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Challenge Accepted. Screw you Sciatica – Meet Carrie Spencer.

Yeah, I know. Cripes, Carrie, where ya been? You’re thinking. Or words to that effect.

I wonder the same thing myself.

First, to be totally honest, I haven’t buried myself in a garret or cave and typed out seven great manuscripts in the past six months.

cruise-ship-1193456-mNope.

I haven’t been on a cruise, haven’t been on sabbatical.

What I have been, is useless.

Oy, that hurts to say.

One day, waaaaaay back in March, I woke up with a crick in my back. No biggie, I thought, it’ll go away. A few days later, I walked with a limp, dragging a foot. A few more days and I barely walked. Honest. Limped with one leg, dragged the other. Walk this way, master….

This is SO not a good thing when you’re a waitress. I generally walk 15K to 20K plus steps a day. Easily. That’s before I added in my workout for the day.

I can give you the technical aspects of sciatic pain, the “I can’t sit” “I can’t sleep” “I can’t walk”. But until you’ve been buried under it, you don’t understand. And boy, was I buried. Constant pain was my companion. I powered through my shifts at work, doing what I do, in whatever fashion I could do it. When I got home from work, I covered myself in heating packs, ice packs and Jack Daniels.

cookieDo I want your pity? Not on your life. =) I am, as I’ve told many people, a tough cookie. Work comes first, pain came second. Some days, it was a losing battle.

Months of exercises, stretches and appointments later, I’m finally feeling….pretty good. Not 100% as other problems linger. Walking up a flight of stairs is a challenge. Bending down to pick something up is a challenge. Letting go of my bottle of Jack Daniels ….well…..just back away. And slowly.

But, in the words of my new favorite show “How I met your Mother” – Challenge Accepted.

I may not yet be able to sit for 3-4 hours at a time and work on a manuscript. I may not be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. Yet. I may not even be able to walk up a flight of stairs without looking like my Grandma Starkenburg.

But. I’m working on it.

I’m building my strength, doing 20-40 min cardio every morning. Lifting weights twice a week. Doing rehab exercises. Riding a bike. Stretching my muscles, tightening my core. No guts, no glory.

Let me tell you and tell you true. I’m no quitter. Never have been, never will be.

boxing-glove-967348-mI’m fighting back, in the battle of my life. I’m not bending, I’m not giving. If you want to see what I’m made of, it’s blood, sweat and tears. It’s goal and motivation. It’s me against pain. Take that, sciatica. I’m SO over you. Knee pain? pfft. I laugh in your face. Weak ankles? Come meet my green stretchy band and weep in agony.

I’ve lost 10+ pounds, and I’m out there kicking ass. I’m gonna win. Screw you sciatica, you’ve just met Carrie Spencer, and I’m not taking it anymore.

Rawr.

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Peace, Love, Chili Dogs and Adorable Cats – It’s Cheap Date Nite!

That's "Mr. Weenie" to you!

Creative Commons License Theresa Thompson via Compfight

Yay! It’s time for cheap date night again! But my camera is on the fritz – not that it was working that wonderfully before, but this time you’ll have to use your imagination – not a problem!

First up, we’re going for chili dogs. Easy peasy done in the microwave omg I can’t believe they’re done already chili dogs!

(yeah, it’s a long title but work with me here)

2 flour tortillas – the smaller ones
1 microwaveable container of Hormel chili
2 weenies
Cheddar cheese
Optional ingredients – onions, jalapenos

Heat the chili according to directions – generally it’s like one minute
While chili is cooking, sprinkle one of the tortillas with cheddar cheese and any other fixin’s you want, then roll the weenie up inside.
In a small microwaveable pan, pour in half the chili.
Place the rolled tortillas seam side down in the chili.
Top with remaining chili
Cover and microwave about 5 minutes, depending on how powerful your microwave is. (mine’s a weenie) (get it? hah!)

Sprinkle more cheddar cheese on top and serve. Kind of a weenie enchilada.

Smart Ass Romance - Bottums Up - Fun Drink RecipesNow what would possibly go with a glorified weenie? A Snakebite of course! (oh yeah, go ahead, make your own joke)

1 bottle hard cider (I like Woodchuck Granny Smith)
1 bottle beer (something simple, like Bud Light)

Okay, hang on…these instructions are pretty hard to follow.

Pour half the cider in one glass…the other half in the second glass.
Fill with half the beer in the first glass…the other half in the second glass.

Tada! Chili dogs and beer! Grab some potato chips and lets go on a picnic!

And in case you’re wondering why this post is so short? This are exactly the circumstances under which I wrote …..enjoy a little of Simon’s Cat – or in this case, Carrie’s Six Cats.

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Escaping the Fashion Police – Confessions of a Plus Size Slob

I admit it. I’m plus sized.

I workout daily, I have a trainer, I lift weights. I do crunches every day, I walk 6-10 miles at work every day. But, I’m still plus sized. I’ve mostly accepted it.

Mostly.

Until recently. Maybe you’ve even heard comments like these –

Maybe a little makeup, dear. It’ll make your cheekbones pop and you’ll look thinner.

If you wore vertical stripes….

Black always makes you look thinner…

Sigh.

People always have wonderful advice. And there’s been studies (by really official people!) on how wearing the right fitting clothes makes you look wonderful. And it’s true…read this article from Grasping for Objectivity – you won’t believe what a nice fitting pair of jeans will do for your butt! I mean seriously? Go look. You’re in for a shock.

I admit my general wardrobe leaves a lot to be desired. Men’s XL t-shirts and jeans. Tennies. I’ll also admit when I’m at work, I sometimes literally RUN and need to have a certain style of clothing that I can wear that won’t drape in people’s spaghetti, will hide the strawberry daquiri stains and won’t show sweat. Those are my basic requirements.

But is it enough? Probably not.

To that end, I’ve been working with some outfits on polyvore. I even purchased some of these outfits. But, have you ever noticed things always look better on the model than on you? Yeah. Same here.

However, since my only creative energy for the past few months has been trying to design outfits for a plus size (and wide footed) woman, here’s what I’ve been working on – some casual outfits that might actually work not only for my body, but for my reluctant-to-be-fashionable brain.

A little Sexy, A little Orange - Plus Size

Is it Monday Already? Plus Size

Be You Tiful - Plus Size

Extra Casual Day in Mint - Plus Size

So like, nothing too out of line right? Still basically t-shirts and jeans. Personally I wouldn’t wear the flip flops, but hey, they matched the outfit! I’d still wear …you guessed it….tennies.

I’ve also brought the fashion up a notch – for when we dress up on the weekends, yet still not overtaxing my oh-my-god-it-has-sequins! phobia brain.

Plus Size Olive with a Splash of Rose

Black and White with a Super Cool Snail Bag - Plus Size

Why Yes, Plus Size Gals Can be Quite Sexy, Thank You

Plus Size Red and White Summer Outfit

Whew. Some of those shoes? Not happening. Oh, and I never carry a purse either. Never.

However, just in case you’re wondering what I wear around the house? =)

Just call me .... WONDERWOMAN!!! =)

Yeah, I might be plus sized but sometimes the fashion gene is just built in right? =)

carrie

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My Non-Writing Life – The ups, the downs and the sheer terror of a blank mind.

December, 2011. The month my story-telling brain left me.

Oh, you’re saying, don’t be so dramatic, Carrie. You’d be partially right. I’m a bit of a drama queen, but not about this.

At first, I thought it’s temporary. It’ll come back. How can it not, after all, it’s my BRAIN we’re talking about here! I didn’t really worry about it until the middle of January. After all, the holidays were keeping me zinging about, work was overflowing, I simply didn’t have the time to write. Didn’t matter I couldn’t actually THINK of a storyline, or even a character, because I was busy. BUSY BUSY BUSY. Yes, all with capitals.

Then came February. I had many things still on my plate, and a lovely class with the wondrous Laurie Schnebly, and for awhile I thought yay! I’m out of my funk! But no, I really wasn’t. The story idea I used for her class is one I’ve had for two years. She helped me refine it, helped me make it into an awesome story outline, and then when class was over? poof. gone.

Well, that’s awkward, I thought. I must be trying too hard. And since my 50th birthday was on the horizon, I put it behind me. Until my lovely friend and mentor Sandi reminded me – “Didn’t you say you wanted to be published by your 50th birthday?”

And I did. That’s been my goal for the past 3 years. But try as I might, every time I brought out my story, ANY of my stories, my mind rebelled. Didn’t you forget to brush your teeth? it said. Did you remember to update so-and-so’s website? it murmured. The brain is an insistent thing – it needles and cajoles and pecks away at you until you’ve forgotten why you opened that document in the first place and next thing you know, you’re making rice krispie bars and cutting out paper snowflakes.

I’d even quit making jewelry.

Next thing you know it’s June. How did that happen? I was suddenly 50 and 1/4. Even blogging had become a challenge. An editor requested a synopsis and I thought here we go! We’re off and running! I opened my manuscript and changed one word. One. I kept the document open for 3 days, then finally closed it again. My mind was a perfect blank. I tried to force a story in there. I had the perfect opening line. I opened a fresh new document, wrote three paragraphs and then…nothing. No story. No thought of a story.

This was a heart breaker for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a very vivid imagination. Wild dreams, even wilder day dreams. Brazilian toads bigger than a dinner plate, vampires, Vikings storming through my clothes closet. A simple drive to work could result in almost an entire story being plotted out in 20 minutes. But I’d literally gone dark. The Vikings had left with the toads, vampires had disappeared into the mists. My drive to work was 20 minutes of classic 70’s rock and me belting out the words to Smokin’ in the Boys Room.

Even my reading habits disappeared. Every night for as long as I can remember, I’ve read myself to sleep. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Now suddenly I watched movies. I read magazines. I had to force myself to read more than a few pages before bed.

What was happening to me???

I still don’t know. But, in sheer desperation, this past week I started listening to the old RWA workshops again while in my car. And one day, while driving to work and not expecting it, a tiny germ of an idea popped into my head. It was gone as quick as it had come, and I almost didn’t recognize it for what it was, but another popped up. What if . . . instead of him being on the boat because of an embezzler he was her personal body guard. (yes, I realize this makes no sense to you NOW, but when the book comes out, you’ll see where that came from!) what if . . . they were on board with their SO’s and it turns out the SO’s were having an affair – with each other! Okay, not the deepest of ideas, but at this point, I’d take anything!

I’m hoping hoping hoping that this is a turn in the tide and means the synapses are firing in my brain again. Hopefully the connections up there aren’t too rusted out!

I’m taking an online class next week, I’ve got 5 CD’s lined up to listen in to while driving.

It’s time to get back to writing.

carrie

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Beans, Beans the Tropical Fruit, the More You Eat the More You — Cheap Date Night

When I was a kid, that was Grandpa’s favorite rhyme…

Beans, beans the tropical fruit
the more you eat the more you toot.

He’d recite it over and over and over. And over.

Along with the always favorite-

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Whereupon we, disguised as wild Indians, would race into Grandma’s house howling for ice cream. It’s a wonder she didn’t kill us all. And him!

However, since we’re discussing cheap date night AND beans all in the same breath, we’re going to steer away from the kind that might cause “issues”. IfyaknowwhatImean.

So first up, let’s fix supper.

Steak and Green Bean Salad

1 steak, cut against the grain in thin slices
Favorite types of lettuce
Green beans – fresh, frozen or canned
Almonds
Shredded mozzarella
Your choice of other veggies to add

Marinate your steak in your favorite marinade. I use Italian dressing, tabasco and some garlic. Turn a few times.

Cook in either a pan or a grill til it’s as done as you like it. (Me? Burn it.)

Cook your green beans – canned takes 4 min in the microwave, fresh and frozen take a bit longer! (But taste better!)

While it’s all cooking arrange salad on a plate. Being an Ioweenie, I use lots of iceberg and toss in some spinach for dark leafy greens. Makes me feel all healthy. Add in your mozzarella and almonds. I add in tomatoes and green peppers as well. Give it a good tossing.

When your steak and beans are done, put the beans on the salad first, followed by the steak. Serve with your choice of dressing.

Yum.

And I bet you’re thinking – what kind of drink can she come up with to go with this deeeeelicious salad? Stand back folks, and I’ll show you.

Smart Ass Romance - Bottums Up - Fun Drink RecipesWith a hearty steak salad, you’re going to want a hearty beer to go with it. Dark red wine works too, but for fun, let’s try a basic Michelada. There’s tons of varieties of Michelada’s, this one here is pretty basic. But ohhhh soooo gooood.

1 bottle Corona
1 shot tequila
Lime
Kosher salt
Ice

Rim your glass with the cut edge of a lime, then dip in the salt. Add in some ice cubes and squeeze the lime over the top of them. Pour in one shot of tequila. Pour your beer over the top, adding a lime garnish if you’re so inspired.

Bottom’s up!

Now for the movie – snuggle up, take a sip and in honor of the humble bean and the London Olympics let’s watch some…..Mr. Bean! Yay!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzH185G0qKw

ps, I hope you saw this the first time it ran…the Olympic Committee has removed the video. Darnit. It was pretty cool.

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