Friday, January 02, 2009

Late Blogging

Well, courtesy of a nasty Trojan that got on my computer somehow over the holidays (which one of you bastards downloaded what, Family!?), I have been extremely limited in what I could do. As in, Twitter worked and nothing else. I could get on the main page of Facebook about 50% of the time, but couldn't do anything, including change my status, once I got there. Thus do I owe many of you comments and notes back and I will try to get to them this week.

Anyway, I wanted to do some blogging on New Year's Eve/Day, but had to wait until my new computer arrived from the Stan Clan, which it did last night. And then we were up till 11:30 tweaking the settings, so I was too stinkin' tired to do anything but crawl into bed.

Alrighty. Well, it was a race to the finish, but I managed to finish the year at approximately 105 books read. Considering that by the time my book club met on December 8th, I had broken 100, this is not much of an accomplishment. However, I do say approximately because I noted that I had forgotten to post many of the things I'd read on GoodReads this year, so there may have been some I forgot about.

This leads me to my first 2009 Plan (I refuse to use the word resolution, as I can't be sure what the heck might happen this year after what I endured in '08, so no sense resolving to do things I'm not sure I can keep up with): to be better about logging and blogging my book reads throughout the year. Mostly this will take place on my GoodReads profile, so if you're interested in what I've read, then feel free to head over there and friend me. However, notable books will still be blogged about over here. After I finish off this post, I'll be starting a new one about the last 3 books I read, all of which I think are worth mentioning.

I have four other reading goals for 2009:

1. To read all my book club books in time for the meetings, regardless of whether or not I like them. This presented an extreme challenge already with finishing off The Shipping News in time for the December meeting, because I absolutely hated it. And this month, although I LOVE our book, I am struggling to finish The Lace Reader, as thus far it's not a terribly festive little book and it's a rather festive time of year. But I will have it done in time for our meeting in a week and a half.

Yes, girls, confession time, I haven't read every single book. Bad Susan! I have tried to read every book, but frankly, I never used to force myself to read books I couldn't get into after 50 pages, so it's a whole new world for me out there.

I noted that I haven't posted this year's reading list for the Lit Chicks, so here's what we'll be reading so far:

* The View from Mt. Joy by Lorna Landvik
* What Was Lost by Catherine Flynn
* Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
* Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
* The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer
* The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

Obviously, several people haven't yet selected their books, but already we have an intriguing and eclectic mix of books here. I'm excited about this year's reading list!

2. This year, I will read Gone With the Wind. Sound familiar? That's because I pledged to read it last year, but I didn't. Since visiting Mike and Lesley in Atlanta, I have really wanted to read it, but oddly enough, putting it on my wish list at Paperback Swap hasn't garnered me a single copy! So I'm going to have to go and pick up a copy at either the library or the store.

3. Jacalyn and I were sitting around talking the other night and her hubby mentioned reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and how tedious it was. For some reason, this led to the two of us deciding that we must embark upon reading it together. She's got it on audio and is going to make me a copy for when I finish The Lady Elizabeth. The good thing about listening in the car is that I'm essentially trapped, so I feel confident that I can finish it within about 2 weeks' time.

4. My sister told me about the Alphabet Challenge. I don't know where she heard about it, but apparently the goal is to read one book with a title corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. I will complete this, though as far as I know, Sue Grafton hasn't gotten to X yet, so I'm slightly concerned...

So those are my reading plans for the year. I expect I will probably break 100 again this year, for a perfect trifecta. At least, I hope to! I'm about halfway through my first book, You Can't Curl Your Hair With Holy Rollers, which is very entertaining. It should be a rather quick read, but I've been so exhausted at the end of each day that I haven't gotten done with it like I thought I would. Today, perhaps.

So 2008 was a year I was only too happy to say "good riddance" to, although I am the only one in my family who feels that way. Michael listed off the good things about the year, many of which I agreed with, but overall, I spent a year in a lot of unhappiness, which led to a number of poor choices, and a few good outcomes as well.

I don't want to get too deeply personal here, as for the most part I try to keep this as a day-to-day blog of just the basics of my life. But 2008 will be remembered as the year I decided to basically eat myself into an early grave. I was so despondant with the way things were turning out, with relationships with my family, with our inability to start a family of our own, that I just started eating. And I didn't stop for two months. At the end of that little orgy, I'd gained 20 pounds, I looked and felt even more miserable than I already had, and it was in danger of becoming a downward spiral until only one conclusion could be reached.

But fortunately, there was a glimmer of hope shining at me, and not only was I able to work through some of the issues that I was having with the family--though they are by no means fully resolved--I was able to take strength from Annette, Russell, and Amy having the courage to join Weight Watchers, and decided to do the same. I will never forget the feeling of dread that first meeting-stepping on the scale with a total stranger. It was humiliating. While my leader didn't care a whit--I guess after a while numbers are numbers to them--to me it was proof of just how far I had allowed myself to go. I resolved then that if I could just get it together and put myself back into the driver seat of my own life, I would never let that happen again. Will I be successful? I don't honestly know. I do know that I have lost 56 pounds in 7 months. I weigh less now than I did at our wedding. I feel better, I am exercising, and I am working hard to conquer my personal demons one day at a time. I fell off the wagon this past week, so I'm somewhat dreading the scales tomorrow, but having not gained any weight at all over Christmas, I'm willing to give myself a little leeway. But I'll be back on the horse on Saturday, and won't look back.

So, I do resolve to continue with my Weight Watchers efforts and with working hard at being an honest person and saying what I need to say, even if that might be hurtful at times to others. I can't go back to how things were in March of last year. And I won't let my real self be covered under thick layers for the sake of others any more.

Additionally disappointing was not being able to see Mike and Lesley last year for the first time since we've become friends. We have selected Mike and Lesley to be our children's guardians, should we ever have children and then die a sudden and definitely most tragic death. I picture something painless yet dramatic. Still, we didn't get to Atlanta this year, and with Lesley's crazy work schedule, they weren't able to get to Virginia either. Hopefully next year the four of us can take a nice beach vacation somewhere, even if only for a long weekend. We all deserve it, and Lesley and I have to go parasailing together. So I plan for that to happen.

On the bright side, we did get to finally meet Russell and Amy and see Annette again--thank you, Annette, for bringing us all together as friends! :-) It was a wonderful trip and I have such happy memories of our time in Savannah. Hopefully we will be able to do it again sometime or get you all up to Fredericksburg! ;-)

The final thing I hope to keep up with this year is a daily gratitude journal. My book club gift this year for the gift exchange was a The Reading Woman engagement calendar. Starting yesterday, I jotted down a few things I was grateful for that happened during the day--things like The Stan Clan's friendship, snuggling with my niece, and one of the games on my Wii that I enjoy playing. I've got the calendar here by my computer, since this is where I typically end my days, checking my e-mail "one last time", and I can jot a few words down and remember the things I have to be thankful for. By the end of 2009, I should have a lovely momento of the wonderful things about my life, as I definitely don't remember much about the good things of 2008--though the General can rattle off a steady stream of them. Mainly I remember the warmth and comfort of friends and friendship and that is what I'm most grateful for in 2008.

So, those are my goals and plans for '09: reading, gratitude journal, Weight Watchers. I've learned not to expect too much, not to promise too much, not to plan for too much, because you certainly never know what curveballs life is going to throw your way. I hope 2009 is gracious and good to all of you and to all of me :-)

Thank you for reading and being a part of my life. Who knows where this blog may lead us next!

5 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Talmadge Gleck said...

One of those gremlins landed on the laptop last week .... forget the name at the moment - starts with a V - and it was nasty. It was something Sera had managed to inadvertently visit or download. Who knows.

I managed to exorcize that demon, and all was well.

On another matter, we thank both of you for entering our crazy world (and in February, our crazier home). We're excited about us getting together again. I posted in a comment on Melissa's blog about possibly us meeting up for the Helvetia, WV "Fasnacht" celebration in February.

I too have been a terrible Weight Watcher over the Christmas period. I'm sure next Wednesday I'll have my second uptick. 55 by 12/31 ain't happening, and I just hope that the damage doesn't take me below 50. *crosses fingers*

2009 has lots of promise for all of us. This time next year, I might even be down to where I weighed in 1988. *rubs rabbit's foot*

Mike W said...

Whoa. Wait a minute. You mean the general let a virus in on his network? It slipped past the firewall AND the anti-virus defense systems?

Tsk, Tsk. And to think he works for the gov't. :)

Hahaha.....I'm going to give him a hard time about that one for a while.

Can't wait to see you guys! Happy New Year!

Lesley said...

So on the upside, you got a new computer, right? Families have a lovely way of screwing around with computers, don't they? My laptop is missing a couple keys and had to go through a major overhaul thanks to mine earlier this year. I'd like to have a new laptop but so far it's holding on.

Reading through your comments I am reminded that as close as we are and similar in so many ways, our reading tastes can be quite different! I loved The Shipping News and there are a few on your coming list that I enjoyed as well so I'll be curious to see what you think of them.

And hey, Gone with the Wind is on my list of reading goals for this year, too! I figure since I'm calling Georgia my home, at least for the time being (yeah, we are getting the moving bug again), I should read it. I have also tried several times to read JS&MN and have never been successful - it has turned into my literary white whale and every year I vow to conquer it. Maybe this year I will!

Another of my goals for this year is for us to see each other, even if it's just for a long weekend. We miss you guys!

Lesley said...

Oh yes, and tell the general to make sure he's got the new computer firewalled, hahahahaha!

Sarah said...

I also promise to be better about blogging/logging my books! As far as Lace Reader is concerned, I am just honestly incapable of reading anything that's nto dark and depressing--I don't get it! I like to think I'm a happy person! Hope you end up liking it when all is said and done. :-)