Layers! Our word of the day! They’re  a great way to tackle tough projects!


My first baby was quiet and mostly self-entertaining. All he wanted was to be near me. And I’m lazy. So when I wasn’t doing something out of the house with him, I sat around goofing off a lot. I eventually came up with a basic chore list, because baby = you need clean dishes and laundry sometimes, and I worked through it. It worked for a few years.

My second baby doesn’t let me sit around and goof off. So now that school and jobs have started and I’m his only daytime companion, he provides the final bit of motivation I need to not sit around all day. Still, I have trouble tackling big projects. I’m great at the first 80% of almost any organization or tidying project, which of course only takes about 20% of the time. It’s harder for me to do that last 20%.

So these days I work in layers. I use the UFYH of 20 minutes on/10 minutes off (although sometimes I skip the 10 minutes) and I’ve divided my morning up into rooms to work on. Each room gets 20 minutes a day, up to 3x a week for the heavily used rooms. And since the basic tidying I mastered with Robin generally takes no more than 10 minutes, each time I do 20 minutes of work in a room, I dig a bit further below the surface.

I’m not sure where the journey is going to take me or how long I’ll keep it up. But right now, it’s making a difference. Non-crucial quick little tasks that I’ve procrastinated on for months or years are getting done. Things are getting put away. The exhaust hood over my stove is grime-free for the first time in too long to share. It’s cool.


I’m on the downward slope in writing Wolf Interval. (I have no idea if that title will stick. I like it but justifying it may be too hard.) I’m going to reach the final scene in two weeks, or three, or four. Probably not more than four, although I’ve given myself six. Which is good, because I have to go back through the book and add in a lot of details. I work in layers there, too. It feels like painting a picture, starting with broad swathes of color over the pencil-strokes of outline, then passing through again to add in depth, background, expression and detail. Honestly it’s one of my favorite parts of writing, because it’s one of the few times when I’m absolutely certain I’m improving the work.


Layers! They’re how social change happens, too, you know. It’s why it seems like we keep fighting the same old battles over and over again. Things improve each sweep, but there’s an awful lot of grime to scrub away and sometimes you need time away in order to look at the mess with fresh eyes.


Oh, and a kid story for you:

My love for Killian was sorely tested yesterday when he saw me eating a Lindor truffle and demanded one himself. My preciouses were  at war.  (It wasn’t ‘ooh what are you eating I want some’. He went and found the bag and pointed at it and exclaimed “HELP!” imperatively.) (Six months ago, he found the bag of writing truffles I’d stashed in my room and ate/destroyed them all. I stopped buying them after that for a long time. He didn’t forget.)
Anyhow, so I gave him one. Then I hid the bag. And I opened my second truffle behind my back. From across the room, he heard the rattle of wrapper and came running. Because I am living in a commercial. What was I supposed to do? I gave him half. And he carefully licked out the filling then offered me the melting shell. Aw. Lindor teaches sharing.
It never occurred to me when imagining having kids that they would like the same kinds of treats I do. I’m used to being exceptional in my relationship with chewing gum, for example. I certainly didn’t expect to have to beat my kids off with a stick (or actually just let them have the damn gum). You’d think I would have expected my children to, y’know, inherit some of my traits. Or maybe, if you know me, you wouldn’t have…

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