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 heat 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I loved this book. LOVED it. It’s the first book in 2 years (the last book that 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.
- The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose. Boring and not written well; don’t bother. 2/5 stars.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?