Thursday, April 28, 2016

What I have learned from from #5amwritersclub

I write. In grade school, I carried around blue notebooks in which I would scribble down notes, conversation, plot lines. In high school, I would pound out dramatic thoughts on our ancient Apple. In college and grad school, late nights found me tinkering with characters and scenes for hours.

Life gets busy.  Three kids, (more than) full time job, marathon training busy. But ideas still come - conversations, characters. images. So I find time. And for me, that time is 5 am. It may sound crazy, but here are some of the things I've learned from months in a twitter group with the hasthag #5amwritersclub

  1. Dragons, jewel heists, and interdimensional graduate students seem less ridiculous at 5 am. 
  2. Scheduling time to meet your muse makes me much more likely that the fickle lady will appear. 
  3. Sometimes your muse doesn't show. But, there's coffee, so you write anyway.
  4. Self doubt likes to sleep in. If you can sneak in ~1000 words before self-doubt wakes up, you're ahead of the game. 
  5. Twitter can be a kind, warm, and welcoming place. But mostly at 5 am. 
  6. Toddlers also like 5am. Mostly when great ideas strike. 
Do you write? What do you write? When do you write?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Commitment.

I don't read fiction as much as I used to. By a lot.

I used to have a 2-3 books a week habit. Mostly fantasy, some sci fi, occasionally a crime procedural or romance. Almost entirely genre fiction.

Now? Maybe 1 a month, if I'm honest. And lucky.

Is it because, as an adult, there are so many other demands on my time? Is it because, as a parent, my little ones interrupt and constantly steal my bookmarks? Is it because, as a smart phone owner, I have developed a shorter attention span?

Whatever the cause, I have a hard time getting engaged in so many books these days.

Tonight I'm reading this: Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu. I've enjoyed some of Mr. Beaulieu's earlier works and I was hoping this one would suck me in just as easily. It hasn't - several chapters in, and I'm debating whether it's worth the time to finish. It feels cinematic, tightly edited, very active... but not engaging.

What books are you reading? Why do you love them? Why are you reading them? Inquiring minds want to know. Because I've committed to reading 16 fiction books in 2016, and I haven't made it off to a good start!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Food Accountability - Enter YouFood!

I have been guilty of phases in which I clutter up my instagram and twitter with food photo journaling. I have also been guilty of phases in which I feel guilty about posting pictures of my food, so I stop.

Crazy, right?

Homemade Thai curry soup - lots of veggies and cashews and total yumminess!
But maintaining major weight loss isn't easy, especially with marathon training added into the mix. It's been nearly 8 years since I finished losing 120 pounds, but some of those have found their way back. My attitudes about this have changed - really, pants size is a heck of a lot less important than the amazing things I've done - but I have a goal. I'd like to carry about 15 pounds less of me when I cross over the marathon finish line this fall.

When I commit to taking and posting pictures of all the food I eat, I make much better choices about food. Not just for weight loss, but for fueling my runs, and other aspects of health.

Enter YouFood. Part food blogging, part food photojournaling, it's been a great couple of days of tracking everything. I've skipped ice cream I don't need, muffins I don't really want, and clearing my kids' plates when I'm not hungry any more. I've been eating more veggies, hitting the vending machine less, and feeling pretty damn good. I even ran intervals this morning, trying to bring my comfortable pace down a bit.

So, if you're interested in food tracking and a developing community of food lovers, check out YouFood. You'll find me on there as @booksnbrains and I look forward to seeing what you're eating!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dover Air Force Base Heritage Half Marathon -

What do you get when you pack a family of 5 into an SUV with 48 ounces of coffee and an audio book, at 5 am?  In this family, a half marathon!

The Dover AFB half marathon was a short, pre-dawn drive. It's a small race, but with same-day packet pickup, strollers allowed, and a reasonable entry fee, it was perfect for the whole famile. The absolutely negligible elevation changes made for a lovely spring run. 

The great thing about running as a family is that everyone has a their own goal or place in their racing adventure. Today was Little Dude's first half marathon. He's been excited for weeks; getting up early to train, telling everyone about the giant planes we were going to run around. 

Then, this morning, he started freaking out. Quietly, which is immediately unusual for my boy whose main problem in school is not talking. Race day jitters took their hold and he nearly took me up on the offer to stay in the car while his sister and dad ran the race without us. 

Three miles in, he was on cloud nine. A really, really chatty cloud nine. Chatting, smiles, and an hour of family time passed. 

Then, at mile 11, he didn't think he could finish. Even if you don't run, you might be one of those people who traps themselves in negative self-doubt spirals. I know I've always been one of those people, even before I ran regularly. 

Now that I run, it's easy to see the fallacy of those self-destructive spirals. So, for half a mile, I held his hand and we walked and talked about how he could finish even if he doubted himself. And, lo and behold, he did. 

The post is a bit picture-light, since photos on the base weren't exactly condoned, but there were plenty of selfie hijinks with the kids at the finish line. 

It wouldn't be a travel race adventure without trying out the local foods. In Delaware, this means Grotto Pizza. And, more importantly, gelato. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Green Inishturk Stole

Sometimes you want to knit a gift for a special person. And sometimes that special person is the wonderful Irishwoman who plays trains with your toddler so you can run off and do science all day. And sometimes you want that gift to be done in, say, a week. Because you're crazy like that.

Enter the Inishturk Stole!


Bonus: Free Pattern! (Cable pattern can be found here). Bulky yarn!

It knitted up in just a week and was well loved and well received.

The only problem? I don't have one for myself...

Rav link can be found here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Thump, thump.

Is this thing on?

We may have a pulse.....

Stay tuned!