Monthly archives "December 2015"

MY YEAR OF READING

The year has come and gone and with it so has my yearly Goodreads Reading Challenge.  If you’re not on Goodreads or just haven’t heard of it before, it’s a neat way of keeping track of the books you’ve read throughout the year.  I suppose you can make challenges against your friends and such, however, I use it solely as a personal tool.  For the past three year’s I’ve completed the challenge and each year upped my goal of books to read.  Last year I came in around seventy something, so I thought I’d try to surpass that this year and go for a hundred. Unfortunately, it’s been a rough year health wise for my family and I haven’t had the time to devote to reading like I wish I could have.  I ended up reading sixty-one books, of which the covers and a few fun facts are listed below.

TOTAL PAGES READ:  11,023

LONGEST BOOK:  The Fog by Shelby Nolan 502 pages

SHORTEST BOOK:  The Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson 28 pages

AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOOK: 208 pages

MOST POPULAR BOOK:  Captivated By You by Sylvia Day

LEAST POPULAR BOOK:  Liphar Short Stories Volumn II (any consolation, I enjoyed each one of these)

HIGHEST RATED ON GOODREADS:  Exposed Secrets by April Nichols Baker

MOST READ AUTHOR: Brenda Novak (I LOVE HER!)

Creating Space

I was tagged eons ago by Rachel Carrera to do a post about my writing space.  Yes, my writing space.  You know the place you go to sit down and pour yourself out onto the screen.  The spot you run to when you have an idea that you just can’t wait to get out.  A writers sanctuary.  We all have one, right?  Right? Right …. well, actually wrong.  Nope.  No writing space here.  No desk, no table.  No corner in the house where I can even slump against the wall with my laptop perched on my legs.  I totally flubbed the post Rachel tagged me in and instead wrote about the places I’d love to have.  My dream writing nooks, because let’s face it, although a desk is an easy fix, I just didn’t have the space to put one.  My house is small.  Really small!  And after almost twenty years here with two growing boys, we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff, none of which is desk … oh wait.  Actually that’s a lie.  We have a cheap desk in my bedroom that holds a printer.  Yep, it’s big enough to hold a printer, no room for my laptop, much less anything else and when I said cheap, I’m pretty sure it came from the Dollar Store or someplace like that.  It was a quick fix until we could get something more permanent, which obviously never happened.  So, my writing space(s) over the last few years have consisted of the kitchen table, the couch and my favorite spot, my bed.  And while these places sound convenient, they aren’t all that cozy for the old back.  Yep, I’m getting old and sitting in bed crouched over my laptop isn’t something I’m going to be able to withstand for much longer.  This summer we made the decision that something had to give.   My wonderful hubby came up with the idea of expanding our garage.  I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t all that sure about the idea.  I mean, seriously who is really benefiting from this?  Yeah, he plans to put an office in for me, but you know what else is happening?  More room for HIS stuff.  His stuff that’s cluttering up the garage.  And really, how convenient is is going to be for me to slip out of the house at odd hours of the night to set up my laptop in the middle of winter?  Yeah, I wasn’t all that convinced, but he had this grand plan about heating it with propane and I’ll have a window overlooking the holler (that’s hollow if you aren’t from around here) and we’ll make the inside look like a rustic log cabin.  From that point on, he pretty much had me on board, because my perfect writing nook definitely would be a rustic cabin.  However, realistically, I know it’s not a permanent solution to my problem.  Although I’d love to shut myself out of the house and work without any distractions, abandoning my family for hours on end isn’t an option.  So, yes, the garage addition is still a go and I do plan to use it when time allows.  But I’ve also decided that it’ll serve many purposes.  I can move my paints out there where they’re readily available and some of my other craft items that I keep tucked away out of sight.  So it won’t be just a place to write, it’ll be my own little sanctuary … when it’s finished.  Which isn’t going to be relatively soon since my husband is doing all the work himself (he’s handy like that.)

In the meantime I’ve been plucking along in my usual spots, making my rounds to the couch, bed, and sometimes table.  And then one day I was at my sisters house and I see her husbands desk sitting in the middle of their den.  So, I crept down to his office to see what’s going on and there along one side of his wall is this big, new, shiny, L-shaped desk.  My mouth practically falls open and my heart speeds up.  I get all giddy inside as I make my way back to the living room.  I try to act calm when I ask my sister, “What are you doing with that old desk?”   She shakes her head, so I continue.  “I might want it if your just going to give it away.”  Yeah, I totally threw that out there like I hadn’t just stumbled upon a gold mine.  She nods this time and I say, “I’m not sure I have a place to put it, though.”  Already, I’m rearranging furniture in my head and have come to the conclusion that we really don’t need a TV in the living room.  I mean, I don’t watch it anyway.  I continued my mental floorplan when I got home and took in the house.  I squeezed that desk in every available space and no matter where I put it, it just wasn’t going to work.  I even considered putting it in the kitchen in the spot between the freezer and laundry closet, but that idea got squashed when my brother in-law dropped it off on Thanksgiving Day and I realized it wouldn’t fit.  For a couple days it sat behind my couch in this weird pocket of space that my boys created over the summer.  I blogged about that, too, but in case you aren’t up to speed on things, my kids were given the liberty of staying home by themselves this summer and each day it was almost like a game trying to figure out what we would come home to.  One day, they decided to clean and rearrange the living room.  Yes, they moved my furniture and aside from the couch sitting oddly in the middle of the room with a bench behind it, they actually did a pretty good job.  Not wanting to hurt their feelings, we left it that way for a few days.  Then a few more and a few more and well, when the desk arrived on Thanksgiving, the couch was still pushed in the middle of the floor with that odd area behind it.   With the kitchen idea out, I had to go back to the drawing board and that’s when it hit me.  The place behind the couch was actually sort of perfect.  There was plenty of space, except our fish tank was kind of in the way or actually not so much in the way, as where it sat would make the area look even more weirder than it already did.  But, after a couple hours work and the fish tank gone, the bench moved to the porch (because the porch now has a roof on it), my desk fit nicely in the corner of the living room.  I even had space to push the couch back a little and now that doesn’t look so weird either.  No major moves, we still have a TV and I have a desk … with no chair!  Well… I had the wooden kitchen table chairs, but seriously, they are not the comfiest things to sit in long term and as bad as I hated it after all the thought I’d put into it, I found myself sitting in bed or on the couch instead of at my desk.  Again, I know a chair is a super easy thing to acquire, but spending money on myself right before Christmas didn’t feel right.  So, I did what any mature adult would do.  I asked my momma for one for Christmas 🙂 and momma always delivers what you want!  Pictures aren’t the best because I took them with my Kindle (phone is dead as usual and I refuse to charge it), but there it is folks, my new space.  My hand me down desk, new chair, and all my favorite things surrounding me.  Best. Christmas. Ever.  Okay, so maybe not the best, but pretty damn close.  I’m happy and yes, since I’ve set it up, I haven’t moved my laptop to any of my other places.  I think I finally found my space.

 

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A New Kind Of Christmas

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Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, Mom and Dad were stirring about like chickens with their heads cut off.

That was how most of my Christmas Eve past have been.  We’ve never put any presents under the tree until Christmas Eve after the kids went to sleep, when Santa came and usually it’s a late night trying to get them all wrapped, because wrapping gifts is one of my least favorite things to do in the world.  It’s a job usually reserved for my husband, who dolls each one of them up perfectly.  He’s good at it and I think enjoys it, which is fine by me, because I’m perfectly happy writing names on gift tags.

Things changed this year.   The Santa secret is out, so there won’t be any need to stay up late to slide gifts under the tree when no one is watching.  I’m sort of on the fence about how I feel about that, too.  I miss the magic of it all.  Tracking Santa on Christmas Eve to know where he’s at.  Baking cookies.  The boys excitement when they see the tree for the first time and the happiness when they received a gift they really wanted.  I know some of that will still happen.  But there’s an essence missing when they no longer believe.   However, not having to keep all things hidden and secretive has it’s advantages.  We’ve begun making new traditions.  One’s that will probably carry on until heaven forbid should I say grandchildren come around …  I wrapped gifts as they came in.  Yes, I wrapped them.  Most of them anyway.  They aren’t all pretty and neat like my husband would have them, but does that really matter?   Most are also already under the tree.  Since the boys have gone through them and tried to guess what each were (they’re pretty darn good at it, too) I’ve saved a few back that I’ll slip in later tonight.  Tonight we’ll still bake cookies, but instead of trying to usher them off to bed, we’ll stay up playing games.  We have a rematch of Clue planned and I’m determined to win this time. Even tomorrows breakfast will be different.  Instead of tossing some cinnamon rolls in the oven because it’s simple and quick, I’ve planned a crockpot breakfast casserole that will cook all night.  I think the guys will appreciate it much more since they are hearty breakfast food eaters.

Things are changing and that’s okay.  It’s how life works.  The kids get older and they no longer enjoy doing the things they did before, but that doesn’t mean the beauty of it all has to disappear.  We’ll create new traditions.  And I’m sure as the years pass, we’ll add to them, figuring out what we like and what we don’t.  But in the end, the only thing that really matters, is that we are all together.

I hope whatever you celebrate this Holiday season, you celebrate it with the one’s you love.   Merry Christmas from my family to yours!