Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm still here!!

Yes, I’m actually still alive. This week has been a blur. My brother is in town for the Ravens/Raiders game today, so things have been hectic. Although no writing happened this weekend, I actually enjoyed doing nothing and didn’t get bent out of shape because I didn’t write. I watched some movies – Iron Man, There Will Be Blood, and Sex in the City. All were great! I enjoy watching movies by myself sometimes and I watched There Will Be Blood last night while Charlie did homework (by brother went over a friend’s house) and I watched Sex in the City this morning at 7:30 (Charlie and Dom had already left for the game – tailgating!). It felt great not to be rushing around trying to get a million things accomplished. I keep reminding myself that I’m not off track and the writing will start up again come next weekend. I find it virtually impossible, given my current job, to do any writing during the week. I’m not one to skimp on sleep, so it’s not like I can stay up late to write and I already get up at 4 am, so forget about getting up early. I can actually get a good deal accomplished on the weekends when I’m focused.

That’s all for the moment. My brain is still on “relax” mode, so I’m going to take advantage of it while I can!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Time alone please!

I was off from my “regular” job today – yee haw! I’m starting to love being away from that job, and eventually I will be for good. In the meantime, I was able to complete some work for the writer I’m working with part-time. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work for him as it will open doors that I could never do on my own. Plus, he is a genuinely great guy! His wife is great too! I’m very excited working with him – I only wish his work was my full time job. Oh, that’s right, no whining and no wishing! Only doing! My greatest personality flaw is that I have very little patience. I have made some strides in improving my patience, but other times I let it get the better of me. I’ve come to see that it can have a negative impact on my emotions, which is something I don’t need.

One other great struggle for me is claiming time away from my “regular” job for my writing. I’ve already touched on that previously, but I’m finding others are creating a time drain for me and I need to implement a way to stop that. My husband can be from time to time – God love him. I think because I’m not currently pulling in a whole lot of money by writing he doesn’t see the necessity of me spending so much time on it. Don’t get me wrong, he vocalizes his support constantly, but when it comes time for me to sit down and do something, he wants to spend time together. Today he decided to call in sick and although I was good for some of the morning, the rest of the day was shot.

How do you tell the ones you love you love them, but please don’t bother me for the next eight hours? Maybe just say it as is!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Komen Race for the Cure

I ran the Baltimore Komen Race for the Cure this morning. My time was 26.15 - my best time yet. If only it was 70 degrees versus 35! I hate running in the cold. For me, it's very comfortable and takes me about a mile to warm up. But with so many people running around you (there was about 32,000 registrants!), you get caught up in the adrenaline and just go! My husband also ran and my sister Sharon (in the picture with me) and niece Ellen also came along. This was the first time they attended and they said they would be back, which is great.

Not much to write because I'm so stinkin' tired! I was up at 4 am (it's about an hour drive to get to the race), so now I'm ready for bed!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Time to take care of the breasts!

Where does the time go? I did manage to work on my memoir some this morning, but the rest of the day filled up with running, workout, getting my hair cut, doing laundry, making dinner, and now here it is almost six o’clock! It would be great to have a maid do all this work! Enough whining for now…

Thursday was my mammogram and first ever breast MRI. I’ve been receiving mammograms since I was 30 as a precautionary measure (due to my family history), but this year I switched my OB/GYN down to Johns Hopkins since my old doctor didn’t think MRIs were necessary for me. Although I don’t have a medical degree, I’m intelligent enough to read and decipher medical news and research. I’ve known for awhile that MRIs and/or ultrasounds should be used in addition to regular mammograms for women who have dense breasts (and mine are VERY dense), so I got pretty annoyed when my old doctor wouldn’t go for it. Once I transferred to Johns Hopkins they asked, “Why wouldn’t you get an MRI?” I knew I had made the right decision in coming to them.

Both technicians I saw that day commented that my breasts were extremely dense. While it’s wonderful have firm, youthful breasts, it makes reading mammograms and MRIs a bitch (i.e. it’s difficult to make out cancer because it all blends together). The MRI was only suppose to last 30 minutes but ended up taking an hour because the technician had such a hard time getting a decent picture. The digital mammogram was cool because I could see the results right there on the computer screen. I discovered I have a calcification deposit in my left breast and based on what I have researched, it is a macrocalcification deposit (not linked to breast cancer development). The films for both the mammogram and MRI had to be sent to the main office for diagnosis and I should receive results in about a week. Tomorrow is the Komen Race for the Cure here in Baltimore and this year my sister Sharon and my niece Ellen will be going with me and Charlie. We’ll be there bright and early at 6 am!

After my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 13, I made a pact with myself to always stay on top of my health and to take all precautionary measures possible when it comes to breast health. I received genetic testing this summer (for the BRCA 1 and 2 genes) and the results came back negative. It’s good news for me, but doesn’t pull me out of the weeds completely. Since my mom and aunt were never tested for the genes (it wasn’t even heard of when both were alive), my results can either mean that neither of them carried the gene, or they may have carried the gene I just didn’t inherit it. Neither of my sisters wants to get tested because they rather not know. I personally think that is crazy, but to each her own. I’d rather know and take all measures possible to prevent it than to discover it one day and have limited options.

Here’s to a good run tomorrow!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Moving forward

As I sit contemplating how much I no longer want to work where I am currently employed, I actively engage in positive thought processing. That is, I am mapping how I will make the transition from working outside the home for an outside employer to working for myself full-time. I can wish all I want for the life I desire or actually do something about it, which is something that sets successful people apart from those who never achieve much in life. It’s a matter of always moving forward and taking risks. Successful individuals are not afraid of the unknown because they know that taking risks is a part of achieving a dream. Successful individuals may make mistakes, but they learn from those mistakes and keep moving on.

I am grateful I found a mentor in a local writer who is very successful in his freelance career. I started working for him part-time a couple of months ago. I only wish it was full time! Aack! No wishing here – just doing! J He has taught me a lot so far and I look forward to him showing me more of “the ropes” in having a successful freelance career. I have also started researching potential markets for me to break into (low-paying, but good for gaining experience) and compiled some article ideas. Next I have to create some query letters to send out and to line up experts to interview for my articles. I am also moving ahead with my memoir, more aggressively than ever, so I can get that to an agent. I indicated previously I wanted this accomplished before year-end, but as long as my schedule doesn’t derail, it should be by the end of November.

Stay positive, stay focused!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Followers widget now listed!

I’ve added the “Followers” widget to my blog so please become a follower! Join me in getting off the treadmill and spread the word!

Many thanks,Jen

Get back to writing!

I’ve been MIA too long – I let life interfere with writing here. Saturday was my first ever yard sale! I did fairly well and I carted everything that didn’t sell to Goodwill yesterday. Cleaning out the attic precipitated the sale. I’m in the process of completing my memoir and there was a letter my father had written to me years ago that I couldn’t find anywhere in the house, so up in the attic I went to sort through at least 15 boxes of memories. My one-minute story: my mother passed away when I was 14; my father remarried; my aunt, who had become like a mother to me, passed away in 1999; and my father, who was my last anchor in life, passed away in 2005. There is much more to fill in the gaps, but that’s where the memoir comes in! Anyway, this letter he wrote was right before I moved to South Carolina and it was something I would never had expected from him. Upon finding the letter, I feel I can now finish the book and move on to the next step – finding an agent.

October has been and will continue to be a hectic month for me, but I found myself yesterday repeating a line I swore I would never say again: “I need to find the time to write.” No sooner was it coming out of my mouth that I realized I was making an excuse and allowing other non-important events to dictate my time. I had always used the excuse that I didn’t have the time to write because I was too busy with my outside job, cleaning the house, washing dishes, doing laundry – you name it. I finally realized the writing needs to come first or it will never come at all. If I want to eventually make a living as a freelance writer, all other things will have to take a backseat to writing. Period! It is part of “getting off the treadmill” – realizing what it is that’s keeping you from moving forward and having the courage to change it. I’m off work today, so I made it a priority to sit down and write first thing this morning. I’m diving back into the memoir to add some more to it. I bumped up my deadline to get it to an agent to the end of the year and I mean it this time. While I had an editor review it who suggested some changes, I need to move forward with I believe is right.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wanted: energy to clean the house!

This week I decided to let my cleaning lady go because 1) she & her partner were not doing such a great job and 2) for $65 every two weeks, I could do a much better job. I was off yesterday and was supposed to take care of the cleaning then but for some reason it didn’t happen (i.e. I didn’t feel like doing it). Here I am Saturday morning trying to muster up the energy to do it and I’m not finding it. I need to find another cleaning lady! The whole point of hiring one was to free up time for me to concentrate on my writing and other projects at hand, so I have to stop myself right now from justifying the savings with me doing it myself. Even if it only takes two hours a week, with working full-time outside of the house right now, two hours is very precious time.

This week I’ve been riding a small roller coaster of emotions which I’ve been attempting to contain by meditating on a regular basis. The meditation seems to be working! When I find myself getting annoyed with work and wanting to quit ASAP, I reel myself back in knowing that I’m not there forever, my goals are on track, and I will be a success in achieving those goals, but it will not happen overnight. Deep breathing is critical at this point! My current job pays well, but the work is a drag and I get fed up with the office politics (one of the many reasons why I want to work from home). Even when I make it a point to remain disconnected from the politics, it’s still all around me and the negative energy tries its best to suck me in. The office where I’m at now does not have a telecommuting policy in place and they are really dragging their feet in implementing one. Several other government agencies have a policy in place, but nearly all are offices located in D.C. (a nearly two hour train ride – driving with traffic would be nearly as long – one way), so I hope to fight to get telecommuting in my agency. Realistically, I hope to be on my own in the next year and a half, so the point of implementing a telecommuting policy at the office is moot.

I also finally cleaned out my attic last week and found a letter my father had written me years ago. More on this later, along with the details of the first ever yard sale I will be having! Take care…