Getting Personal #198: Exhaustion

Image Credit: “The Exhaustion Is Real” – The New York Times

I’ve been struggling this month, big time.


Maybe it’s the weather? Here in Virginia, it’s been very mild for January. There have been several days where it’s been above 65 degrees. Now, in the middle of the month, it’s settling back down to chilly and cold. It’s been hovering around 40-45 degrees in the last few days.


I feel like a big failure. I set so many goals at the beginning of the month, and I feel like I’ve already failed all of them.

I mean, how hard is it to write two blog posts a week? But, every night since January 2nd, especially work nights, I’ve come home and not wanted to look at another computer screen. But, at the same time, I’ve watched hours of TV with Al, and buried my nose in Facebook on my phone or games on my iPad. It’s like my brain went into default decompression every night.

I didn’t look at my emails for at least a week, and there were more than 1,000 by the weekend after New Year’s.

And I feel really bad even writing this out – I have NOTHING to complain about. I have my husband and my dogs. I’m not running on fragmented sleep like many I know – Parents, caregivers, those with chronic illnesses, and others. I have it easy.


I know this is part of my anxiety lying to me, but I feel a bit better now getting it out on “paper.”


Writing this short post has actually helped a lot, believe it or not. This is part of the reason why I write. I “brain dump” – I talk it out, I use Post-It Notes at work, and I have my phone close by to use the Notes app. I think getting back into journaling – Actual handwriting – is a good goal for February. I’m involved with enough screens as it is.

In fact, after I finish this post, I’m shutting off all the screens and going to dive back into Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #197: Thirteenth TBR Recap

Image Credit: Good Housekeeping

Welcome back!


Here’s what I’ve read since my last TBR update:

  1. Buckey, Sarah Masters, The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery
  2. Goldstein, Amy, Janesville: An American Story
  3. Hupfield, Stanley F., Political Malpractice: How the Politicians Made a Mess of Health Reform (DNF)
  4. Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban *Re-Read* (In Progress)
  5. Vaughan, Brian K., Paper Girls Volume 1
  6. Welteroth, Elaine, More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)

Removing from Laura Beth’s TBR

  1. Conley, Garrard, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
  2. King, Stephen, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft *Re-Read*
  3. MacNeal, Elizabeth, The Doll Factory
  4. Oviatt, Didi, Search for Maylee
  5. Reid, Taylor Jenkins, Daisy Jones & The Six
  6. Ware, Ruth, In A Dark, Dark Wood

Removal Rate: 6/9 = 67%


Keep & Re-Classify – Laura Beth’s Updated TBR

  1. Brunt, Carol Rifka, Tell The Wolves I’m Home
  2. Polacco, Patricia, Thank You, Mr. Falker
  3. Sanchez, Alex, Rainbow High

Keep Rate: 3/9 = 33%


Adding to the TBR

  1. Betz-Hamilton, Axton, The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity
  2. Elliott, T.E., Loved by the Beast: A Historical Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
  3. Jennings, Ken, Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs
  4. Westover, Tara, Educated
  5. Wilkinson, Lauren, American Spy

So, my current TBR is 8 books.

Do you have a TBR?

What book are you looking forward to reading next?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #196: January Goals

Image Credit: Pinterest

Welcome back! Happy New Year, friends! Welcome to 2020 – A new year, and a new decade!


Here are my goals for the month of January:

  1. Finish the first read-through of my novel in PDF form.
  2. Print out the first draft, and begin editing it by hand.
  3. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  4. Start my spreadsheet for cataloging my American Girl items to sell.
  5. Deep clean the living room.
  6. Go through at least three boxes in my office.
  7. Make an appointment with a new eye doctor.
  8. Read my Daily Guideposts 2020 book every day.
  9. Celebrate P.E.O. Founders Day 2020.
  10. Celebrate Al’s birthday!
  11. Celebrate Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary.
  12. Publish at least two blog posts every week.
  13. Purchase photo canvases for the living room.
  14. Get back to a regular cleaning schedule.
  15. Make at least one thrift store run with donations.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of January?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #195: December Goals Recap

Image Credit: The Trends 24

Happy New Year!

Here’s the link to my December Goals post: Getting Personal #192: December Goals.

  1. Donate blood. — Did not accomplish.
  2. Publish all outstanding Tag posts where I’ve been tagged. — Did not accomplish.
  3. Make at least one thrift store run. — Accomplished!
  4. Write at least two Book Reviews. — Accomplished!
  5. Clear more clutter. — Accomplished!
  6. Work in my office for an hour each weekend. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
  8. Sponsor Christmas gifts for two local children. — Accomplished!
  9. Start my spreadsheet for cataloging all my American Girl items to sell. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Celebrate Phineas and Ferb’s Gotcha Day! — Accomplished!
  11. Enjoy Al’s company holiday party. — Accomplished!
  12. Participate in my P.E.O. chapter’s gift wrapping fundraiser. — Accomplished!
  13. Enjoy Christmas! — Accomplished!
  14. Enjoy New Year’s! — Accomplished!

December was far busier and a bit more stressful than I would have liked. I didn’t write here on the blog very much, but I’m grateful for what I did accomplish. I had several meltdowns, but it was all because of my need to control and acting like I could handle everything. The truth is – I can only handle so much. Thankfully, Al was off work for most of the month, and I eased a lot of my anxiety (after the meltdowns happened) by asking him to help with the dishes and laundry when I was at work. In turn, I was less stressed going into Christmas.

Not to say that Christmas wasn’t stressful! We found ourselves at the emergency vet with Ferb on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, he’s okay. He gave us a good scare. He got overly nervous and stressed with all the activity and home improvement project noise in the house for the several days leading up to Christmas Eve. We had some medication left over when Phineas experienced similar symptoms last May, and one dose helped get things back to normal. Our vet is also wonderful – He called us the day after Christmas, after the office closed, and offered to get us the medication to the pharmacy closest to our house if we truly needed it. That one bottle cost us $13.50 on December 27th, and it’s like gold to us. We will always keep some on hand!

We hosted Christmas breakfast and opened gifts. We went to my parents for Christmas dinner, and had a wonderful time with family and friends. I was grateful to have a few days off during Christmas week, and then a day and a half off this week for New Year’s.

I read and reviewed three books this month: Janesville: An American Story, The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery, and Paper Girls Volume 1.

I also started reviewing the first draft of my novel in PDF form – I’m almost done. I’m looking forward to printing it out this weekend, and starting to edit by hand. I also received incredible feedback from my friend and fellow writer, Mike H., and can’t wait to dive into his comments.


Did you have any goals for the month of December?

Come back later today to see my January Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #194: My Favorite Things of 2019

Image Credit: Quote Master

So, before starting the lists of favorites, here’s my tally for books and Book Reviews for 2019:

Ratings Tally

  • 5 stars: 4
  • 4 1/2 stars: 5
  • 4 stars: 5
  • 3 1/2 stars: 2
  • 3 stars: 0
  • 2 1/2 stars: 0
  • 2 stars: 0
  • 1 1/2 stars: 0
  • 1 star: 0

ARC Reviews – Zero this year. Here’s to more in 2020.


Now, on to my favorites!

Favorite Books

Favorite Movies

  • Avengers: Endgame
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • A Girl Like Her
  • Blinded by the Light
  • Captain Marvel
  • Dolemite Is My Name
  • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  • Frozen II
  • Long Shot
  • Midway
  • Shazam!
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home
  • The Devil We Know
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Favorite TV Shows

  • The Act (Hulu)
  • Cold Case (Netflix)
  • Emergence (Hulu)
  • Flint Town (Netflix)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – Seasons 2 – 6 (Hulu)
  • Mindhunter (Netflix)
  • Stranger Things – Seasons 1, 2, and 3 (Netflix)
  • Sesame Street 50th Anniversary Special (PBS)
  • The Orville – Seasons 1 and 2 (Hulu)
  • The Passage – Season 1 (Hulu)

Favorite Podcasts

  • Aftermath
  • American Girls
  • Bag Man
  • Cold
  • Dateline NBC
  • Forensic Files
  • Not Guilty
  • The City
  • The Dream
  • The Thing About Pam
  • Today in True Crime
  • Visitations

Well, that wraps up my favorite things for 2019!

What about you? What were some of your favorite things of the year?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #192: December Goals

Image Credit: Love This Pic

Hello, December! It’s the last month of 2019. Wow!!

Here are my goals for the month of December:

  1. Donate blood.
  2. Publish all outstanding Tag posts where I’ve been tagged.
  3. Make at least one thrift store run.
  4. Write at least two Book Reviews.
  5. Clear more clutter.
  6. Work in my office for an hour each weekend.
  7. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  8. Sponsor Christmas gifts for two local children.
  9. Start my spreadsheet for cataloging all my American Girl items to sell.
  10. Celebrate Phineas and Ferb’s Gotcha Day!
  11. Enjoy Al’s company holiday party.
  12. Participate in my P.E.O. chapter’s gift wrapping fundraiser.
  13. Enjoy Christmas!
  14. Enjoy New Year’s!

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of December?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #191: November Goals Recap

Image Credit: Twitter

November was quite a busy month!


Here’s the link to my November Goals post: Getting Personal #189: November Goals.

  1. Celebrate Lane’s milestone birthday. — Accomplished!
  2. Participate in the P.E.O. Reciprocity Rally in Richmond. — Accomplished!
  3. Celebrate four years of marriage with Al! — Accomplished!
  4. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2019. — Accomplished!
  5. Publish all outstanding Tag posts where I’ve been tagged. — Did not accomplish.
  6. Make at least one thrift store run. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Explore The Great Exchange. — Accomplished!
  8. Celebrate multiple birthdays! — Accomplished!
  9. Enjoy Thanksgiving! — Accomplished!
  10. See A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. — Accomplished!
  11. Write at least two Book Reviews. — Did not accomplish.
  12. Clear more clutter. — Did not accomplish.
  13. Work in my office for an hour each weekend. — Did not accomplish.
  14. Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.

November was a really busy month! Look for a blog post next week about my NaNoWriMo 2019 experience.

The first weekend of November was Lane’s epic 30th birthday celebration! On Friday night, we did an awesome escape room called “The Kidnapping” at Breakout Games in Virginia Beach.

Then, we went to the Airbnb she’d found, it was close to the Chesapeake Bay. It was an adorable house. We had a blast. Everyone brought food, and we all got to know each other better. There was also a small Spice Girls sing-along.

On Saturday morning, the fabulous make-up artist, Sydney, arrived. Several of us had our hair and makeup done. We left the Airbnb and headed to Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield. We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day!

Image Credit: Nick Boris
Image Credit: Nick Boris
Image Credit: Nick Boris

The following weekend was the Reciprocity Rally, held at the Henrico County Public Library – Varina, outside of Richmond. There were 75 women in the conference / meeting room, along with delicious fall goodies. After the rally, where we learned about leadership styles and ideas for membership, members of the 2022 Convention Committee gathered. It will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Portsmouth! I’m so excited that it’s so close to my house! We had a great carpool group, too.

Our wedding anniversary was November 14th. We went to work, and then celebrated at Decoys Seafood. This is the “hat trick” of restaurants that are owned by the same people. We went to River Stone Chophouse in 2017, and Vintage Tavern in 2018. We had a wonderful meal. I also recognized our server, Alexander, who was in youth group with me years ago. He went out of his way to make our night special – He gave us a moscato toast, and vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. We had enough food left over to have dinner taken care of on Friday! We both blame the crab dip – Excellent, but it also filled us up.

There were multiple birthdays as well. Lane, Bruce, Kristian, Grandpa Stricker, and Nick!

I finished one book this month: Book Review #81: “More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)”

I took my mom to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Tuesday, November 26th. She had seen it once before, but knew she’d missed stuff. It’s definitely one of my favorite movies of the year. Tom Hanks did an excellent job. And the story was really good. I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

Bruce, Al, and I also went to see Midway the Friday before Thanksgiving. It was also well-done. Al’s grandpa served on the USS Yorktown during the battle.

Now that November is over, I plan to dedicate the month of December to de-cluttering and organizing. I’m tired of the state of my office, and I’m on a deadline to get it clean now. I have until February to get it ship-shape, since my P.E.O. chapter is coming to my house to learn about American Girl!


Did you have any goals for the month of November?

Come back tomorrow to see my December Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂