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Goals for 2013

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So New Year’s in traditionally a time to set goals for the year ahead. And they say that the best way to work on your goals is to write them down and to share them with others. This is both, so here we go:

    Spiritual

  • Follow promptings from the Spirit without delay
  • Finish reading The Message Bible
  • Start giving regularly (monthly) in addition to tithing to our local church

    Financial

  • Buy and completely pay off a new truck for DH
  • Max out our Roth IRAs
  • Start automatically saving in MB’s college fund

    Physical

  • Work out for 20 minutes at least 3 days a week
  • Find a way to consistently track my eating habits

    Social

  • Make more comments on Facebook instead of just liking things
  • Send Christmas cards

    Mental

  • Build a computer
  • Read security-related blogs more regularly
  • Write an Android app
  • Read 80 books, including one non-fiction book and one classic each month

    Career

  • Take part in another study group
  • Get CISSP certification
  • Review and update resume at least once a quarter

    Family

  • Spend some time working or playing with Meredith each day
  • Start having date nights with Brad

I realize that some of these aren’t good, measurable goals – it’s still a work in progress. I’m thinking of following Jon Acuff’s 7-part plan (which I already shamelessly stole my categories from). That way I can come up with a more bite-sized and measurable goal for each of my time chunks. I’ll let you know as my goals evolve this year. So what are your plans for 2013?

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Updates

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I know, it’s been almost two months since I’ve updated. Strange how sometimes I have tons of ideas and find writing therapeutic, and other times there’s just nothing there. So they say the only cure for writer’s block is to write, so here’s a few updates on what’s going on.

The Kid

MB is doing great in Kindergarten. So far she’s gotten a star every day! She started Girl Scouts (Daisy Scouts) about a month ago, and she seems to enjoy it (at least she says she does), although she acts really shy while she’s there. She does seem to be opening up a little, though, so I’m hoping it will be a good way to get to know some different kids.

We’ve been doing less well at home. We moved her bedtime up, and that seems to be helping.

The Job

Well, not exactly, but I’m doing an Android development study group with some co-workers. We just started a couple of weeks ago, but I’m blaming that retroactively for sucking up quite a bit of my time. It’s fun, but a lot of reading, listening, and experimenting.

TV

I finished watching Fringe season 4 on DVD, so I am now watching the fifth and final season along with the rest of the world, which is exciting. Strangely, though, I’m finding this season somewhat weaker than the previous ones. That deserves its own post, so I’ll try to get to that soon. Expect spoilers if you’re not caught up.

Hmmm, I just realized that my last post was about the time that I received the DVDs. I’m blaming my blogging hiatus on that, then.

However, since I’m no longer devouring Fringe like a crazy person, I’ve had to branch out to some other show. In particular, DH and I are both enjoying Last Resort, which is a minor miracle. I’m worried that they won’t be able to keep the premise going for long, but I also worried about the same thing with Lost, and that turned out fine (in my opinion!). We’ve also given Nashville a try, but I’m probably not going to make an effort to keep up with it. I’m not sure how DH feels about it, but I think it’s a little too soapy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still watch it if I happen to catch it, but I’m not going to make an effort to catch it, or to watch it later if I miss it. On Netflix, I have discovered Twin Peaks. I’ve heard so many good things about this show that I’ve wanted to give it a try, and I’m enjoying it and pretty much watching it straight through. There are only two short seasons, plus a movie, so it’s not a huge commitment, and I don’t feel too bad about taking a break from my other Netflix viewing.

Books

Ah, books. I’m still reading as much as ever. I made a goal a couple of months ago to read one non-fiction book per month, and so far I’ve done it. My most recent read was When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, which was excellent, and I’ve started The Historian, which is turning out to be a great Halloween read. I’ve actually read quite a few pretty amazing books in the last few months that may make it into a future post. Stay tuned. Oh, and I’m still rocking along on the Outlander audio books – I’m almost finished with the third book, Voyager.


Well, I’m at almost 600 words, so it looks like I haven’t done too bad for not knowing what to write about! I’ll try to do better. I’m also wanting to start writing on my other blog, Marianne Plays With Computers, which I haven’t updated for over a year. (See how good you have it over here?) Till next time (hopefully sooner rather than later!).

Something Different in YA

It’s been a crazy few weeks around here. School started this week, so first there were all the pre-school fuss with teacher visits, meet the teacher night, and making sure we had everything MB needed. Then there was the first day. Then there was parent orientation. And figuring out how the logistical stuff was going to work now that MB is closer to home, but farther from both of our workplaces. So that’s what’s been going on and why I haven’t been able to think much about blogging lately. I do have a few ideas, though, so stay tuned.

I’m still reading as much as ever, though, so today it’s about a book I read recently that is a little different from anything I’d read before, and it’s a YA book, too. It’s Liar by Justine Larbalestier.

Micah Wilkins is a liar. Since the story is told in first person, she is the most unreliable narrator you could wish for, despite her initial promise to tell us the truth. One thing does seem to be true is that her boyfriend, Zach, is dead, and no one is sure what exactly happened to him. Micah and his other friends, including his “real” girlfriend, are being questioned by the police, and Micah may be a suspect because of her illicit relationship with him.

The book is divided into three parts, “Telling the Truth,” “Telling the True Truth,” and “The Actual Real Truth.” Each begins with Micah’s confession of lies in the past and a resolution to now tell the real truth, complete with a confession that throws a whole new light on the story told in the previous part.

The story is intriguing. Personally, I just went with whatever Micah was saying at the time, expecting to be able to figure it all out in retrospect. When it was over, I still wasn’t sure exactly what the truth was, although I certainly understood more than I had before. And I had realized that Micah was so deep into her lies that she probably didn’t fully understand the truth, either.

Sorry if that’s a really cryptic description, but the book itself is as well. Despite (or more likely, because of) its weirdness, I really enjoyed this book. It kept me in suspense until the very end. Actually, beyond that. If you look at the reviews, it’s clear that people aren’t quite sure what to think of it. If you’re OK with having to stay on your toes and not having complete a complete resolution at the end (ie., if you are a fan of Lost), you will probably enjoy this book in the same way. If that kind of thing drives you crazy, stay away.

Things to Look Forward To

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So it’s 2012, and it has been for almost two weeks now. Despite (or maybe because of!) rumors that the world will end this coming December, there are lots of things I’m looking forward to this year.

The Hunger Games movie
The premiere is in March, and I’m really excited about it. I loved the books, and one of these days I’m going to get around to writing a post about them. I’m amazed at how much I like the casting. When they first announced it, I had my doubts about the guy who is playing Peeta, but now that they’ve turned him blonde I like him. The only one I’m not sure of now is Kato. He looks so much younger than I pictured him in his poster, but I guess even he was only a kid. You can see all the characters’ posters that have been released here.

Alcatraz TV show
Hoping that this show turns out to be a winner. Nothing’s really caught my attention since Lost ended, but this one has Jorge Garcia in the cast, Elizabeth Sarnoff writing, and a supernatural mystery. Starts Monday night on Fox.

Written in My Heart’s Own Blood
The next Outlander novel will be called Written in My Heart’s Own Blood, and we are all hopeful that Diana Gabaldon will finish it this year. Of course it won’t be available until 2013, so I really hope the apocalypse can hold off! If you’re waiting as anxiously as I am, and you aren’t morally opposed to spoilers, here is a site that has kindly compiled all the excerpts from the new book that she has released online.

On a more personal note, my baby girl will start Kindergarten in the fall! And I’m embarking on my new, post-graduation free time-filled life. (Ha!) But I am excited about some projects I have planned around the house, and I’m hoping to move to a different department at work soon, so all that’s pretty exciting.

So what are you looking forward to in 2012?

My Guinea Pig, MB

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Like all non-parents, I used to have a ton of ideas about raising children. Now that I have one of my own, I figure it’s the perfect opportunity to experiment. I have a friend that told me you screw up the first kid, then you know what not to do with the second. Since we’re just planning on the one, we better get it right the first time! Good thing I’ve got my theories!

MB is my 4-year-old daughter, and she is a hoot and a half. She’s smart (gets that from me), stubborn (gets that from her dad), and knows exactly what she wants (don’t know where she gets that). She’s gotten to the age where she asks a ton of questions, which is just perfect, since one of my theories is that you should always answer kids’ questions honestly.

So the other day, I was going to a friend’s baby shower, was getting the gift packed up, and here she comes: “Mommy, can we go see the baby?”

No, I told her, the baby isn’t here yet. You remember Mrs. Smith? She’s going to have the baby, but he’s still in her tummy. MB goes away for a bit.

“Mommy, did she eat her baby?”

After I stopped giggling, I told her, no, she didn’t eat her baby. I started telling her about the uterus and where it is, and how, when there is a baby in it, it gets bigger and looks like a big tummy. At that point her eyes glazed over and she went away.

Success!

But thank you, God, that she didn’t ask how the baby got there!

What’s up 5/14/2011

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School

Sorry I’ve been so lax in posting. I’m still in school through this week. I’m pretty sure that’s caused the majority of my gray hairs. I only had, like, one or two before I started. Hopefully I will have a little more time over the summer to write. I have a few little adventures in mind, too, so hopefully it will be interesting!

Anyway, so there’s school. I actually don’t have any real “finals” this semester. One of my classes has been mostly project-driven. We had only one test, and it was a couple of weeks ago. I have one last short paper due on Monday, then a quiz in class, and that’s it. The other class I guess is project-driven as well. It’s Digital Forensics, so we’ve had a series of labs using a forensics tool to examine disk images. Our “final” here is going to be similar. So, all in all, this semester has been a lot of work, but not so much traditional studying. And only one more to go, then graduation in December! Yeah!

Exercise

I had started working out at the end of last year. Well I say “working out.” I’m not going to a gym or anything. But I did realize that I’m going to continue to slowly gain weight unless I get up and move, so that’s what I’m doing. Don’t laugh, but so far I’ve done it all using the Wii. I’ve had Wii Fit for a long time but hadn’t used it in forever. I started out with that, but it wasn’t really much of a workout, although the balance games are fun, and the yoga poses are actually pretty good. Then I moved on to EA Sports Active, which I’d also had sitting unused for quite a while. I went through the 30-day challenge workouts (but not the actual 30-day challenge – the rest days it planned didn’t always fit my schedule – so it only took about 25 or 26 days). It was pretty good. I didn’t lose much weight on it, but I did feel stronger when I was done. I think it’s better for toning. When I start plateauing on weight loss, I’ll probably go back to it.

I figured if I really want to drop some pounds I need aerobic exercise, so I turned to Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party. I was still doing body tests with the Wii Fit, and I was starting to lose. I wasn’t crazy about the music on it, though. It’s a lot of 70s – 90s dance mix stuff. So at this point I went looking for something I would like better, and I found Dance Dance Revolution Disney Grooves. Now this is a blast! It’s Disney songs, but they’ve been remixed for dancing, and most of them are really cute. It’s also not as hard as the “grown up” DDR games, so I feel great about myself when I get a good score on the “expert” level! My weight fluctuates a bit, but I’ve lost a good 6 pounds since I started in December. It’s not a ton, but the number has steadily gone down, so I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’m going to try to add some other activity, like maybe walking the dog a few times a week, over the summer as well.

Books

And, of course, I’m reading whenever I can snatch a few moments. For my devotional, I recently started Affirming the Apostles’ Creed by J.I. Packer, which I had gotten for free on the Kindle quite a while ago. I’m Baptist, and we don’t go in for creeds much, but it still is very interesting.

For fun, after I finished Frankenstein I read Jane-Emily: And Witches’ Children by Patricia Clapp. (The link is for the paperback. It’s not available on the Kindle now, but I had gotten it for mine a while back.) Jane-Emily was pretty good. It says young adult, but it reads more like the ghost stories we all used to read in elementary school. So it’s a fairly simple story, but still a fun read. I’d recommend it for about grades 3-6, depending on the maturity of the kid, and up. Witches’ Children is about the Salem witch trials, and it’s told from the perspective of one of the girls involved, so it’s pretty interesting as well. I liked how the author got into the girl’s head to show how the whole thing might have happened, psychologically.

Now I’ve just started A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve read the previous Outlander books over the last couple of years, and I’ve really been enjoying them. A word of warning: they are all huge books, so it’s quite a commitment! (Also much easier to read on the Kindle than a paper book!) Besides the sheer length, they are very emotionally involving, so I can’t just read them one after another, which is why it’s taking me so long to get through them. Also, I heard that An Echo in the Bone, the latest in the series, ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I’m trying not to rush to it, especially since there have been several years between the publication of each book. I think I’ll probably do a post just about the Outlander series when I’ve finished up the most recent two, so stay tuned.

Plans

So that’s what’s going on now. Sorry it’s so boring. Like I said, though, I do have big plans for the summer. I’m going to take my daughter shopping, and see if we can find some interesting things to do around here. I’m also hoping to start teaching her how to read. That should be good for a few more gray hairs. I’m planning to do some couponing, which I also did last summer, so if I find any can’t-miss deals I’ll try to share them here. And I need to do some serious organizing and de-junking of the house. I’m subscribed to Fly-lady and The Organizer Lady, so I’m starting to get motivated. I’d like to learn how to program for Android devices, so I’ll let you know if I learn enough to do anything cool. Last, I’d really like to learn to use more of the features on our DSLR camera, so I’ll probably be taking some pictures and posting them.