Sunday, January 29, 2012

Unrealistic Expectations

I have spent the last few weeks re-evaluating some major goals. It goes without saying that the last several years have brought some major upheaval to my life - both good, and well...not so good. While I have to some extent picked up the pieces, there are still parts of me that feel rather lost. After thought and reflection, tears, frustration and major anxiety, I think I am ready to move forward again.

Knowing that I may not be totally fulfilled with my current "day" situation, the bottom line is that I need to stay with it, despite the daily obstacles, until I can get my responsibilities under control. Hopefully it won't take me very long, but you never know, because life has a way of throwing you a curve ball when you least expect it.

Which leads me to the rest of my life. As I stated in an earlier post, 2012 was going to be the year of Susan. It still is, but I've learned that I can't do it all. The original goals I made for myself this year are simply unrealistic considering what I wanted as the outcome. It almost pains me to say this, but I over-estimated what I thought I was capable of doing. You'd think I would have learned from my previous mistakes! The good news this is that I recognized early enough in order to perform a bit of damage control.

I know that I have a tendency to want and do everything all the time, but realize that I don't have "all the time" in the world available to me. Then I feel guilty because in some twisted way I feel as if I have let everybody down, including myself. But, I am only human and there is only 24 hours in a day. Eight hours are spent sleeping, 10.5 hours for work including prep time and travel, an hour for household chores, 2.5 hours for dinner and socializing with the husband, an hour of personal time, which leaves about 2 hours for writing and reading. So, where does that leave me? Majorly frustrated and pi$$ed off with myself.

Well, I will still continue to write and participate in the various challenges with the writing groups I participate it, I just need to scale it back. I will read others posting and comment as I am able. My personal projects are being scaled down to a more manageable tasks and everything else will get done when it gets done.

The first really big change is my book club. I am so proud of my accomplishment from last year, but it was a grueling schedule, especially to get all the reviews posted. With everything that I want to do this year, I know that I will not be able to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I have so many other things that I want to accomplish this year, that I don't have the time to devote to reading that much. With that in mind, I am reducing the number of books I plan to read, but will continue on the path that I've chosen to publish the reviews in as many locations as possible.

One of the biggest things I want to accomplish this year is to improve my overall health. We purchased a park pass so my husband and I can get out more and explore Sonoma County, CA; this beautiful area we call home. We have lived here for a long time and there are areas of the county we have never been to so this will be the year to do that. I hope to be able to share photos from our adventures. In the meantime, I will be posting photos from previous ones until we start getting out there and using our cameras.

The bottom line is that I need to stop setting these unrealistic expectations for myself. My intentions are well-meaning, but the overall consequences are not. Really all it does is create unwanted stress and anxiety for myself. So if I have been a little absent lately or if I happen to go MIA, have no fear. It just means I am off on an adventure or working on a project and I will be back soon to share it with all of you!

Thanks for your patience and understanding of this incredibly long blog post. And now, here is a photo I took during our recent trip to Fort Bragg, CA. This is at Glass Beach.

Glass Beach, Ft. Bragg, CA

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

TWW's Book Review: Witchy, Witchy by Penelope King

Week 4: January 22 - 28, 2012 Witchy, Witchy by Penelope King - Kindle Version
Reading Romances Challenge for January!

My first challenge for the Reading Romances group was:
1. Read a book that is first of a series, by an author that is “new” to you or a debut novel by an author.OR
2. Read a romance that has a teen as the protagonist. OR
3. Read an Erotic Romance or Erotica.

Since, I've never found any book worth reading that falls into #3, I chose to read Witchy Witchy by Penelope King. This one just so happens to cover the requirements of #1 and #2, not to mention that it is my first ever teen fantasy/young adult paranormal romance novel.While I was skeptical at first to read something outside of my particular norm, I found that once I got past the first few pages, I was interested.

Here's the story of teen Calista moving to a new town in a new state with her dad so that they can basically start over. Living in the guest house of a mysterious, yet friendly, woman, she figures out really fast that her life is about to change drastically. The good news is that she finally figures out why she is so different from everyone else. And not just different in the sense that all girls feel while during the crazy teen years, but different as in "I'm a witch and have crazy special powers." different.

So if that's not enough, she still has to deal with starting a new school complete with mean girls, a boy who really wants to be her boyfriend, and a guy she met once on the beach but can't get out of her mind and meets in her dreams every night.

I found the story to be believable yet just enough fantasy/paranormalish that I wanted to continue reading. Penelope King kept the story moving quickly while also revealing the important details at the correct moments. When I got to the climatic point, I was so completely hooked, I was almost disappointed in the way it ended. I quickly jumped onto to see if Book 2 was available and found that it was not. I hope it is released soon as I really wanted to see where this is going. Rating:
Wishing you moments of great reading!

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TWW's Book Review: Light the Stars by RaeAnne Thayne

Week 3: January 15 - 21, 2012  Light the Stars

This is only my second review of a story by Rayanne Thayne. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually enjoyed it.

Wade Dalton has a lot of stuff going on in his life. He has a ranch to run, a tv crew on the way, three kids to raise that he knows very little about and a mom that has just eloped with a gentleman friend of hers that no one seem to know very much about. Oh and let's not forget, the daughter of said gentleman friend who has just arrived on his doorstep trying to find the whereabouts her dad.

Enter Caroline Montgomery, a "life" coach who has inadvertently coached Wade's mom into getting more out of life, not realizing how it was going to affect her own life!

Wade is in way over his head. He has no idea to take care of his own children because he has given up all control of that function to his mom. He is in so much trouble here until Caroline shows up on his doorstep. Wade is so angry right now he doesn't know what to do, except take Caroline up on her offer and let her help out a few days until dear ol' dad returns. What follows is some very interesting moments between Wade and Ann and how they both deal with the children.

I found the story believable but the behavior of the children predictable. What I didn't expect is what happened to Caroline. Although I knew there would have to be something that would make her stay, I was not prepared to see the actual events unfold before my eyes. This was a nice surprise for me and captivated my attention enough to continue reading. Rating:

Wishing you moments of great reading!

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TWW's Book Review: Tea and Destiny by Sherryl Woods

Week 2: January 8 - 14, 2012 Tea and Destiny

We met Ann Davies briefly in Miss Liz's Passion, another book I reviewed by Sherryl Woods. This time we get to really know her and how she became the mom to a group of kids who really needed her.

I like the main character, Ann, because she is quirky and unique. She lives by her own rules...that is until someone else, in the form of Hank Riley challenges her in every sense of the word.

Hank, on the other hand, is a guy who never thought he could make a commitment to a woman. Now he is getting involved in her life but also the kids' lives.

I especially liked the way the challenges of being a mom and pseudo-dad played into the relationship with Ann and Hank. It was obvious from the get-go that Hank was going to play an important role in the lives of some of the Ann's children, especially the older ones since he seemed to make a connection with them.

I found a few comedic moments and a few predictable moments in the book, but overall I felt the story was believable. Although I wish Sherryl would have taken a few extra pages to develop the stories of the children in the story, I found that I stayed interested nonetheless. I guess I really wanted to find out if Ann and her quirkiness was going to mess with Hank, who in my eyes, was the quintessential man's man. The good news is that from the moment of their initial sparring over groceries to the very end, I knew those two were in for it!


Wishing you all moments of great reading!

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TWW's Book Review: Christmas on Capecod by Nan Rossiter

Week 1: January 1 - 7, 2012 Christmas on Capecod

I know I am reviewing a leftover from Christmas, but I couldn't let this one pass. Nan Rossiter has done a wonderful job dealing with a sensitive issue portrayed in this story. Asa Coleman and his son Noah are headed home to spend Christmas with his parents and his best friend Maddie Carlson. Maddie is completely in love with Asa and has for a long time. But Asa has his hands full with Noah. Their relationship is a special and complicated one. I don't want to give it away too much, but let's just say it is worth the read. Even if just to escape for a little bit during the holidays, it's worth it. You'll even learn to make Glug! Rating:

Wishing you all moments of great reading!

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New Design for 2012

I had someone review my website design and was given some guidance on ways to improve a few things. the big news is that in order to increase the views for my Book Club, I will be posting my reviews to the Daily Scribe as well as on the Book Club page, in addition to a few other online sources. I'm still working on those, but hope to share those with everyone soon.

Also, it was noted that my pages were not as clean as they could be, so I will be removing a few things to make it easier for my followers to read.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous January so far! Look for more posts from me soon!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

©Edward Dusterhoft 2012

©Edward Dusterhoft 2012

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Out with the Old and In with the New

When I saw the title for this blog hop challenge, I immediately thought of those lists you occasionally see called "What's Hot and What's Not". So in honor of those, I'm doing something similar and calling it:

Susan's What's Out and What's In List

What’s Out:                                  What’s In:
McDonalds                                    Home Cooking
Blue Jeans and Sneakers                Dress clothes and pumps
Soda                                             Tea
Television                                       Movies on DVD
Hardcover and paperback novels      My Kindle
Magazines                                     Books
Late Nights                                    Early Mornings
Weekends on the couch                 Weekends hiking at the county parks
Photos on film                                Digital Photos
Camcorder                                    Video camera
Writing for others                           Writing for myself
Cross-stitching                              Crocheting
Spending money                            Paying off debt
Savings account                            401K Plan
Boombox                                       MP3 Player
Aerobics                                       Yoga
My desktop computer                     My laptop computer
Typing                                           Voice recognition software
Chaos and disorganization              Simplicity and peace

I hope that sharing this list will give you another insight into the world Susan, Today's Working Woman! Now, how about you? What's in and out in your life?

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This post is written for The Writer's Post Blog Hop# 28: Out with the Old and In with the New. Interested in learning more, please check out the link below!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

GBE2: Week #33 - Work

Work has already been a priority in my life. I've always given myself wholeheartedly to whatever I am doing. Full speed ahead, peddle to the meddle and all that jazz. I gave work everything in the hopes it would give everything back to me. Was it worth it? You bet...because it brought me to today.

But...I've come to learn a very valuable is not everything.

This year, while work will be important, it won't be everything. Life for me will revolve around more than just work. In order to be happy, I need to be more well-rounded in my endeavors. This is going to be my new driving force this year. I will still continue to give 110% to my work, but I will let other things into my life as well.

My husband has a great philosophy about work..."You need to work to earn enough money in order to take the next vacation." I'll take that one step further..."I need to work to pay off my debts, put money away for retirement and to take that next great vacation."

I plan on enjoying myself this year and not let work be the only thing that consumes my life. I am more than my work. My name is Susan Dusterhoft...I am Today's Working Woman...and this is my year. It's going to be a great!

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A Journey to a Healthier Me -Day 1

Ok, so I have finally done it! I have posted a picture, actually two pictures of the real me. This is my journey. I will write about my ups and downs and hope you can come along with me as I travel on this long and I'm sure bumpy year long road to getting healthy. Go to my Extras Page and take a look. This is the first picture I've taken of myself in a really long time. Well, at least the first picture that I have wanted to publish in a really long time.

I tried to do this last year, but the truth of the matter is that I wasn't ready. I'm ready now. It's time.

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Welcome 2012!

It's the start of a new day, a new month and a new year! I am so happy and excited for this chance to begin anew! I spent the last weeks leading up to this day preparing myself for a lot of changes that I plan to make in my life and to the Today's Working Woman site.

For those of you that read my last post of 2011, I indicated that it was time to be the Queen of my own life. I took these words from a very inspirational book I read called, Queen of Your Own Life by Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff. With so many changes happening in my life, I needed to find something to keep me focused and this book really did it for me. 2012 is going to be the year of Susan...and Susan has a lot of plans so I hope I can make them happen. Check back with me in a year to see if I get them all done.

In honor of this year, one of the things I am going to be sharing with my readers is thoughts and inspiration from the Queen of Your Own Life site. I think you will like what I have to share. These ladies are "spot-on" and will help us all stay focused on our goals.

New Year, New You. Okay, I am finally ready to tackle this project. Probably the hugest one of my life. I am going to spend this entire year getting back to where I used to be. Health is the most important thing to me because without it, I won't be able to do anything else.

        52 Weeks, 52 Books. My book club is expanding! I am excited to announce that I am embarking on an expanded version of the club. Anyone that is interested in joining me is more than welcome. Now only will I be posting here on this site, but I am also going to post on a larger, more global site, I can't wait to share my reviews and yours to a larger audience.

        Here is how it is going to work. If you want to join, please comment to this post or send me an email to I'll be accepting book reviews to post on my site at You are welcome to review whatever books you like. Please send your reviews to me in word format along with a photo of the book you reviewed in jpeg format. I'll take care of the posting, all you will have to do is write it! Contact me with questions and more details.

        I am also participating in the Reading Romances 2012 challenge. I will be posting my reviews for that challenge here at Today's Working Woman and on

        Photos, photos and more photos! With the additional new equipment I received this year from the hubs, I will be posting more photos here and on other sites. I haven't determined what those sites will be just yet, but I will let everyone know when that starts happening.

        I will be continuing to write for and for Yahoo! Voices (formerly Associated Content). I have lots of ideas mulling around in my head and can't wait to get them to paper. I will let you all know when they have been posted.

        This year I vow to finish some of those projects that I have started and have never completed. I hope to be sharing these here with you as well. Hopefully, I will be able to expand upon this in the hopes of selling some of my arts and crafts on More news on this as it develops.

        My novel. Not sure I will finish it this year, but I will make an attempt to work on it some more. I have a separate, private blog for that. I have not shared it with anyone yet, but I will keep you posted.

        Whew! I think that is enough to start it off for 2012! What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts!

        Here's to a fabulous new year everyone!

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