Goals Update - Third Quarter of 2018

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The end of the quarter always sneaks up on me. Has it really been three months? Yes. Yes, Lydia, it has. When I look back, it’s easy to see why it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long; I’ve been so busy! Sickness, moving, blogging, cooking, cleaning, family stuff, appointments, church stuff—I’ve hardly had time to sit down (except when writing).

Three Month Goals Update


The husband and I still go on regular dates. For a while, we tried moving them to a different day of the week, but that was unsuccessful.  We haven’t done a lot of hiking because we’ve been so busy and tired from moving. I suspect that we won’t actually hike enough times this year to make our Northwest Forest Pass worth the cost. Next year we’ll buy day passes when we want to go.

My younger brother came home to visit for a few days before he was deployed again, and it was good to see him. I’ve hardly seen him at all since he joined the military, and it’ll be at least another year before I see him with any regularity, maybe longer. He was my homeschool buddy and unacknowledged bestie until middle school, and my partner-in-pranks afterward. I miss him.

Next quarter I’d like to visit my other siblings, nieces, and grandparents a few times. There’ll be a bunch of holidays, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find excuses, right?


I’m still trying to get together with my girlfriends 1x/month.  Since I’ve moved and Megan's had schedule changes, it’s difficult to find times that work for everyone. I hosted one tea party and totally forgot to take pictures. A headache prevented me from going on the bookstore field trip and I forgot to make an event for Summerfest shenanigans. I was in the middle of packing then anyway, so it would have been a nightmare to try to do a tea party too.

Megan and I are still trying to meet and write one day each week, but that’s been a lot harder too; we had one stretch of three weeks with no writing dates. Whenever this happens, I end up yaking my husband’s ears off about stuff he doesn’t understand. Maybe I should start Skyping my cousins in Oklahoma or something...

Spiritual & Esperanto

Near the beginning of September, I finished reading the New Testament in Esperanto and The Hymn Fake Book. It was an interesting experience and I don’t regret reading them, but toward the end I was definitely ready to move on. Next, I plan to work on my unread collection of Christian books.

I have no immediate plans to continue reading in Esperanto every day, but I do have a couple of books in Esperanto (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) that I’d like to read eventually. For the sake of comprehension, I plan to read and/or listen to the original English versions first. Thus far I’ve made it through Wonderland, but not Oz. I intended to read the Esperanto version shortly after, but got distracted by sci-fi anthologies. Maybe after I finish Year’s Best SF 5

Over the past couple of weeks, we said goodbye to our church and now we’re looking for somewhere new to go. I’m hoping to find something near my grandparents so that it’s easier to visit them more often.


I had barely any energy in July; it was a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, even when I’d slept all night. Figuring out what was wrong with me and regaining a functional energy level was my main health priority for August and September. After some blood work to rule out common causes, my doctor prescribed a medication. That’s been awesome. My energy isn’t totally back, but it's been high enough to pack, unpack, do tons of cooking, and resume cleaning for my in-laws after their kitchen remodel while sorta-kinda-almost keeping up with my other responsibilities.

Moving was great exercise. I’ve also taken a few walks in the new neighborhood. We’re so far away from parks and the library now that I pretty much have to drive or ride my bike there. After we settled in, I tried to do a short Pilates every day, but it wasn’t quite enough exercise, so I started using my resistance bands again. I’ve only done a few workouts with them so far and I still need to design a rotating program for myself; it’s a work-in-progress.

Some dental work compelled me to eat softer foods for a while, and I acquired a peanut butter whole wheat toast habit. I’m trying to figure out if gluten is still a problem for me; a lot of my gut issues with it seem to have disappeared with the whole wheat bread, but not white flour products. It’s supremely strange. I probably have friends and relatives out there annoyed with me for yo-yo-ing back and forth on it, but I’m genuinely not sure. Sometimes it seems like wheat bothers me, and sometimes it doesn’t. Dairy, however, is a consistent problem.

For the next few months, I’ve decided to use up a bunch of ingredients in my pantry, because I don’t want to have to take them with me when I move again. This means lots of Asian food and desserts. I’m trying to focus on vegetables and broth-based soups, but there will definitely be starches in the mix, and even small amounts of meat and eggs. I’m trying to only make desserts in small batches and to take larger batches to events where I can share them.

Sleep has been weird, too. I’ve been trying to get to bed by ten and up at six or seven. After we settled in and before I made a point of exercising every day, muscle cramps in my calves kept me up a few times. I also had a medication change that made me more sensitive to caffeine, and now I have to limit myself to one pot of caffeinated tea in the morning, rather than drinking as much as I want until two or four in the afternoon. On one of my writing days with Megan, I made the mistake of drinking two and a half pots of tea, and I had to give myself three days without caffeine before my headache went away. Last Wednesday jaw pain and a cold kept me up a while. Add in worsening hyperacusis and a recent cold bug, and you get a pretty a clear picture of what life is like right now: my health is a hot mess.


The move derailed my writing for a little while. I have nearly two weeks of red Xs in August when I did no writing whatsoever. The monthlong blogging break was great; after we were settled in the new place, I was able to write a bunch of blog posts before jumping into the next draft of my book.

I’ve written about 11K words of the manuscript so far. This isn’t quite as far along as I’d like to be, but I’ve written most of my blog posts through December, so I should be able to focus on the book for the next three months. I’m aiming for 80-90K words and my prewriting was pretty thorough, so I think I can finish this draft before the end of the year.

I plan to start looking for alpha readers around Christmastime. These people will get a very rough draft to read and comment on. I’m mostly looking for feedback on plot, theme, and character problems, not little stuff like word choice, spelling, and grammar. If you know me personally, you like fantasy books, and you’re interested in helping me out, send me an email.

I got all caught up on the Writing Excuses podcast last week. It took me about a month of listening, and I’m sure I didn’t absorb nearly as much as I would have if I listened to them more slowly, but podcasters tend to cover the same material over and over again and their opinions evolve over time, so I don’t think it’s worth slowly savoring every episode of a podcast’s backlog.


Moving was great for reading. Well, listening anyway. All the packing, unpacking, and cleaning kept my hands busy and my brain free to wander in storyland. I finished the 80-hour craziness that is the last installment in the d’Artagnan Romances. My review for that won’t come out until November 13th because I have so many other things I want to share with you guys first. I also finished The Chronicles of Narnia.

Thus far I’ve read 51 books this year, including a couple of radio dramas. I’ve raised my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 60 books for the year, and I might have to raise it again in a couple of months. For now, I’m using this opportunity to explore short story anthologies, poetry, and books in Esperanto that I want to read at a slower pace. It’s also about time I read Megan’s books; I want to understand when she talks about story issues.

In a quasi-devotional fashion, I am reading a story a day from The Story and Its Writer, a giant textbook anthology from Ann Charters. After I read, I write a page in my reading journal to reflect on the themes, characters, and techniques of the stories. These stories tend to be more literary than commercial (in its past life, my copy was a high school textbook), so even if I’m not thrilled with the plot or there is no plot, I’m usually stunned by the writing and character emotions. Plenty of them have killer plot twists though. Similarly, I’m reading a section or two of Poet’s Choice by Edward Hirsch every day. Both of these books have works from a lot of minority and foreign writers, so they’ve been great for expanding my view of the world and the human experience.

I’ve also been reading more commercial sci-fi and fantasy stories in the anthologies I picked up at Summerfest. I write reviews for those as I finish them, but none have come out yet because I did so much reading/listening this summer.

How have your 2018 goals progressed? Have they changed?
Leave a comment below or my hairless ghost lemur will haunt your dreams.

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