Something Else Sunday #12 – The Beginning of a Love Affair, Part 2

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Mid-yawn funny face. Still cute.

It’s Sunday again! I’m in the middle of a 24 hour shift at work (which basically involves sitting at a desk, being available, and awake…not a lot of actual work). Still waiting on the new domain to transfer over so I can start blogging over there…I’m sooooo excited and feel like I can’t possibly wait another day but wait I must. πŸ˜›

This week I’m continuing my story from last week’s Sunday. Like I said: I’m doing something a little unusual, a departure from my typical Sunday posts. Why? I just felt like something different, and this idea had been knocking around in my head for awhile. It’sΒ myΒ story, one that’s still growing, but the beginning, at least, I can tell because it’s over and done with. This part sounds kind of like a downer…but it gets better! Also, even if it’s depressing or sad, it’s still MY STORY and deserves to be told. If it can help even one person realize that they are worthy of happiness and fulfillment in life, than it’s worth writing.


(Read part 1 first)

The little girl was growing up very fast, now. Pain has a way of doing that.

People kept asking her what she wanted to do. She was good at writing. Or she had been. She loved books. But she wanted to go places, do things, and help people. She wanted adventure. Some people kept putting pressure on her to be a teacher, be a writer…but she knew in her heart that while she loved those things, she didn’t want to make a career of them. Reading and writing were her joys, her relaxation, her outlet, and to her it just didn’t make sense to make a job of it. Odd as it was, given her other interests – medicine, the science of the human body, and to some extent the biology of the entire world, was her real driving interest.Β 

About her junior year of high school, she started writing again. Non-fiction now, more than before. Her fiction seemed uninspired, and her lack of experience annoyed her. She felt she couldn’t write a good, realistic story – even of the fantasy type – without more experience with people and places than she had, and it frustrated her.Β 

It came time to make decisions about college, and she let certain people push her away from what she wanted to be her life work. She majored in English.Β 

About this time too, there was this guy.Β 

She was angry about a lot of things, and so was he. She was in love. She thought they needed each other. She thought they would make each other happy. So she married him.Β 

Turned out, he was really very bad for her. He cut her down in all kinds of little ways, and told her he was intimidated that she was good at – better than, he thought – he was at a lot of things. Like writing. He was a writer. He was going to be an author. And her writing – that she already thought was rather shoddy and miserable – intimidated him.Β 

She loved him. She didn’t want to make him feel bad. So she stopped writing all together. She wanted to be a supportive wife, so obviously making herself smaller or giving up part of herself for him was the proper course of action.Β 

Little did she know how far down a dark road that way of thinking would lead her, and how long it would take her to come back to the light. But this was still the beginning.

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She finished her degree, and was so tired of picking apart books and essays for hidden meanings that she quit reading almost completely for about two years. During this time she had developed a rather snobbish attitude about popular literature (no Twilight or smutty romances for HER, thankyouverymuch), so the idea of picking up something that might be lighter, easier, more FUN to read, was out of the question.

But she had graduated, and that meant she could go on to other things now. Things that interested her, that set her brain racing, that made her stretch her mind and grow new thought pathways. So she went to phlebotomy school – it was the only medical course she could afford.Β 

She passed with flying colors. Her patients loved her. She loved working with all the different people, learning new things every day, playing with all the different machines and tests. This, THIS was what she was made for.

The books – she still loved books. In a way she still loved writing. But nothing had made her feel alive like this before, even though her job was a very simple one. Funny thing though, working this job – rekindled her love of reading. It was as though working a job so far removed from books, writing, and the literary world in general, made it come back into focus for her.Β 

Slowly, she began to realize that she didn’t necessarily have to make a choice. Even more slowly, she began to realize that it was okay to good at something and be proud of that thing. But she still had a long way to go.

To be continued next week (final part)…

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Exciting Changes

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CUPCAKES FOR EVERYONE!!! (Why yes, I’m a total Hufflepuff, how did you know?)

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has followed or commented in the last day or so…I’ve had a HUGE influx of both subscribers and comments and it’s made me SO VERY HAPPY you have no idea. Actually most of you probably do, hehe. πŸ˜‰ But anyway, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You’ve made this little book-obsessed blogger very happy. πŸ˜€

Second, I am also very excited to announce I’m switching from the free WordPress to a hosted site, which will mean a new design and hopefully more cool bookish stuffs. The lovely Ashley at NoseGraze is taking over my hosting and I am so grateful for everything she has helped with already. I am pretty much technologically illiterate when it comes to websites and all the behind-the scenes stuff, so all the things I read about self-hosting and domains and widgets and code just made me feel like my brain was leaking out my ears. I’m really happy to be able to just let her handle all this, while I get to read more books and play with more bookish stuff AND still have an awesome blog!

There shouldn’t be any interruption, as far as I understand it, but I’m sure I will have an EVEN MORE EXCITED post when all the transfer is complete! I am well aware that this post already contains way too many exclamation points, but you know what…deal with it. I’m allowed to be overly excited for once.

 

Something Else Sunday #6

Sir Tristan just can't face the world this morning...how his mama felt all week...

Sir Tristan just can’t face the world this morning…how his mama felt all week…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week has been absolutely nuts! I’ve barely had time to read and had NO time to read all the blogs I usually try to keep up with. I really miss seeing what all the other book people are reading. 😦 One more week of this whacked-out schedule though, and then we get a long weekend and will be back to a normal schedule. If all goes well. I’ve developed a distinct dislike for 70 hour work weeks. Technically I only worked 60, but by the time you add in the commute…70, easy.

I’m almost to 200 WordPress subscribers!! Just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has followed – I’m so excited! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

This week had some lovely incoming mail. I did manage to send a few things but didn’t get pictures of them!

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It cooled off slightly one day and I was able to have lunch outside! By myself. Under the tree. Closest thing to bliss I’ve had in awhile.

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I haven’t picked up needles of any kind, but as it’s approaching time for the next term in the Harry Potter Knitting Crochet House Cup I’ve been putting some thought into my creative projects for the next few months! My mojo took a real hike in August but I feel the beginnings of it stirring again and am starting to get excited. This will be my “6th Year” term and my first as part of the Hufflepuff staff. I don’t have any huge plans for this term (successfully completed an OWL last term, who0hoo!) and am really just trying to let my creative muse take me where it will. So far it’s leading me to pick up my long-neglected Vivian sweater, abandoned in despair after attaching the sleeves thus:

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And then knitting for about 6 rows before realizing something was up. Gaaaaaah. But that was 3 years ago, and I still love this sweater and yarn. However, finishing it not only means unattaching and reattaching the sleeves, it means ripping them out entirely because they were snug then and thanks to my new arms from lots of pushups, are EXTRAORDINARILY TIGHT now. Like compression or even tourniquet tight. Gulp. So completing this will be my big project for this term. I have a few other little ideas floating around, we’ll see how those go.

Like I already said, my reading was sadly neglected this week. I only managed to finish Imprudence at 1 a.m. this morning! So I’m scaling back my expectations this week. I only plan to review that and one other.

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  1. Imprudence, by Gail Carriger
  2. The Reader, by Traci Chee
  3. Front Lines, by Michael Grant

Goal is 2/3, so we’ll see which ones make it!

Hope you guys had a good week and are looking forward to an even better one!

Review: June 2016 OwlCrate

Now for the pictures and all the awesome details of the amazing OwlCrate box! As I mentioned, I’ve been a subscriber for quite some time, and while I’ve posted some unboxing photos on my Instagram, I’ve never written a full review of the box! Shame on me. So here we go!

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It comes to your mailbox looking like this. I practically do a happy dance in the mailroom every time I pick one up!

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Dun-dun-dun! Isn’t it pretty? My cat really appreciates all the crinkly paper, by the way. He photobombed the first attempt at this photo trying to get to it.

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The full contents! Now, here is what made me realize that I really, really don’t want to ever unsubscribe: the book they chose for this month, was one that I had added to my TBR list just a little over a week ago. And? This is the second time OwlCrate has managed to do this to me. They’re that good.

List of contents:

Book (most important, right?): My Lady Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I’ll have to confess I’ve not read anything by any of these ladies, but the premise of My Lady Jane sounded so fascinated it went on my list straight away. One of my (many) favorite things about the OwlCrate box is the author’s note that they always include with the books. It makes it feel so special, and I really like hearing the author’s thoughts on the book and whatever else they decide to add. I read the note and keep it inside the book on my shelf.

Such nice touch!

Such a nice touch!

Extras (because they are always awesome!):

A Funko Pop Mystery Mini! From the Disney Princess collection. I love Funko Pops so much. Disney I’m not quite as crazy about, but somehow I managed to get the mini from what has to be my favorite recent Disney movie (btw, if anyone got Merida and doesn’t want her…*hinthint*):

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“Brave,” if you were wondering. Because who doesn’t love a fiery Scottish princess turning her mum and 3 little brothers (of which this is one) into bears?

A bee-yoo-ti-ful bracelet from the very talented Jami Butler at RichLoveShoppe.

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Yes. Be jealous.

Awesomely adorable bookmarks from Crafted Van. I really need the coffee set. Also the cats. All the cats. But can you please add orange or orange and white kitties? πŸ˜€

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So stinkin’ cute!

In something of a departure from what they’ve done in the past, also included was a $10 off coupon to My Bookmark…which, I will be completely honest – I’m using as soon as I get done writing this review. Because OMG. I need one.

Look. At. These. (photo from the My Bookmark site)

Also with (no individual pics, but they are all in the contents photo) a cute little paper crown, which I think was a great touch for those with eager young readers that aren’t quite of age for a box of their own. The Red Queen quote print is beautifully done on a heavy cardstock, suitable for framing or hanging however you like. As usual, there were coupons from all the contributors to the box and a sneak-peek at the next OwlCrate (the card almost hidden under everything on the right in the full content picture). The awesome book choice and the sneak-peek for next month together just sent me over the edge. I’ll be subscribing to OwlCrate for a long time to come!

Now if you want to get yours Β – and there is still time to sign up for the July box, which reportedly includes another Funko (squee!) and is themed Good or Evil – click through here and sign up! The referral will get me a discount on my subscription, hehe.

This box was bought by me and this review is completely honest and unsolicited – I received no compensation whatsoever, just wanted to share my favorite subscription box!

Books and More Books

This year, I’m really rediscovering my love not only of books (never doubted that one) but of writing. More on that later, but in the meantime it’s long overdue an update on my Reading Challenges for 2016! I just updated the “Books to Read 2016” page, which is my list of owned-but-never-read books that I am attempting to finish this year. I’m very bad at staying focused, so while I have read a total of 45 books for the year, I’m only at 15/45 from that list. Yikes! Need to work on that. But, while I do have reading goals, I am trying to follow the advice of my new mug and read what I love!

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Lovely mug courtesy of the Bookworm Boutique. Besides the shop, she has a beautiful Instagram @bookwormboutique and a book review blog.

Squirrel! Anyway, back to the reading challenges…

The challenge I wrote about doing with some friends is still going strong! Out of 50 categories (my original goal was 12, I’ve since raised it to 36) I’m at 26. Some of them are kind of stretches for me, but it’s fun. We’re not making the list public at this point, but it’s kind of like the PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge.

I’m going to get back into doing book reviews. For the above challenge, in order to be able to officially list a book we had to write at least a brief review of it on GoodReads, and writing those has motivated me to write more detailed ones. I’ll be posting them here, and on GoodReads, and some on LibraryThing. I’ve been pretty lucky to be selected for a few ARCs from the Early Reviewers group this year, and it seems to be a fun, easy way to score a free book. And since free books don’t feel like failing at my book-buying ban…score! Besides the ER group, I’m expecting my first book from Blogging for Books soon (soon being a relative term Β – overseas media mail shipping takes almost 6 weeks, usually) and can’t wait to get on reviewing from them too!

Back in the Stacks

Well, I didn’t sleep that much over the weekend. Guess my body didn’t need quite as much as I though, or maybe I’ve just learned to function on 5 hours a night and 7 feels like overkill.

I actually spent a lot of time reading. Some hard copy, a lot audio. I finished Curtsies and Conspiracies, which was fun. Worked on Becoming Odyssa a little, and started Waistcoats and Weaponry.

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Curtsies was a pretty little light-hearted YA novel and just the kind of mind fluff I needed. After studying till facts and numbers and vocab were all coming out my ears I needed a break. No sex and not much violence, so it’s not exactly mind candy, but definitely fluff. I really enjoyed it, and I did something I haven’t done in ages…started the next in the series right away!

I really miss reading. Reading for hours at a time, just losing myself completely in a book. I’ve done most of my recent reading via audiobook, just because I can’t stand to not be multi-tasking with such limited free time. I had an Audible subscription for a long time (which is a GREAT deal for larger books, by the way…little ones, I’d just use the discount that comes with the $15 a month membership, because otherwise you’re actually paying more for the smaller ones!), but I had such a backlog I cancelled it until I can get caught up on listening. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t constantly checking my watch as I read/studied/took a shower, worrying about when I needed to next be somewhere. But, I’m still doing happy things! Reading, stitching, writing letters…which reminds me, some mail posted in a DIFFERENT drop box actually made it to its destination. Apparently all 7 postcards/letters I put in the first one have gone AWOL. I’m slowly getting to re-writing the letters. Anne and Sarah, my replies to your lovely letters were among those lost…replacements are forthcoming, I promise!

I realized when I started Turncoats that I have SO MANY book series started. Do most people read all the way through one, or at least get caught up through the publishing, before they start a new one? I remember plowing through series at the speed of light as a kid, then biting my nails till the next one came out. But I haven’t done that for a LONG time. Now I have tons of series started that I intend to finish (not going to even begin to go into how many I started and have no intention of finishing)…it’s going to take awhile! My book list is ever growing.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – So. In. Love. Scotland. Medicine. Sex. War. Passion. Time travel. This one just pretty much pushes all my buttons.
Temeraire series by Naomi Novik – The only alternative history books I’ve ever read, I think. Love these too, not as passionately as Outlander, but still love them.
China Bayles by Susan Wittig Albert – Cozy mysteries. Fluff books. Good to relax.
Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich – Guilty pleasure mysteries, I laugh till I cry with almost every one of these.
Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong – I’ve actually only read the first one of these, but I liked it and want to read more.
Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear – again, only read the first one of these, but I loved the psychological mystery aspect without too much gore. Still on the cozy mystery side of the spectrum, I think. Sense a pattern yet?
Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters – more history, more cozy. Also funny. I love Amelia.
DiscworldΒ  by Terry Pratchett – the only sci-fi on this list. But OMG Vimes! and the Watch! and Rincewind! I giggle and smile and cry through every one and I’m so far from being finished.
Chief Inspector Armand Garmanche by Louise Penny- not so cozy but still not thriller type. Also only read the first in this series but I really enjoyed it.
Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series by Anne Perry – dramatic Victorian mysteries. Different than what I usually read but I like them…just not in large doses?
Meg Lanslow series by Donna Andrews – hysterical. Improbable. Cozy mysteries.
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King – also only read the first one of these but fully intend to read them all. I listened to this one.

Mail Time!

I’ve finally got some of my pretty papers and inks back, and I got to go find some postcards at the giftshop here! I was really excited to finally send out a nice stack of mail. I actually wrote quite a lot of letters in the past year, just to a very few people and usually on very plain notebook paper. Both writing and receiving letters were my link to my loved ones over the months of no technology, and many Sundays I spent hours just writing letters and rereading ones I’d received.

I was going to post a couple pictures of the stack of mail I sent out (last Monday), but my usual photo editor with the handy little blur tool for addresses isn’t working, and I’ve spent probably an hour trying to find/upload/use another one. I’ve completely exhausted my supply of patience, so sadly I have no pictures.

Also, I’ve discovered – a week after the fact – that the mailbox I dropped my lovely stack of letters and postcards into DOESN’T GET CHECKED REGULARLY. What. the everlasting. Why is there even a box with a posted pickup time if they’re not going to check it?!? I’m really upset, as the Imbolc project and a couple of letters going to Europe were in it, along with a bunch of postcards. 😦 I was told to remind the powers that be on Tuesday and hopefully they will remind the mail person to empty the box. I sincerely hope so…I’ll be so sad if all that stuff just goes off to the big post office in the sky.

What I do have a picture of is a sort of life-improvement project. The past several years have seen not the best financial situation in my life, due to a lot of different factors. This year I really want to try to save some money, and while poking around Pinterest I kept seeing all the cute little 52 Week Savings Challenge things. I love the idea, but having the largest savings weeks at the END of the year had me a bit skeptical. So I’ve twisted it up a bit. I made my little savings pouch, complete with handwritten chart, and I’ll be saving what I can each week. Some weeks more, some weeks less, and gradually checking off all the amounts on the chart. This way I can clear off those scary $52, $51, $50 weeks early in the game. I really hope I can stay on track with this throughout the year! It’s kind of fun to put the cash in there each week. NOT having the money easily accessible in my online savings account is actually helping me, so far. Too easy to transfer and spend! I’m not sure what I’ll do with the $1378 at the end of the year. Of course the best thing to do would be put it in an account or investment, buuuut…I don’t know. I don’t do so well with making the most responsible choices, heh. I’d be a lot more excited about using it towards something fun, a trip, or a new bike, or something like that. But we’ll see. Anyway, here’s my “piggy bank!”

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ETA: Wow, apparently this is my 200th post on this blog! That’s kind of cool. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

New Ink!

No, not the permanent kind. After the last post you thought so though, didn’t you?

Alright, that’s a very bad attempt to be funny when I’m tired and a bit “meh” feeling. I really meant to write a garden update, but things are changing so fast that the last pictures I took are already out of date. I’ll still post them later, it just makes me feel behind. So instead…

I have a new Lamy Safari fountain pen! Specifically this one, purchased from the Goulet Pen Company (which, by the way, is an amazing company and I highly recommend ordering from them).

I might have bought it just for the awesome color. Though I’d been wanting to try a Lamy anyway, since so far I only have a Noodler’s Flex and a Platinum Plaisir. Not a whole lot to compare it to, but I definitely like it better than the Flex. I love the variety of beautiful colors the Noodler’s Flex pens come in, but the way a flex nib writes just doesn’t do anything for me.

I really like the way it feels in my hand. One of my biggest worries with fountain pens is that they will be too big. My hands are long but skinny. This is pretty much perfect. Heavy enough to feel, but light enough for my hand not to get tired (I’ve already written a couple of letters with it!).

This shot shows the color best, I think.

I was too impatient to use the converter I bought with it and just plugged in the cartridge it came with. Hehe. Overall the pen is a total winner and I will probably buy another Lamy. My one “meh” factor is the EF nib seems a little scratchy. That’s quite possible just the fact that it is EF and I bear down a bit too hard or write too fast for it, I’m not sure which.

 

February: a Month of Letters

I’m really just a little bit excited about this.Β  The idea belongs to Mary Robinette Kowal (whose books I must now go read), and described in this post. I write and send quite a few letters and postcards as it is, and I love the idea of trying to send something every day. I’m not sure if my postman will love me or hate me. On the one hand – job security! On the other, my mailbox is one of only two I’ve ever seen in my building that actually has outgoing mail, so I think it’s something of an oddity or rarity for him. Maybe both.

I think I shall try to take a picture of my outgoing mail every day, and post it here a couple of times a week. With the weekends and holidays figured in, there are 24 days that the mail runs in the US during the month of February. 24 things can’t be that hard, right? I know I have some thank-yous that need to be written, and usually a letter or two to reply to. Maybe I’ll send some notes or a teabag to some people I don’t hear from often, or who wouldn’t expect to get something in the mail from me. I love getting and sending special things in the mail! As much as I love technology (iPhone, Nook, and gamer laptop FTW!), something tangible is so much…well, more real. You can definitely get to know people online, and some of my best friends I’ve met that way, but letters are much more intentional. Permanent, even.

Anyone interested in receiving a postcard from me? Feel free to leave a comment with a way to reach you (e-mail if you’re not comfortable leaving your address) and I’ll do my best.Β  πŸ™‚

This means I absolutely must stop at the post office tomorrow, because I am *gasp* completely out of stamps. There are some really pretty new ones out, too! Now just so long as I can find enough to match all my stationery. No, not anal retentive at all.