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…?

I’m back! (Sort of)

Well, here I am, posting briefly before my busy day begins.  I just wanted to say that no, I haven’t fallen off the radar — at least, not entirely!  Things have been super busy in my life.  My last post was on 28 June 2014, so let’s see what’s happened since then:

– I took two online classes at the same time last July-August, due to the Extended Vacation™.  Although my grad school’s administration were worried that those classes would be “too rigorous” for me to handle taking them both at once, I got an A in one and an A- in the other.  Don’t get me wrong, those were 6 weeks of me working very hard, but it was enjoyable. (The classes I took were Assessment & the DSM, and Emotional Disorders of Children and Youth.)

– I started and finished my (VERY LAST!!) fall semester ever, and got a 4.0 for both classes.

– I took a break from reviewing books for NetGalley (which is one reason why I haven’t been posting here!), because I’ve just been too busy with grad school to be able to devote as much time to the books from NetGalley as they deserve. (I am planning on going back there, though, once I graduate.)

– I started an internship — one that will go until May — at an agency not too far from me that has a ton of different services, from outpatient counseling to family therapy to partial hospitalization for kids.  The program in which I am interning is the one for kids with behavioral struggles.  I shadow a mobile therapist and I also have a caseload of two.  The internship is 300 hours/semester, so by the time I finish in late April I will have racked up at least 600 hours working there.

So yes, that’s been my life!!  And now I’m on the final semester of grad school — which is insanely hard to believe — and hopefully will be posting more than once every 6-7 months.

Also, the agency where I’m interning wants to hire me — assuming I don’t screw up in the next 2-3 months while I finish up my internship — so that is really exciting.  Although it’ll only be part-time (ha, “only”! my field instructor is technically only doing 21 hours/week there but she’s so busy), that’s fine with me.  There won’t be any benefits but depending on the number of clients I have, I can definitely make enough for us to live on until my husband graduates with his Bachelor’s (expected graduation May 2016, I believe, or possibly December 2016).

But, since that social work job will “only” be part-time, I’m thinking of seeing what other things I can get involved with in the area that would be fun and interesting and possibly pay a bit.  However, that’s a discussion for another post…

Book reviews will be forthcoming too — at least, I hope!  I’ve been reading a lot; I met my GR challenge of 75 books last year so this year I’ve bumped it up to 100.  So far I’ve read 14 so I think that’s a pretty good start… *grin*

Oh — and since today is Tuesday, later I may attempt to do a Top 10 Tuesday post.  Or it might end up being a Throwback Thursday post, considering that I’m pretty busy the rest of today.  Cheers!

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!!

Hmm… suggestions? and other things.

I have been trying to figure out which YA author I should try next.  I mean, I have several books by Sarah Dessen left to read, and in fact, just picked up one that I had started last July then lost amidst stacks of other books (I tell you, our apartment is cluttered!!), but I do want to try other authors that are out there.  I also am in love with hard copies of books right now, although I know my husband isn’t keen on me buying more books that will take up yet more space in our apartment… so that will have to be considered.  Kindle books I can manage, though.

So, the authors I am considering: Courtney Summers, Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare (I have read City of Bones and am working on the second in the series, but I’m not sure if I should try a different series too/instead?), and Veronica Roth.  I’m sure there are others of whom I am just not thinking right now, but those are the main ones in my head at the moment.  And of course, if you have any suggestions, I am definitely willing to see about trying them!!  There are so many YA authors out there that come with good recommendations, that sometimes I don’t even know where to start. (Even though right now I have over a thousand books on my Kindle, and probably over a thousand books lying loose in the apartment, so I am not in any dearth of things to read!! [My Kindle books are about half YA, my paperback books are probably only about 10% YA.])

There have been several interesting developments in the life of April lately.  Well, not really in my life, per se – more so in my brain.  Expanding horizons.  I am so excited to graduate in a year and actually be in the social work field, rather than just a student – there are so many interesting things going on right now in terms of policy changes (and they’re not good policy changes, either, but they inspire growth on the part of social workers as well as critical thinking).  It’s sad to think how these policies will be affecting my current and future clients (I do have a few clients now, as an intern) – mostly my future clients, but I daresay that some of my current ones will be feeling the backlash at some point.  I have enjoyed stimulating discussions with my field instructor about one of these policies – I forget its name (it’s only part of a bill about Medicare/Medicaid) but it basically is giving federal right to involuntarily commit people to psych wards.  I am not entirely sure the point of the bill – in what I read about it, there was some mention of a “doctor fix” as well as how this would help Medicare/Medicaid in the long run, as well as how it could stop mass shootings etc. by getting people care they need, but it was pretty unclear how that all tied together.  The criteria for involuntary committal is still the same it always has been.

(And, by the by, involuntary committal, also known as “302ing someone,” has not been shown to actually be effective at helping people.  They’ll take meds while they’re in the hospital, maybe – if you’re lucky – but once they’re released, it’s not likely they will keep taking their medication.  So.  The fact that that bill passed with such speed through both the House and the Senate was a little disconcerting.)

Anyway, so that’s been some interesting things going on right now for me.  Thinking about this, discussing how I would advocate against bills such as these, discussing how I would advocate for a client for whom a 302 may be imminent… stuff like that.  Very interesting – to me, at least.

The last bit of news: only 4 weeks until my second year of grad school is over.  I can’t believe it is going by this quickly. (I also can’t believe that this blog is over a year old now!!) There is some uncertainty about what I will be doing this summer in terms of classes, since there is A Thing I may have to do for my health in the first summer semester that will prevent me from taking a class, but I have spoken with my adviser and she said that I can always double up on courses in summer 2, even though that is not advised, just because of the workload. (The only other option is for me to wait until spring 2016 and travel 1.5 to 3 hours to take the integrative seminar course at a different campus, since it requires that I have taken all of the courses to date.  I do not want to do this for obvious reasons.) Anyway, so if you guys could keep that in your thoughts/prayers it would be awesome!!  Just that everything works out somehow.

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? 😀

So it’s 2014!!

What are you all looking forward to in this year, still so new that it is squeaking as each day passes?

I know I’m looking forward to a lot of things.  Fall will be “the beginning of the end” – my final year as a grad student.  In about a year and a half, assuming everything goes as planned, I will be graduating with my MSW.  I am so excited about this.  It feels like finally maybe my life can begin – I mean, I know that it has begun and is going on all around me right now – but I haven’t ever had a job in the field that interests me.  Also, we are being hammered with adult things like bills – but without the fulfillment of having jobs we love.  Hopefully that will happen in 2015.  But that is still a year off yet – I was asking you guys what you’re looking forward to this year, and I need to answer my own question!! 😉

I’m looking forward to summer – who doesn’t, especially with the temperature having been as low as it has been (-35’F was logged in a town near me with windchill), and all of the snow/rain, depending on where you live.  But summer – besides being a time of warmer temps and sunshine – is also the only time in the next year and a half that I won’t have an internship to go to, and the only time that I’ll be taking one class at a time instead of two.  So, presuming that things this summer go like they did last summer – online classes, namely – I will have more time to read!!  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the internship I am currently at, and I am looking forward to having a more clinically based one in my final year, but it is also nice having a break from all of the structure.

And books!!  What books are you guys looking forward to seeing published in 2014?  I have to admit that I haven’t really been keeping up with what is to be published this year, but I do know that Winter by Sierra Dean is being published this month (!!!) and I really want to read that, since it’s the sequel to Autumn, which I read and reviewed here sometime last year.  And I also want to manage to get my hands on a copy of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (even though that was published last year, I believe) since I so adored Eleanor & Park.  I’ve also heard that Courtney Summers is a good YA author, so I should probably try some of her books as well, if I am going to be dipping into YA more. (I love the genre – it makes me feel younger, which is usually welcome. :D) Also, I want to read more of Sarah Dessen books that I own. 🙂

More immediately, I am looking forward to the return of writing group. 😀 It starts the second week of classes, but man, I have missed the women in it, including my mentor.  It will be good to be back.  I just hope I can make myself do the edits on some of my poems, since I currently have a sheaf of scribbled on copies of poems that I brought to the meetings last year (how odd to say that when I just mean last fall…) to be critiqued, sitting on top of my defunct printer.  I don’t want to lose those poems, because I want to make sure to edit them, obviously, but for some reason I am finding it very difficult to just sit down and work on editing them, although it would certainly be easier than sitting here and agonizing over losing the sheaf.  I am such a strange person, sometimes.  My husband would agree, for sure. 😉

Now, your turn.  What are the top 3 things you’re looking forward to this year (if you can narrow it down so)? 😀

An update that is full of “Stuff & Things.”

I apologize for not really being around the past few months.  Life has been crazy with many complicating factors, but I am looking forward to a great fall.  I’ll be busy, that’s for sure – I have an internship lined up that will hopefully be starting in the next few weeks… two classes that are rumored to be our toughest – only one has met so far and I’ve found myself struggling to dislike this professor since I really don’t want to love the prof and hate the class… countless (text)books to read (well, okay, so only 3 textbooks, but you know, it seems like a lot more than that!!)… and countless actually fun books to read!! (No, I shouldn’t say that about my textbooks – I do enjoy parts of them, as nerdy as that sounds.  Once I get into the textbook lingo then I do much better.  Let’s just say, though, that that hasn’t quite happened yet… but we’re still on the first week of classes.)

I am sad because I am not sure if I will be able to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.  With the health problems that I have been having (nothing life-threatening, no worries 😉 ), plus a 15-hour-a-week internship and 2 classes, I have a feeling that by the time November rolls around I will be struggling to find time to fix myself a cuppa or read a chapter in a coveted book, much less be able to commit to writing 1667 words a day for a month.  However, I am going to try.  Camp NaNo this past July was a total flop – I got 15,000 words into it, almost exactly, and then got bogged down with… yup!! you guessed it – health problems and classes. (Yes, I did take classes all summer.  My actual summer was… *drumroll* …two weeks between spring and summer 1’s class, one week between summer 1 and summer 2’s classes, and then one week between summer 2’s class and the beginning of fall classes.  Guess I’m starting to feel a little bit of that “grownuppy” feeling… 😀 …but I can’t say that I am too fond of it.)

However, I am going to try and update this blog more often with things that vary from book reviews for books from NetGalley.  Not that anything is wrong with that, but I didn’t intend this blog to just be a book review blog.  I want to write about writing, I want to post snippets of my WIPs, I want to talk about all of the new and exciting things that are happening for me in the writing world – and the other world, for that matter. (Wait… there’s a world other than the writing world? *gasp* How is this news?! 😉 )

My most exciting piece of news?  I am trying to get involved with the International Justice Mission as… well, I don’t know what as.  But since it involves working with people who have been violently oppressed, and that is one of my passions, I thought it would be good to stick my nose out of the door of my safe little world and see if there is something that I could do to help now.  Maybe an internship over the summer months of next year.  I don’t know.  I just know that I want to be involved with their work, because it is good work that they are doing every day, whether in Washington DC or in Africa or Indonesia.

(Well, I thought it was exciting, anyway!! 🙂 Their website is here if you want to take a look at the work that they do in case you, perhaps, may be interested in supporting them in some way, shape, or form.)

Over and out, my friends.