I want to be a mentor

I’ve found a new volunteer activity. I’m applying to be a mentor to a freshman student at Brevard College, where I graduated many moons ago. I’ll meet them, talk, e-mail, maybe go out for a meal occasionally. I’m in Brevard a lot because my mother (a retired BC professor) lives here.

While I hope I help the student, I think they’ll also help me by making me more aware of what is going on at the college and how exciting it is to be a college student in these days and times.

I loved my time at Brevard, where I received an AA degree, the University of North Carolina.where I graduated with a degree in English education and the University of Missouri-Columbia where I received my master’s in journalism. Going to school agrees with me. I love reading, research and writing.

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A new milestone reached today

Well, I’m on the other side. I’m now in the senior category – but I decided to be a senior babe rather than a senior citizen. Although I’ve been receiving my hard-earned Social Security since February, I signed up today for Medicare (effective today).

It seems strange to hit this milepost, but in lots of ways I feel no different. It’s like when my brother turned 13. He said, “Jenny, what’s the big deal? Thirteen doesn’t feel any different from 12.”

I guess the main difference is that it’s up to me to maintain a schedule in my life and not lolly-gag the days away. I want to stay busy – writing, visiting friends and family, volunteering, learning new skills. I’m thinking about taking up knitting. I’m going to get more serious about photography. I’m taking care of my mother, visiting her every other weekend to take care of shopping and washing. I’m writing a family-based cookbook and a photography book based on Psalms.

In addition, I want to write the history of the Reedy River and I’m working on a memoir. In addition, I’m freelancing with a weekly newspaper and want to start freelancing with magazines.

My major project, other than freelancing, right now is WeightWatchers –  I’ve lost nearly 19 pounds in 3 1/2 months. That’s an ongoing project because I’ve got many more pounds to drop. But it’s working and I’m having fun (and not feeling deprived).

So I’m moving into a new adventure. Look out, world. Here I come!

Beginning my goal

Strange, isn’t it. The skies are dreary. The rain is either dripping from the heavens slowly or pouring in a steady stream. It’s stay-in-the-house-and-read weather.

Despite the grayness of the day, I’m in an upbeat mood. And I think it’s solely because I began Weight Watchers last night. I’m doing something for me, something only I can do. WW is not new. I went through three years of it about eight years ago – and it worked then. This time I just can’t fall back into bad habits. I’m starting on the food this week. Next week I’ll start on the exercise component. I’m going to reach the weight I want to be.

This morning I spent some time working on a story about the future of the workforce. I need a few more interviews and some more writing. But I’m pleased with it so far.

Things I’m thankful for

Thanksgiving is around the corner – and what am I thankful for?

First of all, my house is getting back to normal after the renovation. Also, I love – really love – my cork floors, my new carpet and the kitchen and bathroom carpet. In addition, I have newly painted walls. My house feels new (even though there’s bunches of stuff to get in place).

Then I’m thankful to spend time with my mother, who is 96, over the Thanksgiving holidays. She lives in a retirement community but is pretty independent and very sharp.

I give t hanks for all my family – past and present. They have made me much of what I am today.

Retirement is something else I am thankful for. The six or seven months I’v e been retired have been wonderful.

I’m thankful for small amounts of freelancing work. I finished up a story for the weekly Greenville newspaper and sent in some photos.

And I’m grateful for the energy to do what I need to do and the money to make it all work. Right now, I need to buy some Christmas boxes, etc., to take to my mother. I also need to buy a few more gifts. Got sme photo postcards in the mail and picked up photo notecards at the store. So things are moving right along.

I’m unhappy about my camera breaking but am thankful it can be fixed. I’ve sent it off for repair. I miss it already.

Tonight I went to a writers’ group. I didn’t take anything to read, but two of the group were ready. The past week was so busy that I wrote nothing except for work and for a Christmas present. But I’m thankful for fellowship with friends and fellow writers.

That’s life

A week of enthusiasm and a week of frustration. I guess it’s like Kate Salley Palmer says, “That’s life.”

The flooring crew finished my floor at 9:30 last night (about four hours later than I expected). It looks beautiful. I love the cork flooring in the dining and living rooms and the hall. The carpet looks good in the bedrooms and office. And the kitchen and guest bathroom go along with the rest. This was a great job (and I picked the flooring better than I expected). Now I find I’m going to need to do the foyer. I liked the flooring already there, but it doesn’t look so hot next to the cork. So once i get the stuff cleaned up, I’ll start there.

But my computer started giving me trouble Wednesday evening and is s till down – after spending $350 on it. Most of that was not repairs – more memory, a video card, virus protection. But it’s still not working right. I knocked the battery container latch off my camera and that must be fixed before it can be used. My old camera, which I thought was so great, does not seem so good after the single-lens reflex.

I sent two stories in last week from the library because of computer programs. I may send one this weekend from my mother’s computer.

So Monday I’ll work on the camera and the computer and sit and look at my beautiful new floors. Overall, it’s been a good week.

Lunching with a friend

Catching up with friends just makes my day. I had lunch today with Ron, a former colleague and editor and a friend. We talked about the newspaper and the changes. We talked about what we liked and disliked about the changes and what might be coming in t he future. But more than that, we just enjoyed each other’s company.

Ron is probably the best editorial wordsmith I have ever worked with. He made my writing better – crisper and (sometimes) more concise. He is a treasure I hope the Greenville News celebrates.

Same stories, another newspaper

I just finished a business story for a weekly newspaper I am now freelancing for – a couple of stories a week, generally. It was once again a jobs story. It seems that I’ve picked up where I left on at the Greenville News.

But it’s nice to know that I’ll be writing a couple of stories a week – most relatively short ones. Today I did the interviewing, wrote the story and got ready t o set up the photo assignment. I’ll confirm  that tomorrow morning.

I must admit that after 26 years it seems a little strange to be writing for another newspaper – even thought this is a weekly rather than a daily. And it seems even stranger to identify myself with another  newspaper. While I miss the people at the News and being part of major stories, I’m glad I took the early retirement. It has been wonderful for me and has made my status as my mother’s part-time caretaker easier by far.

Work looking good

More good news – little dibs at a time.

When I sent in the short story on a photographer who shoots guys asking a woman to marry them, it was accepted. Just to be used for an email blast. I suggested  that one of his engagement photos go out with it. Just a little tidbit, but it could be the start of more work.

And I’ve been corresponding with another PR agency about writing press releases. That sounds like it might work into something.

So life is looking good as far as work is concerned.

Besides that, I rewrote a poem about a toddlers hands and am working on one about hands all over the world. I already have one about my mother’s hands. This will be a triology of poems on hands. I’ll read them to my writing group tomorrow night.

Possible new leads in free-lancing

When I picked up a photo-to-canvas project today, I ended up with a job. All I’m doing this time is writing a short story about a photographer who catches photos of guys popping the engagement question. He blends into the scenery and shoots away. A neat little trick – and a cute little story.

Betsy wants to send out the story in an e-mail blast so folks can hear about it.

While it’s a small project, it could lead to more work with her. I enjoy my commercial dealings  – she puts some of my photos on canvas – and would like to work with her more.

Yesterday, I got a call about writing for a new business mag being started in town. It’s for a weekly paper that sort of competes with my former employer, the daily newspaper. But I’ve been gone for six months and it doesn’t feel like I’m being a traitor as it would have at first. It may mean that in the future, the newspaper won’t call me for free-lancing. But then, it might not anyway.

I haven’t decided on this. I’ve asked some questions and I guess the main issue is whether they pay enough to make it worthwhile. We’ll see.