You know that strategy where for every piece of clothing you buy, you have to take something out of your closet? Meant to keep your closets from getting overstuffed and thereby useless? A strategy I love and live by?


In order to keep my brain from getting overstuffed and thereby useless, I should try to finish / hand off a project before taking on a new one. So simple. So obvious. And yet, a principle I have entirely ignored up until now.


Am feeling stressed about how much there is to do, so to-do list to the rescue.

9 – 9:30 – swim class

9:45 – close out campaign bank account, so Pamela can suspend the Committee for me until I should decide to run for something again (which will save us having to do quarterly filings)

10:30 – pick up tea service from Tracey and consult with her on civic beautification project, Oak Park Art League — possibly make plan to snag some more ground cover from Mekhala

11:00 – 1:00 – work on Jaggery transition; I am handing over the magazine! Woot! This is a good thing, although also sad at the same time, of course. More soon. Also work on e-mail backlog and start SLF development discussion.

1 – 1:30 – gardening break; set Adam to weeding and mowing.

1:30 – 3:00 – sort out and book retreat travel; more e-mail. Trying to clear the decks so I can write all day Tuesday with a clear conscience.

3:00 – pick up kids from camp, laundry laundry and more laundry, or they won’t have anything to wear tomorrow. Post Garden Walk photos.

Boring / not boring?

I re-read the first three chapters of the memoir’s last draft. I think they’re good, although it is impossibly hard to judge your own life this way. It was interesting to live through, but that is hardly sufficient to justify wordage. Chapter four is boring — I think that’s where it started to go off the rails in the last draft.

I keep wanting to show pieces to people, but I think what I really need to do this time around is NOT do that, not get caught up in the crit cycle too early. Just work on it solidly for a few months. I can show it to people when it’s in decent shape. Maybe?

Maybe I’ll just send out pieces to Patreon. There’s no expectation of response / critique there.


There’s this thing that some cleaning advice lady on the internet says, that the first thing to clean is always your kitchen sink. The last few days, we got a little harried, and the dishes piled up, and then yesterday, I tried to cook multiple curries — and immediately ran into the problem that I couldn’t do what I normally do, which is clean the cooking dishes as I go, so there’s very little left to do at the end. There just wasn’t room in the sink to do it, so I ended up with a towering pile of dishes after cooking, before we even ate. Most disheartening.

I feel like there’s some sort of lesson there about not letting yourself get too behind on things, a lesson that I am firmly going to ignore re: my e-mail, as today is a dedicated writing / gardening day.


Today’s mostly a taking-care-of-stuff day. Stopped at Home Depot this morning after dropping kids at camp, got various things to repair various things, summer hanging baskets to replace my poor pansies who have given up the ghost in the heat, stepping stones to add to the parkway garden, to make it easier for people who park there to get out in a few spots without worrying that they’re crushing plants.

Came home and had breakfast of leftover Ethiopian (thanks for lunch yesterday, Maria — it was too brief, but nonetheless awesome!). I have lot of injera left, so I think I may try to cook Ethiopian tonight; doro wat and shiro, perhaps? I bought shiro powder a while ago, but haven’t actually tried using it yet.

Going to deal with some e-mail (mostly getting things set up for the workshop next week), then go to the gym and lift with Justin, then more e-mail over lunch, then a swim lesson, then more e-mail, then pick up the kids, then garden for a few hours, putting in the stones and weeding.

The goal is to get through all the urgent e-mail and other household tasks, clearing the decks to spend all of tomorrow writing — more novel work, hopefully. (Jed, if you have a chance to look at what I sent you and talk this evening, that’d be helpful.) We’ll see.

Cancer log 187: Hot flashes and size changes.

Very little to today’s follow-up with my oncologist, everything looks fine, only two things worth noting:

a) we talked about switching me from Tamoxifen to the other med whose name I’m forgetting, but which you can’t go on until you’ve not menstruated in at least a year, which now applies — the disadvantages are that the new med is likely to bring on hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. The advantages are…unclear. It’s been the standard of care, I think, and she’d sort of prefer that I made the switch, but there’s not enough evidence that it actually has long-term recurrence reduction that she’d push for it. We decided to leave it for now, but I’ll probably try switching over at our next six-month appt. As she said, if there are going to be hot flashes, better to have them start in winter than in summer…

b) she asked about my weight loss, and I told her that I hadn’t actually lost any pounds, but that I’d been lifting with a trainer once a week, strength-training, and that was probably what she was seeing, because I had gone down about a dress size and a half over the last year. A fair bit of fat turned into muscle, I think. She said that sounded right, and that she’d particularly noticed it when listening to my…lungs? It was so straight and clear? I was honestly a little confused by that bit and not sure I was hearing her right, but I didn’t want to make her go over it, but she seemed approving, so I guess it’s all good.

Turning fat into muscle and continuing to take Tamoxifen (or the other med) are basically the only things I have any real control over, in terms of reducing risk of cancer recurrence. So I’ll keep on with it. The kids used to play this great board game when they were little, called “Go Away, Monster!” That’s a little bit how I feel now, when I think about cancer recurrence — stay away, monster. You’re not wanted here.

Summer storms

Kids are off to camp, and I’ve sent an e-mail about scheduling Kavi’s swim classes. Am trying to resist the urge to clean and organize, because I should be dealing with writing and e-mail instead. Maybe if I leave my office (messy) and work on the front porch it will help; it’s supposed to thunderstorm but not for a few hours.
By that point, I’ll be running around anyway — I have a doctor’s appt. (periodic check-up with oncologist, which frankly feels like a waste of time since I feel completely fine and have nothing to talk to her about, but on the other hand, I do appreciate the ongoing heightened level of care, so I’ll let her squeeze my boobs and make sure she doesn’t notice anything problematic) and then I’m going to tour the new co-working space in Forest Park, Suite Spotte. I suspect it’s going to be more business-oriented than I really want, but more options for working are good. I think I’d have a hard time writing fiction in cubicles…
Work plan for today — revise XPrize story and send it to editor this morning, then either revise another story or do more work on the novel. We’ll see.


Booked a space for 6 hours to write. Spent 4 hours of that writing; drafted an entire short story that I think is pretty solid. Assuming it sells, which I think it will, will sell for about three times the cost of the space rental. Spent 1 hour of the time doing business-related calls / meetings. May have used up writing brain for the day, in which case, will use the time remaining to read and downshift a little.

Overall, money I spend on space rental continues to be justified in productivity.

But I am left with the continued question / frustration — why do I need to leave my home to write? Why can’t I make myself go into my perfectly nice study and shut the door and work? Why am I so impossibly distractible at home? Argh.