Saturday, September 07, 2013

117th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 2 2013

The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life
My goals are all time investment and are detailed on the  ROW80 page   I keep track of the time invested with a Google Doc spreadsheet linked on the goals page and also in each check-in along with a screenshot of the most recent days.

These check-in posts will contain any commentary I have about encounters with the goals since the previous check-in and any relevant links.

Below the commentary is my current reading list for the READ CRAFT goal.

In Round 1 this year I finished the edit for Blow Me A Candy Kiss, the short story I'm planning to use as the experiment in self publishing.  This was on my original Goals when I first joined ROW80 in April 2012.  It is now ready for beta readers.   Anyone interested can say so in a comment or email me at the email in the sidebar.  A link to an earlier draft can be found in the ROW80 Goals page linked under the spreadsheet below.  I've had one beta reader so far but would really appreciate at least one more before I take the plunge with it.

Note: I broke this up into themed sections to make updating easier and as of the 97th check-in I've added a new section directly below the spreadsheet for the must recent check-ins some of which won't make sense without the context from the other sections but will make it easier for returnees to see only the latest.  For the 111th check in I moved Fiction Files and Read Craft sections from the bottom to just below Current Check-In


Current Check-In --
Fiction Files--
Read Craft--
The Lifequake--
Self Management--
Evolution of the workstations --


CURRENT CHECK-IN

I've got ALL the Ys back now!  Even FICTION FILES!

After Camp NaNo ended I had dropped the ball on FICTION FILES for weeks.  Had the Ys back for two weeks until last week when breaking in a new computer limited both time and access to the files.  The impetus to return to them before that came from wanting to play with the new features of the ap after a major upgrade to WhizFolders my primary notes and drafts ap.

September 7  --  Thursday evening we were having a thunderstorm here and I set out to create a LOLcat with the theme of storms and story.  Found an awesome quote form Mark Twain which I intended to slap on the pic and leave it at that but before I knew it I was composing a poem.  You'll need to click on the image to enlarge it or the link under it to go to it's cheezeburger.com page in order to read it.  Or scroll down to Thursday's post.

This week it has been all about test driving the new computer.  In regards to the FICTION FILES I'm tweaking preferences in aps and testing the links that interweave the maze of files and aps that allow me to jump from one to another from inside the files, joining research with notes with drafts with mindmaps with spreadsheets with images with websites...

So far the links to files are working just as they did on the netbook thanks to the file transfer program that created the same hierarchy of files and folders on the Aspire.  And if the ap has been installed on the Aspire the links to them are working too.

I can't begin to calculate the hours of frustration that has saved me.  I may have been frustrated Monday night when that file transfer locked me out of both computers for 13 hours but in the long run that was a very cheap price to pay for being able to slip back into the files and find everything just where I left it and doing just what I expect it to do.  And faster to boot.  Much, much faster.

But I've also been tweaking the notes and drafts as my eye falls on things in passing and triggers a thought.  I keep forgetting the power of just opening the files and passing my eyes over them.  Things start to stir..


September 4  --  After five days with my new Aspire I finally have it set up so I can return to where I left off on all major projects.  This is the third post created completely on the Aspire.  All of my posts since the last check-in have  been about the experience.

Monday evening I began a 13 hour file transfer process that locked me out of both computers until it was finished.  Yesterday I installed at least a dozen of the programs used to create or manage the 117K files in the 159GB that had been transferred.  Most of those programs opened with their settings just how I'd left them.  The only exceptions were those which had been significantly updated since the last time I'd updated them.

The credit I gave myself for FICTION FILES was for the fifteen or so minutes of gazing  or fiddling each time I opened files in aps like XMind and WhizFolders to verify settings.  Same for READ CRAFT as I test drove the new Kindle for PC, Calibre, Adobe Reader XI and Adobe Digital Editions.

Between the new computer and the new workstation that has proven itself very workable over the last five days, I feel loaded for bear.  The best thing about it is how fast everything happens.  While working on my posts there has been zero waiting on ap responses and page loading.  If I blink as I click I miss it.  The time that will save me going forward is incalculable.  Not to mention the wear and tear on my biosystem. Think blood pressure...



My New Acer Aspire
August 31 --  It is hours past my bedtime again.  I'm feeling wrung out.  Worse than last Tuesday after the more than dozen trips to the basement and back and the several dozen between the two rooms upstairs as I completely reorganized the room to create my workstation. [see August 28 check-in directly under this one]

This time it isn't physical labor but brain labor and tech frustrations.

I hinted in the August 24 check-in that there as a miracle afoot regarding the replacement of my cranky netbook.  I finally told the story in last night's post: My New Aspire.  I don't want to retell that here but let me just say it feels almost like a gift from my Dad who passed away in 2005.  I said that to Mom and she smiled big and, I think, got misty-eyed.

Anyway my new refurbished, Aspire laptop arrived by UPS just before noon Friday.  From that moment all of my attention shifted to all the tasks related to getting it setup, getting familiar with the new features (Windows 8 w/touchscreen=steep learning curve), getting my preferred aps downloaded, setting preferences and getting my netbook files moved over to it (all 280G).

That last is in the barely begun stage and just the attempt to get the two computers to acknowledge each other over the local network took my nephew three hours this evening.  At one point he was sitting in here with four computers open--my two, his laptop and his Mom's netbook.  The best he could do for now was make it so the Aspire can read and write to my personal folders and files on the netbook.  But until I have all the aps that created the files installed on the Aspire, I can't even do that.

So I'm still using the netbook to write this post.  Though Blogger is online and I do have access to it on the Aspire, all my browser bookmarks and passwords are on the netbook.  As is the screenshot program I use to grab a new shot of the spreadsheet each check-in.  Last night it was the lack of an image editor that prevented me from creating the post about the Aspire on the Aspire.

Earlier today while waiting on my nephew to return from a trip to the coast with friends, I focused on hunting down and downloading the aps I will need.  Nearly all of them are open source freeware.  I didn't install any of them tho as I knew that would slow me down as I'd be stopping to set up preferences with each one and since none of the files I created were on board yet I'd be tempted to create something just to play with the ap.  I know how I am.

The first ap I want to install is not freeware but it is the one I am most dependent on for all note taking, tasks lists and rough drafts.  That is WhizFolders Organizer Delux which I mentioned in the August 21 check-in.  I'm itching to do it now but I really should go to bed and come back to it fresh.

Looking across printer at Inbox
Netbook to right
Desk to left
August 28 --  I'm exhausted and am supposed to be heading to bed right now so I can't linger here.  The main progress towards my goals since Saturday (other than maintaining the bare minimum of the spreadsheeted activities)  has been the complete reorganizing of 'my' office here at Mom's.  Once her office then my sister's art space then a junk room in which I'd keep my clothes while visiting.  But since February I've been on what seemed an endless project to turn it into a productive workspace, exercise space and storage for my things.  Which mushroomed after the several trips down to Phoenix OR after my stuff when we had to vacate so the landlord could put the trailer up for sale.  [see the Lifequake section below for context]

Bradley Desk Inpector
Finally room to spread
out books and paper
Finally I conceived a plan.  But could not put it into effect until Mom left for another weekend at my brother's.  She left on Sunday and came back on Tuesday evening.  After a dozen trips to the basement with boxes and several dozen back and forth to the bedroom across the hall schlepping things out of my way and then back, I think I finally have a workable workstation.  The story and pics about it are in Sunday's, Monday's and Tuesday's posts.  [for the previous evolution see the Workstation section below]

I had my counseling appointment today so I didn't get to enjoy the use of my new space as fully as I'd hoped.  Tho having my clothes and HABA* organized helped immensely in getting ready for that.  So I'm really looking forward to my morning session and hoping to be seated here before 7am which means I need to hustle.

Beside Netbook
Front Burner Projects Box
Now that I have a serious workstation it is time to get serious.  Soon I'm hoping to see the effect on my FICTION FILES.  But tomorrow morning is going to be all about the AWAI copywriting course I signed up for over a week ago now.  The story about it is in last Thursday's post.  I intend to finish up with the orientation tomorrow and come away with a good sense of how much time I will need to budget for the work and over how many weeks.  And then adjust my ROW80 goals accordingly.


*HABA = Health and Beauty Aids.  We started calling it that when my husband worked on a janitorial crew at a department store where the various sections had acronyms.

August 24 --  I'm going to try to keep this short as I'd much rather send anyone showing up here to my Thursday post which is highly relevant to my ROW80 goals and I think feedback would be of great help but I don't want to try to reiterate my dilemma here, especially to paraphrase.

This past week has been a roller coaster.  Several epic things have happened.  Beginning with the upgrade to WhizFolders my primary notes and rough draft ap that I share last check-in.  Then getting enrolled into the AWAI copywriting program as I discussed in Thursday's post, The Mud in My I Makes It Hard To Be Seen.  Then getting word from social services that I've been accepted into the Aged, Blind and Disabled program and thus will have my medical covered, food stamps and a small cash stipend per month along with their help in facilitating the process for getting back onto SSI.  Mind you, this process started in February.  [see the Lifequake section for context]

Those were all highs.  The lows of the ride were encounters with my inner demons that I shared in Thursday's post, messing up my early bird schedule more than half the days in the last week and hours of frustrations imposed by my cranky, quriky, aging netbook.  Add to all of that several serious headaches from a combination of eyestrain and exposure to food sensitivities.

The netbook issue may soon be solved.  But that is a story for another post.  I think I'll save it for tomorrow's Sunday Serenity as it nearly qualifies as a miracle.


August 21 --  I finally started fiddling in my fiction files again this week.  The impetus was playing with the new features from the upgrade to my WhizFolders Delux that my husband had just paid for for me.  I'll have to devote a post to demonstrating how I use Whiz and how some of the new features will help.  Or several posts.  It has been awhile since I did so.

My husband has recently invested in my writing in another, more dramatic way.  By paying for the copywriting program at AWAI for me.  I just got logged in today and started exploring.  I will have to devote a post to that topic soon as well.

I will also need to adjust my ROW80 goals to include the AWAI activities.

You might wonder why someone so passionate about story would be wanting to study copywriting.  Well my reasoning, when I presented the offer I'd found in an email to Ed, was that I needed the skill for promoting my self-published books, that I could use it to help him promote his own online business that is now at concept stage, and anything I might earn from other clients could supplement our income and support my creative writing efforts until they start supporting themselves.

That last is huge.  Oh to be in a position to contribute to our income and help insure a separation like this will never again be necessary.  [see Lifequake section for context]

I can't imagine switching my passion from story and poems and personal essays to copywriting and making it my full time occupation but copywriting is one of the best paying as well as high demand writing gigs going right now and word wrangling is word wrangling.

Speaking of poems...  I wrote one last night.  Totally off the cuff in last night's post.  I was inspired by the LOLcat I'd just captioned.  Yeah that one to the right of this entry.  That was exhilarating and kept me up until midnight.

August 18 --  I seem to be in a read mode lately.  Feels almost like something in my brain has turned on--something like a vacuum cleaner or that thing the dentist uses to suck fluid out of your mouth.  I finished another book on the READ CRAFT list and advanced more than a third through another.  Then there's the fiction, blogs, news, newsletters in email. the NF from the library loot two weeks ago, and uncountable book reviews and blurbs.  I think maybe this is what might be called mulching the soil.  I can sense it all mushing together along with the storyworld dreaming and something is stirring in the dark.  Maybe story sprouts?

This is what I called Emerson Whispering Sweet Somethings in Einstein's Ear in an essay I wrote for my very first web page back in 1998.

I finally got the lower sections of this pruned and spruced.  Not happy with it tho.  I would like to move most of the Lifequake, Self Management and Workstation sections over to the static ROW80 page but for that to happen I need to prune and spruce that mess.

The Workstation section makes me weary to revisit because I still have not got it right.  I've spent the last two weeks planted like a turnip on the tramp again because the clutter in every other area is out of control again.  This was partly because a major rearrange project I started on the last weekend Mom spent at my brother's two weeks ago has not been completed and its detritus is scattered over both of the other workstations and there is nowhere to put the big duffel full of winter wear that is on the tramp.

I started working on this post Saturday evening but either my netbook or the net connection was having such issues I was doing little more than watch the spinning icon so I couldn't get it posted before I had to give up and go to bed.  And here it is nearly noon and its pretty much the only task I've worked on.  Which means I will still have Sunday's post to put up this afternoon or evening.

FICTION FILES:



My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs 
For the duration of JuNoWriMo I set aside The Storyteller's Spouse to focus on the romance, Orbiting Jupiter.

Now for Camp NaNoWriMo in July...

I've joined the rebels and created my own goals 

--Work on cleaning up the files of the more than dozen NaNo and JuNo novels already existing
--write character rambles for at least 30 of the dozens of characters from existing or planned stories whose voices still elude me -- min 500wds ea
--write 14 book reviews for backlog of finished ARCs -- average 500wds ea.

and that's 22K not 50K

August 1 Update:  I made it slightly past halfway to my Camp NaNo goals  I hope to revise this goal section soon but meanwhile will continue along the same lines.

August 11 update:  after what I just wrote for this date up top, I'm thinking I need to add personal journal writing to my goals.  I had a daily journaling habit for years before I took up daily blogging.  I'm don't think the latter is a full substitute for the former.

August 24 update:  Will be adding AWAI copywriting coursework to the goals

READ CRAFT:

Currently Reading

What to Do When There's Too Much to Do by Laura Stack (Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list)  What with the lifequake and all I've had to do a lot of reassessing.  Recently I realized that my todo lists are way overloaded even for someone with a reasonably quakeless life.
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller  Net Galley a NF that purports to answer many puzzles in the Austen novels. Since this discusses writing and techniques of fiction
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff  In late February I lifted the strikethru I put on this the week I left home in January as I brought it back with me on the 22nd.
Jung and the Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols Since I'm reading this for an understanding of character type and the language of symbol understood by our unconscious as well as research for a character who is a Tarot reader
13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley  This was one of the 24 items I checked out of the Longview library on my sister's card last January and has been the one I've spent the most time with ever since.  Friday's post was a quote post for this one.
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.  Found this while spelunking the stacks looking for the Smiley book.  Who knew.  Dick was a mystic.  I've only read one of his novels and a few short stories but now I've got to try to find and read everything!
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor  This is a reread for me and has had significant impact on the development of my storyworld in the early months of its inception.  My Friday post was about my current encounter with it after checking it out of the Longview library again for the first time in over a decade.
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron.  Also a Longview library book.
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf  Review for blog tour  Haven't finished it yet tho so it will remain in the list.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent.  Found on my shelves while packing books.  I won this in a drawing during the Sweating for Sven writing challenge in 2007.  It made me blush and I kept it hidden in the recesses of my bookshelves but I think I've gotten over that.  Tho I admit it is hard to pull it out and read in it now that I'm back at Mom's.  But since Valentine's Week all my new story ideas have been for romances.  Not my usual thing.  But hey, you gotta take what the muse sends or she'll stop sending.  Setting aside the erotica aspects, this book is full of good story structure advice as well as romance genre specific advice.  I'm exploring the idea of writing a love story.  Hmmm.  Not sure who that is that just said that.
AWAI Copywriting Course materials

Recently Read:

A Cheap and Easy Guide to Self-publishing eBooks by Tom Hua read this online
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg  Just finished this last fall and wrote an overview of it for that check-in along with my musings on how to apply what I learned..  This is where I've been getting the most help with learning how to recognize a habit, determine if it is desirable and if so maximize it but if not change it.
Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular by Rust Hills onetime fiction editor at Esquire.  A tiny little paperback published in the mid 70s.  I pulled this off my own shelf a couple months ago as just the right size to prop the netbook keyboard at a better angle but then I pulled it out to read while waiting on my computer to finish updates and a restart as all the ebooks were unavailable and it was the only book I could reach without getting up.  Lazy me.  But it hasn't gone never went back under the keyboard yet.  I keep kept picking it up whenever the netbook is was too busy to mind me.
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published) 


THE LIFEQUAKE:

Ed and I April 2nd
5 minutes before leaving
The event I'm calling the lifequake hit me in late January and for the most part of most days I'm accommodating myself to the new realities shaking out from it.  The details are covered in ROW80 #69 check-in. and  this Sunday Serenity and most recently in It's Like This and The Eyes Have It so I won't keep reiterating the story in these check-ins.

The most important fact affecting ROW80 goals is that my 5 week visit at my Mom's begun in early January has been extended indefinitely.  It has been a huge disruption in itself not counting all the disruptions of life, thought and emotion behind the whys and wherefores.


The latest in the series of aftershocks disrupted things so much I had to drop out of ROW80 check-ins for a month.  I left Mom's in Longview WA April 29 to spend the next 11 days in Phoenix OR with my husband packing up the rest of our stuff and helping him prepare for vacating the house on the 15th.  My sister returned here with a third van load of my stuff on May 2nd and then picked me and a forth van load up on the 10th.  I spent the next two days shuffling boxes and bags and stuff around between van and house and my areas at Mom's.  The four days after that I wallowed in the pain of missing Ed, loosing our house and not knowing when the next visit will be now that there are no more loads to go after and no house to call ours.

Merlin
That trip our cat Merlin returned with me and has been part of the comfort.  He was being kept in the laundry room until we were sure he had no parasites before he was allowed to share a litterbox with Bradley.  But one Saturday night in June he got paroled.

He has started to regain the weight he lost while he was sick last winter.  During our trip in early April my sister took him to the vet and the following week he had surgery to remove rotten teeth and fix his eyelids so his lashes would stop scratching his eyes.  He looks oriental now.  The pic is from several years ago when he was still healthy.


One of my main focuses in the first week home was unpacking and organizing my clothes.  The hanging clothes in the room where my primary workstation is and the folding clothes in the room across the hall which I share with Mom.

When I first arrived in January I had about ten hangers hanging in this closet and now there are two winter coats in there belonging to Mom and everything else is mine.  My coats, sweaters, jackets and vests are hanging on hooks on the door to the room.

Since the 89th check-in I've continued to unpack and tweak every area.  One of my projects has  been to unpack every one of the hastily packed boxes and do the sorting, organizing, cleaning, repair etc that there was no time for before stuffing things in boxes.  As of June 8th I've opened every one of the boxes still unpacked to identify contents, unpacked at least a dozen, repacked with an eye to keeping household items going back on the first trip after Ed is moved separate and once such a box was identified or repacked stacked it in the garage.

I sorted out several categories as I went: crafts, Health and Beauty Aides (HABA), office supplies, electronics, cat toys/misc, paper files and loose paper, household (kitchen, towels, bedding, etc), Ed's personal belongings and books and magazines. Then I rough-sorted each of those separately identifying damaged and dirty, might need while here vs. won't, and the obvious garbage.



The biggest rough-sort project was the paper files and the loose paper.  I have two medium sized boxes with files and notebooks that are moderately organized already but it is the two large boxes of loose paper--one very large--that was a very tedious and long process.

While teaching me how to triage my priorities, Ed identified the paper sort project as non-negotiable, top priority because I'd said that those two boxes of loose papers had become a trip hazard for me on entering and exiting the room as well as causing me grief in getting ready to go anywhere because they were blocking access to the closet.

So I targeted that task to focus on in early June during a weekend while Mom was at my brother's.  To prepare for it I gathered dozens of boxes of various sizes from boot boxes down to the cardboard covers of tossed out VCR cassettes, from the shallow boxes cans are stacked in at grocery stores to empty tissue boxes and I've created a sorting station.

I whittled the two boxes down to one on Saturday.  It took six hours just to get that far. The second box, tho smaller took another four hours on Sunday.  And that is just the first once-over rough sort--weeding out the obvious trash and grouping related things.  But at least those boxes are not trip hazards and they are grouped by topic or theme so that when I tackle them one by one my attention can be focused on one category at a time instead of being split three dozen ways like it was during this rough sort.


SELF-MANAGEMENT


Reading and crafting corner
The creating of stations to accommodate activities has been one of the themes of my organizing.  It was after the books and bookshelves came back in April that I moved my writing workstation entirely out of Mom's room and turned my corner in there into my reading and crafting spot.

The pic to the left is new for 90th check-in, reflecting the latest tweaks.  One of which was switching out the office chair that was there for the exercise ball.  The office chair is now where the exercise ball was--at one of the workstations in the other room.

The other development related to self-management is the timer my sister bought me just before she left me alone with Ed the first week of May.  It has two timers, a clock and a stop-watch function.

One of her concerns about leaving me there for a whole week was the tenuous nature of my ability to stay on my med schedule, sleep schedule and food and water intake schedule without outside monitoring.  That is one of the repercussions of an unmanaged mood-disorder.

She had a heart-to-heart with Ed about it in my presence and they elicited solemn promises from me and helped me work out how I might keep on track even on those days when Ed had to work.  The timer coupled with the ritual of writing a todo list every morning was the solution and I stuck to it through the first weekend back at Mom's.  I still maintain the med timer and a sleep schedule (tho different now) but I let the todo list drop away during the week I wallowed and have not returned to it.

The week before the med nurse had added Ritalin to my day meds to address the issue that makes it so hard for me to maintain the healthy sleep schedule.  The fear that all those 24 to 48 hours and more awake were a symptom of bi-polar has been eliminated and we are leaning toward the theory that its a combination of the depression and anxiety and ADD.  With anxiety causing difficulty in getting, staying and returning to sleep and the ADD responsible for the way my brain won't turn back on for 8 to 12 hours after I've slept for over 6 hours which makes me resist sleep when I'm involved in a task or project.

The Ritalin was a failure and my sister and husband concurred.  It did help turn my brain on and give me energy earlier in the day but it also brought back the anxiety that the BP med Metropolol had removed and left me with lower tolerance for frustration, high irritability and a tendency to meltdown.

I saw the med nurse again May 28th.  She increased the Trazadone to 300mg and added Adderall to address the morning mush brain and low energy.  And that seemed to work well so on June 2nd she added a second 10mg tab for the afternoon.

There have been enough improvements in my ability to function that I've been able to commit to making and serving lunch for me and Mom every day.

Meanwhile I'm trying to learn patience with myself and flexibility.  One of the new skills I'm honing is the ability to analyse what is working and what isn't and then apply a likely fix and observe what does and doesn't result.  I'm trying to keep a vision of what success looks like in my head so that I'm always aiming for it.

In response to my Lazy Daze post in early June in which I muse on why I am still planted like a turnip on the mini-tramp after four days and unable to put action where my mouth is on any of my stated goals and priorities my husband surmised that I was experiencing a mini-burnout after having pushed too hard on too many fronts for too many days in a row, allowing myself little recreation.  He added that I had too many high priorities and several of them were in conflict which I was possibly unconscious of.  Then at my request during our next video chat in used his skill-set as a supervisor and experience with time-management on the job to show me how to triage my stated goals.

He had me estimate the amount of time I thought certain tasks needed.  And then he walked me through what that looked like in terms of the number of hours available in a day, a week, a month.  He itemized everything--even how many minutes per day the average person spends answering Mother Nature's Call (8 times per day for the bladder alone for an average of 5 minutes per visit).  Who knew?

Right off he subtracted the 8 for sleep and another 3 for meal prep and eating.  Then there was my household and family responsibilities--another two minimum on days with no extras.  Then there were my appointments with healthcare and social services which included prep time and transportation time.

For the triage he laid it out there that anything touching on my health or safety was non-negotiable.  This included sleep, med schedule, food schedule, exercise, hygiene, all those appointments, and recreation--which last I had been denying myself until I ended up planted like a turnip on the mini-tramp.

My reassessment after the triage talk with Ed, led me to a radical decision I set out to switch myself from night owl to early bird having identified the larges block of time least likely to be interrupted as those between dawn and lunch.  It was a struggle until mid July when I added Melatonin to the evening med mix.  Now as of mid August it is starting to feel like normal to me.

One of the fallouts from the stabilized sleep schedule has been an increase in those intense, creative, colorful and story-like dreams that have often contributed what I call the storyseeds for my fiction.  This augers well for the future work with my fiction files--both editing and new writing.  And is a sign the depression is lifting.

Ultimately the goal is to use the pre-lunch hours for brain work--reading, writing, blogging, research, netbook maintenance, daydreaming story world and the afternoon for active/social tasks like exercise, sorting/organizing, chores, hygiene, family interaction, vid or text chats with Ed.  But so far I've nearly always gravitated back to the netbook or books after lunch and once engaged in a task it is hard to break away for another.


The evolution of the writing and workout room:

2nd Workstation and
Indoor Workout Space
In February a few weeks into the lifequake I realized I could no longer wait until I got home to get serious with my fiction writing but to accommodate it I would need a writing station that afforded privacy, quiet, light, and the ability to move about and make moderate noise without fear of disturbing my sleeping mother.  And I would need to designate a time of day in which I could count on no interruptions.

The time best suited (I thought until the mid June reassessment) was the hours immediately after Mom heads to bed.  The space was trickier.  But the best bet was somewhere in the room that had once been Mom's office and had become a storage room.  So I rearranged some boxes and created a desk in a cubby behind the stairwell.    I was even able to set up the mini-tramp in there. Tho I had to walk across it to get to my desk, I liked having it there until I fell twice inside a week.

 After the first fall on a Sunday I set my mind to being careful but after the second fall the following Friday I realized careful would not cut it.  Not indefinitely.  Not for someone visually impaired and with such a history of scattered thought and impulsive movement.  After a third incident--a close call--my sister set the tramp on end.  But as I feared it seldom got set down for use after that.  I kept wanting to find the time and energy to rearrange the stuff again to make room for the tramp and a path to my desk.  That became one of the goals as I worked to make room for the stuff coming in from the van the first week of April.

To make room for the tramp I moved my folded clothes into Mom's room and the boxes of Mom's papers under the card table.


Reference Books

The reference books are now on that cabinet above the tramp.  The 1999 World Book set and the Britannica Great Books set I bought from the library in 2005.  And writing related misc.


Cubby desk May 25
The cubby desk has morphed so many times.  I continue to tweak things but continue to find it a very uninviting place to spend much time.  For weeks I used this station primarily for scanning, storing office supplies and as a paper sorting station.  Then I moved that chair that bit my butt out and put in its place an exercise ball in front of stacked boxes for a desk.  But never did actually sit to work at it.

On May 25th, I moved the office chair I'd been using beside the bed in Mom's room in here and the exercise ball in there.  It is a tight fit but I'm test driving it as I work on this post and I am sensing a shift in consciousness. It feels like a place to get work done at now.  I'm more focused on the task at hand.  I'm shifting about less.  I haven't had to get up to get something that isn't at hand.  But a crick in my neck indicates one minor tweak might be needed--raising the desk about two inches.  But now I have to be sitting right there to have the netbook on the board that slides out from under the cubby desk so when I'm done I can't just walk away but have to move it over to the stand-up station.  It has been a productive writing station tho.

The Desk

Working it Out  yet another workstation tweak. My solutions to the height and other irritations.

I sometimes get so frustrated by all the tweaking.  It seems I spend more time fiddling with the workstations than I do actually working at them.  I hope I can shift the balance soon.

standing desk May 21
One of my preferred netbook stations is this standing desk above the mini-tramp.  I can stand on the tramp to write or while text or video chatting with Ed.   But mostly I listen to music or watch videos while working out.






Looks more like a nest

For the two weeks after returning from Phoenix (May 11-24) this was my primary writing and Internet surfing station.  I also crocheted while watching videos and sometimes read either ebooks or treebooks.  The tramp in this pic is now my own brought from home.

But on May 24 I decided it was not working.  I'd gravitated to sitting on the mini-tramp that first weekend because there was so much upheaval everywhere else.  But that had unwanted repercussions--I stopped working out because the tramp was always piled with cushions and for some reason I can't pin down my productivity dropped both on and off the computer.  Maybe that is partly due to not working out.  But it might also be because the setup was more conducive to daydreaming, watching videos or surfing than serious work.  The clue is in the caption I gave the pic: Looks more like a nest.


Bradley
The family cat, Bradley has been a pill as I rearrange the two rooms.  He mountain climbs the stuff.  He picks up small things and carries them off.  Twice it was my reading glasses that I wear over my prescription glasses for close work.  He sits on top of the very thing I need to pick up.

Once he knocked my netbook off the desk.  I had an extreme moment of panic before I got it picked up and checked over.

Merlin nesting with me
My hope that once Merlin was allowed to join the family the two of them would entertain each other came true.  After a few weeks of talking to each other through the laundry room door they had a brief encounter when I brought Merlin up on his leash on our way out for his yard exploration they  touched noses and nobody hissed.  Bradley did raise one paw over Merlin's head and held it there until Merlin ducked his head and slunk away.  A couple weeks after that Merlin was paroled and they've acted buddies ever since with Bradley obsessed with grooming Merlin who had been lax with that due to his poor health.  They do occasionally fight over the spots of sun on the living room carpet.

But for over a week after Merlin got paroled I hung out on the tramp again so he could hang out with me.

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