Saturday’s Share: Book Love

A small sampling of my bookish love…..That’s my D.H.Lawrence over there on the right. Circa 2010.

I learned to read at 4 years old, but I know I loved books long before that.

My parents kept a bookshelf in the short turn of hallway just opposite my bedroom door, so, throughout my childhood, those books greeted me each time I left my room.

They were also there when I was punished, made to stand in the corner by the door.  I was supposed, then, to keep my face aimed closely into the corner, but that generally inspired a type of claustrophobic reaction born of the encroaching walls, the smell of the paint, and the moisture of my own breathing.

Those books were a solace, then, something new to focus on, a way to get my face out of the corner.  Long before I was allowed to touch those books (off-limits until shortly before I was a teen), I was reading the titles on their spines in fascinated intrigue: Lord Foul’s Bane.  The World From Rough Stones. Sybilso many more, and then the rows of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.

I read some.  Lord Foul’s Bane drew me completely into the world of a leprous antihero for whom white gold brings magic…Sybil showed me the depths to which a human mind can be broken…

I read many stories, generally those about animals and children, from those Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Favorites were The Camerons, about a poor Scottish Family, and The Diddakoi, about a half-gypsy girl.

My own bookshelves are a constantly evolving affair, and, these days, my Kindle Fire carries a small but growing library of titles a well, in a streamlined, tidy, and highly portable way.

What I love about this image is the life in this short row of books.  It’s hard to read the title of Stranger in a Strange Land – I’ve read that book so many times, carried it around the country, so many times, that it fell apart completely sometime after this picture was taken.

Some of the books on this shelf left me, unread, to go on to their next home, another unknown chapter in their lives.  Some are still on the same shelf, now in my office space in the making, and others are scattered elsewhere in the house.

Looking at my bookshelves today would reveal different titles, and a more tumbled appearance, because it’s been a writing season, and things were grabbed up and plunked down again in whirlwind style…

Still, even cluttered and rumpled, my bookshelves hold my friends, the potential for long visits and life-altering discoveries…time to commune with others, and deepen myself…

What’s on your bookshelves, or tucked safely in your e-reader? If you’re inspired, share your stories and links to your bookshelf photos in the comment receptacle below! =)

Trusting Through the Ebb – #ROW80 Update, 2/13/13

Curious? Click here!

It’s been an odd session, and I seemed to have trouble getting to, and focusing on, writing projects. It’s an ebb tide – I am refilling, gathering, readying, grokking…lots of projects, moving gradually forward…

  • On Sunday, I had a migraine that made editing unthinkable, and writing unlikely – so I used that time to answer a few blog comments, until I couldn’t, anymore.

  • I spent Tuesday with my lifelong friend, Eden Mabee – working out together for the first time in years, having dinner (avocado bacon turkey burgers – yum!) at Ruby Tuesday, then heading down to the Desmond Hotel in Albany, to enjoy strawberries Napoleon at Scrimshaw, a fine dining restaurant, then head out to the covered and heated courtyard, a magical place of trees, streetlamps, brick, a large fountain pool, and koi. Ostensibly, we were going to write, but we did more chatting, photograph hunting, and peace-absorbing. I am completely okay with that – what a lovely respite from the midwinter browns and grays….

  • Today, Annalise needed to be near me. She was seldom further than arm’s reach, all day, except when I was hometending, and that made concentrating with any depth near impossible. Also, Achoo the kitten apparently got into the used guinea pig bedding while I was away, yesterday, and so, today, I gave her a bath. She did not appreciate my efforts, but I have bathed maybe thousands of cats in my life (I spent a few years working for a vet and boarding facility), and I emerged nearly unscathed, and with a sodden but sweet-smelling fluffball…

  • Amongst all that, Google seems to have decided to play a poking game with me. Picasa decided not to recognize me, after it froze my laptop and lost some really nifty pictures I had taken (which is why I can’t show you the gorgeous baby grand, nor my scrumptious desert… I also accidentally downloaded an AVG program that, three days later, started forcing a useless search box on me, shoving aside all my Chrome settings….not good for my “writing as a grand buffet” approach to things. Lots of energy given to ironing these out, and now I see that Chrome wants me to sign in yet again…..sigh. Not tonight, Google dear….

I love street lights….

I’m tired – no, bone-weary. Sleep will come soon,

For Blogging for Brand WANA 113:

  • I worked on my cloud project (#2 Grokking) …there is more, of course….I am big and wide and deep, and one session is not enough….

  • I prettied up my WANATribe page - go see the gorgeous blue-accented umbrellas!!!!!

  • I commented on some posts, and begun connecting with classmates across whatever media they are using. Still a ways to go before I have everyone, but I will by the end of class.

  • I revitalized my long-ignored Flickr account, and begun adding pictures to my photostream there. I have a lot to learn…but I am now poised and ready to begin learning it.

  • I bean reading the first lesson – fascinating, and I think I grok it on a deep level.

Writers at rest…..sort of….

Finding Esta edit -

  • I am making progress, although a migraine, a day off with Eden Mabee, the kids needing more of me, and, today, extreme sleepiness has made for much slower going.

  • Three more chapters done; I am ready to start Chapter 25, 70% complete.

  • I am hoping to pick up the pace, but, as the children and I are likely traveling out of state this weekend to visit friends, that might be more wishful thinking than reality.

Homeschooling reports (due 3/1/13)-

  • Finished Annalise’s FLA, Health and Safety, and most of her Physical Education section.

  • I wanted to be finished, and might get to it, but I am not sure I can stay awake.

  • Once I finish the last three objectives for this section, I will begin Jeremiah’s, then tabulate the attendance, and be ready to proofread and send – hopefully, early.

Koi loveliness…

ROW80 Sponsor duties –

  • I am still a bit behind with sponsor duties – not technically, just in my own mind. I want to do every check in, but am only obligated to do one a week.

  • I didn’t do last Sunday’s yet, and, although I did do them all last Wednesday, I haven’t yet posted the links,which I like to do to help bring readers to my 4′s, and also because several people have mentioned that they think it’s a good idea.

  • I am hoping to get these all caught up, maybe over the weekend, because they will be easier to fit into small spaces of free time that some of my other projects.

Posts from Sunday, 2/10/13 –

Fountain…edited in Picasa.

Posts from Sunday, 2/3/13-

There’s been other stuff, but I’m done looking back, for now. Jeremiah is giving Annalise a haircut; I just got a set of pictures which will become a photo essay on The Unfettered Life.

Self-reflection has been a big part of the last few days….

And there’s more writing, learning, growing, and evaluating to come…look for some big changes, on Sunday….

Till then….It’s a BLOG HOP!

Yet Another Love Poem – Oct. 25, 2012

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Yet Another Love Poem



Love you.

Is a phrase

Often spoken

Yet seldom defined.

What does it mean to love?

Of what benefit is it

To lover and their beloved

Beyond the sweet-nothing empty words?

I have been trapped in love’s cruelest prison

Where my love was commanded but not earned.

Where I was a mannequin, unreal

My purpose to feed hungry need

To give love but not receive

My own soul discarded

Unknown and unseen


To the one

Who claims



There is


Way to be loved.

It does not depend

Upon anyone but me.

Only I know how deep I am

The thoughts and feelings in my soul

The swirling firmament of selfness

The universes of things that are me.

We too too often give ourselves away

Pursuing love, chasing affection.

Selling out our own truest selves

Hollow vapid lost touches

Shadow touching shadow

When we are our own.

Hold and cherish

Your treasure

Above all


Me loving myself by singing at the NEUC 2011 talent show.

 It’s a BLOG HOP!



A Slow, Smooth ROW:ROWnd 3, Update #5

What’s ROW80 about? Click the picture!

I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I write since I began ROW80 this past January. I’ve learned that forcing myself never works, but writing in joy and passion creates deep and true writing, and the desire to write more, and then more, and still more, until it seems that every moment, awake and asleep is filled with the thoughts and emotions and fantasies that spring from my writing, and feed, not only it, but the rest of my life, as well.

I’ve learned that setting goals only works if the goals arise from within me, as the organic result of where I am and where I want to go. This changes from day to day, and has little or nothing to do with anyone besides me.

I’ve learned that I can accomplish an amazing amount, and well – so long as I am focused on my goals, and in harmony with my own energy and attention and mood, and with the life flowing on around me.

Lego Tornado, by Annalise!

I’ve learned that when I share my passions with my family, give to them this part of myself that I held separate from them for so long, they are not only supportive, but they will often share in my passion, to some small degree.

I’ve learned that sometimes I have more to say than I can write down, and others, when I am mulling and composting, almost nothing.

I’ve learned that both of those are OK, and so are all the points in between. For me, things build and grow from beneath, and trying to stop that beneath the surface time, or turn it into something else, dams up the process, and leaves me rudderless and powerless, unable to do either.

It’s been a deeper time, here. My focus has been less on new writing (although I have been indulging all my whims for my McCoy / Spock Chameleon’s Dish fanfic prologue), and more on things like homeschool reporting, transcribing an old writing practice notebook, cleaning up email and the house, research, new reading, and rereading the first of the two drafts of Trueborn.

Photos by Annalise, age 8.

It’s a little deceptive. It has seemed, often, like I was in a rut or just spinning my wheels, going over the same things again, and again, and again, with very little new thrown in.

I tried, several times, to add in a book review, or go to blogs to comment, or answer comments, or begin new blog posts, flash fiction, or essays….

Those things really haven’t happened yet, but here’s what did….

ROWnd 3 – Update #5



Trueborn Series:

  • Trueborn:

  • Reread current rough draft from 1998-9ish and 2000.

  • I have reread and jotted notes up to Chapter Thirty-Nine (page 154 of 240) in the loose leaf binder.

  • This leaves only 86 pages for this draft.

  • Once I complete it, I intend to give myself a little space before beginning the reread of the spiral-bound raft.

  • Triage existing research.

  • I have decided that I will do the triage in the break between rereading the two drafts, and I will use my recently-cleared large worktable space for this project – likely on a “Daddy Night” when Jim takes the children out for several hours so I can have a bit of solitude at home.

  • Chameleon’s Dish:.

  • Compile a print copy for editing, page count, and to see what it looks like!

  • Go through each scene to edit, take notes, and list research questions.

  • Complete basic research based upon library books and websites; looking for information to enhance later digging and prevent hugely obvious gaffes).

  • Hamlet – Completed.

  • Shakespeare‘s England – page 68 of 252. I am no longer taking notes – just reading for the general feel, because the notetaking was ahige job that was threatening to take over the entire research project, and what I am looking for now is a more layered and true vision of the time Henry lived in, and in which Tisira’s portion of the story is set. Deeper research will likely not come in until after I have written the second draft (maybe before the end of the year, and maybe not….).

  • Shakespeare: His Work and His World (reading aloud with kids) Completed. Jeremiah, in particular, loved this book, first asking to read quotes, then sections, aloud. He learned how to read the notations for Acts, Scenes, and Lines, and the flavor of the language, and some translations. He demonstrated that he can read Roman numerals, and he learned a bit about using punctuation to control the meter of poetic lines, and about several plays. He is interested in watching the Mel Gibson Hamlet that caused me to fall in love with the play, in The Reduced Shakespeare Company, and in seeking out other plays (Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and King Henry VIII. We talked about canals in Venice, Jim and I walking across London Bridge – in Lake Havasu, Arizona, believe it or not! – and about Shakespeare in Dead Poets’ Society and Star Trek. So, not only did this book give a lot of information, lovely art, and a sense of the times, it inspired a lot of learning (awesome to put on those silly reports the state demands because they can’t see how kids could possibly find value in Shakespeare if not forced to it!), and a wonderful bonding time. Annalise came and went and learned and shared, but the book is geared toward 11-15 year olds, and some was boring for where she is, right now, at 8.

    Annalise, Lego Man, watercolor, and Barack O’Llama!

  • The Colonial Cookbook – page 102 of 128. I am considering attempting several recipes, or adaptations of recipes, in this book. I like the simple ingredients and low-cost approaches, and the labor is often not intensive, which would allow me the feeling of playing with the food – my favorite thing about cooking. This will also offer me a more sensory understanding of food at the time I am writing about, here.

  • Experiment with removing Tisira’s story as a YA novel, with a potential optional add-on of the fanfic elements….not sure how this will work, exactly, but I think it might be the best approach to have something marketable without sacrificing my vision.

  • I am still playing with the fanfic Prologue scene, between Spock and McCoy. It seems to be a good place to let my mind wander and flow, and I feel a wave of creative expression building and spreading to other topics….

Flash Fiction WIPs

  • Go through old story notebooks for source material.

  • Although not technically from my old notebooks, I have found several old stories, poems, and bits of sketches in the papers I will be triaging for Trueborn. I have set these aside, and will explore them in further depth, likely during ROWnd 4.

Homeschool Administration Ad Infinitum….

  • IHIPs for both children (due four weeks after receipt of packet from school district).

  • I have completed the Social Sciences section for both children.

  • I have adapted both children’s Social Sciences Resources sections

  • I have completed the Visual Arts sections for both.

  • I have adapted the Visual Arts Resources sections for both.

  • I have completed both children’s Music sections.

  • I have adapted the Music Resources sections for both children.

  • I have completed the Foreign Language Arts (FLA) sections for both children.

  • I have adapted the Foreign Language Arts Resources for both.

  • I have completed both children’s Health and Safety sections.

  • I have adapted Annalise’s Health and Safety Resources section.

  • The rough drafts of both reports are nearly completed.

  • Once they’re finished, my plan is to set them aside for, as Miah used to say, “a few whiles”, and then revise, add, delete, attach links, and polish.

  • My ultimate hope is to have them waiting in my email drafts folder, when the district finally sends the packet they are required to send (as every other year, they are already overdue with this, which should be sent within 10 business days of their receipt of our letters of intent (emailed on June 26). Last year, the package arrived toward the end of August, and I didn’t begin the IHIPs until then…this year, I would like to be finished, so that all I will need to do is verify that the law hasn’t changed in any relevant way, and send them on their way! =)

    Learning just as they please!

  • Begin setting up portfolios for both children – invite them to be a part of this process! =)

  • I have taken a few more pictures – of current as well as past creations.

  • Both children and I have discussed my purpose in recording their projects, and various old forgotten favorites found along the way. I stack of things Lise created at age 4.5 were fascinating to her, now, at 8, and I am glad to have them!

  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!

  • So far, so good! Lots of baby bird observation, Lego building, link sending, Netflix watching, hometending helping, party planning, Shakespeare exploration, watercoloring, Plate Defending and pet loving going on around here. Far more laughter than tears, and we are regaining our energy and balance post-camping. A very mellow, introspective run of days, for all of us…a place of deepening on many levels.


  • Continue reading books for Bookmark Break Challenge – aim for 7 in July, 8 in August, and 9 in September, but these targets will be flexible – summer is prime traveling time for the kids and I and we have things planned and others we’re considering.

  • I am considering dropping out of this challenge. I seem to have a lot of trouble remembering to update, although I want to, and I feel I am not quite meeting the purpose of cleaning up the books I’ve begun – I seem to add more new ones, than I do finish old ones….

  • If I do drop this challenge, I still intend to aim for the number of completed books over 100 pages, but my criteria will expand to include a few books I can’t include in the challenge, so most of my reading, even research reading, will count toward my goal.

  • I will consider this until I am certain, and will make a decision by the end of the month.

  • Guerrilla Learning – 194 of 206.

  • Hamlet – Completed.

  • Shakespeare’s England – page 69 of 252.

  • Container Gardening – page 100 of 256.

  • The Mermaid Chair – page 46 of 335.

  • I have completed 2 of 7 books for this month.

  • Continue reading an average of three articles from my To Be Read files, weekly.

  • I have read an average of 3 articles per week.

  • I read Goals, Resolutions, Words.

  • I read Still Waiting.

    Lego Joy, Colorful Lives…..

Other Writing:

  • Write 1 book review each week.

  • Little on this goal since last update – beginnings of a rough draft I really didn’t like.

  • I am considering altering this goal, perhaps to an average of 1 review a week. I know I can complete 2, and possibly 3, in a week, if I am in the proper space – and I clearly am not, just now.

  • I will contemplate this one, and decide by the end of the month.

  • Play with essay ideas as desired; aim for three submittable essays each month.

  • I have been in the composting (not writing) stages of two ideas. One I have written on and need to mull a bit longer, and the other is waiting its moment ot break free.

  • Again, I seem to need to be in a different mental/emotional space for writing. I feel it approaching, but it’s not here yet, and I have learned to go with that sense of things (a big reason why I have so many diverse goals – to take advantage of whatever energy I have, in any given moment, without wasted energy in pursuing things that would be forced and far from joyful!).

  • Write at 750 Words every day, with possible hiatuses for Unschoolers Rock the Campground (July 12-16); Learn Nothing Day (July 24); Northeast Unschooling Conference (August 23-?); and kids’ birthdays (July 8, September 2).On my birthday (July 29), I WRITE!!!

  • I’m still on track for this goal. With the exception of the first day of the ROWnd (when I was so busy posting my goals that I just plain forgot and caught up the next day, and the travel days to and from Unschoolers Rock the Campground 4, I have written at least 750 words every day.

  • I have a request in to join a brand new 750 Words Facebook Group, which will likely provide me with even more incentive to get to the site and do my words each day (I haven’t checked back there, yet, but intend to,perhaps tonight).

  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.

  • I have been focused on the fanfic Prologue for Chameleon’s Dish, playing with ideas and plots.

  • I have written the too-autobiographical beginnings of a review draft for To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Midnight (and Corki!).


  • Aim to post at least twice a month to The Unfettered Life. Make one of them an update, perhaps roughly categorized to make creating reports easier.

  • I have not posted a second time. I do have three posts in mind – Annalise’s birthday, Elijah’s birthday, and recent activities, growth, and projects.

  • Begin using this blog in a way that really supports documenting, so that it does double duty as a personal tool for me in the way it once did.

  • Each of these posts will achieve this guideline.

Organizing/Tootling my Horn….

  • Continue inputting June 2000 Writing Practice Notebook, if not completed before ROWnd begins.

  • I finished this notebook, and have attained this goal.

  • Choose a new notebook; input into Penzu.

  • Jeremiah selected my next notebook, from April of 1999, I think. I have not yet begun inputting it.

  • Continue sorting and filing files on laptop.

  • I worked on this rather suddenly, when Google Chrome suddenly dropped all my apps and my Theme last week. I also noticed that FaceTheme had gotten loaded (not intentionally!), and I deleted it and a few other programs I do not use or want.

  • After deleting, I added back the apps I use most often. Fortunately, I didn’t lose any of the app account information. I still have apps to add, but I have gone from three pages of apps (many of which I never used), to less than one. I like that.

  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.

  • My Inbox currently has 52 messages. I have not checked email for 2 days, and I suspect most of these are blog digests, as per my settings.

  • My Leisure Time Reading file now has 99 messages. I suspect it may go up a bit today, before I get to reading again.

    Three faces of Annalise, by Annalise!

Celebrating Life!

  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.

  • I have mostly worked at hometending this week. After the physical exertions at camp, I haven’t had energy for much more. I have felt my energy returning, and am looking forward to a more active upcoming week.

  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.

  • Did well here. Lots of reading together, some watching TV, a more workable plan for our common spaces, gave the kids more latitude for working through their own issues before I became involved – and, mostly, they settled things without my help. =)

  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.

  • I have improved the state of my bedroom and my office.

  • I have spent considerable time exploring my own depths, and honoring where I am.

  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.

  • I have been quite present, and am working on embracing and letting be the trickier ones.

  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.

  • I am allowing my emotions to be most of the time. I am feeling less guilt and fear of my darker places, and, perhaps as a result, I seem to be able to express them more calmly and productively.

So, now, as so often happens when I stop to recount what’s gone on in one of the ebb times, I look up there and realize that there was far more happening than I thought there was, at the time.

  • The notebook has been transcribed, and another chosen.
  • The rough drafts of the children’s IHIPs (Individualized Home Instruction Plans) are nearly complete.
  • I am less than 100 pages from the end of that rough draft.
  • My email is becoming more and more manageable.
  • I delighted in my reading, and shared that delight with the children.
  • We have a saner way of dealing with our common spaces that may even outwit my monthly “48 hours of hormonal hell”.

And, while doing these things, I have been renewing from beneath. Long days at home, where we all orbit each other, but mostly are engaged in our own projects….

And the ideas have been flowing, and growing, and are now beginning to rise to my surface, in a series of tickling little bubbles, each one a delicious surprise.

Soon, I feel, the shift will come, and I may find myself too energized and fertile to be content with the organizational projects I’ve been working on…

Then, I will need to WRITE…Yes, in big capital letters, and with fierce tenderness and truth. I have things to say, things that are beginning to bubble up on the rising tide of my soul. Things that will, soon enough, refuse to remain unsaid….

I expect that, just as today’s heavy, humid calm has given way to spates of rain and the rolling power of thunder, this pregnant pause I have been in must give way to the rolling power of my need to set forth my truths…..

I always wonder how others approach their writing…

How about you?

Do you have goals for every mood, and are you inclined to honor your own shifting balance of energy?

Are you more likely to force yourself to work on what you feel you must work on, whether you feel like it or not, as a matter of routine and discipline?

Is writing your passion, joy, and place of revelry, or is it something you come with determination, prepared to do the hard work of perfecting your craft?

My original ROWnd 3 goals, in their entirely.

The ROW80 Blog Hop!

Story a Day May #2 – “After Supper”

“I will harbor it, and shelter it, as the shrub outside my bathroom window harbors the sparrows and chickadees and cardinals that take refuge there…..”

“I don’t even know what that means,” snapped my mother in irritation, and her lips tightened and thinned as her jaw set. Her teeth were clenched when she spoke again. “I know what will happen. You will end up forgetting it, and leaving it somewhere, like outside, in the rain. I am NOT paying a hundred dollars for some damned book about Shakespeare. You’ve got plenty to read, right here, and, if you want more, go to the school library.”

“Neither of them have this book, Mommy.” People have told me all my life that I am a born optimist, like my father – but i never met my father, so I don’t know whether that’s true or not. But I figured calling her Mommy might -just might – get her to allow me to use my own income, garnered from watering a neighbor’s collection of fowl, from babysitting, from a summer job I would soon begin, and from cleaning my grandfather’s house – to buy the book. “And the book isn’t just about Shakespeare. It has ALL of his plays, all of the sonnets, and a lot of history. It’s a book I could treasure for the rest of my life.

“Besides, I don’t want you to pay for it. I just want permission to use my own money to – “

CRACK! I registered the drawing back and surging forward of her hand too late to do anything at all to avoid the backhanded slap that rocked my head and, although i couldn’t see it, a fire-red, heated imprint on my right cheek.

“YOU don’t have your own money, you ungrateful little BITCH! So long as I feed you and pay for your clothes and put a roof over your head, I am entitled to decide what you get and what you don’t. And you are not getting some stupid book by that idiotic Shakespeare. Besides, you would just sit there, sucking your finger and twisting your hair, reading THAT BOOK instead of doing your homework. And you are supposed to be so smart! HA! You’ve got no common sense at all.”

She stalked away, and I thought that might be the end of that – but, before I could draw two breaths, she was back. “Now, clean up this kitchen, take out the trash, and do the laundry. Then get your disgusting little self clean, and DO YOUR HOMEWORK, and go to bed. I don’t want to hear another peep from you until morning…..but I know how you like to run your mouth and act like you’re smarter than everybody else, with your fancy Shakespeare, so I’m going out.”

She said it like it was a surprise. Like she didn’t go out every night. Like she hadn’t been wearing that slutty scrap of fabric she called, “my little red dress.”

I didn’t say anything, just put my head down and started cleaning up the half-burnt Hamburger Helper pan, and emptying her ashtray. She would want it to gleam like crystal when she got home, as though her ashes and butts must be cradled in luxury.

When the door slammed behind her, I counted to a thousand – better safe than sorry – before I allowed myself to whisper my thoughts very softly. “I’m pretty damned sure I’m smarter than YOU, you bitch.”

I had long ago developed a system to get the work done as quickly as possible. I flew about quickly, tending to all that she had asked, making sure everything was just as she expected it. I made sure her bourbon and glass were set at her place at the table, so she could have her “liquid breakfast” when she got back – long after I was in school, usually, and then she would sleep until just before dinner, the one meal she insisted on feeding me. I thought she did it just so she could complain bitterly about it until she left again….

It only took an hour and a half, and then I went to my room, where my laptop sat. It had been a prize in a local poetry slam, and Mother liked to brag about how I had won it – not to me, but to the other barflies and whores she hung out with. She even paid for the Wi-fi, just so she could tell them all what a generous mom she was…

And, best of all, she never touched my computer; she didn;t even know how to turn it on.

I went to the site I had found last night, my fingers trembling and an excited sweatiness shivering over me.

I had already drawn up my profile; and used my webcam to take a few shots of me in what I hoped were “fetching” poses.

Now, I opened my file – and saw that I had been searched six times, already.

And, fifteen minutes later, I was slipping out of my window, past the bush that sheltered the songbirds my mother never noticed, my backpack filled with my few precious things…..certain I would find joy and peace at the other end of my journey.

As I looked up at the night sky, a star fell….

ROWing into the Surge – ROW80 Goals Update #7

It’s been a mellow and very creative few days here.  I’ve been giving myself to my writing, to reading, to hometending and family time, and, more than I have since  Jim’s accident, to myself.

It’s been renewing and I am emerging from my home-centric cocoon refreshed and feeling the surge of new understandings and ideas -

I’m not ready to talk about yet, for fear of freezing the blossoms before they’ve attained full bloom….

Instead, let’s just ROW along, skimming close to shore, feeling the coming of spring wrapped in the chill of winter’s lingering caresses…..


  • Read at least 3 articles a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • I read this list of 50 Life Lessons.
  • I read and reblogged because i, too, have a dream.
  • I have one more article to read to attain this goal for the week.


  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have written and edited the text, and am lingering over an extensive and nostalgic array of photos, which I am turning into a series of collages.  

  • I am hoping to have this project finished by Friday, but have until midnight on Monday to post it, if need be.
  • Create a “flow chart” for posting to shanjeniah and The Unfettered Life.  Use these, and adapt as necessary, throughout the round (with allowances made in April for the challenge).
  • I have begun using the flow charts –  but not yet both each day.
  • On Monday, I began my first weekly review on The Unfettered Life.  It’s not complete, yet, but it is a beginning.
  • On Tuesday, I updated my Bookmark Break Challenge page to reflect my April reading.
  • I began a post for my Write 1 Sub 1 Monthly Challenge.
  • On Wednesday, I worked on my goals update post.
  • I hope to be  following both charts at least a few days a week by May.
  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • I have begun a page for guest bloggers.
  • I hope to have the page ready by Sunday’s check-in.


  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I have shared I is for Intuition and J is for Jeremiah to the ROW80 Facebook Page.
  • I have also shared my Unschooling Blog Carnival post. “I’m THAT Mom…Naturally!” to the ROW80 page.
  • As mentioned above, I have read and commented on several blogs.  I have been working my way through some of the many comments building up on my own blogs.  If you’re waiting, I am getting there! =)
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I have begun setting up a new page here, Your Soapbox Awaits…, which will become a home away from home for my guest bloggers.
  • I am in the process of contacting my guest bloggers, and those who have offered me places on their blogs.
  • I hope to at least have all the posts scheduled, if not posted, by the end of May.
  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I  have reread and made notes for my flash fiction piece “The Coupling”.  I plan to have it ready for submission by May 1.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • I have attained this goal for this month.

  • Learn how to watermark pictures.
  • This goal has been attained.
  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • I have begun watermarking the collages I will use in my Z is for Zoo blogpost.
  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: The pleasure of a leisurely day at home; lingering talk; minor hometending.  Coffee and love.
  • Tuesday:  T’ai chi, singing in the car with the window down, all alone…taking the time to watch the hawk swoop low over the fallow corn field.  Reading and writing.  Working in my library.
  • Wednesday:  Reading, writing, collage-making, hometending, blue corn tortilla chips, snuggles with both kids.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Hometening.
  • Tuesday: T’a chi (first time since Jim’s accident)!; hometending, a little dancing.
  • Wednesday: Hometending and a little dancing.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • I cut my wavy and very forgiving hair on Tuesday, a first step in a several step process……stay tuned!
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Leisurely day with my family. Bliss.
  • Tuesday: T’ai chi!; car singing; solitude; writing and reading.
  • Wednesday: Working toward many goals, passionately!
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Annalise: Laughter, games; snuggles; reading together.
  • Jeremiah: Saying yes to his request to bake a cake,  chats, cuddles.
  • Jim:  Snuggles, coffee, and conversation.  Couples stuff.

 Administrative Stuff:

  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • I am on page 20 of 12o  of notebook #1, June 2000.
It’s been a busy time, and productive, but in a quiet, calm, no-fanfare kind of way.Jeremiah baked his very first from a  box mix.  It took him two days to bake and frost it – he’s 10, and a friend’s invitation to play took precedence over baking.  And he’s growing fast –  an inch or so in the last few weeks –  he was up to the bottom of my chin, but now he’s just below my bottom lip, and I am not short….anyway, he’s sleeping more, these days, and the cake waited for frosting while he recharged.

Annalise began reading silently, here and there, and learned that she can now do a 100 piece puzzle.  She watched Tigers in the Snow and an episode of Nature that explored the wolves of Chernobyl.  She looked at first Elijah’s scrapbook   –  “There’s only three pages, Mommy” was her heart-tugging comment when faced with how brief a life 12 days is –  and then Jeremiah’s  “Seeing him as a little baby makes me feel older.”   And that, for a younger sister who chafes at being the littlest, is an evener, if only a temporary and fanciful one.

Being so close to 8 is hard on her, sometimes.  She seems to view it as the magical age of big-kidness, and early July seems both very close and very distant.

She wants a motorbike for her birthday, like the one her friend Ryan has.
I’ve found that I am even more serious about my writing since claiming a space for it.  Here, in the bedroom, where Jim and I have spent the majority of our intimate moments, where there is morning coffee and snuggles and ticklefests with the kids, and the TV and the amorous hijinks even middle-aged and long-married folks  can still get up to when they really like each other in a way that ignores baldness, creaky joints, and much extra padding, my mind wanders into imagery and symbolism.At my desk in my library, I am a more focused and businesslike version of me.  I’m relaxed, and peaceful – and the vibe is that I have things I want to do, and I am doing them.

The bedroom is for dreaminess and my library exudes purpose.

That’s good to know, as the surge comes up  on the bow….
And now,  for a few more of my followers…

And, last but not least, here’s the nifty little ROW80 Linky, where you can follow the other ROWers……

P is for Playfulness

500 Words On….Playfulness.

Flying play on a giant jumping pillow, fall 2011.


This morning Annalise came to us, playing a game of Filly Needs to Cross the Raging Rivers to Get to Her Mommy!” All of Annalise’s games involve exclamation points – she is a passionate soul.

The game began at about 1pm on a Monday – most children Annalise’s age are in school at that hour, following a schedule built around  curriculum and lesson plans, and with little room for individual passions.




Learning play with stuffed intestines, Journey Through the Body, spring 2011.


She was the filly who had made it across the Raging Rivers to me,  with two very wet legs that troubled her until I, her mommy, licked them dry (no, not really!), We had a nickering and nuzzling session together as we celebrated her victorious conquest of the powerful waters.






Just then,  a mountain lion appeared!

Pattern and magnet play, artfully explored. 2010ish, I think, by Annalise, then about 5.

I assured her we were okay, as I happened to be a were- mountain lion.  I roared fiercely to warn the stalking predator, and Lise discovered that she was  a were-lynx kitten who began with a tough little meow and then found her roar, too, until we frightened the marauder away with our sheer power!

Tthe play morphed into a snuggle,  and I read her the remaining four stories in her Mad About Madeline book (“Madeline’s Rescue”; “Madeline and the Gypsies”; “Madeline in London”, and “Madeline’s Christmas”).

Butterfly play - antennae self-created from giant pipe cleaners, spring 2011, age 6.5.

She wanted the written for adults notes, Introduction, and the Origins of Madeline read in their entirety, too…

…Which evolved into a tickling and giggling session that lasted for about 10 minutes before we both went on to do other things, filled up with happy companionship and unbounded energy…..

I believe today’s fun stemmed from her play with Crayola Paint’n’Play Ponies , where she loves to color, name, and decorate a whole herd of mares and their little fillies, narrating their stories as she creates.

Sudsy "salon" play, summer 2011, age 7.


When I think of how  school as it  currently exists  might fairly easily be changed to accommodate the types and methods of learning that suit children best, my mind turns  to play.

Children learn best through play – and so do adults.

But not the “play” we’ve come to accept as normal – sports, classes, activities,clubs, or any form of play orchestrated and directed by an adult.

Mini-marshmallow/toothpick construction play; Jeremiah, age 8, winter 2010.

Children were meant, as all mammal young were, to make sense of their world by interacting with it through free play they initiate and direct.

To the extent that schools seat children in groups of the teacher’s choosing, to the extent that their day is planned with no alternatives possible, to the degree that the items in the classroom  have arbitrary conditions upon their use, children are not free to play as they choose.



Independence Day at Saratoga National Historical Park (the "turning point" of the Revolution). Our British officer was 4 days from turning 6, July 4, 2010.


To the extent that certain colors, activities, learning, or play are forbidden; to the extent that children’s activities are known as work, rampant imagination is discouraged, and teachers decide readiness for this set of materials or that lesson; – to that extent, free play and the learning that comes with it – the random, chaotic, unpredictable growth that can never be taught, only grasped on one’s own – cannot exist.

 The most vital parts of learning – relevance and personal capability – suffer, and the result is likely to be a decrease in self-motivation, creativity, ingenuity, and adaptability – all things that children gain, with great joy and a natural ease, through  being allowed as much time as they need, when they need it, to play as they choose.

Cryptic word play by 5 year old Annalise, using kindling wood Jim had just chopped. AXAXA, baby!

“Life Blooms; I ROW” – Goals Update #4

A busy day today. Up after not really as much sleep as I wanted, to get ready for co-op. Jim got a ride to work, so the kids and I headed to Hannaford and bought the supplies for the flarp we planned to make.

We got to co-op early, and there was a group of church children doing an activity in the room our tweens usually play in. So it was an unusual day, at least for a while.

The project went well…..a bit of chaos, and a bit of panic because the food coloring stained the counters of the church kitchen (thankfully, a good scrub with a little bit of borax on a scrubby sponge fixed that problem.

Making flarp with our Live and Learn Co-op gang!

It was a pretty day, a little unsettled, but the filtered light was good for making the colors of the flowers really pop, and so I got pictures of those.

I had a walk with Jeremiah (a tradition of ours), and another with Annalise and her friend Gabrielle (who was wearing roller skates). The kids had Shield Battles, Simon Says, and a girls vs. boys romp through the church and grounds.

Annalise and friends Gabrielle, Aleia, and Alana create flarp art.

There was ball play, and flirting, and then we came home, and both kids fell almost instantly asleep,. until I needed to wake them to go get Jim, because, at the moment, we are car-sharing, and we were his ride home. ~excerpt from Thursday’s 750words post ~

 Oh, and an invitation to Gabrielle’s seventh birthday party on Saturday…

Flarp fun with Jeremiah, Logan, Nolan, and John!

Where there was a bounce house, marshmallow shooters to make, necklaces and bracelets to bead, delicious foods to sample (Miah loved the veggie sticks, I loved the rice noodle dish, and Lise was crazy over the watermelon).There was a tire swing and a gazebo “shrine”, and the company of good friends, a house filled with interesting things,  and cake and ice cream and presents and love and laughter, and hiding out together, and snuggling, and many varieties of play, and computers and Netflixfor those who wanted them…

Springtime tulips....A welcome splash of color on a cloudy day.

And mostly lovely weather that had only a little, much needed rain…

A busy second half of the week, and, fitting into the spaces around those hours were other parts of living –  home and yardtending; snuggles, hugs, and play; lots of conversation; some stress and conflict and hurt feelings; tending to myself and my family; and shifting to the rhythms of a busier season.

More lovelies!

And there was reading, and writing, and claiming my dreams.

Round 2 Goals:


  • Read at least 3 articles a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • Completed for 4/11.
  • Read at least 5 blogposts a week (not including my own), and like, comment, and/or share as I am moved to.
  • Completed for 4/11.
  • I read K is for Transplant, and was deeply moved to comment.



  • Create flash fiction, short stories, dialogues, character sketches, alternate scenes, and poetry for  Chameleon’s Dish.  Wander cow trails, and learn these people and their lives more fully.
  • I have had an idea of what may be a far better prologue for my story, and one that will foreshadow some of the important conflicts.
  • I am letting this idea simmer for a while, to dream on and play with, until I can’t wait another moment to write it, and then I will begin!
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I have separated the June 9, 2011 post into one snippet and a complete essay, perhaps needing minimal editing.
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • I have reread and done a rough edit of the first original essay pulled from this area.  It seems to need a few additional paragraphs, and some polishing.
  • In the meantime, I will decide whether I want to post it on my blog or look for a market to submit it to.
  • Find all chapters of Blood and Breath.  Input into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • I have input Chapter One into Scrivener.
  • Next up is creating a story arc for the rest of the novel, and playing with characters and settings.
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • I am still allowing ideas to surface and be written out via my A to Z posts.
  • There seems to have been a reason I chose some of the topics, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time.

Gabrielle and Annalise enjoy birthday tire swing fun at Gabrielles's house.


  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have written the rough drafts of my posts up to letter V, leaving 5 to write.
  • I have edited, embellished, and scheduled up to P is for Playfulness, leaving 10 posts to complete before meeting the challenge.
  • Create a “flow chart” for posting to shanjeniah and The Unfettered Life.  Use these, and adapt as necessary, throughout the round (with allowances made in April for the challenge).
  • I have posted both flow charts, and will begin easing into using them as I finish  the A to Z writing.
  • My goal remains to be using both flow charts by May 1.

Naomi and siblings Carson and Olivia model for me.


  •  Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest;and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • Am beginning to add connections and get braver in posting to LinkedIn, even posting my first link on Thursday.
  • I have pinned a couple of items on Pinterest, to test the Chrome extension I installed last week. Added a new board, Time Images.
  • I joined the Story Dam Facebook Page.  I’ve peeked around a little bit, and will be learning more, and likely interacting more, on future visits.
  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I have looked at Shah Wharton’s latest Storyteller Writing Challenge.
  • I will let the words and image seep into my awareness for a day or three, then write.  I know I only need to do one, but both tempt me.  I’m a glutton for storytelling, I guess! =)

Jeremiah loves exploring the principles of physics - anytime, anywhere.

  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I realized I haven’t been posting my A to Z posts on the Row80 Facebook page, so will be posting 2-3 there each day until I catch up.
  • So far, I have shared posts up to F is for Food there.
  • I am reading ROW80 update blogs and A to Z  blogs, as I can manage them.  There will be considerably more blog reading once I have finished my fourth book (in progress) of the month, and/or I get all of the A to Z posts written (I am up to V, at the moment).
  • I am mustering my bravery to begin posting links to my writing at the Story Dam Facebook Page and She Writes sites.  Soon, I think!

Marshmallow shooter making!

  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I have posted a note to the ROW80 Facebook Page, seeking guest slots and guest bloggers.
  • If that doesn’t pan out in a day or so, I will write a separate blogpost with my request, and widen it to include The Unfettered Lifewhich would be an ideal place for fellow unschoolers to guest post.
  • I now have three guest posters……next up, working out schedules! =)

  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I am currently  pondering which pieces of flash fiction and poetry  I will submit to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.  They accept previously published work, one piece at a time.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • I am allowing the thoughts to coalesce for my Anything Goes submission on becoming/being a blogger.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • I have submitted once to The Storyteller’s Writing Challenge.
  • I am contemplating posting there again this week, and also to Chuck Wendig‘s Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge.

Those bouncing young Burtons....


  •  Organize all photos on hard drive; move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I deleted all redundant photos in my download file, after assuring I had a copy of them in my Picasa Web Albums.


  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah Marketing Articles page.
  • I added two links to this page, with brief descriptions of both.  The first was on Book Promotion; and the second on creating a Rough Sketch of a WIP, which I believe will be useful later, when I create pages or blogs for my  WIPs.
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.
  • I am letting the ideas from the articles I read seep into my awareness.

Birthday cake!


  •  Get Scrivener  downloaded; begin learning by inputting first an essay, and then Blood and Breath.
  • I have input all the available chapters of Blood and Breath into Scrivener, and will next be creating a story arc for mapping out the action in the missing chapters.
  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I am replacing Tweetdeck with HootSuite, which is much more to my liking.
  • Future goals updates will reflect the change.
  • I am running Hootsuite today (Sunday) -  a very, very quiet day thus far…
  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • I have created a rough list of questions to start with; next will come the learning the answers part, and, of course, more questions!


  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • I have begun reading here.  There is a lot to absorb, so I will be reading in stages.
  • Begin research list/research for  Chameleon’s Dish second draft.
  • I now have the beginnings of a research list. Next step is to look through the links I browsed in the rough draft writing more carefully, and gather them in a central and more accessible location.

  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • Both children have been asking for some of my online space to share what they want.  Since The Unfettered Life is intended to be an unschooling/life blog, I am going to begin by creating a page for each of their  creations, and help them to add to them as they wish.
  • This is likely to necessitate a change in layout, which I had been toying with, in any event…
  • Input Blood and Breath and Chameleon’s Dish to Scrivener.
  • The existing chapters of Blood and Breath have been added.
  • Next, I will begin gathering and rereading the chapters of Chameleon’s Dish.  These are all in my possession, but not yet gathered in one place.
  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • I cleared a number of redundant photos from my Downloads file.

Lovely bits of Gabrielle's home...


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Thursday: Attended Live and Learn Homeschool Co-op.  Organized and orchestrated group Flarp making activity.  Lots of social  connection with like-minded moms and kids.  Photographed children and spring flowers.  A bit of reading and writing. One-on-one time with both children.
  • Friday: Recovery day from Thursday.  Reading, writing, uploading and editing photos.  Coffee in bed with Jim.  One-on-one  time with both kids.  Home and yard tending.  Worked in my new space.
  • Saturday: Very busy day! Friend Gabrielle’s seventh birthday.  Attended her party; lots more unschooly socialization with moms and children we love, and some dads, too.  Watching Lise and Miah enjoy tire swing and bounce house and time with friends.  On-on-one time with both kids.  Beaded a necklace.  Took a lot of pictures. A bit of work in my space.
  • Sunday: Coffee in bed with Jim.

More tire swing fun!

  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Thursday: Shopping.  Lots of movement at co-op.  Walks with both children, orchestrating activity,  and cleanup (we rent space in a local church, and so must tidy and put things to rights before we leave if we want to remain welcome tenants (which we do; the space is perfect for our needs – we even have access to a large kitchen and yard).
  • Friday: Half an hour each raking and working in my new space.  45 minutes of hometending.
  • Saturday: Birthday gift shopping.  Lots of walking, swing-pushing, and similar activity at party.  Helped with cleanup.  Worked a bit in my new space.
  • Sunday: One hour hometending.  35 minutes yardtending – raking (nearly done!); dog waste removal, and yard cleanup.  35 minutes working in my space – it’s coming along, and I plan to post progress pictures on Wednesday.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • I decorated myself with a necklace and headband on Thursday.
  • I wore the necklace I beaded on Saturday until bedtime.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Thursday: Social time with like-minded people of varying ages.  Photography – children and flowers in bloom.   Writing. Planning and orchestrating an activity. Time with both kids.
  • Friday: Home and yardtending. Reading and writing. Working in my space.  Editing photos.  Coffee with Jim. Time with both kids.
  • Saturday: More social time.  Celebrating.  Photographing children and decor.  Beading.   A little working in my space. Time with both kids.
  • Sunday: Yard and hometending.  Working in my space.  Reading and writing.  Editing photos.  Goals update.  Coffee with Jim: snuggles with both kids.

Girl eats Dandelion, #1

  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jim: Coffee and conversation.  Flirting.  Being on time or early when picking him up from work.  Home, yard, and childtending.
  • Annalise: Snuggles.  Sharing in her imaginative play.  Helping her with reading and spelling. Conversation.  Arranging to go to Gabrielle’s party, and giving her the freedom to choose the gift.  New Littlest Pet Shop friends.  Pushing her on the tire swing.  Bringing beading supplies home so she can bead when she wants.
  • Jeremiah: Snuggles.  A soda while out shopping.  Answered his questions about driving.  Conversation.  Hanging with him at the party when he wanted me nearby.  Beading together.  Helped facilitate his cooking.  Honored his sleep patterns, which are currently a bit out of sync with everyone else’s.

Girl decides dandelion is not for her!

I am loving this writing. I am making myself a happy, peaceful place in which to focus my writing energies, and less removed from the life of the rest of the family. I can be nearby, even carry on conversations with the children, but still have a measure of privacy and room to myself.~ Excerpt from Friday’s 750 words~

I am so glad I realized I needed a writing space, and that there was this little tucked-away corner of the house just collecting debris……

had no idea I was going to write a flash fiction piece for this one. I couldn’t find a way to begin an essay on vision; maybe I’m not quite ready for that.

Everything I wrote felt like lecturing.

So I deleted, and it occurred to me that what I was meant to write about was Henry and Nockatee.

And that is what I did.

Every time I write one of these little pieces, I connect more fully with the characters, and in a more visceral sense.

Maybe it’s because so much needs to be accomplished in a very small space. Maybe it’s because I’m not trying to create an entire novel, just to create a vignette.

It occurs to me that doing a slew of these BEFORE starting a novel would give me a much better sense of the characters and their interactions and motivations.

OOOH! I want to do some of these as the basis for each scene in Blood and Breath’s missing chapters…

If each scene is an embellishment of a flash fiction story, there will always be a degree of conflict and resolution, and probably tautness, too!

~excerpt from Sunday’s 750 words~

 And now, for five more fans…please, step forward, and take a bow!

“On the ROW Tour” – Goals Update #2

Usually, I have a mini-essay to place in this space, but this time, I’m going to do something different, and just post a bit of one of my 750word rambles through my own mind…a  self-guided tour, if you will…..

~~This really feels good. I could see it as a daunting list, if I wanted to value myself by the list.

I am preferring to look at it more as a tour guide. Something that will help lead me along the path I have chosen, giving me options regarding the direction and sights I will explore along the way…..and thatallows me to backtrack, take an alternate route, stop and linger, and still to have the freedom of moving and vistas that truly draw me….


I’ve been trying to find a graceful way of including my collection of new followers in a blog post…I think I have it…they’re along with me for the adventure, but the purpose is to delight in their adventures, just as I intend to……

So I will be their guide, but never their director. I invite them along, and am truly glad to have them along to share in the adventure with me.

Crunch time….I am about to lose my win streak if I can’t write a lot of words, and pretty damned quickly.

I say I don’t like writing this way, but, in a sense, I think I really do…….there is a tension and censor turning off…as I just delete and correct- ha!

But it does put me in another space, one where whatever is at the top of my head pours out of me…..a nice garbage and roses dump…..

Ah, things are moving along nicely. I don’t want to lose a 64 day streak, and the time is running out….five minutes left t type, and a bit over 200 words to write.

Can I do it?

Well, there were four more….and there were five more!

Yeah, sometimes, it’s desperation, just putting down any words at all to reach that goal….


No one is making me, after all. The police will not be knocking on my door tonight (at least I hope that they won’t).

I do it because I want to. That’s it, the whole entire reason. I want to challenge myself, aand I want to then meet that challenge.

The type of thing people can do when they aren’t overloaded, overburdened, living too much in the to-do list and not enough from their passions…

Because I have freedom, I can make this goal, and strive to attain it, even when it’s a bit stressful to do so. But I won’t make it tonight……..ah well. Such is life.


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

  • Read at least 5 blogposts a week (not including my own), and like, comment, and/or share as I am moved to.
  • Done at4/4 check-in.
  • I read several more posts, commented to most, and, in some cases, shared.  I will list them toward the end of the post.

  • Find all chapters of Blood and Breath.  Input into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • Searched our old dinosaur of a desktop, used mostly by the kids to play games too old to play on our newer machines.  I found a treasure trove of chapters –  from two other works in progress.
  • No Blood and Breath….so now I will be looking for ways to extricate the info from the external hard drive, unless Eden Mabee happens to have chapters, which she may.
  • On the plus side, I now have two “new” WIP‘s  to work into future ROWs…..
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send. 
  • I have spent more time considering this.  Nothing written down yet, but I think I have a tone in mind, and also how to phrase why I object to the way he approached his concerns.

  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have written a rough draft of L is for Learning, M is for Money,  N is for Names, and O is for Openness.
  • I have edited and scheduled I is for Intuition, J is for Jeremiah, K is for Knowledge, and .
  • Create a “flow chart” for posting to shanjeniah and The Unfettered Life.  Use these, and adapt as necessary, throughout the round (with allowances made in April for the challenge).
  • Flow chart for shanjeniah has been completed and posted.
  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • Following the example of KM Huber and adapting it to my own needs, I created a page for challenge goals, schedules, and my current flow chart.
  • This will make it easier for my to create my posts, and also for others to see the framework of my writing activity, if they choose to.

  •  Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest; and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • Have begun learning more about Twitter through HootSuitewhich works more intuitively for me, and is far more inclusive and flexible than TweetDeck.
  • I used HootSuite to join in on an hour long StoryDam Twitter chat.  I enjoyed it, and next will be checking out their Facebook Group.
  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I have continued to post my Blogging From A to Z April Challenge posts through the first week.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I have been commenting, and have plans to begin sharing posts through StoryDam and She Writes within the next weeks.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • I have been invited to submit a 200-700 word essay on becoming/being a blogger to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.  If accepted, this will be a paid ($5.00) essay, and my first since joining ROW80.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.

  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I’ve learned enough to exchange Tweetdeck for HootSuite, for the reasons I listed above.
  • I  streamed my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and WordPress accounts to HootSuite on Thursday evening.  I enjoyed freeing myself from the constant lure of Facebook, and turned HootSuite on when I went online today.  It may become a daily tool.

  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • Began by clipping relevant parts of first post, moving them to my word processing program, then deleting it from my Penzu Jourmal to avoid confusion.
  • Second post to word processor, and deleted from Penzu.
  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Wednesday – Cleaning up with the kids, snuggles, being outside with Annalise.
  • Thursday- Morning coffee with Jim; hometending; chatting with writers at StoryDam; treating myself to HootSuite upgrade.
  • Friday - Snuggles with both kids, tickles with Miah, Madeline with Lise, hometending while embracing the always-shifting chaos.
  • Saturday - Took kids shopping at*8Target**.  Parked in last spot at side of building so we could walk.  I enjoyed the trip and their joy in their new possessions.
  • Suggested to Annalise that she might like to offer a sheet of stickers to a little girl who was having a difficult interaction with her mom in the checkout line, and that shifted both of their energies to a happier place, which brought me joy.
  • Add movement to every day, too! (it’s a tired week, so not LOTS of moving, but a couple of hours a day spent in hometending/yardtending sprints of purposeful work).
  • Wednesday – Hometending and yardtending.
  • Thursday - Hometending and yardtending.
  • Friday – Hometending.
  • Saturday -Took kids shopping at Target.  Parked in last spot at side of building so we could walk.  Loading and unloading the car, and minor hometending.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • A small, symbolic beginning.  Cleaned my top dresser drawer Thursday, and found two sheer and lovely scarves I had forgotten about.  At about 10pm Friday night, I wrapped one around my waist as an impromptu belt, and I then held myself straighter, more aware of my posture.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Reading and writing every day.
  • Happy moments with both children over the last few days; together and individually.
  • I have realized that everyone else in the family has a space in the house to call their own – except for me.
  • We have a “room” created from bolting three large bookcases together, with two facing into the space, and the third, facing into the living room proper.  It had been set up as a hobby space of sorts, but tends not to get used.
  • I have decided to claim this space for a study – type area.The family agrees that this is fair, and, over the next months, I will be playing with tidying up and arranging my new space. =)
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Annalise - Read 2 Madeline, helped with watercolor studio, snuggles, “mini-monk” made to order,  watched Weird True, and Freaky with her. Shopping trip on Saturday: candy, sneakers, cute socks, stuffed bunny, and assorted trinkets.
  • Jim - Doing without the car Wednesday through Friday, so that he could have the car (he doesn’t like sharing, because he often ends up waiting at work).  Being on time to pick him up Saturday.  Kissing.  Coffee and conversation
  • Jeremiah - Snuggles, tickles, setting things up on his laptop so he can make purchases more easily (he always asks, and understands about account balances!).  Ordered the 3DS battery he’s been needing.   Watched Shorties Watchin’ Shorties, That 70s Show, The Big Bang Theory,  and part of Nova:Hunting the Elements with him.
  • For the family - Helped orchestrate (with Miah and Jim), the purchase of a blue Wii.  Also ordered enough controllers for everyone to have access to one, at the same time, and Wii Family Game Night.
 Administrative Stuff:

  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • A small beginning:  I typed in 4 out of 120 pages in my June 2ooo Writing Practice Notebook.
  • I began writing this notebook, from nearly 12 years ago, in the midst of a particularly volatile argument with Jim –  one of the standout blowups of our generally peaceful union….
  • I am finding a lot of perspectives in reading the many pages long rant I wrote then, with my feelings when we argue now.  Some patterns have shifted vastly; others are much as they were back then, and represent areas where we are still stuck in volatile patterns…..much food for marital and relational thought – and feeling, too.
Please note:  I did not include categories or goals that I did not work on during this time period, in order to simplify.  A full version of my goals can be found here.
 And a further tour of my Week 1 Wednesday-Saturday ROW.
Blogposts I read :

Another Excerpt from 750Words:

~~So, there is another 500 words written. And nearly 750 here, already.

I am liking how these pieces are coming together. They are natural and largely unvarnished, and not too long to take a huge degree of focus from other things…..

it just occurred to me that I am now more than half the way through the alphabet – not with completed and scheduled posts, but with rough drafts written, and the ideas explored.

It’s taking about a half hour apiece to write these, and another hour or so to edit, add images, links, and tags, categorize, and schedule.

And lots more people are finding their way to my words and some of them are enjoying them…..

I am grounding myself, and preparing to soar, all at once…~~

Something New: Tour of Followers:

I would like to recognize those who have taken the time to visit and follow me here.  Beginning today, I will list 5 followers per week, until I’ve introduced everyone.

If you can, please take a few minutes to visit one or more of these bloggers.

This week, please meet:

Photos – I have some lovely watercolor art and other things the kids created this week; unfortunately, I keep forgetting to charge batteries for the camera, and so I do not yet have pictures.  I plan to charge the batteries soon, and add the pictures during tomorrow’s writing session….

 Lots more ROWin’ going on!


Flow Chart For – shanjeniah


This chart will serve as a guideline for developing my posts and focusing my energies while here, to continue making a true reflection of myself.

It is subject to perhaps frequent changes and tweaks, because it isn’t a hard-and-fast schedule (I prefer flow).  It’s a tool in my service, and not the other way round.

So here we are….the inaugural flow chart, to be implemented, perhaps in stages,  as I wrap up my Blogging From A to Z posts.



Sunday -

  • ROW80 update
  • Answer blog comments


  • Editing (recent posts)
  • Develop drafts folder posts.

Tuesday -

Wednesday - 

  • ROW update
  • Answer blog comments

Thursday - 

  • Excerpt or freewriting
  • Sidebar organization
  • Page updates

Friday - 

  • Flash Fiction

Saturday -