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17 Weeks Left!

There are 17 weeks left in 2018. I had challenged myself to read 102 books this year, which translates to an average reading pace of 2 books/week.

However, I am woefully behind and have only read 38 books to date. This means that I will have to read about 4 books per week for the rest of the year to catch up!

If you do not see me, it’s because my nose is stuck in a book somewhere!

How are you doing on your reading challenges?

Where Did *That* Come From?

It doesn’t happen too often that I have a dream that I remember upon waking, but this one was unusual in several respects. I had the POV of someone watching a movie, and there was some serious cinematography at work. In my waking life, there would have been no way I could have come up with all of the cuts and angles, different perspectives, and background scene details. Whoever crafted my dream was a film savant. Not only was the camera work excellent, but the plot was detailed and tricky; as the “viewer,” I had no idea what plot twist was coming next. I would have thought that this was a repeat of something I had watched before, but that doesn’t seem likely, as the film’s genre was one that I’m not really into: psychological thriller.

I’m losing details as I type, but I’ll try to relay what I remember. It was set in a home. The furniture and decorations were modern and elegant, but not overtly expensive. There were many people in attendance for some kind of benefit. There was a married couple, of which the husband will turn out to be the protagonist. We see both of them mingling with the crowd and speaking with their guests.

The scene cuts away to see a few other guests doing some suspicious things. They are all very efficient and specific in their behaviors, as if they are coordinating their efforts. They go about the house putting objects that you cannot quite see in hidden locations. One of them, a woman in her mid-twenties, places some long thin rods in the opening of her purse and starts to walk away, but then re-thinks this decision and lingers in the area to make sure that nothing happens to them.

Time passes, and the benefit is drawing to a close. The husband is saying farewell to some guests a few yards away from his wife. A couple members of the suspicious group confront the man, and we realize that the only people left in the house are members of this group, this couple, and one other guest. While the man looks on in fear, the young woman takes one of the thin rods and kills the remaining guest with it, letting the man know that he will be framed for the murder.

Before he can react too much to that event, one of the other group members warns him not to be too much of a hero, as they have his children under their control as well. They show him a tablet with video footage of three young children, all oddly frozen in a state of play, and held in captivity. Their surroundings look familiar, like the vestibule of the couple’s condo.

In horror, the man looks over to his wife, who is being held between two group members. One of the group members told him that he shouldn’t be too distracted, that something was also going to happen to his wife. Reveling in his pain, they allowed him to walk over to her. He cupped her face in his hands, both grieving over their lost guest and the fate of their children Then, his eyes went wide in disbelief, as one side of her face started drooping as if she were suffering a stroke. She was unaware of what was happening, and with tear-filled eyes, he explained to his wife what he was seeing. They both understood the implications of this and were devastated.

I’ve lost much of the nuance and plot-detail, but I was fascinated with how complex it seemed. Doesn’t my brain know that bedtime is for resting?! Also, that is some creepy messed-up story!

Day 1: The Most Important Part of Your Day #LLBC

Amy tells us that doing the things that we love to do is far from a waste of time — it’s necessary for our happiness and well-being! She encourages us to spend time every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes, doing something for ourselves that we love to do and that feeds our soul. Our homework for today was to track our activities throughout the day, rate them on a scale of 1-10 based on how they made us feel, and add any comments to note how we felt about those activities.

This will help us see how much of the day is spent doing things which drain/invigorate us and where we might be able to adjust our day.

I am still catching up, so I didn’t keep track of a particular day, but I am going to write down my thoughts on some common activities that I typically do.

Making the Bed (3): I find this more tedious than necessary. No one sees my bed and it really doesn’t make me feel better or worse if it’s made or not. I have a pillow top mattress, so it always looks lumpy.

Commute to Work (6): This is kind of a neutral-to-good activity for me. In the morning, traffic is usually fairly light and if I leave the house early enough, I can enjoy a Starbucks on the way. I typically will listen to a Podcast or Audiobook on the commute.

Work (varies): The atmosphere at work has been stressful lately, but I am staying hopeful. I am happiest when I feel that the work that I am doing is really helping people and when I get to be more creative and analytical. Very routine work or answering the same question over and over is not my favorite thing to do.

Gym (2, then 8): I hate going to the gym; I love being at the gym and having been at the gym. It’s just getting over that hump of trying to talk myself into going. I always think of things I’d rather be doing, want to be home sooner, not want to get stuck in rush hour traffic, not have gym clothes clean and ready to go, etc. But once I’m there, I love it! I love working out on the Lateral machine and lifting weights. I like that I am doing something good for my health. I like the achy muscle feeling after a good workout. So, why don’t I go more?

Post-Workout
Post-Workout Face

Reading (7): I love reading, but it tends to happen in spurts. I will be on a real reading kick for a while, then I’ll fall off and not pick up a book. I cannot help but pick up a ton of books when at the library or in a bookstore. Right now, I’m in another bookish phase, which is great. Although, I’ve found that I’m in the middle of a book that is not engaging me the way the first two books in the series did, so I’m reading that one a lot more slowly. I find that I’m stopping reading sooner and turning to other activities because I don’t want to finish that book, but I feel obligated to finish it before I move on to another book. Hmmmm.

Email (3): It’s more about deleting spam and ads than actually reading anything in there that is useful. And this is with programs like Unroll.me to help filter out the junk. Ugh. But if I don’t stay on top of it, I’ll miss things or have an Inbox with thousands of messages that I need to go through. Just another chore.

Dishes (1): I hate dishes. The only thing I like is the smell of the dish soap. And when they are done.

Laundry (5): I don’t mind laundry too much.

Putting Away Clean Clothes (3): Tedious and tiring.

Blogging (7): I like doing this. I have lots of ideas of what I want to write. But I get in my own way a lot. Either physically, because my office is a disaster and it’s a bit of a pain to get to the computer (although I finally arranged the power cables so that my laptop stays charged), or mentally because I’m looking for just the right image to go with a certain post and am having difficulties uploading the image, etc.

Photography (?): I remember that I loved doing this, but I haven’t had time to really do it in so long that… I don’t know?

Traveling (9): I love this! I’m excited to go to Austin, Texas soon! I would do this all the time if I had unlimited funding and time away from work. Of course, it’s a million times better with a friend (or 1,300).

Commute Home from Work (2): Practically nothing redeeming about this. Slow, traffic, frustration. Why can’t we have teleportation devices already?

3 Hour Commute
This 3 hour commute can bite me.

Cooking Dinner (3): Most of the time I really don’t enjoy this. A lot of that is due to the fact that I also hate doing dishes and that means that I have to clean dishes in order to have dishes to use to make dinner. My dishes are all clean right now, which makes it easier, but it’s still a chore.

TV (6): It’s entertaining, but I find that once I sit down, I will binge-watch until I fall asleep on the couch and I never end up getting as much stuff accomplished as I wanted to.

Spending Time with Friends and Family (10): I love this! I need to schedule much more of this time into my day-to-day.

Untitled
Squishie and Sissy

Final Takeaways: So much of the barriers to doing what I want is environmental. I need to get rid of the physical and mental clutter that is holding me back, so that I can have more time, freedom, and mental space to do and enjoy the things that are meaningful and make me happy. I need to prep better and stay on top of the things that I don’t enjoy doing so that they don’t take over and become large burdens.

#LlamaLettersBookClub: Craft a Life You Love

Cindy recommended Amy Tangerine’s “Craft a Life You Love” to everyone in her Llamas Love Lettering Facebook group and started a book club where we read a section (mini-chapter?) per day and post our homework in the group (well, only if you want to share). The premise of it all is to set aside time each day to do something that you love every day and prioritizing your happiness at least once each day.

There are six sections and 29 mini-chapters, so this will run 29 days (or a tad longer if I slack off and have to catch up, not that that happens).

If you’d like to follow along, I’ll add #LLBC to the title of those posts.

IMG_6710.jpg

Our intro to the program was on Wednesday (I’m writing this on Saturday because I’m behind, but I’ll be posting it with Wednesday’s date – a little blog time traveling if you will), and the first step was to sign a permission slip to yourself, to give yourself permission to care for yourself.

Permission Slip

I am going to be posting my work here, because blogging and photography are two of the things that I love to do, but that I never make space for in my day-to-day. So, Thank You, for helping keep me accountable to myself! And if you are also participating outside of the Facebook group, link me to your work and I’ll support you in return!

Happy Reading and Crafting!

Once More unto the Breach!

Sadly, lately I have been neglecting my reading life in favor of binge-watching TV series on Hulu/Netflix. I always intend to be better and every year, I set ridiculous goals for my reading life in Goodreads. (This year, I set my goal at 102 books and 3 different challenges. I’m 17 books behind schedule. *sigh*)

This morning, I listened to one of Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcy)’s podcasts: WSIRN Ep 125: Gateway Books to Hook a Netflix Addict, which seemed incredibly appropriate. Not only did some of the books discussed spark my interest, but also invigorated my desire to read more.

I love challenges. But my follow-through of late has been more than lacking. Take the Quarterly Challenges put on by one of the YA groups I belong to in Goodreads. By my count, I haven’t completed a Quarterly Challenge since #10. They are currently on #29.

But that doesn’t stop me from continuing to sign up for them, quarter after quarter. And, of course, that’s exactly what I did (– again –) this morning. So here we go!

Quarterly Challenge #29

  1. New Release – One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler
  2. SPRING –
  3. Dr. Seuss –
  4. Tolkein –
  5. Couple Appreciation – Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  6. Earth Day – Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  7. Read in Public –
  8. Paranormal – Hush, Hush by  Becca Fitzpatrick
  9. Smart & Sexy – Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
  10. Victoria Day – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I’ve put in a request to my local library to have some of these pulled and held for me (always dangerous), and I’ll get my copy of One Beautiful Dream once it’s released (on pre-order from Barnes & Noble). Graceling, I’ve owned for a while, but have never managed to finish reading it.

In addition to these, I’m planning on participating in a Book Club with Cindy Guentert-Baldo for Amy Tangerine’s book: Craft a Life You Love. This will be run out of her Facebook group.

Let’s see how far I get this time! 🙂

#*(@#*$Q(*&*, Facebook!!!

Sometimes, Facebook is a little punk!

Case in point:
FB 1

Okay, haha, funny end of the year “prediction.”

But then, it follows my calling it’s bluff with:
FB 2

!!!

Facebook: 1; Jenn: 0.

4WBW: Week 4: Day 28

Rest Day!

Four weeks completed!
4 Week Beginner Workout completed!

Jennie at the wedding reception

I don’t have too many pictures of myself at “rest” so we’ll have to use this old one. Also, #goals.

4WBW: Week 4: Day 27

Rest Day!

Jennie at the wedding reception

I don’t have too many pictures of myself at “rest” so we’ll have to use this old one. Also, #goals.

4WBW: Week 4: Day 24

Rest Day!

Jennie at the wedding reception

I don’t have too many pictures of myself at “rest” so we’ll have to use this old one. Also, #goals.

4WBW: Week 3: Day 21

Rest Day!

Third week completed!

Jennie at the wedding reception

I don’t have too many pictures of myself at “rest” so we’ll have to use this old one. Also, #goals.