New Year’s Resolutions 2010

Technically, there are still 14 hours until 2009 ends in my neck of the woods.  However, I wanted to reflect on last year’s resolutions so I can do any last-minute penance while there’s still time. Just kidding.

In 2009, I wanted to:

  • Continue to improve my relationship with Corey.
  • Read The Book of Mormon.
  • Go back to school.
  • Read at least 30 books.
  • Lose 100 pounds.

I actually did really well with my resolutions this year.  I’m quite proud of myself really.  I only missed one of my goals, but I started the ball rolling to make it a reality for 2010.

I feel like my relationship with Corey has definitely improved.  We’re communicating better and I think we’re both doing better at not being so co-dependent or selfish.  I know our relationship can continue to improve, but I think that’s going to be a lifelong project and accomplishment.

I started reading The Book of Mormon at the end of March and I finished it a week before Thanksgiving.  I’m really glad I accomplished this goal since I just gave up in 2008.  I think being so faithful in my reading helped me a lot this year.

I didn’t make it back to school in 2009, but I’m returning in less than a week!  I’m really excited and nervous at the same time.  I have a lot of irrational worries plaguing me right now.  I’m pretty sure once I start school on Monday, I’ll be okay … hopefully.  What are my irrational worries?  That’s a story for another post, maybe in a couple of days.

During the months of January, February, and March, I read three books each month.  In April, I only read two, but I made up for that by reading five in May.  In June and July, I only read one book each month.  But, I read another three in August.  I went back down to two for September and only one for October.  I jumped up to four books in November and read my typical three this month.  How many books does that mean I read?  (I really want to do a Clue reference here, but my math is much longer than the math in Clue. Sad.) Anyway, I read 31 books! Not only did I meet my goal, I exceeded it!  I’m very proud of myself! I also kept track of the number of pages I read.  My total page count is 11,995. That’s an average of almost 400 pages per book.

I didn’t lose 100 pounds this year, but I realize now that was unrealistic.  I did lose 33.4 pounds.  (I’m still fluctuating between 30 and 35 pounds.)  I know this is only a third of my original goal, but I feel like I’ve done an awesome job because losing weight is hard!

As for 2010, I have similar goals from 2009 that I want to accomplish.  I want to:

  • Continue to improve my relationship with Corey.
  • Read The New Testament.
  • Go back to school.
  • Read at least 35 books.
  • Lose another 30 pounds.
  • Go to church regularly (every week).

Hopefully, I’ll be as successful in the coming year as I was this year.

Anyway, I hope you have a great holiday and I wish you great success in the new year!  Have fun and stay safe tonight!

Blog Changes

I’ve made a couple of changes to my blog, which you may have already noticed.  At the top, there were only three links: Home, About Me, and General Comments.  Now, there are three more links: Book Reviews (categorized by title, author, and rating), Family Birthdays, and Gallery.

Book Reviews:  I post a lot of book reviews.  Often, my readers haven’t read the book yet so they don’t want to read my review for fear of spoilers.  By the way, I always mention in the post if my review contains a spoiler.  However, I understand that some people don’t want to read anything about a book until they’ve read it.  I’ve created an index of all the book reviews I’ve posted on my blog.  Now, people can read a specific review and post a comment more easily once they’ve read the book.

Family Birthdays:  In the new year, I’ve decided not to post a monthly birthday list on the first day of each month.  The list keeps growing and I’ll inevitably forget someone. I’ve posted a reference list for my immediate family members on both the Jackson and Blaser sides.

For most people, immediate family means parents and siblings.  For me, it means spouse, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and -nephews, including in-laws.  Sorry to my cousins, aunts, and uncles.  I don’t love you any less; I just can’t keep track of everyone!

Gallery:  I wanted a way to show off the past crochet, knit, and quilt projects I’ve done.  I’ve created a gallery.  Simple enough, right?

Review: The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

Review: The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren ShanTitle: The Vampire's Assistant
Author: Darren Shan (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Series: The Saga of Darren Shan #2
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Middle Grade
Pages: 256
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon • Add to Goodreads • Add to Shelfari
Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy--until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now, as he struggles with his new life as a Vampire's Assistant, he tries desperately to resist the one temptation that sickens him, the one thing that can keep him alive. But destiny is calling ... the Wolf Man is waiting. Summary from Goodreads

When I read the first book, A Living Nightmare, I thought The Vampire’s Assistant movie was an adaptation of the first two books in the series. … I was wrong.  The movie’s actually an adaptation of the first three books so I didn’t expect what happened in this book at all.

A Living Nightmare was almost exactly like the first half of the movie adaptation with some changes like most movies have.  However, the only thing The Vampire’s Assistant book had in common with its movie adaptation was that Darren and Mr. Crepsley joined the Cirque du Freak.  Everything else was completely different and completely new to me.  Now, that wasn’t a bad thing or anything.  I just wasn’t expecting most of the things that happened in the book.

I liked this book a lot better than the first one.  The first one was slow because it was building up the characters and the layout of the story.  This book was much faster paced and I read it in two days, which is good since it was due back to the library today.  Finished it in the nick of time.

This series is categorized as young adult, but I’d say it’s actually written more for middle grade readers than teenagers.  In some ways, the books seem very juvenile.  I like the story enough so the books hold my interest.  I look forward to reading the third book and actually catching up with the movie.

three-starsthree-starsthree-stars

Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Review: The Dark Divine by Bree DespainTitle: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Series: The Dark Divine #1
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Pages: 384
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Format: ARC
Buy on Amazon • Add to Goodreads • Add to Shelfari
Grace Divine--daughter of the local pastor--always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul. Summary from Dust Jacket

I had the chance to borrow an ARC of The Dark Divine from my friend Debbie.

UBThe Dark Divine is Bree Despain’s debut novel and I really enjoyed it. From the minute I started reading The Dark Divine, I wanted to know more about Daniel.  I wanted to know what happened between Jude and him.  I wanted to keep reading so I knew everything.  Not a single part of the story was slow for me.  I wanted to keep reading.

Now that I’ve finished the story, I still want to know more.  Even though I think the ending wrapped everything up nicely, I still have questions.  Those questions are along the lines of what happens to the characters now or how are they going to deal with that, etc. I guess I’ll find out in the next books.

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

Christmas Aminekos

Corey and I didn’t have a lot of money for Christmas this year and because we were spending Christmas with his family, I wanted to make sure his nieces got a present from us.  I decided to crochet them aminekos.  I did an amineko for me last year so I knew they’d turn out well.  Also, all three girls love cats and because I could make them in their favorite color, I was sure they’d be a hit.

I gave the girls their cat yesterday afternoon.  They seemed to love them.  Brooklyn even named her kitty (far left) Nita.  Addi’s kitty is in the middle and Sierra’s kitty is the purple one.

Sierra’s cat is my favorite. Apart from the obvious of it being purple, I feel like it’s also my best out of the three as I improved my technique with each one. I like it so much I’ve decided to make a purple one for me to go along with Smokie.

I can see every flaw, but I’m trying to look at them as God would His children.  I’m trying to realize the flaws give each one their own personality and character even though it’s against my perfectionist nature to like something I’ve made that’s not perfect.

Anyway, I’m glad each of the girls like their kitties and I hope they can enjoy them for many years to come.