2018 Goals

20171230_153236Today is the last day of 2017. Can you believe it? I’m thankful, but I still can’t believe it. In my head, I’m stuck somewhere around dandelion season and every time I walk outside the freezing temperatures remind me it’s winter.

I’m happy we’re saying goodbye to 2017 tonight. Nothing fancy for us. A cheese and salami plate. Some champagne. A sparkler or two.

And eating my goals.  Read more

2016 Reading Challenge

My post last week recapped the books I’ve read in 2015. In that post, I was excited to try to reach my goal of a book a week for 2016. With that in mind, I’ve created a reading challenge because I think they’re fun. I’ve based it on the alphabet =). Here it is:

  • Read a book with Animal characters.
  • Read a book by a best-selling British author.
  • Read a book with Cooking in it.
  • Read a Dystopian book.
  • Read a book with a character who’s an Engineer.
  • Read a book about Freedom.
  • Read a book about a Gift. Alternatively, read a book you received as a Gift.
  • Read a book about a character with memorable Hair.
  • Read a book where a character is Innocent.
  • Read a book written by an author whose name begins with J (first or last).
  • Read a book a King has read.
  • Read a book with a Long title (more than five words).
  • Read a book your Mother recommends.
  • Read a book by an author you’ve Never read before.
  • Read a book that has a character crossing an Ocean.
  • Read a book Published in 2016 and one Published the year you were 16.
  • Read a book about a Quest.
  • Read a book Recommended by your friend.
  • Read a book about a Spy.
  • Read a book about Time Travel.
  • Read an Urban fantasy book.
  • Read a book written by a military Veteran.
  • Read a book written by a mighty Woman.
  • Read a book with a Yellow cover.
  • Read a book about a Zoo.

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2015 Reading Challenge Recap

20151219_104655In 2015 I posted a reading challenge. Forgot about it, did you? For those of you who didn’t, I know you’re dying to hear how it went.

Well . . . I got almost half of them ticked off. Here are the details:

  • A book with more than 500 pages — Mistborn: The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson (these books are huge!)
  • A classic romance —
  • A book that became a movie — A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby
  • A book published this year —
  • A book with a number in the title — Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • A book written by someone under 30 —
  • A book with non-human characters — (technically The Amulet of Samarkand and Stroud’s other books fall here, but I used them for another entry).
  • A book by a female author — Oryx & Crake, Margaret Atwood
  • A mystery or thriller —
  • A book with a one-word title — Ireland, Frank Delaney
  • A book of short stories — Angels and Visitations: A Miscellany, Neil Gaiman
  • A book set in a different country — The Truth About You, Susan Lewis
  • A non-fiction book — Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, Gabriella Coleman
  • A popular author’s first book — Storm Front, Jim Butcher
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet — I wanted to fill in this category, trust me, I did. American Gods is waiting for me, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet =(.
  • A book a friend recommended —
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book — Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
  • A book based on a true story —
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list —
  • A book your mom loves —
  • A book that scares you —
  • A book more than 100 years old — Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • A book based entirely on its cover —
  • A book you were supposed to read in school, but didn’t — Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • A memoir —
  • A book you can finish in a day — Coraline, Neil Gaiman
  • A book with antonyms in the title —
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit — (Ireland, Frank Delaney)
  • A book that came out the year you were born —
  • A book with bad reviews —
  • A trilogy — The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate, Jonathan Stroud
  • A book from your childhood —
  • A book with a love triangle —
  • A book set in the future — The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • A book set in high school —
  • A book with a color in the title —
  • A book that made you cry — Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
  • A book with magic —
  • A graphic novel —
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before — The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
  • A book you own but have never read —
  • A book that takes place in your hometown —
  • A book that was originally written in a different language —
  • A book set during Christmas —
  • A book written by an author with your same initials —
  • A play —
  • A banned book — (Lord of the Flies, William Golding)
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show — (Storm Front, Jim Butcher)
  • A book you started but never finished —

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2015 – Did it!

I keep a ‘Did it!’ list to remind me of my accomplishments throughout the year, because I tend to forget them. Despite all of my good intentions, I’m an emotional creature and the events that happen throughout the year that pull on my emotions stick with me way longer than anything else.

2015 was a tough year for us as a family. Our children began the year at a school we can only describe as atrocious. We finally got them into a new school, but had to overcome the transitional challenges. In the process, we discovered our daughter had autism. We’re still fighting our way through the system to get help and support. Last year, my husband also started a new job that required him to put in a tremendous amount of effort, from late nights to little or no vacation. We’re exhausted because all of these things took up, and continue to take up, most of our physical and emotional energy. Many of my own personal goals were pushed to the side and as 2016 dawned, I really, really, really looked forward to a new year.

But when I went back over my ‘Did it!’ list, I realized I did a lot this year.
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Poetry Resolution

Photo copyright Cas Blomberg
Photo copyright Cas Blomberg

It’s been said that if you want to write fiction well, study poetry. When I think about that advice, two things strike me: (1) I want to write fiction well, (2) I have not studied poetry.

I’ve read poetry. I’ve read Longfellow and Tennyson, Yeats and Keats, Frost and Owen. I’ve considered poetry, both classical and modern. During literature classes at University, I studied a little poetry. I spent an entire year with Dickinson digging past the dashes and sparrows to discover hidden gems of insight, sorrow and hope in her words. I’ve even analyzed poetry from a Swedish poet, Gunnar Ekelöf. By the way, studying poetry in a different language, trying hard to understand unfamiliar cultural influences is tougher than it seems. But for all that, I generally don’t spend much time with poetry. I can’t think of the last time I sought out a poetry book to read.    Read more