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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 12:00pm on 08/05/2013 under
I've had to think a lot about what I'm eating lately, and it's consumed a huge amount of my brain. I'll put all the blahblah beneath a cut so you only have to read it if you care.

Lessons from Quitting Sugar )
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 02:39pm on 03/05/2013 under
I haven't updated in awhile but there have been improvements to garden, largely without any effort on my part!

Spinach coming up like weeds
The spinach seedlings popped up all willy-nilly! The LITHA (Leave It The Hell Alone) method is working.

Strawberry leaves
The strawberry plants are coming along.

Tomato in dirt bag
I replanted two of the tomato plants into dirt bags, but then I ran out of soil.

Lemon tree
W gave me a baby lemon tree as an anniversary present!

There have also been some interior improvements!

I had the bedroom light fixture replaced with a ceiling fan! (Not pictured. It's kind of boring.)

We ordered a custom upholstered headboard from the amazing Custom Design Home Decor on Etsy! Such an improvement, especially since W's computer is perfectly situated for watching TV from bed.

More recent photos of spring around the homestead!
Porch view down

Flowering bush

Porch view

Flowering tree

My plans for May are to have a cold, do some plant maintenance, finish Couch To 5K, and keep on keepin' on.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 10:08am on 17/04/2013
This is a crosspost to the Torquere Author Social list.

Suppose Don’t Ask were set in the world of Glee where everyone is always
breaking into a thematically appropriate pop song in the middle of the
school hallway, and nobody seems to notice unless it’s convenient to the
plot. I’ve made a playlist of the songs I’d include. Feel free to
contribute! My notes are below. I tried to keep them brief enough to
tantalize rather than spoil, but read each chapter first if you’re a purist.
(Starred songs are not presently available on Spotify.)

* The Donnas - New Kid in School (2007) Chapter 1: I picture Cat and a
chorus of girls doing the singing as they lead Windy around the school, with
Mike sort of bouncing around smiling and giving Windy “what are you gonna
do? girls!” reaction shots.

Jill Sobule - I Kissed A Girl (1995) Chapter 2: Spoiler alert in the title
of this song! Cat, of course. I’ve always preferred Jill Sobule’s “Kissed a
Girl” to Katy Perry’s -- it’s just so much gayer.

Ludwig von Beethoven - Piano Sonata no. 14 (1802) Chapter 3: Mike on piano.
The first and third movements are mentioned, but I’m including the third in
the mix because it’s speedy and mixes better with pop music.

Christina Aguilera - Glam (2010) Chapter 4: Cat, playing fashion show.
You’ll notice a lot of these songs are from 2010, since the story is set
between September and December of 2010. It’s a historical novel!

David Bowie - Boys Keep Swinging (1979) Chapter 5: For the inevitable
military montage which will try its darnedest not to be campy, and fail.

The Smiths - Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want (1984) Chapter
6: Cat’s prayer. Okay, Cat is probably not into The Smiths, but I do;
they’re absolutely the best at melodramatic, melancholy teen emotional

Madonna - Ray of Light (1998) Chapter 6: Cat, with Rainbow Alliance for
Youth. (Get it? Get it??) Okay, basically any gay anthem would work here.

Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams (2004) Chapter 7: Mike in the Color
War. You’d think it would blow his cover to be singing.

Robyn - Dancing On My Own (2010) Chapter 8: Cat at the party.

Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire (1963) Chapter 9: Windy plays this song on the
guitar, but I imagine it’s Mike who gets the vocal solo in a sequence that
Windy will neither acknowledge nor remember.

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance (2009) Chapter 9: Mike’s feverishly imagined
piratical interlude. I am challenging casting to come up with a singer who
can do both Johnny Cash and Lady Gaga.

Lily Allen – F*** You (Very Much) (2009) Chapter 10: Cat, out in school.

Bruno Mars - Grenade (2010) Chapter 10: Cat to Calliope at the coffee shop.
Substitute Bon Jovi’s “Shot Through the Heart” if you want to keep this mix

Seether - Fake It (2007) Chapter 11: Mike, to himself, somehow unheard by
the Brotherhood.

The Association - Windy (1967) Chapter 12: Cat’s Thanksgiving thank-you to
Windy. If you hate this song as much as everyone else does, feel free to
substitute “Thank You For Being A Friend (Golden Girls Theme).”

* Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog - My Eyes (2008) Chapter 13: Cat is the
light; Mike is the darkness.

Queen - Don't Stop Me Now (1979) Chapter 13: Mike and the hot rod boys!

System of a Down - Chop Suey! (2001) Chapter 13: Fightin’ Mike, with Van as
back-up (“you wanted to!”). Or you could just say eff it and go with
“Rumble” from West Side Story.

Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You (2009) Chapter 14: Cat,
finding Mike standing at her door. (Guess that means he’s sorry.)

* Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Machismo (1991) Chapter 15: Mike,
reflecting on manhood.

Green Day - 21 Guns (2009) Chapter 15: Mike, giving up the fight. I know
this is the second Green Day song, but, well, I love them. Blame my 90s
upbringing. Anyway, they’re not the only repeated artist in this mix; I’ll
have another Bowie in a second.

John Butler Trio - Zebra (2003) Chapter 15: Mike, embracing contradictions.
Windy could do some sweet rhythm guitar on this.

Katy Perry - Firework (2010) Chapter 16: Cat and Mike dance.

Pink - Raise Your Glass (2010) Chapter 16: Ensemble dance.

Florence + the Machine - Dog Days Are Over (2008) Chapter 16: Cat, Mike,
ensemble. The big news. I know this song is heavily associated with the Eat
Pray Love trailer, but doesn’t that make it a true Sound of 2010?

David Bowie - Heroes (1977) Mike. Epilogue.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 09:53am on 17/04/2013 under , ,
I've got a book out today!

Cover of Dont Ask showing a girl with a rainbow flag and a boy in fatigues

Reasons you might like this book:

- You like gay and lesbian young adult coming-of-age and/or romance!

- You like action, military honor, training sequences, joyriding, fighting!

- You like makeovers, shopping, and The Big Dance!

At Prizm Books

At Torquere Press

I'm promised it will be on Amazon and Barnes & Noble within the next few days, and I absolutely do not blame you if you wait for those outlets for your Kindles and your Nooks and whatnot. Whispersync!

Here's some more stuff:

A brief excerpt!

My making-of post on the Prizm blog!
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 03:08pm on 13/04/2013 under ,
The cold weather is easing up. Today it is merely cool. For today's farm task, I planted bare-root strawberries in a multi-tiered strawberry urn.

Strawberry urn

I had some left over, so I also planted some in my bed, even though I have no idea where I planted pak choi seeds. We'll find out! If too many things come up, I can always make decisions later! (So not organized enough to be a farmer.) You'll also notice that I put up the trellis. Now all that's left is for the peas to sprout.


In fitness news, my roommates and I did day 1 of couch to 5k on Thursday, and we hope to do day 2 at some point today. I've signed up for two (2) 5k runs this summer, so I am required to keep on schedule this time, and not just do day 1 four or five times and then forget about it, like last time.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 10:04pm on 09/04/2013 under
Shortly after my last update, we went out and planted the outdoor veggie seeds in the little bed: a row of snow peas on the end (to be supported by trellis when it arrives), and a few rows each of spinach and bonsai pak choi, which hopefully will mature before the pea trellis blocks the sun.

cultivated bed

It doesn't look like much yet. But compare that to a weedy, rocky, uncultivated bed!

uncultivated bed

I'm excited about it!


While I'm posting picspam, just look at the meals W made for me today.


For breakfast, gluten-free pancakes. Don't they look like an ad?


For dinner, sweet potato, avocado, and mango (triple O) sushi.

What a good housewife! Too bad the day job starts Tuesday.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 05:36pm on 09/04/2013 under
This past weekend, after coming back from a two-day trip to find my cilantro all wilted, I decided it was time to move the seedlings out of the jiffy pots. I repotted the tomatoes in 4" pots and made a little forest for the herbs. In the process, I gave some seedlings away and cruelly discarded weaklings.

Five tomato seedlings

Herb seedling forest

Aren't they getting such big, nice leaves? It's hard to believe I planted them only three weeks ago. You don't actually have to be that patient to grow things! These guys have now logged about 3 hours of outdoor sun time as it's been beautiful the last couple of days. We're getting some lower temperatures later in the week, but we're rapidly approaching the average last frost date, so it's time to kick the farm into high gear.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 11:21pm on 31/03/2013 under ,
The tomatoes are developing tiny adult leaves!

Tomato seedlings, day 15

I made a huge order of garden stuff. I'm planning on doing two planters of assorted herbs, one multi-level planter of strawberries, 4-6 tomato plants in individual containers, and spinach and peas in my little bed (with a little trellis). My roommates and I spent a ton of time raking and cleaning up the garden this weekend, now that warm weather is here. (And we finally tossed our Christmas poinsettia. It did good service!)

What else am I keeping you updated on? My trivia team kicked ass this week (thanks largely to a new addition and NO THANKS to my music studies, but the fruits of that endeavour will be more long-term). My piercings and bike injuries are healing nicely. I lost one pound on my new food regimen. I wish I hadn't started calorie counting between when I made a huge Peapod order full of processed bread products and when I got it. I can't throw away food! Too wasteful!!
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 12:34pm on 27/03/2013 under , , , ,
Okay, lots of things to tell you.

I. The Sprouts
Are doing well!

Seedlings in the window

Most of the pods sprouted, and the tomatoes were getting real tall and spindly, so I moved them to the window. I've been keeping them under my daylight-spectrum drawing lamp, which hopefully will work as a grow light. They seem to be doing well. I'm not sure when I'm supposed to transplant them to new homes. I'll give it some time, since I can't put them outside yet anyway.

II. New Pieces of Metal for Springtime

I got a bike!

my little red bike

Still working on not falling off, but having the equipment means I can practice.

I also got some new/old piercings: third lobe and helix on the right. (The left side is the same, 2 lobes.) I've gotten my helix redone like three times now. Third time's the charm!!

III. My New Games

1. The Fitness Game

I've never been one to count calories. I don't have a big problem with my weight and it changes so slowly that it doesn't seem to have anything really to do with what I eat or don't. (I know it does, but it doesn't FEEL that way.) Little did I know that I was MISSING OUT on a GREAT GAME!

I started using the My Fitness Pal app to track what I eat and any exercise I do. It was just out of curiosity, sort of to see where I am instead of to change anything, but it has influenced me to make different choices in order to meet my daily calorie goal. If I only have 50 calories left, I have a square of dark chocolate instead of a scoop of ice cream for dessert. When I go over, I'm like, "Okay, time to exercise." I still don't super care about weight, but I'm making better general fitness choices, doing things I agree I should do.

I have always tuned out when people started talking about calories, but I get it now. Without the numbers, I wasn't motivated to make these choices in the moment. Now, I not only KNOW INTELLECTUALLY that the most efficient way to improve my general diet is to replace my morning bagel and cream cheese with a lowfat yogurt and sugar-free granola; I FEEL it. With my HEART.

And maybe someday I will do it.

2. The Radio Game

My trivia team always gets crushed on the music round, where we're played a short clip of a song and must guess the title and artist. I decided it's time to get serious about practicing.

Most of the music is from the 80s through today, so I auto-shuffled Pandora's pre-made pop stations for the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and "today's hits." Each time a new song comes on (unless I'm absorbed in something else), I write down what I think the title and artist is. I get one point for each one I get right. (I don't get the title point if I only get the title because they repeated it in the chorus, which wouldn't be played at the bar.)

It's amazing how many of them are very familiar to me, I can totally sing along, and yet have no idea of the title or artist. This is actually what makes the game fun. If it was just a bunch of music I'd never heard before, it would be too hard. For someone less remedial than me, it would be too easy.

Here's a sample of the first "round" of 8 songs I played. How many of the songs do you think you would have been able to identify before the chorus played (or ever, if they never say the name of the song)? I got 3 points out of 16.

Don Henley - The Boys of Summer
Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy
Rihanna - Stay
Counting Crows - Mr. Jones
JoJo - Too Little, Too Late
Icona Pop - I Love It
Shakira - Hips Don't Lie
Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Have Fun
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 01:47pm on 22/03/2013 under
Admittedly, the sprouts were kind of hard to see and dubious and speck-on-the-lens-like yesterday, but how bout now??

Sprouts, legit

I'm amazed that this seems to be working.


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