Steady study, averaging nearly three hours of exposure each day.
Audio materials have shifted into New Practical Chinese Reader, textbook CDs. They also have workbook CDs, but the readings are straightforward, no gaps for response. Good eartraining.
I've also been reviewing the Living Language CDs. These are usually sequenced as English phrase, then the Chinese translation, then a pause for student repetition. They're more for pedagogy than practice -- there's not enough time between E and C to anticipate the phrase -- but I'm using it to anticipate the sentence structure and key words -- it's a substitute for actual real-life speech production.
I've found a set of earphones that's not too uncomfortable to fall asleep in, so I'm getting some exposure during that critical hypnagogic state. TV is in the background each day... no radio recently; will return with the baseball season.
With flashcards I'm approaching the first quarter of the Speed Builder set... long haul, but it's convenient.
My main study book has been "A Guide to Proper Usage of Spoken Chinese" by Tian Shou-he, on Chinese University Press. I had read the book before -- it has 114 essays distinguishing terms commonly confused by foreigners -- but this time I'm going through sequentially, using an index card to read the characters before the pinyin or English. I'm working ten essays at a time, first reviewing the last ten I studied, then working hard through a new set, and finishing off by previewing the set I'll study next time. Each session is usually about 90 minutes, usually at the San Francisco Brewing Company in North Beach, sometimes in Golden Gate Park. I anticipate finishing this pass sometime in March, and then I'll have to work through it again in a few months to lock it in.
I'm hearing more, that's for sure. I'm pretty confident I could handle some basic communications, but it's like practicing music compared to attending to everything going on in a live session. I'm making progress, but I ain't there yet.