Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2020. — Accomplished!
Publish my updated TBR post. — Accomplished!
Re-organize the filing system. — Semi-Achieved.
Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. — Accomplished!
Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Semi-Achieved.
Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation. — Accomplished!
Send at least five cards, letters, and care packages. — Did not accomplish.
Continue preparations for P.E.O. Virginia State 2022 Convention. — Accomplished!
I had a really good month. I’m still working from home, as is Al. We are grateful to our companies for keeping us and our colleagues as safe as possible as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the United States.
I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished with this session of Camp NaNoWriMo. I wanted to add 20,000 new words to the novel I started during NaNoWriMo 2013. Look for a post about that in August.
I’m really pleased with finally getting to cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. I filled a 13-gallon trash bag nearly full with expired food and spices. A lot of it had gotten pushed to the back of the cabinets, and it’s hard for me to reach back there without standing on a chair or step stool. It’s so much easier to find the spices now. The next step is to install either a Lazy Susan system or moving shelves in both cabinets so that it’s even easier to locate what we need when we’re cooking.
The dining room buffet is a work in progress. I finally got the kitchen table cleaned off, and have kept it clean and clutter-free for almost a full week.
The filing system is also being evaluated. I need to do a few more things in my office before that can be accomplished, but I’m hoping to get a few more boxes out of the room this weekend. I also filled a trash bag and three small boxes with old books and DVDs for donation to the thrift stores. My couch is clean again!
I’m excited to buy acid-free paper and sheet protectors to preserve my university newspaper articles. I got a 3-inch binder for free from a sorority sister that was preparing to move, so that should be plenty of space to store everything.
What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of July?
Finish the second draft of my novel. — Did not accomplish.
Send the second draft of the novel to my readers for additional feedback. — Did not accomplish.
Clean out and organize the linen closet. — Accomplished!
Send the box of consignment items to Darby. — Accomplished!
Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation. — Did not accomplish.
Send at least four cards or letters to friends. — Accomplished!
Publish a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club at least once a week. — Did not accomplish.
Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Did not accomplish.
Spend another hour on American Girl items inventory. — Did not accomplish.
This month was weird. I was more deeply affected by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests than I anticipated.
However, I was able to give blood! Yay! Al made steak the night before the drive, and my iron level was 14.3, one of the highest levels I’ve had. The baseline requirement for women is 12.5. And, my favorite phlebotomist, Spencer, was at the drive and helped me through it. I struggled to fill the bag, which is completely my fault. I forgot to drink enough water. More fluids!
I shipped off the massive Walmart box to Darby. It weighed almost 25 pounds! I paid almost $95 in shipping costs, but Darby offered me $164 in store credit, so I jumped on it. I’ve gotten a lot of pretty things this month, and I found a beautiful shirt with a flower on it and “Mom” on it for my mom.
I did a lot of other things with the house the month. The linen closet is finally clean and organized the way it should be, at least in my mind.
Al and I also went through our closets, filled two garbage bags full of outgrown clothes, and gathered several other things to donate. I dropped everything off at the thrift store on Sunday.
I’ve been slowly making my way through Just Mercy. It’s a good book, but it’s heavy. Look for a review on the Netflix documentary “13th” coming soon.
The Ebony and Fire Writing Club is currently on hiatus. I was disappointed at first, but one of the organizers wanted to take a break to focus on Black Lives Matter and some other priorities for a while.
What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of June?
First of all, I want to say that the word “defund” in this context is inflammatory and a poor word choice. I do not plan to use that word here when I am communicating my intentions. Feel free to reach out in the comments if you have questions.
John Oliver just covered this for Last Week Tonight: Police
There are so many analogies that I can make. The biggest thing that I’ve learned in my research is that we need to lighten the load of the police. Everything has been dumped on them. No wonder they’re overwhelmed and scared.
The following was written by Father Nathan Monk, posted to his Facebook page earlier this month.
“Imagine this with me for a moment. A guy falls asleep after drinking. He’s in line for Wendy’s because he’s needing some late night greasy food. He’s been out with his friends all night and he’s super tired. He falls asleep. An employee notices and goes inside.
They call 911.
The driver wakes up to a gentle tap on the window. He rolls it down. He’s a little confused and disoriented.
“Hi. My name is Stacy. I’m a social worker and I just wanted to make sure you are alright?”
“I just fell asleep.”
“I understand. This is my colleague, their name is Dominque. They want to go order your meal for you while we talk. What did you want?”
“A number four with a coke.”
“Would you mind pulling your car over there so we can talk? Dominique will be getting that meal for you.”
“Ok, just a second. Am I in trouble?”
“No, we just want to make sure you are safe and that everyone else on the road is safe. Can we do that together?”
“I can do that!”
After a conversation, Stacy and Dominique decide that they are pretty sure they can confirm that the driver has been drinking. They ask a lot of questions about his drinking habits. They determine that he clearly doesn’t have a drinking problem. He just rarely drinks, didn’t know his limits, and made a mistake to get behind the wheel.
After his meal, the driver is feeling much better. The social workers offer to have his car towed to his house and an Uber comes to pick him up.
In this scenario, Rayshard Brooks is still alive. He’s given compassionate and reasonable care. This is what community should look like. This is a way we could re-envision what our response could be as a society. This is what it would look like to defund the police.”
What Father Nathan Monk has imagined is perfectly reasonable. Putting it into practice, however, is a different story.
Do I think it can happen?
With the right people involved, the right resources, and the proper allocation and adjustments of funding, YES.
But, it’s not just reforming the police.
It’s reforming mental health services, social services, education, and the list goes on and on.
A lot more work needs to be done. That’s the one thing that is crystal clear.
So, what can you, as a resident of your community, do?
Get involved with your city leaders. Find out who oversees the police department. Here in Portsmouth, Virginia, the police chief’s boss is our city manager.
Participate, productively, in city council meetings. Demand change. Send emails to those directly responsible.
Most importantly – Vote in the election this November. Research the candidates that will be on your ballot. Exercise your constitutional right. Request a mail-in ballot if you don’t feel comfortable voting in person. This is the one big thing that EVERYONE can do, and it’s one of the easiest things. Look up your State Board of Elections for more information.
Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Semi-Achieved.
Start a new writing prompt series. — Semi-Achieved.
Spring clean my closet. — Accomplished!
Publish at least one Book Review. — Accomplished!
De-clutter the dining room buffet. — Accomplished!
Spend at least one hour on American Girl items inventory. — Accomplished!
Start re-organizing the garage. — Accomplished!
I made a lot of progress this month. I’m really pleased with the number of posts I published here!
I threw out all the expired products in the cabinet above the oven, and made a list of needed replacements. The job isn’t finished, but I’m happy with the progress.
I learned that my favorite consignor, Darby, was going to be accepting new consignment boxes as early as June 1st, so I rushed to sign up for a box. I’m mailing it to her new house in Washington State next week. I had a lot of fun going through everything in my closet, and I nearly filled the huge box from Walmart that our new Blu-ray player came in. Plus, everything is now organized for the summer!
We made a ton of progress on our garage. I’m so happy with it. Everything has a place. We filled our trashcan. And we can walk around freely without tripping. Al also was able to move the refrigerator from the detached garage out back to the attached garage, so we can have drinks out there and some overflow space for freezer items. We also worked together to clean and sanitize it.
I published THREE Book Reviews! Yippee! I’ve finally gotten back in the habit of reading between 15-45 minutes every night before bed.
I also embarked on a new Writing Adventure with joining the Ebony and Fire Writing Club. Stay tuned for more posts every week!
What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of May?
This Camp session was different. After getting valuable feedback from my two main readers of my first draft of “Experiences From Camp,” I knew it was time to start the first round of editing.
Original word count: 51,960 words (161 pages)
On April 1, I printed out my first draft for the first time ever! I made the 161 pages double-sided, hole-punched them, and put it in a binder.
Almost every night for the first week, I sat down with a blue pen and pink Post-It notes, and read through the draft.
I added page numbers, designated chapters, page breaks, questions about the plot, sentence structure, and recommendations from my two readers.
I was very pleased with my efforts. I faltered a bit after the initial read-through, but I read through nearly 52,000 words!
Because I was editing this time, and not really writing, this Camp session was very different. However, I met my goal!
I have a lot of work to do now that I’ve completed the first round of editing. I also started using one of the beautiful journals that I received for my birthday last year to ask additional questions about the work and jot down other notes and thoughts.
My main goal is to send the second draft of the novel to my two readers, Amanda and Mike, by the end of June.
Before I do that, though, I need to translate my handwritten edits and other thoughts from my journal into the Draft 2 document on my computer. For some reason, and I think it’s mainly fear, I’ve been resisting doing this for the entire month of May. However, I do have a couple of days off of work coming my way, so I’m hoping to finally sit down (Well, stand up at my desk, LOL) and knock these edits and additions out!
Complete Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020. — Accomplished!
Hang photos in my office. — Did not accomplish.
Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
Spring clean my closet, top to bottom. — Did not accomplish.
Drop off thrift store donations. — Accomplished!
Purchase new glasses. — Accomplished!
Finish the book I’m reading, and publish the review. — Accomplished!
Start a new writing prompt series. — Did not accomplish.
Commit to less screen time, especially in the evenings. — Semi-Achieved.
I accomplished quite a few things this month. I’m very pleased.
We celebrated my dad’s birthday virtually. We called and sang to him. We can’t wait to celebrate in person once the virus risk lessens.
I think Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020 was a big success, especially with the recent circumstances around COVID-19. Look for a recap post soon!
I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made with my home office. I gathered up several square feet of donations, and Al helped me drop it off at Goodwill. I can sit on the couch for the first time since we moved in our house! Al also helped me hang up some of my sorority memorabilia.
After working from home on a card table for the first two weeks, I was over it. Al found an amazing sit-stand desk on sale through Office Depot, and I took the plunge and bought it. Look for a new installment in my home improvement series, coming soon!
I bought two new pairs of glasses through Zenni Optical. They were shipped this week, so I’m excited to finally have a proper set of glasses with the correct prescription. The glasses I currently have are at least 6-7 years old.
I finished reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and published the Book Review. I started reading two new books, and I’m excited to finish those soon. Reading before bed nearly every night is something I’m committed to. I’m sleeping better, and also feeling better in the mornings.
I’m still working on less screen time in the evenings. I noticed recently that my body is giving me signs, in a way. I find myself naturally putting down my phone and/or iPad about an hour or so before we go to bed. So that’s good! I’ve also noticed a big difference as soon as I was able to set up my laptop in my office. It’s a dedicated space. No more laptop on the couch!
What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of April?