ROW80 Home stretch ahead

sun through clouds
Hazy breakthrough by Dave R. Farmer, WANA Commons

I’m finally feeling that the light at the end of the tunnel is not the headlamp of the oncoming train, as the old joke goes.  Although some things, like the speed bump in the survey plans at the day job, and my DH taking over my office  (which is mostly okay, because I plan to transform another room into an office) mean it’s a two-steps forward, one-step back conga dance, the progress is still forward. The new office is slow to come together, but I will share a picture when I can.

Centrally, I am writing, both on scholarly stuff at work to gain coveted tenure, and more fun things outside the day job.  Not surprisingly, priming the pump for the day job writing helps the fun writing and vice versa.  This week carries a few bonuses, as we are closed on Monday, so I have an extra day off.  Also, on Thursday, Shan Jeniah and I (and we hope, Eden Mabee) will go to New York to meet August McLaughlin, whom we met through WANA.

I’ve focussed on cleaning out the Augean stables at both places as well.  It was stunning to find that we had stowed things on the top shelves in the kitchen two and a half years ago, that we had stopped seeing in that weird way that clutter becomes part of the landscape. It feels liberating to get of clutter, as many of you commented on an earlier post, and I’m having a lovely time dumping things.

I am clearing my mind as well, meditating first thing and last thing every day.  One interesting benefit is that I am now remembering more of my dreams, and find fodder for emotions and descriptions, if not for plot. I sometimes become frustrated with the way my mind works.  I tend to work on a lot of things on a rotating basis, so I have nothing to show for my work for a long time.  Then, as if by magic, many things fall together at the same time, and a lot gets finished in the same day.  I think some of it is tied to a fear of success, which Lena Corazon outlined very well in her post.  Lots to think on there.

Writing the memoir has made me think about my life more than I have for a while, and although some of it is difficult, I’m glad that it is happening.  I had some great comments on my last check-in, and hope to respond today or tomorrow, since several of you made me think–always a good thing!

So I enter September on a reflective note, which fits the shorter days.  I hope the home stretch goes well for all of you.  I hope to make the rounds of the ROWers, won’t you join me?  The blog hop linky is here.

smaller EM


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


Leavetaking and leavekeeping, plus a ROW80 check-in

My older son left for college today, which should not have been odd, but was, despite the fact that he left mid-senior year of high school to go work for a living. After two years of manual labor, being laid off, on the dole (as my Irish relatives used to call it), he asked to come to live with us to go to college.

The local community college didn’t offer what he wanted, what he felt he had missed. As everyone scattered the instant class was over to their respective jobs, families, or life, he felt isolated from the college community that his father and I had told him about, and continued to extol, since we both work at a university.

So he packed the car and headed an hour and a half south on the New York Thruway, barely a skip and a jump from here, but I miss him already.  I know it’s the best thing for him to do, and I know that is the half-full glass, but I’m feeling the half-empty glass at the moment. In part, I recognized the signs of his nervousness, in his reluctance to get going until late in the day.  As my husband pointed out, that is my classic behavior, when I am nervous or anxious. 

I wrote a poem in my twenties which I titled Leavekeeping, to express trying to keep one’s memories with one, instead of taking leave of them. I suppose given my losing my brother in December, I am less willing to say goodbye, even temporarily, to other family members, even when I know it is the right thing, the best thing, the healthy thing, to do.

Do any of you find it hard to say goodbye, even when the person leaving you is going toward the fruition of his/her dreams?  I feel very small and mean right now, although I did hide all of this sentiment behind a brave front.

On another mixed note, my ROW80 progress.  I have been a very bad participant, not checking in for the last several times. I did make some progress, however.

  1. Meditate for no less than ten minutes a day. Attained. It clears the mind, offers peace; why have I not done this before?
  2. Find gratitude for at least one thing every day. Attained. I have been grateful for things, like running water (after thinking of the public fountains in medieval Europe as the most convenient source for water); for people, like my husband, who figured out how to add an email address to my WordPress domain, friends who drag me away from the day job for a brief respite; for actions, being able to console a friend of mine, whose brother is also dying of lung cancer, or for those of my younger son, who counseled his brother about what courses to take at college.
  3. Return to the daily habit of at least 250 words a day. Not attained.  I still have very difficult days, but I have at least managed a few sentences most days, and I did turn in my sponsor post (although a few days late). I have signed up for some workshops at DIYMFA, which will force me to do some writing.  That is a good thing.
  4. Never sit when I can stand, never stand when I can pace.  Stand for at least 5 minutes every hour; pace for at least 5 minutes every hour; walk for 5 minutes every 2 hours. Attained. Last Friday I walked two miles around midtown Manhattan to see my various doctors there. I have lost 10 pounds since the beginning of October–an added benefit.
  5. Contact every extended family member on their birthday. Pending–there have been no birthdays yet.
  6. Reply to comments on blogs within two days. Not attained.  I started catching up with the comments of condolences in mid-December, but despite my sincere, overwhelming gratitude for all of you, I couldn’t go on for a while. I hope to get back on track with comments.

So, while staring at the half-full glass, I am planning to do better.  There is always room for improvement.  Please consider dropping by some of the participants’ blogs to cheer them on; they are all listed here and would love to hear from you.