Triannual Update: 19 for 2019

With nearly four months of 2019 behind us, it’s time for an update on my 19 for 2019! I’ve knocked out 8 items on my list and I’m on track for two more. I’m so glad I decided to do this — it’s helping me do a lot of worthwhile things that I might have otherwise postponed indefinitely!

1. Teach Georgie a new trick.

There was one day where I sort of kind of tried to teach her to spin around, but we both quickly lost interest in that particular trick.

2. See my friends Angelica & Becca.

Becca is moving away from Oregon, too, so I’ve added her to this goal. She should have been on there anyway, because even when we both lived in Eugene it was so easy to go forever without seeing each other. Even though it always made me so happy to see her! Clearly I need to make more of an effort in the seeing-friends area, in general.

3. Go to a dentist.

I went to a dentist! In fact, I went to the dentist five times. There was the preliminary examination. There were a couple rounds of fillings, and a broken crown replacement. There were deep cleanings and a polish. Then there was me going back in because I was afraid I needed a root canal, but it turned out the crown replacement was just still sensitive.

4. Finish first draft of book.

It needs a ton of work, but hey, it’s a first draft and it’s DONE.

5. Go to a writers’ group.

Technically I’ve gone to a reading series, but I did read my own work for a group of other writers, so I’m saying it counts.

6. Plan a birding trip with my friend Becky.

I did go birding with Becky, but I wouldn’t say I “planned a birding trip” with her. She came to Portland and we went birding. I think this goal is really to plan a birding trip to a place where neither of us lives — maybe Eastern Oregon or the coast.

7. Go birding with my mom.

I need to think on this one and figure out how to make it happen. Hmm.

8. Go back to Japan.

It looks like my 2019 Japan tour will be in November. On the sooner side of things, in June I’ll be playing some shows in the UK and Kaliningrad, Russia!

9. Find a new favorite board game.

I may have found two new favorite board games! One of them — Wingspan — I have yet to play. I pre-ordered it as soon as I heard about it back in January, but demand exceeded production and I’m still on the waitlist.


The game I have played is MachiKoro. Adam got it for me after I returned from my first Japan tour in 2017, to help me cope with missing Japan, but we never actually played it until this year. It was super fun — kind of a mix of Settlers of Catan and SimCity.

10. Do The Curated Closet.

I had called this one “Dress for success,” but that isn’t an easy item to check off. A more actionable plan is to read The Curated Closet and follow its steps.

11. Read a book in Russian.

I haven’t even begun to think about this, really, BUT I have been doing a Skype language exchange with my friend Vlad from Kaliningrad. So maybe keeping up on my Russian is just taking a different form than I expected.

12. Go to a Japanese conversation group.

I finally went to a Japanese conversation group a couple weeks ago and I’m so glad I did! The people were super friendly and welcoming. I definitely plan on going again.

13. Change my Facebook page photos four times. √ √ √ _

So far I have changed photos three times! One more to go and I’ll be able to check this one off, though I’ll want to make sure I don’t wait till 2020 to change them again after that.

14. Brush up on French.

I do still want to do this, but it always feels less pressing than Japanese and Russian. Probably I need to set a more specific goal.

15. Write a monthly newsletter. √ √ √ √ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I’ve sent out a monthly newsletter every month this year, so I’m on track for this one! Each newsletter includes a free download of an unreleased demo along with some of the story behind the song. The response to this has been lovely, with people emailing me back very thoughtful messages. I’m glad I started doing this!

16. Make a vlog.

Finally, I made a vlog for my niece Genevieve! Actually it’s a product review, but that counts, right? It’s a video, and in it I’m talking and being silly instead of just performing a song. I haven’t seen Genevieve since I made the video, but word on the street is she dug it.

17. Plan two family get-togethers.

Zero progress on this. I need to get moving on it, or I’ll end up trying to cram two get-togethers into one weekend in December.

18. Get a stamp made.

My friend Rebecca DeMoss (the Becca of goal #2), who did the artwork for A Troubled Piece of Fruit, made THREE amazing stamp designs for me! If you come to three of my shows, you can collect them all — on programs, in your own journal, wherever — and get a special prize! It looks like there’ll be more to come, too. I’m so excited about these stamps, I can’t even tell you.

19. Have (new) friends over.

It’s been tricky, because this year has been so busy, but I did have a new friend over for an hour once! And old friends have stopped by on a couple occasions. I’ll be continuing to work on this!

Some things I’ve accomplished that weren’t on my list:

  1. I went to the Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

  2. I went to a Portland Birds & Beers meetup.

  3. I started working on a music video.

  4. I went to AWP (the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference).

  5. I entered this year’s Tiny Desk Contest (see right).

  6. I made seitan for the first (and second) time and not only was it super easy, it was also much tastier than the packaged stuff.

  7. I started re-reading A Series of Unfortunate Events, with the goal of finally finishing the series. (I only ever read 10 or 11 books out of 13.)

  8. I’ve orchestrated several songs for the next album!

  9. I got a new(er) phone that will be great for taking photos on my tours this year!

That’s it for this update! If you want to get my next free demo in your inbox next week, sign up for my newsletter here. :)