Painting Update, June 5

I have good news and bad news.

Let’s do the bad news first. There has not been a lot of chair painting happening the last few weeks. I did get in there once. I put a final coat of white on the rungs, so there was some progress. See?


(Yes, I know it doesn’t look any different than it did a month ago. But trust me. I applied paint.)

However, the bulk of painting time had to go to another project. I present to you – the door.

img_1827 I have mentioned before that my office used to be a garage. It was all converted before we bought this house. But the door to my office was old, heavy, and metal. That was OK.

But it opened the wrong way. It opened into the hall, which blocked a nice section of usable wall space. Our entry hall is very tiny. So I wanted all the space we could get.

We asked our handy-dandy carpenter guy about reversing the direction, but his advice was to simply remove the old door and put on a new one. Not sure why that made the most sense, but we trust him, so that’s what we did.

Which left us with an unfinished door in the hall.

Didn’t really matter for a while. But then, you know what comes next.


There was frantic taping and painting and all that jazz for a few nights, and the mess in my office was QUITE disheartening, but in the end, it was all worth it. img_1841-1

The door is lovely and finished and, in a bonus turn of events, almost a perfect match for my desk and curtains. (And that truly was a bonus: I used the leftover paint from my bathroom for the door, so no coordination was planned.)

I’m ever so pleased with how it turned out. And even more pleased that it’s done and I can return to my previously scheduled chair.


Book Update, May 29

Write or DieAnd the words just keep on coming.

Back on my wonderful weekend writing retreat, I made a plan. I looked at my schedule for the weeks ahead and figured out how many words I would need to write each day to reach the end of the book (or close to it) by the middle of August. Why the middle of August? Because that’s when my youngest will be done with summer playground and family life will take over. Also, that timing will give me time for the story to sit, out of my head, for a few weeks. That way, when school starts in September, I’ll be able to dive into the next step – revisions – with fresh eyes.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the plan. As of this moment, I’m up to 36,042 words out of a projected 90 – 95,000. Woooohoooo! Past the one-third mark!

There are two big factors in me keeping up with my projected word count. The first is the aforementioned plan. It is such a relief to know that as long as I write the words allotted for the day, I’ll stay on track. The second is a program called Write or Die.

Write or Die is one of those tools that authors either love or loathe. Very simply, it’s a program that lets you set a word and time goal – say, 500 words in 30 minutes – and then lets you choose consequences (good and bad) for meeting or not meeting that goal.

Those consequences can be personalized in a number of ways.  For me, if I stop writing for too long, my screen will turn bright yellow, a horn will blare, and I’ll see a picture of a spider. If I hit my words in time, I will hear a lovely tinkling noise, things will turn pink, and I’ll get to see a pic of a puppy or a kitten. There are many choices for the severity, timing, and types of consequences, which I really appreciate. I mean, I don’t LIKE spiders, but I can deal with them, no problem. If, however, I had to see a picture of a mouse when I stopped too long? Well, that would traumatize me to the point of not being able to write for the rest of the day.

I’ve used Write or Die since it’s original incarnation. (I believe they’ve just rolled out a third version.) You can use it for free online, or for a VERY reasonable price, you can download it to your own devices. It is, hands down, the best bang for my writing buck that I ever spent.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to set up another writing session.



Knitting Update, May 22

When last we talked about my scarf-in-progress, it looked like this:


Very pretty, yes, but also very … um … short.

I came up with a plan to help with my knitting frequency. I decided that I would toss the scarf in the car and work on it while waiting in the school pick-up lot. It would yield only three or four rows at a time, but hey – that’s better than nothing, right?

So I started building that habit. And since it was already in the car, it came with me on my amazingly productive writing retreat. At the end of our day, we watch movies, and movies are an excellent time to knit.

And how do things look now?



I am very pleased.

So is Fidget.



Writing Update, May 15

purple petaled flower

Photo by Pixabay on

I used to belong to a writing group that gave out awards at the end of the year. One of my favorites was the Purple Rose, which was awarded for every day in the year during which you wrote at least 20 pages/5000 words.

Guess what? Since I last checked in, I have earned THREE purple roses!

I wish I could say these came about thanks to serious discipline, but the truth is, they happened because I ran away for a long weekend. Yes, it was a writing retreat. And it was wonderful.

Of course, I have been writing while at home. Not nearly as much – my typical day is 1000 words – but it all adds up. When I checked in two weeks ago, I had a bit over 2500 words. As of this writing, I’m up to 23,649.

pink rose flower on blue hardbound books

Photo by Plush Design Studio on

Yeah. Heck of a jump 🙂

Of course, it’s not just the words. Getting farther into the book means I know the characters more and am getting deeper into the heart of the story. Some people love starting a new story. I am not one of those folks. New = overwhelming for me, so I am more than happy to be moving into the second act of the book.

Onward ho!


Painting Update, May 8

Over the years, we have gone through a number of different dining room chairs. We’ve added and subtracted, and while the result is quite functional, sometimes I think it would be nice to have chairs that totally matched.

Since all of our chairs still work, and I was in no hurry to go out and buy more, I decided that the best solution would be to paint the ones we have. This made sense on a couple of levels. First, it would give uniformity to the chairs we have. Second, many of our chairs are showing their years, (not to mention the number of kids they’ve endured), so they were in sore need of some TLC.

The solution? Chalk paint.

I have one chair finished. We have six that go around our dining room table. I still have a job ahead of me. But here is where I am at, right now, with chair number two.

The next few weeks are going to be very busy, so I am not sure how often I will be able to get to this project. But fingers are crossed.

Writing Update, May 1

When last we talked about the work in progress, I had a synopsis and was confettiworking on a solution for a sticky plot. The good news is, I think I found the solution! Still tweaking and experimenting, but it feels good. So, you know. Confetti toss!

The other implication of this is – I (finally!) get to start writing! Like, actual words on the page! As of this moment, I’m just over 2500 words in (about 10 pages). Since I’m aiming for a final product of 85-90,000 words, it’s safe to say I still have a way to go. But it’s been a long time since I made it even this far. I’m counting it as both a win and the start of the next phase.

Best of all, this weekend I’m heading out for a writing retreat at Ye Olde Cabin in the Woods. By my next report I should be well into the double digits on my word count. Away we go!



Knitting Update, April 24

img_1682-1I like to have a knitting project on hand. It’s such a lovely hobby, quiet and meditative (at least if you choose simple projects like I do), easy to pick up and work on for a few spare minutes between other tasks.

Right now I’m making this lightweight, skinny scarf out of sock yarn. Isn’t it pretty? I love the variations in the color. The pattern is simple, easy to memorize, and because it’s skinny, it’s easy to get through one or two rows at a time. I really hate having to drop everything in the middle of a row. Recipe for disaster, right there.

So all in all, I’m pleased with this project and how it’s turning out. There’s only one problem:

I started it in February.

And this is how much I’ve got:


For reference – that’s a standard size tray table it’s resting on. So my scarf-in-progress is maybe … six inches long? Eight? Let’s be generous and go with eight. Eight inches in two months = four inches/month = this project should be long enough to wear by next February. Maybe.

I’m fine with keeping this as a relaxing projects worked at a gentle pace, but come on. People have marriages that end faster than this scarf.

However: I have a thought. Instead of working on it whenever I can, I need to create a consistent time and place. You know. Make it a habit.

(Side note: just finished reading/highly recommend Atomic Habits, by James Clear.)

So here’s the plan: three or four days/week, I do a school pick-up. I arrive early to avoid the insane lines, and have been using that waiting time to scroll through my email. No more. The knitting bag is going into the car and will be my Waiting in the Lot project.

Here’s hoping that a Consistent Time _+ a Consistent Space will = Significant Progress!