Hey 2013! Nice Knowing You

Oh wow, is 2013 already over?  Seriously?  Didn’t we just enter this year full of new resolutions and excitement?

The only real resolutions I had for 2013 was to find a new job and to start making all of my own teas from scratch.  This was the third time I had made a resolution to find a new job for the next year, so I’m surprised but also grateful and happy that it ended up working out this year.  As for making tea from scratch…nope, didn’t happen.  However, I am going to make some this January, so hey – only a year late.

Looking back at this year, I see that I’ve accomplished a lot.  I bought my first house and experienced all the trials and woes that come with having your own place.  We moved in on one of the coldest days of January, turned the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAheat up, and watched as the house’s temperature raised only two degrees (it was a high of 24 outside, our house went from 55 to 57) over 24 hours.  From there we found out that we had no insulation and had to suffer a cold, cold winter with electric heaters in every room and saw our money fly out the window.  On top of that, we had a huge snowstorm in February that dumped three feet of snow, our garage could not fit my husbands car (one of the sole reasons we bought the house), the basement flooded, our hot water heater broke, and finally our bathtub started leaking, which caused black mold to grow on the ceiling of the garage.  It’s been one thing after another, but guess what?  For the past two months, not one thing has happened!  Knock on wood, but our house is standing with no damage, and I went and bought some paint to reward myself with all the money we saved.  Finally!  I get to do something I want for a change!

We also got our dog, Chewie, who is the sweetest, calmest dog you’ll ever meet.  I’m so thankful that we lucked out with her and she was already housetrained.  She needed a little bit of training, but responds pretty well as long as there’s food and no other dog around.  Also, I would never have thought that I would get a dog with a Star Wars name, but that is a sure sign that she was meant to be with us.

2013-06-08 17.55.25
Chewie right after her summer haircut

This year also saw a few adventures on my part.  I went skydiving, took a hot air balloon ride, got a tattoo, went to quite a few conventions (ConnectiCon, Boston Comic Con, NYCC, SuperMegaFest), and went to Orlando where I experienced Disney World and Universal Studios.  I can’t believe I went skydiving, but man oh man, I’m glad I did now.  It was unlike anything I feel I will ever experience again.  I was also blessed enough to travel to Fort Lauderdale, FL, Las Vegas, NV, and Phoenix, AZ.

In terms of growing as a person, I continued volunteering at a therapeutic horse farm, helping mentally and physically disabled children.  I ended it in September, as I instead signed up for the Big Sister Organization.  I recently got matched with a Little Sister and we have our first official hang out time this upcoming Saturday.  So excited to start the year off on a good foot!

I also read a lot of books this year because that’s how I escape the dreariness that can sometimes overtake everyday life.  Some people drink, some people do hard drugs…I like to dive into someone else’s world.  And now, ahem, to give you my list of books read this past year:

Kiri’s Books of 2013

  1. True Women by Janice Woods Windle.  This book was recommended to me, but I can’t say I liked it.  I found it boring and did not think the writing style was very good.  2/5 stars.
  2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  This was my second time reading this book.  I realized I’m drawn to it when I’m going through big life changes and I have the urge to escape from responsibility.  I do not love this book, but I also do not hate it as some people do.  I like her style of writing, the travel, and her ideas, though it frustrates me that she glosses over how she is a little selfish and doesn’t seem to realize how already blessed she is, but instead complains and goes off on this huge travel trip that would cost a normal person thousands of dollars.  4/5 stars.
  3. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.  I loved this book.  LOVED it.  It’s the first book in 2 years (the last book Elantristhat had me feeling like this was The Hunger Games) that I have been so addicted to and could not put down.  The way the plot was written, the characters fleshed out, and the fantasy element to it, sparked all the right chords in me.  Though hefty, I finished it quickly because it was such a page-turner.  5/5 stars.
  4. The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose. Boring and not written well; don’t bother.  2/5 stars.
  5. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. Ya-Ya was a lot better than I expected and I laughed so hard, but also cried while reading it.   Not many books can evoke both strong emotions from me. I normally don’t like modern day “real-life” stories, but I would recommend this book in a heartbeat.  4/5 stars.
  6. The Time in Between by Maria Duenas.  I’m glad I didn’t give up on this book.  I was so close to putting it down during the first third, but ended up really, really enjoying it.  The pace picked up immensely and there was a lot of tension during the latter part of the book.  4/5 stars.
  7. The House of Rajani by Alon Hilu.  Oh gosh, if you want a downer, definitely read House of Rajani.  I do not like depressing books, but as this book was given to me as a gift, I figured I would read it.  Definitely not fun vacation reading and I would probably never recommend it unless you like historical fiction of the depressing kind.  2/5 stars.
  8. Medicus by Ruth Downie. Medicus was alright and also given as a gift, but not as good as I thought it was going to be.  I learned a little about Ancient Rome, but thought the book could have had less fluff and predictability.  3/5 stars.
  9. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.  Not my type of book as I rarely ever read anything that is not fiction, but I loved this book.  As I gear my life and career towards taking on the corporate world, I found this book inspiring and a good kick in the butt that I needed.  It inspired me to apply for a new job that I thought was out of my reach, and guess what?  I got that job.  I recommend it to any woman who is considering a career in the corporate office world.  4/5 stars.
  10. Harry Potter #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7 by J.K. Rowling.  I wanted to finish the series before I went to Harry Potter World in Orlando, but that was not to be.  I was only on #5 by the time I got there.  However, I’m glad I reread most of the books because it was an amazing refresher and it brought back all the feelings of how much I love Harry Potter and why his story will never leave me.  I want to read it to my kids and have them love Harry as much as I do. 5/5 stars.
  11. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  Good book, but sad.  I wouldn’t have normally read it since there is no magic and all that fun stuff, but my husband loved it and couldn’t put it down.  Therefore, I had to read it, since he never reads and I like to see what captures his interest.  Told from the point of view of a dog, it shows the life of his owner as it starts off happily enough and takes many sad turns, as life often does.  4/5 stars.

Did you guys read any books that blew your mind this year?  My favorite was definitely Elantris.  I’m always open to hearing about new books, especially Fantasy novels, so please let me know if you recommend anything and I’ll add it to my goodreads list.

Overall, I think 2013 has been a highly successful year for me.  I’ve seen a lot of changes, but also did a lot of growing up as I took on more responsibility than I ever have before.

The best part of this year is that I have not had a lot of regrets.  And that’s all you can ask for in the end, right?


10 thoughts on “Hey 2013! Nice Knowing You

  1. Wow, you sure had a busy year! I really enjoyed your reading list. I haven’t read any Brandon Sanderson, so I definitely need to get on that next year. My to-read list only seems to get longer, never shorter, no matter how much I read 🙂
    I’m so glad I started reading your blog this year…I think the redesign is looking really great!

    1. Oh, I know what you mean. I’ve started using Goodreads to keep track of all the books I want to read because it’s impossible on a sheet of paper anymore. Now, I will go on the list, and go to random.com and let it pick a number for me and that’s the next book I’ll read. I realized I was basing what book I read next on my emotions at the moment and so I started reading all these books that were the similar, one right after another. Randomly choosing allows me to have variety and books that I like.

      I’m glad you’re reading my blog too and that we’ve begun interacting! Thanks for the compliments on the redesign. 🙂 I also like it. Keep up your blogging awesomeness!

  2. Sounds like when the cover closes on 2013 it will have been a great one. Thanks for sharing some of the adventures with us here!

    I can definitely relate to Mei-Mei about the ever-growing reading list. I’m certain there is some sort of mythic hydra principle at work in my reading. There are at least two (often four or five) books added for every one I knock off. And now, I need to add one more. I’ve been dancing around Elantris for awhile. I loved Sanderson’s Warbreaker and enjoyed the first Mistborn book AND dug his Hugo-winning novella, The Emperor’s Soul. So Elantris seems like a good fit, but his books are so long and I read so slow. Looks like I’ll have to take time to muscle through it. 🙂

    As for my mind-blowing books read in 2013, it was a big year for me to visit classic sci-fi from Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, and Orson Scott Card’s Ender Series. The last probably was the strongest influence, I started on Ender’s Game in the summer to read it before the movie and as I type I’m itching to get back to Children of the Mind the fourth and final installment in the main Ender Wiggin Sequence. Good stuff.

    I’ll sign off by hoping that a year from now you can say 2014 at least as amazing!

    …now I have a book to finish before the close of the year….

    1. Oh my, you’ve read all those Sanderson books but not Elantris? Isn’t Elantris the core of his books as it’s the one that made him famous as an author? If you liked all the other ones, I’m sure you’ll like Elantris.

      You’d like the CEO I support. He’s named all our conference rooms after classic sci-fi authors. We have Heinlein, Asimov, Clark, Le Guin, etc. No “Dick” though haha…I can’t imagine why.

      I have a weird relationship with Ender. I loved Ender’s Game SO much that I haven’t read the other books in the series. Everyone says they are really good and they don’t ruin the first book, but I still can’t do it. I don’t want to tarnish Ender’s Game, which I love so much, so I’ve just stuck with that one. Maybe one day I’ll get over it and read the rest, but not ready for it yet.

      I think I have one book or author that you recommended sometime this year on my list of books to read. A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay. I’m pretty sure that’s the one you recommended. Maybe I’ll make it to it this year!

  3. Oh yeah, The Lions of Al-Rassan was the book by Guy Gavriel Kay that I read. It was really good too. 2013 was a pretty good year of reading for me. Interestingly, I gave Kay a try this year, because Sanderson praises him so highly on the podcast he co-hosts, Writing Excuses (also highly recommended).

    I understand your reservations about getting into the other Ender books. I too loved Ender’s Game and was unsure how that story would proceed. The answer is by skipping a few thousand years. I won’t spoil too much, but I do highly recommend Speaker for the Dead. I liked it very nearly as much as Ender’s Game, even though it really is a COMPLETELY different kind of book. The other two books in the main Ender Sequence are good, but they do fall off from that high water mark.

    P.S. Read through the list of mini-resolutions, I still think this idea is a lot of fun. Looking forward to the occasional update, and of course the Star Wars haikus!

    1. Hmmm…still not converted to the whole reading-more-of-Ender’s-story thing.

      Also, everyone else seems excited about the haikus as well, so hopefully it turns out okay and not lame! All the pressure now!

  4. I hope you enjoy the Big Sister experience. I was a big brother for awhile and while the little guy I was paired with was amazing, some of the nuances of the program were a bit hard to navigate at times. Or, maybe that was just me in my naive youth. It’s hard to say at this point.

    1. Oh my goodness! So good to know someone else has done this program as an adult. I signed up in June and was not matched until December. I got very frustrated with the program as I think at times they were twisting the truth (not outright lying, but you know…not telling me everything) to make it sound like they only had 1 or 2 girls that could possibly be a good match. They have 500+ girls on the waiting list. How could they only have 1 or 2 that would be good for me? Which makes me think that they could possibly be trying to match me with someone who is completely opposite of me in terms of lifestyle, instead of trying to hear my requests. I don’t know, these issues weren’t a big deal, but I got frustrated at times. Also, the org seemed to keep forgetting that I was a volunteer and kept trying to get me to come in and do all this stuff in the middle of the day. I was like…ummm, I work? Hello? They even tried to get me to meet my Little for the first time at 3pm on Thursday. *Rolls eyes*

      I’ve met with my Little twice so far and she seems to be opening up bit by bit. I think she’ll be good for me. Now that I’ve been matched, I’m actually a lot happier with everything.

      Do you still keep in touch with your Little? I know that’s the ideal situation with the organization, that you keep in touch for your whole life.

      Sorry this reply is so long – is there a way to direct message on WP? It would be great to just see what your experience was.

      1. You can always just send me an email (djmatticus@yahoo.com). I’d be happy to talk about my experience more.
        Unfortunately I’m not still in touch with my little… I was forced to leave the program due to circumstances in my life… and they didn’t want me contacting him after that for … stability, consistency, sort of reasons. It made sense. My little had some attachment/abondonment issues that it might have made worse if I had tried to stay in contact with him after leaving the program.

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