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!!!

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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!

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Jan 2021 – What Are You Reading?

I got off to a terrible start with reading this year. At the very end of December, I started reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea.  A friend of mine recommended it to me, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it. I got about 100 pages in and just couldn’t bring myself to keep reading.  But because of the recommendation, I felt bad abandoning it.  And so it sat for several weeks before I finally gave up and sent it back to the library.  😦

What finally got me out of my reading slump was my friend, CJ Halbard, sending me an advanced copy of his newest Project Tempest novella, Her Mad Song.  It deals with some really interesting ideas (specifically emotional climate change – that there is an emotional/imaginative environment that everyone is connected to, which is perhaps permanently changing because of the emotions and tensions that have been building up, as shown through things like social media).

I did start reading another book after finishing Her Mad Song, but didn’t have time to finish it this week due to some work training I was doing (it was three full days, plus I spent a lot of time reviewing stuff from the textbook each evening after the class was over).

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

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Update: A Whole Lot of French + Goodbye Lucky Bamboo :(

The last two weeks have been kind of a blur (and I apologize because I missed writing an update last week).  I’ve been working on the editing project where I can.  It’s been slow work going, but at least it’s going. 🙂

In terms of language learning, I actually watched the final season of Game of Thrones in French (with English subtitles).  I put the final season on hold at the library, and thanks to delays due to covid quarantines, I finally got it.  I almost didn’t watch it because I don’t typically watch a lot on my own (although I admit I’m watching more on my own thanks to covid), but in the end I decided that I’d made it this far through the season that I might as well see how it ends.  Having it help my French learning was a definite bonus.

I did learn something very interesting about Google Play though: buying something digitally on that platform (and iTunes from what I could tell) only seems to give you audio in one language (in my case, English).  I found this out because one of the discs had a very fine scratch and wasn’t playing a scene from one of the episodes, so I bought it, but sadly had to watch it in English rather than in French.  So if you’re learning languages, especially common ones in your country/area (like French here in Canada), you’re better off watching DVDs.  Or Netflix – I’ve found lots of content in popular languages (like French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian, but sadly not Ukrainian).

cover of Painless FrenchI was also super excited to find Painless French, a book I bought myself years ago for learning French!  I remembered seeing it at one point awhile ago, but when I started seriously learning French, I couldn’t find it and thought that maybe I had given it away.  I’m very happy to find that wasn’t the case!  I read through the first chapter over the weekend and really enjoyed it.  I’m hoping it will be a great resource for continuing to learn. 🙂

I’ve also made the decision to stop subscribing to Duolingo Plus.  Back in the summer when I was off work it made sense to subscribe since I was trying to jam in as much language learning as I could.  But now that I’m back at work (and editing), I have a lot less time for language learning.  And now that I’m done the Ukrainian tree, I’m also just not wanting to use Duolingo as much as I did.  I started the reverse tree (learning English as if I were a native Ukrainian speaker), which has given me a few new Ukrainian words, but overall I’m not really enjoying it.  I’m also not having as much fun with the French Tree and would like to have more time to go off and try other resources (like Painless French).  At this point I’m still planning on using Duolingo a bit (I would like to finish the French tree one day, even if I don’t make it a golden tree); just not nearly as much as I was.

my sad lucky bamboo plantIn other sad news, my lucky bamboo died on me. It was doing okay, then a few weeks ago I noticed the stem turned yellow.  I don’t think I did anything like last time when I put fertilizer into the water without realizing that was super bad for lucky bamboo.  My best guess this time around is that it’s due to the water; we have issues with lead in our pipes in my city right now.  I filter drinking water for me and Merlin using a filter that takes lead out, but I wasn’t using that for my plants (and the lucky bamboo is going to take the brunt of any lead that’s in the water because it’s just sitting in water).  While I’m very sad to lose it, I can honestly say I have done my best for this plant (and it was fine for quite awhile after I fertilized it – that happened back in November 2019!  It lived for over a year since that happened!)

 

I also finally got some (English) fun reading in!  I went through a bit of a dry spell this month where I wasn’t reading anything, but then a friend sent me a copy of his book and suddenly I’m reading again! But more about all of that on Thursday. 😉

So that’s been my last few weeks.  How’s everything going for you? 🙂

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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 today 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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