New #ROW80 Round 4–time lost, time found?

“I think the thing to do is enjoy the ride while you’re on it.”~Johnny Depp, American actor

My ROW80-Round3 2015 was a bust.

I forgot about it. I lost my goals. I didn’t accomplish my goals in the timeframe I set. I failed one or two weeks in and no longer wanted to feel the fail, so I stopped. Now that posts for ROW80-Round4 2015 are now showing up in my blog feed reader, and I realize, what the *bleep* happened?

I write by hand, as you know from previous blog posts. My ROW80 goals were a to-do checklist on the computer, and that just did not work I guess.  I found my original post and noticed that: hey–I actually had accomplished a lot on that list

Big Goals:
Finish DadMemoir and get to editor
Crowdfund for Alaska DONE, but not successful
Pre-write Deadwood blogposts
Pre-write/catchup my blog posts
Finish posting AtoZ Challenge posts
Get email client service – do this in August. DONE, but need to setup
Update my website’s About Me
Update my website’s Writing
Update Amazon Author Pg.
Catchup email. DONE, kinda. It’s an ongoing challenge.
Social media DONE, kinda. I still ignore Facebook as much as I can.
WiiFit. DONE
Read/review books on goodreads and Amazon
Make time to journal. DONE
Glasses by Alaska. DONE–all 3 pairs, too!
Play games. DONE
Time with family. DONE, kinda.
Call relatives. DONE, a little bit.
Call friends
Scrapbook
Haircut and/or perm and/or coloring DONE.

That’s 10 out of 21. On third review, it’s not as much as I’d like, but 48% is okay. I know some of things in the list are currently in motion.

Now, however, my themes have changed as my outlook and approach to this blog is changing. I guess that’s part of the growth, but now it feels frustrating to restructure everything.

Maybe I need a smaller list, something more attainable. In Zentangle, we break the art down one line at a time, repeated over and over again. When that one tangle is complete, you start another one. As a CZT, I always teach the first tile with four tangles. If that’s all the time I have to teach, then my students leave with a little accomplishment that is really a big accomplishment.

Today, now, what is important for me to do? What’s most immediate? I guess the question is: what will move my writing forward?

Now that I’ve typed that last line in, those last two words comfort me and bring me some focus. *breathe*

ROUND 4: October 5 – December 24

I’m typing this list in a coffeeshop in Ann Arbor. I’ll revise it at home tonight when I can compare it to my recent to do list. It may change from this very moment, but here is my list, in no particular order:

[Now Complete as of This Posting, but Still No Particular Order]

1–EMAIL CLIENT:
Figure out how to use my MailChimp account. Do I need a new, different email address? Set up a button for email list on my blog. Explore if I can do this in the free version or if I need to get a paid site. If so, should I finally change to my “official” reserved site name? If so, can I direct all traffic to this blog site–I think there’s a way, but how complicated is it?

2–DAD’S MEMOIR:
Finish the long Scrivener tutorial. It’s very long–over one hour to carefully walk through the first section–and mentally exhausting, so I can only do this in chunks at the moment. Once I learn how to use it, enter my DadMemoir into it. Before doing that, remember to type in the current changes from Edit.7 document. Start fresh from that point.

3–CATCH UP OLD BLOG POSTS
Seriously, this is bad karma to have so much hanging over my head. It’s distracting and stressful, and it’s holding me back from moving forward. Get AtoZ Challenge blog posts done = that’s a first priority because it’s the evil dark cloud hanging over my head. (Note to self: re-think doing this again in the future) In addition, there are old Zentangle-Diva posts = what do I want to do with those? My old regular missed blog posts = I have no problem or guilt publishing them “late” because I want to keep my current schedule constant. I may revisit this when I see how many posts I have to do, but for now, I’m going with it. This will include posting things like ROW80 Roundups, Haiku Horizons and WeekendCoffeeShare moving forward, which gives me topics to write about.

4–SCHEDULE SOCIAL MEDIA TIME
In a time when other people are pulling away from the wasteland that is social media, I need to plan time and learn what works best for me. Instagram is easy, and I love that site. I normally post daily or twice a day, I like and comment on posts, but I need to determine a strategic plan for what I want to use this site for. That’s a low priority at the moment because I am using it and interacting now, but something I do want to think about. Facebook: ewwwwwwww…. I make no secret that I dislike the site and am there simply because everyone else is there. Plan what to post on my Facebook Author Page so it looks current and useful. Schedule time each day or two to catch up on all those notifications and messages and whatever else Facebook throws in my face. I don’t want them to pile up like they did last month; I think I had 89 notifications and 4 DMs. Okay–Facebook rant over, for now. Keeping current with Twitter–another format I love–and maybe that means replying to Tweets as they happen. That means keeping my smartphone at my side all day, but that may be what works best for me. If so, don’t look at those Tweets as a distraction, and accept that interrupting my flow to respond is okay to do.

5–NEW BLOGSITES AND FOLLOWERS AND WHATNOT
This has to be vague right now because I’ve met so many people through the #RQWN Twitterchat, from the NFPW conference, from Instagram and Twitter, and from wherever else. How do I organize all this? How do I show my friendliness to these folks? I have no idea, but something to think about.

6–UPDATE MY AUTHOR SITES
That means telling myself that playing with my blog site to make it current is not a frivolous waste of time. It’s fun, and it can be, and I can’t feel guilty about that. This includes the About Me, Zentangle, Writing sections. It’s all part of my writing strategy. I need to look professional, not sloppy. Update my Amazon Author Page.

7–WRITE BOOKS
I learned a lot from NFPW conference in Alaska from the presenters that a lot can be done in a short amount of time. While working on my memoir, I can write short stories like the ones I’ve already published. I need to, actually, so I have material to enter in writing contests next year. Maybe an anthology. Maybe a haiku chapbook.

8–SEEK OUT NEW IN-PRINT WRITING VENUES
With the closing of the magazine I write for, my columns poof away. When the magazine stops printing, I no longer have articles in print. I want to be published; I like seeing my name in print. I’m a good writer, some days a great writer. There are contacts from ago that I never followed up on. Find those names and business cards and emails and write back to them, again or for the first time.

9–PRINT OUT THIS LIST
‘Nuff said.

There are other things I feel pulling at me, like staying current with email, family, Goodreads and more, but my list above is already longer than I want. These other things may happen naturally as the ROW80 lists items become crossed off. Think: I’ll have time and flexibility to call family when I am not constantly thinking “I should be writing blog posts. Maybe you think it’s a twisted way to approach loved ones, but I can’t be a good friend or family member until I take care of myself. Will I regret any of those choices? No, I don’t believe in regret, but every failure brings a new focus.

I’m starting off with these 8 items–which still may be too ambitious–and see where this goes from here.

Do you think I can do it?

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Simple addictions: fun or scary?

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be: Be one.”~Marcus Aurelius, Roman soldier

What do you have a mild addiction to?

I’m reminded of Sheldon’s mom from the TV show The Big Bang Theory when I think that. According to Sheldon, his mother has “a mild Dr. Pepper addiction.” I smile when I think of that. I understand that. Not only do I like Dr. Pepper–the diet version–but it’s the simple things that define us.

I have a mild addiction to the phone app Swarm-formerly-known as-Foursquare. My Foursquare friends and my husband would argue that I have a more-than-mild addiction to the geotag game similar to the Facebook “where are you” status post feature. Swarm is a stand-alone app where you manually checkin to a place and let your Swarm-once-Foursquare friends where you are and an optional snippet of what you’re doing. This information goes no further than the app, unless you choose to share it on Facebook or Twitter. You earn badges by checking into certain categories of places, like coffee shops, wine bars and gyms–and you can earn Mayorships by checking into a place more than anyone else.

I fought the transformation when Foursquare split into two apps. But I was lonely. Without seeing where my friends were, I felt disconnected from the outside world and all the cool things people were doing. Weird, right? I gave up, gave in, and today I am so glad I did.

Swarm offers an in-app history of all the places you’ve checked into. It’s cool to see how often you’ve checked into, say, a hotel or restaurant, and the last time you were there. My car died in a shopping center parking lot, and everyone I spoke to told me it was the transmission. I remember going to a shop a year or so ago with my husband’s car. I had great customer service and wanted to return, but where? What was the name of that place? I didn’t remember. My husband didn’t remember. Swarm-Foursquare remembered. I saw my checkin from November 2013. I called the shop, took my car in, and today my baby is fixed with only an axel replacement. *Whew*

I have a mild addiction to the TV show Major Crimes. This show is a spin-off from TNT’s original drama The Closer. My husband said I liked that show because of the strong and obnoxious main female character. True; it was a rare show that featured a strong female in charge; in this case, in charge of a department of elite male detectives. I liked the crime drama, too. I recently discovered that The Closer was the first original programming created on cable networks. Impressive.

Major Crimes takes the female character formerly portrayed as the antagonist and puts her in control of that same department. It continues the series’ “8th” season with the same storyline and plot of solving crimes, but this time the stories are told through the eyes of all the characters. Where the detective guys were pawns in the background organization in The Closer, here they are all main characters. I like that POV variety, the surprise of whose story we the viewer will see this week. There’s drama, crime, a smidge of forbidden romance, and victory as the bad guys are sent to jail. I’ve watched the DVD series Season 2 so much that the third disc hiccups when playing. The Season 4 premier is Monday, June 8. Days: 24 and counting.

I have a mild addiction to colored ink pens. I don’t believe in writing with black ink pens unless legally necessary. Entries in my personal journals have always been written in different colors, so that it’s obvious where one ends and the next begins. One should always carry a variety of colors to reflect one’s mood or provide more color options in any book. Every bag or purse needs that mix of colors, and that results in many packages of pens. Don’t forget the computer workspace and the dining room table and the….

I have a mild addiction to journals. The covers attract me, be they humorous or colorful, motivational or whimsical. You can’t have too many, because you have to choose the next one based on your mood or size or whatever your criteria.

Care to share yours? I’d love to know I’m not the only obsessive person on this planet.

Zentangle stripes on unique ephemera

“Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen, that stillness becomes a radiance.”~Morgan Freeman, American actor

Stripes. The first thing that comes to mind is the 1981 movie starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. Mom loved it, so we watched it every time it came on TV. I might actually own the…hold your breath…video cassette of it.

Now stripes is the theme of the Diva Zentangle Challenge #182. Me being persnickety–and loving that word!–I couldn’t draw just straight lines. Nope, they had to be wavy. Perhaps my new perm added to that inspiration.

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Diva Challenge #182: Stripes, part one

I looked for tangles that didn’t quite work as a border but could be adapted into one. Rain was really the only one that worked in that aspect, but I had fun playing around with others that lent themselves more to a single straight line. I’m proudest of how Flukes turned out, that little grid snuggling in there between the rest.

That wasn’t enough for me once I went to a big-box home improvement store. I was picking up paint swatches for a project, and I expected the swatches to be thin strips. The ones I grabbed were actually chunky squares. If I was actually painting and needed that for an example, these would be great, but I wanted the other.

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Diva Zentangle Challenge #182: Stripes, part two

However, applying Zentangle philosophy to this excursion and working with what I have, I realized that I could turn the squares into strips by cutting them in half and rounding the corners. There was the extra benefit that they are square-ish, slightly larger than a Zentangle tile, and perfect for a Zentangle Inspired Artwork. I chose a brown-tint swatch and tangled with a brown Sharpie. I left space around the color names so I’d remember them. I chose some comfort tangles and drew this quickly, still focusing on Zen but not worrying about shading or anything like that. I like the result: stripes in stripes.

Honestly, I would love to work for the company that comes up with these paint names. Jungle Trail. Miami Spice. Sesame Crunch. Royal Intrigue. Come on, what’s not love about that?

Draw me a Zentangle string or two

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself.”~Bruce Lee, American actor

This week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge #174 is a guest post by Aimee Belair, CZT. She proposes using a string on top of a string.

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She mentions her inspiration was to draw a string on top of a pre-strung tile, thus breaking up your space even more. Intriguing. I did not have any pre-strung tiles handy, and I have been itching to work on black paper. I was sitting in my favorite local coffeehouse, Espresso Elevado, and asked the two baristas to draw a string each, thus one string on top of another.
I lightly outlined the tile shape on the paper and gave them my white pencil. The woman had a graceful hand and went all whirly-swirly on me. The guy used a heavier hand and made straighter lines. This was the “tile” I had to work with.

Okay, there was no way I could fill in every space using the wider-nibbed gel pens that write on dark paper. I looked for naturally connecting spaces, and the first one I found fit a Mooka snug within. I didn’t venture out of my comfort zone as I drew another Mooka and then another. Her flowing lines were a natural and perfect fit for that tangle, and I wanted something with lines for Part 2 of this Zentangle. I was confused and overwhelmed by the scurry of lines, so I turned to comfort tangles like Rain and an unintended Knase. It was a fun play of color, but partially un-Zen-like.

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Zentangle Challenge #174 complete…but wait, there’s more!

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Glow, baby, glow

It was also a challenge to make sense out of the cacophony. Just like the world around us, bombardment of text boops and email bings, electronic game blasts and car alarm blips. It’s hard these days to calm down, to stop, to look around and just absorb yourself in the hum and rhythm of life around you, not assaulted by the social media clamoring for our attention. It’s a good thing Espresso Elevado plays Chill on the store’s SiriusXM.
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The real motivation was to use my fluorescent pens that glowed under blacklight. Oh, yeah, that worked. Interesting that one of the colors came out more blue than red gel color it is. It all adds to the allure of it. A happy ending.

What is strength?

“When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”~Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian actor

I deserve kudos for just spelling his name right. :)

X marks the spot

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”~Jimmy Dean, American actor

The Sketchbook Project and Brooklyn Art Library offer more artsy inspiration than just the annual Sketchbook Project. There is a free weekly challenge, and I have participated in several of them. The most recent is Find An X. How often do you walk around and actually look at your surroundings? Really look? What do you notice besides the curb so that you don’t trip? What is the color of the wall? Is there a crack in the sidewalk? What is the architecture, if any, at the top of the doorway arch?

I find challenges like this exciting because it reminds me how much I let Life pass me by as I move on to the important, busy activities in my life. The activities really aren’t that important, no matter what excuse I give them. When was the last time you sat on a park bench or your porch and just sat? Times like that are rare, like looking into the eyes of the ones we love and really looking at them, listening to them talk without a greedy rush to tell our story.

Find An X is just that: find the letter X somewhere around you. I decided to do X of these, and I’ve posted them on Instagram under the hashtag #CAfindanX. This is my fifth X I found, on Main St. in Downtown Northville, MI. Not a bad shot for having the sun in my eyes.

The moms in my life

Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”~ David Ogden Stiers, American actor

I’m totally exhausted today, just a complete zombie mush on the Lovesac. So a simple tribute to moms everywhere.

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I’ll never forget Mom. When she was alive and I was deep into my memoir phase, I tape recorded stories that she told me. She answered questions in a book to save family history and thoughts and tales. Rather than write in the book, Mom wrote pages upon pages, front and back, on yellow-lined notepad paper. *silent gasp of wow* I took her encouragement of my writing and shared one of my favorite mom-ents together in Mom, Star Trek and Las Vegas: a Grand adventure, and I’m glad to have that memory. Do you have moments like that with your mom? I hope you do.

With her gone, I have another mom: my mother-in-law. Who says family is just blood?

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Happy Mother’s Day.

A definition of you

“Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”~Harvey Fierstein, American actor

Take yourself on an adventure

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”Oprah Winfrey, American entertainer

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