My Spring 2023 To Be Read Pile

My Spring 2023 To Be Read Pile

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to read 30 minutes a night no matter what I’ve been doing. I’m not quite at 100%, but I’ve definitely gotten to above 90%. This new habit of mine has really boosted my reading productivity. I’ve read 18 books already this year, and my reading total was 38 last year, so the pace is quite a bit faster. Even though I’m more focusing on consistency instead of how many pages I read or the amount of books I get through, this is the first time in awhile I’m not stuck in a reading rut. And I have to think about what I’m reading next. When I finish a book, I need to have the next one lined up. Generally, if I only have a few pages left, I don’t even count it towards the half hour, so I literally need to have my next book next to the bed. These are the next (non-audiobook) books ‘on the list’, I either own them or immediately available from the library. I love looking at other people’s book lists, so I hope you enjoy.

  • Machine by Elizabeth Bear
    • Technically, I’m actually currently reading this one, but I definitely wanted to include this here. It’s so good if you enjoy mysteries and science-fiction.
  • The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
    • This is the last Riley Sager book I haven’t read, and I already have it loaded on my kindle.
  • Plague Land by S.D. Sykes
    • This has been on my list for roughly ever and I feel like it’s about time it should be read.
  • Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
    • Shane has been asking me to read this for years, and I’ve started it a few times, but hopefully I’ll make it through this time. I want to stress that it’s not a bad book, it’s just dense and I need to be in the right mood to read it.
  • Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes
    • I don’t know, man, I’m just really into space and horror right now so why not switch to space horror?
  • Dead Space by Kali Wallace
    • See above.
  • A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
    • I love a historical mystery, I can’t help it.
  • The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
    • I also love dystopian speculative fiction. I have also been leaning towards female authors lately, and books focused on women, so this fits the bill.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
    • I’ve heard so many good things about this series, I want to go ahead and read this ebook that’s been lingering in my Kindle for roughly ever.
  • The Stroke of Winter by Wendy Webb
    • A gothic horror mystery with a heavy dose of art? Yes please.
Here’s to 36!

Here’s to 36!

35 started out rough, but has become one of my favorite ages. I expect 36 to be one for the record books as well. Personally & professionally. The world is still going to shit, so there will always be that yawning pit of blackness in my stomach. But I want to focus on what I can control.

I hope there is a return to precedented times, that my mellow is not harshed, and that I keep learning, growing, and reaching all year long. I look forward to stepping out of my comfort zone, settling into this life Shane and I are building, and creating relationships that last with people I enjoy.

So here’s to 36! I hope you come along on my journey this year. It’s going to be fun.


My Birthday Bucket List

My Birthday Bucket List

I’ve never had one of these before, but y’all know how much I love lists that I may or may not follow through with. Shane made a few contributions to this, as well, without me telling him I was doing it.

So here goes 10 things I want to do this month.

  1. Weekend trip to Jacksonville
    • We’ve visited the Ikea on a day trip, and went to see the Trans-siberian Orchestra there last December, but we haven’t gotten to explore.
  2. Sushi dinner
    • Any excuse for sushi, honestly.
  3. Dinner at Truffle Fries.
    • Also known as Circa 1875, but Truffle Fries really captures why I love that place so much.
  4. High tea!
    • So fancy, and in an old pharmacy so Shane will be right at home.
  5. Mani/pedi
    • Not something I do often, not even every year, but it’s so nice when I do.
  6. Go to the movies.
    • We were given a giftcard to the movies for Christmas that is burning a hole in my pocket.
  7. The Traditional Birthday Target Trip
    • Every word capitalized because that’s how important it is. I haven’t been super impressed with the Targets around here, but I live in hope, lol.
  8. Get a tattoo consult.
    • I’ve never gotten a tattoo, but I always knew I’d get one eventually. 2023 is the year.
  9. Dinner at Wild Wings
    • Somehow, the Wild Wings near us has become our default celebration dinner spot. I don’t question it.
  10. Start a new journal.
    • I’m about 15ish pages from the end of my current journal, so I’m just going to start a brand new one on my birthday.

I’m genuinely curious as to how many of these are accomplished this month. I’m aiming for all 10, honestly. Make it my first list with a 100% completion rate.

The Jacksonville trip is planned, as is the Target trip, and I’ve picked out my next journal. That’s 3 right there. Maybe I’ll look for a sushi place in Jax.

Welcome to my Birthday Month

That’s right, my birthday month. Over the years, I’ve scaled back my birthday celebrations, but 2023 is getting a full month of shenanigans. In the last 4ish years, I’ve gone through some of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. Somehow, I came out the other end happier and healthier than I ever have been. I think that deserves a month of celebrating.

I have always loved my birthday and will probably always love my birthday, but some years are more celebratory than others. This year’s feels like a huge win, and I plan on reveling in it.

Let’s be honest, though. I wasn’t a crazy kid even when I was a kid, so shenanigans will 100% be at the old lady level of shenaniganry.

I’m excited about spending this month celebrating everything I’ve overcome and have become in the past few years. I know the world is still very much shit, but I’m still here.

Adulthood & Washing Machines

Adulthood & Washing Machines

Our washing machine failed in a spectacular way last week. It just straight up stopped working in the middle of a load. In the machine’s defense, it had been acting squirrelly for a while before that, but I kept using it.

Before you ask, I do 98% of the laundry in our home, and Shane takes care of the dishes and cleans the kitchen most of the time. I’ve been told that’s not a fair trade-off, but I can’t overstate how much I hate doing dishes. I would do so much laundry to never have to wash a dish again. But back to the story.

So, during a rinse cycle, the washer just gives up the ghost. It tells me that it can’t balance the load and can’t go on. The clothes are sudsy and sopping wet. I take a break from reality and leave them in there thinking they’d at least drain a little before I put them in the dryer. I already know I have to rewash them, but I’m not putting that gross mess into my car. At this point, the washing machine completely powers down and refuses to turn on. Even after unplugging it and plugging it back in, which is the #1 way to fix all electrical problems.

So, I spent part of my Monday off (for President’s Day) in a laundromat. Which wasn’t a completely awful way to spend a few hours. That place was hopping – every bench and chair full (so I hung out in my car periodically), kids along for the ride with their moms, babies babbling, and what appeared to be a gang of single guys who hit up the laundromat every week. There was even a puppy someone brought in, and I got to play peekaboo with a baby.

I forgot how expensive laundromats are, though. It was $40 and some change for 4 loads of washing & 3 dryer cycles. And I didn’t even dry them completely, just enough to not be soaked in my car on the way home. I can’t imagine how much people have to pay a year when they don’t have a washing machine. I bet it’s enough to keep them from being able to buy one.

Anyway, the moral is to call the repairman before everything goes sideways. I’m currently waiting for a call back to schedule the appointment.

Adulthood isn’t as fun as I thought it would be.

A Few Camping Shots

A Few Camping Shots

Today’s post was supposed to be a photodump of camping pictures from my actual camera. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to go through those. Instead, here are some completely unedited shots from my husband’s phone (a Samsung Fold). Yes, he’s a better photographer than I am. No, I don’t want to talk about it.

Happy Valentine’s & Galentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s & Galentine’s Day!

On this Tuesday, I hope you are all exactly where you want to be with whomever you wish to be with. It’s a great day to focus on and spend time with everyone you love.

I spent all of last week in a tent with Shane, so I think we’re counting that as our Valentine’s Day celebration. We have so many occasions between November and May that today isn’t that big of a deal. Especially this year because I’m planning on having a birthday month in March, since I have some birthday joy to catch up on.

I love the idea of Galentine’s Day, as well, but both of my Galentines aren’t local. I’m heading to a gathering of sorts, not Galentine’s Day related, tonight, and I’m looking forward to it as a sort-of celebration.

Enjoy your day, even if it’s just a regular old Tuesday.

Blog Goals!

Blog Goals!

If I’m being honest, find my aesthetic is a pretty big theme in all areas of my life, not just blogging. From what I’ve read, style is something that’s more rigid and closely linked to interior design and clothing while aesthetic is more what you do and how you do it in order to give a certain impression and feeling (a vibe, if you will). Right now, mine is chaos and shenanigans and I’d like to have a little bit of a more peaceful vibe. But with more color than is probably acceptable.

My biggest blogging flaw is that I don’t post consistently and take very long breaks with no warning. This isn’t really a big deal since I’m not trying to make any money or sending people to the blog for writing samples or anything but if I’m going to keep doing it, I should really do it. I want to have some solid hobbies, and I’d like for blogging to be one of them.

I have a lot of posts on Coffee & Crows, and I have no idea what 99% of them are. I may not remove a single one, or I may remove 100. I’d like to take a tour regardless. It’ll be really nice to see all the pictures I’ve posted over the last few years and re-read the stories I’ve told. Maybe I’ll steal some post ideas from Past Me for Current/Future Me.

Six years of not checking if I’ve posted about a book before has taken its toll. I have a ton of book covers that are twins, triplets, and quadruplets of themselves throughout my media library. On top of that, I have some images that are all kinds of sizes, versions, etc. and I’m only using 1 of them. I’m not running out of space, but I can always use more. Especially if I’m going to be posting more frequently.

Taking pictures is one of my favorite things, and I would love to actually use my own photos for blog images instead of one from Pexels sometimes. I’d also like to create some graphics – maybe a logo, maybe header images for series I do on my blog – basic things like that. All of that requires a lot, though, I need to plan out my posts better so I know what I need to shoot, I’ll need to do photo shoots, learn to edit my pictures (I usually just throw them up unedited), and get a very basic handle on graphic design. Because, look, I’m not going to become an amazing graphic designer/professional photographer, but I’d like to pretty up Coffee & Crows a bit.

2023 New Year’s Resolutions

2023 New Year’s Resolutions

This year, I decided that I don’t want to do traditional New Year’s Resolutions. Sure I need to lose some weight and change my diet for health, and on and on and on, but I decided that I’d rather have a theme to 2023 instead of very specific goals. That allows me the room to change and adapt my goals as the year goes along.

I’ve learned over the past few years that you never know from one week to another what may happen, so making year long goals seems too ambitious and having quarterly goals feels too business-y. I already have professional development quarterly goals, and that’s enough.

After workshopping my original theme (“get better”), I came up with a three part theme:

get healthy | get moving | get thinking

I think it pretty much sums up what I want to do in 2023. I need to get healthy in more than 1 way, I want to get moving because it’s only going to get harder in years to come, and my brain has been stagnating for years.

It’s a little bit of a cop out, though, because anything can be said to fit the theme. For instance – anything related to me doing something that makes me happy can be “get healthy” related because mental health is health. Not piling up my TBR list fits “get thinking” because I have to consider every single book I want to read and decide if I want to search it out, and camping goes right along with “get moving” since I’ll literally do a lot of moving while camping.

When I decided to do my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ this way while super sick on the couch, I was really avoiding making any concrete goals since I had very little brain power. As 2023 started so slowly – I’m a month in and I’ve only been functioning at 100% for 2ish weeks – it became very very clear that this was the best decision for this year. I like not feeling like I’m behind on my goals and also thinking “how does this fit the theme” when I decide to do something. Like mindlessly playing a game on my phone – it doesn’t really fit any of the theme. It makes me feel guilty I’m not doing something else, I’m completely still, and I have no thoughts when I’m playing.

So, as 2023 starts it’s second month, I’m pretty happy with where I am with my theme. Maybe this is my new default – no goals, just theme.


10 Books I Have Talked About on the Blog but Have Not Read (Yet)

I recommend a lot of books, or say I’m going to read a lot of books, but have been in a reading slump for literal years, so a lot of these books I still haven’t read. Here are 10 that I’m going to (attempt to) get to this year. Maybe. Hopefully.

  • Plague Land – S.D. Sykes
    • I’ve literally owned this book for years.
  • The House Across the Lake – Riley Sager
    • In my defense I have it on hold at the library, I just haven’t gotten it yet.
  • These Fleeting Shadows – Kate Alice Marshall
    • I’ve been reading a lot of horror lately, so maybe this will hop to the top of my list.
  • The Mercies – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
    • I have no excuse.
  • Good Morning, Monster – Catherine Gildner
    • I love memoirs from therapists/psychologists, and I can’t believe I haven’t picked this up.
  • Children of Time – Adrian Tchaikovsky
    • Everyone keeps suggesting this, and I own it as an ebook, so it’s time to read it.
  • A Year Without the Grocery Store – Karen Morris
    • I live in a hurricane prone area and should probably do more food storage. Will I go a year without the grocery store, though? Absolutely not.
  • The Book of Essie – Meghan Maclean Weir
    • I’ve been reading about the Duggar’s recently, and this book seems to fit the theme a bit.
  • The Good Neighbor – Maxwell King
    • Another case of “I have it on hold at the library, but it’s very popular.”
  • The Cabin at the End of the World – Paul Tremblay
    • I want to see the movie, as well, since I’m one of the few people who can generally enjoy a book and it’s movie.
  • The Darkling Bride – Laura Andersen
    • Just really fits my reading vibe lately. Goodreads says I’ve read it, but I don’t remember so it’ll be like reading it for the first time.