Back to Work

Yes, I still live. I’ve just been otherwise occupied. My apologies.

Haven’t written much. Had a cold that laid me low for 10 days. Got busy with work. The sun got in my eyes and the ball took a bad hop. All excuses, and lame ones at that. Just ran across an article about the essayist Dinty W. Moore, who kicked me in the ass when he said, “I don’t believe in inspiration. I believe that you sit at your desk, and you push your pencil around, and you feel lousy about yourself for a while, and eventually, you start writing.” So back to work.

Actually I do feel as if I needed to recharge my batteries. And the good sign is, ideas are starting to bubble again, things are starting to connect and I’m getting excited about the story I want to tell. So that’s hopeful.

I spent a very frustrating two weeks wrestling with the cover for the hardcover special edition of “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter.” Won’t bore anyone with the details of the fight, but every time I tried to upload the cover file, the printer’s system wouldn’t accept it because it said it was the wrong size, and it would give me a different size. And every time it gave me a different set of numbers. Poor Katherine, my cover artist, turned out four different files, none of which it would accept. Just about the time I decided it was time to look for a different printer, I tried one more time with the original file and it worked just fine. No idea what the problem was. All I know is the hardcovers should be delivered just about the time we get home.

We’re in Knoxville, Tenn., visiting our friends Robyn and Daniel for Thanksgiving. Took about 10 hours to drive and my butt will never be the same. I’m getting old.

Daughter Kate is cranking away on her Na-No-Wri-Mo project and is almost done with a week to go. This is her fourth time through. Good for her.

Went to the doctor for my six month checkup, after nine months. My weight was down, not as much as I’d hoped but down pretty significantly. More important, my cholesterol was down, and the LDL (bad cholesterol) was  way down. So we are encouraged to continue. I’ll see him again in February and I WILL meet my weight goal, despite the fact that Robyn bought an 18-pound turkey.

What else? Seems like there should be more, but no, I think that’ll do for now.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meanwhile, Life Goes On

It’s not all about the book. It certainly wasn’t supposed to be.

This blog was and is supposed to be about different factors in my life – writer, pirate, family man and guy trying to get into shape. Or as I put it – The writing life, the pirate life, family life and clinging to life. (Ha ha. Little hyperbole there.)

It’s just that for the last few weeks the book – Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter – has been my life. Going through the last weeks of constant editing, formatting it, getting it up online and setting up distribution so that I could eventually get it available to sell.

But of course, there’s so much more going on. So let me quickly catch up on the other things.

Family life – Unlike the rest of the civilized world, which begins school just after Labor Day, New Orleans schools have been in session since the beginning of August. Those are some damn hot days to be sitting in a classroom. It’s not clear to me what they’re thinking, other than to observe:

a) This allows the school to finish the first semester at the start of winter break, instead of having them come back after New Year’s Day and have to take finals;

b) It gives them a slightly longer winter break;

c) It gives them a pad if they lose significant time to a tropical storm;

d) And it lets them take both spring break and a week off for Mardi Gras.

Max has got his work cut out for him this school year. He’s a junior and this semester he’s got four classes – An honors class, an AP, and two “early start” classes that give him college credit. He’s taking it seriously, working harder than he’s had to in a few years. He knows what’s at stake.

On the pirate front, I’ve got my reservations for a trip to Los Angeles this Talk Like a Pirate Day. Our friend Clay – who in well known in the pirate community as Talderoy – is hosting his annual TLAPDay party at his shop, Studio City Tattoos. And Mark “Capn’ Slappy” Summers and I will be there. It’ll be the first time we’ve shared a stage – or even a time zone – in seven years. And that’s also the official release party for “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter,” although it’s already for sale and I certainly don’t want to stop people from buying a copy – or many copies! – right now. All they have to do is click this link!

Sorry – back to “other things” than the book.

In terms of health – Back in February I met with a doctor for the first time in ten years. We agreed that there wasn’t much wrong with me that couldn’t be fixed by me losing some weight and getting my cholesterol down. It’s been six months and I’m due to go back. I lost about twenty pounds, not doing anything radical, just exercising regularly and watching what I eat. But that was weeks ago, and I’ve been hung up, or plateaued, since then. I wanted to drop ten more pounds and it just wasn’t happening. I don’t step on the sca le every day, but when I do I like to see just a little progress. For weeks – nothing.

Until two days ago, the first time in weeks that I saw the needle on the scale creep down. Not much, but a start. (So naturally, I had an ice cream cone. Hmmmm.) I’ve got a few weeks before I go back to the doc, and that ought to give me enough time to move the needle down just a little further and then I’m right where I want to be in terms of my weight, and I can brag when I go back in.

So yeah, there’s other stuff going on. It’s called life, and all of it’s important. Just that sometimes different parts take the front seat for a while.

Step-By-Step Obsession

Step-by-Step Obsession

It was a coincidence that started it. In January I went to the doctor for the first time in ten years. (Here and Here.) After all the tests and whatnot, we agreed I needed to lose some weight and get my cholesterol down, and I adjusted my daily diet and started working out a little every day.

In February, I ran my telephone through the washing machine. I do not recommend this. It was no great loss, it was the world dumbest dumb phone, it actually only made calls and texts, nothing else. That’s what I liked about it. It didn’t even recognize who was calling me, even when that person was in my contact list. But it had to replaced, so now I have a spiffy, shiny iPhone that does more things than a telephone really should do.

And any of you with an iPhone (or probably any other phone made in this decade) knows what comes next. I found the “Health” app. It counts every step I take during the day and the distance I travel. (It probably does a lot of other things, but I haven’t figured them out, nor am greatly interested in them.) But the Health app, I can’t stop myself from checking seven or eight times a day.

I know people who say they don’t feel right unless they get their daily step count up to 10,000. I’m lucky to get much over 4,000, although sometimes I top 5,000 or even 6,000. The day we went to the New Orleans Jazz Fest I logged more than 12,000 steps, but that was an anomaly. (Yeah, an anomaly that included an Elton John concert!) Mostly I’m right around 4,000 steps a day.

See, here’s the thing. I work at home, and we live in a pretty small house. The farthest I can walk without a turn is 13 steps. If I walk from my desk, make a turn and walk to my bedroom window, that’s 18 steps. So to get a thousand steps I would have to walk that and back 28 times. Which is easily do-able, but boring and annoys the family because I have to cross in front of the television.

Now if I worked in a big office building, or a school or warehouse or something, I’d be getting zillions of steps every day. I don’t. On the other hand, I don’t have to wire a tie to work, or even pants (although that’s only when the family is all out. During the summer months, not so much.)

So I find steps where I can get them. When I go to the grocery store, I park as far from the door as possible, work the perimeter of the store for all it’s worth, take the shopping cart to my car to unload, then take it all the way back to the front door. No “Shopping Carts Here” corral for me. Costco is great. I can get a mile and a half, two miles out of a Costco trip every time, but we don’t go there every week.

And Tori and I take the occasional walk around the block as well.

I missed a lot of steps Thursday. Spent an hour in the morning in a dentists chair. Spent most of the afternoon sleeping it out.

I’m back on it today.

I’m not losing sleep over it, but it’s there in the back of my mind. It’s an obsession.