30 Day Writing Challenge

30 day writing challenge

I haven’t done anything like this, so I thought it might be fun to try. 

Day 1: List Ten Things That Make You Really Happy

In no particular order:

  1. My son (he really makes my day brighter)
  2. Playing Dragon Age games (Origins, Awakening, DA2, or DA: Inquisition)
  3. Writing – blog posts, poetry, and Dragon Age fanfiction
  4. Reading during any spare minutes I have – esp if they’re ARCs (Advanced Readers Copy so I get to read and review them before anyone else)
  5. Talking to anyone who will listen about art and sharing my knowledge and appreciation of it – doubly so if I get to teach an art program like Art Explorers or the ones I used to do for Kids Cafe
  6. Having intellectual conversations with cute educated guys
  7. Nerding out/Fangirling while watching Star Wars/LOTR/Miraculous Ladybug/anything vaguely Anglophile (see my Pinterest page for more of what Nerdy/Geeky things I mean)
  8. Going to Comic-con in Phx – maybe one day I can do the big one in San Diego
  9. Traveling – last trip was to Alabama to visit my family so not sure that really counts but last trip before that was to Prescott/Sedona/Northern Arizona area which I hadn’t really explored since before I moved here to AZ so that counts. I haven’t been on a good trip since college, esp a “dropping me in the middle of a country where I don’t speak the language but still manage to have fun”, but here’s hoping for more in the future. 
  10. As corny as this sounds, doing my job at work. I got a Masters Degree in Youth Services in a Public Library and I really do love helping kids and their families, so anywhere I get to do that is awesome, i.e. during Preschool STEM storytime, during Baby Storytime, Kids Cafe, Reference Desk, Readers Advisory, or helping out with other programs. 

Moment of Zen: Travel Edition

I rarely go on vacations, mostly because I can’t afford them or the time off from work. But for a week after Christmas I traveled by car with my mother and son to Alabama, to visit my grandfather, who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. I also hadn’t been to his house in about seven years, nor seen my brother and his family, so it was very overdue. Let me just say first off that I will never spend 25 hrs in the car with anyone again, as it was way too exhausting, especially as we were spending 13-14 hrs in the car per day. Discovered a few things about the states in the process, for example my thoughts on West Texas (as we drove through pretty much the whole bottom half of the state) were a ton of dead skunks on the road – which smelled horrible, bad natural gas smell from all the refineries, and a whole lot of nothing for miles and miles (which doesn’t change in the daytime). Whereas Louisiana had miles and miles of bridges b/c it is all swampy, including the longest one, a five-mile causeway across Lake Pontchartrain (see satellite image below). Most of my happy moments involved food. 

lake-pontchartrain-causeway-66

Tues Dec 27: I found this cool visual map for my son to keep track of the states we were visiting during the course of our journey, as we were going through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. That way he was involved with our progress and learned something about each state. It was very popular and he really got into it. 

Wed Dec 28: Got to have Cajun food in Louisiana. My mom had Crawfish Etouffee and I had a Crawfish Po-Boy. 

Thurs Dec 29: Got to have Zaxby’s for the first time since we left South Carolina (about 5-1/2 yrs before). Not sure what they use on their chicken or in their Zax sauce, but it is damn tasty and hard to replicate. 

Fri Dec 30:  Got to see my brother and his family for the first time in seven years, and meet his daughter Kayleigh, who I’ve never actually met before. It was nice catching up with them. 

Sat Dec 31: Had boiled peanuts today and next day – the one Southern food I actually miss and can’t get over here. They were pretty good for being from a gas station. 

sunset-in-new-mexico

Mon Jan 2: Prettiest sunset of the trip driving through New Mexico. It doesn’t quite capture it in the picture, but it was gorgeous with all the orangey-reds, pinks and purples reflected off the fleecy clouds. 

Moments of Zen: Sept 10 – 16

This week was pretty stressful, and I had a lot of things on my plate. My son had better behavior, so that I am very thankful for, as last week was very exasperating. 

Sat and Sun: Honestly, it was probably when I finally got alone time to play Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR), the MMO game. It is the current game du jour for me, since I’m not playing Dragon Age: Inquisition (though I will be in November, yay!). I currently have 4 characters, 2 Rebels and 2 Imperials. My son likes watching, though I don’t let him sit for everything as it can get a little graphic. 

Mon: Reading my son I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems for his bedtime story. It was very silly but a lot of fun to read, as are most Elephant and Piggie books. I especially liked the multitude of colors Gerald turns after trying the slop, but explains to Piggie that it is good to try new things even if you don’t end up liking it. 

Tues: Having a girl talk moment with two co-workers during my lunch break and talking about my friend’s dates. It’s silly but it is nice sometimes to talk about fluffy stuff like that to take your mind off of other things. 

Wed: When my friend Joanna called me back yesterday b/c one of my FB messages sounded sad and was wondering how I was doing. Yesterday was a sad day for me, so to have someone thinking about me and wishing me well really meant a lot. Plus her phone call distracted me and got me laughing again. 

Thurs: Dancing to Pitbull’s song Fireball in my car. That song always makes me smile. Oh, and of course getting to go to ASU Gammage’s production of Cabaret for free, courtesy of my parents, which has great music and reminds me of my childhood (I was a bit obsessed with the movie version). I definitely plan on going to more live theater in the future. 

cabaret

Fri: I was a little surprised at how much the parents/kids loved my brand new Dinosaur DiscoveryTime! I would change a couple things with it, but overall a success. Also had a serious Moment of Zen where I disconnected from the world for about 1/2 hr during lunch at Blue Find and had a Panko Chicken Bowl and read Kamisama Kiss Vol 21.  

kamisama-kiss-vol-21

Moment of Zen: Sept 3 – 9

It has been a crazy week and I’m glad it’s nearly over as I am whooped physically and mentally. Just working until the early afternoon tomorrow and then I’ll be free for the weekend. 

Sat: Even though my face and shoulders are sunburned because of it, getting to relax and just float for a bit, on my back in the pool, while my son took his first swimming class (which he really enjoyed). 

Sun: Getting to have brunch and a coffee with my dad and just talk about stuff going on. I find I need to vent more than ever before, and he’s a good listener who gives his honest opinion about things. 

Mon: Hanging out in Prescott, for the first time, with Joanna and my son. It was a perfect sunny 82 degrees F and slightly windy. Hopefully by next month, the weather will be even better for the mini-break I’m taking with my parents and son next month. 

Tues: Having lunch with Joanna at one of my favorite local restaurants, Blue Fin. This is actually the place where I first thought about doing these posts as whenever I go there, it makes me totally relaxed plus I love the food. It’s right across from the library where I work and the people there are so nice and always make me feel welcome. It’s been there for nearly 35 years, and they make excellent panko chicken with brown rice and tonkatsu sauce, and my favorite Oyako Chicken (eggs, chicken, cabbage and onions all mixed together with a sweet sauce) over brown rice. The Oyako is just so comforting, so if I have time as it takes a little longer to prepare, I usually get that. 

Wed: Weirdly enough, my favorite part of the day was the small staff meeting we had to discuss some routine stuff, in addition to learning that I will do more outreach for The Amazing Library Card Campaign (encourages public school kids in target low-literacy areas to get library cards – 3rd year they’ve done it) and this year’s theme is Peanuts (last year was Star Wars so we had the local Star Wars charity group come shoot photos at the library in promotion). Also my duties at work have changed a bit. They’ve added me to the “Ask a Librarian” team, which I’ve never done, but am a bit excited to get a new task

stormtroopers-in-the-archives-at-burton-barr-sept-2015

Last year’s theme (Stormtroopers in the Library’s Archives, Sept 2015)

peanuts_web_psa_336x280

This year’s theme

Thurs: Today it was just nice to relax and not have to do anything except my counseling appointment first thing in the morning. I’ve not really had the opportunity to do so in the last week. 

Fri: Ok this one is kind of weird, but it made me happy. Finally got a chance to talk to two of our interns and assign them tasks to start next week that will mean I get to fill out less paperwork and give them a bit more ownership of the program. I will be talking to them more next week to set it up properly. Yay for interns!

Moment of Zen: Aug 27 – Sept 2

This week has been pretty interesting, with the exception of Monday and Wednesday, which were just kind of a blah days. Tues was my last day at the branch library I’ve been helping out at for the last month and I was a bit sad to leave as it is nice to meet new people and work at a different place every now and then and see how other libraries work. The manager will still need help in the future, so I’ll keep my ear out for more opportunities and I’m on the substitute list for other branches, so if not there than someplace else I’m sure. 

Quote of the week, taken from Brian Selznick’s The Marvels pg 599, writing about Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale: 

“Maybe the play wasn’t about miracles. No, maybe it was about the passage of time, and the need for patience, and the ability to forgive. Maybe Shakespeare was saying that even in a world where miracles can happen, there’s still going to be pain, and loss, and regret. Because sometimes people die and you can’t bring them back. That’s what life is, Joseph realized, miracles and sadness, side by side.”

Sat: Late night drink and talk with my dad about food, cooking and travel; apparently Guy Fieri makes the worst descriptions of food on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, according to my dad

The Japanese Lover

Sun: My friend Joanna and I started an adult bookclub called “A Novel Idea” in July and Sun was the second meeting and we doubled our attendance! We discussed Isabelle Allende’s The Japanese Lover, and had some very interesting discussions about race, prejudice, immigration, growing old and much more. It was cool because all but my mother had worked or was currently working in a library, and everyone was a reader and it is always awesome talking about books with educated ladies. I’m hoping we’ll get even more people the next one and for Sept we are reading the classic by Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels. This was the nicest time I’ve had in awhile and it was so much fun to be a part of the group. 

Tues: Going out with my friend Joanna and her friends and doing 90’s trivia night at a local market downtown. We came in 15th place but it was still a lot of fun, even though the questions were a little obscure. I would definitely do this again. 

Wed: Snuggle time with my son watching Hotel Transylvania 2

Thurs: Getting to talk to my new counselor about everything going on and setting up a plan to help sort me out in the future

Fri: I had an epiphany moment this morning during my DiscoveryTime storytime (storytime plus STEM) where I was reading the book Big-Mouth Frog by Keith Faulkner and the parents and kids were so into the story and I felt like “Wow, this is really what I’m meant to do (being a librarian).” So I need to keep that in mind when I’m having moments of professional self-doubt. 

Moment of Zen: Aug 20-26

Bel Air 57 fins

I’ve been rediscovering things that I’ve liked for years but I have forgotten about, like the above pic of the back of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, my favorite car for this year because the fins are pretty epic.  Granted I prefer it to be either red and white or baby blue and white, but the lines in this photo are gorgeous. I’m not sure if I’ll ever own one, but if I did, Arizona would be the perfect place to preserve it. This week I have been organizing teen/adult volunteers for Kids Cafe and getting ready for DiscoveryTime, which starts Sept 2nd. I’m finishing up my last two weeks helping out at one of our local branches, and though I’ve enjoyed my time elsewhere, I will be glad to be back on a normal schedule at my home library. My son seems to be somewhat settling in at school (he started about 2-1/2 weeks ago), though getting him actually in the building has been challenging. He’s always been one of those kids who hates the journey, but once he’s there in class, he’s usually fine and does well. Boo is so big and grown up in the pic below! It’s hard to believe he’s already in Kindergarten.  

Boo 1st day of school - Aug 2016

Boo’s 1st day of school – Aug 2016

Sat: Having a vegan lunch at Loving Hut with my mom and catching up on what’s been going on, and just relaxing as I feel like I’ve not had a whole lot of time to do that lately. The pandan cake and pho was delicious!

Sun: Eating brunch with my dad and son, and talking about family. The crimini mushroom, kale, mozzarella, roasted tomato and onion frittata was pretty tasty. I will give the melon cooler a skip next time though.

Mon: Talking to my friend Caren about everything going on and getting ready for bookclub on Sunday. I need to work on my discussion questions for the group. 

Tues:  Connecting with the supervisor at the branch library I’ve been working with this month, and talking about cooking and how much we hate to cook meat. 

Wed: Taco Salad Lunch with co-workers. It was part of the Community Service Fund Drive the Library does every year to benefit local charities and these were particularly yummy. I’ve also been indulging in the Ice Cream party version at the branch I’ve been working at for the past couple of weeks. 

Thurs: Hanging out with my son at the library where I work (when I’m not working). He loves going to Mach1 (our creative space for Makers, Artists, Crafters and Hackers). We tried the Minecraft and Star Wars Coding lessons on http://www.code.org, attempted battery-powered K’nex and then played with the Hyperdo making cool shapes. My son’s example is on the left and according to him is an AT-AT (from Star Wars) and mine is on the right (no idea what it was supposed to be, just my own creation). 

Hyperdo examples

Fri:  Probably talking about the book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with a co-worker and finishing up reading the book, I enjoyed it and wrote a review, see below. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a new play by Jack Thorne

Read 8/26/16

I love Harry Potter so I was curious about this play. It is based off a story by J.K. Rowling but I’m not sure how much is hers and how much was invented by Jack Thorne. As another Goodreads reviewer has said, it is basically fanfiction, and for me that is not necessarily a bad thing. Because it was written as a play and not a book, I think it loses a bit, which may be recovered if I saw the actual play itself (kind of like Shakespeare plays are easier to understand if you’re watching them).

There were some great quotes in the book and my favorite part is about in the middle where Ron is talking to Hermione (Act Three, Scene Seventeen, pg 223) and he thinks they should get a marriage renewal, which she of course thinks is totally romantic. He says:
“Well, we were only young when we did it the first time and I got very drunk and–well to be honest, I can’t remember much of it and…The truth is–I love you, Hermione Granger, and whatever time says–I’d like the opportunity to say so in front of lots of other people. Again. Sober.” I think that quote just encapsulates their relationship perfectly.

I also enjoyed a quote later on, in Act Four, Scene Four, between Draco and Harry when their sons are lost in time and they’re having an honest conversation about being parents and how hard that’s been. And Harry says to Draco: “Love blinds. We have tried to give our sons, not what they needed, but what we needed. We’ve been so busy trying to rewrite our own pasts, we’ve blighted our present.”

The play is set nineteen years after the events of “The Deathly Hallows,” and the gang is all middle-aged with families of their own. Ginny and Harry have married and have three kids, and Harry works for the Ministry of Magic while his wife is the sports writer for the Daily Prophet. Ron and Hermione are married and have one daughter, and Hermione is the Minister of Magic and Ron owns a joke shop. Harry’s kids are of course friends with Ron’s daughter and the book starts off telling the story of Albus, Harry’s middle child going to Hogwarts for the first time with Rose, Ron’s kid. On the train, they meet Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s kid and there is this whole controversy about whether he is actually Voldemort’s son. Despite being sorted into Slytherin, Albus enjoys it and becomes best friends with Scorpius. Then the stuff really hits the fan. There’s time travel, first love, angsty teenagers who don’t get along with their parents, and of course Harry Potter and his scar. The ending was a bit predictable, but overall I enjoyed it. Recommended for ages 12+, 3-1/2 stars.