My Year of Bread and Water

Bread in Basket

The first round of January bread. Dead. Wrapped in plastic.

When the alarm sounds, all errors are recorded.
-Today’s #spamadvice (translated from Norwegian)

I admit I spent more time trying to figure out how to add social media links to my blog than I did writing this post.1 It’s not that WordPress.com made that information hard to find, it — alright, I’m still not certain that I should be adding social media links to my blog. Oh, sure, I’ve had links to my Twitter feed here for a while, and it’s not (yet) been anywhere close to a disaster, but do I really want to make it that easy for folks to find me?2

The previous paragraph was a roundabout way of mentioning that I finally signed up for Facebook and … SweetMotherOfCthulhu, I’m so happy I discovered that it has a mute button! Still alarmed that I feel the need to use it as much as I do3, but I’m delighted that I have that option.

Anyway … 2015 just happened, and 2016 is here. I sort of disappeared in the middle of November, so I’ll start with quick recaps before I natter about goals for this year then disappear for another six months4.

NaNoWriMo 2015
I hit 50K with Key of Tree on November 26th, and stopped recording my word counts after the 27th (50,466). The NaNo project’s now a shade over 60K, and, ah, it’s still mostly in outline form with blocks of dialogue scattered here and there. I estimate the first draft will be just over 100K when it’s done, assuming that I don’t just throw it in a box and bury it, maybe with a stake through it for extra reassurance. It started out as a paranormal thriller and turned into a historical family saga with barely any paranormal in it. Think, uhm, Gone with the Wind, just make it the modern era and swap in demonic possession and cultural shock caused by technological progress for the antebellum South and Sherman’s Army. Is your brain now threatening to leak out of your nose? Yeah, that’s how I feel when I think about it, which is why I’m considering the box-and-stake option.

Speaking of brain leaking out of the nose…

Writing
…since I’ve admitted this on Facebook already (but only to the peeps in Nova Nanites), I do have some other writing goals for 2016. Once I sort what to do with Key of Tree, I’m going to take a look at the dark epic fantasy duology (The Madness Gate and Singing Down Sepia) and see if they’re actually a trilogy-in-denial, or if they just need to be printed out and set on fire.

I might also try writing something short and maybe not as grim as my usual stuff. Maybe.

I would like to get at least one rejection this year. That would be awesome.

Academics
Finally, after the need to reschedule some courses, I’m on track for getting my database administrator’s certificate this spring. All I’ll need to do is complete a PL/SQL refresher, and yes, I have to complete it, because the PL/SQL course I took in California is over ten years old so it didn’t transfer. Have I completed my Oracle certs? No. Have I taken my PMP exam? No. Am I still sure I want to do those things? Also no, but I probably will anyway. What am I going to do after I finish the certification? I honestly have no idea yet. I keep poking at systems engineering, business analysis and data science programs, because I do a little of all of that for a living these days. Do they excite me? Eh … in the ‘new tools for the mental toolbox’ sense, sure. If I wanted to be excited about what I was studying, I’d go into bioscience.

Freelancing
Two projects are supposed to wrap at the end of January, and I’m ballparking the end of April for the third one I’m involved in. Of course, I ballparked the end of April 2015 for the two that are ending in January, and it turned out that I was needed until now, so, oops. This month is going to involve a fair amount of deepthink about lessons learned from the past year and change of freelancing, what I’ve enjoyed doing, what I don’t want to do again if I don’t have to5, and where I’d like to grow from here.

Mekeeping
Speaking of growing, I’ve lost a little over fifty pounds this past year without doing anything crazy; I went back to eating three-meals-and-snacks as my nutritionist in PA prescribed, logging my food when I did, and moving around more than I had been6. The only things I’ve cut out are artificial sweeteners, which wound up eliminating soda by association (I haven’t drunk fully leaded soda on purpose in decades), and swapping the half-and-half in my morning coffee and the whole milk in my smoothies for almond milk.

My base goal with all of this is to see how healthy I can get just by being mindful. I’m not sweating setbacks, because so far I’ve been able to get back on track and get through them. When that stops working, well, it’ll be time to start doing more than the house cleaning/home improvement/gardening/cooking from scratch/parking a good distance from the store entrance workouts that I’ve been doing. The Monster goes to a great local gym, and I’m sure folks there wouldn’t mind making me forget how much I hated high school P.E.

Don’t laugh; cooking from scratch really has helped with all this! I’ve even started baking my own bread (that is, without using a bread machine). The effort involved in making it should guarantee I eat less of it!


 
1I’m still not done. WordPress.com’s Social Media Widget doesn’t appear to support Google+ or Goodreads (which surprised me) or multiple Twitter accounts (which didn’t), so there are some HTML shenanigans in my future.
2Because, uhm, Google might be hard to operate or something?
3Otherwise, I’d likely say something I wouldn’t regret in a way that I probably would.
4One of my goals for 2016 is to post something once a week, on Mondays if I can manage it.
5#1 on that list is ghostwriting.
6Yes, the eye doctor ordered computer diet has helped improve my physical activity levels. So has the FitBit.

4 thoughts on “My Year of Bread and Water

  1. “The effort involved in making it should guarantee I eat less of it!”

    Funny, I find it to be the opposite…

    And congratulations on losing 50 pounds last year! That’s quite an accomplishment!

    • Thank you! I would claim that it was a lot of work, but it really wasn’t. Getting the rest of it off? Now, that’ll involve work (and should: seriously, just the PT sessions I’ve been having for my left rotator cuff are kicking my ass in a whole body sort of way, and they shouldn’t!).

      And the bread? Dude, I’ve seen what you’re doing. If I was making sourdough loaves and such, I’d be making a whole one for myself! I’m not there yet, bread baking wise, but one of these days…

      This weekend will be my first deviation from plain white sandwich bread. My goal is to make a whole wheat version that everyone in the house will eat.

      • I’ve had GREAT success with a bit of variation on http://ourbestbites.com/2012/01/multigrain-bread/ — using multi-grain cereal and half-white half-whole wheat flour gets me a bread that everyone in my house eats. (My variation is that I’ve been doing batards, not loaf pans, and I really like how the crust comes out that way).

        Also my sourdough starter originated from amazon (though mine is a child of one someone else bought and reconstituted) — they’re less than 10 bucks. It’s been a bit fussy but the experimentation has been fun!

  2. Pingback: Rearranging Assassins | Modus Dementi

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