A Garden of Delights

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Geese, ducks… here they are

Yesterday Dan and I took a “date day” and went walking in Historic Smithville Park near the Historic Smithville Mansion. It’s a really nice little park, with a lake trail, butterfly house (not active right now), nifty bridges and creeks… and seriously buzzy power lines.

And waterfowl…

After the crazy week (and the bad news of Saturday), we both needed the break; I suspect Dan needed it more than I did.  We’re in the midst of trying to sell our old home in NY (we have to be in NJ for his work, and it’s a lot to maintain on a five-hour one-way commute).  Last week we received an offer on the home that seemed fair enough.  Saturday was the buyer’s inspection day…  yeeps.

Now, having just gone through this process in NJ, I know a bit more than I used to about what home inspections mean to a sale.  Certain things matter more than others.  Some things are “must do” issues; some are more annoyances that can be dealt with at the buyer’s leisure.

Well…  a few of the things we’d tried hard to get fixed and keep nice, still ended up being “must dos”.  Clay soils and very high mineral content water can do a number on a structure.  As well, not being in a house regularly seems to add its own share of issues…

We’re doing what we can now, making appointments for estimates and repairs, and thankfully we have a wonderful real estate agent to work with us on this.

So, that’s where our energy has been.  In that it’s hitting my husband more than me (he expended a LOT of time and energy into that old house, making it into a home that, had circumstances been different, we could have enjoyed staying in for a long time), the disruption and hovering stress has made it hard to focus on my ROW80 goals.

I did get some things done toward my goals.  Writing fell to every other day, and I did not get to the temp agency.  The one I went looking at, I couldn’t find.  And trying to call their office failed too.  Not what I would have excepted from Adecco; I’ve worked with them before, in Albany, and while they aren’t the best of the best, I was normally happy with my contracts through them.

Oh, and a last little thing…  a quick, simple (and tasty!) rice side dish I just threw together:

  • brown rice, one quart cooked (I used leftover rice from Chines take out….  if you go out to PF Chang’s or such, get your extra rice boxed…  it comes in handy! )
  • Craisins, half handful(or dried cherries)
  • cashew pieces, handful (unsalted)
  • turmeric *
  • cinnamon *
  • a dab of honey (about a half of a teaspoon or less)
  • add extra water and warm up on the takeout container, stir and enjoy

*I used this tea for my two spices, after I’d brewed the tea, I saved the grounds as seasonings.

Healthy Delish!

2019 was a crazy year.

I’m not complaining.  Crazy has it’s good points, especially when one is trying to understand her capabilities.  In the past few years I’ve learned more about myself and what I can do (and what I can’t), as well as what most inspires me to push myself to greater heights.

One of the things I didn’t learn was how to merge a busy life with my passions, nor how to add a necessary job search without pummeling myself with my social anxiety.  So…  when I had to get things set up for the ROW80 folks, I thought, maybe I should use that challenge to get back to myself while keeping hold of my new capability.

Now, the ROW80 tends to be about goal setting and accountability.  The last thing I wanted to do was set myself up for failure (and I’ve dropped out of too many ROWs in the past to say “oh, that can’t happen to me”).  But so many things are still in flux these days….  I realize I cannot commit to goals the ROW80 S.M.A.R.T. way, certainly not for a whole Round of Words.

So I’m doing my Round 1 a bit different.  I’m setting weekly goals and once a week check-ins (as opposed to the ROW80 standard of twice weekly).  This past year I found blogging (which I need to do as the challenge’s webmaven) more of a creative energy drain than ever, and then adding in check-ins and being “social” on social media…

I couldn’t do it.

But I want to try again.  I’m in a different place now, both in having completed a move and having reassessed my priorities (and years of accumulated “stuff” in the packing and unpacking stages).

So here goes…

Week 1 of ROW80 Round 1 2020

  • I will head to a local temp agency and apply for part time work
  • I will do two paragraphs a day of writing: two days of creative exploration and three of journaling or exploration
  • I will finish one of my “in progress” books.
  • I will update the ROW80 blog on time for both the Round beginning (tomorrow) and the two check-ins

That’s all for the moment.  It’s enough, I think.  Progress is made in the continued small successes.

Actually, none of these photos were taken on the first of any month (I actually took them last September).  But I’d been going through and trying to sort some of the stuff I’d finally uploaded from my camera to the server and saw these shots from our trip England last fall.  We were staying at a farmhouse in the Yorkshire Moors (and if you’re ever heading there, msg me and I’ll tell you the place, because we had a great time) and we took a daytrip toward Helmsley because I’d wanted to see the town we’d only breezed past during our prior trip.

I got some time in the town as a trade-off with my son, on the condition that we go back to Rievaulx Abbey.   The Boodle had loved the ruins during our last visit and was quite insistent that we would go.  So we headed out…

On our way out we found this great marker in the moors where some hikers were heading off:

Then we had lunch.  The Boodle had his usual gamon steak while I went for the Ploughman’s.  It was too much food and so easy to overdo on.

After that, we checked out All Saint Church, Helmsley and Helmsley Castle, plus enjoyed tea in the Helmsley Walled Garden and made some friends with a few local horses. But a promise was a promise, so we headed out the abbey.

We were in for a treat.

English Heritage was holding a three-day event at the abbey, called Illuminating Rievaulx.  Colored lights and sounds set up throughout the ruins set off details that normally didn’t show.  We couldn’t actually stay for the show (the day we’d come, a storm was due—it actually started as we drove out of the valley—and we had to get to our farmhouse before 8pm when the gate got locked… not that I really wanted to drive through the moors in the dark during a storm anyway).  We still got some amazing shots of the setup and some great discussion with the performers.

Heading into the Abbey

Storm Approaching

Perspective… those doorways up there? I COULD walk through them, that’s how big those columns are

Lights before dark….

In all, an amazing full day of discoveries…

All of these photos, save for the one of our meal, were taken on a Canon G5.  The meal was taken on a Samsung Note5 phone camera.

Just a drawing of a mouse, under a mushroom

What did Burns say about the best laid plans of mice and men?

Nah, doesn’t quite apply…  Truth is, I wasn’t as ready for this Round of Words in 80 Days as I’d hoped I would be when it started last Monday.   I had a vague direction in mind, and some things I wanted to achieve, but really…  I only knew what my “one goal” was:

To live a creative, interested and inspired life full of friends, loved ones, and shared passions

The rest was pretty much up in the air.  And some of it still is. Some wise fellow RoWers reminded me that I don’t need to plan my whole year in advance, and that even if I do have a plan, plans can (and should) change to suit what I need to achieve that one main goal.

So, here is my revised set of goals…  most are the same as I posted last week.  The changes are in pink or struck out.

Writing

The ROW80 is a writing challenge, so… I will:

  • continue to write, explore and develop the Fanqtia-verse (the conglomeration of worlds and histories that envelop the stories I write)
  • finish a the first draft of one book in the Swan Song Series (yea…ah, I haven’t actually decided which one yet, but I have narrowed the choice down to two: Courting or Singer)
    I realized that with the upcoming move, this was too ambitious. I will simply work on these stories as I can, at least one day a week
  • blog WIPpet Wednesday posts
  • bi-weekly check-in posts to the ROW80 blog

Blogging/Social Media

  • visit and comment on the blogs of fellow ROWers once a week
  • participate in activities or discussions once a week on FB, Twitter or some social outlet
  • have the ROW80 website fully updated for 2019 by the close of Round 1

Heart and Hearth

Where the living really happens…

  • finish packing for our move in March
  • daily “us time” with hubby and kidlet
  • make time to connect with distant family at least once a month
  • daily physical activity wherever I am and a once-a-week workout at the gym

Developed Inspirations

  • weekly art — I’d originally thought to work on a drawing a day, but the truth is, doing this I’ve created a bunch of unfinished pieces that I’m not happy with; this way exploring details and techniques will be easier to do, and I should be able to finish a few. I may even continue working on a piece longer than a week, focusing on a new section, if it is a larger piece. I revised this to include other forms of artistic expression including “adult coloring” (Mom gave me six books for my birthday); the goal as always been artistic exploration, after all.
  • photography — go through my accumulated photos, edit and post a few online (various places)
  • MOOCS and other classes — one per round (this round’s goal is to finish my class on Life and Times of Richard the III)
  • read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book a month

I think this combination will allow me a fair amount of time for growth and exploration while allowing time for the extras that not only make life worth living, but those extras that aren’t exactly asked for.

For check-ins, I’ll post a note in my Wednesday WIPpet post with a link here saying whether I made progress or not, only noting details if they involve a completed goal or a change of focus. For the Sunday check-ins, I’ll be commenting on the ROW80 blog.

And since it is check-in time, how did I do this week in general?  Pretty good, I’d say.  No new drawing, but I did color and explore some new photo-editing techniques in Photoshop.  I need to log back in and refresh myself on my Richard the III class.  The rest…  making strides.

They don’t HAVE to be new photos….  not really.

I’m starting up the First Friday Photo Blog again.  There’s something about art: drawing, painting, even photography…  like writing, it’s an attempt to capture and create a new life from an expired moment.  A glimpse into the past or a dream…  the world through another person’s perspective.

Like my piece for today….

It doesn’t look like much, I know.  A kind of dirty old wall from what looks to be a ruin of an old church…  maybe?

Actually it’s one of the walls of Westminster Abbey’s Chapter House, and compared with some of the other walls, it looked very plain.  The original paintings and murals throughout the Chapter House had been plastered over for a time (anyone who studies old buildings knows that fads go in and out, and one of these was whether to have brightly painted murals on the walls or clean white surfaces… a lot of historic churches have great artwork hiding just under the whitewash).  Most have been somewhat recovered.  Not this wall, however.  This wall just looked forgotten, like maybe it had never held the brilliant artwork that decorated some of the walls.  Like this image from the English Heritage site or the image below I took while there this fall:

Images of Heaven and Hell

Thing is, when I got a bit closer to the wall (nudged by the crowd), I realized what had looked like blank stone held so very much more…

Don’t be afraid to make this image larger!

And then, zooming in closer….

How is your ecclesiastical Latin?

Do you see it now?  Granted, photos saved for the web don’t do justice to the sheer niftiness of this “blank slate”, but hopefully you see the writing on the wall.  Literally….  It was amazing.  Standing there, seeing all that text on the ashlar blocks.  Everyone else was looking at the gilded murals of the angels and admiring the bright colors, but once the crowd started to drift out, I gathered a peaceful moment with the docent and found the Abbey has been working with extra care to preserve this wall, because the slightest chip could change a meaning in the writing if it lands in the right place.  And there’s so much missing already…

A glimpse of the past…  of many pasts, really.  As well as the present, and hopefully… the future.

Here’s the linky. It will be active all weekend for posting your pictures if you are interested in joining me in this creative journey:

It may seem weird for me to be posting my ROW80 Goals Post here, when really, I know I won’t be posting on this blog much.  There are things I want to get to here, such as bringing back the First Friday Photo posts because of the fun I had posting them (though the hassle lately of getting photos off my Canon onto the computer hasn’t made things that much fun) and trying out the new thing Shan Jeniah has planned (Try It Tuesdays).

Those things I will be posting here when I get to them…  hopefully by March since our move to New Jersey should be finished by then.  As well as my goals posts at the beginnings of each ROW80 round.  The writings, the WIPpets and snippets…  until I figure out how I want to arrange a real “writer’s website 😉 , I’ll continue to post those at my other blog Many Worlds From Many Minds.  It’s a homelike space for me, my first blog, yadda yadda.  Not really professional, but home.

Anyway, ROW80 Goals…  That’s why I’m here today.

Well, sort of…  Actually, I’m going to follow a bit of advice from Scott Adams here on success:

The language matters…  and yet it doesn’t.  Goals are good things a long as they aren’t the purpose or the end in themselves.  The ROW80 is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life”.  So any  goals I’ve got here are dedicated to supporting that, in the way that the risers on stairs help support the steps I’ll be making.

There is one goal though…  one goal to rule them all (1) (2).

To live a creative, interested and inspired life full of friends, loved ones, and shared passions

To achieve that, I have steps I will follow, not only for this Round of Words, but throughout the year and beyond.

Writing

Since the ROW80 is a writing challenge, I put this first, but all these steps matter.

  • continue to write, explore and develop the Fanqtia-verse (the conglomeration of worlds and histories that envelop the stories I write)
  • finish a the first draft of one book in the Swan Song Series (yea…ah, I haven’t actually decided which one yet, but I have narrowed the choice down to two: Courting or Singer)
  • blog WIPpet Wednesday posts
  • bi-weekly check-in posts to the ROW80 blog

Blogging/Social Media

Putting this here since it follows on the heels of my last two targets

  • visit and comment on the blogs of fellow ROWers once a week
  • participate in activities or discussions once a week on FB, Twitter or some social outlet
  • have the ROW80 website fully updated for 2019 by the close of Round 1

Heart and Hearth

Where the living really happens…

  • finish packing for our move in March
  • daily “us time” with hubby and kidlet
  • make time to connect with distant family at least once a month
  • daily physical activity wherever I am and a once-a-week workout at the gym

Developed Inspirations

  • weekly art — I’d originally thought to work on a drawing a day, but the truth is, doing this I’ve created a bunch of unfinished pieces that I’m not happy with; this way exploring details and techniques will be easier to do, and I should be able to finish a few.  I may even continue working on a piece longer than a week, focusing on a new section, if it is a larger piece.
  • photography  — go through my accumulated photos, edit and post a few online (various places)
  • MOOCS and other classes — one per round (this round’s goal is to finish my class on Life and Times of Richard the III)
  • read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book a month

I think this combination will allow me a fair amount of time for growth and exploration while allowing time for the extras that not only make life worth living, but those extras that aren’t exactly asked for.

For check-ins, I’ll post a note in my Wednesday WIPpet post with a link here saying whether I made progress or not, only noting details if they involve a completed goal or a change of focus.  For the Sunday check-ins, I’ll be commenting on the ROW80 blog.

The next ROW80 post I’ll make here will be my goals for Round 2, but I’ll see you here before that for a First Friday Photo in January.

  1. One Goal to Rule Them All (jessicaabel.com)
  2. One Goal To Rule Them All (www.jdmoyer.com)

Once, long ago, I ran a brief Tarot segment… but this reaches passions I’ve only recently discovered the depth of my love for.

The Heritage Journal

We are now 1/3 through our Tarot Tuesday journey, and the drawn card this week is card V of the Major Arcana, The Hierophant.

The Hierophant: “Approval, Conformity, Consent, Good advice, Marriage or Union

Interpreting the Tarot can be a very conflicting process. An initial response to the drawing of any card can often be the correct one, but then again meditation upon a card may find other, more subtle meanings.

For this card, we are sticking with our initial reaction and taking the Marriage or Union aspect as the one to follow. In Somerset, the village of Stanton Drew is home to a complex of megalithic sites known collectively as The Weddings, which seems an appropriate match for this card.

Aerial photo copyright JJ Evendon (from the Megalithic Portal)

The complex includes the second largest stone circle in England (after Avebury), two further stone circles, an…

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First Friday Photo

Something to inspire

obligatory “What I Allow”

Short Stuff

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