Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Book List- 2011

Here it comes.  The hairy, scary list of over 300 books that I read this year.  (There are a fair number of category and novella length stories in here, so it's not quite as impressive as it sounds at first.)  I've bolded my favorites.  The ones that are both bolded and starred *** were my very most favorite.  I've reread many of the starred ones a time or two already.

1.  How to Marry a Duke- Vicky Dreiling
2.  Desperate Choices- Kathy Ivan
3.  Doctor Who: Snowfall- Gavin Collinson and Mark B. Oliver
4.  Midnight Crystal- Jayne Castle
5.  The Sevenfold Spell- Tia Nevitt
6.  The Awakening- L.J. Smith
7.  Waking the Witch- Kelley Armstrong
8.  Not Just the Nanny- Christine Ridgway
9.  Like Clockwork- Bonnie Dee
10. Warrior- Zoe Archer
11. Treasured- Crystal Jordan
12. Physical Therapy- Z.A. Maxfield
13. Coin Operated- Ginny Glass
14. In Too Deep- Jayne Ann Krentz
15. Ladies Man- Suzanne Brockmann
16.  A Discovery of Witches- Deborah Harkness
17.  Somebody Killed His Editor- Josh Lanyon
18.  Fatal Shadows- Josh Lanyon***
19.  A Dangerous Thing- Josh Lanyon***
20.  The Hell You Say- Josh Lanyon***
21.  Death of a Pirate King- Josh Lanyon***
22.  The Dark Tide- Josh Lanyon***
23.  Among the Living- Jordan Castillo Price
24.  Criss Cross- Jordan Castillo Price
25.  The Dickens With Love- Josh Lanyon
26.  His Convenient Husband- J.L. Langley
27.  Hemovore- Jordan Castillo Price
28.  Erias Menage- Alice Gaines
29.  All She Wrote- Josh Lanyon
30.  Crux: Southern Arcana, Book 1- Moira Rogers
31.  Lessons in Love: A Cambridge Fellows Mystery- Charlie Cochrane
32.  Mercy Blade- Faith Hunter
33.  Duck!- Kim Dare
34.  The One That Got Away- Rhianne Aile and Madeleine Urban
35.  Whisper Falls- Toni Blake
36.  Body & Soul- Jordan Castillo Price
37.  The Spurned Viscountess- Shelley Munro
38.  Blinded By Our Eyes- Clare London
39.  Undeniably Yours- Shanon Stacey
40.  Fair Game- Josh Lanyon
41.  The Happy Onion- Ally Blue
42.  Blameless- Gail Carriger
43.  Burning Up- Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, Meljean Brook
44.  His at Night- Sherry Thomas
45.  Lead Me On- Victoria Dahl
46.  Heaven- Jet Mykles
47.  Court Appointed- Annmarie McKenna
48.  Strawberries For Dessert- Marie Sexton***
49.  Purgatory- Jet Mykles
50.  Hell- Jet Mykles***
51.  The Iron Duke- Meljean Brook
52.  Holiday Sparks- Shannon Stacey
53.  Catch Me If You Can- L.B. Gregg
54.  Black Gold- Clancy Nacht, Thursday Euclid
55.  Bareback- Chris Owen
56.  Here Comes the Groom- Karina Bliss
57.  Motor City Witch- Cindy Spencer Pape
58.  Amethyst Bound- L. Shannon
59.  Talk Dirty to Me- Ginny Glass, Inez Kelley
60.  Call Me Irresistible- Susan Elizabeth Phillips
61.  Bring the Heat- M.L. Rhodes
62.  Shadowfever- Karen Marie Moning
63.  Touch Me Gently- J.R. Loveless
64.  Blue Ruin 1: Some Kind of Stranger- Katrina Strauss
65.  Coming Undone- Susan Andersen
66.  Tech Support- Jet Mykles
67.  Yours, Mine, and Howls- Kinsey W. Holley
68.  Handcuffs and Spreader Bars- Kim Dare
69.  Mind F*cked- Mia Watts
70.  Pretty Man- Ryan Field
71.  Sex and the Single Earl- Vanessa Kelly
72.  Coming Clean- Inez Kelley
73.  Blood, Smoke, and Mirrors- Robyn Bachar
74.  Texas Tangle- Leah Braemel
75.  Strange Fortune- Josh Lanyon
76.  Promises- Marie Sexton
77.  Faith & Fidelity- Tere Michaels
78.  Overnight- E.C. Sheedy
79.  One Con Glory- Sarah Kuhn
80.  Drawn Together- Z.A. Maxfield
81.  The Charlie Factor- Diana DeRicci
82.  Slave Boy- Evangeline Anderson
83.  Slave to Sensation- Nalini Singh
84.  Snowed In- Rhianne Aile and Madeleine Urban
85.  Brier's Bargain- Carol Lynne
86.  Seb's Surrender- Carol Lynne
87.  I Love Rock N Roll- Carol Lynne
88.  Cryoburn- Lois McMaster Bujold
89.  No One Lives Twice- Julie Moffett
90.  Whistling in the Dark- Tamara Allen
91.  Anna and the French Kiss- Stephanie Perkins
92.  The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks- Josh Lanyon***
93.  Sno Ho- Ethan Day
94.  Truly, Madly- Heather Webber
95.  Just For You- Jet Mykles
96.  Faith- Jet Mykles
97.  Genesis- Jet Mykles
98.  Revelations- Jet Mykles
99.  The Peach Keeper- Sarah Addison Allen
100. William's House- Amber Kell
101. Talker- Amy Lane
102. Talker's Redemption- Amy Lane
103. The Girl For Me- Failte***
104. Quicksilver- Amanda Quick
105. Striking Sparks- Jordan Castillo Price
106. Handcuffs and Leather- Kim Dare
107. Truth in the Dark- Amy Lane
108. Badlands- Seleste deLaney
109. Gambling On Maybe- Fae Sutherland
110. If I Must- Amy Lane***
111. Making His List- Devon Rhodes
112. Scoundrel- Zoe Archer
113. Wrong Number, Right Guy- Mia Watts
114. Hunters- Michelle Marquis
115. Three Wrong Turns in the Desert- Neil Plakcy
116. Shadow Touch- Marjorie M. Liu
117. Love & Scandal- Donna Lea Simpson
118. Rosemary and Rue- Seanan McGuire
119. Lord Scandal- Kalen Hughes
120. The Panther's Lair- Esmerelda Bishop
121. Infernal Devices- Abigail Barnette
122. Trash Course- Penny Drake
123. The Ghost on My Couch- L.A. Gilbert
124. Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings- Helene Boudreau
125. Hot Pursuit- Suzanne Brockmann
126. Magic Slays- Ilona Andrews
127. The Debutante's Dilemma- Elyse Mady
128. All Play & No Work- Carol Lynne
129. Breaking the Rules- Suzanne Brockmann
130. Edward Unconditionally- Lynn Lorenz
131. Always the Baker Never the Bride- Sandra D. Bricker
132. Fireflies- Ally Blue
133. With the Band- L.A. Witt
134. Everything and the Moon- Julia Quinn
135. Come Unto These Yellow Sands- Josh Lanyon***
136. The Hood of Justice- Mark Alders
137. Tabloid Star- T.A. Chase
138. The Red Pyramid- Rick Riordan
139. Yours to Keep- Shannon Stacey
140. Conquest- S.J. Frost
141. Do Over- Mari Carr
142. What I Did For a Duke- Julie Anne Long
143. Details of the Hunt- Laura Baumbach
144. Cry Sanctuary- Moira Rogers
145. A to Z- Marie Sexton
146. Silver Bound- Ella Drake
147. Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep- Michael Merriam
148. Camwolf- J.L. Merrow
149. The Dark Enquiry- Deanna Raybourn
150. Threadbare- Clare London
151. Pricks and Pragmatism- J.L. Merrow
152. When Tony Met Adam- Suzanne Brockmann
153. River Marked- Patricia Briggs
154. Hot Head- Damon Suede
155. Chasing AllieCat- Rebecca Fjelland Davis
156. My So-Called Love Life- Allie Pleiter
157. Steam & Sorcery- Cindy Spencer Pape
158. The Missing Butterfly- Megan Derr
159. Love Ahead: Expect Delays- Astrid Amara
160. With This Ring- T.A. Chase
161. How to Keep the Love of Your Life- Maureen Willmann
162. Hex Hall- Rachel Hawkins
163. Tin Star- J.L. Langley
164. Heartless- Gail Carriger
165. Call Me Sir, Boy- Kim Dare
166. Tempest Rising- Nicole Peeler
167. Side Jobs- Jim Butcher
168. Off the Beaten Path- Katrina Strauss
169. Ghost Story- Jim Butcher
170. Diving in Deep- K.A. Mitchell
171. Just-You Eyes- Clare London
172. We're Both Straight, Right?- Jamie Fessenden
173. Hard Fall- James Buchanan
174. Making Waves- Tawna Fenske
175. Dead Reckoning- Charlaine Harris
176. The Thief- Megan Whalen Turner
177. Man, oh Man!- Josh Lanyon
178. Muscling Through- J.L. Merrow
179. Lover Avenged- J.R. Ward
180. Collision Course- K.A. Mitchell
181. Buried Sins- Marta Perry
182. Spice n Solace- K.C. Burn
183. Stone Kissed- Keri Stevens
184. Jump First- Charles Edwards
185. A Dog Named Slugger- Leigh Brill
186. Under Fire- Jo Davis
187. Mistletoe at Midnight- L.B. Gregg
188. The Fortune Quilt- Lani Diane Rich
189. Life, Over Easy- K.A. Mitchell
190. Secrets- Jordan Castillo Price
191. Accidentally His- Shawn Lane
192. Sex, Lies, and Online Dating-Rachel Gibson
193. The Last Pure Human- Twisted Hilarity
194. Camp Hell- Jordan Castillo Price
195. In a Dark Wood- Josh Lanyon
196. Yakuza Pride- H.J. Brues
197. Artie the Good Witch- Scarlet Hyacinth
198. Devon Cream- Jet Mykles
199. Half Pass- Astrid Amara
200. Marry Me- Jo Goodman
201. A Nanny For Nate- Lisa Worrall
202. Canyons of Night- Jayne Castle
203. Keeping House- Lee Brazil
204. Devlin and Garrick- Cameron Dane
205. The Book of Bright Ideas- Sandra Kring
206. The Gentleman and the Rogue- Bonnie Dee
207. Maritime Men- Janey Chapel
208. The Shattered Gates- Ginn Hale
209. Ticket to Ride- Shawn Lane
210. Crazy Wind- Xara X. Xanakas
211. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling- Tom Collins
212. Mind Fuck- Manna Francis
213. Wooing Master Jones- Amber Kell
214. Snagged- Jet Mykles
215. Servant of the Crossed Arrows- Ginn Hale
216. Horizons- Mickie B. Ashling
217. Taste- Mickie B. Ashling
218. India Black- Carol K. Carr
219. Finding Forgiveness- Dana Marie Bell
220. The Broken H- J.L. Langley
221. Mummy Dearest- Josh Lanyon***
222. Wolfsbane (MIA Case Files, #1)- K.C. Burn
223. ePistols at Dawn- Z.A. Maxfield
224. Dressed to Thrill- Kimberly Gardner
225. Spin Out- James Buchanan
226. GhosTV- Jordan Castillo Price***
227. He Completes Me- Cardeno C.
228. precious_boy- K.Z. Snow
229. Catching a Buzz- Ally Blue
230. And Call Me in the Morning- Willa Okati
231. Foxe Tail- Haley Walsh
232. Cut & Run- Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
233. Spell Bound- Kelley Armstrong
234. Squire- Jet Mykles
235. Like a Sparrow Through the Heart- Aggy Bird
236. A Change of Tune- J.M. Cartwright
237. Wicked Gentlemen- Ginn Hale
238. Barging In- Josephine Myles
239. Bent- Sean Michael
240. Cherry Pie- Samantha Kane
241. Cooking With Ergo- Luisa Prieto
242. Love & Loyalty- Tere Michaels
243. Anything For You- Ethan Day
244. When Irish Eyes Are Sparkling- Tom Collins
245. Some Kind of Magic- R. Cooper
246. Oleander House- Ally Blue
247. Libra: Outlined in Ink- Vivien Dean
248. Brindisi Bedfellows- Jamie Craig
249. Shades of Gray- Brooke McKinley
250. An Uncommon Whore- Belinda McBride
251. Like Coffee and Doughnuts- Ellie Parker
252. Bad Company- K.A. Mitchell
253. The Curtis Reincarnation- Zathyn Priest
254. His Hearth- Mary Calmes
255. Sursein Judgment- Jet Mykles
256. Just Hit Send- Grasshopper
257. Rhapsody For Piano and Ghost- Z.A. Maxfield
258. The Assignment- Evangeline Anderson
259. Litha's Constant Whim- Amy Lane
260. Between Sinners and Saints- Marie Sexton***
261. The Dark Horse- Josh Lanyon
262. Scorpio: The Heart to Help- Jamie Craig
263. Quinn's Hart- Cassandra Gold
264. Long Tall Drink- L.C. Chase
265. Not Knowing Jack- K.A. Mitchell
266. Bear, Otter, and the Kid- T.J. Klune***
267. One Real Thing- Anah Crow
268. Handcuffs and Pretty Things- Kim Dare
269. Gobsmacked- L.B. Gregg
270. Stolen Hearts- Sasha L. Miller
271. Crossing Borders- Z.A. Maxfield
272. The Cards of Life and Death- Colleen Gleason
273. Aquarius: He Said, He Said- Jamie Craig
274. Sonoran Heat- Katrina Strauss
275. Men Under the Mistletoe- Josh Lanyon, Harper Fox, Ava March, K.A. Mitchell
276. Goldilocks and His Three Bears- A.M. Riley
277. Grand Jete- Diana Copland
278. Submission- Chris Owen
279. The Locker Room- Amy Lane
280. Christmas With Danny Fit- Amy Lane***
281. Holiday Outing- Astrid Amara
282. Got Mistletoe?- Andi Anderson
283. Del Fantasma: Duck Fart- Jade Buchanan
284. Counterpoint- Rachel Haimowitz
285. And Playing the Role of Herself- K.E. Lane
286. Hide Out- Katie Allen
287. Primal Red- Nicole Kimberling
288. Baby It's Cold Outside- Nicole Kimberling
289. GI Joe Holiday- Amberly Smith
290. Winter Warmers- Chrissy Munder, Clare London, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, Lou Harper
291. Mistletoe & Margaritas- Shannon Stacey
292. The Plot Bunny- Scarlet Hyacinth
293. Icecapade- Josh Lanyon
294. Someone Special- T.C. Blue
295. Black Cat Ink- Nicole Kimberling
296. All Snug- B.G. Thomas
297. The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters- Amy Lane
298. Batteries Not Included- J.L. Merrow
299. Hue, Tint, and Shade- Jordan Castillo Price
300. Simple Gifts- L.B. Gregg
301. Carol of the Bellskis- Astrid Amara
302. Twinkle, Twinkle- Josephine Myles
303. The Elf, the Cat, and the Human- Sasha L. Miller
304. The Larton Chronicles- James Anson

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This is a Little Embarrassing

As I mentioned the other day, I'm getting started on my 2012 New Year's resolutions.  (Why wait to make positive changes in your life, right?)  So, I'm going to kill two birds with one stone here-- post some pictures and talk about the cleaning and organizing I need to do.

Here they come, the embarrassing pictures.

This is the giant pile of crap that completely blocks access to my closet.  There are a couple of tubs and boxes on the bottom, with clean clothes, yarn, shipping boxes, and God knows what else in the mix.  I haven't measured it or anything, but it's probably 5 feet long, 2 feet deep, and waist high at one end.  This is probably my most daunting challenge.  A lot of this stuff needs to go into the closet, somehow.  But I can't *get to* the closet with the pile in the way.  And I don't have the energy or the space to move the pile so I can get to the closet and put it all away.  It's a conundrum.  But I'll figure something out.

This is one end of the pile, and also the little table I use as my nightstand.

This is the other end of the pile, as well as my dresser, which is thoroughly cluttered and covered in about a quarter inch of dust.  On the positive side, you can see my Christmas cards hanging on the door!

This is the set of plastic drawers that I use as my other nightstand.  See the pink/white/black thing under the tissue box?  That's the sack sock I mentioned a couple posts ago.  It's coming along nicely!

As you can see, the whole room is piled, packed, choked with stuff.  Part of the problem is me.  I have a hard time letting go of stuff that I think I might need.  Or I set something aside, and then it disappears from my mind.  It just doesn't exist for me anymore.  It does, however, continue to collect dust for the next 6 months until I finally throw it away.

But a really big part of the problem is I have no organizational tools or system.  That blue tub at the bottom of the first picture is filled with CDs.  But I have no place to put them.  There are two or three boxes of books taking up space on the floor of my closet, but I have no shelves to put them on.  That big ol' dresser?  Holds a lot less stuff than you might think.  (But to be fair, I really need to go through some of it and either pack it up for winter or just let it go all together.)

I haven't started doing my one song of cleaning a day.  I was thinking about doing that today, but I did 11 minutes on the Wii instead (first time in *months*), and between that and MTX day, I am pretty well worn out.  But I have started thinking about how I want to arrange things as I get them put away.

Shelves and such are not an option right now.  The room desperately needs to be painted (the walls are scuffed up and full of nail holes, and one wall is painted a horrible gray-purple), and I don't want to put anything big and heavy in the room that will have to be moved to get to the walls.  And since it's January, it's going to be months before the weather is really appropriate for painting.  I'm looking at probably 6 months, minimum, before I can put in shelves.  (Also, I want to put in some sort of entertainment system to hold my TV and for storage.)

All this listing of what's wrong, and what I need and can't get right now is starting to feel like a novel.  A long, boring, Russian novel.  Something by Turgid.  (Points to anyone who gets the reference!)  I think I'm going to leave this here and come back tomorrow with what I see as my specific requirements for my room, and what I'm going to try to do to meet them in the short run, even if I can't have my dream room right now.

Lip balm of the day: Pick Me Up Peach!  (And boy did I need it.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wii, Wii, Wii All the Way Home

Karen asked what Wii games I play for exercise.  I have lots to say on this subject, so I'm going to go ahead and write a new post.  (Thanks for the topic, Karen!)  My comments and recommendations come from the perspective of someone who is significantly overweight (I was around 290 the last time I checked), very inactive, and has underlying health problems that cause pain and fatigue.  So gentle, low impact exercise is much more important to me than your standard exerciser.

My first exer-game, and the whole reason I bought the Wii in the first place, was the Wii Fit Plus.  You've got to have a Wii balance board to play this one.  It looks like a scale, but without the readout.  The best thing about the Wii Fit is that it's really just a bunch of fun mini games.  You can hula hoop.  You can box.  You can bike or ski or ride a Segway or navigate rapids.  Each little game only takes a minute or two to play.  So you do a little of this and a little of that until you've done as much as you want to do.  You can set a calories burned goal (this one is fun-- you pick a slice of cheese or a piece of cake or one of a half dozen other food items, and then it lets you know when your combined calories burned in your session has worked off that particular item).  Wii Fit also has yoga, strength, and balance activities, so you can work on all aspects of physical activity.  If you poke around in all the different areas you can get a nicely balanced workout at any level.

The second game that I have and love is Walk it Out.  WiO is (surprise!) a walking game.  The idea is to step to the beat of the music as you move around Rhythm Island.  The landscape starts out pretty blank, but you get a point for every step that you make on the beat, and then you can "zap" things as you go.  You can add everything from little stuff like benches and trees and lampposts to big stuff like shops and houses.  You can gather clock pieces, and then reset the time within the game to any time of day.  (The game has a 24 hour clock that generally lines up with the time in the real world.  So if you play at noon every day, you play in sunshine.  If you play at 9 o'clock at night, it will be dark out.)  You can gather CDs and earn new songs.  (You start out with a limited number of songs.  The variety of songs in the game is pretty impressive, many with original artists.)  You can also collect "rainbow spheres" (big colored balls), and once you've got all 7, a rainbow will appear over the island.  (This one resets every day, so you have to keep earning it.  Everything else, once you've earned it, it will be there the next time you play.)  This one is addictive!  There's always just one more thing you want to earn, so it's great for me to get a steady, low impact cardio workout.

I got Active Life Explorer for Christmas last year, and it's fun!  It was created as an active game for kids, but it's a fun way for adults to get some movement in, too.  Like Wii Fit Plus, it's made up of a lot of different mini games, with an Indiana Jonesy, adventure theme.  For me, at the time, it was a little too active.  Too much bending and jumping and such.  I really want to get into the swing again with Wii Fit and Walk it Out, and then slowly add Active Life Explorer into the rotation.  (The great thing about using a game console as exercise equipment is that fun is an important part of the process.  If you're not having a good time, why play the game?)

I also got one of the many versions of Dance Dance Revolution for Christmas last year.  This one is more energetic than Wii Fit or Walk it Out, but not as much as Active Life Explorer.  My problem is that A, I'm not very good at it, and B, I wear out pretty quickly.  This is one I'm going to have to work my way up to getting the most out of.  Getting better at figuring out how to respond to the directions and working with the controller mat would help, too.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I have one called We Cheer.  You're a cheerleader, and you have to learn to accurately do the moves of different dance routines.  You'd think this would be really demanding physically, but it depends on how you do it.  If you try to do the whole body moves like the cartoon cheerleaders on the screen, there's no way I could do it.  But if you just try to keep up with the arm movements (you hold a controller in one or both hands, and that's how the game is scored), it's not too bad.  And it's fun!  The music is a bit teeny bopperish, but that doesn't bother me.

There are other games I'd like to be able to play, like Just Dance or Zumba Fitness.  But I know that those are well beyond anything I could do right now, so I haven't bothered to buy them.  Even with regular exercise I'm not sure if my body will *ever* be willing to move the way it would need to to play those games.  I'll be happy just to get to the point where I can fully take advantage of the games I already have.

In the down time, when no one is exercising with it, we play Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and one called Big Brain Academy to help with cognitive function and reaction time.  And when we're being really lazy, we use the Wii to watch streaming movies from Netflix!  So the Wii gets a workout, even if we don't.  :p

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Flux

I don't know about you, but for me the week between Christmas and New Year's is always an odd one.  The old year is over, but the new one hasn't started yet.  It's a time for wrapping up old business and gearing up for the new.

For the old business, I'm mostly making sure that my book and knitting records are up-to-date, bills are paid, that kind of thing.  Reading the last of the holiday stories-- tonight's is Carol of the Bellskis, a m/m Hanukkah story.  And wrapping up a stray knitting project-- a hat made from the leftover yarn from my brother's Christmas socks that I intend to donate to a local homeless shelter.

For new business, I've started my first knitting project for myself.  It's this sack sock to collect all the random plastic bags that I keep finding all over my room.  (For someone who rarely leaves the house and shops almost exclusively online, I have a shocking number of plastic bags floating around the place.)  (Bonus, it will help me keep my room clean!)  I've picked up a couple of songs that inspire me for the beginning of a writing soundtrack.  I'm not working hard yet, but I'm poking in that direction.  And I've got my eye on a reading challenge over at Goodreads that should help me control the ebook buying issue.  I felt like crap today (monthly surge in symptoms, plus I'm just worn out from the past week or so), so no activity whatsoever, and no cleaning.  I think I might need the same for tomorrow.  But Wednesday, look out!  I'll poke around and do something or other.  My favorite Wii game encourages me to compete against myself, to always go just a little further, so once I get into it again that should help keep me motivated.

So, progress.

And with that, I will leave you with a picture.  I got up to go to the bathroom, and when I came back I discovered someone had stolen my spot.

It's a little hard to tell, because the bed is so cluttered.  But that green thing is the hat, almost finished then, and completed now.  There's also a cone of white/black/pink yarn that I'm using to make my sack sock.  I'm getting an interesting swirling stripe effect as it knits up.  I'll take a picture in a day or two, when I'm further along and it's easier to see what's going on.

'Night, all!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Pictures

We had a lovely Christmas Day, and I hope you all had the same.  Relaxing, with lots of fun and laughter.  I'm too tired to write a real post, so here are some pictures of our Christmas decorations.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Coming

It's almost here.  No, not Christmas.  2012.  I've been thinking a lot in the last few weeks about what I want to happen, what I want to do, in 2012.  The first decision I made was that I want to cut my reading way back.

I'll give you a moment to recover from that bombshell.

Right now I'm on target to read 300 books in 2011.  That's a lot of books, and I've enjoyed all that reading thoroughly.  But I want to expand a few horizons in 2012, which means I'm going to have to spend less time reading.  My goal is to cut the reading in half-- I'm aiming for 150 books in 2012.

The big reason I want to cut the reading time is that I want to significantly increase the writing time.  As in, actually do some.  My goal is a little fuzzy in this area, but I think I want to go for two completed pieces in 2012, with at least one of those stories polished up and ready for submission.  (I know that sounds massive, but I'm thinking novella length, not 80,000+ word novels.)

I really want to knit some stuff this year.  It's been fun getting back to knitting after taking off most of 2011.  (Depression and joint pain pretty much killed my interest in it for a while.)  I'm thinking about doing a 12 in 12.  That is, 12 projects completed in 2012.  But not just any projects.  I want them to be stuff for ME.  I knit things for other people all the time, but I don't remember the last project I made for myself.  I have a boat load of sock yarn, with one slow going sock on the needles.  I have a *gorgeous* beaded scarf that I started like two years ago and have never finished.  I have a wacky shawl that I started a few months ago and had to set aside for other projects.  I just want to do some stuff for myself.

I want to get into the habit of gentle, regular exercise.  I know it will help me significantly.  Exercise is one of the major recommendations for people with Fibromyalgia.  Physical activity kills me right now, and it probably will for quite a while once I get started.  But I can't use that as an excuse anymore.  I have to do it.

Part of the reason I want to improve my condition and stamina is that there is not just one, but *two* conventions I'd really like to go to in 2012.  RT (Romantic Times) is in Chicago in April.  That's too close to miss if there's any way I can make it.  If I want to do anything other than sleep in my room all week, I've got to get my body used to moving and doing again.  The other convention is Gay Rom Lit, which is in October in Albuquerque.  Getting there will be a bit of a pain in the ass.  Either I'll have to fly, which will be quick and hopefully painless.  (Minus any body cavity searches security might decide to run.)  My other option would be to take the train.  Which actually sounds fun and romantic, riding the rails and all.  But it adds at least two days of travel both directions, and that might do me in.  (If I get a room with a bed, which I would absolutely do on a trip of this length, the price will be about the same as flying first class, which I kind of need to do for the larger seat size.  So pricing isn't the issue so much as how hard each travel option is likely to be on me.)

My thought process right now is that I'll try RT and see how it goes.  If I have a major problem, well, home is only a couple of hours away.  If I make it through RT without a hitch, then I have a better idea if I'll be up to the trip to Albuquerque in October.

You didn't think I would make it all the way through a list of goals without saying something about my disaster area, did you?  I want to do a little bit of cleaning every single day.  I'm not up to big stuff.  Just the thought of tackling the whole thing is enough to make me roll over and go back to sleep.  What I'm going to do is put on some music and clean to at least one song every day.  If I clean to one 3-5 minute song a day, it adds up to 20-35 minutes of cleaning time a week.  That will make at least a small dent in the disaster every week.  There are plenty of things I can do for 3-5 minutes without even leaving my bed.  Like clearing all the accumulated junk off my nightstands.  I think clearing out the crap and clutter will make me feel better emotionally.  It will probably help physically, too, because we've gotten well beyond the "write your finger in the dust" stage in spots.  (I give the computer screen and a short set of shelves by the bed a quick swipe with a Swiffer duster when I think about it, which isn't often.  Everything else is on its own.)

Finally, this is kind of a new idea to me, and I'm a little unsure about it.  But I think I might want to try the 365 Project.  If you're unfamiliar, the idea is to take a picture every day for 365 days, and post them.  I've really enjoyed snapping pictures with my Samsung thingy, and it might be fun to challenge myself to find something interesting to take a picture of every day for a year.  The challenge would be that I rarely leave the house.  At least 320 pictures would need to be taken from inside the house.  (And that may be a slightly generous on the side of how many out-in-the-world pictures I actually manage to take.)  I feel like this might push me a little, in a good way.  So I think I'm going to do it.

So, there you go.  Seven sections of goals for the new year.  (I'm also considering a book buying cap.  I have enough TBR books on the Kindle right now that I could make my 150 books goal and still have some left over.  But not buying books that I want is HARD, especially when you've got gift certificates or there's a sale on.  I'll be contemplating this one a bit more.)  Will I make them all?  Who knows.  But it feels like they're all pretty reasonable.  They're all action in a positive direction.  So I think for now they'll do.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Check Out My Dealie Boppers!

Delia reminded me that I haven't posted a picture of my birthday dealie boppers yet, so here it is!  I apologize for the moon pajamas and my total unwillingness to put on a bra.  That's hard work, and I just wasn't up for it tonight.

You can't see it in the picture, but there are flashing lights on the dealie boppers.  Also, check out my red hair!  I talked to my mom about the green hair thing, and decided not to do it right now.  I'm planning to go to Christmas Eve services with them (I never go to church, so it's kind of a big deal to Mom), and I know it would completely humiliate them for me to show up with green hair.  I know that's silly, but I'll respect their feelings about it.

Also, I talked to the hairstylist, and apparently maintaining an unusual color is a hell of a lot of work.  I'd probably be re-dying my hair every week to two weeks.  I am so not up for that right now.  So I'll be sticking with the fiery, but longer lasting, red.

And since you can't really see them in that first photo, here are the giant hoop earrings that I talked about a million years ago but never posted a picture of.

Aren't they fantastic?  They looked good with the scraggly blond mop that I used to have, but they really work with the red.

Also, taking clear pictures of myself, one handed, with that thing was a serious pain in the butt.  Definitely not designed for taking pictures of yourself one handed.

In other news, there are two jars of cherries draining in the refrigerator right now.  Tomorrow is chocolate covered cherry day!  Messy, but fun.  And the results are worth it.  Better than any chocolate covered cherry you'll buy in the store.  The recipe I use is in the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.  (Also available online here.)  They're a little harder to find, but if you decide to make this recipe, take the time to find cherries with stems.  Your results will be much better.  (Especially if you're not an experienced candy maker.)

I think that's all the news and pictures for today.  I've started my brother's socks, but just barely.  I need to get trucking on them if he's going to get something more than an IOU in his stocking.  And I haven't finished embellishing my peanut, but maybe I'll have pics of that tomorrow!

Lip balm of the day: a very festive and seasonal White Cranberry.  (It's way yummy!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


As you may have noticed, there have been a lot more pictures around here lately.  I bought that Samsung Galaxy Player a couple of weeks ago, and I'm having much fun snapping pictures of everything around me.  The pictures are much better than what I was getting from my cheapo digital camera, too!

Anyway, tonight I made toffee.  My uncle really enjoys it, so I send him a batch for Christmas every year.  It's really easy to make, too.  (The recipe I use is from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.  Here's the recipe from their website.)

On to the pictures!

This is the toffee cooking.  It's approximately at firm ball stage.  Hur.

Here's the toffee poured out and cooling.

And this is the finished product.  Toffee covered with semi-sweet chocolate and pecans!  I'll make another batch tomorrow or the next day without the nuts.  Dad can't have them, and they're a pretty bad idea for me, too, because of the Crohn's.  I would be shocked if Mom doesn't manage to sneak a piece or two of the be-nutted batch, though.  She really enjoys them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mmm, Stollen

I wish someone would get on the ball and invent smell-o-vision.  (Or smell-o-internet, I guess.)  Because, seriously?  Best smell in the world!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Cookies!

My brother and SIL came over for dinner tonight, and this was the after dinner entertainment.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Here Comes Trouble

This is his "woman, get that flash out of my face" look.  It is perhaps more adorable to me than to others.