Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Spanish, Marriage, Sasha, and Killerboots -- might be one of my more eclectic posts

I've been using Duolingo in an attempt to learn some Spanish (for which "hola", "por favor", "gracias", and "cerveza" was the sum total of my vocabulary before starting).  And for the most part, I quite like it.  I'd like a little more (read any) explanation sometimes (esp for tense changes) but it is really helpful and I'm finding things are coming easier to me.  All good.  But did it ever present me with a HUGE demotivator the other day.   You see, I was on like an 84 day streak.  Pretty happy about that.  And any day that I hadn't done my practice, it'll remind me at 8:00 pm that I should go practice.  And to avoid breaking my streak, I did.   But then the other day, I noticed it said 4-day streak.  Wtf???    So I went to look, and it turns out on Monday I did half the practice.  But then never went back and did the other half.  So I guess since I had technically signed it, it didn't send the reminder :(  And so it no longer counted as a streak.   Motivation gone.  Yesterday was the first day since starting that I didn't sign in at all.  

Monday's little half-circle did me in.  So unimpressed.
And yes, I realize the silly little tracker shouldn't be the only motivation to study, but really...  When I'm not just killing time on the train and it's unlikely I'll be anywhere where I need the language as a life skill any time soon, those little things help.  I also think they really should consider fit-bit-like badges.   They start out well with being able to purchase things with coins earned through practice (that's how my owl got his really cool suit ;) but the things you can buy are super-limited and after a week or two of practice you'll have earned everything there is to earn.   Doesn't seem to be much of anything after that.  Very interesting to me the impact that has though; I've read some of the studies on adult learning, but never really believed how strong a motivator (or de-motivator) it could be.  Sheesh.

In other news...
Yup.  As of next weekend, my parents will have reached 40 years together!  14,610 days. 350,640 hours. 21,038,400 minutes.  3 children. Countless moments. Together. Congratulations :)

If it's next weekend, why mention now?  Well their surprise party was last night and it went really well :) It was, in fact, a surprise and they seemed really happy with it.  Planning it was entertaining and started ages ago (have to get in people's calendars early!)   The first concern was the day after I started sending invites, when my inbox was full of emails that read "Bev and Al's 40th" and Mum walked in and was looking at the screen over my shoulder.   I couldn't even scroll cause they took up the whole screen!   hahahha quick distraction and window switch and good to go.  I was definitely worried I'd blown it from the beginning though.   Then there was a later concern when Dad told me he was going to Rouyn-Noranda that weekend.  Ummm but no...   Just waited and watched that one though as it seemed a good chance it'd fall through.   It did.  Phew ;)   And THEN, guess which weekend the surgeon's secretary originally suggested for my eye surgery.  "It's the first date he has available in May..."  "How about late April?"  "Oh sure, we can do the 29th."  Sold.    
This photo captured everyone except Jamie and Barb.
Jamie, because he was the photographer.
And Barb, because Jamie was the photographer ;)
On the day of everybody was there on time.  Chris and Melissa provided giant balloons -- they couldn't get any "40th" balloons, so got creative :)   It was kinda awesome.  I wish I'd thought to get a photo, you can kinda get the idea from the shot Jamie took :).  Linda and Jamie got my parents there on the premise of other friends had cancelled plans and they already had the reservation.   I had a quick chat with the hostess to arrange that "Holmes, party of 4" be brought to our room ;)   And all was good.  She thankfully ignored Dad's suggestion that "this booth by the window" would be just fine ;)  And before he could argue too much, Mum had realized what was going on.  The look on her face still makes me smile :)  So other than a lack of mint, it went really well.   Mum and Dad seemed super happy.  Thanks to all who came :)

Completely unrelated -- I am finally teaching Sasha to walk on a leash.  As a barn puppy all I cared about was getting her obedient and responsive off-leash.  Sadly, that's not terribly useful where we are now.  But man is she ever a super-smart puppy.  It's fun to see her brain work.  Using the very simple, if slow, method of any time she pulls we stop.  In order to go anywhere she has to make the leash loose.  And we're getting longer and longer distances before she hits the end of the leash now (honestly, it was like 2 steps when we started this game on Fri.  By sat we were up to about half a block.  Which doesn't sound like much, but it's pretty extreme improvement; especially as she hasn't been to the park to burn off steam since Friday).

Back to work tomorrow.  I'm still not managing to be fully functional for an entire day yet, so slightly concerned about this idea.   Doctor's note says off till end of May, so thinking I may go the safe route and start with half days.  Wish me luck!

And just because it made me laugh -- this was the after photo from a dog groomer I'm thinking about taking Sasha to.   The name is just so perfect.  Enjoy!


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