Q2 Progress Report for 2015 Goals

Looking at how I have done for each of the specific monthly goals since the beginning of the new year, with particular focus on April, May and June, I didn’t do what I set out to do. But I did make progress that I am generally settled with.

Goal for January – Learn Enough About Book Publishing To Proceed
As reported earlier, I read about self-publishing books both in print format through CreateSpace and in digital format through Amazon Kindle and decided that this is the route I will take. I learned that the traditional process of finding an agent and getting an established publisher to publish a book is extremely hard and a very slow process, so I acted out of cowardice and impatience, and chose the self publishing route. I initially prepared the document in the digital format first, then switched to the CreateSpace format for a 6x9 book as this print on demand service does not require a large up-front financial investment.

I also made some significant progress on my goal for March by working through the first draft of Insight Problem Solving within the CreateSpace document format.
Goal For February – Publish Both a Paperback and an e-Book
I did not submit the Insight Sales book for publication in the month of February as originally intended because it needed to be fully formatted for CreateSpace; and because I had received a request from the person I had been expecting to bill as co-author, to split what I had written into two books, one for retail sales and one for corporate sales. I began that process by first putting the combined book into the CreateSpace format which was considerably more difficult than I had anticipated. I completed that formatting by the last week of February then began the work to separate the document into two books.

Goal for March – Complete Already Started First Draft of Book on S.P.I.C.E3 Problem-Solving
March has been a complicated month as I worked on both the revision for Insight Problem Solving and proper formatting of that book for CreateSpace, and started to separate the Insight Sales book into two, while also spending 13 days in Mexico on vacation. I completed the revised draft of Insight Problem Solving and made it about a third of the way through creating Insight Sales (Retail). Insight Sales (Corporate) hadn’t been started as of the end of March.

Goal for April – Train A Young Puppy or Complete S.P.I.C.E3 Problem Solving Draft
I got a bit of a head start on the goal for April in two ways during the first quarter. After babysitting a high energy Weimariner for a week in March, we decided not to get a puppy at this time, which mostly relieved me from the goal of learning how to train a puppy. However, we did start dog sitting a one-year-old cockapoo during the last week of March and had him until April 11. Although no longer a puppy, I did some experimenting with training him during that period. He already had many skills (fully house trained, and knew the commands of sit, shake a paw, lie down, and was working on come before he joined us). I sort of worked on “come”, and tried to teach him roll-over, fetch, “no-bite” and “no-bark”. I was not very successful in that period of time but it’s probably because my motivation was lower than it would be if he had been my own dog. I didn’t learn how to train a young puppy but I did enjoy Milo’s visit.

In truth, the cockapoo was better at training me. He persistently got my attention and had me take him out for a walk, even though more than half the time he didn’t have to go. He wanted to be out smelling the world so he trained me to take him out.

I didn’t work on the problem solving book in April but I did more work on the separation of the sales book into a Retail focused sales book.

Goal for May – Build Garden Boxes and Lay Brickwork for a Small Patio
I was unable to work on the garden boxes in May. The early part of the month involved a trip to Utah with Kathy in her new-to-her RoadTrek RV van where we met Ray and Nancy and spent five days taking pictures around Moab. We then drove back through Dinosaur National Monument, Goblin Hills, and Yellowstone National Park and did more photography there. Much of May was then spent on processing my images which I posted to my website on June 2nd.  I also finished separating out the book on Insight Sales for Retail by the end of May.

Goal for June – First Draft of Book on Peer Counseling Based on S.P.I.C.E3
I did not make any start on a book on peer counseling, beyond some initial thinking about what I would try to include. Instead, I wound up working on one of May’s goals in June. I acquired a sand and gravel mix and began to lay 300 bricks in an area at the back of our house to accommodate a gardening table, and get rid of an area that was consistently being overgrown by weeds. After getting that work done, working from my understanding of how it should be done, rather than a knowing how it should be done, the surface area was quite uneven and rolling.

I also wound up with as much sand/gravel mix leftover as I had used ,so decided to enlarge my project to include a walkway of 480 bricks. This was hard work under hot sun; but I had been given very helpful advice by Hayduk Lumber and Hardware in Calmar and sold the right materials to do the job much better this time. Both the patio and the walkway turned out much better for having received that assistance.

This was also a time of enjoying the outdoors with family and friends. We had visits from our mothers, granddaughters, daughter-in-law and grandson, Barb and Mike, Ray and Nancy, and Dennis and Carol.

Lifestyle Goals:
Looking at the first six months of the year in terms of my accomplishment of my general lifestyle goals including the one modification I made adding the intention to complete a photo shoot once per week, I have fared very poorly.

Physical Wellness
At my best weight achievement, I had reduced to 204 pounds through portion control and some effort to consume less in the evening. I reached the lowest level during the trip to Moab as we were very active and less inclined to sit around and get the munchies. However, as of the writing of this report, I am back up to 212 pounds, coming out of a brief period of having a troublesome flu that leaves me feeling short of breath when I exert myself.

Following my full physical exam that started in January and led to some subsequent tests, I learned I am, in most respects, physically fine. I have a hint of a kidney stone but attempts to get further consultation on that problem have been frustrated so I am acting as if I do not. I learned I have a redundant colon (overly large) which might explain the pain I can have below the right upper ribs, and I am now proceeding as if that aspect of my body is quite fine as well.

During this quarter, I did regular daily walks up until early in May and then rode my bike, progressively adding more distance. I was doing fine until I got a flat at the furthest point I had ridden and had to walk a considerable distance back until Dianne could get the truck and come and pick me up. That required that I arrange service to the bike as I don’t know how to fix my own tires on these new bikes, which meant I was without a bike for a while. Then I got into the very strenuous yard work and was too tired to do “exercise” at the end of my day. It wasn’t until this week that I got back onto my bike, and thoroughly enjoyed riding around Lakes Edith, Annette and Beauvert in Jasper Park with my friends.

During the second quarter, I got to spend time with Quynn, my mother and Dianne’s mother and brother, and various friends out at the lake. The trip to Utah was particularly enjoyable for the four of us that did the trip, and extremely productive from a photography point of view. I got to connect with Dennis and Carol who I had not seen in over a year.

My mother eagerly moved into an assisted living facility in early June and it has been good to see her enjoying the benefits of a more social and active environment.

Diane has taken a part time job, which has her travelling to the city for several days a week, and that leaves me feeling lonelier than I expected.  I spend my time writing and communicating with friends via e-mail and that helps.

I have not yet established a writer’s group as intended. I did give feedback to one other haibun writer during this period and exchanged e-mails with a past member of a previous haibun writer’s group. I have been trying to give feedback to a friend who is working on the self-publication of his own collection of some of his published haibun and articles on the haibun genre. In turn, he has actively been sharing with me what he is learning about self publishing and this has been helpful.

I wrote nine haibun in this quarter. The haibun appear in this website with the four done in June posted on the What’s New page.

I have worked on the Insight books but have only spent time writing during about half the days in this period, averaging about four hours in any day I did work on these documents. There is much work to be done, and there are probably more than time management issues that delay the work.

The person I have been consulting with as I worked on the sales books has chosen to drop out of participation and this has discouraged me to some degree, but has not stopped me. I am reminded of how my self-esteem took blows in previous periods of my career where I worked hard developing materials that did not result in any lasting impact on others, and I fight my own temptation to stop putting in the work. I hear voices such as “No one will read this stuff.”, “The books won’t sell.”, “My fantasies about doing sales training are too impractical for an old man like me.”; and I resolve to push through and finish, but my pace is slow.

I did not manage to actualize the plan of doing one photo shoot every week since I took on that goal in the beginning of February, but I did quite a few. In fact, on our twelve day trip to Utah and back, I took 2300 photos. This diverted my photographic work to post processing and website work as I uploaded edited photos from that trip. I am currently on a trip to Jasper with the goal of taking more photographs and we’ll see what that produces.

I am making relatively acceptable but slower than desired progress on preparing the books on Insight Problem-Solving and Insight Sales, meeting my goals for the writing of haibun (although quality may be an issue), but failing to satisfy my physical wellness goals and falling short on my belated photography goal. I have missed most of my monthly goals but surprisingly, I do feel okay about what I did accomplish instead. I’m doing okay in life right now.

dusk settles
into the forest
and a blood fat mosquito
feasts on my arm
I must have good blood

(Note: I close with another attempt at a tanka. Hope it works for you.)