Ukrainian Golden Tree!

Hey everyone, just a quick update for today: last week, I finished my Golden Tree!!!!  I made a quick video to celebrate:

And yes, it was a crazy coincidence, but I finished the Tree on Ukrainian Christmas. 🙂

Last week was also my first French Zoom meeting of 2021.  Having been away from speaking in French for a few weeks, I had a super hard time finding the words.  So I also made a French video talking about it (it was more for the practice in speaking).  Check that one out here:

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Interview #80!

The eightieth author interview went live last week on TBPL Off the Shelf! This time I interviewed author Karen Osborne about her new duology, the pleasures of writing short fiction, and world building aliens.  You can find the interview here.

 

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Hello 2021!

Hi everyone! How were your holidays?  Mine were quieter than normal, but still good.  I’ve always loved the holiday season because it’s a time when I reconnect with family and friends.  Since it wasn’t really possible to do so this year in person, I decided to send out Christmas cards instead.  I even got a few back in reply by the end of that week! (I couldn’t believe how quickly they travelled!)

But now it’s a new year, which means time to reflect on the goals I set last year (and set some new ones!) Last year I basically set the same smaller goals for myself as in 2019: I wanted to read 25 novel-length books, finish one of the RPG’s that I’ve started (although I specifically picked Memories for 2020), and work on two short stories (although I decided I was going to edit a few I’ve already written, rather than write new ones).  While I was successful with the first two goals, the short story editing unfortunately didn’t happen: I put it off, and then, when I was going to make a push to work on at least one during December, the book editing project I’m working on derailed that plan completely (which is okay – it was good to get some work on that done instead).  And ever since I started learning both Ukrainian and French when I was off work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of my time has gone towards language learning as well.

I wasn’t really sure what sorts of goals I should set this year because I honestly have no idea what 2021 will bring in terms of the pandemic (I am hopeful we’ll get through it this year, but who knows if a third or fourth wave might shut everything down again?)  I don’t want to overwhelm myself with ambitious projects (especially during this pandemic; some days I don’t want to do anything and that’s okay).  Plus, if I’ve learned anything during the last several years of setting goals, it’s that a few smaller goals are better for me (also, I still seem to get derailed over the course of the year even with those smaller goals!)

But I did know that accomplishing some milestones in both French and Ukrainian would be important.  Unfortunately it’s hard to quantify things like “be able to have a basic conversation” or “be able to have a deeper conversation.”  So I looked through the goals I set for myself during my random October planning session, and chose some concrete things to accomplish from that list.

So with all of that lead-up, here are my goals for the year:

  1. Read 25 of the novel-length books I own.  I know I can read 25 books in a year (I read 43 books this year).  But I keep getting distracted by shiny new books at the library, completely ignoring all the books I have here.  So I’m going to challenge myself to get through more of my books (of course, that will have to wait until I deal with the library books I’ve already got out…).  Whether they’re physical or on my Kindle, I want to get through 25 of them before the end of the year!
  2. Write a new story.  I feel like it’s been forever since I have, and I’d like to change that.  I don’t care what kind of story it is: a short story, a novel, an RPG, a podcast, a screen play, whatever.  I just want to work on something new!
  3. Language Learning goals:
    1. Ukrainian Duolingo tree to Gold (I’ve only got four more lesson bubbles to go!)
    2. Finish reading Short Stories in French for Beginners
    3. Finish reading 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts
    4. Read French Short Stories for Beginners
    5. Read French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners
    6. Read Ukrainian Language: Texts in Ukrainian
    7. Finish Ukrainian Lessons Podcast seasons 2-4
    8. Finish the Duolingo French tree (just getting to the end, not turning it to gold)

While it didn’t make the list, I’d also love to finish with the book editing project I’ve been working on since 2019.  Unfortunately that’s out of my hands (the original end date for that should have been last winter, but it was taking longer than planned even before covid hit).  So fingers crossed that it will finish this year, too!

So what about you?  Have you set any goals for yourself this year? 🙂

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Dec 2020 – What Are You Reading?

Happy New Year everyone!  How’s it going?  Unfortunately I didn’t have much time for reading this month…

Nonfiction books:

Fiction books:

  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network was alright.  I loved the stuff that happened post WWII, but had a hard time getting through the WWI stuff (the characters were a lot more fun in the 40’s).  But I’m glad to have read it (although I definitely preferred The Huntress).

So what have you read over the last month?  What was your favourite book?

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Update: Mental Health and Book Editing

How’s it going everyone?  It just happened that my language videos were ready for my Tuesday update, so for this week I’ve moved the update to today.

I’ve missed making a few updates here, first because I was on vacation from work and just wanted a break from everything.  Then the following week was really rough; my mental health took a beating, and I didn’t have the energy to do much at all.  I’m in a better place so far this week, which I’m quite thankful for.

One thing that has also happened was that the book I’m editing, which was put on hold, is slowly creeping back to life.  It was put on hold during the Covid lockdown, but we now have a new plan in place to hopefully finish it off during 2021.  To that end, I’ve got to get some work done on it before January, so I’m going to be busy with that.  So other than the upcoming What Are You Reading post for December, I’m going to be taking a break from here for a couple of weeks so I can focus on that.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and I’ll see everyone in 2021! 🙂

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Six Month Language Update!

Yesterday I decided to make a couple of videos to show my current speaking ability in both French and Ukrainian.  I was thinking that making a video would be a great way for me to document how I’m doing now, and give me a way to look back at my progress in a few months.  It’s already been about six months since I started learning Ukrainian (I started on Transparent Language on June 5th), and almost six months with French (I don’t know the exact date that I started with it, but it was on the last week of June that I ran through the Transparent French Quick Start Guide in like two days; I signed up for Duolingo on June 28th).

I attempted to make one video with both languages, but had to split it into two because when I got to the Ukrainian part, I kept saying French words and couldn’t think of the Ukrainian!  So here’s the French one, which was made earlier in the day (if you don’t understand French, you’ll have to turn subtitles on – I didn’t build them into the video):

I realized much later that I completely failed to use the past tense in the French video!  I have no idea how that happened as I’ve been able to use it before without much problem.  Oh well, next time will hopefully be better. 🙂

And here’s the Ukrainian one:

The Ukrainian video is longer, but overall I speak less Ukrainian in it; I fall into English a lot more in it than I did in the French video.  As I say in the video, I find Ukrainian takes much more work; I have a really hard time remembering new words. I’m hoping it’ll get easier as I go, but for now, I find I have to keep reviewing new words a lot (flashcards are definitely my friend!)

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Interview #79!

The seventy-ninth author interview went live last week on TBPL Off the Shelf! This time I interviewed author Mary Beth Leatherdale about her new book, Terry Fox and Me, sharing stories of people, and co-editing books.  You can find the interview here.

 

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November 2020: What Are You Reading?

I took out a whole bunch of books from the library this month. Everything from fiction to nonfiction, graphic novels to memoirs.  So I made a real point of trying to get through a bunch of them, rather than just renewing them a bunch then sending them back unread.  I also read a few non-library books, including a novel my mom lent me (The Gown), and a few graphic novels I bought for myself (Power Rangers – I wanted to read Shattered Grid after playing through the Power Rangers game Battle for the Grid). Also, as I mentioned on November 10th, I wanted to read something related to the World Wars for Remembrance Day.

So here’s what I was able to read this month:

Nonfiction books:

  • We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
  • D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose

Fiction books:

  • The Gown by Jennifer Robson
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Shattered Grid by Kyle Higgins (graphic novel)
  • Aquaman: Unspoken Water by Kelly Sue DeConnick (graphic novel)
  • Aquaman: Amnesty  by Kelly Sue DeConnick (graphic novel)
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (graphic novel)
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Beyond the Grid by Marguerite Bennet (graphic novel)
  • Ukrainian Folk Stories by Marko Vovchok, translated by N. Pedan-Popil

I managed to read 6 library books!

I honestly don’t know what my favourite was.  I really enjoyed reading The Gown; it was a very interesting historical novel (I especially loved the interview and notes Robson included from her research).  I powered through We Have Always Been Here in a night (I didn’t realize until after I finished it that it had actually won Canada Reads this year – I picked it up only because someone returning it to the library recommended it to me). And The Prince and the Dressmaker was a wonderful story about being true to yourself and your friends.

So what have you read over the last month?  What was your favourite book?

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Tuesday Update: Language Progress, Short Story Setback + Guest Hosting!

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  This week I made some great progress on my goals for the month! My Duolingo Ukrainian tree is now to red + (so I’ve got through all the lessons at least three times each; the ultimate goal is to get through all the bubbles 5 times, turning tge tree to gold).  I finished the second section of stories in 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts (these all involved “things” like pens and keys and stuff).  I started another story in Short Stories in French. And I passed the 6th Duolingo checkpoint in French!

I did experience a slight setback though where it comes to editing my short story for the month.  I’ve talked before about choosing the stories I wanted to work on for the remainder of the year.  Unfortunately, I came to the realization that one of the stories isn’t really a short; there’s so much more going on in it, that I think it needs to be a longer work of some sort (perhaps a novella or even a novel?)  A lot more work will need to be done on it than I initially expected because there’s so much more going on. So I made the decision to put it aside for now. 😦

So instead I’m going to see if I can whip the other story I choose into shape. I’ll also have to choose a second story for editing in the hope that I can still make that goal!  I don’t know if I’ll have time to edit two stories now, but I’m still going to try! Wish me luck. 🙂

Oh, and on Friday, I was once again a guest host on Thunder Bay Public Library’s weekly show Read This Next.  Nicole and I talked about the Massey Lectures (which I had been reading when we filmed).  We thought this was really topical as the 2020 Massey Lectures aired this month!  If you’re interested, check it out! 🙂

For this week, other than looking over that other short story, my main plan is to fit in more reading in Ukrainian, French, and English. What about you?  How’s November going? 🙂

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Remembrance Day Reading Accomplished + Language Learning Goals!

Last week, the only goal I set for myself was to read D-Day Girls: The Spies who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose (which I finished on Friday night!)   I was glad that I didn’t set other goals for myself because D-Day Girls was a bit of a tough read (particularly in terms of subject matter – there were a few points where I had to stop reading for a bit because of what happened to the people).

But even though that was the only goal I set for the week, I still managed to finish off a few of my November goals!  First I passed Checkpoint 6 in French on Duolingo!  That was super exciting – there are only two checkpoints left within the course!  Then I listened to the final episode of the first season of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast!  I’m excited to start Season 2 – I’m hoping it will help me improve my listening comprehension (I’m finding with Ukrainian right now that I have a super hard time understanding words that I’m hearing; if they’re written out for me, I often find that I did know more of the words that were spoken that I thought).

I also accomplished most of the goals I set for myself two weeks ago, with the exception of some work I wanted to do editing one of my short stories (I keep ignoring it in favour of my language learning).  As we’re now over half way through November, I’ll have to make a point of working on that if I still intend to work on a second story next month!

So how’s everything going for you?  Are you making progress on any goals you’ve set for the month?  Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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