Category Archives: Updates

A Big French Update :)

Over the weekend, I finished reading Short Stories in French for Beginners!  😀

To celebrate finishing the book, I made a video where I attempt to talk about it in French.  You can check it out here:

Lol, I had a really hard time making this video because my brain was stuck in “Ukrainian mode” that day – it took several takes before I got something where I didn’t completely trail off into nothingness because I couldn’t remember the words I wanted to say!

I’m still defaulting to English at times, especially when I get frustrated with trying to remember words, but I felt like I got a lot more French out in this video than in my other two French videos, so that’s nice to see.  🙂

My next French book is going to be French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners by Language Guru.  It’s a smaller book with only eight chapters (I think each chapter is one story), so I’m hopeful that it won’t take me too long to get through.  Like Short Stories in French for Beginners, it’s got vocabulary and comprehension questions.  But as an added bonus, each story seems to have an English translation, so that’ll be interesting to see how close my understanding of the French versions were to the English!

I’ve also read a few Robert Munsch stories in French (I took a book out from the library, L’heure de Munsch, which collects 5 Robert Munsch books that were translated into French).  That’s been a lot of fun too – while I’m not understanding every word, I’ve understood enough to figure out what was going on.  I got a real laugh out of the second book in the collection (Tire le bouchon, fiston! or Down the Drain in English), and am looking forward to reading the last three. 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Updates

Happy Valentine’s and Family Days

Hey everyone, I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day and Family Day if you celebrate it!  My long weekend was good – I was able to spend some time reading. 🙂  I also finally finished sorting through and uploading all of the pictures from my phone to Flickr – I had over 1200 pictures going back to before the pandemic hit here!  This has been a huge undertaking and I’ve very happy to have a lot more room on my phone now!

In terms of goals for the week, I got through almost everything I set for myself.  I read I think 10 stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts (I was hoping to get through just 8! I now only need to read 6 per week and I’ll finish the book as planned by May!), and one full story (three chapters) from Short Stories in French for Beginners (which means I just have one more three-chapter story to go and I’m finished the book!)  Plus I managed to fit in some reading for fun!

Oh, I also fit in reading another chapter from Painless French, so that was a bonus!

So for this week I’ve set much the same goals as last week, but with a few less stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts.  I’m also ramping up working on book editing, so we’ll see how the reading goes in the middle of that!

So how’s your week been?  How is everything going for you? 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under goals, Updates

Revisiting October Goals

Hey everyone, how’s it going ?  Over the weekend I finally sat down to look at the goals I set back in October.  At that time I had set some three month, six month, one year, and more than one year goals that I wanted to work towards, mostly concerning my language learning.  I intended to revisit them back in January, but kept putting it off.  And suddenly we were already a week into February – whoops!

I actually missed two of the three three month goals I set for myself at that time – editing short stories, and finishing Short Stories in French for Beginners.  While flipping back through the book where I like to set weekly goals for myself, I also realized that I stopped setting weekly goals at the end of November, which is most likely why I failed on the reading front (I honestly kind of forgot about the book during the holidays).  So I’ll have to try to get back into that habit, too!

My new three month goals are mainly the six month goals I set back in October, but with the addition of finishing Short Stories in French for Beginners, and without finishing the French Duolingo tree now that I’m no longer subscribed to Duolingo Pro.  I still intend to finish the tree; I’m just thinking it’s going to take a bit longer than three months now, especially since I’m exploring French on LinQ and through Barron’s Painless French.

Regarding my Ukrainian learning, I planned to finish reading 100 Easy Texts in Ukrainian by the six month mark.  I completely forgot about that too, so if I plan to meet that goal I’m going to have a lot of reading to get through over the next few months!  I also planned to finish Ukrainian Lessons Podcast season 2 by the six month mark, so we’ll see how that goes, too.

And just so I didn’t forget about it, I also added in some editing milestones for myself concerning the book I’m contracted to edit.  I’m going to have a very busy couple of months!!!

1 Comment

Filed under goals, Updates

My Return to Flickr :)

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  Still plugging along here.  Along with working on editing the book and learning languages, I finally started taking all the pictures off my phone and uploading them to Flickr.  I didn’t really add anything to Flickr since just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit here last March, so I’ve had almost a year’s worth of pictures to sort and upload!  As of yesterday I managed to upload pictures up to the middle of May last year; I’ll keep working at getting through the rest as I have time this week. 🙂

What sparked that was being invited to take part in an alphabet photo challenge for the month of February by one of my Flickr friends.  I haven’t really been taking pictures in a long time (especially of Lego Minifigures), so I decided to participate.  I’ve used minifigures for an alphabet challenge once before (the only other alphabet challenge I’ve done), but this time I decided to do a series of minifigure portraits similar to the pictures in my The Faces of Lego album on Flickr.  I planned out what minifigures I’m going to use over the weekend.  If you’re interested in following along, you can find the album for Minifigure Alphabet 2.0 here:

A-lien

I’ll be taking and adding the second picture to the album after work this evening. 🙂

Oh, this week I also found a new language learning app that I am going to try: LinQ.  LinQ’s website says it has a big library of content for language learners in a variety of languages; what specifically attracted me to it was that Ukrainian is one of the listed languages on it (I’ve been having a hard time finding Ukrainian language content).  Unfortunately I didn’t see much on the app either (especially compared to French), but I’m hoping that will change once I get beyond the very beginnings.  We’ll see how it goes!

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Updates

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:

3 Comments

Filed under goals, Updates

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? 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under goals, Updates

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! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Updates

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!)

4 Comments

Filed under Updates

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? 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under goals, Updates

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! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under goals, Updates