Uphill Battle

Without going into too many details, the last year has been really hard on me emotionally and I feel like I’m just crawling my way out of a deep dark hole.  At first I thought there was no way out of it, but with a lot of help from friends and family, I am starting to see the daylight again. For the first time in a very long time, I am starting to be happy again, though my journey is far from done. When I saw this this afternoon, I just had to share it. Check out Grant Snider, he does some great illustrations on being a writer and struggling with emotions and motivation. 

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. 

Moments of Zen: Jan 3-8

This week has been really slow for me because I came home from Alabama with a really bad cold/cough/bronchitis or whatever this horrible thing is. Not getting much sleep for the past few nights (well less than normal) hasn’t helped either. This is my first week back since my trip. 

Tues Jan 3rd: Honestly, it was napping after I dropped off my son at school because we got home so late from the trip the night before. Well that and playing Dragon Age 2 after a week’s hiatus. 

Wed Jan 4th: I had picked up a copy of Star Wars: Rebels animated TV show before Christmas intending on watching it with my son but we never got around to it. So we started it on Wed and enjoyed it so much, I let him watch 3 episodes. 

star-wars-rebels

Thurs Jan 5th: Watched a few more episodes of Star Wars: Rebels with my son and we both agree that Jedis are pretty awesome. I was pleased to find out that Freddie Prinze Jr, who also voiced Iron Bull from Dragon Age: Inquisition (one of my favorite game characters), also voiced the Jedi in Rebels.

Fri Jan 6th: Getting back in the storytime groove again as I haven’t done it since end of Nov 2016. Today we were talking about robots and a co-worker who was observing me today said I did a good job and called it “stand-up for 3 yr olds” which cracked me up. I had not been feeling great and it perked me back up. 

ouran-vol-18

Sat Jan 7th: Finally got a copy of Ouran High School Host Club Vol 18 by Bisco Hatori, though I am very sad the series is over. 😦 I also managed to find a copy of Star Wars: Kanan, the Last Padawan which I discovered while looking for some Star Wars: Rebels books on our library’s catalog. I think it is so cool that they did an origin story from the most interesting character on an older children/YA TV show. 

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Sun Jan 8th: Played pretty much the entire DA: II Legacy download and loved it. The final battle with Corypheus was nearly as hard than the final battle in Inquisition, even in Casual mode, in my opinion. I loved the dialogue between Hawke, Anders, Varric and Fenris in this premium content. I wish I had gotten the content sooner as this makes so much more sense to do before Inquisition because it explains so much of the storyline before you see Hawke in Skyhold. 

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: Dec 17-23

My son is on his Winter Break and at daycare while I work for the last week of the year (ok will work next Monday too). We’re going to Alabama to visit my maternal grandfather and my brother and his family are going to be there as well. It will be a long drive from Arizona to Alabama, and I still need to find some things for my son to do. Overall, it was a good week. 

Sat: Got to see A Christmas Story: The Musical with my parents and son, and he managed to sit still and watch it for 3/4 of the show. I was very impressed with that, though probably helped that we were right next to the stage. Yay for free tickets!

Sun: Dinosaur battle, on my lap, between the good and bad dinosaurs (determined by whether or not they were smiling) that my son had gotten the previous night. Oh and a Tie-Fighter and the Millennium Falcon were also helping the fight. Also, getting to finally sit down after work and relax, whilst eating salmon and playing DA2. 

Mon: Working on a new DA story, and listening to more DA: Inquisition party banter and completely cracking up. 

Wed: Finally got to see Rogue One with my parents! I enjoyed it because it was definitely a Star Wars movie – good with a lot of personal sacrifices ultimately triumphs over evil, and had better storyline and aliens than Episode VII (my guess is because it wasn’t in the constraints of being in a trilogy and therefore they had more freedom to get creative but still stay in the SW universe). The ending was sad and I would’ve hoped for a smooch, but all they had time for was hand-holding before life ended as they knew it. Also got to have snuggle time with Boo to watch our new copy of Big Hero 6 together. Yay cheap movies at library book sales!

rogue-one

Thurs: Work Christmas party and even though I was late, I still got enjoy it and see everyone (even my recently promoted friends). Finally finished the all-mages-all-the-time story line for DA 2, which I had never played before. I actually really enjoyed romancing Anders even though he totally betrays you and uses you to get his own way, but I stuck by him, didn’t kill him, and fought with him against evil templars (aka Knight Commander Meredith and the come-to-life statues). 

Fri: Reading volume 13 of Ouran High Host Club and loving the new storyline. The anime only went up to about Vol. 11 or 12, so everything past that is brand spanking new and the story has finally picked up. Currently our heroine is trying to figure out who she likes, while the guy she likes is clueless and the other one that likes her can’t decide what to do or how to behave. It is awkward cuteness at its fineness! I must say though that I like Hikaru better than Tamaki, even though I’m pretty sure she picks Tamaki. Ideally I would want her to pick Mori, as he’s my favorite, followed closely by Kyoya. Those are the two pairings I usually read fanfiction about the most. 

Moments of Zen: Sept 17-23

Well this week has been a bit better and a bit worse. I had a job interview on Wed for a Librarian position, so fingers crossed on that!

Sat: Got a new car, well new-t0-me car anyways, at the first place my mom and I went to: a Nissan Altima. It’s a nicer car, better than I would’ve thought to be honest. And it’s got decent reviews on Kelly Blue Book/Edmunds. 

Sun: Going to church with my parents and Liam and just enjoying the space. We went to a different church and it was gorgeous inside. Also identified a bit with the sermon, though not in the way the priest intended (he was talking about the true meaning of stewardship and how all our wealth comes from God). Later, it was nice to just listen to some Classic Hip Hop and Rap and relax for the first time that day, even though it was the end of the day. 

Mon: Watching back to back episodes of Mr. Selfridge Season 2. I recently discovered it and love the Edwardian-era Masterpiece Theater show.  My favorite part of the story is the love triangle between Victor, Agnes and Henri (the right three people in the below photo).

meet_the_staff_of_mr_selfridge

Tues: Finally getting to sit down and, in the quietness of the Children’s workroom in the evening, read some more of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale during my lunch break at work. Also psyched that one of my favorite British comedy shows, Green Wing,  is available on Netflix and I got to watch an episode – which really helped me decompress after work!

green_wing_poster

Wed: Got to politely show off storytime skills in an Librarian Interview for Maricopa County. 

Thurs: Sitting down and started to crochet two scarves and finishing up a third, whilst watching Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Fri: Presenting my Cloud DiscoveryTime storytime and eating lunch at Blue Fin while reading Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. 

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