Getting Personal #214: July Goals

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of July:

  1. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2020.
  2. Publish my updated TBR post.
  3. Re-organize the filing system.
  4. Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven.
  5. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet.
  6. Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation.
  7. Send at least five cards, letters, and care packages.
  8. Continue preparations for P.E.O. Virginia State 2022 Convention.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of July?

Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #213: June Goals Recap

Image Credit: jenny collier blog

Welcome back!

Here’s the link to my June Goals post: Getting Personal #211: June Goals


Here were my goals for the month of June:

  1. Give blood. — Accomplished!
  2. Finish the second draft of my novel. — Did not accomplish.
  3. Send the second draft of the novel to my readers for additional feedback. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Clean out and organize the linen closet. — Accomplished!
  5. Send the box of consignment items to Darby. — Accomplished!
  6. Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Send at least four cards or letters to friends. — Accomplished!
  8. Publish a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club at least once a week. — Did not accomplish.
  9. Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
  11. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Did not accomplish.
  12. Spend another hour on American Girl items inventory. — Did not accomplish.

This month was weird. I was more deeply affected by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests than I anticipated.

However, I was able to give blood! Yay! Al made steak the night before the drive, and my iron level was 14.3, one of the highest levels I’ve had. The baseline requirement for women is 12.5. And, my favorite phlebotomist, Spencer, was at the drive and helped me through it. I struggled to fill the bag, which is completely my fault. I forgot to drink enough water. More fluids!

I shipped off the massive Walmart box to Darby. It weighed almost 25 pounds! I paid almost $95 in shipping costs, but Darby offered me $164 in store credit, so I jumped on it. I’ve gotten a lot of pretty things this month, and I found a beautiful shirt with a flower on it and “Mom” on it for my mom.

I did a lot of other things with the house the month. The linen closet is finally clean and organized the way it should be, at least in my mind.

Al and I also went through our closets, filled two garbage bags full of outgrown clothes, and gathered several other things to donate. I dropped everything off at the thrift store on Sunday.

I’ve been slowly making my way through Just Mercy. It’s a good book, but it’s heavy. Look for a review on the Netflix documentary “13th” coming soon.

The Ebony and Fire Writing Club is currently on hiatus. I was disappointed at first, but one of the organizers wanted to take a break to focus on Black Lives Matter and some other priorities for a while.


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of June?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for July!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #212: Visiting the Dermatologist

Image Credit: Wandervogel Diary

I have the fair skin curse.

Well, not exactly. But having fair skin is difficult sometimes.


My first pre-cancerous mole was removed from my back before I graduated from high school. I’ve experienced multiple sunburns, and at least two of them have blistered. The song lyric “sunshine on my shoulders” was so true for me, and also very painful.

Since that first mole removal, I’ve become more vigilant about caring for my skin, being mindful of my sun exposure, and seeing a dermatologist for an annual skin check.


However, I’m also human.

Many of you who know me, know that I grew up around water. I don’t enjoy the beach as much as I used to, but I didn’t always use sunscreen or reapply like I should have, especially in my college years.

The combination of multiple sunburns over many years, and having fair skin caused multiple moles to pop up. I’ve had four significant moles (maybe more, I lost track for a while) removed and biopsied from my back. I’ve had more stitches in my back than anywhere else on my body.


The good news? My annual skin checks are working. Plus, I’m much more aware of my sun exposure now, and I’m using sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing more frequently.

I went to the dermatologist today, after my original appointment was changed twice due to COVID. The Suffolk office is really close to my house. The doctor was great, although I miss my old nurse practitioner (NP) terribly. She left the practice in mid-2019 to go out on her own.

Everything looked good for this year, with the exception of a two-toned brown/black mole on my upper left arm. The doctor was great and pointed out why he was concerned about it. A team of two ladies came in after the doctor, numbed my skin around it, and removed the mole for biopsy. I’ll be notified of the results in 1-2 weeks, depending upon how long it takes for it to be reviewed by pathology.

If need be, the office will call and schedule me for a follow-up visit. In the past, my NP needed to obtain clear margins, meaning that they needed to go a bit farther out from where the mole was removed to make sure all the pre-cancerous cells are gone. Otherwise, it could develop into actual skin cancer.


Skin Cancer

There are three types of skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is typically slow-growing, and the most common type of skin cancer. It can develop from actinic keratoses, which are scaly, damaged areas of skin. These can occur in places with lots of sun exposure – Your face, scalp, and the back of your hands.

Squamous cell carcinoma is less common. UV exposure is a contributor, but you’re at higher risk if you have had chronic skin wounds, radiation therapy treatment, or were an organ transplant recipient.

Melanoma begins in the melanocytes, where the skin pigment cells change into cancerous cells. This is the lowest diagnosed type of skin cancer, but it has the highest death rate. Melanoma has been found on the torso / trunk, lower legs, palms, soles of the feet, and the skin under the nails. UV exposure is the biggest factor, but family history is also significant.


Educating Yourself

You can do self-check skin exams on yourself!

Here are the “ABCDEs” to look for:

  • A – Asymmetry (Not the same shape on all sides)
  • B – Border irregularity (Ragged / blurred edges)
  • C – Color (Different shades of tan, brown, or black)
  • D – Diameter (Larger than 1/4 inch)
  • E – Evolving (Changes over time)

Now – Don’t panic if you see something suspicious. It’s important to call your dermatologist to make an appointment, or ask family / friends for recommendations. You can also check your health insurance (U.S.) for in-network providers that are close to you. Some providers also perform virtual visits, or you can text photos to a secure phone number for review.

Also, make an appointment as soon as possible if you experience itching or swelling of a skin lesion, if the lesion changes size or color, or there’s pain in the area.


Not Just Fair Skin

There are many factors with skin cancer. Here are a few things to be aware of regarding higher risks.

  • Hair color – Blond/blonde or red
  • Skin that freckles or sunburns easily
  • Family history of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer
  • History of unusual moles
  • History of sunburns, particularly blistering ones
  • History of tanning bed use
  • More than 50 moles, or any that look irregular
  • Organ transplant recipient

It’s a good idea to visit a dermatologist annually if you tick off more than one of these. Most skin exams take 10-20 minutes. For today’s visit, I was out the door in 35 minutes, and that included the biopsy. I have to let the area heal with twice-daily bandage changes and petroleum jelly after the first 24 hours (Tip: Don’t use Neosporin or triple antibiotic ointment!) It’s really simple and virtually painless.


Resources

For more information, check out the links below.

Annual Exams | Skin Cancer Foundation

What to expect during a skin exam | MD Anderson

Skin Cancer | MD Anderson


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #211: June Goals

Image Credit: Fueled By Carrots

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of June:

  1. Give blood.
  2. Finish the second draft of my novel.
  3. Send the second draft of the novel to my readers for additional feedback.
  4. Clean out and organize the linen closet.
  5. Send the box of consignment items to Darby.
  6. Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation.
  7. Send at least four cards or letters to friends.
  8. Publish a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club at least once a week.
  9. Re-organize the filing system.
  10. Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven.
  11. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet.
  12. Spend another hour on American Girl items inventory.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of June?

Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #210: May Goals Recap

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Welcome back!


Here’s the link to my May Goals post: Getting Personal #206: May Goals

Here were my goals for the month of May:

  1. Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
  2. Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Semi-Achieved.
  3. Start a new writing prompt series. — Semi-Achieved.
  4. Spring clean my closet. — Accomplished!
  5. Publish at least one Book Review. — Accomplished!
  6. De-clutter the dining room buffet. — Accomplished!
  7. Spend at least one hour on American Girl items inventory. — Accomplished!
  8. Start re-organizing the garage. — Accomplished!

I made a lot of progress this month. I’m really pleased with the number of posts I published here!

I threw out all the expired products in the cabinet above the oven, and made a list of needed replacements. The job isn’t finished, but I’m happy with the progress.

I learned that my favorite consignor, Darby, was going to be accepting new consignment boxes as early as June 1st, so I rushed to sign up for a box. I’m mailing it to her new house in Washington State next week. I had a lot of fun going through everything in my closet, and I nearly filled the huge box from Walmart that our new Blu-ray player came in. Plus, everything is now organized for the summer!

We made a ton of progress on our garage. I’m so happy with it. Everything has a place. We filled our trashcan. And we can walk around freely without tripping. Al also was able to move the refrigerator from the detached garage out back to the attached garage, so we can have drinks out there and some overflow space for freezer items. We also worked together to clean and sanitize it.

I published THREE Book Reviews! Yippee! I’ve finally gotten back in the habit of reading between 15-45 minutes every night before bed.

I also embarked on a new Writing Adventure with joining the Ebony and Fire Writing Club. Stay tuned for more posts every week!


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of May?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for June!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #209: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020 Recap

Image Credit: NaNoWriMo

This was my fifth Camp NaNoWriMo session!

This Camp session was different. After getting valuable feedback from my two main readers of my first draft of “Experiences From Camp,” I knew it was time to start the first round of editing.


Original word count: 51,960 words (161 pages)

On April 1, I printed out my first draft for the first time ever! I made the 161 pages double-sided, hole-punched them, and put it in a binder.

Almost every night for the first week, I sat down with a blue pen and pink Post-It notes, and read through the draft.

I added page numbers, designated chapters, page breaks, questions about the plot, sentence structure, and recommendations from my two readers.

I was very pleased with my efforts. I faltered a bit after the initial read-through, but I read through nearly 52,000 words!

Because I was editing this time, and not really writing, this Camp session was very different. However, I met my goal!


Final Thoughts

I have a lot of work to do now that I’ve completed the first round of editing. I also started using one of the beautiful journals that I received for my birthday last year to ask additional questions about the work and jot down other notes and thoughts.

My main goal is to send the second draft of the novel to my two readers, Amanda and Mike, by the end of June.

Before I do that, though, I need to translate my handwritten edits and other thoughts from my journal into the Draft 2 document on my computer. For some reason, and I think it’s mainly fear, I’ve been resisting doing this for the entire month of May. However, I do have a couple of days off of work coming my way, so I’m hoping to finally sit down (Well, stand up at my desk, LOL) and knock these edits and additions out!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #208: “3 Story Treehouse, Scotland” (Reblogged)

I wanted a treehouse so badly as a kid. We had so many trees in our backyard, but I never got my wish. So, I wrote about them, daydreamed about them, and got overly excited when I saw them on TV or in movies. I certainly climbed trees and enjoyed every tire swing, rope swing, and hammock that I came upon, but nothing really compares to a treehouse.

This image caught my eye immediately. Did you know that you can stay overnight in treehouses in certain areas? I would love to do that someday.

But, for now, I’m staring at this photo and daydreaming.


If you could build a massive treehouse, what would you put in it or do with it?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

3 Story Treehouse, Scotland

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Getting Personal #207: Hope in Disaster Writing Contest

Image Credit: Charis Rae

I adore Charis Rae!

Here’s the link to her post, and how to enter the contest: Enter the Hope in Disaster Writing Contest.

Submissions are open now, through May 23.

Please note the age range. Charis Rae’s contest is open to ages 13-25.


If you’re outside that age range, like me, you can enter Bella Putt’s contest. Check out her post and guidelines here: I’m Co-Hosting A Short Story Contest. The submission deadline is the same – May 23.


Good luck to all who enter!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #206: May Goals

Image Credit: Centre for Collaborative Health

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of May:

  1. Re-organize the filing system.
  2. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  3. Start a new writing prompt series.
  4. Spring clean my closet.
  5. Publish at least one Book Review.
  6. De-clutter the dining room buffet.
  7. Spend at least one hour on American Girl items inventory.
  8. Start re-organizing the garage.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of May?

Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #205: April Goals Recap

Image Credit: quoteslike.com

Welcome back!


Here’s the link to my April Goals post: Getting Personal #202: April Goals

Here are my goals for the month of April:

  1. Celebrate Dad’s birthday. — Accomplished!
  2. Complete Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020. — Accomplished!
  3. Hang photos in my office. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
  5. Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
  6. Spring clean my closet, top to bottom. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Drop off thrift store donations. — Accomplished!
  8. Purchase new glasses. — Accomplished!
  9. Finish the book I’m reading, and publish the review. — Accomplished!
  10. Start a new writing prompt series. — Did not accomplish.
  11. Commit to less screen time, especially in the evenings. — Semi-Achieved.

I accomplished quite a few things this month. I’m very pleased.

We celebrated my dad’s birthday virtually. We called and sang to him. We can’t wait to celebrate in person once the virus risk lessens.

I think Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020 was a big success, especially with the recent circumstances around COVID-19. Look for a recap post soon!

I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made with my home office. I gathered up several square feet of donations, and Al helped me drop it off at Goodwill. I can sit on the couch for the first time since we moved in our house! Al also helped me hang up some of my sorority memorabilia.

After working from home on a card table for the first two weeks, I was over it. Al found an amazing sit-stand desk on sale through Office Depot, and I took the plunge and bought it. Look for a new installment in my home improvement series, coming soon!

I bought two new pairs of glasses through Zenni Optical. They were shipped this week, so I’m excited to finally have a proper set of glasses with the correct prescription. The glasses I currently have are at least 6-7 years old.

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and published the Book Review. I started reading two new books, and I’m excited to finish those soon. Reading before bed nearly every night is something I’m committed to. I’m sleeping better, and also feeling better in the mornings.

I’m still working on less screen time in the evenings. I noticed recently that my body is giving me signs, in a way. I find myself naturally putting down my phone and/or iPad about an hour or so before we go to bed. So that’s good! I’ve also noticed a big difference as soon as I was able to set up my laptop in my office. It’s a dedicated space. No more laptop on the couch!


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of April?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for May!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂