-21

I'm bringing this feature back too because I think it is fun and I need a To Do List anyway.  This week's additions were inspired by my recent whirlwind trip through Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic NP, Lava Beds NM and Crater Lake NP.  I promise to have a little more variety in future list additions

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone - July 2015


10. Go Backpacking in Yellowstone National Park

11. Bicycle through Grand Tetons National Park

12. Go backpacking in Yosemite National Park

13. Hike to the peak of Mount Lassen

14. Go caving in the Lava Beds National Monument

15. Snowmobile at Crater Lake National Park

16. Visit Alcatraz Island National Park

17. Visit Channel Islands National Park

18. Visit Devils Postpile National Monument

19. Visit Joshua Tree National Park

20. Visit Muir Woods National Monument

21. Visit Pinnacles National Park

Monday, September 7, 2015

Weekly Weigh In Sept 7

It's been an interesting year and my progress with weight loss has been slow. However, I'm learned a lot about how my body reacts to food. I've done a few different elimination diets and discovered that my body doesn't handle Dairy very well.

I just got back from a week and a half vacation including lots of time driving and a fair amount of eating out.  I planned very carefully to allow enough movement to out weigh the hours of time in the car and it looks like my planning paid off since I lost weight while traveling.

I'm looking to get back to really focusing on getting healthy.  I have so many things that I want to do that require a level of fitness that I currently don't have. I'd like to lose weight but if all I accomplish is building the required strength, stamina and energy levels, I'll take it.

Taken at Glacier Point in Yosemite

Statistics:

Current Weight: 241.8 pounds

Starting Weight: 249.4 pounds
Highest Point: 249.4 pounds
Lowest Point: 238.4 pounds

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Weekly Weigh In Jan 8


So I did pretty well this week.  Most of the weight loss was probably holiday fluff that came off when I returned to more disciplined eating but it is definitely nice to see.

I did really well at tracking my calories this week but I been having sinus issues and not sleeping well so I haven't been making it to the gym or doing Insanity as planned.  I went on nice dog walks on 5/7 days so at least I was getting some exercise outside of running around at work. Still less than my goal of every day but the reality is that sometimes life happens.

I'm happy with this week's progress and will keep making progress.


Statistics:

Current Weight: 246.4 pounds
Last Week: 249.4 pounds

Weight Loss/Gain: 3.0 pounds lost

Starting Weight: 249.4 pounds
Highest Point: 249.4 pounds
Lowest Point: 246.4 pounds

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello 2015!

It's January 1st again and it's always nice to have goals. Looking at previous goal lists, I can see that I've had mixed results in goal setting so some of these goals will be a repeat.

I'm looking to have more personal discipline in 2015:
  • Better Financial Decisions and adherence to the budgeting
  • Better Health and fitness
    • Consistent Calorie Counting
    • Daily exercise (even if it is just walking the dog around the neighborhood)
  • Fifteen minutes of house cleaning daily
  • One hundred words of writing daily
I want to keep working on the life/work balance and doing more of the things I love
  • Weekly Hiking Trips and Monthly camping trips in the late spring/summer/early fall
  • Keep on Playing Board Games regularly
  • Get back into swing dancing at least every other week
  • Working on creative/crafty pursuits