Coffee and Conversation: The Nature of a Boy

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

It’s Monday again – and, around here, that means it’s time for Coffee and Conversation.

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

I wanted to see what those lives were, and to share my own…

Here, each Monday, I strive to reach that understanding through offering ideas and tidbits from my life. Settle in for a while, and share something of yours.


Have you ever looked at your child and seen past, present, and future, interwoven?

Jeremiah is twelve, today. “ It’s my birthday. In one more year, I’ll be a teenager, Mom.” Those are the first words he said to me, after midnight, when he hugged me. He’s a charmer. Always was.

He has also been focused, self-determining, innately aware of physics, generous, and intensely curious about how things work since he was a baby.

Baby boy with vacuum!

Today, nearly five years into our lives as an unschooling family, in a home where passions and nature are primary focuses, I support Jeremiah. I meet him where he is – and that takes a good deal of attention and intention on my part, since he is at an age where he can easily be simultaneously very grown, and very young, in the same breath. When his research, in a single day, might cover Bronycon, the legal driving age in our state, and anything in between.

For the seven years before that shift, I was, a mother who often said “No!”, slapped little hands, punished, or spoke unkindly to this small person who was so engaged in his own becoming.

I acted as though I who got to decide which parts of his nature were acceptable, and which not, and as though I could change the parts that didn’t suit me,or pick and choose the parts of his nature he would express, and when and how he would express them.

I mentioned up there that he was self-determining, right? My efforts to force Jeremiah never swayed him, even when he was a baby. He went for that yellow can of fish food hundreds (maybe thousands!) of times. He stood up 126 times in his crib after I laid him down (yes, I counted, and I was mad, and now I shake my head and wonder why I didn’t just pick him up instead, while he was still small enough to do that.

What is this charm you speak of?!

Parts of him grew into who he is today.

  • As a toddler, he stacked nineteen cans of cat food in a tower, intently focused.

  • At three, he strung “sticky tape” from point to point in the dining room, silent and fully engaged for nearly an hour, never tangling it.

  • At seven, he was fascinated with Crayon Physics.

  • At twelve, he is a fan of The Big Bang Theory, Schrodinger’s Cat, Nova, and string theory.


  • As a toddler, he was furious I would not let him play with tools and small fasteners.
  • As a preschooler, he did “exhiriments” at the kitchen table with coins, rocks, and water.
  • At six, he perfected bubble mix and lemonade.
  • At nine, he was building vending machines, time machines, and teleporters.
  • At ten, he began building with snap circuits.
  • At twelve, he is an accomplished Minecrafter, a seasoned researcher, and often organizes group experiments, “Can we move around in a circle fast enough to make a whirlpool?”



Sharing Elijah with Annalise.

And one more:


  • As a toddler, Jeremiah shared toys, cookies, snuggles, and laughter freely.
  • As a preschooler, he was quick to learn to share our time, energy, and affection with a baby sister.
  • Once he had an allowance, he often used it to benefit others, and loved to donate change.
  • Now, he often mentors others in technology, writes reviews, and shares his talents freely.

It’s taken twelve years for this collection of bits and pieces to coalesce to this point. In the coming years, it’s likely that these details will change, and change again, as he continues to grow and learn, deepening some passions, adapting others, leaving others behind.



Ingenuity and determination in a sword and buckler, self-made.

What will he be? Himself. Beyond that, I can’t say for sure, and I don’t think he can, either, at this point. He’s twelve, and there is still so much to learn in order to become a man – and long after.


What I can say is that who he is, and who he will be, are extensions of that baby who loved vacuums, who got right up and started interacting with the world, who has always wanted to make things, and understand things, and share things. Every time I honored those things in him, I fed his nature, and his becoming. And, every time I didn’t honor them, I placed an unneeded obstacle in the path of that nature, and hobbled his becoming.



Beautiful Sunshine Boy.

Today, as I celebrate this strong and capable boy, as he comes nearer to manhood, that’s what I want to remember – that,in honoring who he is and what he loves right now, I am helping him to embrace all the unique things that make him who he is, and who he will be…the man who grew from the baby I first met, twelve years ago today.

Have you ever had this feeling, with your child? Can you see the child you were in who you are today? I’ll sip and listen while you share!



Claw machine scientist, and those who will benefit from his research!

Quietly Celebrating Twelve: ROW80 Update, September 1, 2013

Curious? Click the icon!

What is ROW80, you ask? Why, it’s Kait Nolan‘s baby, The Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life!

How do you (or do you?) celebrate birthdays at your house?

Tomorrow, Jeremiah will awaken to his last preteen year, eager to greet aspects of adult life while still thoroughly enjoying his childhood.

 He and I will get into the front seat of the car, where he will at last legally be allowed to ride, and go to a local coffee shop – he’s anticipating chamomile tea, and a BLT – then to the store to buy Equestria Girls, the My Little Pony movie, because, along with his love of Minecraftand physics and technology, my boy is also a proud Brony. His larger present – the new Skylanders Swap Force game – will be here next month.

We’ll come home with something sweet, and spend the rest of our Labor Day on various hometending and family activities. I unearthed the living room table yesterday, so there will likely be games and art occurring there.

It will be a simple celebration for a minimalist guy. As Sheldon Cooper might say, “No muss, no fuss, no coconuts!”

Lovin’ on my boy! Photo credit; Adam Smith.

A few (new) words about my goals:

  • I post only those goals which I made progress on.

  • Current primary focus:editing.

  • Secondary focus:writing.

  • Tertiary focus: blogging.

  • Networking will fit into the smaller spaces between larger projects.

Here’s an accounting of my ROW80 Goals Progress…and what will be next!


Continue uploading photo batches to Flickr, post-editing. On target.

  • Ongoing goal.

Edit Albany Institute pictures for Wordless Wednesday post. On target.

  • Batch of 15 edited.

  • Ongoing.

Draft 2 more Coffee and Conversation posts. On target..

  • Jeremiah’s birthday post drafted..

  • Ongoing.

Schedule both Saturday’s Share posts by Wednesday, August 21. Late, but on target now.

Post Wordless Wednesday and WIPpet Wednesday posts. On target.

  • Ongoing.

Reflecting on physics play…

Keep up with comments and sharing. Target attained!

Editing (With Cathy Yardley‘s Rock Your Revisions :) On target.

Chameleon’s Dish :

Take general on-page notes. On target.

  • Complete through Scene #39; page 158/249.

  • Slower than hoped, but many revelations! =)

  • Ongoing until all scenes read through and notated.

Continue list of per-scene attention items. On target.

  • Completed through Scene #38 (sans #37); page 140/249.

  • Ongoing until complete; placeholders for pending scenes.

Warrior Boy, age 8.


To Be or Not to Be – Write at least 25,000 words in August. Target attained!

  • 25,009/ 25,000 words!

  • 3,922 new words.

  • WIP total: 162, 692/ ~200,000 words. Under 40K to go! =)

  • Write at least 25,000 new words in September.

The Stars are Fire: Write Scene 23, Vaara’s Pinch Point #1 (beginning by 8/22). Target attained!

  • 2,872 new words.

  • WIP total: 55,744/~100,000 words.

  • Plan/Adapt Scene 24, Niaan’s Pinch Point #1 (beginning by 8/29). Target already attained!

Perchance to Dream: Write Scene #16; Amanda’s Plot Point #1(beginning by 8/29). Started two days late, now on target.

  • 922 new words.

  • WIP total: 59,053/100.000

  • Ongoing.

When he was five – and very silly! =)

Business-y Stuff:

Maintain sponsor visits. Target attained!

Sunday, August 25 – neglected during NEUC:

Wednesday, August 28:

  • Ongoing.

Add Social Sciences to quarterlies. Target attained!

  • Annalise’s Geography section complete, which means that this goal has been met.
  • Ongoing.

Mail Peer Reviews to school district. Target attained!

  • Jim mailed them Thursday. Receipt notification requested.

  • Complete IHIPs by September 10th; submit once approval packet is received.

A born Big Brother!

Add Visual Arts to Quarterlies. Target attained!

  • Visual Arts, Music, Foreign Language Arts (FLA), Health and Safety, Physical Education, and Attendance complete for both.

  • Reports complete/emailed to school district.

  • Complete all long-term updates (general, blogging, and noveling).

Read, comment, and share WANA113 blogs. On target.

  • Read/commented on one; saved as a potential future share.

  • Ongoing.

If you had one birthday wish, what would it be?

I’m so looking forward to meeting the mysterious entity who will become….Follower #105!

To peek in on, and/or encourage other ROWers, click here!

Making life brighter, one grin at a time! =D

Saturday’s Share: Jeremiah, Straddling the Divide…

Jeremiah,Harry, and a DSi -August 2013. Photo credit: Sylvia Woodman.

Welcome to Saturday’s Share – Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Today’s Share is of Jeremiah, who is days away from turning twelve.

For me, this image encapsulates Jeremiah as he is today, on the figurative eve of huge changes. It was taken by my sisterfriend, Sylvia, at the Northeast Unschooling Conference, just over a week before Jeremiah’s twelfth birthday. He was sharing his newly-acquired DSi with Sylvia’s son, his best friend Harry, who is seven.

Miah, as he finishes his eleventh year, thinks that girls make good friends, and that, just maybe, he might someday soon be interested in them in other ways. He feels it approaching, but he’s not in a hurry. He’s got plenty to focus on.

His big love is science. He’s innately adept at physics, finds chemistry intriguing, and is passionate about technology – particularly, the technology of gaming.

We live on a modest income, and technology is a sometimes expensive passion. When Jeremiah wants something, he researches it, and if the want is worth the cost, he might negotiate for an advance on his allowance, or do some extra things around the house for pay. The summer he was 9, he arranged to work several days for his grandfather. He set up his clothes, lunch, and alarm the night before, was never late, and did as he was asked, taking only the breaks he was offered, and he learned a good deal about building, plumbing, and yard care.

He did this to earn the money for a 3DS, which we had offered as a Christmas gift, but which he was determined to purchase, in-store, in his chosen color, on his tenth birthday.

And he did.

Sometimes, a new acquisition takes a little extra time, because he tends to be generous with his resources, and buys things for his sister and his friends.

Jeremiah is generous by nature – with his time, his affection, his attention, his smiles, and his laughter. He’s willing to help around the house and yard, willing to hug his parents and sister – even in public, even though he’s nearly as tall as me. Tokens of sweetness and love are something he offers daily, and intentionally.

At the conference, Jeremiah had some spending money – most afforded by our budget, along with a little he saved himself. He decided to spend most of it to buy this DSi and a few games from a friend. In turn, he sold one game he didn’t want (along with his generosity, Jeremiah has a keen sense of personal economy!).

Jeremiah is even-tempered, and tends to consider things carefully before acting. After he’s made his choice, he is inclined to look upon his choices in positive terms, and to enjoy what they bring to his life. He didn’t regret the inability to buy other things during our trip; he made peace with his decision at the outset, and spent happy hours playing alone, with friends, and sharing with others.

In the picture, he’s in a familiar role -games mentor for a younger child, being generous with his time, his knowledge, and even his new treasure. His hand on his buddy’s shoulder, invites him in, lets him know he’s wanted and welcome.

Jeremiah does have that way about him, of welcoming others in a gentle, friendly, unassuming way – and making life warmer and sweeter just by being here.

Just as he’s done for nearly twelve years, now.

He’s straddling the edge of the divide between child and man, now. I can hear it in his voice, and in his ideas. I can see it in a leaning-out of his face, and in the ways he chooses to spend his time.

Sooner than seems possible now, he will be a man, a man grown from this right-now boy. So, today, as I smile at this picture, I remind myself to to see him, not as the child he has been, or the man he will become, but as he is right now…


Do you have specific images or memories of your own or your children’s growing up, or ones that seem to capture perfectly who they are or were at a certain point in their lives?  I love when readers come to share bits of their lives, because then we all get the chance to know one another better in the sharing. =D

Coffee and Conversation: Because of Pokemon (reblogged from The Unfettered Life)


Grb cuppa and a comfy set, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – and, around here,  that means it’s time for Coffee and Conversation.


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


I wanted to see what those lives were, and to share my own…


Here, each Monday, I strive to reach that understanding through offering ideas and tidbits from my life.  Settle in for a while, and share something of yours…

Without Star Trek, I would not be as fully who I am as I am today.
Without Pokemon, Jeremiah would be less fully who he is, too.
It is not for any of us to dictate what should fire the soul and imagination of another.
It is for us to treat our passions, and others’, as valid portions of our lives, perhaps the parts that define us most wholly and clearly. It is for all of us to claim, and help others to claim, the great loves of our lives – regardless of whether they seem utterly wasteful to others.
Click the link below to continue reading!

The Unfettered Life: Because of Pokemon…..

Jeremiah playing Pokemon HeartGold, about 9 years old….

Read a Little…Rockin’ Revelations: ROW80 Update, June 16, 2013

Curious? Click here!

Along with writing, I  took the kids to the playground, at Annalise’s request  on our one sunny day.

Jeremiah and I watched this TEDMed Talk together,  inspiring  deep conversation (and an interest in watching more of this type of programming), and lots of hugs.

I had insights into his mind, and,  I was struck by the way he thinks, expresses himself, and looks to the future.  He’s growing up, and it’s fascinating to be a part of.

I also read two books on my KindleCathy Yardley‘s Rock Your Plot and Rock Your Revisions. These seem  just-right  for the way that I write, and I will  use them experimentally for my July Camp NaNoWriMo efforts, and for the August and September revisions of Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell.

As we close in on the last days of the round, I am seeing the next steps, while also deeply enjoying where I am now.

Here’s  a peek at my recent doings:


Complete Blood and Breath by June 15. - Target attained June 16!

  • Chapter 19; Scenes 2 -4 and Epilogue completed.
  • It took five years, but i have a completed rough draft!
  • WIP Total: Completed at 103, 825 of ~100,000 words.

Complete To Be or Not to Be (double volume) by October 31. -On target.

  • (Will net two complete WIPs, once sorted).
  • Write 25,000 words /non-NaNo month, till complete.
  • Chapters Thirty - Thirty-Two completed.
  • Chapter Thirty – Three planned.
  • Monthly total: 10,236 of 25,000 words.
  • WIP total: 122,985 of ~ 200,000 words.

A to Z post stories -Complete by June 30.

Plan WIPS.

Trueborn Weft (no title yet): -On Target.

  • Completed Niaan’s story arc –14 of 14 stories completed.
  • Added arc and planning notes to Scrivener files.
  • Deciding the beginning point and  general flow.
  • Rock Your Plot I read and highlighted this book during this session.
  • I have done the exercises for part one.
  • I’ll continue on, hoping to finish all of them, for this WIP, by July 1, in time for CampNaNo.
  • I will then  have a flexible, very useful plot in place before beginning, for the first time ever!

Trueborn Warp (Working title: Perchance to Dream): – This will be  carried to Round 3, I think.

  • Began Spock‘s story arc – 1 of 13 stories completed.
  • Created planning notes folder, file, and began notes of early impressions.
  • Read Rock Your Plot.


Continue throughout round:

Sharing posts from all blogs. – Target attained!

  • I did better than last session, even getting a bit adventurous with my hashtags! =)

Commenting according to my posted schedules. - On target. 

  • I am getting more comments, and may need to evaluate my schedule and reply process – I began answering comments as part of my cycle on Thursday, throughout the day Friday, and on into Saturday, then Sunday. Hmmmmmn…..

Completed by May 15:

Create resource lists for all features, and add to them in an organic and ongoing way. Very late, but on target for end of round.

  • Nothing yet.  Next session.

Completed by end of round:

Build and maintain scheduled posts two weeks ahead for each feature.  Moving this goal to Round 3. – pending.

By End of Round:

Draft plan for website hosting expenses (where will money come from?). On target.

  • I will be saving most of my spending money. Currently: $240 of $350 saved.
  • No new money this session, thus far.Only $110 to go!


Continue throughout round:

ROW80 updates and sponsor visits: Target attained!

  • Visited a few extras this session, to make up for so many late visits the last few days.

Comment on posts and share as inspired. Target attained!

  • Yes, and yes.

Use in features where appropriate. Target attained!

  • Yes, one.

Create discussions around new thoughts. Target attained!

  • Yes.

Facebook and Facebook Groups : On target.

I fell away from my groups over the last months. Reconnect, participate, share.

  • I poked my nose in here and there, and not much else. Busy writing and blogging.


Visit on Tuesdays and Fridays; read, share, tweet, comment. Target attained!

  • Wednesday -extra happy day on TweetDeck.
  • Also Wednesday, I downloaded Tweetcaster for my Kindle, but haven’t played with it yet.
  • Remembered my Friday, and spent most of the day in #wordmongering sessions….to the benefit of my word counts! Yeah, two stones with one bird! =)


Continue participating in activities and connecting with friends. This tends to slide during busy writing times; take advantage of natural lulls to feed my social spirit. On target.

  • Get-togethers seem iffy, at the moment.
  • Plans for taking the kids to a movie cementing.
  • We will host my nephew, age 13, July5-8 (Annalise’s birthday)
  • The kids and I will be gathering with many unschooling friends for early July camping.
  • Hoping to get together with a childhood friend who was Lise’s Parelli horsemanship instructor a few years back.

And how about you? Are you happy with what you’ve created, lately?

My most recent fortnightly (or so) long term goals evaluation.

Progress on my Blogging Action Plan

Progress on my Noveling Action Plan

It’s a BLOG HOP!


Wordless Wednesday: A Look Behind


September 15, 2010.

Wordless Wednesday: A Look Behind

On April  1,  I began three challenges, and have not yet downloaded this week’s photos.

I thought, instead, that it would be fun to take a look back at my very first Wordless Wednesday post, from almost three years ago.  Such little children lived here, and Margot the late Manx makes an appearance, too…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

via The Unfettered Life: Wordless Wednesday #1.

Intuitive Trust -#WANACon #ROW80 – February 24, 2013


Curious? Click here!

As some of you may know, my theme for this round is trust – trusting myself, life, those around me, new opportunities – and my own intuition. Trusting my gut, my heart, and my soul when they are whispering songs, stories, and wishes into my mind’s ear…

This trust has already led me in some interesting and unexpected directions this round….

  • Joining the WANA113 Blogging for Brand class. I had been hesitant to invest money in building my writing skills, so this was a leap of faith.
  • Shifting my goals as a result of my first grokking for this class.
  • A few weeks ago, after some wee-hours mulling, I told Jim that attending a writer’s conference was on my list of things to do within the next few years. The truth was, I would have loved to schedule one then and there…

Fulfilling her gorilla dreams….

Trust tells me that my family still needs me too much for that. Both kids still remember the 30 hours I was away when Eden Mabee and I went to Maine on a quick mommies’ getaway. They were 6 and 3 then – they are now 11 and 8.

Our budget already accommodates two major trips each year – Unschoolers Rock the Campground and the Northeast Unschooling Conference, which the kids and I attend. Until I am earning a more sizable writing income, another hotel trip is a little beyond us.

Only a few days after I stated that intention, I first heard about WANACon – a completely online weekend writer’s conference. I knew in that moment that I needed to be a part of it. I checked the prices and dates. The entire weekend seemed like more than my family could spare me, and a bit of a stretch for a budget that is already largely spoken for for the next several months. But it fell during Jim’s vacation, and so he could be the in-charge parent for one day.

I’m inspired by their delight in learning.

My gut said to choose Day One, and so I did, attending these sessions:

  • Publishing 101 – Also with Jared Kuritz

There were other sessions I missed (damn that need for sleep!), but there will be recordings available, so I can watch them later, and it will be like a conference bonus. =)

There were nice breaks between sessions, and Jim left me with a tidyish house (best we ever get, really, and then rarely!), and took the kids out for the day, so that I could attend without distractions or guilt – - have I ever mentioned that I really, REALLY love this guy?

Learning to value my own learning as much as theirs…

Each session had a video link for the host, and most had a slideshow, too. There was a chat box, and a place for notes. Jenny Hansen even got all fancy and shared pages with us! People could talk, although I was feeling a bit shy and didn’t. Something about hearing too much of my own voice in an atypically quiet house, I think.

I learned a tremendous amount – and I can’t say too much about it, because it’s still all aswirl, working its way into who I am and how I see myself and my writing…I know that there is great treasure in the grokking of it, and I don’t want to rush it.

I know that I will find a way to attend both days next year (I keep saying next year as a not so subliminal message to Kristen Lamb that there should absolutely be a next year!). I know that I will be making many changes and tweaks as time goes on…

The Capital Rotunda ceiling from below…

So what about ROW80?


Homeschool reports:

  • This allows my mind processing time. Finished Social Sciences section of Jeremiah’s report, about 2/3 complete.


  • Have rough draft done by Wednesday, February 27.

WANA 113:

  • Nothing new written….pondering word cloud grokking.
  • Set to the side for WANACon.

Targets: Word cloud grokking submitted by Sunday, March 3.

Connect with all classmates by Sunday, March 10.

Coral in the invertebrate house – at the National Zoo

Other stuff :

I have an intense need for input right now. I’m READING – lots!

Vinny Reams Lincoln – first sculpture the US government commissioned from a female artist.

Queen of My Infinite Spaces -

  • Wrote conclusion.


  • Dedication and acknowledgments by March 1, which will give me a completed rough draft.
  • Look into NaNoEdMo by February 28, and decide if I want to participate.

750 Words -

  • Each day – exposition and fanfic (alternate scenes for WIP Bounded).

Sponsor visits: I’m up to date on these.

What’s next…?

  • Finish homeschooling reports and submit to school district.

WANA 113 -

  • Connecting with other classmates
  • Complete word cloud grokking


  • Dedication and early acknowledgments.

Other stuff:

  • Continue reading. Do exercises in Steering.
  • Work on action plans for blogging and noveling.
  • Submit guest post and “something else” by month’s end….
  • Adjustments and changes to blogs and social media will be gradual, but ongoing.

“We found a rubber duckie in the fountain!”

So, how is your round going? Are you still humming along with your original goals, or charting a new course?

It’s a BLOG HOP!

Trusting a New Vision – #ROW80 Update 2/17/13

Curious? Click here!

Okay – I promised on Wednesday that there would be some major changes coming along today, and now it is time to deliver on that… I am in the midst of Kristen Lamb’s Blogging for Brand class, and have envisioned my ideal writing life, setting incremental goals to move me toward it. I shared the grand vision here. The first increment is the end of the class, which is roughly concurrent with the end of this round. These new goals look quite different than those I originally chose for this challenge, as they focus on moving me toward my big life goal. I had become accustomed to setting my goals in 80day cycles – the length of one round. Although I tried to choose goals that were aiming toward something, I hadn’t really defined what that something was, so I was moving nearer in a scattered fashion….so energy, time and focus were not being used as efficiently as they might be… I am shifting to these goals, and setting aside the previous (available, if you are curious and scroll down a bit), and I feel like I’m breathing fresher, purer air. I am now aimed at a target I can feel, and see clearly, rather than an ambiguous figure I can barely sense, hiding in the thick forest growth far ahead of me….

Sylvia’s miso vegetable soup….and Quirkle tiles….

In the meantime, I am still wrapping up my Big Three: WANA 113 –

  • Connected with all other class members through friending or friend requests.
  • Began connecting to other class members through social media – this will be an ongoing project, when time and focus permit.
  • Commented on others’ assignments, discussions,and blogs – this will also be ongoing, if intermittent.
  • Posted twice to my WANATribe blog.
  • More writing toward the novel and blogging action plans (detailed in my revised goals). Target is to have these completed by month’s end.
  • Finished reading the first lesson, and am taking a day or two to grok it before moving on to the second.

Editing Finding Esta

  • Completed Chapter 26 – 72% of the project.

Homeschool reporting -

  • Finished Annalise’s, excepting the attendance.
  • Will begin Jeremiah’s later tonight…

What’s going on? Life’s full and busy. The children and I are visiting New Jersey friends, the Woodmans, this weekend – by the time Sunday is over, though, we will be home and Jim will be on vacation! There’s been:

  • Quirkle
  • Stimulating conversation that challenges me to think and rethink my assumptions
  • Walks in the dark with glow sticks
  • Nerf gun store stocked and operated by four children, ages 6 -11
  • Monster High doll, baby doll, and fashion play
  • Gorilla rides by Jeremiah
  • Skylanders and television
  • And a LOT of laughter!

Quirkle game in progress….

We arrived here at about 8:45pm on Friday, and were all up until close to noon on Saturday….a few hours’ sleep, and then we were up again…in a few hours, we’ll begin the five hour drive home, and Jim will officially be on vacation…since his last one was spent like this, we’re really looking forward to time just to be together, this year! Other stuff….


Purim hamantaschen in the making….

What’s coming up…. With Jim on vacation, I will have the luxury of a second on-call parent for much of the next two weeks, so I am panning accordingly:

  • I plan to finish both the Esta edit and Jeremiah’s rough draft this week, so that I can place my focus on my class, and on WANACon Day One on Friday. Then, I think I will relax a bit on Saturday, giving myself time to absorb.
  • The rest of my round will be devoted to the new goals and my class. There’s plenty to do, and I suspect I will be full of goodness, with the two lessons still unread, a photo editing site to play with, another grokking to complete…and those goals I set and am beginning to pursue….and whatever else Kristen has in store for us in the next weeks!

And, one final little bit of niftiness, to round out this Sunday report…. I received an email from a publication I submitted a poem to last year. They did not accept it, but this was the most personalized and encouraging rejection letter I have received yet! It included not only things I can improve upon, but also some very specific praise about the individuality of my cadence and rhythm. =) They’ve invited me to submit there again, and I shall…after a very thorough rereading of guidelines and sample copies!

It’s a BLOG HOP!

Trusting in See-Saws – #ROW80 Update 2/6/13

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Sometimes, life is a bit like a seesaw, and I strive to find a balance as things shift and swirl….and I am inspired by a girl I know, to whom balance is a natural, integral part of every moment…


Trying something just a little new, here, tonight….

I am at 750 words, typing up my ROW80 update, while in the midst of editing, report writing, and contemplating what is proving to be a very challenging, soul-opening first pondering in the Blogging for Brand class.

I am low on time and focus for other things, just now, and so I am getting in my words, and my update, this way.

I should warn you – there are not likely to be many pithy thoughts in this writing….

For this session, I pretty much set aside everything but my current Big Three:

Completing the Second Edit of Finding Esta -

I am really enjoying this third read-through (and to say that at the third reading within the last month and a half is saying something pretty terrific for Shah Wharton‘s storytelling abilities!). I’ve found a way to edit that doesn’t give Amazon a chance to lose my work, and it’s working well on both sides of the intervening ocean.

  • I am currently poised to begin editing Chapter 12.
  • I have hit my target of three chapters a day, each day.
  • I am 28% of the way through this project.

I am planning to have this project done by February 15, because the children and I will be heading to New Jersey for that weekend, and, when we return, Jim’s vacation begins (for those who knew me at this point last year; Jim’s motorcycle-deer collision was at the eve of his “vacation” last year, so we are very eager to NOT have him in the hospital, this year!).


Annalise, at 4, weighing it out at the Saratoga Childrens’ Museam, Saratoga Springs, NY

Homeschool Reporting:

I have had a tendency, over the years, to allow this project to menace and loom over me. There was a time when this was not so – but that was before we had two utterly unexpected, and completely unfounded, allegations made to Child Protective Services. We strongly suspect we know who called, and the reasons had much more to do with broken interpersonal relationships than they did with how we are raising our children.

The social workers who visited were able to see that, but the school district we are required to register with and report to got nervous when they were called to verify that we were in compliance with the law…and the result of that was that, for more than two years, everything we did was minutely scrutinized, and many demands were made that were not in keeping with the law (which I have been reading since 11 year old Jeremiah was 2!).

So, I became paranoid, itemizing everything we did, and making it hugely clear that Jeremiah and Annalise are indeed being afforded “an education at least substantively equivalent to that which they would receive in a public school” – and in spades….the simple fact is that no classroom, no matter how well appointed, can compare to the big wide world of choices and connections available outside school walls…..

I digress, and in a big way.

The point is, I am now scaling back the reporting. There is so much evidence, publicly accessible, of what these children are doing, learning, and becoming, that I can provide far more proof than I’ll ever need to, already.

Annalise’s Tower of Plaza, from the summer she turned 5….this girl has inborn balance. Me, not so much, but I’m learning!

So, I am just giving a cursory report, this time, with a few general ways in which we have met each point in the children’s IHIPs. At the end of each, I am noting

This objective was met for this quarter.

Schools and other bureaucratic systems like to read that, maybe more than the details. It gives them something to tick off in their minds.

  • I have decided to do Annalise’s report first, then Jeremiah’s.
  • I have reached the Social Sciences section; about a third of the way through.

I am hoping to have the rough draft of Annalise’s report completed by February 10.

Blogging for Brand class –

I am going to upgrade my participation in this class, on the reasoning that this first assignment is already shifting so much for me (and that’s with the editing and reporting, which seem to be limiting my energy for getting out and about at WANATribe.)

  • I have spent some time in freewriting, to get my thoughts out and whirling.
  • I have reread my Prime Directives, because they seem to hold the key to what I want my writing to do.
  • I have pulled the written segments out, reread them, and given them a loose structure.
  • There will be more writing on this, but I will share whatever I have ready with the class on Sunday, even if, as I suspect, I am a long way from finished gnawing at this bone.

Upside down, hanging’ out on a swing, age 4.75. I love the girl with the dancing eyes!

I’ve done some other little things, but I will wait until Sunday to post them….it’s nearly 10pm already, and Jim has just gotten home.

Until I have my Big Three closer to completed, I am putting all other goals on standby status.

Are you deep in your goals, puttering around, or somewhere else….I love hearing your stories!

It’s a BLOG HOP!

Truststorms #ROW80 Update 2/3/13


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It’s been a bit stormy and wild here, lately…dustups may be par for the course, over a series of windy days…

I completed editing Finding Esta, and sent the file off to Shah Wharton…or so I thought. Turns out I sent her back the same master copy she sent me. When I tried to send the version that I had edited, I couldn’t download it. So I searched my hard drive for the appropriate file…opened it – and, three times over, encountered a Runtime Error that shut down the entire Kindle Reader app.


Fortunately, my mind sees words, so I have begun recreating the process via my LibreOffice program….I can copy and paste, or save to whatever system works best for her…and I can send a few chapters at a time, so she’s not waiting for everything another dozen days or so – I am aiming to complete three chapters a day…

There’s a lot of upheaval going on, in my writing world – good upheaval, but it makes for some stress and floundering as I work out how to fit in all the bustle…

  • The kids’ quarterly homeschooling reports are due on March 1, and I have joined Kristen Lamb’sWANA 113 Blogging for Brand Class. The first assignment has already posted, and I still haven’t gotten my contacts listed, or stopped by to say hello to my classmates.

  • At the end of the month, I will be spending a day with WANACon.

In non-writing stuff, we have two kittens to spay this month, before spring brings them into heat, and the male cats in the neighborhood sniffing and peeing around our door.

Deep breaths.

It will all settle, and there may be rainbows….

The skies will clear ahead…..

What I’ve done this week:

  • Finished editing Finding Esta (and begun again).

  • Finished my weekly blog posts, flash fiction, visiting, and reading.

  • Synopsis scenes and pre-rewrite notes for Bounded by a Nutshell.

  • Synopsis scenes, prewriting notes, and two new scenes forSima Garo Provides.

  • Wrote an introductory message at Blogging for Brand page, and poked around; read and began first assignment.

  • Edited sidebar and added to blogroll.

  • Finally managed to get to the Y with the kids.

  • Hometending, firewood, began Jeremiah’s bedroom in a tiny way.

Blogs I visited:

Sunday, January 27 Updates:

Wednesday, January 30 Updates:

Writing Article for this session:

Added to Blogroll:

Tumult can be beautiful and inspiring….

Blog entries for this week:

Write at least one post weekly for three major blogs (shanjeniah; TruebornJottings, and The Unfettered Life.

Trueborn Jottings:


The Unfettered Life:

What I will be up to next session:

  • Adjusting to the new projects for the month….this may take a week or two.

  • Blogging for Brand – complete assignment and get to know at least three other writers.

  • Kids’ reports, and keeping them from becoming a huge monster that sucks my time…

  • Work on editing Finding Esta, again…

  • Noveling, blogging, flash fiction stuff.

  • Researching spaying options…

  • Exercise and hometending.

That feels like plenty, for this tumultuous time….things will settle out, again, and then, there will be more…

For now, though, I am giving priority to the class, the editing, and the reports, and I will see where that carries me over the next days…

Kinetic art of the natural kind…light and shadow, together….

My bi-weekly in-depth evaluation

Are your writing skies cloudy? Clear?  Are you like me – hovering in the midst of it all….? 

It’s a Blog Hop!