Saturday, January 31, 2015

Up Time -- ROW80 Check-In

Screenshot of  My Entire Screen

I have been working since Friday afternoon after Mom left to spend the weekend at my brother's at getting my computer ready for a restart and update.  No one would believe it without proof so I took a screenshot of the entire screen after arranging for as many as possible of the open aps, browser windows and tabs to be visible.  To top if off I show the Task Manager with the clock counting the hours since the last restart circled.

They call it 'Up Time' and as of this afternoon it stood at 75 days 10 hours.

This is what comes of using open windows and tabs as a to-do list.

My sister has gone after Mom so my time to focus on this task is ending and it isn't much better than when I started.  Some things were closed.  Other things were opened.

When I bring tabs or windows forward to close them I start working on the task they represent instead of bookmarking or noting the task in my actual task list.  I started reading ebooks.  I started watching videos opened via links in emails. I returned to research represented by Google search tabs and the tabs opened via its links. I lurked on social media.  I fiddled with Calibre ebook library metadata. And I started working on the Candy Kiss rewrite after allowing it to sit on the taskbar since early December without touching it!

And of course, after getting the idea for the screenshot, I reopened things I'd already closed for the photo op.  And started using them again.

This is seriously impacting (as in jarring crunch and derailing) all my goals.  ROW80 and health and business and crafts and relationships.....

I was really hoping that this check-in was going to be about the update and restart past tense.  But instead I'll have to declare that it is my intent to have completed the update and restart before Wednesday's check-in.

My Round 1 intentions: seek to regain my joy/Joy in writing and to prepare the soil for its blooming with these time investment goals:
  • Storydreaming 15min Daily (I never lost this one since instating it in my first round in 2012.  A ROW80 win!) 100%
  • Read/Study Craft 15min Daily 30% (reading blog posts on topic)
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily 10%
  • Personal Journaling 15min Daily 0%
  • Read Fiction 30min Daily 50%
  • Social network activities 30min Daily (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) 20% 
Current Joy Meter: under 50%  That is up from a dip into the teens last weekend.  Mood has been volatile.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Forays in Fiction: The Influence of Reading on Our Stories -- and a snippet

Thomas Covenant Trilogies
Several months ago I started reading Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series.  The first two trilogies are re-reads but I've not yet read the final quartet.  This rereading of the first six books had two purposes--to prepare to read the final four and to facilitate the rewrite of my story Blow Me a Candy Kiss, because I'd given one of my characters an obsession with it.

The first time I read it was the year the first one came out, the year I married.  I introduce Ed to it and he became as enthralled if not more than I and over the next decade or so that story colored all of our communication.  We found shorthand ways of saying what we were trying to say via everything from themes to metaphors to scenes.

Remember that Star Trek Next Generation episode where Captain Picard was kidnapped by an alien captain who isolated the two of them on a planet with a dangerous entity that would take cooperation to defeat and proceeded to use the situation as a way to teach Picard their very alien language?  That language was entirely based on knowledge of the stories of their culture.  Nearly the entire vocabulary consisted of phrases of this order: [Name of character] at [name of place].  Well that's how Ed and I once used the Thomas Covenant story.

Since I discovered that the story problem in Candy Kiss was the damaged communication between husband and wife, Iris and Greg, and because some of the themes in the story, especially those represented by Greg, are the same as those in Thomas Covenant, I decided it fitting to incorporate it into my story.  It gives me a lever with which to move them out of the rut they had dug for themselves.

I thought I'd share a snippet of the the current structural rewrite of the opening scene, incorporating advice from my beta reader and Hooked by Les Edgerton and showcase  how Donaldson's story is influencing my rewrite.

If you would like to compare the original 1990 version of the opening and/or see how the story ends:  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;

Blow Me a Candy Kiss [the beginning]
by Joy Renee

Turning the last page, Iris let the book fall closed on her lap where it settled the weight of despair on her thighs.  The lengthy expose of the foster care system by an investigative journalist had just quashed her latest (last?) hope of creating a family with Greg.

An indignation propelled surge of words swell in her throat, threatening to flood out of her mouth in a helpless harangue. How can an agency created for the best interests of the child actively discourage their foster parents from getting attached to the kids or allowing the kids to get attached to them? 

By policy no less! Love, they were told, was not their job.

What?  Are they trying to create a generation of sociopaths?

She desperately needs to talk to Greg about this and about where do they go from here--overseas adoption? open adoption? surrogacy? in vitro?  But the cost of any of them was prohibitive.

Besides, the fact of their childlessness was a topic they had talked to death long ago and buried under a tombstone marked TABOO.  

Yet it remains, a black hole to which all other subjects gravitate and  distort, leaving naught between us but the vacuum of my womb. She looked across the chasm separating them knowing Greg's face was hidden behind this weekend's fat novel.

After a brief glimpse of him laid back in his recliner with his book propped on his chest, she quickly looks away for fear the welling tears blurring her vision for the last fifty pages would slide free just as he happened to glance over the top of his book while turning a page.

Then he'd ask what was wrong or (guessing) not.  Which would feel worse?  Not something I want to find out.  

Either way, it's better to save the tears and rants for when she's alone.  For above all she couldn't bear to see his silent agony whenever he saw the sadness or anger overwhelming her--that look of pain and defeat in his eyes as his shoulders slump, his hands hang empty and impotent at his side and his eyes find anywhere to gaze but at her.

As she waited for her tears to dry and to be sure she had them well banked, she stared unblinking out the window beside her solitary seat in the loveseat-rocker--once one of their favorite weekend hangouts--watching the tops of the trees along the creek bordering their backyard converse with the sky.

Even the trees can shoot the breeze with the sky, while Greg and I can barely discuss anything besides the weather, aches and pains, or what's for dinner anymore.

Eying the whiplashed treetops again she noted that the predominant gusts seemed to be coming from the west.  She couldn't see the horizon in any direction so could not tell if there were clouds moving in on their summer-blue, heat-shimmered sky but the sensation of weight pressing down on the top of her head and pushing out from behind her eyes seemed more intense than what could be accounted for by the summer colds she and Greg were nursing on the only day of the week they both had off.

Sunday's and summer-colds.  Two things we can still share. Iris crooked her mouth in a grimace of irony.  All is not lost yet. 

"Hope it's not raining at the coast.  The girls were so excited about playing in the surf." 

As was she!  They were supposed to be camping at the coast with their parents and sisters this weekend but when they'd woke up Friday morning feeling miserable the others had gone on without them to soak up surf and sun, leaving Greg and Iris at home to soak up tissues and time. 

Greg did not respond as he'd started snorting and coughing just as she started speaking. Casting furtive glances toward him she sighed.  Not worth repeating.  What could he say anyway?

Staring at the cover of his hardback copy of Donaldson's The Wounded Land which blocked her view of his face she fumbled for something she could say that would prompt him to close the book on his finger or let it lay open across his chest so she could see his face.  How is it possible to miss so intensely a face that's in the same room with you?

What she really needed was to lay her head on his chest and listen to his heart beat as he talked about this story that had so enthralled him since his teens he'd reread the series from the beginning every time a new one was about to come out and from the beginning to the end of the second trilogy every two or three years since.  

Sharing in his enthusiasm for The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant had been an integral part of their courtship in their late teens. Reading the first trilogy through together the year after her high school graduation, they'd carried on impassioned discussions about the relationship between Thomas' two worlds and between them and our world.

They'd shared many such rousing discussions on numerous topics in the early years.  But not only had it been years since the last one, she couldn't remember when she last saw Greg roused about anything.  His reticence had gone beyond stoicism into implacable guardedness. 

He’s Colossus of the Fall, she thought, flashing on that iconic image from Donaldson’s Land.  Nothing represented his stance toward his world better than that monumental clenched fist of rock raised against a vast sky on the edge of Landsdrop, a ward against enemies of the land.  

Once this trait of Greg’s had given her comfort, a sense of protection against threat inside the circle of his ward. But of late she felt exiled from that circle.  When did I become an enemy to be guarded against? She wondered with a surge of adrenaline spiked surprise.

As she watched him find the corner of the page with his right index finger, she smiled at the memory of Greg's reaction to his professor's response to his essay analyzing the metaphors in Donaldson's series carrying the themes of shame, grief, regret, guilt and redemption.  She'd said that, though she hadn't read any of the books, she could not imagine such serious themes being so trivialized by wrapping them in the frivolous fantasy venue.  He was over-the-top outraged.


Thursday, January 29, 2015


No Longer a Wannabe Beanie

Fixed the oops.

For pics of the before see last Saturday and Sunday posts.

It took me a week and dozens of hours of experimenting.  Putting stitches in and taking them out.  Test this stitch then that one, placing them here then there, trying this many gathers then that many.  Turned out to need every other column to be pushed to the inside which means the rim had been double the size it needed to be.

I had to put in two rows of gathering slip stitches.  One around the bottom edge, pushing every other puff stitch inside and the other around the last blue row snugging each stitch to its neighbor.

And it's tails are tucked.  It's ready to wear.  One of the dozen or so projects I began since January 3rd it is now the first one finished since January 3.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Not Even Crawling -- ROW 80 Check-In

Eggs Catly.  No Yolk.

I haven't checked in for over two weeks.  I've got little to show ROW80 wise for those two weeks.  Yesterday's post can explain some of it.  But the primary issue has been the high level of drama in my personal life.

But on the other hand that drama might have been less intrusive if the issues I discussed yesterday had not become issues again.

As I said yesterday, I have a choice to make...

My Round 1 intentions: seek to regain my joy/Joy in writing and to prepare the soil for its blooming with these time investment goals:
  • Storydreaming 15min Daily (I never lost this one since instating it in my first round in 2012.  A ROW80 win!) 100%
  • Read/Study Craft 15min Daily 10% (reading blog posts on topic)
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily 10%
  • Personal Journaling 15min Daily 0%
  • Read Fiction 30min Daily 20%
  • Social network activities 30min Daily (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) 20% [posting to ROW80 fb and replying to comments there are among the activities I engaged in.]


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Sister Plan

Meta Morpho Sis

Tonight is our class with the nutritionist in Battleground.  My sister and I got a family member's discount when we signed up last summer.  It was still spendy.  My share is 50% of my disability check for fifteen months.   That means 9 or 10 more months of payments.

It includes a lot of reading matter, supplements, consultations, lab tests and classes every other Tuesday and recommendations for more reading and film watching.

The Metamorphosis book is included along with the binder of articles and charts.  The book at top, Why is My Brain Not Working? is a loaner to me from his library.

You'd think I would have been treating the plan with more respect considering the cost but I've been a bit lax about it since mid November.

I've not completely reverted to across the board unhealthy choices but the handful of poor choices I have made are having a huge impact.  I've not started gaining either ounces or inches but I've stopped loosing.  Except muscle mass.  And my mood has been volatile.  And I stopped reading the material and the other complementary reading and studying I had been doing before and after signing up.

I think the two most impactful choices have been the return to drinking coffee daily after a year and a half with only rare treats and the neglect of exercise.  Those two choices contributed to an increase in insomnia again after nearly a year of only moderate issues with it.  Thus sleep deprivation accumulated and my mood and energy tanked and that fed the 'need' for more coffee and the aversion to exercise ...

This all contributed to the difficulty concentrating, staying on task and comprehending and retaining information.  Hence the loss of enjoyment in reading and writing...

So I'm back on the merry-go-round.

I have a choice to make.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Joy's Reading

One of the signs that things have gotten real bad mood wise is when I stop reading.  Tho I never stopped entirely this fall/winter it had slowed to a trickle and the ability to compose my thoughts about what I was reading dried up entirely.

I find that depression is a bigger handicap than visual impairment for reading.

But, as bad as it has been. things must be looking up as I've been reading more again recently. More often, more pages per day, more minutes at a stretch, more complex material.  And finding myself as I read with things to say about it.  So maybe its time to bring book reviews back into the mix.

Last week I grabbed two 'read now' ARC off NetGalley and requested another and am contemplating requesting a fourth.  Seeing how I've not posted reviews for months and did not provide feedback on any in the last batch of NetGalley ARCs in late 2013 I'm not holding out much hope for any requests.  But my chance for future requests would go up if I read and review these two pronto:

Victorian Fairy Tales
Edited by Michael Newton
Oxford University Press

Pub Date   May 1 2015


The Victorian fascination with fairyland is reflected in the literature of the period, which includes some of the most imaginative fairy tales ever written. They offer the shortest path to the age's dreams, desires, and wishes. Authors central to the nineteenth-century canon such as Thackeray, Oscar Wilde, Ford Madox Ford, and Rudyard Kipling wrote fairy tales, and authors primarily famous for their work in the genre include George MacDonald, Juliana Ewing, Mary De Morgan, and Andrew Lang. This anthology brings together fourteen of the best stories, by these and other outstanding practitioners, to show the vibrancy and variety of the form and its ability to reflect our deepest concerns.
The stories in this selection range from pure whimsy and romance to witty satire and darker, uncanny mystery. Paradox proves central to a form offered equally to children and adults. Fairyland is a dynamic and beguiling place, one that permits the most striking explorations of gender, suffering, love, family, and the travails of identity. Michael Newton's introduction and notes explore the literary marketplace in which these tales appeared, as well as the role they played in contemporary debates on scepticism and belief. The book also includes a selection of original illustrations by some of the masters of the field such as Richard Doyle, Arthur Hughes, and Walter Crane.

The Witch of Napoli
Michael Schmicker
Palladino Books

Pub Date   Jan 15 2015

Historical fiction with a paranormal twist, set in Italy and England in 1899.
Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, erotic medium Alessandra Poverelli levitates a table at a Spiritualist séance in Naples. A reporter photographs the miracle, and wealthy, skeptical, Jewish psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi arrives in Naples to investigate. When she materializes the ghost of his dead mother, he risks his reputation and fortune to finance a tour of the Continent, challenging the scientific and academic elite of Europe to test Alessandra’s mysterious powers. She will help him rewrite Science. His fee will help her escape her sadistic husband Pigotti and start a new life in Rome. Newspapers across Europe trumpet her Cinderella story and baffling successes, and the public demands to know – does the “Queen of Spirits” really have supernatural powers? Nigel Huxley is convinced she’s simply another vulgar, Italian trickster. The icy, aristocratic detective for England’s Society for the Investigation of Mediums launches a plot to trap and expose her. The Vatican is quietly digging up her childhood secrets, desperate to discredit her supernatural powers; her abusive husband Pigotti is coming to kill her; and the tarot cards predict catastrophe.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Serenity

Helper Elf or Gremlin?

Bradley and I are both obsessed with this wannabe beanie.

Am experimenting with stitches to gather the excess up that won't look ugly.

The yarn I used for the brim does not do well with taking out and reworking so any fix must avoid that as I don't have enough of that yarn left for a redo.  It was left over from a shawl I made four years ago.

Maybe I'll just designate it a cat toy.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Crochet Oops!

The Beanie I Wanted

The 'Beanie' I Got
Bradley approves.

But he hasn't seen it on me yet.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Forays in Fiction: Channeling the Women of Star Trek

The Women of Star Trek

I just watched the last episode of Voyager which concludes my marathon rewatching of every Star Trek episode of every series since early September.

It started out as prep for NaNoWriMo because my coming of age YA novel character was a fanatical fan of all things Star Trek and the concept for the story was that whatever dilemma or crisis was thrown at this teen girl a solution or insight could be found in one or more of the Star Trek episodes or Movies.

Since my character was a young girl she would be consciously or unconsciously finding role models among the Star Trek women so for the first time ever I consciously focused on the women characters throughout my marathon.

Oddly enough I feel as though I've just been through my own coming of age story arc.  Or at least the first half or so of it since I don't yet feel I've reached a resolution.

I'm astounded by how strongly I've been impacted by the experience.  I'm still processing it.  Much of it is not at a level where verbalization is possible but I began feeling a strong sense of a shift in my own psyche about half-way through November--right around my birthday--and I'm sure I'm never going to be the same.

In my story synopsis on NaNo I said my character would be channeling the Star Trek women.  Now that has become my own aspiration.

Cool fb page.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hooked on Beginings

9 New Crochet Projects
4 hats, 3 scarfs, 2 drawstring bags.  Just in the last week.  3 are not for me.

There are more fiber art beginnings since January 3rd which was Mom's birthday and the end of the holiday and family gifting occasions strung between late August and early January.  I cut myself loose.  A reward for finishing 57 fiber art tasks since September 1.

Besides these there were several experiments that didn't pan out, two smallish needlepoint projects and some crochet bookmarks.

It's been fun but I need to settle down soon and put some focus back on finishing things.

If I just finished all the bookmarks on the hook I could maintain last year's motto of finishing more things than I start through the month of January 2015.

Bookmarks used to be a one-sitting project.  Once I could crochet over ten of them in a single day.  Now I have over a dozen on the hook.  Some of them for over two years.

I think what happened is that as I began adding larger projects the bookmarks got classified as 'the portable projects' and don't get attention when I'm at home.  They end up languishing in pockets and purses from previous outings and not quick to lay hands on when leaving the house again so I grab a new ball of thread and start a new one for that next car ride or waiting room.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fiber Art WIP

This is the scope of the project I've set myself to catalog all my fiber art WIP, get photos of their current state and note relevant data--percent done, thread brand and color, pattern, hook size, what's left to do, what materials need buying before it can be finished etc...

And to think I've started another half dozen since Sunday...

And that's not all

That's still not all...

Nope.  Not even. 

There's more in drawers and boxes of various sizes.

Plus many of those bags and boxes in the shots have multiple projects in them.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Origins -- The Movie -- A Review

Origins -- the Movie
Our Roots. Our Planet. Our Future
I just watched this as part of my personal campaign for taking back control of my health--both physical and mental.  In my case they were preaching to the converted as I've already been convinced by experience that food is medicine (or poison) for its nothing but chemical reactions. Whatever chemicals you put in the mix determine the wellness level of the organism.

Tho they did not surprise me with their premise, I did learn much regarding the role our DNA plays in our ability to metabolize the chemicals we introduce to the intricate ecosystem that is our bodies. This gave me a possible explanation for the quirky way my system reacts to certain foods and medicines and leads me to wonder just how much of my mood disorder issues might be alleviated if not cured by change of diet.

 I also learned more ways I can regain power of dietary options.  And maybe most important of all I was given a boost of hope.

Four years in the making, this documentary consults 24 experts in 19 countries in the fields of medicine, health, anthropology and ecology.  They explore the roots of our DNA and the ways in which it has not caught up with the modern world and thus is creating illness, infertility, and ecological and economic devastation.

But it is not just a doomsday alarm.  Rather it is a clarion call for concerted action on the part of groups and individuals.  They emphasize the power of our dollars as votes for change.  The point us in the direction of specific actions we can take in our own lives, homes, and communities to regain control over our health, diet, and our immediate environment.

For a short time they are providing a free viewing of this approximately hour and a half film.  Don't miss out.

As an added bonus it is full of beautiful photography of breathtaking landscapes that exudes love and respect for our planet.

Origins Movie Trailer


Monday, January 19, 2015

Wardrobe Malfunction

My Library and My Closet
My side of the bed in Mom's room is a never ending chore.  About once a month I get fed up and do a major re-organize that addresses whatever issues I was blaming the disorder on and I think 'This time I'll keep it this way!'

But no.

It occurs to me there are just some issues that can't be fixed by rearranging stuff.

One of them is the fact that during the day I can't see anything but dark shadows backlit by window light.

While the evenings are taken up by dinner and reading to Mom before she goes to bed.

So that leaves the weekends when Mom is at my brother's to address it.  Whether that means putting away the clean clothes laid willy-nilly during the week and those disarranged by rummaging for outfits or a complete reorganizing like it needs now.  Just one of a gazillion tasks that jostle for attention between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening.

The state it is in now is partly explained by my having unpacked the winter clothes from the big duffle that was supporting the boxes on the purple chair just before Christmas.  Not only is the duffle not plump enough to support the boxes I've not got around to packing up the summer clothes so there's more stuff to shuffle.

Another issue that can't be fixed by rearranging the stuff is the fact that 50% or more of it is too big for me now and needs to be purged...  All the 2x and 3x  and sizes 20 to 24 need to go or be altered.  And even certain cuts and styles of 1x and 18s.  Also the size 8.5 - 9 shoes.

But that's an issue that goes deeper than a simple organization task.  I'm emotionally attached to every item.  It's going to take more than a weekend to deal with that.

But if I did purge all that maybe I could have the purple chair back as a reading chair again.  Could that be motivation enough?


But iffy.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Serenity

Bradley's Not Too Sure About This Thing
 Bradley joined in on my quiet afternoon of reading ebooks and organizing ebook files and metadata on three devices--Blaze, Nexus and Aspire.    He'd been nudging my hand holding the Blaze up to the Nexus camera, jostling my shots.  Then one of my alarms went off.

He backed off and crouched like he was guarding a mouse hole with a lion inside.

I also had to do some maintenance with the Blaze as it was screaming about low memory after I reinstalled Amazon and MoonReader Pro and several other aps that had been on the sd card that died a couple weeks ago, crashing the phone and taking to its grave the over 200 photos stored on it.  Along with the dozens of ebooks and half a dozen audio files.  And the aps.

Those were all just copies of files safe on other devices or in the cloud.  The original before edit photos taken with the Blaze had not been.  At least not by me.  I discovered later that most of them had been backed up by Google and/or Picasa but there were over a dozen missing--pictures of the bookmarks I gave my Aunt and cousin when they visited in October, a series of pictures taken as I repaired the hole in the afghan Mom crocheted as a teenager, some of the pics from the beach, some from the box sort project in the basement, some from my split chin, some from the run on the dike with my cousin's wife.

I had blog posts in progress waiting for me to edit the pictures and upload them.

The Entertainment Desktop
on My Blaze
As you can see I have six book aps and no games.  I find the screen too small to enjoy games.

My MoonReader Bookshelf
In the pic at top the Blaze is showing the Kindle bookshelf.  I found some of the memory I needed to allow backups again and a reinstall of Chrome by removing dozens (hundred+?) of books from the Kindle and GDrive 'keep on device' files which apparently aren't stored on the sd card.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Winding Up to Wind Down

For this pic I have the corkboard balanced on the stool alone to reveal the balls of thread and skeins of yarn waiting to be wound.  I find winding them a very soothing activity which works well with storydreaming, praying, listening to audio books or watching videos.  Or thinking about WIP or future WIP.

Less than half of the yarn and thread in that box is visible as the box goes back nearly a foot more.  As soon as the pic was taken I moved the corkboard back in place and then there is only a 4x4 inch square in the left corner where the item(s) being wound are accessible.

That's where the bulk of my December order went to.  There is more yarn in a large bag under the card table and then there is the yarn I got on my birthday and the yarn I got on Mom's birthday...

So I have many hours of serene winding to do.

I love handling the thread and yarn.  It makes me happy.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Time and Space

The crafter's tote spread across my workstation

Bradley wants to help.
A shortage of time and space is still a factor in making progress on the crafter's tote that was supposed to have been my sister-in-law's Christmas gift in 2012.  Two years late!!

I really thought I was going to make it for Christmas 2014 when I finished the Mobius strip in late September.  But I ran into another engineering problem in November that took me several weeks to (maybe) solve.  The solution entailed shopping for supplies, including online which order did not arrive until ten days before Christmas.

I'd already set it aside to focus on the Christmas gifts I could get done for local family once it became obvious I could not get it in the mail in time to reach the Rogue Valley before Christmas.

Last summer I rearranged this room again (an endless project itself) to make room to set up the card table so I'd have room to spread the tote panels out to work on them and to assemble them with the Mobius strip into the bag.

But then I unpacked the rest of my craft and sewing supplies which were still in the boxes I'd packed when moving out of our trailer spring of 2013.  A necessity since all my holiday supplies where among them.  I'm still have trouble finding homes for everything without resorting to piling the card table high with whatever is not in use that moment.

The big order in December and the several craft shopping sprees between my birthday in November and Mom's birthday January 3rd added to the problem.


It's only when Mom spends the weekend with my brother's family in Portland that I can clear the card table by piling stuff on her side of the bed.  She leaves Friday afternoon and returns on Sunday evening.

That is also the only time I can work on the big sort and organize project in this room, the bedroom and down in the basement.  A project which competes for urgency with the tote as it's not only for making daily life easier while I'm here at Mom's but to make moving and setting up my own household easier when the time comes.

So its a tradeoff.

This weekend I'm working on the tote.  Which will mostly mean getting reacquainted with it after a month's hiatus.

The active project surface has been this corkboard set across the edge of a box and a stool.  Bradley knocked it off twice and I once.  All three times it was loaded and spilled thread, hooks, needles, pins, buttons, beads, ribbon, pattern pages, notes, threaders, thimbles, scissors, measuring tape....

...and whatever WIP(s) were on it.

The time I knocked it off the corner landed on my toe.

I solved the problem by giving up leg room to move the stool to the front right corner.

The corkboard is covered with microfiber pads for blocking projects off the hook.  The picture of the puppy and kitten is a laminated card I use when working with glue or tape.  The stack of candy boxes are trays containing small projects or materials and tools. There's another stack of larger trays behind that one.

The box under that end of the board used to contain materials, tools and small projects but it was a hassle getting into it so I stuffed it full of yarn and thread not on the hook which needs to be wound before use.  That's what's happening to that ball of yarn on the corner.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ribbon Running Wild

Ribbon Running Wild
This is the mess I made of my ribbon between Halloween and January 3rd (Mom's bday)

The Ribbon Corral

The solution?  I hope so.  I'm so tired of rolling all that ribbon back on the spools.

Now all I need is to find time to do it one more time and organize the six spindles...

That will be a joyous moment as then when I need a ten inch length of one color for a simple bookmark it will be a ten second task.  And one that doesn't involve chasing a spool of ribbon across the floor or under the mini-tramp.

Or fighting Bradley for it.

This ribbon storage was one of the items in my BIG Cyber Monday week order.  Can you believe I forgot to get a picture of that order and everything in it before I put it all away?  First time since I started blogging fiber art that I didn't make a post production out of it.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's In the Bag(s)

Craft Bag Facelift
 I had this idea over a year ago and finally just got fed up with waiting for the 'right' time to do it.

The time was now.  It fits the theme of my year.

The bag was one my Mom gave me years ago--because it was blue.  She got it while working with the RSVP senior service group--one of her many 'alphabet soup' associations.  Alphabet soup was my affectionate nickname for the committees, support groups, governor's councils and a variety of other volunteer activities she was involved in from the mid 1980s  right up until her stroke in 2008.  

Now I want it to represent my 2015 focus on getting things done.

And of course that One Word.

Five cheers and three high-fives for anybody who can guess what the missing three letters are.

And a triple kowtow for anyone spotting the triple pun.

Hint: there is also a punctuation mark missing

The Materials
 7 stitches to the inch plastic canvas
white parashute cord for the background
metalic blue nylon blend cord for the rim
neon aqua nylon twine

It was all stuff I already had.  If I'd had to buy something for it I might not have got started on it now.


The nylon twine was something I picked up at the Dollar Tree over a year ago thinking it might be fun to crochet with.  It was on the hardware aisle among the tapes and glues and bungee cords.

Working with it has some issues tho.  It frays after enough times forcing through the holes doubled over in the eye of a needle.  I can alleviate that by using shorter strands.  The strand I worked the 's' with was over a yard long.

Then there was the pain in my fingers from pushing and pulling and twisting that needle to get it through.  Until I figured out that if I could firm up the end with tape or glue I didn't need a needle any more than you'd need a needle to lace your shoes.  Same was true of the other two cords.  Goodbye needle.  Goodbye 90% of the frustration with the first day's work.

Except the tape and glue have to be re-applied frequently and they taste terrible when I forget and put the end in my mouth.

I'm wondering if melting them with a match might work better.  But I'm not sure I trust myself to do it.  Especially not in the house around all this fiber and paper.

Or maybe an iron?

I decided it was time to stop depriving myself of the nice things I designed for myself.  It was meant to be motivation for getting the gift items done first--especially that one Secret Santa project that is now two years past due!.

But there are always going to be gift items on the hook and another gifting occasion on the horizon.

I think it is possible to do both.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a slideshow of all the fiber art WIP.  I might split it in two--Joy for Joy and Joy in giving.

Any idea what's 'in the bag(s)'?  i.e. what the post title refers to?


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Indulging Joy

It Was Calling My Name

There was a jewelry display case next to the register at the restaurant where my sister and I ate after our nutrition class in Battleground Washingtion Tuesday evening.  We were admiring the many pretty things many of them handmade.  Most of them outside our price range for such not needful things.  But one wasn't.

I'd been complaining recently that I needed accessories in colors other than blue.  I especially have an abundance of auqua/turquoise/teal shades in my small collection.  In my wardrobe as well.  Pretty much all through my belongings.

I definitely didn't need this one.

But I could almost hear it begging me to take it home.  I knew if I walked away I would think about it all night.

So I indulged.

One Word 365
After consideration over the next day or two I decided that, in the spirit of the One Word 365 campaign which I joined at the first of the month, I needed to indulge more often.  Not necessarily by buying jewelry and other frivolities but by treating myself occasionally; by finishing (and starting) fiber art projects intended for myself; by pampering myself a little; by finding ways to get to some of the places I like to go instead of holing up at home because I don't want to be a bother.

I chose the word 'joy' for my 2015 focus at One Word 365.  This social network for those wanting an alternative to New Year's resolutions encourages you to pick a word that represents that which you wish to increase in your life and commit to looking for ways every day to incorporate it.

No major efforts, grand projects  or other life upheavals are necessary.  Small efforts exerted daily add up to big changes in a year's time.  Or so the theory goes.  Just contemplating that word and its significance to you is enough as such focus tends to invite in whatever you are devoting thought to.

One thing such focus is guaranteed to accomplish is an accumulation of better choices as you are drawn to make the choice most likely to increase whatever you have made your theme for the year.

I chose 'joy' because I lost mine last summer--mood disorder? lifequake? death of our fur baby, Merlin?  Who knows?  Does it matter?

With the word choice I intended the pun on my name as I was loosing myself as well. Probably part and parcel of regaining joy is bundled in with the same things necessary for regaining Joy Renee--taking care of myself, healthy choices, occasional indulgences.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Joy Is: Getting Things Done

I spent hours over several days preparing the list and slideshow so I'll just let them do all the talking.

List of fiber art projects finished between r Sept 1 2014 and January 3, 2015:

1. finished 8ft x 11in Mobius strip for Sara's quilter's tote--my 2012 Secret Santa now over 2 years late.
2. right fingerless glove for ed for bday
3. left fingerless glove for ed for bday
4. beanie hat for ed for bday--began three items five days before bday and finished five days after but mailed four weeks late to include D's 2013 xmas gift
5. finished rooster filet begun a year ago for D's bag--my 2013 secret santa gift. sent 10 mo late
6. crocheted rectangle for wallet for D's bag
7. crocheted wrist band for wallet for D's bag
8. tucked tails, blocked and dressed wallet
9. sewed beads onto lime cotton shopping bag to mount  rooster fillet so can be washed separately.
10. crocheted silk mesh belt for Carri
11. crocheted silk tie-string for Carri's silk belt--on of two
12. crocheted silk i-cord for Carri's silk belt 
13. crocheted silk I-cord for Carri's silk belt
14. crocheted silk i-cord for bracelet
15. crocheted yellow cotton size 10  i-cord for bracelet
16. crocheted black cotton size 3  I-cord belt for Carri
17. crocheted nylon size 20 sequined turquoise bling strand for Carri's  I-cord belt for Xmas
18. crocheted metalic purple bling strand for Carri's I-cord belt for Xmas
19. crocheted metalic midnight blend bling strand for Carri's  I-cord belt for xmas
20. crocheted purple heart square for Carri's bean bag cover
21. crocheted lavender seed stitch square for Carri's microwavable bean bag cover 
22. crocheted purple dc square for Carri's bean bag cover
23. tucked tails, blocked and crocheted cover onto bean bag for Carri's  bday--3'.5 mo late
24. tucked tails and dressed lavender bow barrette for mom's  Xmas eve
25. crocheted last row, tucked tails and dressed blue flower barrette for mom's bday
26. tucked tails and dressed blue bow barrette for Mom's bday
27. crocheted navy cotton size 20 thread slip stitch ribbon for Mom's flower bead necklace for bday
28. crocheted bow tie stitch band for bracelet for Mom's bday
29. tucked tails and dressed bow tie stitch band for mom's bracelet, using a vintage button from her collection
30. crocheted second half of puff stitch square for Jamie's mug rug for Xmas
31. tucked tails and blocked Jamie's mug rug
32. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Mom's Xmas eve
33. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri's Xmas eve
34. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for aunt M
35. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for cousin H
36. crocheted lavender dish rag for Carri's Xmas eve
37. crocheted nylon cup cozy for L's Xmas
38. crocheted bookmark for Carri from Bernet size 5 polyester thread she gave me for Xmas eve
39. designed and created a wrap-around bookmark for Carri out of a previously crocheted band
40. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
41. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
42. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
43. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
44. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
45. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
46. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
47. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
48. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
49. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for Carri
50. repaired red square on Mom's wool granny afghan--made for her parents when she was a teenager
51. crocheted variegated filet square with the new Bernet size 5 for tray pad for Mom (may end up as dish rag for Carri if i can't get it to lay flat)
52. sewed six butterfly sequins and band of pink metalic thread on ribbon hanger for Be Still and Know picture for Jamie's Xmas
53. crocheted snowflake with size 30 cotton
54. tucked tails, blocked and dressed bookmark for myself--sampler of the baby afghan i made for my grand-nephew three years ago
55. Fixed a frayed cord belt for Carri
56. created a bracelet for mom out of a length of braid made by her grand-daughter years ago
57. constructed Sara's crafter's tote from two panels and mobius strip by securing edges with twist ties, clips and string.  Discovered significant design flaws.  worked them out (I hope) bought materials for fix,  mapped fixes on graph paper


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Serenity

Longview Dike
I took this picture when I went running on the dike last June.  I'm dreaming of running again.  Running was once one of my greatest joys.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Baby Steps - ROW80 Check-In

Baby Steps

May not look like much but right now baby steps are cause for celebration.

My Round 1 intentions: seek to regain my joy/Joy in writing and to prepare the soil for its blooming with these time investment goals:
  • Storydreaming 15min Daily (I never lost this one since instating it in my first round in 2012.  A ROW80 win!) 100%
  • Read/Study Craft 15min Daily 100% (reading blog posts on topic)
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily 0%
  • Personal Journaling 15min Daily 0%
  • Read Fiction 30min Daily 50%
  • Social network activities 30min Daily (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) 100% [writing this comment, posting to ROW80 fb and replying to comments there are among the activities I engaged in.]
It occurred to me that one of the reasons I'm having trouble engaging with my fiction writing is the level of drama in my own life right now and my difficulty in disengaging from it.  Not sure what, if anything, can be done about that.  Apparently the lifequake of January 2013 is not done rocking my world and crashing my life into rubble.   Maybe I'd do better with poems right now.


Friday, January 09, 2015

Friday Forays in Fiction: Writer Tics

As part of the prep for my NaNo novel last September, I started streaming Star Trek episodes on Netflix and Amazon.  I started with Enterprise as I wanted to watch in the order of the story's timeline.  I'm now in the last half of the final season of Voyager.

The point was to prime my consciousness with as much of the info as possible as well as with the immediacy of immersion so that I could begin to think with my character's mind.  She was a dedicated obsessive fan(atical), teen who know all the episodes of all the series, including the animated, as well as all the movies by heart.  Even some of the novels.  She was a walking encyclopedia of Star Trek trivia, hung out in online fan forums, played Star Trek RPG, wrote fan-fic and wore costumes she made to school.

I intended to make this post mostly about that and about the experience of rewatching all of those episodes while writing a character who was an over-the-top exaggeration of me as a teen.

Except that all I had was the three seasons of the original Star Trek reruns at the whim of syndication and a mom who thot ST was sacrilegious , a mail-order fan-club offering only a few black and white autographed photos with one way, one time communication for $$ and the James Blish short stories based on the episodes.  While Nova Jayne Travers can stream at her whim all 5 series (or 6 counting the animated one) and a dozen movies, the World Wide Web, conventions, comic books, RPG games, interactive fan-fic, and fanclubs with video chat, and social media where actors, writers, directors, and producers actually interact with the fans.

Because I'd set out to watch with an eye to the stories' influence on the pyche of a young girl, I paid close attention (for the first time oddly) to all of the female characters throughout.

I planed to go into that here a bit too so I headed over to YouTube to look for some clips that showcased the women but I ran into this one instead and decided to save all of that serious sociological contemplation for a later post when there are more light bulbs on in my brain and instead to pose some questions:

  1. Do you have any writer tics with the potential to annoy your readers?
  2. Could you trust yourself to spot them?
  3. Do you ever spot them in other author's works?
  4. If so, is your annoyance ever enough to spoil the story?
  5. Enough to make you give up on the story? On the author?
My answers:
  1. I'm not sure.  I'll have to keep an eye and ear out when I start rereading my stuff again.  Tho it has been pointed out to me by more than one reader that I overuse punctuation which I suppose would qualify as a tic.
  2. Not with confidence.
  3. Yes
  4. Sometimes
  5. Not so far.  That I'm aware of.  At least not with stories and authors that have won my heart.  But it is possible it played a role in stories or authors I gave up on early.  I will have to start paying attention to what turns me away from them from now on and not always assume it is my own inadequacies as a reader when I can't finish a story or when I turn away from a second helping of a new author.

    I know I would never give up on Star Trek.  Though I now wish I'd watched the final 12 episodes of Voyager before encountering this vid.  It is occasionally breaking me out of the dreamstate stories put me into.  A couple of times I had to pause until I could get a grip.  That's probably because by the midpoint of this vid I could not keep from snorting and giggling and seeing the clips in situ only an hour or two later triggered the same reaction.  I'm hoping that a good night's sleep will fix that.

But going forward I will never, ever, ever be able to use the phrase, some kind of or any of its variations or permutations in my writing or conversation with a straight face.

Not sure that I ever did anyway because my high school typing teacher had a fanatical distaste of the phrase kind of and did a pretty good job of breaking us of it use.


Thursday, January 08, 2015

Library Lament

The last of the library books I checked out in late October were due yesterday.  I'm spending my last evening with them.  Not sure what difference a few more hours makes stacked up against the nine weeks I've had them but it's one of my little rituals.

The lament the title refers to is for the $27.25 in fines I accrued for this batch of 16 books.  The second time they were due I spaced it for a week.  $.25 per day per item adds up fast.

This is the first time I've ever racked up that big of a fine in all the years I've had a card.  I'm so chagrined.

Was it a measure of the bad place I was in this fall/winter?  Or just of the crazy week following the end of NaNo when I was switching mental gears from NaNo to the Xmas crochet projects?

At least it wasn't my sister's card which I had been using since I arrived in January 2013.  But it was a sad way to inaugurate the first use of my latest Longview Library card.

I finally acceded to the need for having my own card.  I had balked for over 18 months seeing it as symbolic of accepting Longview as my current home and not just the place I am visiting for a time.  But by mid October I knew it would be at least another 3 or 4 months before I could hope for a return to the Rogue Valley and to a new home with Ed.

Tuesday marked the two year anniversary of my arrival for Mom's birthday party and that six week visit that became this Longview limbo.

The Longview Library was my first library and I can still remember my first card. A stiff paper rectangle with round corners and a small metal tab attached to the top left corner.  1962 or 3 I think I was 5.


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Inspiring Joy - ROW80 GOALS Round 1 2015

Inspiring Joy
The box is the second one I got for myself on Saturday.
The peacock watercolor was done by my mom when in college.

Last year I lost my joy.  Double entendre fully intended for it was both my happiness and my self that eluded me.

The cause seems irrelevant at this point.  Whether it was the first anniversary of the last hug goodbye Ed and I exchanged the previous May 11: the illness and death of our furbaby, Merlin in late spring; the ongoing stresses of the January 2013 lifequake aftershocks; the loss of my counselor in September; the disappoint as realization sank in that my husband and I would be spending second holiday season apart--missing both our birthdays, our anniversary, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years; or it was merely the latest wave front of the mood disorder I've weathered with various levels of gracelessness since my tween years--it hardly seems to matter.  At this point it is just a given.

Two incidents turned a nasty, blustering situation into a perfect storm: the one I related in my Round 3 wrap-up last September and the intake appointment with the mental health clinic at which a potential bi-polar diagnosis was revisited just a year after my med nurse at the family clinic had ruled it out, taking my hope that continuing the campaign of  healthy choices of the last two years would lead to my ultimate goal of getting off all the meds.

At some point writing stopped invoking passion and bliss and became duty, lists, goals, charts, measures, chores.  I found myself spending more time with the activities of keeping track and analyzing and writing posts about it than actually writing the creative works.

I can't go back to that.  Which creates a conundrum: How do I participate in ROW80 without getting lost in those minutia when the very purpose is to set measurable goals?

This is why I unintentionally dropped out for round four: I couldn't solve it.  Thus I couldn't write my intentions post.  There was also an element of not wanting to set expectations in order to protect myself from the inevitable failure.
I was drowning in failure already.

But I miss the community--the encouragement, the sense of belonging, the sharing, the inspiration.

Tho I stopped blogging,  I didn't stop writing altogether until after NaNo.  I completed my 11th NaNo but for the first time I didn't enjoy it.

On January 1st I joined One Word 365 choosing the word 'joy' as my focus for 2015.  This is a new social network for those seeking an alternative to New Year's resolutions.  The idea is to focus on one word that sets a theme for your year, looking for ways to meaningfully incorporate it into every day.  Nearly every post this week has given a nod to 'joy'.

In the spirit of One Word 365 I'm making regaining the joy writing has nearly always held for me my ultimate goal for ROW80 2015.  Tho one might say that is measurable in the sense that you either have it or you don't it isn't really in the spirit of a ROW80 goal since it doesn't entail actionable tasks.

So let me put it this way: I'm aiming for a return of the joy of writing.  At the end of each round and the end of the year I'll be judging success by the level of its presence instead of word-count.  The actionable tasks that I believe will prepare the soil for the blooming of joy/Joy are as before all time investment:

  • Storydreaming 15min Daily (I never lost this one since instating it in my first round in 2012.  A ROW80 win!)
  • Read/Study Craft 15min Daily
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily
  • Personal Journaling 15min Daily
  • Read Fiction 30min Daily
  • Social network activities 30min Daily (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc)
That last was one of the first things I let fall by the way when the lifequake overwhelmed me in early 2013 and I now suspect it played a part in losing the joy associated with blogging and being a part of NaNo, JuNoWriMo, ROW80, IMWAYR? and other networks and support groups.  I sank into isolation and took more than I gave. 

I'm feeling quite emotionally fragile this week so I'm not going to set any expectations regarding creative writing files--fiction, poetry, essay--yet.  I'm hoping to be able to revise for that before the end of this round.

I fully intend (and am even looking forward to) returning to work on the structural rewrite of Blow Me a Candy Kiss but it would be setting myself up for failure to make a specific commitment at this time.  Sometime in the next two weeks I will make a commitment for the following week to open the file and reread the story and familiarize myself with what I was doing with it before I set it aside for NaNo. 


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Yarn Gluttony

This is what I brought home...

This was what I went after.
 Saturday was almost like a birthday for me too as after Mom's party, my sister dropped me off at Michael's to take advantage of the last day of their 40-55% off yarn sale.  I was especially looking for another one or two of the Vanna White Glamour Sapphire Blue with metalic thread to go with the one I bought over two years ago.

I didn't have a plan for it when I bought it.  I just wanted it.  It's one of my colors.  It was a rare instance of buying something with intent to make something for myself.

But with only one skein I didn't have many options.  A drawstring bag? A hat? A scarf? I realized recently that what I really wanted was a hat and scarf set.

I didn't know if they were still selling that particular yarn as the last time I looked was over a year ago.  But when I saw that the Vanna's Choice yarn was featured in the sale ad I decided to go look.

Michael's was also having a sale on decorative boxes and I picked up four.  Two for gifts, two for me.  Two of them are featured in the above photos.

Peacock and Butterflies Faux Book Box
 This one was for me.  I collect both butterflies and peacocks.  And blues!!   And a faux book!!!  It was calling my name.

Large Flower Box
I had the clerk put the yarn inside this box to make one less bag to carry and it's still in there until I find it a new home.  I plan to turn this box into a lapdesk and greeting card file for my Mom who's passion is to send cards to everyone on every conceivable occasion--Thank You, Sympathy, Birthday, Get Well, Thinking of You, Welcome Baby, Congratulations, Wedding, Graduation...

She currently has the card boxes in towering piles around her recliner and uses a clipboard on her lap.  Tho usually she is trying to hold the clipboard up closer to her face with one hand.  I've been thinking about this concept for over a year.


Monday, January 05, 2015

Gullet Goodness


My nephew has one of these and my sister has the original Magic Bullet.  I told my sister over a year ago to watch for a good price for me on either of them.  She found one today.

Eating healthy is going to be so much easier on the teeth!


Sunday, January 04, 2015

Sunday Serenity

Happy 83rd Mom
We held Mom's birthday party at the Electric Bean in Longview, Washington yesterday.  I took a slew of pictures and could not narrow down to reasonable number for a blog post so I decided to try my hand at making a slideshow movie.  First time.

It took several hours. Between that and the couple hours I spent contending with my cell phone for custody of the pictures (the phone crashed minutes after I got the last picture saved to G-drive) I was unable to get this prepped for posting until the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

In the cover shot she is holding the large print devotional, Jesus Calling, from my sister. next she opens fleece pjs also from my sister.  Earlier in the vid she is opening my gifts in the little white bag with blue tissue--a crocheted flower barrette, a crocheted bow barrette, a crocheted bracelet featuring a vintage button from Mom's collection which I confiscated several years ago, and a blue flower bead on a crocheted ribbon with another vintage button for the fastener.

Maurine Coon
Mother of three, Grandmother of five
Her children (and grandchildren)
rise up and call her blessed.


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