Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March non-Madness

Yay! Spring is officially here, even if the forecast is still calling for snow.

I finally went to the eye doctor a couple weeks ago. Yep, I need reading glasses. I picked them up on Friday. I had no idea if I wanted reading glasses that I only use for reading or if I wanted glasses I just wear. So I got ones I take off and only wear for reading. LOL – it’s kind of annoying because I can’t see anything except the book in front of me with them on. So maybe I made the wrong decision. I don’t know. But I see far just fine so maybe it is what it is. I haven’t decided yet if they help me when I’m playing the piano. I can’t keep them on long enough because while it helps with the music, it’s weird looking down at my fingers. That may just take some getting used to.  I do like them for reading though. It’s definitely an improvement there.
I’ve been on a huge Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle book binge. Overdrive has a bunch of them. Back in the late 90’s when I first started reading contemporary romance types of books, I didn’t really care for her style. That could have something to do with the fact that I liked historicals better back then. Now, I’m picky about the historical books I read and I’m liking the quirks in her books. Maybe it’s just that I’m reading older books but they do seem slightly dated but it’s in a way that doesn’t bother me. I dunno… it’s funny how tastes change over time and how some books will always be favorites but others don’t work at certain times.
I am loving my Overdrive account. Borrowing books with a click of the button is so much fun. Plus, I can try a bunch of books without leaving my home, and if I don’t like them, it’s super easy to return them.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Vacation Dreaming

I think I might have figured out the perfect trip to take this year. It came to me this morning and I’m feeling kind of giddy over the whole thing. It’s kind of been bugging me that I have no vacation plans this year. I mean, I have one week kind of figured out and we want to do a family camping trip but that will be a weekend, at the most.  People at work ask where I’m going this year and so far I’ve said “nowhere”.
And it still might be nowhere, but I now have a specific dream in mind. All I’ve done so far is a quick google search for the time period I need and probable city to fly in and out of. But I think it can be done. I can’t say anything to anyone yet because I don’t want to jinx myself. LOL Well, I did call my mom because she would be up for this one (there would be shopping involved J ) and she is definitely on board. It’s way too early to plan anything for sure. So much in life can change, but now I have lots to dream and think about and later this year I can make it a reality.
It’s a nice change to feel optimistic instead of the winter blues.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Some Nostalgia

I recently watched, or listened to in the background, the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us. It was kind of interesting. The first episode was about Star Wars action figures. I was too young to play with them, and my mom didn’t buy us those kinds of toys. My brother is 5 years younger than me so by the time he was playing with that kind of stuff, it wasn’t Star Wars. I do remember when mom finally started buying “boy” toys, my sisters and I took them away from him and played with them because we thought they were cooler. :)

I did, however, play with Barbies. I did not like dolls that looked like babies. I had a few of them growing up but I didn’t like them as much. When I finally got a Cabbage Patch doll, I wasn’t that impressed and I thought her name was stupid: Dana Rana.  I didn’t want to play with a baby, I wanted to play with barbies or paper dolls that were older. It’s kind of fun looking back and thinking about the fun times I had with my barbies. I know I had a Malibu Barbie, Great Shape Barbie, Diva, from Barbie and the Rockers, and my favorite: Peaches & Cream Barbie. Those are the ones I remember. I know we had a lot more because my 2 sisters had them too. One year I got the swimming pool for Christmas and my sister got the RV. Never fail, my brother ended up pulling their heads off and then they didn’t go back on correctly so they had no neck. After that, we would cut their hair and my mom would get mad at us.

Sometimes I wish my mom would have saved some of our toys, not because they would be worth money - we played hard with them, but just for the nostalgia factor. But then I think why? I still have a few of my stuffed animals and they are kept in a box in the back of the closet. It would be the same way with the toys. It’s not like I would play with them. Some years ago I found some of the Ginghams paper dolls that I used to love and bought them and they sat in a box also. I just don’t play with toys any more unless I’m playing with my nieces or nephews and those aren’t the kinds of toys we play with now.

I have a Pinterest board devoted to toys, books, cartoons, etc. of my childhood and it’s fun to look back and remember every once in a while.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Finally February

Yay! January is finally over and it’s birthday shopping month! So far books and perfume are on the list but my carry on size luggage broke last month when I used it so I’ve got ideas about replacing that too. I’ve also got some local and not so local charities to donate to. I’ve been looking at cheap flights to places for a weekend but nothing is really jumping out at me. I’ll have the stiches out of my mouth next week so I’ll be able to eat normal again. And I haven’t had a Dr. Pepper since last August so I’m splurging and getting one for my birthday. LOL – the carbonation will probably kill me because I haven’t had it for so long.  I went back to spin class last week after my illness and mouth issues were finally over. It is nice to be back (still sucks to get up in the morning) and even though the seat is still hard, it’s not like starting all over. A little thing I am grateful for.

Friday, January 12, 2018

So Far...

The year is starting out with a bang. A crappy bang.

I had to go to St. Louis for work last week. I flew out on New Year's Day. It was like 5 degrees in St. Louis. I was still trying to get over being sick and decided to go for a walk along the river in St. Charles because I didn't want to sit in my hotel room. And I got sicker. More sick?

I believe this is from the Lewis and Clark state park but I could be wrong.

I went to the doctor after I got home who put me on a z-pac and finally my cough is clearing up. But then I had my second oral surgery yesterday. My mouth is sore but it doesn't truly hurt. I'm sitting with an ice pack on my face to try and keep the swelling down. I feel I'm better prepared this time around with the soft foods I have to eat so I hope it doesn't drive me too crazy. I think this weekend is going to be pjs and books while I deal with the swelling and bruising.

The good news is that Aunt Jenny, my Christmas cactus, is blooming. She has a bunch of tiny little buds on her right now. A couple more weeks and they'll be open. I can't wait.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Farewell, 2017

Everybody, everywhere seems to be talking about what a crappy year 2017 was. I have to agree with a lot of it. In some ways this was a pretty bad year. I stopped reading the news and most social media on the weekends because I needed to be able to get away from it. It's turned out to be a good decision.

But...this last post at the end of the year is not about the crappy stuff. Good stuff happened too and that's what I'm writing about. I'd rather leave the year on a positive note. So here's a random list of good stuff that happened in 2017.

I went to Scotland with my mom and sister.
My family went on vacation to the Oregon coast.
I got new paint and carpet/floor and my house feels like a new place.
I dug up my ugly bushes out front and made myself a flower garden.
I made myself a home library out of one of my spare bedrooms and I love it.
I made music with my niece and newphew. They are getting better with the piano and clarinet.
I got to spend a lot of good times with my family.
I lost 10.5 lbs without really trying. It was a good shock. All the cooking and eating leftovers must be paying off.
And speaking of cooking, I've had a lot of fun cooking with my Instant Pot. I bought it during the 2016 Black Friday sales and this year my mom and sister both got one.
I've had some good opportunities at work and I feel like I do help out and make a difference.
I've spend the year playing the piano for the primary kids on Sunday and it's been fun.
I've enjoyed some of the movies that came out this year: Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.
I bought the first season of Wonder Woman (1975) and Charlie's Angels (1976) on sale this year and it's been fun to watch some of those episodes. I've only ever seen a few on re-runs. Times have changed and yet, they haven't. Lots of male chauvinism but the women deal with it and kick butt anyway.
Read lots of good books.
I've seen many theater productions with either my mom or my friend and it continues to be something I love.

I don't have a lot of plans for 2018 right now. The year will start with my next oral surgery but I might as well get it over with. We want to do a family camping trip. I have no set plans to travel but I have dreams so I'll try to make something a reality.

I don't always have a lot of optimism for the future, but it seems like maybe I should try as the new year begins. Who knows what can happen. I don't make new year's resolutions but I can resolve to have faith and hope that I will be able to deal with the bad and that there are good things to come.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Best Books of 2017

Another year is winding down and I think I’ve read a lot of good books.

This year’s count is 120.  I think 4 can be considered “classics” and 2 were non-fiction. I did branch out in the horror (or maybe horror-lite would be a better term) genre this year with good results. Most of the rest of them were mystery and romance or combination of both with a few fantasy, SFR, and YA thrown in the mix. I did a bunch of re-reading this year (not counted in my book count), although I don’t know if it’s more than normal. I do know there are a handful of books that I kept going back to time and time again because they were comforting to me.

In no particular order here are my favorites:
The Wall of Winnepeg and Me – Mariana Zapata
This is a slow burn romance that gave me a huge book hangover. It’s not perfect, and could use a tiny bit more editing but I have re-read this so many times in the past 2 months, it’s not even funny. For whatever reason it has just appealed to me on so many levels.
Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett
Aaaahhhhhh…. This was just a charming YA romance based off of You’ve Got Mail (which is based off of The Shop Around the Corner which I prefer over the remake but I love old movies and that’s a topic for another day). If The Cave museum existed in California, it would be on my list to see ASAP.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – R. A. Dick
Another charming book I read in one shot. This was just a great feel good book. I had recently seen the movie and loved the cover of this book, so I bought it. It was totally worth it.
White Hot – Ilona Andrews          
White Hot and Wildfire both came out this year and I loved them both, but White Hot is my favorite of the trilogy. Barely. I will be re-reading all three of these books many, many times. I still wish the covers weren’t so awful or I’d own them in paperback also. I still might, one day.
A Town Like Alice – Neville Shute
I can’t remember where I heard about this but I had a feeling it would be good, and it was. I loved both Jean and Joe so much. Jean doesn’t let anything stop her and Joe crosses half the world to find the woman he only met once but knew he wanted to be with.
The Firebird – Susanna Kearsley
I read The Firebird and The Winter Sea this year and both were excellent. I think this barely edges out as my favorite because of Robbie, who is a character in my favorite Kearsley book, and this one brings both stories to a good close.
The Bird and the Sword and Making Faces  – Amy Harmon
Amy Harmon is a new to me author and she ended up with 2 books on my list. A romantic fantasy or contemporary romance, respectively, both are excellent for whatever mood I’m in.  
Money Burns – A. E. Maxwell
One of my favorite books in a series I just loved. Crime and a little romance combined with a big nostalgia factor. I was hooked.
The Bookshop on the Corner – Jenny Colgan
One of my first 5-star reads of the year. It’s got 2 things I love: books and Scotland, so the book was easy to love.

Thick as Thieves – Megan Whalen Turner

Oh man, this was a great road trip and bromance book. Costis really shined in this book. He really is a good soldier but he’s also so darn nice you just can’t help but love him. Well, I couldn’t anyway.

A Conjuring of Light – V.E. Schwab
This book killed me, in a good way. I still want more.
Speak Easy, Speak Love – McKelle George             
My favorite cover of the year. This is a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing set in a 1920’s speakeasy. Yeah, that’s all it took to get me to read it and it was perfect.
The Alice Network – Kate Quinn 
This book worked its way in at the end of the year. I was totally hooked on this dual timeline novel about a spy in WWI.

Some runners up or just excellent books I discovered this year are:
Slade House – David Mitchell
A “not my kind of book” that turned out to be exactly my kind of book.
White Lies – Linda Howard
I read a bunch of LH’s backlist this year and they are dated and have turned into a kind of guilty pleasure. This one turned out to be an eye-rolling ultimate comfort read.
The Kraken King – Meljean Brook
This one was just tons of fun to read and escape for a while. Too bad the rest of the series doesn’t appeal to me.
Cainsville Series – Kelley Armstrong
The love triangle in this one frustrated me so badly, but I devoured this series and now that it’s over and the dust has settled, I may actually buy a few of them to keep. Just not the third one.
Murder on Black Swan Lane – Andrea Penrose
This was a great historical mystery. I can’t wait to see where it goes.