Little Nest in the Big Weeds: October 15, 2014 Update


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Did you know that I used to be a waitress? I’ve mentioned that, here and there, but it was longer ago than my eldest child is old, now, and sometimes I don’t even think about it –

But then, something reminds me…and it’s like I’m back at the Old Faithful Inn again, at lunchtime, staring at over 600 customers clamoring for 300 seats, half hungry after seeing geothermal forces erupting more or less on schedule, and the other half in a rush to get out there and see the geyser cone blow its top, as though they’ve forgotten its name in a place that bears it –

Ummm, it’s called Old Faithful for a reason, folks. It isn’t putting on a show; it’s just doing what it’s done for a very long time now. It doesn’t need you there to do it, and it’ll do it again so predictably that there is actually a schedule posted just outside the restaurant…

Oh. Where was I?

Oh, yes. Waitressing in Yellowstone.

When a waiter is overwhelmed, and struggling to tend to their tables, it’s known as being “in the weeds”. No one wants to be “in the weeds”. I used to have nightmares of having those 300 seats to tend to all by myself – and no matter what people ordered, I could only deliver stacks of folded laundry (years after this, Old Navy did a commercial that gave me flashbacks…)

I’m a bit in the weeds with my writing, just now. Mostly, it’s due to a focus on NaNo prep and OctPoWriMo and my abscessed tooth, for which I am on a fairly strong antibiotic. My focus and stamina are on getting better, and the big stuff, so lots of little stuff is falling like leaves into those weeds…

But maybe it’s a good thing. I’m feeling a creative surge coming on, bubbling up like the hot sulfurous waters rumbling underfoot before they roar up from beneath the surface.

I’ll settle into my little weedy nest. It’s early days, still, and there’s no need to rush things that will happen in their own time. I’ll let images and ideas grow in this fertile soil, while I rest a little, and regain my strength, and prepare…

How are you feeling, with 9 days down and 71 to go? Are you where you want to be, soaring along? Nestling down into the weedy places with me? Migrating, with a new nest far away to look forward to?

I include only those goals I addressed during the session. I’ll assess my progress on all October goals at the end of the month, and my progress toward my 2014 goals at the end of the round.

October Focuses:

  • OctPoWriMo

  • Short Story Revisions for Submission

  • NaNoWriMo Plotting


Blog all 31 OctPoWriMo poems. On target.

  • 14/31 completed.

Share each feature post to 3 diverse places. On target.

  • I think so, for those I completed.

Maintain blogging schedule; find a comment rhythm that supports a 2-3 day turnaround. Not so much…

  • I’ve been dealing with a badly abscessed tooth since Saturday. It’s feeling better, but I seem to be moving in slow motion; my brain is fatigued and a bit muzzy, and this area took a direct hit.

  • I’m a post behind, and comments are backed up for about 5 days.

  • Will be a focus this next session.


Scene of my waitress nightmares…


Finish plotting The Earth Doth Move (for NaNoWriMo 2014) by October 31. On target.


  • G/M/C/D’s complete for 2/3 characters, and in progress for the last.
  • G/M/C/D’s complete: 54/60 scenes.


I’ll do scene summaries and Cheat Sheets together, for efficiency.

Complete OctPoWriMo Challenge; write 31 poems in October. On target.


  • 14/31 complete.

Lunch at the OFI – that trout is delicious, and the pickle is kosher!


Maintain email Inbox at a manageable level. Target attained!


Read at least one of the TBR books on the bookcase by my bed. On target.


Stay current with my two FutureLearn classes; Shakespeare and His World and Exploring Play. Not so much…


  • I didn’t have the focus or endurance to fit these in more than once or twice.

Yes, I’ve been to the Crow’s Nest- terrifying and beautiful!


Maintain existing nutrition goals (smoothies/salads and yogurt/nuts). On target.


  • Smoothies:1; Yogurt: 2. Nuts off this week’s menu, due to dental issues.

Eat broth or vegetable-based soup at least once each week. Target attained!


  • My Accomplice brought me acorn and butternut squash soups – delicious, especially the acorn! Goal met with delighted taste buds.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

Visit my “team” twice weekly. Target attained!

Visit other ROWers as time and energy permit. Target attained!

We’re ROWing, ROWing, ROWing – see who’s out ROWing!

And a last, lingering look before I go weave some new leaves into my  weedy little nest!

Second-Serving Sunday: The Poetically Plotting Edition


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

So, how are you this fine Sunday?

Here in lovely upstate New York, the sun is shining, the kids are laughing, I’m hanging with my Accomplice in Mischief before he goes off to work -

And I have an abscessed tooth.

I’ve known it was a problem for a while, now – but my dentist died rather suddenly, almost two years ago, and we really loved him. There was a period of shock and grief that prevented us from finding a new dentist. When we did, a few months ago, my Accomplice was in more dire dental straits than I was, and needed some rather extensive work, so he went first.

And now it’s a holiday weekend, and my face is swollen…

Fortunately, I come from strong peasant stock, and I’ve got a fairly high pain threshold. It feels a little better, right now, so maybe I can avoid antibiotics. But I’m going to need to see the dentist, several times, or there’ll only be other, bigger problems down the road.

In other news: ROW80 and OctPoWriMo are both well underway, and I’m deeply engaged in plotting The Earth Doth Move, which will be my NaNoWriMo project next month… more on all of these later in the post.

Now, I’m going to get on with the show, because it is pretty outside, and I have creative landscapes to explore…

Recently at shanjeniah:

Second-Serving Sunday: The OctPoWriMo Edition:

Coffee and Conversation:

WIPpet Wednesday:

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):


ROW80 Updates:

  • Assessing My Nest: ROW80 Round 4 October Goals: October’s a busy month – OctPoWriMo, NaNoWriMo planning, stories and a WIP to revise and another to draft- and exercise and blogging and getting ready for winter, and going places – Oh, My!
  • Plotting a Poetic Nest: The title pretty much says it all – my first two days were filled with poetry and plotting my next novel. Oh, and working out!

What’s Next:

My fiction writing plans for October:

  • Complete character sketches and biographies, and plot my NaNoWriMo project, The Earth Doth Move (was King of Infinite Space), another Star Trek: TOS/Enterprise crossover fan fiction – the companion novel to my fantasy WIP, Blood and Breath, which is in pre-revision.
  • FutureLearn Shakespeare and His World and Exploring Play. Two free courses began last week – lots to learn!
  • OctPoWriMo: 31 poems in 31 days! I’ll give you a new poem each day, as well as revising those I wrote two years ago.
  • Unknown Worlds Review- Continue revising 3 stories for submission here by October 31.
  • Revising my 612-13 London time-travel fantasy novel, Never Doubt I Love (was Chameleon’s Dish).
  • Drafting Perchance to Dream, the Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprise fan fiction – companion novel to my original fantasy, The Stars are Fire.

And on the blog:

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Life Stuff:

  • More hometending, and playing in my study.
  • Some pretty serious exercise, and some pretty serious mouth pain, too….
  • A trip to the New York State Museum with the kids.
  • And lots of poetry, blogging, and plotting.

Anything new and different in your world this week? Have you got plans for the next? Ever have an abscessed tooth (I hope not!)? Drop me a line, and tell me what’s up in your world!

Assessing My Nest: ROW80 Round 4 October Goals

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Can you believe it’s FINALLY HERE?!?!?

I absolutely love that new-round smell, don’t you? Especially in autumn, when it’s edged in the silver iciness of coming frost, and accompanied by the sound of geese chattering away as they wing south, and the delicious palette of colors…

I’m thrilled to be back for Round 4. It’s not that I don’t like the less focused time of the break, but that I really love these 80 day sessions – and I’m always eager to get to the next one while we’re in the place between.

I didn’t stop writing – writing is my delight, and my release, and my conversation with myself and everyone else. It’s what I do. But it’s different between rounds, and I prefer the in-round place, the chatting about my goals, and reading about everyone else’s, the communal energy being shared, not in competition, but in an environment of mutual encouragement.

It feels like home.

I’m glad to be home.

As I posted yesterday, my theme for Round 4 is Nesting. I’ll be paying attention to the components that make up my writing nest, and my family nest, as the season shifts from summer to winter, the days grow shorter, and we begin to spend more time at home and indoors. I’ll be wrapping up some existing goals, moving others forward, and taking on a few new challenges, too.

Yup, there’s a lot of goal here. I roll like that – I like options. Lots of options to fit lots of circumstances and lots of moods. Because, well, you never know, and I’m the wide-angle type…

At each update, I’ll include only those goals I addressed during that session, so as not to overwhelm anyone. I’ll assess my progress on all October goals at the end of the month, and my progress toward my 2014 goals at the end of the round.


  • Queue all November posts for Coffee and Conversation and WIPpet Wednesday features by October 31.

  • Blog all 31 OctPoWriMo poems.

  • Share each feature post to 3 diverse places.

  • Maintain blogging schedule; find a comment rhythm that supports a 2-3 day turnaround.


  • Complete rough draft of Perchance to Dream.

  • Finish plotting The Earth Doth Move (for NaNoWriMo 2014) by October 3

  • Continue first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish.

  • Complete readthrough for Blood and Breath.

  • Complete OctPoWriMo Challenge; write 31 poems in October.


  • Do first revision pass on each poem in Queen of My Infinite Spaces.

  • Complete Deep Revision process for three short stories.

  • Continue with on-page pre-revision notations for BAB.



  • Continue the family room reset.

  • Explore the 52 Weeks of CHaOS program.

  • Continue cleaning and organizing my study.

  • Take time at least once a week to simply be in the space, as it is.

  • Organize laptop files in a rational, intuitive manner. Aim for 15 minutes/week.

  • File or delete Inbox email backlog; maintain at a manageable level.

  • Continue using calendar app to manage my time.

  • Read Smart Change.


  • Continue to meet and make plans with friends.




  • At least one workout at the Y each week.

  • At least one strenuous home/yardtending activity each week.

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

  • At the Y; at least 4 weight-bearing exercises/machines for arms/legs/core weekly.

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

  • Work up to 2 miles, at any speed for the second mile.

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

  • Build toward one half mile walking/jogging on the track each week.
  • Add time on elliptical, arc trainer, and/or rowing machines: goal is 10 minutes on each, by end of round.
  • Set up Wii balance board and use for 10 minutes at least twice weekly.
  • Maintain or reduce body weight – monthly checks.
  • Plan at least two monthly excursions that promote physical activity.


  • Maintain existing nutrition goals (smoothies/salads and yogurt/nuts).

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

  • Eat whole grains, in any form, at least 3 times each week.

  • Eat broth or vegetable-based soup at least once each week.

  • Read Intuitive Eating.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

  • Complete and submit my sponsor post. Target attained!

  • Visit my “team” twice weekly.

  • Visit other ROWers as time and energy permit.

And we’re off – come see who’s ROWing with me!

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!



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.



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


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.


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.