what i’m into – keeping me sane {february 2021}

My main wish is that 2021 is kinder to all of us than 2020 but if that is not possible, than that I, at the very least, will be kinder to myself. I have been focused on that. One of the things that keeps me sane is reflecting on the previous month (I talk about how I reflect on my year over here). What these What I’m Into – Keeping Me Sane posts do is allow me to reflect on the previous month.

  • Playing in the freshly fallen snow.  I talked about it here.
  • Participating in the 24in48 Readathon. I only managed to read about 12 hours out of the 48 but I was so tired and needing to prioritize some self-care.  I took a few afternoon naps between my reading hours and it was wonderful.
  • Reading, instead of playing video games. I continued this from January and read 11 books this month and will have that round-up in this month’s Quick Lit – Next Page, Please post. All of this reading has me about halfway to my numerical reading goal of 41 books in 2021 and it’s just now March.
  • Reading children’s classics to the Buddy Man. This month we read Where the Wild Things Are, Stuart Little and A Book With No Pictures. I think Stuart Little went over his head and he didn’t get the point of Wild Things. He loved A Book With No Pictures, however. I’m getting joy in the fact that he seems to be enjoying the habit we’re forming.
  • Purging my To-Be-Read Shelf. The Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club has been participating in a series of classes about reading intentionally.  I have had so much fun whittling my TBR from over 300 books down to around 225.  It’s so freeing.  I tend to organize when I get stressed. And on that note…
  • Organizing my work files, paper and digital.  I don’t know if you have picked up on this but I am a bit OCD when it comes to organization.  But 2020 somehow – OK, not somehow, I know exactly what happened – got me off my rhythm.  I took a day or two and just organized everything.  I feel so much better about my work and I find myself being way more productive.

What’s keeping you sane, right now? Share in the comments below. If you have a blog post about, link it below also. We will do this again on Friday, April 2. See you then.

…enjoy life.

quick lit – next page, please {january 2021}

One of the things that I would like to do in 2021 is not waste time “doom-scrolling” and then numbing out to Netflix and Rise of Kingdoms (a game on my iPhone), so this January I was intentional about picking up a book and reading it instead of defaulting to my 2020 preferences.  

Thanks to the classes currently underway in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club, I set two main reading intentions this year.  

  1. To continue experiencing new things via reading, discovering a good mix of genres for me.  Last year, I delved into audio books.  This month, I read sci-fi.
  2. To read some of the books on my Unread Shelf – these are books that I own (physical or digital) that I haven’t read.  I have too many for my preference.

Let’s see how I did in the first month of the year.

Read

  • The Late Bloomer’s Club by Louise Miller. This was January’s pick for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club.  It was cute and cozy and I liked the ending.
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger by Lisa Donovan. I named this one of my Best Books of 2020. You can listen to me gush about this on a recent episode of What Should I Read Next, Episode 268 (I start up around the 9:17).  At the time of that recording, I had not finished this and to be honest, I was scared to, afraid that it wouldn’t end on the high that I had been riding the whole time.  It did.  I’m so glad. 
  • Transcendent Kingdom Ya Gyasi. I started this one last year but found myself struggling. It’s not my typical read.  Then Chelsey, a fellow team member and cohost of The Novel Pairings podcast, remarked in the same aforementioned What Should I Read Next episode that she read this like it was a memoir and not a novel.  I read a lot of memoir so I decided to give that mindset a go. It worked. I finished.  Yay!
  • The New Corner Office by Laura Vanderkam. One of my goals is to work through my half-finished reads this year and get them off my Unread Shelf.  This was one of those. I listen to Laura’s podcast, The Corner Office, that has similar content but I wanted to finish this quick read.  I did.  This is a Kindle exclusive. You can check it out here.
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. This was the flight pick for the MMD Book Club in January. And it did go nicely with The Late Bloomer’s Club.  Cute and  cozy; it was also a pleasant read. 
  • The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyers. I am working on my confidence this year and saw this on my shelf.  Pulled it out and read it in the mornings. Another off of my Unread Shelf. 
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. My team member, Brenna, recommended this during the same podcast, mentioned above. Her description sent me scurrying for my library website to place a hold.  I don’t read sci-fi/fantasy normally so it was hard to get into. It took a while to become acclimated to the unfamiliar world. But, since I was doing it as a #buddyread with my other team member, Donna of I am Your Rabbit fame, I persevered and by 48% in, I was hooked.  This is the first in a four book series.  Book 2 is currently sitting on my nightstand.
  • Bookshop Memories by George Orwell. This is actually an essay that was published in 1936 but Goodreads counts it as a book and so will I. You can read the essay here.
  • The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson. Thanks to William Morrow for the advanced reader’s copy of this one.  This is not my usual jam but if you like a novel that explores class, racism, and a complicated family history, this will be your jam and is worthy of your attention. 
  • The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict. This is the current pick for the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club. 

So, in total, I read 10 books. To be fair, I had started 4 of them in 2020 but Goodreads counts the dates that they are finished and so I will too.  I also read 4 books from my Unread Shelf and if I wasn’t intentionally making an effort, those 4 books would still be sitting on my Unread shelf so I am very pleased with this progress.  

As usual, I am linking up to Anne Bogel’s Quick Lit post and if you are here because of her, thank you.  

Also, quick question, do you guys like to know what I am currently reading in this post or is the round-up of what I read last month sufficient?

Thanks for being here and as Anne would say, “happy reading”.

…enjoy life

what i’m into – keeping me sane {january 2021}

Once a month, I like to do these reviews of the previous month about what I’ve been into and what has been helping me stay sane amidst this crazy world.  Guys, if I miss a month, it is probably safe to say that I am struggling, but I am hoping to work on the ability to write (and share) my honest thoughts here, even when I am struggling.

So let’s get into my January.

I was shocked, but not surprised, at the events of January 6th.  And I experienced a number of emotions: doubt, disbelief, rage (was I experiencing the seven stages of grief here?). I think 2020 has been a year of uncertainty (things happening that I have never experienced before) and I tend to like things to be steady, familiar, calm. I knew nothing would magically change from the 31st of December to the 1st of January and, of course, that was the case. 

My main wish is that 2021 is kinder to all of us than 2020 but if that is not possible, than that I will be kinder to myself in 2021. I have been focused on that.

  • Last month, Apple released Fitness+. They carefully selected trainers and coaches who are specifically encouraging – they want you to use the app after all.  They have running, strength training, HIIT, rowing, core specific, and yoga workouts.  I have always wanted to start a consistent yoga practice, and I have been able to do that this month, thanks to the ease of Fitness+.
  • I’m so happy that we are getting new movies and shows again. The problem is that they are releasing fast and furiously and I am not able to keep up.  Fortunately, Donna from I am Your Rabbit does that for me.  Thanks to her, the Hubby and I have had several delightful movie nights (they kind of fell off in 2020) and I am loving it.  I especially enjoyed Lupin on Netflix.
  • My work as a team member at Modern Mrs. Darcy brings me so much joy! I love working in the realm of books and reading (one of my three earliest childhood joys) and it’s a privilege to work with people I admire and care about.  The team was featured on a What Should I Read Next podcast episode this month (You can listen here; I get started around the 9:17 mark). 

Adding an aside here: I think I like being on podcasts. LOL

  • Speaking of books and reading, I have finished 10 books in January.  To be fair, I started some of them in 2020 but I count them as read the day I finish them and so that brings the number to 10 this month.  I have been able to read more because I have been able to curb, in a small way, my proclivity to binge movies and shows that I hardly care about. Yay! 
  • And finally, January was my birthday month! I’m still here! And I want to fully be here, present, alive, experiencing all the joys and the pains, confidently moving through the world in a way that is authentic and valuable to me.  

For this is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we brave enough to be it.

The Hill We Climb, Inaugural Poem by Amanda Gorman

Wasn’t that poem an inspiration?

What’s keeping you sane, right now? Please share below in the comments and if you have a post about it, link it here too.  I plan to do this again on Monday, March 1st

…enjoy life.

I’m linking this post to Anne’s annual What’s Saving My Life right now.  I struggle through the Winter and this has to be one of my favorite posts that she writes where other people share their lists of things are helping them right now.  If you are struggling, head on over there to see if any of their suggestions will help you too.