Welcome to My Sunday Post for June 22, 2014 !

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Since my ROW80 updates are getting a little crowded, this seems to be an interesting way to update some things without adding to the clutter. June will be my “test month” for this feature. I’ll be evaluating and adapting, with a bit of a sandbox approach…summer’s a good time for playing in the sand! =D

Do you ever just need to get away – from routine, the expected, life-as-you-know-it?

I didn’t post here last Sunday. I was instead enjoying the last day of a lovely weekend visit with friends a state away. I swam and played water games, and sat in sun and shade on Sylvia and Jim’s deck, reading and chatting.

It was a lovely way to spend the day, and I have no regrets about not posting. Sometimes you gotta get away….

This week, I’m back. Most of my creative energy has been on a late rally for JuNoWriMo – you can see more about that further down the post (Life Stuff). Other than my “hooky” day on Sunday, I’ve kept up with my blogging, and my reading, and my writing….lotsa that. And I’ve stretched myself, too..

Anyway, here’s what’s up in my little corner of the blogosphere

Recently at shanjeniah:

ROW80 Updates:

Last year’s visit with our friends. Love the secretive smile!

 

What’s Next:

This week, I’ll be riding the creative wave of JuNoWriMo, attempting to reach 50,000 words, and the end of my WIP fantasy novel, The Stars are Fire. If I’ve still got words left to write at the end, I will pick up with my other WIP, Perchance to Dream, Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprise fanfiction novel. These two are interwoven, and my goal is to complete the drafting of both by year’s end.

A little pooltime meditation.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Then I got occupied reading T’Pol/Trip fan fiction, and, well, writing….so I haven’t been browsing elsewhere on the Internet as much as I might have. I did find a few interesting things, and now comes the fun part when I get to share them!

Sweetness on a plate!

 

Life Stuff:

  • The kids and I had a lovely weekend visit with our best out-of-state friends.
  • I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and went to visit the family for whom I babysat in my teens. Odd to think that the boys are now all in their 30s! I’m more like a long-lost sister, than a former babysitter, now, and that suits me fine. They’re good guys. =)
  • I got the kids’ homeschool reports finished for the quarter. Yay, me!
  • My car is finally road-worthy, and I took myself out for two workouts – one with my son, which also included a lunch date, and another on my own, after which I took myself toPanera to write.
  • And I’ve been reading T’Pol/Trip fan fiction, and writing up a storm – over 18,000 words in four days!

Want to join the Sunday Post fun?

I like to end on a high note. Laughing works!

SoCS: I LIKE FLIKE!

 

Flike Road, two winters gone.

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

The rules and this week’s prompt.

The idea is simple – write a stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt.

This week’s prompt is to write a post that involves the word “LIKE”.

I LIKE where I live. Not quite as much as I did when I was a girl, but I do LIKE it. I’ve traveled the country, lived in many places, now, even married a man from the opposite side of it, and borne a son in the middle. And yet, here I am, on the same road I grew up on….

A road with LIKE in its name.

FLIKE Road.

I LIKE FLIKE.

It makes me think of political campaigns, and those old buttons. I LIKE Ike.

Well, I LIKE FLIKE.

Busier than those decades-gone childhood years, it’s still, by and large, a rural road, often sleepy and quiet. The Holstein cows I remember have gone, to be replaced by horses, and a few (but not too many) new homes. One of them is pink and somewhat palatial; it makes me chuckle that it has a sweeping, panoramic view of the trailer park on the next road over- that seems oddly fitting, since the house sticks out so amongst its far more modest neighbors -ranch houses and farm houses, modulars, and mobile homes with additions.

There’s still corn and hay growing, and tractors passing by, and sometimes horses. There are no sidewalks, no public water or sewer (although those have come closer, in the last few years, and may someday be imposed on those who live here on FLIKE. I would not LIKE that – our well water is sweeter than chemically treated town water, and we like being responsible for our own waste.

When I was a girl, the setion of the road that bisected the Holstein farm was left unpaved, so that the cows would not hurt their hooves when brought across twice daily for milking. Driving that section in summer raised hot dry clouds of dust that softened the pungent aroma of cow manure (which still, somehow, says home to me).

Once, there was a cow lying in the middle of the road, when we attempted to drive it late at night. My father didn’t LIKE the inconvenience of having to circumvent it with a LONG country “block”, but I did.

Another time, three horses broke loose, and went carousing down the road.

Ah, memories…

My own children know a tamer, more civilized and settled version of the road, but it’s still far more natural than many, and I LIKE that they’ve had the chance to grow up on FLIKE, too….

I hope you enjoyed my SoCS offering for this week. Remember, anyone can play, so long as they are willing to followa few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos inside my head! =)

 

Do you share my fascination with what’s going on in other people’s heads?

 

More SoCS posts here!

 

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “With/Without Kids”

When they’re here….they’re HERE! =D

 

This post is a part of Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.  Click the title  for the rules, and to read other posts! =)

The point is as simple as it sounds. Using the weekly prompt, I write a stream of consciousness piece, correcting typos but not otherwise editing.

So, raw and immediate, here is my post!

Today’s prompt is With/Without.

I’m sitting in my study, in a house without children. That’s not a common state, for me – partly because my kids have lived their lives without school, and with me.

We orbit one another, much of the time, intersecting, then moving away into our own lives again…it’s very different from the life I lived, growing up, and yet, in other ways, not.

They do not live with parental abuses, shaming, punishing, arbitrary rules arranged to make their parents’ lives more convenient.

They live without chores, homework, fierce competition for their parents’ love.

They live without a brother who died while one was a toddler, and before the other was born…

And they live with each other, and with us, their parents.

I am their mom.

I am also their friend.

So often, in parenting circles, this is set up with a false dichotomy….you can be your child’s parent, or their friend, but not both….

But I can’t be one without being the other.

I am their mother- by biology, by law, by choice. That title comes with responsibilities, and authority. At almost 10 and 13, they aren’t little kids anymore; there’s no need for me to be forever perched or hovering over their shoulders. That would only get in their way – and, if I’ve been a good friend to them, they won’t need me to.

Why?

Because good friends look out for you. They don’t let you get yourself into trouble without trying to keep you out of it. They forgive you when you make mistake, and offer you support when you need it. They don’t act superior, or lord the fact that they sometimes have greater skill and experience.

That’s the kind of mom-friend I strive to be.

The kids are home, now, and the flavor of life is different, now that they’re home. Time to go enjoy that – they aren’t going to be these ages, forever!

Coffee and Conversation: Who Mowed the Lawn, and Why?

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…

I know, it’s a day late for a Coffee and Conversation post. I’ve been rather lost in my Story A Day May Challenge, and I just didn’t get to this yesterday. So here it is, belated, but heartfelt…

On Sunday, my 12 year old son mowed the yard.

My guess is that he was far from the only boy in America that could be said of, on any given spring weekend when the weather is cooperative. It seems to be a traditional chore given to boys large enough to handle some adult jobs, but who haven’t yet reached their full strength, growth, or perhaps ability to resist…

Because, on a fine spring weekend at the end of a long winter, and approaching the end of a long school year, it’s conceivable that a boy might begrudge that time spent on lawn work; that he might have some other idea of how to spend those few precious hours of freedom…

But, because kids must learn responsibility, and chores are a means to that end that also shifts some of the burden of yard maintenance from adult shoulders, the boys (and, I imagine, in our current climate, some girls as well) are sent out to mow.

But that’s not how things are, at our house, and not at all why Jeremiah was mowing the yard this weekend.

As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t assign chores in our home. Both my husband and I grew up with gender-specific chores, and neither of us felt that these helped us to learn responsibility as much as they built resentments at the unwanted workload, the time away from the things that fired our passions and spoke deeply to us…

Chores stole from my life, far more than they added to it. That isn’t to say that I begrudged my family my help – only to say what I suspect is true of most people, whether children or adults.

I wanted to choose the ways in which I helped, to give my help freely, and to have it appreciated without being judged.

There were things I did happily, without being asked. Yard work was one. None of my three siblings seemed to enjoy it as I did, and so, more often than not, I would do it alone. In the house I grew up in, alone was a rare and treasured state. Alone meant that the stories playing out in my head, the deep thoughts waiting to be explored, at last had a little space, a time to unfurl without interruption. The repetitive motions of raking or weeding provided a rhythm, and there was pleasure in both the physical exertion and the creative introspection.

Chores, though, were assigned labor. In our family, there was no thought given to whether the chore suited my nature and talents; I was expected to do as I was told. And, to me, that seems unfair to a child. Children are already smaller, more dependent, less powerful, and too often disenfranchised.

And so our children help when and as they choose.

And, on Sunday, after both my husband and I had mowed portions of our steeply sloping yard, and after hinting a time or two that he might, Jeremiah asked if I minded if he did some mowing.

He mowed for hours. When the mower clogged, he turned it off and cleared the blockage – safely. When he ran out of gas, he told me, and I showed him how to refill it. When he got tired, he took a break.

After, as I looked out upon a sweeping expanse of freshly mowed and fragrant grass, I asked him what he’d been thinking while he mowed. He said he’d been thinking of stories he’s read, and ones he’s been attempting to write for the last few months.

He enjoyed the mowing so much, he said he needed to find a way to pay people to let him mow their yards. When I told him people might willingly pay him to mow for them, his grin took over his face (he likes earning money!).

Today, he went to work at his grandparents’ house, and learned how to drive a lawn tractor.

Will he mow again, with the same enthusiasm? Maybe – or maybe not.

But I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t have quite the same joy in it, if we assigned it as his chore.

I like it this way. The lawn looks lovely, and, rather than a grumbling child who feels his life is being measured out for him, there’s a boy here who’s gained some confidence in his own strength and abilities, and had all the time he wanted to think big thoughts while the rest of the world was shut out by the sound of the motor. He’s accomplished something useful and easily quantified, and fulfilled deeply personal creative impulses. He’s helped his family, and himself, just because he wanted to.

And I’m not the only one smiling about that!

How about you? Did you have chores? Assign them? What did you love, or hate, to do as a child? Is there some “chore” you still love today? Have a cuppa, and tell me all about it!

Last year’s lawn…shadow-dappled, A perfect canvas for dreaming.


Sunday Post for May 18, 2014

Welcome to My Sunday Post for May 18, 2014 !

Since my ROW80 updates are getting a little crowded, this seems to be an interesting way to update some things without adding to the clutter. I’m still figuring out what form I’d like this feature to take, so please expect there to be evolution as the weeks pass!

Last Week on My Blog:

shanjeniah:

ROW80 Updates:

Story A Day May:

All my Story A Day posts.

Stories Sans Commentary, for the purist.

What’s Next:

This week, I’ll be posting daily Story-a-Day posts here at shanjeniah, with commentary on how the writing went; episode trailer, and maybe other goodies, too.

There’ll also be my regular posts:

  • For Coffee and Conversation, I’ll explore the some of the consequences of our chore and punishment free life.
  • WIPpet Wednesday will host an excerpt from The IDIC Romance – I’ll be picking up where I left off last week, with a treat or two…
  • For Wordless Wednesday, I’ll share images of my kids and I (and that guy we live with may put in an appearance or two!). I didn’t manage to get this posted last week, so I’ll try again this week!
  • And for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, I’ll be doing just what the title suggests – writing a stream-of-consciousness post on the weekly prompt.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Cool Stuff I’ve Found along the way…

Life Stuff: (Hooray!Current pictures! Only two, but it’s a start!)

  • The weather brightened this week, and so three out of four Burtons mowed, 1 weeded, and one planted. There was bouncing, walks, and warriors who battled Evil Flowers with stick swords.
  • I had a little time to myself on Monday, when my husband took the children with him to run errands and perform the spring rituals of visiting a playground and getting ice cream. Since we homeschool, I truly enjoy these times when they bond, and I have a few hours of renewing quiet with my own thoughts. It energizes me for the lovely chaos of the rest of life… =)
  • Our lilacs are in bloom, and I brought some of the delicious inside!
  • I finally (and briefly) caught up with blog comments.
  • I’ve done some substantial hometending this week, and life is good!

 

Want to join the Sunday Post fun?

 

 

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Lilac Scented Senses

Lilac Loveliness!

Welcome to Stream of Consciousness Saturday Linda G. Hill‘s weekly prompt to encourage stream-of consciousness writing. This week’s prompt is “The Five Senses”.

Here’s my entry for today:

I’m sitting in my study – a hodgepodge little cubby that we made several years ago by bolting three tall bookcases together to divide off a small section at the end of our long, narrow living room. This space has served a few different purposes, since, but, mostly, it’s been a cluttered and unusable mess more useful to felines than humans.

But two years or so ago, I decided to claim it. It’s been a stuttering, stop-and-go process, and my vision keeps changing as I learn more about myself and my creative process. Today, there is progress, and I am sitting, half-uncomfortably, on my new upholstered chair, my long legs precariously perched on the spinning office chair, which is a little too high for the job. I have plans to add a footstool, because writing here seems to tap into my creativity more than sitting at a desk does.

I’ve got my new laptop on my lap – but a table to set it on might be a good idea, too, even if I don’t always use it. It’s a different perspective, sitting here, and I like it. I can survey the space (okay, still too much clutter to really enjoy the right-now of it, but I have a vision of what it will be, and I can hang onto that. There’s a lot of dust in here, and I have plans.

But there are also grace notes – more and more of them as I go along, as I embrace my affinity for turquoise with a lampshade and a partially-decorated bulletin board. I’m learning that, for me, creative flow is deeply tied to the sensual. So there’s a little turquoise coffeepot, flavored honey straws, and a basket for snacks, coffee and tea. I can feed my hunger, quench my thirst – and engage my taste buds…

From the other side of my bookcase wall, the local news is talking to itself, or maybe to the spinning ceiling fan. I can hear a lawn mower off somewhere. I couldn’t get ours started today, so I weeded around a raised garden bed instead…

Today’s treasure….the wafting of the sweetly potent scent of lilacs. It was a harsh and persistent winter, and spring woke slowly and lazily this year. But then we had warmth and sun, followed by cool and rain, and three days back, Annalise was prematurely planting wildflower seeds in the as-yet unweeded front flower bed, because when you’re nine, sometimes you just can’t wait. I was gathering laundry, and puttering my way through the beginnings of what promises to be an intensive cleaning project to clear out and repurpose our enclosed front porch. She looked out across the yard, and said, “Mommy, the lilac trees are saying, ‘I love you’ all over the place.”

Our lilac trees aren’t really trees – they’re large shrubs. But our house is a mobile home with an addition, so it’s low, and the “trees” reach higher than the roof. And there they were – resplendant in lavender blooms, when, a week before, the leaf buds were just beginning to open. It always takes me by surprise, their swiftness and splendor, that delicate and powerful aroma carried on the air.

Why did she think they were saying, “I love you?” Because years before our children were born, when my husband and I lived a different, vagabond life, working in assorted national parks, he would sometimes stop our big old Dodge truck along the road in Oregon or Montana or Florida, and pick me purple wildflowers, because, for our wedding, we gathered vividly purple wildflowers from a swampy area, and used these rather than expensive arrangements. We came up with a catchphrase, “Purple flowers mean I love you.”

And so, over a decade later, and well into another, they still do.

Today, I breathed in that lavender- colored, lilac-scented love, and knew I wanted to bring it inside – to my study, so they will waft into the words that I write, the worlds that I weave, and, from here, to the rest of the living room…I took my time in selecting and arranging, and I was certain to keep some of the green leaves, for contrast, and because they’re shaped like hearts to add to the love. I have deeper purples and lighter, for variety, and I placed them in my blue ceramic pitcher.

I set them on a dusty high shelf, where they can be seen as I enter the room. Nope, I didn’t dust. I will, eventually, but I have other things going on today. I’m looking at them now, as the baby robins nesting in the eaves set up a ruckus that means that the parents have brought food…the children are yelling happily from the trampoline; I can hear them as an undercurrent to the house noises.

And they are lovely, there on that shelf that holds both treasures and dust. It’s beauty and decay, in one place.

To me, it a perfect demonstration of the Lovely Chaos that is my muddled and magical life.

Have you engaged your senses lately?  How?  

Read more Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and feel free to jump in!

The Lovely Chaos of a Study Shelf. =)

 

Creative Paradox: ROW80 Update, 5/14/14

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Well, hello there, and welcome to another Wednesday ROW80 Update.

I’m writing. Lots. I’m hometending, too. Gradually, I’m moving my focus more toward the outside. I’m enjoying time with my three most beloved, and getting back into the habit of moving.

The weather has become much more pleasant, and I’m being rejuvenated and motivated by the advance of spring. Suddenly, I want to do it all, and do it right now…

And, at the same time, I’m feeling introspective, as though I could spend hours or days wandering in the depths of my own mind and soul.

There was Mother’s Day – not an easy day, for me, as an estranged daughter, and as the mother of a son who died as a newborn. It tends to be an -unsettling -day. I try to stay low-key and just live the day as any other. Simple, beautiful, chaotic, messy – my life.

I’m also tired – it’s one of those phases where someone is always awake, and that means i don’t sleep much, and the house gets – well, shambelized….(yup, I just made that up!).  A part of me wants to do it all, right now, and another part wants to yawn, roll over, and go back to sleep for a while…

And you get a batch of Enterprise fan fvideos, because #itswritingresearch! =)

My words are going to fiction; there’s not much more to say here…so I will wish you all a wonderful remainder of the week, and beyond, and get on with my accounting of my last few writing days.

May’s focus:

  • Story-a-Day May

  • Homeschool reports

  • Guest post

2014 Blogging:

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

Continue posting on my regular schedule; share on Sunday Post, weekly.On target.

Complete and post 31 Story-A-Day May Enterprise fan fiction stories, following prompts. On target.

  • 13/31 Completed.

  • 24/31 In development.

Respond to comments, and return visits.On target.

  • Did on scheduled days. A bit behind, due to increased volume.

Visit threeStory-A-Day blogs each day, on average.On target, more or less.

  • Sunday/Monday: None.

  • Tuesday: 4

2014 Writing:

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

The Stars Are Fire: Draft one scene each week. Not quite.

  • Reread 3 scenes, and plotted the next. No new words.

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.

Complete 31 Stories for The IDIC Romance, using prompts wherever possible.(2014 Story-a-Day May).On target.

  • See above.

  • 15,546 words to date.

Prepare Scrivener files for the writing process. On target.

  • 13/31 scenes prepared.

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: Revise one scene each week.Not quite.

  • Began writing new scene; 9/60.

2014 Hometending:

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

Continue the family room reset.

Get the computer desk and moved out of the room.On target.

  • More porch cleaning.

2014 Lifetending:

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

Eat salad and/or drink fruit or vegetable smoothies at least 4 times a week. On target.

  • One grilled steak salad.

  • 1/4 attained.

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

Walk at least 1.5 miles each week; at the track, or measured by pedometer outside.On target.

  • .6 miles with Annalise and Corki-dog.

Choose two playful actions for each day; do several times each.On target, mostly.

  • Sunday:2; Monday:1; Tuesday: 2. Better!

  • Recommitting this week! =)

Sponsor Visits:

You can check up on the other ROWers, and their plans for Round 2, right here!