A Garden of Delights

Archive for the ‘ROW80’ Category

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.

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.

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)

The second shoe dropped…  or something, and while nothing screamed End Of The World, the violent tipping of its axis said serious Change (note the capital C…  big stuff here) was in the works.

:-/ Okay, so nothing really that drastic happened.  But despite all my plans to be more consistent this Round of words with my blogging, and to get a bunch of writing done, my progress on those goals I set out at the beginning of January has been close to nil.  Earlier in the round, while I was writing somewhat, I could clearly sense my head was in a “I need to be refilled” state.  I stepped down my writing and creative output in favor of reading and discovery, and dealing as best I could with the seasonal cloud that hits me each November through January.

This was tiding me over mostly.  I did get a bit lax with my blogging.  A lot of little things started picking at my brain and while I love you all, blogging is always the second thing to fall short (Twitter loses the fastest…  maybe because it always flows the fastest, and I so often feel lost in the deluge of tweets) as far as social media goes.  I’ve slacked off in all my social media though.  Facebook and email…

Too many little bits to deal with.

The newest is a real job search.  I’m terrified.  I haven’t in the job market for years, having spent most of my time of late in volunteer positions with my son’s various schools or homeschooling him.  But things have happened…  and now, not only do I have to homeschool The Boodle again (as much as he’d like to stay in Catholic school, he is not suited to that environment), but we need a second income in the home.

The most recent copy of my résumé I could find was from when I still lived in downtown Albany…  almost 30 years ago.

Yeeeah….

I have my work cut out for me.

So, apologies for being a bit short here, and for having been absent so long.

Stuff happened.


Also, just a small reminder…

Though it’s a bit late to bring this up, especially when I’ve been so very out-of-touch recently, I did want to mention that the linky for the First Friday Photo is open for submissions.  I’d love to hear from you all.

And if you’re interested in lovely photoblogs, have you checked out the grand people at image-in-ing. A lot of wonderful artists there, with so many interesting perspectives on the world to savor.

Wednesdays seems to be flying by this year.  Here’s another one and time for…


Just Another

2018 ROW80 Check-in WWW Wednesday Post First Friday Photo

Post

(click below an image to go to the specific section you want if you don’t want to read the whole post)

Since one of my new ROW80 goals was to start blogging more consistently and since I’ve wanted to become more active in the IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) and since I have read a lot and wished I had a way to share my recent pleasure… this seemed like a great place (and great time) to start.

First things last and last things first, got a picture you’d like to share, a thought on photography or even a piece of digital art…

The First Friday Photo blog hop is open for submissions.  All creative images* welcome as long as you link your post up this Friday.

I created this blog hop to make a space to enjoy art in my busy life, even when it’s only once a month and to share my love of photography with others.

The rules are simple (quoted from my original First Friday Photo post Still Motion):

  • post a photo (one you took, please don’t post other people’s work) on your blog
  • include a link to the linky (so visitors can visit each other’s work)
  • add the link to your post to the above linky (so we can find your work)
  • visit other people’s posts
  • enjoy

I had to put that “enjoy” there.  Every time I open a package of instant ramen, I giggle because of that.  I mean, of course I am going to enjoy…  yummy ramen is, well, yummy.  😀

Hope to see you there!

(*if your image is explicit, please use discretion and an NSFW warning)

Now, let’s go with WWW Wednesday where, according to the rules of the bloghop, I need to answer three main questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently? I’ve been plowing through the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson.  Since my last WWW Wednesday post, I am now reading Murder on Amsterdam Avenue.  This is book #17 of the series.  At my last post, I was on book #5.  I’m a short ways into In Like Flynn, another Molly Murphy mystery by Rhys Bowen, but I confess to setting it aside to fully invest myself into the lives of Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy.  My ARC of To Woo a Wicked Widow is nearly done (review next week), and despite the cray-cray I made some progress on the beta read I accepted.

Recently? It’s been two weeks since my last WWW Wednesday post, so it looks like I’ve read a lot of books.  I won’t bother to list all the Gaslight Mysteries titles I’ve read.  I read twelve of them.  I’ve also read two Molly Murphy mysteries (Death of Riley and For the Love of Mike).  Dear Life by Alice Munro presented a welcome though-provoking serious note here and there.

Next? This Monday I turned in books and took out another twelve.  In bag…  Kindred by Octavia Butler, the next Deep Fried Mystery by Linda Reilly, Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr, and so many others.  Oh, and all but the latest Gaslight Mystery.  But I do have the next six Molly Murphy’s…  That should keep me busy a while.


And lastly, here is my ROW80 check-in. For those who didn’t see my goals for the upcoming 12-weeks of ROWing, you can see them here. You can find our very supportive and helpful group here, as well as some history and “rules” if you want to know more about the ROW80 in general.

My creative writing has been pretty staggered.  I did manage a Stream of Consciousness post (on Sunday instead of Saturday) and a WIPpet Wednesday post today.  But I hadn’t even looked at 750words.com until today.  I did keep up the ROW80 blog well enough, although I am behind on my sponsor visits.  (Actually, I’m behind on all my blogging visits…  last week was…  difficult, and this week, when I wasn’t reading, I was recovering or sick.)

So it’s been a pretty off few weeks in my writing life.  But the mind is starting to demand something other than staring at little black marks on a white page.  It’s demanding I make some of them myself at least.  And the body is demanding I get up and move and do.  So I have started some.  Even if it’s just reading  while pacing in the living room.

Small steps…

I could have written my ROW80 (and my WWW Wednesday) check-in yesterday.  Instead…  I hit the library almost first thing in the morning, and by the time 6:30pm had passed, I’d already read the next of the Victoria Thompson Gaslight Mysteries that I’d picked up and had started the next one (I have 15 pages left on that).

Clearly, I’ve been on a huge reading binge lately.

Not so much a writing one.  Except for my blogging progress and a few new words on Courting and Marche (the 1st and 3rd books of the Swan Song Series), I haven’t written much of anything.  Haven’t even touched 750words since last Wednesday.  Have opened Scrivener and looked through stuff, read some research articles…

And had a lot of sick-kid and now kid-school related things to deal with since last Thursday night.

I could have written my post yesterday, but I needed to escape a bit.  And while reading about NYC murders in the late 1890s might not seem like escapism…  it was a divine one.

I have another six books fresh from the library waiting for me, calling my name.

I probably should have written those posts.  But I didn’t.

I did write this one.


First Friday Photo

Something to inspire

obligatory “What I Allow”

Short Stuff

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