Sunday, November 26, 2017

ROW 80 check in 11/26

Well, things are going well.
A week ago I could not have said the same thing. I was at 26k last week, which was well behind the goal. Today, I am at 40,244 which is only about 3K behind and I am confident in my ability to write 5k for two days and make my goal!

1. Write to a goal of 43K.
I am at 40,244 which is close enough. Tomorrow, I have a half day to write and the day after that I get a bonus day to finish. I usually work on Tuesday, so am very excited about getting the day to write. And my work is all caught up at my JOB. Yay, for great focus.

2. Yoga most days:
This is going well, 5/7 days this week. This is a 71%, which is not great, but I will take it until my word count is caught up.

3. Run walk run:
Still aiming for 2 times a week. This week, only made one, but I am still happy that it is still on my radar and that this week's run was 3 miles rather than the puny 2 I have been doing. There is a story behind this. I found out I have something called dead butt syndrome, which is when the glutes do not fire at all. I have been working really hard to get them activated, which I have learned over the last 2 months. But, I figured out today that activation is not the same as use. When I have figured out how to actually use the glutes to propel me, I am so much faster (2 min per mile faster) and it is more fun to run. Yay.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

ROW check in 8, NaNo starts

Well, this check in is not very timely, but here it is.
I am working on a few goals for this week:
1. Write 8400 words in 5 sessions. I have been writing by hand, which I love, but it is not very efficient, so I broke down and set up my Scrivener. So far, so good. It is helping and on Day 2 of NaNoWriMo, I end the day with 4702 words. Yay! (Blue stickies)

2. Yoga 4-6 times a week: This is the easiest goal I have ever had. It calls me and is really important to get my mind in the right place and was soooo important this week when our money was totally stolen from the bank. I am living on the $100 I had stashed in my wallet because of some hacker. Yoga helps me stay sane and non-homicidal. (Yellow stickies)

3. Run-walk-run: started this again and am excited about 2 times a week. The other things I have planned are all NaNo related. I put a lot of pressure on myself most years to get the words written, This year, all fun, no pressure, just find the story.(Red stickies)

The colors in my planner are to help me get things done without being too much pressure. Stickies, I can move and don't make me twitchy. The green stickies are journaling to remind me that I love it and not to quit.

Ended Thursday with 4702 words. Yay for NaNo.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Full and happy week and ROW Round 4 check in

Wow, this week has been full of stuff.

I have taken the doggie for a walk twice. On Tuesday, I was sure I killed her. She was so lazy and out of it, not acting like herself. We finally figured out that she was sore from the walk. Apparently, dogs need to ease into it as well. I took her again yesterday and she is tired and sleeping more today, but not nearly as sore as Tuesday. She worried me then, now she is just tired.


This week, I have also done three run-walk-runs and focused on my core and being in neutral position as I am walking and running. This is MUCH harder than I ever thought it could be. Like learning how to walk all over again. I walk and then stop, find neutral spine, which feels a bit like I am tucked too far under with my bum, then run or walk, whatever I am on for the cycle. Right now, I am still at 10 seconds of running and 30 seconds of walking. Feeling fine and activating the "dead butt."

Writing has been fabulous this week, and getting in the true spirit of ROW80, I am finding a more sustainable pace than I typically write during November because of NaNo. I love the support and camaraderie of the NaNo forums and knowing that I am not the only one that is struggling with the down side of writing. Sometimes it is just HARD. Worth it, but hard.

I wrote 250-500 words on typical work days and then today, more words. So the total for the week was 2666 words, and completely manageable into the forseeable future. I have also FOUND MY STORY, which was my most important writing goal for this week. I started on a story I found too boring to hold my interest, so I kept looking until I found the one. It will be called a Focused Witch unless a new and better name presents itself along the way.

This week had no friend time outside of work, but the hubby needed me since he had a tougher week. I do have a journaling meet-up set up for Monday and am super excited about seeing this friend I have not seen for about 6 months. Too long.

Monday, October 16, 2017

ROW80 Round 4 check in

Yippee, I completed 976 words so far this week. My goal was 250 words a day, so, not quite at my goal. I am still happy with it. My goal was to work on fitting writing into my life. This month, I have a core class every Tuesday and Thursday, that is making me behind just a bit at work. This affects my ability to let go of work and get CREATIVE. So, almost 1000 words fit into my life in the first week of trying, while sticking with yoga, my core class and adding a run-walk-run on Saturday with a good friend. Pretty good.

Goal 1:  Find the level of writing I can maintain...this week, it was 1000 words.

Goal 2: Maintain interaction with my peeps...this week, went to a run-walk-run event with a friend I miss. So lovely! Oh, and I still enjoyed my writing all week!

Goal 3: NaNo hasn't started yet, so this is on hold except for figuring out the story world I will be working with during November.

Friday, October 13, 2017

ROW80 Round 4 2017

One of these days, I'll get it right. I'll start writing in the fall and just keep going. Maybe I can make it happen for 2017-2018.

I love to write, but life has not been kind over the past few years, what with brain surgery and then having my life taken over by work. One thing I have found to be absolutely true is complete rest from work improves creativity for me. Getting my brain to understand that it is okay to completely unplug is not easy. My work includes making sure people stay safe and mostly don't die. Unfortunately, this is not always easy.

GOALS FOR THE ROUND: (All learning goals, as being too prescriptive makes me twitchy and increases my stress.)

1. Experiment to see what level of writing I can maintain with work and while continuing yoga daily or almost daily. And run-walk-run at least 2 times a week to prepare for 2018 Missoula Marathon. Measurement: I have something more than 250 words daily on average and yoga and run-walk-run on my calendar. Easy to see if I continue to track it.

2. Find the balance that allows me to be interactive with others and write to allow for continued motivation. I know that I am an extrovert and will start losing my drive if I have no contact with others. I need the balance of helping and encouraging with anything else I do.  (Maybe add work on a how-to book that will allow this as I write my fiction.)
Measurement: I continue to enjoy my writing and it does not start making me feel stressed out to get to my word goal. Very subjective. Have no headaches. Objective.

3.Win NaNo with STYLE. By that, I mean, go to write-ins, moderate the hell out of the forum I am responsible for and rock the ML thing. It will be my third year, but I have never done it WELL. This is the year of Montana::Elsewhere.
Measurement: Count the interaction and aim for posts from me at least twice a week and an updated calendar on the site. Beat interaction of last year. (Easy as there was none)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

NaNo Prep

Getting ready to jump into NaNoWriMo in November. I have no idea what to write this year, but I do know I am going to do a combination of computer and hand writing. I found last year's hand writing to be wonderful and connecting to the writing so much better, but there were days I wanted to get 10,000 words and just could not manage it by hand. I am not sure how to make this combination/hybrid happen, yet, and it may take a bit of trial and error to get it right...or write? Hehe.

I have had wins in all the years I have attempted NaNo, but I have not edited anything for publication, yet. I would like to get back to ROW 80, which is a year round writing project that allows for writing or editing and encourages each other through 80 day rounds. I loved it when I did it back in 2014 and completely forgot about it.

This year will be different than any of the years since I started NaNoWriMo because, ladies and gentlemen, I have my life back! I changed jobs, giving notice last year in December after a search that lasted almost a year. It was emotional, draining, and difficult. The aftermath has been wonderful, and it is delightful how happy I can be doing the same job that was killing me. I have more creativity in my job and am taking better care of myself physically and emotionally than I ever have. Adding writing back to my life will be challenging, but one I am savoring.

I have wondered if I changed from extrovert to introvert over the last few years. My job took over my life. I was working 11 hour days 4 days a week and then adding another 8-12 hours of charting on the computer on top of that on the weekend, usually on Sunday. I forgot what church feels like, and could not have made it if I wanted to. Now, I get to choose, go to church, rest, play, listen to what I need, rather than what I have to do. This rest allows for greater creativity and better attention to my work, which is patients and their illness or health. I have my life back!

I am going to a core class offered by my employer, and finding out all kinds of things. It is twice a week, and I attend a yoga class once a week in person and do home practice daily. There is no way with my former job that I could have obligated myself to this schedule. I needed more rest. I needed ALL the rest when I was not working. It still was not enough. Now, I am going to multiple classes and doing other social things and feeling good about them and me. I am not noticing them taking any additional energy, rather, they are feeding my energy level and spirit. This is life going the right direction.

Now, to start writing to figure out what I want to focus on for November...

Why I had brain surgery

Imagine stepping out of the shower one day and finding it difficult to smile. You look in the mirror and notice that the left side of your face is drooping. This happened to me about three years ago. It lasted 2 minutes and I didn't think anything of it. We had been hiking and I applied a deet-rich insecticide with my hands before we went and picked and ate tons of berries all the way up and back during the hike with the deet residue on them. Maybe I had poisoned myself. (Hopefully, just a little.)

I look back and think how crazy it was that I dismissed that sign. I am a Nurse Practitioner and if a patient called me and told me this was happening to them, I would immediately send them to the hospital. So, why did I ignore it?

It was too scary to contemplate. It was much less stressful to ignore it.  My grandmother had passed on at 42 years old after multiple strokes. My sister has had 2 strokes in her twenties and early thirties. I was 42. I had already been to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and been checked out. Granted, it was a full 18 months earlier, and at that time, I had a small narrowing in my internal carotid artery. This is the artery that feeds the interior of the brain from the neck. I was told to come back in a year. Must not have been paying enough attention. Or, was I ignoring this, too.

The options I had at Mayo were to have a brain surgery to give me blood flow around the spot in my brain that was narrowing, waiting and watching, or more tests and one of the above. Too scary to contemplate.

Along I went for over a month before the same thing happened again. My face "melted." My left arm started getting numb. It would start in my little finger, making typing really difficult. After some time, which varied from 5 minutes to several hours, it would fade. Then another finger or more than one, would go numb, again cramping my typing style. I typed all day long to get patient information into an electronic health record. It was important that I had the ability to do this.

During this time, I found myself waking up in the morning and just feeling terrible. There was nothing specific I could point to that made me feel this way. I preferred to go back to sleep and would sleepily say, "I just don't want to play today." As long as this was on a day I didn't have to work, it was not too bad. The problem worsened when my migraines ramped up, randomly interrupting my life. There was nothing to explain it. And I kept track of everything. Food, drink, weather, stress. Nothing made it worse or better. So, I would have headaches that would force me to stay home or to go home. I was having numbness in my hand and the melting face was getting worse. And it was happening more often.

Finally, one day, my face melted at work, and lasted for almost 20 minutes. The doctor working with me that day looked at me and sent me to the Emergency Room. We did a CT scan of my head which didn't see anything. Of course not, there is not much that was going wrong with me that could be seen on a CT. If I had a big bleed or something, that would have been obvious, but nothing like that was going on. Just a nefarious, gradual, decrease in blood flow to parts of my brain.

If I were having these symptoms 40 years earlier, I would have just had to wait around until the big one happened. I am so lucky to be alive in this time.

So, I stopped ignoring it when my face melted more than 5 times in one month. I made an appointment. The Neurosurgeon did many tests, some painful, some benign. And we scheduled a surgery to avoid a stroke. One that has been performed about 300 times by the surgeon. Not that many, to my husband's dismay. The hard part was just beginning.