Sunday, July 17, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

In two days, I will turn 37. Another year has flown by at a neck-breaking speed, and I find myself both eager for what this next year brings and dreading the fact that I will be officially 3 years away from 40.

I don't care about the aging part so much as I do knowing what I have accomplished so far and all I still want to do. 40 is not a cut-off by any means, but let me be completely honest: I thought I would've been in a much different place in my life by now. You know, the whole shebang - career, family, etc. I guess LIFE had other plans.

This year, I am excited to spend my birthday with family - something I have not had the opportunity to do since 2009. I will get to see both of my paternal aunts and also spend an amazing time in Myrtle Beach with my dad and his fiancee. Two of my favorite birthdays were spent with my family in Myrtle Beach, so I am definitely looking forward to some fun in the sun!

Since last July, I have made quite a few changes. I have moved across country (again); I've started a new career with IHG; and I have begun writing a new Young Adult Fantasy novel - my 4th novel to date. I am still an unpublished author at this time, but I am working hard to change that every day. I am still adjusting to being back in South Carolina, which is a HUGE difference from the little town in Ferndale, WA where I previously lived. The traffic is crazy, and the heat is almost unbearable at times. I haven't lived in this kind of humidity since 2010, and wowsers is it HOT, HOT, HOT!

My hopes for the coming year are to finish my book, see progress at work, and hopefully get settled in better in my new apartment. I cannot wait to enjoy my birthday celebration with my family, and I definitely am looking forward to everything the next 365 days will bring.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

From One Coast to Another



On April 25th, my best friend and I embarked on a 4,000+ mile road trip to move back to South Carolina. For several weeks I had planned and plotted our trek, and I am pleased to report our trip went off without a hitch!

Our trip took 10 days as planned and included driving Highway 101 along the northern California coast, a trip to the Redwood National Forest (all four locations including the Avenue of the Giants), a drive along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, a visit to my brother's family in Albuquerque, and a quick lunch with my best friend's grandparents in Mississippi. 

Unlike our move to Washington in 2010 which included several flat tires, a busted hitch, and an overblown gas budget, this trip was everything we wanted it to be - smooth asphalt seas with no missed exits or delays except for my 4-cylinder's struggle with pulling a 6x12 U-Haul trailer up a mountain range or two. The sites were breathtaking and unforgettable, especially the Redwood trees, Highway 101, and the Grand Canyon. I also loved seeing my brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew - those kiddos are growing up so fast!

We arrived in South Carolina on May 4th and went straight to our new apartment complex to sign our lease. We spent one last night in a hotel in town, which was a good thing because we were way too exhausted to unload our U-Haul. The next day, two amazing people *our buddy, Ashley, and my cousin, Brad) came over to help us unload our trailer, and I will be forever grateful for their hard work and helping hands. They did in 1.5 hours what would've been an all-day affair for the bestie and me. 

Next up we had our new bed sets delivered so we had somewhere to sleep going forward, and we began the arduous process of unpacking - something we are STILL doing. It is unbelievable how much stuff we have even after we got rid of SO MUCH! We are limited by way of furniture, but my dad gave us a cute dining table that fits our apartment perfectly (thanks, Daddy!).

Two days after we arrived in South Carolina, I interviewed and was hired at IHG - an incredible place to work. I am now in my fourth week with the company, and I am so excited about my new career. I still miss Barlean's and all of my lovely co-workers, but the change was necessary and good for me. 

Washington state has left an undeniable imprint on my soul. From the Technicolor landscapes to the kindest people I have ever met, it is a place and experience I will never forget. I hope to visit my friends there the first chance I get, but I know it will be some time before that happens. This first year will be a struggle, but I think that's normal with this kind of cross-country transition. 

It is strange being back in South Carolina. Everything reminds me of my mother and her absence. I am so grateful for the time I have been able to spend with my father, two of my aunts, a few of my cousins and a couple of my friends so far. I look forward to seeing others when time will allow, but mostly I am taking it slowly - this re-acclimation to a place I no longer recognize. I hope the strangeness and newness of it all will wear off, but only time will tell. 

In the mean time, I just wanted to say... Hi y'all! I'm BACK!!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring: A New Beginning


Spring has sprung with a vibrant and boisterous voice against the chill of winter here in Whatcom County. The tulips are in bloom, the Dogwoods are floating in pink and white clouds of flowers, and birds are chirping loudly enough to wake ALL of the neighbors.

With the new beginning of the season, I am pleased to share I am also about to undertake a new beginning. I will be leaving Barlean's, where I have had the opportunity to stretch my wings in such a beautiful way, and moving back to my home state of South Carolina. I will be closer to family and sandy beaches, and all of the superfluous things of the South so integral to my DNA.

I will miss the colors of the Pacific Northwest, but I am excited for this next big adventure. On my way back to South Cackalacky, I will get the chance to see the big Redwood trees, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon. Now THAT is an adventure I cannot wait to begin!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo Take Down!


For the fourth year in a row, I have written over 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. This year, I wrote 64,078 words - most of which will never make it into the final draft. It is a feat, a true accomplishment as a writer; but it is only the beginning.

Every year since 2012, I have used NaNoWriMo as a launch pad for a new novel idea. I write furiously to beat the 30 day deadline, and each time I am successful. Then, the editing begins.

While I was an English major in college and a Creative Writing minor, I have no formal training in writing novels. My editing process is rewriting, cutting, rewriting, pasting, and rewriting again. It's tedious, infuriating, liberating and sometimes - just once in a blood moon - it is perfection.

This year, I dove back into the realm of Young Adult Fantasy. My main character is bitter and feisty, and she lies just about every time she opens her mouth. Even I have a hard time trusting her, which is kind of awesome when you think about it.

I love NaNoWriMo, and everything it supports. I love the challenge and the thrill of accomplishing what some may deem impossible. Here's to another win, and hopefully another great year of exploring and world-building my next novel!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A1C Update - Going the Wrong Way


I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type II in September 2013. I then successfully brought my 7.8 A1C down to a 6.3 A1C thanks to diet, exercise and Metformin. Now, my numbers are creeping back up, and no one is to blame for this turn-around but me. 

When I was first diagnosed, I monitored my blood sugar levels and was diligent about not eating too many carbs or sugary foods. I paid attention to what I ate and I made progress. Then, stress worked its way in along with mindless eating, and the numbers started going the wrong way. 

I stopped cooking my own meals and started eating out - a lot. The number on the scale started going up, but I didn't stop. It was so much more convenient to grab something on the way home than spend twenty or thirty minutes in the kitchen every afternoon after work. In other words, I got lazy. 

I know what Diabetes can do. I know the right way to eat. I just don't always do what I'm supposed to, and instead of hating myself for it I am going to try something new - forgiveness. I'm not going to beat myself up for making poor food choices. I'm going to look at the data and make the changes I need to make. 

Here's what I've learned:
  1. Consistency Matters. Eat at the same time every day and the same amount of food. The weight will come off, the blood sugars will normalize, and my A1C will come down. 
  2. Hydrate. Water does so much good for the body even if I hate drinking it. Water helps me to feel fuller longer. I don't feel as tired when I hydrate properly. I sleep better. Plus, my dry skin starts to look better, too. 
  3. Do The Work. Cook my own food. Get off the couch. Park farther away. And repeat. Losing weight and beating back my A1C isn't easy, but I can do it if only I put in a little elbow grease. 
So, that's where I am today. Six months from now, I will be better.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 So Far


It's hard to believe it is almost November. It feels like this year has flown by. It's been a good year, though, and I wanted to share with you where I am right now in my life. 

June proved to be a challenging month for me. Sassy, the Toy Poodle I inherited from my mother in 2009, passed away just before turning eleven years old. It was sudden and unexpected, and I still feel the cracks in my heart when I come home from work and she isn't there. I still have my sweet furbabies, Vincent and Fisher, to keep me neck deep in kitty cuddles, but I miss Sassy every day. 

July brought me to New Mexico where I visited my brother and his beautiful family. I had a wonderful five days with them, and enjoyed every minute I spent with my two lovely nieces and adorable nephew. Plus, I got to see New Mexico in the summer, which was gorgeous! 

July is also my birthday month, and I had a great time celebrating with a few of my closest friends. My co-workers draped my desk in all sorts of fun birthday decorations, which was just an added bonus. I enjoyed a fantastic three-day weekend with my best friend, and I could not have asked for a better start to my thirty-sixth year. 

August and September are spectacular months in the Pacific Northwest. The Dahlias are in bloom, which I love, love, love. I took many photos of the floral masterpieces at our local park, and found myself excited for the burgeoning fall colors as October quickly approached. 

At the end of September I had surgery on my right wrist. I developed a ganglion cyst earlier this year, and after having it aspirated in April, it came back with a vengeance. Surgery was the next step, but I had no idea how major the surgery would be. I was admitted for the outpatient procedure at the local hospital, and my surgeon told me later the cyst he removed was the size of a STRAWBERRY! I was put under general anesthesia, which I've had before, but this time I had a terrible reaction. I was in recovery for more than 5 hours, and I hope it is a very long time before I have to be put under again. 

My hand is healing well, and soon I am told it will be like there wasn't anything there to begin with. I still get sharp pains periodically, but I am doing my wrist exercises and keeping it light. My best friend took care of me as I recovered - she is the bestest - and I got beautiful lilies to cheer my up from my aunt. All the love made recovering so much easier, that's for sure!

Finally, last week, I bought a brand new Dodge Journey! My Hyundai Tucson treated me wonderfully and I loved how rugged it was, but my Dodge Journey is AWESOME! I cannot wait to drive it all over the Pacific Northwest!

So, that's my life so far. It's mostly been a positive year, I've got good things going on, and I hope 2015 is treating you well, too. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015: A Year in Pursuit


For 2015, I have decided to scrap all resolutions except one: pursue the life I want and live it fully. Of course I want to lose weight and be healthier, as so many people do, but that is only one part of the life I want. I also want to be a writer and tell amazing stories. I want to travel and see the beauty around me I don't often take the time to notice like I should. I want to reduce my debts and increase my savings so all of these things are that much easier. So, 2015 is not going to be about just doing one or ten things. It is about doing everything.

This year and every year that comes after, I want to live a voracious life in pursuit of my dreams and in support of the dreams of others. So, I'd like to now take a moment to introduce you to a friend of mine's dream: MyNonGMOBox.com. Terence Klein came up with this idea and he has worked hard to make it a reality. But what is it exactly?

MyNonGMOBox.com is a way to connect people who want Non-GMO verified foods in their pantries, fridges, freezers and bellies with the companies who make them. It's genius. Each box contains samples of Non-GMO verified products, which lets the box-buyer try before committing to a full-sized product. Once you try something and like it, you can simply visit MyNonGMOBox.com and purchase the full-sized item. Each box also contains information about the brand, which is an added bonus because then we, the consumers, are educated about which brands to buy when we're looking at one hundred different types of chips, snacks, granola bars, etc. It's a one-stop-shop for Non-GMO education, information and product procurement.

So, do you have a dream you're working on? If so, what is it and what support do you need? I don't have a lot of money, but I'm a good writer and editor with plenty of ideas of my own. Feel free to comment on this post or email me at taragoodyear@gmail.com.

I want to live a life where dreams come true, don't you?