Another absence.

Hey y’all. I’m still here!

I figured I’d post and say that no, I haven’t forgotten about this blog. For those of you who are authors and have commented and received a reply from me, I have not forgotten about your books, and for those of you who have commented and have not yet received a reply – I have not forgotten about you, either. I promise!

Life has just been really busy. The time I set aside for reading took a tumble in March this year, when my partner at work quit. It’s been 25 and a half weeks that I’ve been on my own, working about 200% of what my job is supposed to require (I have gotten some help from my supervisor as well as an intern that was with me for about 10 weeks). They are currently going through the hiring process now for a new partner for me, so I hope that soon I’ll be back to reading more.

I’ve been reading a lot of different books (and of course, not finishing [m]any) – from Crank by Ellen Hopkins to Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks to Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown. And many others also.

It’s already late August 2016. Where did this year go…?

Update from yours truly. :)

Well, I’m back from my Extended Vacation™ and am posting once more — as is probably obvious by my earlier conglomeration of several book reviews.  I have some pretty exciting ideas for this blog in the near future… but to see if I can carry them out is going to be an entirely different thing.  It seems like I have lots of good ideas — exciting ones, even!! — for this blog, but time usually gets in the way.  Ah, such is the life of a grad student who blogs as a hobby.

I just noticed that how many followers I have now — not a huge number, but definitely more than I ever anticipated having!!  So I wanted to shout out and say thank you to all of y’all who have been following and reading my (erratic) posts.  I’ll try to be more regular in posting book reviews and Top 10 Tuesday posts, etc., and I may even trying to get back into my Throwback Thursday idea from last year, but no promises.

In other news: I can’t believe it’s almost the end of June.  My Extended Vacation™ went from 20 May until 3 June, thus interrupting summer 1’s class (Rural Social Work — it would’ve been [very] applicable to me, but thankfully summer 2’s courses sound even more interesting!!).  Starting on 7 July (a week from this coming Monday), I’ll be taking two classes during the last 6 weeks of summer — “Assessment & the DSM” and “Emotional Disturbances in Children & Youth.”

I am very excited about both of these courses, although dreading them a little — the excitement is because they’re both very much down my alley (I am very interested in the mental health aspect of social work), but the dread comes from the fact that they’re both online classes, both in 6 weeks… basically, I am mentally preparing myself for 6 weeks of torture if that’s what it takes to get through.  Hopefully it won’t be that bad, of course!! — but since they’re advanced year courses, I’m not sure how much more difficult they will be than last summer’s courses.  Probably significantly so, but I’m honestly not sure how different they can be from summer 2013’s courses… there’s only so many different avenues through which you can teach classes online.  Readings, posts on Blackboard, papers to write, videos to watch, and WebEx “classes” to attend.

Good thoughts/prayers would be welcomed as I begin the trek into the wild world of summer classes.  Many thanks to those of you who kept me in your thoughts/prayers about the Extended Vacation™ (it was The Thing that I had to do for health reasons, and it actually worked out!!).

And again, thank you for reading, following, and (hopefully!!) enjoying what you have read on this blog thus far.  If you have suggestions as to what you want to see on here in terms of anything to do with books, book reviews, author involvement, etc. — please feel free to comment!!

Update!!~

Well, my friends, I am now officially over halfway through my grad school experience… and I am finding it so difficult to find the motivation to do the assignments.  I didn’t gain momentum until halfway through last semester, so I guess it’s good sense to expect the same this semester – but I wish that I were motivated immediately.  I think part of it is that I don’t really feel like I had a winter break – although I had some time off, it was not actually a restful winter break, and I only finished my fall internship hours the week prior to spring classes starting.  Thank God for the extended field option.  I would’ve been a mess without it last semester, and I will most likely be doing that again this semester, just because I’m already behind in hours (more about this in a moment).

I’m glad that I’ve had time to read this semester so far, though.  I’m actually kind of keeping up with readings for classes, too – I am glad that we only have class every 2 weeks this semester, although I think that contributes to the unmotivated feeling.  But it does give me more time to get the work done.  Anyway, yes – I’ve been working on my NetGalley ARCs some, and also some of my bajillion paperbacks and e-books.  I only post reviews here of the NetGalley ones, usually, but perhaps I should start posting reviews here of books that I particularly enjoyed (e.g., I just finished Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers, by Anne Lamott, and I loved it) – would you guys be interested in reading those?  Consider them book recommendations, whereas the NetGalley ones are just ways to get the titles out there. 🙂

So about being behind in hours… this week had its scary moments.  I’ve been ahead in hours until this week hit, and you know how unexpected things hit at the most inconvenient times?  That was this week to a T.  I was in a one-person car accident earlier this week, and even though I came out of it unscathed, and even though my car only needed a wheel alignment, it was scary.  I was so close to hitting a tree as well as getting tangled up in a barbed wire fence, but thanks to the huge snowbank that I plowed into (courtesy of slick and unexpected snow on a curve), I came out of it alive.  I think the seriousness of the situation is really only hitting me today, and this occurred much earlier this week.  So, since I was without a car for a few days, I couldn’t go to my internship, and fell behind in hours. (See, I did have a reason for blabbity-blabbing all of that out here!! 😉 )

Other than that, though, life goes on.  Today is Valentine’s Day – which my husband and I don’t really celebrate (read: don’t celebrate at all) – but tomorrow is the better and less well-known holiday, to me.  It’ll be Half Price Chocolate Day!! and I am pretty sure we’re planning on celebrating that day. 😀 Honestly, I don’t know why I hate Valentine’s Day as much as I do.  I think just because it’s so commercialized and I believe that we should appreciate the people in our lives every day, not just one day a year… that sweet acts like giving gifts or cards or doing things for those we love shouldn’t be limited to one day a year.  But at the same time, I can see how, even though it’s so commercialized, some people would view it as a special holiday.  I guess also because my husband isn’t particularly romantic, so rather than be jealous of those couples I know that are getting cards and flowers and candy, I just make jokes about it and know that I’ll get chocolate tomorrow. 😉 I mean, I know he loves me, and I love him, so the extra money spent on cards/candy/flowers is unnecessary.

(That being said, I wouldn’t say no to any of the above.  Maybe someday.)

Ah, but I did not intend this to turn into a Valentine’s Day post.  It kind of did though, didn’t it?  Dearie me.  I really am not as much of a party pooper as the latter part of this post made me sound. 😉

Aside from the car mishap (it just seems wrong to call it an accident, since it was pretty minor in terms of what actually needed to be done to fix the issue with my car, and no one else was involved, etc., etc.), things are going well.  This semester I’ll be conducting a research project with college students, so I am getting kind of excited about that.  I will also be doing a huge group project about a community near us – macro-level social work – so I am kind of excited about that too.  I just wish I could turn this excitement into motivation.  Goodness.

So tell me, what are some of the things that will be happening in the next few months that you are looking forward to? 😀

I’m still alive!!

So, readers, I apologize.  It has been a good while since the last time I updated – almost 2.5 months!! – but I am still here.  I’ve just been lax about updating, but certainly not lax in other areas of my life.  This semester finished off nicely grade-wise for the courses I was taking, and I am reveling in my few days of freedom in between getting internship hours and holidays and family time. (Not that I don’t love my family and love our get-togethers!!)

The most exciting thing that has happened since I last updated is that I have returned to writing poetry.  I wrote avidly as a teenager – I mean, what emo teen doesn’t? – and took some poetry writing classes when I was in college, and while I kept up with writing it for awhile, I stopped creating probably in 2011 or shortly before.  I am now in a writer’s group that meets weekly, led by my mentor (and retired poetry professor), and I have connected with some amazing women.  The group is small – only 7 of us total, counting my mentor – and it really is like therapy some nights… but with some wonderful writing getting critiqued!! 🙂

Because of this, I am getting into some international poets’ works, such as Czeslaw Milosz and the well-known Pablo Neruda.  I love American poets too, but there’s just something about international poets that I find extra inspiring – I can’t really explain it except their views on life are even more varied than those that are here in the States (and there really is a lot of variety to be found in these 50 states!!).

Holidays have been busy as well – and that has taken away from my writing and reading time.  Christmas was wonderful, spent with my amazing parents and fun-loving sister (who is visiting here from “down South” where she’s getting her PhD).  New Year’s is also my husband’s birthday, but I am fairly certain that we won’t be celebrating it, at least in the traditional sense.  I am trying to do what he wants rather than what my traditions demand, which is harder than it sounds!!  Hopefully, though, we can at least have cake and sparkling grape juice to celebrate on New Year’s.  I’m pretty sure he would be amenable to that.

Because of life events, I have not had much time to read.  My NetGalley books have fallen by the wayside but right now I am so tied up with other projects that it is difficult to pull myself back into the reading and reviewing world.  I will eventually, I am sure, but it will take a bit.  I’m currently reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and you guys, that books has all the feels in the world.  It’s like The Fault in Our Stars all over again, except I don’t know the ending of Eleanor & Park, obviously, since I haven’t gotten there yet.  I’m about 45% through the book… so good.  I can’t wait to read more of Rowell’s novels.  There’s something so satisfying about finding a good YA author.  Additionally, it makes me happy that her books aren’t dystopian novels, since those seem to be the hype these days, and I am not particularly a fan. (Okay, so I love The Hunger Games, but aside from those…)

Long enough, my friends.  I will try to be more prompt about updating in the coming months, but with an internship plus two classes, I am kept pretty busy.  I am hoping that with summer will come some semblance of relaxation, though that is a long ways off yet (and between now and then, I need to figure out how I’ll pay for summer’s classes…).  I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday!!

An update!!

So I’ve been thinking about some things that I could do with this blog – so many possibilities out there!! – and I’ve come up with a couple of ideas.  Hopefully I will be able to implement one of my devious plots starting next Thursday.  In the meantime, within the next few days I will be making one (or more) posts with recommendations for books to read.  The top ten post I wrote the other day didn’t even come close to covering my favorite books, so I think that I shall do book recommendations every few weeks.  Maybe I’ll designate a day when I can do that, so you guys know what to look for (or what to avoid, depending on what you like reading here ;)).  I won’t do ten books at once, since that takes far too long (and probably gets a bit annoying to read) and doesn’t allow me to go in depth with writing about the plot and what I enjoyed about the book – I want to be able to do mini book reviews or something along those lines.

 

So I guess you could say that this blog is still under construction, but it’s starting to all come together.  I will also write some about my WIPs as I work on them more – they’ve been woefully abandoned these past few weeks, due to personal circumstances (and horribly difficult papers to write for grad school), but hopefully soon I shall be able to get back into the swing of writing a little each day.  If I could do it for NaNoWriMo, I can do it for other months too. 🙂

Being body positive.

While this is not technically about books or tea (although I am enjoying a mug of Tazo Zen tea while I write this 😉 ), I think it belongs on my blog.  This is something that I have seen countless people – not just women – struggle with.  Whether or not they have eating disorders, disordered eating, or are chronic dieters, it seems that – especially in America – the focus is so much on “I need to change how my body looks” instead of “I need to love my body no matter its size.”

 

I’ll be honest.  This is something I have struggled with since I can remember.  It’s not an easy thing, to go against what society declares to be the “only” way of thinking, the only way of acting.  People seem to put exercising, dieting, and losing weight up on a pedestal.  There are countless posts on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter about how X amount of pounds need to come off after X holiday (usually Christmas and New Year’s).  If you don’t exercise, you’re looked down upon.  And if you say that you’re happy with your body the way that it is, you’re frowned upon even more, because how could that even be possible?  Society truly is messed up in this way (and many other ways – don’t get me started on that one 😉 ).

 

So – being body positive.  In my opinion, this is one of the most important things to learn while you live on this earth.  If you can be happy with your body, no matter the size, and if you can be kind to yourself and others – and not judge based on size – then you have a lot of problems solved before they’ve begun.  I’m not telling you that you should be okay with being overweight/underweight if it’s jeopardizing your health in any way.  I am not at a healthy weight for my height, currently, but that doesn’t mean that accepting my body is impossible.  I can accept it for what it is, and more importantly, for what it does for me – there are so many things that we take for granted when we go about our days.  When was the last time you were consciously grateful for the ability to walk? to breathe? to digest food? to smile?  I could continue listing, but you’ve gotten the idea, I hope.

 

But being body positive is more than just accepting your own body.  It’s about rejecting society’s focus on weight.  It’s about accepting other people and not creating first impressions based on their weight.  It’s about saying that yes, there are people out there that could be called “fat,” or “obese,” and that they are still gorgeous.  I have seen many a woman that would be considered lazy and fat by society at large, who is beautiful inside and out, who has self confidence that I can only dream of having one day, and who doesn’t care what society thinks of her.

 

You know the sad part, though?  We are society.  We make up society.  Yes, the media has a lot to do with what we think is the ideal, but if no one in society bought into those magazines, ads, and commercials, then they’d be out of business.  Yes, I know that is not realistic – but whether you like it or not, you are part of society as a whole.  I am calling you to action.  Take a stand for being body positive.  Accept yourself the way that you are.  Don’t let weight define you or anyone else.

 

And don’t be afraid to make a ripple in that ocean of weight obsessed people!!  Speak out for what you believe is right, and stand up for what you know is healthy.  Not society’s idea of “healthy” (overexercising, eating too little, eating only a certain type of food, etc.).  The actual healthy, where you eat what you want, when you want it – in moderation of course, but who cares if you eat an extra serving of ice cream once in awhile, or have more than two Reese’s cups?  The actual healthy where you exercise when you want to – if you like it, great!! but if you don’t, and if you don’t have doctor’s orders to exercise, then don’t worry about it.  As a last thought – if you exercise regularly and find yourself panicking on days that you can’t… re-evaluate your exercising… because it is not healthy to become so obsessed with something that if you can’t do it, you become panicked.

 

Give yourself a hug for me today.  Smile at yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself, “I am grateful for my body, no matter what size it may be, and I am thankful for all that it does for me.  I reject society’s ideals for beauty and instead agree to work on finding beauty in everyone.”

Under construction.

In between the times that I write on here, I am almost always trying to think of a topic for a new blog post.  The only problem with my current idea for this blog is this: as a new writer, I don’t really know enough about writing professionally to offer much advice on that topic.  However, I can write book reviews… and I can ramble about tea. 😉 I also have found that I enjoy writing about topics that are relevant to me and my studies (see last post for an example), so I may incorporate more of those into this blog as I run across topics in my classes and side studies.

 

I am passionate about writing, though, so I am sure that there will still be posts about writing, my WIPs, what I’ve recently discovered about myself through my writing, and other things of that nature.  I am also considering doing more book reviews on this site, more in-depth than the reviews I write at Goodreads… so there may be more of those in the future, somewhat as fillers for the other blog entries/articles that I will be working on.  I want to eventually get to a point where I update this blog regularly, perhaps twice or three times per week, just to keep myself on the tips of my writing toes, so to speak.  However, right now, I am just working on figuring out who I want my blog audience to be, and what I want to write about.

 

Thus the title.  This blog is currently under construction… but I will be continuing to update it as I figure out just what kinds of things I enjoy writing about. 🙂