Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-nine (AKA Hur Hur) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Extremely pleased and slightly scared.

So the nice person who runs the consulting company that I work for called me today to find out if I wanted another twenty hours per week for the next seven weeks, as it was work associated with the project I was doing the modules for and the client agreed that it would be best to have one person as point for all of it.

I gulped and said yes because I’m working from home which makes this sort of thing much easier (and it means that we will be extremely comfortable in September). That also means that I will be pulling fifty hour weeks from next week through the end of September, plus forty hours in October. I’m going to try to schedule writing time every weekday as well as on the weekends, but my brain might be pudding by the time October rolls around.

Oh, and ten minutes after I got that call Ramón strolled in and said that he had a line on four different contract jobs, all of which involved stuff he’s been doing for the past three years. Oh, and they all paid handsomely. If he can get one of those jobs and work for three weeks in September, what he’ll get paid for that plus what I’ll be making on this project will allow us to clear off my car loan and another loan and throw a large chunk of green at our credit cards. At which point we buckle down for the rest of 2019 and do our best to zero out both credit card balances. Please keep all available extremities crossed that this happens because if it does, man, it would make a huge difference in our finances.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-eight (AKA Welp, That Was A Monday) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Warily pleased. Yeah, let’s call it that.

The contract job started in earnest today and I spent much of the day learning the new instructional design app (I used Captivate years ago at the Telecoms Company so learning a new one is mainly a matter of figuring out where various commands are) and getting to grips with my client’s template.

I have to admit, making training modules is kinda fun so I really enjoy that part, but I’ll be happier when I complete my learning curve and can make this app do cartwheels. To that end, I’ve ordered an instructional manual that will help me figure out all the ins and outs (I did this when I had to learn how to use Zen Cart for another client and it was a lifesaver).

In other news, I had to take a couple of hours off in the afternoon to go visit the doctor and reassure them that my blood pressure medicine is not killing me so that they would continue to refill it. I got to talk to the cool Stevie Nicks-esque physician’s assistant and got a pleasant burst of egoboo when her eyebrows went up as she clocked the difference in weight between now and May. She congratulated me, told me to keep on doing what I was doing, then checked all my vitals and pronounced me Not About To Die so I’ve got that going for me. We were also talking about the incipient knee replacement and I told her about the Voltarol cream that we brought back from England (it’s an NSAID that’s prescription-only here). She told me not to dole it out, to use it regularly (because it’s better to use a cream that doesn’t have to hit your digestive system on the way to the painful area) and she’d write me a prescription for the US brand when I run out. Now that’s my kind of medical professional.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-seven (AKA Is That Cooler Weather Ahead?) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Tired already and I still have so much stuff to do.

We had an honest-to-God deluge here yesterday, which was great on the one hand because it brought the temps down nicely and watered everything.

On the other hand, it encourages everything green to put out more pollen/mold/whatever, and today I woke up with my eyes gummed shut and having to blow my nose repeatedly every time I went outside (and this is after taking Claritin and Flonase). Plus the temps went back up, and tomorrow we’re supposed to have the last three-digit day of the year before temps start to drop back into reasonable levels for the clavicle of Texas.

Which makes me happy, because hopefully it will cut down on all the allergens out there, plus it’ll be cooler when I work in the garage at night (Ramón keeps saying he has no idea how I’ve managed to work in the garage all summer. I keep reminding him that I do it late at night with a box fan blowing directly on me, and even then I’m still drenched in sweat and in need of hydration and a shower when I come back inside. And yes, I know this isn’t healthy. We’re looking into ways to heat/cool the garage so that I can work in there anytime, but that requires money and we need to keep a very close eye on ours for the meantime.)

On the plus side, we’re going to have a lovely pork roast with cauliflower mash and oven-roasted sprouts for dinner tonight, which means lots of leftovers, yay, and I’m going to do my best to polish off “Swan Mother and the Sea Wife: tonight so that I can get it into my writing group for critique.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-six (AKA I Love Recycling Jewelry) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Situation: Sweaty and in desperate need of a shower.

As you know, Bob, my friend C was kind enough to send me some pieces of vintage jewelry, along with a really nice sterling silver spoon and fork. I sawed off the shell on the bottom of the spoon bowl and turned that into a finding, put the rest of the bowl into scrap, then started looking at the remaining handle section.

It’s basically a fluted piece of silver that curves outwards at both ends to incorporate some pretty bas relief designs. A lot of jewelry designers round off the end formerly attached to the spoon bowl, curve the handle around a ring mandrel in a spiral and turn the result into an adjustable spoon ring, which can be very pretty. But I decided I wanted to see if I could get a bit more elaborate with my “spoon” ring because hey, sleep is for the weak and I had a creative bug in my ear.

First, I wound up sawing off the elaborately shelled and scalloped tip (gonna turn that into a pendant, I think) and curved the remaining handle around a ring mandrel until it was almost a complete circle. Then I filed down the tops so that they would sit flush against a back plate.

Next, I had to figure out what I was going to set in this ring. I had a pretty blue tiger’s eye cabochon that I was originally going to use, but after making the back plate and twisted wire surround I decided that the cab didn’t work with the design (it was just too high, and I could image people banging it against stuff accidentally and chipping the cab).

Luckily, I had bought a bunch of lovely purple dyed impression jasper slabs and some diamond bores after seeing someone on Facebook drill out perfect circles from blue willow china plates and turn them into jewelry. I picked the bore that was closest in size to the setting, carefully drilled out a circle of impression jasper, sawed it in half depth-wise (easier than it sounds with a padded ring holder) so that it would rise just slightly over the bezel wall, lapped a very shallow shoulder for the bezel to grab, and set it in the ring. The sound I made when it was in could only be heard by dogs and dolphins, but what can I say — I was happy.

The finished ring, shown in the pictures above, is a US size 7.25 and has a twisted wire surround and an asymmetrical shank that I oxidized to show off the detail. I’m calling it Empress because it looks like something a Roman empress would wear, and I’ll be taking sales photos tomorrow. And I cannot tell you how much I love doing stuff like this — whoever buys this ring is going to have a chunk of history on her finger.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-five (AKA Back In The Swing Of Things) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Looking forward to the weekend.

Going back to work as a contract tech writer is bringing a whole bunch of new experiences with it, like Windows 10 and all the joy that comes with that particular operating system, and learning things like Webex (video conferencing tool). Now I like Webex because it means I didn’t have to go downtown today to have a meeting with the designers I’m working with (they were surprised that I turned on video). Windows 10, not so much. But we shall perservere because that is how we roll in the shire.

On the writing front I got about a thousand words in on Growl and about 500 on one of those SF short stories I’m doing, which is happy-making. I also got a package of jewelry from a friend of mine who inherited various pieces from her great-grandmother (great-gran was a pistol and a half, from what C was saying) and I’m happily going through it and planning how to clean two pieces for sale, repair two pieces for C, and figure out what I’m going to do with the cool sterling silver spoon and fork she sent me. Since they’re not in a shape where a replacement company would buy them, she told me to go crazy and do something interesting with them. And I think I may well take the concept of “spoon ring” one step further, tra la.

New Merch in the Teespring Store

So there’s a bit of a foofaraw going on in Romancelandia about a certain individual calling romance writers “literature’s prostitutes.” Needless to say, there was an immediate call for this on a t-shirt because that’s how romance writers roll, so these are my entries (currently available at Teespring — I’ll be doing mugs and stickers as well). I’m also working on a “I’m just here for the ratio” design so keep an eye out for that.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-four (AKA Holy Crap) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Freaking ecstatic, to be honest.

Okay, you may remember back on Day Thirty-six when I mentioned that Shark Week had made its appearance and while I could tell that I was retaining water, I hadn’t gained any weight.

Well, Shark Week this month was due to start yesterday, and I had all the classic symptoms — a brief bout of murderous PMS (now I know why I howled at Ramón a couple of nights ago), cramps, and water retention. I’m not seeing any blood or other materials making their presence known, however (which could just mean that it’ll happen next week). But the water retention was fairly hideous, to the point where I could press divots along my shin from my ankle almost to my knee and my face was visibly puffy.

So I stepped on the scale this morning … and I’d dropped over half a pound. I’m currently at the lowest weight I’ve been in at least three years (I know I keep saying that, but it keeps going down), and I’m retaining at least three pounds of water. When my reproductive system finally gives up the ghost this month and lets all the water go, I suspect I am in for one hell of a pleasant surprise.

And with that in mind, I have a new goal. First, of course, we’ll need reliable medical insurance that will cover it, but I have a specific goal weight in mind. When I reach it, I’m going in for knee replacement surgery. It’s been one of those things that I keep thinking I need to get done, but it’s become very obvious with Chuck that while my endurance is up and I’m getting fitter, my knee pain is getting worse and it’s screwing with other things on that leg. So, time to go bionic and slap in a titanium replacement model. Ramón is terrified at the thought (he’s a control freak about certain things and surgery is one of them — he wouldn’t even let his oral surgeon give him gas or anything during his wisdom tooth extraction, just novocaine) and has muttered about going in to his doc to beg for a single Xanax while I’m in surgery, poor dear.

Me, I just wanna walk again without pain. That’s not too much to ask, I think.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-three (AKA Working For The Man) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Things are improved somewhat

There are no dental horrors in store for me, according to my hygienist, and my dentist is impressed that my lower left bicuspid filling, which is pretty much all of the tooth to be honest, is still holding on so there’s no need to crown it this year.

Can you tell I like my dentist’s office? They understand that I’m an avowed dental coward and make sure I’m numbed back to the hairline (I don’t care about pressure, vibration, smoke, or a dentist standing on my jaw. They can do whatever they want to me as long as it doesn’t hurt). The day started off with a crappy aura, but after that everything got better (it also helped to find out that our insurance is still good, which we weren’t sure about — there was some question of whether we were covered through the second half of August or not, since Ramón is now a gentleman of leisure. Apparently we’re still covered, so that’s all good).

I’ve also been working with the new (well, new to me — it’s a refurb) Dell laptop and the instructional design app I’ll be using for the contract tech writing work that I’ll be doing for the next five weeks. As I told Ramón, “To paraphrase Tony Stark, ‘…yeah, I can use Storyline.'” I used Captivate extensively while I was still with the Major Telecoms Company, and this app is extremely similar. I may also now have a training module that teaches people how to make bezel cups, ahem.

In writing news, I’m plowing along on Growl and working on a couple of short stories — unfortunately for my romance readers, these are SF short stories so I don’t think you’re going to be interested in them. But if I can get them sold this year, that would be very reassuring that I can still write salable science fiction.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-two (AKA Working On The Website) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Weariness level: Not as bad as yesterday, but I’m still tired.

Today was a busy one, mes amies. After a morning of learning Articulate Storyline for my new contract job, I had to run over to my rock and gem store to get a chain and some sterling wire, package up three sales and mail those out (including one to Canada which meant standing in line while they processed my Customs form), and run back to Michael’s to get some findings that I need NOW. I then grabbed a break at DiMassi’s for a nice Mediterranean buffet, came back home to crit a 10K story for my writing group meeting, then actually went to said meeting and delivered the crit while listening to stories of one member who just got back from Dublin and Worldcon (Worldcon is in New Zealand next year. I wanna gooooooo…).

After all that? I came home, made a Content Advisories page, and started creating entries for all of my books and linking all books to their section on the CA page. My God, I write a lot of violent stuff. But at least people who are squicked by my kind of writing can now check the page out and see whether or not they want to read a specific book. I’m hoping to get some fiction writing in tomorrow, but we’ll have to see how things shake out between the contract work and my dental appointment in the afternoon, whee.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-one (AKA Ouch) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Weariness level: Wake me up after Election Day, November 2020

So, stress. Is it possible to be really exhausted from a panic attack and want to just go to bed and sleep?

Turns out the answer is yes. What am I stressed about, you ask? The usual — finances, work, the hellscape that is US politics, the oncoming destruction of the biosphere, the fact that my right foot is still aching, yadda yadda. Which means it wasn’t a panic attack, it was an anxiety attack because there was a definite trigger.

Still, I feel wrecked, I already took a nap this afternoon, and I need to go to bed early tonight because I’m pretty much useless at the moment. Ramón offered to go out and get a pizza for dinner, so I thought I’d try to put together my sister’s citrine earrings while the pizza was cooking. This was clearly a mistake. Number one, the garage is still broiling hot even with a fan blowing on me. Number two, I managed to crack one oval setting (not the stone, the setting), then melted the connector jump rings off the other one. The second one is fixable, but I’m not doing it now because it’ll probably blow up in my face.

I also may have yelled at Ramón to leave me alone after I screamed “MOTHERFUCKER” and he poked his head in to see what was wrong. I apologized profusely afterwards and he told me not to worry about it, he knows that “MOTHERFUCKER” just means I’m stressed and I’ll scream his name if something’s seriously wrong. I do love him.

In any case, the one earring that I managed to set looks lovely. Now I just have to put the other setting together and keep it together, and maybe I can set the stones in that one as well.