Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween!

It's been an odd year for me with the move and the change in living circumstances. I'm still getting a bit adjusted I think. So...I have some bad news. No crazy pumpkin display this year. (Don't fret...this isn't the end of the fun...)We did grow some pumpkins in our garden this year, but they were mostly smaller in size, so carving and assembly really wasn't an option. I did consider creating a painted display instead. But...I opted out because of these guys...

Left to right: Sage, Pippa, & Canadian
If I had painted the pumpkins, these guys wouldn't be lucky enough to get a good little treat. They not only find pumpkins delicious, but pumpkin is a natural dewormer for pigs. So...I'm taking the easy way out and pampering the pigs. The little ones will get a few, but the majority will go to the bigger guys and gals. They love them. In fact, these girls' mama has already wolfed down her fair share over the last month or so.

But all is not lost! I still have some Halloween goodness for you. I was lucky enough to be contacted a while back by a gentleman working on an article featuring Halloween crafts. He featured my first lawn display...the Pumpkin Massacre from way back in 2011. In addition, he has some other great decorative ideas that you can consider incorporating into your own displays next year. You can have a little reminder of where the pumpkin fun all started and find some new creative Halloween fun. Head over here and check it out!

As for me...I'm getting ready to put my traditional Halloween chili in the pot and then I'll be making cornbread later in the evening. We live out away from town, so we aren't likely to see any trick-or-treaters, but we have candy at the ready just in case. We'll probably end up eating it all ourselves...such a shame. I'm obviously devastated. And...since I'm now apparently a Minnesota girl, we'll be cozying up on the couch and watching the Vikings game.

I hope you all have a wonderfully spooky Halloween!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lazy Blogger

Yep. I admit it. I've been super lazy about blogging. But...I have an excuse. No...really. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you already know it. Ready?

Yep. That's right. The laziness is the result of this little bean. Three months of constant nausea and exhaustion and I'm finally feeling like myself again. We're at 15 weeks today and thus far 2nd trimester is soooo much better.

So, with any luck I'll get my act together. I'm revamping the blog and it will be getting linked with another blog that I'll be starting up here shortly. Stay tuned. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bout of Books 17: Update 2

Bout of Books

It's only Thursday and I'm already exhausted. How did that happen? I used to be a lot more resilient than this. Rats.

I have actually managed to get some reading done, which is awesome. I am mildly disappointed to admit that none of it has been true leisure reading, which is a bummer. However, I have been lucky enough to read some interesting things.

I've read a chapter of American history regarding the years following Reconstruction and the shift to an industrialized nation. To be honest, that was the worst of the reading thus far. I'm interested in the subject material, but the book is not written very well. I'm mildly disappointed in my instructor's choice of texts. It seems to skim over a lot of material and not really provide anything of substance. Let's hope it improves with the semester.

My Asian history class had a much better set of reading materials. Interestingly enough, he started us off with a chapter excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story of Success. It was a chapter about airline crashes and the influence of cultural norms on professional communication. I really enjoyed it. So much so that I have added Gladwell's book to my TBR.

My professor for that class seems like a really interesting guy. He even suggested a novel for me once he found that I am pursuing a degree in literature. Thus, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is also now a part of my TBR.

Finally, I spent last night diving into a chapter on the basics of psycholinguistics. I am incredibly interested in this field of study, specifically early childhood language development and most particularly in hearing impaired and mentally challenged children. Yes...I have a varying amount of academic interests. My learning will never be complete...

Amidst all of this brain busting reading, I've been breaking every 2-3 hours to feed my piglet, Pippa. She's a bit of a spitfire. Lots of energy. With any luck, she'll pull through. She's increased in her fluid intake and she seems to be putting on a bit of weight in her midsection, but she is still substantially smaller than her litter mates. I'm hoping that she does some catching up in the next few weeks. Right now, statistics put her at a 50% chance of survival. But...she's a fighter and I have high hopes for her.

And's back to schoolwork. I have a lecture and a TED talk to complete for Asian history this evening and a short essay to prepare for American history on perceptions of the Old West versus the New West historians' take on that period of American expansion. I'm becoming thankful that I only took nine credits this semester even though I'm used to taking at least twelve. It may work out in my favor.

Until next time... Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bout of Books 17: Update 1

Bout of Books

Well...this week has certainly not gone according to plan. Yesterday was insanely busy, so I actually didn't even end up reading a single page. I'm heavily disappointed by that. Yes...I am participating in Bout of Books. No...I haven't read at all yet. Yes...I missed last night's Twitter chat. (Another devastating realization today.) But...let's hope that things will start getting back on track starting tonight.

Yesterday morning I woke up around 8:30 with a splitting headache. I ate some breakfast and was about to go back to sleep for a short nap, when I was informed that the pig was giving birth. We had anticipated that we had 2 or 3 days until this was going to happen, so it was a bit of a surprise. So...for the next five hours, I helped babysit the sow and clean off piglets, making sure she didn't crush them.

We wound up with ten, but she did manage to lay on one later in the day when we were out getting some supplies, so we now have nine. (Pigs are notoriously super terrible mothers in case you didn't know that.) In addition to the surprise births, we ended up with a runt who had her side cut at some point during the birth. She needed cleaning, bandaging, and she is now a temporary indoor piglet. Say hello to Pippa.

(She's not always this docile. She's a fiesty one.)
Once we got everything reorganized in the pen, it was after 8pm. We had originally planned to move the sow into the barn into a specific segregated area, but her jumping the gun led to a change of plans that required some creative construction. Once things were somewhat settled outside, I made a mad dash inside to get started on school work, since yesterday was also the first day of fall semester. Cut to me being up until midnight working on first day crap. (I sincerely hate the "you have to do all of this junk on day one or we'll manually remove you from the class" move.'s a dick move. Also of note...I hate it when you post some vague syllabus that doesn't tell me anything about what assignments I need to do when. I do have other classes. I need to be able to plan.)

After that, I fed Pippa and crashed out. I woke up at 3am to feed her again and then we were up at 7:30 so that we could get ready to go into Bemidji for the morning. I fed Pippa, got ready, and then our expected four-hour venture into Bemidji wound up taking nearly eight. There went another day. I'm now finally sitting down to post this update (which is really more of a whiny rant and was supposed to have been done yesterday) and then I will actually start some reading. First up, American history...specifically thirty pages on industrial capitalism. Sounds riveting, doesn't it? After that, it's some psycholinguistics. Maybe I'll even get in some leisure reading tonight. We shall see.

Now...let's see if I can actually make something of this Bout of Books...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bout of Books 17

Bout of Books

I'm still in the midst of updating my bajillion reading challenges, but it's time for an actual post again. Slowly but steadily I'm getting back into this writing thing.

What better way to return to blogging than by taking part in a read-a-thon?! Bout of Books is one of my favorites, and round number 17 just happens to start on Monday. I was a bit disappointed in myself to discover that I actually missed out on 2 different Bout of Books read-a-thons while I was on my little hiatus. But...I'm glad to be back and to be able to have some time to spend reading. School starts back up for me on Monday as well, so I will be doing both academic reading and reading just for fun. I'm taking two history classes and a psycholinguistics class this semester, so it should be quite the hodgepodge.

Never participated in/heard of Bout of Books? Here's the basic gist...
The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It's a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am on Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever timezone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog
-From the Bout of Books team.
It's one of the most laid back read-a-thons around and the people involved are among my favorite. The Twitter chats (Monday at 8pm CST and Saturday at 10am CST) are always hilarious and it's just a good social event (especially for asocial introverts like myself).

I don't have my TBR pile assembled yet, but I'll have it all figured out before things get running on Monday morning. The weather next week looks to be pretty good and mild, so I might even be lucky enough to spend a couple of days out reading in the yard. I'm looking forward to a nice fun and relaxing reading week. I might even consider putting up the read-a-thon tent. We'll see. It will require some repair of the air mattress (letting Sadie join me for my last read-a-thon was apparently a bad idea), so it just depends on whether or not I feel like taking on that challenge.

I'll be doing update posts as I feel like it, but at least every other day. That means a starting post on Monday followed by updates on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and then most likely a wrap up post on the following Monday or Tuesday.

If you haven't signed up yet and you are a reader of any kind...join in! You don't have to have a blog to participate. If you're on Twitter, it's just that simple. Just head over to the Bout of Books blog for the details and the signups.

I'll see you Monday. Happy reading!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Playing Catch Up

Okay...obviously I've been gone for a while. To be honest, it's been even longer than intended since I've kind of been avoiding this whole explaining my absence thing. It's not a bad thing, it's just a complicated one. So I'm going to do my best to sum crap up as quickly and painlessly as possible. Bear with me.

About two years ago, my life basically started imploding. My husband of nearly a year (and partner for nine) decided to have another affair. We won't get into the backstory or the details, but yes...another. It wasn't a good period of time. I was a wreck. I felt worthless, humiliated, and broken. I tried to work through it as best I could (we decided not to do counselling this time around --- probably a bad choice, but it is what it is) and I decided to start living a little more for myself and a little less through him.

At the same time, I was dealing with the increasing issues that went along with an apparently progressive neurological disorder which the doctors couldn't (and still haven't been able to) diagnose as anything specific. All I knew was that I was getting weaker and dealing with constant pain, which was destroying my ability to enjoy a good majority of my hobbies and was causing issues with my ability to do my job without experiencing distracting discomfort.

I went back to school (something I'd wanted to do for quite a while) and learned that I did still have the ability to learn and experience new things. I was happy for the first time in quite a while. Weird how it took homework to do that... At the same time, I was struggling to keep things together financially for my family since I had to reduce my work hours at the recommendation of my doctors and (being self employed) I wasn't always able to bring home a paycheck.

Crap more or less hit the fan last fall. I was online chatting with some writers and met a few incredibly nice people who were taking more interest in me than my own spouse. He was taking a lot more time "working late" or spending time on a computer game he enjoyed. I started to realize that I deserved more. Our relationship was crumbling and there was nothing I could do. I tried a few desperate things to save it, but it was too late. My ability to trust him was gone and (based on things that had been happening in the previous few months) I knew that additional affairs were not only likely to occur, but most likely were already occurring and/or had come and gone during the prior year.

I gave up.

That's not typically like me. I fight hard for nearly everything. But after ten years of fighting to keep a relationship healthy and happy, to keep afloat in a profession that was slowly killing me in both spirit and a physical capacity, and to keep our finances from eating us alive, I felt too overwhelmed to continue.

Over the next six months, I asked my husband for a separation, started dating someone new, watched my husband sign up for online dating services while begging me to give our marriage another try (something I would have likely done if he hadn't been on Match and Tinder and ... Ashley Madison), and finally filed for divorce. It crushed me to do so, but I needed to save myself.

I also gave up on saving a house that I could no longer afford and that was falling apart around me. I closed a practice that I had been operating for 12 years. And I moved half way across the country.

It's been a long twelve months. I sank inside myself, I felt disappointed in myself, I hated myself, and then I realized that I wasn't living. I was being smothered and suffocated by all of that stress and worry and it was time to let go. Yes...I have had some failures. Yes...I have made some bad choices here and there that led me to those circumstances. I wasn't always the hero in this story and I wasn't always the good guy. But I didn't have to be trapped and punished forever. So I gave myself permission to lump my failures all up and toss them away. They still hurt, don't get me wrong. But I left them behind so that I could maybe, just maybe actually enjoy my life. And I'm getting there. I'm still dealing with aftermath and trying to figure out who/what I want to be, but it's better. There's less stress. There's less constant worry. There's less pressure. There's more me.

So that's where we are now. I no longer live in Idaho. I live in the northwoods of Minnesota. It's frightening. I know nearly no one (both a blessing and a curse). I can't get many places without relying on Google Maps. But I'm more at peace. Life is better. And most importantly, I am living it.

And now it's time to suck it up and get back to being who I want to be. I've missed this space. I've missed the people who surround it. And so I'm coming back. I won't be the same and it won't be the same, but that's okay. I'll be working on revamping the blog and getting it to where I want to be. But most importantly, I'll be working on getting myself back.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Library

Why yes...I am still plugging away at getting caught up with my A to Z posts... Slowly, but surely.

Tonight, I took a little bit out of my potential blog writing time to get some prep work ready for this weekend. What happens this weekend, you ask? Dewey's 24-hour-readathon. So...I did what I do whenever I can...I put the tent up. In fact, that's where I am as I type. I'm all ready for my isolated reading fun to begin.

But before we get to that, I need to get working on some blog posts. Let's go ahead and move forward with letter L...

Today's book is not only a fantastic one, but it was also the winner of my 2015 Book of the Year Bracket Challenge. The name of this fabulous book? The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins.

Synopsis in a Sentence: 

Carolyn is one of twelve chosen by Father to learn a catalog in his library, but Father has gone missing and Carolyn must discover the secrets behind a vaguely remembered past.

First Read:

I received The Library at Mount Char as an ARC. I requested it based on a the cover alone, which is historically a horrible idea. But...holy freaking amazing. This book knocked it out of the park. Creative and creepy and it held my attention from the word go. What was inside blew me away. Haunting, brilliant, and amazing. I was weirded out, but thoroughly and pleasantly surprised.

Why it Makes the List:

Creepy premise, awesome book. I loved the slow and deliberate development of the plot and the characters. I didn't want to put this book down and I didn't want it to end. Seriously. Freaking amazing. Subtle pieces of detail weave into an amazingly creative and impressive read. It was just a complete wow. I was not expecting this book to be so freaking good and yet now I am totally jonesing for a sequel.

Are you an A to Z Blogger? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun can be found in the challenge.

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