After what has felt like an immense proportion of my life to date spent working on this story, I’m delighted to say that The Hasty Visitor’s Guide to American Fairy Hills is finally done, or at least done to the point where I’m composing query letters and a synopsis and all of that stuff. It’s immeasurably satisfying to bring a project to that stage after so long. I’m actually looking forward to sending out queries.

Finishing the book means that the overwhelming list of projects I had underway back in July has largely been cleared. I have one class still in progress; that ends next week. Once that’s done, my obligation list consists solely of a few volunteering gigs, none of which take up much time in the course of a month. (And work and family stuff, obviously.)

Which means, of course, that it’s time to start planning again. This time, I’m going to be a little more intentional about how I fill up my calendar. I have my list of long-term goals; I have my high-level milestones for the next few years. Time to spend more time with those, see if anything needs adjustment, and map out the next few months in a bit more detail. Now that I’ve started the new job (which is amazing) and the kids have started school, I hope it will be possible to come up with a routine to get us through the fall–without feeling like just making it through the day is the best we can hope for.

Heck, maybe I’ll make a dent in my to-read pile….


Testing Some New Systems

This is not a post about the WordPress block editor, which I loathe, but about the new strategy I am testing out for tracking projects.

A little background first. As I may have mentioned, I have been looking for a new job for quite some time. A little while back, I found one. I have spent much of the summer since I gave notice finishing off projects that I had accumulated in order to distract myself from my job woes. Then we went on vacation. After a week of unwinding, I sat myself down to figure out a few long-term plans. What did I actually want out of this job? Beyond the job, where–who–did I want to be in a few more years?

Continue reading “Testing Some New Systems”

photo posts


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We are back from our annual vacation in NH–a little different than usual, what with pandemic precautions, but still the perfect restorative break from a stressful year. I did a lot of things that I wanted to do, and after a week felt capable of engaging with some long-term planning, about which more to come. In the meantime, please enjoy these fruits of my early bird habits.


New Chapters, and Closings

It’s been a while since my last update, so the big news first: I have a new job! That starts at the end of August, which feels a long way away. Which is, actually, perfect, since I will have time to wrap up a few of my current projects before plunging into the challenge of starting at a new company while everyone is 100% remote still. Those projects include:

  • Four online learning things
  • Five organizations I’m ostensibly volunteering for
  • Knitting (although I actually finished two projects this past week, and for the next little bit I’ll just be making some hats as gifts; those go quickly)
  • Writing (remember that?)

And this week I’m going to a climate crisis training thing in the evenings. Virtually, of course. So for the next two or three months, my main goal is to finish off as much of this stuff as I can, and try not to immediately replace all of them with new obligations. I will never not be a person with a lot going on, but I can and should scale back so I can actually enjoy the things I’m doing.

It’s tempting to get annoyed at myself for letting the list get out of control. I’ve had several coaching conversations in the past week about how to prioritize it, what I should walk away from, what I should keep and why. I’m trying for a positive spin on things today:  Hey me, look at all of the stuff you have tried out lately!

Some of it hasn’t led anywhere yet, and maybe it’s not going to, but that doesn’t mean it was wasted effort. I’ve learned a lot about a lot of things, and if one of those things was “this isn’t for me,” that’s fine. It is perfectly reasonable to take those lessons and move on to something else. The prospect of a trimmed schedule is giving me something to look forward to as we slouch through the mid-summer heat waves.

In other news, the garden is doing well. I’ve made two batches of pesto so far this summer, and the tomato is getting some fruit. (It is also enormous, and needs a ton of water in this weather.) My little indoor pepper started fruiting a couple of weeks ago, and now they’ve begun turning red. There, too, I am learning.


The Strangest Year

I hesitate to label it that, out of superstitious fear that something even stranger will come along to top it, but 2020 is going to be a hard act to follow. Every year for the past 25 years we have left Boston behind in July and gone to the small town in NH where my in-laws have their lake cottage. The traditions of the holiday are inviolable: the tiny parade, penny candy, the lazy afternoon, fireworks, ice cream. The very iron-clad modesty of the event is part of its charm.

This year none of that was happening, so we decided that it made more sense to just stay home and not mope about what we weren’t doing. A good-humored effort was made to honor tradition in the form of a toy parade in the morning, burgers and hot dogs for dinner, and a Youtube-facilitated firework display, although our neighbors did their best to supply the real thing.

There is much on which to reflect this year. Aside from, or intertwined with, the pandemic-induced restrictions on our normal lives are a skein of additional concerns on the boil this summer–racial and economic and political and environmental. Individuals and systems are alike under enormous strain, and exhortations to action intermingle with concern for well-being. All of our compromises and contradictions are under a hard light; Picasso might have done well with this year as a subject.