A Busy Stretch: ROW80 Update, 8/28/14

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Is it my imagination, or is summer just flying by this year?

Just like that, it seems, August is nearly over. Next week, I’ll become the parent of a teenager, meet August McLaughlin and attend World Sexual Health Day (I need to remember to buy my ticket and make the final travel arrangements…), and, oh, yes, that big yellow school bus will be rolling down our street again – and not stopping here. =D

There’s a lot going on.. Lots of homeschooling reporting and planning underway, lots of writing, revising, planning, and hometending. As the seasons shift, so does our family’s focus, and there’s always a heap more lovely chaos abounding…

On that theme, Sunday will bring new and updated goals for September, as I fine-tune my objectives for the rest of Round 3, and start to think more seriously about what Round 4 will be…

But, for now, there’s already enough happening, so let’s take a look.

August Focal Areas:

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Chameleon’s Dish Revision

  • Social Media/Blog Design

 

Once upon a time, last winter….

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature. On target for posting; nothing queued as yet. September goal change pending.

  • I slipped a bit with this post, but was on track schedule-wise.  next week’s bigness might throw me. Going to try to get a jump on things so that doesn’t happen.

Develop a sharing strategy that feels natural; incorporating input from Kristen. On target for sharing; no input from Kristen as yet. September goal change pending.

  • I’ve got some sharing ideas I’ll be implementing in an organic manner within the next few weeks. Things are a bit too chaotic to focus on that until all the homeschooling stuff is done.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. Target attained!

  • Comments continue to pour in! I love them, and returning visits. A bit of a backlog, just now, but I plan to get caught up again before Sunday.

 

Farewell, old friend! May you bring as much joy in the next phase of your life!

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

Write at least 750 words on Perchance to Dream daily through August, or until the draft is completed.Target exceeded!

  • August 24: 757 words.

  • August 25: 865 words.

  • August 26: 982 words.

  • Completed scene 42/60.

There’s a certain delight in marking up pages…!

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish.

Revise all resolution plot points by September 1. Goal changed; on target.

  • Resolution plot point 2/3.

  • I have a much clearer idea about how the resolution will play out through this scene and the next. Hooray!

Aglow with care and tidiness!

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset. On target.

  • More general decluttering in family room and playroom.

  • I began moving some food items to the computer desk, as it’s where the pantry cabinet will eventually go.

Clean out email files. On target.

  • Getting to these more often, now.

Continue reclaiming my study. On target.

  • More erosion of Mount Magnet; general decluttering.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames for the rest of the year. On target.

  • My daily flow continues tp yield results.

Use Daily Hometending Frames; adapt to suit shifting goals and circumstances as needed. On target.

  • A little less hometending; life has been busier in other areas.

Set aside several sessions weekly for Adminstrative Frames, shifting according to goals and circumstances. On target.

  • Worked on reports, facilitated testing, other things tended to.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames for the rest of the year. On target.

  • My daily flow continues tp yield results.

Use Daily Hometending Frames; adapt to suit shifting goals and circumstances as needed. On target.

  • A little less hometending; life has been busier in other areas.

Set aside several sessions weekly for Adminstrative Frames, shifting according to goals and circumstances. On target.

  • Worked on reports, facilitated testing, other things tended to.

Complete all required homeschooling documentation, testing, and reporting. Tis the season for major homeschool administration, so here it is.

Mail Annalise’s End of Year report. Target attained!

  • Sent today – check!

Complete Jeremiah’s PASS test and submit results when received. On target.

  • Test completed and submitted. Results now pending.

Complete fourth quarter reports for both children, and submit by 9/15. On target.

  • Annalise’s Sciences section done.

  • This will be a priority for the next week, or until complete.

Complete 2014-2015 IHIPs for both children; submit within 4 weeks of receiving confirmation of LOI packet.On target.

  • Annalise’s Sciences section done.

  • This will be a priority for the next week, or until complete.

 

Such a big part of my life, and our family, for so long…

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect. Target exceeded!

  • Meeting with friends this evening; possibly another friend on Friday.

Indulge in days with both children, at least one date with Jim, and one with myself. On target.

  • Spent the evening hours with Jeremiah; walking, workout, Panera, shopping -and lots of connecting on the beginning of his last week as a preteen.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

One workout at the Y each week. On target.

  • I was tired, and Miah and I went for a walk, so I skipped the treadmill today.

Recumbent bike: 8 miles in 30 minutes, using an interval program. On target.

  • 7.71 miles! I was able to maintain a higher speed, and improved nearly .5 mile!

 

Weights: At the Y; minimum 3 machines for arms, legs, and torso weekly. Target attained!

  • Yup.

Nutrition goals for July:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. On target.

  • 2/5; 1 of each, so far.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts/seeds minimum twice weekly. On target.

  • 2 yogurt; 1 sunflower seeds.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

Visit my “2”s every session.Target attained!

Come join the ROWing!

 

And my life goes on, with a trusty new companion….

WIPpet Wednesday: Intimate Contact

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It is hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

Today’s snippet comes from The IDIC Romance, my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, an exploration of the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip. I’ll be sharing the remainder of this story, and a Twitter fiction, before we give Trip and T’Pol some much-needed privacy.

Disclaimer: T’Pol, Trip, and all the rest of Star Trek are property of CBS/Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting, I used all of the prompts offered throughout the month. The stories are sequential, with various tones, POVs, and voices.

For those keeping track:

This is the eighth installment of Story #4, “Tigress T’Pol” . The prompt was to write a story of exactly 2000 words. An additional guest prompt from Heidi Durrow invited us to explore passion in this story.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is August 27, 2014.
  • 28 sentences, because they fit, and I like you. =)

This snippet follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet, When the Limb Breaks. Trip and T’Pol deal with the aftermath of their unexpected intimate contact…

This is an add-on scene for the pilot episode: “Broken Bow Part 1”. Ive done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon.

The beginning of this fan video has clips from Rigel 10, right before Trip and T’Pol land in that cell, and T’Pol slamming Trip into a shower wall, and lots of other tidbits that aren’t too spoilery – with a song that seem very apt for these two intrepid but flummoxed explorers! (Bits from all seasons, beginning with “Broken Bow”, Season 1).

I lifted my arms halfway, offering her the chance to come back, and hoping like hell that she would. “Hey, I don’t remember complaining. Feel free to have all the lapses of control you want, with me, if they’re all like that.” I just knew I was grinning like a fool – whatever that plasma-fire thing was, it beat just kissing all to hell, and I wanted more of it.

I was willing to bet that T’Pol did, too – but she backed away the five steps or so to the other corner, watching me the whole time, as though maybe she thought I couldn’t control myself. I bit my tongue hard enough to get my mind off other parts of me and wondered what the hell I was supposed to do now. Far as I knew, Starfleet didn’t have any protocols for how to handle the aftermath of a scorching kiss with a sexy Vulcan scientist. And then I remembered my wiseass comment about her not warning us about drinking the water, and that she’d cautioned us against ‘intimate contact’ in that neutral voice of hers, and I started to laugh at the absurdity of the mess we were in.

“Trip -” T’Pol cut herself off, like maybe she didn’t know what she wanted to say. Was she as confused as I was? She was still watching me while not quite making eye contact. I wiped my mouth to stop my laughter, still tasting and smelling her – damn, she’d felt so good, so right, pressed up against me, forgetting herself…wrong direction, Tucker, and the lady’s waiting for you to answer…

“Yeah, T’Pol?”

For a few breaths, she only stood with her back pressed into the corner, as though maybe she needed the support, and I thought again about that blow to the head she’d taken, and started to feel like maybe I’d taken advantage of her. When she finally spoke again, her voice was little more than a whisper. “On the night we first – encountered – one another, I left the compound without authorization. It was a serious breach of protocol.” Something in her manner said that breaches of protocol were dangerous stuff, at the Vulcan consulate.

“You mean, they just expect you to stay inside, and you’d be in trouble for sitting in a jazz club for – what was it, like ten minutes?” I acted like I didn’t know exactly how long she’d been there – twelve minute, sixteen seconds.

I had no business to attend to outside of the consulate, and we were -strongly encouraged – to avoid unnecessary contact with humans. I acted – impulsively.”

“We never touched or even said a word to each other.” I didn’t mention all the things I’d imagined doing with her, while I was trying to pretend I wasn’t watching her.

“That’s no longer true.” Her voice was flat, but she finally looked into my eyes, as though she understood the tangle of desire, humor, and awkwardness better than I ever would’ve thought a Vulcan could. “Trip, I, too, was warned against intimate contact with alien species.”

What’s next for our slightly naughty but highly entertaining pair? Will they throw caution and protocol to the wind? Will they be found out? Will they rot in that cell?!

Hopefully, this video, out of context, isn’t too spoilery…but it does really show the interplay between these two…and this time, Trip has the upper – uh, lips? =) (From “Bound”, Season 4)

You guessed it – you can watch the episode, click the links below, or come back next week for the conclusion of this story!

Story A Day excerpt and commentary…

Full original version of the story…

These posts are the seeds of a project I’m expanding in 2015. Your input is valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun… for the most part. ;)

Let’s just say that smoking, time travel, this guy, and possibly other things, make T’Pol powerfully cranky….and leave it at that, for now. (From “Carpenter Street”, Season 3).

Coffee and Conversation: 33 Round Tuits

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while. It’s time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..

So, how many times have you said, “I’ll do that when I get around to it?”

Personally, I’ve lost count of all the things I’m planning to get around to, and that’s gotten me to thinking that it’s time that I stop waiting to get around to all those things floating and swirling and circling in my mind, and decide that – well, I’m going to get around to them.

Then I remembered something from my childhood. As a young teen, I was part of a church youth group, and, at one meeting, once we were all seated, our group leader instructed to us to look under our chairs. Taped to the underside of my folding chair was a token, with printing around the edge that read “I’ll read my Bible when I get a round tuit.” In the center, on both sides, it declared itself to be “A ROUND TUIT”.

“RoundTuit”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Somewhere between the ages of 13 and 45, and cross-country moves, the Round Tuit has left me, but now I’m seeing it in a new way. Why am I waiting to get “a round tuit”? Why am I resisting even the act of listing some of these things that leap about in my mind like little fleas, biting and sucking off some of my energy?

I’ve had a round tuit. I looked online, and it’s not hard to find another. Round Tuits are apparently kind of a thing.

But I’m going to take a different approach.

All those things I’ve been putting off, waiting for “round tuits”, sap my life in small ways. I have a beautiful life, but, with all the unfinished business, it feels a little like this:

Lovely… but a little lacklustre…

So, today, I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to make the first step. I’m going to list 33 Tuits.

Why 33? Simple. I like the number. Love it, actually.

So, here are my 33 Tuits, in no particular order:

  • Delete files from old computer (Sweet L’il Lenovo), reset to factory default, and give to Declan, a young friend looking for an XP machine for gaming.

  • Write a blogpost about my long-lost friend, Barbara Leonard, whom I would LOVE to reconnect with.

  • Scan all old photos, organize files, and begin sharing them digitally.

There’s the first three. See, that was pretty easy! =)

  • Reread and organize all my old story notebooks.

  • Watch all of Star Trek in chronological order.

  • Blog about it.

  • Go get a professional massage.

  • Buy an Irish cloak.

  • Buy a new pair of workout sneakers.

  • Read all nine books currently in my bedroom To Be Read stack.

  • Learn how to thread my sewing machine.

  • Complete all the items in my Play Jar.

  • Buy wireless television headphones.

There’s 13 of my 33. I’m getting into the swing of it, now!

  • Finish resetting the family room, playroom, and kitchen.

  • Rehome wandering game pieces.

  • Contact Kristen Lamb and collect my WANACon Social Media Prize.

  • Update my bio and my blog sidebar – it’s outdated and jumbled.

  • Finish organizing my study.

  • Buy a wheeled storage footstool.

  • Buy a set of Corelle dishes.

  • Create a visual timeline for my Trueborn series.

  • Create rough outlines for the Kifo Island Chonicles novella series.

  • Read all old writing practice notebooks and mine for usable materials.

23 Tuits down; only ten more to list. I want to make these last few count. Hmmn, let’s see….

  • Begin submitting Trek fan fiction to a fan fiction site (this will require a bit of experimentation to find the right “home”.

  • Complete rough drafts of all novels in the Trueborn series (I think there are between 3-5 waiting to be developed and drafted.

And now I’m down to the final five….

  • Contact the high school teacher who changed my life.

  • Reclaim the flower beds, and begin growing cutting flowers, herbs and vegetables.

  • Complete revisions of 3 short stories: “Morning Coffee”, “A Splash of Red”, and “Peach Liqueur Love”; submit to L.S. Engler‘s World Unknown Review.

  • Write 31 new poems for OctPoWriMo; revise the ones written in 2012.

  • Return embarrassingly overdue library books.

Okay! There we have it – 33 Tuits, made public on my blog! I already feel more accomplished, with them written out in a list I can look at – not when I “get a round tuit” , but as a part of the fabric of my life. It didn’t take that long to write them, and I’m already working on several.

Whenever I get one of these tuits done, I’ll post an update here on the blog; and I’ll be doing monthly check-ins. Hopefully, as I move through my Tuits, learning and growing, my life will look more and more like this…

THIS is more like it! =D

How about you? Do you have Tuits in your life, too? Have you ever attempted to actually “get around tuit,” and get them off your mental list? I’d love to chat with you – and I’m gonna want a cuppa to energize me for the getting around tuit to come…won’t you join me?

A Romantic Stretch: ROW80Update, 8/24/14

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

Hi there! Is life treating you well this fine Sunday evening? Yes, it is evening, here, and it will likely have shifted to bona-fide night before I get this post finished (especially if I don’t manage that before the redux Castle episode airing at 8, because, well, CASTLE!). I was hoping to be done with both of today’s posts, have a clean house, all Miah’s testing finished, and be deep in revisions by now – but life.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. It’s a good life, filled with lovely chaos…and things have settled out after the excursion last weekend, and the exertions of physical, mental, and emotional stretching…=)

A few things have broken open, for me, both in Chameleon’s Dish and Perchance to Dream. Endings have always been my weak spot, in drafting. Late last night, or maybe it was early this morning, I got a sudden and much clearer idea of how CD really ends, and, since I’m currently revising resolution scenes, I’ve already begun putting it into play, with exciting results, so far. And for PTD, a POV character revealed something huge about herself right in the middle of a sentence I thought was headed somewhere else! It was almost dizzying, the way it shifted things and ratcheted up the tension!

Oh, and yesterday my Accomplice in Mischief and I celebrated our seventeenth anniversary in a very low-key way (chefs work weekends….). We’ve shared a lot, during these years, and I can’t imagine not having him beside me for any of it.

We just….fit. And that’s as mushy as I’m gonna get. <3

August 23, 2014.

And now, on to my progress since my last update ! =)

August Focal Areas:

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Chameleon’s Dish Revision

  • Social Media/Blog Design

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature. Target attained for posting! As for queuing, welll…not so much.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. Target attained!

  • I dug my way out of a deep pile of wonderful comments, and more are gathering, already. I love comments! =)

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

Write at least 750 words on Perchance to Dream daily through August, or until the draft is completed. Target exceeded for this session!

  • August 20: 879 words.

  • August 21: 1111 words.

  • August 22: 1008 words.

  • August 23: 1704 words.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish.

Revise all plot points by September 1. On target; goal changing.

  • Plot point 3/10; scene 11/60.

  • There’s no way I am going to finish these by September 1. So, goal change time…

  • Revise all resolution scenes by September 1.

Round here, purple flowers mean I love you.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset. On target.

  • More porch and family room decluttering.

Clean out email files. On target.

  • More messages deleted. Progress slow, but happening.

Continue reclaiming my study. On target.

  • Mount Magnet is eroding beneath my sorting skills.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames for the rest of the year. On target.

  • My daily flow has resumed, and is yielding results.

Use Daily Hometending Frames; adapt to suit shifting goals and circumstances as needed. On target.

  • Still making big progress in small sprints.

Set aside several sessions weekly for Adminstrative Frames, shifting according to goals and circumstances. On target.

  • I entered a writing contest, worked on reports, and facilitated testing.

Complete all required homeschooling documentation, testing, and reporting. On target.

  • This is a priority until all required paperwork has been submitted.

Complete Jeremiah’s PASS test and submit results when received. On target.

  • Reading and Language sections complete. 2/3.

Complete fourth quarter reports for both children, and submit by 9/15.On target.

  • Annalise’s ELA and Math sections complete.

Complete 2014-2015 IHIPs for both children; submit within 4 weeks of receiving confirmation of LOI packet.On target.

  • Annalise’s ELA and Math sections complete.

Acomplices in Mischief- at a playground, naturally!

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect. Target exceeded!

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

One workout at the Y each week. Target attained!

Nutrition goals for July:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. A little off.

  • 3/5; 2 salads, 1 smoothie.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts or seeds minimum twice weekly. Target exceeded!

  • Yogurt: 3/2; Nuts/Seeds: 3 /2 (raw sunflower seeds).

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

Visit my “2”s every session. Target exceeded!

  • Yup – I even did extra visits, which was fun!

Get more ROWing in your life!

 

Holding on to the love….

Second-Serving Sunday: Big Stretch Edition

 

A weekly peek backwards and a look ahead, in my little corner of the blogosphere

Do you like to stretch? I mean, reaallllyyyyy strrrrrrrreeeeeetttttcccchhhhhhh!?

I do. A luxurious stretch when I wake up, or if I’ve been reading or writing for a while. The pleasing stretch and pull of the weight machines. T’ai chi. Yoga. Stretching out my strokes when I swim, hugs with the kids, conversations with my Accomplice in Mischief...long, powerful notes in Jewel or Tori Amos songs, stretched and held perfectly -

And stretching out of my comfort zone, into new terrain and new realms…

Recently at shanjeniah:

A time-traveling week of contemplation and remembrance of the treasures that remain after the passing of the lives that offered them; traveling to the Globe Theatre on 29 June 1613, while revising Chameleon’s Dish; into the future, and Spock‘s past, while drafting Perchance to Dream; a time- themed SoCS post, and a visit to the Sterling Renaissance Festival, complete with an old friend. Elan Morgan abstains from Facebook likes. Mat Honan embraces them, and I attempted and failed to share this video wherein T’Pol expresses rather strong feelings about smoking, time travel, or perhaps both…

Coffee and Conversation:

WIPpet Wednesday:

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

ROW80 Updates:

  • A Time-Traveling Stretch: In which I travel through time in various way, and write some things, and revise others, and remember, and take lots of pictures, and meet up with an old friend.
  • An Odd Stretch: In which I do many things that weren’t on my list, and look at things from new perspectives.

A bit of an awkward stretch….

What’s Next:

My focus for August and September is on revising my time-travel fantasy novel, Chameleon’s Dish, set in the 1612-13 London area. I’m also drafting another WIP, Perchance to Dream, a Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprise fanfiction novel, and the second half of a duology. And there’s the ever-present homeschool administration – I’ll be eyeball-deep in masses of reporting and testing.

  • For Coffee and Conversation, I’ll be sharing a list of my Mental To-Do’s Not Done – you know, those things I’ve been “meaning to get to” for entirely too long… – and inviting folks to remind, nudge, or cajole me into “getting around to it”.
  • WIPpet Wednesday will host an excerpt from my Story a Day May exploration, The IDIC Romance I’ll be picking up where I left off last week, with the eighth installment of “Tigress T’Pol”. Trip and T’Pol collect themselves after a brief and unresolved entanglement, and consider breaches of protocol.
  • And for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS), I’ll be doing just what the title suggests – writing a stream-of-consciousness post on the weekly prompt.
  • ROW80 Updates: Sunday and Wednesday are my days for updating my goals progress for A Round of Words in 80 Days.

Stretching to connect….

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

 

 

Stretching into Commitment….

Life Stuff:

  • Marriage is a huge stretch. And we’re in it for the long haul. Seventeen years and a day, and still stretching, learning, growing together, striving…and loving. Without the loving – seventeen years and a day would’ve been too long a stretch.
  • Taking a chance and putting my words “out there”, especially on difficult or sensitive topics, is a stretch. I did that twice this week: I entered a national writing contest for World Sexual Health Day, and I wrote a post on discrimination for the Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.
  • Dealing with the convoluted dynamics within my family of origin is a stretch I’d often rather avoid, but I chose to embrace it, and breach a years’ long Neutral Zone, to honor a milestone birthday for one family member.

How about you? What kinds of stretching have you done lately?  Join in, and we’ll celebrate with you! =D

A poised and happy stretch. Photo credit: Annalise S. Burton

SoCS: Beside Me

 

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.

Rules and this week’s prompt.

The idea is simple – post an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt.

This week’s prompt is to write a post that begins with a preposition.

My post is part love note, part memoir, part poetry – and all a stream-of-consciousness peek inside my life-as-it-is, on a special day.

Are you sure you’re ready for this?! Well, OK then – read on!

Just after our “Sweet Sixteen”, playing around side-by-side while the kids cavorted.

Beside me.

That’s where he was sitting, that Friday afternoon a little over eleven years ago, while our newborn baby lay dying in his arms.

I was being held in those same arms, six years before that, when he proposed to me. He held me, that May afternoon, afloat in turquoise water, deep in the Grand Canyon, in a fern-bedecked little travertine grotto he said was too beautiful to waste.

 

Havasu Falls, near Mooney Falls, where my Accomplice in Mischief proposed.

Neither one of these events was planned. They simply unfolded as they did – a “routine” visit to the NICU to see our comatose son shifting, from the moment the nurse met us in the lobby and whisked us upstairs via the service elevator, to the silent, deep vigil that accompanies death; and the employee hike he said I “had to” do, even though I’m terrified of heights, and it meant a 60 foot descent using tiny footholds and chains held to the cliff wall by railroad spikes, which became a proposal after ten miles of walking alone together, being with one another away from all the things that distracted us in our workaday world.

He was standing beside me, seventeen years ago today, as the town justice repeatedly mispronounced my given name, and I could feel the eyes of family and friends all fixed on us, wondering who this man was I was marrying, this man I’d known for less than six months. I’m sure more than one of them thought that maybe I was making a mistake. People do, sometimes.

I’d be lying if I said I’d never wondered the same thing. Marriage isn’t a matter of happily ever after and riding off into sunsets. It’s a gamble, and a lot of hard work, and striving to be better, not only as a spouse, but as yourself. Sometimes, it ends with death, or infidelity, or indifference, or hatred, or sorrow, or growing apart, or some other variable. Being married for seventeen years is no promise of being married for eighteen. That’s another year away – a year I hope will be filled with laughter, that all the tears will be happy ones, where we’ll grow together and raise our children, be inventive with the resources we have, where we’ll continue to have morning coffee and conversation, to remember the same commercials, to laugh about that time we hit an alligator with a canoe, to marvel at the children’s growth and chuckle a little ruefully at our own aging, to frustrate each other and get over it, to share in the tending of our home and the pleasures of one another’s company, to laugh at inside jokes and carry our secret codes like armor -“Yes, Johnny. Purple flowers mean I love you, and I’m just sayin’ it’ll level off up ahead…”

August 23, 1997. My greatest ally and my toughest adversary…which was part of our vows.

Seventeen years ago, it was also Travers Day here in Saratoga County. We’d traveled from Arizona; I never gave the race a thought, and he didn’t know it was a Big Big Deal. We couldn’t get a hotel room we’d want to sleep in – so we sat up all night, our rental car parked by Saratoga Lake, and filled with purple flower petals, mosquitos, and two sleepy and unconsummated newlyweds. We breakfasted at the Spa City Diner, which had a statue of a foal on the roof, then drove first to Howe Caverns, and then Niagara Falls, where I was carried over the threshold of a hotel room…

He’s beside me now, in a bed he made for us with his own hands, as I type this on my laptop. His breathing is my background music, and his presence is known, comfortable, and still sometimes surprising.

Later, he’ll wake me with coffee in bed, and we’ll chat until it’s time for him to go to work. It’s Travers Day; he might be home late, even for a Saturday night – he’s a chef, and weekends are his busy days. We won’t exchange gifts, but we’re talking about a new roof, a new fridge, a sectional couch, and a new front door. We’re focused on infrastructure, this year.

The real gift, for me? Having him beside me, when I know he could choose not to be. Having him want to be beside me, and wanting to be beside him.

I could live with another seventeen years of this, of this man beside me. <3

Do you enjoy stream-of consciousness writing? Anyone can play, so long as they are willing to follow a few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos in my mind! =)

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Partners in Parenthood…and the people who make us parents. =)

What Does Happiness Look Like? (Post #250)

shanjeniah:

What does happiness look like to YOU? An evocative and thought-provoking post to kick off your Thursday, by Deborah at Container Chronicles. May it find you happy!

Originally posted on Container Chronicles:

coffeemeWell, for those of you who have not witnessed the way I overthink things sometimes, you are in for a scare treat. For this week’s Cartoon Craziness Challenge, the theme is Happiness!

It didn’t take me long to think:  WOW! I can draw a cup of coffee.  Not to difficult. Coffee makes me happy. It’s awesome. I can do this. Well, you get the idea. Then the next thing that came to mind is “Happiness is a Warm Puppy” — thanks Snoopy. And I love my little chihuahua, and since I’m no longer afraid of drawing things that aren’t perfect, I could work on drawing my puppy. Again — awesome!

That led me to doing a series with a mug of coffee and a sweet chihuahua and . . .  I was thinking of how to include quilting in some way. To give myself a little confidence when working…

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