Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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Happy New Year & Looking Back


I wish some days, that I could hide out in my Snuggie

Every year, I used to diligently write out my New Year’s Resolutions.  Some years, the list was long, and other years, I decided to take it easy on myself and just put one or two items.  One thing is always the same, on December 31, I take a look at what I wrote the year before to see how close I came to whatever my goals were.  I took a look today, and interestingly, I only wrote 3 things last year and only one could truly be considered a resolution: 1) 2017 will be a year of change, 2) Change jobs (that’s all I wrote for that) and 3) Year of Yes.

The last sentence simply meant that I had to say yes to everything.  Every time someone asked me to do something, I had to say yes, unless there was an excellent reason not to.  I love trying new things and sometimes, it’s just about saying yes to an opportunity.  That’s something that will be a lifelong goal for me – no is only permitted for things that are unhealthy, plain gross or criminal (no using crack, eating boogers or jumping out of a plane without a parachute), no meat (except chicken or fish – I can’t bear to) or no if there is a more urgent manner.  Other than that, nothing is off the table.

The second statement, or the only resolution in the small list, change jobs, did happen.  Along with that came a sense of work/life balance that I’ve never had.  I now have the time to do things, be places, run errands and see my friends and family.  Things that were once ignored are now seen.  When I walk down the street, my head isn’t in my iPhone so that I can just answer one more email.  I see things that were always there that I have never noticed before.  Gone are the deep, dark circles that had a permanent residence under my eyes.  I’m more present when I’m with people, and can actually pay attention to them without constantly checking my emails.  I never have that harried, pressured feeling that I used to have, and that’s good for my health too.  Unemployment was short – ten weeks – but, thoroughly enjoyable.  It was busy in a way that I wasn’t expecting, but I did have time to take a course, meet up with friends and catch up on some life things that I had been putting off.  I’ve always had the need to experience things and unemployment, weirdly, was something that I wanted to try out.

Last, but not least, the white elephant in the room – 2017 will be a year of change.  I weirdly felt this last New Year’s Eve.  Other than just the job, there have been sweeping changes that have mostly been out of my control and that some days felt like they may break my heart.  When illness falls on people you love, in many ways, it hurts more deeply and profoundly than when it happens to you.  When you are the patient, in many ways, you are steering your ship.  What you do can help or hurt you.  You know exactly how you feel and what you wish people would do for you.

When you are the observer and sometime care giver, it’s a different case.  You have to learn everything without a manual.  You become adept at things that you probably never wanted to learn.  You have to accept things for what they are, and give yourself time to get to the point of acceptance.  Like the patient, your life changes in ways that you never wanted, but unlike the patient, you have to step aside and realize that you aren’t the important person in the equation – you are a support system that needs to learn how to take care of yourself while putting yourself second.  You have to be optimistic enough to know that there will be days that are good, and prepared to know that there will be some days that will be very, very bad where you feel helpless or even worse, hopeless, only to bounce back again. Sometimes knowing that you will feel happy again, you will laugh again and you will get through the worst days does help.  So does knowing that you have people that care and support you.

The most important lesson that I’ve learned this year and that I will carry with me forever, is that people don’t always know how important that they are to you.  I’ve never been the best at telling people how much they mean to me.  I force myself at times, but in general, I don’t do it often enough.  It’s so cliche, but you never know what can happen in life and how important of a message this is for someone to hear.  I’m going to be kind to myself this year and not bog myself down with too many resolutions, but one thing that I will try to be better at is letting people know what they mean to me and be there for them if they need a shoulder to cry on.  Some days, the support that I received was beyond what I was expecting, and I’m very grateful.

Whether I know you or you just drop by to read my little blog, I’m wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy 2018!



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London Can You Wait – A Review

London Can You Wait

Image courtesy of JacquelynMiddleton.com

Many of you who know me, or have read my blog know that I’m an avid reader.  I’m currently trying to read 50 books this year, but I think I’m going to have to settle for 40 – I’m only on number 37 now.  Aim high and manage your expectations I say.  I looked back at the books that I’ve read this year, and let’s just say that my tastes run a little to the depressing/critically acclaimed side of the bookstore.  Books read include “First They Killed My Father”, “The Cellist of Sarajevo”, “House of Sand and Fog”, “Girl With the Pearl Earring” and “The Colour of Our Sky”.  All excellent, but the common thread is that although some may have uplifting moments, generally speaking, they aren’t the happiest books that I’ve ever read.  You wouldn’t catch me smiling to myself as I flipped the pages of these tomes on the subway.  That is why I was grateful to find out that my friend, author Jacquelyn Middleton was publishing a sequel to her popular book “London Belongs to Me”.

“London, Can You Wait?” was a breath of fresh air.  Sometimes, in life, things get heavy, and you need something to escape to and that’s exactly what this was for me.  The follow up novel picks up a year after the end of her first book with her heroine Alex and her boyfriend Mark together and enjoying their relationship.  It was a very different book from “London Belongs to Me”.  Her first novel was great – you can read my review here https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/london-belongs-to-me/.  That book could very well be classified as Young Adult, but “London, Can You Wait?” takes a decidedly more adult spin on the tale of its two main characters.  We aren’t talking “50 Shades of Grey”, but I would say it was at least 5 shades of baby blue.

It’s definitely chick lit, but there is a part of the tale that is true to the original book – Alex suffers from panic attacks, and this makes the book a stand out from traditional women’s fiction.  It’s a real struggle for her, and it impacts her in various ways in the book.  It is a contributing factor that led to issues in her relationship with Mark, and it plays on her confidence making it relatable to people who suffer for panic attacks, and bringing a greater understanding to people like me who don’t have them.  It also explains how Alex deals with things and instead of feeling frustrated with her inaction at times, you get insight into why she makes the decisions that she does.

All of the likeable supporting characters from the first book are back and you learn more about their back stories.  You also hear more about Mark, her boyfriend in this book and understand his motivations.  I’m not going to spoil the story and tell you any other details, you can find those on other sites, or novel idea (pun intended), buy the book.  I will say that although some of the story rang a little untrue, like when Alex expects her actor boyfriend to cut back on acting roles abroad (as if), but, the drama is more than enough to capture and keep your attention.  You also don’t get as much of the touristy stuff that made book one so readable for me, but that makes sense since Alex is a resident of London now so she doesn’t have that new to the city mentality.  What you do get is an enjoyable read that feels more sophisticated than the original (although I really liked that book too).  Middleton has another success on her hands.  I plowed through the book in 3 days – c’mon, I have a job – and could have finished it in an afternoon if I had the time.  Congratulations Jackie – you have a winning formula.

You can buy this book from Indigo, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo and more by clicking here http://www.jacquelynmiddleton.com/book-store/354/  It can be read as a standalone, but you really should read “London Belongs to Me” to get the most out of the story.  Please don’t buy the book from pirated sites – the author doesn’t receive any royalties, and Jacquelyn Middleton poured her heart into this.  Stay tuned for my interview with her in the upcoming weeks.