The Dreaded Year-end Blog

Or shall we call it “The New Beginnings Blog”? Yes, that’s much better. See, barely a year older and already wiser.
Speaking of birthdays, here’s a picture of my most awesome gift.

I’d get frustrated with it but it’s too much fun. Whoever created this is an evil genius.

Since I changed my New Year’s resolutions into birthday goals, I pulled out the dusty list and decided what was mastered, what needed continual coverage, and what had to be ditched. Here’s the latest line-up.
For my “physical” goal, I dumped the “get below ___” and have set in place actual monthly mile goals, as well as how many times a month, to chart my exercise. Life is too short to live by numbers, whether it’s counting calories or trying to get those last five (or twenty, or more…) pounds off before you can feel totally happy with yourself. Just give me jeans that don’t create a muffin-top effect and a shirt that doesn’t make me look six months pregnant and I feel great. But I must admit, it’s getting harder to find those clothes…
“Mental” was difficult to keep (no snide remarks, please!)—reading one non-fiction book a month. Some months I read more than one and other months I was lucky to keep up with my scripture studies and my few magazine/newsletter subscriptions (which are non-fiction). So, I’m keeping it simple: Keep learning!
“Spiritual” is a keeper. I still need to improve the quality of my prayers. It’s just too easy to whisper a quick “thank you” and snuggle into bed at night. Or keep hitting snooze until all the kids are running around and I forget to start the day on my knees.
For the “emotional” aspect of life I’ve broadened my goal to include more things but removed the actual time constraints. So, instead of completing an emotional inventory once a month (I only got around to doing two this past year) I’ll “keep track of my emotional state by regular (how’s that for a cop out?) journal keeping, testing, and meditation.” In case you were wondering, I do the Beck Depression Inventory and Burns Anxiety Inventory tests to track my ups and downs, as suggested by a great counselor many years ago. But that’s another entry…
“Social”: I totally suck with all things social. I’m keeping my dinky goal of having one date with my husband a month because I really need to work on spending quality time with my man. And I’m too much of a wallflower to attempt weekly/monthly social gatherings.
I think “Family” is the only goal I excelled at. We are in the habit of weekly Family Home Evenings so I’m upping the goal to have daily devotionals. Just a mini something, beyond the reading of a verse or two of scriptures before bed I already do with the kids. I’ll be homeschooling my oldest next school year (yet another future entry) so the daily devotionals would work well into a schooling schedule.
“Financial” is tough. Didn’t meet the goal but I’m thinking positively and increasing—actually decreasing—the numbers. Oh, those pesky numbers again! Didn’t I just write something about life being too short to live by numbers. Might need to rethink this one…
I came close to meeting my “professional” goal. I wanted to complete the first draft—I’m about two-thirds of the way through—of Corroded, my WIP (work in progress). My new goal is to have Corroded polished in time for the 2011 submission deadline for the Delacorte contest. Hopefully the publishing company will keep that contest going, but if not, I’ll look for an agent or submit elsewhere. Delacorte offers a yearly prize for the best contemporary teen book for a first time novelist. The winner is published with an advance as the prize money. Since that goal will actually extend beyond my next birthday—submission is in the fall—I’ve also added to begin my historical fiction novel, which I’ve been researching/thinking/planning/etc on for the past couple years. Plus, I will be open to submitting short pieces for publication or contests when the opportunities arise, but I don’t want to add in a goal for those. Less stress.
Feel free to urge me along with these goals. Keep me on task by asking me how something is going. I do much better at staying focused when I have someone checking on me. That’s why my BFF (Blog Free February) was so successful—I felt I had to answer to Laurie Halse Anderson.
On to other things…
I’ve read several interesting books in the past month.
The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry kept me as interested in the story as The Lace Reader, her first book. It always helps when Hawthorne references are thrown in but the mental issues driving the story were well crafted by themselves. The fact that I visited Salem two years ago makes her books that much easier to visualize while reading. Brunonia’s books are two out of maybe six “adult” fiction books I’ve read in the past year or more. They aren’t squeaky clean, so reader beware.
From the local library I borrowed The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction by James Alexander Thom. His actual novels are now on my to read list. The book is a great source of information and easily digested. I even read it before bed several times instead of my usual fluffy reading.

Speaking of fluff, my last nighttime read was the type of novel I’d usually skip. But since I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader’s copy (which I also got for The Map of True Places) I tried it out. One of those upper class high school novels… it’s called She’s So Dead to Us, written by Kieran Scott. It’s better than I expected—stayed up three nights in a row, way past my usual lights out, to read. But even though the ending was more of a beginning (sequel/series in the works, I’m sure) it’s not something I’ll seek out again.
Tonight I’ll start When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead because Newbery winners seldom disappoint. Another library selection.
A few other things of interest that happened in April:

I saw my first 3-D movie since Captain Eoo at Disneyland in the mid 1980s. Alice in Wonderland was great! The technology and the story were a great match. I loved the older Alice and how the movie started and ended. Still not my favorite Johnny Depp performance, though. That goes to Benny and Joon.

Took a day trip to New Orleans to spend a few hours with my awesome cousin who was down south from out west on business. We hadn’t seen each other since a reunion in 1994, I think it was. I’d have to check the cow shirt to be sure…
The family spent “A Day Out with Thomas” one rainy Saturday afternoon. The kids LOVED all the trains, especially the ride on Thomas the Tank Engine, even though he was terribly SLOW.
Spent a dozen collective hours at the Little League park.
And all the kids went to the dentist for cleanings, the youngest for the first time. We’ll be dealing with a cavity-filling appointment in the future. Gag.

No, they aren’t that bad on the little princess’s teeth. This pictures makes me feel a little better, though.
Wow! It looks like I need to return to blogging more often. This blog is huge!

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