Looking Forwards and Back #2 – August/September

Yes, yes, I know. The first week of September is nearly gone. I had a rough end to August/start to September, so this is super late. But as always, better late than never.

Here’s what actually ended up happening for August:


Only 8 this month (just one book over HALF of what I read in July…yikes). And below are all the covers! I love looking at them all together. Especially since between the library books and ebooks I don’t get to see them all together in person. Haha. Yes, I am shallow. 😛 Just like before, each cover is linked to my review on GoodReads, and the titles are linked to Book Depository.

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The Vanishing Throne
The Hatching
Love & Gelato
Labyrinth Lost
The Secret Place

This is my list for this month…no less grandiose, for all my failure at getting anywhere CLOSE to finishing my list last month. Haha.


Believe it or not, I’ve actually already made progress! I’ve finished or started these:

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Most excited about (yes, Dream Thieves is a repeat, somehow I didn’t get to it last month!):

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I guess we’ll see how I do! I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading this month. I know there is a TON of shiny new releases coming out in September, none of which are in my hot little hands as of yet. 😦 So I will just have to live vicariously, I guess!

Books and More Books

This year, I’m really rediscovering my love not only of books (never doubted that one) but of writing. More on that later, but in the meantime it’s long overdue an update on my Reading Challenges for 2016! I just updated the “Books to Read 2016” page, which is my list of owned-but-never-read books that I am attempting to finish this year. I’m very bad at staying focused, so while I have read a total of 45 books for the year, I’m only at 15/45 from that list. Yikes! Need to work on that. But, while I do have reading goals, I am trying to follow the advice of my new mug and read what I love!

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Lovely mug courtesy of the Bookworm Boutique. Besides the shop, she has a beautiful Instagram @bookwormboutique and a book review blog.

Squirrel! Anyway, back to the reading challenges…

The challenge I wrote about doing with some friends is still going strong! Out of 50 categories (my original goal was 12, I’ve since raised it to 36) I’m at 26. Some of them are kind of stretches for me, but it’s fun. We’re not making the list public at this point, but it’s kind of like the PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge.

I’m going to get back into doing book reviews. For the above challenge, in order to be able to officially list a book we had to write at least a brief review of it on GoodReads, and writing those has motivated me to write more detailed ones. I’ll be posting them here, and on GoodReads, and some on LibraryThing. I’ve been pretty lucky to be selected for a few ARCs from the Early Reviewers group this year, and it seems to be a fun, easy way to score a free book. And since free books don’t feel like failing at my book-buying ban…score! Besides the ER group, I’m expecting my first book from Blogging for Books soon (soon being a relative term  – overseas media mail shipping takes almost 6 weeks, usually) and can’t wait to get on reviewing from them too!

Reading Life

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New year, new goals! I knocked my 2015 reading goal out of the park, the first year I’ve ever actually reached my number goal, which was 25. I read 69. Sure, the goal was low for the speed at which I normally read, but considering that in 2013 I only read 13 books (for real), and 2015 was going to entail some MAJOR life changes like moving to the other side of the world, I thought it was reasonable. Then I had more free time on my hands then I anticipated, and wham. Almost triple. Whoohoo!

So this year, my number goal is 50. I don’t anticipate moving this year, but we do plan on doing as much traveling as possible, and I have all these other hobbies that intrude on my reading time. My other goal is to finish every book I’ve bought and not read. Towards that end I’ve created a new page with that list. Enjoy my extremely random library (the whole thing is cataloged here…still working on the audiobooks and ebooks). This goal was inspired by my husband wincing over a new box of books arriving in the mail not too long ago, and the reminder that when we DO move back to the States they are the biggest contributor to our moving weight limit. Eeep. So I either read them, or give them away. And, I am going to attempt – key word – to go on a book-buying diet until I have finished the ones I have. All 45 of them (since I already went through and cleared out the 10 or so that I decided I didn’t want to read anymore). I am allowing myself a subscription to OwlCrate…I’ve enjoyed quite a few YA reads in the last year, and I am in absolute love with the literary goodies I’ve seen in pictures of boxes. And I’m just a sucker for subscription boxes in general.


I’m really kind of bummed I missed out on the Poe zipper pouch.

My last reading goal is a challenge I’m doing with a bunch of pen-pal friends. I’m choosing 12 challenges out of a list to stretch my reading horizons. Books a little out of my comfort zone.

Will I go over 50? I sure hope so! But I wanted to set myself up for success. What are your reading goals for 2016?

The Wheel Turns

I love this time of year. This time and spring makes me feel the most connected with history, both my own personal history and the history of the world. I like the old traditions of Halloween, or Samhain as my Irish and Scottish ancestors probably would have called it. All the modern day gore and zombies aren’t what I love about the season. It’s the idea of the thinning of the veil, of our loved ones perhaps being able to see us or maaaaaybe even communicate with us that pulls me. My dear grandfather passed near this time, on October 6, 12 years ago, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Every October, I miss him and wish I could talk to him, even once more.

Samhain also seems to be my time to finish things. Around this time I feel a huge push to get things done, largely because I want to start new ones. But I really think there’s a desire for closure that pushes me too. Anyway, here is my large finish for this year’s Halloween season.

Halloween Sampler 2015

I’ll get some better pictures once it’s framed, but I’m so damn proud of it. It won’t hang on the wall this year, but definitely next. My husband even likes it and kept asking me if it was going to be done on time. I’d pick up another project and he would ask if it was finished. All kinds of motivation there!

Hope you all have a very happy, blessed Samhain.

A New Challenge – Fightmaster Yoga

I know, I know. I seem to be very good at starting challenges and never finishing them. But the year is only halfway over! Today is the summer solstice, so it seemed a good omen to start something new, even though it’s also the day the year starts to wane. I haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy or celebrate the turning of the year in the past 18 months, so I think this is good for me.

Yes, the 90-day Yoga Challenge by Fightmaster Yoga still sat in my brain, percolating, for the last few days. It wouldn’t go away, no matter how I tried to reason myself out of it. I work out 5 days a week anyway. I’m horrible at finishing things. I don’t have a mat. I have a crappy little space. Excuses, excuses. So today I started.

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This is my yoga space. It doesn’t exactly make me happy, but doing the yoga (even on the cold, hard floor) made me feel better. I think I need to work on keeping my space a little tidier in general, and arranging things in a more decorative way. It’ll make me feel better. Also, I’ve since ordered a mat, after much urging from my husband. I couldn’t find one here and so was grumpily going without.

We’ll see how this goes. I’m not holding myself to doing it every day, just the full 90 without too many gaps between days. I’ll update here from time to time. I thought about trying to do it every day, but that’s just too much. 😛 Not going to set myself up for failure.

A Little Progress

I’m feeling a little lost in the making stuff area right now. I know what I WANT to work on, but since my sewing machine and all my fabric/quilting stuff is still at home…gah. Along with everything else I really care about. But I’m NOT going to make this a whiny post! There is progress to be seen! 😛

So, I’ve been working on my cross stitch. Sadly NOT the sabbats plan from earlier this year…I’m currently out of fabric for it, but that should soon be fixed, as soon as my 123Stitch order arrives. I was plodding along on my “Earth Goddess,” but I might have looked at the sheer size of it and despaired of ever finishing, so I switched back over to my slightly smaller “Quilter” WIP until my courage comes back. I think I made some decent progress tonight! Sorry for the bad lighting, and I’m not sure why WordPress has decided to squish all my photos recently…

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This is where it was when I started.

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And here when I stopped. Not sure how long I actually worked on it, because I took some breaks and got distracted a few times. For once I was just stitching, not listening to an audiobook. Very calming.

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Posed shot from when I got irritated with my unorganized threads and stopped to put them on the rings in order.

I think I’ll try to work on this for about a week and then see how I feel about Earth Goddess. I reeeeeeally want to finish her and have her up on my wall somewhere, but it’s just SO BIG and it feels like I stitch so damn slowly!

New Year, New Ideas

Some goals for this year, because I remember them better if they’re somewhat public. 😛

– Obtain passport.
– Take either a wilderness EMT, backpacking skills, or land navigation class. Depends on which is nearer/more affordable.
– Go to an outdoor rock-climbing clinic.
– Go hanggliding.
– Pay off something. Credit card, car loan, something.
– Change jobs to something with steady hours.
– Enter a photography contest.
– Take at least one, 1-night hiking trip.

I really tried to keep these in the obtainable range. I don’t like setting myself up for failure. We’ll see how it goes!

A New Year

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

I’ve been feeling a bit down over my “accomplishments” in 2012. Or rather, the lack thereof. I had two goals for this year, and only one of them was completed.

Obtain a passport. The passport never materialized (yes Heidi, that was one of my goals for LAST year…and I never got around to it), mostly because a quick check of everything else revealed going anywhere out of the country wasn’t going to work in the foreseeable future. Still, I should have done it, just because of the time it takes to process the darn thing.

Read 75 books. I’m cheating a bit on this one. According to GoodReads, I only read 59. However, GoodReads doesn’t have a way to count magazines, of which I read A LOT. National Geographic and Outside Magazine are regulars, along with anything else that catches my eye. I love magazines and have ever since I could read. I feel a bit guilty counting them, but considering the amount of info in most of the ones I read, and the fact that I read them all cover to cover, I think they should count. Even if GoodReads doesn’t approve.

A lot happened this year. I was promoted twice, we lost Timmy, I got my first tattoo, we moved, Alfie found me, I harvested my first edibles from my own garden, I became Reiki certified, and finished many quilt and knitting projects. We explored the Roanoke Valley on many local hiking trails. Really though, most of what really happened this year isn’t quantifiable. It can’t really be measured. I can’t explain how I feel like I found more of myself this year. I can’t explain how I feel like I found my creative self by accepting my own forms of art. I can’t explain how or why I finally don’t feel silly when I say the trees and the land talk to me.

So…while I don’t have a long list of accomplishments, maybe I don’t need to feel bad. And you know what?

I will try again tomorrow.