Books I’ve Read in 2018


What follows is a list of all the books I’ve read in 2018. You can find them all through Google or your local library. Most of them were library books that I borrowed as e-bookis on my Kindle. The library is a great resource and it’s free!

I am currently reading four books; two will go into the 2019 “pile” and two are meant to be finished today, having read them daily throughout 2018:

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman

 Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling​

Women of the Bible: A One Year Devotional Study by Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda

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Travel – 15 Quick Tips When Visiting Belfast, NI


Recently, an acquaintance of mine left for a trip to Ireland on a group tour. Her travels were taking her to Ireland as well as Belfast in the North and as far north as the Giants Causeway. She had been asking for advice, and I thought it would be helpful to share some of those tidbits here.

1. You will not receive a bag with your purchases. 

Not even at the grocery store. You will need to bring your own reusable bag or pay 5p to receive one. I did notice that there weren’t plastic bags swirling around the streets in the breeze.

2. Bring an umbrella and a lightweight jacket.

We visited in August, and we wore our jackets every day. It was colder than I expected. As for rain, it will rain every day. Sometimes it’s no more than a mist that you would feel at a waterfall, but we had at least two downpours, and without an umbrella, we would have been soaked to our skin.

As I joked with my brother-in-law: Ask yourself if you’re still in Ireland. If the answer is yes, then you need to bring your umbrella.

3. Across the street from City Hall in Belfast is a large information center with great pamphlets, maps, and a gift shop. If you can’t get to that one, try and find an information center before you start wandering around. They are very helpful. Visit Belfast Welcome Center.

4. Around the corner and down the road a tiny bit is Carroll’s, an Irish gift shop with clothes, magnets, mugs, candy, everything and anything at a price range that makes something affordable for everyone.

5. The candy selection is amazing.
Even if you find something similar to what we have in the States, the use of local water and milk in the candymaking makes it spectacular.

6. Toffee. Eat all the toffee.
We can’t get good British toffee in the States. It is my go-to when I can get it.

Also, eat all the cheddar. 

7. Visit Titanic Belfast. It is an incredible museum dedicated to the building of the Titanic. I think they did a really wonderful job balancing their pride for building the great ship and the respect for the lives lost in the disaster. They also have plenty of on-site parking at a reasonable price, a cafe, and a gift shop.

8. St. George’s Market.

9. Botanic Gardens. One word of warning, there is very little parking in this area.

10. Wear comfortable shoes. There will be a lot of walking regardless of your prime mode of transportation.

11. Download maps to your smartphone or prints them out. If you can’t do that, get them right away, especially street maps, if only to get your bearings. We tend to drive in circles the first couple of days.

12. Carry cash. The general consensus is £200 to start and then use an ATM as needed.

Visa and MasterCard are taken at most places. 

Notify your bank that you will be traveling and for how long, so they don’t freeze your cards when you need them. (This includes your Debit/ATM card as well.)

From personal experience, I would not recommend Discover. In the two weeks we were there, we found two places that took them. Not even the petrol stations did.

13. £ Stores. Poundland, Pound World, All for a £. The same as our dollar stores, but everything’s £1.

14. Petrol is in litres; road signs are in miles. I have no idea why. If you find out, please let me know.

15. Leave space in your case to bring things back without having to pay baggage fees.

Titanic Belfast. Museum. (c)2018

Sherlock and Stewardesses


I’m looking at yesterday’s 365 post and I’m postponing the dusting. This morning’s chores took longer than I thought they would. First, it’s freezing. Unbelievably freezing. I went to Mass, got the few pics printed at CVS for my journal, got some groceries and cupcakes to deliver to my daughter at school, then home for breakfast. How exciting, right?

Looking at my list, and I’m thinking it’s a good thing I put a to-do list in that post so I have a road map. I’m not feeling particularly motivated other than motivated to keep reading The Jet Sex.

But that is my reward once I get through my list.

Jar done. *high five*

Time to shut down the computer and work on my green notebook. (Yeah, sorry, this post seems to be a blow-by-blow and I’ll hit post at the end for #7).

So I feel asleep – um….intentionally took a nap.

Actually, I watched A Study in Pink – first time. I could feel myself grinning at Sherlock and John’s chemistry. I really liked it. At least, I’ll be able to catch up easy enough. Second episode tomorrow when the kids go to school.

I’ve organized the green notebook. There are ten sections: Notes, Content Calendar, Ongoing Business, (a section for an event I’m part of), Fandom, Depression – Mental Health, Spirituality – Faith &
Religion, House – Buying & Maintenance (the experience and pitfalls, not the daily journaling about my household crap), and Money, Matters (mostly my personal money issues).

My next big original post will be about my financial difficulties. I know our situation is not unique, and sometimes we can help each other (not just in a monetary way). We do have a Go Fund page, and for anyone who’s followed our specific problems, I will have an update and a link.

I will also post my first piece of writing from my Endure 4 Kindness back in November. I didn’t get any pledges (hopefully, this will improve for next year’s event), but I pledged myself a single donation for the day ($15). The donations benefit the Random Acts organization. I have mentioned them before and I will link them in a future post. They are very worthy of your time and your money. There is no amount too small. Every little bit helps.

Currently, we are making dinner and I’ll be typing up the quick short things that I wrote during Advent.

After that, I will take some time with my new journal and then more of Vicki Vantoch’s book. She has a wonderful writing style; I’m sure that I will be sharing more about this book as I read it. When I read her dissertation, it brought back my own memories of wanting to be a stewardess once I realized that I couldn’t be a pilot. I was an enormous fan of Amelia Earhart’s and flying was a new thing. I remember a trip I took with my Dad to Toronto. I can picture my little white jacket and a patent leather white purse with one of those change purse clasp things to close it. I’m pretty sure that the hat I’m picturing on my messy head is a projection of the times; I don’t believe I ever had a fancy travel hat.

Whenever I’m asked what I wanted to be growing up, I could never remember. My parents worked for the post office and that was something I used to think about as well as for the police department in some capacity or a private eye like Jim Rockford, but somewhere in my latent memories was being a stewardess and flying. Today I am more afraid to fly than not, but I wasn’t afraid as a child. I was enthralled by the glamour that followed that job around. I can picture a blue dress and a matching nurse’s style cap, a small, triangular purse. I had wings from that first trip, which are since lost and we had a blue tote bag with a shoulder strap that said Pan Am on the side. It had two large pockets and zippers and since then (and probably before) I have a fondness for all kinds of bags, wallets, purses, and travel things.

But I digress.