Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

Tag: 50/50 Challenge

ROW80: Sunny Days Are Here!

Happy Sunday, folks! The sun is shining in my part of California, and that always leaves me feeling upbeat and excited. I feel like I’ve got a lot to look forward to. My parents will be in town for a couple of nights at the end of the week, as they’ll be moving my sister out of her apartment in LA for the summer. And I’m getting my 1st tattoo on Friday! I’m filled with all sorts of nervous anticipation (mostly about the pain, ugh), but I really can’t wait.

Before I get to my goals, I want to take a minute to hand out the fantabulous Sunshine award. I posted my response to the requisite 10 questions on Friday (you can find them here). I’m passing it on to the following bloggers:

Now, onto the check-in!

Day Job: The dissertation reading continues. Some days, the reading is hampered by anxiety: I am all too aware that my time in Santa Barbara, and therefore the time I have to figure out my research topic, is rapidly dwindling. I’ll hopefully be meeting with my committee members in the week to come. Their insights and suggestions are always valuable, and hopefully they’ll give me some ideas for wrangling my many ideas into something that makes sense.

Writing: Another slow week with writing. Most of the brainstorming I’ve been doing has taken place during undergrad lectures — lots of scrawled scribbles in the margins of my notebook. I really wanted to treat the first few weeks of this round like my own personal NaNoWriMo, and boy, am I failing miserably. I suppose the goal for the coming week will be the same as last week: to figure out exactly what I am capable of achieving in terms of fiction.

Slightly off-topic, I shared 7 random facts about my writing on Friday. For those of you who expressed an interest in Pierce, I will have you know that it has gone completely to his head, and he is almost too smug to bear at the moment. He would like me to thank you all, as he thinks that maybe now he’ll get bumped up in the in-progress queue (and he is quite compelling, so perhaps he will succeed in convincing me). And, yes, I realize how completely crazy this makes me sound, which is why I’m glad that I am not the only writer who admits to having conversations with make-believe characters.

Exercise: I’m still holding strong here, with 4 workout days this week. I wake up each morning looking forward to my walk, though I think my enthusiasm has been improved by the sunny weather and the fact that my clothes are fitting better. 😀

Social Media: I was only able to write 1 blog post last week, but I have 2 scheduled for the week to come.  I’m getting back into the groove to blog reading, which has been so much fun.  I think I made it to 12 ROWers last Sunday, and another 8 or 9 blogs during the week.

Finally, for fun, I thought I’d include a bit about what I’m watching and reading this week:

Films: I saw The Five-Year Engagement on Friday, starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segal on Friday, and it was absolutely brilliant… if you ignore the fact that it basically sums up my biggest fears about my professional life in academia: having to relocate somewhere very cold, dealing with “trailing spouse” syndrome, etc.

Outside of all that, I totally recommend the movie. There are lots of awesome shots of San Francisco (enough to make me crazy homesick, and very happy that I’m moving back in 2 months), many moments of hilarity, and a great ending.

Fiction: I finished His Good Opinion, Nancy Kelley’s lovely retelling of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s perspective. For those of you who ever wondered why Darcy falls for Elizabeth, and what’s going on in his head that leads him to make such a lovely transformation by the end of the novel, you should definitely check it out.

Non-Fiction: I’m working my way through Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious and Sexual Legacies for the course I’m taking on gender and religion. The book is a collection of wide-ranging essays that

examine why Roman Catholicism and other branches of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam accepted slavery for so many centuries, and they consider how slavery shaped gender and sexual ethics in these three religious traditions. They also consider how Jews, Christians, and Muslims can draw upon the compassionate values of their traditions to overcome the lingering effects of slavery.

The essays are incredibly thought-provoking and fascinating, and raise lots of important implications for modern-day issues like marriage, employment and labor, the criminal justice system, welfare, and many other social institutions.

So that’s my life at the moment! Be sure to swing by and cheer on the other ROWers this week.

How are things going for the rest of you? Anything fun to look forward to in the weeks to come?

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ROW80: Spring Break is (Almost) Here!

Happy Sunday, ROW-ing loves! I trust everyone is doing well?

After my big ol’ thesis win, I sort of unintentionally dropped off the radar. I went from prepping for the defense to prepping for a guest lecture the following week — my third of the quarter, and the first time ever that my advisor has seen me present (no pressure, right?). It went really well, and I even got a chance to show a short clip from Kate and Leopold — fitting for a lecture on “Love, Commitment and Ambivalence” in American films from the 1970s to the present-day.

Once all was said and done, I was a little exhausted. I’ve spent the last week and a half doing nothing but grading papers, playing Mass Effect, and streaming television shows on Netflix. So far I’ve learned that Downton Abbey really IS phenomenal, that Friday Night Lights is just as brilliant as all my friends promised, and that I should’ve been watching Supernatural since the day it premiered in 2005, because it was MADE for me. Supernatural is kinda like crack, and I can’t get enough; I watched the first season (21 episodes, folks) in under a week.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester (left) and Ja...

Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) are my new favorites. Image via Wikipedia

But it’s the end of the quarter, and once I finish grading term papers, spring break begins! Better yet, my mom is coming to visit me next weekend, and she’ll be here for a week. We will embark on our usual adventures of shopping, drinking, and eating out, along with a trip to see my sister and head to DISNEYLAND. [Insert major squee here]

Anywhoo, here’s a review of my goals from the last couple of weeks:

Day Job: I’m on track to have final grades finished by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. I’d like to do a little dissertation research/thinking/planning over spring break, but I’m not sure how realistic that goal is.

Writing: I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t have a full draft of TELL ME NO LIES finished by the end of this round, which was my original goal. One of the hardest things about all of this is the fact that I am trying to learn how to write a novel, and that sort of thing takes time. I’m trying to push myself, to make sure that I am moving forward and not wandering in circles (I realized a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been rewriting the same 3 scenes over and over again — whoops). However, I’m also trying to be patient with myself and enjoy the process.

In the past week, I’ve taken time for (1) brainstorming and plotting, (2) research, and (3) character development. I’m really excited about #3, because I’ve finally taken advantage of the character profile pinboards in Scrivener.

Squee, so pretty! One of the best things that I can say is that I think I am achieving greater depth as far as this story is concerned. There are growing layers of complexity, and both my characters and the plot are getting more interesting (in my opinion, anyway).

Exercise: I actually fulfilled my exercise goal and used my glider 4 times this week.  Yay!

Social Time: Last weekend was the department’s “recruitment weekend,” so I had way too much social time: dinners out and movie nights and a department beach bbq, among other events. I’ve been hiding out the past few days, and it has been lovely.

50/50 Challenge: Last weekend I saw John Carter (fun, and better than I expected), as well as Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, starring Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton, and a host of other amazing actors (abso-freaking-lutely awesome). I also read two books: Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception and Gabrielle Kimm’s His Last Duchess

I have lots of fun things to look forward to this week, like the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. And I just might get myself a tattoo next week, ’cause my mom finally gave me the green light (!!!). My current idea is to have the phrase, “Words have been all my life” (from A.S. Byatt’s Possession) tattooed on my right forearm, with a peacock feather quill… but we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you all posted. 😀

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ROW80: Under Pressure

I was on top of the world when I checked in on Monday, and for good reason: I had enjoyed an absolutely fantastic weekend away, and I was buoyed up by all of the good vibes and happiness that had been sent my way. Everything was grand for a few days… and then around Wednesday, panic set in.

Source: Pinterest

Like so many of you, I have a vast to-do list of things that absolutely must get done, and what sucks is that my biggest priorities have nothing to do with writing. I have a conference paper proposal due next week, along with the oral defense for my thesis and the regular load of 60-70 papers to grade. Add on everything else that I’d rather be doing (writing flash fiction and blog posts, visiting everyone else’s blogs, working on my WIPs, tweeting, reading books, watching movies and eating Cheetoes), and I basically need, oh, an extra 24 hours in a day to accomplish everything.

The anxiety and panic are physically paralyzing, to the point where I end up with fierce migraines and nausea. I sit down to tackle something on the to-do list, and I get so overwhelmed at the thought of everything else that I should be doing that I can’t do anything at all.

The thing is, I know much of this is self-inflicted. I am capable of finishing everything that I have on my plate. As so many of you have pointed out, I’ve lived with this thesis long enough that I know it inside and out. A 5-10 minute presentation, and the conversation that will follow with my committee, really shouldn’t be challenging. The conference paper proposal is only a short abstract, again one that is based on the work that I’ve already been doing. And the blog posts and social media are fun, nothing that should be giving me heart palpitations and sweaty palms.

So much of my problems stem from self-doubt and fear — fear that I won’t be good enough, that I’ll crash and burn in a spectacular display of epic failure, that I’ll embarrass myself (and my advisor) with my sheer incompetence.

All of this has started me to thinking over the last few days, and the question that reoccurs in my mind is one that is startlingly simple, yet also challenging: How much would I get done if I just abandoned self-doubt? I’m not talking about embarking on projects armed with hubris and arrogance. Rather, I’m thinking about approaching all areas of my life with the confidence that I am equipped and prepared to tackle any challenges that come my way. In my heart of hearts, I feel like I know more than I give myself credit for, and those things that I don’t know can be learned.

Perhaps this is one of those overarching goals that I can try to adopt for the remainder of this round: Abandon self-doubt. It’s not something that can really be measured directly, unless we’re talking about potential decreases in panic attacks, but I’d like to strive towards it all the same.

Here’s the short list of what I did get done this week:

Writing: Not too much happened here. I have ideas that are demanding to be released, and I am dying to just sit down and allow them to run free. This will maybe-hopefully happen this weekend.

Day Job: Met with my advisor on Thursday and started hammering out the next year of my life, including the directed study I’ll be taking with her next quarter, a list of the grants and fellowships I plan to apply for this fall, and plans to work as her research assistant next school year. There was also chatter about co-writing an article based on my thesis, and brainstorming potential syllabi I’ll want to have under my belt when I hit the job market in a couple of years. Overwhelming, but exciting.

Exercise: I squeezed in 4 days this week, even though 3 of those days were 15 minute stints on the glider, rather than the 30 minutes that I usually do. But I figure it’s better for me to at least move a little instead of sit around for days at a time.

Social Time: Surprisingly, there is lots of this happening — an impromptu girls’ night out on Monday, a birthday celebration for a colleague Thursday night, and a mock bachelorette party on Saturday night (it’s for Science, people, a sociological study of whether or not one of my single friends can “pass” as an engaged woman — long story).

50/50 Challenge: I haven’t had a chance to do any reading, but I finally saw Midnight in Paris, and I am in LOVE. So many people told me to watch it, and I’m delighted that I finally got the chance. As someone who has always felt like I was born in the wrong era, the movie resonated with me, and made me miss Paris all the more. I highly recommend it.

For anyone else who is feeling ridiculously overwhelmed, I dedicate the following song. Turn up the volume and dance it out, ’cause there’s nothing like a little Queen and David Bowie to make the world a better place. 😀

Be sure to swing by and send warm fuzzies to all the other ROW80 participants!

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ROW80: Refreshed and Ready to Rock

As some of you know, I celebrated my twenty-fifth birthday by taking a road trip down to Los Angeles to visit my good friend and colleague, Nicki, along with my not-so-little sister, Jaymie, who will be turning twenty in May. I don’t think I realized how badly I needed a short get-away, but now that I’ve had a couple of days to do absolutely nothing but enjoy myself, I feel like I’m ready to get back to work.

I had a short work week and a long weekend, so the progress I’ve made towards my goals reflects that. Here’s how the last week turned out:

Writing: Last Monday was basically a day of writing: lots of brainstorming, lots of editing, and a couple of new scenes planned out for TELL ME NO LIES. I’m starting to wonder, though, if I am going to be able to have a complete draft by the end of this round, which was my ultimate goal. In the weeks to come, I’m going to need to figure out the game-plan for pulling things together, and trying to get it finished.

Day Job: Oh boy, people, things are moving as far as the day job is concerned. I’ve filled out all the paperwork and set the date for the oral defense for my MA thesis. The official date is Thursday, March 1st, and I will be freaking out prepping industriously for the next week and a half. I only need to make a 5-10 minute presentation on my findings and conclusions, and brave the Q&A segment, but I am trying to remind myself that I know this project inside and out, and that committees don’t schedule defenses for students who aren’t deemed ready.

In other news I’ve signed up for the last two courses I will ever take as a graduate student (thrilling, frightening, exciting). One of them will be a directed study with my advisor, which will hopefully help me to gear up for the dissertation proposal that I need to write and defend by the end of the summer. No pressure, right? 😉

Social Time: There were a lot of good times over the past week: a fantastically awesome Valentine’s celebration with two of my besties that involved a hilarious movie (This Means War), cocktails, and cheesecake; an overnight visit with Nicki, complete with gabbing and tasty cupcakes; and a couple of days worth of shopping and hanging out with this kid:

She is, of course, way older these days and approaching adulthood, but I’m really grateful that we got to spend some time together one-on-one. My sister and I are nothing alike, and because we’re 5 years apart in age, and 6 years apart in school, finding common ground is even harder (I think there’s a blog post in this). But the older she gets, the more we have to talk about. I’m looking forward to this becoming an ongoing trend.

Exercise: Exercise and nutrition are always a major challenge around my birthday, because I am very good at justifying excesses, like this cupcake. Just look at it, will you? It clearly was something that was just begging to be eaten.

I managed to work out 3 days last week, and tried to balance out all the tasty desserts and eating out I did with extra servings of veggies. My jeans still button and I don’t feel like I’m busting out of my clothes (yet?), so I suppose I haven’t failed too terribly.

50/50 Challenge: Okay, I basically took Thursday to do nothing but read, and I devoured DARK CURRENTS and DEADLY GAMES, books 2 and 3 in Lindsay Buroker‘s THE EMPEROR’S EDGE series. I pretty much love everything Lindsay has written, and these two weren’t any different. If you like steampunk and fantasy, check them out.

I also hit the movies twice this week and caught This Means War and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for a double dose of Tom Hardy. This Means War was a lot funnier than I thought it would be, and even though I was irked by the ending, I really enjoyed it. And wow, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was amazing… though I will say that it was definitely worth my $9.75 to watch Colin Firth ooze and smarm his way around in the background (Gary Oldman is pretty spectacular as well).

Zemanta is encouraging me to give you all a picture of the wondrous Tom Hardy, so who am I to disagree?

English: Tom Hardy

Image via Wikipedia

Thanks to everyone for all the fantastic birthday wishes! I have to say, twenty-five feels pretty darn good. 😀 I’ll be working through all the comments and posts that I’ve missed over the last few days, and hopefully I’ll get caught up on bloggy things sometime this week.

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ROW80: Taking Stock

Whew, it’s just been one of “those” weeks, one where I feel like I’m racing along on the hamster wheel, only to find that I haven’t actually tackled all those things that really need to get done. I’ve done well on the exercise and eating well goals; written consistently each weekday with the #ROW80 sprints; graded a ton of papers and lectured in my prof’s absence on Wednesday (we’ll ignore the anxiety attack I had beforehand, and the caffeine-induced freakout I had afterwards); and watched 3 movies (Haywire, The Woman in Black, and the 2006 version of Jane Eyre) and read 1 book (Lindsay Buroker’s awesomesauce steampunk/fantasy novel, The Emperor’s Edge) towards my 50/50 challenge goals. Oh, and I wrote some flash fiction, too.

Given that we’ve completed a full month of Round 1, I thought I’d do a bit of a pause-and-reflect to consider what I’ve learned and where I’d like to improve in the weeks to come.

STUFF I’VE LEARNED

  • Sloths are amazing. See Exhibit A and Exhibit B.
  • Working out in the morning makes the rest of my day better, partly because I just feel better about myself, and also because I end up with more energy.
  • Eating well also makes me feel better. Strawberries and spinach belong together, goat cheese is magical, candied ginger is the best candy replacement ever, and I actually think I’d rather have baby carrots than potato chips (shocking, I know).
  • Creating a to-do list each night helps me to evaluate what I’ve finished and what I need to tackle the next day.
  • Reading a good book almost always makes things better.
  • When I feel listless, crabby, oddly emotional, or like someone’s gummed up my brain with a bucket of molasses, I almost always need a nap. Naps are good things, and I am going to stop feeling guilty about taking them.
  • Hanging out with my #teamsprinty buddies each day has manifold benefits. Even if I’m not 100% thrilled with my output (quantity and/or quality), I always finish the hour with a giant smile on my face from all of our antics. If you ever need to be entertained, make yourself a #ROW80 column on your Twitter app of choice, and watch the nonsense flow. Last week we all took a trip to space on a book-shaped rocketship (powered by Dr. Pepper), accompanied by paper bags and vodka and chips. Good times, folks, good times.

STUFF I CAN DO BETTER

  • That to-do list I mentioned above? I’ve faltered on that one big time, and I’m really feeling the pinch of not being well-organized. I need to get back on track with prioritizing my tasks and making myself a loose schedule.
  • My research assistantship, not to mention my dissertation brainstorming, have fallen by the wayside in the past couple of weeks. I have to push both of these projects back up on my priority list (there’s that list again…) so I can make sure that I get things done.
  • Writing blog posts has also been challenging. I know exactly what I want to post for the rest of the month, and I even have some half-finished drafts sitting around… but finishing and posting them is proving to be close-to-impossible (Exhibit A: My Hugh Jackman post that was supposed to go up on February 1st, which is almost done, but not quite, and is currently collecting dust in my drafts folder). My perfectionist streak must be rearing its ugly head, because I keep scraping everything I try to write because it is not exactly perfect. Pfft.
  • I’ve been utterly pathetic at making the blog rounds, and at responding to comments on my posts, which makes me feel all icky. But I have a really hard time marshaling my thoughts to say anything that intelligible when I’m tired, and lately my brain has been like a fifteen-ring circus on Red Bull, with too many thoughts whirling around for me to get much of a handle on anything.

So… yeah. That’s where things stand at the moment. Now that I have a few of my goals seemingly under control, I’ll be concentrating on everything in that second list. Hopefully in the weeks to come, I’ll find a way to at least somewhat manage everything. 😀

Don’t forget to swing by and see how the other ROW80 participants are doing!

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ROW80: It’s Business Time

It’s my 3rd check-in for ROW80, and I seem to be making some progress with my goals! I’m still not completing everything that I’ve pledged to do, but this week was another strange, rather jumbled one. I spent all of Tuesday traveling (that 5.5 hour drive is no joke), Wednesday unpacking and prepping for class, and Thursday and Friday recovering.

One surprise that happened is that I had to drop the one class I was going to take, as it overlapped my TA-ship by 50 minutes and I wasn’t able to get permission to leave early. That means that I will now only be going to campus Wednesday nights for class, and 2 hours Tuesday mornings for office hours. I now have a lot of free time on my hands, and that makes buckling down to a regular routine all the more imperative. Starting this week, it will be Serious Business Time, and I will hold myself to my goals.

Here’s my week in review:

Writing: I’ve decided that for this round, I want to accomplish 2 things with writing: (1) finish a rough draft of TELL ME NO LIES and (2) figure out how PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE ends (I want to be able to finish my draft of PPT during Round 2). My goal is to rewrite and edit the first 4 scenes of TMNL, and I got started with that through the ROW80 wordsprints on Thursday and Friday. I wrote 1486 words on Thursday and 1631 words on Friday, which isn’t too shabby at all. I also spent a couple of hours brainstorming and reading more of THE BARBARY COAST for research purposes.

Day Job: I finished the first draft of my thesis last Sunday, and gave my advisor a hard copy on Wednesday, despite technology’s attempts to thwart my efforts (I had to deal with not one, but two, on-campus printers running out of paper, along with a paper jam and other ridiculousness). She’s promised to have it back to me ASAP, so I have more editing in my future (although she tells me that she thinks the changes will most likely be minimal).

I actually have a full plate when it comes to school, including brainstorming dissertation topics, working on a conference paper proposal, and preparing a grant proposal. I’m also a research assistant for my advisor, and so I need to set aside time to do some work for her. Not taking classes is actually a blessing in disguise, provided I can buckle down and get things done. In the week to come, my focus will be on my research assistantship and dissertation brainstorming.

Social Time: I’ve been really good at this! Monday I had a ‘farewell dinner’ of sorts with one of my high school besties, Tuesday I went to a ‘welcome back to town’ late-night happy hour with a couple of grad school friends, and this morning I had a brunch/work/shopping outing. I’m really proud of myself, though, because I invited a few friends out for drinks at my favorite bar tonight. Given that I rarely initiate things (I have been burned in the past by people who say they will come out and instead flake), this is progress.

Exercise: There’s been incremental improvement here. I went for a 2.5 mile walk on Wednesday, and a 4 mile walk on Thursday. I had wanted to throw in a couple of days of at-home Pilates, but going to bed late and not getting enough sleep meant that when I woke up Friday and Saturday, I was less than inclined to work out. The goals for next week: go to bed by midnight, wake up by 7:30, do some form of physical activity at 8 am.

50/50 Challenge: I finished three absolutely wonderful books: HER OWN DEVICES by Shelly Adina, STEAM & SORCERY by Cindy Spencer Pape, and HER DARK BARON by fellow ROWer, Nadja Notariani.

I also got started with a little movie-watching: The Peacemaker starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman (meh), Peter Pan starring Jason Isaacs and Jeremy Sumpter (cutesy, a little cheesy, but Jason Isaacs is really hot), and The Warrior’s Way, which is this absolutely amazing collision of ‘East-meets-West’ — it’s about a disgraced Asian assassin who flees to a tumble-down Wild West town to escape his vengeful clan, and ends up learning about love and life and things beyond murdering people. It’s bloody and gore-filled in a sort of comic book way, but I loved it. Geoffrey Rush has a small role as a drunken former outlaw.

-oOo-

Is everyone else getting down to business time, or are you flailing about like me? To encourage everyone pursuing Serious Business, I leave you with the New Zealand duo, Flight of the Conchords. Their song, “Business Time,” might be one of my favorites. 😀

*insert requisite ‘put-down-beverages’ warning*

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ROW80: The First Check-in of 2012

It’s my first check-in post of 2012! I’m at the end of my month-long winter vacation, and preparing to head back to school on Tuesday.  I’m reluctant to leave my parents’ house — I’ve had a wonderful break, and I hate saying goodbye to them — but I am trying to remember that I have slightly over six months remaining in Santa Barbara, and then I will be back here for at least another year, if not two.

The last week has been a bit of a muddle in terms of tackling goals; I imagine that once classes start up, it will be easier to maintain a normal schedule.  Here’s what I’ve managed to get done in the meantime:

Writing: Nothing new here, though I finally received my copy of THE BARBARY COAST, Herbert Asbury‘s 1933 “informal history of the San Francisco underworld” (Asbury is also the author of THE GANGS OF NEW YORK, which Martin Scorsese adapted into film). I’m excited to read through the book, as it’s much-needed research for my steampunk tale, TELL ME NO LIES.

Day Job: I had promised my advisor that I would have a complete draft of my thesis to her around December 15th, but between family, the holidays, friends, and getting sick last week, I fell behind in my work. I am happy to report, however, that I am roughly 2-3 paragraphs away from completing the dratted project. There are still holes that will need to be filled in before I defend the final version, but for the moment it is mostly done. It is just over 25k, which is about 75 pages long, and while I can’t help but glare at it (this is what happens when one has been dragging along the same project like a ball and chain for over 3 years), deep down I have an inkling that it is not altogether terrible work… and might actually be rather good.

Social Time: Ironically, this is the one area where I have excelled this week. On Monday my friends and I went out for a sing-along showing of West Side Story, followed by cocktails and sushi.  I’ve seen one of my other friends twice this week for study parties/marathons of Big Bang Theory, my new favorite television show. And my mom and I have gone out a few times for shopping and eating out.

Social Media: I fell behind here — no new blog posts besides Monday’s ROW80/Inspirations post, and not much by way of blog-hopping, except for the ROWers I was able to visit on Monday and Tuesday. This is another area I’m hoping will improve once I get back to school and fall into a routine.

Exercise: Another place for lots and lots of improvement. I haven’t gotten any exercise this week (my mom is currently yelling at me to get a move-on, so I really need to take her advice), but tomorrow I will hopefully pull it together and get started.

50/50 Challenge: This is actually a goal that I forgot to include during my first ROW80 post. I’m taking on the 50/50 Challenge, where participants pledge to read 50 books and watch 50 films during 2012. I haven’t watched any new movies yet (except for maybe half of Contagion, which was okay, but not nearly as good as  Outbreak), but my reading has shot through the roof in the last week, thanks to my brand-new Kindle. My progress can be found on my shiny new 50/50 Challenge Page.

I’ve read a total of 8 books since 2012 started, including Diane Capri’s wonderful CARLY’S CONSPIRACY (a must-read for anyone who enjoys murder mysteries and lady sleuths), Shelly Adina’s steampunk novel LADY OF DEVICES (I’m currently reading the sequel, HER OWN DEVICES and loving it), and Suzanne Collins‘s HUNGER GAMES trilogy. I am narrowly resisting the urge to write in caps about how obsessed I am with THE HUNGER GAMES, and Katniss, and Peeta (swoon), but suffice it to say that I have not been this taken with a series since I read Karen Marie Moning’s FEVER books last fall.

Next up on the TBR list is the 2nd-4th books in Diana Gabaldon’s LORD JOHN series (the spin-off from the OUTLANDER books), followed by a few novels by my WANA friends: AGAIN by Diana Murdock, DRAWING FREE by Elena Aitken, and ELEMENTAL MAGIC by Angela Wallace.

-oOo-

There’s definitely room for improvement, but in my defense, I am slowly easing my way into this round of ROW80 (thank goodness we have 80 days!). How’s everyone else doing so far?

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