Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Round 4 2017, slices of life, The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year #1, The 12 Week Year 2017, Writers' Resources, writing, Writing in Freedom

Rebuilding Foundations:  ROW80/12 Week Year Week 8 Midweek

The resiliency of the human spirit amazes me. 

It’s been less than three weeks since we learned that Jim has metastasized pancreatic cancer, and that it’s terminal.

And somehow, we’re starting to adjust to this reality. To find the positives in it – even this.

Because there are positives – even if it’s just that Jim gets to find out just how many lives he’s touched, and we all have time to prepare, and build memories together, and brace ourselves for the changes to come.

Whether we accept their reality pragmatically, or rage and rail against it – it’s happening.

Given that, I’d rather be positive, and not have the regret of wasted time, later.

Relationships, Family, and Home:

Beta Reading:

One chapter of either Spellfire’s Kiss or Stained Blood each week, as possible: Weeks 8-12.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

Hometending:

Complete five hometending rounds in bedroom; three on porch; and one in study: Weeks 8-9.

  • Bedroom: 4/5
  • Porch: 1/3
  • Week 8 Progress: about 60%.

Complete one hometending round bathroom; family room; kitchen; and living room each week. Weeks 8-9.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

Homeschool Administration:

Facilitate Jeremiah’s driving practice thrice weekly, weather dependent: Weeks 8-9.

  • Brief driving practice on Monday during errand run. Learned to set/release the emergency/parking brake. 1/3 practices completed.
  • My car started making a funny sound just before Jim and I got home on Tuesday. Might not be taking him driving again until repair is made, to be on the safe side.
  • Week 8 Progress: 33%.

Draft Miah’s homeschool report: Week 8.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

Revise/proof/update attendance/submit homeschool reports: Weeks 8-9.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

Professional/Financial:

DIY-MFA Pixels to Platform:

Give 15 minutes/week to Modules One/Two:  Weeks 8-12.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

Slaying SEO:

Get all relevant materials from the Page/blog links, so I can work on this when life permits: Week 8.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

How To Revise Your Novel:

Complete 15 minutes of current lessons, using “On Any Tuesday Night”: Weeks 8-12.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

New Writing:

Among the Firestars:

Complete Plotting elements: Weeks 8- 9.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

Complete 50,000 words of rough draft: Weeks 8-9.

  • I’m close enough to 50K now that I didn’t set an incremental goal for this week – and I’m starting to feel get-there-itis, so I might forego my 2,500 word-a-day cap (which I haven’t honestly been hitting that much this month), and go for it, so I can focus on Other Things till the end of the month. And yes, I DO tend to write convoluted run-on sentences when I have a lot on my mind (if you don’t believe me, you should read my NaNo draft!).
  • Sunday, November 20: 3,647 words.
  • Monday, November 21: 286 words.
  • Tuesday, November 22: 1,279 words.
  • Total word count: 42,080/50,000 words.
  • Week 8 Progress: about 85%.

Chef Bluebeard:

Research changing thrust/ownership of website: Weeks 8-12.

  • Some preliminary discussion; no research yet.
  • Week 8 Progress: about 15%.

Complete plan for offering wholesale opportunities: Weeks 8-9.

  • Again, some preliminary discussion on terms and businesses we’d like to work with.
  • Week 8 Progress: about 20%.

Discuss how/if to address/publicize selling at local events in future: Weeks 8-9.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

Body, Mind, and Soul:

The Big Scary Thing:

Spend the time needed to learn and adjust to the reality of Jim’s condition, and to deal with the circumstances as they evolve: Weeks 8-12.

  • On Tuesday, we had an appointment with the oncology social worker, who will be assisting us with many details as we move through this journey. I have a good deal of homework to tend to over the next days.
  • Appointments scheduled for next week include port placement, chemo learning (so we know what to expect with the home portions of the therapy); and pre-chemo bloodwork and assessment for Jim, after which the chemo will be scheduled. Lots of learning on the horizon.
  • Week 8 Progress: about 50%.

Seek and accept help as needed/offered.  Also seek out those willing to help organize, because it’s hard for me to think about that while focusing on Jim, the children, and myself: Weeks 8-12.

  • I’ve been responding to the many well-wishes and offers of help – not as fast as I might like, but as expeditiously as I can manage – it’s an emotional thing, and I have an abundance of emotional stuff right now; I’m easily emotionally exhausted. So I’m portioning out my responses.
  • Interacting with the social worker is the first step toward seeking and accepting help, and has been very useful in helping us figure out what our priorities and objectives are for the coming months.
  • Week 8 Progress: about 75%.

Fitness and Health:

Listen to my body, mind, and soul, and give them the types of exercise, stretching, and challenge they need in trying times:  Weeks 812.

  • Hometending, and lots of rest.
  • Week 8 Progress: about 25%

Tai chi: Attend Monday, Tuesday and/or Thursday classes; work around schedule and energy levels: Weeks 8-12.

  • This isn’t going to happen this week, and likely not next, either, due to holiday and appointments. I do want to prioritize it, though, as tai chi class always brings me a calm energy and centeredness I could REALLY use right now.
  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

Mindful Eating:

Eat three vegetable based meals/snacks; aim for Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Weeks 8-12.

  • Acorn squash ravioli on Monday; vegetable lasagna on Tuesday.
  • 2/3 for the week.
  • Week 8 Progress: about 66%.

Personal Expression:

  • Acquire new, more efficient jewelry storage: Week 12.
  • I will be using found items – a jewelry box Jim and I bought together at an antique shop when we were newlyweds, and one of the small slatted wood window shutters he found somewhere along the way when the kids were small. Not quite sure how I’ll set it up yet, but pondering – and I think I have everything I need to make it work, with no need to buy anything.
  • Week 8 and 12Week Year goal COMPLETED!

Evaluate and purchase ear muffs: Weeks 8- 10.

  • Week 8 Progress: 0%.

ROW80 –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!

We’re On Facebook, Too!

 

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, NaNoWrimo, Parenting, Round 4 2017, slices of life, The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year #1, The 12 Week Year 2017, writing

 The Strength of Solid Foundations: #12WeekYear / #ROW80 Week 6 Final

In my Wednesday update, I mentioned that upheaval had come into my life, but I wasn’t ready to discuss it. One reason was that I didn’t yet have a full picture of what the chaos was, and what form it was going to take.

Sometimes, all it takes to get a clearer picture is a few simple words:

  • Cancer
  • Pancreatic
  • Metastasized
  • Inoperable
  • Incurable

Those words are terrifying enough that most of us probably hope they stay “out there” – away from us and those we cherish.

Unfortunately, those are the words my husband heard on Thursday, at the end of a four-day hospitalization for a painful and swollen leg that was diagnosed as deep vein thrombosis.

He was cited a life expectancy of 6 to 12 months, depending on whether he elects to undergo chemotherapy, and how he responds to it, if he does.

For those who don’t know, we have two teens, ages 13 and 16. We’ve always been direct and honest with the kids; that seems to be helping them deal with this extremely sobering news. It will be hardest, I think, for our daughter. She’s younger, has a more intense personality, feels things very deeply – and has been very close to her dad her whole life. While our son and my husband get along well, with no conflicts, they have a “guys leaning on a truck” type of connection…they like to hang out and watch TV while chatting about not much.

For me…

Twenty years really isn’t enough. Jim is more than my husband. He’s my mate, my best friend, my sometimes combatant, my lover, my complement, my partner in business and parenthood, and so much more.

The next months will be – uncertain. We’re still awaiting biopsy results; maybe they have some good news, but we’re pragmatic people. We’d rather prepare for the worst, and be surprised if the news ends up being more positive. It feels more productive than hoping this was all a huge mistake, and then being slammed back into reality.

I’m staying with ROW80, and #12WeekYear, because having that structure gives me a framework I can lean on. However, things may change considerably, and with little warning, over the next months.

Positive energy, healing thoughts, and prayers are all equally welcome as my family makes this journey together.

Relationships, Family, and Home:

Beta Readings:

Complete two chapters Stained Blood; one Spellfire’s Kiss, until both are complete: Weeks 6-12.

  • Resumed Stained Blood Chapter 5 comments: page 5/11 in progress.
  • Contacted Spellfire’s Kiss author re. lost emails.
  • Week 6 Progress: about 5%

Hometending:

Complete five hometending rounds in study; three in bedroom; and one on porch: Week 6.

  • Study: 5/5
  • Bedroom: 3/3
  • Porch: 1/1
  • 9/9 total.
  • Week 6 goal: COMPLETED!

Homeschooling:

Facilitate Jeremiah’s driving practice thrice weekly, weather dependent: Weeks 6-9.

  • 3/3 for the week.
  • Week 6 goal: COMPLETED!

Draft Miah’s first quarter report: Week 6.

  • English Language Arts and Mathematics drafted; 2/16
  • Week 6 Progress: about 11%

Professional/Financial:

Ongoing Learning:

DIY-MFA Pixels to Platform:

Complete Module One:  Week 6.

  • Worked on Breadcrumb Method.
  • Week 6 Progress: 10%

Complete Module Two: Week 8.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Slaying SEO:

Spend 3 hours/week on class materials: Weeks 67.

  • .25 / 3 hours.
  • Answered comments and skimmed a few things on the workshop page.
  • Page descriptions started for blog in Week 5; 2/16
  • Week 6 Progress: about 8%

How To Revise Your Novel:

Complete three hours of lessons, using “On Any Tuesday Night.” Weeks 5-12.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

New Writing:

Among the Firestars:

Complete The Story Toolkit https://www.amazon.com/Story-Toolkit-Step-Step-Stories-ebook/dp/B01LZ1OM2S Plotting elements through Act One Beat Sheet (can skip steps as indicated); then move forward with Acts Two-Four Beat Sheets as I complete each previous act’s drafting: Weeks 6 –12.

  • Subplot A (1/3): 6/7 completed.
  • Section 10/14 (22 total) in progress.
  • Week 6 Progress: About 25%

Complete rough draft to 25,000 words: Week 6.

  • 11/8:   1,232 words:    19,793/50,000.
  • 11/9: 1,448 words:    21,237/50,000.
  • 11/10: 1,705 words    22,942/50,000.
  • 11/11: 1,672 words  24,693/50,000.
  • Session Total: 6,057 words.
  • Week 6 Progress: About 90%

Chef Bluebeard:  All goals are being re-evaluated due to circumstances.

Adapt media schedule: Week 6.

  • Week 6 Progress: 10%90-

Find/contact holiday venues as indicated; contact total of 4 businesses for POS sales: Week 6.

  • Week 6 Progress: about 10%

Health, Fitness, and Spirituality: 

Samsung Health  (on hold; I likely won’t finish this program before it runs down):

Complete 5K Week 8 (missed 2 workouts); 2 workouts from Week 9: Week 6.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Tai chi, yoga, and reiki: (all goals on hold, for now).

Tai chi: Attend class at least weekly; either Monday evening, or Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons: Weeks 6-12.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Attend a drop in yoga class at ReVibe: By Week 7.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Mindful Eating:

Eat three vegetable based meals/snacks; Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Week 6.

  • Missed Monday meal; thought I was still on twice a week.
  • Week 6 Progress: 66%

Personal Expression:

Evaluate bras; choose a favorite. Week 6.

  • The Goddess sports and Cacique everyday bras are in a dead heat, but I don’t need another sports bra. So, when the time comes, I’ll be adding another Cacique to my collection.
  • Week 6 goal: COMPLETED!

Return Torrid bra. Week 6.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

Make a list of jewelry items I might enjoy adding to my collection: Weeks 6-7.

  • Week 6 Progress: 0%

ROW80

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!

We’re On Facebook, Too!

In the very earliest days of us, 1997. Sunset on the Oregon Coast.

 

 

 

 

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Marketing my Writing, NaNoWrimo, OctPoWriMo Challenge, Round 4 2017, slices of life, The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year #1, The 12 Week Year 2017, Writers' Resources, writing

New Foundations: #ROW80 and #12WeekYear Week 4 Midweek

Hey there!

I’m a bit late getting this update posted. Between the extra post to make my first quarterly adjustment to my 12 Week Year goals, and taking my 13 year old daughter shopping for cold-weather clothing and out to a long-belated birthday lunch (her birthday is in early July)…well, I ran out of day before I ran out of things to post!

Looking at this update feels a bit odd to me. I’ve been very busy the last few days, but the percentages of completion don’t really reflect it. I have a feeling the balance will tip somewhere around Thursday or Friday.

Some weeks are like that.

Like I said, though, I have been busy.  One of my projects was getting back to my Pixels to Platform course. I’m moving forward slowly and beginning to research my audience.

Since you’re reading this, you are a potential part of my research group…and so, I’m going to ask you a question that will help me with my learning process. No worries if you’re not inclined to answer – this isn’t a test! But if you’d like to, please feel free. And if you’d like to go one step further, and answer another question or two, just let me know – I’ve got a pretty comprehensive list to work with!

So, first the question, and then my Week 4 Midweek Progress Report.

What is your favorite book, and why do you love it?

Relationships, Family, and Home: 

Complete two chapters Stained; one Spellfire, until both are complete.

  • Stained: Began Chapter Five comments (p. 1/11); 1/2 chapters in progress.
  • Spellfire: Finished Chapter Eight (left over from last week; doesn’t count toward goal); sent to author. Highlighted Chapter Nine for commenting.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 20%

Complete five hometending rounds in study; three in bedroom; and one on porch: Weeks 4-6.

  • Porch: 1/1; bedroom 2/3.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 33%

Facilitate Jeremiah’s driving practice thrice weekly: Weeks 4-9.

  • 1/3: More night driving, and learning how to navigate for himself.
  • Week 4 Progress: 33%

Draft Lise’s Homeschool Quarterly Report: Week 4.

  • Week 4 Progress: 0%

 

Professional/Financial:

DIY-MFA Pixels to Platform:

Complete Module One. Weeks 4- 5

  • Reviewed remaining Play Sheets, which deal with research and are meant to be done over time.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 50%

Complete Module Two. Weeks 4– 7. 

  • Watched first video; simmering.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 20%

Slaying SEO:

Complete 3 hours/week in this class. Weeks 4-8.

  • 15 min./3 hours completed; watched video and did intros.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 8%

How To Revise Your Novel:

Complete three hours of lessons, using “On Any Tuesday Night.” Weeks 4-12.

  • 15 min./3 hours completed; Lesson 6/22 in progress.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 8%

New Writing:

Trueborn: Solemates:

Plan through Character Arc – Step 8/22. Week 4.

  • Major Plot Points Sheet in progress; Step 4/22.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 15%

OctPoWriMo:

Write poems 2228/31. Week 4.

  • Poems completed through 24/31.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 40%

Chef Bluebeard:

Maintain/adapt media schedule: Week 4-12.

  • Maintaining is tricky – I didn’t build enough leeway or adjustment time into this schedule.
  • Simmering ways to adapt it as I move through this week.
  • Week 4 Progress: About 10%

Find/contact holiday venues; contact total of 4 businesses for POS sales. Weeks 4-6.

  • Week 4 Progress: 0%

Health, Fitness, and Spirituality:

Samsung Health:

Complete 5K Week 10: Week 47

  • Workout made up for Friday, Oct. 20.
  • Workout made up for Monday, Oct. 21.
  • On schedule at last!
  • Week 4 Progress: 66%

Tai chi, yoga, reiki:

Tai chi: Attend class at least weekly. Weeks 4-12.

  • Week 4 Progress: 0%

Mindful Eating:

Eat a vegetable based meal Wednesday/Friday: Weeks 4-5.

  • Week 4 Progress: 0%

Personal Expression:

Return Torrid bra for refund/exchange.

  • Verified return policy and placed in my car; can return in-store, and I know several malls in my area have Torrid stores.
  • Week 4 Progress: 25%

Assess jewelry; purchase new pieces as they speak to me.

  • Finished going through my existing jewelry.
  • Week 4 Progress: 75%

Make a list of items I might enjoy adding to my collection: Week 4– 6.

  • Began simmering ideas.
  • Week 4 Progress: 75%

Evaluate wardrobe as the season changes.

Purchase snow and driving gloves: Week 4.

  • Looked for snow gloves while shopping w/Lise; no luck.
  • Week 4 Progress: 25%

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

Visit Other ROWers, or ROW Along With Us!

We’re Also on Facebook!

 

 

 

 

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Challenges and Contests, Commentary, Current Events, Life Writing, Parenting, Round 4 2017, Sexuality and Erotica, slices of life, Social Consciousness, Writers' Resources, writing, Writing in Freedom

Shaky Foundations: #12WeekYear/#ROW80 Week 3 Midweek Update

  

This week, I’m pondering my foundations – in writing goals, and in life.

#MeToo  has been extremely active this week. Women around the world are speaking out about their of sexual subjugation by men –unwanted advances, harassment, inequality, presumption, drugging, abuse, assault, rape…it’s different in each case, but it comes down to this:

Our society, our culture, and all too often the men in our lives, treat women as existing more for men’s pleasure and purposes than anything else. Most women are groomed from childhood to do the pleasing and serve the purposes men set forth for us.

We’ve learned the lesson well. Most women are adept at tending to the needs of others. As for our own needs, hopes, and dreams – often, they’re subverted in the process. Think of the Invisible But Indispensible Mother – “women’s work’ tends to be the thankless and endless tasks that add grace notes to life that are often taken for granted.

I’ve got #metoo stories. The more I step into my own strength and my own life, the more little flashes I have of times men have used me for their own purposes without regard for the fact that I have purposes of my own, beyond them. I’m not bitter about this – I really like men, and guys are often built on a shaky foundation that allowed them to see this behavior as natural, not domineering.

I need to tend to those cracks and bows, so I can build a life that will stand strong.

 And I’m not sure how to do that.

 Do you feel a shakiness in your foundation?

 How will you address it?

I want better for this girl – and for women everywhere. Lise Burton, self-portrait at almost 13, early July, 2017. Photo by Annalise S. Burton

Week 3 Action Plan Progress:

  • Blue with Overstrike: COMPLETED!

  • Green: In Progress.

  • Black: Not Yet Begun

  • Note: I’m not posting my final September update. It was a decent month, but life has moved on, and so will I. =)

 

Relationships, Family, and Home:

Beta Reading: Complete three chapters Spellfire; one Stained. Weeks: 3-4

  • Spellfire: Highlighted Chapter Six for comments – it’s 30 pages, so will likely take a while; page 16/30 in progress.
  • Stained: No progress.
  • Week 3 progress: About 25%.

Complete five hometending rounds on porch; three in study; and one in bedroom: Week 3.

  • 4/5 porch rounds; 1/1 bedroom.
  • Week 3 progress: About 75%

Facilitate Jeremiah’s driving practice twice weekly: Weeks 1-3.

  • Week 3 progress: 0%

Professional/Financial:

DIY-MFA Pixels to Platform:

Complete Modules One and Two; watch first video for Module Three: Week 3.

  • Week 3 progress: 0%

Slaying SEO Class:

Begin course: Week 3.

  • Course begins on Saturday.
  • Week 3 progress: 0%

How To Revise Your Novel:

Complete three hours of lessons, using “On Any Tuesday Night.” Weeks 3-12.

  • 1 hour; 45 min/3 hours,and Lesson 5/22 completed!
  • Week 3 progress: about 60%

New Writing:

Solemates:

Complete Planning elements through Supporting Characters (Step 7/22): Week 3.

  • Section 2/22 (Worldbuilding) in progress – finishing up Where, with lots of ideas simmering. Who and What left to address.
  • Week 3 progress: about 15%

OctPoWriMo 2017:

Complete poems 15-21. Week 3.

  • 17/31 completed.
  • Week 3 progress: about 45%

Chef Bluebeard:

Maintain/adapt media schedule: Week 3-12.

  • Sunday: all but one task completed; evaluating that one. May need to adapt.
  • Monday: addressed all; expanded one; a bit short on posting.
  • Tuesday: Day Off (need to add to the schedule that every week will have one; I am quite a slave driver of myself!).
  • Week 3 progress: about 33%

Contact three venues and three stores for sales. Week 3.

  • Emailed 1/3 stores for the week.
  • Drafted email for 1/3 venues.
  • Week 3 progress: About 25%

 

Health, Fitness, and Spirituality:

Samsung Health:

Complete 5K Week 10: Week 37

  • Makeup for Wednesday, October 11: Did much better with jogging portions (4 min; 6 min; 6 min, with 2 minute walking intervals between) than last session.
  • Makeup for Friday, October 13: Did all jogging intervals except one incline, and a point where a propane truck needed to back into the driveway I was abreast of . Can’t say it was exactly easy – but it clearly wasn’t impossible, either!
  • Still 2 workouts behind schedule (will be caught up after Sunday‘s run; doing 2 days on, 1 off till caught up.
  • Week 3 progress: 50%

Tai chi, yoga, reiki:

Tai chi: Attend class twice weekly; either Monday evening, or Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons: Weeks 1-12.

  • With the extra workouts, and only 3.5 hours sleep due to looking for some fan fiction stories I knew I wrote but couldn’t find (until I did a little after 7am), I wasn’t up to a trip away from home. I’m learning to listen to my body a little better, so I stayed home except for my 5k training run
  • Week 3 progress: 0%

Cook and eat vegetable based meals.

Cook two vegetable based meals; Wednesday/Friday: Weeks 3-5.

  • Not scheduled for this session.
  • Week 3 progress: 0%

 

Personal Expression:

Purchase three new bras.

Send back Torrid bra; research through HerRoom/Cacique; order 1: Week 3.

  • Went to HerRoom.com, and found they made it EASY to know what I’m getting! No more underwire booby traps (pun absolutely intended)! I ordered a daily use and a sports bra (YES! I didn’t think they even made those in my side, and now I’ll have one for running and workouts!). 3/3 purchased, a bit early!
  • I’ll close out this goal as soon as I’ve sent the Torrid bra back from whence it came.
  • Week 3 progress: 75%

Assess jewelry; purchase new pieces as they speak to me.

Go through rest of the jewelry I already have; save and/or discard as I choose: Week 1- 3.

  • Week 3 progress: 0%

Evaluate wardrobe as the season changes.

Research snow and driving gloves online: Weeks 3-4.

  • No need to research driving gloves; I found my existing pair in the dryer. Bought them last winter, and forgot about them. But they worked very well, and are still in excellent condition.
  • Week 3 progress: 50%

Kait Nolan’s  ROW80

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!

We’re on Facebook, too!

Even in this ad acknowledging Invisible Moms – the focus is on selling us something to make our hair look good – not some way to help us find our own strength and purpose!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Business Startup, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Round 4 2017, slices of life, The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year #1, The 12 Week Year 2017

When Building Blocks Tumble: 12 Week Year/#ROW80 Week 2 Midweek Update

So, ROW80 is the writing challenge that knows I have a life, and that’s good, because, this week, life was definitely happening in my world.

Saturday and Sunday, I worked events for Chef Bluebeard’s Flavor Enhancement Sauces. Saturday was the Goat Brothers Swap Meet and Motorcycle Show; and Sunday was the Second Annual Schuylerville Fall Festival.

Both were productive – we sold 24 bottles in those two days – our highest weekly sales to date.

Then, on Monday, Chef Bluebeard and I (call me Mrs. Bluebeard!) headed out on our first romantic getaway since we became parents a little over sixteen years ago. We made sure the kids were well provisioned with all their favorite foods, an emergency fund, and a trusted family friend to be their adult contact, which came in handy when our water pump malfunctioned, and they needed water to hold them over until the pump repairman could finish his work and restore our system to operational status.

Also, we were getting settled into our inn in Rochester, NH on Monday night, a good four hours from home, when I realized that I’d left my computer bag on the family room table – with my laptop; meditation and journaling supplies; and the charger head for our phones all inside.

That was a bit of an adjustment for me, since I sleep less than Jim does, on average, and had been planning to get some work done during those hours.

Instead, I actually relaxed. I didn’t write for four days. We visited with my friend Lauren and her boyfriend (and their two really sweet dogs, too). We ate out and cooked over an open fire and explored tide pools and a little bit of Acadia National Park in Maine, as well as the Bar Harbor area.

And Jim and I reconnected. Some things that needed to be aired were, in the nature of a long-term partnership. We cocooned in a lovely little cabin with a mountain view. We started to see a glimmer of what life will be like when the children are grown and we’re free to go as we will, without the preparation this trip required.

When we came home, we found two teens happy to see us, but confirming that they were fine despite the problem with the water pump, and that they’d be happy for us to go again.

They are growing up, and becoming independent. It’s good to know they could handle this “trial run” at adulthood, in a supported way. It bodes well for their futures, and says we’re preparing them well.

All that said, I didn’t accomplish very much toward my weekly goals – maybe not much of a surprise, since I’m only getting to this midweek update on Friday – and I’m adapting my original goals for this week to accommodate reality, since I forgot to take the trip into account.

Enough about me…what’s happening in your world this week?

Week 2 Action Plan Progress:

  • Blue: Completed.

  • Green: In Progress.

  • Black: Not Yet Begun

  • Note: My final September update will be posted on Sunday, October 8 (well, probably more like Sunday, October 15).

Relationships, Family, and Home:

The focus this travel week was on connecting with my family and friends. While I would love to accomplish the actions listed below, reality suggests that doing everything is unlikely and would lead to a great deal of stress, so I will be happy with any progress, or none.

  • Complete two chapters Spellfire; one Stained. Weeks: 15

  • Complete five hometending rounds on porch; three in study; and one in bedroom: Weeks 1-3.

  • Facilitate Jeremiah’s driving practice twice weekly: Weeks 1-3.

Professional/Financial:

This area suffered while I was in Maine. We had spotty internet access at best, and my goal was to recharge and renew, so any progress made on Friday and Saturday will be to the good, this week.

DIY-MFA:

  • Complete Module One: Week 2.

HTRYN:

  • Complete three hours of lessons, using “On Any Tuesday Night.” Weeks 1-12.

Solemates:

  • Complete Planning elements: Weeks 1-2.

OctPoWriMo 2017:

Complete 31 poems. Week 15.

Chef Bluebeard: We worked a Sunday market this week.

  • Create social media schedule: Week 2.

Contact three venues and three stores for sales. Weeks 1-3.

  • On Sunday, I got brave and made initial contact with the owner of Amigo’s Cantina, where Chef Bluebeard’s sauces gestated. I suggested two sauces that would be a very good fit for the restaurant, and got an invitation to talk further next week. 1/3 stores.

Health, Fitness, and Spirituality:

Another area where any focus is a good thing.

Samsung Health:

  • Complete 5K Week 10: Week 1-7

Tai chi, yoga, reiki: On hold for Week 2, due to travel.

  • Tai chi: Attend class twice weekly; either Monday evening, or Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons: Weeks 1-12.

Cook a vegetable based meal.

Cook a vegetable based meal on Wednesday: Weeks 1-2.

  • Didn’t really cook a veggie-based meal, but our lobster and steak feast included spinach salad, sweet potato, and broccoli…might cook something today or tomorrow, but calling this “in progress” for now.

Personal Expression:

Assess jewelry; purchase new pieces as they speak to me.

  • Go through the jewelry I already have; save and/or discard as I choose: Week 1- 3.

  • Bought 4 necklaces at an antique store for $25, and a small glazed clay pendant from the Maine Crafts shop (needs a thong for hanging).

Evaluate wardrobe as the season changes.

  • Purchase snow and driving gloves: Week 2-4.

Posted in Business Startup, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features

I Think It’s Safe to Say….#SoCS

I think it’s safe to say that we have a successful small business.

Okay, it’s still not bringing in enough cash to meet our expenses, but it’s growing, and building a reputation, and we’re gradually expanding, while at the same time trying to save ourselves the headaches of goig ino debt to finance the business.

But Chef Bluebeard’s hot sauces are a going concern.

That’s a little dizzying to me, considering that we launched our sales in late June, and, at the time, we had one battered car we sweated taking the 5 miles to the one local farmer’s market we worked each week.

It’s now just over 3 months later, and I’m typing this post from our county fairgrounds, where we’re working a swap meet and bike show that’s attracting clubs from all over the state. We’ve made back our booth rental, and we’ve got three hours left to go for this event. We tend to do a bit better as the day goes on, and this event includes alcohol which can be carried throughout the venue. It’s also cool and overcast, with showers – good weather to think about warming up your taste buds!

I actually stopped for a while in the middle of the last sentence. Met a very nice couple, and sold them two bottles of sauce. And stopped again after that sentence to sell another. That makes our count a respectable 8 for the day, so far, and still a bit over 2 hours to go.

So, as I said, we’re finding our pace, and hitting our stride. The next adventure is going to be contacting a woman I ran into outsidea craft store yesterday; by some coincidence, we struck up a conversation, and she organizes craft shows and associated events. So we may have more opportunities in 2018 than we can handle. =)

Also on the agenda – getting the sauce into stores. I finally have a better label solution – since we began, I’ve been printing the labels on regular paper, two to a page, and Jim has been cutting them out and taping them to the bottles. I found sticker sheets, though, and they print fine. It’s still an interim solution – the job is getting to be a bit much for my aging printer, and it’s one of those things I’d happily delegate to a local small business – but, until I have the time and energy to find a printer willing to take on some custom work, sticker sheets should yield 3 labels per page, and, now that we have UPC codes, we are ready to start querying local independent stores. We’re especially looking for those who deal in specialty or related items – and there are quite a few in the area, many of which cater to tourists in the summer season.

We’re still at the beginning of things, still feeling our way along…but gaining confidence as we go, and learning all the time.

P.S. We got to 11 bottles, by the time the event wrapped up – and rumor has it that it was a very slow year. Tomorrow, we’re off to a craft fair….and more sales. =D

What can you safely say today?

This has been a stream-of-consciousness post to Joey’s prompt: “save/safe” for Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Find the rules here, or visit more posters here.

Posted in #weekendcoffeeshare, Blogfest Entries, Business Startup, Coffee and Conversation, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Parenting, slices of life, Weekend Coffee Share, Weekly Features

A Pleasant Sunday Cuppa for #weekendcoffeeshare, September 17, 2017

If we were having coffee, we’d be listening to Saturday night fireworks booming in from somewhere – maybe the village of Stillwater, since the direction’s right (we have a Stillwater address, but we live up on a hill overlooking it, so we’re not actually in the village, but the town of Stillwater – upstate New York has a rather complicated way of determining its communities). We can hear the fireworks, but not see them.

I’d be calm and sleepy, as the final salvo sounds. My hair would still be damp. After a very slow farmer’s market this morning/afternoon, I took my first swim in quite some time. 500 meters at the Y pool was a nice challenging stretch without being too strenuous for the fact that I only had about 2 hours of sleep, and there are two more market days yet to come.

It’s the end of a busy week… but it’s a different kind of week than last week, which was, as I wrote then, #lifeonespresso. This was a week more like Sunday morning coffee after tai chi class (even though my tai chi class is on Tuesdays and Thursdays). Yes, I actually attended tai chi twice this past week, after an absence that began in March, when life got uncooperative with my plans). I always forget just how much I love this practice, and enjoy the group I practice with. After class, I’m more energized and peaceful, and I’ve always learned something, smiled, and laughed while I stretched my body and mind. Not bad for a free hour at the Y.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my 16 year old son had his first experience with driving on the road – quiet local country roads, but still, he drove several miles. I’m very impressed with his approach. He’s got an analytical mind and a laid-back, safety-conscious but not timid personality, and his nature seems very well suited to learning. He assesses his status constantly, and adjusts well, using everything he’s learned through reading and prior experience, and responds well to suggestions and corrections from me, his learning facilitator. I’m not his teacher – the wheel, so to speak, is firmly in his hands. He’s possessed of a level of maturity and judgment that I trust; he’s doing very well at pacing and challenging himself.

I’d tell you that I also began a new #5Ktraining this week, via my Samsung Health app. I like these apps, because they give me a framework in which to learn. Week One went well; for two of the three workouts, I carried my handweights and did a few upper body exercises.

If you’ve noticed a renewed focus on fitness and health in this update, you’re not mistaken. It’s time. I love the way I feel when I’m more active, and I love pretty much all vegetables, too…which is why this chef’s wife is committing to cooking a veggie-based meal at least three times a week. It’s quick, it’s fun, and it’s delicious! That it’s also good for me is a delightful bonus. =D

If we were having coffee, I’d notice that our cups are getting low, and offer you a refill while you tell me what you’ve been up to, and what your plans are for the next week. Once we’ve caught up on your news, I’d tell you that this week has a steady diet of goodness to offer. More veggies (just loaded up at the market today), more tai chi, more swimming, more walking on the way to running. More writing, of course, even though Round Three of ROW80 ends on Thursday. I’d tell you that I’ve got a plan for the break before Round 4 starts on October 2, but that I’m not ready to announce what it is just yet.

I’d see that your cup is now about empty, and you don’t want any more. So I’d quickly tell you that I’m excited to be getting back to my video class, revision course, and a local Writers’ Guild live chat. And then there’s the lecture I’ll be attending: General Philip Schuyler’s early pioneering of the New York State Canal System.

I’d also invite you to stay for a late dinner. Chef Bluebeard is baking chicken and red potatoes, and I’ve cooked off some farmer’s market green beans, and the aromas wafting through the house are lovely!

I’m so glad you decided to stay! Let’s eat!

Need another cuppa?

Visit Diana’s Part-Time Monster Blog or the hashtag for more #weekendcoffeeshare posts.