Life & Family

2020 so far…

I’m not sure there has been a year crazier than 2020 in a very very long time. This year really has had it all – death in my family (expected and unexpected), a pandemic & a quarantine, murder hornets, a new house, new hobbies, Australia was on fire, WWIII almost happened, there’s a general uprising going on, and on and on.

I debated whether I wanted to go over the world happenings here, but oh my God I really don’t. Maybe if I do a 2020 recap in December I’ll cover all of that – maybe in a timeline format. I’m going to assume that everyone knows what a trash fire the first 5 months of 2020 were.

Against the backdrop of the entire world falling apart, Shane and I bought a new house. We actually moved on March 30th and the announcement that SC was going to start shutting down was made on March 31st. I’ve been incredibly privileged during the pandemic in that I was able to transition to working from home and Shane is working normally, but it’s still been a really weird time. Before moving I just kept saying “if we have to quarantine, I want to quarantine in my own house, not an apartment”. We actually moved the date forward from April 6th so that we had a better chance of beating the quarantine. We were already social distancing, so there weren’t any handshakes, and everything got wiped down and disinfected after the movers left. Over the past 2 months, we’ve been making the house into our home. Which sounds cheesy, but it’s true. We’ve unpacked pretty much everything, hung art, bought a guest bed, and Tau has barfed on the carpet. It’s a new build, so we’re waiting to paint until our 11th month warranty fixes are made next year.

We planted a little, tiny, garden in some pots and I’m in love with them. We planted 2 cherry tomatoes, a squash, a zucchini, a regular tomato, and a habanero plant. I also got a ton of herb plants (6?) from my mother in law. An herb garden is something I’ve always wanted, so it was really special to make cuttings and plant them with her. Tomato plants are something my mom always had while I was growing up and are one of the things that mean ‘homeownership’ to me.

In January, my aunt passed away. I got to know that part of my family a little bit better, and I really can’t wait to get together with them and spend some time just hanging out with them. Hopefully sometime this summer the pandemic will chill out and we can meet up. Then in March my love Laurie died. It’s hit me so hard – I know he was “just a cat” but he was something special and I will always miss him. I think about him & my mom multiple times a day.

Since moving into the house, and being in quarantine, we’ve started cooking so often! Way more often than we ever have before, for sure. It’s honestly brought happiness to me for a lot different reasons, but mostly I love eating something I (or Shane) made. I think I’m more into it than Shane, which is a reversal. He used to be all about trying new recipes and now I’m the one pushing for cooking things. I think it’s because my interest is skyrocketing because it’s so much easier to cook now so I want to do it all the time and he sees it as a special activity to not do all the time. Huge fan.

I have so much to talk about that there’s no way for me to fit it all into this post. I really hope 2020 calms down over the next few months, but every time I think we’ve turned a corner something else bananas happens so I’ll just take whatever comes.

Sarah

Life & Family

My Return to Blogging

It’s been a year since I wrote a blog post.

Shortly after my last post, my mom died. It was sudden and devastating. I lost my best friend in addition to my mom. I can’t describe to you the depths I’ve been in for the past year. I like to think I cover it well, but I haven’t been myself for most of the past 12 months. My soul hurt. That’s the only way I can explain it. And honestly, it still does, even though I’m becoming more and more myself.

Another sudden and devastating death happened on March 11th – the day after my birthday. Laurie, the light of my life, died gasping for breath by my side. It was horrific.

So, along with a worldwide pandemic, the death of my aunt, and Tau struggling to find stability, it’s been a rough year. Also, Shane’s snake keeps trying to eat itself. And I keep finding it when it’s trying to eat itself. We think we have it under control now, so here’s hoping. (See below)

Which isn’t to say nothing good has happened – we bought a new house, I have a new niece, Tau has adjusted to the move better than we expected, we planted a garden (kinda), I was able to move easily to working from home during quarantine, and so on and so forth. The bad just looms large in my memory.

Recently, I started thinking about how nice it would be to sit down on nights that Shane’s in bed early and just do some blogging. I have some pen-pals to write, and a journal, but there’s something different about this format. Even if people don’t read it, it still feels different.

I’m not going to remove any of my old posts, but I’m not going to read them again either. They can just live on.

Here’s to blogging once again. 🙂

Sarah

PS – Before I get any comments on the health of Sarge the Snake – he’s over 15 (life expectancy is 10-20), his new environment is consistently much warmer than he’s used to so he gets hungrier a lot faster than he used to (which in turn was a lot faster than we were used to), he got super stressed when we moved, & honestly California King Snakes are really really dumb so sometimes they happen to think their own tails belong to other snakes (they’re snake eaters). He’s old, hot, hungry, and dumb so he munches on his tail sometimes. We dumped some ice on him and threw him a thawed mouse and all was good. Obviously, it’s not a good thing and I would rather it never happen again, but he’s done himself no permanent damage and we figured out how to keep it from happening (much more frequent feedings) so there’s that. Also, I check on him *constantly* throughout the day to head any weirdness off at the pass.

Life & Family

Spring Happenings

I’m writing this 3 months to the day after I published my last post. I wasn’t sure I was going to start blogging again, to be honest. Not for any really specific reason – I just have a lot going on and I’m always incredibly tired after work. Almost every day, though, I think about a blog post idea or think about writing something, so here we are. Anyway, on to what’s happened in the past 3 months.

I got a new job! I won’t talk about it too much, except to say that I love it and I’m SO MUCH HAPPIER. I was definitely burnt out and working in a toxic environment so now that I’m in a different environment doing different work it’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s definitely a very tough job though – I’m a project manager now in a brand new industry and I have a lot to learn. I’m having difficulty with parts of it, but nothing that’s insurmountable. I really enjoy the challenge of it all. I’m also loving working in an office….though I definitely miss hanging out with the cats sometimes. Laurie will forever be my favorite office mate and that will never change. Really the only downside is that I’m still (I’ve been there about a month and a half) so exhausted when I get home I don’t do anything productive. I keep waiting for that to wear off, but it hasn’t yet.

Shane and I have been spending a lot of time doing stuff on the weekends – local festivals, going to the beach, we went to Charleston for a friend’s birthday, visiting friends & family, and so on. I used to not want to leave the house on the weekends, but it’s been a lot of fun. I’m hoping to keep that going all summer and beyond.

Overall, life has been getting better. Unfortunately, I haven’t been keeping in touch with my pen-pals and it’s now at the point where I get really bad anxiety thinking about it. I’m working through it, though.

I need to try to get some stuff done before I try to squeeze in an episode of Handmaid’s Tale before bed.

~Sarah~

Monthly Recaps

February in Review

What I Read

I’m also ‘reading’ 5 other books, but I’ve been reading one of them (Terminal World) since about October. I lost one of them under the bed (An Impartial Witness), and just found it. One I accidentally found out the twist (Castaway House) so I’m waiting until I forget the twist to finish it. The other two I’m actually in the middle of reading – Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag & a alien invasion audiobook called Fear the Sky. I’m still at least 2 books behind my Goodreads challenge, but I’m normally 4-5 behind so I’m not too bothered.

What I Watched

Highlights:

  • Umbrella Academy
    • I’m watching this with Shane and I love it! It’s so weird that it’s right on the border of what I would normally like, but the characters are so lovable I’m into it. One of my favorite things is Shane’s pure and uncomplicated love of Ellen Page, which immediately transferred to Vanya, her character.
  • King of the Hill
    • FINALLY FINISHED.

Shows:

  • Most Haunted {me as a paranormal investigator, even if I’m a skeptic}
  • Haunted {supposedly non-fiction, but I feel like it’s fiction}
  • Hellier {a really weird paranormal hunter documentary}
  • Shut Eye
  • The usual background watching:
    • Unsolved Mysteries
    • Forensic Files
    • Bob’s Burgers
    • American Dad

Movies:

  • Polar {Super strange, but also good}
  • Unbreakable {Still haven’t seen Split or Glass, but I’m working on it}
  • Universal Soldier {I had never seen this classic Van Damme flick which was apparently a travesty to Shane}

What I Cooked/Ate

  • Broth fondue with thin cut steak, etc.
  • A great spaghetti meat sauce from a jar + canned tomatoes + a little of this + a little of that.
  • Finally went to a pancake house – apparently Myrtle Beach is famous for pancake houses. I got chocolate chip pancakes with fresh whipped cream and it was amazing.
  • A box of cereal, dry, by the fistful.
  • So many chicken wings.
  • Diner!
  • Steak N Shake – obvs.

What I Did

  • About a year ago I randomly met a girl on reddit & we’ve been email buds since then. Anyway, she came down to MB for a conference and we finally got to meet! We hung out at the restaurant in her hotel and had a great time. We were wearing the exact same shoes – gray keds in the same style.
  • Built a little stand for my laptop. I still need to put on another coat of paint but so close to being finished!
  • That’s it – it was a pretty chill month even with the shenanigans going on in the background. I didn’t post in February, after the first few days, and I enjoyed the time off!
Reading · Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Upcoming Releases

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I don’t track a ton of upcoming releases, so instead of fulfilling the real prompt ‘Upcoming Releases I’m on The Fence About’, I’m going to just make a list of upcoming books I’m looking forward to. I’ll leave out the ones I listed here though. Since I’m on a book-buying ban *and* trying to read books I already own in 2019, I’ll probably only end up reading The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter. She’s an insta-buy for me, book ban or not.

  • The Invited ~ Jennifer McMahon
    • I like the look of this one – a couple flees suburbia just to build a house and end up building a haunted one. I already own, but haven’t read, her other book The Night Sister.
  • The Last Letter ~ Rebecca Yarros
    • I think this is the only romance on this list. I don’t know why but the letter in the description caught my interest.
  • The Missing Years ~ Lexie Elliott
    • Missing dad + Scottish Highlands + creepy house + possible ghosts? Might be a contender for Creepy October/Blogoween.
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton ~ Sara Collins
    • This looks so amazing I can’t do it justice here – just go read the Goodreads description. I might have to get this from the library in 2019.
  • Never Tell (D.D. Warren #10)~ Lisa Gardner
    • I may not get to this one for awhile, but I’ve read the first 7 D.D. Warren books and once I’ve read through some of the books I already own, I’d love to read 8 through 10.
  • The Night Olivia Fell ~ Christina McDonald
    • A mother tries to figure out what happened to her daughter – a chain of events that ends with Olivia falling off a bridge while pregnant. Seems like a good mystery.
  • The Raven Tower ~ Ann Leckie
    • I’ve been looking to get more into fantasy lately so this one caught my eye immediately when I saw it on the Goodreads giveaway page. The author is apparently a great sci-fi writer so we’ll see how that translates!
  • The Victory Garden ~ Rhys Bowen
    • I love fiction set during and directly after WWI and the description of this novel seems really touching and I think it looks like a really good read.
  • The Lost History of Dreams ~ Kris Waldherr
    • I got really into Gothic historical fiction last year and the reviews for this one are so, so good. If I decide to do creepy October again this year this might be one of the books I get for that.
  • The Last Widow (Will Trent #9)~ Karin Slaughter {not pictured}
    • I cannot wait for this! It’s on the “okay to buy during No-Buy 2019” list. It’s been awhile since there was a Will Trent/Sara Linton book and I’m pumped.
Life & Family · Monthly Recaps

January Wrap-up

What I Read

  1. Duchess by Deception ~ Marie Force {ARC from Goodreads}
  2. Alaskan Holiday ~ Debbie Macomber {ARC from Goodreads}
  3. Avalon ~ Mindee Arnett
  4. The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House ~ Stephanie Lam {begun, not finished yet}
  5. An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford, 2) ~ Charles Todd {begun, not finished yet}

What I Watched

Movies:

TV Shows:

What I Cooked/Ate

  1. Hummus wraps with veggies and {a fairly mild} hot sauce. They also have cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, and banana peppers.
  2. Sweet potato hash with chorizo and eggs.
  3. Eggs Bennies, of course. We’ve been cutting back but it still happens.
  4. The traditional Steak n Shake monthly meal.
  5. We also had pizza twice and got Chinese take-out once. I’m trying to not eat out, but it was a rough month. This was not the total amount of fast food I ate in January.

What I Did

Image of a sunrise at the beach with a bird in the foreground

Sat on the beach with Shane as the sun rose on New Years Day. A super hopeful beginning to the year.

Visited Huntington Beach State Park with Shane and his mom. We went to see Atalaya again, since she’s never seen it. I love that park.

I also spent a weekend at my parents’ place. I stopped by on my way home from campus on Friday and left on Sunday morning. Shane even came and spent the night with me on Saturday night. This is big because my parents’ dog has a habit of biting at Shane.

I can’t talk abut a lot of stuff that happened this month, but basically it’s been a really rough month and I spent *a lot* of time sitting on the couch playing Solitaire on my phone.

Used a couple bath bombs from Christmas and they made the water look like Kool-Aid. Big fan.

Finally found a doctor down here. The appointment was rescheduled twice but 3rd times the charm. I really like my doctor and she’s super responsive.

~S~

Life & Family

Bullet Journal – 1 Month Update

I definitely bit off more than I could chew…again. It’s not super surprising, considering that’s kind of my thing, but I’ve changed it up for February so it should go a bit better.

What Worked

Almost nothing, honestly. That’s not entirely true – while I really only used one of the month-specific spreads (and only made a single weekly layout), I actually did use some of the longer-term Collections.

The monthly spread I did use was the Read/Watched spread that I used to make in my journal. It’s literally just a list of stuff I read and stuff I watched over the month. Books in the top, movies in the middle, and tv shows at the bottom.

January was a slow month in terms of things I needed to track, so the only spreads I really used were the lists of tv shows and movies to watch and the next books to read (aka a list of books I already own) to mark stuff off of.

The best use of my bullet journal was list making, which makes sense. It’s kind of soothing to write my lists in there, for whatever reason. I also looked at my Winter Bucket List and 2019 Resolutions spreads a few times as well.

What Didn’t

Roughly everything, obviously. Mostly the trackers, actually. I didn’t use my letter tracker or my library tracker at all and my Thankful For tracker and Spending Log fizzled out super quickly. Habit trackers didn’t catch on either. I have a planner, so the weekly spreads felt redundant – why am I redrawing something I already have?

I also had a rough month in real life, so that may have something to do with it. I know that’s why I didn’t do any meal planning in there, I didn’t eat in a way that made any sense for most of the month.

The Plan

So for February I’m going back to basics. I’m pretty much just going to do Read/Watch spread and weekly to-do lists without any daily separation. I’m also going to set up a meal planning spread, because that’s actually something I would really like to start doing.

Anyway, there’s the update. Hope your January went well!

~Sarah~

Top Ten Tuesday

Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

There are SO many books I wanted to read last year and wasn’t able to. I may not even get to them this year because the books never stop being published.

  • Jackaby by William Ritter
    • I’m not sure why this book caught my eye, but it definitely has. I can’t wait to read it!
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
    • I love books with amnesia in them, but this one is even more interesting because my friends seem to either love this book or feel very ehhhh about it. The cover is super cool, too.
  • Florence & Giles by John Harding
    • In keeping with my newfound love of gothic horror novels, I had to add this one. It looks so creepy and good!
  • The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo
    • I mean, who doesn’t want to read a book called The Girl Without Skin? It has mummified Vikings, murders, and so forth. It looks super twisty and interesting.
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager
    • This looks like a great thriller that will be a really fun read.
  • No Exit by Taylor Adams
    • Another great thriller, with the added fun of being trapped in a rest stop with a kidnapper.
  • Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
    • Just sign me up for any Karin Slaughter book ever. She’s an auto-buy author.
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
    • Scalzi is hit or miss for me, but this looks like a book I could really enjoy.
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    • I legitimately don’t understand how I didn’t read this in 2018. It has such rave reviews, and I read the first few pages when I first got it which hooked me immediately. But I was reading a different book and it slipped off my radar.
  • Avalon by Mindee Arnett
    • I can’t wait for summer, because I think reading this on the balcony at night is going to be so much fun.

~Sarah~

Life & Family

20 Random Things About Me

As a child of the MySpace era, I did lists like this all the time as a teenager. I haven’t done one in so long, so this is pretty nostalgic for me. Maybe I should break out the 5000 Question Survey from LiveJournal – I was in college when that came out so I never actually did it, but I was aware of it. Okay, I won’t really do that – I have things to do in my spare time.

  1. The best day of my life was the day I picked Laurie up from getting all his teeth removed and he laid on my chest for about 30 minutes. He’s never done that before or since. Laurie is one of my cats, if you’re new here.
  2. My first job was as a maintenance worker with the Youth Conservation Corps at a Revolutionary War site. We did things like pull VW buses out of the woods, broke apart house foundations, spread mulch, and moved enormous piles of bricks by tossing them brick by brick at each other. I loved that job.
  3. My grandfather asked my mom to give her last baby his family name since his son wasn’t having children. My parents threw the name I was supposed to have (Victoria Elizabeth) out the window & let my oldest brother pick my new first name.
  4. I love archaeology/anthropology/history/anything old & follow a bunch of specialty news sites to keep up with developments. I wish it was a feasible career for me, but it isn’t for a variety of reasons.
  5. I’m really interested in the first half of the 1900s at the moment (especially the period between the World Wars), but will also happily read about any time period other than my own.
  6. I read/watch a lot of British media, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s because they do a lot more that’s set in the past, which lines up with my interests.
  7. I’m also obsessed with the future & space.
  8. I did not mean to become a web developer and am frequently surprised by how easily I slipped into the role. I never thought I’d work a desk job.
  9. As a kid, the first thing I can remember wanting to be when I grew up was a farmer.
  10. I spent the first 6 years of my life in Germany & the Netherlands and the only reminders of my time overseas are my intense love of Brie, a small Delft collection, and a plethora of pictures.
  11. The local German registrar rejected my middle name and my parents had to appeal to get it approved. Even though I’m not German and my name technically followed the German naming laws.
  12. I want to write at least a few novels, but I get so worried about being terrible at it that I never get past writing basic scenes or background information. One day.
  13. I have always wanted to do a 101 in 1001 project, but it’s never worked out with my life. I’ve been thinking about trying again starting on my 32nd birthday in March, because life is never going to settle down so I might as well try again now.
  14. I am a dog person who happens to also be a cat person. People talk about how unfriendly cats are, but I appreciate the sass as much as I appreciate a dog’s pureness.
  15. I’m using DuoLingo to start learning German. At different times in my life I’ve tried to learn French, German, Spanish, and Welsh. I decided to focus on one, and somehow German won. I think it’s mostly because it’s a fun language to speak. Welsh is like speaking in poems, so I’ll probably do that next. Neither of these languages will probably ever come in handy.
  16. I started Bullet Journaling this month, but haven’t really kept up with the actual planning part of it. It’s fun for brainstorming and making lists, keeping track of movies, books, etc, but I don’t really touch the weekly situation. I think I started too ambitious.
  17. We have moved every 9-12 months for the past 5ish years and I’m ready to stay in this apartment for another year.
  18. I love a good hot beverage – hot chocolate, tea, coffee – and generally have at least one cup of hot chocolate or tea in the afternoon/evening. Coffee every morning.
  19. My favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy, historical, and suspense/mystery. Both reading and watching. I love watching sci-fi as much as reading it
  20. I would love to travel all over the country and world, and I have a list of places I want to see. Mostly I want to go back to Maine, though.

~Sarah~

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I had a hard time coming up with this list, to be honest. I read a lot of new authors in 2018, but making a Top Ten list was still hard. So enjoy this mishmash of romance, fantasy, macho apocalypse, bananas horror (Bachmann), mystery, and non-fiction authors.

Kelley Armstrong & Jeff Wheeler & Jenn McKinlay

Ian Douglas & Franklin Horton & Ryder Carroll & Jacqueline Frost

Michael Cannell & Stefan Bachmann & Jane Harper

I hate not writing any notes, but my mother-in-law was here this past weekend and I had a ton of stuff to do this (aka Monday) evening. I’m clearly lagging behind on my ‘stay ahead of blog posts’, eh?

~Sarah~