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. 

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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. 

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.