Closing Out the Year

My Great Grandfather died in 1918 of the flu. One Hundred years later, people still get the flu, and people still die from it. The flu is endemic. We have learned to live with the flu being a constant presence in our lives.


1.4 million people attempted suicide last year, (just in the United States). For 2022, let’s see if we can work on getting that number down. Suicide is not something we should accept as a constant in our lives- it doesn’t have to be endemic.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- 800-272-8255

What’s Up For Next Year:

What do I want to do next year?


My plan is to post every day. I’ve sort of made up my own insta challenge. While this is still a total work in progress, my thoughts are to pick a time of day and post a photo of whatever I am doing at that moment in time. I look at insta and other forms of social media and what I see are carefully curated photos of life. I don’t want to curate my life: I want to enjoy it. And I want to own the stupid things that I do, the mundane things, etc. I think social media makes us feel bad about ourselves- we look at pictures and we errantly think that others have better lives than us. I know people say that my life looks so “fun”. Which it is. However, 75% of my day is filled with writing and household things and dog walking. 95% of my life is not picture perfect. By just taking a photo in the moment, it actually captures my life- for better or worse. And I like that.

In January I plan on taking photos at 1pm, February 2 pm…I’m guessing you get the idea… Just a photo of whatever I’m doing at that moment, good or bad. Boring or exciting. Point and shoot. Feel free to join me! Tell me what you are doing. I really want to know!


Book goal- 85 books

Book of the year: Every year I purchase a book that is specifically written to be read one page a day. 2021 was Shakespeare For Every Day of the Year. For 2022, the book is A Year of Positive Thinking by Cyndie Spiegel.


see as many Oscar nominated movies as possible


My goal continues to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art once a week, with the long term goal of going through every gallery. I am currently at Gallery 160. I started at gallery 100 back in July, every week seeing at least one numerically progressive number. I also try to see one “Special” exhibit during each trip. I’m loving exploring the museum like this: my going to no more than three galleries, I am better able to really concentrate on a few pieces, instead of trying to digest everything. I have discovered so many things that previously had gone unnoticed in my eyes.


I plan to blog every day- I have ideas through April- so the well is not dry as of yet. I will continue doing a monthly book wrap up, and plan on including movies as well. I plan to continue Anything Can Happen Fridays, Gratitude Saturdays and Inspiration Sundays. But really, anything can happen, so who knows…

Everything Else

  1. NY Times Crossword every day
  2. Live theater and music
  3. See more art
  4. Wander book stores and stationary stores
  5. Take pictures of flowers
  6. I bought a small rolling cart…pink of course…and have some ideas to organize things a little better
  7. Make every day count, whether it’s a big grand gesture, or just savoring a cup of tea.

My Year in Blogging

The Numbers:

  1. 80,383 views
  2. 29,375 visitors
  3. 32,982 likes
  4. 22,754 comments
  5. 5,184 followers

My Most Popular posts:

  1. I Read…Therefore
  2. How do I Write? Let me count the words
  3. Bad Writing
  4. Reading and Writing and Writing and Reading
  5. Gratitude Saturday May 8

News Flash: My most popular posts are all about blogging, writing and reading. I guess I should concentrate on talking about words and what we can do with them…insert crossed eyes here…

By far, my audience is from the USA. But after that, we have India, UK, Canada and Australia.

What’s up for blogging in 2022? No idea. Just keep writing and thinking… Just putting words and sometimes pictures on the page is my goal.

If you have any suggestions/ideas, would gladly listen…

Thank you for making this a great year!!

My Year in Books

I set a reading goal of 100 books. I am happy to report that I did indeed reach, and exceed my goal. As of December 18, I have finished 113 books! Yay me. Of course there were winners and losers:

My Best Books of the Year (in no particular order)- These are the books that are going to stay with me.

  • The Push by Ashley Audrain
  • Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
  • The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
  • The Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
  • Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
  • The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

My Worst Books of the Year (in no particular order)- These are the books I’m going to tell you to avoid like the plague- no pun intended

  • Palms and Pomegranates by L.S. Csida
  • The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
  • How the One Armed Sister Sweeps her House by Cherie Jones
  • It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

I did my own experiment this past year: I marked down how I heard about a book. While some books that I’ve read I truly didn’t remember how I heard about them, I had an origin story for the vast majority.

Most of the books I read were from Goodreads Newsletter, but to mixed results- they were neither all winners nor all losers. My favorite books of the year were also a mix of book clubs such as Jenna and GMA, magazines like Real Simple and Good Housekeeping. There was no clear winner as to where I got recommendations from.

As to the worst books- many of the books that fell to the bottom of my pile were books recommended to me by people in my book clubs. People I personally know were by far the worst recommenders of books.

Why? My guess is that when I pick a book from a source, there is clearly something that interests me enough to read the book. Many book club choices are books I would never read on my own. Reading blindly is both good and bad.

As to my Goodreads stats:

37,554 pages read

Shortest book: Simple Organizing 128 pages

Longest Book: Cloud Cuckoo Land 626 pages

Average Book Length- 332 pages

Most Popular: Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Least Popular: Palms and Pomegranites

My average rating: 3.6

Highest Rated on Goodreads: The Man Who Died Twice

My goal for next year….

drum roll please…

85 Books…

And…for all those wondering…I got my TBR down to a manageable 72 books!!

My Year in Music

Thanks to Spotify- we can get a little view in what I listened to this past year!!

19,328 minutes spent listening to music.

My Audio Aura: Wistful and Happy

104 different genres

1,053 different artists

Top Songs

  1. Patience- Guns N Roses
  2. I’ll See You in my Dreams- Bruce Springsteen
  3. Nights in White Satin- The Moody Blues
  4. Dying Breed- The Killers
  5. Someone Like You- Adele

Top Genres

  1. Classic Rock
  2. Permanent Wave
  3. Dance Pop
  4. Modern Alternative Rock
  5. Soul

Top Artists

  1. The Killers
  2. The Goo Goo Dolls
  3. Taylor Swift
  4. Adele
  5. The Beatles

I get this…mainly. I do not listen to Taylor Swift that much- so I don’t know how she was so prominent…and as I don’t know what Dance Pop means…I don’t know what I listened to that could be considered Dance Pop…

What Inspired Me: December 26

  • Spencer was a pretty bizarre movie. While I think Kristen Stewart did a good job, it’s almost more quantity than quality- she is predominantly featured- there’s very few scenes without her. Her portrayal of Diana is somewhat over the top- and I know this was the directors intent, but I think it’s a bit too much. I am confident that she will get an Oscar nod, but I think Gaga was better in Gucci.
  • Tik Tik Boom (Netflix) I really enjoyed this biopic of Jonathan Larson, creator of Rent. I thought Andrew Garfield gave an Oscar worthy performance, and I found this very enjoyable. However, I am a huge theater fan, so this movie was right in my wheelhouse.
  • Nightmare Alley (theater) This was good, not great. The pacing is off, and the storyline is not as developed as I’d like…Too much of some things and not enough of others
  • It’s. Ramen. Season.
  • We went to Burger & Lobster. My daughter had lobster. I had a burger. Perfect.
  • Saw Company on Broadway. As some shows have been shut down, we were thrilled that our performance on Company was ON! Great show!!
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: Inspiring Walt Disney The Animation of French Decorative Arts. I Loved this exhibit, but alas, we were not allowed to take pictures. What was wonderful about this exhibit was seeing how certain works of art, decorative items and such inspired Disney’s Animators when creating the movies. There’s a pair of figurines, and then next to it is the scene from a movie that they inspired. I sometimes think that people don’t appreciate the thoughts and ideas that go into animated works. The exhibit focuses on Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and to a lesser extent, Snow White.
  • Every year the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn goes crazy with lights. My daughter and I decided to visit this year. It’s just a spectacle, but in a crazy good way.
  • Fun Fact: The first public Christmas Tree in the US was in Madison Square Park…so I bring you a little piece of history

My Month in Books: December 21

TitleAuthorHow I Sourced BookRating/Liked
The Lincoln HighwayAmor TowlesGoodreads Newsletter/Jenna Book Club/Read Author Before1
Taste: My Life Through FoodStanley TucciTSLL2
A Pocket Full of RyeAgatha ChristieTea Book Club/Read Author Before3
Finding Freedon: A Cook’s Story; Remaking A Life From ScratchErin FrenchMartha Stewart Living/TSLL4
Under the Whispering DoorTJ KluneGoodreads newsletter/Read Author Before5
Hooked: How Crafting Saved My LifeSutton FosterTSLL6
All Together NowMatthew NormanPersonal Browse/Read Author Before7
Deacon King KongJames McBrideBarnes & Noble Recommendations8
This is whether or not I liked them: Has no reflection on whether or not a book is “good”

The following are my mini thoughts. The numbers correspond to the ranking. 1 is my fave, 8 is my least fave…

  1. I couldn’t put this book down. I just love the elegance of the prose: the sentences seem effortless and flow together so beautifully. There is also a real feel of being in the time and place of which Towles writes- my senses came alive when I read this work. I think he does a great job of getting inside the heads of multiple characters. Beautifully shows the beauty and tragedy of the choices that we make.
  2. I don’t normally read celeb books. That being said…this book is a wonderful. I love Tucci’s dry, understated humor- while reading I felt like he was my friend. Plus- he loves food…I mean loves it. This is a beautiful love letter to the joys of cooking and eating and how food brings us together.
  3. I love a good Christie mystery, and there is just something about Miss Marple that I appreciate on page (I think I prefer the Marple books to the Poirot…don’t hate me for that) This is just a fun, light, clever little mystery. One of my favorite Chistie’s.
  4. If you want to read about how crappy people can be, and how resilient one can be…this is your book. To be able to pick up the pieces again and again…to dream and plan and achieve…solid memoir
  5. I loved Klune’s Cerulean Sea….the new Klune doesn’t really do it for me. I’m not exactly sure why, but I felt that things were too forced and not organic enough. I felt it was missing something- it jumped from an idea to a done deal, and I didn’t think there was enough of a bridge to get there.
  6. I know. I just said that I don’t normally read celeb books…But this is a lightish read told in Foster’s voice, which is all sorts of plucky and fun. Again, I felt like I was talking to a friend.
  7. This book had a great premise. However…the story has so many parts that are so clunky I stumbled through them. It’s told from multiple perspectives, and the voices really aren’t individual- they just say different things. Characters come across as whiny.
  8. There were parts of this book that I thought were brilliant- clearly this author knows how to write. Conversely, there were parts of this book that were horrible- just because you know how to write doesn’t mean everything needs to be on the page. I get that this is a solid novel…i understand the acclaim. However- I just didn’t enjoy it cover to cover.

The Passed Down Tale

Every now and then your friends tell you a fictional tale- and sometimes you have to pass it along for the lesson involved…

Once upon a time, a small group of people went hiking out west. Group A was in a car. When the driver of Group A parked, someone told them that they were way out of the parking lines. Fine. So Driver went to adjust the park job.


But there was one small problem-

Passenger was still getting back into the car when Driver was readjusting…and Passenger was injured because, you know, the car was moving, and the Passenger was half in and half out…

So Driver takes Passenger to the hospital.


Driver drops Passenger off at the ER. And then Driver leaves. Because the group is going out to dinner. And Driver has to meet the others for dinner.

So Driver basically ran over Passenger, and then left her.

And Oh, as she dropped her off at ER, she made sure to say:

Please don’t tell your insurance , say I wasn’t involved. I don’t want my rates to go up.

What’s the lesson? you ask…

The lesson is…when your wife says that someone is not a nice person…believe her…

The Numbers

Our health insurance company makes us get a basic blood panel every year. Ok. they don’t “make” us, but we get incentivized…money put into a spending account that can be used for health related expenses.


So I had made my appointment for my bloodwork- I was trying to get all this out of the way, so my scheduled slot was 1:10 pm. Which means, for an accurate reading, I need to have fasted for at least eight hours.

So I get to the test site, having fasted since maybe 8pm the night before, and the nurse does my workup. My blood pressure was so low she asked me three times what my normal blood pressure is. (for the record- my readings are to the low end of the normal scale). My blood sugar was also very low. (again- no diabetes or meds…just a blood sugar level that is normally in the low range of normal)

As I was gathering my paperwork to leave, the nurse said to me: “You should NEVER do one of those intermittent fasting diets, unless you are being strictly monitored. And maybe carry around a little snack with you if you ever feel lightheaded.”

So today’s PSA- don’t do any sort of diet which requires you to go without food for periods of time without talking to a health care provider. These diets, while fine for some, are not really good for everyone.

Also- know you basic numbers, so that you can be aware if anything seems “off”. By knowing my “normal” I was able to put the nurse at ease, even if she did want to go and get me a sugar cookie and a glass of ginger ale…

Knowing your blood pressure, your blood sugar…these are just forms of self care. There is nothing “indulgent” about this- it’s just common sense.