Where I’ve Been
Nope, I didn’t start blogging again just to give up a few weeks later. We just got back from a dozen days in Tampa, where we celebrated Mother’s Day with Eric, Diane, and our two granddaughters. Alison had a dance recital last Saturday, in which she performed splendidly, and that day was also Diane’s birthday. Eric and I also took in a baseball game at Tropicana Field.
But the highlight, as always, was enjoying Alie and Virginia. Virginia is 17 months now, verbalizes a lot, but doesn’t have many words. However, she can sign1 “please,” “more,” and a couple other things, as well as indicate with head-nods and shakes “no” or “yes.” She’s also adept at pushing away things she doesn’t want. On the other hand, she definitely knows how to hug stuffed toys—even if they are carried upside-down. And, just like her big sister, she requires “Grandma & Grandpa Detox” after we leave.
Alison surprised us by being a less-picky eater (she no longer objects to “red sauce” on pasta, for instance), although her favorite dish to order from the children’s menu remains mac & cheese. She’s a wonderful big sis to Virginia, eager to share a popsicle after school. She’s also becoming quite the ballerina: I was impressed that during her performance, she wasn’t looking to the wings where her instructor was giving cues to the dancers. She really knew her stuff!
Health & Fitness
Shortly after my last blog post, I picked up a Fitbit Flex, to help me track exercise. I crave feedback (for example, I weigh myself every morning), and the more immediate, the better. This handy device syncs to MyFitnessPal, and in addition to tracking steps (running or walking), it also does a fair job of tracking my sleep. While in Florida, I took advantage of the warm weather to exercise almost every day.2 As a result, despite the increase in caloric intake while in Florida, I was able to maintain where I was before leaving home. And this morning, I was exactly ten pounds under my maximum weight: almost halfway to my end-of-year goal.
Unsubscribing: A Follow-Up
If you recall the post that restarted the blog, I was kvetching (to put it mildly) about unsubscribing from unwanted emails. I’m happy to report that I’ve successfully unsubbed from a dozen or more mailings since then, and almost invariably, it’s been a relatively hassle-free experience. Not all have been one-click operations, but many have been. Others make you select which types of emails you want to stop or continue. That’s fine, but I sure wish all of them had a selection to “unsubscribe from all.” But for the most part, the process seems to be better.
Saucy Chronicles III
Ten authors are taking part in the third installment of the short-story series I edit. All the first drafts were submitted on time, and we’re well into the critique phase. So far, all indications are that the quality of the storytelling continues to be top-notch. If the one story I’ve read (so far) is any indication, this may be the best volume yet!
The stories in this volume will be shorter—we set a 6,000-word limit—and rather than have a fantasy creature as the focus, the central theme this time is water. That is, each story takes place on or under water. Also, while I think most of the stories will have a fantasy element, at least one is science fiction (or dystopian, depending on how you want to look at it).
A publication date hasn’t been set, but I’m hoping for late summer or early fall. I’m traveling to Italy in late September, so that may have a slight impact on publication. As with Dragons and Unicorns, we’ll be publishing both paperback and electronic versions (Kindle and Nook).
Incidentally, the Saucy Ink writing group isn’t closed by any means. If you’re interested in joining us to talk about writing, or perhaps take part in Saucy Chronicles IV, we’d love to have you. Head over to Saucy Ink and sign up!
This weekend is the traditional start to summer in the United States: the school year is ending, days are longer, temperatures—even here in the upper midwest—are climbing. Many of us will be firing up grills that have lain dormant for the past several months, indulging in burgers, steaks, ribs, chicken, and more. And a lot of us will be putting out a flag on the front of the house.
As we do so, please take a moment to give thanks to those Americans who gave their lives so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms and pleasures we so often take for granted. If you see a military member in uniform, it only takes a few seconds to walk up and thank him or her for their service. Believe me, though the words may sound trite, it truly is meaningful to our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Air Force members.