Second-Serving Sunday: The SQUEE! Edition!

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

Last week in life:

  • NaNoWriMo 2014 wrapped up with a Sunday write-in (I’ve found my new weekly writing group!). My final word count for November – 167,303 words, a huge new record for me! I attended the after party; then started catching up with the rest of life (blog comments, hometending, reading, and those homeschool reports); fell right back into the novel, including a best ever single day of 11,533 words, and set a writing plan for December.
  • In other writing news, I finally posted the review I promised! And…cue the drum roll, please… I received payment for my short story, “A Splash of Red”, which means it will soon be appearing in the premiere issue of World Unknown Review! Don’t worry, I will post links when I have them!

And now, on to the week’s goodies!

Recently at shanjeniah:

Second-Serving Sunday: The Day-Late, WHEW! Edition

And now, last week’s features…

Coffee and Conversation:

WIPpet Wednesday:

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

  • Uschooling Present: The prompt ‘present’ leads me to explore multiple facets of the word as they relate to our unschooling family.

ROW80 Updates:

  • Leaving My NaNo-Nest: I write many, many words as I finish NaNoWriMo 2014; and look forward to a mellower December.
  • A December Nest: I set some new goals for a new month…and keep on drafting!

What’s Next:

My writing plan for December:

  • Complete kids’ first quarter homeschool reports, due December 15. I’ve started my daughter’s report, as it’s the more complex of the two.
  • Complete rough draft my NaNoWriMo project, The Earth Doth Move, another Star Trek: TOS/Enterprise crossover fan fictiongreat progress this week; I’ve now got only 11 scenes left to write.
  • Complete rough draft of my “dangling” fanfiction WIP from July 2013 CampNaNo, Perchance to Dream. – 10 scenes left to write. I’ll finish this one after I finish TEDM.
  • Complete and post the review I promised a fellow writer a few weeks back. I finally posted this to Amazon! It was easier than I thought it would be. I will definitely be doing more of these, as I didn’t know how important they are for independent and self-publishing authors.
  • Draft a basic writing plan for 2015, with a focus for each season/round. I’ve given this a little thought, and will rough out ideas this week.

And on the blog:

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Life Stuff:

  • Another local NaNo write-in, a trip to visit our New Jersey friends, more writing, hometending, and maybe a swim with my girl…

Want to join in on the Second Serving Sunday fun? Here’s how!

A Snowy Feather in My Nest: November 19, 2014

Wanna ROW with us?

Is it just me, or does November seem to be rushing by and taking its own sweet time, all at once?

I keep getting confused about what the date is. We’ve had some out-of-rhythm days here, and those tend to throw me a little. Add in NaNo, and well – I’ll know when the month is over, I’m sure. Right now, I’m a little perplexed and bewildered…but that’s an OK state to be in, when I’m half-lost in a story reality.

I also have some exciting news to share! One of my goals for this round was to revise my short story, “A Splash of Red”, and submit it to the brand new literary anthology, World Unknown Review. I managed to get it in just before the deadline – and I found out late Sunday that it was accepted!

This is my first short story to be published, and it’s -get this! – a paying market! My story will help to launch this new project, and go out into the wider world, testing out its new wings!

Or something like that. It’s 6am, and I haven’t been to bed yet…so I’m a bit muddled.

On that note, on to the ROWing!

November Focuses:

  • Complete rough draft of The Earth Doth Move (NaNo 2014).

  • All fitness and nutrition goals.

  • Maintain blogging goals.

Target Attained:

2014 Hometending:

Maintain email Inbox at a manageable level (below 333 for November, due to NaNo).

  • 126/333.
  • Still well under my comfort level, but little behind in emptying, this week, due to my workout and a NaNoWriMo Write-In.

Continue using calendar app to manage my time.

  • Reviewed and adapted November blogging plans.

2014 Lifetending:

Return to exploring Play Jar slips in a playful, FUN way!

2014 Fitness:

At least one strenuous home/yardtending activity each week.

  • Spent time cleaning up yard, trimming weeds, and building/tending the fire.

Dance, swim, or play physically with kids at least once each week.

2014 Nutrition:

  • Drink one glass/bottle of water each day.

Maintain existing nutrition goals ( soup).

  • Chicken and wild rice.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

  • Visit my “team” twice weekly.

  • Visit other ROWers as time and energy permit.

Play Jar slips from the past…

On Target:

2014 Blogging:

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

  • Comment answering and visiting have been more or less wretched, with the recent off-kilter schedule. I will be doing better over the next few days!

  • Sharing might have been diverse, but I really wasn’t paying much attention…

2014 Writing:

Complete first draft of The Earth Doth Move, as my November NaNo project.

  • Current Chapter: 6/20

  • Current Scene: 21/60

  • Word Count: 74,039/~125,000

  • New Words: 12,427

  • New Pages: 22

  • I’m running behind where I hoped to be; I’ve had a bit of a lull, but I feel the momentum starting to build again, now…

2014 Hometending:

Continue cleaning and organizing my study.

  • An item or two; not a real focus for this session.

2014 Lifetending:

Read 2 of the 8 TBR books on the bookcase by my bed.

  • The Road Less Traveled: page 318/318. Completed!

  • The Unschooling Handbook: page 38/224. I read this book when my now-teen was a toddler; it seems like a good time to reread. It’s a relatively simple, quick format.

  • 1/2 Books complete.

Continue my FutureLearn class, Exploring Play, until finished.

  • Still at 37% complete. Week 3/7. Class has ended; I’ll keep going!

2014 Fitness:

Plan at least two monthly excursions that promote physical activity.

  • Trip to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party.
  • 1/ 2 excursions complete.

Weekly workout at the Y;4 weight-bearing exercises/machines for arms/legs/core weekly.

  • Not quite. Only two core exercises; NaNo-abbreviated workout.

Treadmill: 18 minute mile, walking/jogging; using “Rolling Hills” Program.

  • 19.27 minute mile. A little ways to go…
  • Still standing at this marker; no treadmill this week.

Build to one half mile walking/jogging on the track each week.

  • Skipped the track this week.

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

  • Pedaled a mile; NaNo-abbreviated workout.

Add time on elliptical, arc trainer, and/or rowing machines: goal is 10 minutes on each, at least twice monthly.

  • Skipped these this week.

2014 Nutrition:

Maintain existing nutrition goals (yogurt; nuts; grains).

  • 1/2 Greek yogurt.

  • 1/ 2 nuts (sea salted cashews).

  • 2/3 grain (whole grain bread).

Maintain existing nutrition goals (smoothies/salads).

  • 2/5; both salads.

Eat fresh vegetables other than salads (raw or cooked), and/or fresh fruits at least 3 times each week.

  • 1/3; extra veggies on a sub.

Not Yet:

2014 Blogging:

  • Build blogging queues.

2014 Hometending:

  • Complete the family room reset.

  • Continue the massive kitchen reset.

  • Take time at least once a week to simply be in my study.

2014 Lifetending:

2014 Fitness:

  • Work up to 2 miles, at any speed for the second mile.
  • Use Wii Fit at least 3 days weekly, for a minimum of ten minutes.
  • Maintain or reduce body weight – monthly checks.

2014 Nutrition:

That’s it for me! If you’re so inclined, cheer on other ROWers here!

The next phase of a NaNo WIP past, Bounded by a Nutshell. Revision pending.

ROWing Toward My Dreams… Row Update #11

It’s been a jumbly, tumbly kind of few days, here.  The weather has been unsettled, and I am, too…..

For good reason….

On Saturday, my first poem was published in the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.

On Tuesday, my post appeared  on Tiny Buddha.

I have plans in the work for guest bloggers, and guest posts.

Things are moving, on many fronts, and I am…..


Yes, I am.

Round 2 Goals:


  • Read at least 3 articles a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • I have read Wind and Rain, an article about the out-of-doors, rainy-day fun families can have together.
  • I read a second article there, but it was not very useful, and particularly poorly edited, so I will not recommend it  (or out it) here.
  • I also read  A New Approach, an article by a mother trying out some “free-range” ideas in her family.  This article made me sad, because it seems she’s missed the point of allowing children the freedom of many choices – she seems to be only allowing the freedom as a way of getting more cooperation from her children, and she finishes by limiting electronics (which will likely have led, by now, to electronics being used for all allotted time, and perhaps begged for, or contended over, otherwise…).  There are no further posts on the blog, so I suspect she may have aborted her “experiment” before it had time to prove its merit….
  • I have attained this goal for this week.
  • Read at least 5 blogposts a week (not including my own), and like, comment, and/or share as I am moved to.
  • I have read When Does Fan Fiction Cross an Ethical Line?  This is a pretty serious consideration for me in my Star Trek-related fanfic, which is an integral part of the universe I have created, and I really don’t have any answers.  All I know is, I can’t seem to let go of my Spock-passions, and I don’t want to, either! =D  I commented with words to that effect, more or less.
  • I have read 1 of 5 blogposts for this week.


  • Create flash fiction, short stories, dialogues, character sketches, alternate scenes, and poetry for  Chameleon’s Dish.  Wander cow trails, and learn these people and their lives more fully.
  • I have written three more stories about Tisira , the main character from Chameleon’s Dish.  
  • I  have posted  “The Huntress in Moonlight” to my Story a Day  blog,
  • I will be adding the next two segments to the blog within the next few days.
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • I have given this more thought, and have been constructing portions of it in my head.  I almost have a version cohesive enough to attempt another freewriting, but  not quite.

  • Complete Cooperative Catalyst post and relative links (interviews with both children, and their “day in the life” posts from last year) ; submit to editor.
  • I have heard back from the editor; I will be looking at the article again, to see if there are naturally separating themes or portions.
  • He has also read one of my blogposts, I’m THAT Mom…Naturally!, and thought that, with adaptations, it might make a good post, as well.
  • He has also suggested another writer whose posts I might like to read, and a category or two to explore and comment on, to “introduce” myself to what is an organic community.
  • It is quite possible that I will find a home of sorts there. =)


  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • As noted above, I have joined two challenges.
  • At the moment, I feel these are all I can handle, for now.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I am doing fairly well on sharing my blogs. through several means –  challenges, posting comments,  submissions, and sharing via several forms of social media.
  • For the moment, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with the increased attention, and will be just focusing on adjusting, before I diversify further.
  • My essay, Sometimes There Is No Right Way , posted to Tiny Buddha on Tuesday.  It has received nearly two dozen comments and an email, at this point, and I am feeling some pretty major overwhelm.  It’s a big step from where I was, visibility-wise, two weeks ago to where I am now, and I am feeling a considerable degree of disequilibrium at the sudden change after a lifetime of dreaming…
  • As a dear friend and I have been discussing, learning curves are messy.  I will adjust, with time and a lot of deep breathing….and eventually I will get to over 30 comments waiting for me in various places….really!


  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • As mentioned above, editing and research are being considered prior to formally submitting a piece, but the lines of communication has been opened.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • As noted above, I have participated/am participating in two challenges thus far, for May.
  • This leaves one challenge left to enter, prior to  this month’s end.


  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • I decided I am satisfied with the batch watermarking, and this will make it possible to quickly mark all of my pictures within the next weeks, as opportunity presents itself.


  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • During dinner with Eden Mabee, she answered one of my questions –  about how to replace the standard header text.
  • I have successfully changed my header text.  It may or may not be permanent, but now I know I can do it, so it will be a simpler matter to change it if I decide  to, at some later point.


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: I allowed myself a mellow day of puttering, both in my writing projects and in my hometending. A simple day spent with my beloveds.
  • Tuesday: Joy Abounding! I slept in, and, although I woke with a headache at the time t’ai chi was starting, and although it was a damp and somewhat dreary day outside, I was basking in the company of my Syster, Eden Mabee.  When you’ve been friends since you were four and share writing dreams and motherhood and a lifetime of shared memories and interwoven stories, hours can slip by….and then, I was greeted in the driveway, a little after 2am, by my family.  Chatted with the children until 5:30am. Sweet day!
  • Wednesday:  Another mellow, wet, restful day of puttering….I feel my energy slowly returning.  I’ve had some bug writing developments over the last several days, and I am feeling a need to lay a bit low and absorb them.  Why is success scarier for me than failure?
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Puttering around the house and yard.  Moving furniture and bicycles.
  • Tuesday: Moving from building to car, and car to building, and grocery shopping…..not a big moving day…..sometimes, that’s exactly what I need.
  • Wednesday: Puttering with hometending; moving more bicycles –  yes, there DO seem to be an inordinate number of them here –  and I still haven’t moved my own!
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Reading and writing, puttering with storyworlds and blogging.
  • Tuesday: A rare, lovely day with a dear friend.  Utterly rejuvenating.  I wrote my story, but, beyond that, I simply enjoyed the company and the unrolling of the moments.
  • Wednesday: Reading, writing, lolling with the kids, absorbing the nearing of a lifetime of dreaming, and puttering.  A hot shower awaits me, after I post here.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jeremiah: Finding his bigger bike, saying yes to lots of cooking.  Conversation and cuddles, and patience when he needed it.
  • Jim:  A harmonious home, companionship, and consideration.  Laughter.
  • Annalise: Finding her bigger bike, serious and mature conversation, help when a fall spoiled her baby mosquito study, patience when she needed it, imagination and laughter.
 It seems to be one of those periods where I am doing things, but there is really relatively little concrete to report.
Much is happening beneath the surface, and there is no telling, really, what will evolve from here.
I know, though, that it will involve love, and writing.
And I know that I will keep on ROWing, with trepidation and daring, and remain present not only to the misty path ahead, but also to the rocky, swift, twisty places I am traversing right now…..
Until next time, I leave you with 5 more followers to get to know….

And the ROW Linky, for keeping up with all the other ROWers….

Write1 Sub1 March Check-in…..

I am getting to this a little late, because I began the Blogging From A-Z April Challenge on April 1, and my second round of ROW80 on April 2.

Today is a catchup and learning day, so I thought it was a good time to roll out this update……

Write 1:

I have written several pieces of flash fiction and poetry this month.
Here’s the rundown.

Submit 1:

I submitted more than one piece, as well, this month.  It was out of my comfort zone, but I did it in small burts, one step at a time.

  • I submitted a flash erotica piece, “Twice-Coupled” to Clean Sheets Magazine.  It was rejected several days later.
  • I submitted a poem, “Le Reve des Etoiles”, to Black Heart Magazine.  I expect to hear in a few weeks.

I also had an essay accepted for publishing on the Tiny Buddha blog.  I know it isn’t fiction, but it’s a big thing for me. and I am excited!  =)

I will have more to report next month! =) 

ROW80 Round Two: “Eyes Scanning The Horizon”

I’m still in the process of absorbing what the my first ROW80 round meant to me,  and how it has affected the way I approach my writing goals.  I expect that the process will continue for quite some time.

I feel more ready to explore it in writing, though – and this seems a very good time and place to begin….

Since Round 1 ended, I have been busy, but in a somewhat more flowing and less driven way than was prevalent the last few weeks of the challenge.

I’ve been finishing up and getting around to bits and pieces and projects that I laid aside as I worked on attaining the last few goals:


  • I have posted my topics schedule for the Blogging From A to Z April Challengeand I am working on this post, although there are likely several more sessions to go before it’s completed.
  • I have the A and B posts in rough draft form.
  • I am in the process of claiming the  three blog awards bestowed on me during the course of the last round.
  • I have been setting up and gathering materials and ideas for the next round.

    Annalise and Gabriella, post plaster puppy making.....

  • I have finished two books, and begun a third.
  • We have, as a family, visited friends in an adjoining state, a trip meant to take place the weekend immediately following Jim’s accident. There was, of course, packing and unpacking at both ends, and much joyful chaos between….
  • I’ve written three 500 word blogposts – for a giveaway to celebrate my 50th fan of my Facebook writer page.
  • I have gathered and edited pictures, and made some collages.
  • I have written  my blogpost for this month’s Unschooling Blog Carnival.  I intend to go back and add more, as I work through these projects.
  • I have posted a book review, and have a rough draft of another.
  • I have downloaded Scrivener (thank you, Eden Mabee!), installed, read a little, and peeked timorously at it from a for-now safe distance (I tend to need to ease into these new technological tools).
  • I have cleared space on my hard drive, and Jim’s (prior to the arrival of my Sweet L’il Lenovo at the end of last November, I worked most often on Jim’s Panasonic Toughbook, and I have left too many files and programs he doesn’t use on it.  It’s a bit of a mission for me to clean it up for him as I am doing hometending on my own machine…..
  • I’ve printed up a couple of forms Jim has needed for accident-related stuff.
  • And, of course, there has been homtending and parenting and learning facilitation and just being together and shopping and and and….

Studying the effects of plaster....

The time since the last round ended has seemed to just flow as an easy, floating time of very mellow productivity…..with a few torrents of activity and emotion thrown in for seasoning.
I’ve taken a lot of time for enjoying myself.  I have relaxed.  I have sat in Sylvia’s sunny kitchen, and watched girls make and later paint plaster puppies, and watched boys make slime worms and sour ice cream…..There was time for conversation, and snuggles, and fun, and treasure hunting.  There was time to play outside while the weather was nice.  Time for hot showers and quite a bit of TV.  And yet, all of that up there got done, too…….And that may be the second coolest thing I have gotten from A Round of Words in 80 Days…
The certainty that it is indeed possible to write – a lot and well-  while still honoring my energy level, my needs and those of my family, having as much of a social life as I desire, and living a rich, joyous, and passionate life.  It is possible to set goals I truly wish to attain, and to move toward them, and attain them, even when life becomes incredibly complex.
And so, with that fact firmly in mind….

Here are my goals, arranged in categories for this round:


  • Read at least as many books as the number of the month (4 in April ; 5 in May; 6 in June) from my bedroom To Be Read piles.
  • Read at least 3 articles a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • Read at least 5 blogposts a week (not including my own), and like, comment, and/or share as I am moved to.
  • Create flash fiction, short stories, dialogues, character sketches, alternate scenes, and poetry for  Chameleon’s Dish.  Wander cow trails, and learn these people and their lives more fully.
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.  
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • Find all chapters of Blood and Breath.  Input into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.

A new type of toe touch......


  •  Explore She Writes; Twitter: StoryDam; Pinterest; and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.

Two happily plastered girls!

  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • Learn how to watermark pictures.
  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  •  Explore marketing articles on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah 
  • Marketing Articles page.
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.

Happy Plaster Zombies!

  •  Get Scrivener  downloaded; begin learning by inputting first an essay, and then Blood and Breath.
  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • Learn what I can do with my domain name.
  • Begin research list/research for  Chameleon’s Dish second draft.

Just plastered.

  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • Input Blood and Breath and Chameleon’s Dish to Scivener.
  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Add self-deorating to every week!
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!

Plastery joy! =D

Administrative Stuff:
  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • Cleanup email folders/organize, move, read, delete, act upon as needed.
  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • Take critters to the vet; renew Corki’s dog licence.
  • Pay remaining balances for summer trips to Unschoolers Rock the Campground and Northeast Unschooling Conference.

Cleaning up......I love those two heads. =)

So, now I have a new set of goals.  As with the last round, they’re based on what I want to learn and do, so working on them will be not a chore but a joyful avocation.There’s a lot of variety here, so, whatever I’m in the mood for, I should be able to find something on this list to tickle that particular fancy….
I feel good about these goals, and how they will form the skeleton of my body of work over the next 80 days….I’m eager to delve in, and happy I have other projects and activities to keep me busy over the intervening few days, as the Round 2 countdown ticks down.
Before I go, I want to take a moment to acknowledge some of last rounds ROWers who have inspired, amused, informed, intrigued, and even become friends.  There’s no particular order here –  I love you all!

Washin' and a-grinnin'!

Rebecca J. Fleming (and Judgmental Dog,  of course!)
And, of course, my first friend, my syster, the one who tempted me into Simon and Garfunkel, Star Trek, a-ha, Middle Earth, and this challenge….who knows exactly scary and dysfunctional and un-nice I can be, and who loves me anyway. =)
I am sure there are a few of you who have slipped my mind….and more I will meet in the course of this round.Now, I gather myself, shake myself off, tidy up the matters-in-progress, and take a moment to look behind, at where I have come from. Then, I breathe deeply, until I am relaxed and flowing with the energy of my own soul, and look to the terrain ahead, the new, hazily beautiful horizon….

Early Springtime Tree.....

As Annalise, almost 8,  so aptly said, last night, “I’m made of bravery…….and water.”

I lower my hand, and step forward, into that new vista.

What vistas await the other ROWers? Find out here!


Book Review #3 – The Last Child in the Woods

The Last Child in the Woods – Saving our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder  by Richard Louv

I found this book interesting and informative.  I  heartily agree that nature is something too seldom considered, in our current American culture, and that something intrinsically vital to our physical, mental, and emotional health is endangered because of that lack.

I enjoyed reading about peoples’ experiences with nature as children and adults; programs designed to help kids who haven’t had natural experiences to learn about the wilder world; and the positive, restorative qualities of nature that are beginning to be well-documented in studies.

The character and place descriptions and  were rich and telling, and I liked the way the author referred to his own life, as a child and as a parent….it personalized the entire book for me.

I thought that many of the questions  regarding how children are to learn how to live in the natural world if they never have the opportunity to do so; and some of the thoughts about the dangers that lie in wait in a world where children do not know nature, to be pointed and urgent.

The author rails against children not having the requisite time or freedom to simply be in wild places, to use natural resources to create shelters, take their food, bring water…..

And yet, as so many mainstream writers do, he misses an enormous elephant sititng right in the midst of his book.

Author Richard Louv

I did find the either/or and all-or-nothing of the author’s perspective troubling…..he seems to have decided that technology is an inescapable trap, and must be kept largely away from children, because kids who use technological devices won’t be also deeply connected to the natural world.

It isn’t that way. Kids with freedom for both, can choose either, neither, or both.

This seems to me to invalidate a lot of the other panics he seems to have, and makes him a little less credible to me.  He seems to be thrashing around, wasting huge amounts of energy to solve a problem, but to be blind to one simple solution –  free children from compulsory schooling, and they will have many more hours each week to spend in nature –  and those who are so inclined, will, even if they also love enjoying the latest technological advances.

And what seems to be missing altogether is an awareness that school sucks a child’s hours away, that the “nature programming”, conceived and administered by adults, really does not allow for children to make their OWN discoveries, in their own ways and in their own times…

I will admit to personal prejudice.  The children in this house, who are not required to attend school and do not choose to, who love technology (one more than the other, but both fully embrace it), also spend many hours in natural pursuits.  One of them breathes nature; it is her single greatest passion at this point in her life.

While we support this passion, we do not attempt to direct it.  We offer opportunities, we support fort building and bug collecting and birdfeeding.  We go for walks and hikes and we camp.

We don’t put an agenda on it.  We simply enjoy the natural world, each in our own ways, and together in various assortments.

And we tour places we might never see, learn about species alien to our local ecosystems, because we have access to technology that makes our world wider.

Overall, I found the book to spend more time in propagandizing an attitude than in actually  focusing on how to get nature back into the hearts and souls of every American…and so it struck my more as a rant than a serious effort to study a problem from every possible angle, and offer solutions that consider all aspects of the problem.

Ratings:  1 to 5; 1 as lowest.

Readabilty: 4; very easy to read

Thought/Perspective  Provoking: 3; I was opened to new insights and issues while reading.

Credibility: 3;  The author ignored the idea that school does not need to be part of a child’s life, and that learning about nature doesn’t need programs as much as it does time in natural surroundings.

Overall rating: 3.  A good book, thought-provoking, and with some fairly large blind spots.

Final ROW80 Update -“ROWIng Softly to the Shore…”

Mirror writing by Annalise, age 7.75 years. Chalk on driveway.

I’m the kind of person who likes to take the time to feel things all the way through.  Therefore, I’m not ready yet to explore all that my virgin ROW80 round had meant to me, all the ways in which my life has changed because I gathered my courage and made the leap of faith of considering where I was and where I would like to go in my writing life, creating goals based on that new awareness – and then committing myself, for 80 days, to living my life in a way that nurtured my striving toward them.

I will be writing in detail about all this –  but not until I can see more than just the fact and shape of the changes….and that will happen only with time, and perspective.

Sunshiny driveway day!

For now, I can say for certain that I am not now who I would have been, had I not embarked upon this particular journey,  I suppose that is true for all paths; making one choice can make others unavoidable, and still others impossible.  Often, though, those differences are subtle, and easy to miss, while I am  going about the matter of living.

Sometimes, there’s no way to tell, in the moment, whether the changes brought about in me by my choices are to the good, or  not so much…..this time, though, there is little doubt.  I am more myself now than I was before I struck out on this adventure.   I am more confident in my ability to write, to accept criticism, to create goals that help me to grow, and that I can pursue with passion and joy.

Showing me where their friend Ryan crashed his motorbike - a few scrapes, but no serious injuries....

I’ve learned that when tragedy and its resultant chaos and upheaval fall into our lives, writing can be therapy, a refuge of fantasy and sanity in the midst of uncertainty and the kind of fear that clutches at heart and breath….

I’ve come to see many more ways I have chained myself to parts of life or ways of thinking that held me too tightly to Earth.  I’m now working on undoing those fetters, and loosing myself.

I have offered up pieces of my soul, and they have been taken seriously.

This is Annalise and I with balloons, under the sun and happy together....

I have met some truly inspiring people, and had the chance to get to know a lifelong friend in a new way…

I have learned so much about writing in general, and my own writing in specific….

But I need more time to get much deeper than this.

So, once more, here are my ROW80 Round 1 goals, and notations about my progress and/or thoughts on each….

Round of Words 80 Goals – Round 1, 2012:

  • I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly. 
  • I accomplished this, and in spades, writing several additional essays.  
  • I’ve discovered that my love for essays extends far beyond those high school essay tests….and I will be writing more -perhaps, many, many, more.
  • I will complete all necessary homeschool reporting (2010-2011 end-of-year assessments; fourth request for approval of 2011-2012 IHIPs, and Second Quarter Reports-  all items for both children).  These will be completed and submitted as follows:
  •  2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 31, 2012 
  •  2011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – February 15, 2012, 
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012 
  • I finished this goal, and am free of reports until June 1.
  • I’ve found the reports, formerly hugely odious to me, are less so when they are ROW80 goals.  Good to know, since the reports are a part of life, so long as we homeschool in this state.
  • I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf.
  • This was harder, mentally and emotionally, than I thought it would be.  There was resistance.  I moved through it attentively, a little at a time, and there was growth in doing so.
  • I did submit both of these.  
  • Sunday Surf posts all submissions, weekly, and “A Tale of Two New Years” posted in February.
  • Tiny Buddha posts accepted submissions which meet the guidelines.  My submission, “My Way, Your Way….Or Another, Altogether?” will be posted several weeks from now! =)
  • I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novelChameleon’s Dish.
  • I finished the draft at 8am today.  I am fairly certain that there are missteps, inconsistencies, and dead ends.  That’s what subsequent drafts are for, and I intend to play some before I delve into the next…exploring the characters and situations in far less formal ways.
  • I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets.
  • Again, there was resistance in this one, and it took much courage to make those little steps that led to the edge, and then leap from it…..
  • I shifted this goal slightly, so that the focus was less on monetary payment, and more on any tangible payment –  exposure, by-lines, the opportunity to stretch or receive criticism….
  • Of the submissions I made, I have received rejections for two of them; one was to an open blogging community; one I am waiting on (and will be for several weeks more); and one was ACCEPTED!
  • I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page, and I will  update, edit, and post to both of my regular blogs on at least a weekly basis.
  • I did fairly well at this.  What was most often neglected was The Unfettered Life, as my focus was most often on writing and writing-things.  Also, Blogger has not been letting me comment the last few weeks, even on my own blog, and I haven’t wanted to be posting there when I couldn’t answer comments…
  • I did post regularly here, usually more than once a week, and have posted often to my Facebook page.  I am learning how to use the Facebook page as a tool for myself, and as a window into my writing life for interested others.
  • I am calling this a slightly modified success.  I averaged more than two blog posts a week, but not necessarily on two blogs.
  • Annalise, self-portrait.=)

    I will write at least one book review,  and a rough draft of a letter to my father-in-law.

  • I’ve written two book reviews, this round, and am planning more.
  • It was a little hard to write less than favorable reviews, but good to learn to do so civilly, and to speak up about things that bothered me.
  • I have a rough  draft of points to cover in the letter.  Letting it rest for a week or three, then revisiting….it is also good to speak up about things that bother me in a personal arena, although I would prefer not to feel the need to…
  • I count this goal as a solid success.
  • I will edit, revise where necessary,  and properly categorize all posts in this blog.
  • I accomplished this goal.  I am not claiming perfection.  I did review each post, edit, revise in places, add links and images, and properly categorize each post.  And I learned a lot in the process.
  • I will input one of my writing notebooks into Penzu, and clip all materials I would like to pursue further.
  • I adapted this goal near the end, when I realized that I would need to rush through the clipping and probably still not finish it in time.  Not wanting to rush the process, I chose to move the clipping portion of this goal to the next round.
  • I completed the notebook inputting, and will definitely be transcribing more of these in other rounds….
  • So, this goal was a modified success.

My Portrait, by Annalise.

SO, I have accomplished my goals….with a little extra here, and a little tweaking of expectations there.  I did what I could to go with the flow – of life, of energy, of family needs, of thoughts, of joy and peace….
I’m not ready, yet, for deeperreflection, or big projects.  Today, I’ve puttered a little on the house, slept 7 hours, hung out with family, played with this blogpost, downloaded but didn’t edit these pictures, and read a few chapters in the book I was in the middle of when I shifted to finishing my goals, checked the weather for this weekend,  – and that’s about it.Soon, I will be packing, and then – rest, if my mind will allow it.
Which will be a theme for the next couple of weeks, while the current ebb leads to the next surge.
There will be a few things I may focus on, over the next days, though….
  • Blogpost for Unschooler’s Blog Carnival
  • Awards Acknowledgements
  • Short and flash fiction pieces
  • More detailed wrapup of this round
  • Family bio for the Always Learning Live Unschooling Symosium in May
  • Challenge updates
  • Work out Blogger comment problem
  • Enjoy my family, and our trip
  • Catch up on reading
  • Set up post ideas and/or begin posts for April’s A to Z challenge
  • Write Round 2 goals
  • 5oo Word blogposts for the 3 first responders to a post on my Facebook Page.
I may do some or all of these.  I might do other things, too…refilling things.  Spring is here, and fresh life breathes in me and through me….and, hopefully, through all of you, too….Check in on the other ROWers, as they tally up their goals and reflect on the journey….

Jim coming home after his first day resuming driving, post-crash