Roundup January 2012

What special or unusual event occurred?

Big professional midyear conference that had several accomplishments done and several resulting big things to do.

What were my accomplishments this month?

I presented on some website options for my committee. They took the option that I wanted them to take, which was a wonderful surprise. Now comes the task of building the website, which will be a whole ‘nother level of work.
I also received news that the overseas teaching I will be doing will have the focus I am looking for, which is something I have been pushing very strongly. I am extremely pleased by this. Now to get it scheduled right and do all the necessary prep, which will be a long slog!

What were my disappointments this month?

I was sick a good bit.

What books/music/shows did I enjoy this month?

  • Kelley Armstrong continued
  • Discovered a few more paranormal romances: Gena Showalter and Lara Adrian; wasn’t overwhelmed by the quality

What crafts did I work on this month (not what I finished, but what did I work on)?

  • Socks #23
  • Shelter sweater
  • Celtic cross blackwork
  • French braid quilt

What fun things did I do with my family, friends, or by myself?

It was a quiet month.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

Award of a day off at work for teaching done last October.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?

I tried not to purchase anything of significance. But I am thinking about a new camera. And really patiently awaiting the day I can replace my smartphone.

Plus I got some yarn.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

Began with a cold; long lasting ear inflammation; halfway through pinkeye recurred; regular checkup; time to get a mammogram.

Anything else noteworthy to include?

No. It was a really quiet month.

What rest did I achieve this month?

Active effort to get to sleep on time, but not always sleeping well. MLK day was a quiet day at home, cooking, a little bit of cleaning.

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Roundup December 2011

What special or unusual event occurred?

Well, Christmas, which was good (the whole season, not just the day). My parents visited for the holiday, which went nice. And then a cold. Then I visited my friend from college. And the cold got worse. I ended the year wonderfully sick with a chest cold and ear infection. (Then I started the new year with pinkeye.)

What were my accomplishments this month?

We got rid of my old chair, finally. It’s handy to have a Mom with a big enough car.

I did a good bit of cleanup on my desk at work. Not perfectly clean, but not hugely stacked up, which was an improvement. I can actually see my desk and some things that had been hanging around for too long were finally cleared off.

What were my disappointments this month?

On the down side, I never found the time to do any clearing out at home.

What books/music/shows did I enjoy this month?

  • Whitecollar (I am really enjoying Netflix)
  • A Christmas carol, the play done by a local community theater. A bunch of people from my congregation also went, because one of our members was directing it. It was well done and true to the original, which I like.
  • Reading-wise, I don’t feel like I read anything special. Though I did discover Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series

What crafts did I work on this month (not what I finished, but what did I work on)?

  • Shelter sweater
  • Socks #21
  • Dragon cross-stitch — declared finished
  • Socks #23
  • Started another baby kimono
  • Worked on the last big seam of the top of the French braid quilt. Although machine-pieced, I decided to do that last seam by hand and then redo on machine for consistency. I was having trouble getting the points to match properly, and I could finesse it better by hand.
  • Started the Celtic cross blackwork embroidery

What fun things did I do with my family, friends, or by myself?

Christmas parties and quiet days at home.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

Craft fair success. My guild has a booth at a Christmas craft fair and this year we tested taking credit cars. We did this using my ipad, which I generously loaned to the guild for the weekend. It definitely worked; our sales were higher than ever. And I personally sold several things, which was gratifying.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?

Conference registration for next month

Trip to Nashville, trip to Dallas: air travel is expensive these days

Gifts

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

The leftovers of a cold at the beginning of the month, that lingering, nasty stuff down the back of the throat, which triggered a cough, irritated throat, sometimes sore, and the feeling of difficulty swallowing. It came and went in intensity, but eventually went away. But then at the end of the month after Christmas, I got sick again, with a chest cold. I was surviving that fine, until I got on a plane to visit my friend, which pushed the infection into my ears. So I ended the year with an ear infection.

Fortunately my allergies were fine through all this.

Anything else noteworthy to include?

Started the website work for professional committee.

Joined a coop for foodstuffs.

What clarity did I achieve this month?

Rest. Rest is vital. And I think that is going to be my main focus, my “one little word,” for 2012.

10,000 hours of practice

It is funny to me that the biggest message that most people seem to have gotten out of Outliers  by Malcolm Gladwell is the 10,000 hours of practice to be an expert idea. Even people who have not read it have received that idea. And like so many sound bites, it is a faulty message. Because it is not just 10,000 hours of practice, it is 10,000 hours of deliberate, focused practice with the intent of becoming good at whatever it is.

Growing up, I put in quite a few hours of practice playing the piano. Am I any good at it now? Minimally. Why? Because the practice I put in was casual and indifferent, with no focused attempt to understand what I was doing or how to become really better. I was punching the time clock, not actually trying to master a skill.

Simply doing something you want to do for 10,000 hours is not going to make you an expert.