A Lovely Blog Party Tag

I’m joining up here.

Jo and Laurie: Name a couple that should have stayed friends…or did stay friends…
I disagree . . . most emphatically on the Jo and Laurie friendship point. And I’m not coming up with anything; I feel that I usually agree with couples or I dislike a first couple but they break up/don’t work out, and I like the next couple (you know like Roger and Cynthia changes to Roger and Molly or Charlie and Rose changes to Mac and Rose). Or I feel that if I don’t like a couple I don’t like the book. I mean there may be ones that fit this question, but I cannot think of any right now.

Jane and Mr. Rochester: Name a couple that looked like the chances of a happily ever after were next to none!
Owain and Regina in Dawn Wind. Paul and Knife in Knife.

Jane and Mr. Bingley: Name a couple that is just sooo happy!
Creel and Luka in the Dragon Slippers Trilogy.

Mattie and Guard from Friendly Persuasion (a favorite).

Kit and Ella: Name your favorite fairytale couple
Um, Kit and Ella or their literary doppelgängers, Peregrine and Amethyst from An Ordinary Princess.

Azalea and Lord Bradford from Entwined.

Molly Gibson and Roger Hamley: Name a couple where the woman is basically ignored by the suitor until the end of the story (frustration at it’s finest!! 😛 :P)
Well, Tom doesn’t exactly ignore Polly in An Old-Fashioned Girl, but he is stuck and oblivious to his and her feelings until the very end.

Philip is totally clueless as to Elnora’s feelings (and stellar comparison to his idiot girl) in Girl of the Limberlost.

Sarah and Jacob Witting: Name a couple that found love later in life
Sir Tristram Shield and Sarah Thane from The Talisman Ring. Well at least HE is old and decrepit according to HER. They were the best part of this book.

Lucy Snow and her French professer in Villette.

Don Lockwood and Kathy Seldon: Name a couple from a musical
Margy and Pat from State Fair.

Adam and Millie in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (one of my favorites).

Phil and Judy in White Christmas (oh, yes, they ARE a couple).

Anne and Gilbert: Name a couple that didn’t start out on the right foot
Jamie and Molly from Keeper of the Bees started in a very odd way, and then had a quite a bad time for their first “real” moment.

Anna and Declan in Leap Year. Oh, my word do they get off on the wrong foot . . . and remain off-kilter for quite a while which of course leads to a TON of funny moments.

And of course, Simon and Nicole in How to Steal a Million (one of my favorites). Shooting and meeting a burglar, that doesn’t sound like a great start.

Faramir and Eowyn: Name a couple with the sweetest love story
Ray and Livvy in the Magic of Ordinary Days. A couple that wasn’t supposed to be real, that wasn’t supposed to work.

Ivanhoe and Rebecca: Name a couple that should have been together
Laurie and Jo!

Jo and Anya from Roman Holiday (another favorite).

Max and Liesel from Book Thief.

Spiller and Arietty from The Borrowers series (wow, those books left off in a very unsatisfactory way; I’m not sure that was supposed to be the end or that is how bad it felt).

Ten Lesser Known/Lesser Loved Couples from Books

I’m joining in with Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party here. I love this, its basically a couples freebie for all of February, so low pressure. I’m going to include my Top Ten Tuesday post, write another one of these for movies, and do the tag Cordy made. And anything else that I feel like doing (I might do a small post on The Ordinary Princess and how it reminds me of the live-action Cinderella). I love learning about new stories, so if you have any unknown/under-appreciated couples to add, let me know in the comments.

  1. Martin and Ivy from Swift and Nomad. I loved Martin when he appeared in the first trilogy (Faerie Rebels), and Ivy is the perfect girl for him. I love their relationship and its complexity and progression. Martin doesn’t woo her (he isn’t like that and they have far more serious issues to think about), but he waits until she “gets” it. Rob and Linden from Rebel (the second Faerie Rebels book) are in second.
  2. Azalea and Lord Bradford from Entwined (I also love her next two sisters and their suitors; I’m trying to spoil too much here). Simple sweetness.
  3. Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t really care for sappy romances in which one or both characters are soppy, weak, and gushy. No thanks, that isn’t real romance. I need humor. And this is hilarious.
  4. The ordinary princess and her apprentice from An Ordinary Princess. I LOVED that connection to Cinderella although it is probably accidental. Friendship first, the romance, and then the revelations (actually this reminds me a LOT of the live-action Cinderella).
  5. Nell and Aquila from Lantern Bearers. My sister said they did not love each other. I’m sorry but yes, yes they did. I just love understated and intense. Their story is small in the huge picture of Aquila’s tortured life, but it is important. Another of my favorite elements to romance is intense and understated, and Rosemary Sutcliff does this well.
  6. Perry and Ilse from the Emily of New Moon trilogy (I cannot be happy about Teddy and Emily because I want to strangle them, mostly Teddy for his unmanly cowardice and weakness; that last book HURTS unbearably, I had to put it down for my last reread). I just love a child-hood based romance and besides these two are HILARIOUS individually and together.
  7. Marcus and Cottia from the Eagle of the Ninth. In the beginning Marcus is grown-up (although barely) and Cottia just a girl, so he takes a friendly interest at first, and I love that their friendship is the foundation for their romance. When he gets back, they are both thinking, “yes.” And that’s that.
  8. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane from the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Oh, my stars how I love them. His persistent wooing, her persistent resistance makes for a multitude of hilarious, and later, romantic scenes. Their romance combines intensity with laughter.
  9. Peter and Donna from A Tangled Web. From their absurd love at first site, to their awesome breakup to Donna’s illness and Peter’s absurd reaction, I love these two together. I also, in a quieter way like the quieter romance between Roger and Gay and their sweet little love scene after her realization.
  10. Judy Abbot and Jervis Pendleton from Daddy Long-Legs. The build-up. The unreasoning and hilarious jealously exhibited (unbeknownst to Judy) by Daddy Long-Legs. The reveal.

Top Ten Tuesday: Significant Moments of Romantic Tension or Realization

Happy Valentine’s Day, The Top Ten Tuesday topic for today is a romance freebie, so I went with some interesting moments.

1. John Brooke’s proposal to Meg in Little Women. This is so classically funny.

2. Polly and Tommy’s love scene at the very end of An Old-Fashioned Girl. It is so absurd and so completely them. And “stopping for refreshments,” ha!

3. In Nomad, when Ivy finally “gets” it after Martin’s patience waiting (he didn’t woo or press her, just waited).

4. Marcus sweet, simple, proposal to Cottia. They know, they knew when he came back and saw her (Eagle of the Ninth).

5. Philippa Gorden’s letter to Anne regarding Jonas with the telling postscript (Anne of the Island). Peoples, that is the right way to do triangles. If the girl (or guy if it is guy, two girls which is unusual in my reading experience, I cannot think of one off the top of my head), cannot choose between two guys, she doesn’t care enough for either, duh. An entrance of a true love demonstrates that.

6. The throbbing-ly intense romantic scene at the end of North and South. Read between the lines for those not so subtle hints people. This is WAAAAY more romantic than the movie which is short, rushed, unromantic, and has Henry Lennox’s jealous snake face smashed right in the middle.

7. Whenever Mac catches Rose unawares with his absurd and persistent wooing, and she cannot remain dignified (Rose in Bloom).

8. Captain Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. Oh, my what intensity and passion without any gushing or grossnesss. He is mainly and to the point as always, and WOW.

9. When Gay realizes she loves Roger and when he sees it (A Tangled Web).

10. The burglar in the library hullabaloo that gets Jim and Nora together thanks to Anne’s meddling in Anne of Windy Poplars.

Pompano Beach, Florida Family Vacation

My dad found out maybe a year and a half ago that he would be offered a retirement package, so we had family (marrieds and all) vacation planned for ages. We went to Pompano Beach in the Fort Lauderdale area (which is near West Palm beach where all the celebrities and such are; we were driving behind a Ferrari through that area). We left a few days after Christmas and came back a week into the new year. Most of use drove and so we stopped in St. Augustine on the way there and walked around a bit. The weather was too cold to do much, but we did see some pretty, old buildings.

We are usually a Gulf family. We went to Jekyll Island, GA a couple years ago (our last vacation as an entire family I believe), and I wasn’t impressed by the water to say the least. Now, the water was less gross here, but trust me, its not the Gulf or San Diego. Mom and I weren’t really impressed with the beach overall although the lighthouse was lovely (the loveliest was the first night with the pink sky behind it . . . I didn’t have my camera or phone then), but we enjoyed it for what it was.

We were able to get into the water a couple days, and visited the beach almost everyday. I came back with a nice selections of shells and coral (first time for the latter) which I hope to put into a shadowbox. The house wasn’t on the beach but had private access through a corridor, under some trees, over a bridge, and through some grass. We traversed this a couple times before noticing the trees were FILLED with HUGE iguanas. EEP. Actually, it was hilarious to watch them in their perches. Apparently, the NYT had an article mentioning that it was so cold iguanas were falling stunned from the trees; we didn’t see that happen.

We played tons of new games that many of us received for Christmas, one of the favorites was a game called “Things.” We watched some movies and comedians (you know, real ones, not the goofs in our family), swam in the heated pool, and some people went golfing, played tennis, and went putt-putting. Dad made his traditional Alton Brown recipe doughnuts for New Year’s (I thought they were his best yet). We ate at a Cuban restaurant for one lunch, and we picked up doughnuts twice from a local bakery.

We mostly saw birds (quite a variety) on the beach after passing through Iguana Headquarters, except one or two days when we say these freaky Portuguese Man O’Wars. If Mom hadn’t said something, I probably would’ve stepped on them since they look like plastic bags. We saw pretty long white birds (they looked so thin they would break) along the highways by standing pools of water, but not much else (my sister and brother-in-law left early and went through the Everglades and saw tons of alligators), except for (we think) dead pumas on the side of the road (I think twice, I’m almost positive once; I am sure I saw a massive cat’s tail and what else is that particular shade of tawny?).

We had tons of fun, took family photos, and then returned home to the cold although I think we missed the near-to-zero worst of it.

 

February Goals

I think I got a little too ambitious for February, but we’ll see.

Finances
~Buy TEFL course and work on some other goals

Career
~Start TEFL, work on other skills

Health
~Work on habits chart and lose 5 pounds (try to aim for 50% completion rate on habits chart, at least for most important goals)
~Tech breaks: no tech on Sunday, 5 weekday tech-free days, 5 hour limit for at home days, 2 hour limit for work days, off by 7pm (probably should add tech control to habit chart)

Personal Development
~Reach 50% on Duolingo and equivalent on Tinycards
~Work on math, accounting, EQ, and interpersonal communication library books
~Listen to online library music

Travel and Explore
~Plan, ice skate

Others
~Donate blood
~Finish gifts, plan baby blankets

Homemaking and Holidays
~Digital file conversion and back-up (work through this challenge I mentioned before)

Sewing and Making
~Finish 1-2 Craftsy and Creativebug classes
~Finish gifts, sewing with little girls, unfinished projects, and shadowbox

Reading
~Read 8+ new to me books, 2+ borrowed books, and 2+ unread of my own books
~Read a classic from another country (other than Russia and UK)
~Read from my category list
~Read 1+ Hemingway novel
~Complete most of Brothers of Karamazov
~Read 1+ book toward my U.S. history course
~Read poetry
~Read some essays

What I Read: January

I read nine light and or easy reads this month, two of them rereads. I omitted a December post because I only read three books of less than stellar impact which were On Tyranny (least said soonest mended), We Have Always Lived in this Castle (disturbing because I wasn’t disturbed enough until the end and because I was fooled), and How to Think (I want to reread and will post more thoughts after that).

Rereads

Blue Castle. What a breath of fresh air.

The Scarlet Pimpernel. Classic story, terrible writing and character development.

Light Fiction

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Incredibly silly although rather funny in parts. I opted to skim (shouldn’t even have wasted that much time) on the last two (which were rather gross).

Miss Fortune and Miss Match. If I had known these were Christian fiction, I’d probably not have ordered them, I realized it after I started, but these aren’t that typical level of terrible (although quite silly still, but they are more interesting and probably more historically correct). You’ll definitely know they are Christian fiction when you get to the pukey romantic episodes, blegh. And the author leaves you hanging; there is no third novel. She devoted most of the second book to the less interesting couple, and the book ends with a tantalizing taste of a reunion for the cool couple.

Light Nonfiction

Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I thought he had very helpful, inspiring advice on investing and a few interesting points on personal finance. I thought he was a bit ignorant about basic economics and taxation (and some of his information is probably outdated), and I think anyone who reads or considers some of his advice should remember that just because something is legal doesn’t make it ethical.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I sped through this as I was out of renewals, and I intend to either borrow it again or buy it and possibly take the recommended test.

Decent Fiction

Calico Captive. I disliked every single main character. And the writing wasn’t good enough to cover up that. The Johnsons were flat, boring, goody-goodies, Mirriam was a flake, Phineas was a (probably boring) shadow, and Pierre was a absolute louse.

Once on this Island. A lovely quick historical fiction read. I quickly ordered the next two installments from the library.

1st Quarter Goals

Here are my 1st quarter goals, edited a bit for privacy.

Finances
~Pay off student loan (probably too ambitious at this point)
~Purchase TEFL training
~Emergency fund

Career
~Plan for school
~Complete TEFL training (I’m not sure I will be able to complete it because it is so far in)

Health
~Focus on diet, hydrations, supplements, and meal plan
~Lose 10 pounds (I’ve gained 5 instead, but I don’t think I’ll be losing 15 in two months)
~Focus on stretching with walking, swimming, and abs & gluts work-outs
~Tech vacations
~Get a facial

Personal Development
~Reach 65% on Spanish in Duolingo (and keep pace in Tinycards) and work on geography with Seterra
~Complete two library math books
~Work through a few interpersonal communication, logic, EQ, logic, and critical thinking books
~Work through 1 Craftsy course, 20+ YouTube videos, and one library book on art
~Buy piano D.V.D.’s and listen to 6 new C.D.’s from library (I’ll modify this because I had forgotten our library has digital offerings)

Travel and Explore
~Take an exploration day (maybe in March, I wasn’t thinking of the seasonal aspect)
~Plan some day and longer trips (NYC and Anastasia . . . in my dreams)

Others
~Donate blood
~Family time with no tech
~Finish gifts, start 1-2 baby blankets

Homemaking and Holidays
~Clear out digital files; get Lightroom & start editing
~Use up extra beauty products
~Plan Summer and Spring wardrobe (including proper outdoor and activities clothes and shoes)

Sewing and Making
~Working on stash busting sewing and knitting
~Work on finishing random projects and finish 3 Craftsy courses

Reading
~Read 25 new to me books
~Read 6 borrowed (from other people/the basement, lol) and 3 unread books of mine

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books from My TBR List

Well, I have a ton of TBR lists on my library site because I organized my lists by category (to help me pick an assortment when I order). Plus I have two separate lists of interlibrary loan (or possibly some other option) possibilities (for the books not in my library system). The Top Ten Tuesday (yes, I know its Wednesday) is specifically for books that have been on my list the longest. I just remembered my old Classics Club list (I didn’t necessarily want to abandon all the books, I just didn’t want to HAVE to read them in a certain time frame), so I can pull most from there. I really don’t know for sure what I’ve had in mind the longest because I changed the Classics Club list often plus I’m picking by my likelihood of my actually reading.

  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  2. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  3. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (technically I’m reading this now, but I haven’t picked it up in awhile)
  4. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  5. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
  6. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (the last two Dickens novels I have left!!!!!)
  7. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  8. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  9. The Wimsey Papers by Dorothy Sayers
  10. Coriolanus by William Shakespeare (I have all Shakespeare’s plays that I haven’t yet read on my TBR list, but this I want to read so that I can watch Tom Hiddleston’s performance).

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge

I discovered this challenge from this blog.

I have a book of my own (or Mom’s; I think she let me have it or I pulled it from a give-away box? Probably should check on that, lol) that I wanted to read as part of my attempt to read all the books I own. This book is Little House in the Ozarks: A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler: The Rediscovered Writings.

I will probably also see about reading some books from this list the challenge hostess provided. I’ve already read Pioneer Girl (the original manuscript for the Little House books). I’d also like to read some of the books Rose Wilder Lane wrote (questionably) utilizing her mother’s manuscript.

I grew up a “pioneer girl.” I loved the Little House books (the shorter children’s illustrated versions first) from a small age. I dressed up in what I considered “pioneer” fashion and sewed sunbonnets from The Little House Sewing Book. I played the computer game “Oregon Trail” over and over. I read the Kirsten books and used the cookbook and play book and poured over the craft book (the first named is on my shelf, I’m not sure what happened to the other two, should find that out).

A couple years ago we visited Laura, Almanzo, and Rose Wilder’s house in the Ozarks, and one day I’d love to visit all these places this blogger mentions as well as all the other sites.

Note: the hostess is offering a giveaway as well, one option is a Laura Ingalls Wilder cookbook!!!!!

My 2018 Goals

I have nine categories of goals. I’ve already changed some, and I’m sure others will be amended. Some items are hard to set in stone or I have/will learned of better options. Also, I will selectively edit what I choose to show, some of my goals are too personal or to uncertain for me to put here.

Financial
~Pay of debts and dues and stay out of debt
~Begin investing a significant portion of my income (this is new)
~Purchase a TEFL certification course
~Save and pay for CLEPs and tuition (including Spring 2019)
~Put certain amounts in a ROTH IRA, in an emergency fund, and in a savings account

Career
~Work with Lumerit on my schooling (this is new; we are trying to find the best option for me)
~Achieve TEFL certification and try to find an online job
~Complete other career training and add good job experience to resume

Health
~Achieve healthy/weight muscle balance
~Increase my flexibility considerably and improve my posture
~GO OUTSIDE! Make it a habit
~Get various beauty and health treatments
~Healthy sleep habits
~Take regular screen vacations and find a better usage system
~Build up better eating and hydration habits, and a decent recipe and meal plan selection

Personal Development
~Relearn math
~Work on EQ, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, and logic
~Learn Spanish and start a second language
~Work on geography
~Work on developing my artistic skills (complete all my Craftsy and Creativebug art courses and this YouTube course and work through some of our books and some library books)
~Work on my music deficiency and relearn piano
~Possibly take some lessons (dancing, ice-skating, horse-back riding, tennis)

Travel and Explore
~Explore my area (with my grandparents for some of this)
~Explore my state
~Visit 2-3 new states/explore states I’ve been to more
~Visit 1-2 new countries

Others
~Finish overdue gifts, finish 4 baby blankets, be timely with gifts
~Spend more mindful time with family, particularly my grandparents
~Give blood a couple times

Homemaking and Holidays
~Redesign my room
~Reorganize and purge (finish all scrapbooks, photo editing, and photobooks; organize and streamline recipe and other folders/binders; organize, streamline, and back up my computer and documents; find a better place for Christmas, gift, office, craft, etc. supplies)
~Work on my cleaning systems
~Work on holiday/Christmas planning to minimize stress and maximize my enjoyment!

Sewing and Making
~Learn tatting, improve jewelry making and embroidery
~Develop my sewing and knitting skills along with my wardrobe (including hard items like lingerie, sweater dresses, cardigans, silks); complete wardrobe!
~Work on art/travel journals

Read
~Keep improving in depth and intensity (see my 2018 reading tab for more details)

New Year Plans

I read a couple of posts that mentioned that in order for a person to read his/her goals said person must plan out and break down goals (light bulb). Is this one of the most obvious statements ever? Yes, probably. But I’ve never made goals for anything, I’ve never planned really. I’ve made lists, which mostly aren’t completed, and I’ve floated along doing or not-doing (the usual) activities as they came along. So, once college was completed, I had no plan, no steps, no practical knowledge. So I’ve been stuck/wandering in circles aimlessly for a while with plenty of random paths taken. Now, I will never be a one goal, one interest person, but I want to actually do all the activities I talk/dream about, and I really need to become more independent.

While on vacation in early January, I started typing out and organizing my goals. I highly recommend this since you can move everything around and continually add as you think of ideas. I was planning to buy a new bullet journal, and I wanted everything to be sketched out first, so my goals would be neat and organized. I had accumulated a small bookmark folder of New Year type posts as well.

When I got home I ordered the bullet journal, washi tape (12 designs which worked out neatly), page flags, sticky notes, pen holder, and pens. I love the concept of a bullet journal because as I’ve mentioned before I need flexible structure, and regular planners are far to cement structured for me. And that is also why I’ve always opted for a larger bullet journal. I used a (Letter-sized) Moleskine half-heartedly (I didn’t truly utilize it as a planner fully) for two years. This time I bought this Leuchtturm1917 journal in emerald with dotted pages (B5 is very close to our “Letter” just a tad narrower and perhaps a cm taller) and a matching pen holder.

I spent considerably time laying everything out. Its hardly perfect. I forgot to add monthly goals pages, so I have to use the “free pages” for that, and my calendar pages are a little rough, but I’m really happy with the structure. And I can always tweak things. I’ve recently added my book goals (I intentionally left that for a different page because I had so many, but they aren’t important in the way by other goals are, and I didn’t want to distract from those other goals).

  1. I wrote out my word (Bloom) and focus for the year (Discipline and Diligence) on the first place.
  2. I divided my 2018 goals into categories which I color co-ordinated; these took up the next four pages.
  3. I delineated my first quarter goals (again, by category)
  4. I laid out the first quarter months (for each: calendar of month with room for narrow sticky, monthly and Internet brain dump pages, free page, weekly page, habit tracker, weekly goals)
  5. I left a blank set of pages for second quarter goals and laid out second quarter months, and repeated for last two quarters.
  6. At the back of my bullet journal I left two pages for 2018 review.
  7. I’ve since added my book goals (trying to break them down a bit).
  8. I’ve also discovered, like I said that I need to break quarterly goals down into monthly. From there they are either in the habit tracker (things that should be habits/require discipline) or go to weekly and then daily goals (specific, unique goals). Although if they fall in the latter category, I’m more likely to wing it.

I’m going to do a separate post of my yearly goals, and I’m hoping to post my quarterly goals and monthly goals as appropriate. I’ve read bloggers who grade their monthly goals according to a letter system, and I find this a far more helpful system that did or did not because it shows how a person made progress even if the person didn’t complete everything. Again, not everything is set in stone (especially for some of the long term goals) because I’m learning new things and doors open and shut. And full disclosure, I didn’t accomplish much (in proportion to the time available to me) in January. But I’m trying to be growth minded; previously, I would think, “Well, then I’m done, I blew it,” instead of looking at the positive. I have too much of an all or nothing mindset which for me is usually nothing.

Anyway, here are some iPhone photos of my bullet journal:

Here are some links from my collection:

How to Stop Being Lazy

Internet/Social Media Vacations

How to Stop Procrastinating

Some Steps for Maturity (I hate words like “adulting”; just use one of the lovely words we already have!)