One #ROW80 Round2 goal done, but doesn’t change a thing

AtoZ-LetterH-2016
.
.
.
.
If we were having coffee…
.
.
.
.
.
I’m excited to say that it’s officially done: this website is now self-hosted. However, I am not promoting that site. Not yet.

I set up a self-hosted site with a brand new shiny name, but doing that wiped out all of the current formatting that you’re looking at. That’s not the end of the story. Heck, it’s not even the prequel. It’s a story to tell as I share my self-hosting blog experience, a simultaneous point of pride and wide-eyed disbelief. Simply put, I have to do this whole thing over again.

This website thing throws my ROW80 goals into a spin dryer. In no particular order, Goal 5 stated: “Update one thing on my blog each week.” Following this plan would keep my site freshened and current with the updated links-badges-formatting, those makeup touches long overdue. I did not expect a facelift.

1–Complete migrating this WordPress blog to the self-hosted one.
1–Redesign new/old website for launch Thurs, April 21; soft launch to my writers group and others Tues, April 19.
With this timeframe, I get my site launched and looking snazzy before the Rochester Writers Spring Conference on April 23. With two pre-launches, I can tweak anything that is glaringly unprofessional. I hope.

2–New business cards.
Now that my new web address is functioning in a skeletal stage, it’s time to order cards. I need something in my hands by April 18-ish, so design and order this week. My gosh, it’s April 10th already! Yipes! The thing is, I’m okay ordering anything professional-looking right now so I have cards to network with. I can always order new ones before my writerly events in May. A waste of money, you think? First, it’s a business expense, so no. Second–and maybe most important–I could spend $100/month on coffee if I set my mind to it, so re-doing cards is no big deal.

IMG_0338.JPG

3–Complete AtoZ Challenge posts for 2016 AND 2015.
Ugh. I lost track of my 2015 posts and had to list out what I needed to write. There’s an unlucky 13 of them. What a pile of poo I was about this last year. I’m staying current with this year’s haikus, and my posts are as long or short as I want to make these days. I have lots of open writing time this week.

4–Catch up and keep up with email.
It’s a nice goal–“Deal with 10-25 emails/day”–but I get at least 50 emails/day before deleting the obvious trash ones and those I have no interest in reading or dealing with, leaving still a net-negative emails in my Inbox.

6–Complete all blog/social media planner sheets for Happy Planner.
I keep creating new ones! I’m spending so much time planning my planning that I’m not utilizing these planning tools. Just stop already *smacks hand with wet noodle* Stop, stop stop!

7–Schedule social media.
See above re: planning planner sheets. I’m thinking on that, meditative reflection with coffee and tea nearby.

9–Put away holiday decorations: 1-2 boxes/week.
Haven’t yet.

10–Call family members at least once a week.
I’m going to call my Uncle Harold today. After I nap.

12–Continue writing letters.
I’m doing this, and finding inspiration through Write_On, which I’m writing about (ha!) this week. It’s more than a project, too fun to be called a challenge, and more awesome than just a campaign.

BONUS: Write for fun. Y’know, just play with words.
Haven’t done that yet, but this week, I’m okay with that.

—POSTPONED GOALS for April—

5–Update one thing on my blog each week.
Yeah. Addressed above. I’ll revisit this in May.

8–Schedule time to write/edit/promote my two current WIP: My Father, My Friend and Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks.
Postponing until May, after the April blog nonsense is over, or at least contained. I’m hoping I’ll pick up some tips at the conference in two weeks. (Two weeks?!? Yipes!)

11–Contact 2-5 potential editors.
Yep, pushing this off until May when I’ll start with my Alaska contact and Fiverr.

I printed out these ROW80 Round 2 goals and attached them to a dashboard in my Happy Planner. No excuses for forgetting them now.

Advertisements

A fishy Easter #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee…

Wasn’t that coffee tasting fun?

I know, you may not be such a Starbucks supporter, but these monthly events are now something my husband and I look forward to. So far, I’ve learned that I do not like Latin American coffees, and African ones are hit-or-miss. You heard me ask Barista Dean about the types of coffees I like, and it’s the Asia-Pacific ones that seem to offer the mouth feel that I like. The roundness, was that what he called it? You’d think me a coffee drinker fresh out of the womb, but it was an acquired taste, born from the sleepiness of 5:00am film crew calls. That’s a story for another time. I want to tell you about last night.

My husband and I went to a Lenten fish fry.

This was my first fish fry since my Pittsburgh childhood. Oh, memories.

IMG_9390.JPG

Our current Peeps haul is larger than this…

Tomorrow is Easter. We’re already overflowing with Marshmallow Peeps, a childhood tradition and a joke between me and my husband from my 2009 article about the History of Marshmallow Peeps. I’m saving my one Cadbury Creme Egg for tomorrow, another family tradition.

And maybe I’m being extra-reflective because of the blogs I’ve been reading lately. Yes, I actually made time this week to read blogs, a lot of goal-setting between the ROW80 Round 1 wrap ups and A to Z Challenge Theme Reveals (you can currently find me at #493).  It’s the Throwback Thursday historic posts that have focused on family and memories in addition to goals. I’ve commented on these with my own family memories, which brings me back to fish frys.

Catholics typically don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, the weeks that lead up to Easter. Regardless of my parents’ health, what state I lived in or current religious activity, my family always observed meatless Fridays during Lent. It’s ingrained in me, so when I found this fish fry back in February, I so wanted to go.

There are so many pleasant memories about that. Riding the PAT bus through the neighborhood to St. Benedict’s, a school and a monastery. As we walked up the hill, what felt like a mountain, I always wondered what made a nun want to be a nun. Neither Mom nor Dad could tell me, but Dad would regale stories of his schooldays that every year involved nuns and wooden rulers on finger knuckles. The brick building with the ramp I had to go up instead of the steps. The stark hall, dull with tan walls yet screamingly bright from industrial overhead lights. The hum of chatter, voices laughing, saying hellos. The fast-food smell of cooking oil. A buffet line, find your seats first. White cardboard plates heavy and soggy from the river of coleslaw juice running under fish pieces. Sitting with Mom, Dad and my aunt. It was a party, and since we didn’t eat dinner out often, this was an event.

IMG_9955.JPG

Military rather than religious, it could almost be Pittsburgh

It took us until Good Friday to finally make it. We drove past a fish fry on the way to this fish fry. Who knew? At the VFW in Plymouth, we had the choice to sit in the Hall, which could’ve been my Pittsburgh memory plopped down in Michigan, or in the VFW Bar. 

IMG_9968.JPG

Baked and fried fish options at the modern-day fish fry

My husband chose the Bar. For the ambiance, he said.

We sat at a table across the room from the pool tables, next to the jukebox. It was the 4th Friday so live music started at 7pm and the pitchers of beer came out.

This was not my childhood fish fry.  It was still a good one.

Scrapbooking the #WeekendCoffeeShare away

If we were having coffee…

It’s been a strange week, my dear. Too many doctor appointments, too little writing. I did have time to pick up the teapot wall hanging I won at TranquiliTea last weekend. I am now the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind, highly-coveted pottery piece handcrafted by the store owner. How delightful! After the 10th Anniversary extravaganza, I do not need more tea, for sure. Not right now, anyway.

IMG_9332.JPG

Handmade pottery is always a treasured item

At least here we are, sharing a cup at a Starbucks I don’t frequent that often. It’s nice that you came here, meeting me as I take a break from the Pajama Scrapbook Crop over at Baker’s Studio across the street. It’s a delightful local scrapbook store that opened about a year ago. I know the owner from years back, and it’s good to see her–and another store–thriving. Downtown Farmington Hills is a cute place, isn’t it? Have you tried Three Amigos? It’s good Mexican food, and there’s another restaurant near my house. perhaps we’ll go there someday. I get Mexican so infrequently. Dagwood’s Deli here is my go-to, right next door. I recommend the turkey or the tuna salad.

IMG_9458.JPG

What’s a sleepover crop without a snuggly nap?

It’s revitalizing to spend time with friends, both you and my scrapbook peeps. I almost lost one of them to an out-of-state move that, fortunately for me, didn’t happen. How is it that we seem to focus on friends and delight in their friendship until too late? Remind yourself: friendship is a good thing, not to be squandered. “Squandered.” I like that word. I so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence. It’s not something to use when friends and family are concerned, however. I hope you’re spending quality time this weekend.

IMG_9455.JPG

Do you think she’ll like it?


Sorry I can’t stay long today. I took a very comfy nap earlier. I’ve only got a few hours left, and I need to finish the belated birthday card for my mother-in-law. I found the most delightful paper and stamp quote, very fashion forward. I have no doubt she’ll love. If I do say so myself. *wide smile*

Let’s get together next week. I can’t wait to hear what’s new in your life!

A #WeekendCoffeeShare about coffee and tea

If we were having coffee…

Wasn’t that fun? I haven’t been to a Starbucks coffee tasting in almost 10 years. The company stopped doing all that fun stuff, but I enjoyed pairing pastries with coffee. The last tasting I remember, we sampled chocolate brownies that were enhanced by the coffee, and it was the first time I’d considered drinking coffee black.

It’s like that now. Pike’s Place is like a sour house wine in restaurants, but when brewed on the Clover machine, it’s almost drinkable. What did you think of the other two? I felt silly covering the coffee with my hand to smell it first before “slurping” it, but wine drinkers do something similar swooshing the glass around to observe the legs of the liquid. I appreciate the experience here and I learned one thing: I do not like Latin American coffees. Too sharp and acidic. I like a rounder coffee. Of course, I like a Frappuccino more.

Have you been writing much? My writing has not been productive lately. It’s like I’m in a slump and I don’t know why. Maybe it was this week’s snowstorm? It’s a good thing I took my car into the repair shop on Tuesday, the day before that messy madness.

Oh, did I tell you? I discovered an adorable tea shop in downtown Ann Arbor called Tea Haus. You purchase loose leaf tea on one side of the store, and on the other side of the wall, you can purchase soups, scones and snappy macaroons. I can’t wait to go back and try it out. Almost makes me wish for a car repair now.

Speaking of tea, tomorrow is TranquiliTea’s 10th anniversary. The shop in Plymouth doesn’t have a tea room, but their selection of tea is outstanding. The silver needle was my go-to tea, but I’ll try something new tomorrow. Want to come? They always serve hot tea samples and cookies, and they have the greatest selection of teapots and cups.

I may not be writing these days, but I am playing with paper. In addition to decorating the weekly spreads in my Happy Planner–which I’m beginning to think is one writing distraction–I met my friend to scrapbook at her house yesterday. She made cupcakes. I saw her whip the cream cheese icing with an entire stick of butter. Oh, were those cupcakes good.

She and I are meeting next Friday for a weekend crop. It’s been forever since we went to one of those. Maybe you and I can meet up in downtown Farmington somewhere? There’s a Starbucks not far from the shop. We can chat over coffee and catch up again.

Celebrating THON on this #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee…

Thanks for meeting us here at Miracle Coffee. It’s our annual tradition to watch the Penn State THON Total Reveal in a coffeeshop, and he chose here this time. He’s a fan of the blended Miracle Mocha. I’m trying that as a hot drink. *sip, sip* Mmmmm, if you like sweet, this is good hot or cold.

IMG_9046.JPG

Check out the window reflection: perfect for THON

How was your week? We kinda celebrated my husband’s birthday on Monday. He flew out of town for a business meeting the next day–*”in New Jersey and the weather was terrible” he says*–yeah, his Tuesday flight was cancelled and his Friday flight was delayed. This weekend is more of his Birthday Week. Everyone should have one of those, or a Birthday Month. I highly recommend that!

I got some writing done, but my ROW80 goals, geez, those are a struggle. I’m not making an effort, I guess. You know how that is, the laundry takes over the cooking takes over the writing time takes over the TV time takes over the email time takes over…you get it. So here’s my embarrassing goal work:

1 & 6–I still haven’t published Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks. I haven’t touched it in awhile, really, because I got lost in the timeline and names and such. I need to make time to review that Scrivener email and stuff. Why haven’t I? You know, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a great form of procrastination: if I don’t know how to fix it, I can ignore it. The same goes for my memoir; I’m so focused on the messy rewrites that I can’t move forward. I’m stuck.

Do you ever feel that way? Yeah? Can you offer any suggestions?

2–I keep moving my search for a blog hosting site day-to-day, week-to-week, no matter how small I break down the tasks. It’s probably not hard–in fact, I’m probably spending more time shuffling it than the review will actually be–but I don’t know why I’m not making the time.

3 & 4–I am having fun with my planner, and that at least is keeping me on track with blog posts and to-dos. Unless I ignore them and move them to another week. *Smiles and sips coffee drink self-consciously*

Everything else–playing and reading and writing just for the thrill of it–I’m successful to moderate degrees.

Wait! It’s 3:15pm, and we missed Family Hour. Just as well; hearing the cancer stories of survival and watching the slideshow of those who will never see another THON always makes me cry. See? Hand me a napkin, please. *sniffle sniffle, wipes eyes*

Have I told you about THON? Maybe we talked about it when I briefly mentioned my alumni experience or back when I reminisced about my undergrad experience. It’s a group of Penn State students and alumni who raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that pays the doctor bills and traveling expenses for families of kids with cancer. It’s part of the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Yes, Hershey, the chocolate town, and after 43 years, we’ve raised:

$137.6 Million dollars.

Yes, million with a capital M. It’s the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Yes, World.

THON is in the last hour. Go Go Gadget is playing. Back when I danced, Queen Bee and the Blue Hornet Band was the go-to group, but they broke up and then the lead singer died about 15 years ago.

It’s 3:50. Almost time for the last Line Dance. I still sing some of the verses from dancing in my THON as an alumni 6 years ago. Yes, I danced as an undergrad and as a something-something-year-old woman. My partner and I will do it again in four years from now, every 10 years. Some people run marathons; I stand and stay awake for 46 hours.

10…9…8…7…6

What a magical countdown.

5…4…3…2…1

“Dancers, you may sit down.”

What magical words after 46 hours on your feet.

This year…hold on, the cards are being raised and flipped…I have 9.77 Million more reasons to be a proud Penn State alum.

Wow. *sniffles even more* What a great way to end the weekend: For The Kids.

Pens, steak and squirrels, not necessarily in that #WeekendCoffeeShare order

If we were having coffee….

*yawn* Pardon me, I just woke up from a nap on the Lovesac. Go ahead, sink into the oversized adult beanbag while I get a cup of coffee. My day started too early subbing for someone at work, starting at 6:45am. People were just weird this morning, and then a woman gave me this red pen. It made my day.

Until you stopped by, of course.

IMG_8763.JPG

Right-hand, mid-forefinger heals!

Good news: the doctor says my finger is healing as expected. I will still do exercises because even though the fracture has mostly healed, it could take up to a year for the swelling to completely disappear and my finger to heal. Have you ever broken anything? Let me tell you, this journey has been frustrating. I feel good, but then I wake one morning with swelling for no good reason, and then some days I can bend it well and some days it feels stiff and sore. I’m so happy I’m doing well, but it’s frustrating. I have no control, and that’s really annoying.

What’s not annoying to me is the latest Geico TV commercial with the squirrels. Have you seen it? A mother is talking to her son about squirrels being back in the attic and the father’s decision to not call the exterminator. “He says it’s personal this time.” I love that line! Wherever I’ve lived, from my childhood home to my dorms and apartments, I’ve always lived on the top floor. Because of that, I’ve always heard rooftop noise, be that puddling rain or curious scamperings. My first night in one New Jersey apartment, I wrote a poem about that for my Journal Club. It made me feel not so alone. Anyway, back to the point, I hear those same scrabblings in our house here. Do you hear anything? It could just be me, but I wonder if I have squirrels, like Mom and I always wondered if that strange light in the sky was an airplane or a UFO. We were always disappointed.

IMG_8720.JPG

Did you do anything for Paczki Day–or Fat Tuesday, as it is known everywhere outside of Michigan? Here the big thing is basically stuffed donuts, I guess like beignets for Mardi Gras. This year, I got a mix of flavors from Busch’s up on 5 Mile. Last year, we got “authentic” ones from Dearborn through the local corner market up the street. Mangos Fruit Market closed in September, and I miss the fresh lettuce, local pastries and the homemade turkey chili. We could use some of that today.

Enough about food. I’ve got to get ready for dinner tonight. My husband is taking me out for dinner to Morton’s Steakhouse. We’ve never been, and I have to find an outfit that is both classy–just because I like dressing up–and practical, because the parking lot might be a little icy. Let’s catch up again next week.

A Super-Bawl #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee…

Isn’t this place cool? It was great to rediscover No.VI Coffee last month when a friend checked in on Swarm. I’m usually only up this way when I have a particular doctor appointment, which I did a few days ago. Remembering that checkin, I came here to write all afternoon–I was quite productive–and raved about the place to my husband. We’re always on the search for new coffee shops to visit, so that’s why we’re here today. Thanks for meeting us here.

IMG_8583.JPG

Such a polite sign….

As I said, writing was productive after the crazy start to my week. I did some blog posts, critiqued the pieces for my writer’s group, and did some blogging and planning. Yeah, I haven’t touched my memoir or Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks in a few weeks, and I’m feeling really guilty about that. There’s so much I want to do, need to do, and stuff keeps falling through the cracks between my laptop keys.

My husband’s enjoying time on his tablet, so we have time to chat. Want another cup of the Mocha Java French press? It’s good, right? Until you get to the very bottom, that is, so enjoy it now.

Get this: for some reason, I felt compelled to open my Timehop app. By connecting your social media, it shows the history of you. Well, on this date three years ago–it was a Thursday–I was sitting in this very shop also eating breakfast. It was a Caribou Coffee then, but now it’s a local shop.

This is the first time Timehop has gone back 6 years. I really didn’t get into social media until 2010, which blows my mind in so many ways. On this day, I was prepping for THON and just connected with my Moraler. Gosh, the thought of that still makes me cry and….

Sorry, give me a moment. Hand me that napkin, please. Thank you.

*wipes eyes in a self-conscious but thoroughly happy way*

IMG_8626.PNG

February 7: A Day in my History

Sorry, just the mention of THON always brings tears. Not in a sad way but in a super duper happy proud way. I danced as an undergrad, and six years ago I had the honor of raising enough money to dance for the THON Alumni organization, DMAIG. Yes, 46 hours awake and your feet to raise money for children’s cancer. I’ll tell you more about it later; I just can’t talk anymore.

*sniffs into a third napkin*

Have you ever done something so worthy, something so proud, that you can’t forget it? That’s THON for me, the greatest thing Penn State has done and will ever do.

It’s a sunny day out, and he’s getting a bit antsy in here. It’s a sunny, snow-free day, super-nice for February in Michigan. Let’s head out for a drive, or maybe a wander around a bookstore. It’s great sharing today with you. What’s new in your world of magic?

Coffee, cold and a contest

If we were having coffee….

I’m glad you stopped by, but I’m sorry I’m not all social today. I’ve been sick this week. My husband was out of town, so the couch became my best friend. I did nothing except for Starbucks tea trips.

It’s not worth focusing on this week’s ROW80 challenges. Really, going through them number by number every week is just darn depressing. I’m not making the progress I’d hoped for. This week, I can use my illness and a cheesy excuse, but still…. The best thing I can say is that I am breaking everything down into itsy-bitsy steps, no matter how embarrassingly simple they are. Anything to move forward with anything.

Besides, I have to compile my NFPW contest entries. I wish I could blame my sore throat on my procrastination, but I’ve had 31 days to get my words together and submit them. The deadline is February 1, but I don’t know if that means 11:59pm the day before the first or if I have until 11:59pm on February first to get everything complete. Best not to take the chance, so I have to get everything together tonight. I’m only entering in two categories this year–Specialty Craft Articles and Personal Blog–but I’m scrolling through all of my blogposts from 2015 to find ones contest-worthy. Surprisingly, I’m torn between 15 posts and three articles. I wrote some good stuff this year; at least I think so. I have to submit two each as the entry and I only have a couple hours to compile all that.

Shall we go out for another cup of tea? I’ll drive–I am feeling good enough to do that–and you can tell me all about your week.

A #WeekendCoffeeShare where I discuss my #ROW80 goals

If we were having coffee…

I know, right, three coffee shops to get this right? That first place we tried was just blah. The owner is usually friendlier, but not today. We were almost chased out of the Bookstore Café. If we hadn’t been leaving, we might have been, except I did have a blueberry green tea.

This Starbucks is rather nice.  The chatty baristas just now brightened my day.  Now I feel better.

[My husband is with us and he nods]

Northville is a bit out of our way, but I love the second floor balcony here. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the fireplace on. It’s usually an iceberg in here–one of the reasons my husband and I don’t make it here often–so this is a cool change of pace. It’s a Clover location, so this is always a treat for us coming here. The Nicaragua, that’s my current fave. Smooth and earthy, not flowery or acidic like all those bright summery coffees. If this is the best thing to come with last week’s snow storms, then Yay.

Are you on Twitter much? [Husband sitting next to us sighs, sips his coffee and pulls out his phone] Oh, shoo. I discovered new communities of writers through Twitter chats. There’s so many out there, you gotta check them out. [Turns to husband] Hey, you were out of town this week.

“Yeah, but I brought you home socks,” he says.

Yep, that’s true. Thank you. [Leans over with a kiss on his cheek]

IMG_8321.JPG

I’ve been using my Happy Planner to plan out some things for my blog, for my writing. Just last night while I was surfing Instagram, I discovered yet another subculture called Bullet Journaling. I spent waaaaay too much time last night watching YouTube videos, but I found one or two tips I can try out in my evolving system. In fact, thanks to that planner, I have a reminder to update my #ROW80 project goals.

1–Polish and publish Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks. I typed in my latest edits, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m enjoying my blogging way too much to focus on that, at least last week.

2–Find and do a blog self-hosting site. I now have four leads to check out, all recommended for different reasons. Maybe tomorrow or Wednesday during my reserved writing times I’ll take a pop on over to those sites, maybe just two to start with.

3–Blog and social media planning.
Yep! Success! I’m using my Happy Planner–gosh how I love that, playing with paper and feeling productive!–and developing a schedule. I did create a page for stats across all platforms, and the Followers and Likes is both impressive and not so. It’s hard not to compare others’ perceived successes with mine

4–Update my blog pages/site. Uhhhh…not so much. I’ll have to find time and schedule that in.

5–Fractured finger, heal thyself. Look! Look at this! I bend this much now [holds right forefinger up]. It bends so much, I can almost touch my finger together, which is where the doc wants me to be. But it frustrates me; it’s still swollen, and I think that’s why I can’t bend it all the way. I have an appointment at the end of the month, so we’ll see then.

6–Make progress on memoir My Father, My Friend using Scrivener. Nope. I’ve been working on all this other stuff. Prioritizing? Procrastinating? It’s hard to tell which sometimes.

IMG_8315.JPG

7–Make time to play. Yeah, I kinda am. I have reached a point where I am exploding to read a book–and I know which one–but I never sit down and make it happen.

8–Do some fun writing. Whatever that is. Hmmmmm…does Twitter count? What about Instagram captions?

I started a new journal yesterday. It’s a Hello Kitty Moleskine, an exclusive collector edition or something. I bought it at a Chapters bookstore in Windsor, Canada last summer. It’s one of those too-nice-to-use things, but I ripped off the plastic, took the cute bookmarks out of the back pocket, and wrote my first entry in a green pen. You should always have colored ink pens in every bag or purse you carry. Never be without a rainbow.

Previous Older Entries

My coolest posts, voted by you!

%d bloggers like this: