Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Progress on Running

This is a fairly typical run for me these days. Over 2 miles, pace is somewhere between 14:30 and 15:45 minutes per mile. Yesterday was 15:33, but it was 103 degrees out. Saturday was 14:43 at about 95 degrees. I got a heart rate monitor, which tells me that I spend about 8 minutes of my workout below the “fitness” heart rate, and the remainder in the “fitness” range. I think that means I’m spending over half an hour three days a week doing a rigorous aerobic workout.

The big changes: I am less stressed out, over all, than when I started. And when I do get stressed out or panicky, I am much faster to recover from it. I had a big stress-out this weekend when my mom (who I love and enjoy spending time with) announced a last-minute plan to come visit me next week. I panicked for an evening, and by morning I had an idea of how to approach the late schedule changes. My response to a stressful day is to take a fifteen minute break to go walk, or schedule an hour to go run (particularly if it’s either a run day or a rest day that I could move my run to).

I had to give up a weekly D&D game, Encounters, in order to have the time to do this. I do not regret that decision– I am very happy with 3 games, two of which alternate weeks.

The little changes: My skin is doing a lot better– fewer breakouts (I’m back to my once-a-month PMS pimple).

Not surprisingly, my endurance and overall heart/lung health is doing well.

I also am the top on my FitBit leaderboard among my friends right now. Take that, Rob!

The no-changes: My weight. I have gained and lost the same 3 lbs. over the course of this process. It’s been 3 months and the scale will nudge down one day, and up the next.

People tell me it must be muscle gain, which would be great. Unfortunately, my clothes tell me that the shape of my body is not changing either– I am still in the “fat” shorts.

And despite my improved fitness on a flat course, stairs and elevation changes are still hard for me– I still get winded sometimes, and my knees and ankles continue to crackle when I go up and down them. I do not anticipate adding “hiking” to my repertoire any time soon.

The next steps: August 10th is my next 5K— the first for me since last year’s Ugly Sweater Run (which I walked), and the first I’m running in over 18 months. I’m also signed up for Glow Run on October 13th (team Love Bugs– join us!) and the Zombie Run on October 27 (team Love Maggots… get it?)

After I finish this round of the Couch to 5K program (next week is Week 7, so I should wrap up week 9 again on my 39th birthday. RunDouble has a program called “Improving 5K” that I’ll try out until November. And then… who knows? Maybe more 5Ks (the Santa Run and Ugly Sweater run will be coming up in December), or maybe I’ll start training for a 10K. 10Ks are not as popular in Las Vegas as the themed/untimed 5Ks, but they’re a good distance for endurance running. 5K is a nice beginner goal, and I’m pretty happy to stick to it for a while. I’m never concerned about time, but it would be nice to finish a 5K in less than 45 minutes.

Stupid Jenna is Dead

Journal entry for Lt Gwenn, a D&D character.

What a night. I’m exhausted.

After picking up a few accessories for the party, and a wardrobe that would be suitable for “Master Hodor,” we coordinated with Emilien for trouble signals and contingency plans. We determined that Firiel was going to be a solo agent tonight– a choice that may have come close to getting her killed. She approached Madam Felicia Fenton of Fenton’s Rest, who proved to be quite the character, and secured an invitation.

Our own invitation never made it to our hands, so when Tristram, Ordune, and I arrived by carriage, we were a little put out that “Evan Stone” wasn’t on the list of attendees. Jenna Stone, however, was…. I suspect “Evan” should be offended, but Tristram cares very little about the social offenses against an alias we were discarding tonight anyway.

I still cannot imagine how we managed to get through the night with only one person recognizing and confronting any of us.

Continue reading Stupid Jenna is Dead

Painting Guild Inaugural Meeting!

Attendees: Mike, Jenn, Kinney, and me.

Some Backstory: About a year ago, Reaper Miniatures launched a Kickstarter project to finance their new Bones line of resin-cast plastic miniatures. The project was wildly successful, raising over $3 million– the typical pledge for $100 resulted, after all the stretch goal rewards, in over 240 miniatures. Mike, Scott, and I all backed the project, and then Kinney added on to my pledge for the kit as well.

Well, then I suggested that we need to make a miniatures painting guild, and my friend Jenn said “I wanna paint!” Jenn has painted some of my minis before, and she’s been a little bit locked in, raising her daughter and such. We’ve missed her in the gaming group.

And then, on Reddit’s /r/rpg group, someone posted asking if anyone would like a set of Reaper Bones, because he was getting out of the hobby and would like them to go to a good home. I posted this reply:

I, too, backed this kickstarter.

If you pick me, your entire set of minis will be given to a very lovely and talented painter named Jennifer. She is an unemployed CAD/architecture artist, and the mother of a toddler. Until she had her daughter, she was an active and welcome member of my D&D group, and we miss her.

Have you ever spent much time with toddlers? Well, if you spend your entire day with one, the smart part of your brain gets mushy.

Two of my friends and I all backed the Kickstarter, and are starting a painting club. Jennifer wants to join us, and we’ll almost certainly let her paint some of our minis, because there are so many of them.

But…. what if I could give Jennifer her own set of minis? How awesome would it be for her to have an enormous, time-consuming, detail-oriented project that would engage her mind and creativity? She could be painting these minis after her daughter starts preschool. Heck, if she finds a job, she could still be painting after her daughter graduates from high school!

As a bonus: Since I’m already a backer, the shipment can be combined to save Reaper some postage.

tl;dr: I would give your minis to my friend to save her from mommy-brain.

In reply, the original poster contacted me for my mailing address, changed the address on his pledge, and all the kits arrived just before July 4th weekend. On the 3rd, I delivered Kinney’s set to him, and on the 4th, I delivered Mike’s and took him over to help deliver Jenn’s:

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That’s Jenn and her husband Jared, holding up just a few of the awesome minis in this kit!

(Not pictured: Jenn’s belly, which is currently heading into its final month of incubating her second child, Caleb…. so, you know she’s going to have a lot of midnight paint-a-thons in her near future!)

How the First Painting Day Went: Jenn arrived first, and we chit-chatted a bit before unpacking. We spent a lot of time on Show and Tell, showing each other some of the minis we’ve been working on, as well as my overwhelming number of minis that I haven’t even touched or sorted yet. Mike arrived second. A couple of my friends dropped by to visit my mead (it’s burbling nicely now), and Mike provided his opinion about my near-overflowing airlock (“leave it alone…” advice I took until the next morning, when it had overflowed the airlock entirely). Kinney was somewhat late, arriving at 3:30 or so, but I’d blocked off the day until 6, so there was no problem with his late arrival.

Decisions Made: I suggested that, since we have 4 sets of Bones at the table (5 when Scott joins us), that we should each pick a color and paint the bottom of all of our minis with that color, so we can tell them apart, even when unpainted. Jenn is adding a red dot to the bottom of each of her Bones. Mike will use lime green. I’m using pink. Kinney is using a reddish-gold that’s kind of shiny and metallic.

Lessons Learned: I definitely need to be more alert when my guests express their hunger. My brain in painting-mode is an odd thing– it doesn’t “get it” all the time, and I lose track of cues and such. Kind of weird, but there it is. Anyway, next time, I will make sure to put the snacks out before we get started, so I won’t have to think about it after my brain is in paint mode.

We also had a short explanation of “basing” minis, which we’ll probably get into more next time.

The Pictures:

Jenn’s paladin, an aasimar she plays in Pathfinder:

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Kinney:

Sells, a human sha’ir who specializes in forced movement and cold spells:
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And Sundrina, a drow assassin:

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Mike: Not pictured, because I’m lame and forgot to take pics. He worked on goblins from the We Be Goblins group, and familiars, including a cute fairy dragon.

Stephanie: 

Lilith, which is a Malifaux miniature:

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This is a kind of “ice queen” mini I did recently (not a Bones or in the guild, though I brought her out for show and tell):

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And the first Bones mini I painted, one of the Mythos Monsters add-ons:

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Finally, because she is nekkid, my special Sophie promo (Sophie on a motorcycle… with optional upgrade to nudity) is NSFW (not safe for work), so let’s tuck her under a “more” tag, shall we?

Continue reading Painting Guild Inaugural Meeting!

Calm Before the Storm

Gwenn’s journal entry, the morning before Marco’s party.

“Well, if you don’t go, Gwenn, I’ll dress myself up as you and go in your stead, darlin’!”

Those words sealed Firiel’s watch order for the night, much to my discredit.

If I’m going to ruin my reputation, the least I can do is ruin it myself. And besides– is it truly ruined if you’re already dead?

I shall have to ask Firiel. Well, maybe Ordune. Someone with a more stringent sense of propriety.

Which leads me to wonder… if Ordune is so proper as to frown disapprovingly whenever I so much as mention Marco… why is he at the Gilded Lily tonight?

Continue reading Calm Before the Storm

In the Zone

Yesterday I went to Sunset Park with John and Suzanne, leaving them to goof around with hula hoops and juggling stuff while I did my W5D1 run. It was 105 degrees until after sunset last night, so we waited till after 8 to go. Not being familiar with the course, I guessed it was about a mile around– running along the paved path that circles the desert habitat county preservation area next to the more developed parts of the park.

I killed it. A good pace in my first run interval, and a much faster walking pace than normal for me. Second run interval was a bit slower, as was the second walk interval.

In the third run interval, the magic happened.

I’ve been in “the zone before,” where things kind of turn a little zen and I lose track of time and just kind of run along, enjoying myself. But my pace there is usually very slow– almost walking pace.

Not last night. Far from sprinting, I glided along, my breath rhythmic and even, my legs stretching forward, ankles leveraging me up and forward.

I maintained it only a short ways– maybe 1/8 mile. But it didn’t matter– I dropped down to a slightly slower jog, but I felt that victory. The smoothness of that energy, my heart singing in my ears.

It was a very powerful moment.

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