Thursday, July 30, 2020

According to the Measure of Thy Desire -- ROW80/Camp NaNo

dat is a big bad wuntz


In yesterday's post I shared a classic poem that had given me the insight that defeat is not always, if ever, something to be despondent over or even unwelcome because there is always a lesson to be learned from it and sometimes that lesson may be trying to show you that you are striving for the wrong thing. 

In the last check-in I'd settled on the insight that maybe all that unraveling needed by my WIPs was showing me that loving the process was just as important if not more so than the finished product.  Combining those two insights led me to remember how much I love wordplay of all kinds and how it would often prime the pump and thinking along those lines I remembered how much I used to love to make LOLcats; especially those that touched on the themes of reading and writing and fiber art which I used to illustrate my posts with.  I started avoiding the site where i made them after loosing our Merlin

So I headed over to explore thinking I might try to create a new one for this post but then I found this one in the collection of my past efforts whose theme resonated with the themes from the last several posts so well I didn't think I could do any better in the time I have tonight. 

Tying it all together: Defeats must not defeat you nor be feared or perceived as punishment as often they are reminders to reassess our expectations in light of a change in our resources maybe with an eye to adjust our goals, motives and investment. 

But sometimes it can be a matter of changing how we name all of these elements which is related to how we perceive them.  Sometimes the goals we delineate are not in sync with our actual desire. 

Desire will always be boss even when it is not a conscious desire.  Which could explain some of those defeats as desire takes off on tangents committing sabotage of well laid plans.  If that desire is of the ego then it is not likely to serve either the Work or the Self and the Self must assert its ownership of Desire in full consciousness and rename the goals in that light.  Naming is the power of ownership as every toddler learns.

I haven't quite worked it all out yet how all this relates to my own dilemma but I have an inkling that it has to do with the subtitle of my blog: Story is my joy.

The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life


Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020

2020 Round 3 ROW80 and July Camp NaNo goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Satisfactory effort
Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- Satisfactory effort
Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily Minimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream. -- Unsatisfactory
Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (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) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  --  Satisfactory effort
30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  Satisfactory
* To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged. --   Satisfactory

Personal Journaling 45 min or 1000 words whichever come first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.  --  Unsatisfactory




For an explanation and links to backstory see the ROW80/Camp NaNo Goals post.

Read more...

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Kahil Gibran: Embracing Defeat as the Source of Wisdom



Kahil Gibran's poem Defeat gives me a new perspective on making mistakes, not measuring up, not meeting expectations: Defeat is our teacher, our companion on our path who reminds us the path is the point not the destination which may on any given day prove to be nowhere we want to be anyway.

Defeat can remind us that some destinations are not what they seem when we fix on them, that if we persist in directing all our efforts toward them they will prove to be desolate or worse, desolating of our souls: Perfection, fame, praise, awards, power, recognition, riches, to name a few, are glittering prizes with empty or decaying centers if pursued and grasped for themselves.  If you make them the point the path itself is pointless.

This has reminded me that the theme of my storyworld --the fruits of the Spirit--is supposed to be the point of the whole project.  The vision was to have these fruits embodied in the characters.  But somehow I've lost, or in some cases, never gained, the ability to embody them in my own life.  I forgot to make Spirit my own destination.  With that dereliction I've turned my project into an empty exercise of ego.  No wonder the words have wearied of me.

Love, joy, peace, hope, faith, mercy, patience, justice, grace to name just a few of these blessings of Spirit must grow in the compost of defeat as the ego has no need for them.

Read more...

Monday, July 27, 2020

Unraveling - ROW80/Camp NaNo


This is my first attempt at making a six foot scarf.  My specialty over the last several years has been skinny scarves that hang no further than the collar bone and won't wrap around.  They are decorative rather than useful.  This one is also nearly a foot wide. I want it long enough to wrap around more than once or alternatively to fold it in half and wrap it around looping the ends through the fold. I'm crocheting with lace yarn that has a thread of tinsel in it, using a 2.5mm hook. 

I stopped to take this picture after I'd unraveled several of the 40 some rows that needed to come out to reach that red stitch saver that marks the first of the mistakes that created unintentional decreases that had narrowed the width by nearly an inch (4 meshes) by the time I realized it.  This is the second time since beginning the scarf three weeks ago that I've had to take out significant parts of it.  The first time I'd reached nearly two feet in length and had to take it back to two inches.  This time I had to take out about eight to ten inches after nearly reaching the halfway point of three feet.

The weird lighting is due to the lightbox it is laying on which I like to have under my work as I crochet to help me see the silhouette of the stitches.  It was probably because I kept moving away from the lightbox so I could more easily glance up now and then at the video playing to my right that set me up for skipping stitches.

Visible in the light on the right edge is a long loose chain which my preferred method for frogging.  I used a 9mm hook to work it and let it fall into the bag on top of the skein as it lengthens.  I find that working off this chain allows for more control of the tension as there is no tugging on a thread wrapped around the outside of a skein.

Unraveling seems to be the theme of my life. Not just one area of it either but nearly every aspect of it.  It feels like it is all coming unraveled or more precisely I'm being faced with having to unravel something about my life or self every time I turn around. 

When I gave up on my marriage two months ago and wrote the poem Who Am I Without You, I had no idea how that same sentiment was going to echo across several other aspects of my life within weeks:  Who am I without my Mom?  Who am I without my vision?  Who am I without the time to devote to the things that make me who I am?  Who am I when words fail me?  Who am I when all the mirrors in my life that showed me myself are missing or broken?

Sigh

I finally got the aps open involved with scavenging my creative writing files for 'good enough to print' words. One of my ROW80 goals.   I'm focusing first on my Fruits of the Spirit storyworld files as that accounts for most of my ROW80 and Wrimo novel projects going back to 2004.  This was a project I began several years ago as an attempt to figure out once and for all if I have a single epic multi-generational novel or a series or a storyworld proliferating stand alone stories with common characters.

As I was perusing the roster of characters I realized one of my major POV characters from one of the earliest stories (the first version was begun in the 1970s when I was in ninth grade) has a name that may no longer serve the purpose I intended because of current events.  I may have to find another name that conjures up the concept of caring, loving and kind because Karyn no longer does and who knows how long that meme is going to reign.

This is making me feel like my storyworld itself is unraveling.  Naming my characters is not a casual thing.  Either the etymology of the name itself or meanings conjured up by the sounding out of the name must relate to the theme the character's arc is playing out.  So I just spent two hours I don't really have on Think Baby Names and none of the alternatives are doing it for me.  Who is my character without her name?

Time to put on my thinking cap.

Cloche Hat

It took me 2.5 days to crochet the cloche hat before starting the matching scarf with the same skein.  This gave me hope that I could do the scarf in a week.  That is until Mom's stroke changed all such calculations.  Even then I was sure I'd be done before the end of the month.  Not likely now.  But I'm learning to love the process.  And that seems to be the attitude I need to cultivate about all my WIP including my Self.


The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life


Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020

2020 Round 3 ROW80 and July Camp NaNo goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Satisfactory effort
Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- Satisfactory effort
Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily Minimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream. -- Unsatisfactory
Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (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) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  --  Satisfactory effort
30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  Satisfactory
* To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged. --   Satisfactory

Personal Journaling 45 min or 1000 words whichever come first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.  --  Unsatisfactory




For an explanation and links to backstory see the ROW80/Camp NaNo Goals post.

Read more...

Thursday, July 23, 2020

I Want to be a Woman of Courage Using My Words Like This -- ROW80/CampNaNo



The power I felt coursing through me as I listened to Congresswoman AOC is what I had been hoping to find in myself via my writing this round of ROW80 and July Camp NaNo.  This is why I chose journaling and editing my poetry portfolio as my project for these summer months and thus my goals for the writing challenges.  

Instead I find myself woefully lacking in courage, my jaws locked and my throat spasming as I choke on the words I won't let myself speak or write. I find that a good portion of the fear blocking my words is fear of being found out by those in my life with similar attitudes toward women as that of Congressman Yoho whose verbal abuse of AOC was caught on camera on the grounds of the congressional buildings and whose later inadequate and insincere apology on the floor of Congress sparked this retort by AOC.  

There are many still in my life from the 'church' I was raised in whose relationships I don't want to loose but whose respect I can only keep if I keep quiet about how far my personal philosophy has deviated from that I was raised in.  Many would be shocked to learn that I consider AOC my heroine, that I find the platforms of feminism and progressivism completely compatible with my concept of Jesus and that if not for my disabilities I would be out on the streets with the protesters demanding dignity and justice for all.

Oh, none of those I'm thinking of would speak to me with the crass words and obnoxious tone that Congressman Yoho spoke to Congresswoman AOC but they would ground their exception to my beliefs in the same doctrine and in the name of the same God and express their 'disappointment' in me and they would pray for me that God would show me the error of my ways and thoughts and they would 'share' their concerns for me among each other via conversations, phone calls, prayer chains, text messages and emails.  When I've found myself the focus of this form of 'love' bullying in the past I have felt like I was smothered in marshmallow cream and as unable to resist as I would have been if subjected to a choke-hold or the weight of a body kneeling on my throat.  

Thought police come in many forms and some of them apparently live inside you.

It has been less than two months since I ended my marriage of four decades because it was no longer physically or emotionally safe for me to remain in that relationship and now I'm faced with the prospect of risking nearly every other significant relationship in my life or voluntarily smothering my own soul.  

No wonder my words are rotting in my craw.

I want to be a woman of courage using my words with power and conviction like AOC.

Or so I say.

Why can't I follow thru?



The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life


Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020

2020 Round 3 ROW80 and July Camp NaNo goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Satisfactory effort
* Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- Satisfactory effort
* Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily Minimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream. -- Unsatisfactory
* Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
* Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
* Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (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) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  --  Satisfactory effort
* 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  Unsatisfactory
* To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged. --   Satisfactory

* Personal Journaling 45 min or 1000 words whichever come first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.  --  Unsatisfactory




For an explanation and links to backstory see the ROW80/Camp NaNo Goals post.

Read more...

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday Serenity -- Writing Matters -- ROW80/CampNaNo

Abbie Emmons of Writers Life Wednesday.
One of the ways I fulfill my Read/Study Craft goal.
These short vids are so upbeat and info rich.
They are a joy to watch.

It's a good thing ROW80 is about flexibility as much as it is about accountability and effort as much as it is about metrics.  And as its motto says it's the writing challenge that knows you have a life.  If not for all of that I might be getting fixated on all the ways I'm not measuring up to my goals and putting my focus on punishing myself rather than on acknowledging the successes and accepting as legitimate the need to adjust to real life events that were not put into the original calculations when I wrote my goal post.  I was unaware for most of a week but the day I was writing m goal post was the day Mom had her stroke.  The first check-in Wednesday was the first time they took her to ER when she was told it wasn't a stroke but then last weekend she was back at ER and then checked into the hospital where she stayed until Friday afternoon.  It was a stroke and everything is going to change for her and those of us caring for her going forward.  My calculations for my goals no longer apply to my current situation but that situation is still in such flux that I can't really calculate new metrics that I can be sure of being in control of.  So for the time being I'm going to leave them as written and consider them strong aspirations that I will work towards as we figure out our new roles and responsibilities with Mom going forward.  Some things might improve for her over time and if so I may still have reachable goals here well before the end of the round.

Mom can not currently get herself in and out of beds and chairs nor walk unaided even with walkers.  She can not dress or undress herself.  She can't feed herself with utensils.  She takes much longer to get a thought expressed. 

So far my new duties include feeding Mom since that is a sit down job and doesn't put me at any extra risk due to the obstacle course the front rooms have become after moving stuff around to make room for the walker and the transport chair. 

I suppose I could write a whole sitcom episode featuring the follies involved in the blind feeding the blind.  The first couple meals were spooned food and I had little trouble getting comfortable with it but the first time we added fork food to her meal I almost balked.  With no peripheral vision and one eye of little use at all I also have no depth perception and Mom is worse with both eyes than my worst eye.  I was quite intimidated by the idea of pointing a fork at Mom's face and pushing it at the general vicinity of her mouth.  But we figured it out.

She keeps biting her own lips and I told her to tell her teeth to watch where they are going.  She laughed and had trouble stopping for the next bite.  So her mind is still quite capable of enjoying a pun.

It has been my job for years to fix lunch everyday Mom is home and that won't change.  It has also been my job to fix dinner two to three times a week and those duties will likely continue. The new time consuming task is in feeding her.  I used to crochet or read or listen to talking books or pod casts while she ate.  I can still listen to audio.  Maybe.  I can also imagine how that might not work.  You know, my focus issues.

The other big difference in my new role that impacts my writing goals is the need to be alert for a call to drop everything to come help my sister with one version of transport or transferring or another.  She occasionally needs me to spot from behind when she needs to be in front, from the left when she needs to be to the right or from the front when she needs to be in back of Mom or the chair.  Primarily it is about coming when called to set the brake on the transfer chair once they have the chair in position and to unlock the brake once they have mom seated in it again.  This is because the paths and doorways are too narrow to allow anything but the chair and Carri needs to be on the same side of the chair as Mom to help her in and out.  The brakes are in the back.

The way this impacts my writing goals is due to the way my mind refuses to focus if there is the slightest anticipation of interruption.  And the way I tend to never get back to a piece I was writing when I got interrupted.  I am trying to decide if the best way to go forward is to identify a time slot where interruptions are very unlikely or to figure out a way to fix the focus issues or the 'return to task' issues.  Or if not 'fix' them to learn to write anyway accepting that interruptions are inevitable and even incomplete sentences (thoughts) are better than none at all.

Time slots where interruptions are least likely are the hours Mom is in bed approximately 9pm to 9am but my own 7.5hrs needs to be in that same slot.  Which means I either write after she is in bed, as I'm doing for this post, or make sure I'm ready for lights out at the same time as she is and plan to write for an hour or two before 9am when my sister begins the getting up routine for Mom.  I'll be feeling my way around these conundrums this coming week looking for insight.  I know writing itself will help with that very thing. 

The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life


Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020

2020 Round 3 ROW80 and July Camp NaNo goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Unsatisfactory
* Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- Satisfactory effort
* Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily Minimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream. -- Unsatisfactory
* Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
* Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
* Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (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) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  --  Above and beyond
* 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  Unsatisfactory
* To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged. --   Satisfactory

* Personal Journaling 45 min or 1000 words whichever come first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.  --  Unsatisfactory


The reason sleep got unsatisfactory is because I fudged it during the last several days before Mom's return in my efforts to get the sort project cleared off her bed and then get my other household chores done before her return as well.  I ended up not getting to sleep Thursday night until well have the windows were full of grey dawn light and I still got up at 8 because the timing of Mom's discharge was not known and I needed to be available to receive messages and I still had chores to do including a shower/shampoo.  So I made sure to be ready for lights out along with Mom Friday night and slept most of the same twelve hours she did.

Storydreaming itself is easy.  Its the note-taking part that I keep slacking on.  I fall into storydreaming easily while crocheting unless I'm listening to an audio of some sort.  I fall into storydreaming my storyworld as I'm falling asleep but there is no note-taking nor should there be if I intend to sleep!

The file scavenger hunt and the poem collecting project got interrupted late last week when my computer did a restart and closed all the aps.  I didn't lose anything it is just that having tabs and aps open is one version of my to-do list and I'm more likely to work on a project if all the tools are at my fingertips.  I was so busy with the preparations for Mom's return I didn't have the mental bandwidth to get those projects set back up--open aps, tabs, windows and files and size and position windows just so.  Some of the aps would open back up the way they were when closed but not when the computer shuts them down for restarts.

I really can't conclude anything other than pure procrastination regarding the journal writing that is suppose to be the core of Round 3 goals.  I was soooo committed to that goal when I set it two weeks ago.  All the other goals are designed to foster and found that goal.  I can still remember how positively I felt about it and how motivated I was to get started the day I wrote and posted my goals post.


For an explanation and links to backstory see the ROW80/Camp NaNo Goals post.

Read more...

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

ROW80 - Life Happens

Mom with her friend/caregiver wearing the crocheted tunics I made them

A lot of mental bandwidth as well as time messaging back and forth with family has been commandeered by the ongoing events around Mom's stroke.  She is still in the hospital for at least another day but they are already warning us that the insurance could come back with denial of further hospital stay any day.  They still haven't decided whether they are going to send her to in-patient rehab before sending her home.  They say she isn't exhibiting enough stamina for it.  But as of yesterday she still needed two people to assist her in transferring in and out of bed and chairs.  I can't imagine how that is going to work at home going forward. But the other option is worse in the new reality.  If she has to go to another living situation the rules for most of them don't allow visitors.  Please pray for her and our family.

Meanwhile, to help me keep my mind from zooming race-track circles I continued the sort project.  This is also something I could be doing to contribute to the new reality as my stuff has been overrunning Mom's room.

So it is to some extent understandable that I haven't met all of my writing goals this week.  But on the other hand, journaling is something that would help this situation and yet I've been avoiding it.  I did manage to get the poem collection project started.  And I did open the journal file today.  Since one of my issues is initiating, I need to give myself some points for both of those things but there is no way I can call it satisfactory.  At least I'm not entertaining ideas of giving up 'because I've already failed' as I once would have.


The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life


Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020

2020 Round 3 ROW80 and July Camp NaNo goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Unsatisfactory
* Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- Satisfactory effort
* Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily MInimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream. -- Unsatisfactory
* Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
* Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
* Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (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) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  --  Above and beyond
* 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  Unsatisfactory
* To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged. --   Satisfactory

* Personal Journaling 45 min or 1000 words whichever come first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.  --  Unsatisfactory


Sorta Sorted

This is the sort project on Mom's bed as of Sunday.  I don't want to take time to take, edit and upload a pic of what it looks like today but it is now a full layer deeper and part of a third as I left the nine 11 gallon Ziploc zipper bags in place and spread more boxes and bags over them to sort.  It was easier on my back to have the added height.  Since Sunday I've sorted through at least another dozen boxes and bags, eliminating at least 50% of their volume.  I have several more empty boxes and bags to show for it.

I'm getting better and better at letting go.  The sort project has become my therapy as it is helping me sort my mental and emotional stuff as I sort my physical objects.  And it is giving me something to OCD on to replace the tendency to OCD on Ed.  I've nearly broken the habit of keeping a running narrative in my head of all the things I plan to share with him in our next chat.  I've nearly reached peace with the understanding there will be no more 'chats' no more casual sharing of thoughts and emotions, pitfalls and triumphs.  Future communication will be utilitarian for the purpose of separating our respective belongings and proceeding with the legal divorce.

For an explanation and links to backstory see the ROW80/Camp NaNo Goals post.

Read more...

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday Serenity - Accomplished

Smiley Turtle
This is the crocheted turtle I made for my sister's birthday.  It was begun for Christmas.  I had the two African Flower motifs and the head crocheted by early December but then stopped work on it to focus on a large sweater I was making for her.  Then I could't finish the sweater because I ran out of yarn and the colorway was out of stock for months. I also had a scarf in the works at Christmas and thought it was done all but the finishing touches but when I picked it up earlier this week I discovered I'd accidentally decreased a whole mesh section half way through and had to undo and redo that half.  Now I'm having trouble with getting the fringe even because of my visual issues and I may have to go ahead and give it to her with ragged looking fringe so she can trim it even herself.
Swimming Turtle


That left me with the turtle as the only item far enough along with hope of finishing in time.  I had been estimating a solid four to six hour day.  It took three six to eight hour days.  It was all the fiddly tasks needing 4X reading glasses and the frequent breaks due to eye strain.

This was made with size 10 cotton crochet thread with five colors counting the green for the head and extremities.  I'd done the motifs in four colors so that left eight tails each needing tucking and then the two motifs needed sewing together and stuffed and the opening for the stuffing sewed.  Then the head stuffed and sewn on.  Then the tail and feet each crocheted, stuffed and sewn on and each of them took multiple tries as I kept loosing count and having to take it out to the end of row 1.  Then the button eyes needed to be sewn on and then the smile.  And more tails to tuck!  My least favorite task in crochet.  After I got the smile on I discovered I'd put it on what was supposed to be the top of his head.  Sigh.  No way was I going to take it out and do it over.  Not at 2AM.

To give you an idea how small he is, his head is about the size of my thumb.

Hat Tip to Jayda In Stitches for the pattern and tutorial.  Tho she did hers with size 4 worsted yarn.
Log Cabin Afghan
The Log Cabin Afghan I made for my nephew whose birthday was Monday.  The colors are Burgundy, Forest Green and White in Caron Simply Soft.  Below is a close up of the braided loop border that I 'invented'.  I put that in quotes because I don't know for sure it's not in anybody else's repertoire or pattern books it's just something I came up with back when I was still doing only bookmarks.  I do it with two rows of six chain loops staggered around the edge with the single crochet's of the second color done in the blank stitches between the ends of the first color.  Then I take a very large hook (K or bigger) and pull the second loop through the first and the third through the second and so on around.

For the last several rows and the edging I had to sit on my bed to work as the weight of it was pulling it off my lap or just messing with my tension.

But at least I finished this one ahead of schedule--in the wee hours of the 1st.  Leaving what I thought was plenty of time to finish the three items for my sister's birthday yesterday.  But between the sort project, Mom's excursions to ER, eye fatigue and my typical miscalculation of how long a task is likely to take, I ended up with only one finished tho a second one is very close.
Braided Loops Edging
So these birthday projects are part of the explanation for why I had such a poor showing on my ROW80 and Camp NaNo goals but only part.  There was also the major sort project I started Friday the 3rd the day Mom left to spend ten days at my brother's. That gave me the chance to spread my sort project out on her bed without needing to have it put away by Sunday afternoon.  I worked hard on it right through Tuesday. See bottom section for pic and details.

hen Wednesday I had the restart issue discussed in that ROW80 check-in and added to that was the news Mom was exhibiting signs of a stroke and they were taking her to the ER. We were relieved when they did not find evidence of a fresh stroke only the damage from the 2008 stroke. Then Thursday I started work on the scarf for my sister, discovered the issues with it got to the point where I gave up fussing with the fringe and picked up the turtle kit.  That became my near total focus for two full days and I was just getting my head back into it Saturday afternoon when news came that my brother was returning to the ER with Mom as her condition was worsening.  She was unable to get out of bed without help that morning.

So my attention was split between the turtle project and messaging back and forth with my sister who was at the beach with girlfriends and who was messaging and phoning back and forth with our brother all afternoon and into the late evening when they decided to keep Mom overnight for an MRI as the CAT scan was still showing no evidence of a stroke but the symptoms were still screaming STROKE.  So the Doc was thinking the new damage might be masked by the old damage and an MRI might give them a better picture.  So they checked her in that evening and actually did the MRI before bedtime and by 9pm I knew there would be no further messages before morning so I could focus on the turtle again.  I finished it at 2AM.  The second night in a row that I fudged my new bedtime by several hours.  I do not fudge the wake up tho as it is important not to let the wake up time creep or the bedtime cannot reestablish itself and the endless feedback loop will bring all my recent health and well being accomplishments crashing back down around my head.

I was already noticing the evidence of sleep deprivation yesterday afternoon: rising anxiety, impulsiveness, poor judgement, memory deficit, focus deficit, mood dives, impatience, scattered thoughts, silly mistakes.  So I'm determined to get myself in bed by sundown even though I won't get to address any of the writing goals today.  Efforts would be sub par anyway.  I may get to do some of the read/study goals if I lay down soon enough.

Tho I suppose I could count this post as it is enough like the journaling concept to make no difference.

At least I won't have to clear Mom's bed off as I had been anticipating all week. She was supposed to come home this evening according to the original plan before the ER visits.  But that is a blessing I could do without.  Late this afternoon the doctor confirmed she has had another stroke in the same location as before and they are going to keep her for a couple more days and then probably rehab.  If they are unable to help her regain what she has lost this time everything is going to change here and I'll probably have to re-calibrate my goals.  She is currently unable to get herself out of bed or dress herself.  And it takes her two minutes to answer the question 'Are you too warm'  with 'I - I - I - I --- think --- so.


The writing challenge that
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Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020

2020 Round 3 ROW80 and July Camp NaNo goals check-in:


Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  Unsatisfactory
* Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- Satisfactory effort
* Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily MInimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream. -- Unsatisfactory
* Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
* Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average --  Above and beyond
* Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (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) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  --  Above and beyond
* 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  Unsatisfactory
* To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged. --   Unsatisfactory

* Personal Journaling 45 min or 1000 words whichever come first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.  --  Unsatisfactory


Sorta Sorted

This is the sort project on Mom's bed as of this evening.  It represents huge progress since the 3rd but also since New Years.  This week I passed a major milestone in having sorted though every jumbled box, bag, drawer, cupboard, nook, cranny, closet in my areas of control in the upstairs rooms. Now, with similar and alike stuff all gathered into one place I can take those bags and boxes and do fine tune sorts of individual categories which will seldom require spreading out on Mom's bed for more than a few hours if at all.  The final step after individual categories are sorted is to calibrate the size of each group of items' home base and designate the location and any necessary container.

At that point a lot of the items I'm holding onto for now can also go away as they are either containers for sorting into and out of or prospective home containers for items or project kits.  Some of that is already happening as I progress.  Most of that pile of boxes seen in the right edge of that picture is already redundant.

I still need to do the same for the stuff in the garage and the stuff in the basement.  The garage will be easy as it is all stuff that was sorted and packed in preparation for the hoped-for return to the Rogue Valley to rejoin Ed which morphed into the hope to join him in his new apartment across the river but that's not going to happen and now I need to go through it all to separate His and Hers and repack.  The basement area was the sort project I abandoned when Ed moved up here in 2016 and I'd already removed to the garage most of the useful household items and what remained were items most see as garbage but I saw promise for upcycle craft projects. Or as tools for the sort project itself.  With the practice I've had at letting go of stuff these past few months that shouldn't take long to complete.

I'm getting better and better at letting go.  The sort project has become my therapy as it is helping me sort my mental and emotional stuff as I sort my physical objects.  And it is giving me something to OCD on to replace the tendency to OCD on Ed.  I've nearly broken the habit of keeping a running narrative in my head of all the things I plan to share with him in our next chat.  I've nearly reached peace with the understanding there will be no more 'chats' no more casual sharing of thoughts and emotions, pitfalls and triumphs.  Future communication will be utilitarian for the purpose of separating our respective belongings and proceeding with the legal divorce.

For an explanation and links to backstory see the ROW80/Camp NaNo Goals post.

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