Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Books of 2013

(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish... click for more details on this weekly feature!)


I didn't make my goal this year for my reading challenge... But I did find some good reads...

As usual I'm late to the bandwagon...

I laughed! I laughed some more! I giggled uncontrollably! I got a stitch in my side! My face hurt from laughing! This.Was.Remarkable. I think it wins for this years favorite.



LOVED this book :) It was all I could do to read other things and not just dive into this series... maybe this year I'll indulge.


This was a beautifully written, beautifully characterized, 'live somewhere exotic' life. And so much love!

This comes out in February... I 110% recommend this book! A memoir. A love story. A mother-daughter story... and so much more! I ate this one up!!!

I had some issues with this, but it makes the list because I NEED it!!!


I supposed it's kind of hard to pick 10 favorites when you barely read 25! That and I'd better get better at picking books!


Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Wrap up post

After one of the worst years of my life.. broken heart, mom in nursing home, father died... I'm ready to say.


That's a Wrap!

I'm just going to hit the highlights of what last years 'resolutions' were...


1. No shopping. 
Didn't do awful for myself, but I've found out I can not say No to my kids, even now.



2. Keep Flying
After Mom's stuff arrived I got very overwhelmed by my house... I have an idea for that to impliment 

3.  Read more
Actually read quite a bit, but still less than 2012. So still some room to work there.



4.  Blog
 -
 I have this blog... and 2 others, plus goodreads... maybe I should consolidate?

5.  Work on my Novel
So I DID go through a time where this was going well... I think I have an idea for this too


6.  Work on Nutrition - 
Still working...

7.  Cut Expenses - 
Still a LONG way to go

9.  Get out of debt - 
I've got a new way to work on this too.. 2014 IS the year!


10.  Liquidate the un-necessary! 

I did have a yard sale. Made like 400 dollars. I think I pretty much blew that money. God that is so depressing

11. Balance Volunteer Positions 
I have a few to work with
  • Friends of the Library - I stock the revolving book sale once a week & attend meetings
  • Church positions:
  •       Financial Secretary - every week at least 2 hours
  •       Youth board - monthly meeting and events
  •       Church Co-Librarian - as necessary, I'll work on this every week after I do the financials
  •       Vision Committee - we are dormant at the moment 
  •       Circle of Friends - a monthly fellowship group, co-organizer
  •       Ruth Circle Member - monthly meeting and 1 big event in May
  • Hosting a Choir event dinner at my home
  • Pink Drinks on a Thursday Evening - monthly book club - founder and defacto leader
Here is where some cutting down is coming in.

12. Faith 

Here is where some focus needs done

13.  Work

I'm actively looking for a different job actually.

14. Style

PuhLease!! This is like impossible!!

15. Exercise
So this month  I sold it. to help pay for Christmas. But I still need to exercise

16. School 

This one drops off for now.

17. No Dating

I can not re-iterate this one enough. THis was disastrous this year and I'm still trying to get over him

That was 2013. At least the one thing I DID accomplish was to get these things on my radar. And that's not awful! It beat living totally reactionary which was how I lived in the past.  I'll ponder these things and post more in a day or two. 

.... after all, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Miracle of Christmas carries me through..

Life is life and death is death and a holiday, no matter how wonderful, can not stop either... especially death.

So how do you try to celebrate the birth of the Lord at the same time as mourning the passing of a father.

My dad is going to die. He was moved to a 'hospice like' ward of the hospital today. We are going to lose him. Maybe yet tonight, or tomorrow, at the outside 2 or 3 days.

The Miracle of Christmas says that I can have a personal relationship with the Lord and I can go to him in need, happiness, and grief. It says that Jesus came as a baby, lived a human life, died a human death bearing upon him all our sins, and overcame death by resurrection and ascent into heaven to show us that Our God can overcome the grave. Through the Miracle of Christmas and the gift God gave the world, my dad, a believer, will never die but have eternal life. Not with us though.

But I'll miss him.. it will actually shatter my heart and scar 1/2 my being with the depth of the grief of having him gone from my life.

And I'm actually so sad that from now on Christmas will be associated with this event. But I"m glad that they are both in college so they have had him in their lives for so long.

Dad... oh I'll miss you.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Salon December 22, 2013... snow day!


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Place // I'm in my typical chair. But today i have 2 cats on my right arm. 
Time // 10:11
Eating // nada yet
Drinking // Coffee.. is there anything else?
Still Reading: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
I didn't really get to this one very much this week because I was focused on the money book...

FINISHED READING // Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
I really am not very good with money. Even though some of the  specifics in this book were kind of dated, the principals weren't and after some initial balking, I've come to see the plan he lays out as completely do able and worth it! So I'm going to give it a try... I'll lay it allllll out on the line over on my other blog... http://muselandings.blogspot.com/
LISTENING TO // The Mayor of Casterbridge ~ Thomas Hardy
I've never read any Hardy and this sounds good! Plus I found a blog post with one of those charts that's "if you like that, you'll like this" about the subplots from Love Actually and based on the Colin Firth sub-plot it said I'd like this.
Watching // Supernatural!! My oldest daughter came home from college and she is not caught up to where my youngest and I are so now we are backtracking and re-watching to catch her up.
Music // I listened to some of the new One Republic. I love them and actually have for about 5 years!! But my coworker just discovered them and likes them (she's 58) so I had my daughter rip their discography and then I put it on a jump drive for her as a Christmas present. :)
Blogging // Super busy week. Came home from work so exhausted I didn't get anything done!
Acquisitions // I don't even think I made it to the library this week. Which is bad because i"m supposed to at least once a week to restock the Friends of the Library booknook of books for sale. 
Hating  // My dad is still in the hospital. My kid won't quit a job she despises and she doesn't need it. It's just that when you aren't dealing with bull crap it's easy money... but there is always bull crap. I say leave it. 
and snow... we got a lot of snow last night and I have too much to do to deal with it, although I did get out and get shoveled. 
Loving // Despite the expense, I did get my girls what I wanted to get them. That always makes me feel like a success.

Writing // Didn't do any writing this week and feel bad about that. 
Avoiding // Still bothered by what to do with mom but I think I have a little bit of a plan. I wish this were easier.

I hope you all have a wonderful wonderful magical warm Christmas! May the spirit of caring and giving, love and wonder, follow you into the New Year!
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Salon Dec 15 2013

Sunday Salon December 15th 

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Place // I'm in my typical chair.
Time // 12:08 p.m.
Eating // homemade chicken enchillads on a bed of spicy refried beans.
Drinking // Coffee as usual, but this time I splurged with Vanilla Creamer this time
Reading: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
I've opted to slow down the read of this instead of doing the mad sprint to the end of the year, challenge meeting, books-read-numbers-buffering. Just read it.

READING // Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
I've been working on my debt and next year's budget and in doing so I read reference to this plan. I started reading it and am making notes... not of it seems so sound. But I'll get to that in a later post. And over on my other blog where I'm writing about this process
http://muselandings.blogspot.com/
LISTENING TO // The Mayor of Casterbridge ~ Thomas Hardy
I've never read any Hardy and this sounds good! Plus I found a blog post with one of those charts that's "if you like that, you'll like this" about the subplots from Love Actually and based on the Colin Firth sub-plot it said I'd like this.
Finished  // The Expats by Chris Pavone
2 1/2 stars. Wasn't my favorite. Certainly NOT what I was expecting.

Watching // Supernatural!! Gyod I love this show!
Music // I was on Pandora 90's last night and they were kicking butt!
Blogging // Did some posts on my other blog. Wasn't really in the mood to review The Expats because I was so disappointed in it.
Acquisitions // Library books. 
Hating  // My dad is in the hospital 500 miles away. My step-family says that he'll be ok. but I wish I could go to him.
Loving // I don't know. My world seems to be teetering on an edge at the moment.

Writing // Did a little bit of writing. Dawn has been on my radar. I need more plot work.
Avoiding // Mom's situation because I really don't know what to do.

Praying for my dad. He's 86 1/2. This is not good. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Salon December 8, 2013

I'm putting up my Christmas trees.... yes. plural. I live on the corner and I want Christmas on both sides :)

Let the cursing
swearing
and vile profanity flinging... begin!

Snow is falling and I think I gave all my white lights to my girls for their dorms...
I don't REALLY want to go to walmart, but I do really want to get this done...

so luckily Dollar General is only 3 blocks away.. 500 white lights and 1 jar of French Vanilla Coffeemate... I got BOTH the big tree and the sad, pathetic, lil tree lit.



Now to the outside world, it looks like I have my crap together!  Image is everything, remember?

Decorating will have to wait until tomorrow night.

ON TO the SALON!
Place // I should just not fill this out. I'm always in my chair... so unless this changes... 
Time //9:21 p.m.
Eating // sour cream and onion lays potato chips... and I shouldn't  be
Drinking // Coffee w/ french vanilla creamer
Reading: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
Picking it back up again and I do enjoy it!!

FINISHED READING // glitter and glue by Kelly Corrigan. 4 1/2 stars!! I really enjoyed this!!


On the last disc for this... will be glad when it's over I'm sad to say

I also listened to

The Leopard by Jo Nesbo. I like the Snowman but really wasn't that happy with this one. As usual with me it's the gratuitous violence that gets me. And as always with Nesbo, the writing was very solid so I feel bad not liking it.
Watching // haven't had the tv on in days.
Music // Nothing. It snowed. Snow reminds me of last year and last year's snow makes me sad.
Blogging // Got a review done here, nothing on my other blog.
Acquisitions // figured out how to use 'Neighbors' through our library website. :)
Hating  // touchy subject. Snow. Not having my garage!!
Loving // Having amazing kids!!

Writing // not too much, but did do some. I'm on a big reading push to see how many books I can finish before the end of the year.

Avoiding // getting all mom's affairs in order. getting her moved. It's sooooo hard!!

Resentment is a big deal in my life. I hate feeling resentful and it is usually over things I can't control. Like the weather... yes I do do that! 
I've also come to the conclusion that maybe I should just read the books I want to read and quit this whole 'x amount of books to read in a year' challenge bull. It makes me too cautious about what I read. I have other lists I can work off of without checking page counts before I choose.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review: Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan


Title: Glitter and Glue
Author: Kelly Corrigan
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 224
Why I read this book: Advance Readers Copy

I loved this book! I enjoy memoirs but I also connected with this book on a deeper-than-voyeur level. 

Kelly Corrigan had set off on an adventure after college to experience life as a thrill seeking world traveler and obviously ended up being most deeply impacted by the comparatively most mundane; Family life and human connections there in. The connection between Kelly as a young woman with a tenuous, morphing relationship with her mother and the dichotomy of her working as a nanny for a motherless family was beautifully done!! I was impressed with the effortless connections and wisdom she entwined into the telling of this part of her life without being preachy or simplistic. 

Corrigan is so dang likable and I'm glad she choses to share her world with us readers, but I miss the Tanner's too. I felt just as connected to them! I received Glitter and Glue as an Advanced Readers Copy but my reaction and opinion are as heartfelt as if I'd found it in the stacks. I will also be looking to read her other works as soon as possible. No matter what your relationship with your mom, there is a connection to be felt and insight to be had from this wonderfully written memoir.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Salon December 1st

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Place // I'm in my typical chair.
Time // 11:05
Eating // nuffin yet. Maybe some leftovers when I'm done here
Drinking // Coffee as usual, but this time I splurged and got some hazelnut creamer for Thanksgiving 
Reading: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
Will be putting this on hold for a bit as I read ...

// glitter and glue by Kelly Corrigan. This was sent to me as an Advanced Readers Copy and I'm so flattered I thought it only right that I read it straight away and give my honest opinion/review of it. So far I've only just read the first few pages and while it starts out rather heavy, I am very very much enjoying it! I actually do love memoirs!



About 1/2 way through // The Expats by Chris Pavone
Not as enamored with it as I was. Pretty straight up spy/thriller stuff. 
Watching // Getting read to put in Anna Karenina... I've tried to watch this 3 times and never ever can I pay attention!! Not because it's not quality, it's just me 
Music // Not sure what I'll listen to at this point.... probably Nora and Billie and Taylore
Blogging // Still not doing awful. I have a couple of drafts going and a couple posts on my other blogs.
Acquisitions // I don't think I've added anything this week. Which is good~ WAIT!! that's not right. I got my copy of "glitter and glue" in the mail as an ARC. Unsolicited and I was so ecstatic!! :)
Hating  // Making bad decisions, which is all I ever seem to do and it ends up getting people hurt. 
Loving // Wrapping myself in the cozy comfort that is my home. Which I've found out means I will probably be on my own for the rest of my life and I've also found out that maybe, just maybe that's not a reason to panic. I can add a million friends and still maintain the space that keeps people from getting hurt. Win win there.

Writing // Did quite a bit of writing this weekend. Mostly self recriminating stuff and vows to quit riding dysfunctional merry-go-rounds.
Avoiding // I still have a hard time visiting my mom. But mostly I'm avoiding admitting to others the horrible messed up fickle shallow person I know I am and have been repeatedly chiding myself for being. I really AM working on not being that way!!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I shared it with ALL the people that matter most to me in the whole world except my Dad and my step-family but that's because they live two states away. I made a truly kick-ass pumpkin pie.... covered it with a kitchen towel while it cooled, and the CAT promptly walked across it... :) Life in my home continues as usual.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Salon November 17 2013

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Place // I'm in my typical chair.

Time // 5:48 in the evening
Eating // chips and salsa
Drinking // Still drinking Coffffeeeeee! 
Reading // I finished reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Sad. Depressing. Disturbing. and unfortunately still true today in my opinion.


I also read finished listening to// Quiet. The Power of Introverts in A World That Can't Stop Talking. By Susan Cain
I've reviewed both. Yay! Finally
Just starting to read// Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
Can't wait to get into this one!! It was a gift to me from someone very, very special.

I've also just started listening to// The Expats by Chris Pavone
I remember this going around the blogosphere last year so I'm looking forward to it.

Watching // The movie Solomon Kane.... it's a little too much for me.
Music // Been on a Taylor Swift kick but am listening to a lot of different stuff so I can find 'that special song'. Probably silly at my age, but I don't care. :)
Blogging // Doing better there! A couple of good reviews and making some comments. 
Acquisitions // Except for the book I've already talked about that Denis gave me, I have been good about both getting AND returning library books

Hating  // Waiting and making decisions. And letting go of all 'things' mom. physical things. Her life's possessions. I've sold her house. And I'm scheduling her auction. And she knows nothing of either. Remember this is how most lives end. Don't hold on to what isn't important, just don't.
Loving // Having someone special in my life and the way it wakes me up to possibilities. Also loving having the greatest kids and family in the world! They have all helped me through these difficult days and I KNOW they will be there for the ones to come
Writing // Mom's business has actually overshadowed my writing lately and I've lost the most magical momentum. I hope to get that back very soon. 
Avoiding // Visiting mom. I love her very much but there is so little I can say. And it's very hard to engage her in any kind of conversation these days. I'm just too wiped to handle it. 


NOTE: Prayers going out tonight to all those affected by today's severe weather!! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review-ish The Jungle ~ Upton Sinclair

Title: The Jungle
Author: Upton Sinclair
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Year: 1906
Pages: 290

goodreads blurb:
1906 bestseller shockingly reveals intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards as it tells the brutally grim story of a Slavic family that emigrates to America full of optimism but soon descends into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and despair. A fiercely realistic American classic that will haunt readers long after they've finished the last page.

My take:
I may write more later but suffice it to say... once upon a time an immigrant and his friends came to 'Murica for the promise of the land of milk and honey. Then some bad things happened and some bad people swindled the immigrant, then he vowed to work and work to make things right, but then some OTHER bad things happened and THEN someone died and THEN some bad things happened and THEN someone else died and THEN the immigrant felt terrible. Until the immigrant sat in a meeting and heard a miracle man call him comrade and talk about sharing. The moral of the story is.... this book took a long, long time to get to Sinclairs belief in Socialism. 

On the other hand... the exposure of the conditions of the packing houses were phenomenal and ground breaking. And it DID (in real life) cause legislation to be passed on the treatment of both our food source and our food workers. 

3 stars totally go to this book for the social exposure, but it wasn't exactly an enjoyable read. I work in the meat/food industry so perhaps I'm more jaded. Perhaps I'm more aware that things haven't become all that much better that 'immigrants' are still ushered in and mistreated. That there are still atrocities going on with our meat. And that I could potentially get fired for saying even this much. Luckily no one reads my blog :) And at this point, I'm so opposed to what I see and the attitudes I encounter, I frankly don't give a damn.  This book was 1906, but it smacked to me of 2006 and I'm afraid just like 2016 too.

Maybe I won't write anymore later after all!! :D

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review quickie: Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
By: Susan Cain
Read by: Kathe Mazur
My rating: 4/5
Why I read this book: (or listened as is the case) 
I had encountered it in the blogosphere last year and it really captured my attention. Especially in this era where the one with the loudest opinion wins. That and I usually always listen to non-fiction in the car and I'm running out of stuff at the library to listen to

goodreads blurb:
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

My take:
If you are a parent of a young introvert (or if you are a teacher!!), this book has so much advice. Actual concrete ways to help children become more at ease and perform more confidently and less stressfully in our chaotic extrovert world.

If you ARE an introvert you will nod your head vigorously thought the entire listening or reading.

If you are an extrovert you will gain so much insight into the introverts in your life and learn great ways of conversing and compromising more effectively.

If you are a little of both, this book will help you sort out when to nurture your quite side and when the extrovert in you is just having a temper tantrum :)

Wonderfully insightful look into the chilled out, laid back, quiet world of introverts.
Like me! (sometimes)