Currently – January

January is already more than halfway over… but I’m not going to dwell on that. Plenty of time to get things done, feel accomplished and all of that good stuff and dip my toes back into blogging because it’s the only form of journaling/record keeping I was ever semi-consistent with and call me crazy, but I enjoy looking back.

Reading… Welcome to Night Vale

I’m thinking maybe one needs to have listened to the podcast first to actually make sense of it?

Watching (on TV)… Outlander, This Is Us

Playing… A handful of games… I never finish anything quickly… except books.

Inspired byMusic and dance

Needing/Wanting… At least one or two more hours in the day… or you know, the lottery would be nice since that would definitely afford me more time.

Listening to… Random Spotify playlists.  I’ve been jumping around a lot trying to find just what I’m in the mood for.  I will literally listen to instrumental/classicial, metal, pop, rap, etc. all in the same day.  So… that.

Drinking… More water and working on cutting back on caffeine.  I think I just got into a habit of drinking coffee because it’s warm and comforting, but I really need more water.

Eating… Healthier, or at least making more of an effort to.  With our schedules so busy, we definitely let ourselves fall into bad eating patterns and I’m making an effort to plan meals again and try and get our picky eaters to branch out more.  Working full time, longish commutes and after school activities really make it hard most nights, so time to set some new routines.

Planning… Summer vacation! 

Creating Lots of lists of all the things I need/want to do.

Practicing… Flexibility and graceful movement.  Though I feel like I must have been a dancer in another lifetime, what I see and feel in my head does not always translate to this body!  Ha!

Trying… To add more beneficial habits to my life while shedding the ones that don’t serve me.  It’s all too easy for me to curl up in a ball and read or watch tv, so I’m pushing myself harder to deal with the cold and warm up by being active with reading and a glass of wine as a reward.

Looking forward to… A date night with Josh. I scored some sweet free tickets to a hockey game and we’re going to go try a new to us place to eat and drink beforehand. 

Enjoying… A little extra freedom with my days/evenings to go to more pole classes but also try new things.  I’m pushing myself more than I used to and really stepping out of my comfort zone a lot.  My introverted nature balks sometimes, but that tiny extroverted piece of my soul has been reveling in all of the fun and adventures I didn’t allow her to have for so many years.  

Feeling… Slightly overwhelmed and anxious, yet also excited and hopeful.

2018 Reading Stats

Thanks to Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner for always hosting this!

Number Of Books You Read: 67
Number of Re-Reads: 
3
Genre You Read The Most From:
It was a pretty varied year

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

 An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 I don’t think I was really that letdown by any books I was truly excited about, so despite reading a few duds, they weren’t duds I was expecting to be great.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

 The Outsider by Stephen King

I wasn’t expecting one of my favorite characters to turn up in this one, but it made it that much more enjoyable for me!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

 Saga, Saga, Saga. Haha!

 5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

 Best Series:  Wayward Pines series by Blake Crouch

 Best Sequel: Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

 Best Ender: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Jesmyn Ward

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

 I don’t read many memoirs, but enjoyed My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir by Chris Offutt.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

 I read a handful of books that made me want to keep turning the page, but I’m going to go with true crime for this one.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Saga series (of course)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Benji Ovich from Beartown and Us Against You

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

 An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

 Beartown by Fredrik Backman

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“But inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce and that is who we are.”  Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

 Shortest:  Saga Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan (146 pages)

 Longest:   Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (992 pages)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

 Saga Volume 9

 That ending!!  I need to know what happens next.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

 Alana and Marko (Saga)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

 Dan Torrance and Abra Stone (Doctor Sleep)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

 Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

 A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

 I grew to love Manon even more in Kingdom of Ash

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

 Eesh… I feel like I’m just repeating myself with these.  Haha

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

 Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Britain

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Unmentionable : The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill  – I enjoyed the sarcasm and wit.  Sure, it may not offer a complete picture of the 19th century (I’m not an expert), but it was funny and a light read before moving onto more serious non-fiction regarding the era.

(Okay, I didn’t quite finish this one this year, but close and really the funniest one I read.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

 Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (the ending)

 Bear Town by Fredrik Backman

 Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

  I can’t say that it was hidden, but I enjoyed Tips for Living by Renee Shafransky

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

 The Pisces by Melissa Broder

 Woman falls in love with a fish man…. Need I say more?

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I had to put aside the feeling I had that her main character would not actually have acted as she did.

 The Dinner by Herman Koch

It was frustrating for me.  I liked the premise, but ultimately it felt so unrealistic and I didn’t like any of the characters in the end. 

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

 I have such a massive stack… I have a feeling I’ll be playing Roulette to see who goes next.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

Circe by Madeline Miller

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon  – Fantasy, strong women and dragons?  I’m in! 

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

 Alas, I don’t think they’ll be out in 2019.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Find a way to incorporate my love of books with other things. Whether that be blogging again or doing a You-Tube channel, a podcast or something… Still pondering.

Currently… October

Reading… The Shining… only during the day, of course

Watching (on TV)… Stranger Things (again)

Playing… Spooooky games for Twitch and Vampyr when I can

Listening to… Moody mixes and songs to dance to

Drinking… Warm drinks and hard cider

Eating… Birthday cake

Planning… Parties, Vacations, Solo Getaways, you name it

Creating… A Demogorgon, obviously

Practicing… Pole and flexibility

Trying… To spread my wings and not fall

Looking forward to… next year

Enjoying… No humidity and fewer allergies!

Feeling… All the feelings.  I’m a roller coaster of emotions!!

Demogorgon teeth… just about 100 more to go. 

Minnesota Nice…

In the past 10 years that we’ve lived in Minnesota, I have struggled to make friends.  The majority are all through my husband and time and time again I’ve heard how hard it can be to make friends in this state when you’re an outsider.  It’s all true.  This little saying?  “Minnesotans will give you directions anywhere except their own house.”  It’s totally true, and disheartening. I learned semi-quickly that when a Minnesotan says, “We should get together!” or etc. they don’t always actually mean that. Quite often they’re just saying it…. Surprise! While I might have an easier time if I wasn’t a full-time working mom, I struggled when we originally moved here and then became distracted with other things. Then things settled down, the kids got older and once again I knew I needed to make my own friends that weren’t all inherited from my significant other.

However… judging from various articles, Reddit threads, you name it… it seems like it will not get easier anytime soon and that I should expect it to take years before I can expect to be welcomed into a pre-existing group.  Seriously?  Really?  Even though we got along great and have lots in common??   I’m beginning to think moving back west sooner rather than later is a more attractive idea.  I don’t think I can handle the extra added stress of basically trying to ace an interview every interaction in the hopes I’ll be accepted into a group. Of course friendships take time, I just didn’t realize it would take years to get out of the “acquaintance” category.  I’m probably better off trying to find other people who are not from here either. Or, I guess there is always the option of moving to a friendlier, more open city, which is definitely something I’ve been thinking of lately.  I used to be worried about the kids adjusting, but I’m sure they’d be okay and maybe an adventure in the next few years is just what we need.

All this to say… don’t be so hard on outsiders.  You know, some are pretty nice and worth getting to know. Who knows, you could even end up with a lifelong friend.

Not all Minnesotans are this way, of course. I have met Minnesotans who are not just friends with a small clique that they probably grew up with, or if they are still friends with that same group, they still manage to open their arms to someone new and allow them to leave the ranks of semi-acquaintance fairly quickly.  These people are rare and fantastic finds.

Day 3 … Gaming and social commentary

There are always a few topics I try and avoid, but why do I do that?  This is my space, so I get to choose what I want to talk about.

I’ve been playing the Detroit Become Human.  It’s good… really good.  Not only is it graphically beautiful, but it just so happens to also be very thought provoking and hits home quite a bit with what has been happening in the good ole U.S. of A. lately.  Some people are criticizing the game saying it’s too political, but the game only recently came out and it takes years for these kinds of games to be made.  Plus, even if certain events weren’t occurring right now, we could just say the game is reflective of history and man’s inability to be accepting, and ultimately man’s fear, I think.

There’s also the fact that so often we criticize in others what we dislike about ourselves.  Which in some ways is hopeful.  Granted, I hate reminding myself of that because then it means I have to look at myself and check myself to make sure I’m not doing the same.  This isn’t about me or my faults today, though. Ha!  Instead, I view it is a positive thing that so many people are criticizing this game for being too political, it means that on some level they recognize that maybe they could be wrong.  I’ll just get down to it. Last night in the game, an adult android and a child android who were very much like mother/daughter were torn apart and put in concentration camps.  This has happened many times throughout history and it just so happens it has been occurring again.  I get that there are laws and that that everyone has very strong opinions right now about what is happening, but above all, I encourage everyone to try and find some empathy for your fellow man regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation… none of that matters.  We are all human and have emotions and feelings and should be cognizant of that.

I’m certainly not perfect by any means, but I’ve been really trying to put myself in everyone’s shoes before I make a judgment.  Sure, I may end up still not changing my mind about how I feel about someone and may be unable to find much empathy for someone, but I do try to imagine myself in the same situation and think about what I would do.  While there are still times that my mind isn’t much changed, there are plenty of times when I have to admit that maybe I’ve been wrong and haven’t really put myself in their shoes and… Okay, I get it now.

I posted this on my Facebook wall the other day after seeing someone else post it, and I think it’s worth sharing here as well…

“In my work with the defendants (at the Nuremberg Trails 1945-1949) I was searching for the nature of evil and I now think I have come close to defining it. A lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants, a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow men. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.”

Quotation: Captain G. M. Gilbert, the Army psychologist assigned to watching the defendants at the Nuremberg trials.