Month: September 2013

Kicking Into Gear for Strength of Wild Horses

Yesterday I got an email with all the storyboards for Strength of Wild Horses. (The sequel to my picture book Hold on to Your Horses.) Once again Angela has created vibrant images which capture the story. They’re only sketches with words pasted on the top, but they let me really see how the completed book will look. I fired back a happy email to say they were delightful. The response let me know that once I approve these sketches, we’re only about two weeks (or less) away from me having completed artwork in my hands. Eeep. I mean Yay, because I am so excited for this book to be real, but it moves me from calmly waiting for art to be done into the part where I have to step up and make the project happen. In the next weeks I have to assemble a full Kickstarter campaign. I’ll have to run it. And I’ll get to ride the emotional roller coaster of watching it fund or fail.

This morning I sat down and carefully looked through the sketches with a critical eye. I approved almost all of them. There are a couple of pages where the words and pictures are not quite working together the way that they need to be. So Angela will give me new sketches for those. In the meantime, I’m beginning to take steps to run and promote the Kickstarter. I dusted off the preliminary page I created last spring. I need to do a lot more with it. Since the thought of shooting a video felt too scary (and I really ought to wait until I have some final art for it anyway) I went over to MailChimp and set up a mailing list. Now anyone who wants updates and press releases from me can go sign up. I promise not to be spammy, though I’ll definitely be sending email about the Kickstarter when it goes live. At some point later this week I’ll figure out how to put a link to the sign up in one of my blog sidebars. Probably to the right, where I list my twitter handles and social media groups. There is also the Hold on to Your Horses Facebook page, which will host many announcements for the coming Kickstarter and also currently has a sneak preview sketch.

It is always tricky to balance a promotional push without being annoying. I can feel like I’m shouting out to everyone, I can be a nuisance to some people, and there will still be people who come to me weeks later and say “How come I didn’t know about this?” I shall endeavor to do as much as I can to make sure that my social media announcements are in themselves somewhat interesting rather than just announcements and begging.

The most important thing for me to remember as I begin the scary process of putting my project out there for others to support (or not) is how much I love and believe in this book. Creating Strength of Wild Horses is not about making money or even about furthering my writing career. It is about getting to be part of something amazing. I get to provide a forum for others to appreciate Angela’s amazing art. I get to put another story into the hands of families and children who fell in love with Amy through Hold on to Your Horses. And perhaps most of all, I get to see Amy come alive again with a brand new adventure where she learns what wild idea horses are good for.

Angela feels a little reluctant to release sketches because she wants her art complete before it goes out in the world, but I have permission to show a few. This is only a concept sketch, but it makes me very happy because I see Amy again and I realize how much I missed her.


Kiki was having trouble with her computer and I was helping her sort it out using a mixture of phone, video, and text communication. Howard knew she was having trouble and said he was ready to jump in his car and go help her. The moment Kiki heard that, she made the biggest puppy-dog hopeful eyes I’ve ever seen. So, even though we resolved the computer trouble, Howard drove three hours to go see her anyway. They’ll visit, go out for dinner, and then he’ll drive back. Ratio of driving to visiting 2:1. Sometimes it is important not to do the sensible thing.

This morning I drove Link to go meet people at the local Pokemon league, because Link wants friends who care about Pokemon games as much as he does. As first visits go, I think it was a success, though I’m not sure Link sees it that way. It is hard for him that everyone else seems to have better decks or better trained Pokemon than he does. I think he’ll give things another try though.

Gleek has discovered distopian YA. She was enthralled with Scott Westerfield’s series Uglies, Pretties, and Specials. Next I’m going to hand her books by the Wells brothers: Variant, Feedback, Partials, and Fragments. She’s also discovered blue eyeshadow. Since she is also a queen of finding weird internet tutorials (she’s found everything from How to See Auras to How to Make Mermaid Tails), I’ll perhaps mention that eyeshadow tutorials exist.

My day vanished somehow, swallowed by helping kids with chores, helping kids with homework, driving kids places, picking up library books for kids, helping kids with computers, feeding kids, and then attending a church meeting. If only I’d managed to rake the cut grass off of the front lawn, I would be satisfied with my day. It was what it needed to be.

How Kiki is Doing at College, and How We’re Handling Her Being Gone

“You don’t write about me as much anymore” Lamented Kiki via twitter on an evening when she was feeling a bit homesick and had read through my blog entries. She’s right, I haven’t been writing about Kiki’s college adjustments or our adjustments here at home. I’m still trying to find my balance with this parenting an adult thing. I’m once again having to ask myself which stories are mine to tell and which just belong to Kiki.

The other truth is that we’ve reached a point where having her gone feels normal. Humans are highly adaptable and one month into having her gone, my mother radar has learned not to try to look for her in the house. Instead it expects to keep tabs on her via twitter, email, and Skype. Things that feel normal don’t generally make for interesting blog entries. Except in the midst of the “normal” there are little evidences that life is different from all the years that went before. Gleek has taken to sleeping in the bed that used to be Kiki’s. Part of that is convenience, it is the lower bunk. Some of it may have to do with the softer mattress. I think most of it is because it lets Gleek feel closer to Kiki. This morning Patch asked me to show him how to send an email, because he forgot how and wants to send one to Kiki. He wants to hear back from her. A major theme in Link’s emotional dramas over homework was how much he misses Kiki. Adapting to being the oldest kid in the house is not easy for him. All of us pay attention to the calendar, noticing how long until she’ll come home for a visit. So when I say we’ve adapted and life feels normal, part of what feels normal is missing Kiki. Every day, in a dozen small ways.

Any time Kiki calls us via Skype, everyone flocks to the room the minute they hear her voice. They don’t always know what to say, so they sit there smiling at Kiki, just wanting to be close by. Mostly the younger kids end up listening to Kiki’s college adventures for awhile before they wander off. Howard will sometimes take my laptop and talk to her for awhile. Not having her here in the house means that we all have to learn new ways of relating and connecting. The kids need to learn to save up and remember the things they want to tell her, so that they have something to say when there is a chance.

Every week at church someone will ask me how Kiki is doing. It is always a different person, though we’re starting to see repeats. They honestly wish her well and are glad to hear that college is going well. Because it is. Kiki has down days. She has homesick days. But, as far as I know, most of her days are good. She’s got paying work as an illustrator. She has classes that interest her. She has friends who let her hang out in their room almost 24/7. There are frustrations and stresses, but they are outweighed by the good things. I know a dozen stories to tell about financial learning experiences, dragon marathons, costume plans, and stray cats, but I’m not sure which stories she wouldn’t mind having told and which would make her feel exposed. And then there is the fact that it has only been the past week when my bloggy story-telling brain has switched back on. For weeks on end I was skipping blogging or only reporting the days events. It feels very different internally when my brain takes the days events and crafts it into an interesting story. With that part of me reviving, perhaps I’ll tell more of Kiki’s stories.

So there you go Kiki. Just because you’re not taking up space in the house (nor much on the blog lately, which has been quite Link-centric for the last bit) doesn’t mean you’re forgotten. Far from it.

Tired at the End of the Day

At noon I sat on my front porch in the warm fall sunlight. My feet were bare and the pavement was warm. I looked across the un-mowed lawn and felt at peace. We’re still not getting everything done, but the patterns are beginning to settle in and it felt like maybe we could get to a point where the things all get done.

Then there was Gleek’s deep sadness over the fact that we can’t install a mod onto Minecraft, which was the first indicator in a long while that all is not right in Gleek’s emotional landscape. Then I realized that for Gleek’s own good we need to limit the amount of time she escapes into Minecraft. Some escape is good, but she needs to face her thoughts not always run from them. Then there was the conversation with Patch’s teacher where she expressed some concerns for him because he gets anxious. Then there was homework time. Next there is bedtime.

Somehow I have reached the end of my day, knowing I did important things all day long, knowing I did them pretty well, but still feeling beaten down and a bit defeated. I will try again tomorrow.

The Necessity of Battles

I don’t like confrontation. I never have. In my growing years I went to great lengths to avoid conflicts and try to make everyone just be happy. I was in my mid-twenties before I realized that sometimes the fastest way to “everyone happy” is to wade right through the middle of a conflict. Because some conflicts can’t be avoided. Trying to avoid them sends you in circles until you end up right back at the same conflict; like Winnie the Pooh circling in the foggy woods and ending up right back at the sandpit. It just looks a little different because you came at a different angle. I learned to be strong and to be what my children often call “mean.” It is part of the parent job.

Truthfully, the beginning of this school year has been fine. We had a lot to sort, particularly with Link. He had to face the fact that he will have homework and we really are going to require him to do it rather than having him excused from it via his disability. Getting Link to accept these things required me to sit with him for four hours until he wrote a journal entry. Then it required me sitting for two hours while we plowed through some history questions and got them done on time. Then I had to sit him down and make him do two writing assignments in a last minute crunch so that they were on time. Link was mostly cooperative, except for that inner part that wanted to avoid the work. We have now done one of each type of assignment that is likely to be required of him this year. No more big surprises. We have a plan in place to track the assignments. We intend to do at least one hour of homework each day, working on long term assignments if short-term ones are done. The goal is that he won’t have to put in hours on the weekends.

Today Link sat down cheerfully. He worked steadily. Then when the hour was done he said “I like this. I still have time to relax.” Yes. And now he sees it. Before we had the big homework battles and the last minute crunches, he would have seen the one hour of work as a daily drudgery. I knew that about an hour per day was what was needed, but he could not or would not see it. In the wake of the epic homework sessions it seems like a reprieve. Sometimes we have to have a battle so that we can see how good things are when the struggle is over. Sometimes we create the battle by trying to avoid something which really is not very hard to do.

I’ve seen the same thing with other kids in other situations. I set up requirements, restrictions, and boundaries. Then I have to hold firm while the kids wail and flail for a bit. Sometimes they get very mad at me for a time. Afterward they accept. Even further after that, they begin to see benefits and understand why I had to set things up that way. They begin to realize that maybe they enjoy having the house clean, maybe they like doing homework an hour per night instead of in a stressful mad scramble just before due date, and maybe Mom does have a clue sometimes.

Of course the hardest part is that I doubt myself in the midst of the battle. That part of me, which just wants to make it all better and wants to make everyone happy, will fight me just as hard has my child does. Sometimes I can clearly see that what I’m doing is necessary. Other times I waffle, waver, and am not at all sure. It can feel like such a mess in the middle of it. I gave in a lot during early years. I trust myself more now, but it is still hard. In order to learn to trust myself, I had to be willing to face the battles. I had to walk through the hard part and come out the other side so that I could see that making someone upset is sometimes the very best thing for everyone. I had to see that my attempts to avoid conflicts were very like Link’s attempts to make homework go away by ignoring it. Nothing went away, it just piled up. Much better to face things and manage them a little at a time.

I suspect that, like Link, this is not the last time I’ll have to learn this lesson. Though hopefully I’ll learn more quickly each time around.

Public School Resources for Parents of Special Needs Kids: Elementary Edition

Preface: The information in this post is based upon my interactions with the Alpine School District in Orem Utah. Other states and countries will have different resources and regulations about those resources. You’ll have to check locally to find out what can be done, but hopefully knowing what is available elsewhere will at least arm you with good questions to ask. This listing is incomplete. Each child has unique challenges, each school presents unique possibilities and barriers. All that is intended here is some basic knowledge of where to start.

First some tips for dealing with school personnel

Assume that they are competent.
They may not be, but starting discussions with the belief that any difficulties can be resolved by calm discussion puts you in a much better bargaining position. People are not helpful when they feel belittled or defensive.

Gather information before making demands
Be sure you fully understand the school, the teacher, the administration, and the potential roadblocks. Once you do, pick the crucial needs and start with those. Be willing to compromise on the non-crucial needs. If you try to force a plan that does not work for the school staff, then that plan is doomed to fail.

Keep your emotions in check
You may be furious or upset, but putting school officials on the defensive is not likely to result in a better outcome for your child. I swallow my frustrations all the time if it allows me to achieve an important goal. What matters is helping your child, not venting your emotions.

Many of these teachers and staff have been at their jobs for longer than you’ve been raising your child. You are the expert on your child. They are the experts on what works in the classroom and school setting. Most of the resources I’m going to list, I learned from helpful school personnel.

Respect their time and effort
Any adaptation that they make for your child represents extra time and effort on the part of school staff. Even if they are required by law to make those adaptations, be grateful for it. It is still a gift, and thanks are appropriate. Also, human beings respond to positive reinforcement. The child with gracious and thankful parents is likely to get just a little bit more kindness than one whose parents are not.

People at your school who can be your allies:

The teacher
This person is your front line and your most important ally. Often if you can build a good rapport with the teacher, you don’t need much other intervention because you solve many of the problems in the classroom. But rapport is not guaranteed. Sometimes the teacher has to be worked around instead.

The principal
This person sets the social tone for the entire school. You may or may not have dealings with the principal directly, but still pay attention. The principal has some veto power over what can be offered to your child. We once chose to switch kids into a different school because of the social environment a principal was creating, even though he meant well.

School psychologist.
Every school in Alpine District has one. She’s likely only at the school one day per week, but she exists. She is the one who schedules additional testing and performs much of it. Additionally, she can do in-class observations of your child to see what might be working or not working in the classroom. She can see how your child behaves when you are not there and can report if there is something amiss with the teacher/child relationship.

Resource teachers.
These range from reading and math specialists to speech therapists. Your child will only work with these teachers if they have been tested and demonstrated an additional need. Once you have access to these teachers, they can be additional allies.

Yard duties.
These are the people who watch the playground at recess. Sometimes they are teachers, other times they are separate personnel. Either way, they may have observations about your child in a different environment than the classroom. Depending on your child’s issues, talking with the yard duties may be very helpful.

School nurse
All local elementary schools have one, though she is usually only present one day per week. If your child’s needs include medical issues, you’ll need to communicate with the school nurse.

Office secretaries
These people are the front line for many issues that come up at school. They help your child if he gets injured. They dispense medicine according to doctor’s instructions. They see almost everything that happens at school.

Testing and Diagnosis

When my kids were young I was afraid of doing anything that would get my child “labeled.” I was reluctant to pursue testing or diagnosis, believing that we were better off just trying to address the issues we saw, rather than declare what the issues were. I have come to believe that the value of diagnosis greatly outweighs the possible negative consequences of being labeled. Diagnosis is your friend. Really.

I have encountered school personnel who misunderstood, or did not comprehend. I’ve met some who meant well and thought they were helping but who were doing the opposite. I have never met a single one who was dismissive of a diagnosis. I’m sure such people are out there, but I’ve not encountered them yet.

I’ve been through a full diagnostic process for a child four different times. I’ve been through testing more times than I can count. Every single time it has given me more information about what my child needed. The diagnoses shifted information in my head and opened up new paths to help. I did not expect that. I thought that diagnosis closed off possibilities, when it did the opposite. Diagnosis was always an emotional process and grieving was part of that, but afterward we were far more able to move forward.

If your fear of being labeled is strong (or your school has demonstrated a tendency to pigeon-hole labeled children), then there are private means to pursue testing and diagnosis. You can then decide what to share with the school. A good resource for private help is to contact your local college or university. Be sure you get recommendations, because private diagnosis can be expensive and not all providers are good.

Locally I recommend contacting the BYU Comprehensive Clinic ( 801 422-7759) They did a full work up and testing on Link when he was six. I don’t remember how much it cost, but I know it was not very much for what we gained. More recently we had Gleek diagnosed through a private clinic called TAPS that works out of the Clear Horizon’s Academy. Full diagnosis there cost around $750. University of Utah, Wasatch Mental Health, and Primary Children’s Counseling Center are also places to check.

Diagnosis and testing through the school does not cost the child or the family, though it does cost the school district. You can request testing and I believe they are required to provide it upon parental request. You may get push-back from school personnel if they don’t think your child needs it. They are unlikely to be willing to devote school resources to testing unless significant issues have manifested at school which impact your child’s ability to learn, or which disrupt the classroom for other students. Often they don’t realize that testing is an option or they just don’t think about it.

We have had the following testing done through school resources:
Social and behavioral skills testing
Motor skills testing
Speech and language testing
Auditory processing testing
Psychological evaluation
Psychological in-class observation
IQ tests
Testing to compare academic achievement to grade level expectations
I’m sure there are others I’ve forgotten or missed

Making a Plan

Often the results of testing and diagnosis are useful information and can help you form a plan with your child’s teacher. That may be all that is necessary, though you’ll have to continue to form plans with new teachers each year. If the difficulties are ongoing, or if your child needs additional school resources, then making an official plan through the school is probably a good idea. Locally we have two types of educational plans:

504 Plan.
This flags the child as needing extra help in the classroom and defines exactly what sort of help must be provided. For example: one of my daughter’s friends is legally blind. She has a 504 plan stating that she must be seated at the front of the class, that people must read her tests to her out loud, and that she may use special equipment to help her see. Any sort of diagnosis which impacts education, and which will not go away, merits a 504 plan. I think this can include requiring an in-class aide, but I’m not sure exactly how that works. Link qualifies for a 504 due to his Auditory Processing Disorder and his ADHD (he actually has an IEP instead, I’ll get to that next) Gleek would also qualify for a 504 plan, but she does not currently have one because at the moment she’s getting straight A’s and thriving at school. The moment she needs something the school does not automatically provide, I’ll brandish her diagnoses and get a 504 plan for her.

IEP (Individualized Educational Plan)
This includes everything in a 504 plan, but also outlines what additional resource or educational help that the child might need. In elementary school Link had one of these to provide him with speech services and then writing resource help. Part of setting up this sort of plan is setting goals for what needs to be achieved with the child that year. Over the years Link had goals relating to conversation, speech, writing, and social interactions. He met with speech therapists for learning to communicate clearly and with writing specialists for the same. One year he even had an in-school play group where the school psychologist taught social skills over board games.

For both kinds of plans you meet at least once per year with the teacher, the principal, and any resource teachers. During that meeting you evaluate how things are going and set new goals for the coming year. You can call an IEP meeting at any time if the current plan is not working. One of the values of an IEP or 504 plan is that it stays with your child even when the teacher changes. It is supposed to help provide continuity of support across school years. The purpose and importance of both IEP and 504 plans shifts dramatically on entering junior high and high school, but that is a topic for a different post.

To conclude:
You are your child’s best resource, but you can’t do it alone. Hopefully some of this information will help you acquire a team to help you and yours.

Giving Kids Tools to Succeed Before Allowing Them to Fail

“Don’t be afraid to let your kid face the consequences of bad decisions. You have to let him fail so he can learn he wants to succeed.”

The advice was given to me in a semi-private forum where I’d complained out loud about the epic four-hour-long homework session with Link last Sunday. I wanted to answer back that they’d misunderstood the dilemma, that my son was not being defiant, but every answer I could compose sounded like I was self-defensively missing their point or would require so much background information that I would bore everyone.

Yes parents need to let kids fail, but before they allow it they first have to make sure that the kid actually has the tools to succeed. In this case, Link does not. In theory he ought to. By 10th grade kids should have already learned how to track homework and have a basic comprehension that work must be completed before it is due. Link does not. His entire educational experience has been about adjusting, recalibrating assignments, and letting him make up work he misunderstood or did not finish. Those adjustments were necessary at the time, but now is the time to learn different skills. He needs to learn to turn in all of his assignments on time, that if an assignment needs accommodation that must be agreed upon in advance. He needs to learn to read every paper handed to him and to not wait for adults to explain what he should do. He needs to learn to figure out what he doesn’t understand in class and then ask questions about it.

Truth be told, his current teachers would let him continue as he has been. It says right there on his IEP that he’s allowed extra time on assignments. They would accept late work and not dock it down points. They would be kind and explain. They would lighten the work load when Link seemed overwhelmed. There was a time where that willingness was a saving grace for us. Now it is not what Link needs for his long term growth. What he needs is for me to sit next to him, for four hours, not moving until the journal entry is written, because it is due the next day. Link sat next to me, wanting to do the assignment, wanting to please me, yet wrestling with himself because part of his brain was resisting the work with all of its might. So right now I’m heavily involved in tracking Link’s work and making him do it. Once he is in the habit of doing all assignments on time, once he realizes that is a thing it is possible to do, then I will step back and let him succeed or fail at it under his own power. Link needs to learn that he is strong enough to do hard things, because all of his life people have been adapting for him and that has made him believe himself weak.

I find it interesting that I got similarly hands-on with Kiki at this point in her Sophomore year as well. By January of that year I stepped back and let her handle things again. Already I can see improvement in how Link is doing. The battles Link is having with himself are smaller and more easily won. Most importantly, I can feel that this path is right, so we’ll keep walking.

Mid Term Conferences

I left parent teacher conferences with no action items. Eight teachers smiled at me, told me that Gleek is a wonderful student, and couldn’t think of a thing she could be doing better. Considering how all-consuming Gleek care was last spring, I feel thrown off balance a bit. I want to go back to all the teachers and say “are you sure?” except then they would look at me strangely. Except their observations match mine. Gleek is happy. She’s getting her work done. I’d like to see her interact with friends more often, but there are hints that some of that is developing. Things will get hard again. Gleek has lots to learn, but maybe I can stop bracing and let go a little.

In contrast, Link’s parent teacher conferences left me with a long list of support items. We’ve got a learning curve to hike. He’s going to have to get used to homework almost every night. He’s got three or four times the amount of writing work than he has ever had before. This is when we have to slog through the difficult to give him the practice he needs so that these things can become easier. In the next three years we need to transition to him managing all of these things without my intervention. Yet I feel hopeful that we’re getting this under control. We’re figuring out the types of assignments and after this we’re going to be able to work ahead so that we don’t end up with some nights piled high with homework.

Funny how one child is sailing clear and I’m certain hard is coming, while the other is in the midst of hard and I feel confident it will soon get easier. My brain is weird.

Loose Thoughts from Today and Yesterday

We had lunch with some friends whose Kickstarter has just funded. They spoke to us about the things they are considering as options for fulfillment. I listened and strongly advised them to contract out the fulfillment. Their time is better spent making another creative thing than in sorting through invoices and packing boxes. To emphasize my point, I noted how much writing I have not been doing in the past few years and most particularly this year. I can’t blame all of that on work. This has been a heavy parenting year, but I can definitely point at shipping and convention managing as tasks that sap my creative energy which I would be delighted to give up. Fortunately we’ve entered a business lull where I can take some time to consider options.

Parent Teacher conference filled up my afternoon. It was my chance to talk to all of Link’s teachers and to identify exactly which assignments Link has missed comprehending. He’s good at recognizing things that are due next class time, but once-per-term assignments always surprise him at the end. We’re still identifying trouble spots with particular assignments. The good news is that we’ve reached a good accommodation with the one teacher who seemed unwilling to listen to Link. Mostly this was accomplished by Link facing the homework and realizing that he can do the assignments. Also the teacher was happy to compromise on the length of the journal writing assignments, he has one page to write instead of three. I’ve identified that I need to teach Link to read every paper handed to him in class. At least three times the necessary information for the longer deadline assignments has been in Link’s hands since the second day of class, but he didn’t know because he didn’t read the paper. I actually expect this to be a significant challenge for him because the thought of writing assignments, even ones far in the future, can feel overwhelming. So I need to teach him how to recognize a future assignment, place it on a future day in the calendar, and then not worry about it until then. Half of public school is learning how to task manage and those skills will be useful forever. My primary goal for Link this year is that he do all of his assignments and turn them in on time.

I vacuumed yesterday for the first time in I’m not sure how long. This morning I folded laundry. All the little things, which I’ve had no time nor energy to do, are beginning to get done. Order is slowly returning to my house. I have a small hope that it will also return to my mind, though I’m reluctant to let that hope exist. It feels like I haven’t had peace or routine for almost a year. Even then it was a very busy routine for the year before that. Long ago, back when I decided that Gleek and Patch needed to switch schools more than we needed a light homework load, I knew that I was in for a couple of crazy years. Patch is still in that heavy homework program, so I’ve got a couple years more. Except, Patch is mostly fine with the work. As long as he is not feeling anxious about disappointing people, he just does the work happily. I see that and I feel the faint trickle of hope that maybe this year will not be so bad. Maybe Gleek will just be happy and not anxious this year. Maybe Link and I will establish homework rhythms and he’ll figure out how to find things he likes in his high school. Maybe Patch will have a happy year full of growth. Kiki is out on her own and weathering her ups and downs like the independent adult that she is, but she still likes us, misses us, and calls us frequently. Maybe Howard will just settle into working happily and will plow through everything he has planned for the next few months. Maybe none of my fears will be realized. Maybe. I want to squelch that entire paragraph. Surely it is better to just expect things to be difficult, and be pleasantly surprised. Except that the expectation of difficulty weighs on me. I’ve been carrying it for quite a long time and I wonder if, maybe, it would be okay for me to put it down. Maybe it is okay to let go.

My front room feels empty without boxes of merchandise in it. I look around at the walls I painted last January and remember that I had other plans for making this room pretty. I also look around and realize how much I hope that I can keep the merchandise out of this room. I would love it if my home spaces could belong to my family without all of us having to dodge business all of the time. Having offices is fine, but so often the business spills into all of the living spaces. Achieving more separation may take a while, but at least I recognize it as a thing I want.

I went to bed at 10:30 last night. This means the 6:30 wake up arrived after 8 full hours of sleep. Today was a most effective day on many fronts. I think I’ll attempt to repeat that feat. Which means now is the time to put away computer things.

Clearing Away the Clutter

I need a few more days like today, where I ignore my organized to-do list and instead just take care of the things which are right in front of me. For the first time in three months my front room has no merchandise or convention equipment in it, I can walk across my storage room without dodging or tripping, and my kids got most of their homework done. Of course there are still piles of things to take care of, but I begin to believe that catching up might be possible. Of course on Monday I’ll look at my list again and the dream will be over. Or maybe I really am starting to catch up.