Category Archives: Personal discovery


ROW80LogocopyIt’s time for the final ROW80 check-in of Round 2.  Let’s hear it for a successful Round of Words!

Hip, Hip….


Actually it wasn’t all bad.  While I didn’t always achieve my goals, I did meet a number of them.  And I learned a lot about things I like to do, and how I was sabotaging things I loved doing with things I felt I needed to do.

For example:  I loved trying MOOCs and learning new thing, and for the last few years, I was taking them and having a blast.  I didn’t always finish the classes I signed up for (and none of them on time), but I picked at every one I did and worked at my pace.  And it was wonderful.

Beware of ... (cred swissbanana)

Beware of …
(cred swissbanana)

Then…  I started teaching and felt I needed to keep adding to my skill set to be a better mentor and resource for my students.  And…  *steadily increasing whistling sounds… ending in a WHOMP*  Not only did I fall out of the wagon, but down the slide of the canyon wall we were racing next to.  Yeah…  it wasn’t fun anymore.  It wasn’t for me, and…  it was for a place (and several people) I’d begun to resent for their constantly increasing expectations of my performance (no, not the people I actually worked with daily).

So…  was this the best, most productive Round of Words?  Actually I think it was problably the most productive one I’ve ever had.  It just doesn’t show in the numbers.

  • Writing — over the round I averaged 823 words a day on my story (65842 actually) and countless others on blogging; if anything, I think blogging has taken most of creative output lately.  I don’t like that part of all this reporting, and I’m testing out ways to streamline that process.
  • Time with characters/storyworld I’d made amazing progress here, having fun with my characters, talking with them about their bunions and chatting over campfires as they endured their travels and dealt with annoying relatives, bandits and lovers…  but these last two weeks?  Poor Alanii’s been hanging out at the bottom of a canyon mid-avalanche for almost a week now, ‘Listii is passed out on the training hall floor from a psychic-backlash, and Atyr just realized the woman she was struggling with is dead (and she doesn’t know how).  I really need to spend some time with these folks, don’t you?
  • Pushups/general fitnessInconsistent is the only way to score this goal…  I certainly didn’t do something every day.  Most days I was active in some way, but I’m still abysmal with my push-ups, and despite my best efforts, I still struggle with the two-hour run of karate and then weapons class on Saturday.  The knee does not like me then.  Not at all…
  • Camera time dailyI started this goal a bit late in the Round, but I have stayed with it, and have even created an awesome (imho) mini blog-hop called the First Friday Photo via my ‘name’ blog The Garden of Delights.  Check it out!  Also, new sign-ins start tomorrow so we can actually have our posts ready for the First Friday (especially with the 4th of July in the US happening)
  • French and German daily 10 minutesmost of the time I’ve stayed on top of this.  I missed a day here and there, and once I missed a week…  but in general I did great with this.  At the beginning of the round, I was doing Italian, Irish, Portuguese, Chinese, Polish, Danish and Japanese for my Mixed Language Arts class in 10min spurts throughout a day.  This lasted about two and a half months before I just could not maintain that pace anymore…  especially when it seemed my students weren’t putting in even half that effort.  Feeling like your efforts are going for nothing or aren’t at all appreciated can be brutal on achievement
  • MOOCs — I made a good start at the beginning of the round, but as soon as I made this a ‘goal’, I fell hard.  The fall I don’t think was so much related to setting a goal however as the gradual decline of satisfaction in the work world I was trying to justify my attachment to MOOCs to.  In other words…  the next MOOCs I sign up for, I’m signing up for because I want to learn something, not because I think I need to do it to help and support others.

And that’s my ROWnd 2.  How was yours?  Do you plan on participating in Round 3?  Haven’t made you mind up yet?  New to a Round of Words?  If so, check out our blog.  We’re an awesome bunch, as you discover by checking out all the cool folks at this week’s linky.


I Think… I KNOW I Can

Monday when I posted my check-in, I worried a bit.  I mean, yes, I felt really good and all after getting some long-standing stress off my chest, but I couldn’t help feeling some foreboding as well.

I’m not the kind of person to set personal limits and stick to them. I feel obliged to help on a moment’s notice (yesterday I stopped in at my son’s school just to print up a form for a field trip–one I was organizing no less–, and I started washing dishes and wiping down tables).  It’s probably my worst flaw as well as my best trait.  I want–no, I innately need to help others.

Add to that, an obsession for wanting to fill every second of every day with something new, fun and exciting (though my idea of new, fun and exciting can be as simple as a cool podcast or taking a different route home in the car) and you have a recipe for burnout and disaster in the making.

A self portrait?

A self portrait? (cred — Eden Mabee)

I do it to myself all the time. I know I do it because I’ve learned to recognize when I’ve done it better, and I’m even starting to understand why I do it, but I haven’t figured out exactly how to stop doing it. I’ve just come to accept part of who I am is this wave-like creature who gushes in with a tide of enthusiasm and energy and then must draw back, sometimes leaving a cluttered beach of shells and polished shards, sometimes leaving a smooth clear surface for others to imprint themselves upon. (One can even predict the severity according to the moon… 😉 )

Anyway, this is supposed to be a ROW80 check-in and WIPpet Wednesday post, not a… whatever that was.


ROW80LogocopyIt’s only been a few days, so I don’t have too much to report as far as the ROW80 goes.  I’ve written, had another awesome writing group gathering with our local NaNoWriMos, and I got in my planned for time with my characters (though barely).  I did some pre-push up prep and walking, but in all it was a lazy couple of days physically.  As soon as I finish this post, I’m going to take the camera and the truck and see if I can find a few last run-off water falls to scout for photographs.  It’s a gorgeous sunny day, and I might find something nice along the local trails.

I don’t have much else to report.  So why don’t you go to our linky and visit some other ROWers too?  We all love company (and comments).


Yes!  I did it.  I said I would be back for WIPpet Wednesday, and… here I am.  Now…  if I could only remember how…

Nah, that’s just silly.  I know how to WIPpet, but I probably should still explain how it’s done for anyone new to the idea.  The WIPpet is a blog hop where writers post a small sample of a Work In Progress that relates in some way to the date.  Like today…  It’s tax day in the US, April 15th, so I chose a scene related to taxes from my ever-growing Swan Song series.  Usually I just pick a number of words that matches the date through some arbitrary mathematical formula.

The Hastor pursed his lips. “It’s a common site. Most every one knows about it”

Alanii started to say “And this is bad how?” but only got as far as opening his mouth. He knew what the man was saying. A common site, the Andar’s only heir with little more than 25 men armed for a peaceful mission, even if they did all happen to be knights of the Royal Guard…. The letters for the Lanii lord likely were valuable enough on their own. Travelers had been attacked and slain for far less by brigands

That’s it. If you want to read more WIPpets, check out our linky. There’s all sorts of reading fun to be had there.

M’OOC! Ah….

List of titles of works based on Shakespearean...This Some Thing 4 Sunday post is all about Shakespeare.  Okay, maybe not all about Shakespeare.  It’s about an awesome (can you tell I’m giddy about it?) MOOC course I’m taking via the FutureLearn site on Shakespeare and his World.

This isn’t the first FurtureLearn class I’ve taken.  Now into my third class through the site, I’m finding I like the varied formats they’re using and the general accessibility of the teachers.  I’ve tried other MOOCs as well before this, including a course of History and the Occult through Berkley and Roman History class I found via Open CourseWare.  Even with access to group chats on the courses, the level of teacher interaction never seemed quite adequate.  I’m really happy so far with my experience at FL.

Sir John Gilbert's 1849 painting: The Plays of...

Sir John Gilbert’s 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeare’s plays. Since the artist died in 1897, this work is now in the public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for my present course…  I’ve never been much for the Cult of Shakespeare personally (sorry, but my school experiences till now never inspired in me a passion for his work, and with so many other great writers and artists tweaking at my senses..,).   However, this class draws into my passion for history and mysteries and wordsmithery 😀 in just the right combinations.  Each lecture and discussion following it has given me cow trail after cow trail of bits on architecture, social customs, politics, even history as seen by people of the time period.

Perhaps the best way to explain my feelings might be via a Doctor Who episode The Shakespeare Code.  During David Tennant’s tenure as the

Love's Labour's Lost by Gresham's, c. 1914

Love’s Labour’s Lost by Gresham’s, c. 1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Doctor (I have to note this because I’m such a fangirl, of course), he  and Martha Jones end up in Elizabethan London during the Bard’s attempts to write Love’s Labour’s Won as a sequel to the canon play Love’s Labour’s Lost.

I liked the episode, mostly because Shakespeare wasn’t the star of the show.  As usual, the Doctor and his companion(s) were, and the limelight of the week was cast on the villain(s) and the random person (usually historically famous, but not always) who needs the Timelord’s help in defeating them.  I liked the way the story portrayed the jail, the potential romantic life of young people of the time, the crowds, the boarding house scenes….  even the idealistic visit by Elizabeth I herself at the end.  Most of what I liked though is how Shakespeare is cast as a normal, flawed human being, a product of his time.

Conwy's Elizabethan Locals - IMGP1538

Conwy’s Elizabethan Locals – IMGP1538 (Photo credit: catchesthelight)

I like human beings.  I can relate to human beings.  I like spending time with human beings.  I do not like to spend time with gods.  (An odd thought–how humanity tends to try to humanize its favored gods and deify its beloved members…)

And this MOOC, while about Shakespeare’s works, is as much about the people and the world they lived in at the same time as Shakespeare.  Yes, our professor uses Shakespeare’s works as a lens to show us these things; he also uses historical documentation and artifacts from the time period–things sorely deficient in my high school experiences with the Bard.

FutureLearn hasn’t closed the class to new sudents yet.  If you’re interested, sign up.  The joy of MOOCs is you can participate as little or as much as you’d like and at your own speed.  I have no doubt you’ll get something new out of it even if you only follow the lectures and assigned plays.

ROW80 Check-in

ROW80LogocopyIs this progress? *shakes head*

  • write every day; at the minimum, do 5 sentencesdo notes count?
  • finish a complete (rough) draft of Courting the Swan Song  except for scratching notes, no action
  • make twice weekly blog posts (WIPpet Wednesdays and Some Thing 4 Sundays) check
  • maintain active sponsor participation on track; decided to sponsor again next ROWnd
  • energize myself with more physical activity mostly home stuff
  • reclaim my writing space the top of my desk showed up momentarily
  • go through some piece of my electronic home (desktop, laptop, server space, Dropbox, etc.) a forced electronic reprieve because my PC is acting up
  • laugh more, hug my family more, share myself with friends more…  some, though not as much as I’d have liked; a lot of collapsed plans these past few days
  • attend chats and sprints on Twitter (at least one of each) nope
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