Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Exercise CAN be fun

Don't worry, I'm not going to write a treatise on the benefits of having an exercise buddy or how exercise is good for you. I think we've all probably heard that plenty of times. No, I'm going to share something most of you may already know but just hadn't thought of in a while.

As a kid, I spent as much time playing outdoors as possible. In the summer, that meant I was outside for most of the hours between the time I woke up and the time I had to go to bed. As I got older, I did what most kids do: I left a lot of that childhood playtime behind and moved on to more "mature" things.

For the last couple of years, I've read a lot about the necessity of exercise for writers and anyone else who spends a lot of time at the computer. Because I don't like most exercise machines (an exercise bike is about the only thing I'd use) and gym memberships are expensive, I've had to look for other forms of staying in shape.

In the last several months, I've spent a lot of time with my preschool-aged niece and toddler nephew. Obviously, playing with them keeps me moving, but it's also reminded me of all those childhood activities I left behind WAY too long ago. In particular, jump ropes and hula hoops.

My Facebook friends may remember a few jump rope related status updates a few months ago. Well, I still love jumping rope just as much as I did then. I even discovered it's possible to jump rope in the snow. It's a little cold, but when you don't have your own personal gymnasium (or other large indoor area with a high ceiling) you make do. Besides, it's fun to watch the reactions of people driving by when they see an adult jumping rope with a few inches of snow on the ground and more drifting down.

Ever since I reacquainted myself with a jump rope, I've been longing for my other favorite apparatus from childhood: a hula hoop. I finally bought one today and I love it. Every time I set it down, I want to pick it up and get it spinning again. I can already tell my abdominal muscles are going to hate me, but no pain no gain, right?

So, even though my forms of exercise aren't what most adults think of as exercise, they really do have health benefits. There are several articles online about how good jumping rope is for people of all ages. Even though I haven't looked up resources on hula hoops, I can tell you from experience it can get your heart pumping. Plus, hula hooping and jumping rope are just plain fun. They also fit my personality perfect. Since I'm a big kid anyway, I can't think of a better way to get and stay in shape than to take up the childhood activities that kept me moving.

Now, a question for you. What is your favorite form of exercise?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

PSA...sort of

Due to spammers, I've had to put all comments on this blog on moderation. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will do my best to approve comments quickly.

Also, if you're interested in guest blogging about autism during the month of April, please let me know ASAP. Check out this post for more information, and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This 'n' That

Things have been busy around here since I last posted, which is why I'm late posting this week. Here's a brief rundown of the excitement (and yes, some of it is pretty exciting!).

The most exciting piece of news is that I received a release date for Riley's Mission! My very first romantic suspense will be available from The Wild Rose Press April 7. Yes, that's a little less than a month from now, but it seems like such a long wait for my "baby" to make its debut in the world. Ah, well, I have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime, including working on more writing projects.

Which brings me to another exciting thing. I submitted a query for a sequel to Riley's Mission to my editor. Now I'm in the nail-biting, "Will she like it?" waiting period. Of course, if she likes the sound of the story, then I have to submit the manuscript and do a little more nail biting. I don't mind too much, however, since every submission brings the story one step closer to publication.

More writing-related news. I started a new job writing articles. While it can be difficult to write some of the topics, I'm enjoying the job and it works well with the odd hours I sometimes keep. What other job would allow me to work at noon or two in the morning (or both) depending on the kind of day I'm having? The people who say self-employment/freelance work is great for autistics are so right. Without the flexibility I have with this job, I wouldn't do nearly as well.

Speaking of autism, I'm still looking for guest bloggers for the month of April. If you're interested in writing a post with a positive spin on autism, you can find the details of my blogging plan for Autism Awareness Month here.

And now for the totally off-the-wall bit of news. I successfully crocheted a coat for my shih tzu. Yes, I'm now one of those people who puts clothes on her small dog. He's so adorable in his black and tan coat with a big red button on the side! I needed some way to secure the strap that goes behind his front legs, and with his penchant for getting into things when outside, the button will work better than Velcro. Why did I make a coat for him, you ask? So I can get his fur trimmed in cold weather without having to worry about him freezing when he goes outside. He's a shaggy little fella right now, and I'd like to get his usual warm-weather haircut so he looks a little more sophisticated, which if you knew my dog would make you laugh. He's like the little human boy who can get his dress clothes muddy without ever leaving his chair.

I also learned something sad in the last couple of days. I live in an affordable cotton yarn wasteland...or maybe that should be a yarn wasteland. There are precisely two yarn shops listed in my current phone book, and one of them went out of business a year or so ago. The other one is open two afternoons a week. I know there are a ton of knitters and crocheters in my area; I've met several of them and heard about many more. Where do they get their yarn? My best guess is that they either buy whatever yarn is available at the local craft stores (there are at least three that I know for sure are still in business), but I have to wonder if they order their yarn online, which is what I'm going to have to do. Out of the single yarn shop and three or so craft stores in my area, not one of them carries either of the two affordable brands of cotton yarn I'm looking for. I found a website that carries both of them, so I'm stuck paying shipping. The sad thing is, even with the shipping costs, it will still be more affordable than the only worsted weight cotton yarn I could buy locally.

All that's left to say is, Happy Friday! I hope you all have a great weekend and be sure to celebrate what's left of E-book Week with a good read. Shameless promotion alert! I happen to have two ebooks available at affordable prices. If you're looking for a quick read in the mystery genre, why not check out Light in the Darkness? Or if inspirational romance is more your style, try Dreams Do Come True.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Call for Guest Bloggers

I’ve had Autism Awareness Month on my mind since shortly after the first of the year. I know it’s not until April, but the autism spectrum is never far from my mind, since I live it every day. Why am I bringing this up now? Simple. I plan to devote the entire month of April on this blog to raising awareness about what autism really is. As part of this goal, I’m seeking guest bloggers.

From years past, I know April will be flooded with negative things about autism spectrum disorders, calls for a cure (which many autistics, myself included, do NOT want), horror stories about how much the family suffers, myths about what people on the spectrum feel (or don’t feel, depending on the myth), etc. What I want to do is give people a look at the positive side of the autism spectrum, the things that make us unique, our special talents, success stories, etc. The difficulties faced by those on the spectrum and how you or a loved one overcame them is a great topic as well. I’m hoping by devoting April to autism, the guest bloggers and I can raise awareness about the reality of autism.

Let’s raise awareness of the side of autism that tends to be ignored, the side that proves autism isn’t a horrible disease that brings a halt to a person’s ability to live a fulfilling life. Let’s show the world we like who we are and that a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder isn’t a death sentence.

Are you on the autism spectrum or married to someone who is? Do you have kids who are on the spectrum? Close friends or colleagues? If so, and you’re interested in writing a guest post for Autism Awareness Month, please email me at authoreawest AT gmail DOT com. Be sure to put “Autism Awareness Guest” in the subject line.