Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Books

I changed up the goal up a bit back in June.
Instead of 12 reads, I am going for 12 reads that I would recommend.
Yep, read a lot this year that I wouldn't recommend...
I started to keep track of those, but honestly, why bother?

In no particular order:

1. Viper Game by Christine Feehan (Ghostwalker Series, hardback)
You need to read the series in order.  This is one of the authors that I will not read on kindle.  I still buy the real book and keep it in my library!

2. Obsession in Death by JDRobb (hardback)
You need to read the series in order.  This is one of the authors that I will not read on kindle.  I still buy the real hard cover book and keep it in my library!

3. The Portland Storm series by Catherine Gayle (kindle)...
Okay, I thought about it and I am going to include this romance series. It is a 10 book series (the link connected to the title is only for the first four), so I'm not trying to wimp out on my reading or anything.  Some of the books hit on different topics like Recovering from Abuse (the first one)... There is another about Cancer (two if you count the novella)... And many other real world issues. Now don't misunderstand me - this is a romance series and makes for a good mindless read if you skip over some of the serious issues, but I really enjoyed the deeper story lines and I learned a little bit about hockey in the process. 

4. The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede (kindle)
I have had this book on my wish list for awhile now, but couldn't stomach paying $10 and not have a book to hold in my hand.  Then MBB gave me a kindle gift card for Mother's Day and this was the first one that I grabbed.  Appropriate that I read part of it on the flight to New York where I went to visit the 9/11 memorial (didn't make it to the museum, so I will have to go back)...  I liked the backbone to the book and I liked the human touch, but I was a bit disappointed in the writing for $10. Good book to read if you remember 9/11, but I recommend waiting on a sale.

5. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell (kindle)
This board is about a family torn apart by hoarding.  I enjoyed the read, but it was deep in spots and flighty in others.  Not sure on the recommendation, but I am going to leave it here.  If a good editor went back over it...I can see much room for improvement!

6. Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal and Customer-Centric Employees by Doug Lipp (kindle)
I enjoyed this kinda sorta story about Disney and kinda sorta self-improvement book.  I really like the concept and kept thinking as I read the book - if only this were still the case today (especially in the Disney Stores, which is also talked about in the book). <-- Recommend for those on a kinda sorta history / Disney kick, though catch on a Kindle Deal of the Day like I did!

7. Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines Book 1) by Marko Kloos (kindle - prime shared 052015)
This series sortareminds me of Hunger Games, a little bit.  Set in the future where life as we know it is no more.  I really enjoyed the first book of the series.

8. Lines of Departure (Frontlines Book 2) by Marko Kloos (kindle - prime shared 062015)
The second book of this series started out very slow (almost didn't keep going), but got better throughout the book to the point that I was waiting anxiously for July so that I could "check out" the third one.

9. Angles of Attack (Frontlines Book 3) by Marko Kloos (kindle - prime shared 072015)
I enjoyed this book and was very disappointed when I realized that Book 4 won't be out until April 2016!

10. The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary by Joseph Michelli (kindle)
I loved the concepts in this book, but wish that the Starbucks (especially those in airports) would continue to follow the great ideas that I am reading in the book. 
It does make me giddy when I see what I read in practice!

11. Devoted in Death by JDRobb (hardcover)
You need to read the series in order.  This is one of the authors that I will not read on kindle.  I still buy the real hard cover book and keep it in my library!

12. Killing Lincoln:  The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (kindle)
This book came highly recommended from a lively discussion about history that I had with a group in San Diego.  I didn't even look at the price, I just ordered it while we were still sitting there talking.  I just finished the book this week and I have to say that I enjoyed it.

And that is all they wrote, or all that I would recommend anyway.
I fell off of the grid with reading lately...been focused on other things.
I even need to go back and see if any of my favorite authors have released new books lately that I missed.


2015 Goals... How Did I Do?

I hate resolutions...
They just scream to be broke...
And you either did it or didn't, no retakes, no recoveries...
So much pressure!

Nope, not doing them.

So, I do goals.  They are targets that I might do good one month, but not another.
I can improve slowly or go full speed ahead.
I have options and I am in a better mindset for that!

So, let's see how I did on the 2015 Goals (and I get to reflect on what the 2016 ones should be):

Physical Side
-Get my Fitbit to exceed 10,000 steps at least three times a week... GULP
Let's not talk about the first half of the year on this one. 
I believe that I was hitting about 2-3K a day. 
Not at all successful. 
Then, on August 9th, a switch flipped (and I went on a vacation with lots of walking) and I started 10K a day. 
In the first 11 weeks, I only missed my goal on 12 days (and three of those 12, I hit 9K). 
Since then, I have hit 10,000 steps 68 days in a row (including today).

-Wear my retainer at least once a week...
I started strong and am ending somewhat strong, but the middle was not so good.
In fact, I got better at the end because MBB mentioned that my teeth were moving and yeah, sometimes it is really handy to have a partner that gives it to you like it is...

Mental Side
-Read 12 books (hardback or thought provoking)...  Changed: Read 12 that are recommendable.
I'll post on this one separately.  I know that I hit my original target easily, but not so sure on the revised.  The last few months got a little weird for me and I didn't touch the kindle much.

-Scrapbook the pictures that are already sitting in my craft room (Yes - scrapbooking is mental!  Try coming up with creative, good-looking layouts!)...
OUCH.  I did not scrap one picture in the room this year.  I did make books (from digital pictures) for Zilla/GenGen and MoMo, but those were for their Mommy and Daddy, not for us.

I focused more on sewing this year and I am okay with that!
I delivered three baby quilts and bigger ones to two of our nephews.
I have three more in process and only two more to make so that all of our nieces and nephews have them!  I foresee 2016 still being about quilts (and using up some fabric piles so that there is less to move to Michigan in 2017!).

Spiritual Side
-Get to church at least two times a month...
I was doing really well with this one (going three times a month) until Mother's Day.  
Let's just say that sermon put a sour taste in my month that still hasn't gone away.  
Every time I think about looking for a new church, I remember that Mother's Day sermon and I move on to something else...

-Read a devotion every Monday...
I did finish up the devotion book.  I will admit that I did it weekly until the beginning of November, then the kindle and I parted ways for a I had to do some catch up this week, but I did complete the year!

All in all, I think I did pretty well with the goals this year.
I may repeat some just for the accountability (like the 10K a day), but my idea to become such a part of my life that I don't have to call them out anymore.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 in review


A year of...
 . . .hurry up and wait
 . . .uncertainty
 . . .grandsons
 . . .traveling
 . . .hard work
 . . .and it paying off

I'm scared to count up all of the trips that I / we were on this year.
Let's just say that I made Gold with Marriott and was one flight (not trip) away from Silver with Delta.  If I could get a reward level for all of the driving that I did - that would probably be Platinum!

A big chunk of the year was dedicated to getting my condo ready to go on the market and we still aren't there yet.  :(  I am hopeful that will happen in January, though the winter is not the best time of the year to sell.  It was a great first home and served me well, but we are ready to move on in preparation for our move.

With all of the up-in-the-air with work, it was nice to finally get the official letter in December making our destination official.  We are now just waiting on the official timing, but we can say "Southeast Michigan...Here we come!"

The letter also brought about all of my hard work paying off as I got the position that I've been working toward for quite awhile... Made for a great ending to the year.

2016 will be full of working on properties, lots of travel and even more grandbabies...
I am hopeful that I can keep up with the blog, but with the new position at work - that may be a stretch.  We shall see how it goes.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Rough Time...

Honestly, it's been a rough month or so and the last few days, I reached a low point.

I really just wanted to go bawl my eyes out and feel sorry for myself, but life got in the way and I just couldn't.  I even tried retail therapy - didn't work for me (spending money just makes me even more depressed!).  I even went as far as buying a new pair of shoes - nope, no dice.  Though, I really did need the shoes.

I am having some medical challenges right now and of course, it will be a few days before I hear back from the doctor. 

Why do I always seem to get sick around the holidays when people want to take some time off?

So, I am going to try to spend my last four days off of work keeping busy, getting some projects done and just not think about it.

Wish me luck...
And some prayers would be appreciated too!


Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope this finds all of you having a wonderful holiday season! 

As we started writing this letter, we realized how little we had to say about 2015.  It was very busy, but not a lot of interest to talk about.

2015 was mostly full of grandbabies and travel.  Our lives will continue to be full of tractors, trucks and monsters…And we wouldn’t have it any other way!  Zilla and MoMore come to visit Papaw and Nana often and we spend lots of time doing fun stuff with “our boys”.  We are looking forward to the arrival of our third grandson in March 2016. 

SassyMarie visited Baltimore, New York City, Austin, San Diego, Toronto and lots of trips up 75 to Michigan for work.  Zilla has told her that she needs to “stay here” when she gets back from a trip.  MBB placed 5th in the Singles Tournament in Las Vegas for 8-ball singles and qualified to play in the Amateur National Open for pool in Tampa, Florida.  We both played in Las Vegas for the national team tournament – MBB on the Master’s team and SassyMarie on the Women’s team and the Jack 'n Jill team. 

We did learn officially this month that we will be relocating to southeast Michigan.  We are still waiting on the official timing, but we are hoping for the summer of 2017.  The To Do list before we tackle the move is way too long to go any earlier and keep our sanity.

As 2015 comes to a close, we’d like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  We expect that 2016 will continue with the same busyness that has taken over our lives over the past year.  We hope to keep in touch with everyone, even if it is just keeping up on everyone’s lives through Facebook, emails or phone calls.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015


I have been so busy that I haven't been on the home laptop, which means no blogging.

What can I say?
Life happens.

And it really happened this fall.

But, I can say that my modified Holiday To Do List (a few things had to be crossed off due to keeping my sanity) is all done and there is just a few things that I want to do on my off week between the two holidays.  We'll see how it goes.

Our internet is wonky today due to high winds / Tornado threats last night, so I don't think that I'll be getting any pictures on the blog today... But they are working on getting it fixed, so we'll see.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Papaw, Zilla and MoMore started making play houses.

We started with a cardboard house with drawings inside (Nana can get creative with crayons)...
It worked for awhile, but Zilla got bored with that wimpy stucture.

So, he started making a better, more secure (trying to keep everyone else out) fort...
Notice, the cardboard house became the roof and his bicycle was the gate.

Turn your head to the right (couldn't get the picture to load correctly)...