#TheSundayPost XVIII | Goodbye 2023, Hallo, Hallo 2024! And, a Happy Saint Pat’s, to you, too!

Posted Sunday, 17 March, 2024 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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[Official Blurb] The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little. Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies. Link up once a week or once a month, you decide. Book haul can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books..share them!

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

And, what a wonderful New Year it is going to be!

I have taken a bit of an unplanned absence again from blogging regularly on Jorie Loves A Story – especially during the last several months – as reflective on how irregular my posts have become recently on my blog. (2023) was a bit of a difficult year for me as a book blogger – time was not a luxury I had a lot to spare and for whichever reason, whenever I did carve out space and time to blog – it either felt a bit rushed or more taxing than enjoyable to do. A lot of that stemmed from the fact my eyes needed the assistance of Progressive glasses – which I’ve mentioned previously during this series of updates and posts for #TheSundayPost.

Blessedly, for about a week and a handful of days now, I’ve been finding my life completely changed for the positive since they’ve arrived! (this was in late January!) If it weren’t for a co-worker who told me about Zenni Optical, I wouldn’t have them right now as the prices for glasses has escalated to such an extent that they are no longer affordable by any means. Zenni was a great option for me, as I ended up purchasing two pairs rather than one – as the secondary pair is for reading, blogging and knitting or anything up close and crafty! I am wicked thankful my co-worker took the time to tell me about the website and their services. Thereby, if your stateside and need glasses, I highly recommend them! I believe they shipped within a week of purchase, too.

So, that is the best news I can share – as it was a real struggle for me to read throughout (2023) as my eyes were just failing to see the words on the pages. It didn’t matter if I was reading large print either – as it just felt like my eyes were constantly out of focus and unable to discern what I was reading. It was proving to be very frustrating and of course, led to more than a few migraines as I was not accomplishing much at all except to over tax my already tired eyes. Yet, I missed reading and getting lost in the stories – so, I tried to read in smaller bursts of moments and still felt like I was treading water with futility to even attempt it. Thereby, as I was settling into trying to read some Sci Fi for #SciFiMonth this past November, I finally gave up the ship! It just wasn’t worth it anymore – and despite trying to write a few Sunday posts between November and January, to be honest with you, I was either too fatigued from work or too frustrated with the inability to see properly to even compose the posts themselves. This is why I took an unexpected absence and have only now just returnt online – both on my blog and on #bookstagram as well.

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In regards to my life behind the blog:

I would not consider myself a workaholic but I am quite sure if I were to reveal the hours I’ve worked since Thanksgiving, that might be the impression others might have of me. The truth is – I worked more hours over the Christmas holidays for one simple fact: there was NO ONE else to call in when quite literally EVERYONE called out. Even on the ‘managers only’ will work on Christmas Eve, guess who was called in? I knew it would happen though – as wherever you work, you know how things will go before they even happen if your in-step with your co-workers and their habits. I didn’t mind working over Christmas – as to be truthful, I’ve worked the last 3x Christmases and New Year’s and my Mum worked the 5x before mine, so in retrospect, we’re a holiday working family! And, that extends all the way back to my father who worked a LOT of holidays himself.

I spend a consider amount of time THINKING about reading, blogging and being socially bookish – whereas the amount of TIME I have to do those things is quite sproadically chaotic at the moment. I don’t have a dedicated day off – I have ‘half days’ off wherein I might work a partial day at one job or the other, and/or I could be double-stacked and work both jobs (spilt between day and night). Either way you slice it – I am working more than I am not working and sometimes, I admit, that does weigh on my heart and mind. I’ve missed having downtime to just unwind and chill.

Those were the days, eh?

And, yet, with 2024 just dawning into view (as I was writing this ahead of the New Year), I still remain hopeful I will be able to carve out a better work-life-balance as the months unfold forward. Now, if you were to tell me I relocated last year at the end of MARCH on the day I was meant to celebrate my 10th Blogoversary, I wouldn’t dare believe that that anniversay is nearly here ALL OVER AGAIN. Except, it will be the start of my 11th Year as a book blogger and it is just as wicked to celebrate as my 10th. In fact, moreso, as I am hopeful I can do a bit more this year as a reader and as a blogger than I could give to those passions throughout 2023. As I feel, last year was the year of angst and stress and time lost trying to sort out the balancing act of actively working 3x jobs and failing to find any proper time for myself and a way of living which didn’t involve work.

A few things have changed already – we have CATS again! Yes, we took the plunge and found a local rescue who allows you to visit with their cats and see if you can find a connection. We were going to visit with a mother and daughter but neither of them liked us (or you would be lead to believe when we were there by their reactions!) and that led us to our duo, our boys – a lovely black and grey tiger tabby and a big fluffy Garfield orange tabby – a bonded pair and the two cats we weren’t expecting to adopt but the two cats who found us and thereby said “Take us!”. It has been a strong learning curve as both of them have WAYY more energy than your typical 3 and 4 year old cats – but we think it might have to do with their previous lives and how they weren’t as free as they are with us now. They can be themselves and have the way of our home – whereas I think before they were severely restricted by where they could go and what they could do. We’re still sorting each other out – but their very loving cats and my anxiety and stress levels greatly reduced having them round. Except of course when they try our patience or become so naughty, you wonder how you can live with them as they get into different kinds of mischief and mayhem than our previously four cats did combined!

Laughs. So, there’s that – we’re cat people once more and we’re happy for it.

I’m also sorting out life wearing Progressive glasses and using readers for being crafty, reading, and blogging – which is an adjustment of its own kind and making. The biggest surprises have been just how much of my vision field was affected previously vs how much I can readily see and understand by sight nowadays! It is quite incredible and I am grateful for the change to have come at the start of a New Year, as it paves the road for 2024 to be a wicked good New Year for me and my vision.

Another reason I was offline as long as I was was due to my Dad. He had a lot of harder days than good – especially from November to December and extending through January and February, too. It is hard to put into words – but those were harder visits than anyone would want to have themselves. I keep holding my memories tight to mind but try to let those go as well when I’m round Dad. He’s different now and I understand that but sometimes the heart and mind don’t exactly know how to reconcile the differences. I do try to just take him where he is the day I’m with him and see where it goes from there and let it be as otherwise, it is just more emotional than it needs to be as I am sure you can imagine. For his part, he’s doing well – he’s in a good place with nurses who look after him and take care of his needs and that is a better place than he was a year ago. Time sometimes feels like it stands still with my Dad and other times, I feel like its passing us all by too quickly if that makes sense?!

In another revelation – I woke up knowing I was working today, as I always work Sundays, but without the knowledge of ‘which’ Sunday this particular Sunday is to the rest of the country. I only learnt it was Super Bowl Sunday as I was about to leave my shift and my boss said “Do you think we’ll all have a peaceful night knowing its the Super Bowl?” I just stared at him and said, “Huh? Oh, its that Sunday!” I could tell I landed on my face on that comment but really, it was the farest thing on my mind and even as I started to edit this post (so you can tell the longevity of this post and how long its been on EDIT and PAUSE), I had no intentions of seeing if you can stream the game as I find them boring and disappointing half the time I’ve bothered to search for them over the years. I remember watching one of the last Super Bowls with my Dad and we were both so annoyed with the teams – one seemed to be throwing it away with each missed goal or pass and the other team made it look too easy and there was no drama or tension, just goal after goal. The halftime show failed to intrigue us and we finally gave it up before the end and were equally disappointed in the final score the day after as it just felt like it was all foretold by the end of the first quarter!!

That was less than five years ago so if you watch these games, you might already know which one I’m referencing as it was painful just to watch it and realise that neither team really felt like they were into it at all. It felt more like a rite of passage rather than a ‘big final game’ and just something they had to do but not something they were passionate about playing. If that makes sense? Hopefuly this game tonight will be of years past where the teams give the people something to chew on and hold onto before the final quarter and make it a nail-biter of an ending like it always should be than something you can predict before half of the first quarter is done.

I have some other news as well but I’ll piece that out a bit slowly as I want to have future posts I can write and share and not just reveal ALL in one Sunday Post so to speak! Laughs. This does mark my return and I am wicked happy I feel more comfortable blogging now with new glasses and a new outlook on my future (as some of that has to do with other news not yet revealled) as things are in the mix this Winter and Spring. For now, just know I’m the bookish geek who is finding her way back into books and sorting out how to be more bookishly social once again.

And, that brings us to St. Patricks’! (let’s skip over the fact I worked that day!) I wasn’t sure how that particular Sunday would fare but it turnt out rather well all round! Especially as I did not have to go into OT (ie: overtime) and my Mum told me Dad was having a good day that day and I told my boss about that and just as I was meant to clock off, he said I could wind down early and get out on time — I was overjoyed! That doesn’t happen often and I, of course, took him up on his kindness. He understands about having elder parents and the changes that go with different stages of life – he also hoped I’d find Dad in equally good spirits as Mum had herself. Off we flew to the nursing home and guess what?! We were able to visit with Dad and he felt more like himself than I’ve seen him in a long, long time. We even celebrate Saint Pat’s as they had a bit of an ice cream social happening and they allowed Mum and I to join in which isn’t the norm! It was a smashing ending to a long and hard day — felt light as a feather that night and into that Monday, too!

On that front, Dad is getting more talkative and is responding a bit more too with our conversations and understanding the differences between our lives now, too. We were withholding quite a bit of information about what had changed as wells, he had more important things to deal with and that seemed like more burden than something worth sharing. He’s caught up to speed now and I’m grateful all the secrets are revealled as it was a bit stressful not to let things slip here or there. Also, it is just good to have Dad responding and feeling as if he’s more present with us, too, during those moments we’re there. I’ll admit, Mum sees him far more than I do and that has weighed heavily on my mind/heart/soul these last months but at the same time, I can’t go as often as she can because sometimes I’m so exhausted to the point I fall asleep after work on my ‘off half days’ that I just can’t go an inch further than it takes to get home.

That’s also why seeing him on Saint Pat’s was special. I wasn’t overly exhausted. I wasn’t stressed out and it just felt like everything aligned. I’m hoping to have more days like that one, too. As I have to remember not to work so many days all together at my day job as my regular shift is 8 hours and if I go into OT that stacks up the hours *but!* if I go in on my days’ off, that offsets my total hours and sometimes that just is overkill so to speak on what I can handle and not handle health wise. So, I’m being kinder to myself in that respect and trying to say “No.” more than “Yes.” Thankfully my bosses agree and already told me I volunteer more than my co-workers and that its okay I skip coming in on a day off rather than just extending an hour or so after my regular work days. Don’t get me wrong – I love my job, but we all have to have time away from work, too.

That same night, we had another meet-up with our mutual friend who likes crochet and knitting – plus, watching films and just having a girls’ night in. We’ve been slowing moving through the Jurassic Park/World films – she re-watched the Park films but those were still evident in my mind as I watched them with my Dad. It’s a whole thing we shared together and I’ll be diving into that in a future post (most likely the weekend after I finish seeing Jurassic World 3) but for now, I just wanted to say that those Sundays have become a bit of a balm to the soul for both Mum and I. It is lovely just have something in our lives that isn’t totally scheduled and is just a fun evening with a friend who likes the same things we do. Plus, there is a LOT of laughter and sharing of memories, too.

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In regards to my blog and readerly life:

My 11th blogoversary as foresaid is on the 31st of March, 2024 and it is a milestone of its own making as it feels like a bigger year than even last year or perhaps that just the mindset I have about it right now. I have some plans to re-write some of the pages and archives on my blog as well as re-organise things on my blog as well – nothing overly complicated but I would like to have it a bit more streamlined in respects to where my reviews are organised and archived and which pages I feature in the top menus and header. And, on that train of thought: I haven’t heard from Amy @ Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours since last year. I mention this as I am not sure how many blog tours I will be hosting in 2024. As she was the main person I was using as a tour hostess over the years due to my affinity for Historical Fiction. I have hosted for other blog tour companies – and a few of them, I am going to reach out to mid-to-late Spring or early Summer and see if there are tours I can join down the road.

I am returning to being socially bookish as well – as I’m starting to interact more on the OtherWorlds channel via Discord (where Wyrd And Wonder and SciFiMonth are housed) whilst I’m engaging on BlueSky (I wonder what its called?) now and I’m starting to create posts for #bookstagram, too. And, yes, that includes book photography and not just graphics I love to create via Canva for the sake of posting announcements and/or commentary! Laughs. I’d like to get to know more people on Insta, too, and so, if your following my blog and have an Insta – leave me a comment below so I can start to follow you on that social channel, too.

For now, I’m re-aligning myself into the stories I was accepting at the end of 2024 for review – which I am wicked happy to start talking about right now! Some of these came before Christmas and others came around Christmas — I was so fatigued by work and exhausted all round, I quite literally had the mail stacking up on itself and in the end opened ALL my #bookpost at once! It felt like a wonderful JOY to see the books at long last and to start to move forward towards reading them, as well. Three of them were meant to be read in November for #SciFiMonth whilst the others were meant to be spread out a bit between the holidays and the New Year.

I have other books on my shelves I’ve been wanting to read for absolute ages – and those are also getting priority whilst I am mindful #WyrdAndWonder is right round the corner in MAY. Smiles.

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What Jorie is reading for #NewYearReads

Continuing the Hawaiian Reunions series by Anna J. Stewart with the second novel in the series entitled: Their Surprise Island Wedding! Which I’ve already begun to read!

Continuing the Honour Bound series by Anna J. Stewart: books five, six, seven & eight respectively will be read this SPRING: (Prison Break Hostage was already on my shelf) Thereby the new arrivals are as follows: The PI’s Deadly Charade, Deadly Vegas Escapade & A Detective’s Deadly Secrets !!

I’m actually reading 2x Danielle Thorne novels this SPRING: A Home for the Twins was already here on my shelf AND The Doctor’s Christmas Dilemma will follow suit!

S.D. Henke is a new author for me to read & discover with “The Heart of the Uni-verse”

As that novel as well as “Forever Lately” & “Forever, Lovely” were meant to be read during #SciFiMonth (in November, 2023). As they all have a Sci-Fi vibe within them! I’ve crossed paths with Ms Burkard in the past as you might remember me hosting her during #SatBookChat when I hosted authors on my chat via Twitter. (I miss those days!)

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These are the stories which have me most excited to read! Even if I know that Ms Stewart has already released the 3rd novel in the Hawaiian Reunions series: A Surprise Second Chance this March! I’m just wicked happy I can continue the series now without the worries of not being able to see the words on the pages. What a lovely return to reading when you can start to DEVOUR whole pages of novels – and that is EXACTLY what happened the day I picked up Their Surprise Island Wedding!! I quite gobsmacked how easily it was to READ again. I mean, I had started to grow used to what my ‘new normal’ was over the last few years wherein my vision was restricted, limited and/or outright challenging to workaround. So, imagine me picking up this lovely novel and just being able to soak into it – without having to guess what I was reading or having to re-read passages to make sure I was seeing it all correctly. This was definitely the best way for me to shift back into reading: picking up a comfort read by an author I love reading and re-aligning myself into a series I hope has a lot of longevity with multiple sequels and continuations!

The novels by Ms Thorne were meant to be read closer to when they arrived as I’m a bit of a late reader when it comes to receiving her novels for review. I had meant to catch-up a bit sooner than now, but again, it all boiled down to my issues with vision. Her stories are realistically charming and have such a breath of joy and light in them. You’ll see my selections of focus for #INSPYSundays returning with my reviews of these two lovely novels by #LoveInspired. I love to read these kinds of stories – and with her novels, I’m reading a bit more on the ‘other’ side of the imprint as Mum and I tag team and read the novels of Suspense together – which I’ve blogged about quite a heap in the past.

I love a wicked good time bent story and that is why I was keenly interested in Burkard’s novels – as they evolve through a story about time and how it can become bent or shaped through the journey of a character. Which is my clever way of not saying too much ahead of reading the first two novels in this series – I will be researching whether this is strictly a duology or a continuing series, as I will be honest here – I don’t remember which way it goes! Oy. Inasmuch as I am forgetting the main plot behind “The Heart of the Uni-verse” and look forward to diving into that novel as well – those will all be featured during my fairly new feature called: #SciFiSundays. Similar to #WyrdAndWonder Wednesdays – it was an attempt of mine to read more Speculative Literature year-round and not limited to my favourite bookishly social online events.

Alongside these novels, I will also be returning to the series I started by Caleb Wygal. (see also Review) The novels I have to read in this lovely series will resume my #CrimeFicFriday selections as well as the Honour Bound series by Anna J. Stewart as they are novels of Romantic Suspense! (big smiles) It will be nice to get posts generating once again on my blog but also, to evolve how I want to post a bit more regularly, too. Whether that means resuming other memes I’ve enjoyed over the years or finding new ways to interact and post more often – time will tell. For now, I’m just grateful some of you have staid with me and haven’t given up that I would return. It was a long hard road but I’m thankful I’m able to return to a blog which was a big saving grace and bounty of JOY for me over the past eleven years. Here’s to rejuvinating and revivving Jorie Loves A Story.

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What are you reading this END of Winter and START of Spring?

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Although this is more of a life update than a readerly one,
Kindly read through my archives for #TheSundayPost
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REMEMBER: IF you’ve read a story you feel I might enjoy myself as I love reading Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, relationship-based romances, and Mysteries — kindly leave me a comment with a link to your post/review on your blog and I’ll be glad to visit you in return.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 17 March, 2024 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Stories of Jorie, The Sunday Post

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2 responses to “#TheSundayPost XVIII | Goodbye 2023, Hallo, Hallo 2024! And, a Happy Saint Pat’s, to you, too!

  1. So good to read your updates, Jorie. Sorry you’ve had such a difficult time of it over the past year – the workload sounds quite something. But it’s lovely to read about your successful visit to your dad on St Patrick’s Day and more about your new cats, and to know that you’re carving out a little time for reading as and when you can now. I’m sure you must be in great need of some downtime. Take care and all the very best for your celebrations on your 11th year of book blogging!

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