Posts Tagged ‘Bloggity’

Fresh Starts

December 28, 2017 @ 5:08 pm | Filed under:

Inbox Zero

Yesterday was all about tying up the loose ends of my reading life in order to start the year with a clean slate. I looked over everything I’m in the middle of—so many books!—and decided, after some reflection, to take Penny’s advice from the comments and dive into the old favorites calling my name in that stack, or some very like them. Ever since I read Thornyhold, I’ve been hankering after The Scent of Water and Wise Child. And Lesley mentioned Miss Read…and I happened upon a description of Mary Stewart’s Rose Cottage that sounds even more enchanting than her Thornyhold. Impatiently waiting for the library copy to arrive…

(It occurs to me Thornyhold also has something of the flavor of Linnets and Valerians, which I’ve not reread in a few years…)

Anyway! That was yesterday’s Old Year Week work. Today I turned my sights to correspondence and (gulp) answered emails dating as far back as 2016. Mortifying but true. Snail mail correspondence is next, and feels like a luxury, not a chore. I’m still working this week, but at greatly reduced hours, and, well, after the year I’ve had, that feels like heaven.

It’s funny—I woke up this morning thinking: Right. I’m going to grant myself amnesty at the end of the year. Anything (non work-related, and work includes my Patreon) hanging unfinished—email, DMs, comment replies, reading plans, household chores, book reviews—all of it gets swept away at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and I will start afresh. And then immediately upon having cut myself this break, I began answering messages I should have replied to (wanted to reply to!) more than a year ago. By noon, I was all caught up. Why did I let it pile up in the first place? Answering was a pleasure—as soon as I gave myself permission not to.

Tomorrow I want to spend some time making High Tide plans for January. I’ll try to share those here. I say try to because I’ve learned not to make promises unless absolutely necessary. Curve balls happen and then I feel guilty. 🙂 But I miss, miss, miss this poor old blog and I’m trying (trying!) to restore some lost habits.

Related to that, I’ve been (again! perpetually!) pondering what, if any, changes I want to make in my social media habits this year. I visit Twitter maybe once a day now, almost out of a sense of obligation: I follow smart thinkers and feel a duty to check in on the day’s social and political commentary. But I can only manage it in small doses. I went almost totally silent on Facebook this fall…popping in occasionally when that same sense of duty propelled me to activism. Which I know is the opposite approach of many (most) of my friends, who have resolved not to bring activism or politics to Facebook. Sometimes my conscience says: you have to talk about this, so I try (try!) to listen. But I logged out of FB on my phone and tucked the app into a folder where it isn’t staring me in the face. I deleted all the games off my phone and unsubscribed from all but a handful of merchant newsletters. The few I kept are for small shops whose owners write thoughtful articles instead of spamming you with sale ads. ::shudder:: Ads bring out the Grinch in me: Oh the noise, noise, noise, noise!

Instagram remains a pleasant haven, a place to smile over friends’ family photos and adventures, and to enjoy glimpses of charming artwork or people’s book piles. Wisteria and Sunshine is a nourishing virtual retreat, like visiting Thornyhold or Juniper’s cottage; and there’s a small creative community I’m part of that is a daily delight. Mostly, though, I’ve wandered away from community discourse…which isn’t very like me, but I’ve had so much work on my plate, and I think I needed some breathing-in time. I’m feeling the wind change, though. I love turning the page to a new year. Always have.

I’m not ready to let you go, October

October 30, 2017 @ 7:56 pm | Filed under:

I don’t have time to write, which is exactly why I’m writing. I don’t want to let too much time pass with silence in this space. I’ve realized one of the reasons I lean on Instagram is because I can do it in bed—last thing at night, or early in the morning, lying there cozy under my quilt, playing with photos. It’s relaxing. But the WordPress phone app works just as well as Instagram. I don’t know why it never occurs to me to blog from there. I guess because I think of blogging as long-form, even though that’s totally ahistorical.

Anyway, here I am. I’m working really, really long days, these days. Have to make up for time missed during my illness. Thank goodness for our high-tide mornings. Homeschooling is the fun part of my day. We’re reading Comet in Moominland (still! begun in San Diego!), taking loooong nature walks (oh these trees!), and reading Lewis & Clark, Paddle-to-the-Sea, and a lot of poetry. Beanie and I are supposed to be starting a big Shakespeare project this week, but I’m behind on the reading. 😉

A fun thing: I held my first live monthly Q&A session this afternoon for my Patreon subscribers! We talked about what tidal homeschooling looks like with teens, books about the craft of writing, and I answered a question about Martha and Charlotte books. I also shared a stack of picture books we’ll be reading tomorrow for Halloween, and I finished up with a piece of advice about encouraging creativity. If you are interested in tuning into these monthly chats (either live or in replay), they’re available to all subscribers to my Patreon at the $3/month-or-more level.

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pink paper pianos

April 28, 2017 @ 8:05 am | Filed under: , ,

Last night I was chatting with Jane on Slack—she had a story for me about her Victorian Lit class—and Sherlock Holmes came up. She asked if I remembered how old she was when she started reading them. I was guessing around age ten or eleven—was it before or after our move to California?—and she remembered that she first encountered Sherlock on a Jim Weiss story tape. So: Virginia probably. Then she pinged a burst of laughter—

lol lol lol i just searched bonny glen + jim weiss

Jim’s Sherlock Holmes stories inspired Jane, at age eight, to tackle the Arthur Conan Doyle originals.

Good old blog comes through again. Our family memory bank.

Of course this made me wince, knowing I’ve dropped the ball on daily posts yet again. I do have a lot of tidbits stashed in drafts, but those aren’t searchable.

We’ve talked so much about how our collective shift to social networks changed our blogging habits, both as blog writers and readers. One of the more subtle shifts, I think, began to happen even before we jumped on Facebook: bit by bit our blogs took on a more formal tone. On Facebook and Twitter, we’re looser, less polished. Personal blogs used to feel spontaneous, immediate, diaristic. A few of them still do, but I think on the broad spectrum of kinds of writing, a blog post is usually closer to essay than tweet. These social conventions fascinate me. These days, more people are likely to read and respond to my writing on Facebook than on Bonny Glen, yet I feel freer about slapdashing an unpolished thought over there.

I used to worry about losing things on Facebook or Twitter. I’d post funny kid quotes there and then, zip, they’d be carried along by the current and disappear. I wanted to archive all those memories here, and I worked out elaborate systems for saving things. I even had a side-blog for a while that was nothing but kid-related tweets I wanted to save. Later, I got savvier and set up IFTTT functions that automatically archive all my Twitter and FB posts in Evernote. This is both handy and dandy, but it’s a clunky substitute for the searchable family chronicle that is this blog.

I’m laughing at myself because I’ve traveled this loop before. There’s such an obvious and simple fix: just post the kid stuff here. Because odds are that one day Rilla will ping me from college—probably via a tooth implant that will trigger my phone-necklace to display her text on the back of my hand—wanting to know when, exactly, was her heavy origami phase. So, for the record: April of 2017, right after you turned eleven, I walked into my bedroom after tucking in the boys, and you pounced on me with a square of pink paper. Which is why I had to write your sister, ten minutes later, to apologize for disappearing in the middle of our Slack conversation.

Lissa: [9:00 PM]
Sorry, Rilla came in with an urgent need to teach me how to make an origami piano

Jane:  [9:00 PM]
that sounds entirely reasonable

day 31: sandwiches and leftovers

January 31, 2017 @ 4:58 pm | Filed under: ,

milkweedfeb14

1.

I wrote a quickie booknotes post last night in the five minutes between work and family movie time, but I took it down a short while later because it was too quick, too silent about events I actually have quite a lot of words for. Choice words. Not all of them fit for my kids’ ears. I’ve been speaking them elsewhere and seem to have annoyed a fair number of people. Well, that’s too bad. I suspect I’ll be saying more, not less, in days to come. Perhaps not always here, in this space which is a happy little retreat for me. But maybe here too. There is so very much to say.

(Deep breath, fingers twitching.) Not this minute. Right now, I need to work. So I’m going to just open a space for a family story or two. If you want my activist voice, come on over to Facebook or Twitter.

2.

A couple of days ago, a Girl Scout rang the bell. It’s cookie season, as you know. I turned her down with regrets, because, frankly, five dollars a box is too rich for my blood.

An hour later, another ring, another sweet kid, another set of regrets.

THREE MINUTES LATER, another doorbell chime. But this time it was our neighbor, Guy—who seriously is the nicest guy—holding out three boxes of cookies.

“I can’t say no to a little girl,” he said, thrusting Do-si-dos, Samoas, and Tagalongs into my arms. “But I also can’t eat these cookies.”

My children would like to raise a statue in his honor.

3.

My son wrote the following about me in an email to a friend: “She used to cook dinner or all the time until Dad [took over the meal prep] and now she only Cooks now and then. Her Specialties are sandwiches and leftovers.”

I may need to add that to my resumé.

4.

I had garden-y things to add to this post but my five twenty minutes are up. Tomorrow, maybe. And I’m going to re-post the one I took down yesterday (it’s not much of anything, trust me, just disconnected sentences about what we’re reading) now that I’ve had a chance to explain why I was quiet (here) over the (tumultuous) weekend.

day seven: saturday flashback

January 7, 2017 @ 10:55 am | Filed under: ,

photo by Murray Brannon

1.

In a couple of weeks, this blog will be twelve years old. (So will The Wine-Dark Sea. Melanie and I, who were to meet in the comment box, happened to begin our blogs on the same day.) Even with the occasional dry spells I’ve had, twelve years means a lot of posts. 3,324 of them, in fact. Plus another 496 in drafts.

Them’s a lot of words.

Every couple of years, when the anniversary rolls around, I decide to wander through the archives and revisit old entries. Usually this results in my noticing broken links, wonky formatting, and missing photos (due to my Typepad-to-Wordpress migration in 2007), and I get first sidetracked and then overwhelmed by the attempt to clean things up, and within a week or two I’ve forgotten all about the whole Memory Lane idea. I don’t expect this time to be any different. 🙂

 

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2.

In that first month, January 2005, I published ten posts, some family-focused, and some diving right into gushing about books and things we loved. In that, I’ve been pretty consistent over the years. In personality tests, I always fall right on the introvert/extrovert line, and I realized a few years back that my extrovert tendencies manifest largely in the impulse to show-and-tell. If I’m loving a book, I need to talk about it. If a resource or game has sparked enthusiasm for someone in my family, I need to spread that information. It’s in my wiring. I’m sure that’s why blogging has been such a satsifying vehicle for me. This whole site is my turn to get up in front of the class and talk about my favorite stuffed animal.

And so Signing Time is prominently featured in Bonny Glen’s first month, because in Jan 2005 we were in the thick of our ASL immersion. Wonderboy’s hearing loss had been firmly diagnosed a few months earlier (after a stint with tubes to rule out conductive loss due to fluid), and he got his first pair of hearing aids in November 2004, at eleven months old. The Signing Time DVDs were daily viewing in our home for a good five years or more, and they still get pulled out from time to time even though everyone knows them by heart. They pop up over and over again in my posts from 2005-2010 or thereabouts. We even got to Skype with Rachel at one point.

jane age ten

3.

The first picture book I recommended here is one I happen to have sought out just the other day, because I want to read it to Huck and Rilla soon: the beautiful Boxes for Katje. From my notes in 2005:

When I read this picture book to the girls, Jane had to take over for me near the end because I was so choked up. Candace Fleming’s beautiful story takes place in a small Dutch village, post World War II. Young Katje receives an unexpected package in the mail: a small box containing soap, socks, and—wonder of wonders!—chocolate, gifts from an American girl named Rosie. What follows is a heartwarming exchange of letters between the two girls, and a vivid illustration of the ripple-effect of generosity.

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4.

February 2005‘s posts could almost have been written this year, so full are they of the same books and resources I’ve just been pulling together for use this year. I guess that’s because Rilla and Huck are about the same ages Jane and Rose were in 2005. I’m cracking up right now to see I wrote about A Case for Red Herrings, because I found that on a bottom shelf just yesterday and shrieked with glee to Jane over it. Also discussed:

It’s Not My Turn to Look for Grandma, another beloved picture book I grabbed last week for my read-soon shelf;

Brave Writer and A Writer’s Jungle—and here I am about to teach classes for Brave Writer this spring;

The Scrambled States of America—that one was a library book and I think I checked it out again for my younger set a couple of years ago, but it might be time to put in another request;

Jim Weiss’s storytelling CDs, in particular the Shakespeare one;

By the Great Horn Spoon, one of our all-time great daddy-readalouds;

Small Meadow Press paper goods—Lesley Austin’s lovely stationery and planner items which are still in daily use on my desk (I keep our homeschooling notes in her beautiful Wild Simplicity Daybook); and

• even a mention of our beloved (and now in tatters) anthology, Favorite Poems Old and New.

That month was also the first appearance of my “These People Crack Me Up” tag, and I’m giggling afresh over some of those Rose and Beanie stories. The “woset in my closet” story!

(Amazon Affiliate links on this site help keep the lights on)

5.

Scott is going to growl at me for this post. Old pictures of our children make his heart ache, the big softie.

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Hi, daddy!

Enter Title Here

December 2, 2016 @ 11:45 am | Filed under:

Y’all, I miss posting here SO MUCH! It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. It’s that I’m crunched for time. I keep starting posts that I can’t finish. My drafts folder is comical.

draftslist

That’s right, FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY-THREE posts in drafts. That’s just silly. I start posts and never get back to finish them. This is when blog becomes more like scratchpad.

That “family album” was a solid idea: I had a plan to collect all my Instagram pics and funny kid comments into one big roundup post each month. Guess I didn’t finish the September roundup and never got back to it.

A lot of drafts languish for want of links and images (like the skincare/sunscreen one in that list, which I do hope to finish soon and will probably publish on Glittersquid). Other, like the Weird School post, are waiting for a reasonable chunk of time so I can put some brain into the writing. (Huck loves those books, is the summary. Subplot: when I asked him what was weird about the school, he said, “Actually, I’m not sure, since I’ve never been to school.” At the time, he had the book open to a page featuring a flying teacher in a superhero cape.)

I know I have a repeated theme here where I talk about how I’m getting hampered by the process of polishing up my posts, adding nice images, etc etc etc. I’ll vow to blog freehand but then when I sit down to write, I’ll think: this would be so much more useful for people if I added links…and that, friends, is how you wind up with a drafts pile nearly 500 posts deep. I mean, I’m even doing it here! Took the extra two minutes to look up and link to that old post—which contains a resolution to “blog lightly, without the sense of pressure and polish that rules the rest of my writing life.” I wrote that in 2014. Some lessons come dropping slow.

Well, I know better than to make resolutions. But I do mean to try to finish up some of those drafts. And the advice I gave myself in 2014—blog first, blog fresh, blog lightly—is really quite sound. One of these days I should start listening to me. 😉

Blog Odds and Ends

September 1, 2016 @ 6:56 pm | Filed under: ,

First_five_books_of_the_day__tidallearning__tidalhomeschooling

Several of you have written to ask how to subscribe to my Paper.li newsletter (my curated links, similar to the ones I share in the “Caught My Eye” part of the sidebar here). I had mentioned you could receive it via email, but it turns out that option is no longer available for free Paper.li accounts like mine. Sorry for the misinformation! Best way to follow it is, I guess, to look for the link on my Twitter each Monday. Or just pop over here to peruse the sidebar.

Also in the sidebar, as you know, is my running booklist. This year I’ve broken it into sections: what I’m reading myself; what I’m reading to the kids (well, sort of—I’m only listing the novels because tracking all the picture book and nonfiction readalouds would be a full-time job); and audiobooks.

Every January, I move all the year’s books out of the sidebar onto their own dedicated Booklog page. This year I’m ahead of the game and have set up the page already. If you prefer a more visual approach to booklists (cover photos), here’s that link.

But it, too, is missing the picture books, comics, folk and fairy tale collections, nonfiction, and poetry that make up such a large segment of our literary diet. I’ve been inconsistent at logging those books in a format that others can view. This fall I’m making another stab at tracking our picture-book readalouds via Goodreads. Takes a lot less time than putting together a post! If I can stick with the practice long enough to make it a habit, I’ll think about adding our nonfiction and poetry picks as well.

Holy cats, we’re a week into July

July 7, 2016 @ 10:13 am | Filed under: ,

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retreat-round-smallThis time next week, I’ll be in Cincinnati for the Brave Writer Retreat. I’ve known Julie Bogart online for over 15 years and we have Skyped several times, but this will be our first time getting together in person. Can’t wait! Looking forward to meeting other internet chums as well. This week I’m busily working on visuals for my talks. I’ll be speaking about Tidal Homeschooling, children’s literature, and comics. Can’t wait!

I also have a big post about skin care almost ready to go—hopefully tomorrow.

Five of my children are sick today—a rather vicious cold, much coughing and hacking. Scott is making me keep my distance because when I get a cough, it hangs around for weeks. And after Brave Writer, there’s SDCC and then my high school reunion. But mah babies! Okay, so they’re having a grand movie fest and playing loads of Terraria, and nobody needs me at the moment, but still. At least I have work to keep me busy. SO MUCH WORK. Fun stuff, though: no complaints.

I haven’t read much so far in July. In June I came down with a fierce case of I Need to Reread Riddlemaster Yet Again syndrome. Before that, I tore through a bunch of contemporary thrillers thanks to NetGalley. I need to write proper booknotes on them, but for now, if you’re looking for harrowing summer reading, these kept me glued to the page: The Girl on the Train, Security, Before the Fall, and Beware That Girl. Oh, and ever since I finished Connie Willis’s Passage, I keep going back and rereading bits of it. It has become one of my favorites of her novels.

Right now I’m a chapter into Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which has been on my list for ages. I may have to save it for the plane next week, though.

 

In which I am interviewed about this here blog

November 6, 2015 @ 2:22 pm | Filed under:

I’m all smiles today because I had the fun of being interviewed about blogging by Lesley Austin. Her questions were wonderfully thought-provoking and set me musing about how to rearrange my days to allow the daily blogging I maintained for so many years. I miss it! Lesley’s questions helped me hone on on what has shifted in my daily rhythm so that I’m blogging less often than I used to.

lesley austin interview

Lesley’s site is so lovely—it was a real treat to see my words on her beautiful page. And I was really moved by the photos she chose from my archives—some of my particular favorites, and some moments I’d already forgotten.

Here’s a tidbit:

How do you think your own way of connecting and being in the world influences your blogging?

I think I was made for sharing neat stuff. 🙂 Scott and I have a joke about my superpower being enthusiasm. For me, full enjoyment of a thing (book, game, app, article, website) comes only when I get to talk about it with other people. I think that’s why I took to blogging so readily, and why I’ve stuck with it for so long—it’s been a place I can always jump to to say “Ooh look at this awesome thing I found.” I’m a magpie, a curator. 🙂 I think all my internet spaces reflect that urge—I share links all over the place.

You can read the rest here. And do visit the other posts in her series of interviews-about-blogging:

a conversation about blogging with Sarah

a conversation about blogging with Jane

Thank you, Lesley!