Well, as much as I love HTLAL, using it can sometimes be a real pain. It will be undoubtedly be back soon, but I have decided to keep a log here as well. For 2014, I'm on the Spaß (German) and Lobo (Spanish) teams, so once HTLAL is back I'll continue to post monthly updates there and do the team challenges, but for my stream-of-consciousness log stuff that's really just for me and probably no one else reads anyway, I think I'll post here. It's just so much easier...but I do feel somewhat torn about it. OK. So, it's update time: April 19 A couple of weeks ago my husband (native Latin American) and I spent our vacation in Spain, and very strangely, he was having more trouble understanding people there than I was. The mystery was unfortunately solved as to why he had a surprisingly hard time understanding peninsular Spanish: he just found out he has some hearing loss. Looking back, I realize it was always in a noisy setting such as a crowded restaurant or bar, where he was having trouble understanding what people were saying. It was because he couldn't actually hear them. Currently I am spending the majority of my study time on Russian since I'm a beginner and I am going very slowly. I just finished Pimsleur 1 unit 14, and am using a couple of high school textbooks: Russian for Everyone, and Russian Face to Face and the associated youtube video course Russian World. Besides that, I started listening to BBSeva (Russian podcast from BBC). I don't understand much more than isolated words, but I am truly thrilled when I do understand something. My local library has a lot of resources for Russian speakers (we have a fairly good sized population). When you go to the automatic check-out kiosks, you can choose English, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. Anyway, I've been watching movies, even if all I can understand are things like "Good evening-Добрый вечер", "Hello-привет", etc. One movie I particularly enjoyed from youtube was Исчезнувшая империя (Vanished Empire). And I found the Russian radio station from LA and could actually understand a few words from this song: Just a friend Просто друг. For Spanish and German, I spend time every day doing one or more of the following: reading books or websites, listening to audiobooks, watching films or the news, talking to native speakers (via skype or live) and occasionally getting out the grammar book or dictionary when I find something that has piqued my interest or feel like doing some practice. I recently skimmed through a book from the library called History of the Spanish Language, which had a lot of linguistic analysis, but also some more entertaining stuff for this bear of little brain, such as how 80% of the women settlers to Latin America were Andalusians and how that affected pronunciation, why "vos" is still used in Central America and Argentina (they were too isolated from the main centers in Mexico City and Lima), and how the word arroz (rice) came from an Arabic word that came originally from Sanskrit via Persian, then Ancient Greek. There were tons of examples like that, but the book was a bit on the academic side, so I just skimmed it for the good stuff. Onward. I think the below applies to language learning pretty well, as well as other projects. I don't remember what website I pulled it off of, but it's probably easy to google. The Cult of Done Manifesto 1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion. 2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done. 3. There is no editing stage. 4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it. 5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it. 6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done. 7. Once you’re done you can throw it away. 8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done. 9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right. 10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes. 11. Destruction is a variant of done. 12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done. 13. Done is the engine of more.