Stepping into 2018 fit and fifty. #FitBit #MyReasonIs

And so begins my third year with a Fitbit.

I haven’t gotten my official year-end report yet, but I ran some stats all the same and they were a bit disappointing. I knew I didn’t walk as much this year as the past two years. My heart wasn’t in it this year and toward the end of the summer, the ticks freaked me out.

So for the first time in three years, I fell under the 3 million steps milestone.


2016’s stats were definitely better and were the high point so far:


And in 2015 I got a late start since I got my Fitbit for Mother’s Day that year…


Unfortunately, weight wise, I’m exactly where I was when I started walking in May 2015. I guess ya gotta love a challenge, right?

One cool thing is my lifetime total steps so far is 9,990,734 steps. That’s super close to TEN MILLION STEPS!!! And it’s 4,191 miles in three years and THAT’S pretty amazing.

2018 will bring my 50th birthday and the halfway point of my life journey. My ultimate goal is to live to be 100 so I can get my face on that Today Show Smucker’s Jar. I’m looking at you Carson Daly. You’re younger than me. I’ll be expecting you to do the honors when the time comes.




Resolved to The Year of the Squirrel


Artwork by Gary Medley (FIL)


It’s that time of year again where I think big thoughts, make new plans and the year ahead is filled with possibilities. I blame the eleven days of Christmas break for all that.  Being off work somehow makes me dream unrealistic dreams and think I can accomplish far more than is actually humanly possible.

I’ll realize that by January 4.

But until then, here’s my plan for 2017: The Year of the Squirrel.

More on that later.

Last year ended on a down note, with my mom passing away Nov. 10, and my book sales are all but nonexistent. Seriously, I’m making around $150 a month on seven books. It all seems like way too much work for very little reward. I made half the total income last year that I did the year before (which was the all-time high at a whopping $7K).

I’ve been trying to psych myself back up and get back into the groove. I ran some ads (spent $100) to try to respark interest and revenue, but all it really accomplished was brief stint at Amazon #1 FREE and then four new reviews. I even wrote a couple thousand words, but it’s just not happening. The motivation is gone.

I’m not saying I’m quitting writing completely. I am saying I’m going to let it slide and pick it up as I feel like it. I’m sure at least a dozen people in the world will be sad about that, but it is what it is. Ultimately, I’m the only one putting pressure on myself to make it happen. I’ve given it a good go. I’ve pushed hard for the past five and a half years but gained very little financial traction. I’ve proven I’m not a one-book-wonder and now…I’m moving on.

The beginning of a new year seems like a good time to do that. A clean break.

It’s harder than you’d think to wind down, however. Trust me. I’ve tried quitting before. Ideas don’t stop coming and characters don’t stop talking. Once Pandora’s box is opened, it won’t be closed again. I’m going to keep collecting those ideas and conversations and one day–in the future–I’ll give them the attention they deserve. I also have a few events to attend. Fun events like VisionCon in February and Ozarks Indie Book Fest next October.

Until then, I’m going to participate in the Year of the Squirrel. No, the Year of the Squirrel is not one of the Chinese Zodiac signs (I checked). Nor is it an actual thing. It’s my thing. The Year of the Squirrel will be my chance to follow all the little interests and passions that speak to me this year along with the things I must/need to do. Believe me, there are plenty of need-to-do things. Cleaning out Mom’s house is one of the biggest ones right now.

The things I’m passionate about at the moment include: crocheting, FitBit walking, reading and watching the Gilmore Girls. I think that’s a pretty good start.

There is however, actually a Squirrel Appreciation Day if you’re so inclined to participate. For real, it’s Saturday, January 21 this year. Plan accordingly.

One big goal this year is to get back into shape. Last November, I was in a good place and ten pounds from my goal weight. Right now I’m two pounds above my highest weight ever. I have some work to do.

The biggest fun thing on the horizon for 2017 as far as personal entertainment that I’m looking forward to is the Supernatural Convention in Chicago in July. Bryon and Grace gave me that AMAZING gift for Christmas. I still can’t believe it! Front row, baby! And I get to ride the Amtrack there. Bryon and Grace are going to meet me there after the con is over, and then we’ll have a family vacation in the Windy City.

It’s going to be a looooong time until July.

The good news is I have plenty of time to catch up on my review of the eleven seasons of Supernatural before I go. I’ll have a Masters in Supernatural by that time.

As is my way, I’ve started my Year of the Squirrel List so I can store a few of theses nuggets away for later. It will definintely be a work in progress this year.

Year of the Squirrel List

  1. Crochet all the things
  2. Read all the books
  3. Walk 10k+ steps every day
  4. Finish all seasons of The Gilmore Girls (I’m on S3)
  5. Rewatch all 11 seasons of Supernatural
  6. Reacquaint myself with our garden, wait…which way is it?
  7. Read my magazines the day they arrive
  8. Reorganize my recipe boxes
  9. Clean out and reorganize the bath/medicine cabinets
  10. Donate more clothes out of my closet
  11. Empty Mom’s house of contents and sell them
  12. Read, file or delete all the SAVED articles on Facebook I’ve collected
  13. Surf way too much Pinerest
  14. Can and preserve the garden bounty
  15. Make good food
  16. Eat good food

That’s a good beginning, I think.

I’m sure there will be much more to add during the year because…SQUIRREL!

What does your 2017 look like from here? Do you make resolutions?




January Update

Hello February, we are on to bigger and better things. Last month, I decided to concentrate on two things: walking and writing. I signed up for the JANO (write a novel of 50,000 words in a month) challenge and bought a pedometer to measure how many steps I took each day for a month.

It was a month of counting words and steps.

Here’s how it broke down:

I walked 109,442 steps which equals 44.9 miles in 21 days. (I didn’t get my pedometer until after the month had begun.) Twenty eight of those miles were intentional in the name of exercise. I know I can do better than that. I didn’t break the 10,000 steps (five mile) goal any day last month, so that’s my next milestone to achieve. I have a great gravel road nearby where I can walk exactly four miles up and down hills. It takes me a couple of hours so with the short daylight, it’s strictly a weekend event right now. I just have to make myself do it much more often.

I would have to walk our trail loop seven times to achieve that. I’m pretty sure I’d be dizzy by then.

As for the writing, well that was also close, but I didn’t quite meet my goal.

I knew I wouldn’t meet the 50,000 words towards a novel goal because I only need 18,000 or so to finish my novel. Mission accomplished on that front. My blog posts don’t actually count towards the official JANO count but they count toward the MEDLEY count so including this post, my total is 37,462 words. I am fairly certain that is the most I have ever written in a month. This post makes the 32 post in a row in my 365 day challenge. Also a record.

Are you going to get a lame post featuring a photo of my dog soon with only a caption? My Magic 8 Ball says “Outlook Good”. Remember that whole diamond and rock thing.

Still, overall it’s been a dang good month.

I am not going to pick two new goals for February. I like these two. I plan to just keep doing more of the same. Of course, the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I think that isn’t necessarily true if you are just trying to do better. We’ll see.

Bring it February.

Step By Step

I have become a slug. This was not a surprise to me. I know how much time I spend in front of the computer and/or tv (sometimes at the same time). Don’t forget my other favorite pastime … reading.  I also drive a lot for work which means lots of time spent sitting around. Generally, I like sitting around being a bum. None of these activities however inspire movement of any kind. Well, maybe when I raise and lower my coffee cup and click my fingers along the keyboard. Still, not many calories being burned there.

The two things I decided to focus on for January were writing and walking. My friend Liz recommended a great digital pedometer which I promptly ordered from Amazon. I really had no idea how much I walked on an average day. It took me a few days after receiving it to decide to try to get it set up. I hate trying to figure out my stride and fiddle with the settings. I finally sat down one day when the house was empty and quiet and figured the damn thing out. It was actually pretty easy. I got it all set up and headed outside to take the dog for a walk. That was a good day. I took Belle on three loops around our trail; one in the morning, one at lunch and one before dark. She was happy, and I was too.

Belle and I did that three days the first week I had the pedometer. Each trip around our trail is 3/4 of a mile and takes about 15 minutes. Since that first week, I pretty much backslid into business as usual. I even forgot to wear it one day. I did walk on the treadmill a couple of nights but then life got busy as it is prone to do, and my ambition waned. When it was warmer outside, I made Grace take Belle for a quick 10 minute walk in the mornings before school. Now that it’s cold, I don’t have the patience or the desire to arm wrestle her into doing it. I don’t even want to take the dog for a walk on those mornings so she’s stuck in the kennel until Grandpa picks up Grace after school and takes her for a walk.

Today, I MADE myself walk her around the trail twice. It was hard. It’s cold. I didn’t want to do it. I did feel great when I got back inside and warmed up around the pellet stove. Belle is noticibly calmer when she gets to expend some of her energy as well. I know in my HEAD that it’s a win/win. My heart and the rest of me take more convincing.

I just checked the trip meter on the pedometer. It’s been eleven days since I started using it, and I have 48,676 steps on it. There is a great Walking Site that explains about the whole step thing and how many you should strive for. Basically, 10,000 steps equals about five miles. Two thousand plus steps equals a mile. So in eleven days and despite my lackluster ambition, I have walked about twenty four miles (if I did my math correctly). You should check that though. Seriously.

For the optimal health benefit, I should have been somewhere closer to 110,000 steps. I was less than half. I have got to move it! Uggg. Why can’t it just be easy? But you know it never is. I know it never is. Exercise always feels uphill both ways.

I think back to ten years ago, when I was a walking/hiking machine! I was in the best shape of my life then. Now … not so much. On a birighter note, I have managed to lose five pounds in the little effort I have exerted so far. Well, that and not eating two chocolate chip cookies four times a week at Subway. It really is the little things that add up.

Now, I just need to keep adding up those steps.