Posted in Coffee and Conversation, Life Writing, Unschooling

Coffee and Conversation: Would You?

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while. It’s time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..

The last few days, I’ve been seeing this what-if meme about giving up wi-fi, Internet, and all such things for three months, in exchange for $3 million. Could I give up the internet? Sure. I lived most of my life without it, after all. Would I? For a huge sum of money? Nope. Why not?

Well, I just sent some cool video links to a homeschooling Mom in Alaska, from my home in New York, because a Facebook thread revealed her child might be interested in them. That thread also spurred another homeschooling mom in Oregon to send us a link in return, because she thought my daughter would like it. All the while, I’m able to research, read, and chat with other up-all-night writers (writing can be a lonely pastime!).

Knowledge and connection mean more to me than money does. That three months might not seem like much, but it represents connections and exchanges and learning, and time that can never be bought back at any price….

Two best friends, living in two states – the Internet lets them visit almost daily, and almost like they’re in the same room.

I originally posted this on my Facebook timeline, because it had been rolling around in my head for a day or two, and I was curious about what others thought. My husband, for instance, would happily surrender his wi-fi. His relationship with the internet, and computers in general, is, at best, contentious. He doesn’t like phones much, either, and the bulk of his social needs are met at home, work, or through occasional contact with his family of origin.

Most others, though, seemed to agree with me. That didn’t surprise me, even though I have an eclectic array of Facebook friends. Those I interact with most often all share the trait of being passionate, curious, and enjoying interaction with other people and diverse ideas.

One friend pointed out that I could, with three million dollars, hand-deliver a DVD of the program I linked to my Alaskan friend.

Of course, she’d have to wait three months to receive it, and, by that time, her son might have different passions. By sending the links via the internet, they were available to her son while he could appreciate them. I could, from thousands of miles away, and in the few minutes it took to find and share, nurture the creativity of a child I might never meet. There’s something in that that delights me. I did it sitting on my bed, in a short break from writing and blogging.

I did it without having to make any other arrangements, and without interrupting the flow of my friend’s life – she already has a schedule overflowing with things to do. If I showed up on her doorstep, things would shift to accommodate me. And my life, too, would need to be shifted to manage the trip – New York to Alaska is no small undertaking, no matter how much money one has. Things like children and spouses and Real Life can’t be worked around with dollar bills, even hundreds of them.

But the internet holds many other rewards.

I’m going to get to meet one of my internet friends in person.

This isn’t the first time, or even the tenth. Whenever I hear the argument that Facebook friends aren’t “real”, I think of the lovely group of people I knew first online, and who have become more – people I’ve hugged, cried and laughed and sang and been silly and sad with, whose children I’ve chatted with, who’ve stayed at my home, or whose homes we’ve visited.

And, in one month, I will meet another – August McLaughlin, creator of #girlboner, intrepid champion of bully dogs, healthy sexuality, body acceptance, and passion. August is lovely from the skin inward, and I’ve been admiring her since I participated in her first Beauty of a Woman Blogfest three years ago.

The internet brought August into my life. And it was the internet that told me she will be emceeing an event for World Sexual Health Day on September 4, in New York City. The internet will be integral to my planning to attend this event, and to meet my dear friend in person. The internet allowed me to express my trepidation – not at meeting August, but at the thought of navigating the huge city when I grew up next door to a farm field, and am a lot more comfortable with the wilds of nature than places where masses of people are gathered together.

In return for my honesty, I got concrete advice on transportation, lots of moral support, and a personal cheering section. I found out that I’m not alone in my fear of big cities, and I was inspired by others who are comfortable in them. I received an appreciative message from August herself.

It’s easier to face a fear that’s shared, and it can inspire a desire to share, help, or just commiserate.

Not only will my trip be a far less daunting matter, but I’ve also shared a human connection with several friends, scattered across the continent.

Give up the internet for money? No, thank you. I’ll keep the connection. fi I have a wealth of friends, learning, and connection there – and, to me, that’s worth far more!

How about you? Would you give up the internet for money? Would it be worth it to you? Would you miss it? What would you do, instead? I’ve got my laptop and I’m off to get a fresh cuppa- I’ll pour you one, too – and let’s converse!

Internet friends – live and in person at NEUC! – Jean, Robyn, Ren, Julie, me, Trinity, and Debra.
Posted in Life Writing, Saturday's Share..., Saturday's Share...

Saturday’s Share: Major Celebration; Minor Apology


Welcome to Saturday’s Share – Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

First off, that minor apology. I haven’t been around much lately. I’ve been away from  Facebook and Twitter, WANATribe,  and this blog, for a lot of it.

I had a pretty good reason, and I meant to prepare better. I fully intended to say, at the beginning of the month, that these things were bound to happen, before the end of it. But I didn’t quite get to it in the bustle.

I’m sorry for my prolonged absence, and my darting way of popping in and then being gone again, almost before anyone knew I was around.

Today’s photo provides an explanation of sorts…

It’s the last day of November, and, for me and many other writers around the world, that means the end of (Inter) National Novel Writing Month – the annual attempt to write 50,000 words of a brand-new novel, in 30 days flat.

I’ve completed the challenge in three previous November efforts.  I’ve also finished three more free-form CampNaNo challenges, with goals up to 100K words.

This year, I wanted a brisker challenge. My goal was to write an entire novel draft in one month – sixty scenes, which I expected to work out to somewhere around 120,000-130,000 words.

It seemed a little crazy, even to me. But I had a very good plan in place, and I know much more about how I write than I did even last November. I’m not the type who’s often accused of sanity,.  I went for it…and kept going, in the opposite direction of social media, which tends to use the same energies I use for writing. This was a meaty project that merrily accepted all the energy I had to give it. And, since I live with three other people,  two of whom call me “Mommy”, and the third of whom has a signed contract entitling him to call me “wife”,  they have prior claim to my time and social resources.

On Friday, November 29, at about 4pm, I completed the first draft of my brand-new novel, King of Shreds and Patches!

I won the NaNo challenge – actually, I completed two full NaNo quotas, and was within 1500 words of completing half of a third.

And now I know that I can draft a novel in a month – if I spend the month before delving into my characters and their realities, without stinginess. I may count up the words in all my planning documents – I think there’s at least another NaNo’s worth of prepwork; before I wrote a word of the novel! I’ve got some backstory that just may demand a bigger, more public role, in the future, and I have a sense that all of my characters did what they needed to, throughout the story, whether things turned out well, or not.

It was also a wild, wonderful whirlwind of a ride through my own fertile imagination. And you will benefit from my absence, from my creative absorption in my passion. I’ve been away a while, I’m excited, and I have things to share…and, after all, that’s what Saturdays are all about, here! =D

Gradually, I’m coming back from the place where I left my main character, on his way to an adventure that will possibly change the direction of his life. I’m blinking, and looking around, as though I’ve been away a while – which of course I have.

There’s been more time just being with family, the last few days, and more hometending. A return to other goals, and other things I’m obligated to do. More breathing and being, and less striving…

After a stretch, it’s good to relax, reconnect, and recenter.

And I’m glad you’re here to share a little of that with me!

How about you? What inspires you, captures your creative side? Can you still interact with others, when you’ve gone deep into that space? Are there other things that become too much? And how do you feel, when the project is completed, and you start to notice those other parts of life again?

Saturdays are for sharing!

Posted in Life Writing, Sunday Sampler

Inaugural Sunday Sampler -A Mashup of Snippets and Bits

For years, I’ve enjoyed sharing links to interesting things I find on Facebook and elsewhere. It satisfies my inner virtual librarian, and, best of all, there are never any late fees, and it doesn’t matter if you lose your card.

This is an extension of that pleasure, a sort of virtual Sunday paper with a variety of offerings for your pleasure…the topics may shift, depending on what I find most intriguing each week, but I will always offer a variety….if you will, a Sunday Sampler for your pleasure.

Browse a little, read an entry or two….or all of them….it’s up to you!

If you have ideas, articles, memes, or blog posts you would like to see here, or if you have feedback on this week’s posts, please remember to drop me a line before.  I welcome your opinions, and I love when lively conversation sparks into being! 

Boy with Kindle, learning naturally.

Learning and Exploration-

Writing evening with Eden Mabee.


Snowy Sibling Silliness!

Parenting –

Koi at the desmond Hotel in Albany, NY.

Relating –

  • Fearlessness Thich Nhat Hahn writes about being with our fears, until we understand them…
Posted in Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Round I 2013

Vulnerable Trust: #ROW80 Update, March 3,2013

Curious? Click here!

The last few days have been vulnerable ones, for me I’m learning, deepening, and awakening to new ideas, new ways of being. I’m stretching toward my dreams, and, at the same time, needing lots of time to just be where I am, and absorb…

Have you ever felt this way?

I’m in a slack tide…some energy shifting outward, some still inwardly directed. I am a held breath.

Broken open, hesitantly poised at the edge of something so long yearned for, but which, as it begins to unfurl, is as vast as the Grand Canyon under a moonless, star-filled Arizona sky.

I feel it into my soul, echoing through my mind – the resonance of knowing that these dreams are not only possible, but attainable.

Have you ever neared that possibility, and you can at last see just how you can get from here to there – the place you’ve dreamed of, longed for? How do you feel, when it happens, for you?

I’ll admit it. I’m a little terrified.

Taking the next steps means shifting from what I have been, how I have lived. It means owning things about myself in new ways, proclaiming who I am, what I want, what I am willing to do to get there.

Becoming…Photo courtesy WANA Commons.

And, then – it means doing it.

What is it that has me quaking, wanting to crawl into a cocoon and pretend that it’s still just fantasy, a not an schievable goal..?

I’m hearing the voices again.

You might know them. They say it’s impractical, a pipe dream, that I am too ditzy or unmotivated – or too something – to ever do this.

They are the “who the hell do you think you are” voices, and they come with faces, attitudes, energies, and experiences I’ve known my whole life.

Who the hell DO I think I am, anyway?


I am myself. I have a passion for life, connection, and communication. I adore words, ideas, and imagery. I feel emotional energy in the same way I feel the shifting of the winds.

I am the only one of me there is. No one else has had just my set of experiences; no one else has felt and thought in just this way.

No one else will share their life just in the way that I do.

I think there is value in that – in each of us sharing our story in our way, giving it to others to do with as they will.

I’m feeling vulnerable. I am the early bud; I am the chick who no longer fits within a once comfortable shell.

If I remain curled into this cocoon, this casing, this shell – I cannot survive.

Emergence…Photo courtesy WANA Commons.

It’s time.

Time to thrust outward – to break the silky threads, force the outer leaves open, tap cracks into that shell and push outward.

Time to trust in metamorphosis.

I’m at the beginning, atremble, beset with ‘what-ifs’. Naked, bereft of the protections of the comfortable spaces I had occupied – I know too much, now, for them to be anything other than restrictive.

I have to change, grow, evolve…

I can’t be as I was, and so I become something new, something bigger and deeper, something truer to these dreams that are becoming my reality.

What will I be, on the other side? Hard to say, exactly, since I am not even sure where the other side is….

But I will find it.

And live it.

Who or what has challenged you to grow and change, else wither and stagnate? I love comments, and reading your stories!

Dreams and beauty beyond the shell…Photo courtesy WANA Commons.


(My biweekly evaluation is pending until later Sunday, March 3, and will be posted here, when complete.)

 #WANA113 – My BIG ONE:

  • I completed and posted my Word Cloud Grokking.
  • I connected with all class members.
  • I read Lessons Four and Five.
  • I scanned the next two assignments.


  • Read/comment on five word clouds by Wednesday, March 6.
  • Begin Grokking #3.

Sponsor Visits:

Reading: (slowing down some as I move into slack tide,and am writing more.)


  • New weekly feature, Friday Frolic. The inaugural post was a video tribute to Davy Jones, on the anniversary of his death. It will be a place for lighter fare to start off the weekends.
  • I spent some time with my blogging action plan, setting some things down.


  • Rough draft complete by March 15.


  • Submitted “The Last House” to a literary journal – a personal, scary first.
  • A Splash of Red” – revising for deep POV. Will be a guest post submission.
  • Completed QUOMIS rough draft! Next,editing!
  • 750 Words – Exposition and Blogging from A to Z rough posts D and E (C was done as one of the exercises above.)


  • Submit “A Splash of Red” by March 10.
  • Compile QUOMIS. Revise 2 poems by March 6.


  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss”- will comment and return by Wednesday, March 6.

The children and I visited friends with newborn kittens on Friday, to fulfill a dream for Annalise. Saturday, I took Jeremiah to the store for half-birthday treats, and today (Sunday), the kids and I are going to the bookstore to meet Elizabeth Anne  Mitchell.

That makes a happy but busy weekend for me, and I will be happy to go nowhere tomorrow!

It’s a BLOG HOP!

Am I ready to take flight? Photo courtesy WANA Commons.
Posted in Uncategorized

May I Have a Blog Roll, Please?

Can I help you with your entrance?

Public domain image via Google.

One of my goals for this round is to create blog rolls for shanjeniah and Trueborn Jottings.

I know some blogs I will definitely be including, both those of followers, and those that inspire and educate me.

Since I like diversity, I would like a long and lovely list of blogs to welcome visitors to my space to wander off on whatever trails beckon to them.

So, here’s the deal.

If you would like your blog to appear on my blog roll, please drop me a line and a link in the comments section below, so I can visit you, and, if you catch my imagination, add you to the spiffy, shiny new blog roll that you can see over there on the right!

And, by the way, I would love to be a little link in your blog roll, too…

Ba-Dum -Dum!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #4

Thankvember NaNoROW – ROW80 Update, 11/11/12

Modified #ROW80 / #NaNoWriMo Projects November 1-30, 2012

Due to National Novel Writing Month and the NaNoWriMo Challenge, the landscape of my writing life has shifted.

I have only five projects as my focal points for this month. I may play with some smaller projects, here and there, but that will be sporadic and likely impromptu.

So, without further ado, here is my own personal (and specific) five point plan:


Curious? Click here!

I am serving as a  ROW80sponsor for this round.

  • I “fell behind” during our travel, and did not completely complete my Sunday visits before posting mt Wednesday update. The remaining posts are included with this update.
  • I will be keeping, as much as possible, to my established Monday/Thursday visiting schedule.
  • If I can’t finish them on my regular visiting day, I will continue on subsequent days, until I complete them.
  • I will continue to post twice-weekly updates on my progress.
  • I am returning to my policy of keeping a running account of my progress on each of my goals. This will help me to get my update posted on time, without dropping everything else to do so.
  • As time permits, I will choose or write a brief account of what I have been doing, feeling, or pondering; or perhaps a passage or musing about writing.


Curious? Click here!

I will be participating in NaNoWriMo throughout November, writing at least 50,000 words of another novel in my Trueborn Weft series, Sima Garo Provides.

  • I tend to get quite solitary when I am noveling. I intend, this time, to visit my buddies at least a few times each during the round, and to visit the NaNoWriMo 2012 Facebook Page at least once a day, as well as the #NaNoWriMo folks over atTwitter, which I am finally getting the hang of.
  • I have continued to visit the Facebook NaNo Page, sometimes throughout the day, and others just to drop in here or there.
  • I will be posting updates here, and likely also on my shanjeniah’s Trueborn blog.
  • The update will be a part of this post, linked from the Trueborn blog, so I will be up to date on this project.
  • I hope to have word count widgets installed on both blogs by the time NaNo begins, but that may take a bit of extra time.
  • I have a widget for shanjeniah’s Trueborn!Two, even – one in the sidebar, and one on the page itself.
  • The blog, as a whole, is still a Very Big Empty (with a nod to Henry Blake). I hope to be remedying that over the course of the winter in a more major way, but, for now, I am adding in little bits and pieces and nuggets here and there. I do seem to live life a bit as though it were a crazy quilt, so this seems fitting.
  • I may attend one or more NaNo events.
  • I have looked into it. There are no events planned in our area. I may or may not unofficially start one.
  • And, of course, I will be writing a novel this month…or 50,000 words of one, anyway! =)
  • I am currently at 36, 686 words, Chapter Six, Scene Four.
  • Many surprising things are happening. Many characters are at crisis points, and the story is richer than my plan.
  • The last few days (since Wednesday, as writing on Election Night was somewhat diminished by watching the returns as they came in) have been excellent for writing. The kids and I have been tired as we recover from our trip, it’s getting dark earlier, and the house is a cozy place to hibernate.
  • I am hoping to get to 50,000 by November 13, then take a bit of a break to focus more on my other writing goals, and maybe check on my Twitter and email for the first time in several days. After that, I plan to continue on, likely at a less intensive pace, until month’s end – it would be awesome if I could complete the entire draft before the month ends, bit the reporting must come first.

Fitness Goals – I will focus on eating something each time I am hungry (and getting protein and magnesium into every other time I eat). I will be active enough that I can always feel my body and muscles. I will add more fruits and vegetables to my diet, and be more attentive to how much water I am drinking.

  • I intend to continue to make this a priority, as it will add to my quality of life and help me to be feeling as healthy and energized as I can throughout the month.
  • I am continuing to listen to my hunger, and to eat more veggies, whole grains fruits, protein, and magnesium. I made an onion lentil soup, with stir fry vegetables, and Jim has been very good at bringing me dinners that meet my specifications (shrimp and salmon tacos are delicious!).
  • I’m not getting as much water as I had hoped to – I need that to be a larger focus in the coming weeks…
  • I will be recording my progress here, along with my energy levels for that Sunday – Tuesday or Wednesday – Saturday period.
  • Judging by the chaos of my personal spaces this week, it’s clear I am in a High Tide writing space! I think I am moving into Slack Tide on Sunday, after several days of much much writing. I’m more engaged in cleanup now, but still writing plenty!

Moving ahead with the Reporting Pages projects for both children..

  • These are non-negotiable and due on December 1, 2012.
  • I will attempt to do 4 pages a week, and more if I am able, taking a few moments to deal with a point at a time, during the times when I am shifting from one activity to another throughout the day and night.
  • I have moved Annalise’s Sciences information to a file, and will, in the coming days, be working my way through the listed objectives.
  • With under 14K words left to write to win NaNo for the year, I will be getting back to these, most likely, before the week ends.
  • I will report my progress here with each update.
  • I am reporting very minimal progress, with lots of resistance, still but progress nonetheless.

Curious? Click here!

I am participating in the Thankvember Blog Hop.

  • For ease of dovetailing them with my other projects, I will make these short 500-750 word posts, with only a single image apiece. That is an approach that worked well for me during OctPoWriMo, and it seems it would be likely to here, as well.
  • This part hasn’t been the problem. Nearly all the posts fall within this length, excepting the two poetry posts I am working on, which will be harder.
  • I will be scheduling them ahead where and when I can. When I can’t, I will do them at some point throughout the day.
  • I am finally working up to current days, and even a day ahead, but I am still not caught up with complete posts. I hope to be scheduling ahead by the 15th.
  • I have completed and published 4 more posts for Thankvember. I currently have posts up through the sixth, and posts in various stages of development through the eleventh.
  • Friendship – Thankvember Third
  • Thank You, Mr. President – Thankvember Fourth
  • The Right to Vote – Thankvember Fifth
  • Listening – Thankvember Sixth
  • I am hoping to have posts in progress current by the tenth, and to be caught up with posting by the thirteenth. If I manage that, then I will hopefully be able to begin scheduling by the fifteenth.
  • I am current with posts in progress, and getting closer to meeting the goal of being caught up with my posts by the thirteenth. The goal for the fifteenth is contingent upon meeting both of the previous goals.

My overarching goal for this round remains: To Honor Myself – my rhythms, energy, needs, truth, dreams, desires, and emotions.

There you have it. I am LOVING this month of writing intensity, and focusing allowing it and all the other aspects of my life to move into a natural, shifting balance, a circle that feeds each point in its orbits.

I plan to dive in, immerse myself to the point that I am able, and to surface when that is what I need or want to.

I plan to keep my life simple and peaceful as much as I am able, this month (and always).

I plan to delve, delight, and discover my way through this month….

And you are all invited along for the ride! =D


Some Corki-dog love to spread around!


 It’s a BLOG HOP!

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, OctPoWriMo Challenge

Laughter – OctPoWriMo #9


Curious? Click here!


Tonight, I am home alone.

With the television – music and inane advertising,

The pleasant and the irksome, in turns.

The rattlehum of the heater bouncing gently

Up and down the hall.

Predictably warm, and comforting on a chill night.

The rattling ting of the dog’s tags as he moves

The guinea pigs‘ deep purrs and high squeaks.

Remind me that this solitude includes them.

The slliiissshhhthump of hot water

hitting a plastic milk jug, and the

so-soft pip-pop of newly born bubbles.

The slightly discordant symphony of

Our motley collection of dishes

clank tinkle sliding into order again.

And, woven through and all around,

The memory echoes of the music

That most defines my life.

It is the music of laughter,

Of giggles, and squeals, and sometimes snorts

Bubbling, exploding, surprising.

It runs through our lives and our souls

Like a flowing river, alive, mutable

Its song burbling mirth.

It is our nourishment and sustenance

The force that connects us one to the rest.

Our not-so-secret superpower.

The family that laughs together, has magical powers together!