Week Five — Decluttering and Thinking

How are we halfway through this Round?? I find it hard to believe how quickly time goes. It was another crazy week at the day job, so I’m still recovering from that. Also, Wednesday was tough, as it would have been my brother’s 69th birthday. Even so, I did make some progress, so I am feeling good about that.  I also saw my doctor on Thursday. She was delighted that my calcium and Vitamin D was normal, for the first time in the three years I’ve been seeing her. And, she was happy that my recent breaks did not require surgery, which echoed my relief.

Yesterday was a day of attacking the boxes in the garage. It felt good to get some of the stuff out of the way, to declutter by recycling and tossing.  We had enough recycling to have to fill the car with cardboard and head out to the local recycling center. We cleared enough space to put up the bike racks in the garage, to Son Number Two’s delight. I found some books that have been long buried, but best of all, I found the Claddagh door knocker that my parents brought back from Ireland for me.

On to my goals:

One blog post per week. Last Thursday, I posted the history of the word husband on Lapidary Prose, as well as a funny dog video on Friday. I’m starting to get back into the swing of posting.

Five sentences of fiction every day. Lots of research, which led to five sentences, but not directly writing.  Still progress, however.

Half an hour of editing the non-fiction book every day. This goal is evading me every week.  I need to think about whether to, and how to change it.

I hope all of you are enjoying the spring, or the coming of spring.  I plan to go take pictures of the flowering trees in the neighborhood today.  Have fun this week!




Still mucking out

The study to be
The study to be

The past half week has been one of discoveries.  Work continues apace with clearing clutter from the domicile.  Something about sending the last kid off to college incited a fierce need to rid myself of clutter.  I have been inching toward getting the study reclaimed, which involved moving furniture, clearing closets, and making choices about the importance of material things.  I’m finding myself taking lots of pictures of things, and jettisoning the things themselves.  I’ve also realized that keeping the-next-size-smaller clothing in hopeful optimism is selfish, when a) there are people out there who could use that clothing right now, and b) I can reward myself with smaller clothing when and if I get there. There have been many trips to charity shops to drop off useful clothing. It feels so freeing, even though late summer doesn’t evoke renewal for me.  That’s okay, I’ll take it! The picture above is the putative study the day we moved in, so it looks quite different now, but I will put up a new picture once it is set up.

I’ve also been reducing clutter at the day job. None of our databases will be available tomorrow.  Without any substantive work to do, we are cleaning our work areas.  I hate to file, so a good part of my day will be forcing myself to file.  If I see daylight after that, I will begin on my electronic files. Yippee?!?

I am continuing to do well on my ROW80 goals.  I am writing ideas down by the handfuls, knowing many of them will come to nothing, but enjoying the exercise anyway. I continue to work on the memoir, even though up until a few days ago, I was pantsing it completely, which is not my usual manner, just to have something in rough draft to put up for WIPpet Wednesday.  A comment by K.L. Schwengel (thank you!) set off a light bulb in my head, and showed me the scarlet thread that runs throughout the entire work so far.  I hope to do some serious plotting and development of it for the rest of the Round.

Meditation and yoga have become habits, and even more part of my writing rituals. Music has rejoined my rituals as well, thanks to Barry Koostachin, who helpfully posted a Celtic harp song on my timeline. I find myself playing music constantly now. It feels like renewing a friendship.

Have a lovely week, and please encourage the other ROW80 participants, listed here, if you have a chance.

smaller EM


ROW80 Self-discoveries continue

My goals for the Round were to bring some order into my life, whether that be words, clutter, mental disorder, or whatever.

One of my major faults is, although I prefer to have spotlessly clean spaces around me, I fold immediately at the “broken-window” stage.  “Broken-window” is the idea that one broken window in a vacant house will lead to more, since the first step toward disorder has happened.  In my home, that means that I lose the impetus to clean when faced with a mess–mail thrown carelessly on the kitchen counter, magazines piling up on the bathroom shelf. I sigh, give up almost immediately, and add to the mess.  Such behavior means that I have to overcome an amazing amount of inertia to clean up the kitchen counter or the bathroom shelf, especially since I have found that some other residents of Testosterone Palace can ignore the piles of mess far better than I can, so waiting them out is futile.  A further hurdle is that it is clutter, not dirt, which everyone is pretty good at attacking when it occurs.

I had a flash the other day, realizing another hurdle.  We live in a rental house, a smart choice because we didn’t know in what neighborhood we would want to live, whether we would get tenure, and to build up a down payment. However, while the house has a lot of potential, we have neither the time nor the inclination to fix it up the way we would if we owned it.  There are no curtains anywhere except the sunroom, where the orange curtains scream against the mint green walls.  Someone liked orange here, because the stairway and upstairs hallway is orange faux plaster, which is probably my least favorite home decor color and method, with the topper of an outdoor wrought iron banister, painted, you guessed it, orange.  We have permission from the landlord to paint, but painting that stairwell and hallway would be a bear. So, I have to admit that part of the reason I have trouble keeping up with the clutter is that no matter what I do, the place will still be ugly.

At the beginning of this Round, I realized that I would throw myself at the door to prevent anyone from coming into the house, which is not very neighborly.  Thus my goals coalesced.  I’m saving for curtains, because this house has a ton of windows–a nice, but expensive, touch.  I have a handful of paint chips that I refuse to test against the orange, figuring I will just live with the colors jostling each other.

The upshot is that I’m still finding out things about myself, even at my age.  I guess that is why life continues to be interesting.

Are you one of those people I admire, who can move into a place and have it showroom ready in a month?

My check-in: 


One hour three times.  Still on target, just barely, but holding on.


Visit my assigned blogs twice a week– I am still behind, and the time I carved out last week disappeared into putting out fires at work.  I’m hoping to hide at lunch breaks this next week.

Reply to all comments–No.  Sigh.  Maybe during another lunch break.


One hour three times a week at home going through paper detritus of modern life–10 hours going through papers and paying bills.  I feel virtuous!

One hour three times a week going through electronic files–rename, delete, archive. I concentrated on the paper monster, but hope to get back to the electronic this week.


Walk. Seriously. 30 minutes a day. Only twice this past week

Follow-up on all the health issues.  Still waiting.

Family day, no working and time with family, one day per week–Yes. I managed to spend only a short period on the internet on Saturday, despite the siren call wafting to me to play games.  Again, I feel virtuous!


List and report on what I’m reading, even the dry, academic stuff.

Run Rosie Run, C. C. Mackenzie

The Trouble with Coco Monroe, C. C. Mackenzie

Aphrodisiac, Alicia and Roy Street

I’ve read several samples this week, too:

The Corpse Reader, Antonio Garrido

A Train Through Time, Bess McBride

Sketchy, Olivia Samms

True Detective, Max Allen Collins

There’s my week for you.  Please go visit some of the other ROWers here.


ROW80 Goals for Round 2 2013

Writing, screen, Elizabeth Anne Mitchell,
Clutter free writing desk,

The following are my goals for the second Round of a Round of Words in 80 Days in 2013.  What is A Round of Words, or ROW80, as  participants like to call it? It is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life.”  Click here to read more about it from the creator of the challenge, Kait Nolan.

EDIT: Kait posted a challenge for this Round in the call for goals.  It is to be the best me possible, without comparing myself to anyone else.  Kait’s challenge leads to the same end as my goals, even though Kait’s post didn’t come out for several hours after I had posted.  It’s nice how life hands one these coincidences, isn’t it?

This Round, I am concentrating on self-care: of the person; the writer; the body; the spirit.

An added  mantra for the Round is minimize the unimportant in order to maximize the important. To that end, I am ridding myself of clutter, whether paper or electronic; concentrating on healthy habits of body and mind; and connecting rather than hibernating.

Writing:  One hour three times a week writing in the following order:

  • the academic article du jour
  • Morning Pages
  • Blog posts


  • As a sponsor, I will visit my assigned blogs twice a week.
  • I will reply to all comments on my blogs within 2 days.
  • One non-blog related post per week on Facebook and Twitter. (Stolen, with extreme gratitude, from Raelyn Barclay)
  • One share, re-tweet, whatnot per week on Facebook and Twitter. (Stolen, as above)


  • One hour three times a week at home going through paper detritus of modern life.
  • One hour three times a week going through electronic files–rename, delete, archive.


  • Walk. Seriously. 30 minutes a day.
  • Follow-up on all the health issues.  Don’t want to? Sorry for ya. At least one issue per week
  • Family day, no working and time with family, one day per week. (Stolen from  Julie Glover  via Raelyn Barclay)


  • Update Goodreads at least every other week. (Yes, stolen again from Raelyn Barclay).
  • List and report on what I’m reading, even the dry, academic stuff. (This idea is stolen from Lena Corazon, who shares her dissertation reading)

Please go check our some of the participants in this challenge here.