Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An Episode of Survivor

Earlier this month, I realized if I didn't whip myself into shape, our family vacation was going to kill me. Thanks to the gall bladder removal, I had totally deconditioned once again. While I'd been walking regularly and gone swimming a few times, I hadn't exactly been getting my fit on.

But since that 'exercise or die' moment, I've been biking, swimming and walking, sometimes all in the same day. Three weeks later, I can finally see some improvement. Mainly, I've stopped having to take naps after working out. (That is not even an exaggeration. I've been pretty bummed about the face plants I've been doing into my couch. I mean, sheesh, what am I? Eighty? Apparently!)

It hasn't been easy to come back from the comfort of soft, fluffy couch potatoville. The walking was fine, but kind of pointless in terms of upping my fitness game. The swimming left me sore and lethargic, but at least I enjoyed it. I hated the biking. And I do mean hate. A seething, frothing, motherfucking, suffering succotash kind of hate.

I don't know what changed or why, but biking has just become a special brand of misery for me. The first week, I kept wishing I would crash into one of the five-gallon-bucket potholes littering the roadway, fall off my bike and hit my head. Then I could quit and not feel bad about it, right?

The last person I knew who hit a pothole while riding their bike was carted off in ambulance. I would have welcomed that.

Anyway, that didn't happen and ever so sloooowly (and by that I mean about the speed at which watched pots boil and paint dries....in rain) bike riding got easier. Not more fun. Not pleasant, but better.

Finally today, I managed a four mile ride. I'm still slow, but in larger increments. Now I hate my bike, which I think has been the problem. I need something built for taller women with a cushier ride. I can't get the ergonomics quite right between the seat height and the handle bars.

Until I get a better bike, I don't think I'll push to increase the mileage. Unfortunately, right around mile three, my cheapie bike seat starts to wedge itself up my ass. Apparently, my bike doubles as a rather sadistic butt plug. Who knew? So I'm calling it a win at 4 miles and next time I have any extra income, I'll look at acquiring a nicer bike.

The swimming I love and I'm sad there's only a month to go before the pools close. Plus, it's  a great work out and probably the one thing that most increases my strength.

I haven't lost any weight because I don't care. Fit doesn't mean skinny. Not for me. But I have toned so my clothes fit better and I'm eating a lot of ice cream late at night without gaining weight. As far as I'm concerned, those are both wins.

So this is what things look like from the upswing side of health. The only downer? My knee is still a problem. Even biking. Even swimming. Even walking. I'm trying to work up the energy to start pursuing whatever needs to be done for it, but....blurgh.

Writing update:

1. Published a new book. It flopped. As predicted. Amazon glitched, just to add insult to injury. On the bright side, at least Amazon screwed over a flop and not my next big seller.

2. My income is at a new low. Yowza. I'm now squirreling away money to subsidize my income in the fall. Look how low the mighty have fallen!

3. The industry is changing, which erodes income further (at least in the short run, long run is still TBD). Kindle Unlimited is the first serious foray into a subscription based model for books. $10 a month and you can read something like 20 books. If it's successful, it will likely reduce revenue across the board. Which is sad. I hate the race to the bottom when it comes to art. Like 99 cents is too much to ask? Or $2.99? Clearly, artists should be selling lattes. Those go for $5. I'm in the wrong business!

4. I'm writing as fast as I can, but I'm really not a fast writer. I need time to think about what I'm doing with a story. My current project, I know the entire plot, but I need to think through who the characters are and what the interplay between them will be. I may have to start the second book even just to square away some of the interpersonal dynamics.

However, this book my readers will like. I can't say if it will break out, but it should be a solid performer based on what I know of the market and the reading tastes of my fans. This is a good thing. Hopefully, Amazon and  I got flopping out of our systems with the last book.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Gastropause: 'The Change' No One Talks About

Having your gallbladder removed is the equivalent of menopause for your GI tract. Gastropause is what I call it.

You are forever changed. The change can be good, bad, or somewhere in between, but you are never the same.

Also, you constantly worry about what is going to come out of your ass next. Crass, but true.

That being said, things are trucking along over here. The bile dumping has stopped. I'm off the cholestyramine powder. I still don't seem to digest fat all that well, but salad has been better received (I think).

I can eat pretty much anything I want with impunity, but I also have an increased tendency to develop what I call 'reactive GERD,' meaning food directly triggers the GERD. I really shouldn't be eating anything at night or tomatoes or peppers or other foods that upset my system.

Life is hard without tomatoes and peppers.

It hurts with them.

I have a hard time deciding what consequence I want to deal with. Eat them or don't eat them, I can't seem to commit one way or the other.

Unless I have heartburn from eating tomatoes and peppers.

Then I am full of acid driven regrets.

"You should know better," I scold myself.

"Yes, I should," I agree, shamefaced.

And then I do it all over again. I say I won't eat them, but follow through is a bit weak.

There is no hope for me.  I will forever burn with GERD.

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Writing update: Sales are in the toilet. I'm frantically writing to get something published. Also, I'm pretty sure my readers will hate my next book. It's different in tone and subject matter, but maybe I can find new readers with it as it's still quite mainstream. I guess I'll find out if my marketing mojo can carry a book my readers are likely to feel very 'meh' about. (My husband LOVES this book by the way, but I don't have the heart to tell him that is probably a bad sign. He is nowhere near my reader demographic.)

I'm thankful my winter sales were so strong as they will carry me financially into September and cover all my genre flubs. Hopefully, I will have new books to publish by then, ones my readers will like. In the interim, I'm organizing some fun book promotions with other authors to try and bolster sales as much as I can.

The business thing is chugging along. No major news to report there.

I will be meeting a reader in real life for the first time. I'm alternating between looking forward to the meet and being utterly terrified.

Thanks to my book royalties, I am taking my hubby away to a beach resort for two nights. It's the most I've ever spent on a hotel in my life and I could not have done any of it without writing. I'm also taking the whole family (me, hubby, kiddo)  to the beach for two weeks.

I hope they will remember those sun soaked days when I'm growling at them for talking to me when I'm in the middle of writing.

Also, I hope I'm never sick again because life right now is pretty awesome. I will cry so hard if the asthma fucks up my adrenal glands again.