Posted in Saturday's Share..., Uncategorized

Saturday’s Share: Not So Very Long Ago…

Photo credit: Eden Mabee.

Not so very long ago, I had a little boy about to be three, and a brand new baby girl.

It can’t be seen in this picture, but I was also a bereaved mother, because I might also have had a one year old son – twelve days does not make for a long lifetime.

To look at Jeremiah and Annalise today, at  nearing 12 and almost 9, makes this picture seem like it was taken a lifetime ago,  and it was – Annalise’s lifetime.

There’s a cliche or two about time flying and waiting on no man (or woman, little boy, or newborn baby girl)…

The thing about cliches is that they very often carry kernels of truth.

I still remember this summer day, sitting on my lifelong friend Eden’s couch, nervously watching my little blonde-headed boy, who was born to be a big brother, holding his tiny sister, who brought so much joy and life and light back to us with her safe (if jaundiuced) arrival into our family.

That couch sin’t there anymore, that deliciously adorable towheaded boy is now an almost-teen with a riot of darker-golden curls, and a penchant for physics, chemistry, and technology.   He stands to my nose, at the moment, but that isn’t likely to last much longer. He is still an amazing brother.

That itty-bitty girl, so fresh and new, is a robust girl  blossoming in many ways.  She is a person of many passions – performing, wildlife, art, storytelling, fashion, and challenging her body among them.

I could say that time flies, but the words are so often said that they become almost inaudible…

Instead, I will say that I am grateful to have had all the moments between this one and the above image, the moments that bind me to these children, and them to me.  The moments of their becoming.

I haven’t always been proud of how I moved through those moments.  I haven’t always been kind.  I have repeated mistakes I vowed, as a child, that I never would.

There have been moments when I wasn’t paying attention at all.

I wasted those, and now can never get them back.

There will be a moment, not so very far off, now, when these children of today are grown beyond the need for the support system we currently provide for them.  Independence is something they both value;  I imagine it, for both of them, as a happy moment when they claim their place in the world, and I settle more into the background of their lives.

Until then, and  after, I intend to enjoy as many of these moments as I can fit in, to not let them slip away as though they are infinite, and instead to treat them as the treasures they are.

I am witness to, and still an active participant in, who they are, and who they will become.  I want not to forget this, or waste these precious moments on inconsequentials.

And, in those moments when I begin to forget, perhaps this post and this image, captured so long and yet not so long ago, will remind me…

 

 

Posted in Friday Frolicks, Life Writing

Friday Frolic: Goin’ to the (Bull)dogs!

Did you see that?!

It’s time for our weekly visit to Youtube, to see what wonders we can find to kick the weekend off right….let’s see….yup!

This week, it’s BULLDOGS!

Because those smooshy faces and tanklike bodies are just perfect  for mellow weekends! And because I love bulldogs, and have ever since I was tiny.  It’s one of the gifts passed to me by my father, this bulldog love –  one of the sweeter and snuffllier gifts. There’s just something about a bevy  of bulldogs….ENJOY!

Conversation with a bulldog

Bulldog and crabs –
English Bulldog Laughing –
Bulldog puppy funny bark –

Want more bulldogs? Fewer? None (although I can’t imagine anyone wanting no bulldogs at all!)? Something completely different?

Drop your comments into the receptacle below, and toss back that ball (no, the bulldogs probably won’t fetch it!)

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2013, Life Writing, Round 2 -2013

Reading, Trying, Watching, Creating: ROW80 Update, 4/24/13

Curious? Click here!

April is close to ending, now, and I can see the end of CampNaNoWriMo upon the horizon. I will make my 75,000 words, and may complete one WIP draft. The other two will be much closer to finished, although my grand plan of finishing all three is clearly going to take more than one month.

May will soon be here, and with it will come a shift in my focus. From this intense stretch of writing, I will shift to an editing mindset, with some new words each day toward one of the WIPs. I will also be creating the children’s quarterly reports, which are due on June 1.

This weekend, there will be a lull in this intensity, as the children and I visit out friends in New Jersey. There will be lots of activity and fun, but, perhaps, not as much time and energy for writing – bracketed by a pair of four-hour drives.

I plan to use this as a time of renewal; a chance to reset, and move into a more gradual and less jarring shift….

For now, though, all three stories are breathing life. A secondary character who’s tended to keep herself more than a bit emotionally hidden revealed herself to me in the wee hours of this morning, and the stories are feeding one another, coming into a type of cohesion that has been missing (these were initially all conceived as stand-alone stories).

There are still tangled and nebulous places, and glaring inconsistencies all over the place, but I feel that it is all simmering, and, with the right time and attention, I will have the sweeping saga Kaivelt and Niaan – and my readers! – deserve.

Creation in progress.

And now, I am sitting by my open bedroom window, with PBS and the strength of a potent breeze swirling in through the window, poised on the edge of more creation…April has been very, very good to me indeed.

Are you enjoying April, and your moments of creation? Maybe need a kind word, a pat on the back, or just a little room to breathe? Place your comment in the receptacle below – I’d love to hear about it! =D

ROW80 Progress:

Blogging:

The Unfettered Life:

  • Nothing this session.

  • Pending.

shanjeniah:

Trueborn Jottings: Note: These posts contain adult themes and mild erotica. Discretion is advised.

Obscured reflection….

Gather blog and reblog possibilities into resource files.

  • Refining plan for Sunday Sampler.

  • Beginning several other resource files.

  • Eventually, there will be one for each feature.

  • Pending.

All features posted on time, or scheduled a day or more ahead of post date.

  • Target attained!

Fine-tune and streamline blogging prep– experiment and tinker.

  • Playing as I plan. Organic improvements.

  • Pending.

Before the quenching creative rains…

Blogging from A to Z Challenge:

Visit other participants as I can; share posts I like.

  • Nothing this session.

  • Pending.

Update A to Z page with links; keep current.

  • Target attained!

April CampNaNoWriMo:

Update CampNaNo word count daily; page at end of each 10-day session.

  • Site word count ongoing – 61, 346 of 75,000 words written – less than 14K to go! =)

  • Target attained!

Visit forums.

  • Pending.

Love. Photo credit: Jeremiah F. Burton.

Visit tentmates.

  • Pending.

Add word counter widgets to shanjeniah.

  • Pending.

,Sima Garo Provides,NaNo 2012: Secondary WIP, nearing completion.

Continue writing. Complete by May 1.

  • Sunday: 0 Words.

  • Monday: 1316 Words.

  • Tuesday: 0 Words written – 773 words of planning.

  • Pending.

Continue updating outline as writing progresses.

  • Target attained!

Update NaNo page to reflect progress.

  • Pending.

Complete novel draft.

  • 102, 193 words (Ch. 20,Sc. 1 pending).

  • This is the final chapter, excepting the epilogue.

  • 100K Target surpassed!

  • Pending.

Spring makes lovely promises…

Blood and Breath, NaNo 2009:

Continue outline expansion.

  • Pending.

Use 750 Words for story planning notes.

  • Pending.

Write or plan every other day, until completed.

  • Sunday: 0 Words.

  • Monday: 1722Words.

  • Tuesday: 1263 Words.

  • Pending.

Complete novel draft by June 1.

  • 77,778 words, (Chapter 15; Sc. 3 pending).

  • Pending.

The Clarity of Reflection.

To Be or Not to Be, August CampNaNo, 2012: (Focus WIP for April 21-30).

Complete freewritings for rough conclusion outline, using 750Words.

  • Two sections, roughed, then formatted.

  • Pending.

Use 750 Words for planning, as well.

  • Pending.

Complete novel draft by June 15.

  • 99,373 through Chapter Twenty-Three.

  • Pending.

Creative tangles breathing life…

ROW80 

Keep current with visits. (I added a few – I’ve noticed a lot of faces I don’t know yet, and wanted to fix some of this.)

  • Target attained!

On-time updates:

  • Pending.

Children in their native environment…

Deep Revision for Flash Fiction (May 2013)

Resume current exercises for “Morning Coffee”

  • Nothing this session.

  • Pending.

Complete second setting exercise for “Peach Liqueur Love”

  • Nothing this session.

  • Pending.

Begin Part 3 exercises with “A Splash of Red”.

  • Nothing this session.

  • Pending.

Queen of My Infinite Spaces (poetry book) : (May 2013)

Targets:

  • Revise poems.

  • Revise endmatter.

  • Canvas for beta-readers.

  • Pending.

My long-term goals and first Round 2 bi-weekly evaluation. Next evaluation will be posted on Sunday, April 28.

It’s a BLOG HOP!

Posted in Life Writing, Time Machine Tuesday

Time Machine Tuesday – April 23

Disclaimer: I do not actually own any form of time machine, nor is access to a time machine implied in this feature. I am, however, curious about history, stories, patterns, and interesting tidbits of many kinds.

It is in that spirit that I share Time Machine Tuesday, a weekly jaunt through history – one Tuesday at a time.

Wikipedia -April 23 in history:

Born on this date:

A fascinating observance:

And, on a more personal note…on April 23, 2012, I posted this:

An excerpt: ~~ There is very little chance of altering the behavior of treatment you receive at the hands of a toxic person. They have already set themselves in a position of power and authority over you, and the relationship is not likely to survive if you insist on a more equitable form of interaction.

During or after time spent with toxic people, you may feel emotionally drained, or less kind and patient than you usually are. You may be exhausted, or find yourself defending your life and choices.

It is likely that, at some point, you will find yourself drawn into a hostile confrontation without really understanding how you got to this point. The most innocent comment can be twisted into a reason for a verbal or even a physical interaction, and you may find yourself wondering what was so horrible about what you said.

The answer is that you may not have said anything horrible. You simply may not yet have realized that you are in the presence of a toxic person, and that toxic people often interpret things through the poison within them.~~

 

Theodore Roosevelt, and a friend…

And a bonus, my ROW80 update for this date in 2012.

~~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. ~~

Posted in Coffee and Conversation, Life Writing

Coffee and Conversation – “Goat Girl”

Sit down with a cuppa, and let’s chat a while…


On Saturday, I posted this as my Saturday’s Share.

I promised then that I would tell my story, here, today, and so here it is.

I am the Goat Girl.

In this photo, I am 11 years old. It’s summer, school is out, and I am in the midst of a petting zoo full of kids and lambs, and perhaps a fawn or two, at the Catskilll Game Farm, once an institution, and now gone.

Although I loved all animals fiercely, I didn’t get much exposure to farm animals, so this was a rare treat, and I was both excited and a little intimidated by the way they jumped at the feeding bottle my parents bought for me. You can see my left arm upraised, because I am afraid they might knock me down, and it took some adjusting to figure out how to feed them.

I like the tenderness in the way I am holding those possibly menacing sharp little hooves, and how, although my face is shadowed, I can see my smile and the way I am meeting the goats, fully present in the moment, to the point where now, at 43, I still have this experience, vivid and sensory-rich, in memory.

It was hot, and we had walked a long way, and I was tired – but this moment was my own.

My hair – very long and very blonde, still, then, and more so for the summer sun, is drawn back in the severe braid that made my head hurt, as it was nearly every day of my childhood. Each morning, I would stand near my mother’s dresser, my back to her, while she used a brush with real boar’s hair (I was fascinated and vaguely disgusted by that), and a yellow plastic“rat-tail comb” to force my wild mane into submission. It was unsettling, at best, having my back to her; I hovered always at the edge of fight-or-flight response, knowing always that there would be harsh punishment for either.

Sometimes we talked, others she teased or yelled – always, the comb would be tugged and dragged impatiently through my snarls.

I wore my hair long because my father liked girls with long hair. I wore it long although neither it nor I was suited to it, at a parental whim. I wore it like that even though there was always pain in it, and in getting it into those tight, heavy braids – because I was made to.

So much of my life, when I was eleven, was arranged around what others thought I should be – at home, at school, at the store, even at Catskill Game Farm on that sunny summer weekend, I lived a life ruled and shaped by adults. Adults who were sometimes (well, often) unkind, who expressed the unkindnesses and harshnesses of their childhoods, through the way they dealt with me.

But there was always something more. There was me.

I learned young to protect myself – my self. I narrated stories in my head. I drew pictures. I imagined, and played with words, and, when I was 7, I wrote my first book about the murder of a classmate, as a wayto work through this unfathomable act. I showed it to no one.

Unable to stretch and reach and be as I wanted, on the surface of things, I learned to go deep, to hide the treasure of belonging to myself away, so no one would know, and try to take it from me.

Goat girl, at age 11.

But, always, with animals, I could reveal myself. With them, there were only the natural dangers. Instinct led those baby goats to jump, to stand with their feet against my chest. Hunger and interest, and not cruelty or domination, directed their actions.

I didn’t know, in that moment, that my picture was being taken. I wasn’t thinking of my parents, or my siblings, just then. I was with the goats, in a moment that was only ours, stolen from the rest of my life.

I’m glad whichever parent snapped the picture did, because, when I look at this picture, I see myself.

Not posing for a picture, doing what was expected of me. Not filled with watchful vigilance for the direction of the next attack..

Just me.

Years stretched into decades, and now, I am the mother of an eleven year old. His hair is as blonde as mine was, in a riot of curls. It’s his to do as he wants with. He’s mentioned trying for a crew cut. After several years of shaggy locks, I would miss them…but then, I would get to see new angles in his face.

As I listen to him playing Minecraft with his sister, or sharing his deepest thoughts, or recounting something he’s researched or watched, sometimes I marvel on just how much his life is his own, and how much my life was not. Goats have had a little part in that, too…

And, in my joy for him, there is healing and acceptance for the Goat Girl, too.

And that makes me happy.

How about you? Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself as a child, and felt the moment, as though you were within it again?  What emotions, thoughts, or epiphanies did that bring up in you?  Have your say in the comment receptacle below!

 

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2013, Life Writing, Round 2 -2013

Reading, Trying, Watching…and Growing!: ROW80 Update, 4/21/13

Curious? Click here!

After the long winter that is finally and reluctantly leaving upstate New York, spring is taking hold. For us, that means the call to get out and DO things!

On Friday, the children and I enjoyeded Journey Through the Body, a longtime annual favorite. This year, a larger than life inflatable heart and brain and the workings of intravenous medications, splints, bones, and concussions were our favorites. We bumped into some unschooling friends we haven’t seen in a while, too!

Today,we visited the Saratoga Springs Public Library, for Hands On Japan, incubating chicken eggs, the playroom, and the computer.

On the walk from the library to the car, we took advantage of the conveniently placed Ben and Jerry’s, and ate our cones on a garden swing…pictures will be posted in an upcoming Wordless Wednesday feature!  This time, I offer images from our early April trip to the New York State Museum.

The Cohoes Mastadon.

Oh, and I did some writing, too…!

ROW80 Progress:

Blogging:

The Unfettered Life:

shanjeniah:

Trueborn Jottings: Note: These posts contain adult themes and mild erotica. Discretion is advised.

Annalise explores architecture…unschool style!

Gather reblog possibilities into resource files.

  • Still adding to existing posts, in real-time, as I find items of interest.

  • Developing a plan for Sunday Sampler, my most link-intensive feature.

  • Pending.

All features posted on time, or scheduled a day or more ahead of post date.

  • All posts on time; no reblogs!

  • Target attained!

Fine-tune and streamline blogging prep– experiment and tinker.

  • Brainstorming; mild testing continues.

  • Pending.

Taxidermic teal. Photo credit: Annalise S. Burton

Blogging from A to Z Challenge:

Visit other participants as I can; share posts I like.

  • Visited several; likes, comments, follows.

  • Sharing several in upcoming features.

  • Shared one post on Facebook.

  • Target attained!

Update A to Z page with links; keep current.

  • Target attained!

 

April CampNaNoWriMo: 

Contemplating historical technology…

Update CampNaNo word count daily; page at end of each 10-day session.

  • Site word count ongoing – 50,945 of 75,000 words written – less than 25K to go! =)

  • Blog page updated..

  • Target attained!

Visit forums.

  • Pending.

Visit tentmates.

  • Answered cabin messages; visited everyone.

  • Target attained!

Add word counter widgets to Trueborn Jottings.

  • Widgets posted for NaNo and pending WIPs.

  • Target attained!

,Sima Garo Provides,NaNo 2012: Secondary WIP, nearing completion.

Abraham Lincoln Life Mask….

Continue writing. Aim for planning and/or 500 word/day, completed by May 1.

  • Wednesday: 0 words.

  • Thursday: 1434 words. (I now see a clear path to the end of this novel!!!)

  • Friday: 759 words. (Major last-minute plot complication revealed itself; ties into history between two major characters.)

  • Saturday: 578 words.

  • Pending.

Continue updating outline as writing progresses.

  • Updating as I go.

  • Target attained!

Update NaNo page to reflect progress.

  • Target attained!

Complete novel draft.

  • 100, 877 words (Ch. 19,Sc. 3 pending).

  • 100K Target attained!

  • I will be adding another chapter – the climactic buildup and tension need it.

  • This will stretch the projected completion by a few days.

  • Pending.

Art appreciation, unschool style…canned food sculptures to benefit food banks.

Blood and Breath, NaNo 2009:

Current Targets:

Continue outline expansion.

  • Close to the end; sorting out-of-sequence segments.

  • Target attained!

Use 750 Words for story planning notes.

  • Every day. These were/will be the basis of each scene.

  • Target attained!

Write or plan daily until May 1.

  • Wednesday: 2555 Words. (Chapter 14; Sc. 1-2).

  • Thursday: 2593 Words (Chapter 14; Sc. 3-4).

  • Friday: 2524 Words. (Chapter 15;Sc. 1- 2).

  • No words on Saturday.

  • Pending.

Complete novel draft by June 1.

  • 74,793 words, (Chapter 15; Sc. 3 pending).

  • Pending.

Annalise loved the spires of this Gothic Style Cathedral, next door to the museum.

To Be or Not to Be, August CampNaNo, 2012: (Focus WIP for April 21-30).

Move to Scrivener.

  • Created a Scrivener file for this project; began formatting.

  • Added to Scrivener.

  • Target attained!

Complete freewritings for rough conclusion outline, using 750Words.

  • I’ve done one session, which will be formatted and developed into 2-3 scenes.

  • I have, as yet, no real exit strategy for this completely pantsed WIP.

  • Pending.

Complete novel draft.

  • Beginning word count ( through Chapter Twenty-One): 93,855 words

  • Pending.

Ill-advised sentimemt….

ROW80 

Keep current with visits.

On-time updates:

  • Pending.

Joyful Learner, age 11.5.

Deep Revision for Flash Fiction (May 2013)

Resume current exercises for “Morning Coffee”

  • Nothing this session.

  • Pending.

Complete second setting exercise for “Peach Liqueur Love”

  • Nothing this session.

  • Pending.

Begin Part 3 exercises with “A Splash of Red”.

  • Nothing this session.

  • Pending.

Queen of My Infinite Spaces (poetry book) : (May 2013)

  • Revise poems.

  • Revise endmatter.

  • Canvas for beta-readers.

  • Pending.

My long-term goals and first Round 2 bi-weekly evaluation. Next evaluation will be posted on Sunday, April 28.

It’s a BLOG HOP!

Albany, NY as seen from the NYS Museum Fourth Floor Terrace, with The Egg in the foreground.