Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back / Moving Forward 2016 - 2017 Edition

   This post is usually where I grade my goals for the year.  However, this year will be REALLY easy because I forgot to make any goals, so I guess I did pretty well.  😊
   Well, I guess that's not entirely true. I did make my "Read 52 books in 52 weeks" goal for Goodreads. And I finished my last book this morning.  It was "Montana 1948."  It was very good and fast read. I recommend it.  If anyone wants to check out my list, please visit my "Year in Books" on my Goodreads page: 

   But other than that - I didn't make any goals, so I guess I'll just reflect on what I did this year:

  • The big thing that I did this year is I learned how to knit and I LOVE it.  Seriously addicted.  I took an Intro class at Haus of Yarn back in March and haven't stopped knitting since.  I even started a monthly crafting group and have started recruiting others to knit with me.  I'm such a geek about knitting that I have favorite yarns and needles (yes, there are major differences between needles - who knew?).  I even make it a point to visit yarn stores when I travel!  It's insane!  But it's so much fun and it's very cool to have someone comment on something you're wearing and you say "Oh - I made this."  
  • Visited Vegas.  I know this might not seem like that much of an accomplishment for most, but I hadn't been to Vegas since I was 9 years old.  It's changed a bit since then.  We went for my Mother-in-Law's birthday, and part of the celebration included going to see Zumanity.  If you haven't heard of this show, look it up.  It's crazy and an interesting choice of show to see with your Mother-in-Law (she had a friend who worked there and gave us tickets).  Lots of laughs though.
  • I started racing trails, which is something I said I would never do.  Lesson learned, huh?  I have nearly killed myself several times because trail running is hard, y'all.  But running through mud is fun, so I keep doing it.  
  • Completed two Half-Ironmans - Raleigh and Muncie.  Sure - they weren't my best races time-wise, but both races were a lot of fun and I got to spend time with good friends. 
  • Raced the New York Freakin' Marathon!!  This was huge and something I will remember for the rest of my life.  If you're a runner, you NEED to do this race.
  • Went to Seattle.  Dudley and I took a great trip to Washington State.  We hit Seattle, Bainbridge Island and Tacoma.  It's a lovely area and we can't wait to go back.  And I ran a half-marathon while I was there, which brings to my race map...

  • I got to fill in Washington, North Carolina and New York this year!  Not a huge advancement, but I'm getting there.
  • We still have a home full of dogs.  I don't talk about that very much, but we are involved with Big Fluffy Dog Rescue and have fostered for two years.  Dudley and I currently have two fosters right now, along with our three residents.  If anyone is ever looking for a dog - talk to me.  I can find you a dog!    
  • And finally, on a very sad note, I lost my grandmother in 2016.  She was 101 years old and active until the very end.  We miss her, but were fortunate she was with us for as long as she was.  
   As far as next year?  I don't know.  I'll still read a lot, but I probably won't do the 52 in 52 again.  Knitting has eaten into my reading time, so maybe I'll cut the book number in half.  We'll see.  I'm kind of looking forward to just seeing what comes along!! 
   I hope everyone has a wonderful 2017!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

What's Kristine Reading - December Edition

   Wow- this month has really flown by!  Christmas is only four days away, which also means that I have about a week and a half left in my 2016 reading challenge.  Thanks to my new knitting addiction, it's been tougher to get those 52 books in this year, but I'm currently on track to finish them all. I'll write more about that in a post next week, because THIS post is about something I read this month.  And that is "Wonderful Tonight" by Pattie Boyd.

   For those who don't know, I'm a huge Beatles fan and have been for as long as I have been listening to music.  I was obsessed with them as a kid, which is pretty funny considering they weren't a current band.  My friends all had posters of whatever teen sensation was hot at the moment on their walls, and I had pinned up good old John, Paul, George and Ringo.  To this day, I still have statues of the Fab Four on display in our house.  They were given to me for Christmas when I as in 7th or 8th grade and they creep my husband out to no end, but I love them. 
   Even as a child, I was a voracious reader and I read whatever books I could find on the boys from Liverpool, so I have known of Pattie Boyd, George Harrison's first wife, for decades.  Considering she is known as THE musical muse of the 1960's, I was looking forward to this book and hearing about her life from her perspective.
   A little backstory for those who aren't familiar with Pattie and her place in rock history - she is the inspiration behind The Beatles "I Need You" and "Something" (which is one of my favorite songs of all time).  She also famously inspired Clapton's anthem of unrequited love "Layla."  As I mentioned, she was George Harrison's first wife.  Then 19 and a local model, she met George in 1964 while on the set of "A Hard Day's Night," where she was cast as a schoolgirl.  Harrison was immediately smitten with Boyd, and (according to Boyd) proposed before even asking her out, which she declined because she was seriously dating someone else.  She promptly went home, dumped her boyfriend and started dating Harrison soon after.  They married in January 1966.  George became good friends with Eric Clapton in the late 1960's.  Clapton soon fell in love with Pattie and so created one of the infamous love triangles in rock & roll history.  Clapton pursued Pattie even though she was married to Harrison, writing such tormented songs as the aforementioned "Layla" during his pursuit.  At one point, Clapton blatantly admitted to Harrison "I have to tell you, man, I'm in love with your wife."
   Eventually, Harrison and Boyd broke up, and Boyd married Clapton.  They stayed together through a few drug and alcohol-fueled years before divorcing when Clapton revealed he was having a baby with an Italian model.  (This child, Conor, tragically died after falling from a high-rise window in New York City and was the inspiration behind Clapton's "Tears in Heaven").
   Now, from that backstory, you would think this book would be AMAZING.  What a life this woman had!  She married not one but two of rock's greatest legends and inspired some of their best work!  (Clapton's "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Wonderful Tonight" were also written about her.)  But unfortunately, the book kind of fell flat.  From what I can tell, Boyd spent a good portion of the 60's and 70's in an alcohol and drug-induced stupor.  She probably doesn't remember a whole lot of it, especially 30 years after the fact (this book was published in 2007).  And that's how the book reads.  It jumps around in time and is kind of scattered. And honestly, Boyd doesn't come off as all that interesting.  I'm sure she has some depth to her personality, but the book made her come off like some pretty fangirl who got lucky and married a rock star - twice.  Yes, she was very pretty, but a surely there had to be more to her than her face to inspire two musical geniuses.  Unfortunately, this book doesn't show it.