Monthly Archives: January 2013

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Illumination

If you’d like to see my contributions to this week’s WordPress photo challenge – Illumination – hop over to my photography blog. If you like Christmas lights and old chandeliers, I think you’ll enjoy it.

I’m working on an update of my kids say the darndest things series, the winter edition. Hopefully I can share it with you early next week. If you need a good laugh, I hope you’ll be satisfied.

In the meantime, if your a mom with kids, I’ll share this cartoon so you don’t feel alone. I’ve been thinking of doing similar drawings with the new Bamboo Create drawing tablet I got for Christmas. This cartoon motivates me to go ahead with it. Enjoy!

My daily life with kids

My daily life with kids

A modified WWW Wednesdays update and a question for you

WWW Wednesdays

I’ve doing a shorter version of my WWW Wednesdays update because I need the time to catch up on work projects. But I have also a very BIG question for you, so scroll down and let me know what you think.

My bookshelf

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese– What I’m currently reading
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. If you read this book and loved it, please help me out. If you didn’t read this book but have found yourself in a similar situation I am now, I’d love your advice too. So here’s the deal about this book:
1) I like the story and I’m curious to see how it develops.
2) I can’t stand the writing style. As in, it’s ATROCIOUS! Way too many characters, none of them developed well. Way too many details about their past lives, with no obvious relevancy to the present. Way to many words to describe any scene, medical or not. Way too much bouncing around between the past and present, and one character’s life to another. I honestly don’t understand how a publisher would allow such novel to be published without skimming it with a huge scalpel (pun intended). This book could be half its size and still be too long. I’ve been reading it for almost a week and I’m barely a quarter into it. I want to know what happens in this book, but I don’t think I have the patience to find out. Maybe I can just read the synopsis somewhere. Is this book way overrated, like The Alchemist by Pablo Coelho (that was some excruciating reading too!).

Have you ever dropped a novel while in the middle of it? I don’t do it very often but I think this is one of these times I should. Help me!

– What I recently finished reading
The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. What an interesting book! I don’t think I’ve read a book by an Indian author about life in America as well as in India. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a very poetic writer and it definitely gives a unique style to her book. I’m not a big poetry fan, so that style lost me a bit but I stuck with the book for the story. It reminded me of the movie Chocolat, where Juliette Binoche makes specific chocolates to help people in the village, unbeknownst to them. Tilo, the main character, is torn between using her powers to help all kinds of people, and her cultural strings that require her to only help Indian people and under specific rules. It felt good to read something different from what I usually read (ah, the stretching of the mind!).

– What I think I’ll read next
Killing Floor by Lee Child, the first of the Jack Reacher series. I have other books to read also, but I think I’ll need a faster pace book after I’m done with  Cutting For Stone (that’s if I ever finish it).

That’s it for today!

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Making changes to my 101 in 1001 list – my new goals for 2013

Last week, I updated my list of 101 tasks in 1001 days and shared a few of my accomplishments. This week, I’ve decided to make changes to my list so it aligns better with my goals for 2013, since my 101 in 1001 challenge happens to end in January 2014. Several times last year I found myself in limbo and suffered from inertia, as I was waiting for things here and there to happen before making my move. This year, I have a clearer idea of where I want my life to head. Will I get there? I have no clue but I won’t know until I work at it.

I realized that among all the negative, I have a hard time remembering all the good things that happened to us in 2012. So this year, we’re trying something new. I’m not putting this on my 101 in 1001 list but I’m still doing with my boys. We’re using a jar to keep track of the “good things that happened in 2013”. Look, there are already a few things in there!

Jar of good things that happened in 2013

Jar of good things that happened in 2013

I believe this will be a great way to focus on the positive and help us recall at the end of the year all the good things that happened to us but we may have forgotten along the way.

Here are the big changes to my 101 in 1001 list…

98) Get one or more massages
I’m deleting this because I don’t care about getting massages and honestly, I don’t want someone to touch my ultra sensitive back and mess something up. So I’m replacing it with something I’ve been thinking of doing for a long time. I want 2013 to be the year of happy and nice and so I’m choosing this BIG challenge:
98) Perform 52 intentional / random acts of kindness (3/52)
I added “intentional” because I might need a little reinforcement and reminder. These can be very simple acts of kindness, or more elaborate. I’ll figure it out as the opportunity arises and I’ll keep tract of them and share my list at the end of the year. Believe it or not, I already have 3 acts of kindness completed. Who knew? By the way, if you’d like to join me on this challenge but you’re not sure what you could do, there are a lot of ideas on the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website.

52 random acts of kindness

52 random acts of kindness

86) Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night
I’m changing this to:
86) Go to sleep by 11pm every night.
It doesn’t seem like a drastic change but I need to force myself to be in bed by a specific time rather than focus on the hours of sleep I may be getting.

48) Learn 3 to 5 new words every week and keep a log of them (20/143)
I’ve been working on this goal but not keeping track of it, and I need a task number for something else so I’m deleting it and replacing it with:
48) Post book reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon (0/1)
I’m not sure how to measure this but I’ll mark it complete once it has become a habit for me, at least for the Amazon part since I write review on Goodreads more regularly.

37) Post once a week to my new freelance writing website’s blog (0/143)
I didn’t create this writing site and instead created my photography website, so I’m changing my challenge to dedicate room for it on my weekly schedule:
37) Post three times a week to my new nature photography website (3/168)

35) Send 100 article queries to magazines and publications (0/100)
At this point, I’m more interested in promoting my photos than my writing (I still plan to write this year), so I’m changing this goal to something that will increase exposure to my photos:
35) Participate in the Project 365 – 2013 by posting new photos two to four times a week on my photography Facebook page and the Project 365 – 2013 Facebook page (2/156)

36) Post once a week to my Perfecting Motherhood blog (73/143)
I originally created this task because I wasn’t writing on a regular basis. I found my new groove about a year ago so I’ve decided to replace this task with something else I’m not doing but should be:
36) Post new photos on my Pinterest page 3 times a week (0/168)

39) Post photographs and other art for sale on and a few other similar websites (0/1)
I’ve realized this goal is too vague and not getting done (I’ve got a lot of those!). I’m replacing it with these 2 goals:
39) Create new products for sale on my Zazzle store twice a week (0/112)

40) Attend a writers’ meeting several times a year (0/10)
For the same reason, I’m replacing it with:
40) Identify up to two other websites to post my photos for sale and post new photos once a week (0/56)

This should be it. Wish me luck! To view my list as it stands now and how much I’ve accomplished so far, go to my 101 in 1001 page. Remember, it’s never too late to join!

101 in 1001 challenge update – January 2013

101_tasks_in_1001_daysWith a little bit more than one year left in my 101 in 1001 challenge, January is a good time for a checkpoint. I haven’t updated my online list since last April, even though I’ve completed several challenges. I apologize for what looks like a laundry list but it actually feels very good to cross so many challenges off the list.

4) Grow food plants in the garden (Summer / Fall 2012) (1/1)
Here’s the thing: I did manage to grow food in my garden this past summer and fall. The problem is, we didn’t get to enjoy it as much as we planned because the critters ate most of it. Before I plant more this spring, I need to find yet another way to protect our crops, mostly from the darn squirrels.

7) Plant flowers/flowering plants in the backyard (1/1)
Water is extremely expensive in California and I’d rather use it to grow something I will eat rather than flowers. But… I love clipping flowers from the garden and bringing them into the house, so this past summer I bought a couple of rose trees. I enjoyed fragnant roses in front of my kitchen window for months. Completely worth it!

20) Clean out and organize the kitchen cabinets and pantry (1/1)
This was a big project but I got it done. I ended up with a couple of empty cabinets now that I’ve reorganized and emptied out unnecessary items, or moved things around. I see the result of well-organized kitchen cabinets every day.

22) Clean out our bedroom closet (1/1)
I’ve actually done a lot more than that in our house, since I’ve moved our bedrooms around. My bedroom closet now only contains what’s necessary and I’ve put together bags of items to donate. The only problem is, I’ve moved the clutter to the garage and it’s been piling up there. I do have it on my list to clean up the garage, so technically, I have a year to do it, right?

26) Store the kids’ artwork in storage boxes (1/1)
I took me a while to gather my various piles of kid artwork, go through all the papers and keep the best, sort them in some kind of chronological order and file them. But I’ve done it and now I have room for more artwork in those boxes. I bet it will be fun for the kids to look back at what they did when they’re grown up.

51) Create a new website for my nature photography business (1/1)
I added on this challenge about a year after I originally created my list. This is definitely my proudest accomplishment so far on my 101 in 1001 list. If you haven’t visited my nature photography website, go take a look and let me know what you think. I still have a lot more to do regarding this business, but the website is where it all starts from.

63) Go apple picking (1/1)
We went apple picking this fall with my friend and her two kids near the town of Julian, California, which is famous for its apples. It was quite an adventure to guide four young kids to pick specific apples and not just pull every single one from each tree. It cost us a good amount of money to do this, but considering how many apples everybody snacked on during our outing, it was probably worth it. I made delicious apple sauce with some of the apples and we ate the best ones raw. A great idea!

101) Develop 3 new friendships (3/3)
2012 was the year of new friendships, as well as reinforced friendships, for me. As a part of my world seemed to fall apart, I found myself surrounded with wonderful friends, offering their support, help, shoulders to lean on, and anything I asked for or seemed to need. In 2012 I made many new friends not just in my town but also in the blogosphere. I realize this is a wonderful world we live in, where we can connect with people who live half a world apart (or a few states away). I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends and I’m looking forward to spending more time with them and getting to know then better in 2013.

As I reviewed my 101 in 1001 list and crossed off the items above, I realized that, with a year to go, I want to make some changes to my list. I’d like to remove some items that don’t seem relevant two years after I started this project, and add some items I recently thought about. With a new year starting and some upcoming changes in my life granting me a fresh start, I feel the inspiration to make my list an inspiration for the last year of this challenge. I hope to update my list over the weekend and share it with you early next week. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say about it!

If you’re doing the 101 in 1001 challenge, how are you doing with your list? Are you finding yourself making changes to the list as the months go by? What about new year’s resolutions? Are you taking any specific steps this year that are different from all the years before? Are you feeling inspired or jaded with new year’s resolutions?