My Battle Update: False Start

There have been lots of good and bad things happening in the month or so since I updated you (read the first post in this series here). But mostly, life has just been crazy weird. I know what you're thinking, when is my life NOT crazy or weird...and you're right. It's always one, the other, or both. This is just crazier and weirder, I guess.

Let's start with the good news. With the new diet plan, I lost 15 pounds in three weeks. Hooray! Also, my anemia is officially gone (but my iron levels are still low so we've gotta keep doing IV iron). 
And I'm sort of getting used to the new diet. I've noticed that my body is getting used to eating more veggies and less grains and that my stomach isn't nearly as upset about it as it was. In fact, my acid reflux has been a lot better. I've also found that I'm generally satisfied eating less food.

Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet has ended, and we're onto a modified version of Phase 2. That means, in addition to meat, dairy, nuts, and veggies, I get to eat some fruit and a little bit of whole grains! The doctor says I can eat up to 40-70 grams of carbohydrates a day and was super happy with how well I was doing on the diet. 
That was about two weeks ago. Things have gone a bit haywire since.... You know when you're putting something together but get so excited that you're like "I've got this." and don't read the instructions? Well, I pretty much did that. I heard the words "fruits" and "carbs" and kinda went crazy. I didn't pay much any attention to the list of foods that are allowed/forbidden, and just started eating whatever I wanted, as long as it was meat, dairy, nuts, veggies, or fruit. Not only was I supposed to reintroduce new things slowly back into my diet, some of them I'm just not supposed to have yet. 

The thing is, a week after I started phase 2, I had lost more weight. So, I went and took it as a green light. Up to 70 carbs a day? Hmm... I'll just eat half of an ice cream sandwich (I was proud I made it last lasted three days, forget the sugar content!) I actually had extra energy the next day. So, I must have been doing something right, so I thought. 
Then, I figured it wouldn't hurt if I ate a bunch of theater popcorn, just one time. Popcorn is allowed, but only up to 70 grams (at the very most!) per day, and definitely not all at once. Then, last week, I had a stomach bug and couldn't eat much of anything. I don't know about you, but when I'm sick like that, all I can keep down is crackers. I compromised, and went with tortilla chips. Whole grain counts, right? Not when that's almost all you eat for a few days. 
And then, there was PMS and this sucker. It was my kids' birthday party. I skipped the chips and soda, only ate half a hot dog bun (white bread, which is a no no). A bit of cake? I deserved it. I'd worked hard! That was Saturday afternoon. By the end of Sunday night, I'd finished off a thing of ice cream (1.75 quarts) and almost a whole bag of Fritos. 

Quick explanation: The reason carbohydrates are generally not allowed are because they are converted into sugar, and right now, my body cannot process/use sugar very well. While we do need some sugar or we will die, any sugar your body doesn't use gets converted into fat. The diet we have set up is the best way for my body to get the amount of sugar it needs. 

What's the result of all the extra sugar I put into my system? So far, the most noticeable things have been mood and cravings. I'm sure there will be more weight gain or just less loss (if I'm lucky) for a little while. I've also been extremely grumpy. I mean, the first few weeks of the diet had already made me a super grump while I adjusted to everything. (I just about bit off my husband's head every time he mentioned a food I wasn't allowed to eat.)

This is even worse. Friday night, after the tortilla chip diet, I had a major panic attack, stayed up most of the night, and cried myself to sleep. Yesterday, I mostly just slept and wanted everyone to leave me alone, but I was really restless. I wanted to do stuff (like crafts) but nothing sounded good. Today, I've been tired, hungry, and wanted to eat and/or buy everything in sight. It's the one time I've been glad to be broke. If I don't have money, I can't spend it. 

What now? Believe it or not, the South Beach diet accounts for this happening, so did my doctor. She said there would probably come something that I just couldn't say no to, and if that happened, just move on and keep working. Don't feel like a horrible person (which, of course, I do). Part of the problem is that her saying that it would happen, gave me an excuse to let it happen. I'd been doing really well. It was more annoying than words, but I was hanging in there. Until I started making excuses and justifying my actions. 

From here, no more excuses. I've read the instructions. I'll be rereading the instructions so I don't forget or get things mixed up. Now, I do phase 1 again for two weeks, then start phase 2 gradually as I was supposed to. I've lost 15 pounds and need to lose 175 more to get from my current weight of 345 to my target weight of 170. That's pretty much the weight of two people I'm carrying around (and I thought pregnancy was bad!) Time to get back in the ring and fight.

My goals

I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.
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    My Secrets to Watching Doctor Who for Free

    I've finally gotten to start watching season 10, but it's made me want to go back and rewatch series 1-9 again. *cry* The memories! 
    I was so mad when they took it off Netflix!
    I have 2 great methods to watch Doctor Who for free. The first, you may have heard of, but if you haven't done this yet, go for it! It's a perfect time to get your Doctor Who fix, because you can get a FREE 30 day trial of Amazon Prime and watch the first 9 modern seasons of Doctor Who for free! Or if you're a student, you can get half off a Prime membership.

    Not to be too commercially, but we're Amazon Prime addicts in our house and not only has it saved us so much from the free 2-day shipping, it's also helped me purchase several seasons of my favorite shows for free (which is my second secret to watching Doctor Who for free).
    Well of course Smallville was one of them. I mean, c'mon, James Marsters...
    Don't judge me. You know you can't help it either.

    But yeah, here's how I got a bunch of free videos from Amazon:

    When choose not to use your free 2-day shipping, but choose the slower shipping method instead, sometimes it will offer you a credit to use toward a future purchase (details here.) Like I said, we're Amazon Prime addicts, so we got a lot of credits. ;)
    Anyhow, be awesome like me. ;) Go get your Free 30 day Amazon Prime trial, No Rush Shipping Credits, then sit back, relax, and watch Doctor Who for free!

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      Arabesque: Chapter 17

      I will be sharing parts of my writing every week (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) as 
      I write them (with the exception of some parts of Arabesque, which were written previously), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are a first drafts.

      About the book

      Tatania is tired of living in her sister's shadow but doesn't know about Princess Anna's dark secret. Bound by a sacred oath, Anna's struggles to live a double life that can never be her own. 

      Described as "Sense and Sensibility meets Ever After with ninjas," Arabesque is full of action, romance, intrigue, and betrayal.

      Since I've always been super paranoid, Arabesque was officially copyrighted in 2009. Duplication or use of this work in any other form is prohibited by law.

      © Copyright 2009-2015 Laura Lynn Watkins

      Chapter 17

      I had dreaded this encounter for weeks. Henry and I sat side by side, across from King Nicholas and General Ashenhurst. My palms sweated, but I refrained from wiping them on my skirts.

      "I assume you know why you were called here," the king spoke.

      "Yes, your majesty," Henry and I said, almost in unison.

      "Given the events that occurred some weeks ago, we have made a determination. General Ashenhurst?"

      "Ahem. Yes, in light of the circumstances," he began.

      My heart beat furiously. Henry shifted in his chair. Would we be separated? Had they determined how utterly useless I was?

      Although my world balanced precariously upon the point of a knife, he continued formally, "And given both accounts of the matter, and despite nearly fatal mistakes, we have decided that Henry will continue your field training, Princess Anna."

      I slowly released the breath I had been holding inside.

      "Henry," the king turned to him. "We have arrived at the conclusion that your actions were both honorable and courageous. You acted to the best of your abilities to protect the princess, and you will be rewarded."

      Henry sunk to one knee. "My thanks, your highness, but I require no more reward than the princess's safety."

      The king smiled. "And yet, you shall have it." He waved him back to be seated.

      "Princess Anna," the king said to me with a strange expression. "I must admit shock at your behavior. Yet, you have confessed your mistake and we believe it to be simply that, a foolish mistake that nearly cost the lives of both you and your protector. However, given your steadiness of character, we trust this incident will not recur." His eyes softened. "We all make mistakes, my dear, I trust you have learned a hard enough lesson from this one.

      "Aside from that lapse, Anna, your actions have been impeachable, and I could not be prouder."

      He arose and took my hand. "Although your modesty has muddled the exact details, it is clear that, despite your own injuries and inexperience, you rose against terrible odds and saved this man's life."

      He nodded to the general who said, "Princess, we have deemed your first field test a success and we will commence additional training immediately. In addition to excursions such as the last, you will both work more directly with myself in an effort to gather information and to weed out those who threaten our kingdom and the crown."

      Henry and I left the room stunned. We would have access to the general's personal network of informants and spies. We were to periodically patrol the palace and the city, seeking any connection to the mysterious pattern that had been unearthed. Most importantly, Henry and I would do all of these things together.

      I was not unfamiliar with such work, but espionage had been but a small part of my education. The fact that I was being called into such action was unsettling. I strived to be prepared for threats at all times, which was expected of me. Such diligence had practically been graven in my bones. A royal title of Acacia did not ensure safety. I had survived the first attempt on my life, of which I can recall, when I was but five years of age. Such dangers would no doubt increase in a political climate such as this.

      My heart beat loudly in my ears as I climbed the stairs in the hidden passage of the southeast tower. My slippered feet padded softly, yet Henry turned when I entered the windowless chamber. The flickering candlelight glowed softly against his skin, illuminating the gentle smile that spread across his face.

      "Princess," he bowed and kissed my hand. It tingled as I reluctantly lowered it back to my side.

      "Henry," I attempted to reply serenely, but a shy smile crumbled my fa├žade. I threw myself into his waiting arms.

      All of the doubt, fear, and torment dissolved as he held me. I did not realize I had been weeping until his hands lifted my chin and his warm fingers brushed a tear away. He pulled me close again. I buried my head in his chest, and he gently kissed the top of my head.

      For the first time in my life, I felt completely at home, completely safe, completely accepted. Henry saw all of my faults, knew how weak I was, yet loved me completely.

      Eyes finally dry, and I hoped less inflamed, I raised my head and apologized for spoiling our moment.

      "You never need fear to show your emotions to me. You hide them too often. In fact, I have grown to cherish the few times I have witnessed such events. Anna, you have been strong for too long. I will not pretend to understand all you endure, but I know that if you do not have some reprieve, you will break. As surely as the stream splits the mountain, you will be worn down and broken if you continue alone in this."

      Again, in his eyes, I saw my soul laid bare.

      His hand caressed my cheek most tenderly. "My princess, will you allow me to be the protector of your soul, your mind, and your heart, as I have also sworn to protect your personage? I have loved you all these many years. Since childhood, I have wondered if you could possibly love me as well. Through fevered ears I heard you speak the very words I longed to hear more than I longed for breath in my lungs." His cheek touched mine and I leaned closer to him. "I love you." His whisper danced in my ear and rebounded through me, leaving pulsing warmth in its wake. His lips found mine and I was lost as never before.

      The world twirled before me as our lips parted. We rested, foreheads pressed together, still inhaling the sweetness of each other's warmth.

      "Henry, I love you," I whispered, and studied the dark pools of his brown eyes.

      He took my hands in his. "When would you have me speak to your father?"

      "My father?" I mumbled, my eyes trapped in his gaze.

      "Yes, my love. When shall I speak to him? I'll not risk any damage to your honor. Since we are so often alone together, he may wish for us to be chaperoned."

      My father. What was I thinking? How could I...

      Henry was positively jubilant, as I, myself, had been but a moment earlier, and did not see the sudden pain creasing my eyebrows. He began pacing the small room, nearly bouncing with each step.

      "Speaking of spending time alone together," he said and stopped at the small table. "My father and I have drawn up a few theories, leads to investigate, which is actually the official reason I asked you to meet with me here. We will have to be sure to get to them eventually..."

      His beautiful smile faded as he registered the change in my demeanor. "Anna, my darling, is something wrong? You do want to tell your father about us, do you not?..." His face fell further.

      "It is not that... It is simply that I cannot," my voice broke. "Henry, I love you, but I am not..."

      He raised his hand and stopped my words, shaking his head. "Please, say not another word. I understand how foolish I have been. My head has been among the clouds and I did not see your discomfort."

      I tried to interject, but he would not have it. "I thought that when you confessed your love, you were willing to brave the king's disapproval in your choice. I realize that I am no prince, but I had thought that mattered little to you."

      "Henry, no!"

      "Please, if you value our friendship at all, you will pursue this topic no further."

      His tone silenced me. The hurt in his voice was obvious, but I had never witnessed the expression of utter defeat displayed so plainly before me. Broken, he struggled to retain some semblance of dignity. If I spoke, he would not hear my words, and I would simply push him further away.

      "Pray, let us still be friends," he whispered. "We have duties that await us."

      Dumbfounded, I sat at the table beside him.

      I scarcely recall the details of our work that night. Through investigating and even prowling the streets of Acacia City, a nightmarish veil seemed to shroud me, and I knew I would never awaken. With a few simple words, I had broken both our hearts and destroyed any hope for our future.

      More coming soon! Read more about my projects here.
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        Free Comic Book Day 2017

        Our very first Free Comic Book Day in California was a big hit! Every first Saturday in May, all around the world there are comic book stores giving away free comic books and having fun events for geeks like us. It's been a family tradition of ours to go for years now. We loved our comic book stores back in Provo, UT. 

        For click here more information, or to see which comic book stores near you participate, click here.
        Suisun City Harbor
        Since we're just silly, we didn't check the time the comic book store would open, so we showed up a few hours before early. So, we spent the morning exploring the beautiful Suisun City harbor.
        Doctor Who decor at Waterfront Comics
        From the very first time I walked into Waterfront Comics, I knew it was gonna be great. They haven't let me down!
        The owner of Waterfront Comics, John, recognized us from earlier in the morning, when we asked about opening time, and surprised us with a Pokemon vinyl poster for being the first ones there for Free Comic Book Day! Of course, the kids were suuuuper happy since they're obsessed with everything Pokemon right now. Waterfront Comics is an amazing family-run comic book store. Go like them on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter!
        Check out all the comics we had to choose from. It was seriously hard to pick!

        The comic book store had a little fair going on outside. Our kids were thrilled that they were giving away free snow cones. I'm telling you, these guys rock!
        Illustrator/Inker Joe B. Weems V
        The fair also included local artists. Incredible illustrator/Inker Joe B. Weems talked World of Warcraft with us.
        Illustration by Joe B. Weems V
        Illustration by Joe B. Weems V
        You can find illustrator/Inker Joe B. Weems on DeviantArtFacebookTwitter, and Instagram
        Adwoa Gier of Adwoa Design 
        We met Adwoa Gier of Adwoa Design. Aren't her crochet amigurumi characters adorable?? You can find Adwoa on EtsyInstagramPinterestTwitter, and Facebook.

        Andre Galatius
        Andre Galatius was there showing off some super cute stickers!
        Artist Patrick McEvoy
        Artist Patrick McEvoy was so in demand, we didn't really get a chance to talk to him, but we did get to see these:
        Art by Patrick McEvoy
        Don't you LOVE the Cthulhu? Haha!
        Aaron Roberts was kind enough to let us record a video of him sketching Link from Zelda for my daughter! Check it out:

        Jack with the 
        Jack was a hoot! Between Joker impressions and clever quips... just so much fun. Here's Jack on Tumblr and Instagram.
        Lord Hater from Wander of Yonder and Powerpuff Girl drawings by Jack
        Mario Bros characters by drawings by Jack
        We had a bit too much fun at the Solano County Library's table!
        Solano County Library's table at Free Comic Book Day
        My daughter made me pose. I was thinking about justice and stuff. 
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