Read it! Southern Harm

Recently, through my partnership with NetGalley, I received Southern Harm by Caroline Fardig at no cost to me to read and review. The thoughts are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

I was really excited to get a chance to read this book because I’ve really loved Fardig’s other books, so I’m going to feel terrible writing this review. I just didn’t like this one.

From Amazon:

After solving a murder at a local restaurant, Quinn Bellandini just wants to get back to her comfortable life running her grandfather’s B&B in Savannah, Georgia, with her sister, Delilah. But those plans get buried when Quinn and her new boyfriend, Tucker Heyward, dig up an old skeleton while doing some landscaping in his aunt Lela’s backyard. Before long, Lela becomes the prime suspect in the thirty-three-year-old unsolved murder of a high school homecoming queen.

Tucker is devastated. But Quinn’s conscience won’t let her risk an elderly woman spending her twilight years in jail for a crime she didn’t commit. And Delilah, bored by the quiet B&B biz, has been itching to do some more investigating of her own.

Soon they’re questioning a growing list of suspects, from nosy neighbors and snooty Savannah socialites to mild-mannered teachers and old high-school friends of the victim—including Quinn and Delilah’s own parents. But no one is safe from a killer who’s totally old school.

It doesn’t get much cozier or cheesier than this book. Quinn still falls flat, there wasn’t enough Grandpa Sal or Uncle Frank for amusement, and no excitement of any kind until the last few pages. Much like Quinn was phoning in breakfast each morning for her guests, this feels like Fardig wrote it in haste or turned it to an intern team for their best shot at matching her style.

There was minimal character development, barely a hint of romance, and almost nothing interesting about the plot. It mostly felt cheesier than the grits served at Bellandini’s Bed and Breakfast.

Do you love a cozy mystery? Is this something you’d like to read?

What would Mr. Rogers think?

 

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They really are.

Today is World Kindness Day so I’m wearing my favorite cardigan to honor Mr. Rogers. I wear my cardigans a lot to work, mostly to keep warm in my 66*F office, but I made it a point to wear one today instead of something else.

 

I do my best to be kind, to surround myself with like minded, kind-hearted people who have good in their soul and wonderful light in their hearts.

To address the elephant in the room (and so haters don’t feel the need to tell me or others) the picture isn’t the best of me. I look tired, wrinkled, and heavier than I’d like. I see a lot wrong that I could have edited out or taken a different photo, but I’m a big supporter of sharing your Lowlight Reel along with your Highlight Reel and keeping it as honest as possible.

Heck, I’ve connected more to others over my follies, failures, short comings, and struggles than my successes.

So, while I didn’t think I looked like that in the mirror today, maybe my mirror lied, maybe I’m standing funny now, or there’s a weird camera angle going on.  I don’t really know. I’d love to edit out the parts I don’t like, but that’s not real. I want to point out all the flaws, but that’s not nice, nor is it helpful.

I’m pretty sure that Mr. Rogers wouldn’t think I was being kind to myself.

It’s tricky. I aim to be kind at all times but I’m human; my actions do not always come from my heart or a place of goodness. There have been times my actions have come from a place of hurt, anger, and even jealousy.

I hear you, “But Court, you’re usually rather nice.”

I try to be, but there’s a difference between being “nice” and being “kind”. (This article is a pretty good explanation.) It can be summed up by “nice” is the actions you take, “kind” is where it comes from. There’s a whole bunch about self esteem and respect also. Read the article if you’d like, I’ll wait.

You back? Good. For me, the two often go hand in hand, because kind people do nice things, but sometimes the kind thing to do isn’t the nice thing. There are times you have to tell someone something hard for them to hear in order to be kind. Sometimes you have to NOT help them in the way they would like in order to demonstrate kindness.

That’s hard when you want to be be helpful, but your heart says it’s not the right move.

I’ve been working on as kind to myself as I am to others. In doing so, I have to admit something difficult to myself. See, I’m not entirely happy with some things about my Self and therefore aspects of my life and person. I’m not ready to share what it specifically is, but I either need to fix the issue, fix how I see myself with said issue, or get over it.

Now to find the tools, energy, and initiative to fix it. I’m hoping the kind people I surround myself with will also help when I ask for it.

(Don’t worry, it’s not about Nik, the girls, the house, my family etc. It sits squarely in the grey matter between my ears and how I treat myself emotionally, mentally, and physically.)

 

Friday Five

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How I feel about driving.

(If you’re one of my new visitors (Hi), I’m sharing five current “things” with you: Recent challenges, triumphs, funnies, OMG, and a question. If you’re a long time reader, please know I appreciate you to no end, hope you like this feature, and you are looking fantastic!)

Although things have calmed down drastically in the last couple of weeks (knock on wood!) I’m still working on some recent challenges. A big challenge for me right now is making myself get back into the car. It doesn’t matter where I’m going, I really don’t want to drive anywhere further than the store around the corner which is close enough to walk to if I wanted to hoof it on over.

But alas, I have to go to work since I can’t work from home, nor have I managed to become independently wealthy. Sigh.

I realize how blessed I am that I a) have a job to go to and b) a reliable car to get me to and from my job, but unless Nik is willing to drive, I’m staying home as much as possible for awhile.

I’m sorry. You’re welcome to come to our house though and sit in front of the fire place. I’ll have Nik start one just for you. I think we even have marshmallows and chocolate.

But let’s talk about something good instead of how little I want to drive. I’ve had some recent triumphs, even if they’re little wins. Little wins count darn it! Likely the biggest little triumph recently was not crying when I saw the number on the scale. Was I disappointed? Yes. Was I upset enough to cry? Maybe. I talked myself out of it and am working on that challenge, too. I’ve also taken a few minutes each day for me to read a couple of chapters, participate in Lauren’s balance challenge (where finding balance off the mat counts too), and using some of my powers for good instead of less good.

I’ve also been biting my tongue from making snarky (but funny) remarks lately. One of my friends at work, however, has not. While I can’t tell you what was said (mostly because I don’t recall) I can tell you I had just taken a very large sip of coffee right as the snarky brilliance came out of her mouth. Instead of spraying everything with coffee via my nose, the coffee went into my sinuses causing me to sputter, gag, and otherwise lose my shit.

We were laughing so hard, we were almost in tears.

While that could have been my OMG moment, my actual OMG was brought to you by the podcast I was listening to this morning. They were talking about tapeworms, how they hook into their host and what not. I gagged and immediately hit pause. Oh gosh, I was ready to throw up!

I listened to something on Amelia Earhart from Gone instead. It was a good move.

Other than wondering what the grossest thing you’ve heard lately, I don’t really have any other questions for you guys today other than what challenges, triumphs, laughs, and OMG moments have you had lately? Do you have any questions for me?

What I am and am not reading

current book mash up

A couple of years ago, my brother asked me about what I thought about a particular book he had read in high school. I admitted that I hadn’t read it, or any of the other titles he then asked about. He was bewildered and questioned if we even went to the same school.

We had. We just picked different books each year.

He asked me what I was reading at that point, knowing full well I had a least one book in process. I pulled out a book with a neon colored cover and proceeded to get scolded about my choices.

Listen, Broski, I spend my day reading education law books, online federal regulations, other various legal tomes, and advisory documents. Then, after that (if you think the fun is over, have no fear, it is not) I distill that into usable language for the great people of NY. That’s a lot of reading, thinking and writing. I don’t want to have to think all that much in my free time! Be happy I’m reading outside of work, even if it is bubblegum for my brain or a straight up trashy novel.

The chance of me reading anything that I need to really think about? Not likely at this point in my life. E and I read Uni the Unicorn the other day. We love that book. I’m working on Girl Wash Your Face again. (I wasn’t in the right head space last time, but might be now) I have a book from Amazon I borrowed and a couple from NetGalley I want to read soon. I have to re-read the Harry Potter Books so I can better chat with N about them. I’m also working on some yoga CBT and studying aerial yoga, too.

Sure I’ll think about all of them them when I read them, but I’m not looking to work through anything that doesn’t speak to me or requires me to think what the hell they’re even talking about.

I get enough of that with Education Law. Some of it makes as much sense as frequent flyer miles…don’t get me started on some of the federal stuff.

I’m curious to know, what are you currently reading? Are you a one book at a time person or do you have multiple going at once? I’d ask for reading suggestions, but I’m about 100 deep in things to read right now. Maybe when my stack is done.

Who are we kidding? My stack is never done. If you have a suggestion, I’ll take it.

Made it Monday

2019-11-04_02-31-29I’m supposed to be writing a post bout Mission Moving More, but…yeah. Other than walking around, moving boxes, etc. there hasn’t been that much. I even cut way back on yoga to get the move done. (Which is still in lots of boxes, but what can I do? I’m only human.)

Sure, that’s all movement, but none of it was actually intentional. Much of it was even begrudgingly! I want to do movement that I want to do. I (maybe) can admit that it was good for me to do a lot of that stuff. I feel strong for being able to lift, carry, and move what we did, but I’m kind of shot right now.

Instead, I’m going to tell you toss out a Made it Monday post and see if it sticks.

See, I’ve made lots of things lately:

  • I made N a wand and a Sorting Hat for her Harry Potter birthday.
  • I made it to and from Buffalo last weekend in one day to see my bro and his wife.
  • I made it through my presentation at convention in a 100*F+ room for an hour.
  • I made a really good Apple Tart that I wish hadn’t fallen apart.
  • I’ve made some really tasty dinners (Chicken w/ white wine and garlic sauce, Stuffed Peppers, Honey Mustard “Chicken”
  • I made choices and decisions
  • I’ve made progress in some personal projects where I’m working on me.
  • I’ve been working on making some new crafty things.
  • I’ve made people smile.
  • I made it to E’s Halloween celebration.
  • I’m making changes (albeit slow) in lifestyle.

In the car on the way back from Buffalo Saturday night, I was thinking about how we all make things all the time. We make decisions, food, and connections. We make time, commitments, and mistakes.  In all of this, we’re making a life.

But are you making the life you want? I was thinking about how some of the decisions I’ve made lately, didn’t necessarily support the life I want to live or what I want my life to look like. I can’t unmake those decisions, but I can make different ones today and going forward. (Don’t worry, none of them were terrible, just not supportive of what I want to do or who I want to be.)

What have you made lately? How about for dinner? I’m getting really stuck on that one…

 

Join me for a cup of coffee?

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Hey there! Thanks so much for meeting me today. Seeing your face is likely going to be one of the lovely parts of my day. How have you been? Is anything new or exciting since the last time we checked in?

What’s in your cup? I have the usual, but it’s hot and working so there’s that. I’m pretty zonked today, because I’m cramming too much into too little time again. Even if I’m not physically working on a lot of stuff right now, mentally, my wheels are spinning and racing to keep up, prioritize projects and events, and take care of me along with Nik and the girls. I’m working on better balance, but sometimes it’s not possible.  I’m seriously looking forward to the week off we have in December. This year, I’m not bringing work home with me!

Happy day after Halloween if you’re in the US. I do hope you got your favorite candy. If you’re not in the US or do not otherwise celebrate Halloween, was there anything fun about yesterday?

What’s your favorite candy? I’m a sucker for Peanut Butter Cups, Starburts, and sugar candy like Smarties and candy necklaces.

So, this year I ended up with three costumes although two overlapped somewhat and used part of a costume from last year. Last Saturday, we went to a friend’s birthday party and Nik woke me up from my nap dressed as BatDad. Alright, to the costume part of my closet I go. I chose my gumball machine costume from Kel’s birthday a few years back because it’s cute, but not revealing and can be warm if needed.

For work yesterday, I wore my bat leggings, mini dress, and hoodie from last year. E insisted I needed red red lipstick so I added that too. (Although she was equally as insistent that I NOT GET ANY ON HER.) I guess you could say I was dressed as a younger version of Mehmere since she was the Old Bat.

For trick or treating, I swapped out the bat leggings for my dragon scale leggins and accessories.

Nothing was super involved, but all of it was fun! I just love making costumes and putting together the whole ensemble. (C’mon I picked out a specific outfit to buy a house, of course I do up Halloween!)

I guess a bunch of semesters of costume lab at school and fun have stuck with me all these years. Dad and Mehmere also made our costumes for YEARS. One year I was a Pickle, another Lilith from Cheers. My brother was a Star Fleet Cadet one year and a bag of Fritos another. I’d have to look up some others. It was really good times.

I’m already brainstorming for next year. Halloween is on a Saturday so we might have a get together. I’ll likely need at least 3 costumes again next year. Hmmm.

So! What was your favorite costume? Are you a maker or a buyer? No judgement, we all have our strengths.

I have to be off, I might have been up late sampling the candy that we didn’t hand out and I’m definitely going to need more more coffee. I hope you have a great day and if you didn’t get your favorite candy, remember it’s half off today!

 

And I’m off again!

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Crafting wands to Hart of Dixie

(I guess this never uploaded from the gas station parking lot last week.)

It’s been a couple of weeks since my turn and burn trip to DC for my grandpa’s 100th birthday memorial celebration. I feel like I haven’t been in the car enough lately so I’m driving out to Rochester today for a few days. I’m hoping to get in a trip to Wegmans while I’m there to hit up the hot bar and get some snacks.

It’s not quite a turn and burn, but it’s close. (I’ll be there for a little over 51 hours if all goes well.)

Although the trip is for work, I have to spring for this myself because the reason I’m coming back early is for N’s birthday!

It’s not a Carnival like last year, but we managed a few ideas we think she’ll really love (like a Sorting Hat, a dream catcher, and something new for her wall that I made myself with a little help from the internet!) I also tried to make wands, but I think the clay is NOT going to cooperate.  If not, I’ll remake them some other time.

I can only do so much when I lose 3 days to Rochester! I’m learning to accept that I might actually have limitations and require some sleep, occasionally.

Next weekend, I’m headed to Buffalo for a baby shower to welcome Tex into the world and family. While I haven’t decided if I’m staying over yet, that’ll be a quick trip regardless of if I stay or not.

(Of course, I’m hoping to get to Wegmans then too, but we’ll have to see how I feel about the drive home. The kids hope I go to Paula’s for donuts. Sigh, I miss donuts.)

Even though it’s a lot of driving, the car is surely better than the bus. I have the added bonus of one of my coworkers riding out with me. She’s pretty fab so it will be a good trip. Speaking of which, she just pulled in to meet me so I’m off to get back on the road.

After next weekend though, I’m taking a break from the road trips and Nik is driving everywhere for awhile.

Join me for a cup of coffee?

Hi there, thanks so much for meeting me. Magic Bean Water for blogIt’s been a long time since we’ve met for coffee! Not to worry, I’m still drinking the magical bean water, mostly in reasonable amounts. Sometimes in borderline excessive amounts, but who’s really tracking it?

How about you? What’s in your cup? By the way, thanks so much for your kind words the other day when I was having some challenges. Knowing I have you by my side makes everything feel figureoutable.

There was something else I wanted to share with you, but I can’t remember right now. I have a mild headache from the weather changes and clenching my jaw. It is just distracting enough to make me flighty but not bad enough to be actually concerned about. Maybe more coffee with help!

Today, I have regular flavored coffee with almond creamer (it was on sale and isn’t that bad). I prefer the coconut creamer, but this one had bonus points with Fetch or Ibotta so I went with it. While I certainly have my preferences in life, when it comes to certain things, I’m not as picky as I am with others. (Heads up, both links are referral links if you use them I get bonuses. They’re super easy to use; scan or upload your receipt and keep an eye on bonuses. I used it to shop some sales the other day and things were more or less free after I cashed in my points.)

They don’t work for everyone though. If you shop from a very particular list or need to purchase specific brands for whatever the reason, you might not find the same cost savings. Yes, some things I’m picky about, but mostly I stick to what the better deal is. What are my stick tos? Mayonnaise has to be Hellmans if I’m buying it. I’ve broadened my tampon horizons, but I still have preferred ones in Tampax. Coke over Pepsi (actually if Pepsi is the cola option, I’ll chose something else entirely.)

Um, that might be it. Oh liquid ibuprofen capsules over tablets every time. There are some other ones like added sugar, crappy food coloring, companies don’t mark their maltodextrin etc. but again, just preferences.

That’s not to say I’ll be rude when it comes to others homes and events, but I definitely have my preferences if I’m paying for it.

Are you picky about anything in particular? I’d like to believe that I’m not picky about a lot of things, but I bet others can give you plenty of examples of times I was or am!

Oh, I remember what I wanted to tell you. You know how I basically want to know as much as humanly possible about as many topics as possible? I’ve had a lot of questions about Mormonism over the years. WELL! Last Podcast on the Left did a deep dive, 6 part series on it recently which I listened to during my drives. As per usual, they did a great job and it was fascinating.

Don’t worry, I’m not running off to join The Church, but I do have to run. It’s time to refill the magic bean water – maybe with some regular water for a bit. I hope you have a lovely weekend finding time to decompress, reasons to smile, lovely company to share, and great food to eat!

 

Today is Tuesday

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Just one of the many coats of paint applied…

I think at least. I’m going to say it with authority that, in fact, today is Tuesday! If I say it with enough conviction, then people might believe I know what day it is.

As far as work is concerned, it is my Monday. Yesterday, I took a much needed mental health day after more than a month of GO GO GO GO GO GO GO! This past weekend, we totally finished the move. Well, the move from the old house to the new house. There’s still a lot of stuff to find homes for and put away, but it’ll happen.

Yesterday, my plan was to do absolutely nothing but sit on my butt and whatever else I damn well pleased. I’m reminded that while I’m not as “It must be done now” as Nik is, I’m not very good at just sitting and doing nothing. I compromised with myself, however, settling on watching episodes of Hart of Dixie while I unpacked a boxes. I’d alternate between unpacking and crocheting, all the while drinking too much coffee.

After an episode, I’d take a look at what I unpacked, find a home for it.  (Sometimes the home was in the garbage.) The next episode, I’d crochet. I don’t have any real reason to crochet right now other than I haven’t done it in more than a month. There are a couple of blankets I’d like to make, but they’re kind of overwhelming sometimes so I’m holding off for a bit.

Yes, I just said I haven’t crocheted in over a month! After painting and moving, my hands just couldn’t do it. As I type this, I sort of wonder if that factored into the uptick in anxiety at all. It’s a really good outlet for me so it’s worth considering. Huh. Might need to think about that some more. At the very least, my lack of crocheting didn’t help.

Towards the end of the day, I got it in my head that I hadn’t gotten “enough” done and some other gross things about myself stemming from that. For about an hour, I was completely stressed out about my day off and overwhelmed by how much there was to do still. I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t even decide what to do next so I sat down for some breathing and CBT practice.

It took the edge off enough that I could choose what was next.

And that was my day off, which was Monday. So, today is Tuesday.

Friday Five

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The bacon bandage, while adorable in it’s conception, is really not good when your thumb is bleeding and nail is torn up.

(If you’re one of my new visitors (Hi), I’m sharing five current “things” with you: Recent challenges, triumphs, funnies, OMG, and a question. If you’re a long time reader, please know I appreciate you to no end, hope you like this feature, and you are looking fantastic!)

Let’s dive right in and get the challenges out of the way. It’s easy. MOVING! Logistics, moving stuff, I’m out of boxes, my back is doing that funny spasm thing, and I’m slowly forgetting where things are. This weekend? Come hell or high water, we’ll be done. We have to be!

On the up side of all of the challenges with moving, there have been some really interesting triumphs. Convincing Nik that my flat office was a good idea (and it coming out well), getting all of the painting finished, and the girls rooms set up were all triumphs. Every single box I unpack and put away feels like a triumph too.

Nik and I still liking each other after a month of two “bullheaded, strong willed, almost always right in their own way of doing projects” kind of people working together and what not? I feel like that’s a triumph in and of itself.

There have also been some others challenges not related to moving. People have done things intentionally to hurt my feelings. I just took a deep breath, nodded quietly, and said to myself, “They probably think they’re hurting me. That did hurt, but I’m just letting it go and not going to react because I that’s what they actually want.” Instead, I’ve just checked off some things from my To-Do list surrounding the matters and am embracing that part.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to cull some more of my clothes, shoes, crafting supplies and get reorganized. Triumph! See?

As much as Nik and I have butt heads and gotten frustrated, there’s been a lot of laughs too. Our Halloween decorations are fun to set up. We’ve long had a tendency to laugh at ridiculous things because the other option is to cry. If I’m being honest, tears happens too sometimes! Hey, that’s life.

I’ve been sharing a lot of laughs lately with some of my friends and coworkers about the head scratching things people do, decisions made, and unrealized ironic comments spoken around us. I love how sarcastic, smart, quick and witty the people I choose to surround myself with are. Perhaps that’s why they’re part of my circle!

There was a particularly funny OMG moment around 11pm the night before we closed on the house when I looked at Nik and said, “Babe, we’re buying a house tomorrow! In like 14 hours! OMG! Holy shit!” Yes, I was aware of it through all of the paperwork, inspections, phone calls, and emails, but it hit me just how real it was at that moment.

He looked back at me and asked if t really just hit me or if I was kidding…Do we really have to ask that question? I think we ALL know the answer!

I don’t really have any questions for you guys today other than what challenges, triumphs, laughs, and OMG moments have you had lately? Do you have any questions for me?