Tag Archives: update

A Mental Health Update

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  Sorry for not posting anything last week – I was having a rough time and wasn’t in a good mental space.  Last week was just super stressful and I just wasn’t able to do much more than work and make dinner.  I did some language learning as well, but basically just the bare minimum to keep my skills up.  Thankfully by Sunday my head was in a better space, and yesterday I was feeling relatively back to normal mentally, so that’s great news.

I’m also very thankful that I signed myself up for Karin Dimitrova’s new Reset program.  When it was first announced, I decided to sign up thinking any tools she could teach me to help with mental health during this pandemic were a good thing.  But the timing ended up perfect, with the course starting right around when my mental health was taking the worst hits.  The course definitely helped me get through last week without my mental state deteriorating further.

Over the weekend I also spent a lot of time reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.  I wasn’t expecting to connect with the book as much as I did, but I found his writing very engaging.  I also liked the idea of striving to be just 1% better each day, and how over time, that compounds and leads to great improvements.  Atomic Habits is definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in that sort of thing. 🙂

So with my mental state improving, I set myself a few goals for the week around reading books in French and Ukrainian.  Ever since revisiting my October goals, I’ve been flying through 100 Easy Texts in Ukrainian (I read over 25 stories in it in February!) and want to keep up that momentum.  I’ve also read two chapters in French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners by Language Guru, and discovered that the chapters are self contained stories that all deal with the same character, which is an interesting approach.  So far I’ve found the book to be alright, but I wish it had more dialogue.

Oh, I’m also really excited: I ordered myself some books in Ukrainian, including a book of Ukrainian Fairy Tales!  I love fairy tales, and I’m looking forward to reading them.  A lot of the books I bought are beyond the level I’m currently at, but I think I have a good range of things that I can build to as I continue to learn the language. 🙂


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Tuesday Update: Revisiting Goals

Hey everyone, Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you had a good weekend *and a good Thanksgiving if you’re in Canada too). 🙂

This weekend, I sat down and revisited my goals.  I realized that I haven’t really been thinking about that sort of thing in months.  But I’m doing well with the goals I set here on the blog: I finished Memories and have already read over 25 books this year!  That just leaves editing a few short stories that I’ve previously written.  So I need to get on that over the next few months!

I also noticed that in my notebook with the weekly goals I try setting for myself, back in 2019 I set more long term goals.  So I took some time to set some goals for myself over the next year and beyond.  At this point, I’m mostly focused on my language learning as I’ve already put in so much time learning both Ukrainian (over four months) and French (about 3.5 months); I don’t want to stop working on either of them right now because I’m afraid I’d lose the progress I’ve made.  So ideally I’d like to get one of them to a point of conversational fluency sooner rather than later to get it off my plate, so to speak (I’m hoping/thinking that it’ll take less time  per week to maintain a language once you’ve learned it well enough to have in-depth conversations in it).  Realistically, this is going to be French, thanks to both its similarity (particularly in terms of vocabulary) to English and the fact that I took French classes in elementary school many years ago.  I’ve found that French vocabulary is currently a lot easier for me to learn and retain, and for that reason alone I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to have conversations in French far sooner than in Ukrainian.

So with that in mind, I set the goal of conversational fluency in French for one year from now.  I made some goals to build towards that through the year, including making it through some books, finishing the Duolingo French tree, and understanding French media without subtitles.  For Ukrainian, I’ve set similar goals, but with a longer timeframe; my current hope is to be conversationally fluent in Ukrainian two years from now.  But it’s okay if I don’t meet the goals I set in the exact timeframe I’m hoping for; I’m going to treat these goals as a sort of road map to help me get to that point (not as a set in stone deadline for being able to have deep conversations with people).

In terms of writing goals, at this point I haven’t set any new ones for now (although as a super long-term goal, I’d love to create French and Ukrainian versions of Memories….)  Hopefully I’ll be able to meet the last goal I set for 2020 here on this blog (editing two stories), and then I can plan for some new writing projects for 2021!

Oh, I am still planning on brainstorming a new story idea I had as well, but I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself by making that into a set goal for the remainder of the year.  We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

So what about your goals for 2020?  How have they been going?  🙂


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Update – Lots of Reading + Language Learning

Apologies for no post last week; I was on vacation from work and forgot. 😦

Over the last few weeks I haven’t really done any writing; I’ve been trying to read a whole bunch of Massey Lectures for an upcoming @ Your Library article I’m planning on writing for work (that’s the column the library I work at publishes in the local paper).  I’m hoping to get through another two more Massey Lectures (and in a perfect world I’ll have time to reread A Short History of Progress, but realistically that won’t be happening before the article is due).  Wish me luck!

I’ve also been continuing with the language learning, both Ukrainian and French.  I signed up for iTalki and had my first lesson in Ukrainian last week; I really liked the teacher and have another lesson booked for this weekend. 🙂  Right now I’m only planning on booking Ukrainian lessons on iTalki since there’s still a lot more French to learn on Duolingo…maybe once I eventually get to the end of the Duolingo French tree then I’ll try French on iTalki too (lol but that’s a looong way off from now).

So how have you been over the last few weeks?  What’s new and exciting?  🙂

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My “Few Week Break” Went a Bit Longer Than Planned…

Hey everyone! How’s it going? I had planned to give an update some time ago, but life happened.  As I’m sure it has been for many of you, too, life has been a bit of a roller-coaster during this pandemic.

For the last few months, I haven’t been working on any writing.  After finishing Of Pieces and Memories, I was reluctant to start working on another project mainly because I thought I’d be going back to work soon.  While I am back at work now, that took longer than I expected.

But during this time, I haven’t been idle.  Back in June I started learning Ukrainian on Transparent Languages, a language learning app offered by my local library.  I chose Ukrainian because my dad speaks it, so I thought it would be a good choice as I’d have someone to converse with.  While we haven’t spoken together much yet, we have sent each other some letters in Ukrainian.  It’s been a lot of fun getting them. 🙂

coloured picture of a cat person

I coloured the character Birdsong to look like Merlin. 🙂

Then I was talking to a friend of mine who doesn’t live in Canada; he was surprised that all Canadians weren’t bilingual because we have two official languages here.  In the end we agreed to learn French together, so suddenly I was learning two languages (although I do know some basic French from elementary and high school, so I’ve been able to progress faster with it than with Ukrainian – I found that, especially in the first month or so, I had to go really slowly with Ukrainian to give my brain time to absorb the new words I was learning).  So yes, I’m now learning two languages! 🙂  I then talked my mom into learning French with me (we attempted to take a French class together a few years ago but it was cancelled on us), and have found a few other friends who are learning French too.

At that time I switched from Transparent Languages to Duolingo for both languages.  I’m loving Duolingo!  I actually just recently achieved a 50 day streak on the app, which is super exciting. 🙂  I do wish there was a bit more Ukrainian content on it though; the French course has these super fun stories, and it’s too bad that the Ukrainian course doesn’t have something similar.

Other than the language learning, I’m currently just trying to stay healthy and positive.  I did a lot of colouring in the early months of the pandemic (also helped by Idle Champions’ #idlecoloring, which offered in-game content to the community based on colouring done over the week), and continue to colour if I’m feeling particularly stressed from things.  I’ve also been listening to music.  I listened to a lot of Solitudes in the beginning of the pandemic, but lately I’ve been listening to songs in French and Ukrainian.  Here’s my favourite Ukrainian song, ПЕРЕЖИВЕМ by SKAI – my dad translated the words for me (the title means “We Will Live”):

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Taking a Few Week Break

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I’ve been late or missed the last few #WriteTuesday posts, so I’ve decided I’m going to take a break from writing them for the next couple of weeks (although I will still write my June What Are You Reading Post, which will appear on the last Thursday of the month).  I’m currently planning on resuming #WriteTuesday in July; I hope everyone has a good couple of weeks! 🙂

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Wow, It’s June!

Where is the time going? I can’t believe we’re already a week into June!

I forgot to write a #WriteTuesday post last week because I was gardening.  I’m very happy with how my gardens have turned out – it makes me very happy to be hanging outside with Merlin. 🙂

pic of my garden

As for this week, I don’t really have an excuse.  I’m still feeling pretty blah because I haven’t got a big writing project on the go.  I did some work on “A Friend from the Deep,” specifically looking at the characters of the story, but haven’t gotten any further than that so far, even though I do have some ideas on how to rewrite the story.  We’ll see how that goes this week (or if I should start working on something else instead?)

How about you? How’s everything going? 🙂

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Website Updated!

Today I updated my website. The website was long-overdue for an overhaul; I don’t believe I’ve made any major changes to it since the last update in 2012. I have made some minor edits here and there, but they were all really piecemeal. I also wasn’t very happy with a lot of the pages on it, but other than vaguely thinking “I needed to change these,” I wasn’t really sure what to do.

Updating the site took me most of the afternoon, and a few hours this evening (interrupted by watching my first city council meeting via a live-stream). Here are the changes I made:

  • Updated my bio on the About page
  • Renamed the Articles page Nonfiction
  • Rewrote the information on the Nonfiction page – it’s now much shorter (and far more concise)
  • Changed Other Writing to Blogs
  • Rewrote the information on the Blogs page (again, making it more concise)
  • Rewrote the Home page (it now has a shorter bio about me on it)
  • Deleted a whole bunch of unused pages on the back end of the site (there were seriously like 10!)
  • Changed the banner picture (it’s now the dragons my friend Austin Alander made for me many years ago – he made it using concept art for a game we were working on together at the time)
  • Minor updates on the Games page
  • Changed out the pictures I had of myself for a new one I took yesterday

I’m much happier with how the site looks now. 🙂


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Transforming My Space to Make it More Writer Friendly

I love my apartment.  I have since I first saw the place, and knew I wanted to move in.  The only issue with it is that it is tiny.  I’ve been using my kitchen table as my writing space since moving in (and also the living room + lap desk setup I have).  But neither of them are quite right.

So earlier this week, I bought a rug.

kitchen with new rug

The rug was step one to make the space more comfortable for writing.  Step two was to bring my office chair here.  It’s been stored at my parents’ place since I moved in because I didn’t think I had enough room for it here.  But my kitchen chairs are too low for regular writing – the angle hurts my wrists after awhile.  So after researching chair storage solutions, and talking things over with my dad, we hit on the solution: move one of the kitchen chairs out, and just have the office chair at the table all the time.  The office chair is higher, so my wrists are at a better angle now – I wish I had thought of this waaay sooner!!!

So now, I’m in the process of bringing more office things from my parents’ place.  I brought a load of writing books and other things here today.

boxes of stuff

My dad is going to help me bring a shelf over tomorrow, which is where a lot of this stuff is going to live.  This is also a great opportunity to go through the writing books I own and purge some things.  I already went through some old magazines, recycling most of them.  I think the books will be a bit harder because it’s a bit tough to tell what will be a good reference to keep.  Wish me luck over the next while!!!

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Sorry Everyone, I’m on Hiatus From Blogging

Hey everyone, sorry that I haven’t been updating lately.  I didn’t plan to, but I am now officially taking the summer off from blogging.  Part of the reason for this has been the start of me hosting my very own radio show on CILU Radio.  I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed finding music for the show and prerecording it, so blogging (and writing in general) has been put to the side for the time being (with the exception of the post I just scheduled about the next interview on TBPL Off the Shelf, which will be popping up next Wednesday).

I hope everyone has a great summer!  See you all in the fall! 🙂

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Writing Update – April 19th

I’ve been pretty quiet on here for the last few weeks.  I’d like to say that I’ve been busy with work and other things, but that’s not altogether true.  Sure, work did play a part in my lack of time (as it always seems to, lol).  But there were a few bigger obstacles for me over the last few weeks.

Sore Wrist

This was probably the biggest issue.  My wrist has been sore, primarily from too much texting.  So I attempted to give it some time to heal.  That meant almost no texting for a week (I wasn’t able to go quite the whole week – there were a few small instances where I did have to text to find someone).  I’ve started texting a bit this week, and so far so good – my wrist is still a bit sore, but not too bad.  I’m going to avoid having hour long conversations via text with people (I am guilty of that with one friend in particular).  I’m hoping to start trying to strengthen my wrists a bit more to hopefully avoid this happening in the future (I am super scared that I’m going to permanently damage something which will make writing difficult in the future).

Missing Files

I don’t know what happened, but last week I turned my computer on to find ALL MY FILES MISSING!  This included music, documents, and pictures.  I have most things backed up, but I don’t know if I backed up the most recent version of Tears of the King so I was in a panic.  Luckily I was able to restore my computer to a previous time point, which brought all of my missing files back.  I’ve done several scans with several scanners and nothing has come up.  I’ve also made sure I’ve backed up the most recent version of Tears of the King, which was the biggest relief.  Everything seems fine now, so hopefully that was some weird fluke that disappeared when I restored the previous version of my system.

Starcraft 2

I started watching some Day[9] Funday Mondays (it all started when my brother sent me this game), which really got me in the mood to play Starcraft 2.  Unfortunately, my laptop appears to be unable to run Starcraft 2 vs Harder + computers, or with more than two people on the map (it lags so badly that it’s almost unplayable, especially when using the Legacy of the Void expansion).  So as much as I want to be playing SC2, I apparently can’t.  So I contented myself for watching a bunch more Funday Mondays.  At least until…

Stardew Valley

A friend of mine sent me Stardew Valley as a gift over Steam.  I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on that game since getting it two days ago.  It’s actually been so bad that I’ve forbidden myself from playing it today (wish me luck!  It started calling to me since getting up!)  It’s a lot of fun, but super addicting; you’ve been warned!

Getting a Cold

Finally, I’ve also been feeling really under the weather for the last few days, which actually enabled Stardew Valley all the more – since I wasn’t feeling good, I was like “I’ll just play this new video game for a bit to relax.”  I made it to work yesterday despite barely being able to talk when I got up, so that was a huge accomplishment.  I now don’t have to go anywhere over the next few days, so I’m going to relax and hopefully get better (while not wasting too much time playing Stardew Valley).


So that’s what’s been going on with me for the last while.  Hopefully I’ll be able to tear myself away from Stardew Valley and get back to working on Tears of the King or consolidating my notes for Faeriia soon!

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