What Was Your Favorite Book of 2009?

Last January on this blog I started a “Currently Reading” page (it’s now under the “About Me” tab). And it’s turned out to be an enlightening thing.

Before that, I’d never made a list of all the books I’d read in a year, so I didn’t realize I read fewer books than I’d supposed. (!) And I had the perception I read as much literary as romance, but clearly I’m heavy on the romance. (At least I was this year.) It’s also strange to think I read Outlander this year when it seems like such a long time ago, or to remember that I read The Namesake this year and not last.

Do you keep a list of all the books you’ve read each year? If not on a blog, then in a journal book or notepad? I highly recommend it — you might find a few surprises of your own. 

(So go get a piece of paper — Start your list for 2010, and then this time next year we’ll talk about how cool it is, okay?)

In the meantime, what’s the best book you read this year?

As I scan my list of everything I read in 2009, I realize I have a hard time selecting one favorite. I’ll have to narrow it down to maybe three. … Continue reading

New Year: Do You Obsessively Organize?

Is it just me, or does the new year bring out the professional organizer in all of us?

I used to think it was just me. I remember as far back as 1979 or so — the year of the New Year’s Day earthquake (the Malibu quake?). Not that the earthquake had anything to do with anything, but I can date it to that exact year, and I remember it was New Year’s Day, and I know I was in my room obsessively cleaning out my dresser drawers. And I know I was 13. I was taking everything out, and relining the drawers with paper, and putting everything back in neat stacks. You know, like all kids do …

Oddly, I wasn’t a particularly neat child, nor am I a particularly neat adult now, but I get that strange nesting urge every January. These days, it usually results in some neater-looking junk drawers, highly labeled ribbon boxes, and even closets where I can actually find things again (temporarily).

I’ve also come to the conclusion that I’m not alone. Given the numerous “white sales,” stacks of storage bins in the aisles of Target, garage-shelving sales, and closet-organizer ads throughout the month of January, I’ve determined that I can’t possibly be the only one who was relining her dresser drawers on New Year’s Day at the age of 13.

(Please, people — humor me if I was …)

So what about you? Do you feel this compulsion?  Is it because we received so much “stuff” on Christmas and we need a place for it? Is it because we want to start “fresh” for the new year? Tell me what your first organizational project is going to be. …


Wow, this is exciting! I just went over and visited one of my fave bloggers, Kwana, and she said it was her 2nd blogoversary; meanwhile, family/friend Jersey Girl just started a new blog called No Clue in Virginia; and my 1st blogoversary was officially yesterday! Christmas week must be a good time for starting blogs. (Maybe because you’re looking at all that technogizmo stuff, and you finally find yourself facing hours with nothing planned to do. Glorious.)

Anyway, I’m going to do the same thing Kwana did and celebrate my blogoversary by sharing with you my very first post. It was mostly a picture. I was stunned (as always) and thankful (as always) for the beautiful December weather here and the inspiring view of our lake. So I shared both in my first post:

A So. Cal Winter’s Day

But I didn’t write much! (I spent hours setting up the blog, but then I didn’t want to write anything, I remember. I wanted to go outside!)

So here’s the second post, where I first really wrote out my thoughts. And, interestingly, I wrote a sentiment that I could’ve written today: gratitude for a wonderful Christmas and the joy of my family: 

Post-Holiday Checklist

I hope you’re all enjoying this weekend after Christmas and spending some time relaxing with your loved ones. It’s great to just relax, no?

And congrats to my fellow new and ongoing bloggers! Anyone else starting a blog this week?

Happy Holidays!

 Happy Holidays, friends!

I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas Eve and a blessed Christmas Day.

I wish you some of this*:


 And lots of these**: 


And mostly lots of peace, love, and laughter.

I hope they fill your home to the brim. …

Merry Christmas!


* Please note this is NOT my house!

** But feel free to note that these ARE our cookies. The kids decorated them at my mom’s house. Aren’t they cute? And Rene took that awesome picture. 

My Love-Hate Relationship With Christmas Romance Novellas

I’m having a love-hate relationship with Christmas romance novellas lately.

Normally, I start reading them on Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, I usually have one at the ready, purchased in early November, just waiting for that first weekend when the lights start going up around the neighborhood and Bing Crosby starts crooning “White Christmas.”

But my relationship with novellas is waning.

On the love side, I like that they are only 40,000 words each, and I can read each one pretty quickly – no long-drawn-out plots where you have to remember all the characters for weeks on end.

And I love that they are usually sold in anthologies of three to five writers from a single publishing house, so it’s a great way to get introduced to a lot of new writers. Continue reading

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