Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goodness gracious, where did August go?

Well y'all, we've got some old, current, and new business to address. Let's get to the old business first.

Remember my February challenge? If not, I'll refresh you: I wrote to a company/person/celebrity every day and tried to fill their heart with warmth and love by showing my appreciation for them or their product. Funny enough, I received another response about 2 weeks ago...never mind that I had originally written to this person 6 months ago! Had enough of the suspense already? The response I received was from none other than... Nicholas Sparks! Here is the letter:
"Dear Andrea
Thank you for taking the time to write. It's always wonderful to hear from people who enjoy my work. Being an author, after all, isn't necessarily like other forms of entertainment. While I'm in on the "performance," I seldom experience the "response". So again, thank you for dropping me a line.

It's been a busy year for me. Right now, I'm writing a new novel entitled The Best of Me, which should be out this October. Assuming I finish it, of course. I thought I had finished, but there's a bit of editing to do. Actually, I have to pretty much rewrite the ending from scratch (the last 60-70 pages), but that's the way it goes sometimes. I was a bit bummed by that, but I trust my editor. All she ever wants is the best novel possible. The good news is that Warner Brothers has already bought the film rights.

Later this year, I'll also be producing for the first time. Safe Haven (Relativity Media) starts filming in October, and I'm kind of excited about the idea. One of the joys in my life is trying, and learning, new things, so it should be a lot of fun.

Also, The Lucky One (Warner Brothers) with Zac Efron will be out next year. I saw an early cut, and it's fantastic. I hope you're looking forward to it coming out in theaters as much as I am.

You said some lovely things in your letter and had some questions, but unfortunately, I simply don't have the time to answer them right now. Most of the answers, though, can be found on my web-site ( I'm also on Twitter (sparksnicholas) and on Facebook (, and I answer questions there, too.

I hope you're well, and thanks again.
Peace, Nicholas Sparks"

So, I will foolishly admit that right until the part where he said that I "had some questions" in my letter that I really believed he specifically wrote this to me. However, I didn't ask him any questions in my letter, so at that point I knew it was a form letter. Darn it. He really had me going for a little while! It was still a fun surprise to receive this letter so late, though!

Now, for this month's challenge: I was going to try to ride 250 miles on my bike. Did I make it? Drumroll please.... YES! I DID IT! I SMASHED THIS CHALLENGE OUT OF THE PARK! I not only rode 250 miles, but I added some extra on top of that, for a grand total of 327 miles! WOW! I honestly can't believe I rode that much! I am very thankful to Noli and my Uncle Steve for their help in getting several of the 20+ mile rides out of the way. I've learned a few things about my biking preferences over this month: I would much rather ride down city or country streets than on a bike path or a "rails to trails" path. It's just so much more interesting to have houses and people and farm fields to look at than to be riding endlessly through trees or on flat, boring trails. Although that is the one thing I do love about the "rails to trails" paths is that they are flat, since they used to be railroad tracks and therefore had to be fairly level for the trains. Next, I've learned bike shorts really don't help much. If you're going to crank out 25 miles, your butt is going to be sore no matter how much padding you have in that general vicinity. Third, always take wind direction and speed into account before starting the ride. I never ever did this, and suffered severely because of it. Fourth, ride with your mouth closed. I honestly can't do this while biking, partly because my nose runs and there'd be snot dripping down my face, and also because I can't breathe deep enough to support the excessive effort I'm requiring from my body. Finally, I learned it is incredibly better to attempt a challenge such as this when you can ride with someone else. The few times I had someone riding with me I was able to really nail the miles with seemingly little effort, but when I was out there by myself there were several days I just wanted to rip my legs from my body and leave them on the trail because they sure didn't want to cooperate. I think having someone riding with you really helps distract from the pain you are suffering. Some of you may remember that I promised myself I would buy something nice for every 25 miles above and beyond my goal I pedaled. The first thing I'm getting is a new computer. It just doesn't seem reasonable that it takes 30 minutes for my computer to boot up in the morning. I've ordered a new one already and it should be coming in the mail in a week or two! I do want to say this has been one of my most enjoyable goals, despite how much I am complaining about it. I absolutely love riding my bike and I love the feeling of accomplishment I get after a great ride. And in case you'd like to know some other really impressive statistics, here they are: according to my cyclometer on my bike, I burned a total of 11,193 calories this month, 999 of which were fat calories. I love that little computer! The picture up top is the method I created of recording my miles. I colored in one pink box for every mile...and then had to add more boxes when I went beyond 250! Now we must move on to next month's goal...anyone got any guesses?

The goal is to eat vegetarian all month. With three small exceptions, that is. I am attending a wedding for my dear friends Natalie and Jason on 9/10/11, so I think I'm going to have to eat chicken there. Halfway through the month they are having an employee appreciation meal at my work, so I'll pig out on some meat there. At the end of the month I'm attending Octoberfest in Appleton, so all bets are off there. This is certainly going to be a challenge for me, because I happen to really love meat. I mean, I really really love it. But maybe it will be a good thing because I'll finally spend a little time cooking instead of always eating things out of the freezer. We shall see. And so again, I would like to thank you, loyal reader, for your support, input, and for taking the time out of your day to read my thoughts. I love when you make a special effort to tell me you read my blog, like Donna and Kara did this month. Stay tuned, and if anyone wants to join me on dining on lettuce and beans this month, just let me know!


  1. Nicely done! I take my hat off to you on this one. 250 is a great amount of miles. I can relate to your "take the wind into account" statement. There have been a few times when I was riding when I toyed with moving to the house I was passing or at least one that was with the wind.

  2. . . .and if you have good bike shorts they make a HUGE difference. would not ride without them. Mouth closed- yup swallowed lots 'o bugs.