A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy New Year 2021!

If you're reading this now, congratulations! You survived 2020!

I think it's an understatement to say 2020 was Not a Good Year. I made it through better than many, with much of my life remaining relatively unchanged. I was able to work from home some, though not exclusively, and my workplace has new procedures in place to help protect those of us who do need to physically report to the office.

But let's have a look back at my naive optimism about 2020, shall we?
    Progress bar goals
  • Read 10,000 pages - I did finish reading all of Shakespeare in 2020, but I fell short of the goal, coming in at just under 8900 pages.
  • Walk Minas Tirith to the Morannon - I made it!
  • Do 200 workouts at Curves - This started off well - I hit my 1000th workout in early February and was making it all 5 weekdays. Then the pandemic happened, and they had to close for a while. She's back open in a limited capacity, but I won't be carrying this goal forward just yet.
  • Lose 25 pounds - Another goal that started off well and was derailed by the pandemic. I'd lost 10 pounds by mid-April, but have gained it back with interest.

  • Other goals
  • Finish Chatelaine's "Walled English Garden" - I focused on this almost exclusively this year. I'm not *quite* done, but I'm probably about a week away from a finish.
  • Finish one page on Log Dog Samplers "Death by Cross Stitch" - Honestly, I realized I was not really looking forward to working on it (perhaps over-1 on 22ct was a poor choice for my aging eyes), and abandoned it.
  • Clean up and organize my crafting lair - HA ha ha ha... yeah, I didn't finish this. I did a little bit, but it is still a very looming project.
  • Complete one yarncrafting project - Hey, one I did actually finish! I knitted the Blue Sky Fibers "Endless Wrap" in "Storm Clouds" worsted. I haven't blocked it yet, but the knitting is done.

  • New Habits
  • Drink at least 1.5 litre of water a day - I'm managing at least 1L a day, sometimes 1.5, so it's a work in progress.
  • Continue Duolingo and Lumosity daily exercises - These are going well. My streaks are up to 1089 and 732 days respectively.
  • Do some form of exercise daily - Ehhh. Hit or miss here.
  • Make sure the dishes are done daily - This has been going well, and I've discovered how satisfactory it is to have dishes done (or at least loaded) every day.

For the new habits, I think I did fairly well, which is encouraging. As for the rest...well, 2020 explains much.

Moving on to this coming year:
    Progress bar goals
  • Read 10,000 pages - I do have my first few books identified for this year, and maybe I'll actually make goal this time.
  • Lose 25 pounds - Rather than identifying specific steps, I'll just leave it at this...

  • Other goals
  • Finish Chatelaine's "Walled English Garden" - I'd better, given how close I am.
  • Finish Ink Circles "Castle Walls" - This was my New Year's start last year, and hasn't seen action since that day.
  • Finish the center square on Chatelaine's "Poison Garden" - I just started this an hour ago, but it will lie dormant until Walled English Garden is finished.
  • Clean up and organize my crafting lair - I hope to finish this by Easter. I know, I said that last year, but it makes the organization a good Lenten goal. Yes, I hear you laughing. But maybe if enough people laugh I'll actually do it.
  • Complete one yarncrafting project - Either crochet or knit. This is a good recurring goal, in much the way the reading goal is.

  • New Habits
  • Drink at least 1.5 litre of water a day
  • Continue Duolingo and Lumosity daily exercises
  • Do some form of exercise daily - I'm going to start by walking a mile (or equivalent exercise) and see if I can increase from there.
  • Make sure the dishes are done daily - Keeping this up!
Now that we've kicked 2020 to the curb, here's to hopefully better days!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year! Apparently I haven't blogged at all since last year. Most of my activity, such as it is, has been on Facebook or, more recently, Instagram. I can't promise I'll be more active here in 2020, but I should at least resume the Monday Miscellany recaps I was doing for a while.

Anyway, new year, new goals! How did I do against last year's goals?
  • Read 10,000 pages - I read 12,353, so that's a win. A third of that was reading the entire Brother Cadfael series, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Walk Rauros to Mt. Doom - Made it there, and am halfway to Morannon. This is getting near the end, so I'll need to find another fantastic 'walk' to go on.
  • Lose 25 pounds - Well, I did better than last year by actually losing a few pounds. Progress, but nearly negligible.
  • Finish Teresa Wentzler's "Fantasy Triptych" - Finished and framed!
  • Finish Chatelaine's "Violet Mandala" - Finished and framed!
  • Clean up and organize my crafting lair - Some progress, though you wouldn't know it from the current state.
  • Complete one yarncrafting project - I don't think I did any yarncrafting this year.
Habitica was quite helpful in getting me to form (and break) some new habits:
  • Drink at least 1 litre of water a day - this worked well, and I should probably increase this for 2020.
  • Do Duolingo and Lumosity exercises every day - 723 day streak in Duolingo, and 366 in Lumosity!
  • Stop following stupid clickbait listicles that erode my faith in humanity - mostly success here. I do occasionally follow links to posts of cute dogs or cats, but that's a bit more wholesome.
So, on for this year!

    Progress bar goals
  • Read 10,000 pages - This seems to be a good benchmark for me for now, to be revisited if I keep exceeding it. I've signed up for a project to read the complete works of Shakespeare in 2020, which will cover half of my goal by itself.
  • Walk Minas Tirith to the Morannon - Halfway there, so this should be an easy completion. I'll need to find another walk after this.
  • Do 200 workouts at Curves - This is committing to about 4 workouts a week. I'm currently doing that most weeks, so this should be makeable.
  • Lose 25 pounds - I'm entering a challenge with some coworkers this month, so that should help some.

  • Other goals
  • Finish Chatelaine's "Walled English Garden" - This and Long Dog's "Death by Cross Stitch" are now my oldest two WIPs, both started in June 2017, so I'd like to get one of them off the list.
  • Finish one page on Log Dog Samplers "Death by Cross Stitch" - I think it'll be a goal to finish this before I retire, but that's about a decade away.
  • Clean up and organize my crafting lair - I hope to finish this by Easter. I know, I said that last year, but it makes the organization a good Lenten goal
  • Complete one yarncrafting project - Either crochet or knit.

  • New Habits
  • Drink at least 1.5 litre of water a day - This is an increase from last year
  • Continue Duolingo and Lumosity daily exercises
  • Do some form of exercise daily - Curves, treadmill, stretches, anything. Well, probably not burpees. Those suck.
  • Make sure the dishes are done daily - This isn't necessarily running the dishwasher - with just two of us now, it doesn't need to be run daily. It is, however, making sure the dishwasher is emptied or loaded and doing any handwashing necessary.

Onward to a new decade! At least for me, since I do hit a milestone birthday in several weeks. As for whether 2020 is a new decade or not, I'll leave you with today's XKCD.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year - 2019

Happy New Year!

A new year is widely considered a time to turn over a new leaf, to set goals or resolutions, and to put the past year behind us. My 2018 wasn't bad, and did have some very fun moments such as the Rhine river cruise, but I think many people are just glad to have 2018 behind us.

I do need to look to the past to see how I did on my goals from last year, though, so here they are:
  • Read 10,000 pages - I fell short of this again, only reading 6545 pages, but I did read more than last year.
  • Isengard to Minas Tirith - I made it to Minas Tirith with Gandalf and Pippin, and am now halfway to Mount Doom with the Ring.
  • Lose 25 pounds - Well....not even close, and actually went negative on this goal.
Another lackluster showing, I'm afraid. It's a new year, though, so here are this year's goals.
  • Read 10,000 pages - Even though I've failed to meet this goal the past two years, I don't believe it's unreasonable, and so I'm retaining it as is.
  • Walk Rauros to Mt. Doom - Halfway there, so this should be an easy completion. I'll follow it by walking with Aragorn from Minas Tirith to the Morannon and back.
  • Lose 25 pounds - Another failure that I really need to keep as a goal, and devote more effort to completion.
I do have some goals that aren't well-suited to progress bars, so I have a separate list. More goals may get added as the year goes by.
  • Finish Teresa Wentzler's "Fantasy Triptych" - I'm aiming for the end of the month.
  • Finish Chatelaine's "Violet Mandala" - I hope to finish this by the end of May.
  • Clean up and organize my crafting lair - I hope to finish this by Easter (21 April)
  • Complete one yarncrafting project - I don't know whether it will be crochet or knit, but I do have a number of things kitted and I need to start doing more than just hoarding yarn.
In terms of habits I want to establish, maintain, or break:
  • Drink at least 1 litre of water a day
  • Do Duolingo and Lumosity exercises every day
  • Stop following stupid clickbait listicles that erode my faith in humanity
I've discovered an app called Habitica that I'm hoping will keep me on track with my goals and habits.

This year will probably also be heavy on introspection in general, since I'll hit a milestone birthday early next year. In the meantime, it's time for me to buckle up and enjoy this ride!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Monday miscellany - 12Nov2018

Forgive me, reader - it's been 5 weeks since my last update.

Life has been busy, although mostly in good ways. Since my last update, DH and I have been on a lovely two-week vacation to Europe. One week of that was a Rhine river cruise on Uniworld (highly recommended), followed by a few days knocking about the Netherlands and Belgium. I may write more about it later, but right now I'm still fighting an unplanned and unwanted souvenir in the form of a head cold. Fortunately I was able to get some good medicine overseas and other than keeping DH awake with my congested snoring, it didn't slow me down much. Now that we're back home, it's taken more of a toll on me but I hope that I'm on the mend.

Anyway, on to the update!

What I've been reading.... Travel is usually good for a reading binge, and this time was no exception. I finished _Straight Outta Tombstone_, and have also read Shirley Jackson's classic _The Haunting of Hill House_, Brandon Sanderson's _Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds_, and a short story collection edited by Ellen Datlow called _Haunted Nights_.
My current read is Evangeline Walton's _Mabinogion Tetralogy_, and I'm about 40% through. I've had it for years and somehow it had never bubbled its way to the top of my TBR pile despite my love of mythology. I'm familiar with many of the stories, but Walton's treatment really does bring them to life.

What I've been stitching... I've made some progress on Fantasy Triptych over the past 5 weeks, but nothing significant. I don't usually travel with larger stitching projects, so it's been several weeks since I've picked up a needle. I did finish a small crocheted throw for DD, but that's about it.

Fumbling toward fitness There have been some good weeks and some stumbles. I did clock about 42 miles of walking while we were in Europe, for an average of 3 miles a day, so that's a positive development. Hopefully I can keep up the increased activity level, once I've recuperated from this cold.
On the mental fitness front, my Duolingo streak is still going strong, but losing track of time one night cost me a 285-day Lumosity streak, and I haven't yet managed to get back on track with that.

One Little Victory We had gotten a call the week before our trip that there was a chance the ship might not be able to sail the entire path due to the Rhine being at record lows. We went anyway, and saw enough rain on the trip to be able to make the entire voyage. And it was spectacular.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Monday miscellany - 1Oct2018

The months fly past at an increasing rate, it seems, and October is already upon us.

I’ve been doing some thinking over the past week about my recent lack of success with exercise goals, and have come to the conclusion that I need to restructure some things. Rather than committing to treadmilling every day and Curves every weekday that they’re open, I’m going to start by setting a somewhat ‘modest’ goal of 200 minutes a week between those two things (or any other exercise). Once I’ve had 3 consecutive weeks of meeting that goal, I’ll increase it to maybe 210 or 225, and just keep progressing upward from there. This gives me a bit more flexibility to adapt to busy days, illness, travel, or all those other little bits of life that play havoc with best-laid plans.

Speaking of best-laid plans, off to the updates!

What I’ve been reading…. I read Brian McClellan’s novella “War Cry”, and have started _Straight Outta Tombstone_, a collection of short-stories set in the Wild West with a sci-fi or fantasy twist to them. I’ve been enjoying it so far.

What I’ve been crafting… I finished the central square on Chatelaine’s “Violet Mandala”, and have set that aside for a while. I’m about to pick up Teresa Wentzler’s “Fantasy Triptych” again – I only have the castle panel remaining, and will continue work on that until I’ve finished. After all of the over-1 violets I stitched last month, this should go a bit more quickly.

Fumbling toward fitness… After the decision to revisit my exercise goals, I did succeed the first week of it, with 201 minutes total. I went by Curves 4 times and made up the balance on the treadmill. Short story collections do seem to help my treadmilling!
My Lumosity and Duolingo streaks are still going strong, but I've not had much of an issue with that.

One Little Victory I achieved my 800th workout at Curves! Also, UCF is now 4-0 and has a 17-game win streak. Go Knights!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Monday miscellany - 24Sept2018

Well, after last week's inauspicious start, things were fine once I got my car back and life could proceed as normal.

Unfortunately "normal" now also seems to be a consistent string of treadmill intentions gone awry, and I need to figure out why I'm letting my routines slide so much. So, there's some soul-searching in order so I can get back on track. Perhaps I need to recalibrate my routine if I'm just being too ambitious with what I plan to accomplish.

But onward to status!

What I've been reading... Well, I still have "War Cry" at the top of the queue, but somehow haven't cracked it yet. Hopefully once I get back on track with the treadmill, my reading will also pick back up.

What I've been stitching... I didn't stitch much during the week, but I did make some decent progress on Violet over the weekend.

Fumbling toward fitness... I made it by Curves every weekday that I had a car, which is good. I also continued my Duolingo and Lumosity streaks, which is also good. Treadmill is where I'm falling flat, as I have for the past several weeks, and that's something I need to address.

One Little Victory In college football, UCF is undefeated at 3-0. Go Knights!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday miscellany - 17Sept18

My evening has been somewhat subpar - got a flat on the way home and discovered my car had a tire repair kit instead of the donut spare, and sadly the flat was such that neither the repair kit nor the can of Fix-A-Flat got me mobile again. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait too long for a tow, and hopefully my car will be back to all-fours tomorrow.

In the grand scheme of things, it's a minor inconvenience, especially compared to folks up in the Carolinas, so I'll count my blessings even if it did throw off my evening.

What I've been reading... I finished _Kill the Farm Boy_ yesterday, and found it enjoyable. Up next is Brian McClellan's newest novella, "War Cry".

What I've been stitching... I've done about half of the over-1 on Violet Mandala that I'd hoped to accomplish this month, so it's still looking like a reasonable goal.

Fumbling toward fitness Much the same as recent weeks - I've been pretty good about getting to Curves regularly, and my Duolingo and Lumosity streaks are still going strong, but I'm still struggling with the treadmill. I had hoped to try to get back on track tonight, but the flat has put a serious dent in my motivation. Still, I know I need to do it, even if I only do a few minutes tonight.

One Little Victory DH and I spent the weekend in Atlanta for a family event, and got to spend time with an old friend while we were there.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Monday miscellany - 3Sept2018

Well, apparently I did indeed jinx us last week - there are now two active tropical storms and another wave that's being watched out in the Atlantic. Fortunately none of them are a threat to us for the coming week, but it's a sudden spike of activity after a long period of quiet.

What I've been reading... Not a lot of reading this week, but I am up to 11% in _Kill the Farm Boy_.

What I've been crafting... I finished the bottom of my round-robin and have picked up Violet Mandala again. There's a lot of over-1 right now, which I am hoping to finish this month.

Fumbling toward fitness The good: I made it by Curves all 5 weekdays again, and my Duolingo and Lumosity streaks are still going strong. The bad: I'm still hit-or-miss on treadmilling, although I did do 4 times this week so that's an improvement over last week.

One Little Victory DD's dog loves the little blanket I made for him, and DD likes the canvaswork piece I sent. It makes me happy that they appreciated my gifts.
Also, college football has started! Both UCF and Georgia Tech won their games handily this past weekend, so that's a good start.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday miscellany - 27Aug2018

Ugh. Nothing like coming home after a long workday and a workout to find out that it's 84 degrees in the house because the A/C wasn't running. Fortunately rebooting it seems to have it working again, and it's finally starting to cool down.

What I've been reading... I don't think I read much, if any, this week, so I'm still very early in _Kill the Farm Boy_.

What I've been crafting... I used some leftover yarn to crochet a small blanket for DD's dog, to ride along with the framed piece I made last week. I've started working on the bottom band of the round-robin I mentioned last week, and hope to finish it this week before moving on to Violet Mandala.

Fumbling toward fitness... I did well at Curves last week, making it all 5 weekdays, and my Duolingo and Lumosity streaks continue to tick ever upwards. Treadmilling, well, that's another matter. I only did 3 days due to various excuses, and that's also reflected in my lack of reading this past week. I'm going to try to better on that this week, starting with tonight....once the inside temperature is down to something reasonable!

One Little Victory The tropics have been blissfully quiet for us so far this season, and nothing is coming up in the next few days. (Now, I hope I haven't jinxed us by saying that!)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Monday miscellany - 20Aug2018

Another fairly quiet week here, but quiet is good.

What I've been reading... I started _Kill the Farm Boy_ by Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne, that purports to be a satire of common fantasy tropes. I'm only a chapter or two in, but it's promising so far.

What I've been stitching... I finished Needle Delights "Rainbow 2" and already have it framed and ready for its intended recipient. It was a very quick stitch, even on black canvas. Next up is to put the final band on my round-robin that I got back early this year, then I'll move back to Chatelaine "Violet Mandala", although that may not be this week....

Fumbling toward fitness... Probably closer to a faceplant than a fumble. I did make it by Curves on four weekdays, but also only treadmilled 4 days. I need to do better this week.

One Little Victory I got a chance to try Dogfish Head's Fruit-full Fort, a tasty berry-loaded beer that reminded me of a quad, a port, and a barleywine at various points while I was drinking it. It's also a bit of a heavy-hitter, coming in at 18%, so it's definitely one for sipping and savoring.