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Today's guest is fellow author Lee Rowan, sharing with us the healthy resolution she's determined to keep...


Sneaking up on the New Year

I've never been any good at New Year's resolutions. And I don't know anyone who is. They seem to be such bright, sparkly things – A New Year! A Fresh Start! Time to Change! And for a lot of us, the thing to change is the extra insulation we've accumulated around the middle.

…but it's January, and even though the days are getting longer, that happens none too fast, and habits are strong, and a person still has to contend with leftover Christmas cookies. So by mid-January, all but the most determined resolvers tend to give up and say, "Maybe in Spring…"

I used to do massage, and for 25 years that gave me a fair amount of exercise. When we moved to Canada, though, my license didn't translate, and the red tape and expense of becoming recertified put that off for at least awhile – most likely forever, and since my intention had been to change over to writing eventually anyway, well…

A person doesn't burn nearly as many calories sitting at a computer as she does working on aching bodies. I knew that intellectually, but it kind of hit home when I got out my winter clothes and found that some of them had unaccountably shrunk. I know that if I could get back into spending a couple of hours a week on my elliptical machine, I'd get back into my favorite winter jeans. But making exercise a New Year's resolution? Guaranteed failure—and over a month away.

But a birthday resolution? Might work. As the big 60 looms, I know that 'use it or lose it' isn't just a slogan.

So I went downstairs, let the dogs out (if I go downstairs, Watson assumes I mean to let him run outside) and did a whopping two minutes on the machine, during which my body wanted to know what the hell I thought I was doing. Two minutes – according to the meter, that's 35 calories, a whopping 10.4 of them fat calories. These numbers? Probably inaccurate, my machine is the low-end of a decent brand and the serious equipment wants a bunch of body data to calculate accurately. But the numbers are a target, and a target of 100 calories – 6 minutes – was something I could reach pretty easily. I started keeping track of minutes and calories on the kitchen calendar, and though I missed a few days in November, when I retired the 2011 calendar, every day in December had something at the top of every day square.

This is not quite as virtuous as it sounds, because I've given myself a fudge-factor to stave off discouragement. Once or twice before Christmas, I got so busy I forgot to visit the machine… so rather than tear my hair, etc., I made a rule that allows me to make up one missed day, as long as it is done within 24 hours. Two missed days means a blank square. No excuses. So missing December 17 meant that I had to do two sessions on the 18th – two separate sessions, not one ten-minute one split into 2 fives. And I did two sessions on December 24, and gave myself Christmas off.

I suspect that fussing with the details is preventing boredom—until this routine becomes as natural a brushing my teeth, I'm using every trick I can come up with, and so far that's working. It's very satisfying to look at the calendar grid and see that I've fought the good fight every single day… more or less.

Every day? Yes, I know that serious training works best if a person takes a day or two off every week. But I also know that my inner couch potato is very good at days off and truly awful at resuming practice. So one or two days a week, I do a short session, 4 or 5 minutes, and the rest of the time I aim for ten. Which, some weeks, I've hit. Last week, with New Years, only averaged 6 minutes a day. Not much. But… it means I've exercised every day this year, and that's the kind of silly-ass encouragement I need.

So if I had made a New Year's resolution to exercise regularly, I'd be keeping it.

But I didn't.

Which means there's a good chance I will….

Happy birthday, Clare, and may any resolutions you made be so easy to keep you don't even think about them.


About Lee Rowan: I've been writing since childhood, but professionally only since spring of 2006, after learning my craft writing fanfiction for some 30 years. In earlier times I'd have been called "a lady of a certain age," old enough to know better but young enough to do it anyway. A confirmed bookaholic with a spouse of many years, I'm kept in line by a cadre of cats and a dog who get me away from the computer and out of the house at least once a day.
Until I was in my 40's, I thought romance was utterly unrealistic--a pretty dream, but little more. What I'd seen of relationships didn't seem worth the effort or the pain. A big-hearted dog and a few wonderful cats kept my own heart going, until, in the first weeks of the new millennium, I fell in love with a friend I'd known most of my adult life. How did that happen? Well, I'd just written Ransom, and I could not find anyone who was willing to read it and give me feedback. I got feedback--and the love of my life as well!
We have just celebrated our tenth anniversary as life-partners. In 2007, we moved to Canada, where our marriage is legally recognized. Real love isn't just a pretty dream, though. It's a lot of work--but it's worth every minute.
The stories I write are usually--not always--about two men, which may seem odd subject matter for a woman who's married to another woman. But ... well, so what? I write with my mind and heart, not with what's in my pants; I write the sort of stories I want to read. While many girls were dreaming of walking up the aisle and wondering what they'd name their children, I was dreaming of running away to sea or riding across the prairie, and wondering what I'd name my horse. I was intrigued by how people lived before cars, TV, modern medicine, and what touched my imagination were stories of adventure and adversity.
I never did get the horse... life ain't perfect. That's why we need dreams... and stories.
Love, honor, courage... those aren't male qualities or female qualities. They're the very best human qualities, and I think we all have the capacity to experience them, no matter how different we may be when it comes to sex, age, color, or any of the other tiny subcategories. We are all human, and we all have dreams.

I'd like to share some of mine, and so I write.

Visit my Website and Blog.

Jessewave's Blog gave me an "Author Spotlight" day last March, which included an interview and reviews of all my books. You can find that over HERE.


From Clare: Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Fancy writing something for the visitors this month? It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).


FOLLOW the Birthday Blog so far:
Jan 01: luscious_words shares some fabulous icons.
Jan 02: Jordan Castillo Price shares her experience of re-releasing books.
Jan 03: Mara Ismine wonders how important is continuity in fiction?
Jan 04: Jen shares her favourite Rom Com movies.
Jan 05: Karenna Colcroft introduces her unusual werewolf.
Jan 06: Stevie Carroll takes us on a pictorial tour of her favourite locations.
Jan 07: Tinnean quotes Jack Benny on age.
Jan 07: Josie makes a brave leap into a scary sport.
Jan 08: Elin Gregory finds inspiration at every turn.

Check up on:
Prior years fun HERE and
The 2012 Guest schedule HERE.

Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥

NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
Well done on getting back into a heatlhy habit! And starting small and building up is definitely the way to go. Many people sabotage themselves by trying to do too much at once and quickly burn out or hurt themselves.

Exercise just went out of the window for me last year when I had problems with my back and even once that was fixed - as fixed as backs ever are - I'd lost the habit. Eating habits have been bad too. The obvious result, half my clothes don't fit right now.

For me I don't make a resolution to exercise more, I've made a goal to be back into the size of clothes I want to be by a certain date, and the diet and exercise are ways to make that happen, not abstract resolutions in themselves, which definitely helps.
Jan. 9th, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
It's a shame that habits that are good for the body are so much harder to re-establish than the bad ones, isn't it? We compromised on Christmas cookies this year - one batch each of four sorts, and most of them went to neighbors.

I'm giving myself a year to get back into some things, and after that I plan to just triage out the things that will never fit and admit that I'm middle-aged. Sigh.
Jan. 9th, 2012 09:38 am (UTC)
I would like to make a resolution, but I know I won't keep it. But I like your idea of marking the calendar each day, and having to make up for lost days ... I might give that a go. I have a treadmill right here next to the computer, with a picture window in front, and a TV to one side. My hubby even made me a set of hooks to hold my eReader. I have no excuse!

Good luck with your exercise regime. Having a special birthday to aim for is a good incentive.

(Another resolution I'd like to keep is commenting more on people's LJs. I really struggle to write the words at times. I lurk way too much.)
Jan. 9th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
Our basement has a picture window - it's walk-out -- but the thing has age wrinkles, so the scenery wiggles. Disconcerting. I need to figure out how to put a book or reader stand on the machine, but it's all rounded edges. Mostly I watch the weather channel, or old videotapes.
Jan. 9th, 2012 12:30 pm (UTC)
Wow. I find that seriously impressive - every day for a year?! How is that even possible? I couldn't manage it even if I counted the bicycle ride to work... But what if you're sick for more than two days? Are you forgiven?

Your right about the NY's resolutions - hard to keep and always get off to a bad start because you're still on holiday or whatever... I never make them because I know I won't keep them. Not when it's just my own self making the demands.

PS, I love your love story - your own, I mean. :)
Jan. 9th, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
The year was only 8 days long, at that point...

If I were too sick to do even one minute, I'd probably just take a couple of days off -- I'm stubborn, not OCD. But I'd have to be damn near dead, because when Watson really needs to go off, he makes a noise like an ailing steam kettle, and if I ignore that he yodels. And once I'm downstairs, the lowest setting on the machine is less work than walking back up the stairs.

Edited at 2012-01-09 09:05 pm (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
Oh doh! I misunderstood (maybe because I read the middle of the post first, then the beginning, then the end) - so good luck then! That consistency will get the job done.
Heh, if typing and reading was exercise we'd all be ripped. ;)
Lol at the dog - yodeling? Sounds fun.
Jan. 9th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
That's really sneaky writing on the calendar - maybe I could make exercise into something OCD just so I can write something on my calendar...

Last year was a year of very little exercise as I was told to stop walking last January to let my overused feet recover. Lack of serious walking for six months made my back play up. And then just before Christmas I realised that neither feet nor back hurt! Yay! The next day I developed a vicious pain in my shoulder that I thought was 'just' seasonal stress. Now I'm not to carry anything on my left until the pulled muscle heals...

At least I can still walk the dog.

This getting old lark sucks.
Jan. 9th, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
I had intended to put in my miles walking the dog, but he got so big that it's more of a wrestling match. What I actually need to do is walk him so much that it becomes routine, but he knocked me down a few months back (playful enthusiasm) and my shoulders are still a bit iffy. I wouldn't mind having exactly 70 years if I could be hale and hearty and then just punch out, but women in my family tend to run to 80-90, so I'm learning to pace myself, and I hate it.

Massage has done the most for my shoulder..
Jan. 9th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this post! It's food for thought. I've been hard on myself for "only" doing 20 minutes on the treadmill when I'd like to do 45-60. Maybe I need to scale back and stop making the time commitment so odious, and instead enjoy being regular about it.
Jan. 9th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know what you mean-- at one time I was doing 45, 4x a week, and it was great, and I tried to push into that in a month, last summer,but that 'axle limit' sign? My knees weren't up to it. I'm giving myself a whole year to return to that level. It's annoying as hell but you can't drive a '57 Chevy like a brand-new Stingray.
Jan. 10th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)
That all sounds very sensible. A little and often seems safer than trying to do a lot and risking damage.

Good luck with it. Writing is so bad for the waistline.
Jan. 10th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
The visual gratification sounds like a great incentive. Good luck going forward.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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