24 April 2012


I've just finished my two new Dummies titles, both about cryptic crosswords; I emailled the final edited proofs to my editor a few hours ago!

So I have time for a bit of a progress report at last.

Workwise — I've just written two Dummies books in 4 months. OMFG. Ridiculous working hours. But it's all finished now. The books will be out in Australia, the UK, and the USA/Canada in August, I think. The books' launch will be at the end of August in Canberra, and I'm also hoping to be able to organise some book signings or similar in Melbourne. And next month I'm accompanying the Wiley sales rep around some Canberra bookshops, to help promote the books! It's very exciting to get to do some of this 'real author' stuff with Wiley, I've never had the chance before (as my previous titles have been published by Wiley USA, and they didn't offer to fly me over, LOL).

Bodywise — Since starting in August last year, I've lost 17 kg (that's a bit over 37 lb). I'm back to my pre-Prednisolone weight! I am aiming to lose another 8–10 kg, though, to have less stress on my artificial hip, and feel happier about how I look. My doctors are all frightfully pleased with me, and I'm pleased with me too, it must be said. I've been able to drop one of my blood pressure medications, too!

The MyFitnessPal app has been invaluable. I don't use it to track my food so much nowadays, as the dietary changes are second nature now, but it's great for keeping tabs on my weight.

I've been on a plateau for the past 6–7 weeks, which is rather frustrating. Probably not a coincidence that it's been the same time that I've been working 12–15 hours a day, 7 days a week, to get the second book written in 6–7 weeks.

I've also had to ease off on my usual aerobic exercises, because my left hip (yes, that one) started acting up! It was a bit alarming, but after x-rays confirmed that the prosthesis looks wonderful and secure, my surgeon put the 'catching' and 'thunking' down to 'snapping hip' syndrome, basically, a tendon (probably the iliopsoas) was catching on the prosthesis. So no aerobics or heavy lifting for a month, and back onto anti-inflammatories. It does seem to have settled down, so I'm hoping to get back into my swimming and cycling this week.

Healthwise — my neurosarcoidosis is pretty well controlled at the moment. I'm on half the dose of mycophenolate that I started on (1,000 mg instead of 2,000 mg), and while there's a little recurrence of some of the nerve symptoms (numbness around my mouth, and a sensation of having a piece of hair on my eyelid), seem to be managing OK. My vision is steady, thankfully. I have found out, though, that I have early signs of cataracts, as well as the glaucoma (both probably caused by the Prednisolone). And guess what's a bad thing for cataracts? Medicated eye drops for glaucoma  :/  Going blind, no matter which what I do, it seems ...  well, at least you can have surgery for cataracts (shudder), while there's no cure for the vision loss from glaucoma. The sarcoid is possibly affecting my liver, as some of my liver function tests are still elevated, despite my weight loss.

Having a wedge resection on both my big toes next Tuesday, too ... I get recurring infections, which are a huge risk to my artificial hip, so rather than ending up on antibiotics several times a year, we figured it was better just to get rid of the cause of the problem. Having it under twilight sedation, and will need a week off my feet to recover, which I think I can handle after the past 5 months of work!

Familywise — our lodger has left. Jen's taking a break from studies, and has started her own little web design business, something she really loves doing. Rodger's going from strength to strength with his glass ... he's attended some more classes and workshops, and now demonstrates his craft at the Canberra Glassworks now and then on weekends. There is some talk about him teaching there. They're about to start stocking his marbles in their shop, too! First Blood is Sydney is thinking of taking him on as their main glass jewellery stockist. Hubby and I are looking forward to a whole week away at the coast at the end of May, too  :)

Hope to have some time and energy to catch up with blogs, and other work, and my long neglected hobbies and friends now!

18 April 2012

I'm alive!

Yes, I am still here ... writing the second Dummies book (Cryptic Crosswords For Dummies, a collection of 56 crosswords) in only 6 weeks was about half the time I actually needed. And I had to edit the first book at the same time. Working from 8 am til 11 pm every day, 7 days a week, for several months, is definitely not that enjoyable, I've discovered.

I still have to proofread the second book, the page proofs will turn up tomorrow. But after that's done, it really is all done! Phew! Pic is of the proofs for the first book (which is the detailled "how to" book). Lots of red ink (mine)!!

I should have used some of these new silly proofreading marks someone invented, LOL!

I'm having fun planning my first proper book launch, too  :) Current plan includes letter-shaped iced biscuits (cookies) and a cake with a crossword grid on it (I've even got a cool edible 'felt tip' black pen for drawing on icing). I was inspired by this cake, although I don't think I'll actually write clues, but just do the grid. I'll also be making a corset with crossword fabric of my own design!

Life is much calmer at home, our lodger left in early February, Jen's back in her room, I'm back in my office ... the puppehs get on fairly well, although Griff (who is a whole kilo heavier than Petal!) is getting rather dominant ... he's being desexed today, so hopefully this will help him calm down a bit!