Work Outs: November 7 – 13, 2021 (Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Reverse Trick or Treating)

It has been quite a while since I posted here, but I thought now that things are settling down a bit with work on The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology I should make the effort to start posting my workouts again.

While I’m usually more focused on weight maintenance rather than loss, I did loosen up a bit too much with my eating over the past few months so I want to lose ten pounds to get back to where I was before I started working hard on the book, and maybe go another ten pounds beyond that since I’m feeling the itch again. So I’m going to make that one of my goals.

Speaking of weight loss…

There isn’t much in the way of Halloween celebrations where we live, at least so far as people going door to door for candy goes.

This year though, we did get a family of “Reverse Trick or Treaters” who showed up in costume handing out little cartons and treats as a way of introducing themselves to the neighborhood.

They apparently bought a house on the road behind where we live. The trio seemed awfully nice and I liked their costumes too–a knight complete with sword and shield as well as a pair of ninjas!

Sun, November 7th

Afternoon Walk: 8.9 miles. Did some light calisthenics a couple of times during the hike and at the end.

Mon, November 8th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs, and calisthenics
  • (Superset) BB Bent Over Rows: 65 lbs. reps x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 25 reps
    • Set #2: Crunches: 35 reps
    • Set #3: Bicep Curls (ez-curl bar): 31 lbs. x 15 reps
    • Set #4: Fitness Bag Pick Up & Drop (4-ct): 8 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs (hog bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Cross Body Hammer Curls: 12 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #2: Fitness Bag Cleans: 12 reps
    • Set #3: Sumo Squats: 12 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps
  • Deadlifts (hex bar): 135 lbs. x 5 sets x 12 reps
  • Hindu Push-Up Stretch: 12 reps

Tues, November 9th

I took a rest day today and did some stretching and such off and on throughout the day.

My husband and I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium back in September, which was fun. We hadn’t been in a long time and we both independently came up with the idea of going.* I made a little four-minute video out of some of the cell phone footage I took and slapped it up on Youtube not long after the visit.

I wanted to include some octopus footage but there was no getting near the tank with those popular cephalopods! I did take some pictures but they didn’t really come out in the dark what with the prohibition of flash photography and all. Got some pretty decent jellyfish and sardine footage though … decent for an ancient cell phone.

One thing I find entertaining about going to things like aquariums is watching the reactions and curiosity of small children, which is at least as much fun to me as the exhibits themselves. I imagine we’ll probably go back again around 2030 if our pattern holds.

Wed, November 10th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: Worked with 1 lb. indian clubs for 30 minutes.

Thur, November 11th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: Full Squats: 4 sets x 15 reps
  • (Super Set) Seated Leg Extensions: 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Standing Calf Raises: 15 reps
    • Set #2: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 15 reps
    • Set #3: Partial Cossack Squats (2-ct): 15 reps
    • Set #4: Standing Side Crunches (ea. side): 15 reps
  • (Super Set) Seated Leg Curls: 45 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps, 50 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Front Kick Stretch (ea. leg): 15 reps
    • Set #2: Side Kick Stretch (ea. leg): 15 reps
    • Set #3: Snap Kick Exercise (ea. leg): 15 reps
    • Set #4: Walking Lunges: 15 reps

Fri, November 12th

  • BB Military Press: 50 lbs. x 5 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Incline Bench Press: 20 lbs. x 5 sets x 12 reps
  • (Super Set) Tricep Pushdowns (v-handle): 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Sport Grippers (80 lbs.): 4 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) Tricep Reverse Pushdowns (d-handles): 12.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Face Pulls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #2: Supine Leg Windmills (ea. way): 30 revolutions
    • Set #3: Light Spring Bar: 8 reps (supinated) and 8 reps (pronated)
    • Set #4: Fitness Bag Pick-up, Shoulder, and Drop: 8 reps

Sat, November 13th

Morning Walk: 3.66 miles. Did some inverted rows using a hitching post for horses near the trail.

* I have found this “independently coming up with the same idea” thing happens more and more with my husband and me the longer we are married, lol.

The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and dark, short story anthology now available on Amazon as an ebook

I am happy to say that the horror and dark fiction anthology I’ve been working on some quite some time went live on Amazon last night as an ebook. Besides being available for purchase, you can read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Buy the ebook on Amazon for $4.99 or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

We’ll be releasing the paperback version of The Lost Librarian’s Grave later in October.

When I put together the table of contents I got to thinking about how people read anthologies. I know some people like to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end.

The traditional table of contents, which I put up a preview of here, caters to that way of doing things. It also has, for me anyway, a comforting feel of how I’m using to seeing books.

Some readers (me among them) like to skip around a collection of stories and read a short one here, a long one there, maybe that one with the weird exorcist or the disgruntled librarian who gets hectored by gargoyles.

For people like me, I grouped the stories (and four poems) under various headings. Some of the stories could have gone under multiple headings. For example, “Ocular” could have just as easily been a “strange adventure” but I liked “An Eye for an Eye” because of the play on words.

One thing I like about checking out books on Amazon is their “Look Inside” feature where they let you preview about 10% of a book. The Lost Librarian’s Grave is a pretty big book, so 10% ends up being a pretty goodly chunk of reading. I put the stories in bold text below that one can read in their entirety through Amazon’s preview.

I tried to pick three that were pretty different from each other in tone and style as well as plot to highlight the variety I did my best to bring to the collection.

Tomorrow I think I’m going to take a much-needed day off from working on the book, and then get the wheels turning again on Monday for putting together the paperback, which will start with giving my existing ebook cover a spine and a back page.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Witches, Magicians, and Sorcery

  • “Medusa’s Mirror” by Paul L. Bates
  • “Snake and Sinew, Flame and Bone” by Amanda Cecelia Lang
  • “The Artist” by Mike Murphy
  • “The Clearing” by Helen Power
  • “The Maze of Moonlight and Mirrors” by Gerri Leen (poem)

The Dead, the Mad, and the Terrified

  • “Rathbone” by Zach Ellenberger
  • “The Glorious Protection of Angels” by Michelle Ann King
  • “The Jump” by Pauline Yates
  • “Three Bad Things” by Kathy Kingston

Ancient Days and Apocalypse Now

  • “Butterflies of the Longest Night” by Russell Hammell
  • “Death, and the Scent of Tea” by Cheryl Zaidan
  • “The Day in Gold” by Adele Gardner
  • “The Savage Night” by Pedro Iniguez
  • “Valhalla is a Lie” by Benjamin Thomas

Strange Adventures and Weird Journeys

  • “Among Stars and Stones” by Brandon Barrows
  • “Mother Winter” by Matthew Chabin
  • “He Gets Hungry Sometimes” by Carol Gyzander
  • “The Little People” by Kurt Newton
  • “They Never Left” by Matthew McKiernan

A Murder of Gargoyles

  • “Gargoyle of the World, Unite!” by Mary Jo Rabe
  • “Odd Job Tom” by Eddie Generous
  • “The Grotesque” by Rhonda Parrish (poem)

The Scientific Method

  • “Aegir’s Son” by Edward Ahern
  • “Bottled Rage” by Owen Auch
  • “Voyage of the PFV-4” by David Rose

Ghosts and the Grave

  • “Good Boy Anyway” Briana McGuckin
  • “The Infinity of Worse” by Ken Hueler
  • “The Problem with Bottling Troublesome Spirits” by Juleigh Howard-Hobson

Demon-Haunted World

  • “A Bed Both Long and Narrow” by Sipora Coffelt
  • “Blooms of Darkness” by Melissa Miles
  • “Face to Face” by Tom Leveen

An Eye for an Eye

  • “Inside a Refrigerator” by Adrian Ludens
  • “Ocular” by Nidheesh Samant
  • “Penance” by J.V. Gachs
  • “The Binding of Chrysanthoula” by Angeliki Radou

End of the Line

  • “Devil’s Oak” by Mary Leoson
  • “Nature versus Nurture” by Gerri Leen (poem)
  • “The Ocean’s Misfortune” by Alison McBain
  • “The Woman in the Wallpaper” by Gregory L. Norris
  • “Cold Storage” by Jude Reid

The Lost Librarian’s Grave: Table of Contents Reveal

Did a Table of Contents reveal on the Redwood Press blog for The Lost Librarian’s grave ebook, which will be available on Amazon in a couple of days.

It’ll be for sale, of course, but if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.

Redwood Press

Our debut ebook anthology is going to be available on Amazon in a couple of days, so I thought this would be a fun time to post our table of contents.

The book contains 36 short stories, including one novella, and four poems. It is a sizeable tome!

What is more, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you’ll be able to read the ebook for free. Of course one can buy the Grave for $4.99, though I’m planning on running a sale for October.

The book has the usual table of contents listing the stories and poems in the order they appear, but we also collected up the stories by theme such as “Demon-Haunted World,” and “The Dead, the Mad, and the Terrified.” A few of them, naturally, could go in more than one category but as editor I had to make the final call and I did!

The idea…

View original post 331 more words

Tweaked the Ebook Cover for The Lost Librarians Grave

I tweaked the ebook cover for The Lost Librarian’s Grave a bit. I’m planning on uploading it to Amazon this weekend. As I mentioned in the Redwood Press blog post, suggestions and feedback are always welcome.

Redwood Press

Work continues on The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and weird fiction anthology, which is good because October will be here before we know it. Today I tweaked the ebook cover a little, giving the gargoyle a bit of an aura or glowing effect, as well as a few other things.

I also decided to put some author names on the cover. It was very hard to decide* so the three of us each picked our favorite story–none of us liked the same one the best. This was easy for Don, a bit harder for Occasum, and very hard for me because I liked all the stories and had several favorites for differing reasons.

Then I added another author because I have misspelled their name now about a dozen times, and while not a huge deal it seemed a way of balancing the scales and achieving some literary Maat. Finally…

View original post 165 more words

Work Outs: August 29 – September 4, 2021 (USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier)

The other day, I was looking through some uncatalogued pictures from our 2013 visit to the USS Hornet in Alameda, California. I’ve never done anything with them, so I thought it would be a good idea to show some of them here.*

The Hornet is an Essex-class carrier that was built in 1943 and saw a lot of wartime action and several modernizing refits before being decommissioned in 1970. In addition to its war service, the ship was also used to recover the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 astronauts in 1969. The ship was opened as a museum ship in 1998.

Sun, August 29th

Afternoon Walk: 7.19 miles. More uphill sprints, but no canine companions this time, unfortunately.

Mon, August 30th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • (Morning) Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 reps
  • Finger Extensions (band): 8 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 reps
  • (Afternoon) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Manual Program, Level 5. RPM’s: 70+

One of my goals was to close the Trainer gripper to 4mm for 4 sets of 5 reps with my left hand, which I achieved in April. I took some time off from doing the grippers and found I couldn’t still perform that benchmark.

So I got back to using the grippers, and the deadlifting helps too with developing strength in closing the hands. This is especially true of the double overhand grip far more than the mixed grip. I was able to hit the 4mm mark again today. I’ve set a new goal of 2mm with my left hand.

Tues, August 31st

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Walk-Jog: 5.02 miles.

Wed, September 1st

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs, and steel mace
  • (Superset) Ring Rows (~45°): 10 reps x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Crunches: 35 reps
    • Set #3: Bicep Curls (ez-curl bar): 31 lbs. x 15 reps
    • Set #4: BB Deadlift: 135 lbs. x 6 reps
  • (Week 5 of 12) Deadlifts: 169 lbs. x 4 sets x 3 reps

Thur, September 2nd

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: warmed up with calisthenics and dynamic stretching
  • (Super Set) Standing Leg Curls (ea. leg): 22.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 reps +
    • Set #1: Squats: 20 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Calf Raises: 20 reps
    • Set #3: Sumo Squat and Kick (4-ct): 10 reps
    • Set #4: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 21 reps
  • (Super Set) Snap Kick Exercise (ea. leg): 4 sets x 10 reps +
    • Set #1: BB Squats: 45 lbs. x 8 reps
    • Set #2: Full Squats: 10 reps
    • Set #3: BB Squats: 45 lbs. x 8 reps
    • Set #4: Hindu Squats: 20 reps
  • Finished the workout with Cossack Squats (2-ct, partials): 10 reps, Seated Dorsiflexion (both feet): 30 lbs. x 15 reps, Walking Lunges: 12 reps. Did some post-workout static stretching.

There were a number of aircraft on the deck and inside the ship as well. My favorite was this TMB 3-E Avenger built by Grumman for use as a torpedo bomber.

Fri, September 3rd

  • Afternoon Workout: Warmed up with indian clubs, and dynamic stretching
  • BB Military Press: 50 lbs. x 12 reps, 52.5 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 65 lbs. x 8 reps, 75 lbs. x 8 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset) DB Lateral Raises: 8 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps, 10 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 16 reps
    • Set #2: Wrist Rolling (cable): 12.5 lbs. x twice rolling all the way out and back. I used both pronated and mixed grips, then rolled half the cable with supinated grip.
    • Set #3: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 21 reps
    • Set #4: Supine Leg Windmills: 50 revolutions each way
  • (Superset) Tricep Pushdowns (v-handle): 35 lbs. x 12 reps, 40 lbs. x 10, 12 reps, 45 lbs. x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Incline Push-ups (4th step): 8 reps
    • Set #2: Light Spring Bar: 8 reps (pronated) + 8 reps (supinated) + 4 reps (overhead, pronated and then supinated). Those last few supinated overhead reps were hard.
    • Set #3: Face Pulls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #4: Cat Litter Fitness Bag Pick-up and Drop (4-ct): 8 reps\
  • Finished off the workout with a set of reverse tricep pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm): 12.5 lbs. x 8 reps
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 2 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 2 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 2 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
  • Finger Extensions (band): 8 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 reps

The Hornet has all sorts of different services for the crew, as you’d imagine, including laundry, food service, recreation, and of course various dental and medical services. I remember, at the time, thinking that this medical room had quite a nice collection of surgery books.

Sat, September 4th

Morning Walk: 3.66 miles. Mostly on pavement but some particularly good hills. We had a nice day going to a coin store, where we spent about two hours talking about coins and many other things, and then had some nice sandwiches at a local, independent grocer in the area with a nice deli counter. We at our lunch at the beach down in Santa Cruz. All in all, a relaxing day.

The picture below seems a nice way to end this post. It is a view from the Hornet of distant San Francisco with the span of the Bay Bridge leading to Treasure Island on the right. Click on the picture to see the larger version, which I think shows the darkening bay to better advantage. Who knows what hideous and delightful secrets the eldritch waters contain?

Weekly Weigh-in: We bought a scale but it hasn’t arrived in the mail yet. I’ve continued to eat according to my maintenance plan so as far as I can tell my total loss remains at 28.6 lbs.

* If you like ships, I put up some pictures back in 2020 of our visit to the liberty ship, SS Jeremiah O’Brien in San Francisco, CA. I guess 2013 was a good year for us, nautically-speaking.

Work Outs: August 15 – 21, 2021 (Sprints with a random dog, and dragon meat at the thrift store.)

Sun, August 15th

Afternoon Walk: 6.51 miles.

I did some sprinting uphill and then walked back down the hill and rejoined my husband and walked back up the same hill. I did this a few times during our little hike.

At one point someone’s off leash Jack Russell terrier-looking dog decided to ignore his owner as I was running by and started running alongside me, which everyone found funny–even the owner who kept uselessly yelling, “Get back here, Biscuit, get back here!” over and over again.*

Mon, August 16th

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.

I have been moving things around quite a bit down in our basement gym lately, and I had to find a new place to put my sand bag and fitness rock, because I needed their old home for the lawn mower and I kept having to step over the rock to get to the plates. Since I dead lift these days in stocking feet, I would say having to step over a big, old rock is an accident waiting to happen.

So now they both live in a much more homey, compact place over by the wheelbarrow, where I’m sure they are much happier. I think of my fitness rock as a friendly rock so I don’t imagine it is waiting with lithic patience to injure my sensitive, little, pink toes. At least I hope not.**

Tues, August 17th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with indian clubs, steel mace, and dynamic stretching
  • BB Bent Over Rows: 85 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lat Pulldowns (hog bar): 70 lbs. x 7 reps, 60 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Bicep Curls (ez-curl bar): 41 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Sandbag (100 lbs.) and Fitness Rock: 8 sets alternating between Sand Bag Bear Hug Hold for 30 seconds and picking up the rock and throwing it up and back over my head in an explosive manner for 8 reps, so I’m doing 4 sets of each exercise.
  • Ended the workout by tearing up a huge pile of cardboard boxes that we’ve let accumulate too long. I just used my hands (no box cutter) so my hands and forearms got some nice stimulation, especially with some of the sturdier boxes.

Wed, August 18th

Morning Walk: 3.28 miles. Did some calisthenics afterward.

Thur, August 19th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: Warmed up with indian clubs, steel mace, and dynamic stretching
  • BB Military Press: 50 lbs. x 8 reps, 55 lbs. x 8 reps, 60 lbs. x 8 reps, 65 lbs. x 6 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 75 lbs. x 8 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps, 105 lbs. x 7 reps
  • (Superset) BB Standing Skull Crushers: 51 lbs. x 8 reps, 56 lbs. x 8 reps, 61 lbs. x 8 reps, 66 lbs. x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Heavy Spring Bar: Pronated x 5 reps + Supinated x 5 reps
    • Set #3: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 15 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps
  • (Superset) 4 sets x 8 reps of both exercises, each hand
    • Captains of Crush Gripper, Sport, 80 lbs.
    • Finger Extensions with 8 lb. band

I made a trip to the thrift store as I often do today. Not so much because I needed anything but because it is fun to do a quick walk-through every once in awhile to check out the treasures of the day, and because the store is conveniently located across the parking lot from the grocer.

This tin of dragon meat caught my eye and I won’t lie and say I didn’t think about it, but in the end I decided to take a pass. My husband eats plant-based and while I’m a filthy omnivore who is happy to eat anything that swims, flies, crawls (don’t knock bugs until you’ve tried them!), walks, etc., I do draw the line at eating highly intelligent, spellcasting, magical lifeforms who are bigger than me and possibly have long memories….

I suppose I could have bought the thing–at $4.99 US the price was certainly right–and resold it on ebay for about $30, but, again, I didn’t want to be involved in the trafficking of such flesh for the reasons listed above. After all, I like to think I learned a little something (including courage, thank you, X-Files) from all of those years of Dungeons & Dragons.

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs and light calisthenics
  • (Week 4 of 12) Dead Lifts: 157.5 lbs. x 5 sets x 3 reps
  • Ring Rows: 4 sets x 8 reps
  • (Superset) Lat Pulldowns (d-handles): 55 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Crunches: 30 reps
    • Set #2: Alternating One-Handed KB Swings (2-ct): 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #3: Leg Lifts: 20 reps
    • Set #4: Fitness Bag Snatches: 15 reps

I made my deadline of finishing editing The Lost Librarian’s Grave by August 31st, thankfully. (I’m typing this on Sep 2nd.) It ended up at a princely 113,800+ words for 33 stories and 4 poems, so if nothing else it is a pretty decent-sized work.

My next upcoming goals are to finalize the table of contents–I’m actually going to do two of them–and more importantly the cover.

Fri, August 20th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles. Did some calisthenics afterward.
  • (Afternoon) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Manual Program, Level 5. RPM’s: 70+

Sat, August 21st

Afternoon Walk: 5.08 miles. Did about 10 minutes of miscellaneous calisthenics after the walk.

Weekly Weigh-in: I am the same weight as last week as I continue on my maintenance plan for now. My total loss thus far is 28.6 lbs.


* The picture is not of the dog in question. I was a little busy what with the being out of breath sprinting and all, so I grabbed a cute shot of a dog that looks much like the energetic Biscuit. 🙂

** I have gotten quite attached to my fitness rock since I dig it out of what used to the corner of our foundation in the back of our house almost a year ago now. If the idea of being attached to a rock seems odd, well, what can I say–I’m a child of the 70s!

666 Dark Drabbles: An anthology from Black Hare Press.

666 is the eleventh title of the Dark Drabbles series of books, published by Black Hare Press out of Melbourne, Australia.* My magnificent contribution to this collection is a 100 word piece entitled “Azazel’s Heart,” which I came up with a couple of years ago. I recently rewrote the drabble to give it a more infernal flavor, what with the title of the book and all.

“Azazel’s Heart” is something of an epistolary** tale of sorcery and revenge set in the same vaguely post modern milieu I often use as a backdrop for some of my other stories.

I was casting around for a devil’s name to use and I came up with a few names, and then I thought of Azazel. Now, this devil is associated with various things, including the idea of a scapegoat and also forbidden knowledge, but in modern times this mighty fiend is perhaps best known as the dark patron of miniature painters, who ardently wish to both achieve a high output and excellent quality for their creations. So, Azazel it was!

I liked the cover when I first saw it, though my first reaction was, “Poor bunny!”***

Now I have to admit, I wasn’t terribly interested when I first heard of drabbles some years ago. A drabble is a type of flash fiction where one tells a story in exactly a hundred words. I had all sorts of objections, which I won’t go into here. Eventually I came around to where I put my objections aside and now enjoy both reading and writing in this form.

Reading, because I like to wind down with a book for about a half-hour each night before I go to sleep but sometimes I’m too tired to read that long or with much attention, so I go to one of the many books of drabbles I now have in my collection and read three or four selections before sliding into a hideous yet strangely restful dreamland.****

Also, it is fun to see how others paint a picture and tell a story within the limits of this form. To my thinking, a properly written drabble is not just a scene or a slice-of-life, it is a small story. That is where both the challenge and the fun lie.

Writing, for many reasons–too many to go into all of them here. A few are:

  • I enjoy the challenge of trying to tell a story in exactly 100 words, which I think is the main attraction for many people.
  • I like exploring an idea by writing a drabble and then seeing if any longer work comes from it. Lately, I’ve been writing drabbles in the same “universe” or along the same theme with a longer story. The idea is the drabbles and the longer story stand together, while still being able to stand apart as a coherent whole.
  • I use drabbles as a way to catalogue ideas to take a look at them later, while still producing something that is (hopefully) interesting.
  • Drabbles are a nice way to have some fun with writing when one is busy. Too often I have gone long periods of time without writing because of some other large project or ongoing responsibility that is dominating my life at the time.

* Australia is one of those countries I’ve always wanted to visit, ever since I was a kid. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I hope to once travel becomes easier and I figure out a plan to deal with that ubiquitous terror of German backpackers all over the continent–the dreaded Brown-Legged Kidney Huntsman! (Be warned about the K.H. link, it is most definitely NSFW in so many ways, lol.) I’m sure Pat has had to dodge these monstrosities more than once in his travels!

** The story is taken, in part, from what might be a page in a diary.

*** Zeus, our infernal (note the sanguineous Evil Eye!) bunny from the early 2000s, whose great claim to fame was he was featured in a pet magazine–the name of which I can’t recall–with national distribution, isn’t sure what he thinks of the 666 cover. I really liked the art, as I said, but I can see why my favorite fiendish lagomorph has mixed feelings on the issue.

**** Certain others in my household like having physical, rather than electronic, books of drabbles laying around for “bathroom reading.”

Work Outs: August 8 – 14, 2021 (Repurposed ashtray as decoration, military press, and my last editing deadline for The Lost Librarian’s Grave.)

I was going through some old stuff when I found a white, stone (apparently hand carved) ashtray in a forgotten box of stuff. I’m not one to toss things that aren’t mine, so I asked my husband about it and apparently the ashtray has been in his family for 75 or 80 years now, and one of his aunts gave it to him back in the early 90s. Given all of that, and the fact that neither of us smoke, I came up with the idea of repurposing it as a decoration: enter the Birdbath of Stone and Brass Birds.

We rather like to sit in the dark and watch television with our salt globe light going, as in the picture below.

Sun, August 8th

Afternoon Walk: 8.67 miles.

Mon, August 9th

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.

Tues, August 10th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • (Afternoon) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Interval Program, Level 10. RPM’s: 70 – 100+

I purchased the little rocks, as well as the two interesting stones on the sides, from a local gem shop down in Santa Cruz. They have a big chest where you can buy the tiny rocks by the scoop. My mother made the doily probably 30 or 40 years ago–I have a bunch of them around the house and rather treasure them. She is quite a hand all all things knitting, sewing, and so on.

The two little brass birds complete the scene. I only wish I had a squirrel to make it a proper birdbath, because every time I’ve had a bath or feeder for my avian friends, I also get frequent visits from the squirrels. I don’t mind, really, so long as the birds don’t. I did have a brass hedgehog though, so that would have to do even if it wasn’t quite to scale. Maybe in the magic land of stone birdbaths where all the animals are made of brass, my quiet, spiny friend is just the size she needs to be….

Wed, August 11th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: Warmed up with indian clubs, steel mace, and dynamic stretching
  • BB Military Press: 50 lbs. x 8 reps, 55 lbs. x 8 reps, 60 lbs. x 8 reps, 65 lbs. x 6 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 75 lbs. x 8 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps, 105 lbs. x 7 reps
  • (Superset) BB Standing Skull Crushers: 51 lbs. x 8 reps, 56 lbs. x 8 reps, 61 lbs. x 8 reps, 66 lbs. x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Heavy Spring Bar: Pronated x 5 reps + Supinated x 5 reps
    • Set #3: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 15 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps
  • (Superset) 4 sets x 8 reps of both exercises, each hand
    • Captains of Crush Gripper, Sport, 80 lbs.
    • Finger Extensions with 8 lb. band

So now that I’ve gotten my lovely barbell, I’ve decided to start doing military presses again, which I haven’t done in a very long time. I don’t know why, but I’ve always enjoyed lifting things over my head. The main difference in form between this and a shoulder press, of which the military press is a variation, is you keep your feet close together, ideally with your heels touching, or nearly so, as in the picture below on the left.*

I’ve seen some people perform the movement with the feet placed more like on the right with their toes pointed straight ahead. I’m more of a traditionalist, but I think the key take away is to keep your feet close together so you aren’t getting a mechanical advantage out of bracing your feet apart.

The idea with the military press, versus other variations, is the foot placement puts more emphasis on your core. Indeed, when I used to do these a lot back in the 80s and 90s and was far stronger than I am now, I had a solid midsection just from doing the presses, and bracing my core doing barbell squats without wearing a weight belt.

Thur, August 12th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs and light calisthenics
  • (Week 3 of 12) Dead Lifts: 147 lbs. x 6 sets x 4 reps
  • Ring Rows: 4 sets x 8 reps
  • (Superset) Lat Pulldowns (d-handles): 55 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Crunches: 30 reps
    • Set #2: Alternating One-Handed KB Swings (2-ct): 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #3: Leg Lifts: 20 reps
    • Set #4: Fitness Bag Snatches: 15 reps

Fri, August 13th

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.

There are some other details about doing the military press, but this isn’t meant to be a full tutorial, so I’ll touch on the big one, which is related to bracing your core: stay upright during the lift and don’t lean back. Over time, this is bad for your back and shoulders and unless your focus is competing in contests I see no point in performing a lift that hurts your body in the long term.

Years ago, the military press used to be part of what people think of now as Olympic Weightlifting. These days, guys ask each other, “What do you bench?” but years ago (according to my old timey lifting mentors) the question was, “What do you press?”

A problem that came up was it was legal then to lean way back in competition when performing the military press, as this rather impressive-looking (and limber!) gentlemen on the left is doing.

If your goal is winning a contest, then anything goes within the scope of what is allowed in the rules, but I would not recommend this if the idea is just to get stronger as a hobbyist.

Sat, August 7th

Afternoon Walk: 5.08 miles. Did about 10 minutes of miscellaneous calisthenics after the walk.

Weekly Weigh-in: I continue for now with my maintenance food plan, and was down 0.2 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 28.6 lbs.

I can’t type out a post these days without mentioning The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology, which has been eagerly gnawing away most of my free time since early May. Happily, I (barely) met my goal from last week of finishing my edits for 75% of the manuscript.

I say “barely” because it was right down to the wire for me at the close of business on Saturday, which is when I end my editing week. When the keystrokes and comma splices were clear, I was at a princely 76% so it all turned out well. My next goal is to completely finish editing by August 31st. After that the next step is to wrangle the 37 different stories and poems into an ebook.**

I also want to work on the cover a bit more. Maybe do a glowing effect around the gargoyle, come up with a new tagline, and maybe see about making the text a bit brighter.

I will most certainly post whatever changes I make to the cover here and over on the Redwood Press blog as well. After all, everyone steered me right, I think, when I asked about the cover design in May.


* Some people can be pretty pedantic about the “feet touching” part of this exercise, to which I say if you really want to take it to that level then take off your shoes and perform the movement with bare feet since technically your feet aren’t touching if you are wearing shoes. 🙂

*** Thirty-three stories and four poems, for a total of a bit over 113,000 words. So a respectably sized anthology.

Work Outs: August 1 – 7, 2021 (“The Kraken” and other liquid libations.)

I reached my 50% editing goal I set for myself last week with The Lost Librarian’s Grave. My new goal for this week is 75%. I recently edited two ocean/water-based stories,* and was thinking about them when we happened to swing by a Whole Foods down in Santa Cruz** to grab some miscellaneous groceries and such, so it comes as no surprise that some high seas themed drinks caught my eye when we were passing the liquor section, strategically located right by the bathrooms.

My favorite was “The Kraken,” which I thought had a fun, imaginative label. If a couple of bottles of this intoxicating rum doesn’t inspire you to go pirate and become the Terror of the Spanish Main, nothing will!

Sun, August 1st

Afternoon Walk: 10.2 miles.

Mon, August 2nd

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.

Tues, August 3rd

(Afternoon) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Interval Program, Level 10. RPM’s: 70 – 100+

Wed, August 4th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs and light calisthenics
  • (Week 2 of 12) Dead Lifts: 135 lbs. x 7 sets x 5 reps
  • Standing Ring Rows: 4 sets x 8 reps

  • (Tri-set) Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps, Hindu Squats: 20 reps, Alternating reps of DB Hammer Curls & Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls: 12 lbs. x 15 reps
  • (Superset) Lat Pulldowns (d-handles): 55 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #2: Alternating One-Handed KB Swings (2-ct): 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #3: Leg Lifts: 20 reps
    • Set #4: Crunches: 30 reps

This bottle of Gray Whale Gin is “Perfected With Six Californian Botanicals.” Does that mean it is healthy, packed full of antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and all manner of filthy witchery, as well as providing seventy-seven servings of vegetables in each blue bottle?

Thur, August 5th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 11. RPM’s: 70 – 100+

This stuff is more my speed, being sparkling water. I have to admit that I don’t generally associate the Alps with “liquid death,” but they do make nice sparkling water and the label certainly caught my eye.

Pretty good stuff as it turned out. I found myself wanting to belt out a few stanzas of “Dead Man’s Chest” after slamming down a few of these.***

Fri, August 6th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs and light calisthenics
  • BB Military Press: 50 lbs. x 8 reps, 55 lbs. x 8 reps, 60 lbs. x 8 reps, 65 lbs. x 6 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 75 lbs. x 12 reps, 85 lbs x 2 sets x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset): BB Standing Skull Crushers (ez curl bar): 51 lbs. x 8 reps, 56 lbs. x 8 reps, 61 lbs. x 8 reps, 66 lbs. x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 15 reps
    • Set #3: Heavy Spring Bar: Hands Pronated x 4 reps + Hands Supinated x 4 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Sport, 80 lbs.): 4 sets x 8 reps

Sat, August 7th

Afternoon Walk: 5.08 miles.

Weekly Weigh-in: I am the same weight this week as last week. My total loss remains at 28.4 lbs.

* “The Ocean’s Misfortune” by Alison McBain and “Aegir’s Son” by Edward Ahern.

** The one in California, USA, not Bolivia.

*** Shaun Cronick kept the poem going, turning it into the drinking song I think it is supposed to be, kind of like that bottles of beer on the wall song that people start singing when the party gets to that stage where people are trying (or past caring) to be obnoxious. He got up to twenty-three dead men; I wonder if I might bring it up to an even fifty one of these days when I’m not so busy editing other peoples’ stories?

Work Outs: July 25 – 31, 2021 (Twelve Week Deadlift Program, The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology progress, and Barbell Jack)

I’ve been spending a lot of time editing The Lost Librarian’s Grave, and I still have a fair ways to go. I’m about a third done, and my plan is to reach the halfway point for editing by the end of this week. Once editing is complete, the next stage of the process will begin: turning TLLG into an e-book.

I also plan on working some more on the front cover. I’m going to add a glowing effect around the gargoyle and change the tag line, though I’m not sure to what yet. Whatever I do, I’m planning on keeping the word “sorcery” and probably “doom” as well. Also, instead of twenty stories I ended up finalizing things with a princely thirty-three stories and four poems, so it’ll be a good-sized tome.*

As for the workouts, I decided to start doing barbell deadlifts again, now that we have a nice set up for it. Since it has been quite some time since I last did them, I’ve decided to go back to a 12 week program I had very good success with a couple of years ago.

The general idea is to set an end goal and then start out with a low weight and perform eight sets the first week. Then each week you increase the weight by lifting an increasing percentage of the end goal while gradually decreasing the number of sets and repetitions. Then you test your one rep goal for week twelve. Since, as I said, I haven’t deadlifted with a barbell in quite some time, I decided upon a goal that would be easy for me: 225 lbs. or a little over 102 kg.

Sun, July 25th

Afternoon Walk: 8.97 miles.

Mon, July 26th

  • Morning Walk: 3.48 miles
  • (Morning Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs and light calisthenics
  • BB Deadlifts (Week 1 of 12): 123.75 lbs. x 8 sets x 6 reps; used double overhand grip
  • (Combo Set): DB Bicep Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps, DB Reverse Wrist Curls: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps, Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps, One-Handed Deadlifts (Rolling Thunder Handle, ea. hand): 61.88 lbs. x 4 sets x 5 reps; finished workout with a timed hold: 20 seconds with left hand and 30 seconds with right hand. (Handle, carabiner and pin weighs 6.88 lbs.)

Tues, July 27th

Morning Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 11. RPM’s: 70 – 80.

Wed, July 28th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 11. RPM’s: 70 – 80.

Quite some time before I purchased the barbell, I found a new-looking barbell jack at the thrift store. I was surprised that they were almost giving it away for free, and when I went up to the checkout I learned this was because no one in the store knew what the heck it was.** I told the clerk it was a “barbell jack,” and then she and I (and the guy standing behind me in line) talked about barbell jacks for about five minutes until someone else stepped into line. Anyway, they are far from essential, but they are a nice thing to have laying around.***

The purpose of the jack is to make it easier to load and unload multiple plates of the same size onto the bar, especially multiple 45 lb. plates. The way you use the jack is to position it near one end of the bar as pictured in the above left picture. Then you push down on the top lever with your hand or foot (I find using my hand safer) so that the bar is as pictured on the above right. Then you can load or unload plates as needed.

Thur, July 29th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = 4mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Hold Guide (60 lbs.) closed with piece of paper for time: Left = 31 sec, Right = 35 sec
  • (Afternoon Workout) Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps (Supersetted these with my bench press warm-up sets.)
  • BB Bench Press: 65 lbs. x 12 reps, 75 lbs. x 12 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset): BB Standing Skull Crushers (ez curl bar): 51 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Heavy Spring Bar: Hands Pronated x 4 reps + Hands Supinated x 4 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 17.5 lbs. x 12 reps

The red plate on the ends, in the picture above, come from a set where you can add 2.5 lbs. on each side in quarter-pound increments. These are handy when doing routines like the 12 week deadlift program where one is doing different percentages each week of the eventual maximum attempt, such as 123.75 lbs. for week one. I could have just rounded it up to 125, but I tend to like precision in such matters so the little, vinyl weights are something I like having around.

Fri, July 30th

Morning Walk: 3.30 miles.

Sat, July 31st

Morning Walk: 7.35 miles.

  • (Afternoon Workout) Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • (Superset) DB Bicep Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Full Squats: 12 rep
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps

I am the same weight as last week. My total loss thus far is 28.4 lbs. I’m currently on a maintenance food plan until either the book is finished or I start feeling some enthusiasm to drop some more weight again.


* Including a 10,000 word bit of horror entitled “Mother Winter” about the misadventures of an unfortunate private soldier named Herrick, who is getting a taste of cold weather (and something far more sinister) on the eastern front during World War Two, which I’m editing today.

** I found it in the automotive section. Their best guess was that it was some kind of weird, specialized tire chalk block.

*** They also make “full” barbell jacks so you can lift both sides of the barbell at once. A gym I used to go from 2014 – 2017 had one of these and I became quite addicted to using it.