RoW80 Check-in Ahead and Behind

Illumination from Morgan Library MS 775
Illumination from Morgan Library MS 775

It continued to be a crazy week, but that is starting to feel normal. DH and I spent yesterday planting flowers in the brick planter by the front door, and in a couple of concrete urns in the back yard, as well as putting up some hanging baskets.  It helped greatly to make it feel more like home.

Settling into the house is taking a fair amount of time and energy, but it feels good.  I have been keeping up with some of the writing I planned to do, but not all.  I plan to work more on it this week, and have some inter-library loan books awaiting me tomorrow. I realize several of you have more than five projects going at one time, but I encourage you to check out Pacemaker (  I really like it.

I spent five hours on the train to and from New York City on Friday, and despite best intentions to be productive, I slept most of the trip.  I can only accept that I must have needed the sleep.

So far, I have rather spotty progress on my goals, but I’m settling into the rhythm, and am not terribly worried yet. I am behind on my fiction, which should be at 960 words, and is at 0.  I have thought about it every day, teasing apart some of the conflict to see if it is strong enough. I wish the book could be delivered like the one in the illumination above, but I haven’t figured out how to tap into that delivery service.

I am ahead on my blog posts, since I am at 2,198 words, and am supposed to be at 1,250. I am behind on my article, which is supposed to be at 385, and is at 0, but I can catch up tonight and tomorrow.  I have read through what I have written, and targeted some holes in the argument.

I have some doctors’ appointments to make pursuant to the doctor’s visit I had Friday, and must call tomorrow.

Check out the goals of other ROWers, which you can find here. If you’re interested in joining ROW80 challenge, the FAQ will give you all the details. Feel free to jump in anytime.

smaller EM



RoW80 Checkin Spring Cleaning

It has been a busy few days since last Wednesday.  I found out that the president of the university approved my tenure, so I am not completely crazy to have bought a house.  We had a break from packing for (wait for it) cleaning!  I suppose I had let spring cleaning go this year, but it is finally nice out and I’ve opened all the windows while I scrub counters and walls and get cobwebs out of corners. I decided the idea of the house looking staged was not my problem, so I took down and carefully packed all our framed pictures.  Now at almost the close of the weekend, we can manage to make the place look neat with a few hours notice.

As for goals, my writing has been slow this past week.  I had to catch up on a course for work that is, well, just awful.  It ends this week, thankfully, with a group project, not so thankfully. I did spend a massive amount of time decluttering my cubicle at work this past week.  I noticed that someone had come into my cube to look at the nice writing notebooks I had on my desk, which weirded me out a bit.  I therefore decided that I had to have a desk where people who want to snoop at least have to put things back.  I had locked away all sensitive personnel stuff, but it still bothers me that someone was going through my personal stuff I had left out.

Part of the decluttering uncovered my notes from when I gave a talk about my non-fiction project in 2014, especially pictures of the illuminations I spoke about. I was very happy to find them, even though I have some cryptic notes from people talking to me after the paper that I can’t quite decipher. My mother had passed away two weeks earlier, so I didn’t give  a great presentation or take great notes of what people said afterwards.

Also on the plus side, I have gotten back into my World War II story.  My war bride wouldn’t talk to  me for almost a year, but she decided to confide in me, and hasn’t stopped talking since, not that I’m complaining.

Well, the packing is calling to me again, so I will leave you with the link to the rest of the RoWers. Give them a visit and some encouragement–we are in the middle of the Round, and determination often fails at this point.

smaller EM

ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW Check-in, WIPpet Wednesday Chugging Along

I now have a new regard for people who pack for moving companies.  Packing is incredibly hard work, although I suppose some of my problem is that I am doing a lot of thinking as well.  Keep or donate?  What room will it go in the new house (which has rooms, like offices and dens, that we don’t have now).  And should I separate the pleasure reading books in a box for the den, and the writing books for a box for the office?  Luckily, the move is far enough off I can make these fine distinctions.  The time will come soon when things will be swept into boxes labelled “dreck” and “scheiße,” in the heat of the moment.

On to RoW80 goals. I had to catch up on a course I am taking for the day job, which manages to be boringly simple and yet a lot of work. For a discipline that was originally based in Schools of Education more often than not, Library Science has a lot to learn about pedagogy.  I therefore haven’t had the breaks to sprint and get my words in as often as I would like, but I do sneak in a few minutes now and again.

I missed the Sunday check-in, sadly. I have to hold on to the fact that there will be more time and emotional space next Round when I am unpacking boxes in the new house. I will continue to strive for consistency in checking in and responding to comments.

Please go check out how all the other RoWers are doing here.

For WIPpet Wednesday, I offer more of a piece that I put up last week.  I realize the previous offering came rather in the middle of things, so I will give you the beginning of the story.  Here are 23 (5+18) rough sentences from the scene where the main characters from last week meet.

There is something about a man in uniform, so I was delighted when I walked into a party filled with GIs.  They all acted as though they hadn’t seen a woman in months, the way I had to fight my way through them. Most were respectful, and I was enjoying the attention, looking about at the manhood on display.  I noticed a tall American is his lovely olive green uniform, medals parading in tidy lines across his chest.  Even at my encouraging smile, he hung back–shy? Uninterested?  I was intrigued, as always, by the one who didn’t fall at my feet. My attention caught by him, I failed to notice a drunken soldier shouldering his way through his friends.  “Kiss me, honey! I love you English roses!” assaulted my ear, meaty hands closing around my waist as I was spun toward the new arrival in my coterie of admirers.  Before he could finish his drunken cry, or get anywhere near my lips, he was picked up, still pursed-lipped, and efficiently and firmly removed to a safe distance by the tall American.

“Do you want to dance?” my savior asked. I felt a warm victory that I had not lost my touch–he was shy, not uninterested. He grabbed my hand, and steered us through the press to the dance floor.  “I’m not very good,” he said. “I’ve not had a chance to practice in a while.”  His baritone voice was warm and soft, flowing over my skin such that I would have sworn I could feel it. His hand enveloped mine so completely, my long fingers felt small and delicate in comparison. His other hand spread across the small of  my back, so warm that I could imagine its imprint leaving a mark upon my dress. He was leading me efficiently, skillfully guiding us through the crush, avoiding most of the people bent on stepping on me, and putting paid to his claim of not being a very good dancer.  He was perfectly proper, but his hands sparked nerves all the way down my arm to my chest, and felt like an intimate caress at my back.  The crush on the floor soon turned the entire dance rather more intimate than planned, as we were slowly pushed ever closer and closer till I could feel his heart beating, and moving in the dance steps was becoming, well, a bit improper.

He bent down so that I could hear him, unconsciously stirring me with his warm breath in my ear, “Let’s go outside for some air.”  I went up on my toes to answer in his ear—all’s fair in love and war—“yes, please.”

There are a cadre of WIPpeteers here who would love to have you join them.

smaller EM


Crazy, but good, week

Hmm, it was an interesting week.  My family has been discussing purchasing a house for a few months now.  The discussion ranged from whether to buy a place in the mountains where we could spend weekends until I retired, and then move there full-time, or to look for a place in commutable distance.  We started looking seriously in commutable distances a few weeks ago, and spent lots of lunchtimes and evening driving through neighborhoods.  Last week, we took the further step, of actually going through the houses.  Friday, we made an offer on a house, which was accepted later that day.  So, whoo hoo, I may own a house in a few months.  And that is why my goals went to hell in a handbasket last week.  I love that expression, which my mother used all the time, but I have never figured out what it means.

So for goals:

I will write for a half an hour 6 out of 7 days on my long-suffering non-fiction project. Only 3 out of 6

I will write for half an hour 3 out of 7 days on a fiction piece that arose from the research for the non-fiction book. No, not at all.

I will post every check-in.  I would like to expand my topics, but I need to re-establish the habit first. I missed last Wednesday, sigh, but at least I’m here today.

Please go encourage the efforts of other ROWers, which you can find here

smaller EM


March 14 checkin The deep versus the surface

I’m not convinced that it makes a whole lot of sense for me to check-in, but I think it’s worse not to show up, even if all I can say is “not much.”

The house is coming along slowly; we don’t quite have wireless yet as our router decided to go into the great beyond somewhere in Delaware.

I spent yesterday buying work clothes, which was difficult as I hate to go clothes shopping.  I was a full-blown anorexic as a teenager, and although I joke that I recovered far too well, the truth is that I never really recovered from the skewed self-image. I avoid mirrors, so trying on clothes in the three-sided mirror is torture.  My husband was along for some necessary cheerleading–he has a good eye for clothes that will flatter me, and is honest without being brutal about how things look.

I have a character that does not much like herself, so my muse was taking notes on how I was feeling through the several-hour process.  Something good needs to come out of it!  Seriously, I did get several good work outfits for my new management role, where I can’t dress as casually as I could in Florida.

I start work tomorrow, which has me rather nervous.  I am hoping to be able to use the test mile to work out some of that fear, which the logical part of me knows is unwarranted.

What I accomplished: I did manage a couple of days of journalling with the test mile.

What I learned: The anorexic is only dormant.  I have to find ways to get healthy and lose weight that do not bring the anorexic back to full tilt.  Several ROWers are doing some very good series on health, like Marcia Richards; I am also finding August McLaughlin‘s blog, especially her honest post on her own eating disorder, very helpful.

On a happy note, I met fellow ROWer Eden Mabee for tea and an indulgent pastry at a very dangerous shop in Albany.  It’s interesting to meet someone in person that one has known online for a while; there’s so much in common, and yet so many topics that don’t come up in the on-line writer community environment.  I had a lovely time, and garnered many good suggestions on everything from historical places to check out to good grocery stores.

It makes me think about Kait Nolan‘s post about not having any writers nearby.  I certainly felt much that way when I lived in Florida; I met C. M. Cipriani a couple of times, but we were the only writers I could find in the area.  I am looking forward to meeting more of the writers I have met online who live in the area.

Also, maybe by Sunday’s check-in, I will actually have done some writing!  It would be nice to come into the end of the Round with some writing, no?

Please go encourage the rest of the ROWers in the final stretch here.


March 11 Check-in Feathering the Nest

Howdy from upstate New York. I must say that, although the move had several glitches, and there are many, many boxes still to be unpacked, I am happy. It’s an interesting feeling, a contentment I haven’t felt in a long time.


What have I accomplished: since Wednesday, I have set up the kitchen, dining room, and sunroom. My muse isn’t absent, but rather quiet. I found a box of journals I wrote when I was in my teens and twenties; my muse actually squee-ed, “ooh, fodder.”


I had hoped to get the study set up, but due to a major glitch in the move, the desk chair and part of the drafting board got left in Florida, along with one of our cars—a long story that bears telling at some point. But here is a picture of the mostly blank canvas. 

The study to be


What have I learned: I am a nester, and I’m rather good at it. It seems to be my answer to the loneliness and disruption of my childhood. I enjoy making a comfortable home that is cozy and welcoming.  I don’t remember anyone ever visiting my parents’ house, or rather, that the few relatives who visited were just as uncomfortable as my parents.  It’s interesting that a house can so thoroughly reflect the attitude of its inhabitants.


I hope to get back to the test mile tomorrow, or even later today. I’m happy as a clam to be back on the interwebs!


Please go encourage the ROWers in the home stretch here.


March 7 Checkin Mostly Moved

This checkin will be brief, due to lack of internet, but the good news is that we have managed to get ourselves and most of our possessions to upstate New York.

What have I learned: I have too much cr*p. Also, never trust the rental truck company when they assure you that your car will fit on the tow dolly. Ah, well, there are tons of stories to tell about this trip, but they will have to wait for internet, coming this Saturday.

We really like the house, the neighborhood, and the town; no place is perfect, but we’re liking it so far.

Much more in the next checkin!


February 5 Check-in Dredging the Delta

Thank goodness for this group. Since last check-in, I have been travelling or packing without pause. The test mile refuses to stay in the clear water of the delta, and is dredging the mud and silt of decades. It is fascinating, informative, and exhausting.

I have also come to realize that I have to back off a bit from some of my goals for a little while, and that the world will not end if I do that.

Writing: The test mile continues to be a place where I can vent about the insane family things that have imploded over the past two weeks, or to realize the origin of some character traits that have caused me problems in relationships in the past.

I spent most of Wednesday travelling, getting home at midnight; other than the test mile and an impromptu #wordsprint on Thursday, I have not written, but I’m okay with that.  I have not yet replied to comments on my Wednesday check-in; I am not okay with that.

Exercise: After lots of walking on Wednesday in various airports, I have only had packing as exercise. Something is making my muscles hurt, so I suspect the packing is the culprit.

Family: Due to the ongoing family crises with my mother, my mother-in-law and our youngest son, the family contact has been increased; it’s not always the most positive contact, but more of it is supportive than I would have expected. 

Friends: My on-line friends have been truly supportive these past days; I have been leaning heavily on them, and hope to repay the favor when it is needed. Today, some lovely neighbors of ours invited us over for snacks mid-afternoon, providing a very needed break from the packing.

Day Job: Neither the old nor the new occupies my thoughts; I am very Scarlett about both of them, although I do write down any good ideas I have about the new one before I sweep them out the door.

Have a lovely week everyone, and click here to encourage all the other ROWers.


Check in January 29 Rooting and uprooting

Once again, I must ask pardon of all who have commented on my check-in.  Recently, my soon-to-be former place of employment seems to have awakened with knowledge of how much I do, and is desperate for me to tie things up. There are some things that will fall in the laps of people who have been supportive and good to me; I do not want to do that to them, so I’ve been working longer hours than usual at the day job. I hope to get to the comments before next check-in.

Also, my husband and I flew up to Albany on Friday evening. We drove about 200 miles yesterday, looking at rental properties, and have another 3 hours planned for today. While I find it extremely exciting, it is exhausting.  I passed out last night in the middle of a text conversation with my youngest son at about 8:30, only waking up at 7am. I sleep more than most middle-aged women, but that’s ridiculous!

I had to laugh at a comment I overheard when I flew up in December to Albany for the interview.  One young man was grumbling about our flight having to go back to Hartsfield airport to check the nose gear. “All these problems, and I’m only going to Albany! I didn’t want to go in the first place!” Luckily, I am a Pollyanna (I know that comes as a shock to those of you who have been on previous Rounds with me), and I adapted well to every place I have lived. I also overheard that this young man was going to Albany to visit his family for the holidays. If we dislike our places of origin, it is often because we found them lacking, or we found our family of origin lacking.

Perhaps due to that overheard conversation, I have been working through my family connections in my test mile.  Right now, the hardest is my mother, who was depressed and distant when I was a child.  Now she has moderate to severe vascular dementia, barely knowing who I am.  After only a decade or so of truly connecting with my mother, I have lost her again. It is surprisingly heart-breaking.

Enough about me, as I shake myself out of my blue funk. As for my goals:

Writing:  the test mile is going well, and I find myself going beyond the word count I had given myself as a marker. Most of it, as I explain above, is painful and raw. It’s doubtful it will ever see the light in this form, but it has helped me with several of my characters who are lost little girls in one way or another.

Exercise:  I’ve been walking a fair amount. I walked with a colleague at work on Thursday; since then I’ve walked around and through houses, as well as walking in the evenings to get acquainted with the campus and its surroundings.

Family:  Although we’re empty nesters, all four kids want to know about the house hunting, so there’s been a fair amount of contact with all of them. I need to talk to my dad tonight, although my mother has been a problem the last several calls. It doesn’t help that he refuses to acknowledge that he can’t take care of her anymore.

I have been spending a lot of time with my husband over the weekend; we’ve had essentially two date nights in a row. It’s been good to discuss things over house-hunting; we have very different ideas on where to live, and what sort of place to rent. The discussion has been lively and informative.

Friends: I have gone underground a bit with friends. I need to change that soon, as I can feel the draw of the Slough of Despond beckoning. I have not been on Twitter or Facebook enough to support people, and I want to get back to that.

Day Job: I’ve forgotten this goal in recent check-ins—imagine that! I took the entire coming week off to be in Albany for a day or two and to pack the rest of the week. I do have some things to package better before handing them on to colleagues, but the rest—meh. I walked into a mare’s nest in that job, and am proud I’m only leaving a rat’s nest behind.

Overall, I’m feeling good about progress. I should have known that my muse loves it when I am busy—something to remember for the future. The packing is going to take over my life soon, but I feel confident that the muse will get her time in somehow.

Please encourage all the other ROWers here.