Happy October everybody! I meant to write more on the blog, but it’s just been a doozy of a week. I gave my first in-person speech in 21 months, which was exciting (I also gave a virtual talk, but I’ve done a lot of those!). I have been looking at my expenses for 2020 for my taxes (we always do extensions to the fall) and my work travel expenses for 2020 appear to be zero. No reimbursed, no unreimbursed. I hadn’t done any travel for January-February-March because of the baby, and then by mid-March everything was canceled.

We got the windows clean, the roof fixed (hello Hurricane Ida…), mums planted and — not coincidentally — photos taken of the outside of the current house for its upcoming listing. I’m a bit scared about the inside photos as there is just a lot of stuff. Seven people living in a house will do that, and in nice real estate photos, the rooms don’t even have waste baskets. But we will go room to room I guess and move stuff out and stage it and move it back.

In the meantime, the week also featured soccer, baseball, karate, math tutoring, Science Olympiad practice, gymnastics, my choir practice, alto sax practice + lessons, and the discovery that my daughter chose the trumpet as her instrument for school band/lessons…she was so torn between that and the clarinet. Here’s hoping she chose well. (Any advice from trumpet players out there?) I also bought presents for and planned her upcoming birthday.

In any case, we are now barreling into the last three months of the year. The fourth quarter of the year is a festive one (Halloween! Thanksgiving! Christmas!). It’s also an opportunity to end the year strong. On the work front, this is especially true for any organizations that do end-of-year-performance reviews. It should not be the case that what happens in October matters more than what happens in February but…we’re human. We naturally remember recent things better. So the next few weeks would be a great time to figure out a professional goal that is doable and get it done. Landing one big new client. Writing a white paper. Organizing that (virtual) brown bag lunch learning session. In my case, I plan to finish editing Tranquility by Tuesday during Q4, including (hopefully!) doing a short writing retreat that will allow me to focus on it for a few days without dealing with the window cleaning, kid shuttling madness that follows me around at home. We will see if I attempt NaNoWriMo. That might be biting off more than I can chew.

On the personal front, there is still time to achieve a goal or two that would make the year feel great. If you’re looking for a reason to run or walk more regularly, you could sign up for a turkey trot style 5k and definitely be in better shape for it just shy of 8 weeks from today. In general, three months is a lot of time. It’s not infinite, but it’s enough to do a lot. I hope. I plan to list this house (I won’t set a goal of selling it because that’s not within my control), finish with the renovations at the new one, and start the process of moving in.

I will finish War and Peace. I’m on page 1172 of 1455. I’m really enjoying this slow pace of reading one chapter a day. It matches up well enough in places on the calendar with the action in the story that I wonder if Tolstoy had that in mind. September’s chapters featured the invasion and burning of Moscow and the aftermath…and that is when it happened. So the early fall landscape descriptions seem incredibly apt.

My husband was traveling some this week too, and so I had a few solo mornings (well, solo until 8, but the morning often starts around 5:30 here). I have been really happy to have older children in addition to a toddler. This morning the 12-year-old built forts with him while I took a shower. It was so much more relaxing than trying to shower with the toddler in the bathroom. We take our victories where we can get them. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Photo: Progress on my fall-themed 1000-piece puzzle

5 thoughts on “Q4

  1. I hope that your home sells fast. Having a house on the market with a lot of children is challenging. At least most are older? It’s really hard when they are very young! I was glad our house sold over a weekend while we were away at my parents, but it was a first time buyer type of house so we knew it would sell quickly.

    My husband and I both played the trumpet! I have no advice, but it will take some time to build up the mouth strength required to get a good sound/hit notes, especially in the higher range. I think some of the brass instruments are more challenging for that reason – you need to move a lot of air to make sound!

  2. When we were showing our last house I ended up stuffing large bags of dirty laundry up in the attic to prep for the photos etc. I forgot about these until we moved 6 months later.

    1. @Sarah K – we are definitely putting a lot of things in bins and then putting those bins elsewhere. It’s the only way to stay within 30 minutes of clean.

  3. This is a very random comment you have probably answered this before but is there a reason you refer to your presentation as giving a speech rather than giving a talk? Is it a field thing? In my field I have never heard any one call any public speaking on their research a speech. So interesting.

    1. @Irene – I am not an academic, so I assume that’s why? I don’t think I’ve really seen any of my bookings referred to as “talks” except more informally. My “speaking agent” books “speeches” — that’s what we refer to them as. Fascinating.

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