Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - helpless to the bass and the fading light oh we were bound to get together

1. Let sleeping dogs lie and all that jazz.
2. Yesterday was a perfect day to walk to the library - 53 and sunny on January 15? Don't mind if I do. Speaking of books, have you caught up on all the Show Us Your Books posts? Do you know Jana and I are hosting a readathon this weekend? 8 am Saturday to 8 am Sunday? Hashtag suggestions?
3. Adjusting for population size, England and Wales would have 272 to our 53,290. With private prisons and people getting rich off of incarceration and the prison industrial complex, we have been designed for this. How are we okay with this? Why do we think prison is the answer for everything?

4. Yes, Virginia, I did postpone my cavity dentist appointment this week. Let me live. I am going to the chiropractor today and acupuncture tomorrow. Keeping those appointments.

5. Huge thanks to Vincent for helping us out with priming and painting the spare room in the basement (BEHR Cherubic) just in time for my mother in law to return for another visit today.
6. This year's first foray into Girl Scout Cookies, ordered from our VA family!

7.  Nail talk: Essie Bright Cider stayed on forever and I liked the color much more than I thought I would when I bought it or first applied it. This week's nails have a lot to live up to when I paint them tonight.

8. For your consideration: this take on the Warren/Sanders woman president media and supporter made shitstorm and the open Muslim-hating of your president (who is also tweeting doctored images and not walking back from it) - also, remember when the White House and press secretaries used to have daily pressers because they work for the people of America? Also,  Lev Parnas. I can't do anything else this week, I'm tired.

9. Reminder:
10. Ecards: 

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

My winter creature comfort requirements

Yes, we are talking winter requirements today even though it's going to be 56 degrees. On January 16. To be a further buzzkill, the only requirements are food/water/shelter, so these are my creature comfort requirements. 

Stash peppermint tea. I drink it most nights.

Beanies with brims. I like the CC brand.


Slippers with hard bottoms for taking the dogs out

Elderberry extract

Vitamin D

A brisk rental booking season at the shore 

J.B. Field's Super Wool Hiker GX socks. I want warm feet but hate clingy socks that make my feet sweat. I've been wearing these for almost five  years

A home project 

Hydrating face masks 

New recipes to try 

Lots of free weekends for energy restoration 

A personal project/quest/something I’m actively pursuing

Time to lounge and dream

O’keeffes Working Hands

Things on the calendar to look forward to 


What are your winter requirements? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Show Us Your Books January 2020

January mood, every year. How about you? In that vein, SUYB Readathon coming at you Saturday! 

This weekend, starting at 8 AM on Saturday in whatever time zone you live in through 8 AM on Sunday, there is a SUYB readathon! It’s super informal but for those who like rules:

  • Read as many pages as you want
  • Read whatever kind of books you want
  • Read for as many hours as you can fit in
  • Tag us on IG with a hashtag we haven’t determined yet but will reveal before Saturday so we know who participates because there will be prizes (for those who don’t follow us, follow us at @saysjana & @lifeaccordingtosteph)
Rape and murder and poor treatment of women abound this month, so consider almost everything coming with a trigger warning. 

Here's what I've been reading since the last linkup.
Buy it links are affiliate links and buying through them supports this link up 
*are books read in December 2019 after the 12/9/19 linkup

Engrossing Reads
A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh* - This made my favorite reads of 2019 as well. Superb writing and characters, which is not always the case in mysteries. The cover is a stunner which never hurts. OCNJ library hardback       buy it

The Janes (Alice Vega #2) by Louisa Luna* - Another Alice Vega, and she's as bad ass as she was in the first. I like this duo and hope there are more. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review-book comes out January 21            buy it

Forgotten Secrets (Singing River Mystery #1) by Robin Perini - My first finished book of 2020, not a bad little mystery although romance in murder books always weirds me out a little. Regardless, a good way to kick the year off. Kindle ebook          buy

The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and our Health - and a Vision for Change by Annie Leonard - Man, I wish people would read this. Particularly people who need to work on consumption (like myself). We can have all the eco-friendly bottles and reusable bags in the world but if we don't stop consuming and demand the way consumption works in regards to corporations and governments changes, we're not doing a damn thing. Really. I bought the least I've ever bought in my life last year and didn't die. Just because you can buy it doesn't mean you should. And about a million other important things that Leonard points out from how things are extracted from the earth to how they are produced, distributed, consumed, disposed of. Not a pretty picture but there are alternatives and she points a lot of those out too. Philly library book       buy it

Passed the Time Just Fine

The Girls with No Names by Serena Burdick* - I wanted to scream through much of this book for attitudes held toward women and girls and those who are "other," which has led to such pain for so many throughout history. Free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Everything My Mother Taught Me by Alice Hoffman* - A lot of punch in a little story. As always with a good short story, I'd read a full length novel of this. Free copy from Netgalley

The Wife and the Widow by Christian White* - It took me quite a while to get the "thing" about this book, which is a mark of good storytelling. Clever indeed. Free copy from Netgalley  in exchange for an honest review.

Cause to Fear (Avery Black Mysteries #4) by Blake Pierce* - Not my favorite in the series for many reasons, but I will continue on to book five. This was my last read of 2019, I finished it about 10 minutes before midnight on 12/31/19. Kindle ebook

A Version of the Truth by B.P. Walter - What a tangled web of rich men behaving very fucking badly. This was a good story. Paperback, own, passed on

The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard (Coco Pinchard #1) by Robert Bryndza - This reminded me of Bridget Jones but not as good. It was still a nice palate cleanser from the murder/police procedural books. This is the author of some of those very books - the Erika Foster series and the Kate Marshall series I just started - and he's quite good at not murdery things too. Kindle ebook

Where the Story Starts by Imogen Clark - If you like books that tie up nicely in bows no matter how improbable that might be, this one is for you. Another nice palate cleanser from murdery things. Kindle ebook

Not Worth It

Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman* - This was tough - I liked the confidential nature of the story telling, like the reader is being told things they shouldn't know...but the pacing was slow and the big mystery was a fizzle. Not one part of any of it seemed believable. Netgalley free copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Liar's Daughter by Claire Allan - Round and round and round. Too much round for too little payout and too much to swallow (pedophilia). Kindle ebooks

What You Did by Claire McGowan - Cripes, what a mess. I tore through it but was more and more disgusted by most of the people in the book as I went on. 

Did Not Finish

What have you been reading? 

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is Tuesday, February 11 2020
1. Visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me, and check in with as many in our reading circle as you can - give some love to the later linker uppers! 
2. Link back to us in your blog post - if you want the button you can get it from that link

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, January 13, 2020

TWTW - the one with no title seriously I need a new title system

Friday Pretty much a nothing doing night. Hanging with the dog crew, salad and mozz sticks for dinner, relaxing and reading. 
Saturday 8 am hair appointment/visit with my friend since first grade, Kristi, who also happens to be my hair stylist. I got right on the turnpike after that to see my BFF Laura. I don't do this often enough. We had lunch and strolled the town, got coffee and hit HomeGoods and Stew Leonard's (my first experience, I want one near here). It was nice to see Laura's mom and Chris also. Little Michael was very busy and funny and not into photos at all. I was back close to home by 5:30 and stopped for groceries at Target and purchased nothing off the list. I fell asleep on the couch and moved myself up to bed around 10 I think. 
Sunday I changed our sheets as soon as I got up then I got a little stuck. I managed to get the two small dogs bathed then felt terrible. MFD went to pick up my prescriptions and I pushed through some food prep then lay down for a full three hours which I just don't do. I got up and powered through the rest but was happy to be on the couch by six doing nothing. Well something. I finished a book in the morning and started another one at night.
Weekly food prep: Breakfast is granola over greek yogurt, lunches are hard boiled eggs with everything but the bagel seasoning plus carrots/celery/fruit, dinners are a pasta dish with mushrooms, onions, broccoli, sausage, pork gravy (freezer/pantry clean out), salads, and quesadillas later in the week. I also made power breakfast muffins and breakfast burritos to freeze.

Happy birthday to my sister-in-law Aubrey today! Love you! 

Show Us Your Books tomorrow! 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls

1. In this week's episode of Can This Marriage Be Saved, MFD keeps changing the toilet paper so it is dispersing from under instead of over and this simply cannot stand. I am having an internal struggle: do I feel more murderous at this toilet paper direction mutiny or when he simply doesn't replace the roll?

2. Let it be known that I had to go to the dentist on Tuesday and since I star in the life spanning film Fear and Loathing in the Dentist Office I always reward myself with something but since I'm doing no spend I didn't. Also I have to go back next week to get old ass fillings replaced. This is how my appointments appear in my calendar.

3. January, am I right?

4. Bruce says I'm right.

5. The shore house is booking up fast which is always awesome.

6. I really like the actors on The Ranch but the laugh track bothers me. So does the insane amount of drinking or talking about drinking they do.

7. Show Us Your Books is Tuesday. I've been reading a lot, which is standard January fair around here.

8. For your consideration: Be A Lady They SaidHow I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain; help Frank's nephew, a film student at ASU, make a film and if you can't help, follow the film via the links; Christians are supposed to care about people; find an anti-war protest near you (taking place today).

9. Reminder:

10. Ecards: 

That’ll do it for me. Do you have anything to add?
What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Time to take better care of yourself

We absolutely love to talk about self care, don’t we? It's plastered all over the Instagram and everything. I have issues with what self-care means to the general public, but that's a post for another day because at the end of this one self care is the term I'm using for taking better care of yourself. We post about self-care, we talk about it endlessly, yet we’re all guilty of failing to take care of ourselves properly at some point. Whether we’re working too many hours leaving no time to unwind, have forgotten how to say no, over-scheduled ourselves, whatever...this is the year to figure out how to take care of ourselves even when we’re pressed in all other areas.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult (expensive being the issue I have with many self care shares online). Making small changes can have big impacts that last through those hated busy times. Where to start?

Care for Your Body
Your body does a lot for you but how much do you think about it? We tend to care for our bodies only when there’s a problem but the reality is that there’s plenty you can do to prevent those problems occurring in the first place. 

Hygiene is particularly important, though I'm talking beyond making sure your smelly areas don't smell. Many people don’t take proper care of their dental health, which can lead to serious problems later in life. Poor dental health can lead to heart attack among other serious conditions so brushing twice a day and seeing your dentist regularly is essential. And for the sake of all that is holy learn from my mistakes and FLOSS. If you do have poor teeth, don’t write yourself off, you can get an implant that lasts many decades to replace individual teeth as well as multiple teeth. Science is amazing.

Your skin also deserves some attention. There are 6897799 articles on the internet full of advice and more products than feels possible. The best advice is to treat your skin according to its type and whether you wear makeup or not. If you have acne or another skin condition, consult a dermatologist. Try to use products without harmful ingredients. Do your research.

Then my most hated - activity level. I’m not a hard core exerciser but I do try to walk as much as possible and when I’m at the shore, I bike too. Over 40,  stretching is an absolute must or my back doesn’t want to do what it should. Stretching and exercises of the pilate or yoga type will stretch your muscles out, preventing aches and pains that come with sitting around all day. You don't have to run five miles or do CrossFit but you absolutely have to do something and over 30 light weights will help you make sure you can get your own self off the toilet at 70. And don't we all want that?

Some additions from friends - regular massage therapy, chiropractor and acupuncture visits (my additions). Stay on top of your preventatives-colonoscopies, mammos, full body scans at the dermatologist, etc. 

Alter Your Diet
Changing your diet isn’t going to happen overnight so instead of making a radical change, try making smaller changes along the way. For example, if you make a conscious decision to eat more fruit and vegetables, you will naturally find that you eat fewer carbohydrates and fats - you won’t have room on your plate or in your stomach. I personally need about 807 more vegetables and less salty/oily meat, cheese and sweet things. 

I am not a cutter outer though. I believe in balance in all areas, and in regards to diet this means eating a wide variety of foods, including every food group. I am wary of any diet that suggests you cut out carbs or significantly reduces what you are allowed to eat. When I want to improve my diet, I actually add new foods, in lieu of taking foods away. For example, there are lots of benefits to including fermented foods in your diet. I am not a kombucha drinker but know many who swear by it. 

Keeping track of what I'm eating is a really good way to learn more about my habits plus I love lists. A food journal doesn’t need to be complicated, either, just write down what you’re eating and consider why you have chosen that meal. I jot it down in my Everything Notebook. I overeat on days when I'm anxious or tired and under-eat on busy/stressful days. My diet is better when I have more time to cook (duh). This is why preparing meals ahead of time is so important to me. If nothing else, writing down your food habits will make you more aware and mindful of what you’re eating, giving you a better chance to change bad habits and foster better ones. If you eat like crap when you’re busy, make sure you make and freeze meals so you always have healthy options.

Deal with Your Stress
Stress is one of the most common issues people struggle with in daily life. Part of the problem is that we often accept that overwhelming stress is a part of modern life; it doesn’t occur to us that we could make a change or that the stress might be too much (see my post Stress Should Not Be Our Accepted Resting State). While accepting some stress is a healthy response, learning methods to reduce stress and to handle stress more effectively is really important. 

Mindfulness works for lots of people as it gives them a chance to slow down and slow their thoughts too. The idea is that by giving yourself time to root in the world again, by focusing on your breath or the sounds around you, you will feel calmer. Once you are calm, it becomes easier to deal with the roots of your stress. It’s a lot easier to problem solve with a still mind than it is to figure out a solution when your mind is spinning like a top. 

Sometimes, mindfulness comes most easily with a relaxing activity. For example, you could create a Zen garden and rake the sand while you calm your thoughts. Read a book, draw a picture, listen to some music, piddle around in the kitchen, pet a dog. Any activity that allows you to slow down and be in the moment can really help to de-stress and give you time to breathe. 

Stop living according to the ideals of other people
Of course, you can only de-stress so much through mindfulness. You should also look at your lifestyle and see where you could reduce the pressure you are putting on yourself and where you might make changes to be healthier. Start by stopping. Stop comparing yourself to other people, living by other people’s ideals, acting like life is perfect, and being anything you’re not.  Be yourself. It’s much less stressful. 

Taking good care of yourself is a big component of a healthy, enjoyable life. Giving yourself time to look at your lifestyle and figure out where you could make some improvements is the best gift you can give yourself this year. You owe it to yourself before you do one single thing for anyone else.

What are some things you would add? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Thoughts on reading and books

My first book behaviors post is here, and that relates to this post in some way I guess.

1. I am no longer a buyer of books unless I'm supporting the author with a pre-order or can't find it at either library I go to. If I have a hankering to browse, I will snag used paperbacks from a local bookstore, where I have a trade in account. I used to have tons of books, now they all fit on less than two bookshelves. Unless it's an immediate favorite, I usually pass on any I do happen to acquire also. I think this has to do with wanting to own less as I get older. If I do buy it I want other people to get use out of it too. I will usually ask on here or Instagram if someone wants it and I'm always serious. All you have to do is pay the media mail postage via venmo or PayPal after you get the book and see what the postage is. Media Mail starts at $2.75 and usually caps out around 4.

2.  I know dialogue is hard to write but I truly wish every editor went through and made sure it was spoken out loud to see if it sounds true. Note to editors: real people don't speak without using contractions.

3. You don't need to like books everyone else likes or feel bad if you don't like a book, nor do you have to read a book simply because everyone else is reading it. If it doesn't sound like you want to get into it, don't read it. Reading is entirely subjective. Likewise, if your favorite books aren’t recognized in the literary world, they’re still your favorite books and that makes them amazing.

4. But some of you are fucking hard on books, man. You expect that thriller or romance to be perfection in print. Sometimes I think literary critics are easier to please than run of the mill readers.

5. It's interesting to see which five or six books snag the attention of most and circulate through Show Us Your Books. Sometimes they are not the books I expect to circulate at all.

6. Once you become a lover of written stories, you are forever free. You can be transported away simply by opening a book. I love to be lost in something while not moving from where I am.

7. I don't do book summaries...that's what the people who write the book jacket blurb do.

8. I wish books that are turned into movies would not print and sell copies with movie poster covers.

9. I have a very hard time with consistently weak and whiny female leads or any stereotypical characters.

10. I never listen to a story someone tells me and count it as something I've read. Likewise, I don’t listen to an audio book and count it among things I've read. The process and skill set for reading and listening are entirely different for me personally and the resulting experience and feeling is not the same. I am not an auditory learner in the slightest. Beyond that I can't listen to fiction, period. I don't enjoy it like I enjoy reading it and that pisses me off because I'm in the car so much. I've found I can listen to memoirs and similar, maybe because it feels like listening to someone talk and I'm not worried about missing a crucial element to a story?

What are some of yours?

The first Show Us Your Books of 2020 is a week from today.

Monday, January 6, 2020

TWTW - the first one in 2020

Friday MFD had the couch covers going in the laundry when I got home. I ate leftovers, finished a book, read an entire other one, and started a third that I was up reading until 1. It was a shitty day all around Friday with fog and rain Friday night so the perfect night to do absolutely nothing.
Saturday MFD did what we've been threatening to do for 10 years: redo the entry floor. Have you heard of Floorpops? They're peel & stick. He applied additional glue to hold them down but I think they're amazing. I did laundry and put it away all in the same day so would like a prize. I also picked up a book at the library and dropped a package off at the post office, finished a book, and started another. We had an early dinner at the Metro Diner with a coupon like solid senior citizens (shitty pic courtesy of diner-ish lighting, but the food was good), then stopped at Marshalls for a table MFD wanted. I closed the night out reading and doing - you guessed it - more laundry. 

Sunday I changed our sheets and cycled laundry as soon as I got up. We had a funeral for our friend’s dad to go to in Jersey in the morning, then returned the table to Marshalls. Still more freaking laundry, food prep, reading, and putting shit away inside in the afternoon while MFD put the outdoor Christmas decorations away, changed spare room sheets, face mask, nails (Essie on the bright cider), I don't know what else. Constant putting shit away and clearing the dining room table 478 times. I finished it out with the Golden Globes.
Weekly food prep: Breakfast is breakfast burritos from the freezer, lunches are leftovers and fun box (I have crackers at work), snacks are snap peas/carrots/kiwi, dinners are Mimi's muffins (that’s the mix for those) then veggie meat sauce from the freezer over pasta with a side salad. I also made cranberry orange muffins from a mix in the pantry. No grocery shopping this week except I will pick up a salad.

Happy birthday to my aunt Sue, her birthday was Saturday!

If you have a few dollars to spare, please consider donating to help Australia, these are just some options of many: a relief fund for First Nations communities, Victorian Bushfire Appeal, Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, Celeste Barber's fundraiser, NSW Rural Fire Service, Country Fire Authority, Rural Fire Brigades Association

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