Monthly Archives: October 2012

WritersButt Wednesday – A Photographic Journey from Surrey

Hello everyone! I’m so sorry I missed my post last Wednesday and I promised you a post on how to travel and still stay ‘fairly’ disciplined with your nutrition and exercise. I will give you that post, but first, I’d like to share a photographic journey with you of my trip to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference this past weekend. Since I was there to present a workshop on WritersButt … I think it’s only fitting to share the photos with you all, my WritersButt family and where all of this got started, right here on my blog!

It was an amazing weekend! First just the honor to be a presenter, a long-time goal of mine, and as always it’s so wonderful to meet up with some of my critique partners and who are also my very close friends. We chat, we brainstorm, we laugh our butts off. Life is GRAND when we are together.

View from Sheraton Guilford in Surrey, BC.

Here is the lovely view from our hotel room when the sun came out to play!


Ginger gets her first presenter’s ribbon

One of the first things we did was pick up our presenter’s packets. We got a great messenger bag and some swag items but this was the best part for me … my first presenter’s ribbon on my name tag. I wore it proudly all weekend! I’ll treasure it just as I treasure Jo Beverly’s back from Surrey 2003.


This Day We Write!

One of the fantastic items for sale was this glass tea infuser. I am in love with it! You can see my tea bag in here but it actually has a little strainer so you can use loose tea. It’s double-walled so super insulated and pretty much 100% awesome.


Color your plate — WritersButt style!

This is the poster hanging in the elevators at the Guilford. It’s all about how to ‘color your plate’ to eat healthy. Notice there are no processed foods on this poster, no grains, no dairy, just all WritersButt Approved Goodness!!


Ginger and Linda at 20’s night

Ginger and Linda looking snazzy! Because it was the 20th year anniversary for the Surrey conference, Friday night was a roaring 20’s theme. There was a lot of feathers and fringe in the ballroom and apparently the boas were molting all night in the hallways by the looks of them in the morning.


Ginger shares her ‘feathers’ with Julie

Julie didn’t bring any feathers so I ‘shared’ mine.


Tsunami, by Julie O’Connell wins honorable mention!

This was by far one of the greatest highlights of the entire weekend. Julie’s short story, Tsunami, won honorable mention in the storytellers contest. There was only 1 winner and 1 HM, so this was fantastic. Imagine much clapping and woo-hoo’ing, beads and feathers getting into the act. It was a great moment!


Drink me and do your potty squats! Love, Your WritersButt

I handed out water bottles with cute little WritersButt labels on them. Thanks to my man, William, for making these for me because that sort of thing makes my brain itch. This was a fun thing to do at my workshop, which went well I’m relieved to say, and after my morning stretches, which also went very well and were well-received.


Ginger and Elena, Surrey 2012

I also got to finally meet fellow writer Elena Aitken in person, along with her writing group, the WordBitches. Super fun!


Ginger’s first book signing table.

And here is a fun thing … they had a table set up for me at the book signing event. It was quite exciting to see my name set up at the table. Of course, I do not have a book to sign YET but we took this picture as a prelude of what is to come.


The conference itself was wonderful. I really enjoyed hearing some presenters I’d never heard before. I thought Eileen Cook’s workshop on motivation was amazing and inspiring and well … motivating!!  🙂 Each time slot had many workshops from which to choose, so it was a matter of deciding what you needed to hear most. I have to say that the Sheraton Guilford outdid themselves on the food this year. It’s hard to provide an amazing meal for over 500 people and they sure did it. Saturday night’s banquet was a replica meal from the Waldorf Astoria from the 1920’s. Very cool!

That about wraps it up! If you have never been to the Surrey Int Writers’ Conf., I highly recommend you give it a look.



WritersButt Wednesday – Courage to be a doofus

What we’re going to do for this WritersButt Wednesday is pretend that it’s not Thursday and it’s indeed still yesterday, Wednesday. Look how fast we gained a whole day.  We’re like, our own time-turners!

I’m functioning on obscenely little sleep today.  And you know how I go on and on about how everyone needs their sleep. Last night, I just couldn’t turn off my brain or settle my thoughts. I leave next week for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and all the little and big details are bouncing around in my noggin. Mainly this is preparing my WritersButt workshop that I’ll be giving next Friday morning with Linda Gerber. I’m so excited and sure, a little anxious as well.  Do any of you like that feeling of anxious excitement? Nothing akin to crippled nerves but that sort of swirling buzz that keeps you on your toes?  I love it.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.  ~ Ambrose Redmoon

I love this quote. There is a part of me that fears I’ll ‘mess up’ in some way, forget some vital piece of information or not know the answer to a question. I have courage though because doing well and being myself is far more important than the fear of being a doofus. I’m human and I’m sure if I stumble, I’ll laugh at myself and carry on.

That’s how I want you all to think about this WritersButt journey. You don’t have to be perfect in your nutrition. You don’t have to train like an Olympian.  I don’t want you to fear failure in this. I want the goal of better health and fitness and a more creative mind to be so important that it gives you courage to try every day.

I’m creating a handout for the workshop where I’m listing a lot of mini-workouts anyone can do at home and will all last between 5-15 minutes. I tested one of them the other day because I like to practice what I preach. It was a great little workout. I took me about 15 minutes, but I will admit to amp’ing it up a bit, so I suspect most anyone can do this is less than 15.  Wanna try?  Here ya go.

Complete 3 rounds of:

10 push ups (you can scale them!)

20 sit ups (full range – no ‘crunches’)

25 squats (just like the potty squats)

20 walking lunges (each step counts as one)

80 jumping jacks

60 second wall sit/squat

I’m challenging you to try it. If you feel it’s too much, cut the numbers in half. Just TRY it!

Now, I have an absolutely fantastic chili recipe to give you today. It’s still very warm here in central Texas. Yesterday it hit 90 degrees. But historically, we experience one little cold snap in October where we have temperatures in the 60’s for a couple days. It never fails. That happened last weekend. I immediately wanted to stay in my cozy home, have a pot of chili on the stove and snuggle in. So that’s about what I did.  I searched online for a new chili recipe that didn’t use beans but wasn’t all meat as well. I wanted to get some veggies in there. I found a great one. I’ll post the recipe and note the changes in red that I did for us.

Paleo Chili recipe (recipe from this site)


1 1/2 lbs. grass fed lean ground beef cooked up with 2 chopped red onions (I used 2 lbs and use any ground meat you like)

2 Tbsp. of Chili seasoning

2 Tbsp. of Cumin

3C chopped butternut squash

3C chopped zucchini

A huge pile of baby portabellas that I sautéed separately

2 15oz. cans organic garlic roasted diced tomatoes

2 6oz. cans organic tomato paste  (I used only 1)

4 chopped jalapeño  (I used 3 and removed seeds and ribs)

I also splashed in some stock – match it to your meat, so beef, chicken, etc)

Here is a video of how to prepare it. I want to note that I did not use my crock pot. I wanted to but I made a ton and knew it wouldn’t fit. So, I used a huge soup pot and put it on low for a couple hours. The house smelled divine.

I made cornbread for the kids and I also made the best BEST batch of sweet potato chips ever.

This is so great on a cold winter night.

I leave for the PNW next Wednesday. (Unless I change my ticket – don’t see honey!) So I will try to have a post up early about how to eat healthy at a conference and still allow yourself some well-earned indulgences.

Have a great week.

WritersButt Wednesday – Being mean sucks

Something in the news has prompted me to pull out my soapbox. I’m sorry, I do try to control myself, but I can’t help it. Unless you have literally sequestered yourself away from all media, and if so you won’t be reading this, you will have seen a recent story about Jennifer Livingston, a newscaster in Wisconsin who received a mean-spirited, bullying email from a viewer regarding her weight and how it detracts from her position as a role model in the community.

What the … What!?

In the unlikelihood that you haven’t seen what I’m talking about, here is the video.

Ginger drags out largest soapbox (she’s going to need it) stomps onto box, hands on hips, sassy head-wag primed for action.

One the one hand, I hesitate to address this rogue viewer because it goes completely against my nature to give someone like this any attention. That is what he’s after, attention and the best way to piss him off is to ignore him and pretend he doesn’t exist. Someone who has to cut down someone else to feel important is a nobody in my book. Invisible, inconsequential.

So when I saw Jennifer’s message, I wanted to tell her that he didn’t deserve her attention. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he wasn’t inconsequential at all. He’s not invisible by the fact that his words are now splashed on every news station, morning show, blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

His ‘message’ to Jennifer has an impact. What kind of impact is up to us, society, to take his message and use it as an example of what is not acceptable, that this sort of treatment of another human being will not be tolerated on any level.

Did he really think she’d read that email and say to herself, ‘Oh my gosh, thank goodness this good, well-meaning citizen reached out to me. That’s just the motivation I needed to lose weight.’


And then when the news station asked the emailer, Kenneth Krause, if he’d like to come on the show in the aftermath of Jennifer’s response, which has been astoundingly supportive of her courageous message, he declined but did pull out his dictionary and offer this response:

Wow!  Kenneth is actually offering Jennifer his help! I honestly can’t fathom a single benefit to be gained from a person so self-righteous, rude and misguided.

Mr. Krause, I suggest you sit back and attempt to learn from Jennifer. You can learn things like, dignity, tact, kindness, courage, professionalism, poise, empathy and compassion.

Here’s the deal, I motivate people all the time to get healthy.  I do everything I can to empower people, help them believe they are awesome, cheer them on and celebrate their victories, from the big ones to the very smallest steps forward. I try to be positive and encouraging.

You know why?

Because cruelty and insults are not motivating. Someone who truly wants to help someone else isn’t mean to them. So Kenneth’s guise of trying to reach out and be helpful is complete crap.

Ellen DeGeneres tweeted about this incident yesterday, which is where I first heard of it. She was applauding Jennifer Livingston and said she hoped to get to meet her. I hope she does too because I can think of no greater stage to get the message out that being kind and encouraging is more motivating than judgmental cruelty.

I once saw an interview with Ellen where she talked about being a comedian. She commented (and I’m going off memory here, so paraphrasing) on how it’s easier to get laughs by being mean or making fun of other people but that it didn’t feel right. And it wasn’t the sort of comedian she wanted to be. She said she’d rather be funny and still be kind and uplifting to people. To make people laugh and feel good.  I’d say she’s doing a damn good job of it.

Thank you, Ellen. Thank you, Jennifer. You inspire me to be a better person.

It’s a Mad-Mad Monday

*Does the above picture have anything at all to do with this post? NO — But it makes me smile, especially because above child is now 6 feet tall and drives his own car.

*Are you smiling at his cute little face? YES — Come’on, admit it!

*Did I start knitting a pair of gloves instead of getting to my writing this morning?  YES

*Do I have plenty of perfectly good notebooks in my desk drawer so that I could have my pick for the conference in Surrey?  YES

*Did I buy a new notebook at HEB anyway?  YES

*Will I buy another notebook before I leave because I won’t be able to help myself? PROBABLY

*Did I explain the pure awesomeness of a fine-point sharpie to a woman at HEB and help her pick some out?  YES – I’m her hero.

*Did I buy myself a sharpie? NO

*Do I regret the above decision? YES

*Did I intervene and tell a woman looking at a book not to bother and suggest a better book? NO – it’s banned book week. Ginger not part of problem.  I just ‘thought’ my opinion loudly.

*Did I see a woman wearing denim overalls and it was not her Halloween costume. YES.

*Did I set my car alarm off in my driveway, after my purse (and keys) were inside, so that I had to throw a case of water on the cement to race into house, jump over dogs, screaming “ACCIO KEYS”?  YES

How’s your Monday going?

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