Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Gargantuan Flash Fiction Challenege

Okay, so this was supposed to go up yesterday, but I've had a hard few days. I haven't been sleeping well and I've been busy on top of it. So today I whipped something up today on the theory that it's better late than never.

So please excuse the roughness of it. No editing. Just written and posted raw.

Karen threw the ball as far as she could in the empty field and watched as Charlie, her aging golden retriever, chased after it. He brought it back and dropped it her feet before lying down. She could see that he was tired, but she also knew that if she threw the ball again he would chase it down and bring it back. It was metaphor for her life. She was tired, but she kept trying to chase down that goal just to have it thrown out of reach again. It was her own twisted version of the myth of Sisyphus.

Karen sat down on the ground beside her exhausted dog and absent-mindedly stroked the soft fur behind his ears.

“I think we could both just use a good long break from chasing the same ball over and over again.” Karen said as she grabbed the bright blue ball and jumped to her feet. Charlie scrambled to his feet, his eyes intent on the ball in his master’s hand.

“No Charlie, not this time. Not ever again.” She smiled down at her dog and gave a tug on his collar so that he would sit down. She waved her hand in front of his muzzle to tell him to wait and then threw the ball as hard as she could. “There. It’s done and we’re both going to get on with our lives now. We’re not going settle for chasing the ball.”

It was a huge decision, a gargantuan decision. She was going to go home, pack up her stuff and leave her boyfriend. She wasn’t going to settle for a relationship where she wasn’t getting the love she deserved no matter how hard she tried.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Giving it Up (for Lent)

Although I am not nor have ever been a Catholic, I take part in Lent. I take it as personal challenge. In previous years I've given up refined sugars, coffee and similar things. This year I decided I wanted to try something harder. This year I was going to fast.

Going into this I knew that I was not going to be able to last the full 40 days. I haven't fasted at all since I was teenager and doing the 30 hour Famine. So I decided to modify things a little. I was going to do a broth fast from Monday to Wednesday and then slowing reincorporate food into my diet, by adding one meal on Thursday, two meals on Friday and back to normal for the weekend. I also cut out refined and artificial sugars during fasts which meant no Diet Coke for me.

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, so I only had one day of full fasting in my first week. It was a nice way to ease into things. Day one was really easy - not a single tummy grumble all day. I was amazed. I thought it would be harder than that.However, I still felt bloated and not 100% intestinally and I was starting to realize that my body needed this fast more than my mind or spirit.

On the second day I ate a fairly light dinner. Some toast and eggs. I didn't want to do anything too big. I had no problems with the meal, but I also decided to indulge in a diet coke because, well, I like coke dammit. I had to after the meal, but I had noticed something. I have occasional jaw pain and when I was eating I realized that I had no trouble with pain at all. Later that night when I went to bed, I started having jaw pain for a few brief moments as I was trying to fall asleep. As soon as it happened, I thought about some reports I've read of aspartame causing pain symptoms.

So this made me think a little more of what I'm putting in my body. I try to eat healthy, but I have my crutches. I like pop. I like sweets and I like easy food when I can find some that I can eat. I do, however, eat a lot of lean meats and oodles of vegetables. Healthy isn't going to cut it anymore. I need to start eating cleaner. Of course knowing something and acting upon that knowledge are two very different things.

It's going to be a real effort after Lent to get myself on the right track to eating a lot cleaner than I do. Of course, I'm going to start small and work on it so that I can make the changes last. First thing to go, sadly, is the diet pop. If I want some sweet fizz I'm going to have to find a different way to get my fix. Maybe one of the recipes I saw on Dr. Oz once - club soda, sarsaparilla extract and agave syrup as a sweetener.

Either way. That is what I realized within only two days of starting Lent. I wonder what other realizations I will come to as the weeks go on.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Spilt Coffee

Surprisingly this came in at 297 words.

Just as she had for the last year, Ange placed two mugs of coffee and a plate of toast in front of the man in the third booth from the end. He smiled politely, but didn’t thank her for the prompt service and she hadn’t expected him too. They had spoken only once since he had first started coming in and had not exchanged a single word since. He’d drink one of the coffees, eat a single slice of toast and wrap up the other half in a napkin to take with him. Then he would take a brand new five dollar bill from his wallet and leave it on the table beneath the untouched coffee.

Nothing ever changed in this routine.

Ange started to clear the table, but stopped half way through. Staring at the untouched coffee, she felt tears sting the corner of her eyes. She was quick to wipe them away, but more came to replace them. It was a stream that she could not stop no matter how hard she tried so she just let them flow. She sat down and stared at the spot where the man had been sitting. She hadn’t expected it to hit her so hard. “I miss you.” She whispered the words at the empty booth and then buried her face in her hands. The bell above the door chimed. Ange jumped up, smacking the coffee mug and spilling the cold coffee. She watched the liquid spread across the table and she wiped the moisture from her cheeks. No use crying over spilt coffee. They had both made their choices and no matter how many times he offered, she wasn’t going to forgive him.

Ange turned her attention to the new customer, a smile forced on her face.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

On Sunday afternoon, after a long day of shopping, I was informed that it was possible to download a pedometer app for my phone. So I downloaded Accupedo for my Android and I've been trying hard to keep my phone on me at all times.

Monday was my first full day with it and I fell short of the recommended 10,000 steps by almost 3,000 steps. I had even been trying, but it wasn't enough. It was a pretty big eye opener. I thought I walked a lot, but I guess I was wrong. So on Tuesday I tried even harder, squeezing in movement every moment I got. I did much better cracking 11,000 steps by the end of the day. And today? Well, today I am ahead of where I was yesterday and when I am done writing this blog post I will be back up and moving around again.

So to all my readers (by the way, thank you just for reading!) I'd like to throw down the gauntlet and challenge you all to get 10,000 steps in per day as well. It's not about getting fit, but being healthy. A healthy lifestyle includes activity. So see what you do in a regular day and if it's not 10K then it's time to do yourself favour and get moving.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Challenge Results

So The Capillary challenged me on Twitter to edit one chapter of my current novel, write two chapters for my next novel and do a blog post about it on Sunday.

It's Sunday, so I'm doing the blog post, but I wasn't going to post until later because I wanted to give myself time to write. I did edit some more of my current novel - 1.5 chapters actually. I even wrote a blog post between the issuing of the challenge and now. I did not, however, write two chapters and I am going to tell you why.

This challenge taught me that I only am able to truly concentrate on one story at a time. I cannot get my head into the sequel because I am still stuck in my current story. This was a really good thing to learn and I am thankful to this challenge for teaching it to me.

So yes, I failed the challenge, but I learned something really important and I'm okay with that trade.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Breakfast of a Loser

Last week I did a lot of research into counting calories. One of the realizations I came to was that I was going to have to change some of the things that I was eating. Especially if I wanted to find a way to leave some wiggle room in the diet for treats - like maybe a coffee from my favorite coffee shop.

One of the biggest changes I made was to my breakfast and I've been tweaking it ever since. What I came up with is less than 150 cal and leaves me full enough to make it to lunch most days! Since I'm such a nice person, I thought I'd share it with you.

Spinach, ham, tomato & feta omelet.

1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3-4 grape tomatoes - quartered
1 thin slice of ham (I use Country Naturals - 25 cal a slice)
1 oz of fresh baby spinach - chopped
15 g of light feta
  1. Pre-heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Beat together egg and egg whites till well mixed and pour into pan.
  2. Add garlic, spinach, ham and tomatoes to one side of the omelet. Feel free to add any seasoning you might want (I tend to add a LOT of cracked pepper) Cover and wait until the egg is mostly cooked.
  3. Sprinkle feta on top of the spinach side and carefully fold the omelet in half. Remove from heat and cover for ~ 2 minutes to allow the egg to finish cooking.
  4. Eat and enjoy.

This omelet reheats well so I normally take it to work and eat it there after reheating it on high for about 1min 20sec. Since I like to have at least a little something in my stomach shortly after waking up, I generally have a slice of toast (lightly buttered) that pops my entire breakfast up another 95 calories. Leaving my caloric total at about 240 cal for breakfast.

For those that have a wholewheat wrap on hand, you can try turning this into a scramble, adding the feta after cooking and turn it into a healthy, delicious breakfast wrap instead! Much easier to eat for those on the go! Although since I don't eat wheat and rarely buy GF tortilla's I have no idea the calories on one of them.

I'd also like to add that on those days when I tend to be a little hungrier a mid-morning snack of a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt comes into play for 320 calories total prior to lunch. Not too bad I think.