Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Year's Resolutions for 2006

I've been thinking on these. Going with some old stand bys and a few new ones...
1. Get out of debt
2. Stop goofing so much at work
3. Get caught up on reviews and keep caught up
4. Start exercising again
5. Start a savings account
6. Try to cook a "real" meal at least twice a week
7. Talk to people more... you know the whole chatting with people in line waiting, etc.
8. Set up my "pampering" routine where at least once a week I will do something totally and completely for ME, be it a pedicure, a massage, bubble bath, read for a few hours with no computer or TV, etc. Nothing work or website or internet related.


Read my blog

Reviewer/Editor Love Romances

Reviewer The Best Reviews

Columnist Fresh Fiction

The 2005 Christmas letter

Well now that Christmas is past for another year and all my Christmas cards have been mailed and received by now, I decided I'd post my annual Christmas letter in my blog for everyone to read. I know I didn't send it in all my cards and I know that some cards that were supposed to get one I forgot it. oops! Or worse, I think I forgot the actual CARD in stuffing all those envelopes! Big oops! Last year I forgot to sign a bunch of them. And one of those unsigned ones was to my own sister! LOL Anyhow, here is the 2005 Christmas letter, in its entirety, but minus the pretty paper I used....

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays to you all! What a year this has been for me… some good, some bad, and some in between.

The Bad…

There was a lot of that this year but I just hang tough and get through it all. It all started last Christmas when I came home. A couple days after I got to PA, I get a phone call my car was stolen! Yes, stolen. It was recovered just two days after being reported stolen and in one piece, for the most part. My CD player was stolen, the stereo ruined, and all my personal belongings in the car were gone. So though I give kudos to the police for recovering it so quickly, insurance only covered the stereo so I had to replace everything else on my own.

When I came home in April, the bad luck continued. This time my apartment was broken in to and burglarized! The police did squat, wouldn’t even take fingerprints, so no resolution to this incident, making me lose faith in the police… but not in myself. Over $13000 worth of things were stolen, mostly jewelry. This was the worst thing to happen all year. The feeling of knowing your home and private belongings were invaded is terrible, one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Six months later, I finally settled the claim with the insurance company, not getting nearly the value’s worth of everything taken, but at least I got something. So then began the process of replacing everything that was taken. I’m still paranoid now about going away for more then a couple days, taking extra care to make sure I have plenty of people keeping an eye on things.

As frustrating and upsetting and this all was, I’ve tried to not let it get me down and keep on truckin’.

The In-Between…

I’ve had to struggle a lot this year, financially and emotionally but I’m doing just fine. I decided it was time to try to get in shape and lose those pounds I’ve gained since moving here. I started Body for Life, a 12 week program, this summer and set my goals for myself. I made it 10 weeks in to the program before vacations interfered and the program died out for me. I didn’t lose much weight, but I did surprisingly well on the exercise portion of the program, and felt a lot better physically and got something out of it at least. Now, I’ve decided after the holidays (and New Year) I’m going to get back in to it and stick it out. I hope I can complete it this time around and get myself back in to the routine.

I found myself in a new relationship with someone I met down here and things were going great for a while. He moved in with me and we were talking about getting married. But that was not to be, we had some serious issues we couldn’t work out and broke things off. I was crushed over it all, but it was the right choice, though difficult to make. I call this part of the “in-between” experiences this year because I did get something out of it all, even if just hard lessons learned. I’m still dealing with the after-effects of it all and doing a lot of thinking, but I’ll be stronger for it all in the end.

I decided it was time to give up Love Romances, my book review website. I’m still going to continue with my book reviewing since I love it, but I decided it was time to “retire” from the job of owning and managing the website. It takes up too much time and I never have enough time to get things done. It was becoming more of a chore than anything and I don’t enjoy it anymore. So I decided the best thing to do was step down from management responsibilities and go back to doing just the parts I love best – reviewing and interviewing authors. So I made the announcement that after the New Year I would not be the owner anymore, and found two people to replace me for all the “business” stuff.

The Good…

Of course I had to save the best parts for last. There were so many life changing events for family and friends this year, all of which were wonderful. Between family and friends, there were 10 babies born (or there will be as soon as little Tommy Bova is born J), three weddings, one of which was my absolute best friend in the world, and at least two engagements. Talk about a lot happening! We had Dad’s (and Uncle Dave’s) 60th birthday to celebrate, which I was able to make it home for, much to the surprise of everyone, not the least of which was Dad. This year has been great in that I’ll have been able to make it home three times. There was the birthday party in April, Jackie’s wedding AND the family reunion in August, and of course Christmas. I was starting to get worried because of everything that’s happened this year that I’d not be able to come home for the holiday due to not being able to afford it, but Dad is making it happen for me by using some of his gazillion remaining airline miles to bring me home. (Thanks Dad! I know I’ve said that at least 5 times already but here’s one more time. I love you!)

I decided it was time to start going back to Church and I’ve been exploring some in the area to find one I like. I’ve decided non-Denominational is the way to go for me so that’s what I’ve been trying. I found a couple close by that seem pretty good, each with a relatively young community. So now I just have to decide which one I like best and start going regularly again, after several years.

Work is going great. I’m so busy I’m always at least three months behind. But this is a good thing, right? It certainly means job security if nothing else. J My big project right now is beginning a huge recycling program at the Reserve post I work at. Lots of research, interviewing, touring other facilities, and planning but I think it will be great. I started this project in October and I am excited to say we’re planning to start the program with the New Year. This is the biggest undertaking I’ve approached there to date and I’m happy to see my hard work paying off.

Also at work, and at home, I got really involved in Hurricane Relief Efforts. I helped coordinate some efforts, helped get the community (well my apartment complex at least) involved, and I donated a ton of stuff myself.

I added a new member to my “family” here back in July. I fell in love with a part Siamese kitten at the Humane Society and just had to bring him home. He’s now six months old, is absolutely adorable, a real lap kitty, and a holy terror to the other “kids,” especially to poor Aker. (BTW, Amun is the spoiled rotten looking guy front and center on my cards.)

It’s only taken me over two years, but I’ve finally got a good group of friends down here that I get together with regularly. I’ve gotten to be great friends with several people living in my apartment complex and we regularly get together for cook outs and such. We’ve also got a whole long list of group activities we want to do together. Some of those are actually who I spent Thanksgiving with. We had a wonderful community potluck for the holiday, saving any one from having to do all the planning and cooking themselves. Of course I also have my book club that gets together at least twice a month and I’ve made some great friends in there that I see pretty regularly outside of our monthly teas and dinners.

Two and a half years later, am I still loving Texas? You bet! (Gotta love those 70 and 80 degree days we get in the winter.) I still have my moments when I miss Mom and Dad and everyone immensely, especially during those big family events I know I’m missing. I’m still glad I had faith and made the move down here when I had the opportunity. It was most definitely a good move for me, even in light of the bad luck I’ve had this year. I’m still counting my blessings. I have my health and my home. I have my job which is always changing and usually rewarding, my loving family that’s always there for me, even if only in spirit, I have my new friends I’ve made, and I have a New Year to look forward that can only get better!

New Year's resolutions from 2005 - How'd I do?

Every year in my one internet group we post our new year's Resolutions. Then we go back at the end of the year to see what we picked and how we did. So here is my status report from 2005...

1. Get myself out of debt again so I never have to go through credit counseling again.

~~ Nope. didn't happen. In fact I'm worse debt! But I can honestly blame a lot of that on the horrendous year I've had with things happening and stuff going on.At least I have a personal plan though for resolving this on my own, without help from a credit counseling program.

2. Start exercising. I've been saying I need to do that for a few months now.

~~ I DID do this. I started Body for Life and got 10 weeks in to the 12 week program before vacations interfered.

3. Same as last year... stop goofing off so much at work.

~~ Nope didn't happen.

4. Get some sort of savings account started and stick to saving money.

~~ Nope didn't happen. See #1

5. Get quicker turn around time on all my book reviewing. I've fallen so far behind sometimes I don't get my reviews done till 3 months later then I should

~~ Well I did really well for a while than I fell behind again. Too popular with the authors I guess. LOL I got lots of private requests and I took on reviewing a another website which backlogged me even more.

6. Start consolidating everything I have (WHY do I own so much STUFF I'll never use or wear?) and getting rid of the clutter and stop buying so much other stuff I don't need.

~~ I can say I did do this pretty well. Granted, it took the hurricanes to force me in to it, but I did get rid of a LOT of stuff through relief efforts. My books though... another story. Got rid of a bunch, only to buy a bunch more. LOL But at least I got rid of a lot I'd been holding on to forever, knowing I'd never reread them since I have too many not read to go back and reread.

AND HOW DID YOU DO?? post your status on 2005 resolutions and your plans for 2006 in comments to my blog! I'd love to see how everyone else did.

I need to think a bit on New Year's resolutions for next year though.

Birthday calculator

I got this idea from a couple friends who put it on their blog. So I decided to try it out too. here's what came up about me from my birth date.
You entered: 3/16/1973

Your date of conception was on or about 23 June 1972 which was a Friday.

You were born on a Friday
under the astrological sign Pisces.
Your Life path number is 3.

The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2441757.5.
The golden number for 1973 is 17.
The epact number for 1973 is 25.
The year 1973 was not a leap year.

The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 22 April 1973.
The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 7 March 1973.
The date of Whitsun (Pentecost Sunday) in the year of your birth was Sunday 10 June 1973.
The date of Whisuntide in the year of your birth was Sunday 17 June 1973.
As of 12/29/2005 12:44:15 PM EST
You are 32 years old.
You are 393 months old.
You are 1,711 weeks old.
You are 11,976 days old.
You are 287,436 hours old.
You are 17,246,204 minutes old.
You are 1,034,772,255 seconds old.
Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 4.68727984344423 years old. (You're still chasing cats!)

There are 77 days till your next birthday
on which your cake will have 33 candles

Those 33 candles produce 33 BTUs,
or 8,316 calories of heat (that's only 8.3160 food Calories!) .
You can boil 3.77 US ounces of water with that many candles.  

In 1973 there were approximately 3.7 million births in the US.
In 1973 the US population was approximately 203,302,031 people, 57.4 persons per square mile.
In 1973 in the US there were approximately 2,158,802 marriages (10.6%) and 708,000 divorces (3.5%)
In 1973 in the US there were approximately 1,921,000 deaths (9.5 per 1000)

Your birthstone is Aquamarine
The Mystical properties of Aquamarine

Aquamarine is often used to experience love and mercy. It is said to help ease depression and grief.
Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone. (Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources)
Jade, Rock Crystal, Bloodstone

Your birth tree is
Lime Tree, the Doubt

Accepts what life dishes out in a composed way, hates fighting, stress and labour, tends to laziness and idleness, soft and relenting, makes sacrifices for friends, many talents but not tenacious enough to make them blossom, often wailing and complaining, very jealous, loyal.

and 4 days have passed since Christmas 2005!
There are 9 days till Orthodox Christmas!

The moon's phase on the day you were
born was waxing gibbous.


Click on the picture
for more information.

Click here to learn what your name says about you.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

My nephew is born!!

Meet Thomas Henry Bova. Born to Dave and Amy on Wednesday at 3:01 pm. Tommy weighed in at 8lbs, 5oz, and was 20 inches long. Mom assures me Tommy was every bit as beautiful as Joey was when he was born. All are doing fine and Amy says Joey is being a good big brother to Tommy. Now I can't wait to go home on Monday and see him!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia movie

I just realized I never posted about this. it was the other movie I was super excited about this holiday season (Harry Potter being #1 on the list). The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe came out this past Friday, with first showings at 12:01 AM many places. NO I didn't go to that one! LOL I was off on Friday since it was my regular Friday off and I had planned to go to a matinee showing to save me a few bucks. *g*

But when I was at Bingo Thursday night (yes we have a regular bingo night at my apartment complex and this was my first time going. I cleaned house too, winning four games AND one of the grand prizes) I was talking to my friend and neighbor Casey, and we started talking about the movie. He's been dying for this one to come out too. He really wanted to go Friday night but hadn't found someone to go with yet, so I told him I'd wait for him to get off work and we could go together. So we did. He called me when he got done working and we picked the movie time and he picked me up a little bit later to go.

The movie was fabulous! There was a lot of CGI used for the animals and some of the characters, but it looked like regular film in some parts too. The wolves were all CG for up close, but the scenes of the pack running through the forest definitely looked real. Aslan was all computer animated the whole time though.

It was really well done, I thought, but then I haven't read the book since I was little so I didn't remember a whole lot about it. Casey had reread the book in the couple weeks before it came out though in preparation.

I cried a few times, especially at the one part that I know anyone who read the books knows exactly what I'm talking about, but I'm not saying anything specific to ruin anything for anyone who doesn't remember the books much, never read them, and/or hasn't seen the movie yet. I may go see it again once it is at the dollar theater.


old friends back in touch revisited

I got an e-mail today from my high school friend I hadn't heard from in almost 15 years. I mentioned him a week or so ago in my first post on this subject. I had written him a note right away, just a short one, and I put my e-mail addresses in it. Today I got an e-mail from him, a bit longer than the short note I got from him in the mail. So we'll see how it goes, but it'll be really nice to be able to catch up and keep in touch with an old friend. I always get excited about a chance to see or talk to old friends.


Gave blood today

for the first time EVER! I've never given blood before and for whatever reason I decided to this time. I did try back on 9/11, but I had gotten a tattoo (my second one) within a year of that so I wasn't allowed to give blood. Apparently the rules have changed on that just in the past year, as I found out today when I mentioned that time.
The Bureau of Prisons here on post was sponsoring a holiday blood drive so Debbie and I decided what the heck. We both made appointments for 9:30 and it was the first time giving blood for both of us. Neither of us even know our blood types, though I have a pretty good idea of what mine is. it's just never been confirmed. LOL
So we got there at 9:30, signed in, read the little book you're required to read before donating, and went through the health questions drill. She thought we'd only be there a few minutes and I said don't count on it, just in case. well we were there for an hour since we had to wait a bit before they could start with us. I had taken the current book I'm reading ("In Stone's Clasp" by Christie Golden - a fantasy - in case anyone cares. LOL) and I talked her into taking a magazine.
I did the drill, had the sample testing done before hand and then hit the chair. Didn't take too long once the needle was in as apparently I'm a fast bleeder. :-) Did my civic duty, had the little cup of juice and some cookies and waited for Debbie to finish. We even got a free t shirt for participating.
So now it's over and done, I'll get my donor card in the mail in the next few weeks and I have a bruise on my finger where the test sample was taken. I've had blood taken for a million things before and I've NEVER bruised on my finger from it. I guess she really pushed hard when she pricked.
And that's the end of my oh so exciting report. Like anyone really cares beside me. Oh and whatever person it is who gets my blood. I'm sure they care too. LOL

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My rambling thoughts today

Reading a blog entry of a friend of mine today about her "Moody Monday" as she referred to it got me to thinking about my own moods this past few months. I've been unhappy in a lot of ways, depressed about many things. And what started out as an "I understand what you are going through" comment on her blog ended up becoming a lot more than I intended. So I decided that wasn't the place to post my own rambling thoughts. Then I thought, Hmmm, where is the appropriate place for it? So I cut and paste almost my whole reply to her below...

I've been suffering with my own minor depression for a few months. Partially because of my own bad relationship this year, partially because in my circle of family and friends, there have been three weddings, 9 babies to date (my coworker's wife was being induced today) with one more on the way any day now, and three engagements. And you know, I was supposed to be one of those engagements this year! That was our plan, we were talking about it, and that all went to hell. So I've been a hermit for a few months, dealing with being miserable after the dreadful year I've had. I mean, TWO burglaries in the space of one year, a doomed relationship, the constant baby after baby after wedding after wedding this year and so forth.

But you know, I could be a lot worse off and I keep reminding myself of that. I could have been in my car when the person decided to steal it, I could have been in my apartment when it was burglarized, and thus I could have been seriously injured. I could still be in the relationship that tore me up emotionally this year. There's those things. I could have lost my job like is quite possibly going to be happening really soon, if not already, all over the Army Reserves with the reorganization. I could have been one of the millions affected by the dreadful hurricanes this year.

So when I get depressed, I think about what could have happened to me and what did happen. I remind myself of all the blessings I do have. I have my health, my family, my friends (old and new), my home, a good job. I have lots of ideas whirling through my mind at any given moment. I have peace in my heart and mind. I have my faith in God, and my faith in myself. I have the memory of that dream several months ago about my Uncle Ken, the dream that I am totally convinced was his way of letting me know that though he may not be with me in body anymore, he will always be with me in spirit, when I need him.

I have the lessons learned as I suffered through everything that happened to me in past months. I know that at the end of this year, which has probably been the worst year in my life in a very long time, I know that I wouldn't have been put to the test if He didn't think I could handle it. And at the end of the day, week, year, I'll be loads stronger in heart, soul, and mind because I went through it all.

Friday, December 02, 2005

well the trend of long lost friends and acquaintances getting back in touch continues...

I had another one surprise me last night. I was getting ready for bed and setting the alarm on my phone when it rang in the middle of that. I answer it to a voice that's vaguely familiar but I can't place it. Turns out it's someone I used to talk to fairly regularly over a year ago but then haven't talked to since then. It was sorta funny too because I had no clue who it was at first, not quite recognizing the voice, even after he told me his name. Then he told me a couple other things he thought I'd remember and that did it. I knew exactly who it was then. LOL So we talked for about 15 minutes or so until his phone died and I guess we'll get back to talking fairly regularly again.

What is it about this week? That's the fourth person I haven't talked to in forever that got in touch with me out of the blue. There was the old high school friend, and old work friend, another old friend from work, and now this one. And what's really ironic? I seem to remember one of my horoscopes talking about old acquaintances getting back in touch this week. My horoscope is rarely right but this week it came true... in spades!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I'm on a mission - Sweet Pickle and Mr. Men & Little Miss books

For some reason today I was thinking about children's books I loved as a child. That got me to thinking about the "Sweet Pickles" series and the "Mr. Men and Little Miss" series. whenever I mention these books to people, especially the Sweet Pickles series, I get a lot of blank stares. Does NO ONE but me remember these stories?

I still remember library class in grade school and our weekly chance to take out library books. I ALWAYS got books from these series, some I read more than once. So now I've decided I need to track down the entire collections, to give to my brother and sister for their kids. Everyone knows I'm a book lover and they are both used to my obsession. So I'll be spending time and money to do this for them. LOL Half Price Books and Amazon here I come!