High Creative Tide: ROW80 Update, August 11, 2013

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

I’ve got a lot to say, at this update – but most of it will be said (well, more likely written), in places other than here.

Yup, it’s high creative tide, for all of us, here, and I am riding the waves: writing, editing, blogging, taking care of business, hometending and beginning to reorganize, playing with words, images, ideas, and emotions in many ways.

I’ve been joyfully productive, and, even as I type this, at 4am Sunday, my time, I am feeling eager to rush back over to the buffet, and serve up a few more favorites so I can nibble at them before I sleep…

A single,artful bloom.

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


Tweak The Unfettered Life header. Target attained!

  • Redone, for now. Subject to adaptation.

 Tweak shanjeniah header. Pending.

  • Ongoing goal.

Continue uploading batches of 15 to Flickr, as they are edited. Pending.

  • Ongoing goal.

Continue editing for more Sayen Garen Wordless Wednesday posts. On target.

  • Fifteen images edited.

  • Ongoing goal.

 Draft 2 Coffee and Conversation posts for stacking. Target attained!

  • 1000+ word draft of second post. May be a series of posts on aspects of the same theme. I am excited to own my convictions, and I hope to inspire thought on a topic of deep importance to me.

Have one post ready to publish on Monday, August 12. On target.

  • “On Shaming Children” color-coded, pondering revision.

  • Ongoing goal.

 Draft 2 Saturday’s Share posts by Friday, August 16. Pending.

  • Ongoing goal.

 Create a file for potential stacking, per feature. On target.

  • Master list created.

  • Brainstormed ideas from writing notebook added.

  • Ongoing goal.

 Continue brainstorming post ideas, adding features over time. Pending.

  • Ongoing goal.

 Rough draft of revised posting schedule. Target attained!

  • My Blog Buffet Menu is in rough draft, and I am pleased with it.

  • Create sidebar “menus” for all blogs, and post.

 Keep up with comments and sharing. Target attained!

  • Ongoing goal.

These colors make me swoon.

Editing (With Cathy Yardley’s Rock Your Revisions:) Pending.

  • New printer is functional! =D

 Chameleon’s Dish :

 Print for reread. Target attained!

 Once I got everything working together, printing went quickly. Still in negotiations with the paper loading tray…

 Begin reading to my beta listeners (Annalise and Jeremiah). Target attained!

 Read-through completed wee-hours, Saturday.

  • Much discussion – writing, plot, related things. Annalise drew a favorite scene in her sketch pad.

  • They want more! Like, right now! =)

     Take general on-page notes. On target.

  • Jotted color-coded notes on first four scenes – to page 38/249.

  • Ongoing goal.

 Begin list of things to look at. On target.

  • Designated a notebook for this project– 1 page per scene.

  • Onep age of general, scene-by-scene items to look at.

  • Notes and set up for goal/motivation/conflict/disaster. Prologue (writing pending), – scene #3,: Page 19 / 249.

  • Continue list of per-scene attention items.

 Bounded by a Nutshell:

 Print for reread. Pending.

  • Saving for September, unless I finish the first run of Chameleon’s Dish sooner.

Merchant’s Road Inspiration.


To Be or Not to Be – Write at least 25,000 words in August. On target.

  • 9,449 / 25,000 words.

  • 2,951 new words.

  • WIP total: 148,132 / ~200,000 words.

The Stars are Fire – Write Scene 22, Konii’s POV. On target.

  • 3,132 new words.

  • WIP total: 53,584 /~ 100,000 words.

  • Adapt plan for Scene 23, Niaan’s Pinch Point #1, beginnimg August 15.

Perchance to Dream – Plan Scene 15; T’Pol’s POV. Target attained!

  • Scene was already planned; minor adjustments made.

  • Write Scene 15; T’Pol’s POV, beginning August 15.

Business-y Stuff:

Skipping along a creative path..

Update Long -term Goals, Noveling Action Plan, and all Blogging Action Plans. On target.

Maintain sponsor visits. Target attained!

ELA and Mathematics for both IHIPs and fourth quarter reports (due September 1). On targe

  • Annalise’s Quarterly – Mathematics completed. This goal has been attained for her IHIP and reports.

  • Jeremiah’s Quarterly – Writing/Spelling complete.

  • Complete Jeremiah’s ELA and Mathematics for fourth quarter reports (by September 1).

  • Write both Peer Reviews and print (before NEUC)

Add Sciences to IHIPs and Quarterlies. On target.

  • Added to Jeremiah’s IHIP.

  • Ongoing goal.

Read, comment, and share the WANA113 blogs I saved. On target.

  • Read more, commented, and shared.

  • Ongoing goal.

Join in on the conversation. Target attained!

  • Two comments made.

  • Ongoing goal.

Have you ever been swept away on a Creative High Tide? Was it exciting, terrifying, or a little of both?

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

Unfettered Life Header

Hello, Forty-Four: ROW80 Update, July 31, 2013

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

It’s been one of those sessions where it felt like I was just taking life easy, and then – whoosh! I take stock, and – wow. It doesn’t feel like I did all that, plus reading, gaming, and substantial hometending…WOW.

 I think being 44 agrees with me, so far!

 August will be something of a reset month. I am shifting from NaNo-level writing to a more maintenance level that will move three WIPs forward.

My focus will be on editing, blogging (including finally setting up a backlog of posts), homeschool paperwork (the most intensive month of the year for that, here.), and paying attention to the odd shyness that keeps me from sharing and offering as much as I might like, or chatting with certain folks my mind labels as “Important People”…

I hope this last day of July finds everyone happy and ready for the last full month of summer (or winter, for those of you in much more southernly places!).

Setting my sights high while keeping them grounded…

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



Create Jottings header. Target attained!

  • Not only did I create a header, it’s up on the blog! I’d love feedback; view it here!


Tweak The Unfettered Life header. On target.

  • I’m considering changing the logline. Letting ideas spin and whirl in my head….

  • Ongoing goal.

  • Tweak shanjeniah header.


Upload photos to Flickr and create two Sayen Gardens posts. On target.

  • I lost a few photos while uploading to Flickr. Apparently, the Picmonkey saving struggles of last week resulted in some bad files.
  • One post is complete and scheduled.
  • 10 of 15 photos edited and uploaded for second post.
  • Ongoing goal.

Continue editing for more Sayen Garen posts. Pending.

  • Nothing this session.
  • Ongoing goal.

Write Coffee and Conversation post for July 29 (my birthday). Target attained!

  • I ended up scrapping the first writing, and doing another.
  • That netted the rough post, and the makings of two more -hooray!
  • Posted Monday afternoon.
  • Draft 2 Coffee and Conversation posts for stacking.
  • Write and post a Saturday’s Share for this week.


Begin prep lists for features “stacking”. On target.

  • Beginning steps. Jotted a couple of blog ideas in a notebook, and skimmed my Coffee and Conversation file for neglected ideas in progress I can move forward.
  • Create a file for potential stacking, per feature.
  • Begin brainstorming ideas.


Rough draft of revised posting schedule. Pending.

  • Ongoing goal.


Keep up with comments and sharing. Target attained!

  • I’ve been blogging more, since I finished NaNo. And sharing! =D

  • Answered comments a day late,but answered them all! =D

  • Ongoing goal.

Peeking through into the future…

 Editing (With Cathy Yardley‘s Rock Your Revisions)

  • Chameleon’s Dish– Print for reread. Begin reading to my beta listeners (Annalise and Jeremiah). Take general notes, begin list of things to look at.

  • Bounded by a Nutshell– Print for reread.


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

  • The Stars are Fire – Write or plan one scene each week in August.

  • Perchance to Dream – Write or plan one scene each week in August.

Relax until August. Read some stuff. Do other things, and enjoy! Target attained!

Continue planning as POV scenes are completed. Pending.

  • Resuming in August.

Interact socially around NaNo, as desired. Target attained!

  • Some Twitter time, at various connected hashtags.

  • Stopped by my cabin to offer kudos and encouragement.

Lightness and greenery to brighten my path….

Business-y Stuff:

  • Update Long -term Goals, Noveling Action Plan, and all Blogging Action Plans.

Maintain sponsor visits. Target attained!

ELA and Mathematics for both IHIPs and fourth quarter reports. On target.

  • Annalise’s quarterly – Writing/Spelling added.

  • Jeremiah’s IHIP – ELA and Library Skills added.

  • Add Sciences to IHIPs and Quarterlies.

Reread law for 7th grade requirements before starting Jeremiah’s IHIP. Target attained!

  • These vary some from the elementary level laws. Still very doable. The shift to “middle school” has me feeling a little like I’m teetering on the edge of a cliff, though…almost like those very first, very scary, reports, when he was 6!

Read, comment, and share the WANA113 blogs I saved. On target.

  • I have read the first round, and saved several more.

  • Ongoing goal.

Join in on the conversation. Target attained!

  • I responded to a couple of comments. A beginning step toward immersion.

  • Ongoing goal.

Share at least 1 post on the blog sharing thread. Target attained!

  • I got brave and just went for it! Shared my birthday post! =D

Post to 3 NaNo threads before the month ends! Target attained!

Reply to three posts, also before the month ends. Target attained!

A Masterpiece of a Moment.

Farewell to the paradoxical month of July – and welcome, August!

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

It’s (not) Learn Nothing Day (here): ROW80 Update, July 24, 2013


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

So, I guess I ought to explain that rather tangly title up there. In the unschooling world , today is Learn Nothing Day – a day intended as a joke/experiment to see if it is actually possible to go an entire 24 hours without learning anything.

It sounds a little silly, maybe, as evidenced by these criticisms, but, in truth, it’s a simple and elegant example of how natural learning works, and, for those of us who were traditionally schooled, it can be a huge eye-opener about how much we really learn each day, and how impossible it is to stop -even for a day.

But here’s the thing.

My kids refuse to play.

Yup, that’s right. They are not willing to even try not to learn, not even just for a single day. They learn every other day of the year, and greedily, they want to learn on Learn Nothing Day, too.

To be fair, they tried for two years, and then they were done. They want to learn, and they see no reason to stop.

So, since they are contrarily actively learning today, I bring you instead pictures from a few years ago, the first year we tried to learn nothing. Enjoy the pictures, and read more about our past efforts, here…

Dead-eye Burton with the Lego gun he created.

If I myself wanted to Learn Nothing today, it might have been better not to have continued with my NaNo effort, because I learned a lot about my characters, their interactions, and the plot. I might also have avoided photo editing, because I learned more about how to use the paintbrush more efficiently, and gained skill in other effects, too.

I could have avoided watching a Peanut Butter Gamer video with Jeremiah, because I learned a lot about MySims Kingdom. I could have happily avoided learning what it feels like to step barefoot on a wooden rhythm stick…but it’s a little too late for that.

Really, I am trying not to learn here…so watching the local news is just a mistake…

Fortunately, I watched PBS just before midnight, so all the fascinating bits I learned about the Buddha, and the potential discovery of his remains, are “safe” learning.

I wish I could say I’ll get through the rest of the day without learning…but my record is not very good, and there are hours to go yet…

And now, without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to….in the form of my ROW80 Goals Progress…


Create new blog headers for Trueborn Jottings and The Unfettered Life, using new loglines. On target.

  • I have created a prototype header for Unfettered, but it’s too small, and the blog title was appearing mid-frame. More experimentation is pending.

Prepare Wordless Wednesday Sayen Gardens post. On target.

  • I began editing the pictures using PicMonkey. Progress is slow with the program, so, if the post isn’t ready, I will carry it over for next week, instead.

Write Coffee and Conversation post for July 29 (my birthday). Pending.

  • I have ideas forming in my mind; nothing written as yet.

Young Coquette and book love.

Prep Write a Story With Me post for July 29 posting. Pending.

Keep up with comments and sharing. On target.

  • I have kept up with comments.

  • I’ve shared a little; there will be more of this once I finish my


(July CampNaNoWriMo) -Continue writing. On target.

  • NaNo current total: 85,923 of 100,000 words. Less than 15,000 words to go, now!

Continue with Perchance to Dream writing. On target.

  • Current total: 35,471 of 50,000 words. Almost four-fifths of the way there!

Continue detailed planning one scene ahead for each POV character. On target.

  • Planning complete through scene 12.

  • Scene 10, Amanda’s POV, in progress.

Tidy up The Stars are Fire corkboard cards. On target.

  • I updated the status of all scenes. Small beginning steps.

Keep updates current, and interact socially around NaNo. On target.

  • Internet outage in the wee hours of Tuesday morning (prime writing time for me), foiled me…lasted a couple of hours. Updated when the connection was restored.

  • Social interaction was good, via #CampNaNoWriMo and #ROW80, mostly.

Learn Nothing day coincided with a folk-tale puppet show at the historic Schuyler House, Ummm….way too much learning, there!

Business-y Stuff:

Maintain sponsor visits. Target attained!

ELA and Mathematics for both IHIPs and fourth quarter reports. Pending.

  • Nothing yet. After NaNo!

Check in with WANA113. Pending.

  • Not yet. Again, this will be a bigger focus, post-NaNo.

Post to at least one NaNo forum. Pending.

  • Again, not yet. As I get closer to finishing, I will get more involved in this social aspect of NaNo.


That’s about it, except to say, that after what seems half an eternity, the heat and humidity have broken, and it is actually cool outside. The air conditioner is off, the windows are open wide, and I am weeding and hometending, with more vigor than I have in weeks. =D

May July roll sweetly to its end, for all of my readers!

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

Some-Some Summertime


Have some sand! Original photo credit: Jean Dorsey

I’ve been rather absent in my blogging, these last couple of weeks. One of my loyal readers asked, recently, when there would be new stuff. Reruns are all well and good,and it’s summer….

But where is the new stuff, Shan?

There is new stuff. A lot of it, as a matter of fact.

Aye, there is a rub, and here it is…

I am a novelist.

Almost all of my lovely new stuff is happily expanding several different Scrivener files, and frolicking merrily through my mind with true-blue summertime abandon, like a bunch of happy kids with lots of water to splash in, fireflies to chase, and sweetly cold treats to slurp and savor under the hot July sun…

Big Miah, small friends. Original Photo credit: Adam Smith.

Someday, I will unveil these lovelies, and set them free to flicker and fly and add a little magic to the world…

Of course, I have to write them first.

Ascending…Original photo credit: Jean Dorsey.

And that can become somewhat all-consuming, leaving only enough room left over to be a real person in a real world with things to do that don’t involve, to paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, the act of putting black marks on a white screen.

Summer is also a busy time for my family. We have two large social gatherings on the schedule, a houseguest, birthdays, and many plans. It’s also a time of concentrated homeschool paperwork, as we wrap up one year, and begin the next.

So while I would love to be posting daily, and offering new essays and thoughts on a several times a week basis – that isn’t going to be happening for a while, at least.

Watery girl grins! Photo credit: Shan Jeniah Burton

I  will continue my two Wednesday memes (Wordless Wednesday at The Unfettered Life and WIPpet Wednesday at Trueborn Jottings, and I will try to put out either a Saturday’s Share or a Coffee and Conversation (those appear on Mondays), here, each week of the summer. I will try to do twice-weekly ROW80 updates, so those who are interested can see how I’m getting on with the noveling…

But my focus is going to be on being present in this active season of family life, and on shaping two novels from ideas into fully fledged Works in Progress.

Watery boy grins! Photo credit: Shan Jeniah Burton.

I hope that you will all understand, and be able to treat this as a summer hiatus, rather than an abdication. It is simply a matter of my having many passions, but limited time, energy, and attention to give. Some things ascend in priority, while others settle back to rest.

I will be reworking the blogs,in the little bubbles of space that present themselves, so take a peek around now and then, because there might be interesting new landscape details, or other small treasures.

And, behind the scenes, I will be fleshing out some blog ideas, and there will be lots of new, once the season settles, and the transformative energy of autumn surges through my life, shifting things.

For now, I wish you all a delightful summer, filled with splashings and laughter and fireflies!

I’ll be here and there, now and then!

And creating lovely words in fascinating worlds. =D

Annalise, Carly, Olivia, and Zella. Original photo credit: Jean Dorsey.

Finding My Stride – ROW80 Update, October 10, 2012

Curious? Click here!

I seem to be hitting my stride, and getting the feel of my own energy. I’ve completed a few of my smaller projects, and moved forward on several more. I’m preparing for NaNo, keeping up with OctPoWriMo, and thoroughly enjoying my ROW80 sponsor visits. How is your ROW going? I would love you to share in the comments.

Honoring Myself  (Original goals post)

My one goal for this round is to honor myself – my rhythms, energy, and needs. My truth. My dreams and desires and emotions.

A fundamental part of that is to identify my energy type each day, and list what I do. It’s my hope that, throughout the round, patterns will emerge which will lead me to a more joyful and organic writing flow – one that truly honors me, while at the same time allowing me to get the most out of my writing time, which is seldom predic

Short Term Projects – Four pre-existing, and one new.

  • Moving firewood, as weather permits.
  • Brainstorm and Create Lists for Ebb Tide and High Tide projects.
  • Revise and submit “Namaste” guest post for a friend’s blog, promised far too long ago.
  • Revise and submit “Claiming My Passions piece” WIP submission to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • New Project – Register and Set up Novel Info at NaNoWriMoI tend to leave these types of administrative duties until the last minute, and then end up pressured, and setting other things aside, to get them done. So, I intend to get this “paperwork” out of the way, and have a chance to look around the relaunched site in the process.

Fall florals – marigolds and evening morning glories.

So, now, my energy levels and poems for the last few days…(full account is here)

  • Sunday: High Tide
  • Poem: Here, Today
  • Monday: Ebb Tide with Elements of Slack Tide
  • Poem: Husband Humanity

Annalise’s duct-tape zebra costume, and some horseplay, Oct. 2012

Now, for my thoughts on the specific long -term projects I listed in my goals post:

I am serving as a sponsor for this round.

  • I completed my sponsor visits on Monday. Doing them the day after I post my update seems to be working well enough to make it best practice. I tend to be creatively drained by the updating, so the lesser demand of reading and commenting fits well with day-after energy.
  • My sponsor post is complete, and has been submitted! Go, ME!!!!
  • I will soon be beginning a list of resources and ideas born from my visits, to experiment with during Ebb Tide times.

I am participating in the OctPo WriMo Challenge throughout October.

  • I have continued to write a poem each day, as noted above.
  • I continue to mull the project idea for the 31 poems when completed.
  • I’m visiting more poets now, but I still would like to manage more. Perhaps I could try to work a visiting day or two in each week- something to consider.

I will be participating in NaNoWriMo throughout November, writing at least 50,000 words of another novel in my Truebornseries, King of Infinite SpaceI might plan or sketch out parts ahead of time, or I might just leap in blind, with only the vaguest sense of where I am headed, which tends to work out for me.

As noted above, I have had more insights regarding this project.

  • I am continuing to gain a sense of the basic plot shape, and details are beginning to appear.
  • I ‘m currently considering what questions to ask my characters – hope to have a list to work with by the next update, if other busyness permits.
  • I will continue to do some freewriting to explore, and perhaps also write a flash fiction piece or two, if I have enough material, time,and inspiration.

I will be answering a rather embarrassing backlog of blog comments that have, in some cases, waited for months…it’s time – actually, far past time – to attend to these, acknowledge those who took the time to comment, and, in the process, enrich myself.

  • I have continued answering comments on shanjeniah.
  • A flash of inspiration hit me while I was answering a comment about my Energy Type approach – a vital bit of information that could bring two cultures and several specific characters more vividly to life….how cool is that?! Enriching myself, indeed! =D
  • Once I get shanjeniah up to date, comment-wise, I will be earmarking some time each week for attending to comments there, and will be moving on to answer comments on the guest postI wrote for Tiny Buddha waaaaay back last winter.
  • I am continuing to have good success with answering comments every other day. Once I get through all the posts on shanjeniah, I will settle on a 2-3 times a week, flexible schedule, so that I can avoid gathering such a great number of orphaned comments in the future.
  • It feels relaxing to finally be making headway on this long-neglected project.

Jeremiah’s snap circuit music box and fan, October 2012.

In addition to the projects above, I added:

Moving firewood, as weather permits.

  • I moved as much wood into the garage Sunday as I could fit. I then restocked the in-house supply. during the day on Monday.
  • On Monday, I refilled the stack depleted in the house restocking.

Moving ahead with the Reporting Pages project on The Unfettered Life.

  • There was not a great enough page allowance at the main blog, so I created reporting blogs for bothAnnalise and Jeremiah.
  • .I completed the text for Annalise’s Reading page, and began Jeremiah’s Reading page.
  • Next, I will move on to the Writing/Spelling pages, and begin adding links and visual elements to the Reading pages.
  • I would like these blogs to also serve as a type of portfolio for each child – s clearly visible record of what they are doing, exploring, and learning. I may even add recordings or videos…in time. All in time….
  • My long-range goal, for the rest of this month, is to have enough material for each topic to construct the main body of the report, so that completing the reports in a timely manner does not conflict with my NaNo participation.

Traintopia. They like trains. October, 2012.

Short-Term Projects In Progress for 10/7-9 (completed items in blue):

Complete and submit my ROW80 sponsor post.

  • I completed and submitted my post, as noted above. Yippee!

Continue brainstorming Ebb Tide and High Tide projects.

  • On Sunday and Monday, in my mind rather than in writing.
  • I will be returning to the list I began last week, fleshing out the basic Ebb Tide sections, and beginning the High Tide brainstorming list.
  • This project may end up being ongoing throughout the round. I am finding the tide idea to be a very good one for me, and expect I will carry it forward into subsequent rounds, and therefore I will want my lists to flow along with whatever I happen to be engaged with at any particular point in the process.

Review and revise guest post for a friend’s blog, promised far too long ago.

  • I have reread the piece, entitled Namaste. It is far more raw and scattered than I remembered, but I can see potential and truth there, too.
  • I’ve completed a rough edit, more to reorient myself to the ideas, delete unneeded passages, and trim the words than to create a submittable draft, at this point.

Revise and prepare WIP items for submission to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.

  • I have reread a freewritten essay, “Claiming My Passions”, which I plan to develop for submission here.
  • I have completed a rough edit of this piece, to correct the many obvious errors and reorient myself to it.

Review guest post policy at Words In Sync for possible guest posting opportunities.

  • I have reviewed the Guest Policy, and have begun to read the suggested links.
  • I contacted Shah; she has welcomed my submission. There’s no time frame as yet, because I really want to get my sponsor post and the previously arranged guest post submitted first, and to be a little further along with the kids’ reporting pages.
  • I have a never-published flash fiction piece, “A Splash of Red” that I feel might be right at home with Shah. It is complete, but I will want to reread and perhaps revise before sending it off.

Annalise and Elijah’s tree, October 2012.

My Reading List for 10/7-9

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……

ROWin’ in the Rain – Goals Update #6

Excerpt from 750words, June 8, 2011 – 

Today is a much, much happier day. I feel like I have struggled my way back to a place of calm and something approaching acceptance of the present moment. And keeping my focus on this moment and no other, the action I can take now, and no other, helps me to feel far less overwhelmed with what, looked at as a whole, complete situation, is utterly and completely overwhelming.

This moment, and no other. This action, and no other. So here I am, writing my 750 words, because that is the action I am taking in this moment. And, after, I will return to some tidying in the house, then maybe try another method of getting the kids’ quarterly reports to the school. Later, when it cools down from the 90 degree temperatures we have right now, I’ll hook up the printer, because submitting the reports in writing may indeed be the route I end up taking, much as I disagree with it.

Deep breaths. Short bursts of activity. Letting things go, or just working on a small part of the whole, in short bursts, helps me to remain calm. Giving myself the time and space to just be, to leave things undone, to decide for myself what is worthy of my time and attention and energy. Understanding that sharing a home with others means there are both others to help me….and others who sometimes do things that trigger unpleasant emotions in me.

Understanding that those emotions might very well be responses to old, entrenched patterns I am not yet even aware of. Learning to slow down, get still inside myself, and attend to the feeling and the associations it brings up. Going into those, until I get deeper than the surface emotion, to the place where I can find what I need in this situation – or if I need anything. Often, all I need is to acknowledge the feeling and its source, and all the perceived wrongness and angst of the moment just fades away.

When there is a need, understanding what it is is hugely helpful, because none of us can fill our own needs if we don’t understand what they are. That’s evident in our society, and very prevalent in my family of origin. Buying things and doing major home additions and renovations, as stand-ins for the need that goes unacknowledged and untended to.

So I am learning to understand my needs, and that it falls to me, and no one else, to tend to them. I an responsible for meeting my own needs.

How I do that depends on the situation and the nature of the need. Sometimes I am at a loss, in the moment, on what to do, except that I need to accept this moment just as it is, and surrender to it rather than fight it. Then, anything I choose to do will be from a place of acceptance, and all my energy can then be channeled to productive measures rather than flailing against life as it is.

This has been particularly difficult for me over the last three or for days. I’m hormonal, and it is very, very hot, and we have been busy, and the kids seem to both be getting ready for pretty major growth spurts.

If I can remember that all of these things tend to lead to a feeling of imbalance for me, separately, I can perhaps be patient with their combined disequilibrium.

If I can remember that it is also disorienting for the children, and that they really need my stability, calm, and patience, perhaps everything else will flow more peacefully through our lives.

Of course, in order to be in a state to provide that calm for them, I do need to nurture myself. There are in fact no housework police arriving on a daily basis to evaluate my daily portion of household chores. The world will not, in fact, come to an end if I choose to skip cleaning sometimes, or do the minimum amount I can live with, if I just am not up for doing more.

There are so many things that are of greater value than housecleaning. Creative expression, hugs and kisses and tickles and cuddles, putting one’s feet up and enjoying a cool day, feeling peaceful and happy to be just where I am, just now. Bliss. Laughter. Joy. Discovery. Time to ponder. Time to wonder. Time to embrace my own passions, and time to help the children embrace theirs, and Jim his. Time to be kind, and courteous, and generous – to myself and to others.

Round 2 Goals:


  • Read at least as many books as the number of the month (4 in April ; 5 in May; 6 in June) from my bedroom To Be Read piles.
  • I have finished book 4 of 4 for April, Hold On to Your Kids.
  • I have now completed my April book  reading goal!
  • Read at least 5 blogposts a week (not including my own), and like, comment, and/or share as I am moved to.
  • I have read Laughter of Children and Clouds, commented,and am sharing here.
  • I have read the deep truth and courage in Words…words,words,words, written by my dear lifelong friend, Eden Mabee.  
  • Because she is my friend – and so much more – I wrote two long comments.
  • Because this post is incredible, I am sharing it to Facebook.
  • I read the poem  Shame, commented, and shared on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • I have completed this goal for this week.

  • Create flash fiction, short stories, dialogues, character sketches, alternate scenes, and poetry for  Chameleon’s Dish and Blood and Breath.  Wander cow trails, and learn these people and their lives more fully.
  • I now  have 489 words in the group dialogue scene for Chameleon’s Dish, and a much better sense of where this piece is headed.
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I pulled a complete essay, which appears above.
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • I have included excerpts from these writings as part of these updates (see intro, above), and they have informed other writing I have done since reading them.
  • I will be focusing more on these as I finish the A to Z posts, then the essays and book reviews that have been queued up behind them.
  • Find all chapters of Blood and Breath.  Input into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • I have created a story arc for Chapters 2 and 3, as a preliminary step.
  • Next, I will begin creating flash fiction as the basis for scenes in these chapters.
  • In the meantime, I may shift my inputting focus to Chameleon’s Dish, because I have a completed rough draft of that novel.
  • I will consider my options, and change my goal if indicated.


  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have edited, embellished, and scheduled T is for Toxic People –  Y is for Yelling.
  • I have written Z is for Zoo.
  • I have now completed the writing for this challenge, and have 1 post left to edit, embellish, and schedule.
  • The last post may take a while longer….I found many pictures I want to include, but they will need editing and collaging before posting….and that may take an added hour or three beyond what I usually need for that process.

  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I posted to the Weekend Creation Blog Hop, as noted above.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I read this “article” (biased, ill-informed, and rather poorly written) on unschooling.  I commented.
  • I have answered a few comments on this blog.
  • I have shared Freedom, the 2009 post I edited on The Unfettered Life.  I posted it on Facebook.
  • I also shared G is for Growth and H is for Happiness, both from my A to Z posts.
  • I have resumed the process of answering my blog comments –  another ball I released in order to focus on the A to Z challenge.


  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I have reviewed the submission guidelines for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.  I plan on assessing several of my existing flash fiction pieces, in preparation for submitting.
  • I have decided to make “Twice-Coupled” my first submission, and will begin preparing it in the next few days.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • I have reread my Cooperative Catalyst rough draft, which I had not looked at for a month or two. I will let it rest a few more days, then begin polishing it, as I finish the pieces that I intend to link it to.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • I have submitted to the Storyteller Writing Challenge twice, and once to the Weekend Creation Blog Hop
  •  This goal has been attained for April.


  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I synced the pictures from last weekend to my Picasa Web Albums, and deleted the file from my hard drive.
  • Learn how to watermark pictures.
  • I did it!  I learned how to watermark, and designed one I can be happy with.  It may change over time, but I like it, for now!
  • This goal has been attained!

  •  Explore marketing articles on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • I explored a free copyrighting service, and have decided not to go that route.
  • I read this interview on publishing and marketing to Kindle.
  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah 
  • Marketing Articles page.
  • I added the above article to my Marketing Articles page.
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.
  • I am beginning to see a shape and scope for my marketing efforts.  Nothing more than a sense of it, yet.  I will keep learning, and pondering…


  •  Get Scrivener  downloaded; begin learning by inputting first an essay, and then Blood and Breath.
  • I have begun the creation of a story arc for the remaining chapters.  I am midway through Chapter Three in this process.
  • Use Twitter and HootSuite  at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I opened  HootSuite on Saturday…and closed Facebook.
  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • I remembered that I joined a SheWrites group for WordPress Bloggers.  I will be checking it out during the next week or so, to learn more about how to use this blog platform.
  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • I have saved two articles that deal with this topic, and will be researching them through the coming weeks ( they are long; I will read them in sections).


  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • I edited and updated the first of my Unfettered Life 2009 posts, Freedom.
  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • I have moved another entry to my LibreOffice clip files – a stream-of-consciousness essay that wanders interestingly.
  • I have deleted the file from my Penzu journal (as I do with each entry as I mine it for clips, because I am not ready to upgrade to Penzu Pro.  This keeps my single free journal from becoming unwieldly as I add to it.


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Thursday:  Staying home; lawnmowing; reading; writing; working in my room.
  • Friday: More lawnmowing; finished April book reading goal; old blogpost reminiscing; coffee with Jim
  • Saturday: Listening to Jim and the kids assemble and fly a wood glider plane kit; lingering coffee, with Jim and alone; the rain we so needed; saying yes to Lise in the rain and in my library; saying yes to the candlelit invitation….
  • Sunday: Old picture editing; coffee with Jim;  time  with Miah looking over the typical course of study for his “grade level”; time playing and snuggling with Lise;  hometending; warm clothes on a chilly,damp day.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Thursday: Lots of mowing. Hometending.  Yard cleanup.
  • Friday:Lots more mowing (including the steeply pitched hill; a real workout!); Hometending; climbing dome flipping; yard cleanup.
  • Saturday: A bit of mowing (ahead of soaking rain we desperately needed); hometending; other stuff.
  • Sunday: Hometending (too wet to want to be outside).  Played with Corki-dog and Annalise.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • I decorated myself this week with sunkiseed skin, windtossed curls, and many dimply smiles. Oh, and i wore the prettiest color –  blue – every day.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Thursday: Working in my library, home, and yard.  Reading and writing.  family time.
  • Friday: Working in home, yard, and my library.  Reading and writing.  More family time.
  • Saturday: Jim.  Candlelight. All the above stuff,too.
  • Sunday: One-on-one time with each family member.  Hometending. reading and writing.  Listening to the rain and the train whistle.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jeremiah: Grown-up conversations; exploring and learning together in my library; coffee and snuggles together.
  • Annalise: Tablet coed arrived, and I got to watch her begin to claim the tablet for her own.  It was mine, and is loaded with lots of goodies like a 3D Brain, painting and light art programs, YouTube App, and a keyboard….I need to check to see if i left anything important stored on it (she lost the previous cord when I loaned it to her, so I couldn’t do it before I gifted it to her at Christmas.  She is loving it!
  • Jim:  His heart’s desire; a cleaner house; a happily thriving family.
 Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • I have completed the Reading section of Jeremiah’s third quarter report, to date.
  • Cleanup email folders/organize, move, read, delete, act upon as needed.
  • I winnowed my Homeschooling items folder from 60+ messages to just 19.
  • I will return at a later date and designate new homes for the remaining messages.
  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • I am up to page11 of 120 in the first notebook.
  • Pay remaining balances for summer trips to Unschoolers
  • Rock the Campground and Northeast Unschooling Conference.
  • I woke in time to call the campground Friday –  but forgot to do it!  I seeem to be going to sleep a little earlier (about 3am; pretty early for me!), and rising earlier.  I plan to get the number and post myself a note so I remember tomorrow…
 Excerpt from this week’s 750 Words ~~
Oh, I liked that post. I don’t like weathermen, though, who tell us “trust me, we’re going to hold off the rain as long as we can.”
Sorry, Jason, you don’t have that ability, so far as I know. Ok, minor rant over. It’s been a slow and rather lazy day of mellow productivity and big heat (recordbreaking over 90 degree April day, but with a breeze that kept it from being as oppressive as it might have been. And since it’s been a dry spring, it wasn’t at all humid.
Which makes it weirder that a meteorologist would offer to attempt to hold off the much-needed rain.
Oh, it looks as though my battery is getting low…..I want to get my 750 words in, so I am writing, writing…. I did do some writing today, and some reading, and some tending in the home and yard.
Ok, I have enough battery to get me through. I am happy with what I’ve written tonight; it does seem that the words are coming slowly. And yet, they are coming. Sometimes that needs to happen, I think – the lull, the refilling, the pause between the inspiration and expiration; the pause in the heartbeat, the instant of held tension just before orgasm breaks over you…. I’m tired, and the images are here. And I have 750 words. =)~~
In other news:

  • I was nominated for my fourth blogging award today.  I will reveal the details when I have a post ready; since I am in the midst of my Z post, this update, and backed-up reading, commenting, and essay-writing, that may take a week or three, but I will get there (this is an award I have quietly coveted  since seeing it on a blog I really enjoy).  This is a new award for me. =)
  • I will be contacting my prospective guest bloggers before month’s end.  If anyone else is interested in guest posting, or hosting me as a guest blogger, feel free to drop me a comment anytime!
  • I will have an announcement of something new coming by the end of May, so stay tuned!
  • I forgot to introduce any of my followers with Wednesday’s check in.  Oops!
    I remembered this time, though, and so…

May I introduce you to….?

And now, for the Link Treats:


J is for Jeremiah

More than 500 Words On……Jeremiah, and relating!

At about 10 months old old, in love with the vacuum!

Sometimes, it can be hard to describe Jeremiah in terms that shows others the deepest and most fascinating parts of him. He’s a lot like Jim that way. His depths lie tucked away beneath a smooth surface, and, if you aren’t among the trusted few, they hardly seem to ripple.

I am thrilled to be a person my son trusts, as he gathers himself, in earnest, for the coming journey from boyhood to young manhood.

Age 3; first of many visits to Liberty Ridge Farm, in nearby Schagticoke, NY.

I didn’t start off as well as I might, if I were becoming his mother, and he my son, today. I made some mistakes, and I did things that wounded his spirit, in the way I was wounded by my own childhood. My wounds bled into his, as so often happens in families of abuse.

I was never comfortable with this – perhaps, no parent who enacts and inflicts their own brokenness on their child is. Perhaps they all look for ways to change the dynamic to something healthier and more gratifying, and only haven’t encountered it yet.

Or maybe not.

I love this.....age 4, I think, and in his favorite sweatshirt. =)

At any rate, when Miah was 7, the same age Annalise is now, I had learned enough to start making better choices in how I interacted with him, how I handled things like “disobedience” (in quotes because it is no longer a part of our reality)  children, in general, act in accordance with the degree to which their needs are met. Not necessarily the needs parents think they have, though – the respond in accordance with their own specific and unique personal needs; in other words, not just for food, sleep, and shelter, but for other things too.

Things like being taken seriously, being respected, being treated with kindness,  feeling safe – physically, mentally, and emotionally – , having freedom to live their own lives to the fullest possible degree, and knowing that the integrity of their beings is honored.

Jeremiah the Absolutely Awesome Big Brother

I am glad I began to change when I did. It’s been nearly four years since I began the transition.

At 7, Jeremiah deepened, and I was able to regain most of the trust I had squandered in those days that I valued the societal idea of being a “good mother” more than I valued being the mother Jeremiah needed me to be.

If I hadn’t, I think he would have simply slipped into himself, and I would not know this amazing person, who, at 9, spent 5 months saving for his own 3DS, although we would have bought him one.   Saving included getting up early several times to go work odd jobs for his grandfather.  He packed his own lunch,  made his own arrangements, and took the responsibility very seriously.  He chose not to spend money on several other things, in order to but it on his tenth birthday, although Jim and I told him we would buy it at Christmas.  He did his own research, and purchased it with his own money – an awesome feat! =)

He is interested in morals, ethics and laws. He has a keen sense of justice. He is planning his adolescence and early adulthood with an obvious grasp of what is involved – he thinks about saving for a car, what job he would like and how much he wants to make, getting his license, when he thinks he might like to get married, buy a house, and have children.

I wouldn’t have wandering late-night talks where it’s hard to remember he’s not yet 11. He seems wiser, and more thoughtful, than he is during the busyness of his days spent exploring various games and media, playing inside and out, building and planning and figuring out how things work.

I would not have his snuggles, that beautiful light in his eyes, and a welcome into those fascinating depths within him .

Warrior With a Self Made Boffer and His Cell Phone; Unschoolers Rock the Campground II, Plymouth, MA, age almost 9.

F is for Food

 500 Words On……Food

Informal dining - click for another post on food!

Food is one of those things that can send some people over their own personal edge of reason. There are many, many beliefs attached to food. Religions, cultures, and families often have food and eating requirements and prohibitions.

Parents are particularly prone to believing they know what their children should and should not be eating, in what proportions and quantities, at what times, and in what location. Sometimes, parents are absolutely certain that they know what types of dishes and utensils a child might use, and which must be prohibited.

Yes, eating well can be a joy, if many foods are available and none forced! =D Click image to learn more.

There are many things that fan irrational fears; but few as much as food.

For the last few years, I have been pondering the societal role food plays in America. I’ve been thinking of the role it played in my family of origin, and the role it plays in our family, today.

And I’ve been thinking about the fact that we are animals, and, once, we lived as wild as any wild thing, subsisting in the way of wild things – instinctively and, as a species, sufficiently.

Nacho chip casserole - the children declined to try, preferring sandwiches that night.

There seems to me to be a certain huge illogic in the way these two lines of thought generally collide……and a large-scale dichotomy between many societally-accepted parental attitudes and beliefs about food and the need to control it, and what I see in my own home.

Everyone in this family, regardless of age, is free to eat what we have. We may eat it when we want, where we want, on whatever dishes and using whatever utensils they like. We may eat a meal, a single item, or snack at will from a selction of foods.

At 10, Jeremiah can cook an increasing repertoire of foods. Annalise, at almost 8, is helping a lot more in the kitchen, and loves to make pizza with Jim.  Jim, as a professional chef, is our resident master. Generally, we don’t cook vegetables, because one of us eats vegetables fresh, finding the texture of most cooked veggies intensely disagreeable, and we just all seem more fond of them that way. Jim brings me dishes with sauteed veggies from work, when I want them.  My distaste for all members of the melon and melony-tasting families is as accepted as my adoration for frozen grapes.

What we call a monkey platter. Freedom and choices abound.

We all have input into the shopping list, and, beyond staples, there is no budget bias toward the “adult” choices. People ask for food, and, to the extent the finances allow it, that food is procured and consumed (or sometimes not).

Each of us eats differently, in ways that suit us. There doesn’t seem to be a need to control the children’s food intake in any way. Over time, their tastes change naturally, just as their bodies and minds do. Over time, their intake (nearly all protein one day; nearly all sweets another; nearly all fruits, veggies, and grains on another…) balances out.

More yummy choices. First to vanish? The spinach enchilada!

They are healthy and active.

Just as a wild animal grows where many other things grow and live, some edible and others not, and yet know, instinctively, what to eat and what to leave alone, so I believe humans can be, if we can only let go of those artificial guidelines and absolutes, and learn to each simply listen to ourselves as we go about the business of nourishing ourselves.

That approach is certainly working here. =)

A-ROWing We Will Go….Update #1

ROW 80 Round 2 – Goals Update #1

Here we are, at the very first ROW check-in of Round 2.

It’s been a tumbled, tousled, and transformative time, here, in my real world.

I am writing a lot, reading some, and readjusting to Jim’s work schedule and a return to car-sharing, at least until our big old Dodge truck is repaired, we buy a second car (we have decided we want a used Subaru Outback; but are not yet really ready to go beyond that, and setting a budget for the purchase).

Today, Jim’s first day back to work, found us very low on milk (a staple around here!), and also coffee creamer (a far greater tragedy, on the whole!).

Transformation in the air....

We’re all a little unsettled, like the weather today.  Fits and starts of chilly rain and wind gusts, then a time of no wind and brilliant sunshine…..

Thankfully, I am more able to flow with the burly transitional energy than I used to be.   I am more in tune with my own energy, Jim’s, and the children’s. too.

Over the last few years, as I have become more peaceful in general, I’ve moved awayfrom long bouts of fury and futile yelling and punishing…..and of course, I would have to enforce my rules, and the punishments for them, in the name of “consistency”.

Now, I try to step back from my own feelings, and remind myself that feelings are fleeting, and I will feel happier feelings, at some point.  And, for this moment of feeling, I am better served by trying to find an action I can take to improve whatever has me feeling uncomfortable.

Sun and shadows...and the winds of change.

When the children are feeling less than loving toward each other, as siblings will, at times, I’ve moved away from policing the dispute and making decrees about how it will be resolved.

These days, I listen to both sides of the dispute, and try to help each child to understand the other’s point of view.  I offer suggestions to ways they might resolve the issue, and a neutral energy to help defuse the tensions or rages of the moment.

Usually, they can then work out an equitable resolution, and return to peaceful coexistence within just a few minutes.

So, today, I am breathing deeply.  I’m tired, and a little growly.  Knowing this, I am taking steps to resolve some mental, emotional, and physical clutter.

Rays of light and hope......

I am breathing, and remembering that this unsettled place, like the weather, will smooth out ahead, and there will be a return to ease and comfort.

And, until then, I will remind myself that just this type of unsettled , intense energy is what is needed to give birth……and, for certain, we are, in this moment, each birthing our future selves, and the lives they will live.

So, here, for your exploration, are my “labor pains”:

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


  • Read at least as many books as the number of the month (4 in April ; 5 in May; 6 in June) from my bedroom To Be Read piles.
  • I am a little less than 50 pages from the end of my first book for April, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter  by Sue Monk Kidd.
  • Read at least 3 articles or blog posts a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • I have read this blog article from my Read Later Fast Chrome app - a stuffed-full of intentions space.  Saved the article to my Facebook Writer Page because I want to respond to it.
  • My second post read was on a scrap craft card.  I have shared it on my Facebook timeline and my Writer Page, because it has inspired an idea for me.
  • Third post read was this, on the effects of spanking.  Also shared to my Writer Page.
  • Fourth (and bonus!) article was on digital learning in schools.  I was moved to share on my Writer Page for possible future material, and also to comment on the post.
  • I have sorted several other saved posts there, some archived for later attention,and others deleted.
  • 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 written one flash fiction piece (about 500 words), for the Blogging from A to Z April Challengletter H.  The piece will post on Monday, April 9.
  • I have created another flash fiction piece, using a different viewpoint character, for my Blogging From A to Z  I is for Intuition post, which will post on Tuesday, April 10.  Already, I feel new bits and perspectives on the story emerging, and I will be eager to move amongst my characters, getting to know each of them better.
  • I have had another idea of a rich vein to draw from.  Because of the existing Star Trek canon, I have a very good idea of what Spock was up to from the time he began sensing Jeniah to the time when they were finally able to physically consummate their bond.  What I don’t have is an equal awareness of Jeniah’s life throughout these years apart, yet connected.  It’s led to an imbalance and feeling of being stuck when I write from her POV, and so I will be writing some flash fiction and poetry that explore her  journey during those years.
  • I used the flash fiction approach to Jeniah’s life for the rough draft of my A to Z Challenge K post, K is for Knowledge. I am quite happy with the little vignette I got from it. =)
  • Pull material from all 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.  
  • I have pulled the June 2011 posts up and imported them to LibreOffice.
  • I have highlighted and edited up to the third  post.  I found the seed of a couple of essay ideas, a few rough but complete essays I wrote but hadn’t returned to, and  a complete essay I think I posted on The Unfettered Life.
  • I am using a different color for each essay thread, so that it will be easier to separate them when it is time to move them to blog drafts or to Scrivener.
  •  I think I will create an essay and/or unschooling page here at shanjeniah for pieces like this, as well as preparing some to submit.
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • I have written about 300 w0rds on the “seed idea”, and will let them rest a day or three before returning to reread them.
  • I was able to move the first essay to Scrivener  –  and find it again.  I even think I have a basic sense of how it works (no, I’m saving the tutorial for if I get stuck!).
  • Find all chapters of Blood and Breath.  Input into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • I believe all the files for this WiP are on my external hard drive.  The only problem is that the hard drive is not currently working.
  • If that retrieval methods doesn’t pan out, I will be scouring memory sticks and the hard drives of our other computers, to see if I backed up there (I wrote the draft in 2009; memory has fogged a bit, since then.
  • All other methods exhausted, I will rewrite the draft as best as I am able.  Since I had the majority of the plot worked out, that would result in a draft that would be more evolved than a rough draft, and a bit less evolved than a revised second draft.
  • On the positive side, I have found a complete version of the Prologue.  It’s oddly formatted, which I will want to fix, but it is a starting point! =)
  • I have input the Prologue into Scrivener.  I managed to format it more or less as intended.  I am feeling really cool about that, and as though rewriting won’t be a horrific challenge, if it comes to that.
  • I found Chapter 1 – whole, complete, and in WordPerfect format.  My Sweet L’il Lenovo now has a free program the can read WordPerfect files. The chapter will need some editing before being moved to Scrivener.
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send. 
  • I had a dream the other night involving a maze in an unfamiliar place which I understood to be my father-in-law’s house (although not like where he actually lives).
  • I am going to let that dream be for a bit, and see what it evolves into.

  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have scheduled the posts for April 1-9; letters A-H are edited and will post/have posted on their assigned days.
  • I have written rough drafts for letters   J  and K; which will be edited, then scheduled for April  10, and 11, respectively.
  • Complete Cooperative Catalyst post and related links (interviews with both children, and their “day in the life” posts from last year) ; submit to editor.
  • I have completed and posted both children’s interviews from this winter.  There are even pictures.  Annalise is here, and Jeremiah here.  In the interest of full disclosure, I had these posted up before the beginning of the round.
  • I have retrieved Annalise’s “day in the life” post, and edited the text.  In a day or three, I will add some relevant images and add the links before posting at The Unfettered Life.
  • I have also edited and added links to Jeremiah’s “day in the life” post, and will be adding images next.
  • 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 created a flow chart for this blog, and will pretty it up and post it within the next few days.
  • I have also created a flow chart for The Unfettered Life .  I will post after I add a pretty and inspirational image or two.
  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • I started small by creating a draft page for my online content.  Next will be tracking down a few links.


  •  Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest; and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • Started this goal off small.  I reset my forgotten She Writes password, and read this post there, sharing on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • I have saved a post on Twitter Best Practices to my Writer Page, to explore further, and asked for help in learning it, because it flummoxes me.
  • I got brave and reentered my Pinterest account.  Looked around –  there is a lot of empty real estate and possibilities there…..room to grow, and to explore.
  • I created one new board and got out of there, to return with a Chrome extension, and some images to pin…..and maybe to check out my followers (who seem to have come although I rarely visit there!).
  • I found and installed an extension, so now I can pin from any site, and I am planning to explore using it to save images for my posts.
  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I posted a One-Minute Writer post early Monday morning (see Blogging, above).
  • I read up on Shah Wharton‘s Storyteller Writing Challenge.  I found the photo prompt compelling, and will let the idea sit for a while, freewriting on it later tonight or sometime tomorrow.
  • I wrote a 508 word rough draft of my as-yet untitled story for the Storyteller Challenge.  It will get a bit of resting time before reread.
  • My Flicker of Inspiration post is up, as noted above..
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I have  commented on and shared several blogs, as posted above.
  • I am continuing to challenge my comfort zone by offering my words to a wider audience.
  • I am just starting to notice that my posts are beginning to be shared and commented on by people I don’t know, even online.  It’s an interesting and slightly terrifying experience, and I am still absorbing it.
  • My book review for Last Child in the Woods was reblogged on Learn From Nature.
  • I have been experimenting with adding a greater variety of tags, categories, and links.  I think this may be at least part of the reason for the spate of new activity, and I will be checking my stats sometime over the next few days to see if I can learn more there.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I’m in the process of making plans for a guest post exchange with Eden Mabee, who is a ROW80 sponsor this month, and whose bravery I admire!
  • I am officially requesting guest spots, and guest posters willing to diversify! 

  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I have a “seed idea” for my 2012 NaNoWriMo  novel;  I will explore this further and develop through flash fiction I submit for publication in places other than my own blog.
  • I have had another “seed idea” regarding Jeniah’s personal timeline (see Writing, above), and will be writing some of these as submissible pieces, as well as some posted here for more immediate feedback.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • I have developed the “seed essay idea” (see Writing, above) into a several hundred word freewriting.
  • I have highlighted several passages from my June 2011 750Words.com posts.  Some I will develop further, and others are ready to share as they are.
  • Next up will be beginning to research essay markets for these posts.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • I am currently participating in the A to Z Challenge, as noted above.
  • I have an entry for the  Storyteller Challenge in progress, as noted above.
  • I have an entry for the Flash of Inspiration hop in progress, as well, as noted above.
  • My Flicker of Inspiration Character post, Spock – A Most Logical Character.  That is one submission for the month, thus far.

  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I have made a cursory sweep of my meager My Pictures file, deleting all files that are already on  my Picasa Web Albums.
  • Most of my pictures are in my Documents and Downloads files.  That will be a more involved process.
  • I have deleted from my Downloads all loose (not in folders) pictures I know to be on Picasa web albums.
  • Learn how to watermark pictures.
  • I have downloaded the Picasa help page for watermarking, and skimmed it.  Next will be attempting the process.
  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  •  Explore marketing articles on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • I have reposted three articles to the top of the page, so that I can find them again easily,  I will begin reading them during the next several days.
  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah  Marketing Articles page.
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.

  •  Get Scrivener  downloaded; begin learning by inputting first an essay, and then Blood and Breath.
  • Scrivener was downloaded ahead of the round, because I got nervous.
  • I have input one essay, and will continue with others, experimenting with the drafting process on smaller pieces first.
  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • Learn what I can do with my domain name.
  • Begin research list/research for  Chameleon’s Dish second draft.


  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • Input Blood and Breath and Chameleon’s Dish to Scivener.
  • Began with Prologue of Blood and Breath.
  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • Began decluttering photo and document files, as noted above.
  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday – Writing time, flowerbed cleaning, trip dreaming, snuggles with Miah, listening to Lise read aloud!
    Tuesday – Allowing myself a home day, hanging and grilling outside, all together, skipping hometending, tried computer outside.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday – Hometending, decluttered yard and front flowerbeds, raked large flowerbed.
  • Tuesday – tired.  Moved around in yard and garden.
  • Add self-deorating to every week!
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Lise: admiring chalk art, yard work, gardening together, reading time.
  • Miah: Morning snuggle, TV time, computer and website building talk.
  • Jim: Watched the Whitney Cummings  standup he’s been wanting to share with me, flirted and kissed.

Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • Cleanup email folders/organize, move, read, delete, act upon as needed.
  • Started cursory sweep of several files while searching for Blood and Breath chapters.  Deleted obviously unnecessary and unwanted items.

 So there it is – the contractions and striving that will help me to reach my goals.Jim is home from his first night back at work, and we are settling into our evening.   We’re watching Nova: Hunting the Elements, which the kids discovered after Annalise watched Nature: Humpback WhalesTime to sink back into the rhythm of my life…..You can find the other ROWers’ updates, here! =)