5 Things I Cannot Fracking Wait For

Do forgive the Battlestar Galactica-style swearing in this post title, but there are a few upcoming things that I am pretty gosh-darned-tootin’ dang-nabbit excited for, and you are about to hear all about them. Happy Monday! Hahaha.

1. MY BOOK RELEASE!!

I know, I know, you are probably (definitely?) sick and tired of hearing about book-related stuff here. But rest assured, we can all see the light at the end of that tunnel! The release day of Terra is THIS WEDNESDAY (which happens to be 12/12/12. I actually did not plan this on purpose, but it really worked out nicely, hahaha) and I am SO EXCITED SOMETIMES I JUST SIT AND BOUNCE UP AND DOWN IN MY CHAIR. Or on my feet. Or laying prostrate in my bed. (Have you ever tried bouncing whilst laying down, by the way? Not as easy as one might think.)

Auuuuugh, I’m just so excited and terrified but mostly excited and pipe-dreamily hopeful and… eeep! If you’re one of the sporadic-check-in readers and aren’t too sure what all this book-talk is about, feel free to check out my writing blog, or the book’s Goodreads page. THREE DAYS!

Preggo Jenny!

2. My super preggo sister!

My “big” sister Jenny (I use that term loosely since she is 7 inches shorter than I am) and her husband are coming home for the holidays on the 19th! They moved to Houston over the summer, just when they found out that Jenny was super-dee-duper preggo (for the first time, yayyyy!) and even though I’ve been lucky to see her sporadically since the move, I’m SO excited to get a nice long period of hang-outage with my sissy poo.

I do need to prepare myself though, because every time I see her, she is more and more pregnant (um, duh) and it’s always a little jarring. As in, I pretty much just hone in straight on her belly and start to cry. Luckily, this surprises no one.

Lights

3. CHRISTMAS!!!

Poor, unaware readers who have found this job in the time between last Christmas and this one… I’m sorry. You are probably not yet aware of the extreme, dear, obsessive, passionate love I have for this time of year. I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS. And this year is, of course, no exception. Once Jenny & Dan get back into town, there will be much cookie decorating, gingerbread house making, eggnog drinking, and general merriment. Yayyyyyyy!

4. Les Mis

Speaking of Christmas, guess what movie comes out Christmas Day? Yep, Les Miserables! (Well, the musical movie, not to be confused with the non-musical movie that came out in 1998.) I am a die-hard Les Mis fan (I’ve seen the musical like five times, and would gladly see it a dozen times more) and am SO excited about the cast, the director, the everything. Ahhhhhh, it’s gonna be so gooooooood, ermahgerrrrrd.

5. Game of Thrones

I know this is kind of a jump, since the new season of Game of Thrones won’t be starting until March 2013 (whyyyyy?), but I really needed something to round out this list, since 5 Things always sounds better than 4 Things, hahaha. Anyway, if you’re not already a GoT fan, you need to load up on Seasons 1 & 2 ASAP, because it’s flippin’ amazing. Although, fair warning, there is not a small amount of boobage shown, hahahaha. Anyway, this is definitely one of the most highly anticipated shows on my listΒ (y’know, given the fact that Vampire Diaries is already on TV… though this week is the last episode before the winter break, nooooo!) and I just wanted to spread the word. Jon Snow forevs!

Aaaaand, there you have it. Just a little taste of what’s whetting my appetite lately.

What upcoming things are you most excited for right now?

PS: There’s still time to get your entries in for my Blue Diamond Almonds giveaway!

Stress with a Capital S

So beyond being happy and in a constant good mood lately, I am another thing. Stressed. Because, as it turns out, writing and publishing your first novel is an incredible mood lifter. But it’s also, like, kind of a big deal. With lots of things to consider. And lots of things to do. And lots of things to stress you out.

Now, I’ve never really been all that great at handling stress. Ask anybody who knows me in real life, and they will confirm this. Heck, I will gladly confirm this. I mean, a couple Christmases ago my brother glued the side of the gingerbread house onto the mold before it was decorated and I burst into tears and actually said the words, “YOU RUINED CHRISTMAS!”

Brickwork

Yeah, my family doesn’t really let me live that one down.

Gingerbread House

I’ve written about stress and anxiety before, and I’ve tried taking up some of your suggestions on how to deal with it, but I still haven’t gotten a very good handle on my ability to… handle… it. Last night, I laid (lied? lay?) awake in bed for an hour, my heart racing and mind whirring, just because I could not STOP THINKING ABOUT BOOK STUFF. Pitch emails, formatting, final copyedits and typos. Timelines and deadlines and proofs, oh my!

Okay, I just stressed myself out again just writing that list. Let’s backtrack.

ANYWAY. I was in bed, trying my darnest to count sheep and take deep breaths and not obsessively continue to check my phone, and eventually, I did fall asleep. And then I had one of those harrowingly realistic dreams where you are SO SUPER POSITIVE that it’s real life. You know, the kind of dream where you feel legitimately pissed in real life at real people, even though it’s only their dream-versions who wronged you. Needless to say, I woke up crying.

So, stress. I has it. And, in a hilarious-in-retrospect-but-awful-at-the-time kind of way, my worst anxiety always seems to manifest itself in my unconscious mind. Once, I dreams that my ex-boyfriend shot me in the leg. This was while we were still dating, mind you. So, you know, bad, uber-realistic dreams tend to lead to loss of sleep, and loss of sleep leads to more stress/being more easily stressed, and it’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

I’m kind of hoping that maybe there’s just something in the air, because Aileen’s post today was coincidentally in much of the same vein. (Even though she has much more to be stressed about than me, what with a deployed fiance and all. Perspective. I needs it.) But let’s be honest, I think what it really boils down to is just that I’m kind of high-strung in general. And I’m okay with it. (Self-acceptance is this week’s theme on the blog, right? Hahaha.)

I’m just going to focus on the positives here. Like, I’m not stress eating. That’s a big step for me! In fact, if I continue to be stress-nauseous like I was last night, maybe this will even lead to a loss, hahahaha. And in the meantime, I’ve booked a massage. Positive steps!

I know I’ve asked this before, but feel free to weigh-in with your best/favorite stress-relievers. And only one of you gets to say “exercise,” since that’s pretty much a gimme. πŸ™‚

Mirror Image

Hi! So, notice anything new around these parts?

Yep, that’s right, I’ve got a brand spankin’ new theme to go with my brand spankin’ new blog server. I was having MUCHO ISSUES…O with the website over the past few weeks, as many of you probably (and unfortunately) noticed. So my brother/web tech extraordinaire helped me migrate over to a new host, which should hopefully mean no more 404 error pages, and NO MORE WEIRD AD REROUTING! Huzzah!

I’m still working out some of the layout and design stuff, so let me know if there’s anything in particular you really miss about the old layout, or if you hate something about this new one, or whatever. I’d love to hear your input!

In other news, my book is OFFICIALLY BEING RELEASED THIS MONTH! Let that settle over you for a sec. I’m in the VERY FINAL (I know I throw the word “final” around here a lot with regard to my book, so I wanted to make sure you knew it was REALLY final this time, hahaha) editing phases, thanks to a few very talented and verrrrry patient individuals that probably totally regret ever agreeing to work with me. Heh. I’m pretty satisfied with where the book is overall, but I’m just trying to get rid of all those nasty typos and weird/awkward sentences. Because I love you guys so much. If any of you have a Goodreads account, you can also officially add Terra to your “To Read” list! I created a profile for the book this morning. πŸ™‚

Okay, so down to the actual crux of this post. This morning, I had this weird, crystallizing moment of clarity this morning, and it was kind of awesome. I was just standing around in my bra and undies, getting dressed and ready for my day. And I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My stomach wasn’t sucked in, my hands weren’t on my hips, I wasn’t coyly putting my weight on one leg. I wasn’t employing any of my tricks to make myself seem thinner, or shapelier, or whatever-er. I was just, standing. I might have even been bending over a little (and I think we all know what bending over does to even the flattest of stomachs, let alone nice rolly-polly ones like mine). But I wasn’t thinking of any of that stuff. All I thought was, “Hey, that’s one normal-looking chick.”

Now, you have to understand, I don’t mean to word this in a self-deprecating way, and I’m definitely not fishing for compliments (this time, hahahaha). For someone like me, someone who has struggled with self-image and body image and loving my body and loving myself for SO long, just feeling normal is a huge victory. I try to preach a lot about loving yourself as you are, embracing the body you have now, etc. I even post pictures of myself from my vacations, totally out there (well, not TOTALLY out there, but in my bikini), because I’m trying to prove that I really believe all of that. And some days, I do.

Untitled Untitled

But let’s be honest. Most days, I’m really embracing the “fake it” part of “fake it ’til you make it.” And most days, if I had my way, there is probably no limit to the number of things I would give up in exchange for a thin, svelte body. I know that. I mean, hell, the whole reason I started this blog was because of my vanity. Sure, along the way I discovered myself, I discovered all the benefits of being healthy, and I realized that there are a lot of things that are better than just being skinny. But at the very core of my being, OF COURSE I still want to be thin.

Now, that said, I think today was a pretty important step for me, too. Because for the first time in a really LONG time, I looked at myself in the mirror — REALLY looked at myself — and I didn’t hate on a single thing. Yes, my stomach isn’t flat. Yes, I am still a lot more zaftig or voluptuous or hefty or ::shudder:: fat than a lot of women out there. But who says that has to be a bad thing? I’m squishy and soft, which means I’m a lot of fun to hug. I’ve got giant bazoomas, which means dressing up to go out can be kind of fun (though dressing for work can often be challenging). I have an hourglass figure, which means I have a nice, proportional waist even if my hips are wide or my thighs touch.

I know that I’ll have good days and bad days. I know I’ll still have days where I wish that every single thing about me was different, and that all my problems would go away if I was just a little thinner. But I like to think that this is the start of me having quite a few good days, too. Days when I don’t question why my boyfriend is attracted to me or think that every other woman on the street is judging me. Days where I feel confident and sure of myself, not just because I’m funny or witty or a good writer or any other number of non-physical traits, but because I look perfectly fine.

And I think that’s pretty cool. Yes, I still want to tone up, and I want to present the best possible version of myself. But I think I’m finally getting my head wrapped around the idea that the best possible version of myself doesn’t have to be “thin.” She just has to be me. A happy, healthy me.

Man, I sound so well-adjusted. I’d better cut myself off before you all start to get the wrong impression of me, eh? πŸ™‚

<3

Blobby

So I was trying to come up with a clever portmanteau word that combines “blogging” with “hobby”, and I ended up with “blobby.” So even though it’s not clever at all, I’m keeping it because it makes me laugh. Heh.

Anyway, I wanted to talk a little bit about blogging as a whole today. It starts with this epic webcomic from The Oatmeal that my friend Lara alerted me to, and it ends with me finally addressing why my posting to this blog has taken such a backseat in my life lately.

See, in a much more humorous and perfect way than I could, Oatmeal creator Matt Inman explains why it’s both rewarding and challenging to be a web content creator. Now, really, that title could cover any number of things: bloggger, vlogger, Youtube singer/songwriter, writer for an online publication, etc, etc. The actual job itself doesn’t matter so much as the fact that what you’re doing is on and for the Almighty Interwebs. As Oats puts it, “Your career + the internet = sad.” Now, of course, it goes without saying that this little blog is nothing compared to a site like The Oatmeal, and also that this is not my full-time job. So while I do feel pressures to maintain this site, to make sure it’s regularly updated and accessible (been having particular issues with that lately — my apologies!), it’s not quite the same as knowing my income or living standard is dependent on my pageviews.

That said, the pressures are still there. It sounds silly to even admit, but what can I say? I’m a people pleaser, and I love writing this blog, and I love that you guys continue to come back here to read it. But I think it’s probably fairly obvious to most of you that things over here have been a little lax and a little lacking lately, both in my general healthy living efforts, and in my blogging about said efforts. And I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty when I can’t think of anything to write about, when I just don’t feel like taking the time to whip out my camera because I am so hungry can I please just eat already. So, without trying to sound like I’m so egotistical to think that your life is lacking without a daily update from yours truly (even though I totally am), at least I feel kind of bad about it? Hahaha.

I’ve mentioned it before, but the obvious reasoning for that is because almost 100% of my extracurricular (er, extraworkulcar?) time is being devoted to finishing the edits of my book. I am still desperately trying to meet my (self-imposed) deadline of a December release. (Hey, remember when I said that I was looking at a mid-November release? Haaaaaahahahahahaha. That was funny. Cry.) And that’s a whole other layer of pressure and anxiety (again, this is all kind of silly, because I know when push comes to shove, it’s pressure I put on myself, but still) on top of this one. So ultimately, it makes sense that something starts to give. And because, as much as I love this blog, it is still my hobby, whereas I am hoping that someday I can turn fiction writing into my career, it means that this is the thing that has to give a little. It means sometimes, I only update twice a week. And sometimes, my posts are barely more than pictures of my dogs, because they make me happy. And a lot of the time, you’ll find me whining into the great social media void. Heh, sorry about that last one.

Shockingly, this wasn’t actually meant to be one giant apology for not posting as regularly lately, even though that’s kind how it’s sounding, haha. It’s just an update on where things stand. And to say that I–the Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen blogging me–am not going anywhere. It just may take a little bit of time to fully come back around. But hey, job or hobby, that’s how everything is, right? There are bumps and dips, hills and valleys. But I’ve spent 2 1/2 years on this particular blobby of mine (kekeke), and I certainly don’t envision giving up on it for a long, long time.

Aaaaand, to cap things off, especially so there’s something here for you wordy-post-skimmers (I don’t blame you!), here are some picture of festive holiday schnauzers. Well, some holiday schnauzers, at any rate. They probably weren’t feeling particularly festive, but oh well.

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What you looking at, fella?
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Drumroll?

Alas, I have nothing really to update you with regard to this weekend, unless you’d like to hear about the epic hangover I had yesterday — the aftereffect of an equally epic wine & cheese party that Sean and I attended Saturday night. And, yes, it was indeed a wine hangover. Which if you’re lucky, you haven’t experienced for yourself. But if you have, you know it’s the very, very worst kind. Nothing that some Sprite, crackers, and back-to-back-to-back-to-back episodes of Nikita couldn’t fix though. Heh.

My distinct lack of healthy living (what, it’s not like I’m a healthy living blogger or anything!) aside, I do have some pretty exciting news to share. Er, that is, provided you’re not totally, 100% sick of hearing about my book yet! (It’s okay if you are, though. I won’t be offended… probably.)

Here’s what it’s regarding…


Ignore that weird printed line in the middle…

Thaaaaat’s right! Cover is DONE thanks to the amazing Cassie from Back to Her Roots, who is a true graphic design genius. Head on over to my writing blog to see the final product, and I can’t wait to hear what you all think!