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

ROWin’ On… Final Update – #24

Goals Update #24 – Final ROW

A bit more of what I wrote, a year ago….


##### ENTRY ##### 2011-06-21, num_words:904, num_minutes:75.971

I’ve been writing in a notebook more, the last few days, and far less here. Yesterday, I had a computer-free day, and those feel good every now and then. I also will always love the feel of and paper, and the connection they forge with my subconscious. I’ve learned to write on a computer, and get to my deeper thoughts, but the process and the thoughts are different, in this medium. Not worse, or better – I see equal value in using both.



##### ENTRY ##### 2011-06-27, num_words:832, num_minutes:28.7845

Okay, I’m back. Whatever I write tonight will probably be exceedingly rambly (and possibly brambly, too, which reminds me of a children’s story I wrote years ago an recently found, but then, already, before the first sentence is done, I’m wandering into other subjects with oblivion). I am very, very tired…..I went to bed at about 5:30am, and had promised Miah I would get up with him at 9:30 because he planned to go to my folks’ at 10 and spend some time doing odd jobs (they pay him, but he says he dorsn’t care nearly as much about the money as he does about the work, because it’s always something interesting).


Stuff Lise did this spring and Nocturnal  Miah…late May pictures.

So, already, that meant only four hours of available sleep (I am not a napper, perhaps most especially not when I am really tired. Sleeping for even a little while gives me a sense of disorientation and grogginess that are far more debilitating to me than bone-deep fatigue is), which is a bare minimum for me. I can get through three or sometimes four days on four or five hours, or a bit less if we’re in the buoying presence of a large group of unschoolers. But this sleep was interrupted once by my own waking, and then twice by Annalise coming to wake me so she could tell me things.


Things like, “Mommy, your face is in the pillow.” She was concerned by the zipper; she didn’t want me to get zipper face!


And, “Mommy, guess what?! I can spell six! S-I-X!” That’s new; yesterday she could not. She’s getting more and more words in her spelling toolbox, mostly though her own experiences and explorations, and she is understandably thrilled and giddy with this brand new power.


Nature Girl Tree Hugger!

And, “I’m watching Mareeps jump over the fence.” That one made no sense at all to my sleep-addled mind, and came 20 minutes before the alarm was going to sound. Later, she reminded me that Mareeps are Pokemon, and they can be counted like sheep. Ahhh, so NOW it makes sense.


When she informed me that the coffee was ready, I gave up all hope of a few extra minutes’ sleep…..


But now, I am at the getting darker part of the day. I’ve done barely any hometending….but that actually feels quite good and restful, because often I drive myself to spend two or three hours on cleaning and organizing every day, and that can build frustration and resentment when I am really too tired to do it.


That is a residual of my upbringing, when if I went to bed at 5am, because the long quiet hours of the night were the most peaceful ones in that volatile, often hostile, household, my father would rouse me at 7am. “You’re just lazy!” The bellow was as close to a good morning as I was going to receive. “Everybody else is up, and you need to be too!” And he would chivvy me, and present me, almost at once, with a list of jobs for me to do. Not having done them would earn yelling, punishing, or maybe even hitting. And, any time my fatigue caught up to me during the day, he would be there to call me lazy, ridicule whatever restful pursuit I had opted for (reading and writing were then, as now, two of my favorites), and set me back on the “straight and narrow” of hard, diligent work.

Transitional walk – the moon….June 2, 2012, Hamilton, NJ.


And, in so ignoring my needs for calm and quiet, my needs for rest (I was a teenager, and it has since been proven that teenagers really do need more sleep than adults do, and tend to be physiologically geared to stay up later), my need to exercise not only my body, but also my ceaselessly hungry mind, to direct the course of my own life to a far greater degree than I was allowed – in ignoring my very PERSONHOOD – he made it nearly impossible for me to come to a place where I can know beyond all doubt that it is good and right and perfectly OK to return to bed when my body and mind are in desperate need of rest.


To be honest, it’s only in the last several weeks that my guilt over time taken to read or write has dissipated to the point where it doesn’t taint the joy I take in these quiet, physically restful, deeply personal activities that expand my sense of the world and myself. The tension is easing, there, and that, as much as anything, is what has enabled me to reclaim my “pipe dream” (so called by that same father) of earning I living through the words I write.


In time, perhaps I will be able to just lay down when I need to, stop, sleep, and know that, rather than the world screeching to a halt and my lazy soul being hopelessly damned, I will simply sleep, and awake refreshed, renewed, and joyfully ready for whatever is next.

Annalise, Jeremiah, and Harry on a gloaming walk…


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.
  • Phillipa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter (reading aloud with Annalise and Jeremiah) page 214 of 270.
  • I have read 5 of 6 books for this month. 
  • I am on target to complete this goal for this ROWnd.


Water Girl!
  • 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 Being Selfish Rules.
  • I read Concerned about Your Child’s College and Career Success? Leave School.
  • I have read 4 of 4 articles for this week.
  • Overall, I feel I achieve d this goal, in quantity if not definitively. I have missed the goal a week or two, and have made it up the next week. I will call this one a modified success.


  • Read at least 5 blogposts a week (not including my own), and like, comment, and/or share as I am moved to.
  • I read two posts at ROW80. (Karen Huber’s version).
  • I read Experiment Ended.
  • I read Writing Wednesday: Final Round 2 Check In.
  • I read ROW80 (Anne Stanley’s version).
  • I have read 6 of 6 posts for this week.
  • Again, I have, on average, completed this goal. Some weeks were a bit short; others a bit over.
  • I am calling this a success for this ROWnd.


Water Boy!


  • 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 in the midst of a scene that may become the prologue.
  • I have written flash fiction, short stories, dialogue, alternate scenes, a poem, and a character sketch for this WIP.
  • I will call this goal a success, more or less. Although I did not create a lot for each area, I have a better sense of the characters and their stories, which was the objective behind the goal..and it was a delightful fresh breath after the focused draft writing of Round 1!
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I have elected to focus only on the June 2011 posts this ROWnd.
  • I have completed transferring and clipping the June posts.
  • I have complete this (modified) goal.
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • I have done this in a largely organic manner, using whole posts as endpieces for these goal updates, saving a few for future editing as stand-alone essays, and being influenced by what I am rereading.
  • I count this goal as successfully completed.
    Every party should have pizza with rainbow sprinkles, no? =D


  • Create story arc for  Blood and Breath.
  • I currently have completed the story arc through Chapter 19.
  • A natural length for the story seems to be about 25 chapters.
  • Each chapter is taking between 10-30 minutes, and I suspect there are 6 chapters and an epilogue remaining. Thus, I will have another hour or two’s work to complete this goal before or during ROWnd 3.
  • It does not seem likely that I will complete this goal before the round ends. However, I feel very good about what I have created, and I will continue on with the story arc until it is complete.


  •  Input Chameleon’s Dish into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • I have input through Chapter 16(“Life, Mirrored”).
  • There are a few mistakes in the way I input things; I will fix those as I work on my editing/rewriting.
  • There were 25 chapters in the original rough draft, but the first several were expository rather than part of the story.
  • I believe there will be somewhere between 18- 20 chapters in the completed revised rough draft.
  • Each chapter is taking approximately an hour to input. Three chapters remain, and an epilogue, I think, so about 4 hours’ work remain for this goal.
  • I may not finish this goal before the ROWnd ends, but I am very happy with my progress and the great deal I have learned about Scrivener along the way. I will be able to finish this goal at a later point -likely before ROWnd 3 begins, – fairly easily.


    Life in full bloom at Sylvia’s house!
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • I am not going to finish this before the end of the ROWnd.
  • The matter is too sensitive, and there are things I feel I need to say, and say well.
  • It has been my intention all along to give both the words and myself space, to avoid angst as I write, and to do this thing well.
  • Ar present, I have five sections left to draft, after which I can begin to polish.
  • I will be moving this goal to the next ROWnd, and continuing to work my way through the points I want to explore.
  • Although I can’t call this goal attained, I am very pleased to have (at last) found a format that allows me to maintain calm and avoid responding reactively, and to be moving forward through the process, which, whatever the outcome of the letter itself, has certainly helped me to process my emotions and clarify my purpose. And that is a good thing!




  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • This goal has been attained.



  • 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 completed this goal. Before or during the next ROWnd, I pan on following up with the editor.


  • 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).
  • This goal never really took. I did make charts for both blogs. I admire this type of schedule on others’ blogs, but it doesn’t seem to be for me, at this time…maybe someday, but not yet.


  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • I call this goal a success. I added pages, and worked a litte with the layout. I pan on continuing in future ROWnds.


Homecoming Night…


  •  Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest;and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • I will call this a success. Although none of these became second nature to me during this ROWnd, that might have a lot to do with the intense creativity of April and May, and the demanding challenges I took on both months. I do have greater famiiarity with these sites, though, and pan to return throughout the next ROWnd, which looks to be a more subdued, continuing kind of affair…at least, right now.


  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • This goal is a success. I was engaged with various ongoing and one-time challenges throughout the ROWnd.


  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I did this with some regularity, but not to the degree I had hoped. And, as for answering comments on my own blog, and on my posted items and groups – well, I am, what we called in waitress parlance, “in the weeds”. I will be making this a higher priority in the next ROWnd, and hope to make some progress with the dozens of unanswered existing commnets during the break.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • This was a fail, but not a complete one. I wad featured on Elizabeth Anne Mithchell as a guest poster. I have a nearly completed essay to submit to Eden Mabee, and several other offers I will be following up on as I go through the mountain of comments I will be answering soon…I also have an essay submitted to Cooperative Catalyst, and have been casually noting larger blogs that feature guest posters. I feel that three was perhaps a bit too ambitious beginning, here, Nonetheless, it was good to feel the resistance, to move with it instead of fighting it, and to learn along the way.
  • I have hosted one guest poster, Elizabeth Anne Mitchell. I love what she wrote, and giving her a place to share it, and am honored that she shared. I would lie to host MANY more guest bloggers…HINT, HINT!


    Fun with Midi and Blaster!


  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I completed 6 submissions, with two or three more at stages near readiness or waiting for revision and/or resubmission.
  • I feel this was a modified success rather than a fail. I branched out with my submissions, and I researched several markets. I received payment for two poems published at the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • I became more comfortable with the process, and am currently developing several WIPs for future submissions, as well as considering a collection of flash fiction stories as an ebook.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.


  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • This was absolutely a success, as I entered at least three challenges per month, and generally more.



  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I had thought this would be a one and done proposition, but it seems to be an ongoing effort. I am going to call it a modified success, because there is a structure in place I can use, and I am regularly using it, even if things do tend to get a bit chaotic when I am really busy…having a system is a wonderful step!


  • Learn how to watermark pictures.
  • This goal was attained rather early in the ROWnd.


  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • This was a success, more or less. I am not positive every photo is watermarked, but I have the means to do so quickly, which serves m purposes a little better for doing it as I go. I also adapted this, so that I will add watermarks as I edit and update posts, rather with dealing with the 100+ posts that have pre-watermark images on them in one huge, tine-devouring chunk.


    Piggie Love!


  •  Explore marketing articles on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • This goal was successfully attained. I read several articles, and, in the process, have discovered several really nifty places to discover more about this marketing business.


  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah  Marketing Articles page.
  • This goal was also attained. My Marketing Articles page isn’t overflowing but there is some good information there!
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.
  • This is still evolving organically. As a matter of fact, that is my direction. No marketing will be real or useful to me if it cannot fit around the non-negotiables in my life – Jim, Miah, Lise, the critters, travel, home and yardtending, and actually writing stuff to market! I am planning to remain true to my voice and purpose, to grow and stretch to the degree I can manage sustainably (allowing for ebb and flow), and to be as bold as I am, in any given moment. For now, that seems direction enough, and I am therefore calling this a success.


    Scenes from my cottage gardens and experimental pantings….


  •  Get Scrivener  downloaded; begin learning by inputting first an essay, and then Blood and Breath.
  • Due to my having lost (hopefully only temporarily, but I have made my peace with it if it’s permanent) most of the chapters I wrote for NaNoWrimo 2009, I chose to instead create a story arc for Blood and Breath, and input Chameleon’s Dish, my 2011NaNo draft, completed in Round 1, instead.
  • I came within three chapters and the epilogue of inputting Chameleon’s Dish. I call this a modified success – most of the novel is in Scrivener, and I feel much more at home with the program. I’m looking forward to being able to go through the editing process scene by scene, in coming ROWnds!
  • I also came within about six chapters and an epilogue of completing the story arc for Blood and Breath. Again, a modified success – I can feel the rest of the arc taking shape, and will likely complete it before the next draft begins, when I plan to create a flash fiction piece around each point in the arc, as a precursor to writing a new rough draft.


  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I adapted this goal as well, swapping Tweetdeck for Hootsuite. By the end of the ROWnd, I was more familiar with all three, but none seem native, and I may end up dropping HootSuite Pro, as I have not used it in some weeks. I averages a day most, but not all weeks. So, this is a bit of a success, and a bit of a fail, but much was learned along the way, which was the real purpose.


  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • This was a success. I came up with about a dozen questions, and found answers for most of them. I an sure I will have more of both as time goes on!


Kinetic Energy!
  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • Also a success. I have a great site or two I am in the process of exploring, and, while the process still seems foreign, it doesn’t seem nearly as mysterious and alien as it did at the beginning of the ROWnd. By year’s end, I hope to know much more, and maybe, just maybe, have a thing or two in progress….we’ll see!


  • Learn what I can do with my domain name.
  • This was a success, although I would need to spend considerably more money each year to use this domain name for much. This may be a possibility, in future, but I’m not comfortable doing that, yet. I can, in theory, attach my Google email to it, but I haven‘t made that attempt yet – it looks a little complex, and is triggering my tech-phobia a little…


  • Begin research list/research for  Chameleon’s Dish second draft.
  • A definite success. I made a list, and, before the end of the ROWnd, I found several useful Internet sites, and borrowed some relevant books from our local library.



  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • I didn’t even come close to attaining this goal! There were about 57 posts, the vast majority as-yet unedited, and I really knew it was too much…I plead temporary ROW insanity! I intend to keep moving forward on this goal, using a much saner schedule.
  • I did do some pretty major layout changes, but much remains to be done before it’s close to where I envision it. Thankfully, there are ROWnds in the future….the near future!


  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • I almost had this one. At Rownd’s end, I had clipped all but the final three posts. I hope to get to these before the next ROWnd begins, so that my figurative slate will be clear, at least for this.


  • Input Blood and Breath and Chameleon’s Dish to Scrivener.
  • This goal was modified fairly early in the ROWnd, when I realized I did not have the chapters I needed to input Blood and Breath.My progress on this goal is listed above.


  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • I made progress here, but it seems that this will be an ongoing project for me, as I have so many projects going at once.
  • However, I now have a much more workable filing system, so that when I am in an ebb point, creatively, I can tidy things up fairly quickly.
  • I’ve also gotten an 8g memory card, so that I can back up my writing files, maybe not needing to keep everything in the laptop all the time..


This year’s experiments…..


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • I attained this goal….it was a joyful, and sometimes infuriating, ROWnd!


  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • I moved this ROWnd. Not as much or as regularly as I would have preferred, but much more than I might have.


  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • More some weeks than others…I counted things like a smile and being sun-kissed. I like natural self-decoration! A modified success.


  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • I did well at this, never before in my life have I claimed my writing or myself so fully and passionately and naturally! BIG SUCCESS!!!!


  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • I did fairly well at this one, but, of course, there is always room to be kinder, sweeter, and more fun! A success.


 Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • I attained this goal, even a little early, for both Jeremiah and Annalise.


  • Cleanup email folders/organize, move, read, delete, act upon as needed.
  • I cleaned up the chaos. I also wanted to read through what remains, and sort new email as it came in, but those things fell by the wayside as I got really busy with other goals. However, once again, having a system to sort things in ebb phases will make the task simpler, which means I will be more likely to take a few minutes here or there to tend to it, or even, in busuer times, just prune a bit here and thee. A success.


  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • I modified this goal to one notebook about midway through, but still did not finish. I reached page 68 of 120, Tm many other things to do, and this more mundane project was often shuffled to the end of my list of things to work on. Next ROWnd, I will take on a bit less, and, hopefully, get my notebook transcribed, because there is a wealth of goodness in what I’ve done, so far, and, also, there is something very powerful in getting to know my former self, and how the things that occupied her life have grown, faded, or evolved. A fail, but a good effort, nonetheless.


  • Take critters to the vet; renew Corki’s dog licence.
  • A partial success. Vet visits done, but the Town Clerk was closed on Friday afternoon when Jim went (it’s a small town). Hopefully, we’ll get that tended to this week, before the dog control officer knocks on the door to check in on us – yes, it IS a small town, and he will!


  • Pay remaining balances for summer trips to Unschoolers Rock the Campground and Northeast Unschooling Conference.
  • I paid the campground fee, and started the process of allowing the hotel to charge the card number they have on file. It looks a little complex, so I set it aside for a bit, until I have a quiet moment (once I open the link, I only have 15 minutes to complete the process. A little nervous-making, that! I am calling this a partial success.


So there you have it, my assessment of my accomplishments for this ROWnd. As ofr what I have learned and how I have grown, or the insights I’ve gained – well, I think I will let them present themselves as they will. It feels too son for that type of evaluation, and also a bit like looking a gift Vulcan in the mouth….

Until we meet again, I’ll be ROWin’ on…..



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

On Life and ROWing….Goals Update #19

From 750Words, June 2011...

##### ENTRY ##### 2011-06-22, num_words:996, num_minutes:32.2094
I am here again, filled with thoughts and ponderings, none of them concrete enough to express in words. I am very very in touch with my more intuitive self just now, and I can feel new depth and breadth coming into my awareness on an almost constant basis. 

I really feel that I am on the course I have always been meant to travel, the trail I have resisted for most of my life because those around me were busily telling me how little sense it made to go that way, how lacking in common sense I was, and that it was nothing more than a frivolous waste of time.

I made the mistake that so many of us seem to make, in this homogenized culture we've created out of what once was an entire nation of individuals......

I let those living outside of my soul determine the course that I should follow; in the process, I ignored and forgot how to read my own internal compass, and convinced myself that my inner sense of direction was as capricious as my outer navigational awareness is.

And maybe it's true that I don't really know what direction I'm traveling here. Then again, I don't think that any of us truly do. So many people would say that they do, but, if their lives are examined, they are often busily pursuing external goals that have little or no bearing on their inner life.

I've come to realize that I am the happiest when I am doing as my inner nature, and my current levels of energy and focus, direct me to. That means very different things depending on the day or the hour. I've been tired a lot the last week or two - full, close moon, which keeps my thoughts going through the night; hormones; lots of kid interruptions; a couple of arguments with Jim; lots of cleaning; lots of heat; some overcast days; both kids going through substantial growth and cognitive spurts;and I myself am in a very inquisitive and creatively charged place just now (busy organizing; culling possessions; gardening and beautifying inside and out; learning new technology and diving headfirst into the lifetime dream of making a living through my words; sharing the gift of my words and perspective with the world, too, freely).

So today, so far, has looked like this, for me.  Star Trek: The Next Generation began at 12:30 am (before it started was making love with my husband and watching a show about lightning that was on the Weather Channel). After, I watched the end of a True Hollywood Story on the kids from Diff'rent Strokes. Then I switched to PBS and caught the last two stories on History Detectives, which in turn was followed by Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, Part 1. While I watched, I wrote a little of the outline for the Spock/Jeniah bonding story. By the end, at about 4am, I was dozing off, so I brushed my teeth and went to bed. 

I woke at about 11am (one of the better nights' sleep I've had the last couple of weeks). I played a little more with my new cell phone, which arrived yesterday. Jim and I enjoyed wandering conversations, more lovemaking, and lingering coffee with each other. 

The kids seem to be much more interested in each other's company, these last few weeks, than they had been for several months before this. They are also tireder than typical, due to their intense mental and physical growth. They were outside together between bouts of rain. They brought our garbage and recycling bins down from the road, and got the mail. Inside, they played games on the Gamecube (Teen Titans) and Pokemon and Excitebike via handheld systems. Lise took a nap, and was awoken by the barking dog (I had canceled the Schwan's service, but the salesman didn't check his route, and came anyway. I don't think he'll be back now that I have told him personally.) Now, she's awake and playing more games in Miah's room (with his advance permission), while he is napping. 

Round 2 Goals:


  • 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 two piece of flash fiction for Jeniah. They are, I think the beginning of a series. They take place at about the point I am up to in myBlood and Breath story arc, and I believe they will help to both clarify Jeniah’s character, and also to suggest the shape of the upcoming chapters in the story arc.
  • I have begun creating a character list. All major and minor characters are listed.
  • Next, I will begin writing character sketches for each of these characters, which I will carry over into the next round.
  • I have written a brief character sketch fro Spock. Of course I started with Spock.


  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I have pulled four posts from June 2011, two of which recount a day I want to remember in a blogpost. I will be editing and embellishing over the coming days.
  • One of these posts appears at the beginning of this update.
  • Another appears at the end of this posting.
  • I have decided to finish the June 2011 posts, this round, and continue editing later postings in the next ROWnds.
  • I have reached June 27 thus far.
  • This leaves only three posts left to go through before I have gone through all of the posts.
  • After that, I will go through the so-far uncategorized fragments, and decide what to do with these.
  • At that point, I will have attained this goal..


  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • This has been happening, but in a far more organic and less definable way than I had originally thought that it would.
  • Not only are portions of these writings finding their way, whole, into my blogs; they are also informing my current writing in sometimes wholly unexpected ways.
  • I have a potential novel idea growing in the back of my mind, based from writings I’ve done during times when Jim and I have argued with each other…it may be a while before there’s enough of an idea to begin writing it, but I am enjoying the way it’s slowly coalescing in my mind.
  • I have found several essays that just need some editing and polishing before being complete. Some of these I will share on my blog; others I will submit to various venues…it’s a little like finding a gift I gave to myself!
  • I have saved another post, which, with editing and polishing, may be a publishable essay, for later review.
  • I am currently up to June 27, leaving 3 d posts to be reviewed and mined for usable content.
  • After that point, I will review the posts I highlighted to return to later.



  • Find all chapters of Chameleon’s Dish.  Input into Scrivener. possibly begin rewrite.
  • I have added Chapter 5 (original Chapter 12) to Scrivener.
  • Rewriting may wait until August, when there is another NaNo event, or perhaps later, but will certainly not formally begin this ROWnd- I want to get through all the inputting, as I am reading and performing minor edits and proofing as I go; and then give things a while to compost before I go back to it.
  • I have added Chapter 6 (original Chapter 13) to Scrivener.
  • It seems that I have only one scene of Chapter 14 (which will be Chapter 7) before I need to go looking….after NaNoWriMo, I took a few weeks off, then finished the draft on 750 Words. I will need to hunt down those pieces by scanning each post.
  • Late note – I thought I had input all of Chapter 6, but, upon delving into my 750 words logs, I have found that I missed a portion of one scene, and all of another (possibly, two)..
  • I have stopped moving forward until the rest of chapter 6 has been edited, reformatted, and added to my Scrivener files.


  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • Without reading the previous writings, and after taking some time to emotionally detach, I have written a concise outline I will be following as I refine just what I want to say and how I want to say it.
  • I will work through this outline, again concisely, before I review the previous writings on this subject, then use that material only for fleshing-out as needed.
  • My aim is to reframe his concerns; and to answer them without being defensive or reactive; and to answer them in ways that may lead him to a deeper understanding of our lives and learning.
  • I have written what I feel is a good introduction; maybe wanting a little polish, but otherwise clear, concise, and easy to follow.
  • This leaves six sections left to write, then proofing, editing, printing, and sending.
  • I finally feel I am approaching this project from a good perspective and with a useful structure. I’m grateful for the time I’ve spent mulling it over and writing emotional rants; it’s helped me to vent my emotions and clarify what my true message is.
  • I dealt with the first point of the first section. I feel the writing is flowing much more naturally, now.



  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: A restful day. Stayed close to my bed. Lots of mellow snuggles and conversation. Perfect for the day.
  • Tuesday: Slept in, allowed everyone to wake naturally. Then we all went to the YMCA . Jim worked out, the kids and I swam (Lise for nearly two hours, and she made several friends); Jeremiah and I spent some time in the computer lab, and tried to see the transit of Venus, but the sun was obscured by a cloud, and then a school building. We had a family dinner at Red Robin, ordering what appealed, and exploring some of the art. I took a complete break from hometending for the day – how liberating!
  • Wedneday: Cake Mania 2, and reading to Annalise. Relaxing day; minimal hometending. Kissin’ with Jim.


  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Not much moving, after a busy weekend. Very minor hometending and unpacking. Lovemaking.
  • Tuesday: Spent an hour in the pool with the kids. Swam a lap with Miah, swam, floated, and treaded water. Served as Lise’s stunt diving platform; spinning. Walked with Miah.
  • Wednesday: Mellow hometending.


  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Long, lingering, leisurely hours with my family, and no real expectations. Working toward my reading and writing goals.
    Lingering family time away from home. Writerly stuff.
  • Wednesday: A day spent in flowing ebbs and flows- mellow hometending; reading aloud with Lise, hearing about kids’ projects, and a good deal of time alone to work on my writing and Cake Mania 2.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Annalise: Reading aloud; two hour swim; exploring art; snuggles; play; conversation; lots of guinea pig interaction.
  • Jeremiah: Long swim; computer lab; walk at YMCA; looking for Venus’s transit across the sun; conversation; snuggles; exploring art and his projects.
  • Jim: Lovemaking; helpful hometending; conversation; supporting his workout.


From 750 Words, June 2011…


##### ENTRY ##### 2011-06-24, num_words:932, num_minutes:45.448
Starting my 750 words earlier today, and planning on getting them done during my cleaning breaks. Therefore I already know that there will be at least a few of what this site refers to as "distractions" - and are actually the bits and pieces of the rest of my life.

Odd how so much of the "discipline" of writing holds that we should not be distracted from our "writing lives", that these should be of prime importance, regardless of the circumstances of those lives. 

Almost as though children, spouses, housework, learning, other amusements, maybe even sex, should only be allowed to "intrude" upon our writing when we are done, and perhaps in the very direst of emergencies - but not else. 

As though our "writing life" should always be separate from everything else, should always take precedence and be more real than those other facets and aspects of a full-rich life.....

I call bullshit on that. Maybe it's the fact that we've now been unschooling for a couple of years, plus. Maybe it's that I have been on a lifelong journey of spiritual understanding and awakening. Maybe it's as simple as the fact that I've never been tame or docile enough to enjoy anyone else telling me that this is the way things need to be, for everyone, forever, amen. 

The reasons don't really matter though. What does matter is my own personal truth, my own inner compass and navigation system (so long neglected, but I am becoming more and more aware of them and their wisdom, now), and the reality of the very real complete life I am living.

Writing is a very large part of that life, and I can't even begin to imagine what life would be like, for me, without the characters, stories, and constant ideas cavorting in my soul, my subconscious, my dreams, and my fantasies. It is true and right and integral to my selfness that they do, and I don't want to thwart them in any way.

It is equally true and right and integral to my selfness that I have a husband whom I love dearly, who is my best friend, and who deserves a great deal of my time and attention. It is true and right and integral to my selfness that I give myself fully to my marriage. It is true and right and integral to my selfness that I not take the honor and duty of being Jeremiah and Annalise's Mom lightly, that I remember always that they are young, and learning, and may need me in any moment, with or without notice. 

It is imperative to our unschooling life that their access to me, and my ability to attend to them, not be subject to arbitrary schedules, writing or otherwise. It is desperately important that there be time to be, for all of us, that there be times when learning and growing must and will take precedence over setting words upon paper or saving them on a hard drive..... 

It is right and true and integral to my selfness that I live in a home that embraces, emboldens, and enlivens us all. That I tend lovingly, in that way, to the care and nurturing not only of those I love, but also myself - because self-love in any form translates to a greater ability to feel and express in meaningful way love for others.

Caring for my family, my self, and our home, and doing so consciously and well, never forgetting that I can always do so more deeply and truly, and moving toward that place with focus and attention on the present moment and its blessings, are matters of conviction for me. If I was not striving to live a life well-blended, rich, deep, meaningful, and true, my writing would certainly be affected by the lack. 

As a matter of fact, I tend to write much less, and far less meaningfully, when my life becomes too sedentary, too focused on any one aspect of its complete, living, breathing, heartbeat of a nature.

The point is, writing is not separate from life, for me. Writing is life. Jim, Jeremiah, and Annalise are life. Friends are life. Tending our home is life. Corki and Margot (our dog and cat) are life. Passion is life, and pain, and joy, and sorrow.

Several times during this writing, I have gotten up from the couch and done other things. I began my first batch of no-poo. I swept the kitchen and family room floors. I tended to laundry, dishes, and a grubbily chaotic corner I am setting to rights. I cleared some stuff out of Miah's room, and began to sort through it. I defused a conflict between the children that had gotten to the point of yelling, and might have come to blows had I not interceded on both their behalfs. Now they are happily playing video games together in Annalise's room. We talked, at several points, about Lise's newfound fear of bees (she was stung in the nose several days ago, while walking in the driveway), and the "tricks" they've learned to avoid a sting. 

None of this distracted from my writing here. What it did do is inform it, infuse it with the warp and the woof of an actual, messily real, life.

Just as school, no matter how well intended, can never offer all the riches of a life lived naturally and spontaneously, neither can writing alone in a room, by a schedule, yield the same deep rewards of writing that ebbs and flows along with the zeitgeist of a day. 



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 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 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….

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

ROWing into the Surge – ROW80 Goals Update #7

It’s been a mellow and very creative few days here.  I’ve been giving myself to my writing, to reading, to hometending and family time, and, more than I have since  Jim’s accident, to myself.

It’s been renewing and I am emerging from my home-centric cocoon refreshed and feeling the surge of new understandings and ideas –

I’m not ready to talk about yet, for fear of freezing the blossoms before they’ve attained full bloom….

Instead, let’s just ROW along, skimming close to shore, feeling the coming of spring wrapped in the chill of winter’s lingering caresses…..


  • 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 this list of 50 Life Lessons.
  • I read and reblogged because i, too, have a dream.
  • I have one more article to read to attain this goal for the week.


  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have written and edited the text, and am lingering over an extensive and nostalgic array of photos, which I am turning into a series of collages.  

  • I am hoping to have this project finished by Friday, but have until midnight on Monday to post it, if need be.
  • 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 begun using the flow charts –  but not yet both each day.
  • On Monday, I began my first weekly review on The Unfettered Life.  It’s not complete, yet, but it is a beginning.
  • On Tuesday, I updated my Bookmark Break Challenge page to reflect my April reading.
  • I began a post for my Write 1 Sub 1 Monthly Challenge.
  • On Wednesday, I worked on my goals update post.
  • I hope to be  following both charts at least a few days a week by May.
  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • I have begun a page for guest bloggers.
  • I hope to have the page ready by Sunday’s check-in.


  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I have shared I is for Intuition and J is for Jeremiah to the ROW80 Facebook Page.
  • I have also shared my Unschooling Blog Carnival post. “I’m THAT Mom…Naturally!” to the ROW80 page.
  • As mentioned above, I have read and commented on several blogs.  I have been working my way through some of the many comments building up on my own blogs.  If you’re waiting, I am getting there! =)
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I have begun setting up a new page here, Your Soapbox Awaits…, which will become a home away from home for my guest bloggers.
  • I am in the process of contacting my guest bloggers, and those who have offered me places on their blogs.
  • I hope to at least have all the posts scheduled, if not posted, by the end of May.
  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I  have reread and made notes for my flash fiction piece “The Coupling”.  I plan to have it ready for submission by May 1.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • I have attained this goal for this month.

  • Learn how to watermark pictures.
  • This goal has been attained.
  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • I have begun watermarking the collages I will use in my Z is for Zoo blogpost.
  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: The pleasure of a leisurely day at home; lingering talk; minor hometending.  Coffee and love.
  • Tuesday:  T’ai chi, singing in the car with the window down, all alone…taking the time to watch the hawk swoop low over the fallow corn field.  Reading and writing.  Working in my library.
  • Wednesday:  Reading, writing, collage-making, hometending, blue corn tortilla chips, snuggles with both kids.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Hometening.
  • Tuesday: T’a chi (first time since Jim’s accident)!; hometending, a little dancing.
  • Wednesday: Hometending and a little dancing.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • I cut my wavy and very forgiving hair on Tuesday, a first step in a several step process……stay tuned!
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Leisurely day with my family. Bliss.
  • Tuesday: T’ai chi!; car singing; solitude; writing and reading.
  • Wednesday: Working toward many goals, passionately!
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Annalise: Laughter, games; snuggles; reading together.
  • Jeremiah: Saying yes to his request to bake a cake,  chats, cuddles.
  • Jim:  Snuggles, coffee, and conversation.  Couples stuff.

 Administrative Stuff:

  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • I am on page 20 of 12o  of notebook #1, June 2000.
It’s been a busy time, and productive, but in a quiet, calm, no-fanfare kind of way.Jeremiah baked his very first from a  box mix.  It took him two days to bake and frost it – he’s 10, and a friend’s invitation to play took precedence over baking.  And he’s growing fast –  an inch or so in the last few weeks –  he was up to the bottom of my chin, but now he’s just below my bottom lip, and I am not short….anyway, he’s sleeping more, these days, and the cake waited for frosting while he recharged.

Annalise began reading silently, here and there, and learned that she can now do a 100 piece puzzle.  She watched Tigers in the Snow and an episode of Nature that explored the wolves of Chernobyl.  She looked at first Elijah’s scrapbook   –  “There’s only three pages, Mommy” was her heart-tugging comment when faced with how brief a life 12 days is –  and then Jeremiah’s  “Seeing him as a little baby makes me feel older.”   And that, for a younger sister who chafes at being the littlest, is an evener, if only a temporary and fanciful one.

Being so close to 8 is hard on her, sometimes.  She seems to view it as the magical age of big-kidness, and early July seems both very close and very distant.

She wants a motorbike for her birthday, like the one her friend Ryan has.
I’ve found that I am even more serious about my writing since claiming a space for it.  Here, in the bedroom, where Jim and I have spent the majority of our intimate moments, where there is morning coffee and snuggles and ticklefests with the kids, and the TV and the amorous hijinks even middle-aged and long-married folks  can still get up to when they really like each other in a way that ignores baldness, creaky joints, and much extra padding, my mind wanders into imagery and symbolism.At my desk in my library, I am a more focused and businesslike version of me.  I’m relaxed, and peaceful – and the vibe is that I have things I want to do, and I am doing them.

The bedroom is for dreaminess and my library exudes purpose.

That’s good to know, as the surge comes up  on the bow….
And now,  for a few more of my followers…

And, last but not least, here’s the nifty little ROW80 Linky, where you can follow the other ROWers……

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

ROWing Mellowly Down the Stream – ROW Update #5

Miah and Lise enjoy the new coziness of my library. =)

Excerpt from 750Words, June 10, 2012~

Got less than 20 minutes left to get this in under the wire. So, tonight, nothing fancy, no corrections, just typing, to see how fast I can go, and if I come up with anything even remotely worth remembering (or even editing!) LATER!

The “problem”, if it can be called that, is that I finally had a day cool enough to move around the house without dripping sweat, and took full advantage to wring further order out of the chaos of our existence. And, once I had shifted into that that mode, I forgot, over and over again, that I still wanted to get my writing done.

I am not at all upset by it, although I really like doing these words each day, like the challenge of getting to 750 words each day, and find the act cleansing.

Sometimes, our physical space needs some cleansing, too, and sometimes I need to care for my emotional space and our home, and focus most of my energies on moving those things further along……So I got the house into a better shape, culled some of the overflowing abundance of our herd of stuff, and generally took action myself to help us all be able to ,live more easily and comfortably in this space- not to mention moving closer to the goal of thoroughly streamlining each of our possessions, so that the move into a travel trailer, or even preparing for our continuing fair-weather adventures, can be much less stressful as we go along.

Over 200 words now, and about 13 minutes to go. Will she make it,. or will she not? Will any of this be legible or worth the effort, when she’s done….well, I’m her, and I thing the process is definitely worth it, even if I don’t make it or write anything deeper than surface…

It was a physical plane kinda day…maybe there are deep thoughts going on beneath, but mostly, I tried to concern myself with presence or consciousness today. Wow, I an almost half done, with about 10 minutes to go….getting there. I do love the self-imposed pressure of a good challenge every now and then.

Back wall of my library. I like the way it's coming together.

Life is a blend, more and more. It can be hard to remember, in the lulls where things just seem somehow to be difficult and languid, that there will be more up and exuberant times, too, times when my energy and focus allow me to do a lot in a very short period of time, and in a state of flow.

Just as I am learning how my body moves through patterns of hunger, energy, and health, I also go through processes of being best suited, in certain moments, for certain things. I(f I can learn to sense them, know, them, attend to them and honor them, it would seem that my efforts, in each moment, can be more and more directed to those things that really flow easily in that moment.

Maybe that’s the secret that the ad agencies, religious sects, and governments would rather we not learn – that there is no magical political program, no magic product or bill, no technique to be bought that can give what simply attending to what we are ready for in that moment can…

Wow, a bit of shotgun philosophy, wrapped in the typos and missed keys, and Jim’s voice booming loudly beside me as he comments on the Tonight show (Bill Cosby, so we’ll keep it on till TNG comes on. Wow, almost 600 words, but it looks like I am fast running out of time and my not make it after all….but I sure as hell have been giving this my best effort.

Would’ve been better without the technological missteps…erased needed programs on this machine, took too long to find the site on the tablet, and so here I am,. Extremely last minutes, trying to get these words whacked out…


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.
  • I am reading book 4 of 4 for April, Hold On to Your Kids, and am on on page 213 of 280 (Wednesday 10:51pm).  I find this book vexing on several levels, and thus far disrespectful of children and their abilities, so the reading is less than joyful!
  • 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 weeded out several articles with broken links, or that I didn’t find useful.
  • I archived two items to explore in greater detail at a later date.
  • I shared this link on my Facebook Writer Page, as a possible submissions market.
  • 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:
  • Disjointed commented and sharing here.
  • MORE voices in my Head  – commented and sharing here.

  • 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 adding Blood and Breath to this goal, as well, as a way to help reconstruct and/or revision the missing chapters.
  • I have written a flash fiction scene that may be the foundation of the epilogue for Blood and Breath. 
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I pulled the excerpt that appears at the beginning of this blogpost.  I liked what it said about blending and balancing, times of intense writing, and times when other things draw my focus.

  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have written rough drafts of all posts through W is for Wonder.
  • I have edited, embellished, and scheduled posts through Saturday, April 21, S is for Self-Awareness.
  • I am nearing the end of the creative part of the process, and am looking forward to having more time for other projects –  and reading others’ posts, too! =D
My newly organized and relocated bookshelf, in triplicate.


  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I have entered  the Storyteller Writing Challenge.  
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I haven’t commented on as many blogs this week, thus far-  I have been called away by nice weather and outdoor occupations; my new room; reading; working toward the end of my A to Z posts;  my flash fiction piece; and the rest of life.
  • I plan to be a very active reader and commenter as soon as I have written my final A to Z post.

  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • I have submitted twice so far this month, leaving one more to post in order to attain the April portion of this goal.

  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • I have changed the layout of the blog, and added a page for Jeremiah, at his request.
  • Next will come adding a page for Annalise, and diving into the editing process.
  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • I took another rough  essay from the notebook.
My writing area - spacious, embracing, and welcoming - also, close to the doorway and accessible to the common spaces.


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: Relaxing day – home and yardtending; coffee with Jim;  hanging with the family; reading; writing; claiming  my space.
  • Tuesday: Began mowing lawn;  family time; reading; story creating.
  • Wednesday: Home and yardtending; one-on-one time with all family members; reading and writing; reclaiming my space.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: More raking, yard cleanup, hometending.
  • Tuesday: Finished raking front yard; began mowing; hometending.
  • Wednesday:Finished mowing front lawn; cleaned side yard and began to mow;  hometending; claiming my space.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Family time; reading and writing; owning my space.
  • Tuesday:Lots of kissing and Jim time; lots of kid snuggles; reading; story creating.
  • Wednesday: Owning my new space; lots of time with Lise; home and yardtending; pursuing goals; Big Bang Theory.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jim – Coffee, conversation; what he really wanted.
  • Jeremiah – Questions answered; snuggles given; conversation.
  • Annalise – Snuggles; play; talk; being near each other; new cord for her inherited tablet.

Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • I have written the Reading section of Annalise’s  report.  That was fun – she is developing her independent reading skills quickly and joyfully!
  • Cleanup email folders/organize, move, read, delete, act upon as needed.
  • Cleaned out, then deleted, CComputer Info, which was a duplicate and unneeded file.
  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • I have input up to page 9 of 120 in the first notebook.
  • Jim has cleared us to pay for the rest of the campground fee.  Now I just need to be up before noon to call the lodge and pay them –  easier said than done!
One of the things that surfaced in my cleaning was an animal drawing book Auntie Mouse (Eden Mabee) gave to Jeremiah several years ago. Annalise enjoyed exploring it - here is her first effort - a duck. Quack!

o, it’s been a mellow few days for me, ROW goals- wise. I’ve been busy with the transitions in my life – creating a writing space, beginning the process of yard care and the outward movement of our lives that is a natural outgrowth of thedoftening of spring; two children learning and growing at a currently frenetic page (game card creating; beading; allosaurus; dog genetics; online tech research; lots of talk and play; animal art – among many other things).

Ans I have been engaged in projects that are a bit longer range – finishing my A to Z blog posts, and my last book of the month. Writing a piece of flash fiction that seemed to have a mind of its own.

Making a neglected and hugely cluttered little cubby into my own personal writing nook, with the full support of my family.

My family…

have loosened up a bit about the state of the house, and have spent some time reframing and redefining what will help me. Then, I simply told everyone what would mean the most to me – one of the things I love is to get up to a shiny kitchen (often, what greets me is diametrically opposed to that).

And, since I shared that little dream, I have woken each day to a cleaner kitchen, courtesy of Jim and Jeremiah.

Annalise helped me with my raking, and with yard cleanup and dog waste removal. Miah took the recycling to the curb, and both children have been making a greater effort to help with indoor tidying.

It’s a bit of a lull, pace-wise. I feel things filling in, and I know that a surge of writing is building.

These peaceful times always seem to be the waiting for the seeds to sprout – and sprout they will.

Let’s check in on the rest of the ROWers!

Grubby shirt; sleepily happy girl who spent a good part of her last week outside.