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21 December 2013 @ 12:08 pm


Yea, I'm one of THOSE people. The personal stuff will be f-locked from now on. Random stuff I don't care who reads will still appear. I've had things used against me in the past.. yada yada.. and I really don't like that.

But I'm not against adding new people. Just leave me a comment.
Bonus points if you can tell me which novel the image is from. :)

Geez, Louise. Has it really been almost 2 years since I've done one of these? Where does the time go? Oh yea. I have kids. My time is not my own, and I barely process it as it flies by.

I've had a slew of freelance projects since Episode 4, but none that added to my stash of questionable images. Well, there was the erotic book cover project... but those images are in a whole other category. For the most part, though they might bring a little color to your cheeks, you're not left wondering what the heck the photographer was thinking. Or how the heck anyone could ever use this image in context.

These however....

Well, here they are.

"High Speed Internet"

Really, I just thought the volume on her speakers was too high. I think people have lost the concept of fast internet. It's pretty much always "too slow".

"High Speed Internet, the Sequel"

Web surfing in zero gravity. He might need a different helmet.

Speaking of web surfing....

This guy is taking it literally. Hang ten, dude.

"Man driving at home"

But driving what? If you could zoom out, you would see he's sitting on a chair. Holding a useless steering wheel. Really? And I may get stones thrown at me for saying this, but couldn't they have picked a model without a lazy eye? I know, I'm a terrible person. But this is a terrible photo.

Things on Wheels that Shouldn't Be

I hope no turtles were harmed in the making of this photo. Poor little guy. He probably wondered what the heck was happening to him. But on closer examination, there is a lack of turtle underbelly in the reflection... so this is probably a Photoshop job.

"Fast Learning"

I'm quip-less. This is just weird.

"High Speed Computer Mouse"

High speed it may be, but certainly not ergonimically correct. I imagine that spoiler would aggravate my tendonitis. Ridiculousness aside, the image is well done, so kudos there.


"Brick Eye"

OUCH. For reals.

"Businessmen at War"

Could someone get these gentlemen some real guns? Or at least slap those smiles off their faces? At war, my eye.

"The boss and his beautiful orange secret"

The title of this image is enough of a "WTF" that I was intrigued. It took me a minute or so to figure out what the big "secret" was. I was stuck on the weird orange glasses and the espresso. His secret is hidden in the shadows. Do you see it?

"Taking Money With Any Price"

Worst. Muggers. Ever.

.....and the winner is...

"The White Rabbit"

The White Rabbit from Hell! Seriously, this thing is frickin' scary. I can't look at it. Crazy Zombie Were Rabbit.
31 December 2012 @ 11:59 pm
Bless God, I am going to read 35 books this year if it kills me!

Maybe I shouldn't say that. lol But I am going to try my best.

Free Friday Nook Books will be a great help to this goal since I never read paper books much anymore, and since we're, you know, POOR. Free books are love.

So this is my sticky post that will contain my updated list of books read and reviewed.

Did you miss 2011?

Books - 2012Collapse )
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24 July 2012 @ 04:42 pm

Desperate Passage: The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West by Ethan Rarick - ★★★★★

In late October 1846, the last wagon train of that year's westward migration stopped overnight before resuming its arduous climb over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, unaware that a fearsome storm was gathering force. After months of grueling travel, the 81 men, women and children would be trapped for a brutal winter with little food and only primitive shelter. The conclusion is known: by spring of the next year, the Donner Party was synonymous with the most harrowing extremes of human survival. But until now, the full story of what happened, what it tells us about human nature and about America's westward expansion, remained shrouded in myth.

Drawing on fresh archaeological evidence, recent research on topics ranging from survival rates to snowfall totals, and heartbreaking letters and diaries made public by descendants a century-and-a-half after the tragedy, Ethan Rarick offers an intimate portrait of the Donner party and their unimaginable ordeal: a mother who must divide her family, a little girl who shines with courage, a devoted wife who refuses to abandon her husband, a man who risks his life merely to keep his word. But Rarick resists both the gruesomely sensationalist accounts of the Donner party as well as later attempts to turn the survivors into archetypal pioneer heroes. "The Donner Party," Rarick writes, "is a story of hard decisions that were neither heroic nor villainous. Often, the emigrants displayed a more realistic and typically human mixture of generosity and selfishness, an alloy born of necessity."

A fast-paced, heart-wrenching, clear-eyed narrative history, A Desperate Hope casts new light on one of America's most horrific encounters between the dream of a better life and the harsh realities such dreams so often must confront.

* * * * *

OH. MY. GOODNESS. I don't typically read non-fiction, but I was intrigued by this one. I honestly knew nothing of the Donner Party except that they were pioneers, they got trapped, and they may or may not have eaten each other. So I thought I would read this and learn more about them. I have NEVER been so interested in history in my entire life. I found their story riveting. Sad, depressing, inspiring, appalling, and even humorous at times (though only in the beginning). If you don't know much about them, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book. It reads easily, like fiction. (I normally have a hard time reading non-fiction because I find it boring and oftentimes awkwardly written.) Maybe it's because I'm a parent now, but the accounts of the children in the party were especially heartbreaking. I spent a lot of time being angry at what I believed were really stupid decisions that people made. There were so many opportunities for things to have turned out differently than they did. So the reader experiences a lot of dread because you know what's going to happen and there's nothing you can do to prevent it. It's not overly gruesome or graphic, so don't worry if you're squeamish. But there is a LOT of death, so just keep that in mind.

Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson - ★★★☆☆

In a Ya-Ya Sisterhood for teens, Peaches combines three unforgettable heroines who have nothing in common but the troubles that have gotten them sentenced to a summer of peach picking at a Georgia orchard.

Leeda is a debutante dating wrong-side-of-the-tracks Rex.

Murphy, the wildest girl in Bridgewater, likes whichever side Rex is on.

Birdie is a dreamer whose passion for Girl Scout cookies is matched only by her love for a boy named Enrico.

When their worlds collide, The Breakfast Club meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in an entirely original and provocative story with a lush, captivating setting

* * * * *

I have no experience with the Ya-Ya Sisterhood books, which everyone seems quick to compare these to. And I would in no way call these girls "heroines". They're just girls. Funny at times, incredibly stupid at times, often selfish, teenage girls. They make dumb choices, they fall in love, they fight, they make up, they grow as individuals and learn things about themselves...

It's an interesting story and a good read. Apparently, it's the first of a trilogy. I'd be interested to read the next two.
12 July 2012 @ 10:20 am
Haven't done these in a looooong time. Don't intend to do them thoroughly now, either. Really, I'm just procrastinating working on a freelance project that I don't believe the person intends to pay me for. Can you understand my lack of motivation? ;)

Anyway, I LOVE Free Nook Book Fridays, and have it to thank for most of these titles--books I never would have picked up otherwise.

The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald - ★★★★★

Alice Love keeps her life (and job, and family) running in perfect order, so when her bank card is declined, she thinks it's just a mistake. Sadly, someone has emptied her bank account, spending her savings on glamorous trips, sexy lingerie, and a to-die-for wardrobe-and leaving Alice with lots of debt. As a dashing fraud investigator helps her unravel the intriguing paper trail, Alice discovers that the thief is closer to home than she ever imagined. What's more, it seems like her alter ego's reckless, extravagant lifestyle is the one Alice should have been leading all along. As the little white lies begin to stack up, how far will Alice go to find the truth? And whose life, exactly, is she fighting for?

* * * * *

I was quickly sucked into the world of this book. I found myself identifying closely with the main character (with the exception of her being financially stable, as we definitely are not)--she's dependable to a fault, and I was outraged when she discovered who it was that stole her identity and her money. The "dashing fraud investigator" is a nice, if predictable, addition, and he lives up to his description. I took his side more and more as the book went on and found myself annoyed at Alice and her methods/attitude. There are some side characters who seem to have more going on than they actually do, which kept things interesting, but I kept waiting for the shoe to drop, so to speak, and it never did. So, a bit of confusion there until I realized: these are not main characters; their drama would have taken away from the story.

There is a good amount of brand-name-dropping--which is cool for people who are into that kind of thing, not me--but there wasn't so much of it that I found it annoying or distracting.

All in all, a quick, fun read.

Dare to Die by Carolyn Hart - ★★☆☆☆

She came in the rain. Alone. On a bicycle.

Annie and Max Darling are completely unprepared when the arrival of a mysterious young woman shocks their sea island and stirs up more than just gossip.

It turns out that Iris, the beautiful stranger, is a former resident of Broward's Rock. Her arrival throws the normally happy town into a downward spiral that pits neighbor against neighbor.

Things take a turn for the worse when Annie befriends Iris and invites her to attend the Darlings' party at the pavilion where Death is the uninvited guest. Suddenly, Max and Annie find themselves in the middle of a fight they don't understand and at the mercy of an unknown assailant who's trying to kill them—and all they know is that it is one of their friends.

* * * * *

Once I had invested the time it took to get into this story, I found I didn't care much what happened, but I was determined to see it through. I guess I kept hoping it would get better. Instead it was only so-so. It's not that it was predictable. Truly, I wasn't sure who the killer was until the end, but it could only be one of like 5 people, and none of those people had many redeeming qualities, so it didn't really matter to me which one of them it was.

I got somewhat annoyed at the main character and her determination to investigate this case. Just because you own and operate a murder mystery bookstore does not make you a super sleuth. And the repeated references to other, more famous, murder mysteries annoyed me rather than making me want to read them, as I think was Ms. Hart's intent.

All in all, a somewhat-tedious, not-very-interesting read.

Pillow Talk by Freya North - ★★★★★

By day, Petra Flint is a talented jeweler working in a lively London studio. By night, she's a sleepwalker troubled by a past she can't put to bed and a present that leaves her clinging to an unsuitable boyfriend. Arlo Savidge was once a budding heartthrob musician. Then tragedy struck and he chose to forsake stardom and all future affairs of the heart for a quiet life in the countryside as a music teacher.

Petra and Arlo haven't seen each other since they were teenagers-when their feelings ran deep but the timing wasn't right. Now, seventeen years later, they run into each other once more. Might first love get a second chance-or will what keeps them up at night keep them apart forever?

* * * * *

I have no idea why this book is called Pillow Talk. The subtitle, if you could call it that, "What keeps you up all night?" is much more appropriate but would make a horrible title. Oh well. I LOVED this. It's soooo British, with its language and expressions that I find hilarious. And I found myself very interested. Just what is the reason for Petra's sleepwalking? I was a bit taken aback by the explanation that finally, finally comes toward the end. I also wanted to know Arlo's secret, which is slightly less interesting but much more sad.

Quality literature it is not, but an interesting story and easy to get into. It definitely kept me up reading long after I should have been asleep.

Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann - ★★★☆☆

When a young woman stumbles out of the Hanalei Mountains on the island of Kauai with no memory of who she is or how she got there, Cameron Pierce reluctantly agrees to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding her arrival. As pieces begin to fall into place, he suspects her injuries were no accident, but he's far from convinced she's an innocent victim. And there's that nagging feeling he's seen her somewhere before....

Now known as Jade, the woman begins to recall fragments of what led her to this place, and she realizes the danger isn't over. Jade and the cynical Hawaiian investigator attempt to reconstruct the threads of her identity, but the stakes are far higher than either expected.

* * * * *

I liked this one, but I didn't love it. I was pretty disappointed when I found out----[SPOILER ALERT]----that it wasn't about the main character at all! What? All this drama and violence, and it all had to do with 3 side characters? The only thing the main character had going for her was a very resilient nature and a developing love interest. All the Hawaiian language was cool, but pretty distracting, and then annoying when I found out that after struggling through Google Translate there were translations at the back of the book. Would have been nice if the author had put a note or something toward the front letting people know that resource was available.

The Christian themes that pop out occasionally might bother some who prefer their fluff fiction to be religion-free. I didn't mind it, but I don't feel it added anything religiously significant either. Maybe if you're a patty-cake Christian. ;)

This was recommended by a friend. Normally his recommendations are quite good. This one was a bit miss. I'm thinking maybe he hadn't finished it yet before he recommended it to me. At least it was free. ;)

Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer - ★★★★☆

In the sleepy small town of Barracuda Bay, Maddy Swift leads the life of a fairly typical teenager, but while attending a party one night, Maddy is struck by lightning and awakens to realize she has been reanimated and turned into a zombie. While becoming acquainted with her new "lifestyle," Maddy stumbles upon two unexpected undead chaperones, fellow students Dane and Chloe, who begin to teach her the ways of zombie life, including defending the populace from Zerkers—the bad zombies. Together, on prom night, the three teens must ultimately defend Barracuda Bay High from an all-out zombie Armageddon.

* * * * *

This one is FUN-ny. At least to me. I think it's meant to be that way. It's definitely YA, and appeals to the high school aged audience. They would likely take the main character's concerns more seriously than I did. Being a parent has jaded me a bit. ;) I found myself wanting a few of the side characters to die horrible deaths. In that, I was disappointed. The climactic zombie Armageddon is over quickly and without as much vengeance as I would have liked. The main character's romantic choice was a bit disappointing as well. I chalked it up to her being a stupid teenager, though a zombie-fied one.

Not quality literature, but funny. And the ending is totally open for a sequel, though I think the other books in the series are about other unrelated supernatural/un-dead creatures.

Blood Ties by Lori G. Armstrong - ★★★☆☆

Julie Collins is stuck in a dead-end secretarial job with the Bear Butte County Sheriff’s office, and still grieving over the unsolved murder of her Lakota half-brother. Lack of public interest in finding his murderer, or the killer of several other transient Native American men, has left Julie with a bone-deep cynicism she counters with tequila, cigarettes, and dangerous men. The one bright spot in her mundane life is the time she spends working part-time as a PI with her childhood friend, Kevin Wells. When the body of a sixteen-year old white girl is discovered in nearby Rapid Creek, Julie believes this victim will receive the attention others were denied. Then she learns Kevin has been hired, mysteriously, to find out where the murdered girl spent her last few days. Julie finds herself drawn into the case against her better judgment, and discovers not only the ugly reality of the young girl’s tragic life and brutal death, but ties to her and Kevin’s past that she is increasingly reluctant to revisit. On the surface the situation is eerily familiar. But the parallels end when Julie realizes some family secrets are best kept buried deep. Especially those serious enough to kill for.

* * * * *

Uhhh... I remember liking this, but I honestly can't remember much about it. The main character kind of got on my nerves. I think it was because she's a cynic, a drunk, a chain-smoker, AND a sex addict. I just don't identify with that type of person. So, I'm not sure I'll be very interested in the remainder of this series, except for her relationship with childhood friend Kevin, which seems to be developing into something else. And he's a good guy. So maybe he can help her get over some of her major hangups. (Sorry if you drink, smoke, and/or are promiscuous. Yes, I consider those vices.)

The crime she is supposed to be solving seems to come in second to her personal issues, until over half-way through the book. Then the two seem to collide, and things got more interesting. It shouldn't have taken so long to snag me.

A Time to Love by Barbara Cameron - ★★★☆☆

War correspondent Jennie King thinks she’s just a temporary guest in her grandmother’s Amish community while she recuperates from the devastating injuries sustained in a car bomb attack that changed her world. But when she meets Matthew Bontrager, the man she had a crush on as a teenager, she wonders if God has a new plan for her. Jennie has emotional and physical scars and though she feels she has come home to this man and this place, she's not sure she can bridge the difference between their worlds.

* * * * *

Wow. This book could not have been more different than the last one. (I read this immediately after Blood Ties.) Let me sum this up for you in two words: Amish Romance. I was NOT prepared. It was cute and sweet, though, but jeepers, how much more bodily trauma can this girl take before it breaks her?? I don't know much anything about the Amish, but their reaction to everything that happens seems too easy. They're too nice. Too accepting. There's the one guy with an issue, but he's easily dealt with. Maybe they are very accepting of outsiders joining their community, but I would have thought not. They seem like very private people. Anyway, this is supposed to be the first of a series, and from the blurbs I've read, the following books seem even more unlikely. At least Jennie had some experience living the Amish life when she was younger. Characters introduced in following books have no experience and yet are apparently accepted just as easily as she was. Meh. Might read them if they're ever available for free.

The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar [audiobook] - ★★★☆☆

The Duggars: 20 and Counting! is a behind-the-scenes look at the supersize family that fascinates millions of television viewers around the world. From Idaho to Istanbul, people want to know how Arkansas parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar efficiently and lovingly manage 19 happy, home-schooled children without going into debt—or losing their minds!

This is an entertaining and enlightening collection of stories, photos, recipes, tips, traditions, and practical ideas designed to answer the questions of the curious, such as: Why do you have so many children? How do you provide for your family financially? How do you handle mealtimes? Transportation? Laundry? Birthdays? How are your children so well behaved? Why do all your children have names that begin with J?

Since their first documentary broke viewership records on the Discovery Health Channel, the Duggars have appeared in American and international news media, sharing their rock-solid faith and their overriding belief that “children are a blessing from God”. In this audiobook, Jim Bob and Michelle share their story, beginning with their own childhoods. They reveal how their growing-up years shaped their philosophy of parenting. It continues with tales of their big, busy family, whose televised documentaries and frequent appearances in news shows and newspapers have created an international following.

The Duggars share, with humility and humor, the family routines and guidelines they’ve learned through biblical study and trial and error—ideas that can help make your home a place of peace, love, and support: Financial lessons for debt-free living, organizing systems for a clutter-free home, home-schooling methods and schedules, training tips for little ones, relationship builders for older children, and favorite Duggar family resources.

* * * * *

My favorite parts of this were the cute stories and the helpful tips on organizing and potty training. Other than that, I didn't care much about the history of the family. That sounds cold. It's just that Michelle talks a loooooong time about Jim Bob's and her own childhood, and I just wanted her to get to the helpful bits about how they manage such a large family. I haven't watched the show much, so I guess a lot of people would be interested in their beliefs and why they have so many kids. I wasn't. I kinda knew all that already just from the several large Pentecostal families I know. The jist of it is: who are we to tell God how many children we should have? If we as Christians want Him to be in control of our lives we have to give EVERYTHING over. I get that. I don't practice it as far as childbearing goes, but I understand it.

Michelle does all the narration, and, at times, I felt myself annoyed with her and how freakin' NICE she is. How can you have so many children and never get angry?? And she NEVER GETS ANGRY. She also doesn't pronounce all of her words properly. I don't mean she has an accent. She might have a slight southern accent, but it's not distracting. I mean that she was reading a section that maybe Jim Bob had written, and she wasn't familiar with the word, and she totally butchers it. It was kinda funny, and I wondered why they didn't fix it in editing.

I guess this would be a good one for you if you're into the Duggars, but if you're just interested in learning tips about family management there isn't much here.
15 February 2012 @ 07:27 pm
So, Jason introduced me to this, and I am diggin it. Super creative with them all playing the same guitar and everything, but the song is really good too.

17 January 2012 @ 03:03 pm
OMG, it's a book review. *gasp* I know! I DO still read for fun and not just for work. Well, my last book review was Mockingjay back in July. I have read several books since then, just haven't reviewed them. Meh.

I found this book on Amazon during Christmas. They ran a deal on Kindle books and slashed a ton of new books to 99¢. I read through many of them to find the ones I thought I would really like, rather than just snatching a bunch of them because they were cheap. I'm really going for more quality this year, rather than the sleazy paranormal romances.

Hunter by Robert Bidinotto - ★★★★★

Two people, passionately in love.
But each hides a deadly secret.
He is a crusading vigilante, on a violent quest for justice.
She is tracking this unknown assassin, sworn to stop him.
Neither realizes the truth about the other.
And neither knows that a terrifying predator is hunting them both...

From its first gripping pages, HUNTER takes you on a nonstop thrill ride: from the top floor of the CIA, to the marbled corridors of Capitol Hill...from the posh hotels of downtown Washington, to the city's mean, violent streets. It introduces a colorful new hero for our time--and a dazzling heroine every bit his equal.

A spy mystery...a crime thriller...a passionate romance: HUNTER is a genre-bending novel unlike any you've read. Deviously plotted, filled with vivid characters, and propelled at a breakneck pace, it's a tale as memorable for its provocative ideas as for a rousing climax that has readers cheering.


This is a relatively new release--and the author's first work of fiction, as far as I can tell. For the 170-something 5-star reviews it has, I was surprised to see about 25 1-star reviews. And there's not much in-between. You either love it or you hate it. And most people love it. I did. Despite the very cheesy "book description".

It's a vigilante thriller with bits of romance. No black costumes and fancy gadgets though, a la Batman. Just guns, clever disguises, and numerous aliases with appropriately-chosen names, e.g. Edmond Dantes. "Hunter" has been trained, but you don't find out how until Part 3, so the major mystery is: Where did this guy come from, and how the heck did he get so vengeful?

But despite the things he does, I LIKE HIM. A LOT. I want Annie to trust him. I don't want him to get caught, and I was up at 2 & 3 am this morning, hungrily turning pages to get to the end. And it does 'end', though I found out (after following the author on Twitter) that it will be a series. Hmmm... As much as I liked it, I think it had too much of an ending to be a successful series. I would definitely read the others, but I'm afraid I would go into them expecting to be somewhat let down. Hopefully Bidinotto will pleasantly surprise me.

If you're a fan of early-release or criminal rehabilitation programs, this probably won't be your favorite read. It may even make you angry. The author is very clear that he doesn't agree with those kinds of programs. He's made a career writing (non-fiction) investigative crime articles. It's very black and white for him. He believes such programs put hardened criminals back on the streets to kill again. Period. Prisons should not resemble resorts, and in the notes at the back of the book he explains some of his research into the prison system. Towards the beginning of the book there's a memo that our main character reads while he is visiting a prison that was apparently taken word-for-word from a real memo posted at a real prison. I must say, I felt some righteous indignation that my tax dollars might be used in such a frivolous way.

You might say this book is very political. Many 1-star reviewers used the word "preachy". I didn't find it to be so. But then, I agree with most of the ideas and opinions the author seems to hold, so naturally I didn't take issue with it.
03 January 2012 @ 04:40 pm
215K 1:19
(no transcription available)
31 December 2011 @ 11:59 pm
New year, new sticky post for books, movies, and (new this year) weight loss!

Pre-Little J, mr_j and I were movie-watching fiends. Then last year, I totally fell off the wagon of watching any movie in its entirety. That's what having a baby does to your previously luxurious life. Conditions improved once Netflix made streaming available for Wii, but I still find it hard to sit down and watch a whole movie from beginning to end. Other things just seem to be more important. (Like moving my butt and losing some of this baby weight!) So, I might do movie ratings and reviews this year, or I might give it up in favor of other things. We'll see.

Books, on the other hand, I intend to make my goal of 35 for this year. And hopefully it won't all be cheesy vamp romance. I've got about 4 books already in progress, but then 3 of those books have been "in progress" for over a year. Hopefully 2011 will be a year for finishing things I've started.

And speaking of starting... I got started on my weight loss goals before 2010 was over, but I've still got a ways to go. And I do mean A-WEIGHS!! I've listed the pounds in 10-pound increments along with the reward I will give to myself for achieving that level. When it happens, I'll add the date.

Enough exposition. Here there be LJ-cuts under which movies, books, and weight loss will be added continuously throughout the year.

Did you miss 2010?

Books - 2011Collapse )

Weight Loss - 2011Collapse )

Movies - 2011Collapse )
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30 December 2011 @ 01:19 pm
Read past entries here.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
Become a runner, lost a grandparent (two, in the end), lose my job and start my own business.

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2011, I had planned to be down to my pre-preg weight by my birthday in March. I think it took me until April, but, hey, I did it!
I wanted to start and finish the Couch25k program--which I did.
I wanted to run the 5k Race for the Cure in October. That didn't exactly happen because we got to the race so late and were stuck behind thousands of walkers. We did run some though.
I wanted to run the 4-mile Turkey Trot in November. We didn't get to do that because we couldn't afford the race entry fees.
I wanted to be back to ONE-derland (below 200lbs) by December. That didn't happen.
I wanted to track all my food and walk at least an hour 3 times a week. That didn't happen.
I wanted to pay off 3 debt items. That didn't happen, but we did pay off ONE.
And finally, I wanted to read 35 books before the year was out. I got 24, and several of those were short stories. Yet another year I managed not to finish Neil Gaiman's American Gods. :(

For 2012, I want to run 6 HMs--that will be an enormous challenge if I succeed in getting pregnant again. I want to pay off ONE debt item. I don't think that's too much to ask. I want to get my office shelves in and everything organized so that I can work more productively. I want to put on a successful VBS for the kids this summer. I want to read 35 books!!! And, I want to get pregnant with baby #2. :)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My grandmother (Dad's side) was very near death last Christmas, but she lived until January 21st. My grandmother (Mom's side) died on September 12th. A good friend of my mom's (and my friend too) lost her teenage grandson in a terrible car accident. There are numerous other friends who also suffered loss this year.

5. What countries/states did you visit?
We were in Little Rock for New Years and then we went to Chicago for our anniversary.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
More money and a second child. Those two things may be mutually exclusive. lol

7. What dates/events from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Jan 21 - the day my grandmother died
Jan 24 - her funeral
Mar 1 - the day I started running
Mar 23 - my last 20-something birthday
June 1 - Jeffrey's 1st birthday
June 10-12 - "official" release of War of the Seasons, Book One: The Human by Janine K. Spendlove -- my first editing and book layout gig. It was awesome. Love the book. Loved the experience of working on it.
July 15 - the day I registered for the St. Jude Half-Marathon; also the day I lost my job, and the day I started a new adventure... full-time Mommy AND full-time freelancer
Sept 12 - the day my grandmother died
Dec 3 - the St. Jude Half-Marathon

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Becoming a runner and finishing my first half-marathon. Also, not losing my mind. It's been QUITE an adjustment being home full-time, and I still haven't worked out all the kinks, but we're managing.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Any "failure" I can think of is only a perceived failure and not a true failure. Example: losing my job seems like a failure, but it's not. Having to give up our car for something with a smaller note feels like a failure, but it's not. The only thing I'm failing at right now is motivation. I haven't run in two and a half weeks!! :(

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a lot of back issues this year. Trips the chiropractor fixed that. The only other thing I can think of was spraining my pinky finger while playing on the inflatable slides at Pump It Up. lol So, no major illnesses or injuries.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmmmm... Didn't buy much this year. Jason got an iPad for his birthday and that was the LAST major gift purchase. But I wouldn't say it was the best thing. Jason might, but it benefits me very little. lol Honestly, I think we can agree that one of the best things we bought this year were the 7-day CTA cards when we were in Chicago. It was just a metro-pass card, but we used those things like crazy all over that city. :) ***** I had to come back because I just remembered something. The refrigerator. That would be our best purchase. :)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Jeffrey's! My child continues to amaze me every day with how sweet and friendly he is. That doesn't mean we're not aware that he has a frightful temper at times... but generally, he is the best of all of us. Quick to forgive and easy to love.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Mine. And Jason's at times.

14. Where did most of your money go?
debt, debt, always debt, never-ending debt. bleh. (I think this has been my answer for the past several years.)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Chicago. Jeffrey's first steps. Running. Janine's book release. Starting a Celebrating Home business. Finishing St. Jude.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
"Fantasy - Sicut Cervus" by Miriam Stockley because it is the "most played" song on my book editing playlist. Over 100 plays! Followed closely by Lisa Kelly's version of "May It Be".

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
MUCH happier. I was so depressed at the end of last year, and, you know, I don't even remember why!
b) thinner or fatter? THINNER! :D
c) richer or poorer? poorer. Much, much poorer. But only in the financial sense.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Blogging. There are so many memories I fear I have lost because I couldn't find the time to write them all down. Lately, I've been feeling I need to do more running. Egh. Falling behind in my Princess Half training. I do wish I had stayed more on track with my weight loss. I did really well for the first half of the year, then I guess my subconscious decided I had done well enough for the year.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I spent it with the Neiers on Christmas Eve, Jason and Jeffrey (and Grams and PopPop) on Christmas morning, my mom's family in the afternoon. It was tough. Jeffrey had a stomach virus the entire time and would throw up without warning about once a day. The diarrhea was the worst. It was hard to enjoy Christmas when I knew he wasn't enjoying it. I had so looked forward to this year. :(

21. Which LJ people did you meet this year?
amaz0n_princess (in person, finally), and mellymell

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I sure did. Fell in love with working from home. ;)

23. How many one-night stands?
Haha. I lost count. Though, this year it was me doing the early-morning leaving. ;)

24. What was your favourite TV program?
DOCTOR WHO!! Followed by Once Upon a Time, and The Walking Dead

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope. I pretty much stay hate-free. It's not good for me.

26. What was the best book you read?

War of the Seasons, Book One: The Human
by Janine K. Spendlove, but I may be biased. ;)

Oh yea!

And the Hunger Games trilogy.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Keane, OneRepublic, and Mae

28. What did you want and get?
I wanted to become a runner, and I did. I wanted to be working for myself. I kinda got thrown into that, but okay!

29. What did you want and not get?
A CLEAN GARAGE. This has been my answer for THREE YEARS! I don't think it will ever happen. =/

30. What was your favourite film of this year?

Jason may be sad I didn't say Blues Brothers--which was good, but I have to judge my favorite by the number of times I watched it, and in that case, Burlesque wins.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
29, and my entry from that day is private. I didn't do jack that day, and I was pretty mad about it.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting rid of more debt. Losing more weight.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Sporty Mom. My wardrobe staples were my Hydrochic skorts, a t-shirt, flip-flops, and a hair stick.

34. What kept you sane?

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Colin Firth. Always and forever.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Honestly, I did not spend one second of my time thinking about political issues.

37. Who did you miss?
My grandmothers.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Not sure I can answer this. I met lots of new people this year, and they're all wonderful in their own way.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
Sometimes there are things you want that you don't believe will ever happen, but then they do... suddenly, and maybe not always on your terms. Maybe it's difficult to see them as blessings even though you wanted them. Not every aspect of every situation is going to be perfect. Just believe that everything will turn out okay when the dust settles.


There are things you think are important, and then there are the things that are actually important. Try to figure out the difference.