General

Happy New Year!

Thanks for visiting my inch of cyber space. I have big plans for this blog this year and lots to come. I hope you decide to stick around and live it with me.

I know, once again, 2020 holidays suck but don’t let that get you down. This too shall pass and before long, we’ll be looking back on this time period and shaking out heads thinking, “Wow. We REALLY overreacted didn’t we?”

Be safe, be responsible and chin up – it’s a brand new year!

XOXO

Me

Dear So-and-So

Dear Future Me

Here it is, December 2020 – another year older, another year gone.

Why does this keep happening?

Why can’t some really smart person come along and stop time? Just for a while. Maybe stop it for about … two years? Two years of borrowed time. Two years where we don’t age and we have enough time to really enjoy every moment. That’s not too much to ask, right? Two years. Such a small number in the grand scheme of things. Time is my enemy. It seems to go by faster and faster. Why is that? Did I make you mad, Father Time? Is that it? Is it because I’ve been so lazy this past year that you’ve decided to speed time up to punish me?

Fine. I give. Uncle. Please stop. It’s not fair to me or my family that you’re taking your frustrations out on me. Slow it down. I will behave and do better this year.

At least, I’ll try.

So. When you read this, it will be December 2021. I pray to GOD you lived a much better year. Please tell me the stupid pandemic is over.

I beg you.

Here’s what I expect from you this year, Future me.

  1. You need to figure out a way to stop being so tired ALL. THE. FREAKING. TIME. I don’t care how you achieve this goal, just figure out how to stop being so tired so that you have the energy to get more writing done. Short of doing something illegal? Make it happen.
  2. Stop watching so much YouTube. Seriously man, you have a problem. You watched way too much YouTube in 2020 and it’s got to stop. I know you find people fascinating. But I think this interest has morphed into an obsession and dude, you’re too old for an obsession.
  3. Which leads me into my next point – manage your time more wisely. I expect you to use your time more wisely. And sitting and watching YouTube videos for hours on end is NOT PRODUCTIVE. (Well, it’s sort of productive as that provides blog and podcast fodder, but still!)
  4. Please tell me you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo, right?? Please tell me you did that because what sort of writer are you if you don’t write? And blog posts don’t count. I mean, they count because technically it is writing, but it’s not the only type of writing I want you to do. Come on man, you know that. Stop trying to pretend there is not an elephant in the room. (The elephant being your growing guilt because you haven’t been writing, in case you didn’t understand what I was talking about. Hey. You’re another year older, I can’t assume you still have your mind. Please still have your mind …)
  5. For the love of God, man, spend more time with your parents. If you didn’t spend more time with your parents in 2021 I’m going to be sorely disappointed in you. Your parents aren’t getting any younger, you need to spend more time with them. (Refer back to #2).
  6. You went on vacation. Come ON. The pandemic has to end, right. RIGHT?! Please tell me that you and Kevin went on that cruise that you weren’t able to take in 2020 for obvious reasons. Or that you took a long weekend and went to Florida. Or that you actually talked Kevin into renting that cabin on the ranch in Montana and that you got the chance to drive through, and hike some trails, in Yellowstone National Park. I need you to be more adventurous. You need to go places so you can take cool pictures and post them on Instagram. Your fans are waiting! Don’t make them wait, it’s rude.
  7. Your body better be toned because we made a deal at the end of 2020 to start walking again. And now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get back on the treadmill. You even ordered wireless earbuds so there’s no excuse!
  8. You finished that oil painting, right? It better be hanging up in your office by the time you read this. (You and I both know I’m talking about the paint-by-number Paris scene you bought. Cause we both know you don’t suddenly develop artistic talent this next year. Paint-by-number is about as close as you’re going to get to being a painter – be real).
  9. How is that calligraphy coming along? Have you even practiced? I expect you to at least have the fundamentals of calligraphy down by December 2021.
  10. And lastly – what is your doctor’s name? Because I’m SURE you will have obtained a family doctor by next year. You’ve been putting this task off for years and it’s time you practice what you preach. You can’t expect the boys to make an effort to get a family doctor if you don’t have one. Don’t be a tool, Karen.
  11. What is the political climate like? I bet things are worse. Especially if Biden gets into office. I hope that’s not true but I’m guessing we’re working harder and getting less money.
  12. How much longer did the lockdowns happen?
  13. Do the boys have girlfriends?
  14. Are you still working at the hospital?

Listen Future Me, I know 2020 was rough. It was sad, depressing, frustrating and unbelievable but 2021 will be better, so make the most of it. (Please tell me 2021 is better???)

XOXO

Me

Bullet Journal

January Bullet Journal Cover

Know what’s funny? The fact that I didn’t even know bullet journaling existed until about a year ago. How in the world, with my constant YouTube trolling, did I NEVER run across monthly plan-with-me bullet journal set ups.

Now, that’s all I watch. And if you ever need bullet journal ideas, YouTube is your source. There are sooooo many talented bullet journal people out there but don’t let their artistic ability, or your lack of artistic ability, scare you off. The beauty of bullet journaling is that you can do whatever you want. You can make it super minimalist and functional, or you can make it into a piece of functional art, the possibilities are endless.

For those interested in bullet journaling and want a place to start, let me see if I can help.

The thing is, you can start with a key, an index, a cover page, a quote page, a future log, a monthly log, a daily log, but do you really need to? Trick question, it’s up to you. You can do anything, remember? My advice is to start with the recommended spreads (which is a fancy way of saying pages) mentioned and try them out. See if they are a good fit. Then, add on more spreads, trackers, gratitude log, brain dumps, one line a day … and the list goes on.

I’ve done most of these and I have decided that most of these do not fit my life. I’m not a busy gal. Seriously. I work, come home, watch YouTube videos, journal, blog and record podcasts. I don’t have a busy social life, of my own design, and I don’t need planning spreads because I don’t plan anything. Instead, I have decided the only things I’m interested in keeping track of is my sleep, my daily steps and moods and the books I read every month. Outside of that? Not interested. I use a lot of my pages for journaling. My bullet journal is more of a journal than a planner. I don’t write every day, I usually end up using about 12 pages per month for journaling, but they have been THERAPUTIC for my soul and I’m so glad I’ve been doing it. You all know I blog and I’m pretty honest in my posts, however, there are some things that I would absolutely NOT share as it’s way too private and would hurt too many people if they knew what I was really thinking, so I keep my watered down thoughts here and write my innermost private thoughts in my journal.

It also clears my head leaving room for my creativity to stretch and grow.

All of this to say, there are no rules when it comes to journaling and if you’ve been thinking of starting a journal, I say do it. I think you’ll have fun and it will be fun for you to look back on someday. Not to mention, if you do have a busy schedule, it will help you organize your life and you’ll feel more productive.

As far as the notebook to use? Again, so many options. Don’t feel like you have to buy something super expensive. I know Archer and Olive are popular but they’re about $35 bucks a journal. Instead, buy a cheaper book, especially when you’re starting out, to see if a bullet journal is for you. Then invest in nicer books if you think you’re going to stick to it every month.

Here are my spreads for December:

My cover page and my sleep tracker. I’ve decided I like this tracker the best – I feel like it tells me more at a glance. And speaking of trackers – there are so many ways to set up trackers – again, experiment. You’ll soon find the ones you like. (Check out a ton of ideas on Pinterest – just search for bullet journal and allow yourself a few hours to scroll through the thousands of examples).

My productivity tracker. I’ve done these spreads for a few months now and though fun, they are sort of depressing, too. As you can see, I do the same things over and over and over again. There is not much variety to my life, again, by design, so I’m thinking of NOT doing any more productivity trackers.

Here is my weather and steps tracker. I don’t know why I like keeping track of the weather. I think I want something to flip back to in case someone comes along and says, “Wow – climate change is getting worse. Look how unseasonably warm it was today!” Then I can flip back to my weather trackers and say, “Actually it was this warm a few years back.”

And of course, my steps tracker. I like this spread because you can tell, at a glance, how lazy I’ve been. (See the low days? Yep – those are the weekends. I’m either in my chair at my desk blogging or writing or sitting on the sofa and reading.)

And my mood tracker and books read / podcast tracker. I’ve decided I like this calendar set up for my moods. I tried the typical mood trackers where you’re happy, sad, angry or meh but honestly folks, I have so many more moods I didn’t want to tie myself down to just those four.

And before you think I’m artsy myself, don’t be too impressed. You’re seeing stamps and stencils – I don’t draw anything free hand because I can’t.

The next twelve pages are my journal pages. Obviously, I’m not going to show those. But I do like to dress them up with stickers, stencils or cutesie stamps.

I decided to continue using my turquoise Rhodia notebook for January. I was tossing the idea around of maybe starting a new journal since we’re starting a new year but I just couldn’t bring myself to waste all of the remaining pages so I’m putting January in this book. It sort of messes with my OCD tendencies NOT to start a new journal for the new year but I’ll get over it. I will likely need to start my purple Rhodia notebook in February though as I don’t think I can make my turquoise last past January.

I’m thinking of making some reading spreads. Here are some really cute ideas:

I love her TBR barndoor idea. I also LOVE the book tracker. I’m definitely going to put that in my January spreads and will keep track of my favorite books throughout the year. I think that will be really fun. I’ll show you how it turns out.

Anyway. I hope you give bullet journaling a try. Again, it’s what you make of it. Be creative or keep it minimal but hopefully it’s a useful tool for you and helps keep you organized in the coming year.

(Pst – have you voted  in my COVID-19 vaccine poll yet?)

TBR

January To Be Read Stack

Hello readers!

You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review on Goodreads – I’ve come to trust the reviews of Goodreads readers. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

My goal for 2021 is to read 55 books. Yes. My goal in 2020 was to read 100 books and I would have accomplished that goal but I participated in NaNoWriMo and that put me behind about ten books. So I cut that goal down to 90 and though I made that goal, I know that I won’t make that goal this year if I do all of the things that I have planned for this blog and our podcasts. I think 55 books is realistic for me – that’s about one book per week. I plan on reviewing more ARCS (advanced reading copies) this year, too.

Moving on, here is my January TBR stack:

  1. Burden of Truth by Robin James (Showcased on Reading Vlog – coming soon!)
  2. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  3. Trust No One by Debra Webb
  4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  5. The Arrangement by Miranda Rijks

One ARC (Advanced Reading Copy from NetGalley – to be determined)

Happy Reading!
Podcast

Podcast: Cracker Jack Changes Name to Caucasian Jack

Sharing our Christmas with you. My thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine and so-called “experts” and government hypocrisy. I read an excerpt from this week’s book review, “Winter’s Mourn” by Mary Stone as well as an article on hope – something we all need right now.

Mentioned in podcast:

Cracker Jack Changes Name to More Politically Correct Caucasian Jack
Wishing someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ is white supremacy
Study: Vitamin D deficiency found in over 80% of COVID-19 patients
These Are a Handful of Garbage Items Tossed into the COVID Relief Bill
Overdose deaths far outpace COVID-19 deaths in San Francisco
What’s in a Word? – Hope

Intermission Music:

Fractions by Alexander Nakarada | https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Take me on the go! You can hear my podcast on the following platforms:

Anchor.fm

Apple Podcast

Spotify

Overcast

Google Podcasts

Breaker

Pocket Casts

Radio Public

RSS Feed

I upload a new podcast every week. Thanks for listening!

*TALK” to you soon!

(I’m curious – are you going to get the COVID-19 vaccine when available? Take my poll and we’ll talk about it!)

At the Moment

Waiting to Gather

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

What are you doing today?

Me? Just activating my Instagram account. I haven’t posted on it for about … five-ish (more?) years. Now that I have a decent phone with a pretty great camera, I’m thinking of starting it up again. I’ll post a link to it once I get some pictures up.

In addition, I printed off a January 2021 calendar and filled it with blog posts that I want to publish.

I also wrote down some video ideas.

Oh yeah, I’m going there. There won’t be a lot of videos, but I thought it would be fun to shake things up once in a while with a video. I’d like to take you on a tour of my office at work, vlogs, writing and reading videos as well.

And let’s not forget that I have a podcast and Kevin and I both have a podcast.

Yep. One of my goals for this upcoming year is to become more involved in social media. I’m not quite sure why I feel compelled to do this, but feel compelled I do. I think I’m just focused on leaving a bit of me behind before I disappear. Not that I plan on disappearing any time soon, (like decades!) but now is a good time to start. Quite frankly, I should have been doing this for the past decades … but there’s no sense in crying over laziness. (Because that’s what it boiled down to, let’s be honest).

I’m also making it a goal to try and post three pieces of fiction on my blog a month, too. Maybe more, but let’s start small and see where it goes. I’m thinking of maybe posting a weekly writing prompt, too. I did that way back when and maybe it will be helpful to you and your writing, whether that’s blogging, fiction, etc.

I’ve enabled comments, if you wish to throw in your two cents. They will be moderated though, so be nice. 🙂

I have a few more ideas for my blog this year, too.

But enough with the planning, let’s stop and enjoy the moment.

CHRISTMAS EVE!

Unfortunately, we’re not spending it with our families this year. For obvious reasons. I’m sure many people are in the same boat and I’m trying very hard not to be depressed about it. I know this has been hard on my mom as well. It’s been hard on Kevin’s folks, too. We went over to my parent’s house the other night to pick up some gifts and goodies and we were both close to tears and trying to be brave about our change of plans this year. I plan on calling mom though and Facetiming her – it’s not the same, but it’s something at least.

I’m scheduled to pick up a sandwich tray from Jimmie Johns today. We plan on having soup/sandwiches for lunch on Christmas day. Our boys are coming over tonight after Blake gets off work. They plan on spending the night which tickles me that they WANT to do that. I’ll take it. If, by some miracle, they get girlfriends/wives some day I’m sure that desire will change. (Or maybe it won’t!) We plan on having chicken bacon ranch sandwiches tonight, Jimmy Johns tomorrow and spicy broccoli chicken and rice for dinner Christmas night. We bought $20 worth of chicken and Kevin plans on grilling all of it later this afternoon when it gets warmer. (It’s currently 27 degrees right now).

I’m sure we’ll play games tonight. Our favorite games are Settlers of Catan and Lords of Waterdeep. HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you’re looking for fun family games. I think Kevin wants to get on the Playstation and race cars as we have about four steering wheels now. lol LeRoy will come over as well.

Tomorrow will be more of the same. Games and food.

I still can’t believe this is our Christmas this year. I was thoroughly convinced that this damn virus would be a thing of the past by now and we would all be sitting around laughing about it. But alas, that is not the case, is it.

I pray that 2021 is better. I pray that we can get past COVID and get back to normal and stop wearing masks everywhere. But I don’t know. If you listen to Biden, who may, or may not, be our next president depending on what Trump has up his sleeve, our darkest days are still ahead. But let’s not make this post about politics, there is PLENTY of time to talk politics in the coming months. Right now, we need God more than ever. We need to pray and have faith. We need to stop being sheeple and have the courage to stand up and say no to this madness.

I realize it’s easy to say and much harder to actually do anything about it.

At any rate. Let’s focus on the here and now. Right this moment. Don’t forget to reach out to your loved ones, especially your elders. This is especially hard on them and I’m sure they are feeling very isolated and alone.

From the bottom of my heart, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and let’s pray for a happier new year.

Podcast

Podcast: What Are These Strange Metallic Monoliths That Keep Mysteriously Appearing?

Update on life working as a medical assistant, book review on “The Price of Paradise“, and commentary on odd stories this week (that are actually perfect story prompts). Also – MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Mentioned in podcast:

Texas student dons hazmat suit to take in-person exams
126-year-old message in a bottle found inside Boston wall
Woman receives birthday card mailed by her late mother in 2015
Boy Scouts create COVID-19 ‘hug booth’ for Texas nursing home
Mystery monolith installed outside Florida bar

Intermission music:

Santa’s Tricks by Myuu | https://soundcloud.com/myuu
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US

Take me on the go! You can hear my podcast on the following platforms:

Anchor.fm

Apple Podcast

Spotify

Overcast

Google Podcasts

Breaker

Pocket Casts

Radio Public

RSS Feed

I upload a new podcast every week. Thanks for listening!

*TALK” to you soon!