Back to School

Back to School

Somehow, weirdly, this seems to be my 16th year of back-to-school time while actually working in a school?

I’m not sure how that happened. But I love where I am, so no matter how weirded out I get, don’t expect that to be changing before year #17.

Much of what I’m doing is exactly the same. Parents still don’t want to do a registration packet every year. They don’t know why they should fill out a PHLOTE (Primary Home Language Other Than English) every year (to be honest, neither do I, but it’s required) and they don’t want to fill out the lunch form when they have every intention of making their child a delicious and healthy lunch every day.

Lots of it is different. We’re a private school, so I’m the one making sure the scholarship applications get done and turned in and accepted. That is not particularly fun, let me tell you. Knowing that if I lose track of one piece of paper for one of four scholarships for one of eighty-five children we could lose anywhere from $375 to $23,506…well, at that point the child misses out too, because if they can’t pay tuition we can’t keep the school open…

Yeah. Don’t like that part. So far, so good (knock on wood!) and I’ve kept my school afloat, but I don’t like that part at all.

School started last week on Thursday. Housemate and I (she also works at a school) worked a lot of overtime and came home and put our feet up and complained in soft tired voices about our days. Every day last week. One day, I got done(ish) at my school and went to help at hers, and we got home at 9 p.m.

No matter how prepared we try to be, we never are prepared.

I’m not actually complaining (much.) Like I said, I love where I am. I love working with kids but not all day, and I love taking care of the people doing AMAZING work with said kids.

Mostly I’m just making excuses for why my new routines are not doing so great. *ducks*

But I’m still trying!

Posted in time's-a-wastin

Rainbow in my Front Yard and Other News

We’re (finally!) into the monsoon in Southern Arizona. That means sun every morning, and rain most evenings. It’s kind of awesome.

So are rainbows, which we get a lot of during the monsoon. Have a crummy pic through my front window.

We continue to settle into the new house, finding out things as we go. For instance, did you know that towel bars–at least some of them–have a tiny screw at the bottom that is supposed to be tightened so they don’t fall off the wall? I’ve fixed two so far. There are a couple more towel bars (can you have too many towel bars? they are definitely oddly placed…) but they haven’t yet fallen off the wall, so we might be good. Further updates as events warrant.

I also learned how to take the cover off the exhaust fans in each bathroom and clean in there (Youtube has videos!) Man, they were downright FURRY with dust! Both work better now, though I think the front one needs its impeller replaced. I’m kind of afraid to go into work that needs fuses (yes, fuses, not circuit breakers) turned off, but I’ll probably get there. Eventually.

Like maybe when fall arrives so the whole house won’t melt if I have to turn the AC off for a few hours.

I took Duke from the kid because she never took proper care of him. He now lives the life his title implies, with a dedicated human to serve his every need. Currently he is preening on a squid.

Anywhoo…I should be editing Hiro. I’m gonna go get my sh*t together and do that.

After I call my Senators again. Are you calling? Please call. Daily, at least. You can leave messages–don’t have to talk to anyone.

For all of us, please call. Email is good too.


Posted in Real Life Tagged with: , ,

Meet Me in the Deep End

The house I first tried to buy (but it was gone before I even had a loan) had a pool. I love pools, but I’m just as happy that I didn’t get it. I’d probably have never gotten around to going in the pool.

It’s dumb, but it seems like I need a deadline to even get that done. If I can go anytime, then I’ll go “later.” Or I won’t stay in very long, because I’m thinking of all the things I should be doing.

I like it better where I have to set a time (I like leaving the house an hour and a half before the pool closes) and grab my kid and whichever friends she’s invited, and get my butt over there, and then stay in the pool till the last second because by gum, I paid for this and also I won’t be able to swim again until at least tomorrow morning.

Swimming is such good exercise, and such fun. I like to hang out right around five feet, where I have to stand on tiptoe to stay above the water, and just bounce around and twirl and stuff. Sometimes I go in deeper, and have to actually put a wee bit of effort into staying afloat. I’ve been having a twinge in my side lately, though, and the unthinking movements of keeping myself in place in the water tend to make it hurt.

When that gets better, though, I’m looking forward to hanging out in the deep end. At my favorite of the city’s pools, sometimes they close the diving board and let people just go play in the 13-foot-deep section. That’s my favorite. I just love having that much water under me.

One summer the kid and I went swimming every single day. That was the year I enrolled her in every level of swim class, one after the other, and she spent much of the end of the summer hanging out on the bottom of our favorite pool with a fellow swim lessons graduate.

Today I reminded her of that summer and how she used to dive right when the lifeguard lifted his whistle to tell everyone it was time to get out of the pool. She’d come up and be alone in the pool, out there in the middle and apparently unable to see or hear anyone on the sides before she dove again…it’s one reason I tend to go to the pool an hour before it closes. I don’t want to be the only one trying to get her out of the water!

We’re a house-ful of mermaids, I think. In the desert. No wonder we get cranky. We should probably do everyone, ourselves included, a favor and spend more time in the nearest pool.

Posted in Real Life Tagged with:

Progress Check…Not Much, But Some!

Progress Check...Not Much, But Some!

So July 4th. Independence Day.

I printed the calendars. I did not finish setting up the rules, laying out the boundaries, or putting the darn things on the wall.

Nope. None of that.

I have, however, been doing better at the things that I was going to create the calendars to help me do. I’m more aware, and when I’m more aware I do better. I’m still going to put the calendars up, don’t get me wrong. I’m just happy to be making a little progress even without having implemented my plan yet.

Why haven’t I begun my plan? Because I’m tired. Stuff keeps coming up that must be dealt with immediately, and then I’m too tired to think about anything. Which was the whole point of getting it done–get it done, get it on the wall, no thinking required just do the thing.

I’m a mom. I’m pretty damned good at “just do the thing” no matter how tired or sick or whatever I am. Moms push on, because we must.

But if I don’t have the plan made yet, I’m not able to do that, am I?

I sense that I have turned to babbling. I took the kid to the pool tonight because it was 110­° at 5 p.m. and now I’m exhausted. Good news is, so is she.

Anyway. Here are some words, and a check-in: I’m still trying to follow the plan.

But right now I think I need to go fall over.


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Struggling With Routine

Struggling With Routine

Sometimes (most times) I could really stand to get into a rut. A very specific rut, understand–the one where I do the things I need to do every day, without really noticing so I don’t have the chance to go “naw, I don’t really feel like doing that today.” I mean, three times I’ve earned a pterodactyl on 750words by doing it every day for over 200, and then…poof. I forgot. Didn’t do it. Blew it.

Imagine what I could do if I did stuff I should do every day. Log what I eat, and get my steps, every day. Wash whatever’s in the sink (usually soaking pans, and I hate pans. Why is it that most of my pans can’t go in the dishwasher?!?) Scoop the litterbox. Practice my Spanish. Update my budgeting software to keep me on the wagon spending-wise. Write something, whether it be a blog post (hello!) or working on a story. Dust or sweep one area in my room.

It looks like a lot, but all those things I just listed* could easily take less than an hour a day. One hour, to live a healthier life guilt-free in a cleaner home with a happier budget. If I just did each of these things every day, I would be in SUCH GOOD SHAPE.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. –Will Durant

So why don’t I spend one stinkin’ hour a day to make my life so much better? I don’t flippin’ know, man. I tried 7 Weeks to make habits, but even after seven months of doing something every day, I can manage to drop it. I tried Flylady routines and those worked really well for a while, but I generally expand and then overcomplicate, and then I crash and burn. Even when I don’t expand…sometimes the system breaks down because I just look at my list and go “naw…”


Part of the problem, I think, is that engagement is important to success. So I have an account on Fitbit to talk to people, and I have friends on DuoLingo, and I try to drop by the forums of YNAB, get the reminders from Flylady…and that’s the thing. Who has time for all that?

I just need this stuff to work. Without all the social stuff. I already have places I like to hang out online, thanks. And I just can’t report in on everything every day. I will forget. Or I’ll deliberately not do the thing just to not have to make one more report.

So I’ve been looking for a way to be more accountable to me, and I remember how I finished my first novel. I got a poster-calendar (It was for Star Trek Generations, if you must know, a freebie from Jack in the Box) and put it on the door of my writing room–facing out. Every time I went to the bathroom in that apartment, I walked past that poster. If I wrote two pages, I got to cross off a day. If I missed a day, I had to first do the current day’s two pages–then I could do four more to make up the missed day. If I’d missed another day, I could do six more to make that up.

I missed plenty of days. I remember July was pretty blank. But I hauled my butt back to it every time, and on December 30th, I finished my novel. But that’s one thing. I can’t have six Star Trek poster calendars around, even if I could find them. It would dilute the effort too much. Wouldn’t it?

Then I found this article last week. And I thought. It’s a lot like the way I wrote a book. It’s a way I could maintain without my phone nagging me (which is a good way for me to stop paying attention, alas.)

So I’ll try it. I’ll make a new afternoon routine. I’ll Keep It Simple, Silly. Scoop the litterbox, empty the sink, clean a thing, do my Spanish, update my budget. That will be one streak. Writing will be another. Walking and recording my food–that will be a third. I’ll create boundaries as suggested, so sometimes I can miss and not break the streak.

And if I fail? I will get back on that streak. I will tweak my routine if I think it needs it, I will change the boundaries to make success more likely, but I will keep on because doggone it, I’ve got things to do and I want to do them.

So yeah. Just printed three year calendars starting in July on

Onwards and upwards! Right after I watch Moana with my kid because I promised. So I’ll start tomorrow. Fittingly, on Independence Day.

Ooh, I gotta watch that movie again…

*except getting my steps, which would be spread through the day while I did other things. The rest other than writing I could do in half an hour, leaving me thirty minutes to write, which would be WAY more than I do consistently now…

Posted in Babble Tagged with: ,

Freaking Hot

We have come, my friends, to that Time of Year again. When all I want to do is hide in my house. No, I don’t want to go out. No, I don’t care if the sun just came up. As I left for work today at 7:30, it was eighty-three freaking degrees outside.

I ask you. Does that seem remotely reasonable?

It’s days like these that I miss having my summers off. Yeah, I was broke (two months without pay will do that) but I could sleep all day. The kid and I would get up in the afternoon, go swimming in the evening, stay up all night when it was nice, and sleep through the day each with a box fan on high a foot away from her head.

Reminding myself I love my job, I love my job…because I really do. That has nothing to do with my not wanting to leave my house.

Is it October yet?

Although…I did leave my house to see Wonder Woman. Three times.


Posted in Real Life Tagged with: ,

Things To Do in June

Things To Do in June

It happens every time I have a deadline looming near. I can’t stop thinking about all the things I want to do, but really don’t have time to do. Not if I want to be done on time! Or even be close to being done on time!

I add that disclaimer because I am not going to be where I want to be by the end of today. I’ve taken the day off work to try, but I know that it won’t happen. (Partly because I’m putting in the time to maintain my 750words streak, but ssh. That’s important.) I won’t be where I want to be by the end of tomorrow, either. Even a few more days, as generously offered by my editor, isn’t going to do it. So, in the immortal words of Elsa, I will let it go.

Only because it’ll come back to me. I will get another crack at this edit, with Siri Paulson’s suggestions to help me get this book in shape.

But! The deadline has not yet arrived. So I can’t in good conscience do the things yet. However, I will.

  • Wonder Woman– I want to go see Wonder Woman. I’ve never been a big fan, but it wasn’t because I didn’t like her. I’ve never felt much affinity for the more talked-about DC heroes (Superman, Batman) so I didn’t stumble across Wonder Woman much. I mostly stuck to the X-Men, in reality. (Storm and Kitty Pryde, and Phoenix, and Rogue…) But I want more women-led, woman-directed movies, and THIS one seems to be hitting it out of the park, so win/win and I will go.
  • Flandrau Planetarium– I jumped on a Groupon that got me a year’s membership to the local planetarium. I get to wander the museum whenever I want, and pay something like $1.50 to go to planetarium shows. I intend to use this a few times in June!
  • Unpack! yeah, it’s not high on my list, but BOY does it need doing. I haven’t been able to use the carport since we moved in because it’s full of STUFF. So is every corner of the house, but the closets are mostly empty because we don’t want to lose stuff (actually I think it’s because I stopped stuffing stuff in closets just to get it out of the way, and no one else was doing that.)
  • My Room– I’m really excited about my room, you guys. When we were loading the truck to move, a friend picked up one of the pieces to my bed and it fell in several more pieces, coming apart in ways it was NOT supposed to do. Bad timing (who wants to spend lots more money while moving?) but no loss otherwise. It was a cheap daybed frame I bought eight years ago used for $100. It had ~had it~ and I do not miss it. I do miss not sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I pulled an oblique muscle (I’m told) in the gym a while back, and I am not terribly flexible at the moment. Getting up off the floor after lying still for 7-8 hours is not easy for me. But! My bed is winging towards me at the speed of IKEA. Wayfair is sending me a mattress pad, new pillows, and new sheets. I bought a full-size bedspread a while back (18 months, cough) because i loved it and because I meant to get a full-size bed soon. AND NOW I WILL HAVE IT. And decorative pillows with sea life on them because how could I not? I AM SO EXCITED YOU GUYS.
  • Ahem.
  • Read Some Books– I have a couple books friends have loaned me that I need to read. I need to acquire the last Temeraire book and read the penultimate book and then the last book. I have a writing book I bought on a deal–Creating Character Arcs–that promises to help me figure out how best to plot my arcs through trilogies and series. Like the one I’m working on now!
  • Watch more movies– I want to watch Rogue One about six more times. NEED to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I want to watch Pacific Rim again, and Ghostbusters Answer the Call. And The Force Awakens. Yes, want to see that again…and (whispers guiltily) Baywatch. I have such a soft spot in my heart for Dwayne Johnson, and Zac Efron too, so I shall have to see it even if it’s a complete and utter waste of an hour.
  • Hang out with my kid– she’s actually missing me. I should take advantage of that. (actually, it’s occurring to me that she only seems to miss me when I am deep in a deadline. She doesn’t want to hang out when I’m not! So maybe I should lie to her about deadlines in order to spend time with her?) (Oh, hey–I’ll take the kid to see Baywatch along with WW and GotG2. Quality time, hopefully with little complaining!) (I love her, but she’s a CONSTANT FONT OF NEGATIVITY and driving me up the wall right now.)
  • Also, I want to go swimming. And wander the park so near my new house. Get into gardening. Get my house set up just how I want it. Fix some things. BLOG MORE. Clip my toenails. Stuff like that.

But right now I’ve passed 750 words, so I gotta go edit.

Posted in time's-a-wastin, Writing Life Tagged with: ,