The Joy of Skulls: #JusJoJan Day 12

Welcome to Day Twelve of Just Jot it January, where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill. 

Today’s prompt,skullscomes to us courtesy of Dean at Dean’z Doodlez.

I almost wrote a Trip and T’Pol story – except, after many days of insisting, persistently and purportedly logically, T’Pol must have been feeling a little playful. All I could pick up from her today were little fluffy pieces of this and that which went rather jarringly with the bloodier bits she was sharing – of being trapped, and knowing that her life, Trip’s, and their unborn twins’ were all at stake…but all of these are in fragmented images, like shattered bones, at the moment, and much more in images and emotional flashes than in anything that’s really ready to be shared in anything more than that scattered manner above.

Maybe, in some weird way, that carcasslike paragraph up there fits the theme…

Anyway, I’ve decided to go another way.

This is Yorick. I met him in a Manhattan beauty salon whose name I no longer remember. The very idea of this extremely country upstate girl who grew up next to a field where silage corn and timothy hay were grown, who watched the haying from her bedroom window, and who’s seldom given much of any thought at all to matters of fashion, would be in a Manhattan beauty salon was one of those simply amazing confluences of circumstance that lead me to create unabashedly run-on and purple passages.

Without the Internet, it probably never would have happened….but that’s not the point today. The point is that I met Yorick, and had fun with him. And I took pretty pictures, so I can smile about skulls while I share these with you.

Skulls also make me think of my daughter. That’s not gruesome – really!

You see, my little girl like bones. Always has – maybe always will. She’s got a fairly good grasp of human, equine, and mastodon anatomy, as you can see! Look at that joy, that goofy five-year old horse skull grin on ther little face! That, my friends, is LOVE!

Sometimes people wonder why we choose to live like this, why our children have lived lives free of school and lessons, and asked what we DO, how our kids learn, when they aren’t subject to any curriculum…

Here’s a little hint of an answer, in these images.

They learn.

Oh, yes! They learn.

And, while they’re doing it, their faces look like this! =D

Suddenly, I’m finding skulls to be things of beauty, and not just because they support so much.

Maybe that’s what T’Pol wanted me to see today? Don’t know, but, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to tell you that I have a headache that’s insisting my own skull is too tight. I’m trying to stave off a potential incipient migraine. I’m not going to proofread this; despite having other writing I could and maybe should be doing, tonight, I think I’m going to set aside the laptop earlier tonight, take a hot shower, and maybe try to rest it away.

May we all keep what’s in our skulls in place, and fill them with thoughts that make that face in front of that skull grin like this little girl!


That’s it for me today…find more jottings right here!

“Mom Played A Video Game All Night Long!”: A Mindful Monday Playtime

Do you play?

If so, how, when, where, why, and with whom?

What do you think of when you hear the word play?

Is it a single activity, or a wild array of options?

A structured garden, or a wild meadow?

Can you say or write the word ‘play’ in another language?

Sign it?

What good is play?

Is it possible to play mindfully?

What would that look like?

What would a life centered around play – one where play is the goal of the family, look like?

Is that possible?

Is it a good idea, or a disaster waiting to happen?

Mom Played A Video Game All Night Long!”

It’ s true. I totally did that last night. The game was To the Moon, and I’m not feeling even a little guilty for ‘frittering my life away’ as my mother might put it – because I didn’t. I played that game mindfully. It was an investment in the future, with immediate benefits in the present.

How so?

  • I played because my son, 14, asked me to; It was on his birthday wish list. In a social culture where so many people feel disconnected and at odds with their teens, my son invited me to share in an important part of his life. Accepting added depth to our relationship – as mother and son, and as humans.

  • I played the game straight through because he said it would be best that way. My son is an avid gamer, and knows me well. We spend the majority of time in close proximity to one another, and our family paradigm is egalitarian. Both children have a great deal of autonomy. I consciously engage with them as a whole person, rather than simply through the role of ‘Mom’. Because he knows me, I trusted his assessment. Trust and knowledge of the other is an important component in building and maintaining strong relationships.

  • I played when I did because that’s when I could give myself fully to the experience. My son’s birthday is in early September; it’s early December now. When he asked, I was already committed to intensive writing projects through November. I knew I’d be impatient and easily frustrated if I tried to play then. I’m not the gamer my son is; I’m a writer, and writing is my absolute favorite pastime. Being honest with him and myself honored his desire for me to play, and my own creative passion. Healthy relationships are a delicate dance of self and other.

  • I set aside my other projects to play. We decided I’d play on Saturday.  I needed to postpone by a day because his sister received an impromptu invitation;  he was willing to wait. I made it a priority to honor the amended date. He was flexible and generous when I needed to change my plans. I treated the commitment I made to him the same way I would treat an appointment with another adult. I respected my son – the boy he is, and the man he is swiftly becoming –  and he respected that motherhood comes with other, sometimes unpredictable, obligations. Mutual respect and willingness to work together are essential for good relationships with others, all through life.

  • I made the game my priority. I announced my intentions and set things up so I could give the time freely. It’s a long and challenging game; my son wasn’t able to stay awake long enough to see me finish, but I promised I would. And so I did – even when I got stuck and had no idea what to do next; even when my thick, non-gaming fingers got all tangled up trying to blast potted plants at Zombievas while simultaneously navigating a school corridor, using eight letter and arrow keys on his small keyboard. I didn’t give up until I was finished. I did what I said I would do; I kept my word, and followed through on my promises with action – vital in all relationships.

  • I played with an open mind. Adults often discount the interests and passions of children as frivolous and unimportant. My mother scorned my fascination with Star Trek. She was sure she knew what it was all about, and her mind was closed to any other way of seeing things. By letting myself be open to learning why my son loves this game, I proved that his interests matter to me, and that I want to know what he loves, and understand it if I can. Healthy relationships thrive on understanding and acceptance.

  • I used break times wisely. When I started to get frustrated, tense, achy, or restless, I got up and moved. I did dishes and laundry, tidied up, swept floors, fed critters and myself, and showered. Each time I came back to the game with renewed energy, and a new perspective. Those efforts kept me playing in comfort, got me a little exercise, gave me a source of accomplishment aside from game play, and gave my family a more pleasant home to wake up to, as well. Tending well to others, and ourselves, makes for stronger and more loving relationships.

  • Because I played, we share a new conversational landscape. Going back to the disconnect between many adolescents and adults, this is something I find invaluable. To the Moon is a rich, textured story game layered with many versions of human experience. Some of the subject matter touches on our own family experiences. We now have a new context for deeply personal sharing on sensitive topics. A new facet of connection is open between us. Healthy relationships grow with shared experience.

So, yes, I did in fact play a video game all night long. And I’m a far better mother because of it!

How has play deepened your relationships?

I’d love to hear about it!

Share your links, stories, images, thoughts, or perspectives below – our relationship will benefit! =D

Want more Mindful Monday playtime?

Just follow the link!


Blink and You’ll Miss It: #SoCS

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: “miss”, used any way we like.

My post was inspired by two photos of myself and my children, taken a little over two years apart. The first, in September of 2013, is directly below. The image after the poem was taken on Thursday evening. I think these two images say maybe better than any words can what has happened in just two years, and the hurtling toward adulthood going on in the space of my blinking…That also explains why this is posting so late. My daughter got a last-minute invitation, and that disrupted my blogging routine, such as it is.  I’m not sorry…

Some things I just don’t want to miss, y’know?

With Jeremiah, just 12, and Annalise, 9, in September of 2013.

Blink and You’ll Miss It

Blink and you’ll miss it

Blink and they’ve grown

Grown taller and smarter

Grown in that tiny space

Space of an eye’s blink

Space between heartbeats

Heartbeats and tears

Heartbeats and laughter

Laughter once high pitched

Laughter now of a man

Man in the making

Boy in a man’s body

Body strong and graceful

Body with a woman’s curves

Curves I didn’t see coming

Curves grew in a breath

Breath held at their births

Breath exploded in first cries

Cries of anger cries of sorrow

Cries of joy at bright tomorrow

Tomorrow once so far away

Tomorrow coming in a rush

Rush of lengthening bones

Rush of strengthening minds

Minds of their own as babies

Minds more their own today

Today one’s bigger than me

Today one’s well on her way

Way too fast this changing

Way too fast so easy to miss

Miss the little-boy voice

Miss the deepening breaks

Breaks in the action of life

Breaks to look in their eyes

Eyes that meet mine boldly

Eyes that still look to me

Me who’s getting older

Me who’s fading out

Out of ascendancy

Out of immediacy

Immediacy everywhere

Immediacy of change

Change the size of clothing

Change interests and beliefs

Beliefs of their own now

Beliefs I may not share

Share in their wonder

Share things I’ll most miss

Miss it if I blink too much

Wonder what I just missed

Two weeks ago, I shared an original one-off bit of Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, Not Only Metaphor. I promised to add a paragraph for each comment I received. Last week’s post garnered three comments, so I’ve got three new paragraphs, written stream-of-consciousness style, to fit the SoCS motif.

To remind you, T’Pol and Trip are in bed, together, and T’Pol just heard Trip whisper something he didn’t say. Now, engineer that he is, he’s wondering just how she did that…

Most Agreeable Human Contact

T’Pol shivered into the touch of his cool lips. “You’re certain you didn’t speak?”

“I think I’d know. You sure you’re not a mind-reader, or whatever your people call that thing that Tolaris fellow did to you – oh, hell, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought that up. I’m tired, and my mouth – well, I guess I don’t have to tell you about my mouth.”

“No, you don’t have to tell me about your mouth.” T’Pol shifted so that she could engage in the most agreeable human contact known as kissing. That occupied the next two minutes. “Nor am I a melder. Will you remain here, and sleep with me?”

Mmm…now where will that invitation lead, I wonder?

Same deal applies. Comment, and get another paragraph. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen next; I won’t be writing the next batch for a week. So, if you want to know, comment here, and there’ll be more next Saturday.

If you liked this week’s paragraphs, why not stop to see Pav, Erin Zarro, and Dale Cooper? Their comments gave us this week’s snippet.

Standard Disclaimer Applies: I don’t own these two; I don’t want to make any money from writing their stories.

Have you tried stream-of consciousness writing?

Come read more, or join in – there’s just a few simple rules.

Visit the #SoCS hashtag, or click here!

The Stuff of An Unschooling Life: #SoCS for 11/28/15

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: “stuff” used an any way we like – I went fairly basic,but got a little saucy at the end!

As sometimes happens, I had something else in mind for this post, which I intended to write a few hours from now, once I’d gotten my morning journaling, reconnecting with the kids after sleep, and enough hometending done that I could give myself to the process.

Instead, I wrote this journal entry, and realized, when the word ‘stuff” emerged all on its own, that this was actually my #SoCS post for today.

Sometimes, people ask me how my kids can learn if I’m not actively teaching them; or without the use of a curriculum. School has become so entrenched in our culture as the place kids must go to learn, that we’ve heard, more than once, despite both kids’ obvious intelligence (and, of course, I’m not remotely biased in that regard!), that they must be stupid or backward if they’re not either in school or sitting round the kitchen table being overseen in their lessons (“School-at-home”).

What follows isn’t necessarily a “typical” day. Our lives are organic; each day flows with its own rhythm, energy, and focus. Sometimes we’re much more active; sometimes we spend the day going places and doing things. It’s just a glimpse into a bit of yesterday, told sketchily so I have some kind of personal record, and shared as an example of what learning looked like, for bits and pieces of yesterday, here at our house.

And a note: I forgot to add paragraphs for last Saturday’s post. So, if you’re looking for more of the story, stay tuned after today’s SoCS, because I’ve got more to share! =D

The Stuff of An Unschooling Life

November 28, 2015 –

Yesterday was a lovely day. Once I was up and came to my study for my morning(ish) journaling, Miah and I had a long and wandering conversation that started with him talking about a story he just edited for someone on the FIMfiction site. That led to a decision to find him some fun grammar books for the Kindle, and a discussion of opening lines. I’m reading Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington, and read him the first line – led to an exploration of life as a slave…and talk of Tuskegeethe school, and the experiments

Then I read him the first line of Sea Changes:

Karina sighed.

He wants to read these when I’m done. We talked then about marketing funnels, and some of what I’m doing with the Kifo stories and fan fiction in that regard. Then I read him the first line of Bounded By a Nutshell (the Monsterscript), where Spock suddenly collapses…

And somehow that led to watching one of his favorite My Little Pony episodes…


Later, Lise and I hung out, watching The Amazing Race, Shark Tank, and Dateline. She cleaned her desk and made paper chains; I puttered with email and other stuff on my Kindle, and there were times of snuggly, silly fun, too – she can still crawl onto my lap in the blue chair! =)


That was rather a lot of stuff, but I’ve got a little more on its way to you….last week, as some of you might remember, I shared an original one-off bit of Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, “Not Only Metaphor”. I promised to add a paragraph for each comment I received…and then I forgot to follow through – oops!

So here, a week belatedly, is a little bit more of that story…

To remind you, T’Pol and Trip are in bed, together, discussing – uh, ‘explorations of inter-species sexuality.’ Yeah, that’s it. Anyway, T’Pol finds herself awash in human language constructs and her own primal Vulcan impulses..

If you guessed that this is an PG-13 rated bit, you’re right.

Helen Espinosa, Erin Zarro, and Fallon Brown all get new paragraphs today! If you like what you read next, why not pop over to their places and say thanks ?

Standard Disclaimer Applies: I don’t own these two; I don’t want to make any money from writing their stories.

“Four Already?”

Hey, pepperpot – you all right? If you give me an hour or so to rest and refuel, I’m more than willing to give your ‘moremoremore’ another go…” But then, he added, in a whisper he didn’t think, perhaps, that she could hear, “I just hope I’ll be able to drag myself to Engineering in six hours – hell, four, already?”

You didn’t tell me you were on duty in four hours, Trip.” She hadn’t meant for it to sound like an accusation; did humans always perceive her statements that way?

No, I didn’t.” Now he was frowning, as he propped himself up on one elbow. “And I’m guessing you haven’t reviewed the revised duty roster, since you’ve been off for the last 40 hours or so…” He stroked her forehead with his lips, and added, “So how is it that you know about it, when I was just wondering how I’m going to make it through that shift?”

Did Trip really say anything?

If he didn’t, how does T’Pol know what he’s thinking?

Will Trip make it through his shift?

Will T’Pol get her moremoremore?

Want to help me write this story?
I’m inviting you to come play with me!

Drop me a comment, prompt, or suggestion,

,and I’ll add a paragraph in your name next Saturday. =)

Enjoy stream-of consciousness writing?

Come read more, or join in – there’s just a few simple rules.

Check out the #SoCS hashtag, or

click here!

Not just paper chains…she also made this woven paper art – copy paper and staple construction.

The Aswirl With Activity Edition: Second Serving Sunday

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

Are you ready for a Second Serving?

Life Stuff:

Last Week’s Edition: Peace Falling Like Leaves

  • This week came with the unexpected –  OnTuesday, the kids received a last-minute invite to a party at an indoor water park a little over an hour from home. Miah declined, but Lise wanted to attend – and none of her swimsuits fit after her recent growth spurt.
  • Wednesday afternoon, she and I visited four stores before finding one in her size that she liked. Sporting goods store FTW!
  • Because her brother didn’t attend, Lise was able to invite her friend Gabrielle, so we picked her up on the way. While the girls attended the party, Miah and I had lunch at Johnny Rockets, and spent some quality one on one time together before we all were reunited for the drive home. Both kids were asleep within an hour or two of getting home, so I also had some private time with my Accomplice.
  • The week also included a fair amount of cleaning and organizing – the continuation of our goal to declutter and prepare to move to Oregon in a year or two.
  • What didn’t happen as much as I’d hoped is writing-related activity. It’s hard for me to be both outwardly focused, and inwardly oriented, at the same time. I did write a few poems, and some blogposts, and did a bit of freewriting for next year’s A-Z. But plans to get caught up went awry in the swirl of activity…
  • Which did include both my weekly Sunday write-in with our local NaNoWriMo group, and a plotting workshop at a local library on Monday. So there was writing-related stuff, just not nearly as much as I’d hoped at the beginning of the week.
  • Sometimes, life takes precedence. And that’s OK.

With my nearly grown boy at The Great Escape Lodge and Waterpark,  yesterday.

Last week’s features:

ROW80:  The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life.

  • Warmth and Gratitude: The first freeze, and my update, from within my cozy, happily active home.

  • Flurries of Gratitude: As the first flakes fall and the leaves swirl in brisk breezes, I find gratitude amidst the chaos of the unexpected.

Eight Sentence Sunday: The Blog Hop For Everyone Who Loves to Write!

  • Something Totally Unrelated”: T’Pol’s questions lead to an inspired volley and a questioning of the evidence…but the certainty that they must follow the Captain’s orders is what’s tripping up Trip.

Mindful Monday:  Because Self-Awareness is Vital to My Joyful Life.

  • I was apparently mindfully elsewhere on Monday, and didn’t post.

WIPpet Wednesday: Date-related WIP Snippets!

  • Being Bamboozled”: In the second snippet from The IDIC Romance‘s “Scavenger Hunt”,  Trip and T’Pol exchange a verbal volley regarding their performance of a days-off assignment that might or might not have been a game,  and Jon knows he’s being bamboozled – but the how is still a mystery.

Coffee and Conversation: Grab a cup of something refreshing, and let’s chat!

  • I had coffee and conversation, just not on my blog…

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday): A weekly prompt to free the mind, and the words!

  • Where’s the Beef?”: An unexpected party brings an opportunity to spend some time with my fourteen-year-old – and a reflection on growing up.


OctPoWriMo: 31 poems in 31 days!

In the Wilds of Internet-Land: What Piqued My Interest This Week:

  • A Day of Fasting:  A lovely and meaningful poem that inspired my week’s activities.
  • Selfieish:  When women are so insecure about how they look that they leave little photographic record of their existence.

This week, on the blog:

  • #8sunday: More “Mission Accomplished” from that delicious inter-species duo, Trip and T’Pol. Will kissing trump sleuthing?
  • Mindful Monday: How much is enough? Is it time for a November hiatus?
  • ROW80 Updates: On Sunday and Wednesday, for the duration of the round.
  • WIPpet Wednesday: I’m serializing “Scavenger Hunt”, another #StaD story from The IDIC Romance, and the sequel to “Mission”. The nature of Vulcan questions, and the human correlation between movies and popcorn.
  • Coffee and Conversation: A potential schedule change, and a possible partial hiatus. And maybe more about bullying, as well.
  • Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS): A post based on the weekly prompt, TBA Friday. I’ll go wherever my wandering mind takes me.
  • OctPoWriMo: A month long exploration of and celebration of poetry. I intend to finish the month with 31 poems written and posted.

With Annalise and Gabrielle at the Great Escape. Notice the matching sharks they got at the arcade. =)

What’s Next:

  • I’ll keep moving toward my ROW80 and OctPoWriMo goals. This will include a bit of a ROW80 reset, to accommodate the end of the month, and a shift to NaNoWriMo and novel drafting.
  • 2015-16 homeschool paperwork, and a minor fix from last year’s reporting.

  • A few other matters need tending – loose ends from the last weeks. This week, I wrap up some of those projects in progress.

  • Halloween travel, and a doctor’s appointment for Lise.

That’s what I’ve been up to, and will be getting up to.

What about you?

Anything exciting happening in your corner of the world?

Any Second Servings to offer?

(Yes, I’m a little nosy. Writer thing.)

If you want to satisfy my perhaps inappropriate curiosity,

drop a line, a link, or an image into the rectangular receptacle below 

or just pass around the serving platter!

Seconds? No! I couldn’t even finish the firsts…

“Where’s the Beef?”for #SoCS

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: the word ‘beef’, used any way we like.

‘Tis right here…the beef, and a time of connection with a boy who will soon be grown…

Here’s the beef – in specific, a teriyaki pineapple burger I enjoyed earlier today, and the reason, in part, that I’m late with this post – see what I just did there? It means I’m tired, and my head aches, and I really want this post up by midnight, and that I’ve got only 23 minutes until that happens, and an elderly computer…

Maybe the beef got lost in a run-on sentence.

Maybe not.

Anyway, this beef was accompanied by friends – carmelized onion, pineapple, bell pepper, lettuce, and delicious sauce and nestled in a lovely bun, then a Johhny Rockets paper, and all that was cozied up to sweet potato fries.


I enjoyed it while lunching with my growing up boy, while my growing up girl splashed in the waterpark and feted her same -age, also growing up cousin.

And that’s where the beef was, what I did, and why I’m late, all in one!

Have you tried stream-of consciousness writing?

Come join in – there’s just a few simple rules.

Check out the #SoCS hashtag, or click here!

“Past Middlenight”: Foul Deeds Will Rise on WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys! She’s our fearless shepherd…or something like that, anyway…

This week, I’m sharing more from Foul Deeds Will Rise, from an elderly and slow machine. Power adapters didn’t help, and the budget means further repairs or replacement need to wait a few weeks…

So, I’m sorry I’m late, and behind on comments and visits. I’m getting the hang of this machine, a little more every day…

Today, though, is a special day. My son, Jeremiah, turned fourteen years old – and I’m finding that somewhat surreal…

In honor of Miah’s special day, I offer you Vaara’s POV, as she settles into her role as Kai. I let him pick the project and character.

WIPpet Non- Math:

  • Today is September 2, 2015.
  • 14 sentences, for Jeremiah’s age.

“Past Middlenight…”

“…and the head of the Merchantwomens’ Guild, has thrice requested an audience with you, my Kai.”

Only when Visyl stopped speaking did Vaara begin to attend, and only the final phrase connected with any meaning in her mind. All that had gone before had been a seeming endless list of requests for audiences, matters of financing this or that project, the menus for the next moonsround, what entertainments would be offered in the Great Hall after…

“Arrange the audience, as you will Visyl. But not before dawning – I wish to run.”

“My Kai, it is well past middlenight. She will not now want to meet until afternooning.” Visyl smiled; she seemed never to be anything other than pleased, no matter what befell her, or how little Vaara attended her words.

“Past middlenight? Visyl, how can there still be so much left to tend to?” There was a stack of vellum pages in her lap, still – matters not yet discussed.

“It is the nature of being the Kai, my Kai.” Visyl’s smile never faded. “You are new to it, and all want to meet you, learn who you are, and in what way you might serve them – ”

Will Vaara learn how to be a proper Kai?

Will she be able to relax while running?

Is Visyl to be trusted?

I’ll be posting the next eight lines from this scene for #8sunday,  if you’d like to find out what’s next.

And for those looking for TnT fun, I offer you:

Yes, I’m playing along with the Story-a-Day September folks, because life wasn’t full enough (or because Trip vand T’Pol demanded it…they have things to share, apparently.) It’s not too late to join in!

Looking for more WIPpet Snippets, with chattier writers whose power adapters are A-OK? You can find those, or add your own date-related excerpt, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!

And, now,  a song for my Montana-born boy!