101 in 1001 ~ update the twentieth

It’s time for the 20th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

It’s the shortest month of the year! There’s still 4 weeks in February to be productive, though, right? Let’s see how good I did on that front this month…

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

February 2018
3 items completed this month
19 items currently in progress

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Reading #86: Read 6 classics I haven’t read before ~ 2/8/2018

These were classics of varying length and genre, but they were all ones that I think are classics and that I had been meaning to read. The easiest to read was Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (being an 80-page children’s book) and the hardest by far was All Creatures Great and Small (coming in at a whopping 15 hour 45 minute audio length).

Food #43: Try cooking Dim Sum ~ 2/11/2018

I didn’t get in as many recipes in the one day as I had hoped, but we (Sis Wyrm and I) tried recipes for Chinese stuffed peppers and three different types of bao (buns — the BBQ pork steamed bun is probably the best-known dim sum food among non-Chinese Americans). We also made nian gao, a Chinese New Year treat. (The linked recipe is a slightly modified version, but we made the traditional kind.)

Personal #67: Make my desk a useable space ~ 2/19/2018

This has been an ongoing project, and I’m sure I will continue to tweak things as I use my desk again and find out ways I can improve it. Still, it’s great to have a space I can use for writing, and journaling, and generic computer time without taking over the dining table!

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And just like that it’s March! (Or nearly.) Hopefully we’ll get some rain next month… it’s been too dry lately and I don’t want to have to go through another drought so soon. At least we got some rain last year, or we’d be drying up and blowing away in the wind by now. It’s just worrisome to look at how little rain we’ve had so far in 2018. Sigh.

I hope your February has been wonderful!


101 in 1001 ~ update the nineteenth

It’s time for the 19th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

And… now it’s a month into 2018. Wow. It’s strange, though; I can’t tell if it feels like this first month of the year has flown by, or taken forever. It seems like my New Year’s vacation was ages ago, but it’s still hard to believe that we’re in a new year. I think it’s been like that every January for a while, though. I hope your year is starting out well! Mine is, so far. There’s not a ton of visible progress, but there is some worth mentioning.

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

January 2018
2 items completed this month
20 items currently in progress

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Personal #62: Take a class / find a software program and start learning another language ~ 1/24/2018

I haven’t gotten far in it yet, but I bought Rosetta Stone software and am learning Mandarin Chinese. I’ve always wanted to learn Chinese because it’s a heritage language (there are other heritage languages I want to learn, too, but this one has priority). To be completely accurate for my heritage, I’d need to learn Cantonese. I decided to go with Mandarin instead, though, because it’s the prominent Chinese dialect and will be more useful in the business world.

If Rosetta Stone works well for me, I plan to also use it to learn other languages. We’ll see how it goes – I’ll try to remember to include language learning updates periodically.

Reading #91: Organize my bookshelf to get the books off the floor ~ 1/26/2018

I had started this a long time ago, but finally finished it tonight. Part of it was figuring out how to make room on the bookshelves, and in this case it included deciding to re-home some of the books I’ve been hanging onto but will almost certainly never re-read. (An added benefit: it reminded me about some books I own that I’ve been meaning to re-read. I moved those to a more prominent place on the shelf so I’m more likely to notice and read them.)

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Hmm. There was less actually completed there than I’d hoped, but still it was progress. There was also progress made on items not yet listed here, things that will be more long-term and still require weeks or months to complete. (For instance, I made some great progress toward getting my desk properly usable again, but I’m not there yet. Still need to reorganize a bunch, though I have cleaned the area up now.) In any case, it’s been a good month and I’m hoping for more of the same next month.

I hope your February is fabulous!

101 in 1001 ~ update the eighteenth

It’s time for the 18th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

Can you believe it’s the end of 2017 already? I can’t. It’s insane how time flows. This year for me was particularly weird. Instead of the whole year flying by, I felt like I was properly able to enjoy spring and summer, but fall and winter have vanished without a trace. Very strange.

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

December 2017
2 items completed this month
19 items currently in progress

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Reading #78: Complete a Reading Challenge in 2017 ~ 12/31/2017

The Challenge for this year was to read 10 Cat Mystery Books and to read 75% new books. Well, the Cat Mystery part of the challenge turned out to be harder than I expected, and the 75% new books ended up being easier. There are a handful of books I generally re-read annually, but I didn’t read them this year. (I won’t be reading them next year either, if I stick to my 2018 Reading Challenge.) The Cat Mysteries, though, all tended to have the same tropes and so I didn’t read any one series all in a row the way I had anticipated I would at the start of the year. Interesting how that turned out.

Food #35: get my kitchen knives sharpened or replaced ~ 12/10/2017

I did an at-home sharpening in this case. I’m hoping I did a good enough job so that I don’t have to take them somewhere to have them sharpened. We’ll have to wait and see, though. In any event, what I did counts for this challenge item.

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Get ready for 2018! If you’re partying tonight, please do so safely!

Best wishes to you and yours for a very Happy New Year.

101 in 1001 ~ update the seventeenth

It’s time for the 17th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

November is for NaNo. I’m always a bit surprised at how much else I get done during the month of November. I guess it’s proof that if I really work at it, I can fit in writing along with the rest of my regular activities. It does often take work, though. It’s not something I can do without thinking about how to make it work.

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

November 2017
4 items completed this month
20 items currently in progress

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Writing #100: participate in NaNoWriMo 2017 ~ 11/1/2017 – 11/30/2017

NaNo is a lot of fun! This year’s participation included going to local write-ins and playing with other WriMos, both in person and online. We did word sprints and word wars and just generally had a good time. If you do NaNo, you should try a write-in. If you have a fun group (like we do) they can be both enjoyable and productive nights.

Health #47: Get an eye appointment (and new glasses if needed) ~ 11/11/2017

Eye appointment: check! New glasses: ordered, and should arrive soon! It’s nice to have vision insurance again. Yes, my prescription is not very much of one (and my distance vision is getting better while my reading doesn’t yet require glasses… yay aging?) but still. It’s nice to know that my eyes are getting checkups. I blame the 1983 TV series “V”. Ever since accidentally* seeing the aliens pull out their whole-eye contacts and eat guinea pigs, I’ve been very sensitive about my eyes.

* “accidentally” because as I recall it, my parents didn’t know I was watching until I started getting upset. I don’t remember now if the eye thing or the guinea pigs upset me more.

Arts & Crafts #14: Make my own Christmas cards ~ 11/25/2017

I haven’t finished making them, but I’ve made a nice batch. (Want a preview? I haven’t finished the cards with the otters on them yet, but I did make an entirely different batch. Here’s a glimpse at them – this is about half of the ones I’ve completed.)

2017 Christmas cards part 1

Food #33: Drink no soda for a month (do 3 times) ~ 11/30/2017

I’m trying to cut soda out of my diet entirely, but it can be difficult in some locations. For instance, when I go somewhere (like a theme park) that only has weak tea and I need a caffeine hit, I will get a Coke. I know, it would be better to wean myself off of the caffeine, but I don’t want withdrawal headaches when I’m in the places where this happens. Also, I love the Cherry Coke & movie theatre popcorn combo that Mr. Wyrm and I have been doing lately. I did manage to abstain from that these past few months while I finished up this challenge item, but I’m not sure I’ll always decide to cut out Cherry Coke. (Which is my absolute favorite soda.) There’s also the mixed drink problem, where a lot of the drinks I enjoy come mixed with soda. So… I think I will stick with cutting soda almost entirely out of my diet, and call that good.

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And just like that, November is over. Are you ready for the last month of the year? I’m not sure I am. I’m not sure I ever am, to be honest. Still, ready or not, here comes December!

101 in 1001 ~ update the sixteenth

It’s time for the 16th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

Happy Halloween! If you celebrate, I hope you’re doing something fun for today. My work does a little mini-celebration, which can be fun. It’s always nice to have the occasional break from the daily grind.

There’s been a lot of progress on the various reading challenges, but most of them are still in progress. Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

October 2017
4 items completed this month
19 items currently in progress

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Arts & Crafts #13: make 2 digital scrapbooks for me ~ 10/8/2017

These were both scrapbooks of trips. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to continue making scrapbooks of everyday life also; it doesn’t seem to matter as much since I don’t have kids to share them with, but they’re still fun to look at. I guess I should still do general books, but planning them out takes time (even though it’s much faster to make the digital version than the paper-and-sticker-and-photo-print version). It’s so much easier to make books for events than daily life. At least this is something, though — for too long I’ve been doing nothing at all scrapbook-wise, and I’ve missed it.

Reading #87: read 7 non-fiction books ~ 10/9/2017

This ended up being a mix of paper and audio books. I really enjoyed the books I chose for this challenge… mostly memoirs and science non-fiction, with a little history thrown in. Still, I’m a bit surprised that I finished this one as early as I did. I’m not known for reading non-fiction books (which was the point of this challenge item in the first place). It feels good to do some significant reading outside of my typical fantasy genre!

Theatre #91: Watch 10 live theatre shows I’m not otherwise involved in ~ 10/21/2017

This one was here because sometimes I need a kick in the pants to get out of the house. (Yup. I’m an introvert.) I do love supporting live theatre, though, so it was an easy compromise between being socially active and an introvert.

Blog #21: Make 10 new blog friends ~ 10/23/2017

Yay! I’ve been making new blog friends partly because I’ve been more active on the blog, so I’m hoping this number continues to go up. 10 is as high as I’m tracking, though.

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With the cooler weather, it’s time to pull out the knitted socks and scarves and mitts. This is the Time of the Knitter. (I love this time of year.) I hope you’re enjoying your autumn as much as I am! (Unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case I hope you’re enjoying your spring, my other favorite season.)

101 in 1001 ~ update the fifteenth

It’s time for the 15th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

YAY! This month included the completion of a 7-year-task: I finished the Babette blanket! But more on that later. This month also saw progress on other challenge tasks, plus my third blood donation (which completed that challenge item).

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

September 2017
3 items completed this month
22 items currently in progress

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Arts & Crafts #6: Finish crocheting Babette blanket ~ 9/3/2017

I started this blanket in April of 2010. That’s way too long for a project to linger, and yet I could never seem to bring myself to finish it. So now, I finally did! I’m not sure how much of it was due to this challenge, but at least some of it was. (If nothing else, this challenge kept the Babette blanket at the front of my mind.) It’s not as large a blanket as I really would have preferred, but I also didn’t want to make any more squares. (And since this was intended as a scrap sock yarn project, I wasn’t going to change the yarn weight, either.) Nevertheless, it will be a great desk chair throw for when I’m working and need a little extra warmth. If you want more information about the blanket, it can be found on the FO blog post for Babette.

Personal #51: Donate blood (do 3 times) ~ 9/23/2017

This is something that I intend to keep doing even now that the challenge item is finished. However, I figured 3 times was a good number for the 101 in 1001 challenge. Still – with all the ugly stuff in the news, it’s nice to be able to do something to actively help people in need. If you are able, please join me in donating blood. It doesn’t take long – under an hour from check-in to walking out the door (which include the intake evaluation and the snacks afterward) – but it could be the difference between life and death for someone.

Reading #84: Read 10 books by new-to-me authors ~ 9/29/2017

This is one of the ways I’ve been trying to branch out and read new books instead of re-reading books as often as I used to, or reading only the same handful of authors that are in my comfort zone. I guess I get stuck in reading ruts as much as anything else, and for a while I was barely reading anything new. So this was a good way to discover new authors. I found some great books that way, too! (Though there were misses, too. Maybe one week I’ll do mini-reviews of all of the books from this challenge item.)

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Autumn is officially here! Yay! I love that season — spring and autumn are my favorites, so I’m always happy to see them arrive. I hope that you had a great end-of-summer hurrah, and enjoy the cooler weather to come! (Unless you’re one of my blog readers from the Southern Hemisphere, in which case I hope your upcoming spring is lovely!)

Misc Monday ~ in which dreams are not always goals

Let’s talk in a little depth about one of my 101 in 1001 categories today: the Writing category. When I started the 101 in 1001 challenge, I was planning on working on my dream of becoming a published novelist. Therefore, one of the main categories of my challenge is writing. And yet, now that I’m over a year in to the challenge, I find that this is no longer a focus of mine.

The change in my mindset made me start thinking about dreams vs. goals.

Sometimes, your dreams are your goals. You can work toward something that you’ve dreamed about, and it’s both a dream and a goal. Or you can have dreams that float at the back of your mind or deep in your soul, but that you aren’t actively working on, and therefore while they are still your dreams they aren’t also goals.

For me, being a published author has been a dream for a long time, but it’s almost always been something I played at instead of worked at. The only times I’ve done more than play around at it were when I was unhappy in my personal life. (Part of me wonders how much I subconsciously associate success in my writing with unhappiness. Most of me suspects this is a pretty high association, and I need to work on that.) So, I was planning on using this 101 in 1001 challenge to turn writing from a dream only into something that was also a goal.

And then, for one of my other challenge items, I started evaluating my day job. And I didn’t like what I saw. I also didn’t like what I had in mind as a nebulous “while I’m getting the writing career going” plan. So I started to look at what I could do to be more satisfied and more fulfilled in my day job, and realized that my best option was to focus on that instead of on the novel writing.

Yes, being a published novelist is still a dream. But right now I don’t have the drive to make it a goal. I don’t know that I will ever have enough energy to both work on improving my writing and improve my day job at the same time. You have to pick your battles, and choose where you’re going to spend your energy. Therefore, my primary goal right now is to improve my day job to the point where it feels like a career instead of a job. (Yes, I’ve been in the workforce for decades, and still don’t feel like what I have is a career.)

I am not planning on changing the 101 in 1001 list to reflect this change in focus, however. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of your dreams even when they aren’t your primary goals.

What about you? Do you have dreams which are or aren’t goals in  your life? How to you balance the two?