“Growth and Juggling…..” ROW80 Goals Update #3

Another day, another 750 words…..

It seems, as I learn to balance two rather large writing challenges with the growing and expansion (read, chaos!) of our hurly-burly lives in this last week or two, that I am usually writing only just over the 750 word “test mile” I set for myself each day.

On Wednesday, I forgot how involving my ROW updates can be, and didn’t write my words until after I finished the post, which left me with a bit over a hundred words left to write when the clock switched over to midnight.

It’s OK, though – all of it is part of the learning process, and I had 64 straight days of making that 750 word goal before I dropped one.

Balancing and juggling are the most hazardous, it seems, when the times of transition come, and the routine or flow that have become safe and familiar shift to accommodate the new….

I am hoping that, by the two week mark, I will have at least written, if not edited, all of my A to Z posts. That will free up a good deal of time to focus on other aspects of my admittedly prodigious, but still deeply felt and held, goals for this ROWnd.

Look what came today! Lookit that joy!

I am into my second of four books for April’s reading – beginning this month, I intend to alternate between nonfiction and fiction, because most of the nonfiction on my list is pretty weighty, and it takes a bit of time, given the circumstances of my current life, to focus and read to understand. The fiction is a nice fresh breath of air between, and allows time for ideas and impressions to sink in over time and before I write the reviews.

Happy girl with a mini-cupcake!

I had intended to write my reviews with a one-book break between, but, with the A to Z posts taking precedence just now, I have four completed books awaiting reviewing. That will be done, in stages, beginning after I finish the last of the A to Z writing, and concurrently with finishing the Cooperative Catalyst stuff (if I haven’t, by then; even odds on that…..) and start the Pittsbugh Flash Fiction Gazette   Anything Goes piece (and, I want to remember, that this is also a potential market for flash fiction and poetry- I think even erotica is welcome there, so perhaps a new place to try what Clean Sheets rejected – and to a paying market, too)!

Before and after of the entrance to my library.

I am still having the feeling that this is something of a dream, this life I am living. It’s not what I expected when I joined ROW80 – it is so much better!

In each of the two rounds I’ve entered, someone has read something I posted, and invited me to write something specifically for them.

Writing space, before and after. Still in early stages of deciding what i want here.

Heady, heady stuff – it is a bit tricky keeping my ego balanced. Does this say validating things about me and my writing?


Does it mean that I am special or above anyone else?


I think it means that I have become better at being me, honestly and without facades, and that I have also gotten better about expressing that me in writing, and in connecting the unique self that is me to the far greater pulse of the universal that is in all of us….

Lise brightens up my new space!

Or something like that. I do not claim to have it all figured out yet….

But I do feel a fulfillment in and from my writing that I never had, in the days when my words were scribbled painstakingly in notebooks, or typed on typewriters or into computers – and then just sat there, for the most part ignored and utterly unloved by anyone but me….

The floor, before...

There was a certain flavor of stinginess and jealousy to those days, a way of being that is very reflective of the way of being of my family of origin.

People meant to write are meant to share that writing. For me, it’s always been part of the equation, and an essential part…..what is written must either be shared, or be a burden upon my soul. By choosing at last to do just that – to share, even if I receive unwelcome feedback for the sharing.

The floor, after.....that rug is gonna go!

While I was not doing that, there was an unpleasant chained-upness to my writing time, a sense that I was in some sort of prison, writing on a treadmill or in a giant hamster ball, with no real purpose beyond self-importance and indulgence.

Now that I am sharing freely, I feel instead open expanses of generous possibilities, and a freedom I never suspected could be there…..

~~The above is an excerpt from my 750 Words freewritings of this week.~~

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 finished reading aloud, to Annalise, Mad About Madeline: The Complete Tales (including, per her request, the Introduction and The Isle of God (or Madeline’s Origin), and all notes regarding the locations featured in the watercolor art, which, in a week when she herself has created many watercolor pieces, Annalise finds captivating.
  • Completed book 3 out of 4 for April –  Star Trek:Rings of Time.
  • Began reading book 4 of 4 for April Hold On to Your Kids
  • 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 went through about a dozen posts here, deleting most, archiving a few, and posting one to my Facebook Writer Page.
  •  I read my three articles 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 a bit more than 150 words of a dialogue between a large group of characters, which occurs just after the point where I ended the rough draft – since I wasn’t really thrilled with the ending, I want to play with other ideas there.
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I am up to the third of my June posts, and realized  it is a complete essay, needing only very minimal editing.   
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • I have moved this post to my shanjeniah drafts folder, where I will do a minimal edit, and add some photos before scheduling it to post next Thursday, when my flow chart lists an excerpt or freewriting, and by which time I hope to have scheduled all my A to Z posts..
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • My other writings, especially Blogging From A to Z , seem to be informing my ideas for this project.
  • I have decided to wait until after I finish writing these posts to write a second version of this letter.
  • Until then, I will be expressing myself in other venues, and allowing ideas to compost.
  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have written  rough drafts of P is for Playfulness, Q is for Quizzing, and R is for Resistance.
  • I have edited, added photos to, and scheduled M is for Money and Mindfulness, N is for Names, and O is for Openness. 
  • I have now completed and scheduled over half of the posts for this challenge, and have three more rough drafts waiting to be completed.
  • Complete Cooperative Catalyst post and relative links (interviews with both children, and their “day in the life” posts from last year) ; submit to editor.
  • Added numerous links and secondary edit of Annalise’sA Day in the Life” post.  Next up, adding photos to both posts, then publishing.


  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I kept HootSuite up and running on Monday, but have not used it since.  I am very much learning as  I go, as is my usual MO.
  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers
  • Began a several question list in my word processing program and saved.  Another small beginning.
  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • I found and began reading this article on the basic considerations and how-tos of ebook publishing….I need to absorb this in chunks, I think.
  • Next step will be to create an “action plan” of sorts to direct my further research in this area.
  • Learn what I can do with my domain name.
  • I have found and saved an article that will help me link my seldom-used gmail account to my domain name, at least in theory.  Next step is to work through the process, which I will do when I feel ready to tackle it –  not on an update day! =)
  • Begin research list/research for  Chameleon’s Dish second draft.
  • Began a brainstormed list of topics on my word processor program.  Will be adding to it, and shifting research to appropriate chapters as I collect it.  Another small start made. =)
  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • Have found my beginning point, in June 2009, and have read the first post in preparation for editing and adding images.
  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • I have taken clips from the first three entries, at this point.
  • Input Blood and Breath and Chameleon’s Dish to Scrivener.
  • I nave edited chapter 1.  Next,the slightly more involved process ofimporting it, scene -by-scene, into Scrivener.
  • I have decided that, from this point, I am going to go ahead and create a story arc for sunsequent chapters, then, if my hard drive issue hasn’t been resolved, revise the existing chapter and prologue and move foreward with the writing from there.  I can always take the best of the original chapters, if I gain access to them.
  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • I went through my main Documents file, and sorted all documents.  Sent a couple of no longer needed items to the Recycle Bin; sent a few to the Homeschool Adminstration file in my Dropbox, to be sorted into appropriate folders later; and most went to a new Dropbox file, Writing Bullpen, from where some will be assigned folders, some are WiPs I want handy, and others may or may not be discarded..
  • There are still four random photos and two video file running rogue in my Documents file, and I will make executive decisions on these the next time I am tidying photo files.
  • My Documents file is much more pleasant to work with, now, so neatly sorted. =)
  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday:Reading and writing; tickling, reading, chatting with, play, TV with kids; help with home and yardtending; comtemplating what “my room” may be; permission to slow down, getting outside.
  • Tuesday: Began cleaning up/continued making plans for my new study; worked out; time for myself in the evening; family time.
  • Wednesday:Jim and I awoke before the kids.  Coffee and passion.  Wii arrived.  Used internet downtime (~1:30am -1:30pm) for sleep and reading. Ate a mini chocolate cupcake – and another one later.  Cuddles and play with Lise.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday:Walk in yard with kids and dog; raking yard, 10 minutes; yard cleanup; hometending.
  • Tuesday: Went to the Y for the first time since Jim’s accident on Feb. 19.  VERY mellow workout – walked one half mile with a tiny bit of jogging.  Shin splint and knee pain.  Fly: 3 sets of 1o reps; 10#, 15#, 10#.  Quad Press: 3 sets of 1o reps; 90#; 100#; 90#.  Torso rotation: 3 sets of 10 reps, each side; 30#, 35#, 30#.
  • Setting a goal to return to t’ai chi next week, and to use the above, intensified just a bit as my “test mile”.
  • The idea is to ease into a more regular and challenging routine, to avoid injuries.
  • 15 minutes of raking yard.
  • Hometending in a mellow way.
  • Wednesday: My body is a little achy and sore from yesterday, a more active day than I have had lately.  1 hour of hometending; 25 minutes cleaning in my space; 35 minutes raking.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • I have been reading and writing, as always.  I spent time in hometending, and yardtending, but not so much time that these things overtook my days.
  • I remembered (after some delay) to charge batteries for the camera, so I can take pictures of kids’ recent projects and the utter current chaos of “The Room that Will Be My Own”.
  • I stood (no place to sit, at present!) in my newly designated space, and took some notes. First steps, and basic organization in a very rough sense…..
  • I do not intend to hurry, buy plan to play with this, on some level, for at least a few minutes each day, even if only in my mind, playing with ideas.
  • My goal is a welcoming, bright, cozy and inspiring nook –  close to, but a little removed, from the main flow of the house, where I can base myself from or retreat to in privacy if need be……
  • I took the before pictures, so am now cleared (in my own mind) to begin the large project of cleaning and truly claiming.
  • I made a preliminary list of 9 organizational points.
  • I worked out (in a very minimal way) on Tuesday, yet another return to a more normal life, post-wreck.
  • Cleaned up the floor in my space (still doesn’t have a name…  Study?  Library?  Office?  Hodgepodge?  My Room?).  Now there is a pile of stuff in the papasan chair, waiting to be sorted, but, first, I am going to be sure I have a place to sit in my own space, so that I can begin to more fully inhabit it and feel its possibilities.
  • I successfully cleared the chair, and the desktop, late Wednesday evening.  I will likely ask Jim for a minor furniture adjustment, because the best work surface is just a little too high…..oh!  my chair is adjustable.  I will experiment to see if I can find just the right combination.  I’m used to writing on my bed, so this is very different.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jim: Some kissing, some flirting, some hometending, some yardtending, some saying yes to Chinese food, some time to himself –  and a cuppa coffee, delivered . Lovemaking in the morning, kisses and smiles and a cleaner house, after work.
  • Jeremiah:Shared my Roku; cuddles and tickles; said yes to the gum and popcorn he offered,  and  to him making deviled eggs with the Easter eggs; watching Big Bang Theory and That 7os Show with him; more patience with moods; lots of late night chats; offered him my Star Trek book when I’ve finished it, because I feel he might enjoy the space exploration/time travel aspects of it, and the stowaway seems a lot like him.  And the Wii arrived!
  • Annalise: Read the rest of Mad About Madeline, yard cleanup together, meeting neighbor dog, played “Filly and the Raging Rivers”; hugs, tickles, and silly “just girls” games; more patient with her moods.  And the Wii arrived!  Took gum out her hair, painlessly; enjoyed her company in my new space.
Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • In my tradition of small starts, I have begun by pasting the English Language Arts headers and Resources list into a new document, as the beginning template of Annalise’s third quarter report.  
  • Next, I will do the same for Jeremiah’s, as I begin filling in Lise’s and move through the  state-required “subjects”.
  • Cleanup email folders/organize, move, read, delete, act upon as needed.
  • I sorted and emptied my Archives Folder.  Most messages deleted, a few shuffled to other folders until I decide on more permanent homes to offer them.
  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • I am on page 7 of 120  in the first notebook, June 2000.
  • Take critters to the vet; renew Corki’s dog licence.
  • Asked Jim to assess his comfort level with making vet appointment for one or both animals.
  • Asked Jim to assess his comfort level with our budget to assess whether we can pay either of these this week.

So, I’m juggling. Sometimes, I drop one of more balls, or I change the pattern or number of balls, or switch to fruit, or flaming torches.

Juggling, paying attention to every move, until it starts to flow naturally again.

It will, I know.

That’s the nature of growth – periods of disequilibrium and discomfort, followed by smoothing out as the next plateau is reached.

And then, more growth…..

And that would be called life. =)

Margot the Manx explores and approves the space - she hangs out in here, so I will be sharing with her. =D

Other blogs I enjoyed over the last few days…

And, as promised, my second five followers:

Please, feel free to pay these fine folks a visit!

Updates for this ROWnd’s other ROWers! 


  1. Goodness gracious, child! When do you have time to sleep? It is a good thing you are so young. Your daughter is beautiful, btw. I hope you keep your health up and don’t get run down. 🙂 Best regards to you. Ruby

    • Ruby –

      The truth is, I son’t sleep a lot. It’s not by design, really. It’s a genetic inheritance from my father, who sleeps even less than I do.

      Also, I strive to do only that which brings me (or my loved ones, and so me, too, by extension), joy, or peace.

      Without externally driven schedules, I can work as I like, when I like, around the needs of my family. I alternate between hometending and writing projects.

      I tend to be very healthy, and I do more or less according to my energy level. And everything can be set aside when the children want me – like today, when a quick hug from Jeremiah turned into us spending a delighted hour watching a Khan Academy video on division, and then playing with the new skill….he was incredibly quick to catch on and maker it his own, and I got to be part of it!

      Yes, Annalise is beautiful, all the way through. She lights us up with sparkle. And her laughter is absolute ambrosia…

      It’s easy to do a lot when it all feels like a playful adventure….

      Thank you for stopping and sharing your warmth here!

  2. Flippin-eck! You rock! I wouldn’t have a prayer of getting all this done. And I just LOVE you the latter half of self-care for you and your family. All too often forgotten. And you are so right about how not sharing writing can be bad for the soul. I too used to hide it away, feel stupid for writing in the first place. I still find it incredibly difficult to share it (in the flesh) with people close to me. My hubs has a friends who is dying to read my manuscript (and has been for almost two years). I.m refusing anyone access to it until its publishable – then I’ll think about it. I need to get over that – once its published – this year! – I won’t be able to hide behind shy silences. All with have access. Scary as Hell!

    Wanted to say again a big thanks for responding to Storyteller. The next one is up and open till Tuesday. Thanks to you and Eden I’ve tried to make things a little clearer and as the poll suggests people prefer linking up as apposed to linking in comments, I’ve added a linky tool too. Although, where you’ll find the time ?

    Have a great week. Catch you next update. X

    • Shah –

      “Flippin-eck” is a wonderful phrase – thanks!!

      I am just realizing that I do, indeed, rock. =)

      I realized during the last round that I tended to forget self-care when pursuing goals. Making it a part of the goals has helped the same way that putting the kids’ homeschooling reports on my goals list has.

      I know what you mean about sharing my words. Something I love about flash fiction and blogging is that I can share on a smaller, and more anonymous scale.

      Handing over my darlings for others to read, in person – that’s hard! Eden has been reading my stuff since we were 13 – and it’s still intimidating. Others – beyond immediate family, I’ve shown things to very few people, in person.

      I am so glad you have the Storyteller Challenge. Finding the time isn’t so hard, because it’s one of my goals to submit to three challenges or hops each month. You are helping me to meet my goals!

      Hope you are taking great delight in your family time, and don’t read this for a while!

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