on my mind: feb. 2019

home, literature, money, outdoors, thoughts

financial goals – I’ve reached a student debt balance where the interest accumulated each month is a negligible number, which means, once again, I’m waffling between cutting back my snowball or continuing on with it. On the one hand, I’d like to continue this intensity because I’d like to cut back my hours at my second job in the near future – or, at least, request some time off. On the other hand, I want to build my savings and open an IRA. I probably shouldn’t even bother to worry about this because I joined an investment app recently and have been throwing a little bit at it here and there. So, in reality, I’ve already negotiated a middle-ground with myself. 

screen time – I unintentionally cut back on my Netflix binges. I think I went almost a whole month without it, and I remembered why I don’t have regular cable or even a TV. I wouldn’t use it enough, and I get so much other stuff done when I’m not watching every new release and every new show. You know that conundrum where you sit down and don’t know what to choose out of the plethora of options? Last night, I watched a movie that has been in my list for close to a year. It was nice to put something on that I had been skipping over for a long time. I think the fact that I had cut back on my screen time helped me pick a movie more easily, and I ended up really liking it (Tallulah – if you care to know). 

health – Being at a desk all day has really messed with my health goals. I went from being active most of the day to being inactive until 5pm. I have had to cut my calories so much just to maintain weight. I have been making sure Charlie and I are walking regularly because after my knee surgery last year, Charlie gained a lot of weight too. The vet recommended he lose 10 pounds by his next yearly vaccination.  Basically, we are both pretty hangry most days, but he’s lost 6.8 lbs and looks so much better.  At least the creature I am in charge of is healthier even if I’m not. Unplugging from Netflix has helped me get more active in the evenings though. I realized I needed to make the most of our walks because I don’t have the time for each of us to get a long workout. I added walking lunges and sumo squats into our walks. Then I do a quick workout with either body weight or dumbbells and barbells. I recently bought a set of kettle-bells too and they have been a good addition to my at-home gym. 

creative juices -In addition to getting more exercise, cutting down my screen time has given me more time for personal projects like my blog, house projects, or painting.  I think I’m finally getting used to my perspective being read by people on the internet. For a long time, I didn’t want anyone to know about my blog. It wasn’t anonymous, I just didn’t share it. I’m finally growing into my voice – if that makes sense. When people give me feedback, I’m no longer embarrassed by it. Writing has become a big part of my life as of late and being able to unleash my worries and fears into words – plus share the other things I work on or make- has multiplied the motivation I have to do more. The act of summarizing the books I read or the projects I do inspires me to keep going. All of this, makes a creative like me happier in the grand scheme of things. The act of creating is the reward for me, not the comments or the amount of likes I get. 

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books to read before 2019

literature

I have read (or listened to) only 4 out of the 30 books I planned to read for 2018. I have a really hard time believing that to be true, but I know I have been consumed with house projects more so than I ever have… since I now own a home. I have also been attached to my phone more than I should be. Of course, I just started A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, and it is so good that I can’t stop watching.  Also, I signed up for two craft shows so I need to make time to paint more as well. Plus, I’m still looking for a job.

Priorities.

I would still like to make my challenge, but I am going to list six here to start. This list would get me to 10 for the year.

First Fiction: An Anthology of the First Published Stories by Famous Writers  Saint Francis of Assisi  All the Light We Cannot See  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close  American Gods  Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird, #2)

1. First Fiction: An Anthology of the First Published Stories by Famous Writers by Kathy Kiernan — I am more than 50% through this. I think it’s doable to finish by the end of the year. I love most of the stories, but it’s not hard to put the book down after just reading one or two – unlike a novel that keeps me turning the pages late into the night.

2. Saint Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton — I suddenly had the urge to read more about St. Francis of Assisi a few weeks ago – since, ya know, I chose Francis as my confirmation name – so I ordered a few titles from Amazon. I started this even though I was in the midst of three other books, but I would like to get back into it since it is a short one.

3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — I have been seeing this book online everywhere. My grandma has a copy to share with me. I hope to start this once I finish the two I already opened.

4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer — This has been sitting on my bookshelf for awhile. I have been avoiding it because I think I am going to cry like baby. Because that is just what I do.

5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman — Neil Gaiman wrote Coraline and Stardust, two of my favorite stories. Coraline was a favorite when I was younger. I think I bought it from a Scholastic Book flyer. I have read it multiple times. My family watched the movie adaptation of Stardust when I was at college, and Dad was the one to tell me I had to watch it. It was that good. So I saw the movie before I read the book. Obviously, they were a little different, but Gaiman writes great stories. American Gods is another that has been highly recommended.

6. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee — Did you notice my affinity for blue books? I don’t know why, but almost every book I have bought lately has had a blue or blue-ish cover. Go Set a Watchman is the – sort of – controversial sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. This version of Lee’s story was rejected by publishers but then accepted by them posthumously. To many, this novel seems like a money-grab.  I’m not sure if I should read To Kill a Mockingbird again before reading Go Set. I read the former in… 10th grade ? It has been awhile.

Any thoughts on my To Read shelf? Have you read any of these ?

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love multiplies.

thoughts

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My grandparents celebrate their 50th anniversary in August so my aunts and uncles hosted a gathering last weekend for hundreds of their family and friends. I didn’t get to stay long because I, unfortunately, had to tend bar, but the next day they, renewed their vows and hosted lunch at their house. I got to enjoy all of that fun.

50 years.

The golden anniversary.

Five decades and their marriage has, so far, produced six children, 24 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren (plus one on the way). Not only that, but they encouraged relationships between their nieces and nephews and children, creating an extended family of cousins and second cousins that know each other by name and share in family events and holidays.

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I’ve occasionally been asked if growing up with so many siblings was difficult. Other people wonder if I ever felt unloved or forgotten. The answer is almost never. Love multiplies. You can’t minimize it or subtract from it. Adding more people to love doesn’t take away from anyone else.

50 years.

If I was to get married by the end of the year (ha!), I would be 74 for my 50th anniversary. My cousin Rachael messaged me after the party and decided that we need to get married. We love weddings and kids and family. Why not get hitched? Well, neither of us will settle when it comes to husbands. So we wait.

Still, weddings are wonderful and anniversaries are just as great. Especially when there are so many people to laugh with and so many babies to kiss.

 

learn to trust yourself

thoughts

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While putting your laundry away, you were thinking about choices. Life is full of them. The choice you make every day is to live in this town. You like it here, but you don’t know if somewhere else could be better. You know that you’d miss your family, but you don’t know if things would go right for you just because you changed the scenery.

Maybe it takes participating in a talent show at your high school to realize that something is missing. You’ve been preoccupied with making the right decisions without recognizing how you arrived where you are today. You have been having trouble believing in yourself because you’ve been disappointed by yourself in the past. You have been doubting your decisions. You just don’t trust yourself to make the right ones.

You hadn’t really yet put into words why you get so uncomfortable when you think about high school (and now college). Now you understand that the high school campus reminds you of the potential you had, and college reminds you of the anxiety and doubt that worstened while you were there. You don’t know why you didn’t acknowledge it before this, but your misconceptions have destroyed the pride you once had in your accomplishments. Now you constantly worry whether you should be changing the status quo or staying with this path. You can’t decide what your passion is and whether or not that even matters for a career.

There are a couple people in your life who truly believe that you can do anything you want. They want you to do what you love and be successful emotionally and financially. There are also those who want you to be rational and traditional about your career. A couple of them have given up on themselves a little bit. Show them all that it’s about hard work and a good attitude. Rebuild your self-confidence and learn to trust yourself again. Today is a new day.

Write down your goals.

Put your goals first.

Make this day better than the last.

Most importantly, understand this, in order for you to find happiness where you are, no matter where that is, you have to be happy with yourself. Stop letting your attitude beat down your goals. Even if they don’t appear to be amazing, life-changing plans, they are your jumping off point. Make sure that you keep moving forward, and only look back to glean something helpful. Don’t look back for too long. Remember, tomorrow is when it gets even more interesting.

book review: maybe in another life

literature
Maybe in Another Life

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay Taylor Jenkins Reid, I hear you. Did you have to drive it in so forefully? Here I am, a lost and confused millennial with student loans to pay and life decisions to make, and you waltz in and tell me that it’s all going to be alright. How dare you?

This book was crafted perfectly for someone like me. The side by side comparison of two parallel lives both freaked me out and inspired me. I think that every decision I make alters my life forever and that worries me because I get stuck trying to make the right decision. Then I end up 29, like Hannah Martin, hopping from place to place thinking I have made all the wrong decisions.

I don’t have all the answers from reading this novel, but that is kind of the point. No one knows whether their choices are the right choices. The idea is to make a choice and stick to it and surround yourself with people that love you.

It seems so damn easy! Hannah’s story shows us that it isn’t.

The thing about these two universes is that the characters learn similar lessons but in different ways. I found the character development fascinating. Both Hannah and Gabbi discovered things about themselves and their lives through different means and at different paces. It was wild.

I listened to the audible version of this book. I have to say the narrator did quite well but I thought her male characters came across as weak. I had to reimagine their voices to give them more personality.

View all my reviews