Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, ROWnd #2

G- ROW -ing Pains…and Treasures!

It’s a chaotic and changeable time here at the Burton house.

The children are growing, and maturing. They’re both hovering at the edge of big changes that will carry them into the next phases of their lives.

As always, and as I have well-documented over the years, it makes for a tumultuous energy in our lives.

It used to catch me unawares, and have me wondering if everything I was doing as a parent – and maybe as a person – was wrong.

I was acting as though life should always flow smoothly, and the chaotic times were an undesirable condition I must resolve.

This time, though, I’ve changed my approach.

Instead of seeing it as a problem, I have opened myself to the energy that’s here, and, while supporting the children in their growth, I am embracing myself, too…

Things are changing and shifting within me, at a level too deep for words. But it’s coming out, in the way I’m living my life, in my writing, in my confidence, and in a new sense of personal peace and power.

Suddenly, the world is big and shiny and exciting with possibilities.

And my arms and soul are wide open.

Bubble fun!


  • Complete Cooperative Catalyst post and relative links (interviews with both children, and their “day in the life” posts from last year) ; submit to editor.
  • I have submitted my essay, and mentioned the available links.
  • This goal has been attained.


  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I am continuing with the Story a Day May Challenge….one story left to write – wonder what it’ll be?
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I am continuing to submit and to share, read, and comment. I hope to be able to do more of this as I complete more of my other goals.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • My first guest blogger, Elizabeth Anne Mitchell, will be featured on Your Soapbox Awaits… on June 1. Please come visit her!
  • I have written and submitted my first guest post, on kinship, to Elizabeth.
  • I have 2 out of 3 guest posts left to schedule – takers?!


  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I submitted my dream-based flash fiction piece, “A Splash of Red” to MonkeyBicycle.
  • I submitted my bitty little erotic poem, “Love Speaks”, to the Poetry section of the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • I have completed 4 out of 10 submissions toward this goal.
  • News flash – “Love Speaks” was accepted and will be published in early June! And I made another $3.00!
  • I have two more flash fiction pieces in progress that may be suitable for submission in the coming weeks.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • I have submitted my post for the Anything Goescolumn in thePittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • I have submitted my first essay to Cooperative Catalyst. This may eventually become a guest post, there, and I may post there on a somewhat regular basis, as I learn my way around this organic education reform community.
  • I have submitted my first guest post.
  • I have completed 3 out of 5 submissions toward this goal.
  • News flash – “To Bog, or Not to Blog?” was accepted and will also be published in early June. And I will be paid $5, too!
  • I have several essays in progress that may be suitable and preparedfro publication during the coming weeks.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • This goal has been attained for this month.
  • I have continued to write a story each day for the Story a Day May Challenge. I particularly enjoyed writing my May 30 story – it’s juicy in a way I really needed it to be!


  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I have created Picasa albums for all my current
  • I am in the process of syncing these albums, some of which will remain private until I have edited and pruned the files.
  • Once the albums have finished syncing, I will delete them from my hard drive.
  • After that, this goal will be attained, and I can process as I go, moving forward.
  • Watermark all photos I post on my blogs, going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • Now that I have figured out how to add the watermarks by the batch, I will be adding them to each Picasa album, going forward.
  • All of my current Picasa albums are now being synced to my Web Albums, with watermarks.
  • Next, I will make sure all my Web Albums include watermarks, and this goal will be attained.
  • I am only adding watermarked photos to my blogs (unless the photo credit belongs to someone else).
Love from Annalise…..



  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah Marketing Articles page.
  • I added the above article to my page, and will be returning to visit the links.
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.
  • I am feeling the nature of my future marketing efforts.
  • Like everything else about my writing, it will contain my truth, and take an organic and flowing shape.
  • I know that I do not intend to focus all my efforts on conforming my writing to specific markets, but rather to finding the just-right markets and venues (whether paying or not), and offering my writing there, stretching my comfort zone as energy, focus, and time permit.
Ink line drawings, found inside the envelope….


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday:Peaceful communication of my needs. Lovely family day together.
  • Tuesday: Some time alone, peaceful resolution to a conflict, writing all night!
  • Wednesday: Quiet family day; sleeping in. Getting published – twice in one day!
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Hometending in the heat. Luxurious stretching.
  • Tuesday: Minimal hometending
  • Wednesday: Hometending. Happy I’m Getting Published dance.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Writing, exploring, time with loved ones. Medium.
  • Tuesday: All-night writing session, M*A*S*H, passion and conversation with Jim. PBS. Lots of submitting!
  • Wednesday: Two acceptances! A new (used) washer, the better to do laundry with now that the old one finally stopped even feebly trying to spin…..the price was great, and it should last a year or three.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jim: Lovemaking, conversation, snuggling, working together.
  • Annalise: Cuddles, guinea pig support, forgiveness, play, talk.
  • Jeremiah: Cuddles, conversation, forgiveness, guinea pig time.

    Cat and mouse….

So, there we have it. Things are changing, we are growing. Life is in flux and the flow is strong.

I’m going back to ride the tide….why not check out the other ROWers?


Sgt. Frog paper dolls.
Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, ROWnd #2

ROWing Along the Erie Canal – ROW Updates #15 and #16

I really thought I’d be feeling more talkative by now.

Truth is, though, I’m not.

I’m not going to apologize for that. I’ve used my words here at home, during a week when the children both had colds, and there seemed to be more than the usual amount of conflict.

We’ve been practicing conflict resolution during the last few weeks, and learning how to try to meet everyone’s various needs peacefully.

It’s taken a lot of attention, and a lot of energy, learning new ways of being and relating.

If that doesn’t leave a lot of room right now for long and pithy goals updates, so be it. We’ll make it up on the microfilm….

Which really means that time invested in family peace now will almost surely lead to more writing time, somewhere in the future….

You get 10 points if you know the microfilm reference (and I will write 500 words on a subject of your choice to the first correct answer!).

In other news, on Saturday, after some shopping, the kids and I went to Waterford, the oldest continuously incorporated village in America. We visited with some longtime friends, and took a stroll along the Harbor. which runs alongside the world-famous Erie Canal.

A man and his daughters had found a turtle, and offered us a good look. We walked up along the lock wall, and discussed the awesome power just on the other side, and why the wall is shaped as it is. Annalise read a sign, and we studied the foot and hoof prints in the cement walkway, and how they represent the mulepath of old. We symbolically walked about half the length of the canal via the brick path that traces its route, and we sang the Erie Canal song.

Annalise made a young friend of about 2, and we watched her family catch a bass and a sunfish out of the canal.

We looked at several boats, but the locks were not in use during our visit, so we didn’t get to see the immense lock doors open, or the lock fill or empty of water, which is a beloved pastime for us all.

Then we went back to our friends’ home for the main attraction – the addition of two outgrown guinea pigs, Midnight and Blaster, to our family.

For those who wonder how this unschooling thing works, how children can learn without a curriculum, this one day may hold a clue.

In it, we covered history (the Erie Canal, which was vitally important to New York‘s development; and Memorial Day – the reason and bunting); science (guinea pigs, painted turtle, fish, locks); math (comparison shopping and budgeting; figuring out the guinea’s cage), English (reading various things); and a good deal of easy, natural socialization – the thing so many people seem convinced can’t happen without a classroom, when, in truth, Jeremiah and Annalise are comfortable talking and interacting with people from newborn to the very aged.

And that was just Saturday!

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.
  • This goal has been attained for this month.



  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I am continuing with the Story a Day May Challenge, as noted above.
  • I have submitted my entry for the June Unschooling Blog Carnival, also as noted above.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I have been commenting on most of the blogs I read, and have been sharing them here, and sometimes elsewhere.
  • I have been working on answering a rather overwhelming array of comments…if I haven’t gotten to you, I will – I promise! It just may take quite a while – we’re into our travel season!
  • I have been sharing my blogs through LinkedIn and on the ROW80 page.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I still have Elizabeth Anne Mitchelll‘s wonderful post waiting to publish. I am going to schedule it today or tomorrow; it will definitely post on June 1!
  • Still looking for two more guest posters to hop on the Soapbox I’ve provided. The only guidelines are positivity and kindness – the rest is entirely up to you!



  • Use Twitter and Hootsuite at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I am changing this to “Twitter or Hootsuite”. There’s too much redundancy in trying to do both…
  • I am running Twitter today. I have to admit, I am liking it more, but it still feels inflexible and counterintuitive to the types of flowing conversation I love on Facebook.


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: A relaxing day at home, surrounded by loving family. And a little time to myself.
  • Tuesday: A little more time alone, and some hometending. Bought and began playing Cake Mania 2. Got back to kids’ reports.
  • Wednesday: Hometending, Worked on reports (so that I won’t be doing them at the very end of the month). More Cake Mania 2.
  • Thursday: Cake-doing. Relaxing. Stating my needs clearly.
  • Friday: More stating my needs, attempting to do so respectfully and non-reactively. Hometending. Medium. Weeding (I love weeding!).
  • Saturday: Erie Canal, guinea pigs, visiting friends, cake-doing, Medium, and leisurely conversation with Jim. Time spent happily (and a bit not so much) with Miah and Lise.
  • Sunday: Hometending, Writing. TNG and Medium.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Very little movement – I was really sore from the weekend.
  • Tuesday: Hometending and unpacking.
  • Wednesday: Hometending and more unpacking. Body feeling better and better rested.
  • Thursday: Hometending.
  • Friday: Hometending and weeding.
  • Saturday: Hometending, walking along the canal, shopping, carrying groceries and pig gear, setting up guinea house.
  • Sunday: Hometending, a little mowing.
  • Add self-decorating to every week
  • I wore a smile, anti-frizz cream, and the kiss of the sun this week. 
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Writerly stuff – enjoying being alone and with my family.
  • Tuesday: Began new story sequence that’s been rolling around in my mind for a while. More solitude.
  • Wednesday: Added another story to the sequence. Putting the house back in order. Time alone with Jim. Began Medium.on Netflix. It was a former favorite, but I missed the last season or two due to not receiving CBS. I am starting over at the beginning, and will work my way through the series. =)
  • Thursday: Kept writing the story sequence – it’s taken hold of me! More Cake Mania.
  • Friday: More story. More cake frenzy. More hometending, which brought me pleasure. Flowerbed weeding.
  • Saturday: Hometending cake-doing, story writing,Erie Canal, Guinea pigs, photography!
  • Sunday: Hometending, cake-doing, collage-making, rereading old story stuff, new story writing.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jeremiah: Conversation and cuddles. Gave him a game credit. TLC for his cold.Erie Canal;assorted goodies; yes to mowing and guinea pigs.
  • Annalise:Conversation, cuddles, and tickles, and TLC for her cold.  Erie Canal; assorted goodies; yes to guinea pigs and a blanket fort..
  • Jim: Appreciation and companionship.  A cleaner house.

Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • Both reports are written and, as of Thursday evening, submitted to the school district via email.
  • Annalise’s report.
  • Jeremiah’s report.
  • This goal has been attained.

So there you have it – a mellow but reasonably productive ROW. I may falter in my rhythm again next weekend, as we will be visiting friends in New Jersey. That’s OK, though, because I can still make it up on that microfilm!

I’m posting a few hours later than I wanted to, but I’m posting.  This Memorial Day, Jim and I gave ourselves permission to loll about in bed for all hours.  Annalise was in and out, lolling with us and doing her own thing.

Jeremiah awoke just as we started finding some motivation –  the coffee helped, and he asked if he could mow the lawn –  so far, the new mower is solidly in our win column!

After that, he and Annalise watched Sgt. Frog, and yesterday’s paper voodoo dolls (“It’s amazing how much about ancient spellcasting you can find on the internet,” says Jeremiah, as he discussed pin colors and voodoo techniques) gave way to Annalise’s paper dolls representing the members of the Armpit Platoon and their flying saucers, too…..

Jim and I have been working through  a major household issue –  the level of clutter and just ickiness in common spaces, and we had a long talk where I really tried to peacefully express why i don’t feel welcome or at home in those spaces.  Jim listened, and we decided we’d spend 15 minutes in cleaning those spaces, letting the kids know they were welcome to help or clear out until we were finished.

Everyone helped according to their nature, taking frequent breaks   Jim decided to upend the couch, and an eclectic junkyard was revealed…and duly processed.

The rooms still aren’t welcoming me in, but I feel as though they’re moving in the right direction, and we all took some pleasure in working to resolve this issue together.

Everyone’s also agreed to try to remember to commit 15 minutes a day to clutter control in those spaces, broken up however they choose, because the problem is the result of three people who really do not notice where they drop things or how that might affect others living with one person who sees things wide-angle, in great detail, and with a near -photographic memory…

I have a good feeling that, at long, long last, we may have hit upon an equitable, but more importantly, peaceful approach to what has been the greatest remaining source of friction in our lives.
I will ask both kids how much or little they would like to be reminded, but I will leave the accomplishing to their discretion.  They both like to be helpful; this just isn’t a natural way for them, so it’s very much a learning process for us all.  At last, though, we all seem to be in a good place to deal with it, and I am happy with even small improvements.
Look at that!  I had a few things to say, after all! =)
Check out the other ROWers!
Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Life Writing, ROWnd #2

An Ebb ROW – ROW Update #14

This will be an abbreviated post. The kids and I spent a camping weekend attending the Always Learning Live Unschooling Symposiumin Massachusetts. We got home at 8:30 om Sunday, and we are still tired. Also, my computer cord is damaged, and I am awaiting the rest of the family to return home. With luck, they found a replacement at Radio Shack.

For me, the weekend was about deepening and broadening my perceptions, and learning from some very wise unschoolers. For Miah and Lise, it was learning to play Gaga Ball, exploring ropes courses, and the freedoms of nature.

For all of us, it was connecting with old friends and making new ones, and being amongst other people who share a common belief that children learn best what they learn naturally, for reasons of their own, and that, in order to create a world where mutual respect abounds, children must know how it feels to be respected, so that they can offer that to others.

It was not a weekend where I got much writing done, or a weekend I would have chosen to spend any other way.

It was a weekend of honoring other passions, and of expanding, and of rampant input, and I know that the processing and deepening that follow will lead to far richer writing, and a happier, more peaceful, learning-filled life.

So, I could call it an intermission, a pause, a readying….


  • 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.
  • The Shelters of Stone – Completed.
  • I have attained this goal for May.
  • 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 only two articles last week.
  • I plan to read 4 this week, to balance things out.


  • 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 decided to use the flow charts more to guide me when I want to post but am a little fuzzled on subject matter, at least for mow. Perhaps they will become more a part of my blogging, or perhaps not….time will tell…
  • I’ve fallen a story or two behind on my Story A Day May challenge – the weekend used all my mental focus, and I didn’t have access to the Internet,
  • Again, I plan to catch up this week, and have decided that, as long as I have 31 new stories by month’s end, I will count it as a goal achieved. There’s no point in punishing myself for placing family and peace at the forefront of my life!
  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • I added several new header images I am rather happy with…the top of my pages felt a little stagnant and outdated; now they’re freshened up. =)
  • I deleted all my challenge icon widgets – there were a LOT of images in my sidebar, and I felt it was really cluttered.
  • At a later date, I plan to make a slideshow of the images, and use that as a single widget.
  • I am hoping to do the same for blog hops, fests, and carnivals; my blogging awards; and where I have been published online.
  • The first step, as with the challenges, will be to create a contact page for each category, with more info, and the icons and links back to the sites.
  • It’s my hope that the end result will be visually appealing in a clean, uncluttered way.


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Thursday:Releasing my angst about getting ready; having most of the car loaded before I slept. Mowing and hanging with my family.
  • Friday: Allowing the day to unfold as it would; frozen caramel frappe. Being amongst unschoolers, and in nature.
  • Saturday: Flowing with the mood; helping Miah make deviled eggs; time with kids; being inspired, challenged,broadened, and deepened throughout the day: watching kids play Gaga ball; Banangrams and Artist trading card making; an earlier sleep when I needed it.
  • Sunday: Photographing ropes course, lady slippers, and people I treasure;speaking from my soul; releasing the desire to control the pace of our departure; chatting with people I may not see again for some time; embracing it all.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Thursday: Mowing, hometending, packing.
  • Friday: Packing, setting up camp; walking.
  • Saturday: Lots of walking (with a very sore knee. Tending camp and puttery hometending at the lodge (the adults worked communally to keep things reasonably orderly.)
  • Sunday: More serious hometending (making coffee, washing dishes; cleanup of outdoor eating area and lodge common areas. Packing; breaking camp; loading car. Lots of walking.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • I decorated my outer self with sunshine and tumbled and tousled curls courtesy of my anti-frizz cream.
  • I spent far more time decorating my inner self with: new ideas and perspectives; deepening and broadening horizons and understandings; the delights of a communal weekend; questioning my assumptions; and laughter.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Thursday: Writerly stuff; preparing for weekend. Time with Jim.
  • Friday: Driving, camping, friendship and kinship.
  • Saturday: Personal and parental growth; time to be with the kids; kinship; nature. Creating and games playing. Deepening my ability to accommodate.
  • Sunday: More growth; watching the kids challenge themselves. Photographing people and nature. Driving; music; NPR. More accomodation.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jeremiah:Saying yes to the McDonald’s Playplace, barbecue chips, and pocket money; helping him buy the ingredients for his planned cooking projects; accepting his offered help; playing games and watching him play when requested; helping him with his cooking project; inventing division questions when requested; snuggles and cuddles and conversation.
  • Annalise: Saying yes to Mcdonald’s, a stuffed friend, and gummy worms; freedom to explore; helping her exchange phone numbers with a cherished new friend; finding lost shoes and a diamond-shaped rock; exploring lady slippers and playing Poohsticks: being nearby when she used unfamiliar bathrooms and the ropes course; creating an artist trading card for just for her; snuggles and back scratching; food and conversation; appreciating her chalk art and meeting Sugar Cube the spring pony.
  • Jim:Was a bit left out, since we were only together for small parts of Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. I gave him couples tine; was careful with how I used money on this trip; and making sure the car had gas enough to drive it today. Coffee, affection, and conversation.

That’s all I have to report, this time. I’ll have more to say, next time…..

Posted in Challenges and Contests, One-Minute Writer Posts, Writing Samples

One-Minute Writer – “Love”

Love –


It’s about more than three little words….



Show, don’t tell‘ is vitally important here. So often, people say, “I love you,” but their actions say something very different. With love comes caring, and caring is a verb, a way to describe actions that give the other importance and value, that help them to truly feel your love in a way that words  can’t express.

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #2

ROWin’ with the Motion….ROW Update #13

Someday, I may get back to the long, rambling essays I often write for these updates.

Today, though, is not that someday, and here’s why:

  • I have a headache.
  • I have a living room filling up with miscellaneous camping supplies. The children and I are attending the Always Learning Live May Symposium in Massachusetts this weekend; our first camping trip of the season). First trips always seem to involve more chaos than those later in the season, as we transition…
  • I have photos to add and a story to write.
  • I have hometending, packing, and organizing awaiting me.
  • I am more focused, right now, on the actual goals, and our weekend plans, than on deep musings. It’s getting to our active season, and I don’t want to still my busy mind long enough to get all pithy.
  • I have lots of clarity dawning, but….it’s not ready, just yet.

So, for now, I am just going to run down my progress, and add some pictures….

First iris of the spring, and the promise of many more….

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 To Be Read piles.

  • The Shelters of Stone: p 737 of 896.
  • Tuesdays With Morrie: Completed.
  • I have read 4 of 5 books for May.
  • 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 have read Birth of a Homeschooler.
  • I have read 1 of 3 articles needed to attain this goal for the week.
Annalise staged a Snake Show on Wednesday evening…..
Sibs with Snakes!


  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I submitted my flash fantasy fiction story, “Sarjyn and the Kingdom of Man Above” to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • Within several hours, I received back what appears to be a form letter, and which has me puzzled, as it was an attempt to sell my a writing workshop, and contained no acceptance, rejection, or any specific references to the piece I submitted….
Freshly mown front yard….
  • I am in the process of investigating a few other markets for flash fiction:
  1. Digital American
  2. Diagonal Proof
  4. Fix it Broken
  5. Monkeybicycle
  • I have submitted 2 of 10 pieces for this goal.
  • I will continue to investigate the five publications above over the coming days.
Boyo my Heart!
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • I have a rough draft of my guest post for Elizabeth Anne Mitchell‘s blog,  (a little long at 993 words, I think).
  • I will let this piece rest for a day or three, and revisit/revise before offering it to Elizabeth.
  • I have separated the very long (2500+ word) essay I wrote as my Cooperative Catalyst guest post into four distinct philosophical threads.
  • Next, I will refer back to the letter from the editor (which I have yet to answer -oops!), and check on suggested word lengths as well as the other places he suggested I explore on the blog.
  • I will be using this information to polish the thread I offer as my first guest blogpost there.
  • I hope to be ready to submit to Cooperative Catalyst by next week.
  • I I have revised my 773-word Anything Goes post to a tighter and within the word limit 572 words.
  • I am much happier with this version, but will let it sit for a bit before looking at it over again, then submitting.
One Corki-dog; three moods!
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • I am continuing with the Story a Day May Challenge.
  • Thus far, I have written a story each day, most of them loosely connected.
  • I have not yet written today’s story….first, a hot shower!
  • I have written each story just as it comes, and most in about a half-hour.
After the rain,…the rhododendrons!


  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • I have edited the text for my post, Outside with Annalise.
  • In order to watermark the photos as a batch, I needed to download them to my Picasaalbums, then reset the syncing feature to include watermarks.
  • The photos are synced to my Picasa Web Albums, with watermarks, and I have edited and updated Outside with Annalise.
  • I have also updated the post Birthday Party Weekend – Part One.
Johnnies jumping up…such sweet tiny faces!
  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • I have taken all clips from the December 3 and 4th writings.
  • I have begun taking clips from Dec. 5 and 6th.
  • This leaves 9 posts left to clip for this ROWnd.
  • Input Chameleon’s Dish to Scrivener.
  • I have input original Chapter 9, into Scrivener.
  • I have found the next three chapters, and done a quick edit/reformatting of Chapter 10 (which will become Chapter 3), and Chapter 11 (which will be Chapter 4). It is now ready for inputting to Scrivener.
  • I have added Chapter 3 to my Scrivener Chameleon’s Dishbinder.
  • I have rough edited and reformatted Chapter 12; it is prepared for its future addition to my Scrivener binders.
  • Create story arc for Blood and Breath.
  • I have added Chapters Eight and Nine to the story arc.
  • As I suspected, the reconstructed version is drifting from the direction I know the last draft took. I’m a little sad about it, but accepting. It’s like a semi-rewrite, and I imagine the story will end up better for it.
Snake charmer…and flinger!
  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • A few weeks ago, I placed all my writing-related files in a folder labeled Writing Bullpen.
  • This was a definite improvement over searching through all my document files for them.
  • However, there were dozens of files there, and they were not organized.
  • I have deleted redundant or unnecessary files, and organized the rest in subfolders.
  • My Writing Bullpen is now a well-organized home for all the writing projects I currently want close to hand.


The unsettled eastern sky at sunset, May 16, 2012….


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: Easy family day; allowed myself to express my feelings when I needed to.
  • Tuesday: Again, stated my needs and honored myself by doing so; time alone in a reasonably clean house.
  • Wednesday: Mowed the front lawn with new,self-propelled mower, easing calmly into packing for our weekend camping trip. Breathing.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Puttery hometending; packing.
  • Tuesday: Hometending.
  • Wednesday: Hometending; mowed front yard; began gathering camping supplies.
Recent art by Annalise, who is making artistic leaps, just now…
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Family time; writerly stuff.
  • Tuesday: A few hours of sweet solitude!
  • Wednesday: Mowing; walking around the yard in the early morning; photographing nature and family life; attending a snake show.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jeremiah: Snuggles, tickles, and spelling help; deep conversations; photo ops; lots of second chances; and saying yes to him using the brand-new mower.
  • Jim: Honesty; even when it was hard; appreciation; conversation.
  • Annalise: Seeing her as she really is; attended and photographed her snake show; time with me in my room; saying yes to her own tent for this weekend’s camping trip; snuggles and spelling help.
Both kids spent time experimenting with stencil spin art…..they got quite good!

So there are my accomplishments for the last three days. I may or may not do a Monday check-in (it won’t be Sunday, as we will be returning home then, and, after two days camping in the company of other unschoolers, I know from experience that we will all be blissfully exhausted.

I will not have regular (and perhaps no) internet access over the weekend, so I won’t be as visible as I generally am. I have structured my writing so that I can focus on things that can be done offline suring the weekend. Although this is a symposium, and there will be speakers I want to hear, activities I want to participate in, children to be with, and social gatherings to attend, I know that there will also be the freedom to read and write.

I’m planning to write my Story a Day (in a notebook or in LibreOffice); to finish The Shelters of Stone if I haven’t before then; to begin a book review or two (I have a growing stack of books waiting for their turns); and to work on the children’s quarterly reports, which are due on June 1. I may do some, all, or even none of those things.

May the rest of everyone’s week be joyful and productive!


Why not  visit the other ROWers?

Posted in Uncategorized

ROWin’ On…ROW80 Update #12

Here I am! Two days off to be kid-busy…Cameron stayed overnight on Friday, and yesterday we took him to the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology. Petted a rat snake, made a weather forecast – Zombie Blizzard! – played with wind turbines and mirrors and a gravity well. Explored tide pools…..then went to McDonald’s for play and fuel, then spent hours at Cam’s house visiting.

So, today, I am tired and restful in a messy house, filled with plans for the one ELance Proposal I REALLY want to write, and moving in that direction. It’s requiring four computers, used intermittently, to do the things I want to accomplish, freelancing goals-wise,at the moment. Jim is generously loaning me his little, basic, but totally not cluttered Toughbook, which I am using now. The tablet can be good for stashing notes and lists of priorities, and quick checks and updates. There is information I want from the old desktop, where I wrote before purchasing the laptop. I want to move those files, but haven’t found an efficient method of doing so yet. And the laptop that was formerly mine is just stuffed absolutely full of so much stuff, I may never again have it clear (unless I replace the whole hard drive and operating system!).

My plan is to purchase a newer, smaller laptop, and then, a few months later, a modern, flash-enabled tablet with full browsing capabilities. Then, perhaps, a smaller, more compact printer. The goal is to have an entire, fully functional home office that can be stored in a very small physical space. This way, I will be able to work from our travel trailer, or a coffeeshop, or anywhere else, and not be using a great deal of space that is soon to become very valuable and will certainly be shared.

But, until then, I’ve decided to move forward on my writing and freelancing plans. I’ve been waiting so long for all the conditions to be just so, and I no sooner solve one issue than I seem to discover another one (or more, sometimes!).

I think a good part of it is procrastination, or fear of having easily what I’ve dreamed about for so long. Lingering echoes from far back in childhood that say this is a waste of time, nothing but a frivolous pipe dream.

Now I am beginning to step up and realize that, no matter the value anyone else ascribes to it, it IS my dream, and I am cheating myself by not taking the time and making the investment to begin, well and truly and imperfectly. And that not only cheats me, but also those closest to me, who will be better served by a more fulfilled me, and also those who might benefit from my talent for the art of language.

So, no matter how I need to jury rig things, how much longer it takes to accomplish even a simple writing task at the moment, I AM beginning. Time to start, to get my feet wet, to make happen what I envision by getting a move on and doing as much as I can.

It may take time to get my portfolio of previous work ready for public viewing, It may take a lot of inventiveness to get things written and submitted in a format that is useful to others.

But lifelong dreams are worth the effort and exertions and growing pains of achieving, and, for every job I DO successfully complete, I will have a ready sample of CURRENT work for that portfolio.

There’s nothing wrong with exhibiting my past masterworks, so long as the quest to do so doesn’t become a means of stalling on creating new ones, of claiming my own personal right to achieve my dreams, or of sharing the gift of my words with others who may find them valuable in their own lives.

I was thinking about that early this morning, after watching Phenomenon. I have taken many leaps of faith in my life: loving Tim, moving across country, marrying a man I had known for less than 6 months, parenthood, travel across country, Elijah’s death, not sending the children to school, moving toward and into radical unschooling. Getting into an airplane, climbing cliffs, scuba diving. I seem to have good leap of faith instincts. And they are telling me now that this is what I am meant for, to distill life and experience, stir in perspective and observation, season with truth and humor and kindness, and release it into the world. Everything in life has led me to this place where I am going to fully and unabashedly live my freedom!

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.
  • The Shelters of Stone: p 614 of 896  – officially beyond the halfway point.
  • The Natural Child:  Completed.
  • Tuesdays With Morrie: p 39 of  192.
  • I have completed 3 of 5 books for this month.


  • 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 am wandering a cow trail throughout my Story a Day May….I have two storylines, one directly involving Tisira, and another that seems to be leaning toward her world, although time may prove otherwise…
  • I have added stories on Thursday and Friday.
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I have pulled five entire  entries.
  • This leaves just a few more  June  2011 posts to go through, before moving on to July 2011’s posts.
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • I have a rough draft of a post using these two pieces. I am having a few formatting issues, so will continue the project on Friday.
  • I have pulled another more complete essays, which bracket this post.
  • The fourth essay, about the difficult places in our marriage, I have saved to share with Jim.  I may or may not make it public, in time –  but there is material there that may help to ease the tensions, when they crop up, so it is personally valuable.
  • Create story arc for  Blood and Breath
  • I have added Chapter Seven to the story arc.
  • I suspect that, like Chameleon’s Dish, I am looking at a total of about 25 chapters, with a prologue and epilogue, so I am about a fifth of the way through, at this point.
  •  Input Chameleon’s Dish into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • I have moved Original Chapter 10, which will become Chapter 3, to a LibreOffice file in preparation to editing, formatting, and placing in Scrivener.
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • I edited some of the earlier writing, and adding a considerable amount of nex text.  I am feeling that I am getting a lot closer to the final shape, if not the final version, of this letter.
  • I am letting some things purge, and it feels healing –  like I am clearing out some long-hidden junk, and, in so doing, making more space and light for myself and the life I choose to live.
  • I have come to the place where it is less about addressing my father-in-law defensively, than it is a personal expression on the issues he raised.
  • This feels like an ideal place to write from-  my own vision, purpose, and strength.

  •  Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest;and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • I spent about 20 minutes exploring  the Blooming Late group on She Writes.  
  • I returned for another brief visit or two.
  • I’ve decided to keep my explorations there to one group, for the moment, and get to learn the lay of the land…from there, I can expand into other areas as i gain comfort and proficiency.
  • I plan on checking back in the next several days, and more frequently, thereafter.
  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I am continuing my efforts on Story a Day May.  So far, 13 days, and 12 stories.
  • I have found what I believe is a point of cohesion between my two storylines, and will continue to play and challenge myself!
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I am doing well at reading, commenting on, and sharing blogs.
  • I have been sharing more of my posts through LinkedIn, but am waiting just a bit to stretch my visibility –  with the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette and Tiny Buddha posts up, I have a bit more than I am accustomed to, and want to absorb it a bit before I widen my view…
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I have my first guest post!  It’s still in draft form, awaiting minor editing, images, links, an introduction, and a bio.
  • If all the components come together before Thursday night (the kids and I are camping over the weekend, and internet may be hard to come by…), I will present you with a lovely post by Elizabeth Anne Mitchell on Saturday!
  • Although my Tiny Buddha post was submitted in March, it didn’t appear until May, so I am claiming this Rather Big Deal as a guest post.
  • This leaves 2 guest posts to complete for this ROWnd.

  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I have deleted some files already on my Picasa Web Albums.  Just a few more, and this goal will be attained.
  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • I am watermarking photos in batches; very easy to do with Picasa.
  • As for all the ones already on my blogs, I may change this goal slightly in the coming weeks.
  • I will be replacing all the photos on the posts I edit for this round, and will use watermarked versions going forward, but i may not find time or inclination to do all the posts on both blogs before the end of this round.
  • I should know by June 1 whether this goal needs revising.

  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I turned on HootSuite Sunday.
  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • I have updated, expanded, and formatted my list into an outline format.  I have answered a few of the questions; applied one solution; and have two more ready to apply when the opportunity is right.
  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • I have relocated this link, which I will continue reading over the coming weeks.
  • Learn what I can do with my domain name.
  • Apparently not much, beyond possibly adding a professional  email account to it.  I have found this link, which might be helpful in the process.
  • Begin research list/research for  Chameleon’s Dish second draft.
  • I have updated, expanded,  and put into outline form my first set of brainstormed questions.
  • I believe the new format will make research easier, as well as help me to move it to appropriate files in my Scrivener binder.

  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Thursday:  Stayed home because I was feeling “off” –  a little sick and a lot growly.
  • Friday: Still feeling off, but a little better. Hung clothes outside to line dry.
  • Saturday: Wonderful day at Hoffman’s Playland with the kids for friend Marcus’s 6th birthday party.
  • Sunday: A distinctly unjoyful day.  I tried, taking it easy, relaxing, hanging clothes outside.  Ultimately, I failed.  The day pretty much sucked.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Thursday: Hometending.   Lawnmower fail.  New mower is on the horizon.
  • Friday: Hometending.  Hung laundry out to dry.
  • Saturday: Minimal hometending.  Lots of walking and moving at local children’s amusement park.
  • Sunday: Hung laundry out to dry.  Moderate hometending.

  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • I wore my pasta bead necklace on Saturday, and allowed the sun to begin turning me my summer color, a midrange coffee with a generous dollop of cream).  Someday, I would like to have my DNA analyzed, to see where this skin comes from, paired with blue-grey eyes…).
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Thursday: Writerly stuff.  Mellow home day with family.
  • Friday: Writerly stuff. Hung laundry outside.  Time with kids. Lovemaking.
  • Saturday: Writerly stuff.  Day out with the kids. Photographed kid projects.
  • Sunday: Writerly stuff.  Hung more laundry outside.

  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Annalise: I said yes  to: a dolphin pillow pet; a third giant stuffed snake; a 3D chalk kit; mint scented bubbles; walks, snuggles; and play.
  • Jeremiah:  Yes to amusement park freedom; arcade quarters;  spending money; air hockey; making lemonade and French toast; and snuggles.
  • Jim: Lovemaking.  A peaceful home to return to, most nights.  My not freaking out when he rode the motorcycle to work –  yes, I wanted to.

I was going to polish this off with a couple of sweet paragraphs about the last days, and the glow of motherhood…but I am not in that place right now, and I don’t believe in hypocrisy.

So I will just say that I have had many days far more wonderful today, and that this is a new moment, and things can get sweeter.

It’s all a part of living, even the days you long to have done, and hope do not repeat.

If tomorrow is sweeter, I will return, end this on a better note, and add the pictures.

May you sleep well –  and may tomorrow be better than today….

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Marketing my Writing, My Poetry, ROWnd #2, Writing in Freedom

ROWing Toward My Dreams… Row Update #11

It’s been a jumbly, tumbly kind of few days, here.  The weather has been unsettled, and I am, too…..

For good reason….

On Saturday, my first poem was published in the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.

On Tuesday, my post appeared  on Tiny Buddha.

I have plans in the work for guest bloggers, and guest posts.

Things are moving, on many fronts, and I am…..


Yes, I am.

Round 2 Goals:


  • Read at least 3 articles a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • I have read Wind and Rain, an article about the out-of-doors, rainy-day fun families can have together.
  • I read a second article there, but it was not very useful, and particularly poorly edited, so I will not recommend it  (or out it) here.
  • I also read  A New Approach, an article by a mother trying out some “free-range” ideas in her family.  This article made me sad, because it seems she’s missed the point of allowing children the freedom of many choices – she seems to be only allowing the freedom as a way of getting more cooperation from her children, and she finishes by limiting electronics (which will likely have led, by now, to electronics being used for all allotted time, and perhaps begged for, or contended over, otherwise…).  There are no further posts on the blog, so I suspect she may have aborted her “experiment” before it had time to prove its merit….
  • I have attained this goal for this week.
  • 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 When Does Fan Fiction Cross an Ethical Line?  This is a pretty serious consideration for me in my Star Trek-related fanfic, which is an integral part of the universe I have created, and I really don’t have any answers.  All I know is, I can’t seem to let go of my Spock-passions, and I don’t want to, either! =D  I commented with words to that effect, more or less.
  • I have read 1 of 5 blogposts for this week.


  • 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 three more stories about Tisira , the main character from Chameleon’s Dish.  
  • I  have posted  “The Huntress in Moonlight” to my Story a Day  blog,
  • I will be adding the next two segments to the blog within the next few days.
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • I have given this more thought, and have been constructing portions of it in my head.  I almost have a version cohesive enough to attempt another freewriting, but  not quite.

  • Complete Cooperative Catalyst post and relative links (interviews with both children, and their “day in the life” posts from last year) ; submit to editor.
  • I have heard back from the editor; I will be looking at the article again, to see if there are naturally separating themes or portions.
  • He has also read one of my blogposts, I’m THAT Mom…Naturally!, and thought that, with adaptations, it might make a good post, as well.
  • He has also suggested another writer whose posts I might like to read, and a category or two to explore and comment on, to “introduce” myself to what is an organic community.
  • It is quite possible that I will find a home of sorts there. =)


  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • As noted above, I have joined two challenges.
  • At the moment, I feel these are all I can handle, for now.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I am doing fairly well on sharing my blogs. through several means –  challenges, posting comments,  submissions, and sharing via several forms of social media.
  • For the moment, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with the increased attention, and will be just focusing on adjusting, before I diversify further.
  • My essay, Sometimes There Is No Right Way , posted to Tiny Buddha on Tuesday.  It has received nearly two dozen comments and an email, at this point, and I am feeling some pretty major overwhelm.  It’s a big step from where I was, visibility-wise, two weeks ago to where I am now, and I am feeling a considerable degree of disequilibrium at the sudden change after a lifetime of dreaming…
  • As a dear friend and I have been discussing, learning curves are messy.  I will adjust, with time and a lot of deep breathing….and eventually I will get to over 30 comments waiting for me in various places….really!


  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • As mentioned above, editing and research are being considered prior to formally submitting a piece, but the lines of communication has been opened.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • As noted above, I have participated/am participating in two challenges thus far, for May.
  • This leaves one challenge left to enter, prior to  this month’s end.


  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • I decided I am satisfied with the batch watermarking, and this will make it possible to quickly mark all of my pictures within the next weeks, as opportunity presents itself.


  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • During dinner with Eden Mabee, she answered one of my questions –  about how to replace the standard header text.
  • I have successfully changed my header text.  It may or may not be permanent, but now I know I can do it, so it will be a simpler matter to change it if I decide  to, at some later point.


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: I allowed myself a mellow day of puttering, both in my writing projects and in my hometending. A simple day spent with my beloveds.
  • Tuesday: Joy Abounding! I slept in, and, although I woke with a headache at the time t’ai chi was starting, and although it was a damp and somewhat dreary day outside, I was basking in the company of my Syster, Eden Mabee.  When you’ve been friends since you were four and share writing dreams and motherhood and a lifetime of shared memories and interwoven stories, hours can slip by….and then, I was greeted in the driveway, a little after 2am, by my family.  Chatted with the children until 5:30am. Sweet day!
  • Wednesday:  Another mellow, wet, restful day of puttering….I feel my energy slowly returning.  I’ve had some bug writing developments over the last several days, and I am feeling a need to lay a bit low and absorb them.  Why is success scarier for me than failure?
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Puttering around the house and yard.  Moving furniture and bicycles.
  • Tuesday: Moving from building to car, and car to building, and grocery shopping…..not a big moving day…..sometimes, that’s exactly what I need.
  • Wednesday: Puttering with hometending; moving more bicycles –  yes, there DO seem to be an inordinate number of them here –  and I still haven’t moved my own!
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Reading and writing, puttering with storyworlds and blogging.
  • Tuesday: A rare, lovely day with a dear friend.  Utterly rejuvenating.  I wrote my story, but, beyond that, I simply enjoyed the company and the unrolling of the moments.
  • Wednesday: Reading, writing, lolling with the kids, absorbing the nearing of a lifetime of dreaming, and puttering.  A hot shower awaits me, after I post here.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jeremiah: Finding his bigger bike, saying yes to lots of cooking.  Conversation and cuddles, and patience when he needed it.
  • Jim:  A harmonious home, companionship, and consideration.  Laughter.
  • Annalise: Finding her bigger bike, serious and mature conversation, help when a fall spoiled her baby mosquito study, patience when she needed it, imagination and laughter.
 It seems to be one of those periods where I am doing things, but there is really relatively little concrete to report.
Much is happening beneath the surface, and there is no telling, really, what will evolve from here.
I know, though, that it will involve love, and writing.
And I know that I will keep on ROWing, with trepidation and daring, and remain present not only to the misty path ahead, but also to the rocky, swift, twisty places I am traversing right now…..
Until next time, I leave you with 5 more followers to get to know….

And the ROW Linky, for keeping up with all the other ROWers….