Tag Archives: Report Card

Memoir Monday, January 9th, 2017


A few weeks ago, my husband and I returned to Norfolk, CT, for another housesitting job.  I set up some goals, or as someone pointed out to me, processes, I felt would help me reach where I want to go.  One of the aspects of these “processes” is that I wanted to make them S.M.A.R.T(er), meaning they’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Which, I did.  Except, as it takes me a ridiculous amount of time to do simple tasks, like put something in the mail, I ended up with a huge flaw in my November/December plan.  I never got around to creating a spreadsheet to track my progress.

Sure, I thought about it, but in typical Kelly fashion there was no follow through.  The good news is, I’m not completely hopeless because I did make significant progress in some areas, although others rely on eyewitness testimony (mine and my husband’s) and we all know how faulty that can be.

So without further ado, my November/December report card:

1)      Write 6,000 words per week specifically for one of my novels

Grade: B

Rationale: I finished the first draft of my young adult novel, Serendipity Smart and the Fourth Wish!  I also started on a second novel, this one for middle grade kids, Top Dog of K-9 Academy.  But did I actually write 6,000 words per week specifically on my novels?  All signs point to no.  If I had, I would be much further along with Top Dog than I am now.

2)      Attend a weekly writer’s group

Grade: A-

Rationale: This one is easy to accomplish, because one of my writers’ groups is always at the same time/day every week.  I gave myself an A- though because the group got cancelled a few times because our fearless leader had surgery.  Yes, that’s not under my control, but thanks to the internet I know there are many other writing groups within a 100 mile radius of Norfolk.

3)      Listen to at least one Brandon Sanderson lecture on writing each week

Grade: BIG FAT F!

Rationale: I did not listen to one lecture!  What is wrong with me?!  Free writing advice from a writing master!  I give myself an A for all my excuses though: I don’t want to watch anything too close to bedtime; if I don’t have the time to watch an entire lecture, I’ll wait until I do; I’m reading books on writing instead; etc.  For some reason, I’m treating the Brandon Sanderson lectures like a new piece of technology I’ve purchased that I leave in the box for a very long time because I’m either intimidated about using it or I’m too lazy to read the instructions.  I suspect it’s a little bit of both.

4)      Read at least five chapters of a novel every week

Grade: A-

Rationale:  I think I did this one.  I read several books these past two months and thanks to Maybe a Fox, which I highly recommend anyone reading this go out and get a copy immediately, and which I finished in one day, I sent my average well ahead of the curve.


5)      Complete 3 sets of PT exercises every day

Grade: D

Rationale:  At first this goal was easy to accomplish.  Three sets don’t take very long.  And then I stopped completely.  See #6 below.  Yes, I know we’re allowed to give ourselves a break but I only had these goals for two months.  I’d blame the holidays, but that’s like saying I’m not 100% responsible for my life, which I am, so I can’t.

6)      Spend 20 minutes every day on physical exercise

Grade: C

Rationale:  Until December 15th, I was kicking butt.  Not only was I exercising 20 minutes, most days I exercised a full hour, with free yoga at the UCC in Norfolk and streaming classes from Cody.  Then, my husband and I did a little bit of traveling and my goals fell apart.

7)      Eat one salad every day that contains at least four colors of the rainbow

Grade: D

Rationale:  I did not eat many salads because it got so dang cold in CT.  But I did start eating more vegetable soups.  They were mostly Amy’s Organics Split Pea, which is decidedly green.  So no rainbow soup for me!

8)      Meditate twice daily for 20 minutes each time

Grade: D-

Rationale:  Again, I was doing pretty well with this one until my husband and I hit the road on December 19th.  Then I stopped meditating completely.  There has only been one other time I stopped meditating for that long since I started this practice in 2013 and that was because I was in hospital.  I’m delighted to report I’m back on track and I’ve already seen a spike in my creativity.

9)      Spend 20 minutes every day reading or listening to spiritual material

Grade: D-

Rationale:  I honestly have no idea if I met this goal or not.  The only thing I can attest to is I did not neglect my spirituality completely, so that’s why I’m giving myself a barely passing grade.

10)   Explore someplace new every week with my husband

Grade: C

Rationale:  My husband and I went to a few new places, including the largest Gingerbread festival in New England.  We didn’t get to go as many new places, though, because one of the dogs we’re taking care developed a mass on his spleen.  He is our #1 priority and I love him like he’s our own pup.  So I have no regrets at all about not meeting this goal.



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Overall Grade: F

Well, I certainly have a lot of room for improvement.  Since we’ll be in Norfolk from now until mid-April, that gives me plenty of time to work on my goals.  In the coming week, I’m going to reassess where I am and where I want to go.   And this time, I’m going to include a way to track my progress.  Thank you, internet, for making me accountable!

Memoir Monday, November 14th, 2016


At the beginning of September, I wrote about a socialization plan I devised for my time in Connecticut and a little over a month ago I evaluated my progress at the halfway mark. Our initial stint in Connecticut has now ended and it’s time for my final grades – drumroll, please!

1)      Spend three days a week writing at the library to get me out of the house

Midterm Grade: F

Final Grade: F

Rationale: In the 63 days that my husband and I lived in Connecticut, not once did I spend time at the library writing.  So, not just a fail, an epic fail (I’m giving myself a ZERO).

Reflection:  I accept this failure because I learned something valuable – I prefer writing at home.  As much as I like the idea of writing at a library or a coffee shop, going to these places require several additional steps in the process, like showering/getting dressed and then walking (driving) somewhere.  For a procrastinator like myself, these steps fuel my fire of distraction and before I know it, I’ve wasted a ton of time with nothing to show for it.  Thus, getting out of my house from here on out will need to come through other means.

2)      Volunteer at the library (that is, if they’ll have me for just two months)

Midterm Grade: F

Final Grade: C

Rationale: I ended up spending my service time elsewhere (see point #3), but my husband and I gave a financial donation to the library before we left.

Reflection: Even though I didn’t write anything at the library, my husband and I spent a lot of time utilizing their wonderful (and free!) resources.  We both read some great books, watched some great (in my husband’s opinion; meh in my opinion) movies, and used their printers for personal use.  Since we both believe that 10% of our income should go to charity, it seemed like the Norfolk Library deserved a good chunk of what we earned while living there.  Money is not the same thing as service, so that’s why I went with a “C.”

3)      Seek other short-term volunteer opportunities as they present themselves

Midterm Grade: A-

Final Grade: A

Rationale:  In addition to continuing as a social media team member for the Young Adult Review Network, I managed to find some short-term volunteer opportunities as well, including contributing some of my writing to the Norfolk Church of Christ Congregational’s Christmas pageant, donating food to the church’s food pantry, and entertaining children at the Colebrook Community Center’s Halloween party.

Reflection: These small service opportunities are a great way to get out of the house, meet people, and feel like I’m actively contributing to society.  I just need to keep my eyes open for them.

4)      Attend a weekly writers’ group

Midterm Grade: A+

Final Grade: A+

Rationale:  I attended a creative writers’ group every Wednesday and I attended a children’s writers’ group every time they had a meeting (which ended up being three times).

Reflection: I cannot recommend writing groups enough!  In addition to being a wonderful opportunity to socialize with writers and get out of the house (which is important to me; see point 1), my stories have improved based on the feedback from the groups.  There’s also a lot of utility in seeing and hearing people’s response to your work as you read it out loud.  I found both groups using Google searches, but I’ve also used meetup.com.  It is my sincerest hope that wherever my husband and I end up wandering to, we will always have a writing group to attend (yes, sometimes he comes with me).

5)      Work at short-term, limited employment jobs where I can see my contributions to society

Midterm Grade: B

Final Grade: B

Rationale: It’s official – I love making sandwiches!  I think it’s because people truly appreciate a well-made sandwich and appreciation is something I did not experience on a regular basis as a teacher of statistics or research methods.  I spent hours editing and evaluating students’ work and most of the time I felt like my efforts were wasted.  That is hardly ever the case with working a café!

On the downside, though, I’m still having difficulty managing my time.  I started working on one of my novels again (YAY!) but then my exercise fell by the way side (BOO!).  Then, there’s Halloween, which certainly did not help my sweet tooth, especially because the library had a huge candy supply, and finally we discovered Dee’s One Smart Cookie Allergen-free Bakery, which may be allergen free, but not sugar, calorie, or fat free.

Reflection: Blargle!  I don’t like being dissatisfied with how I treat my body.  This is the one body I get for life, so I need to do better at prioritizing it while I’m working.  I have a plan for that, though, which I’m going to share next week when I lay out my goals for the remaining two months of the year (and if you have any suggestions/recommendations for my November/December goals, feel free to let me know).

6)      Find a spiritual community that encourages self-reflection and growth.

Midterm Grade: C+

Final Grade: C-

Rationale: Although I actively worked on my spirituality and connection to God daily, I didn’t commit fully to any one community.

Reflection: This might have to be something I accept as my husband and I continue wandering around.  When you’re only going to be in one place for a set, limited time, it can be hard to motivate yourself to make commitments of this sort.  I enjoy connecting with others, especially those who center their lives on love, compassion, generosity, and service.  It may be that I modify this goal to reflect a more global community than local one.

Overall Grade: C

Reflection: WOOHOO – I passed!  If it wasn’t for that ZERO, I might even have been above average.  Oh, well.  Gives me something to work towards until the end of the year.