Tuesday, December 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo Take Down!

For the fourth year in a row, I have written over 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. This year, I wrote 64,078 words - most of which will never make it into the final draft. It is a feat, a true accomplishment as a writer; but it is only the beginning.

Every year since 2012, I have used NaNoWriMo as a launch pad for a new novel idea. I write furiously to beat the 30 day deadline, and each time I am successful. Then, the editing begins.

While I was an English major in college and a Creative Writing minor, I have no formal training in writing novels. My editing process is rewriting, cutting, rewriting, pasting, and rewriting again. It's tedious, infuriating, liberating and sometimes - just once in a blood moon - it is perfection.

This year, I dove back into the realm of Young Adult Fantasy. My main character is bitter and feisty, and she lies just about every time she opens her mouth. Even I have a hard time trusting her, which is kind of awesome when you think about it.

I love NaNoWriMo, and everything it supports. I love the challenge and the thrill of accomplishing what some may deem impossible. Here's to another win, and hopefully another great year of exploring and world-building my next novel!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A1C Update - Going the Wrong Way

I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type II in September 2013. I then successfully brought my 7.8 A1C down to a 6.3 A1C thanks to diet, exercise and Metformin. Now, my numbers are creeping back up, and no one is to blame for this turn-around but me. 

When I was first diagnosed, I monitored my blood sugar levels and was diligent about not eating too many carbs or sugary foods. I paid attention to what I ate and I made progress. Then, stress worked its way in along with mindless eating, and the numbers started going the wrong way. 

I stopped cooking my own meals and started eating out - a lot. The number on the scale started going up, but I didn't stop. It was so much more convenient to grab something on the way home than spend twenty or thirty minutes in the kitchen every afternoon after work. In other words, I got lazy. 

I know what Diabetes can do. I know the right way to eat. I just don't always do what I'm supposed to, and instead of hating myself for it I am going to try something new - forgiveness. I'm not going to beat myself up for making poor food choices. I'm going to look at the data and make the changes I need to make. 

Here's what I've learned:
  1. Consistency Matters. Eat at the same time every day and the same amount of food. The weight will come off, the blood sugars will normalize, and my A1C will come down. 
  2. Hydrate. Water does so much good for the body even if I hate drinking it. Water helps me to feel fuller longer. I don't feel as tired when I hydrate properly. I sleep better. Plus, my dry skin starts to look better, too. 
  3. Do The Work. Cook my own food. Get off the couch. Park farther away. And repeat. Losing weight and beating back my A1C isn't easy, but I can do it if only I put in a little elbow grease. 
So, that's where I am today. Six months from now, I will be better.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 So Far

It's hard to believe it is almost November. It feels like this year has flown by. It's been a good year, though, and I wanted to share with you where I am right now in my life. 

June proved to be a challenging month for me. Sassy, the Toy Poodle I inherited from my mother in 2009, passed away just before turning eleven years old. It was sudden and unexpected, and I still feel the cracks in my heart when I come home from work and she isn't there. I still have my sweet furbabies, Vincent and Fisher, to keep me neck deep in kitty cuddles, but I miss Sassy every day. 

July brought me to New Mexico where I visited my brother and his beautiful family. I had a wonderful five days with them, and enjoyed every minute I spent with my two lovely nieces and adorable nephew. Plus, I got to see New Mexico in the summer, which was gorgeous! 

July is also my birthday month, and I had a great time celebrating with a few of my closest friends. My co-workers draped my desk in all sorts of fun birthday decorations, which was just an added bonus. I enjoyed a fantastic three-day weekend with my best friend, and I could not have asked for a better start to my thirty-sixth year. 

August and September are spectacular months in the Pacific Northwest. The Dahlias are in bloom, which I love, love, love. I took many photos of the floral masterpieces at our local park, and found myself excited for the burgeoning fall colors as October quickly approached. 

At the end of September I had surgery on my right wrist. I developed a ganglion cyst earlier this year, and after having it aspirated in April, it came back with a vengeance. Surgery was the next step, but I had no idea how major the surgery would be. I was admitted for the outpatient procedure at the local hospital, and my surgeon told me later the cyst he removed was the size of a STRAWBERRY! I was put under general anesthesia, which I've had before, but this time I had a terrible reaction. I was in recovery for more than 5 hours, and I hope it is a very long time before I have to be put under again. 

My hand is healing well, and soon I am told it will be like there wasn't anything there to begin with. I still get sharp pains periodically, but I am doing my wrist exercises and keeping it light. My best friend took care of me as I recovered - she is the bestest - and I got beautiful lilies to cheer my up from my aunt. All the love made recovering so much easier, that's for sure!

Finally, last week, I bought a brand new Dodge Journey! My Hyundai Tucson treated me wonderfully and I loved how rugged it was, but my Dodge Journey is AWESOME! I cannot wait to drive it all over the Pacific Northwest!

So, that's my life so far. It's mostly been a positive year, I've got good things going on, and I hope 2015 is treating you well, too. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015: A Year in Pursuit

For 2015, I have decided to scrap all resolutions except one: pursue the life I want and live it fully. Of course I want to lose weight and be healthier, as so many people do, but that is only one part of the life I want. I also want to be a writer and tell amazing stories. I want to travel and see the beauty around me I don't often take the time to notice like I should. I want to reduce my debts and increase my savings so all of these things are that much easier. So, 2015 is not going to be about just doing one or ten things. It is about doing everything.

This year and every year that comes after, I want to live a voracious life in pursuit of my dreams and in support of the dreams of others. So, I'd like to now take a moment to introduce you to a friend of mine's dream: MyNonGMOBox.com. Terence Klein came up with this idea and he has worked hard to make it a reality. But what is it exactly?

MyNonGMOBox.com is a way to connect people who want Non-GMO verified foods in their pantries, fridges, freezers and bellies with the companies who make them. It's genius. Each box contains samples of Non-GMO verified products, which lets the box-buyer try before committing to a full-sized product. Once you try something and like it, you can simply visit MyNonGMOBox.com and purchase the full-sized item. Each box also contains information about the brand, which is an added bonus because then we, the consumers, are educated about which brands to buy when we're looking at one hundred different types of chips, snacks, granola bars, etc. It's a one-stop-shop for Non-GMO education, information and product procurement.

So, do you have a dream you're working on? If so, what is it and what support do you need? I don't have a lot of money, but I'm a good writer and editor with plenty of ideas of my own. Feel free to comment on this post or email me at taragoodyear@gmail.com.

I want to live a life where dreams come true, don't you?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wrapping Up 2014

2014 has been a year of growth and accomplishment, tinged with disappointment and important epiphanies. In other words, it was a full and robust time to be alive. 

I have had an incredible year working for Barlean's. I helped create a beautiful recipe booklet using Barlean's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, which was rewarding and so much fun. I not only achieved professional goals I'd set for myself at the beginning of the year, but also exceeded them. 

I finished writing my third novel, a Young Adult Contemporary novel. It was a challenging book to write, but it was worth it. I also wrote 32 new poems to coincide with the book, and they are some of the best poems I have ever written. I participated in NaNoWriMo for the 3rd time, and wrote 61,263 words in 30 days! I've also come up with at least two new ideas for writing projects, which I am excited to start as soon as I finish writing this post!

Speaking of poetry, I wrote 72 poems this year - 6 more than last year - and published them on my poetry site, My Life in Words. I'm thinking of putting together a collection, but I might start small and submit my work to magazines for publication instead. Either way, I'm definitely going to keep writing. 

I relearned the mantra "Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should", and started applying it ad nauseum to my life. I focused on being more positive through social media, and within my interpersonal relationships. I learned, even at 35, my commitment to my friends is sometimes much stronger than their commitments are to me, and that what my dad told me as a child still rings true: you can only count your closest friends on one hand. I also learned to appreciate the people in my life who are so wonderful to me and never take them for granted. 

Here are some highlights from 2014:
  • January - A few snow days mid-month proved my Hyundai Tucson was a great buy!
  • February - Spent four short days in South Carolina with my Dad for his birthday, and we watched the Seahawks stomp the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII
  • March - Became a Vegetarian with my bestie; only made it 40 days before I caved into my meat cravings. I also dropped my A1C from 7.8 to 6.6!
  • May - Founded my book review business, Book in Hand Reviews
  • July - My 35th birthday! Had an awesome birthday party at a tasty Mexican restaurant with 17 of my favorite people! I also finally went to the Ferndale Old Settlers' Picnic after living in the area for over 4 years. 
  • August - I went on the Bellingham Museum Bay Tour. It was rainy, but fun to learn so much about the area. Also, on a separate note, some of my photos were accepted by iStock Photo and will be available for sale in the coming months.
  • September - Sassy, my 10-year-old Toy Poodle I inherited from my mother, broke her foot in four places. The one positive is I found an amazing new vet!
  • October - I dropped my A1C again from 6.6 to 6.3! I also lost weight!
  • November - I successfully participated in NaNoWrimo for the third time.   
  • December - I finished writing my 3rd novel, Sassy got her cast off finally, and I had a great time at the Barlean's Christmas party. Oh, and I got an awful eye infection which might make it a problem for me to keep wearing contacts. 
It was a busy year, but I'm glad it's coming to an end. Many people I know went through some tough times, and I'm looking forward to a 2015 that's better for them and for me. I head into the new year a little lighter, a little wiser and proud of everything I did - and even the things I didn't do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A1C Update

I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 thirteen months ago. I was 34 and it was a bit of a shocker. Should I have been surprised given my weight (450+ pounds), my family's history with Diabetes and my unhealthy relationship with food? No. But I was.

Now, I've lost over 40 pounds and I'm working through my food issues, and that work is reflected in the numbers. My A1C is coming down and so is my weight. What am I doing different? Consciously eating. I track what I eat. I pay attention to what I eat. I actively choose everything I put in my mouth. It's not rocket science, but it's really hard and I will get through it.

Proof is in the numbers.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Season of Change

The leaves burn yellow, orange and red with the winds of seasonal change, and I've learned a lot by just watching the green landscape transition with such fiery beauty. Change is a part of life. Some would even say it is inevitable. Growth and aging are themselves a form of change. So then I ask: what is this great resistance we mount against changes in our own lives?

I don't want to spend my life fighting the wrong battles. I don't want to waste energy on things I cannot control. Change is inevitable, but my attitude about it doesn't have to be of a revolutionary bent. And, as I watch the world around us change and brighten with the amazing colors of autumn, I feel like sometimes - just sometimes - change will make us better. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm a fighter. I fight for what I believe in, I fight for my loved ones (I got your back!), and I unfortunately have more fight in me than flight when it comes to adrenaline-based situations. But, I have come to believe that change can be good and embracing it only strengthens who we are. 

So, in this season of change, I say: BRING IT ON.