Vacation Happened

I spent the first half of last week home alone. I worked from the couch, generally with the air conditioner on. I practiced my guitar a bit every day. Status on that: I know where my fingers are supposed to be for 5 chords. It’s probably not yet accurate to say that I can play them (at least not without stopping to look at where my fingers are, and adjusting them a bit). I definitely need to practice moving from one chord from another, because I can’t do that well at all. So, probably not bad for a week of learning.

I also figured I should get around to learning how to program. I mean, I’ve done a bit of Javascript, but not a lot, and none recently. So I’m going through a Udemy course to learn python. (I probably should’ve mentioned that I’m doing a Udemy course for the guitar practice in the first paragraph.) I find the Udemy app a bit buggy (especially when played over my Chromecast), but not badly enough that I can’t focus on what I’m supposed to be learning. I mean, I’m pretty bad at focusing on what I’m supposed to be learning in general, but the app isn’t making that worse.

I’m about halfway through both of those courses. I haven’t touched either since Wednesday though, so I expect I’ll need to go back over some of what I’ve already covered before I get back into either. I’m also leaning a bit on Kelly-Jo, who has played guitar (among other instruments) for years, to tell me basic stuff, like when my guitar is out of tune. I don’t really have an ear for that yet.

Other learning stuff: I’ve been at Duolingo for French practice for something like 135 days in a row. Kelly-Jo and I will occasionally switch a conversation over to French, which is also helping. Mostly we do it when we want to talk in front of Cohen without him knowing what we’re saying (which isn’t something we’ll be able to do for long, as we’re teaching him a bit of it, and we’ll enrol him in French immersion when he’s old enough). Sometimes we’ll switch for fun. I’ve also started occasionally writing to people in French if I know they speak the language and I still have my phone’s keyboard toggled to French after I’m done my practice.

I’ve been using a meditation & mindfulness app daily for about three weeks, which is helping me to calm down and relax a bit. Some days are better than others as far as focusing on it. On a somewhat related note, I read Buddha is as Buddha Does by Lama Surya Das while I was on vacation, which mostly confirmed that I’m not a Buddhist. I mean, really interesting stuff, and I can get behind some of it (I would like to be more generous, and patient, etc.), but the book went off the rails for me when the author started uncritically praising a psychic healer. I mean, that alone doesn’t turn me off of Buddhism (especially since that guy was a Christian), but it was what I felt to be the most egregious example of the author accepting something supernatural at face value. And I’m not really down with that, or the idea of reincarnation, or enlightenment being some attainable state of being. At best I might find a washed down, secularised Western Buddhism more to my liking, but really I’m not looking for a religion so much as I’m interested in being a better person.

Well, this derailed quite a bit from the title.

I spent my actual vacation days in Sussex. I took the bus down Wednesday night, and got back at supper time today. It was reasonably relaxing. One night while Kelly-Jo and I were relaxing in her folks’ hot tub, we decided that we were going to try to restrict out shopping for a bit, to help get our budget a little more in order. So, the deal is that we’re not allowed to do any shopping between the end of vacation (now) and Hal-Con (30 October through 1 November). There are a couple of exceptions (essential items, and on-going subscriptions). If one of us breaks the restriction, they have to buy the other a nice meal while we’re in Halifax for Hal-Con.

My hope is that not only will we get our spending under control, and start to clear out some debt, but also that we won’t turn around one day and discover that we’ve let another 40 tonnes of shit we don’t need into our house.

There are probably some unspoken exceptions that we’ll need to work out (gifts, does whisky count or can I call that a grocery item, etc.).

I also want to increase my charitable contributions. I’m using the idea of a tithe as my goal. I want to take 10% of my income (after taxes, etc.) and donate it. I need to get my budget in order before I can do that regularly, although I’m sure I can do better than I currently do (my only regular donation is about 0.5% of my monthly net income, and my irregular donations are no where near where I want them to be).

This is, by the way, the wrong time to suggest where my hypothetical donations could or should go.

Anyway, there’s a few goals for me to focus on here. I mean here as in this site, not in a more general sense. Well, I mean it in the more general sense too, but let’s ignore that for a minute.

You’ve probably noticed, if you’ve been a regular reader for a while, that I’ve lost focus of what I’m doing in this site. I started off the year posting at least 5 times a week, and that steadily trickled down to twice a week, and nothing the past two. And that’s boring. So I’m aiming for daily again, even if it’s just a paragraph. I’m going to turn off autosharing of posts, and maybe even turn comments back on for posts (for a few days, anyway). But I also want to turn this into something of a lifelog, so I’ll also be posting articles that I’ve read (with an excerpt), noting which days I’ve exercised, when I’ve started or finished reading a book, what I’ve been eating, what I’ve been listening to, keeping rough track of my progress with things that I’ve been learning, etc. Some of that will be boring to you, reader. I mean, all of this might be, but thanks for toughing it out, eh?