November 2018, check check.

So what if I am posting about last month’s goals and almost half of December is over. In a few days I’ll have to start reflecting on 2018 and planning for 2019. 2018 has been such a confusing year. There were high highs and low lows. But for now, there are still 19 days until I have to think about 2018 coming to a close. And for now, I can stretch this victory lap on November.

The list:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 14 WIP workouts plus one workout on location. A busy month full of travel and family and food.
  • Allowance for the kids: Nada times ten. Need to plan for next year.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 3 books this month.
    • My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
    • Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
    • Chasing Chickens (manuscript) by Rachel Neff
  • Write regularly: I started National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the second year in a row. It’s ambitious to think you could write a whole novel in 30 days and I usually last for about 7-10. I was able to commit about 10,000 words to the page. So something is brewing.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: 1 awesome outdoor hike with kiddos and friends.
  • 1 date night: Crickets here.
  • Donate blood 6 times: In between donations this month. I’ll make my 6th and final donation of the year in December.
  • Volunteer once a month: Poll standing on election day.
  • Self care (once per quarter): No massage this month.
  • Experiment with podcasting: Pricing out equipment.
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: This was a tough one to work on this month. No real progress.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: May have found a local financial planning firm so going to investigate that.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Found a desk for the office and have to start on the girls’ room refresh. This is now officially a 2019 project.
  • Crochet regularly: Meh. I started something to keep my hands busy.

Additional November highlights:

  • Election Day
  • Thanksgiving dinner with both sides of the family
  • Signing my friend’s Ketubah and attending her wedding reception on Thanksgiving day
  • Successful jet-set conference trip to Miami

It’s the home stretch. The final push towards 2019. I cannot wait to see what (the rest of) December has in store.

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October 2018, check. (Double check)

October was an entire year rolled up into one month. When I look back on 2018, October may be my best month, yet. Too many things and so many more things happened.

The list:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 14 bootcamp workouts this month plus 2 self-directed hotel-based workouts plus one amazing hike in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Still time to fit in spinning or swimming.
  • Allowance for the kids: Nada times ten.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 2 books this month. One book–Evicted–was probably one of the most important books I have ever read in the last few years. I was reading nonstop this month–I squeezed a manuscript to read for a publisher. My book chapter finally arrived in print. It was all reading, all the time.
    • Evicted by Matthew Desmond
    • Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout
  • Write regularly: Writing was something I did on the side this month. I had a few moments where I got to quickly jot down feelings but I have been out of a good writing practice for a long time. I’m trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo (as I tried last year, too), so we will see if this jump starts the creativity train for me.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: I hiked the Mt. Hollywood trail in Griffith Park when I was traveling for work. I haven’t had the experience of hiking in full sun cover so that was interesting. And while I don’t love LA, I didn’t hate the views from the top.
  • 1 date night: Another fail this month.
  • Donate blood 6 times: Fit in my 5th donation of the year! I am super excited to donate one more time in December. It wasn’t easy to stay on top of it but every donation counts.
  • Volunteer once a month: We were able to canvass one time for our local friend running for state representative. Since she won the primary it was the most we could do. Fitting in volunteer time with her campaign has been a challenge but my little one and I did knock on doors earlier this month.
  • Self care (once per quarter): While I was traveling I had some serious alone time. The alone time generated lots of thoughts about identity and life and what was happening. I did have a solo dinner out and some lovely kick back and relax time in between conferencing and traveling. I watched the entire first season of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Serious down time. I still need a massage, though.
  • Experiment with podcasting: No movement.
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: I appeared in the Best of Valley Voices Storytelling show the second weekend of October. I arrived to learn that the theater was sold out–800 people! It was the biggest crowd I have ever addressed and I told my story flawlessly. This story remains one of my proudest accomplishments of 2018.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): You know it.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Starting to plan for some updates to the girls’ rooms.
  • Crochet regularly: Meh. I started something to keep my hands busy.

Additional October highlights:

  • Book chapter came out in print–books arrived!!
  • Visit to New York City, seeing friends, sights.
  • Valley Voices storytelling event (video from an earlier version of the story told)
  • Urban Institute conference in LA
  • Seeing my mom’s family while in California
  • Catching up with a dear friend in LA
  • Launched new workshops at work to great reception

Less than 60 days until the year is over. Feeling pretty thrilled and excited about what comes next!

img_4040

First time standing in her shadow. She was majestic as expected.

#5 in 2018.

The view onstage before every seat filled. In the spotlight, you can see nothing.

That’s me on page 79.

Scenes from LA: solo bookstore.

Spectating at The Broad.

The view from Griffith Park.

Kicking off & kicking butt.

 

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September 2018, check.

My mind has taken years to unwind from an academic calendar. It’s Q4. Not the start of school or a few weeks into the semester. We’re in the final 92 days of 2018 and I am ready to take on some big challenges.

But looking back, we closed out Q3 in style:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 19 bootcamp workouts this month plus lots of great outdoor time. Still trying to figure out how to go spinning or go swimming or go running. But I have time to figure that out (and some out of town travel that will force me to figure it out, too).
  • Allowance for the kids: Nada.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 2 books this month and started a third. For the first time in my entire adult life I read a book in a week. It helped that I was riveted and couldn’t put it down. Both books were captivating.
    • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
    • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • Write regularly: I have been on a writing hiatus. Not sure why–the layers of life plus using the morning time to do other things has left me with no big progress on anything this month. That’s okay.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: A full day of outdoor ropes course and ziplines with the girls was a highlight of the month. They were brave and adventurous. We went on a boat. I fit in a nice long walk with a friend. And we spent time at a faire (the renaissance faire that is).
  • 1 date night: How did we let a whole month pass with no proper alone adult time. There was a quick dinner we had while the girls were doing their own thing. But no date night?
  • Donate blood 6 times: I’m due to donate but couldn’t find the time to get to a drive. Lots of opportunities to squeeze this in at the start of October. Still on track to get in the 6 total donations.
  • Volunteer once a month: We got back to volunteering with the dog rescue organization and logged a few hours at an adoption event. It was a gorgeous day and we spent it sitting outdoors, petting dogs. Not bad.
  • Self care (once per quarter): Nada again. I’ve been sleeping a lot–does the nap on Yom Kippur count?
  • Experiment with podcasting: I am motivated to get equipment but that’s about where it ends for me right now.
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: In an unexpected turn of events, I am now going to tell a story at the Best of Valley Voices Story Slam in Northampton. It’s a storytelling show in a big theater with a bigger audience. Feeling lucky and nervous.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Swapped out some furniture in our living room thanks to my family offloading some of their furniture. Starting to plan for some updates to the girls’ rooms.
  • Crochet regularly: Meh. I started something to keep my hands busy. Will be a good goal while I watch the girls’ dance classes.

Additional September highlights:

  • School got going–4th grade and 2nd grade are solidly elementary school age
  • Outdoor music festival in Hartford
  • Holidays with family
  • Celebrating a friend’s 40th
  • Boat time (saw littlest Weiner go tubing for first time)
  • Got a promotion at work
  • Ropes course
  • Renaissance Faire

Life is a snowball rolling down a hill. October is upon us….

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August 2018, check.

I never think summer is over when August is over. In the northeast, it’s hot well into October and sometimes we get a few sunny skies in November, too. It’s a cruel change of heart around Thanksgiving but I can recall a few years when we rode scooters in sweatshirts as December approached. So I’m not waving the white flag on summer just yet. Especially after the month of August we’ve had.

I mean, in August we did all of the things…

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 16 bootcamp workouts this month plus one amazing outdoor bike ride. I fit in one game of softball plus lots of outdoor time.
  • Allowance for the kids: Crickets though in an unexpected turn of events, the girls decided to use some of their saved money to buy themselves something small and I was inspired by their earnestness. We will resurrect this goal for the children now that school has started.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 2 books this month and started a third. Time at the beach certainly helped. 14 books complete but that means 16 until my goal is reached. I’m going to have to push hard but it’s going to be tough to read four books a month for the next four months. Tough but not impossible.
    • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
    • Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • Write regularly: I thought I was in a writing rut but the truth is I have been writing all summer. I took a break from working on this side project when our extended houseguest took over my dedicated writing space. Since we returned from our vacation two weeks ago, I’ve been trying to get into a routine. But I just took stock and I wrote close to 4,000 words this summer, so I’m going to feel good about that and keep pushing ahead.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: We didn’t hike but we did spend lots of time outdoors. There was an outdoor bike ride and lots of time on the beach on vacation. There was a full day of walking around Boston. We got in our steps for sure.
  • 1 date night: No explicit date night all month. We did get lots of great family time but no just us time save a quick lunch or coffee meetup during the day.
  • Donate blood 6 times: Fifth donation due up at the end of September. On track to complete 6 by the end of the year.
  • Volunteer once a month: More volunteering with a friend’s campaign including poll standing and postcard writing. She won the primary so there will be more volunteer opportunities in the coming months until Election Day.
  • Self care (once per quarter): Nada. I received a gift that will help jumpstart a routine.
  • Experiment with podcasting: Yup, nothing to report
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: This continues to be a tough goal. I did pitch some new stories to a storytelling group but beyond that, it’s been crickets on this goal.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Furniture arrived for the porch and we have assembled the room! We spent most of our vacation looking for beachy items and the room is nearly done.
  • Crochet regularly: I made a hat on our drive to Cape Cod and had a skein of yarn within arm’s reach most of vacation.

Additional August highlights:

  • Adventures with our Israeli houseguest, including an incredible meetup at the Boston Public Garden
  • Spending a sunny Saturday at the girls’ summer camp
  • Taking the girls to see The Lion King
  • Poll standing and seeing my friend win her primary run
  • Chatham 2018
    • Biking with the girls to the beach
    • Day trip to Nantucket
    • Exceptional sunny days at the beach
    • Beach days with our West Hartford friends
    • Making it through the entire band concert
    • Our lovely cottage
  • Last few days before school vacation ended–starting a new school year
  • Another super backyard musical–this year it was Frozen (even though it was boiling hot on the night of the performance)
  • Cousins moving to town

On to the fall…..

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July 2018, check.

July was madness. It was joyful and thrilling and relaxing and amazing. We were a family of three, then four again then five. We celebrated a 7th birthday, picked up our oldest from her first month away at camp, hosted one of the Israeli scouts living in our community for the summer. We did literally all of the things you could do.

So in July:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 21 bootcamp workouts this month! I also got in two softball games–played catcher, hit the ball into the outfield!
  • Allowance for the kids: Crickets.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 1 book this month so that means I’ve finished 13 books this year. Planning on lots of reading at the beach.
    • Big Little Man: In Search of my Asian Self by Alex Tizon
  • Write regularly: You see, it was a busy month. I wrote a fair amount at the start of the month. Then life got insane and I just read and slept.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: One amazing hike with husband and youngest–there was scrambling over rocks and almost getting lost and me carrying my little on my back uphill for almost ten minutes. It was awesome!
  • 1 date night: 2 date nights plus some more free time. We had our wedding anniversary and a night at a show.
  • Donate blood 6 times: Fourth donation complete! Super happy about my progress.
  • Volunteer once a month: No dog volunteering this month. Instead I volunteered with a friend’s campaign for state representative. I believe in her and I was tired of feeling helpless. I spent two nights door knocking (both nights my little one joined me) and I wrote almost 30 postcards to local constituents.
  • Self care (once per quarter): No progress here. It was so busy but that’s not an excuse.
  • Experiment with podcasting: Yup, nothing to report
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: Nothing this month. I was asked to give a keynote at work so I’m looking forward to a new opportunity to give an extended talk.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Work complete on the three season room we’re now calling the beach porch. Ordered furniture in July and items have arrived. So close!
  • Crochet regularly: A quiet month for crocheting again but this month there will be more sitting.

July highlights:

  • Anniversary celebration date night
  • My organization moved offices–I’m now around the corner from my husband and get to see him during the day and it’s awesome.
  • Went to happy hour
  • Date night seeing In the Heights
  • Political volunteering
  • Celebrating a 7th birthday at hibachi dinner and then with a painting party
  • Picking up oldest from camp
  • Concert in the park
  • Boating–first time paddleboarding
  • Mystic Aquarium and lobster rolls

It might be halfway through August but we’ll be pressing on through the end of the summer…..

 

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June 2018, check.

June is always the end of something. No matter how much we try to make it about summer kickoff and the start of something fun, it always feel melancholy to me. Melancholy and sunny. We saw the end of lots of things in June: dance class and softball and school. School year commitments eventually fizzled and we are back in the summer groove. It’s a little different this year with our oldest daughter away at overnight camp for the first time.

Making progress in June:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 16 bootcamp workouts this month! Had a few strange injuries but working through them and ready to keep pushing through the summer.
  • Allowance for the kids: Crickets.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 2 books this month so that means I’ve finished 11 books this year. Will have to push a little harder over the summer. It’s been a great goal to pursue.
    • Beautiful Ruins by Jesse Walter
    • All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen
  • Write regularly: You see, it was a busy month. So there were no new blog posts.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: Lots of outdoors time but no official hikes.
  • 1 date night: Squeezed in two group date nights, including a concert at the casino!
  • Donate blood 6 times: Next donation in mid-July.
  • Volunteer once a month: We fit in a volunteer day at the end of the month. It was a scorcher but we got to play with puppies, helping them to get adopted!
  • Self care (once per quarter): No progress here. I received a birthday gift that will help–three months of massages. Planning to get this taken care of as quickly as possible.
  • Experiment with podcasting: Yup, nothing to report
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: I appeared in a storytelling show during the first week of the month in Holyoke. I was the last to tell my story in a competitive storytelling show–this is a favorable spot in the lineup. I am so super proud of the story I told AND how I told it (specifically without crying). Alas, one of the storytellers filled the audience with supportive listeners and thus I didn’t make it into the top three. It was an exhilarating night nonetheless.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Work to begin in July.
  • Crochet regularly: A quiet month for crocheting again but this month there will be more sitting.

Other June highlights:

  • Dance recital day for our girls
  • Watching my husband chair an event at our JCC
  • All of the end of the year stuff for my daughters at school
  • Watching my girls finish out the softball season
  • Dropping off my oldest at overnight camp for an entire month
  • First lobster rolls of the summer
  • Pool time
  • Moving offices at work (and being around the corner from husband’s office)

Summer is squarely here. It feels like it is slipping through my fingers but I am gripping it with all of my strength. Staying in the moment, not wishing it away, even if we’re in the middle of a heat wave.

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May 2018, check.

May was longer than long. May was like three months packed into one month. My husband and I turned 40. We’re hanging on for dear life through the obstacle course of the end of the school year.

I was able to get a few things done:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 21 bootcamp workouts this month! Supremely proud that i can still climb the rope and now I’m deadlifting over 100 pounds!
  • Allowance for the kids: Crickets.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 1 book this month so that means I’ve finished 9 books. Will have to push a little harder over the summer. It’s been a great goal to pursue.
    • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Write regularly: Published one blog post about my birthday.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: We did not hike anywhere this month. We were outdoors and we did get to visit our pool for the first time this summer. I did finally invest in proper hiking shoes so I’m excited to hit the trails this summer!
  • 1 date night: We had an amazing birthday dinner to celebrate 40! Plus we had a fun night out with some friends to do an escape room and dinner.
  • Donate blood 6 times: 3rd donation completed on May 22nd. Next donation due in mid-July!
  • Volunteer once a month: Volunteering with the dog rescue was not in the cards this month. The schedule for the children was packed. So in June we’ll be dedicating more time to this.
  • Self care (once per quarter): Big haircut on this last day of the month but beyond that, three months running with no dedicated self-care. It’s a pattern developing. What can I do to fix this?
  • Experiment with podcasting: Haven’t yet acquired the equipment but working on the idea. Both are necessary pieces of the equation.
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: Huzzah! I “auditioned” for a storytelling show in Holyoke by leaving the first line of my story on their voicemail and my story was picked for a night of competitive storytelling!
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong–been capturing something every week and just looked to see some incredible highlights so far.
  • Financial planning for the household: Crickets.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Have the estimate for porch work and hopefully getting started in June. Started to scope out furniture for the porch.
  • Crochet regularly: A quiet month for crocheting but that’s because I did lots of driving and we didn’t do a lot of sitting.

Other May highlights:

  • Celebrating my 40th birthday
  • Celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday
  • Special grown up dinner date out for our birthdays
  • Good health news for friends and family
  • Sadie’s first guitar recital
  • A visit from NJ friends on their way home from Boston
  • So much softball!

June, June, June. You’re already hugging me with your activities and milestones. Just warm it up a little around here, please.

Summer is calling.

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