Saturday, January 04, 2014

2013 Book List and 2014 Reading Goals

It is time to retire my 2013 book list in the sidebar and start my new one for 2014.  My goal of reading 100 books last year was quite lofty and I didn't make it.  As I am now working and going to school full time, I figured I should be more realistic this year.  

My goal for 2014 is to read 50 books.  I am also committing to a reading challenge with a friend at work to read one classic and one non-fiction book a month.  

Here's hoping I meet my goal this year!

And for posterity reasons, I posting my list of books read in 2013:

1. The Mark of Athena
2. Desires of the Dead
3. The Last Echo
4. Twilight (audiobook)
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
6. The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden
7. The Fault in Our Stars
8. Matched
9. The Lightning Thief (audiobook)
10. Putting Makeup on Dead People
11. The Underdogs: A Novel of the Mexican Revolution
12. The Goddess Test
13. The Goddess Hunt
14. The Sea of Monsters (audiobook)
15. Catching Fire (audiobook)
16. Paper Towns
17. Goddess Interrupted
18. Mockingjay (audiobook)
19. The Goddess Legacy
20. The Host (audiobook)
21. The Goddess Inheritance
22. The Titan's Curse (audiobook)
23. Ethereal
24. Tremble
25. Burn
26. Wicked
27. Vex
28. The Battle of the Labyrinth (audiobook)
29. Buddha in Blue Jeans: An Extremely Short Simple Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly and Being Buddha
30. The Last Olympian (audiobook)
31. Buddhism, World Religions series
32. The Lost Hero (audiobook)
33. Vampires in the Lemon Grove
34. The Son of Neptune (audiobook)
35. Dead Ever After
36. Divergent
37. Insurgent
38. Beautiful Creatures
39. Fallen
40. Torment
41. Passion
43. Fallen In Love
43. Rapture
44. Looking for Alaska
45. The Mark of Athena (audiobook)
46. If I Stay
47. Where She Went
48. The Duke & I (Bridgertons #1)
49. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons #2)
50. An Offer from a Gentleman (Bridgertons #3)
51. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Bridgertons #4)
52. To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgertons #5)
53. When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons #6)
54. It's In His Kiss (Bridgertons #7)55. On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons #8)
56. The Bridgertons- Happily Ever After (The Epilogues)
57. Angelfall
58. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
59. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (audiobook)
60. The Spectacular Now
61. One Pink Line
62. The Age of Miracles
63. Me Before You
64. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (audiobook)
65. Size 12 and Ready to Rock
66. I've Got Your Number
67. Remember Me?
68. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (audiobook)
69. Allegiant
70. House of Hades
71. World War I: A Very Short Introduction
72. Dark Places
73. Abandon
74. Ten Miles Past Normal (audiobook)

*Items in bold are my 25 Books of Summer challenge

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back on 2013 and forward to 2014

My Facebook feed has been nothing but "Goodbye, 2013!" posts so I thought I would hop on the bandwagon here on the old blog.  I haven't posted in months but as what I want to say requires more than a status update, I thought I should write here instead of there.

2013 was a pretty good year for me.  The main event was really that I FINALLY got a job after over 2 years of applications and frustration.  And the best part is that it is actually in a library and not just some random retail job that I thought I would end up with.  I love what I am doing, and while the pay isn't great, finally getting experience is!  And I have made a few pretty great work friends as well, so that is always a plus.

I also finally started on my BA in History and the end is in sight!  I am incredibly happy with SNHU and can't wait to graduate this coming summer!

My New Year's resolution was to read 100 books in 2013.  I am actually kind of bummed because I didn't quite make it, but I still managed to put away 74 books, which is more than a majority of people I know!  I was doing great until I started working full time in addition to the college full time thing, so I can't give myself too much flack.  I know I most definitely won't be able to do 100 books in 2014, so I decided to settle on 50 as a more reasonable number.

I have two main goals for 2014 (besides the 50 books) and they are to graduate from SNHU with my BA in History with a 4.0 and be accepted into the University of Kentucky Library and Information Sciences program for the coming fall.  I am the most nervous about UK, but I have to stay positive and do great on the GRE this spring.  Hopefully all the hard work I have been putting in over the last few years will finally pay off!

Stuart's ETS date is quickly approaching as well.  So while that date is actually in 2015, we have several huge decisions to make in the coming months so I have a feeling 2014 is going to be full of big changes for us as a family.

2014 is sure to be challenging, but I can't wait to see how it goes!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Government Shutdown

I don't usually like to get involved in politics, but even I have an opinion on the government shut down.  Facebook has been a pretty awful place to be lately with some people blaming one side, everyone else blaming the other, and then of course, the president haters.  Which I am not sure what he has to do with anything because he isn't even involved in the vote.

You know who is to blame?

Every single one of them.  Whether they are in the House or the Senate they are all to blame.

One side is holding our country hostage.  The other has taken a no-negotiation stance.  The whole situation is disgusting and it doesn't look like an agreement will be reached any time soon.

There are so many of my friends who are not working right now.  My own job has been delayed due to cutbacks and the shut down.  So even though I am a tentative hire, it looks like I won't be starting any time soon either.  And many people rely on their government employment pay to survive.  Read articles and see what else is being affected- WIC, clinical trials, national parks and so many other things.  Everyone will feel the pressure sooner or later, whether they think they will or not.  

These people are not doing their jobs.  No side is willing to figure out what is best for the country.  So my suggestion is that we not reelect any of them.  When the time comes for reelections, we need to vote against every incumbent on the ballot.  Do not reelect any of them.  Many of them have been on the news talking about how their hands are tied and how they can't do anything to fix the problem because of a select few, but it is all excuses.  Their inability to act has been what has got us to this point in the first place.

We need to put our bipartisan squabbles aside right now and do what is best for the country.  It is falling apart and we need to fix it before it is too late.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Throwback Thursday #3

I used to be a cheerleader once upon a time in 8th grade.  Difficult to believe?  You are not alone.  Most people find it to be quite funny that I was a cheerleader.  But you know, I actually enjoyed it and I wasn't terrible.

I should have stuck with it and who knows, maybe my outlook on life would be a bit more sunny?  LOL  Probably not.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

I am the girl who cried PCS...

We found out yesterday that we are not moving to Fort Riley after all.  Apparently it said "You are currently on orders" on ASK for a week just for shits and giggles.

I'm sad, but honestly, I saw it coming.  We are never getting out of here.  Stuart jokes that he will be buried outside of the motorpool and I am starting to believe it.

The next option for him is to reenlist for a duty station and pray that there will be positions open.  We specifically want JBER in Alaska, but we'll see.  After that the only other way to get out of his current unit is to make his 6 because they are not slotted for an E6 in his MOS or to pray that Branch will take pity on us and give him orders.  But you saw how that worked out with Hawaii (yeah, I'm not still bitter or anything).

I think it is safe to say that unless our government gets it together and passes a budget that we won't be going anywhere for awhile.  And with yet another upcoming deployment, I am just over this.  I wouldn't be sad if he ETS'd, honestly.  I could do with some stability for once.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Book of the Week: Me Before You

Time for this week's Book of the Week post!  On Labor Day, I spent most of the day reading a wonderful book called Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  I started it on Sunday night and was bummed that I had to go to sleep.  So I started it again yesterday morning and read until my Kindle died and I had to charge it before I could finish.  I did NOT want to put it down.  It was that good.

It is funny because I share books with a friend of mine and she commented that I tend to gravitate towards books that make a person want to slit their wrists.  Looking over my most recent reads, and my favorites, that does actually seem to be the trend.  And this book was really no different.

Me Before You is the story of Louisa Clark, and twenty-something woman who doesn't really seem to have any direction in life.  After losing her job, she is offered a position being a carer for a man in a wheelchair, Will Traynor.  I want to give a good description without ruining anything so I will borrow the one from Goodreads:
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
I found the characters to be likable and I was interested in what choices they would make and why.  An interesting writing tool that the author used was to tell the story from the point of view of a family member or friend when Lou made a big decision.  I thought this was important because as Lou was an incredibly emotional character, it allowed us to see the big picture and not her skewed version of what was going on.

One theme of the book was our right to choose to die, if that is a choice we want to make in the event of extreme illness or if you are just wary of life.  This is not something I have ever given much thought to before and it certainly made me ponder a few things about life and death.

I will stop here because I don't want to spoil anything for those of you that haven't read the book.  I really recommend this one and I personally loved it.

You can find out more at GoodReads and Amazon.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Good news and weird news

Okay, I have good news and I have "weird and we don't know what the heck is going on" news.

First the good news- Apparently begging pays off because I actually got a call last week about the library technician job that I turned down.  I guess the other girl they were going to hire backed out on them so they offered it to me again!  So as of right now I am a "tentative hire" and am in the process of jumping through hoops and passing a background check.  I get fingerprinted this week!

Which brings me to my weird news.  For a little less than a week it showed that Stuart was "currently on orders."  Okay, great!  But then it changed back to a list of requisitions and had Kansas listed in the history portion of the requisition section of ASK.  However, all of the other requisitions listed were "currently full," and considering two of them were for Korea it didn't really make sense.  So with it being weird, he spent about 10 days trying to get ahold of Branch with no success.  So much for them answering emails within 48 hours.  What a joke.  They also don't answer their phone or return voicemails, in case you were wondering.

We had pretty much given up on Kansas coming through but then all of the sudden this past Wednesday his ASK started showing "Rule 5 You are Currently on orders" once again.  But still no confirmation or denial email from Branch, which is supposed to come with 21 days of accepting a requisition.  So here we are at 23 days with still no news but it still showing rule 5.

The whole thing is screwed up and I just want an answer.  We are sitting at 120 days out from the report date on the original requisition and I don't know if I should be packing my house up or going on with my life because once again the Army is screwing us over.  So as of right now I am taking that job that I wanted to begin with and I will jump whatever hurdle comes later.  I'm tired of putting my life on hold and not being given any answers.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bad timing

Why is it that you can try and try for something but then things change and then all of the sudden you get a chance at that something that you can't take?

Okay, so I know that sounds confusing.  I think that being vague just won't work here, lol.

In 2010, I graduated with an AAS in Library and Information Technology.  Basically the whole degree was designed to give the me the knowledge needed to be a library technician.  Honestly, this started as a launch point for the main goal, Masters in Library Science, and I had planned on trying to find a job and continue school at the same time.

Since I graduated I have applied for no fewer than 15 positions (they aren't as common as they were in 2008 when I started the program) and have only had one interview where they chose not to hire me because Stuart is in the Army.  They didn't say this outright but it was implied when they questioned my long-term availability.

Really, I wanted a job in the library on post.  It is a NAF position, full time (which isn't common in library jobs), and I spend a lot of time there anyway, lol.  So for 2.5 years I have applied every time they have an opening and for 2.5 years I had heard nothing.

Monday is when it showed that Stuart was on orders.  So guess what happened on Tuesday morning?  I got a call wanting me to come in to discuss a library technician job for the library on post.  I spent about 10 minutes talking with the HR lady and eventually I told her that I was not able to take the job because we would be moving soon.  It took everything I had in me to say no and I HATED myself afterwards.  She was very nice and understanding and did make me feel a little better, but not much.

I still can't believe this happened.

And even knowing about a PCS in the future, she was still willing to let me have the job.  I cried a lot this past week.  This is what I have been waiting for for literally years.  So I actually called her back and left her a message yesterday.  I know it is a long shot, but I had to see if the job was still open.  I know that I missed my chance last Tuesday and I probably shouldn't even waste her time, but I had to try.

I am expecting a call today saying that the position is filled and I am sure I will cry again, but I had to know that I really did miss this chance.

Anyone else feel like life can be a continuous string of bad timings or is that just me?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"Currently on orders."

It isn't a secret that I am very tired of being here at Bragg.  I am over Fayetteville, and I wish every day that my husband could just leave his company and go somewhere else.  We have tried getting out of here on our own, and we have had the Army give us orders and then pull the rug out from under us.  It has all been very disheartening and I hate that I feel so trapped.

A little over a week ago a miracle happened.  For the first time since I can remember, his company lifted the fence!!  If you don't know what this means, basically there will be a fence when preparing for a deployment or when they are on global response (or whatever it is called) and that means that they are holding soldiers in the unit.  They are "supposed" to lift the fence 90 days after they get back from deployment but in 6.5 years it has never happened.  I have never seen anything other than "You are in a fenced-in unit" on his ASK.

This was a full-on miracle.  I'll say it again- a sky opens and angels sing MIRACLE.

There is good news when a fence lifts and that is requisitions!!  Stuart had a lot of options in his requisitions!  Drum, Irwin, Stewart, Riley, Camp Carroll, and Camp Casey.  He was originally going to try to reenlist for Alaska when his reenlistment window opened in the new fiscal year (October), but even then there is no guarantee that he would get choice of station, especially when so many have to reenlist for needs of the Army right now.  And with all of the scary stuff going down if they don't pass a budget... well, lets just say that it isn't looking good for PCS's and getting BAH.

We sat down and discussed it, but honestly, we knew what we wanted as soon as those requisitions were listed on the screen.  We want out of here.  We decided that it was best to take something now rather than wait around for something that we might not get and be disappointed later.

Stuart accepted a requisition for Fort Riley, KS that would mean that we PCS in December.  We are waiting for it to be officially official, but it says "You are currently on orders" on ASK right now, and those are the best 5 words that I have read in a long time.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book of the Week: The Spectacular Now

Time for this weeks book of the week!

For this Book of the Week segment, I will be reviewing The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp.  I honestly read this book because the movie just came out and I really want to see it.  That sounds lame, but I do at least try to read the book before I see the movie.  I will post a link to the movie trailer at the end and you can see if you agree that the trailer was good enough to make me want to read the book.

The Spectacular Now is a coming of age story.  It isn't like any coming of age story that I personally have experienced, but I have met my fair share of Sutters in my life, which honestly made me feel sad.  Basically, Sutter is that fun guy we all knew who liked to party a little too much and didn't take life too seriously.  It was all about being happy and living in the now.

When you are in high school and are trying to prepare for your future, at least if you were a nerd like me you did, you worried about life and where you were headed.  Sutter does not have that problem.  He is all about the NOW.  The story, told from first person perspective, was especially interesting because as a reader you can recognize Sutter's self destructive behavior, but he is so la-dee-dah that he doesn't see it, and it actually made me feel frustrated.  Like I wanted to reach into the book and shake him extra hard and tell him to get it together.  As the story goes on, Sutter eventually "adopts" a misfit girl, named Aimee, and drags her along the self-destructive road with him.

While the book may seem like a downer, I rather enjoyed it.  First, it was interesting to read about a life I did not have when I was younger.  I got to see a different, and probably much more common, perspective of high school.  Sutter was a likable character, which actually made him much more frustrating.  I felt like he needed a savior, and that is where I thought the thing with Aimee was going, but nope.  There was no savior for Sutter.

The book was sad, but in a different way.  I felt sad for Sutter but he didn't seem to be sad for himself.  The whole thing was very well written and thought provoking and I recommend giving it a read.  

I was so eager to read this book before I saw the movie and I am honestly wondering if they will stick with the same tone, especially when it concerns Aimee.  She was very much a supporting role in the book and it seems that maybe they focus mostly on her and Sutter's relationship in the movie and that really wasn't the point of the book.  Check it out and see what you think: