Posted by: alegra22 | March 16, 2009

The Last Waffle…

my computer wouldn't let me upload a waffle photo so instead you get me, clutching coffee

my computer wouldn't let me upload a waffle photo so instead you get me, clutching coffee

I was supposed to begin the twelve week challenge today. I have decided that since I am a US citizen and officially today is not today until tomorrow, the twelve week challenge officially begins tomorrow on the day all challenges should begin: Monday.

So today, while it is still Sunday on the other side of the world, I am bullying my husband to make me a batch of waffles for my last hurrah before I remind myself what vegetables taste like. That was nearly a tongue twister. Who knew I had some Dr. Seuss lurking in my brain?

Today is not today until it is tomorrow so why it is still today, I will eat like I will not eat tomorrow.

(Just nod and smile, it will make me lose my train of thought, I promise)

Wait. What was I saying?

Um. Oh! The challenge. My dietary habits are strict (not by some natural dietary righteousness, I have to be pure or perish), but lately I have been slipping into ‘stress eating’. Lately as in the last six months.

Vegetables are always the first to go. Next, I start to redefine my discipline: while I won’t let sugar in any of its natural forms enter my body I decide to become an inner city youth hostel for sugar’s illegitimate offspring – Splenda.

Without wasting more time, let me just say that while I have been skating by on hiding the effects of not exercising as consistently or eating as well as I need to, I have been feeling the effects. So my challenge is to cut out my particular form of comfort eating, make my garden scream in terror every time I even glance at the brocolli, and generally make sure I sweat like the windows of a poorly ventilated house in winter at least 5x a week.

I have also discovered something. Some shade of dyslexia has always pervaded my life. I do everything inside out, back to front…and last week when I declared I would keep my goals simple and achieve very little, I actually ended up achieving far more than I set out to do.

I am going to harness that and use it against myself.

Last week I was able to get nearly all of my notes organized and began on the synopsis. The synopsis, this round, has been a wild experience. All of the research, all of the previous two year’s efforts are surfacing. I would like to say effortlessly but well, it ain’t. It has its moments of flight and its moments in the pounding surf, a gallon of saltwater shoved up my nose as I moan about my aching muscles.

I always fall back on that sculptor or carver analogy of discovering the form of the carving as something that the wood reveals rather than the other way around. Writing the synopsis has been a process of discovery for me.

I also fell in love with ‘flash fiction’ this week. I went through my Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market book and made a list of both print and online literary journals. I rewrote two stories that have gone through various evolutions and submitted them: “Vigil”, a story dedicated to the memory of Noah, my friends’ child who died a few weeks before his first birthday, and “Naming Shadows” a story about a little boy finding his name on the night that his mother dies.

Cheery, right?

I actually made myself cry when I was rewriting Vigil. I really hope to find a home for Noah, one that will spread his memory out into the world.

I also did “heaps” (as they say in NZ) of cleaning and little odds and ends business stuff.

This week:

1. Enter a flash-fiction for an upcoming March 31 deadline

2. Make plans for Sol’s fourth birthday party

3. Start my weight training/dietary plan

4. Do a second draft on the piece for the TWA

5. Get the synopsis in good form and send to Joel and Norman for feedback

How did your week go? Any good strategies?

Dan is ignoring my pleas for waffles. He will succumb, oh yes, he will…

Post note: Ah…the smell of waffles cooking! I am going to sit down and watch Flight of the Concords and fill my gullet with goodness.



  1. I’ll take your flash-fiction challenge, but I weep for your diet. I just may have to grab some waffles for lunch now.

    And here’s another goal for you:

    6. Answer PJ’s email so that he can make your buttons for you.

    • My diet would bring you to your knees – and I am talking my comfort food diet, not my ‘on track Alegra is eating well’ diet.
      There is a flash fiction deadline coming up March 31. I am checking out all the different sites, so far my favorite one is the Long-Smoke. Unfortunately the rejected Vigil – feeling a little defeated but grateful I didn’t have to wait a long time to find out. I hate the anticipation, it does me in. I am going to have another look this afternoon for a possible home. Might even submit it to the March 31 deadline. I dunno. Antidote to rejection inspired apathy = action.
      I will think on the buttons while I am working out this morning.

      • You always make me laugh when you talk about “feeling” defeated. You and I both know that contest won’t be your last attempt to “find a home” for your story. So accordingly, if you never stop trying, you will never be defeated.

        • I don’t know if this is going to thread properly but this is for you Pete:
          It is resubmitted.
          I don’t have high hopes. Actually none. But it felt good and I will do it again.

  2. Wow! Ambitious goals for sure.

    Barbara (MS)

    • ha! I was trying to tone it down this week to trick myself into achieving more ;o)
      Thanks for stopping by Barbara

  3. “sugar’s illegitimate offspring – Splenda.” Got to love it!

    • Splenda, and artificial sweeteners in general, have all kinds of special places in my heart.

      • I love that line too…I don’t know anything about hostels (except from the movie…yikes!) but now, when I add a pack of Sweet’N Low to my tea, I’ll imagine it traveling down to my gut for an all-night kegger…woohoo! Beer pong!

        • I haven’t watched the Hostel movie but I want to…Dan hates horror flicks, I love them in a ‘train-wreck-can’t-look-away’ sort of compulsion.

          Yes, Splenda and all of its forms…*sigh* I am attracted to mutations I suppose.

  4. Sorry to hear about Vigil Alegra. But glad to hear you’re sending it out again.

    It seems you’ve accepted that persistence is the trembling prelude to a life of meaningful creativity. Well done!

    Now, where did I put that pen…

    (not so clever today, but trying)


    • I know some people have an ego strength that takes this sort of thing and uses it to fuel them further – I admire those types of people, truly I do. But for me, I have to play constant mindtricks with myself.

      The fact that I have been incredibly blessed right now (as if god knows what a neurotic wuss I am) with just enough logs to stoke on my fire through the long dark valley of rejection is a big help. I remind myself of this daily…I just have to have faith that fuel will continue to present itself on the journey.

  5. Last week was a good productive week. Got about 2K words out. None of it is usable as final material, but just getting some of my thoughts out in more than just mind-map form ( has been very helpful. I had an amazing tutorial last thursday which was totally my saving grace (last week was indeed a very dark week filled with dancing skeletons dismembering others to play their xylophone-toned ribs and carnivorous cheshire cats loitering in the dark space beneath my stairs) – partly, I think, in reponse to ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ – I forgot how dangerous books can be, it’s been a while.

    Things this week are picking up, fortunately. Currently addicted to Philip Glass’ ‘Japura River’ ( So anyways! Goals for the week:

    1) Find a digital text and write at least 500 words describing the text in general and my response (not plot or any such silliness) – did this yesterday

    2) Find ANOTHER digital text and write at least 500 words…

    3) Finish reading the two articles I have by Katherine Hayles and add notes in Zotero

    4) Relax and not rip myself a new mental orifice for not being entirely certain that I’m correctly showing students how to read a poem critically.

    5) Organize what critics I’ve found by their stances on certain issues (materiality, taxonomy, textuality, etc etc etc)

    6) Not stress that I don’t intellectualize things as much as Elizabeth, Cameron, Heidi, Emma, Kirby, Lisa, Stephen, Lee, Jan, Eluned, Mark, Michelle, Greg, Allison, or… well, anybody at this Uni.

    7) Cut my nails

    I hope that your new diet is playing nice and not being too malicious. Sending many diet-compliant hugsies with no added sugar or preservatives, and an emphatic, foam-finger-waving “I think you’re friggin awesome!!”

    Yours in crime,

    PS: If you’re into mind-mapping and that, you might like this tool (referenced above), it’s – a very easy tool for creating mind-maps. What to do with them afterwards, I’m not too sure. Perhaps print it out, gently and lovingly place it on a cement or brick floor, sweetly drench it in gasoline and watch the mo-fo burn like hell.

    • Hello my dubious sleuth (I can’t get the comment to thread again, I don’t know why…grrr)
      I love mindmaps – I am definitely going to check out the link. You are the treasure trove of great organizational tools!
      And while we both know that I am as guilty as you of doing the ‘comparing myself to others as proof that I am an alien invader that must be ousted from my current state of grace’ please, please, please tell that voice to SHUT THE MACAROONI UP (yeah, dude, I just came up with that – just like that). Your mind is brilliant just as it is and what a terrible waste it would be if you tried to turn it into tofu (taking on the flavor of whatever it is simmering with).
      I need to cut my nails too. Actually I am thinking of treating myself to manicure. I might do something like that for every rejection I receive, I get to treat myself to something. I may go broke really quick but at least my heart will be whole ;o)
      Big lovings to you my partner in crime-
      A to the C

  6. After a productive week last, this post finds me looking for a nice, safe cave to hide in.


    But you inspire. I will finish my short. I will stay on production schedule for my project.

    I will, I will, I will… (mantras help me 🙂 )

    • Mantras help me too.
      Let me know if you would like me to send you some of the websites I have been looking at for literary mags, I would be happy to pass them along.
      Good company gives me courage :o)

      • I would love for you to send me the sites.

        Safety in numbers!

        • Trista: I don’t know why my comments are not threading. Most definitely! I will send it to your email account.

  7. Ahhh…waffles…sure do miss ’em! No comment on Splenda – have you ever tried stevia? Sorry, that’s the natural health nut in me talking…but, it’s probably healthier for you.

    Sorry to hear about ‘Vigil’ – I will simply imagine that the home you tried to place it with wasn’t really a good fit and there is indeed a good home out there for such an homage. I’m visualizing it.

    Your to do list sounds as ambitious and wild and big as the way my real life manifested itself last week without any to do list…it just steered itself!

    Now I’m fried and I have a generally organized and overly ambitious to do list, which must be completed…this week! Sadly, I’m too tired for pithy comments and witty remarks; happily I keep moving in the direction of my dreams…

    Here goes:

    1. write my personal statement for scholarship applications

    2. jump through all other hoops necessary to fill out all the scholarship applications and get them submitted by the deadlines

    3. finish taking notes from an overdue library book which i have been coveting as it is rare and was very, very difficult to obtain and had to be ordered from the University of Nevada library, of all places, through an inter-library loan program (the extreme obscurity of the subject matter is what surprises me about that location) – and of course, now i must return it under threat of the library dungeon treatment as well as the fact that i’m being a bad library person, creating bad library karma…the good news being that no one has requested the book so i’m not actually keeping it from anyone in particular. It’ll be on its way home Friday…don’t all rush to get it now!

    4. finish up some major projects at work before Spring Break

    5. get all my homework done…on time

    6. make about a hundred or so flash cards for my ancient language class – ok – pushing that one to Spring Break

    7. organize my notes and create my outline for an archaeological research paper – for the rough draft over Spring Break

    8. get ready for Spring Break and…

    9. drumroll…wait for it…wait for it…


    Can you tell I’m excited about Spring Break! Yep, I am, I am…it’s coming just in time to save me from myself.

    • Yeah, I know, as you can imagine Mom has been on me about the Splenda for a couple of years now. She’s sent me articles and other scare tactics. Even Dan is in on the action. Who woulda thunk my KFC Maori boy would turn into an anti-splenda health freak? Geez. But I am cutting it out of my diet during the 12 week challenge so well….yeah.

      I sent Vigil back out today. I know this is the flipside of things and that I have to continue to learn to ‘failbetter’ and allow myself to be surprised by those gems when they arrive.

      Goodness woman your list puts me to shame! But then again we share the same blood and you have the whole Russian thing to match my Spaniard thing, so I guess it should be no surprise right ;o)?

      Onwards we go!
      Big lovings to you my sis.

  8. This week’s goals:

    1) Start on the outline for my secret project;
    2) Get back notes on the shark movie;
    3) Send out an email tooting my own horn for getting nominated for 2 Streamy Awards (I know, it sounds like a pissing contest, but it’s actually like the Emmys of web TV);
    4) Send out another email urging people to donate to AIDS Project LA in support of my next marathon run (;
    5) Work on the whole “relaxing” thing.

    • Congrats on the Streamies!
      (I love that)
      I can’t wait to know about this shark movie…and the secret project.

  9. Well, I got two out of three. : )

    I still work out once a week, but I’ve been eyeing what you’ve written here about sugar.

    My goal: come to terms with that nefarious stuff.

    I think every living being has to address this issue at some point in time. My other goal is to try and get some decent rest, I am whipped!

    • Well done!
      yes, sugars make a big difference. I had to do it for immune system issues, but once I cut out sugar and wheat, my immunity really cleared up.
      Keep moving forward with the goals :o)

  10. Yes…strrrong like mad Russian bull!

    Don’t feel bad, my exercise routine went down the tubes for a few weeks when I got so sick…I’m back on track now. All it takes is a little flappy upper arm action and I freak back into weight lifting submission these days!

    Besides, it makes you feel better as you know.

    For some reason, even though I’m subscribed to this post, I didn’t get an e-mail update on your response to my comment above. Sorry, or I would’ve written back sooner!

    • That is okay m’dear!
      Yes, my routine is slowly picking up again – and I can’t be too hard on myself because I have managed to maintain a lot of strength hoisting my kids around! But it does make me feel better and once I can actually get back out on the surfboard I will be kissing my biceps and shoulder muscles for staying in shape if I continue to work out.

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