Category Archives: Books/Classes

Traveling Solo

So I did end up going up to Portland this weekend.  One thing I hadn’t considered was that this weekend started Spring Break.  Everywhere I went, there were college age young people, and lines to get into some of the more popular spot.

One thing I hadn’t counted on that was very new to me is that my social anxiety has gotten much worst.  I knew I was socially awkward but being surround by people in that sort of environment made me happy to get back to where I’m on detail too.

From that statement along, there are a couple things I want to say:

  1. Social anxiety: Freaking sucks.  So here I am in a city I love and have wanted to move to for a very long time and I feel like I’m drowning, floundering even, because of the sheer volume of people.  I’m already socially awkward as it is, especially lately (several months of people looking at you like what you say and do isn’t valuable doesn’t help).  I’m in a bookstore where I’m saying excuse me every few seconds because I’m looking for a book they don’t have and I’m terrified someone is going to not hear me, then get pissed off when I walk in front of them.  I didn’t used to be this way, or maybe at least I didn’t notice it as much.
  2. Touristy things: Are not for the faint of heart.  Sure, there are great things that everyone has discovered and is doing.  Don’t do them unless you don’t have any other options.  There is almost always another location that is just as cool as the one where people are standing in line.  Or has better food, like Georgetown Cupcakes vs Curbside (R.I.P).
  3. Weightloss surgery: This is where I’m drawing in a big breathe and remembering to breathe out slowly.  I’m not the same person I was when I went to Portland years ago.  I can’t eat how I used to, I certainly can’t drink like I used to, and the walking around was a lot easier now vs then.  So what’s the problem with this picture?  The problem is my mentality.  I still see myself as this big person who is taking up more space than she should, but when I was that big, I never thought I was that big.  I knew I could lose some weight, and I still could, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me back then.  Now, and this a complaint, I have to think about food differently.  I have to think about my alcoholic nature differently.  I even have to sit at the bar differently than I used people.  I could start a conversation with people and not feel like I was being judged.  I don’t now because I’ve had several months of people’s eyes glazing over that’s trained me to not bother.  And that makes me feel like I’m not good enough anymore except to the people who I know love me, even though sometimes even then I wonder.  This is where the social anxiety aspect kicks in too, although there are a few other underlying things that I’m not going to voice until I have a long, hard conversation with a therapist when I get back.
  4. Travel with a partner!: I would probably have had more fun walking around, doing the scavenger hunt, enough the warm day, had I been with someone.  Not just any someone, but someone I wanted to share the city with, who knows that I’m crazy, and would have shared the food with me along with the experience.  Traveling by myself is great, but there is nothing like seeing the city with someone who actually wants to be there with you.

So my trip to Downtown Portland…

Lackluster?  Yes.  I still love the city.

Worth it?  Meh.  Eugene was slightly better and I only stopped there for food.

Short?  Most definitively!  I spent more time driving to and from than I actually did in the city itself, mostly because I couldn’t enjoy it the way I had before, which really freaking sucked.

Got sixteen new books out of that trip though.

Happy Monday.

Listening to:  White noise.

Reading:  The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

Quote of the Day:  “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ― Napoleon Hill


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Filed under Books/Classes, Driving, Vacations/Travel, Weightloss

Just because you can…

…Doesn’t mean you should.

I’ve referring to borrowing books, not something tragic, like opening my mouth to someone who doesn’t need to know what’s really going on and just dropping all my emotional baggage onto them.

No, I’m talking about borrowing audiobooks and books fitting the reader’s state of mind.

A couple weeks ago, I borrowed Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert from Overdrive.  I put it on my TBR and everything, hoping to get to it.  I haven’t.  In 11 days, I haven’t picked it and up and now that I can, I don’t want to.  The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, same thing.  I also have a few physical books that I want to read but I’m just not in the mood to read them.

Eat Pray Love I have read a few times over the years.  I’m not in a truly dark place in my life now, but I think I want to make notes in my copy of the book so I’m holding off on that one until next year.  The Girl on the Train may also wait, since I own a copy of that book too.

Physical book wise, last night, I had a book picked out and was going to start it after reading a few graphic novels.  Something happened between me reading them and the other book.  When I went to go pick it up, I couldn’t crack the cover, metaphorically speaking.  I just wasn’t interested in it at that point.

I wanted dark.  I didn’t want light and fluffy.  I wanted dark reading.  I had quite a few books that fit that bill.  Thankfully, the one I picked up, I haven’t really wanted to put down but had to so I could get work done.

Whether my book choices are trying to help me gear up for the last quarter of my NaNoWriMo novel or not, I’m starting to be very particular about the books I start and those I don’t.

All books are meant to be read from a place of love because all books carry something for the reader.  The string of Meh books I’ve had lately, I’ve come to understand I don’t have to finish the books I don’t connect with because there are books, like You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day or History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, that deserve more of my attention.  I took things from those books (go get it because you’ve got this!  And being said after someone dies is okay; the destructive behavior afterwards, no so much) where the Meh books just sort of where a “What not to write” warning.

Longer post than I meant it to be, but I have to do this with real life, too.  Being stuck where I am not happy isn’t good for me or those around me.  Writing for NaNoWriMo helped me pull out some tools and I’m ready to get back on the saddle and finish other books outside of just the book this month, starting with Shadow.

Happy Friday folks.

Listening to:  Little Ones by Highly Suspect.  It’s not been on repeat all day today so that’s a plus.

Reading:  The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.  Holy *&^%.  I’m not far into it, but it makes me want to grab a warm beverage and a blanket and curl up somewhere so I can just devour the rest of it.

Quote of the Day:  “Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people… but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.” ― Steve Maraboli

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Filed under Advice Column, Books/Classes, Writing

Keep Going!

I was thinking about how I’m doing my NaNoWriMo novel—how I’m keeping myself motivated, how I’m working through all my word sprints, and how I will actually finish this novel this time.  Also, how I’m liking it so far too.

My novel is a bit history, but a lot more romance and what coming to America could mean for dreamers.  I’m writing it without much research except what I can pull from random breaks in the word sprints.  The main characters are people that I like and the ones who are side characters are just as interesting as the main characters.  Are they interesting enough to make it beyond 50,000 words?  Well, considering it’s day 11 and I’m am at 18,334 words so far, yeah, I gotta say they are.

A mantra I have to keep telling myself is that what I’m doing is just a first draft.  This is just the first go around with this story.  This is just the first time I’m meeting these characters and they will evolve throughout the story, and more throughout the editing process.

The problem I have always had is that I am a perfectionist.  Everything has to be perfect the first time, every time.  That’s not a good way to live life.

So, what I’m attempting with this year’s novel is to just make good art.  Not great art, not this time and not yet, but so simply just make something good that can become great.  Because being great takes practice and even the greatest writers start their books with a first draft before their story is ready for their readers.

Happy Friday!

Listening to:  Little Ones by Highly Suspect on repeat

Reading:  History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera and Forever by Maggie Steifvater

Quote of the Day:  “I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.” – Neil Gaiman, Commencement Speech 2012

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Filed under Advice Column, Books/Classes, Writing

Bookish Nonsense

It’s NaNoWriMo!

Didn’t I say that already at some point?

Well, it is.  And since I’m writing my hot little hands off (I’m really not since I’m truly only spending 90 minutes focused on writing my next great novel), I haven’t been thinking about what to write as far as blog posts go.

Then it hit me:  Books!  I write and you read, or you write and I read?  Lately, when reading, I seem to find myself in a run of books that leave me feeling like I don’t want to really finish them other than to say that I have.

This week, I have run into three of them, one that I had tried before to finish and then two that I’m not quite sold on.  I’m saying this even though it’s the 8th of the month and I’ve already finished five books.  I’m not sure if it’s the writing style of the books or that I’m listening to them or what, but I seem to find myself with a run of mediocre stories.

Part of me wants to tell you what those stories are, but I won’t.  You may have enjoyed them or you may share my same opinion.  Won’t know until Sunday’s Wrap-up video, will we?

While I’m trying to decide if I want to finish books that aren’t grabbing ahold of me and making me sit at my desk and read them, I did find a new series, a great short story, and a new web comic to read.  Also things that I will mention in my weekly wrap-up video.

What about you?  Do you keeping reading books that you aren’t liking or do you move on to something else?

Listening to:  Little One by Highly Suspect.  When I make my playlist for the book I’m working on, that will be one of the few songs there since I’ve steadily had it on repeat since about 6 a.m. this morning, and has been the first song I play almost every morning when I’m sitting down to write.

Reading:  Antigoddess by Kendare Blake and See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Quote of the Day:  “There’s a certain grace in accepting what your life is and embracing all the good things that have been – but there’s still an expectation of good things to come. Not necessarily what you expected.” ― Emmylou Harris

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Filed under Books/Classes, Writing

November’s Goals

Happy All Soul’s Day!

Today, for some of us, is the start of a new year.  For others, it’s just another day closer to the holiday season.  For some of us still, today starts National Novel Writer’s Month, of which I am participating in.  I’m also in the camp that uses today as the start to a new year, a new beginning and the opportunity to let go of everything negative that has happened in the last 10 months and start over.

Last month, yesterday especially, I have been very negative.  I didn’t even do October goals last month because I was just not with it.  Today, I am with it because, like I said, I am choosing to let go of everything negative and focus my energies on something else.  Negative things will happen, but today is mine.

Enough rambling.

The Day Zero Goals I completed last month were:

  • Disney’s Food and Wine Festival. Ray and I went at the beginning of October.  We made it all the way around and I was mostly sober.  I was walking back to where she was sitting one time with plates from two countries.  If you have ever been able to go on vacation with the person you are spending the rest of your life with, you’ll understand the feeling you get when you turn the corner and they are looking at you with love in their eyes, even when what you are doing isn’t something they would have done themselves.  Best feeling in the world.  Also, FB showed pictures from three years ago this week, from the last time I went.  I look so different from those pictures.
  • Read 100 books. I actually started this up again since I’m at 110 books right now with two more I’m currently reading.

Non-Day Zero things from last month:

  • Miles reached: 924.97.  384.03 miles to Rauros!
  • Weight lost:  6.6
  • Books read:  13
  • Blog Posts: 3
  • Vlog Posts:  10
  • Complete King Crab Challenge on 10/21/17

November’s goals are fairly straight forward:  lots of writing, vlog, reading, and working (mostly in that order).

That seems like a lot, and honestly, it is.  But there isn’t anything on here that I would take off.  It’s all important to me so I’m going to do it.

Wish me luck!

Listening to:  Staind via Amazon Music

Reading:  Winter by Marissa Meyer and Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

Quote of the Day:  “People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit.  Most men succeed because they are determined to.” – George Allen, Sr.

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Filed under 1001 Days, Books/Classes, Bucket List, Goals, HRC, Writing


Books and more books!

This is the month of books.  So far I have read/listened to five books so far this month and it’s only the 9th.  I have two other books started right now, with several more to get to by the end of the month.  I figured this would be a good time to tell you about them because that’s pretty much what I’m focusing on this month.

I actually like focusing on books.  I love reading; I’m finally figuring out what I like outside of paranormal.  It also gives me something else to focus on besides working and the house.  I can be positive about books.  I can be passionate about books.  I can actually talk about books and the characters, the writing styles and what I like (or hated).  As a writer, that’s super important to me.  If I know the style I like to read, I can write that way too.

This month, I’m doing the Tome Topple challenge (books over 500 pages) and Read-A-Thin (thinning out your To-Be Read list).  There are also books outside of those two challenges that I am reading/listening to.  Here are the video links to my complete TBR lists for all three sets of books.

August TBR: Read-a-thin Challenge–
August TBR: Tome Topple–
August TBR: Other books–

Overall, there were 18 books.  Now, there are 20 because I added a buddy read book that I wasn’t expecting and one of my Overdrive holds became available.

That’s what’s going on my life right now.

Listening to:  Eclectic Reads’ Coffee Book Tag

Reading:  Physical book–Shadow the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (great book!) and Audiobook—Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Quote of the Day:  “I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” ― Frank Lloyd Wright

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Filed under Books/Classes, Writing

To the Boy Who Lived…

Today is Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom’s birthday.

If you’re new to my blog posts, Harry Potter and Wizarding World is very much a part of my life and that of a lot of my friends.  My mom was still alive when the first three books were out and after she died, it gave me something to crawl into and remember her by.  Add that to my step-mom became a Harry Potter fan after the movies came out.  We would talk about the Wizarding World; she would call with random questions and I would answer them if I remembered the answer.  She also bought me the 7th book for my birthday present the year it came out.  We both cried at the ending.

On top of my memories of my moms, my sister also has a few Harry Potter based tattoos.  They’re really neat.  I need to go get my Potter inspired tattoo at some point but I’m torn between getting my house crest (I’m a Slytherin) or a version of “Always,” the word Snape utters to Dumbledore in regards to Lily.  Talk about a great love story that explained so much.

I also wanted to do quotes today, so in honor of Harry and Neville, here are my favorite quotes from the Harry Potter series.

“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.” 
–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” –Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being–forgive me–rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.” ––Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” –Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” –Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” –Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” –Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.” –Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” –Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. Love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves it’s own mark. To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” –Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” –Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?” –Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” –Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” –Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets

“When in doubt, go to the library.” –Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets

And of course…


Thank you, J.K. Rowling for giving the world Harry Potter and everything that has come from what you have created.  Happy birthday!


Listening to:  J vs Ben:  The Hardest Dumbledore Trivia Quiz Ever

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Quote of the Day:  Pick an other ones above.

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Filed under Books/Classes, Quotes