Sunday, May 31, 2015

April/May 2015 In Review

What I Have Been Up To: Stuff. A lot of working. Chores. Spring cleaning. Worrying about finances. Worrying about my husband. Worrying about work. Worrying about family and friends going through tough times. A sure sign I have too much on my mind and am feeling stressed is when I am not sleeping well. My nights for the past few weeks have been filled with crazy dreams and frequent wakings.

Illness came and went, making sure we all felt its presence. We had a few health scares with extended family as well. My aunt came through her knee replacement surgery with flying colors, And, fortunately the lump in my half-sister's breast was benign. My father-in-law, who was diagnosed with melanoma recently, wasn't so lucky (but still lucky considering how much worse it could have been!). The doctor was able to get all of the cancerous cells out of one of his arms, but not the other. He is having another procedure to see if the doctor can get the rest early this week.
“That's your solution? Have a cookie?" Astrid asked. "No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over," Sam said. "But a cookie never hurts.” ― Michael Grant, Gone
There is the fun stuff as well. Like hanging out with my family, which, of course, is my favorite part. Early in May, we went to see a ballet production of Beauty and the Beast. Not the Disney version, in case you are wondering. Mouse's best friend and her mom had invited us, and the girls had a great time. We spent Mother's Day at Disneyland,  every mother's dream come true. Okay, so maybe just mine, but it sure was a lot of fun. Later in the month, we visited the Santa Monica Pier where I met a long time pen pal of mine from Norway and her family for the first time. We had a nice visit. In between that there were soccer classes, visits to the library, time at the park, and even some lazy days.

For those of you who are actually visiting my blog and not reading this through a feedreader, you may have noticed the new format. I am never satisfied. Haha. My poor husband is used to my frequent requests to create a new header for me.

What I Have Been Listening To: I actually finished an audio book a couple of weeks ago. It only took me four and a half months to listen to Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. I am hoping it doesn't take me as long to get through the next one. I just started listening to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, which has been getting mixed reviews. Even the negative and less than positive reviews have only increased my interest in it though. I am loving it so far. If only I had more listening time!

What I Have Been Watching: April and May seemed to be the month for action movies.  A bold statement given I only saw two movies the entire two months.  Both were action movies, the latest Avengers movie and Fast and Furious 7. I love the Marvel movies and so was excited to see Avengers in the theater. I enjoyed it, although not quite as much as the first. Tony Stark still gets on my nerves and Steve Rogers as Captain America, well, he's my favorite. I thought Fast and Furious 7 was a lot of fun, plot holes and all. I am not a fan of the franchise and this was actually the first of the movies I have seen all the way through. I got bored watching the first one and never finished it.

On television, I am watching Netflix's Daredevil and enjoying it.  I saw the season finales for several shows I follow during the regular television season, including Scandal, Revenge, Blacklist, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Voice. I am always a bit relieved when this time of year approaches, television wise. I am not too into the summer shows and so am able to catch other shows I missed--like Orphan Black, which I just love.  I am curious thought about the Walking Dead spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead (which is an entirely uninspired title, I have to say).  I watch way too much television.

What I Have Been Reading: As many of you know, my husband convinced me to re-read Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre since he was reading it for the first time. I finished Jane Eyre in April, and must say I still love the novel all these year later. I enjoyed reliving familiar scenes from the book and getting to know Jane and Edward Rochester again. There were some things I did not remember and much that I did. There was squealing and gasps and tears. I was falling in love with the book all over again. Being much older now than I was when I last read the novel, I wondered if my perspective of the main characters would change. It has to some degree. I have a little more empathy for Rochester than I once did. And even more respect for Jane. I also came away with a deeper understanding of St. John, a character that I only vaguely remembered from my previous readings of the novel.

I read several other good books these past couple months from mysteries/thrillers, fantasies to historical fiction. I liked some more than others, but overall I am pleased with my reading choices. They might not be mighty in number, but I have never been  a fast reader. And quality is always more important than quantity when it comes to reading. At least in my opinion.

The Child in April/May: 

 Library Visit with her Best Friend

 Laundry Basket as Sleeping Bag

 Drawing with Chalk

Riding the Carousel

 Afternoon at the Pier

The cats these past couple months:

Did you say treats? 

Doing what he loves best.

Plans for June: June is a busy month with Father's Day and my husband's birthday. I do not imagine we will be doing much outside our usual activities though.  Soccer and the beginning of swim lessons for Mouse; work, work and more work for my husband and me.

I only have one book tour in June, which I am excited about. I hope to bring you some long overdo reviews of other books I have read since the beginning of the year as well. It took me forever to write my 3 book combined review of Anne Bishop's Others Series. I just had so much to say . . . I thought about breaking it into parts, or doing each individual book separately, but couldn't think how to do that successfully. The review is pretty long--hopefully I can cut it down some more before I actually post it. This is the longest I have ever struggled with a review. I guess having too much to say is better than struggling with saying anything at all though, right?

How have you been these past couple months?  What were your favorite April and May reads?


April/May In Reading Mews:

Number of Books Completed in April: 3
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  • Diamond Head by Cecily Wong

Number of Books Completed in May: 6
  • The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
  • A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison
  • The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson
  • Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff

Favorite Book of the Month(s): Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë


Currently Reading:
  • The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy (e-book)
  • My Highland Bride by Maeve Greyson (e-book)
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Audio)

Posts of Interest This Week:

© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

26 comments:

  1. Wendy, so nice to hear what's been going on with you! I love your new 'look' here. Very fresh and pretty. Also love the pics - always love those. Enjoy your summer. I know you are busy with your little one and work and all. Have a good week and take care of yourself!

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    1. Kay - Thank you! I was worried the border might be too busy, but I thought it was fun. :-)

      I hope you have a good week too.

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  2. I've been wondering about you since I've not seen any blog updates from you, Wendy. I hope your extended family are all well and here's wishing them a speedy recovery.

    I can't wait to read your reviews on the books you'd read! My reading progress will be slower this month considering it's school holidays. And I do agree quality is always more important than quantity.

    Mouse looks so adorable in those pics! And she looked like she was having lots of fun too! Thanks for sharing this post, Wendy! Hope you and your family have a great week! :)

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    1. Melody - Thank you. I hadn't expected to be away so long. It's good to be back. :-)

      I hope you and your girls enjoy the school holidays! Are you doing anything special?

      Mouse had a good month. Except when we made her go to bed or out when she didn't want too. Or told her not to jump off the couch. LOL I hope you have a great week too.

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  3. It sounds like you've had your hands full. I hope things improve and you have less to worry about. Mouse is just adorable!

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    1. Kathy - Thank you. I try to focus on the positive, but it's not always easy. Mouse knows how to make things seem easier to manage. :-)

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  4. Great to catch up with you! I absolutely love that picture of Mouse and her friend. So sweet. Sounds like it's been quite a busy time for you with all the health scares and accompanying worry. Hope things are a bit calmer now. I'd like to reread Jane Eyre. I haven't read it since high school but I do remember enjoying it. A Mother's Day spent at Disneyland sounds pretty perfect to me as well! Hope June is wonderful - fun and relaxing!

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    1. Katherine - Isn't that a great photo? Her frend is "reading" to her. She's a year older than Mouse and is just learning to read. Right now she mostly makes up the story by the pictures. :-)

      I do hope things start calming down soon. Thank you.

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  5. LOVE the pictures of Mouse, especially the laundry basket sleeping bag!

    I'm a big fan of Orphan Black, Blacklist, and The Walking Dead. Curious about the spin-off. Hope the health issues are improving, Wendy. Illness, your own or family and friends, causes such stress.

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    1. Jenclair - That is a cute photo. LOL I can't wait to see what I've missed with Orphan Black. It's such a fun show.

      Thank you! I'm hoping we've got some better days ahead. It always seems to be something.

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  6. Ugh. Health stuff. I can relate. Hang in there.

    Your daughter is getting so big. She is quite the young lady. I love your Disney pics too. You get to go more often than I do. We try to go once a year but we aren't pass holders so that's about all we can afford without taking out a small loan. LOL.

    My kid. The Teen. Still working on sending the stuff out. He packed it all up. Not sure if he mailed it out yet. The Pantages gig is tonight so I am sure after that he will zero in on what needs to go out. I can't even talk to him about it right now. He hasn't even given me my stuff yet.

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    1. Ti - I hope everything went well this weekend for your son. It's no rush on the stuff. I know he is busy.

      My husband surprised us with the season passes to Disneyland. Thank goodness for interest free payment plans. It's fun, especially with a child still caught up in the magic of everything. :-)

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  7. So sorry for the health scares and issues for your family. We know personally here how upsetting that is and how time-consuming all the doctor appointments are.
    The photos of Mouse are just beautiful-- love her sleek, shiny hair and her smile on the carousel!
    I agree that it isn't the amount you read, it's the quality of the time spent and the enjoyment you get when you think about it later on. I'm not a fast-reader and I get distracted by noise and people around me, maybe 2 books a week if I'm lucky and stay away from Netflix or Hulu :)
    Diamond Head on my wishk-to-read list, as well as The Mapmaker's Daughter. I really enjoyed her book The Baker's Daughter last year. I read The Girl on the Train, and despite the mixed reviews, it's worth reading. Enjoy a more relaxing month this time around.

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    1. Rita - Thank you. The price of aging--more and more health issues. At least there is good news mixed in with the bad, right?

      Netflix is my bane. Haha! I could probably read more if I avoided it.

      I hope you get a chance to read Diamond Head and The Mapmaker's Daughter. I'm really enjoyed McCoy's book. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed The Girl on the Train. So far, I am too.

      I hope you have a great June too!

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  8. I'm sorry so much has been going on health wise in your family Wendy. Ill keep you all in my prayers. All that stress definitely isn't good for you. Take care of you too my friend.

    I love the photos of Mouses and the cats. I can't believe how grown up she is already. She's such a cutie!

    I was one of those who liked Girl on the Train. I listened to the audio and thought it was great. I see you're readng The Mapmaker's Children too. Thats another good one. You know I've been horrible with reviews. I've listened to a whole bunch of books but never did reviews right away and now I can't remember them very well. I think I might do some mini reviews.

    Oh well. Try to relax more this month if you can and give that gorgeous little girl of yours a squeeze for me. Hugs!

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    1. Darlene - Thank you. I appreciate it, Darlene. Hopefully things will start to calm down soon.

      Mouse is growing up so fast! She's such a sweetheart. Says the mother. LOL

      The audio to The Girl on the Train is so good! I am glad to hear you liked it too. It's so easy to get behind on reviews, isn't it? I try to stay on top of them, but sometimes the writing bug doesn't always kick in when I need it to. Thank goodness for mini reviews!

      I will happily give Mouse a hug for you. I hope you have a great month too.

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  9. Love your blog. I am a new follower.

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  10. Love the new look here - very refreshing!

    Hope your stress reduces. I always get annoyed when everything goes wrong at the same time - we had one of those early this year. But maybe that's better than having a long string of disappointments.

    I loved Avengers too! I don't remember the first movie much so I didn't have anything to compare with.

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    1. Athira - Thank you! I'm still getting used to the new look, but so far I like it.Always a good sign. :-)

      And thank you for the good thoughts. It did seem like everything was going wrong at the same time--and just when we start to relax, something else goes wrong. I hope things start to get better.

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  11. Great new look on the blog!

    I'm sorry there's been times of worry... I tend to worry about too many things and it can be so difficult to move pass that. Wishing lots of good health for your family and hopefully a more carefree time ahead!

    The pictures of Mouse are delightful - love the one riding the carousel. She looks so happy!

    We've been watching too much t.v. and I'm sure that's why my reading has been so off. Then again when you are stressed and tired sometimes you just want mindless entertainment. Here's to a good summer and lots of good reads!

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    1. Iliana - Thank you!

      I'm such a worrywart. I try not to be, and I think I've gotten better over the years. But sometimes that's all I do. :-( Thank you for the good health wishes.

      I need to watch less television and read more. I always say I will, but then I discover something new I just can't resist.

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  12. Worry and stree and sickness are prevalent here right now. Can't seem to beat this cold and am not sleeping well on top of that. Blah!
    I know what you mean about the negative reviews sometimes enticing you more than the positive ones. I've felt the smae way about Girl on the Train.
    I like Tony Stark, but more in the Iron Man movies than in the Avengers ones.
    I;m glad you didn't have a lot of posts from May since I'm trying to ctach up with over 1000 miseed posts :)

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    1. Stacy - I hope things get better for you and your family, Stacy. And I hope you are able to get rid of that cold soon--if you haven't already. I hate it when they linger like that. :-(

      Yes! I like Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies. His arrogance is just so annoying to me in the Avengers movies.

      Good luck catching up on all those posts. It is okay to skip some if you need to. Sometimes it's the only sane thing to do. ;-)

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  13. Love the new format! And the laundry basket as sleeping bag! I miss the funny things that young kids do.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. :-) Children can be so creative, can't they? Mouse was using her toy "hamper" as a jumping bag last night, having a great time. Oh, to be young and carefree again . . .

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