My Health Journey: Parte the Firste

I know, Christmas time might not be the best starting point for a *ahem* reshaping of my body and diet, but I’m nearly two weeks in and no going back.

Unless I eat seventy-five Oreo’s, but still.

Before we go any further, a point of clarification: Weight is not my sole concern. In fact, it’s actually fifth on the list, behind my heart, teeth, ability to live long enough to use coupons without irony, and blood pressure.

Goal: Somewhere between then and now, but with shorter shorts.

So, the grim statistics:

49 years old.

Starting weight– 260 (pounds, not kilograms. I’m an American, not some fancy European who measures out tiny blocks of cheese and carries it home in a wicker basket while laughing and listing to French jazz or whatever).

Starting blood pressure: Not bad, but not great. 121 over 90.

Hair and teeth: Present and accounted for.

General feeling: Thick, not Thicc, and vaguely immobile. This galls me in particular due to my love of sports, running (running isn’t a sport, it’s meditation while gasping), and walking up stupid hills. All hills are stupid when you’re not hiking, and even then, they’re only tolerable.

I’ll report weekly, and then in January, will go to the doctor for a general “State of the Union” exam.

If you’ve made any life changes and have found recipes or foods that scratch the itch, so to speak, I’d love to hear them.

My weaknesses are:

Sweets.

Sweet things.

Things that can be made sweet by adding sweeteners.

Sweet things wrapped around sweet things.

Gravy.

More to come as this list expands with memory.

Let’s be support buddies and such.

Cheers,

Terry (who thinks he is hungry)

 

 

Join my Pie/Cake/Running Challenge!

I love pie and cake and waffles and running, so this seems like a win/win/win/win to me. A bit of background- I got fat over the winter (gained 24 pounds), but I run in the summer, so it’s going to come off. Here’s where things get dicey.

I’m not giving up pie and cake and such. I may limit myself to reasonable portions, but I’m not going to give up the joys of life. I have some specific goals in mind, so let’s get down to some specific numbers.

  1. Current weight is 249. Tragically, my height remains steady (for now) at 6’1″.
  2. I’m going to eat an average of one piece of cake or pie per day. Waffles count as two pieces, because I rarely eat them without syrup.
  3. My running routes are fantastic, but for this specific mission, I’ll run at a nearby park. Here are the specs–

As you can see, it’s a nice, small lap. I had a strange hip injury, took six months off running, and then got a vicious summer cold.

In short, I’m weak.

So, two days ago I started in earnest. I was able to run two laps and walk two, along with eighty pushups. Oh– about the pushups– I’m going to do twenty pushups or burpees for every lap around the track. Today, I ran 2.75 laps and walked 2. I did 100 pushups. The goal here is quite simple. It isn’t so much a weight issue as it is changing my body to be more muscular and less. . . middle aged. I want to run with my shirt off in full Dad Bod mode later this year, but not necessarily with the Dad Bod. Does that make sense?

There’s something about this park that enables good, hard runs.

I think that within three weeks of good work, I’ll be able to see and feel some results. I love running in the heat, and this park has an added bonus– there are MASSES of blackberry bushes around the park. If I run around the exterior of the park, it’s 1.2 miles. By summer’s end, I’ll be running around the park rather than in it. I’ll also have eaten myself silly on all those glorious blackberries.

Now, on to cake.

It turns out, I’m a princess.

It’s true. My bride baked me a prinsesstårta (Swedish Princess Cake) and I LOST MY MIND. It. Is. Magnificent.

There are layers of custard and home made raspberry jam and cream and OH LORD is it good. The outer layer is hand made marzipan and I’m not kidding when I say I’ll run in the sun ’til I drop simply to eat a slice.

You see? Totally worth it.

So, I’m keeping a journal of my running and such, to see just what happens over the summer. Send me a message if you’re running, too. I’m always up for challenges and buddies to join the grind, so to speak.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. The Princess needs cake.*

 

*Me, in case you doubted.

Cheers,

Terry

Book Candles. Editing. Fun.

Write a book. Now, go back and re-read the book  few years later. Edit your book while swilling coffee, ordering book candles, and bathing in the horror that you actually wrote that and thought, “Damn. This is art.”

This is my current place in life. I finished a novel last week (Moonborn) and then quickly wrote 8,000 words in Halfway Drowned. Then, in a crisis of conscience, I decided to begin a project that has haunted me like my fashion decisions from the 1980s. I began to revise my first novel, The Forest Bull, and to call it a humbling experience isn’t really accurate.

It’s more like . . .shamespiration.

By the third paragraph, I winced. By the fourth page, I considered deleting the book entirely. The fact is writing is a muscle. It gets stronger with use, and despite the clarity of our ideas, a lot gets lost in translation from mind to paper. I’m twenty-six chapters into this self-flagellation, and the results are drastic. Sometimes, I cut a sentence. Or two. I add a detail here, subtract a clunky phrase there, and a different book begins taking shape.

It’s clearer, smoother. I think part of my first book is that I tried to be mysterious and ended up being an idiot. You’ve got to give readers a clear path. I didn’t. I was. . .sort of clear. I’m thankful that the 2017 version of me is willing to change what could be a killer book with my favorite villain.

I’m keeping a running count of how many words are deleted, and what I add. I think, based on the first half of the revision, it might be about even. Sometimes,  less is more. In this case, better is more, and in honor of my newfound commitment to these characters, we’re issuing a new paperback version. Same art, new font, and smaller. Handy for carrying with, using as a weapon, or displaying on your book shelf.

The art is *really* nice. Amalia hit a home run four years ago, and I still love the way Elizabeth looks coming out of the forest, dripping evil and, umm, evil.

Okay, back to it, but not before we discuss BOOK CANDLES.

I’ve ordered custom book candles for all of my signings this year. They smell like waffles, have the label of the Hawthorn Diner, and the size is “adorable”. I think they’ll be five bucks each. More to come once they’re here– I’ll post pictures and you can imagine the wonder of waffles as you read.

Cheers for now!

 

Life Without Cookies

Or cake.

Or pie.

Or waffles, milk, flour, cheese, and joy, yes, there will be no joy, not in this house.

Bride is doing a really interesting thing known as the Whole Life Challenge. It’s kind of cool– focusing on better food, plenty of sleep ( a must!), stretching, meditation, and overall health.

In short, all the things we tend to ignore because of life, kids, spouses, bounty hunters, outstanding warrants, and existential crises. You know, the usual.

It has a lot of things to like in it– case in point, here’s a drink I would have never tried, but I did, and OH BOY is it good: Golden Latte Super Fancy Drink!

So here I am, day three without my usual inundation of junk food. I’m intensely curious to see what happens. I’m almost fifty— things start to break down. I’m no longer under warranty, so to speak, and one of the things that I hope to preserve is my mind. You know, no more ten minute search parties looking for my keys, or wallet, or sock, or shoes. Stuff like that.

I’ve written fifty thousand words in my current book, and this dietary change makes me ask the question: will I write better or more efficiently if I’m not standing at the sink, mindlessly chewing cookies like a very tall cow that wears underwear and a contented smile?

We shall see. I’m going to go two full weeks (also time to recover from the Man Flu, of course) and see what happens.

Between this, the pushups, and wearing a FitBit, I might not survive.

I have a cold. I will die soon.

There’s no getting around it.

My son, the World’s Largest Eight Year Old, has infected me with a virulent form of the rhinovirus, which may or may not be a combination of the following diseases:

The Bubonic Plague

Cooties

Ebola

A Random Tropical Fever

Boogers.

These have combined for the following symptoms:

Sneezing.

Producing more snot than my current body weight.

Headache.

More snot.

Snot.

Snot.

I write this as a farewell to you all, and only ask that you eat pie, waffles, and Oreo thins at my funeral.

Good day.

Terry

Consider The Waffle.

I require fuel, and that fuel must take a delicious form.

As a writer and college instructor, I have certain expectations placed upon me. I’m supposed to wear tweed (it’s itchy), drive a Prius (I’m too tall), and eschew all forms of sports (I love sports. I also love playing sports, which is a double no-no). I’m also remarkably opportunistic about where I drink my coffee. Case in point, one of my favorite restaurants?


Seriously, if you haven’t been, get thee hence!

I recently acquired this button, and it says a lot about what I’m willing to admit in order to fit in as a writer:




Coffee. Geddit?

I do drink coffee, and the time of day actually has nothing to do with my consumption. I think at this point in my life, caffeine and I have reached a peaceable kind of accord– it agrees to make me alert in the morning, and my aging body assures me that I won’t know if I have insomnia from coffee or muscle pain due to running. Voila! Problem solved. 

As I’ve mentioned often, baked things are an important part of my life. I bake. My wife bakes. My family bakes, and we all agree: you cannot go wrong with pie.


That beauty is a peach pie, but darn near any fruit will do. Let’s get real– the crust makes it great.

Now, onto waffles (and griddle cakes of all nature). I have a maxim, and that is, “If Uncle Buck would make it, then it’s probably big enough.”



And to clarify: Waffles and pancakes are, well, cakes. So, why wouldn’t you consider pie for breakfast? I have it regularly, and people come up to me all the time and say,”Do you really think you should be wearing such a small shirt?” Obviously, it’s doing great things for my body if people want me to take my shirt off. 

And speaking of shirts:



I can use SCIENCE to prove that pie and waffles should be a part of your life.

So. Why aren’t you baking?

Also, why aren’t you reading about waffles and magic? Hmm?



Waffles. Witches. Wonder. Halfway Dead. Get it here.

Until next time!

Cheers,
Terry



Witches, Waffles, and Wonder: Halfway Dead is here!

Just a little note to let you know that my paranormal–sorta–romance–adventure is HERE. Get yours today, I’m incredibly proud of Carlie McEwan and her humor, outlook, and courage.

What is Halfway Dead, you ask? Well, all right then:

Carlie McEwan loves many things.
She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY—a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie loves her enormous familiar, Gus, who is twenty-five pounds of judgmental Maine Coon cat, and she positively worships her Grandmother, a witch of incredible power and wisdom. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest—and only—real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it.
When a blonde stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone. Major Pickford asks Carlie to lead him into the deepest shadows of the forest to find a mythical circle of chestnut trees, thought lost to forever to mankind. There are ghosts in the forest, and one of them cries out to Carlie across the years.
  Come find me.

Danger, like the shadowed pools of the forest, can run deep. The danger is real, but Carlie’s magic is born of a pure spirit. With the help of Gus, and Gran, and a rugged cop who really does want to save the world, she’ll fight to bring a ghost home, and deliver justice to a murderer who hides in the cool, mysterious green of a forest gone mad with magic.



Special thanks to my amazing friends/team Jennifer Clark Sell (editor) and Staci Hart (artist). You make my best even better, so thanks.

Click here for your copy:Halfway Dead: Get Yours Here!


Happy Tuesday, Y’all, and cheers!

Terry


Outlander. Witches. Pancakes.

Welcome Back, Outlanders. 

So, the Winter of Our Discontent is nearly ended. Blessed be, or something. 

Tomorrow, millions of fans will re-engage with the second season. Loins will be girded. Chins will be lifted. Visages will be grim. And then, all hell will break loose as the bilious presence of Black Jack Randall invades our collective senses once again.
I couldn’t help but snicker as I watched people (okay, women aged 18-77) line up to see Fifty Shades of Grey. What was essentially a modest BDSM film paled in comparison to the depravity lurking in the mind of Jack Randall. He makes serial killers look like marriage material, but the good news is that before Jamie is tortured and reborn as something new, there’s a lot of beautiful story to enjoy. But first. . . .



Naturally, I’ll be paying attention to all aspects of the show, not just the parts that interest me. This is all in the name of science and stuff, of course.



So! there’s a lot to look forward to, eh? After the episode, I’ll have a breakdown and commentary– I look forward to yours as well.
Also, if you like witches or pancakes, or witches and pancakes, read the blurb about a new paranormal series that hits stores this June. I think you’ll love it– but for now, a little teaser.




Cheers!
Terry

A Brief Word About Pie

Maybe not too brief, but definitely about pie.

Pie transcends my need to eat. I love pie. I specifically enjoy pie between the hours of 1-3AM, usually eaten while standing at the kitchen sink, looking over the back yard. On nights with the moon, I have the reflected light of the sun to illuminate my shameful gorging. And yet, the moon always welcomes me back, or maybe I just ignore any protests because there’s pie. And milk.

I come from a long line of bakers; our family restaurant was actually called “The Pie Stand”, so this fascination is both genetically acquired and learned. It’s here to stay.
Here is a peach pie I made when I visited my buddy Tim. Nothing says, “I’m glad we were pals before puberty” like a baked good.

Question: What Makes A Pie?

I know we’ve all had sweet pies. Can pies be savory and still be considered pie? I’ve eaten meat or potato pie varieties in several countries, and I think I’m comfortable with that nomenclature. True, I have no desire to drink milk while eating a delicious, gravy laden Australian meat pie, but still. There was a crust and filling. I feel the same way about spicy Jamaican meat pies. Chicken pot pie, Shepherd’s pie– still technically pie. Right? Or, no?
Fruit. Chocolate. Dairy. Hybrids.
Fruit makes for an excellent filling (blueberry, apple, cherry, strawberry-rhubarb). I can also see the attraction of cream pies– Boston or Coconut make me crazy. I would fight a circle saw for either of those kinds of dessert. Holidays bring out the baker in all of us. Thanksgiving? Pumpkin. Sweet Potato. Apple. Christmas? Mincemeat. Apple. Pecan.
I heartily approve of holidays that activate our latent baking genes.
The Hybrids.
These are the pies that really take some culinary willpower. Your Black Forest, Chess, and Chocolate Silk fall into this zone. They’re stunning to look at, but more labor intensive. Not really fussy, just demanding.
The Endless Variety.
Look at this bowl of berries:

There’s a lot of pie-tential in that bowl. I can think of three kinds of pie offhand that can be made from that simple bowl of fruit, and that’s without getting Second Level Awesome and using terms like “coulis” and “measuring”.
I’m open to suggestions. I think– and this is just a guess– that there are as many recipes for pie unknown to us as there are in even the most experienced baker’s repertoire. I submit this in the hope that I’ll be inundated with new pie ideas.
Like I’ve been saying all week, it’s February. What else are we going to do?