Must Love Books!

The number one item on my list of 13 13’s in 2013 was to read 13 books for pleasure which I’ve gone above and beyond. And I know I’ve gone above and beyond because I listed the books I could remember on my update post last month and because I’ve read 12 books in November. Yes, in the short 25 days of November, I have finished 12 books.

So, one night about a month ago, I started searching for free books to download to my Kindle. I downloaded two or three books and promptly forgot about them (which is very typical for me).

cover-llpbt-smallOne of the books that I downloaded was by Heather Wardell titled Life, Love and a Polar Bear Tattoo. This is the first book in the Toronto Series.

Before I go any further, I need to explain one of my little idiosyncrasies. First, I love a good series – movie, book, television – love, love, love. Second, I’ve been known to binge – books, television, food. I watched the entire first 5 seasons of Breaking Bad before the final 8 episodes aired probably within a month. Finally, I have to read books in order in a series. For example, during this same book search I downloaded a book that I read and later found out to be the fourth in a series of five. I had not further interest in the books. I couldn’t go back, I already knew too much.

So, now that you know that I’m certifiable, we can move forward.

Oh crap, I had another one. I can’t but a book down once I’ve started. I stayed up until 1 a.m. last night finishing book #12, which I started at 7:30 p.m. Yes, I read the entire book with a few potty breaks. And when I moved from the couch to the bed. And as I crawled into bed, I promised myself I would read for one more hour then go to sleep. I broke that promise.

Now we can move forward.

cover-collectionvolume1This book set in my Kindle for few weeks. On November 3rd, I started it. On November 5th, I purchased the Toronto Collection Volume One.

Go Small or Go Home
Planning to Live
Stir Until Thoroughly Confused
A Life that Fits



On November 14th, I purchased the Toronto Collection Volume Two.

Live Out Loud
Blank Slate Kate
Finding My Happy Pace
All At Sea

We’re currently up to 9 books. Stick with me here kiddos. After I wrapped up Volume Two, I wanted to see what else was out there. I mean, this couldn’t be the end, right? I was correct. Last Thursday night I downloaded the final three books available in the series. The next book comes out on December 4th and according to Heather’s website (we’re totally on a first name basis), there will be a collection. However, I couldn’t wait.

Good to Myself
Pink is a Four Letter Word
Everybody’s Got a Story

Slightly crazy, yep. But this is just such a good series and here are just a few reason’s why I think so.

1. The books are numbered. There is no confusion. Toronto Series #3, Toronto Series #10, etc. There is no getting confused…unless you can’t count. If that’s the case, we have bigger issues.

2. They are all loosely based on one another. For example, you meet Kegan in book #1, but then you also get an update on his life in several of the other books. Other characters have interactions with him or dine at his restaurant or whatever. It was just such a cool connection for me. I’ve never been one to enjoy the “and they lived happily ever after” ending. I like to know if they got married, had babies, won the race, whatever. I get invested. I need to know. And with this series, you do know.

3. If you haven’t noticed, this is most definitely chic-lit. And if you’ve been on this blog a few times, you know I love chic-lit. However, I’ve grown tired of the poor, single 22 year-old who was sure she would never find love in her live. Seriously, if your character is 22 and desperate for love, I’m probably not going to believe it. Heather’s female characters between 28 and 40 years old and, of course, looking for love. Guess what? This 35 year-old single girl can identify with these women looking for love.

4. I feel like they are more real life than most chic-lit. Everybody has a job, a life, friends, family, issues just like in real life…or at least my life. They touch on serious issues. There’s sex but you don’t feel like the relationships are built only on sex. I feel like I could be in some of these scenes.

5. Happily ever after isn’t always the way you think. I admit, I had to put Planning to Live in the freezer for a while to collect myself. (If you get this reference without watching the video, we may be best friends.)

6. My dream man in a character named Andrew. Heather, please make him real for me. K. Thanks!

If you can overlook my complete obsessive nature, I would recommend this series. And you must do them in order. Or I might have to go all OCD on your book lovin’ booty!

Dear Heather – Thank you for an amazing series! You have earned a loyal reader for as long as the Toronto Series lasts. And because of Facebook and your web site, I know I have at least three more!

(Im)patiently waiting December 4th!


Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, this happened.

Screenshot 2013-11-23 13.46.51Yep, I’ve been a California resident for a full year! And what a year it has been! While this year has probably been one of the most difficult I have faced, it is still the best decision I have ever made.

The Good:

  • The weather – I once thought that I wanted to live somewhere warm all year round. However, I have learned that I love the seasonal changes and I love sunshine.
  • The area – 30 minutes from San Francisco, 30 minutes from Napa – perfection!
  • Being lost – I love exploring new areas and with that comes getting lost. Yes, I get lost quite often. This is typically something that would stress me out; however, I’ve learned to find joy. You never know what’s just around the bend.
  • My family – My family has been so supportive of my adventure, it amazes me.

The Bad:

  • The job – While I am listing this under “the bad”, I knew what I was getting into before I step foot on the plane. I knew it would be challenging. I knew I was up against the “boys club”. However, I thought I would be part of a duo.
  • Belize – The better part of my duo left me and ran away with her handsome husband to Belize. Yep, Amber abandoned me. And I say that full of love! I love that she and Greg are doing exactly what they want to do and exploring the world. I also know I will always have a place to vacation. I do, however, miss my buddies more than they will ever know.
  • My family – I miss them every day. Thank goodness for Skype.

The Ugly:

  • My weight – It’s kind of like the freshman 15 all over again, except this time I’m didn’t start as a cute little 125 pounder.
  • My family – Last week the building my brother was in was hit by a tornado. He’s fine and all is well, but I have never been so scared and angry at myself for being 3,000 miles away. There was nothing I could do so it wouldn’t matter if I were there or not.

It hasn’t been perfect and at times it has been down right hard. I’m a tough girl and I love the challenge. Next up – time to find some love!


The Single Woman’s 30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 16

Day-16-If-you-planted-aI have always wanted to do a time capsule, especially when I saw the gang on 90210 do one. Remember, David put Scott’s cowboy hat in it right after he killed himself playing with a gun?!? (I still heart David Silver!)

In my time capsule, I would place:

1. A current newspaper so I could remember what happened on this date 20 years ago.

2. A CD with my top 20 favorite songs. Probably also a portable CD player since those may be gone in 20 years. Probably not, but I worry about things like that.

3. A few of my favorite photos of friends and family.

4. A letter to me describing the current state of my life, the world, and what I hope to have accomplished by the time this is opened.

5. I love my celebrity gossip! I would put in a few celeb rags – InTouch, Inquirer, People and maybe a Vogue. I think it would be fun to play “where are they now” with today’s pop culture.

What am I missing?

The Single Woman’s 30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 14

Day-14I used to think that bliss could only happen on BIG occasions – your wedding, the birth of a child – you know, BIG things.

I spent a lot of time searching for bliss and being disappointed that I couldn’t find it. It was pretty flippin’ depressing. And then a friend (OK, therapist) suggested that I find bliss in every day. I told her that she was completely off her rocker, but she challenged me. And I’m stubborn, especially when challenged. So I kept a bliss journal, and you know what, there is bliss in every day. Every single day.

Just a few examples:

  • Waking up on my own – no alarm, just gently waking up and the feeling of peace.
  • Seeing something new. A friend and I went to Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago. The highlight of the trip was not the shopping or casino….it was driving around the lake – two hours of sitting in the car, driving around the lake. I was in heaven.
  • Snuggling in clean, just out of the drier, sheets.
  • An unexpected hug from my nieces or nephew.

Every. Single. Day.

Blissfully yours!



The Single Woman’s 30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 13

Day-13It was a lovely spring morning in April 1978 when I was first introduced to the last person I texted, even though we had been together for nine months prior. 🙂

My momma! I don’t even know how to begin to talk about my relationship with my mom.

My mom is the one constant in my life. (Even when I was the devil child around age 13.) She attended all of my games and events. Took me and my friends to practices, dances or whatever we “needed” to do. My friends loved being at my house, well, because I’m awesome – and because of my mom. She was just a great mom. High school friends remember fresh cookies, slumber parties and awesome music (The Beatles, Bee Gees, Elton John).

She’s even a published author…of romance novels! Not the slutty ones though. She always said that she wanted her daughter (me) and mother to be able to read her novels without being mortified about the content. I loved ready the manuscripts. She’d print them out chapter by chapter and place in a box (think envelope office supply box or hanging folder box). While I was in high school, she took a sabbatical from work to focus on her writing. I remember going to sleep listening to her typing away and being at such peace.

After she and my dad divorced, I always worried about her. My dad was the first guy she dated. But you know what, she survived and I believe she is truly happy with her life today. She learned to make it on her own and taught me so much more than she probably even knows. I feel like I’ve learned more from her in the last 15 years than in the first 20 years of my life.

And in the process, she really has become my best friend. We talk almost daily, even with the three hour time difference. She’s still my mother can gets made a me for not having an earthquake kit or worries about me when I’m sick, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a true friendship.

I’m sure I have a million and one stories that could illustrate my point but there is this watery stuff blinding my eyes. I better stop before it gets any worse.

Love you momma!

The Single Woman’s 30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 12

Day-12-300x300I’m a bit behind in my challenge but I’m not giving up – I will finish all 30 days!!

I think this is probably the toughest day yet. I am my own worst enemy when it come to saying something nice about myself. It doesn’t come easy to me. I used to be one of those girls who couldn’t take a compliment…until I realized how annoying that is. So instead, I smile, say thank you, and mentally determine that you are completely ridiculous.

I have a college degree. I have a master degree. I’m pretty self-sufficient. I’ve finished two half-marathons. I’ve left abusive relationships, survived and gained strength from those relationships. These are all things that I am very proud of and very well should be. At this moment, I think I’m most proud of following through on a dream I’ve had for decades (yes decades – I’m old).

When I was 17, I had the opportunity to go on a class trip to San Francisco, California with the high school journalism department. All it took was 5 days and I was in love with the city, the bay area, the west coast – I could not wait to get back there. And 17 years later, I finally fulfilled my dream and moved to the bay area.

The dream fluctuated between Florida and California. At 23, I was ready to head to Ft. Myers, Florida. Then I met a guy and I stayed landlocked in Indiana. This same scenario happened again two more times. But when the most recent opportunity to head California appeared, I was gone. I knew that I had to do it for me. This move, this adventure, was for me.

And I have loved every minute of it!

The Single Woman’s 30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 11

Day-11If you’ve visited here before, you may remember, I hate dating. Hate. I pride myself on not feeling hate, let alone using the word; however, I hate dating.

Dating is awkward. There is the awkward questions, awkward answers, awkward silences. The whole dog and pony show is ridiculous. I think I’m going to take on Mandy’s rule of coffee first dates only. Even though I don’t drink coffee.

I’m pretty sure that after 5 minutes I’ve made up my opinion about my date which is really bad on my part, I know. Actually, I’m hoping that I’ll know within 5 minutes if he’s the one, as well. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?!

So, I hate dating so pretty much every first date is horrendous. Second or third dates are better.

There was the guy who asked to split the check. No biggie, I get it. Well, he picked up appetizers and one round of drinks, $30 + tip. We were having such a great time, we moved to the bar to continue the evening and watch a basketball game. That’s where he started taking shots with his beers. Notice the plural, multiple shots, multiple beers. So, when the $60 bar tab came, it was my turn to pay…because we split the check. Plus tip. He also set up a date with me for later that week and told me he’d call and confirm the time once he checked his calendar. Guess who didn’t call?

There was the guy that I met online who seemed pretty decent through email and phone calls. I met him at a local bar/restaurant for just a drink. He got there first and motioned for me at the door to his table. I thought it was weird that he didn’t get up, but whatever. Then we had very intense conversations over our one beer. I had already determined this was a “one and done” and told the waitress we were ready for the check. When the $6 check appeared, he grabbed it like he was going to pay then said “you owe me $3 plus tip.” I’m more than happy to split the check, but the way he acted was just odd. Because I had cash (which I never had), I gave him a $10 and said, “no worries, it’s on me” and handed it to the waitress motioning for her to keep the change. You would have thought I just sucker punched him! Once the waitress walked away, he whispered “do you realize you just gave her a $4 tip?”. I thanked him for the conversation, shook his hand and left quickly.

When I ordered a chicken caesar salad on a first date, my date responded with “oh, you’re one of those girls?”.  And I stayed with him for two years. Guess my d-bag radar wasn’t sharp that day.

I went on a group date once where I had a great time with the guy I was being set up with and really thought it was the start of something. We set up a one-on-one date for the next week. We were talking every day and thing seemed great until I asked if we could meet 30 minutes later than planned the next day. He was totally cool with it and asked why, which I totally expected. I told him I had an appointment to get my nails done and I didn’t want to be late meeting him. He got really quite and quickly got off the phone. About 30 minutes later, I got a text cancelling our date because he’s never dated a “girly-girl” before and doesn’t think he wants to. So, ladies, if you get your nails done, consider yourself a “girly-girl”.

Does this shed any light on my hatred of dating? And those are just the ones I haven’t blocked from my memory.

Until tomorrow!

The Single Woman’s 30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 10

Day-10Growing up, I absolutely hated my name – Pam. And Pamela was worse. Pamela was only used when I was in trouble or during attendance the first day of school when I politely requested to be called Pam.

And the list of nicknames…I could go on for days:

  • Spam
  • Spamela
  • Pammy/Pammie (This one I actually like…but only spelled with an “ie”…..unless you’re Lindy.
  • Peter Pam
  • Map
  • Mapela

And then there was the dreaded adolescent boy favorite: “Wham, Bam, Thank you Pam.”

Also, my mother’s name is Patricia or Pat. Pat and Pam, Pam and Pat. To this day people get us our names confused.

To make matters worse, when you look up Pamela in the traditional baby name book – it means “All Honey”.


Now over my last 35 years, I’ve become accustomed to Pam, Pamela and Pammie. My nieces and nephew know to call me “Aunt Pammie” or get tickled mercilessly.

So, I was really not looking forward to this post until I found this nifty site on the interwebs.

How cool that my name came from a story?! Now I feel like I should become one with said story, but we’ll see.

And a “soul urge” and “expression” number – might be in heaven – I love this stuff.  My soul urge number is so me – to a T. My expression number is about right until the part of being in the limelight…no way. I’m the woman behind the curtain making sure everything is perfect.

I guess to actually answer this challenge question – Talk about how my name fits or doesn’t fit me. Totally fits! Because I am sweet as honey.

I’ll leave you on that sweet note.