Halfway through the…

Halfway through the summer, and about to head off to an intensive week at Clarion, I feel the need to check in on various summer goals.

Housekeeping: Well, I'm afraid Ben's chart has fallen by the wayside, but I do think doing it helped make us aware of exactly what each of us did and how much time it took. Long-term changes that seem to be mostly sticking include a) me taking Ellie for more walks, b) Kev and I clearing up Kavi's mess together in the evenings, c) Kev doing whatever dishes are left at the end of the night and cleaning the kitchen, so I have a clean kitchen to work with in the morning. There are probably others, but those are the ones that are obvious, and they all make me happy. We still don't make the bed, though.

Exercise: Well, forty days into using the Wii Fit, I've lost six pounds. It's not magic weight loss numbers, but given that a) I hadn't lost any weight in the six months previously, and b) I didn't try to diet at all while doing it, and c) some of the exercise was fun, and d) I'm only exercising about half an hour a day (and often watching tv while doing it), and e) I feel better on the days I exercise, I'd declare the Wii a rousing success. I also did a bunch of DDR while Jed was visiting, so it might get some credit as well. DDR is much more intensive and sweaty -- Wii I can actually sustain for long periods, which might be better for me. Not sure. My clothes are fitting better -- I'm somewhere between a 12-14 right now, so the size 14 stuff fits easily, and some of the 12 does too. Hoping to get down another size before Sharmi's wedding in October; we'll see how it goes.

Writing: Decent! I've been meeting fairly regularly with Lori, which helps a lot, and I've written a complete short story, a bunch on the writing book, and am getting close to a clean, solid draft of AP to hand to my agent and see what he thinks. Yay! I'm not as far as I'd hoped to be by this point in the summer, but at least I've made some good progress. School starts 8/25, so that's my deadline for getting writing done; I'm guessing the first semester at UIC I'll be pretty busy with teaching and getting my bearings at a new school, and won't get a ton of writing done. So post-Clarion -- write write write! I also just promised Ben a story -- maybe I'll draft it on the plane today. :-)

Teaching: In retrospect, maybe I should have just done one of the classes -- either in-person or online, because they do take a fair bit of time, especially the online one. I might have gotten more writing done if I had. Also, I'm not sure how to make the online class more fun; a lot of my efforts to generate conversation from the students seem to vanish into the ether, and since talking about this stuff is one of the best parts of a writing class, I'm a little frustrated with that. I give them a ton of stuff to read, exercises, prompts for discussion -- and nothing. Sigh. I wonder if there's a tutorial somewhere on how to best teach an online class. But all that said, I'm enjoying my teaching quite a bit, especially the in-person class, which I love.

Gardening: Last night, we FINALLY repotted my poor bougainvillea and took it outside. That should have happened two months ago, sigh. But at last everything in the garden is in pots and going, and I even fertilized for the first time yesterday too. So now we just go chugging along -- we tasted the first tomato yesterday, and even though it was not quite ripe, it was yummy. More tomatoes, chili peppers coming. We've been using the herbs for a while, and they're lovely. My favorite flowers in the garden this year -- my trumpet honeysuckle, which survived the winter and has grown beautifully this year; the Dark Lady, Christopher Marlowe, and Granada roses (and I have to give a shout-out to Pink Knock-Out, which doesn't have exciting blossoms, but which consistently produces just tons of flowers -- 30-40 on the bush at any given time, it seems, as opposed to 2-5 on my other rose bushes), the new tropical mandevilla, and the shooting star hydrangea.

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