Questionnaires are Awesome!

I am one of those weird people who actually enjoy filling out questionnaires, but then I also like making lists so I guess it makes sense. I found this one on either Tumblr or Facebook, I can’t remember which, so thought I might do an informational post about myself using these questions. I’m not going to do the full one because the post would go on forever and who needs all that? I added another three from this website

  • What are some of your favorite words? lugubrious, kerfuffle, splendiferous, susurrous
  • What do you label yourself as? Usually I consider myself a feisty librarian mom; an extroverted introvert/ambivert

Ambiverts

  • Favorite age you’ve been so far? Not sure I have a favorite per se, but ones I’ve had the most fun/most interesting time is a tie between 22 when I was in graduate school in Scotland and came into my own for the first time. I had a really good grasp on who I was and what I wanted, and I was having lots of fun and traveling a lot. The second time would probably be now, at 37 a year past my divorce and with someone who finally gets me and what I’m about, and just doing my day to day with my son, family and friends. It’s not been easy but I’ve grown stronger. 
  • You can only have one sandwich for the rest of your life. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is available, what do you choose? I would totally go with the sandwich I used to make all the time in Italy when I was studying abroad in my junior year of undergrad: freshly made focaccia, genoa salami, pecorino toscano or pecorino al tartufo (pecorino with black truffles), pesto, fresh spinach, and marinated artichokes. 

Truffle

  • You just found $100. How do you spend it? So this is assuming I’m not having an emergency or any bills to pay. I would go out for a super nice dinner with my boyfriend and then a Jurassic World toy for my son. 
  • The Celestial Gates Of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn’t think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person/etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back? My maternal grandmother at full health because I miss her so much and couldn’t attend her funeral, plus I know how much my grandfather misses her.
  • Have you ever been admitted to the hospital? Only twice, once when I was five I had to get my stomach pumped after I got salmonella poisoning. And once when I was giving birth to my son. 
  • What is your favorite milkshake flavor? Right now it’s Banana Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
  • How long could you go without talking? Probably not very long. I can be introverted at times, but I tend to get lonely/bored easily and want to interact with people. Also tend to talk a lot when I’m nervous. 
  • Can you do any accents other than your own? Yes, though not very well. I can do Southern English, New Yorker, and vaguely Italian accent. My normal accent is generic American but when I get tired or am around other Southerners, my Southeastern American accent comes out. 
  • What do you like on your toast? Normally just butter and possibly some honey/agave. If they’re in season, smashed avocados. 
  •  If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today? If not, what would you change? No, I wouldn’t want to spend my last day working. I’d want to spend the day with my boyfriend, my son and my parents just hanging out, watching movies and playing games. 
  • How many of your friends would you trust with your life? Pretty much all of the ones I keep contact with on a daily basis because I know they have my back and in this case, my life
  • Other than money, what else do you get out of your current job? I love to help people so I get to do that, sharing books/DVDs with others, connecting people with their community and resources they need, helping to create a safe comfortable environment for others to enjoy their free time in

Awesome Tee For Library Assistant

The Empty Sea

The Empty Sea

The Empty Sea (Into the Realms #2) by Craig Michael Curtis

Released originally April 30, 2013

Daniel, Eleanor, Immy and Oka have spent two years traveling through the perilous Labyrinth in the Fifth Realm before they finally managed to escape, only to be betrayed by a temporary member of their party. Eventually they make it to the oceanic Sixth Realm, only to be separated almost immediately. The boys are press-ganged onto a Yellow Star Guild Ship, while the girls end up with the opposing New Start Guild. This trip around the Sixth Realm is a real test of faith for both Daniel and Eleanor, and they find themselves continuously questioning themselves and their decisions. After a very circuitous route and acquiring a few new companions, they finally manage to make it to the Seventh Realm and meet back up again. Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. There were several spelling/grammar errors that I feel could’ve been corrected with some good editing. The beginning up until they got to the Ocean of Storms in the Sixth Realm was rather exciting, then the story really dragged in the middle, and picked back up again in the end.  It took me forever to finish this one because I ended up reading a couple of ARCs in-between. Even though I didn’t understand all of the sailing ship references, different parts of the ship etc, I enjoyed the Horatio Hornblower/Master and Commander feel to it. In that respect, it reminds me of L.A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack series, which I adore. The map in the beginning of the book was very helpful as each group of characters jumped around in the Sixth Realm a lot, and I had trouble keeping track of where they went. 

I know the separation between Daniel and Eleanor was great for the story-building, but it was also super frustrating. This is especially true during the part where they literally missed each other by a couple hundred feet but didn’t meet. I know I wasn’t the only reader to scream out “No!” at that moment. Despite their separation, or maybe because of it, there was a lot of growing up done by both Daniel and Eleanor. I feel like they’ve really learned what they are capable of and what each of them can endure, which will become more important the further into the Realms they go and especially with their sort of forced separation (when Eleanor goes back to the Fourth Realm with Oka because of her promise). 

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.

 

Ugh, how much do I hate moving?

Messy-pile-of-boxes-on-top-of-a-person

I had to unexpectedly move again and in a hurry, so that’s mostly why I have been MIA from the blog. I got 30 days notice from my landlords to find a new place so I have been frantically searching for somewhere half decent in a safe neighborhood for my child and I. The really sucky part is that I am unable to take my dog of 9-1/2 yrs so I’ve had to find a home for her (finally managed to find one so I don’t have to put her in a shelter, so yay!). Luckily I was able to find a roommate to help me afford something a little nicer. We managed to find a good place and have spent the last two days moving in. I still have boxes everywhere and am sore, but we are about 95% moved in. Just have to get the last few things and clean the other place and I will be done. I have moved at least 16 times in my life so I should be used to it, but I never am. I luckily had a few friends to help me move, which helped tremendously as this is the first time I’ve done it pretty much on my own.

Moving Day Horse Drawn

At least it wasn’t by horse-drawn carriage

Next time, I will try to get professional movers because I’m fairly sure moving ranks right up there with divorce and childbirth for me as the most stressful things ever, because even if you try to make everything go smoothly, it almost never seems to. This time around I didn’t have enough people, then one of our beds didn’t fit, I locked the keys in the truck and by the time the tow guy came to bail us out it was too dark and we were too tired to move anything (so we had to do everything the next day). We ended up hiring a couple of guys to help us move and it went a lot smoother after that. If you ever want to get fit in a short amount of time, just lug boxes up stairs a bunch of times. You will definitely feel it in the morning. 

Today at work we decorated pencil boxes to make Dia de Los Muertos altars, so I got to release some of that frustration and focus on crafting. And this is why I crochet in the winter because crafting is relaxing.  I figured I could add a photo of my grandmother and and a candle and I would be set. 

Check Me Out

Check Me Out

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

To be published: Feb 6, 2018

Greta is a small town Assistant Librarian who really loves her job. Only her local library is in trouble and she takes on saving it single-handedly. She has been best friends with Will, the civics teacher and debate coach at the local high school, since they were little an he has always been there for her. Greta’s mother likes to criticize Will because he is chunky and therefore, in her opinion, not worth her time. This year for her birthday, she has asked for the perfect man and Will has delivered him in the form of his cousin, Mac. He is a poetry-spouting, drop-dead gorgeous man who likes to give her free hot chocolates whenever she visits him in the cafe that he works. Who wouldn’t want that? Plus he seems to be really into her. Is he too good to be true? To find out read this modern adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, and decide for yourself which man Greta should end up with. 3-1/2 stars. 

First things first, I usually do not read adult romance books. I would much rather read a historical fiction or a manga that has romance in it but is not the main focus. This one was pretty formulaic, and after I found out it was based on Cyrano de Bergerac, I knew exactly what was going to happen. The library element did add a bit of a twist, which I enjoyed, but pretty much everything was tied up in a nice bow at the end. Overall, I did enjoy the book. 

I picked this one up because it was about librarians, the main character has an MLIS (like me) and she thinks she might’ve found the perfect guy (courtesy of her best friend). And Mac is perfect: curly dark hair, loves poetry and writes it for her, and is gorgeous. He’s the total package, or is he? No surprise that this handsome guy can’t think on his own or that his bigger cousin is supplying all his fabulous lines. I didn’t so much like the whole “Will is fat so he can’t be a good choice for me” mentality that the main character, to an extent, and definitely her mother seemed to have. Just because you’re overweight doesn’t make you less of a person or less deserving of love and attention. I mean it was pretty obvious early on that Greta had a thing for him even if she never mentioned it out loud, especially the longer she hung out with Mac. And Will definitely had the hots for her, even if she was too dumb to figure it out. I always find it a little funny how some people can have advanced degrees but be totally clueless when it comes to love and sex. And no, this is not everyone, but it has been this way in my experience.

The librarian part of the story I enjoyed the most. While I’ve never worked as a small-town librarian, I have worked in small city branches and know all about the fight to keep yours open and viable, and the constant funding issues that you face in one. Greta was incredibly lucky to find a job right out of graduate school, as library jobs are few and far between these days. I have very personal experience with that issue. You really gotta love your job to stay a librarian long-term. I also loved her historical crush on Dr. Silver, and how he fought for integration in the local public school. I’m glad she eventually got to meet him and be a bit of a radical herself, even though the results were not exactly what she had planned. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for my honest review. 

The Prince and the Dressmaker

The Prince and the Dressmaker

The Prince and the Dressmaker written and illustrated by Jen Wang

To be published: Feb 13, 2018

The graphic novel is a historical fiction set in Paris in the late 19th Century, and stars Frances a talented but frustrated seamstress, and her employer, the shy Crown Prince Sebastian of Belgium who turns into the fabulously outgoing Lady Crystallia, fashion icon to all the young Parisians. Problems arise when Sebastian must keep his personal life very secret as his parents are trying to marry him off at the earliest opportunity, so he is meeting eligible young woman during the day and becoming one at night. Of course things become complicated, and Sebastian pulls a really douche bag move trying to save himself and his reputation. Will he be able to salvage his friendship with Frances and become the person he really wants to be? To find out, read this fabulous graphic novel. Recommended for ages 13+, 5 stars. 

I loved that this volume was all about self-acceptance and self-discovery. Being on a bit of similar journey myself, I was really drawn into the story. I found it fascinating that it was involving a cute but awkward prince who doesn’t see the value in himself as a boy, and only feels confident when he dresses in women’s clothing. There has been a lot of press with this sort of story lately, so it is nice to see such as well-thought-out handling of the subject matter. Frances is able to show him how beautiful he can be in her gorgeous dress creations.She finds someone a real friend who supports her dreams and wants her to grow and improve, and finds the same in Sebastian. One example of this, is when Sebastian meets one of Frances’ idols Madame Aurelia when he is dressed as Lady Crystallia, and they both get invited to the Paris Opera House to see her latest creations for the ballet, and the opportunity to show her work to a master dressmaker and he’s as excited as she is. Then he takes her out to eat as the Prince, treats her like a princess, and tells her how much he admires her tenacity. Squeee! That is so adorable!

I love the artwork, especially all the gorgeous dresses and the time period (which seems to have been set sometime during the Belle Epoque – circa 1871-1914). The story, as other reviewers have commented on, does have a lot of “awww” moments where you just want to hug them both and tell them everything will be alright, especially Sebastian. And the part at the end with his dad was so sweet, though I’m not sure if it would ever happen like that in real life, at least not with royalty (we can always hope!). The part that almost made me cry like a baby was at the end when the King says to Frances, “When I first learned the truth, I thought Sebastian’s life would be ruined. But seeing you, I realized everything would be fine…Because someone still loved him.”

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from First Second Books, in exchange for my honest review. 

Moment of Zen: Oct 21-27

This has been an insanely long week for a number of reasons I won’t go into right now. Suffice it to say, that I am very much looking forward to the weekend, especially as my favorite holiday is coming up, aka Halloween! Plus it will be a nice distraction for my son to play in his newly finished costume and have a little fun. 

Fri: Human Body DiscoveryTime went better than I would’ve thought. I found this adorable Brain Hat and used it in the storytime, which went over really well. So well that a colleague wants to use the idea this weekend for one of his programs (so yay for Brain Hat! or as my friend called it, the Brain yarmulke!). 

brain-hat

Sat: Going to Bilingual DIY storytime for Dia de los Muertos with Liam at the library I work at, led by my friend Joanna and new acquaintance Cassi, where I learned how to do “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in Spanish. Then he got to decorate sugar skulls as an ofreda, offering for a Dia de los Muertos altar. Then we went up to the 5th floor, so he could pick out another adult dinosaur book. 

Sun: Oct Bookclub meeting, where we discussed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and ate some yummy French food prepared by our members. We had seven people and had a nice discussion about love and war. 

Mon: Eating the second half of my sandwich from Wildflower Bakery – the Roasted Sweet Potato, it’s amazing and enormous : roasted sweet potatoes, fresh mozzarella, fig confit, arugula, marinated fennel and balsamic vinaigrette on Herb Focaccia, whilst reading more of A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. Also started listening to Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, for our November bookclub as a refresher, as I have read it before. 

Tues: 5 years of blogging on WordPress! Creating an activity sheet for my Construction DiscoveryTime for Friday, glad to feel semi-productive as I’ve been pretty distracted. 

Wed: Getting to go to my son’s school and observe him and his teacher in his slightly advanced Kindergarten class. I was fascinated by what they did, and managed to cram into 3 hrs of school, which included: phonics, reading, comprehension, learning to tell time, math, and learning rhythm with drums in music class. 

Thurs: Finishing up Liam’s Halloween costume with the help of my friends Marlene and Caren (and it is pretty damn adorable) and getting to see the gleeful look on his face when he got to put it on. He’s so excited for this weekend and Monday. Pics below. 

costume1                                                  Toothless Costume Front View

costume2                                               Toothless Costume Back View

costume3

Slightly Clearer view of wings and tail

Moment of Zen: Oct 14-20

Back to the grind on Friday – Sunday after three days off this week. Should’ve taken off Friday too if I didn’t need the money, to rest and recuperate from vacation (ironic right?). 

Fri: Honestly, I went to my room and closed the door, read for an 1-1/2 hrs and then went to bed early. I didn’t get as much sleep as I would’ve liked on this week’s mini-break, so the extra relaxation and sleep really helped. 

Sat: Playing SWTOR and reading a good chunk of Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth, my second YA time-traveling book this week. 

Sun: I did Crafty Science today on Owls today. Name is just like it sounds: I did a mini-Powerpoint presentation on Owls and then we did 4 crafty projects that the kids could choose from (create an owl out of beads and feathers, create a owl mask with crayons/colored pencils/feathers, create an owl out of multicolored cardstock and owl paper bag puppets). I did an owl made out of beads and it was very calming and therapeutic, which was fantastic because my day previously had kind of sucked. Also finished the 2nd ARC of the week, Saving Hamlet, and finally got to catch up with Joanna (who I hadn’t really seen for a couple of weeks). 

Mon: Finally unlocked a Twi’lek and created a bounty hunter character on SWTOR, and she is a pretty curvy bad ass mofo. Got to work on my Dragon Age fanfiction short story some more and got Joanna to agree to be my beta (editor/idea person) for them (so I have been feeling really creative this week). 

twilek

Nashar’a looks like this color with the headband ^

twilek2

But with this facial tattoo ^

Tues: Got to have lunch and talk more with my friend Joanna; also have been working more on my DA story. 

Wed: Started working on Liam’s Halloween costume. He’s going as Toothless the Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon, and my friend Caren is graciously helping me because I do not know how to sew. Went over to Joanna’s house and had lunch. Just nice to get out of the house and be somewhere else and just chill on my day off. 

toothless   toothless-wing

toothless-tail The costume should look something like this. 

Thurs: Working in Mach1 on Liam’s costume. They were having “Sew Family” and the whole month they are working with the kids on Halloween costumes. Some people brought their own projects but others were making capes and learning how to use the sewing machines. It was just nice to see so many working on their own project with so much inspiration and creativity. Lol, now I remember how much I hate to cut felt.