Finished reading Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson πŸ“š a fun YA novel

Finished reading Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert πŸ“š

Finished reading Ancillary Justice by Anne LeckieπŸ“š my 37th book of this year and 21st Hugo Winner out of 75.

Finished reading Small Favor by Jim Butcher πŸ“š

Finished reading Normal People by Sally Rooney πŸ“š looking forward to watching the series on Hulu

Finished reading The Stand by Stephen King πŸ“š

Goals Check In: August 2020

August was another challenging month with long work hours, poor balance, and the stress of an upcoming move.

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save Savings on track this month!
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. The delivery bill was a bit high this month, around $300, but a good chunk of that was from a big sushi dinner for my “quaranteam” (husband, cousin, her husband). I also bought some clothes online for a wicked good deal, but nothing mindless and I didn’t even treat myself to anything this month!

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I completed three books, bringing my total to 32.
  • Endymion by Dan Simmons
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimon
  • The Waste Lands by Stephen King
Explore New Ideas This was a bit of a fail this month.
Improve Photography Skills Chipping away at the Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography on Udemy.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 My current course focuses on data understanding and visualization using KNIME and ggplot2. I prevously took a course in R Programming, but the experience using ggplot2 has stuck a lot better in my mind.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend 1 hr/Week in Nature This month I went on a long hike and spent some time by the apartment pool. Not as much actual “nature” as I would like, but anything outside these walls is better than than nothing.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 7 times in August. Still working towards a consistent practice.
Home Exercise Routine I worked out 0 times in August beyond the hike and yoga. Aiming to get back on track after the move.
5,000 Steps/Day August average: 3,717 (+16 month on month). I was pretty sedentary again this month and spent way too many hours in front of my computer. How do people actually do 10,000 steps?! I do notice that days I run errands it is much easier to get to 5k.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use My Facebook stayed deactivated through August, and I don’t see any reason to turn it back on. I did end up re-activating Instagram with (1) a seriously trimmed following list and (2) a renewed commitment to meaninfully engage with my friends beyond just likes and (3) most stories muted. The result is that I can easily get through my whole feed each day in around 20 minutes and see only friends’ posts. This makes me feel in control of my experience instead of being force fed what is algorithmically most engaging.

Finished reading The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu πŸ“š book 2 of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy. Looking forward to the third book which, like the first, is translated by Ken Liu.

Finished reading The Waste Lands by Stephen King πŸ“š book three in The Dark Tower series

Goals Check In: July 2020

July was a tough month for me. I worked +50% more than normal. The long work hours were disruptive to the healthy habits I have worked so hard for: sleep, exercise, meditation, yoga, balance, sanity….

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save All I did this month was work so I didnt really spend any money. Yay?
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. My husband was working from home for a few weeks, and we ordered delivery quite a bit. On the bright side, I did nearly zero shopping this month - just a trip to the dive shop for some scuba gear, which was pricey but neither mindless nor online.

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I completed three books, bringing my total to 29.
  • Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
  • White Knight by Jim Butcher
  • The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Explore New Ideas
  • Continued on my path through Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography on Udemy.
  • Learning new software isn’t the most exciting thing in the world to me. However, leveling up on Tableau is a great professional skill, and using it for work is allowing me to test and grow my data visualization skills, which I DO find quite exciting.
Improve Photography Skills I made my first attempt at night sky photography. None of the photos came out but I did get some hands-on practice using the self-timer, manual focus, and long exposure settings on my camera. Also, using my tripod in the dark made me realize I’m not very familiar with all of its adjustments.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 My second-to-last class started in July. The topic is Data Understanding and Visualization, which as I mentioned, interests and excites me!

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend 1 hr/Week in Nature This month I went scuba diving. That’s all. I started reserving time at my apartment complex’s pool which is very pleasant outdoor time, but does not count as nature.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 2 times in July.
Home Exercise Routine I worked out 0 times in July.
5,000 Steps/Day July average: 3,701. I was sedentary this month and spent way too many hours in front of my computer.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use I deactivated both Facebook and Instagram on July 8. I don’t miss Facebook at all. It’s main purpose since I re-joined in 2013 was to keep track of events, of which there are none in pandemic times. I do miss connecting with friends on Instagram and would consider re-activating with (1) a seriously trimmed following list and (2) a renewed commitment to meaninfully engage with my friends beyond just likes.

My Kindle Paperwhite 2 is starting to show its age. I want to get out of the Amazon ecosystem and switch to Kobo, but I’m weary of taking on the project of file conversion. Anyone have experience with switching? πŸ“š

Finished reading: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman πŸ“š my 31st book of this year and 20th Hugo Winner out of 75.

Finished reading: Endymion by Dan Simmons πŸ“š I love this series and am glad I chose to go to the re-read this year!

Goals Check In: June 2020

I am focusing on intentional living to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Creating and tracking goals are helping me feel like myself through the pandemic. Here is my (belated) June update!

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save On track! I slightly exceeded my goals.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. I did so-so this month. I made two larger purchases, a wetsuit and a Fitbit Charge 4, but stayed away from the smaller things that add up. Restaurant spending remains low while sheltering in place.

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I completed five books, bringing my total to 26.
  • The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang
  • The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Explore New Ideas
  • SKY Breathing by Art of Living - I started this breathwork class offered by my employer, and am finding it somewhat odd. Another coworker mentioned that it felt like a pyramid scheme. I would not be surprised if we were nudged into a teacher training program at the end. I am not planning on sticking with it, but it’s a good reminder of the value I got out of regular meditation.
  • Started Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography on Udemy.
Improve Photography Skills I started a course on Udemy! I have not yet been out to shoot photos, but it’s still on the list.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20 No classes in June - they resume in July.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend 1 hr/Week in Nature This month I went camping and scuba diving. It was all in the same week, but it was so wonderful to be outdoors in the forest and by the sea. I camped at a secluded HipCamp site, where I was able to safely physical distance from one other camper on the 125-acre property.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 9 times in June.
Home Exercise Routine Fail. I was a potato in June. Such a potato.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use I got an iPhone and I’m still trying to figure out how best to use the Screen Time report. I averaged 41 minutes per day on the category “Social Networking” which appears to include Instagram and Gluon. I removed Instagram from my phone for nearly a week and it was glorious - until I missed messages from my friend who is currently in Iraq. I need to find out how to keep in touch with her without IG!

Finished reading: The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) by Dan Simmons πŸ“š

Finished reading: Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski PhD & Amelia Nagoski DMA πŸ“š

I’ve been feeling emotionally exhausted lately so this topic was relevant. Two key takeaways were: (1) differentiate between dealing with the stressor and dealing with the stress. Oftentimes, we deal with the stressor but not the physical effects of stress which are driven by our fight-or-flight instincts. After we get through a high stakes meeting (stressor), the stress doesn’t fully dissipate on its own. Movement is the best way to release stress. (2) 10 hours of rest is critical for recovery and balance. This is not limited to sleep but includes waking rest time as well. The authors recommend:

  • 8 hours of sleep
  • 30 minutes of conversation
  • 30 minutes of physical activity
  • 30 minutes to pay attention to food (cooking or eating)
  • 30 minute “wildcard” based on your personal needs
I have been making an effort to carve out time for waking rest - no screens, no podcasts, no books. I still feel odd sense of shame and discomfort with saying no to being constantly either busy or entertained. Jenny Odell How to Do Nothing is another good read on this topic.

πŸ“š Finished reading The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, book three in the His Dark Materials series

πŸ“š Finished reading Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang, a fantastic collection of short speculative fiction. Check out “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” on LeVar Burton Reads as a two part episode (Part 1, Part 2)

πŸ“š Finished reading How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Goals Check In: May 2020

I am focusing on intentional living to better align how I spend my time and energy with my values. Here is my (very late) May Update!

πŸ’° Financial Wellbeing

Save, Save, Save On track! Exceeded my savings goals and made donations to the Texas Civil Rights Project and NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund.
Spend Less Specifically in the categories Restaurants and Mindless Online Purchases. Restaurant spending was pretty good, $157 for the month spent for three takeout meals from our neighborhood pizza joint. I did splurge on some house plants and related supplies.

πŸ§ πŸ“š Personal Development

Read Every Day & Finish 44 Books in 2020 & Read More Diverse Voices I completed two books, bringing my total to 21. A few more are nearly done too!
  • Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
  • Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Explore New Ideas
  • Cocktail How-To with Spirit Guides, covering some home cocktail mixing basics and a few recipes. We’ve been making the Gold Rush at home, super tasty!
  • Completed Playing Big with Tara Mohr, a 4-part women’s leadership development program offered by my company.
Improve Photography Skills I should acknowledge that I am making zero progress. I still don’t want to let it go.
Complete Predictive Analytics Certificate Program by EOY ‘20I finished two classes in May and registered for a summer course that starts after a much needed six-week break. The double class load was tough. I kept telling myself that it was worth it to finish by EOY. But honestly, the added load took away from time I desperately needed to rest and take care of myself.

🧘🌲 Fitness & Outdoor Activity

Spend 1 hr/Week in Nature I spent a little bit more time outdoors this month, including a (socially distanced) day at the outdoor civilian rifle range on Camp Pendleton.
Do Yoga 15x/Month I did yoga 13 times this month! This might be my record. The studio re-opens next month, but indoor practice with strangers does not fit in with my COVID risk management strategy.
Home Exercise RoutineI did such a great job getting in a routine in April, then fell off the wagon mid-May. This was due in part to wrist pain preventing me from doing push-ups.

πŸ’»πŸ€³ Digital Life

Reduce Social Media Use This was absolutely terrible in May. I spent far too many hours scrolling through social feeds and news sites.

πŸ“š Finished reading Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

Trying to listen to a 23 hour audiobook with the husband in 7 days πŸ˜… while I also have two other library loans πŸ“š reading furiously this week!

πŸ“š Finished reading The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin, book 3 in the Earthsea Cycle.

Browsing my library holds on Libby and getting excited for the books I’m getting in the coming weeks πŸ₯°πŸ“š

πŸ“š Finished reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons. I’m re-reading the series after watching my husband enthusiastically binge the audiobooks.