Is this a return to blogging?  Not sure yet.  Either way… it’s something.

Currently :

Reading… The Dog Stars, The Arthurian Saga (on Book #3)

Watching (on TV)… The Second Season of a Handmaid’s Tale, The Curse of Oak Island

Playing… Don’t Starve, Stardew Valley, The Forest and as of tonight, Detroit : Become Human!!

Listening to… A variety of tunes, can’t seem to make up my mind what I want to hear, so I listen to everything on Spotify.

Drinking… Too much coffee, Sparkling water, Dark beers, Sweet wines

Eating… A few too many snacks of late.  Gotta switch it up!  Craving lots of grilled veggies and stuff, though!

Planning… Some fun crafts/cosplays, creating an outside living space on our deck

Wearing… Summer clothes!! I think we skipped spring entirely…

Enthusiastically… Picking up my camera again here and there, getting outside, finding myself in things that I love (dancing, baking, reading, creating, and so many other things).

Trying… To create better habits and routines.  I’ll get there.

Looking forward to… Summer activities like camping, pub crawls, picnics, yard work, Ren Fest, hikes, fairs, the works.

Enjoying… My weekly pole classes.  I need to push myself to be better about practicing during the week at home, though.  It’s my favorite time to just be myself and get away from everything. I’ve always enjoyed dance.

Disliking… The Freaking Frustrating Formidable Fours.  Who knew my little lady would develop such sass and attitude over the past couple of months?  I’m hoping a switch flips when she hits five.  Oy vey.

Feeling… “… stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

Extra-Life in May

Jumping in briefly to share a link to our Extra Life fundraiser we’re doing on May 5th.  I’ve been doing a lot of gaming lately and we will be doing a 24 hour gameathon to try and raise money and awareness for Childrens’ Miracle Network Hospitals.

It’s a good cause and lot of fun, so if you want to donate, you can do so here:

If you want to hang out with me at any time on Twitch on May 5th – I’ll be playing a handful of different fun games and would love the company!

Think of a place…

I considered doing a “Currently” post or something similar, but thought against it because… reasons.  Then I asked myself why I’m back here at all randomly on a Wednesday.  I haven’t picked up a camera in weeks, so I don’t even have any photos to share on a hastily little-thought out post.  Why am I here?  The eternal question.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all existential.  I don’t have the energy for it.  I have been reading a lot of Self-Help books, however. Aren’t they supposed to… oh, I don’t know, make you feel better about things in general?  Here’s some motivation and guidance, now go take on the world and yada yada yada.  Lately they just make me feel kind of shitty and heartfelt rom-coms just… make me sigh.

Realism here.  Most days I don’t feel like I can take on the world. Some days I’m uncertain if I can even take on getting out of bed or being a parent or a friend or hell, I’m not sure I could even take on being a house cat and their lives aren’t exactly challenging, you know?

Maybe it’s winter… maybe it’s chemical… maybe it’s the stars.  I just figured I’d have shit figured out by the time I was 35 and not as though I’m floundering in the deep end of the pool waiting for a life preserver that simply isn’t there.

It’s days like this that I dream of the mountains.

You know those exercises where you go to a happy place in your mind? You imagine someplace that brings you peace and grounds you.  Mine used to be a field of sunflowers (sometimes it still is) but when I’m contemplating the big stuff, I go to where I feel safe and secure… up near the tree-line.  I picture all of my favorite places in the mountains that we went to when I was younger. I hear a pounding waterfall and rushing creek and feel the icy cold spray that makes your skin ache.  I run to the edge of a mountain and feel the pull of the earth as it warns me not to get too close.  I feel the wind wrap itself around me and can just hear the sound of marmots and other small critters scrambling over rocky crags. I close my eyes and sit in quiet solitude and feel at peace.

A New Year

A new year has arrived and considering my absence of late, I’m not sure how much longer I intend to keep up this blog.  The kids are getting older, and I feel like I should probably give them more privacy, and in all honesty my interest in keeping things up has waned a bit.  I go back and forth between how much I want to share on here, and when I feel as though I have to omit things, it just feels false.  I haven’t even really picked up a camera lately and in general, I once again find myself in that place of uncertainty.

2017 was much like any other year with highs and lows and so much in between.  There was growth, boundaries were tested and pushed, I found passion in a new hobby and started to find myself again. There is only so long you can push who you are further and further down beneath the surface before that part of you demands to rise up for air – much the same as when you push thoughts or emotions away and at some point you must meet them and hopefully are prepared.

Time will tell.

I can’t say for certain what 2018 will bring, but it is my hope that it is a year that I will look back on with joy and fondness, which means I’d better figure my shit out and make it that way.  I know many people choose a word for their year, and generally I don’t because… well, I just don’t. If I were to choose a word for 2018, though, I would go with BRAVE because I want to live bravely this year. I want to take more risks and continue to grow.

It’s actually funny, but the last time I had such an emotional breakthrough was 10 years ago and boy was that a hell of a year (admitted myself into in-patient treatment and then met Josh a month later).  So… maybe 2018 is going to be the year, after all.

2017 Reading Stats

I may end up finishing a book or two before the year is actually over, but here we go.  A mostly finished year in reading thanks to an (edited) Survey created by Jamie!

Number Of Books You Read: 58
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary Fiction

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

This is always the hardest question to answer.  I’m going with All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood, though.  For taking us to dark and scary places and daring us to find beauty in something that we feel we shouldn’t.

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

I still enjoyed it, but I felt like Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas kind of dragged in comparison to the other books in the series.  I didn’t love it as much as I was hoping to.

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

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. There were definitely a few surprises – at least for me.  I knew some history, but this filled in some blanks.

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

I’m a terrible book pusher.  I really should be better about that.

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?  (I read LOTR again, but I’m not counting that).

Best Series Started: Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with any of the series I started this year.  The Diviners was okay, and War Cross was lacking.

Best Sequel:  Read a few sequels this year.  Loved Saga #5 and for romance The Staff and the Blade

Best Series Ender: No ended series this year!

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Fredrik Backman.  He definitely grew on me fast this year.

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

I’m going with Blankets by Craig Thompson. Not because it’s a graphic novel, but because of the heavy religious tones, which I typically avoid.  His art alone is worth picking this book up for, though.  Such a talented artist.

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

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – This wasn’t a great book, but I did get sucked in at first despite there being issues.  It ended up being a quick read, though.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Probably Harry Potter and the Cursed Child because 2018 seems like a good year to re-read the whole series again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

Warcross by Marie Lu – Love the colors!

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

Not a character per se, but the character(s) she has played are indeed memorable – Carrie Fisher.  It was a sad year with her passing at the very end of 2016, and I picked up Wishful Drinking, which was really interesting and humorous. I’ll be picking up her other books in the future.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.  This was not an easy book to read for a number of reasons, and is highly controversial, but was so well written.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – I’m a big Harry Potter fan, so the fact that I waited this long is a bit of a surprise.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

I can’t pick just one… so you’re getting several.

“People in the real world always say, when something terrible happens, that the sadness and loss and aching pain of the heart will “lessen as time passes,” but it isn’t true. Sorrow and loss are constant, but if we all had to go through our whole lives carrying them the whole time, we wouldn’t be able to stand it. The sadness would paralyze us. So in the end we just pack it into bags and find somewhere to leave it.”
― Fredrik BackmanMy Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

“For me, faith involves staring into the abyss, seeing that it is dark and full of the unknown—and being okay with that.”
― Nina RiggsThe Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying

“You can look up keening in the dictionary, but you don’t know what it means until you hear somebody having their heart ripped out.”
― Bryn GreenwoodAll the Ugly and Wonderful Things

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

According to Goodreads:

Shortest: Saga, Vol 5 (Love this Graphic Novel series)

Longest: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

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

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

The Lake House by Kate Morton

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

I’ve said it before, but Clare and Jamie for life.  Haha!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of The Year

The trio of characters in Mr. Mercedes.  They’re an unlikely trio, but I loved Bill, Holly and Jerome’s unlikely friendship.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From an Author You’ve Read Previously

Is it cheating if I say the LOTR trilogy?  Haha!  Probably.

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I don’t think I read any books solely based on a recommendation by someone else.  Most I had my eye on or were just random ones I picked up.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

I can’t say I really fell hard for anyone this year.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

There weren’t many to choose from on my list, so I’m going with Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.

Honestly, it was the way she wrote about the city and the paintings and apartments. I felt like I was in the room and could see everything around me.

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

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming

The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Can’t say I read any hidden gems.  I think I read more stinkers this year than usual.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

Honestly, I really didn’t branch out this much that year, so I can’t say that I read anything terribly unique.

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

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry (Unlikeable characters)

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll  (Horrible, frustrating characters

1.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? 

Surpassed my Goodreads goal of 55 books this year!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

Time to finally read A Game of Thrones.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

I’ve got a large stack of books to get through… several that I’m looking forward to!

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Waiting and seeing.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas