SoCS : Average? Well, Maybe Not…

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

The idea is simple – post an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt – this week’s is to write a post that uses average as a word, or as a theme.

 

Average.

 

That’s a huge word, in the school world. Grades are based on averages. Each student (no, they’re not simply referred to as people, but students, which relegates them, in some sense, to a product to be acted upon and packaged, rather than a distinct, unique human being with a full set of thoughts, emotions, preferences, aversions, quirks, and memories) is plotted out on a bell curve, and the goal, of course, is to be there, near the middle, near the average -

Grades on a bell curve. Courtesy eCourses.

But not average. Above.

Does that even make sense? Is it fair or kind to the people involved?

Because, if someone is above average – well, it’s a bell curve. Someone ELSE has to be below average.

Maybe that wouldn’t be a problem – except that schools tend to define anything below average as a failure. A C grade is -at least marginally – acceptable. But get a D – well, it’s school. You don’t want to get a D. You certainly don’t want anyone ELSE to know you got one.

But the truth is, in the school world, you might not want to get an A, either.

Other kids taunt those who are too far off the fat center of that bell curve. Yes, “average” is the target, whatever the propaganda might say. The kid who gets a D will be labeled stupid, and the one who gets an A will be labeled a teacher’s pet…

Why?

Because the entire nature of the public education system is based upon those grades, and that bell curve, and the law of averages.

I was one of the “smart” kids – but that’s really not fair. What it meant, really, is that my particular brain and personality fit well with the model schools like – I have a word-hungry brain, love reading and writing and engaging with new ideas, and tend to remember things I hear or read pretty near whole.

I didn’t put a lot of effort into schoolwork – instead, I put a tremendous amount into things I was passionate about. School was a game, and a requirement, and I played that game well – as far as the grades went. Socially – well, that’s another story. I was way too far to the right of the fat part of that bell curve, way too often – and, having grown up in a volatile and dysfunctional family, I didn’t possess the skills that could make me likable despite that fact. As one former classmate observed, I “made it easy” for others to pick on me, because I had no idea how to tone down who I was – and no desire to, either…

Defying the law of averages since 2001!

My own children lead a very different life. Averages aren’t how they are defined; they aren’t points plotted out on a bell curve. They don’t strive to get As, not get Ds, or be in the middle of the curve, with a mass of others, safe in the relative anonymity of a crowd.

It’s just after noon on Friday, as I write this. All over the country, kids are watching the classroom clock, wishing the day would end, maybe anticipating weekend plans.

Here, my son is just wrapping up his “day” – he was up all night, playing games, reading fan fiction, and playing a prank on his sleeping sister. He’ll be asleep, now, till well after dark. My daughter is just waking up from a few hours’ sleep – she was up until after 5am, so she might or might not sleep more later, – and she’s negotiating with her father on the timing of acquiring a new cat, and the specifics of her Halloween plans…she’s got a budget, but I’m really not sure she can execute her grand plans on it.

Are they average kids? Well, while I tend to think they aren’t, in many ways; in others, they likely are. They love Minecraft, their trampoline, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and many other things that are popular with other kids their ages. They love their parents, their lives, and each other. They smile and laugh every day. They learn every day.

Average?

Does it matter, against the reality of these real people, vibrant with their own individual lives?

Just your average love note?

Loving who she is, as she is!

Not to me. They aren’t part of a bell curve – they’re children, growing into adults, each in their own way and in their own time, and that’s all I need them to be.

I’m guessing that might make me something other than average, but I don’t care.

I’ve been off to the side of that curve most of my life, after all! =)

Where do you stand, on averages? Do you find yourself wanting to measure up, or would you rather stand out? Do you find the average appealing, or bland? I’d love to hear from you, no matter where you are on any bell curve! =D

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! =)

Join in or read more SoCS posts here!

Stretching into the Fall: September 17, 2014

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Is it me, or does autumn carry a certain level of transformative energy that summer, for all its warmth and sunshine, doesn’t have?

I’m seeing lots of new possibilities, in so many places. It’s in the air, the cries of the geese as they wing by overhead, hurrying away from the approaching chill…

It’s in my various sprucing and beautifying efforts, inside and out. It’s in the roughness of my hands, from weeding and toting firewood and cleaning surfaces.

It’s in my writing, my planning, my revising, and my blogging…

It’s in my playing with imagery, memory, color, texture, and language…

It’s in each breath, and every heartbeat…

How about you? Do you live in a place where autumn is in the air, or are you eagerly opening up to signs of the coming spring? What type of energy does the changing season have upon you and your creativity?

September Focal Areas:

  • Homeschool Administration (until complete) Target attained!

  • Chameleon’s Dish/ 3 short story Revisions

  • Drafting Perchance to Dream/ Pre-planning and Prep for King of Infinite Space

As always, I list only those goals I moved toward this round.

September fun at the Erie Canal!

2014 Blogging:

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

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue 3 posts for Coffee and Conversation; prep 3 ahead for WIPpet Wednesday. On target.

  • Next week’s WIPpet is in my WordPress Drafts file; the following week’s in prep; with the next snippet in revision. Wahoo! =D

  • I have several Coffee and Conversation ideas ready for development.

  • Second-Serving Sunday: “I’m Back!” Edition

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my blog visits and participation.Target attained!

  • Still moving through, still getting more. Happy times!=)

Celebrating my study’s magical bits…

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. Not quite.

  • Sunday was a busy day, with yardtending, andI ran out of day before I ran out of projects…

  • September 14: 516 words.

  • September 15: 827 words.

  • September 16: 864 words.

  • Currently drafting: Scene 49/60.

Draft another novel in the Trueborn duology series, King of infinite Space, as my November NaNoWriMo project.

Print and read-aloud Blood and Breath (rough draft WIP); KOIS will be its duology fanfic. On target.

  • Prologue read-aloud complete.

My grandmother’s Hoosier cabinet; my study desk.

2014 Editing:

First revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish; Readthroughs/notes for Blood and Breath.

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish. On target.

  • Scene 12/60 complete at last! I really like the way it turned out -and now only one resolution scene to go….

Throughout read-aloud, make on-page pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath. On target.

  • Prologue: 10/10 pages.

  • General Chapter Notes.

Resting places for me, and for my Trueborn duology planning.

2014 Hometending:

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

Continue reclaiming my study. On target.

  • A bit more tidying – and I took some pictures of the magical bits, to share in this post.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames from Round 1. On target.

  • Yes. Blogging, drafting, and revision were the big winners, this round.

Set aside time weekly for Adminstrative Frames. On target.

  • Homeschool paperwork.

Complete all required homeschooling documentation, testing, and reporting. Target attained!

Complete fourth quarter reports for both children, and submit by 9/15. Target attained!

  • Annalise’s complete, except for attendance.

  • Jeremiah’s English Language Arts and Library Skills sections complete.

Complete 2014-2015 IHIPs for both children; submit within 4 weeks of receiving confirmation of LOI packet. Target attained!

  • Annalise’s IHIP complete.

  • Jeremiah’s English Language Arts and Library Skills sections complete.

Submit Jeremiah’s PASS test results when received. Target attained!

  • Results received. Need to scan or photograph them, and send then with the reports.

Views of my study shelf….

2014 Lifetending:

Continue exploring fitness goals – more on this throughout the round.

Plan a monthly family excursion that involves physical activity. On target.

  • Plans in the works for apple picking and a trip to a local “amusement farm”.

One workout at the Y each week. Target attained!

Treadmill: 22 minute walking mile using “Rolling Hills” program. Target exceeded!

  • 1 mile in about 20 minutes; fewer and shorter rest breaks.
  • I’ll be adapting this goal, making it more challenging for Round 4! =)

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

  • 7.54 miles in 30 minutes. My legs are feeling much stronger, and my speed is increasing, even at higher resistances. Getting closer….

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

  • Arms:4; Legs:3; Core:3.

  • I increased weight on all machines, number of reps for several.

Continue exploring nutrition goals – more on this throughout the round.

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

  • 2/5 so far; 1 smoothie; 1 salad.

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

  • Yogurt: 2/2; nuts 0/2.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

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

Draft my Round 4 sponsor post by 9/25 (end of round 3). Target attained!

  • My post draft is written, and resting. =)

  • New Goal: Revise sponsor post by 9/25.

 

Who’s ROWing through the last week?

 

Coffee and Conversation: When Life Goes Ker-plooey…

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..

Hi there! Today is my forty-fifth birthday, so it might seem logical to expect me to want to talk about that. And I will – sort of.

I spent the weekend sick – ickily, violently sick, unable to hold down even water, unable to stay awake or asleep for more than an hour or two. I’m not particularly prone to getting sick, but food poisoning in the form of a bad grape proved tougher than I was.

It was far from the way that I’d hoped to spend the weekend. My plans included mowing the lawn, hometending, writing, blogging, hanging out with my kids, and making the load a little lighter for my Accomplice in Mischief, Chef Bluebeard, who worked extra hours preparing food for weekend parties.

Camp Sweet Camp!

I couldn’t do any of that. Had the kids still been small and needing someone to tend to all of their physical needs, I wouldn’t have been able to meet their needs.

Nope, it wasn’t fun to be so sick and helpless…

And maybe that’s why I love those other weekends, like the one before this one just past. The ones that are full of connection and simple everyday magic; the ones that we can hold to when life takes an unexpected turn for the worse, and all of our plans get tossed aside in light of the new reality.

Lovely Camping Chaos.

I won’t spend time dwelling on the weekend just past. I’m feeling better, although it might be another day or two until I find my pace again. Better to let this weekend go, fade into the mists of time (except those parts which I’ll be using as research for a plot line rolling around in my head; I’m a writer, after all, and everything is potential story fodder).

These are two of her favorite things….

Instead, I’m sharing some more images from Unschoolers Rock the Campground – this time, our temporary home at campsite S28. There’s something about tent camping that I find both deeply challenging and deeply cathartic. It’s a lot of work to set up and maintain; many things aren’t as simple and thoughtless as they are at home.

Portable living room!

When I was growing up, camping wasn’t part of my life. I might be different, if it had been. I think it will be, for our children, who’ve been camping since they were not-quite-2 and 5 years old.

Camping requires more care; more attention, and more presence. It roots me in the moment, and centers me in the rhythms of nature.

And, somehow, that can help carry me through those other times- the weekends that don’t hold the same magic, even those when I’m too sick to do much of anything except survive.

Campsite S28.

So, as my birthday draws to a close, I’m happy we made the effort, that we lived this way for these few days, that I can hold to that as a buffer against a birthday where the plans I’d made to get together with a dear friend for physical activity, a tasty treat at my favorite cafe, and conversation that can span nearly a lifetime of sisterhood all had to be set aside, because I’m not yet up to them.

A simple, potent message. Our car wears it proudly, and I strive to live it.

It made a difference, too, in the way I approached the necessary business of this day. I needed to renew my license. I’d thought I could do it online, and so I put it off until late Monday, only to find that I needed an eye test – and the easiest place to get that was at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I managed to get a healthy lunch!

Yes, it was a mundane and potentially unpleasant task, but I took a bit of the campground within me, and, on the way, I belted out songs from Jewel‘s Spirit album; windows down and sunroof open, enjoying a rare cool late-July day. At the DMV, I chatted with people – an elderly man with a walker, who was worried about his even more elderly mother, having surgery in another state; a woman and her son, who needed to get his new car registered so he could attend college in North Carolina; a man and his granddaughter, also there to register a new car; a young woman who turned 21 today, and wanted her updated license before dark, so that she could celebrate in an adult fashion not legal for her before now.

And then, with Jewel as my companion, I took the long way home, and enjoyed the fresh air and the ability to be out in it, after days spent indoors.

It was a good and happy birthday. I hope your day was happy, too!

What about you? Do you store up memories of magical times, to hold you against those that aren’t at all what you hoped for? Do you enjoy camping? Being in nature? Gathering with like-minded friends? Something else?

I’m not quite up to doing more than sipping my cuppa, still – but I’ve provided music, and I’ll be happy to serve you, and chat!

Campground Still Life.

Coffee and Conversation/Wordless Wednesday: Unschoolers Rock the Beach!

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – 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..

Didja miss me?

I know, I know! I generally post Coffee and Conversation on Mondays…or, sometimes, Tuesdays. Late into the night on Wednesday is a first…

This is partially a Coffee and Conversation post, and partially a Wordless Wednesday post….because, after all, this is the home of Lovely Chaos! =)

I was camping with my kids and a wonderful group of fellow unschooling families.

I could spend thousands and thousands of words writing about the goodness of the weekend. But, instead, I’m going a different route.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing images of various aspects of our weekend. If a picture is worth a thousand words, there’s a story held in these.

Let’s start with Friday, at the lake.

These aren’t all the images or moments; just a few of the most sparkling instants I captured with my little blue Canon point-and-shoot.

Have you ever had an experience that seems too big and rich to be reduced to language, or even pictures? Where was it? Who were you with? Want to chat about it?

My friend Sylvia, the consummate Jewish mama, even on the beach, baked yummy chocolate chip cookies for our pleasure!

WIPpet Wednesday: A Taste of Sole?

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

Hi there! This month, I’m participating in CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve finished one WIP, The Stars are Fire,and have made it to the halfway point in another, Perchance to Dream. Neither of these are ready for public consumption, yet, so…

I’m continuing with snippets from my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip, in a project titled The IDIC Romance.

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

A bit about the challenge:

Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered throughout the month.

The stories are roughly sequential, with various tones, POVs, and voices, due to the particular prompts that were in play during the writing.

For those keeping track:

This is the first installment of Story #4, Tigress T’Pol . The prompt for this story

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 July 9, 2014.

Today’s math…

  • 16 sentences, adding the month and day.

This snippet is told from Trip’s point of view. The wounded Klingon, Klaang, had been abducted from Enterprise. In an attempt to find him and bring him home, Captain Archer has ordered them to Rigel 10 – the first populated alien world Trip has been to. It doesn’t help that he’s paired with T’Pol, who clearly knows her way around, and seems to think she’s in charge. And then there’s that little matter of the odd history they’ve shared…

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

“Hey, T’Pol, how long are we going to pretend that nothing happened between us?”

I was a little shocked at myself; I’d planned to wait her out, see if she ever brought it up. But then, I had a long history of sticking my foot in my mouth, and I was apparently hungry for the sole of my boot.

“I know of another merchant. Stay with me, and attempt to restrain yourself.” T’Pol acted like I hadn’t said anything, or maybe like anything I said was beneath her notice. Where was that alluring temptress she’d been in Fusion? She was as full of surprises now as she’d been in that club – I’d give her that much. Too bad they weren’t at all the ones I’d been hoping for ever since she walked into the Capn’s Ready Room.

Maybe she’d forgotten all about that night – but, if she had, why had she looked at me that way when she first came in? For a second or two, it was as though we were back there, with the music flowing through us. Even now, I could feel it – a deep awareness of her, more than physical desire, something I’d never felt before. I wanted more.

But maybe she just wanted to forget. She was as damned arrogantly superior as all Vulcans, like she knew more than any human ever could. Probably thought it was way beneath her to do something so primitive as to feel desire, or anything else, for some human male she saw in a club.

Will Trip get a reaction out of T’Pol? Will he regret it, if he does? Who’s really in charge here? Will they find the missing Klingon? Come back next week for the next excerpt!

Story A Day commentary…

Full version of the story…

These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. Already, new stories are weaving themselves into the fabric. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun ..for the most part.

Want more WIPpets?

 

Coffee and Conversation: ROW80 Round 2 Retrospective

 

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, myfamilywas 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, what about that ROW80 thing, anyway?

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), is the creation of Kait Nolan. It’s “the writing challenge that knows you have a life”. Rather than an intensive writing marathon with rigid rules, ROW80 divides the year into four 80 day segments, with breaks between. Each writer devises their own personal goals, then gives an accounting once or twice a week. If the goals aren’t working, they can be changed at any time.

It’s an idea that’s brilliant in its simplicity and flexibility. Through it, I have learned a great deal about myself- as a writer, and as a person. More, I’ve found a supportive community of fellow writers at all levels – I can learn from those who are further along the road than I, and offer support and advice to others, as well.

It’s break time now; Round 2 is over, and Round 3 begins on July 7. So, it’s a good time for me to take account of where I stand, in order to get a sense of what I’d like to do in the next round.

For 2014, I’ve set annual goals; each round, I make steps toward these in the form of smaller, incremental goals. Some of these goals will be somewhat altered for the next session, since I have a better idea of what I can accomplish at the midpoint of the year than I did at the beginning.

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So, without further ado, here are the goals I addressed in Round 2, and their status:

2014 Blogging:

Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan.

  • Mostly, I set this aside, for this round.

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

  • I did fairly well with regular posting, and with answering comments.

  • As far as queues and sharing, not so much.

Brainstorm what I want in a website; move The Unfettered Life to a spiffy new home.

  • I have a better idea of what my eventual website will look like.

  • As for The Unfettered Life, it will be incorporated, in some form, into that website.

2014 Writing:

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

  • TBONTB complete.

  • TSAF nearly complete at 138K (it’ll need some cutting in the edits, for sure!)

Draft two more novels in the Trueborn double series, as NaNo projects.

  • I’ve got some extensive basic notes on one character’s story arc for one story.

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May. (Overstrike; completed!)

  • The Last House concept was renamedKifo Island Chronicles, and will be developed as a series of novellas.

  • The Enterprise fan fiction project was named The IDIC Romance, and will be offered freely online as a serial project.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

  • Chameleon’s Dish in revision; set aside for most of this writing round.

  • Pre-planning notes for Bounded are complete.

  • Blood and Breath has had a read-through.

2014 Hometending:

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

  • Progress made in resetting rooms (but a slow process!) and in the study.

  • File cleaning was more organic; with the introduction of a snazzy new computer.

2014 Lifetending:

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

  • I got together with some friends I hadn’t seen in longer than I wanted.

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

  • More thought being given to fitness and related goals.

Do you set long-term goals? Do you enjoy moving toward them as part of a group, or are you more of a soloist in that regard? Or, like me, do you prefer a blend of personal attention and group accountability? Please pull up a seat, and I’ll pour you a fresh cuppa while we chat!

 

Creativity, Exponentially: ROW80 Update, 6/22/14

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Well, hello there, and welcome to another ROW80 Sunday update!

Ever been so creatively charged that it almost feels that you are breathing your creative expression? That, even when you’re doing something else, you’re still creating, beneath the surface?

When I last reported here, I had about 6,000 words toward my JuNoWriMo total.

Things have changed, since then. In a big, happy, word filled way! And, better yet, I’ve had time for other things, too…

In other news, Wednesday will about finish out this round. I’ll make my final accounting on Sunday, with some thoughts about what I’d like to be doing until Round 3 starts on July 7. I’ll likely post something on ROW80 days over the break, because I like keeping that rhythm.

Where I often feel a lull at the end of a round, I’m definitely in a surge, just now. I’m going to keep this short, so I can get back to the storyweaving! =D

My focus for the remainder of this month:

2014 Blogging:

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

“Blogging Maintenance”: Post regular features; answer comments; make return visits. On target.

  • 3/3 weekly posts.

  • No comments answered Saturday; but caught up till then. I made lots of blog visits this week.

2014 Writing:

Complete the JuNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words on The Stars Are Fire and, if applicable, Perchance to Dream. On target, and nearly caught up to where I ought to be, at this point in the month.

  • New Words: 18,689 -yup, you read that right! =D

  • Word Count to date: 25,074/ 50,000

  • WIP Stats: Scene 48/60; 113,524/~120,000

2014 Hometending:

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

Continue family room reset: Move computer desk and pantry to new positions. On target.

  • Slow progress on clearing the porch.

2014 Lifetending:

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

Maintenance goal: 5 salads/fruit smoothies per week. Almost...

  • 2 of each this week, thus far…4/5 attained.

Evaluate other fitness and lifetending goals. Something’s gone amiss, and I think I need some time and attention to what that is, what I want to accomplish, and what might be a better way to get there.On target.

  • I’m feeling more positive and proactive, and I’ve got the beginnings of a plan of action for Round 3.

  • I visited some dear longtime local friends I hadn’t seen in years too long! =)

Sponsor Visits:

Yes, but I’m going to beg off on the listing of these, this time…words are callin’ my name!

Other ROWers ROWing!