i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings.
i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds.
i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Reading in 2011 or This Isn’t One of Those “Best Of” Type Posts That Are All the Rage Right Now

I have to admit, I’m not feeling the end of year recap right now. I have been skimming over posts in my reader but I haven’t really been reading many of them. My apologies, I’m just in an odd head space.

This year was very challenging for me as far as personal life goes and sadly, it did sort of show through in my blogging on both blogs and in my reading experiences. The last two months were abysmal on the reading front and even when I did finish a book I had no desire to blog about it. I forced myself, of course, because it bothered me almost more that I wasn’t blogging about the books. I was at war with myself and it was exhausting. I can be quite the nag. Sheesh.

I’m not big on setting goals and issuing challenges, but I did do a little of that in the reading part of my life. Not only that, I did so successfully. Big surprise to me.

Because Goodreads had a nifty widget this year, I joined their Reading Challenge (since I like widgets that keep track of things.) In 2010 I read 120 books, so I figured that should be doable again and even increased that amount by 5 just to make it more exciting.

I managed to read 140 books in total, therefore surpassing my goal.

I reached my goal in mid-October. With the way I was reading, I should have reached at least 155 by now, but November and December kicked me in the shins and I’ve hardly read a thing. That being said, 140 isn’t a number to sniff at either. I think that’s the most I have ever read in a year since I have been keeping count of the books. Maybe when I was working in retail books I’d read something close to that, but I don’t know because I wasn’t counting then.

I read way more YA than I normally do this year but mostly a lot more MG than I normally read. Why? Because I am tired of books seeming to be exactly the same story. I am tired of love-triangles, unnecessary graphic sex scenes and insta-love. I find that Middle Grade books are becoming more exciting because they have these great, imaginative plots and fantastic character development and still have a shred of originality that a lot of YA and Adult fantasy/paranormal/mysteries just don’t have anymore.

The only challenge I joined in 2011 was The 2011 Debut Author Challenge. I managed to read 26 books on that list, which I think is also a record for me. Normally many of the debut books are difficult to find in stores here.

I also didn’t BUY as many books this year. I tried very hard to read many of the books I already own that have been sitting there on a shelf, table, floor, unread for so long. Financially this year was difficult so I cut out book buying immensely. I think I received more books for review this year than I ever have and I’m always picky about what I accept.

Blogging about books still remains fun for me, and I shall continue as long as it does. I just like to blog in general and the few dear friends I have made through this blog will always be cherished. I like that I hold true to my own vision of this blog and I seem to stay out of the drama loop almost 100% of the time. I like that.

I appreciate every comment I ever get and I try very hard to reply to them all. It was tough while I was down in the dumps because I wasn’t interacting with anyone anywhere, but I do try. So thank you all for reading this past year, I know my reader base grew a ton and I want you all to know that I truly appreciate your visits.

Not sure what 2012 will bring, but as I mentioned on my personal blog, I will work at taking it one day at a time and trying to just cherish each day as it happens – no matter what happens.

I wish you a very happy and healthy New Year, Internet and I look forward to seeing you on the flip-side!

that time when i do that thing where i look back at the last 12 months

I have been going through all my December wrap up posts and have noticed a theme – I have had a lot of sucky years in a row. I used to be really good at finding the positive and having hope that there will be a bright side coming our way, but I have to say I’ve lost that ability and it makes me sad. Even through all of the negative there is always positive and that positive is more and more close to what really matters in life – the love of my husband, family and friends. All those little things that often get overlooked because you’re spending too much time fretting over the ones that don’t matter – money, objects that can be replaced, work, name brands, all that stuff.

What I have learned over the last few years is that Shawn and I just get stronger together. Our love grows with each challenge tossed our way. It doesn’t shrink or vanish. What we have is real and it’s been tried and tested so many times that I’m pretty secure thinking that it won’t ever end.

The one thing that had the biggest impact on me this year was the loss of Annabelly. I have had and lost dogs that I loved before, but to this day I still get moments where I am hit with such an overwhelming sense of sadness I can’t breathe. We even have two dogs in the house now, and we weren’t very long with only one before Sophie joined us but it’s not the same. Annie was, I guess, my soul animal. I still find it difficult to believe that she’s gone. I miss her so much.

I haven’t listed my memories by month the last two years but I feel like doing it again. Here we go!

January (6 posts)

  • I didn’t blog much, apparently

  • finally painted the bedroom so that I could sleep without the nightmares the cigarette orange walls were giving me (it worked, too!)
  • turned 35

February (7 posts)

  • we lost Annabelly
  • still not blogging much, but February was pretty much focused around Annie

March (9 posts)

  • sort of wondering why I even kept the blog since I still wasn’t blogging much 😉
  • we found a dog (because that’s what we do in March)
  • Shawn turned 34
  • I finally had an official “diagnosis” of fibromyalgia
  • we canceled cable because we just weren’t watching tv & wanted to save money

April (12 posts)

  • getting better at this blogging thing finally
  • my parents put their house up for sale!
  • I thought I might try to start jogging. HAHAHAHAH! Yeah, that didn’t work.
  • I started practicing driving again FULL SWING!
  • we drove to Michigan where I got the worst food poisoning ever AND
  • we got Sophie!!

May (7 posts)

  • jumped the gun thinking I got better at blogging last month
  • had my first ever cavity 🙁
  • pretty much just wrote about Sophie and posted many dog photos

June (5 posts)

  • I think this is my worst blogging year ever
  • one of my favourite friends got married & it made us happy
  • Shawn started a new job! Things were looking up!

July (10 posts)

  • married for 6 years ?
  • began an obsession with my tomato plant, resulting in many photos 😉
  • failed my first driving test & felt like a loser at life
  • stopped taking birth control pill to see if it effected my pain (didn’t then did)
  • realized I had lost my whimsy 🙁
  • accidentally killed Shawn’s macbook but discovered that Apple has awesome customer service

August (3 posts)

  • apparently August wasn’t all that interesting?
  • tomato plant obsession continued
  • stupid union voted to go on stupid strike though we were hoping it wouldn’t come to that

September (13 posts)

  • my pain (fibro) which was getting worse since June finally incapacitates me & my dr put me on sick leave, which I was torn about, but happily took. Shawn had to help me exist because everything hurt so bad.
  • went full-out purple (with pink) hair! Figured since I was off work, I might as well try it out.
  • PASSED MY DRIVING TEST!!! *throws confetti*
  • started watching tv again (online – legally!) because I was in too much pain to even hold a book
  • started cooking, or trying to, discovered obsession with Clean Eating magazine

October (15 posts)

  • did not put up any Halloween decorations because I have lost my whimsy 🙁
  • still on sick leave
  • discovered Revenge & have watched it religiously ever since. Going to marry Nolan Ross.
  • did a lot of cooking, which upon reflecting back on this now makes me realize I need to actually get BACK to cooking!

November (11 posts – ha! 11 posts on the 11th month. I like that!)

  • no money, no morale, no health, no hope (at least it felt that way)
  • did a lot of thinking about who I am and what I want to do with my life
  • sick leave ended, strike did NOT , therefore back on the picket line I go!
  • realized how bad my health was before sick leave when I was able to actually walk 4 hours a day and not collapse after
  • our blasted driveway was dug up again! GAH!

December (11 posts counting this one)

  • mood so bad it took me almost a week into the month to put out my Christmas decorations
  • STRIKE FINALLY ENDED! Woot! December 6th we were back at work!
  • I still suck at blogging, but at least we got a Finnegan Christmas video up, right?
  • my parents sold their house!! (I didn’t blog about this, but it happened just recently!)
  • read 140 books!

And that about sums up my year. I continued to Do Things to the best of my ability and I seem to have given up having hope that things will ever get better (I don’t mean that to sound as dire as it does), I’m a little more cynical and jaded than I was at the start of the year, but I’m also stronger and I have different – better – priorities now.

I will survive 2012 (assuming the Mayans are wrong about the end of the world thing) and I will chronicle all the things that happen to be as I normally do. Hopefully I will blog more, I sort of sucked at that this year. I have plans for things that I want to do but I shall not worry too much if the plans fall through.

Mostly, I just want to take 2012 one day at time and cherish each thing that happens as it happens. I think that makes the best sort of year I could possibly have. As long as I have Shawn & the dogs, my family and my dearest friends around me, that’s pretty much all I need.

Happy New Year to you my dear reader(s). See you in 2012!

Reading in 2010

My reading year started out strong. Dreamgirl by Lauren Mechling, Firespell by Chloe Neill and the discovery of the Percy Jackson series. I could tell by the books I started the year off with that 2010 was going to be a great year for reading.

I managed to read a few classics by joining the Time Quintet challenge, however fell short having only read the first three books by Madeline L’Engle and never getting to the last 2. I hope to get to those this year, however because I am trying to whittle down my TBR pile before I add many other books to it. (The books I bought with Christmas money do not count!)

There were a few duds and disappointments in the year as well. I seem to be the only person who didn’t like The Iron King by Julie Kagawa and though the rest of the reading world seems to be devouring her series, I couldn’t even finish the first book. I will say that series has some of the prettiest covers though.

The three books I adored the most this year are all written by Canadians. I find that amusing and just, brilliantly fantastic for my country. Those three books are:

Plain Kate – Erin Bow
The Day the Falls Stood Still – Cathy Marie Buchanan
Dragon Seer – Janet McNaughton

As I write this post, I have finished 120 books for the year. Those three stand out among them. These are books I recommend to people highly. These are books that struck a chord with me somehow. Each one is different yet each one captured me so completely that I still think about parts of the stories months after finishing them.

The 2010 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren allowed me to discover new authors that I would not have otherwise known of. Some books I had on my own radar, others were completely new to me. One of the most outstanding books was The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones which my crappy library actually had in stock. This book surprised me in it’s story and world. I have been desperately hoping for a sequel to this enchanting dystopian middle grade book but I can’t seem to find any news on that front. Please, please, please Book Gods, let the author release another book in this series!

And of course some of my most anticipated books of 2010 were also well received. I am a huge fan of Michelle Harrison’s 13 Treasures series and the sequel 13 Curses arrived just in time for my birthday in January. That book did NOT disappoint and I find myself anticipating the final chapter in the series for 2011 – 13 Secrets comes out in January and I hope to have my copy by February. (*hint* *hint* Jenny & Michelle). The other highly anticipated novel was by another Harrison – Kim Harrison and her latest Rachel Morgan novel, Black Magic Sanction. I can’t say that I adored it as much as others in the series, but it still made me happy.

I managed to read more books this year than last year and that’s even with an abysmal reading record for February a and March (due to LASIK eye surgery) and an abysmal October and November. I’m happy with what I read. I wish I had read more of the books on my shelves though. Not being able to buy books for much of 2010 helped with that. I have been shopping my own shelves lately. You can take a look at my list of books read this year by clicking on the tab above “BOOKS READ” and then scrolling down to the year in question. I decided to keep track of the books AS I read them this year because last year it took me forever to make up that list in time for the end of the year. Ha! I shall do that again for 2011.

Do I have reading goals? Not really. Just read for fun like I normally do. If I am not getting into a book, set it aside and try something else.

I am happy with the reading I did this year, very  happy. I read some of the most amazing stories in 2010 and I can’t wait to read more in 2011!

Happy New Year to my blog readers and Happy Reading in 2011!

the year of doing things

I’ve been reading through my end-of-year posts and have noticed a pattern – most of the years have sucked. Normally I would have had a stellar 2009 and 2010 would have sucked, but 2009 was miserable and 2010 just continued that trend. Am I looking forward to 2011?

I have no idea.

To be honest, I am scared of what 2011 will bring.

If my usual pattern held up, I’d have a lovely 2011 with good luck and happy times. But I don’t know if that will happen.

This is the first year that I have not suffered a loss of a family member in 3 years. 2007 saw the passing of my Aunt from cancer that she only had for a few months. 2008, the passing of my Grandfather at 96 years old who died of old age. 2009, the passing of my Grandmother who only stayed with us 10 months after her husband of 67 years left her. This year, there was no loss of a person in my family. Yes, I have suffered a different sort of loss, one that has actually affected us more than death of a loved one could. It’s been tough and spirits are low, but through it all… I continued to Do Things.

The first song I heard at the start of 2010 was, This Is The New Year by Ian Axel*. I happened to be awake and online at the turn of the years and on Twitter Ingrid Michaelson posted a link to the song’s video. There was something about that song that just struck me. It is so hopeful and uplifting and it filled me with such joy that I made a decision. This is the year I will go out and Do Things. I will suck it up, socialize, be active, leave the house and Do Things. I will make 2010 my year, my New Year.

I did Do Things, some were big (joined Highland Dancing!) some were smaller – went to friends’s houses for dinner. But to me they were all things I normally do not do. I turn down invitations and don’t go out after work. Here’s a list of some of the Things I did Do.

– went to see my first Opera in January (our School’s production of The Rake’s Progress)

– went to see the Waterhouse exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

– Stayed at Curves pretty religiously from January – May: would have stayed longer but their equipment is so poorly taken care of and the new staff they had were so pushy about buying other things, that I just stopped enjoying my workouts.

– had laser eye surgery (although I am still on the fence about being happy about that)

– went to cheer my friends on in their first Highland competition

– JOINED Highland Dance in the fall and then had my first show in public. Don’t know if I’ll compete ever. Pondering.

– went to see CATS at Place des Arts (even though we couldn’t afford it)

– drove more than I have in years…but only in the spring. That stopped once our road was dug up. Maybe 2011 will see me write “FINALLY GOT LICENCE!” but I doubt it. 😉

– helped Shawn save a bird from our drain pipe. 😉

– had our bank account hacked and money stolen TWICE. (Ok, so this wasn’t a Doing Thing that I did really, but still, it’s important and scary)

– went to NYC by train, by myself to attend Book Expo America and roomed with two people I had never met in person. Those of you who know me and my panic attacks know how HUGE this  is for me. I came out of this with some of the best new friendships I could ever have asked for. Kristi and Erica are awesome people and I wish I could hang out with them in NYC again!

–  I met/reconnected with my bestfriend from my childhood for the first time since 1984.. wow.

– socialized. Yes, that seems lame, but I never do. I stay at home and become hermit-like. This year I did things with friends and forced myself to stay out past my bed time. Even if it’s going to see my friend’s boyfriend (now fiance) and his quintet/trio play Jazz gigs (which were amazing!) or going over for girly night dinner. I had fun, I laughed and I didn’t turn into a pumpkin at 9PM.

Nothing huge and flashy happened. There was no exciting trip to California as we had planned for our 5th anniversary due to other stupidity in our lives, but that will happen one year. I know it will.

This year I challenged myself to come out of my shell a little and I did. I am proud of that. I am still continuing the Highland classes, which are the most intense and difficult things I have ever done. After 5 minutes I am sweating like I have never been before and I hurt, a lot. And yet it is so bloody fun.

Despite the 7 months of suck we’ve been going through I have managed to find things that can take my mind of the stress and sadness and give me some pleasure. I read 120 books this year (hoping to finish one more today so I can put that at 121 and keep it in the odd numbers), I wrote a couple of songs (which I haven’t done in YEARS), I made friendships that I hope last a long time, I danced in public, I sang back in the church choir for Advent and Christmas (and the concert).

I lived life.

Which is a rare and bizarre thing for me to do.

Some things I will try to continue to do this coming year. To be honest, I would much rather dub 2011 as The Year I Spent In My Jammies Doing Nothing. But we’ll see about that. 😉

Happy New Year, everyone!

*(I was happy to see that his album was being released on January 3rd and I bought it off iTunes and that entire album has pretty much been my soundtrack for the year!)

you’re not there yet

Glasses raised we all say cheers
Could this be the one
Our new year

~ Tori Amos, Our New Year


Every year I do this long year in review sort of post. I’m just not feeling it this year. I don’t know why. Perhaps because 2009 was such a lousy year for so many people, in so many ways. I’m not being a Negative Nelly on purpose, I just know what has happened in the lives of the people I love and care about. At work alone, 3 people have left their spouses, and I just found out about a fourth right before Christmas. Only that person isn’t in my office, though I did used to work closely with them before they changed jobs. These are not people who have only been married a handful of years. They are in the 20 or 30 years together range. I find that scary and sad.

Then there are the number of people who have had someone close to them die this year (including my grandmother). I know people die every year, but this year seemed way more obvious. And so many people died who shouldn’t have and out of the blue. Just in December alone the number of deaths, unexpected and of the young (in their 20s) was mind-blowing.

What the heck was up with 2009? No one seems happy this year. Everyone is tired, and overwhelmed and seems to be suffering so much. 2009 was supposed to be a GOOD year for me if it stuck to the pattern. For almost the entire decade I have had horrible luck in even numbered years (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008) and the odd years I have done much better.

Until now. Until 2009.

I don’t believe that hooha about the world ending on 12-12-12, but after this year I really feel like it’s a sign or something that things are going downhill. Down to where? I haven’t a clue. But I am hoping that 2010, a new year and the beginning of a new decade will pick things up a little. Maybe give people some breaks. A vacation from all the death, illness and sadness that 2009 has thrown at them.

I have lost people I have loved in this decade. I have lost friendships I once held dear in this decade. I have gained the love of Shawn and the love of some of the best friends I have ever had in this decade.

Because of the losses I tend to appreciate the gains so much more. The friends I have in my life now mean the world to me. These are people I would never had met had I not made the choices I made in the last 10 years. Even with the bad, obviously the choices I made were good for I am so lucky right now to have the friends I do. Whether they be in person, at work, or online.

I have a house. I have a husband whom I love completely who returns that love completely. I have two wonderful, if not sometimes frustrating, dogs who make me smile every morning (even if they’ve puked on the carpet). I have a job (which these days is something to be VERY thankful for), and I have the best coworkers I have EVER had in my life. I also have the best bosses I have ever had in my life. So much so that I know when my big boss’ term is up and he leaves, I am going to feel horrible. I am trying to pretend that day isn’t just around the corner because the 3 of us? We make a good team.

This decade I have had surgery twice, been robbed, been burned out of my home, been double crossed by a stupid landlord after rebuilding the home, been broken hearted, have made friends, lost friends have been deathly ill and mentally ill. So much has happened. And I have survived it all even when I didn’t think I could.

I don’t give much of a hoot about New Years Eve and whatnot. For one, staying up until midnight has never been fun in my books no matter how old I am. But at the same time, I truly feel like September/Fall is the start of my new year. Maybe because even though it has been years since I have been IN school, I still work in an educational institution, I don’t know. But the end of August and start of September always feels like my metamorphosis time. That’s when I tend to start new things, make changes.

And, well, heck. This has turned out to be long again. Oops. Anyway, my point is, I am looking forward to 2010, not only because I find writing out 2010 by hand aesthetically pleasing (I’m weird, I know) but because I am curious to see if the next decade is going to have a better track record than this first one of the 2000s.

Also, and mostly, because it’s even closer to my birthday now. Woohoo! Let the countdown begin!!

Happy New Year, everyone!