Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Reading Time and 2018 goals

Linking up with Jana and Steph again ... while also adding umpteen numerous books to my already overlong TBR list ... It's a good day for a good day and reading updates are always good days.

So ... 2017's Goodreads goal was for 40 books. Slipped in #25 right on New Year's Eve ... so that was a fail. Life got in the way and I'm getting back to finding my groove so I'll keep 40 books as the 2018 goal and see what happens.

I like to mix in a classic every now and then - kids' classics included.

I don't think I'd ever read this or even heard of it until it was an Andrew Luck book club selection. Cute book and reminded me of Jasper Fforde's works. Speaking of Fforde, have you read any of his Thursday Next or Nursery Crimes series? Good stuff there.

Then this one ...

I had started it as an ebook library loan but couldn't start it right away so it 'disappeared' after two weeks and I still had a few chapters to go. Put my name immediately back in the queue for the ebook and realized I never cancelled the hold request for the 'real' book - ended up getting the 'real' book first. Took me a little bit to get into this one, but once I got past the first few chapters, I couldn't put it down.

Then this one ...

I had been meaning to read one of her books for years. She was my grandma's favorite author so I felt like I should at least try. Plus, I wanted to see the movie and always opt to read the book before seeing a movie. Pretty good story and I didn't know the ending so it kept me interested to the end.

And ended 2017 with this one ...

I was actually more interested in the book because it takes place in Indiana, more than that the author is an actress. Never saw Jessica Jones or Don't Trust the B**** in Apt whatever-number or even Breaking Bad ... so I'm not very familiar with her. I realize I get stuck on the details and if something's 'off', then it's hard for me to move past that without closure. There were a couple editing quirks that threw me off -- but the plot was good enough to help me get over it.

Currently reading ...

Not sure what I was expecting with this one and I probably won't read the B through Y books, but A is interesting enough.

Since I seemed to read more ebooks than real books in 2017, I had thought I'd set a goal to read all real books in 2018. Going to revise that and just aim for more real books than ebooks ... all was in order to start on my stacks of real books when the news came that Sue Grafton passed away. I downloaded A is for Alibi within minutes and my first book of 2018 consists of staring at a screen instead of holding a book. I'm also in the habit of reserving both ebook and real book versions of the same book, since statistically I know the ebook list will go quicker than the real book list - thanks to books just simply disappearing (magic!) whether the reader is done or not. Also, I noticed that more than half of my 2017 books were library loans ... so another 2018 goal is to read more of my own personal stash (ebooks and/or real books) and then pass those along when done.

Have you read any of these?
Are you a book-loan hoarder? That is, do you put your name on the library list for both real book and ebook versions to see what comes first?
Any book goals for 2018?

I'm off to check out all the other linked blogs and add to my Goodreads list ...

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017 recap - if that's possible

I actually want to forget most of 2017 so I'd rather not do a full recap, other than to say it was a year that made me realize how strong I am. Started off just like every other year and ended just the same - with my favorite people. The end was with one less person (his choice) and also the news that the divorce was finalized a few days prior. So ... after 19 years, I have my own sequel: A New Beginning.

Spade is my spirit animal with regards to dealing with the past year. 
Not today, Satan. Not today.

Family in 2017 - moved my mom to a nursing home near us in February. We've been blessed to have found this facility and that they had an open room for her. I know my sister felt obligated to keep Mom home as long as she could, but it wasn't benefiting Mom to stay isolated. She's not a flight-risk (not mobile) so she's in 'gen-pop' instead of in the Alzheimer's Care unit and they have activities going all the time to keep her mind active and involved. Plus, she's 10 minutes from us instead of 100 miles. She doesn't always remember Dad has passed on, but then also doesn't always remember she was married for almost 50 years and has 3 kids. It's rough. Cherish your parents while you can.

Finances in 2017 - started the year as previous years, still drowning in debt and finished the year almost debt-free, but with the agreement that I take on one of his credit cards ... so back to saving and scrimping and making sure that's paid off as quickly as possible. I'm so done with credit cards and stupid debt. It was something that constantly weighed on my mind and affected me in other ways -- so many times I tried sharing with him what our circumstances were and he would zone out. So many times I turned down going out with friends because we didn't have the money available. (Him? whip out a card. If that one gets rejected, whip out another one.) Working on meal-planning, freezer-meal prep with friends, coupons/sales, and getting into the habit of Aldi's shopping.

Fitness in 2017 - well ... I lost 30 pounds. Wasn't planning on it and don't recommend the method (stress), but it also gave me some PRs in pretty much every race this year. Silver lining, folks. Always look for the silver lining. Finished the year with a 4 miler (cut down from an 8 miler due to extreme cold), a 10k, 2 10 milers, a less than 3 mile 5k, 3 halfs, a full marathon, and ended with a 5-miler.
My participation medals from the year. 
Each one represented a PR in either the distance or the course though.

Looking ahead to 2018 - no resolutions for me. Just aiming to be better than I was the day before.

Reading - I'm currently reading A is for Alias, downloaded the ebook from the library after hearing that local author Sue Grafton passed away. And one of my 'goals' for 2018 was to stay away from ebooks so I could plow through my stacks of real books - oh well. Goodreads goal is set at 40, same as last year and I missed the mark by 15 books. Sleeping better and my mind is in a better place this year so I hope to get back to reading consistently again. Scared off from the library after running into "her" and making a fool of myself. Stupid emotions. Can't we just slap a scarlet A on her and be done with it? Too much? Anyway, I have another library I can use while I work through this. And it's good that I have plenty of unread books at the house so I don't have to risk that again.

Fitness - As of January 1st, I'm registered for pretty much all my races this year. Looking forward to trying a couple new ones with some friends - a trail run this month and a new-to-me half in the fall.

Finances - as previously mentioned: meal plan, freezer-meal prep, and also planning a garden this year since I'm no longer an urban chicken tender (wink wink), and living as frugally as possible. Any tips along the way are appreciated! I was worried about Christmas but was SO VERY thankful for the monotony of doing surveys throughout the year. I had enough in Amazon gift certificates that I spent $5 on a fish and maybe $50 at Old Navy ... everything else came from cashing in from survey sites. The looks on the kids' faces are worth it.
Difficult to surprise older kids when they provide a very detailed Christmas list. Son had mentioned how he was interested in hydroponics after all the sophomores took a field trip to the vocational school. He was so excited when he saw this gift, he wanted to get it all set up immediately. This is a week's time of hydroponic-growing of wheatgrass (no dirt, just seeds and growing stones and fish poop).

House - repainting and renovating what I can and when I can. I have a five-year goal to be out of that house by the time my youngest is in college. There are so many half-started demolition projects to deal with that there's no way it could even be sold 'as-is'. It is what it is though and it'll give me something to do. Google and YouTube have helped me with some repairs already.

Friends - reconnecting with old ones and spending time with new ones. It's really amazing how much freer it feels not to have all that debt weighing down on me. Meet for chips and margaritas? Yes! I can do that now! Dinner at a new restaurant I've been wanting to try? Double yes! I'm an introvert and prefer to stay at home, but connecting with people has helped me realize I'm not alone in this ... and also finding out that all those happy marriages aren't quite as happy as they seem on Facebook.

Travel - hoping to travel someplace new with the kids this year. If not new to me, then new to them. Family in Philadelphia will be moving soon and I want to get the kids there to meet cousins and see the sights I got to see on my annual trips. They've also requested some locations that aren't road-trip distances so that's another reason for me to get the new debt paid off this year - it's crazy what plane tickets cost now. Last time I flew was in 2005? 2006?

And that's a recap in a nutshell. Linking up with Kristin and Gretchen.

Ending with a reminder from a new friend ...

And something that gives me a chuckle each time I read it ...

Monday, January 1, 2018

A letter to my kids to start 2018

So many things - so many changes happened to us and for us in 2017 - so much I want to say and so many tangents I could go off on ...

In no particular order ... and knowing that I'll add to this regularly ... 

  1. Be strong
  2. Be kind
  3. Be consistent
  4. Be intentional
  5. Apologize when you're in the wrong
  6. Don't assume
  7. Stand up for what's right, not what's easy
  8. Help each other
  9. Be there 
  10. Be present
  11. Be yourself
  12. Keep reading
  13. Challenge yourself
  14. Travel
  15. Get outside your comfort zone on occasion
  16. Know that you can always come home - I might not let you stay but you'll always a place to rest and recharge
  17. Volunteer
  18. Stand by your commitments
  19. Remember that quitting isn't failure - not trying is failure
  20. Realize your mistakes and learn from them
  21. Be a friend
  22. Help the animals
  23. Stay curious and don't be afraid to ask questions
  24. Remember that 'family' is whoever is there for you when you need them, not just when it's convenient for them
  25. Get involved 
  26. Look for the good in everything
  27. Trust - but be cautious
  28. Drink water
  29. Try new things ... unless it's illegal
  30. Unplug regularly
  31. Set goals - large and small
  32. Dream
  33. Vote - and educate yourself before filling out that ballot
  34. Donate blood 
  35. Say please, thank you, and you're welcome -- and be sincere about it
  36. Never be afraid to say 'no'
  37. No one is better than you and you are no better than anyone else
  38. Be brave 
  39. Get out in nature 
  40. Exercise
  41. For your mama and for your health, eat some freaking vegetables that aren't potatoes or fried
  42. Get plenty of sleep (meaning go to bed earlier, if necessary)
  43. Find your passion
  44. Brush your teeth
  45. Traditions aren't set in stone - make your own
  46. Remember that your job pays the bills, your hobbies make you happy. If you can find a job that pays you for doing what you love - even better.
  47. Learn how to budget and stick with it. AVOID credit card debt, at all costs!
  48. Sure you can pay someone to do everything for you (plumber, electrician, paint, yard work) but you also need to learn how to do basic repairs on your own. Personal satisfaction.
  49. Be thankful for the learning experiences - because everything is a learning experience. Everything.
  50. Always remember that you are loved.

Reading Time - March

It's that time again ... I wasn't expecting to have many books read since the last SUYB - Feb 12 to Mar 12 is a mere 28 days and gon...