2021: My year in review (don’t get too excited)

This year started with a very busy time at work. I was working on a team creating How To Festival videos that aired in January as well as a Centennial video celebrating Charlotte County’s 100 year anniversary. It was nice to wrap those projects up and get them out to the public.

Things seemed to be calming down when my Mom got really sick. I really can’t write about that yet. I am still grappling with the fact that I didn’t make it home to see her before she passed at the end of April. I have kind of just been surviving since then. I miss her like crazy.

I have enjoyed being closer to my brothers and my Dad during the aftermath of losing her.

Had some work disappointments in the second half of the year. I will not dwell on them. Instead of wallowing in my misery, I found a new job. I started in September and it has been really good for me. I actually feel like I am able to contribute to our mission. It is a great feeling.

To finish off 2021, I thought I’d join in and catch Covid. I was sick over Christmas break and I am almost finished my quarantine. I’ll be able to head back to work on Monday January 3, 2022.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Thanks for reading.

The good, the bad, and the WHAT??

It’s December and time for my annual “the good, the bad, and the WHAT??” of my 2021 reading life.

I’ll admit that I have not been as avid a reader this year. Between the state of the world, being burnt out at work, and losing my Mom, I have not been reading like I used to. That being said, I don’t have a very long list of favorite books I read this year. So, let’s get started.

My favorite book that I read this year will shock you, since it is not my normal genre.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – Only the second sci-fi book that I can recall reading.  The first was The Martian by the same author.  Project Hail Mary tells the story of Ryland, a science teacher who somehow gets chosen to join a team of astronauts that are traveling through deep space to try to save humanity.  When Ryland wakes from his induced sleep, he finds that his two companions have perished and he is alone in space with just a medical bot.  At least he thinks he is, until another ship arrives. I listened to the audiobook and I’m so glad I did.  This book was so good that I occasionally think about it six months after I finished reading it.

There were some books I read or tried to read in 2021 that I would like to mention. Of course you will find some are filled with the quirky characters I love.


The Paper Palace by Miranda Crowley Heller – This book was hyped so much that I thought “it must e great”. I however, was unable to get into it. When I read a book the characters must have some redeeming qualities. This was just nasty people doing terrible things to each other. I tried three times to start and finish the book and so far it’s a big ol’ cuppa nope for me.

The Making of Robert Mooney by Jane Gilley – QUIRKY CHARACTER ALERT!!! Robert hasn’t had things easy.  He sleeps on the couch in his home because his mother moved in with him and basically threw him out of his bedroom.  He puts up with a lot of abuse from her while she pretends to be in poor health.  His life takes a swift turn when he has a life changing encounter with Brett. As Robert gets pulled into the antics of Brett and his family, who just happen to be small time thugs, he not only finds friends, his own voice, and the strength to stand up to his mother.  A laugh out loud romp that was almost my favorite book that I read this year.

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson – QUIRKY CHARACTER ALERT!!! As you may know, until three months ago, I worked in a public library. This book was the perfect read for me as I transitioned out of library employment. June Jones, works as a library assistant where her deceased mother used to be the librarian. Shy and reclusive, June has never left the sleepy village where she grew up. When the village council threatens to close the library and sell the building, June and several of her regular library patrons decided to fight back and occupy the library and refuse to leave. While fighting for her library, she finds the strength to come out of the protective shell she engulfed herself in after her mother died. With all the changes in how libraries are run, it is refreshing to know that there may still be people out there who cherish their libraries.

If you read any of these books, let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

I love it when I read an advance copy of a book by an author I’ve never read before and love it. I love it even more when I find out that they have MORE BOOKS for me to read! This is what happened when I received an advance copy of The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Twenty-one year old Lillian Carter has been modeling for artists since she was fifteen. Under her mother’s guidance, she became Angelica, the most sought-after artist model in New York City. When her mother succumbs to the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1919, she is lost. When her landlord’s wife is found murdered with a flirtatious note Lillian sent her husband, she is wanted for questioning. Instead of complying, she runs with hopes to get out to Hollywood to become a movie star.

Lillian stumbles into a job interview for the personal assistant of Miss Helen Frick of the daughter of the infamous industrialist, Henry Clay Frick. She manages to not only get the job but become a valued member of the Frick household. When the patriarch of the family dies, Lillian is caught up in a scandal unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

This book, with it’s many detailed descriptions great art, New York society and it’s landmarks, was an interesting look at how life would be for a young woman with a so called scandalous profession at the time. Flashing back and forth between 1919 and 1966, the book manages to tie up all the missing pieces without being trite.

If you like historical figures and locals mixed with a good fictional story, this book is for you.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis is scheduled for publication on January 25, 2022. You can preorder from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local independent book store.

Thanks for reading.

Trying to get back on track

After several stressful months, I think I might be ready to get back into the swing of blogging. I hope that 2021 has been good to you, kind reader. It has been quite the year and it still has a month and a half to go!

So many things happened and/or changed in 2021. First, my wonderful mother fell ill and sadly passed away. After six months, I am still having a hard time with her passing. Not a day goes by that I don’t think “Oh…I should call Mom and tell her about this” or “I wonder if Mom knows how to do that”. I really miss her.

Work changed A LOT. In the past three years I went from covering supervisor duties (banking, training, programming, etc.) to not having any responsibilities at work. It’s not a demotion because I was not promoted to supervisor or even paid for those extra duties. Once they finally hired someone and I trained them…that was it. So, I found another position within the company and I am happy and loving it.

The crafting video YouTube that I started with two friends has been put on hold due to the friend with the studio selling her house and moving. I’m working on setting up something at home but it is going to take some time. I will probably blog, with pictures, some craft projects until I’m ready to go with the videos again.

Last month Mike and I went to Orlando for vacation. We met up with family and went to several Disney parks. If you have been a Disney park visitor in the past and plan on coming back, be prepared for massive changes. We are not happy with the way things are going there, so it will be a long time before we visit again. It will take years for us to save up because of their new ticketing and Genie+ charges. Needless to say, it was NOT the happiest place on earth when we were there.

So, friends, I think I’ll be back to writing book reviews and commenting about life here in the blogosphere. Looking forward to interacting with everyone again.

Thanks for reading.

Choosing to change.

Change is a touchy subject for some people. For me, it depends on the situation. It can be positive when the change is your choice. If it isn’t and you have no control over the change or the change doesn’t make sense to you, it is tougher to swallow.

Sometimes you have to choose between the status quo or drastic change. When this happens, you may need to make a Pros and Cons list. That usually helps me. You can always talk to a trusted friend or family member to get feedback on your thoughts. There is also the option to talk to a professional. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Sometimes a change is needed to preserve your physical or mental health. These changes are usually ones that cause the most turmoil but end up being life changing.

Don’t be afraid to make changes in your life. Choose your change. Don’t wait for someone to choose it for you.

So, I say to my family and friends, if you ever want to talk about something in your life that needs changing, I’m here

Take care and thanks for reading.

Prepping for a NEW YEAR

I haven’t stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve in years. Since 2020 has been such a dumpster fire, I have decided to stay up until midnight to make sure that 2020 actually ends. I’m sort of worried that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and see that the date is December 32, 2020. That would be so 2020!

During the month of December I have been working on plans for 2021.

  1. Health – I’ve started what, so far, is a helpful way to lose weight. NOOM. Someone I know lost 100 pounds using this service so I thought I’d try. So far I am down 6 pounds! It is a very different approach towards weight loss. More info to come in the new year as I chronicle my journey. Mike and I are also starting to exercise more and plan to make it a habit in 2021.
  2. Career – Since work has changed so much this year, I have been feeling uninspired and unfulfilled. I have decided to work on taking my passion for crafting to the next level. I’ve been listening to the “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” podcast and have really been inspired to find how I can make the world a better place through my passion of crafting. Things currently in the works:
    • Craft videos on YouTube in the hopes of getting a good enough following to monetize my craft videos.
    • Creating a plan to sell my crafts on Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, craft shows, etc. I am making a list of what to make in preparation for upcoming holidays and celebrations.
    • Planning a way to start doing at-home craft parties once we all get Covid-19 under control.
    • Collaborating with two friends on a really cool videography project.
  3. Reading – Increase my reading and book review blog posts by creating a calendar to remind myself to post reviews to my blog twice a month.
  4. Brainstorming on a podcast idea I have.

So, those are my big plans to make 2021 the best year ever.

What are your plans for 2021? Do you plan to stay up until midnight? Do you have a craft you would like me to create a video for? Do you have any book recommendations for me? How about a healthy recipe or an exercise for me to add to our getting healthy plan? Please drop me a note below and I promise to send you a great big thank you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Happy New (YOU – ATTITUDE) Year!!!!!!!

So 2019 is now a thing of the past. The fireworks are over. The resolutions have been made (or not)! On New Years Day I like to think of a list of words that represent the previous year and my chosen replacement word for 2020. Are you ready for that list?

Move over 2019

Resilience – Normally my first word each year is CHANGE but that one has been over used. I chose resilience for 2019 because was a year of change that I had no control over. I’ve handled all those changes (mostly good changes but some were tough) with resilience. The challenging changes made me a stronger person. The positive changes have made me a kinder, more patient person. For 2020 I will take this resilience and help others to find their own STRENGTH.

RESILIENCE

Divided – I am NOT a big politics fan. I will NOT talk about politics. What I will say is that ALL of our politicians are doing us, and the world a disservice by fighting and not working together. I don’t care which side of the aisle they are on, all of them need to grow up and do their jobs. That’s all! For 2020, I will work hard to be an example to my fellow humans and treat everyone with KINDNESS.

I wish they would GROW UP!

Hate – I was going to use the word anger but there was so much hate this year that I had to use hate, mostly due to the word above. I’ve heard so many people (liberals, conservatives, activists, regular folks, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, socialists, radicals – you get my point —EVERYONE!) say the word HATE this year that it made me sick. It’s hard to not fall into the same trap – and I have. For 2020 I plan to be more LOVING to all.

Haters gonna hate!

Humor – I needed to use my sense of humor a lot in 2019. It was part of my resilience! As long as it isn’t cruel humor, I find that humor gets me through a rough day, week, month, and yes — year. For 2020, I will continue to use HUMOR to make myself and others smile.

The best medicine!

And so…I am ready for 2020!

I wish you a KINDER, LOVING, HUMOROUS 2020 and the STRENGTH to overcome any obstacles that come your way.

Please feel free to share your goals for 2020.