Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Not YOU, 2011...It's Me

The end of this year has been difficult for me to say the least. I've struggled with numerous issues in my personal life at the close of this year, and it has made it hard for me on multiple levels. At this point things are going to get pretty personal, so if you don't want to read, NOW is the time to turn back. In October my father confided in me about issues going on in my parents' marriage. Usually these are the things he keeps to himself, but the issue was weighing heavily on him and he needed a confidant and advice from someone he considers trustworthy. My mother had been having an affair for several months and he wanted advice about what he should do. After dropping this news he also told me that he was retiring in July (as soon as he was eligible) and that he was planning to apply for jobs on oil field in the Midwest so that he could work and build up his saving so that he could afford to not work for his entire life. This was as difficult to process as my mother's infidelity. My daddy also discussed not telling my relatives what my mother was doing. This was the hardest thing for me personally, but I can understand his reasoning. The grandmother I live with is my mother's mom, the aunties and uncles and cousins that I surround myself with in times of crises are my mother's siblings and relatives. My daddy was (unnecessarily) worried that my family would in some way turn away from him, leaving him alone.*

For the past three months I've been doing a poor job dealing with these issues. As a 28yo who works in the mental health field I can understand my slow processing as stages of grief and I can recognize the low level symptoms of depression I have been experiencing. I know that if I can't deal with these events on my own there are multiple outlets for me to receive help.  As I've struggled to deal with these issues I have become somewhat withdrawn, I'm rarely on Twitter, I don't text my friends, I rarely make plans, and the homebody tendencies I usually embrace have increase more than I thought was possible. While my closest friends do know what has happened, I've only made vague references to my absences/change in behavior on social media websites. I suppose in a way I was hoping that the problem would go away. The holiday season has been miserable this year. I have had to deal with the loss of a parent who was sitting in the same room as me as well as try to celebrate the season with the knowledge that my mother was planning on leaving and could be gone at any given time, without saying a word to my brother or me.  The silver lining I suppose is that my brother and I have grown closer over the past few weeks.

Earlier this week, my mother left.** While I know that I am not the only person who has dealt with her parents separating, it was a huge blow. She didn't even bother to say goodbye. I sent her a text message on Wednesday that she has not bothered to respond to or acknowledge in any way. I suppose this is the worst part of it all. My mother is...difficult to say the least, and our relationship has been strained for several years, but I suppose we always yearn for parental love. Her leaving has affected me in ways I did not expect. I am so very ANGRY at her. And disappointed. I am not naive when it comes to love. I recognize and understand that people don't always stay in love forever. I also understand that people make terrible choices. However, it feels impossible to accept this. My daddy is also not without faults, but I have never doubted his love for my mother, or his willingness to work to fix any problems that their marriage had. I can say that he has done more for her than I would have been able to do, and has suffered more that he should have ever needed to. My heart is so broken for him. And for myself. And for my brother, and grandmother, and every other person her selfishness has negatively impacted.

And now I have ranted to the vast emptiness (and fullness) of the internet. And in a way it feels SO GOOD to have let go of this. Usually, I am not so personal here and try to save the nervous breakdowns for my close, personal friends or my family*** but I felt the need to let this go before the start of the new year.

In 2012 I'd like to focus on positive things, because this act of my mother's will have a lot of negative impact on the lives of me and my family members. No matter where things go from here in my parents' marriage, there is a lot of hurt to be overcome and to heal. I want to look ahead to good things in the next year. I want to find good in others and remember that fantastic things happen and to see the wonderful things around me without feeling jaded. I want to strive for happiness in my day to day life. And if any of you see me being more Debbie Downer than Cheery Chelle, I want you to feel free to tell me to perk up. That's not insensitive, sometimes we all need to be reminded that there are good things surrounding us. As this posts I will be frantically attempting to finish reading my last book of the year and will also be surrounded by the rest of my family. People who have surrounded me with love and kindness and beauty and pockets of happiness throughout the past few months, and without whom I don't know if I would have been able to cope as well as I have.

To everyone who read this, thank you for allowing me the chance to get this off my chest. It has already allowed me to wish 2011 a happier goodbye than I was expecting.

*His parents have both passed away, and he isn't particularly close to his siblings.
**Obviously, at this point my entire family is aware of what has been going on. While it is somewhat invasive we generally operate as though we all live in one giant household and everyone knows what is going on with the rest of the family.
***They are truly blessed! ;)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's the Hap-Happiest Season of All

Truth be told, Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love giving to others, I love spending time with my family, and to be honest Baby Jesus in the manger and the Christmas story are my favorite of Biblical tales. I get goosebumps every year when we read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.

But this year, things are different. I'm dealing with some family stuff and trying to sort through all of the angst that comes with familial problems. It's also BFF1's first Christmas as half of a married couple, which means a lot of the pre-Christmas rituals that we share aren't happening this year. And even though I am SO VERY happy for her, it is a BIG adjustment (for us both) to make. Added to the family drama stuff and it just makes things hard.

So, I've been feeling more Grinch and less Who-down-in-Whoville this year. In an effort to keep the Christmas spirit* alive I'm attempting my Christmas countdown again this year. Twenty-five Christmas filled blogs which will hopefully decrease the dread I feel when I think about Christmas and will rejuvenate my adoration of this time of year.

I hope you all enjoy this and that my various Christmas thoughts and feelings will bring you all enjoyment throughout the season, regardless of how** you celebrate! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

*No tree, no listening to Christmas music in the car, sleeping or reading through Christmas movies
**Or what winter holiday (or no celebrating at all, just enjoying the high jinks that are sure to follow)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Post About YARN

It's that time of year again where it is cool in the evenings and there are new TV shows to watch. And also when I can crochet without any major issues from the heat. I went to Michael's this past weekend to get yarn to finish up a blanket I'm making for a lady I go to church with and I also picked up a book so I can start branching out as far as projects are concerned. I usually stay in my "safe zone," focusing on my AMAZING ability to crochet a scarf in no time and making these super easy granny square blankets. While I absolutely adore my "Hodgepodge Blankets," I really do want to challenge myself more. The book I got has a pretty easy sweater pattern and I'm really nervous excited to try it.

While I was there I also bought BEAUTIFUL yarn. I have no idea what I'm going to make with this, but I'm going to have to find a pattern and make SOMETHING, just to see how it is going to work up. I would love to make a throw out of it, but it is pretty lightweight and I'm not sure how the gauge will work, especially since my stitches are so tight. Anyway, you all should expect more frequent yarn posts, now that I'll have my hands on more projects.

I've also finished several books from my Y'all Fest reading list! I've actually read more books this month than I did last month. So many of these Y'all Fest books are fantastic, and I really wish I could manage to write a review that said something intelligent about how amazing these books aren't, but so far I haven't been able to. I'll just say you should all read The Name of the Star, Paranormalcy, and The Vespertine. They were wonderful books, and all are very different from the others, even though they all have elements of the supernatural.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I've been really lucky at work recently, what with only having three clients and all. Especially since two of my client's are really low impact. I've had time to actually do paperwork AT WORK, ya know...when I'm getting paid instead of at home for hours after work. Since I've had practically no paperwork I have been reading a lot. Which is VERY GOOD because I have Y'all Fest in November and I'd really like to have read at least one book by each of the authors who will be there. Right now I'm reading a lovely steampunkish novel called The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge and The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell.

I'm not certain what exactly The Vespertine is about, but it is one of the most amazing books. The way Mitchell describes her MC's thoughts and feelings is incredible and I am completely in love. And honestly, I think that says something about Mitchell as a writer. Usually if I get seven chapters in and have no idea where the story is going I toss the book aside and try again later. I never want to put The Vespertine down. There is a sense of elegance and mystery in the book. Set in the late 1800s in Maryland it focuses on girls who are attempting to find husbands. A common practice back in the day. There is also a flirtation with the occult, the girls sneak off to see a medium and I'm pretty sure that they plan to start dabbling as well. Soon I will be reading about seances and spirits. Already the MC has "seen" the future. I'm not sure that she has actually had a vision or if her imagination has ran away with her.

In short this book is beautiful. I have a (very, very sad) Tumblr account that is rarely used, but as I've read this book I've posted quotes from the book. Actually I think that may become the reason for my Twitter account. To post book quotes and such. It's hard to fit them all on Twitter and really I don't see the point of posting a three sentence quote HERE because apparently short blogs are of the devil! In short: If you are looking for an awesome historical fiction book check out The Vespertine.*

*Even though I have no real idea what the book is about or what is going on. It is still WONDERFUL!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So You've Had A Bad Day

DISCLAIMER: I am REALLY bad a commas! Please ignore any comma issues! sucked. It sucked a lot. It started with an insane text message and a lot of pettiness. It continued with me ranting to BFF2 for the entirety of our drive to work and with BFF1 having to play referee to the petty person piling crap on me. I was upset the entire day, have a terrible headache, and felt like I was going to have a panic attack all day long. I had someone cancel on my birthday plans (that she made) even though my birthday is in TWO days. I almost cried at work. And honestly I felt pretty bad about myself today. And by "pretty bad" I mean "absolutely terrible." The day was made slightly better by snarky comments from both of the BFFs* and a fun lunch with some of my favorite teachers and BFF2, not to mention my family's reassurance that sometimes people suck. And that's okay.

So...countdown to so fun so far! At least I'm comforted by the fact that there is a small group of seventh grade boys who refer to me as "Eighteen" instead of "Miss T" because I look like a high school student. A concept that is continuously reinforced by Mr. Math who laughs hysterically every time a student asks why a high school student (me) is allowed to hang out in the middle school all day. Not that I saw any of the cheese-tastic seventh graders because MY seventh grader was absent today. In all actuality I miss seventh grade. Word on the street is that I'm going to have a new eight grade client, which makes me happy because I'll have job security, but also sad because I will have to limit my time in seventh grade hall!

*Snark about both the pettiness AND Dancing with the Stars, which is ALWAYS delightful!

Teaser Tuesday- September 20, 2011

Today's Teaser comes from The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. This is the first book in the Iron Codex series and one of the many books on my Y'all Fest TBR list.

"It was a fact of life, like uniform stocking itching behind the knees-unpleasant and inevitable. Fighting back just told the Marcoses of the world that their barbs hit home." ~ pg 34 of the Nookbook edition

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pottermore Sorting Drama

Sometimes it amazes me how little, silly things affect me. Especially things like labels. Especially since I absolutely HATE labels and being categorized, and personally believe that the application of labels to human beings is the root of most of the issues in the world.* But I suppose it IS different if you apply a label to yourself. When it is a category you sort yourself into. And when you find out that maybe (just maybe) that label DOESN'T apply...well, it's hard to handle.

For years** I have described myself as a Ravenclaw.*** Not that the other houses don't have redeeming qualities, but I am a Ravenclaw to the CORE. Nerdy, smart, possessing a healthy love of learning, putting school and learning above most other things? All me. It's easy to see why I fit in the Ravenclaw common room. Or so I thought. Then again, when it really comes down to it, I have some Slytherin traits. Not the elitist attitudes, or the cruelty, but I can honestly say that I'm snarky and sometimes mean, and when things don't go my way I am a force to be reckoned with. I'm resourceful, cunning, and I'm ambitious. I like to be competitive and I like to be right/the best that I can possibly be. I'm also sarcastic and tend to correct others.

I've never really identified with Gryffindor or Hufflepuff. And that seems to be where I made my mistake. After receiving my Pottermore email I was VERY excited to rush home and be sorted. FINALLY a test by J.K. Rowling HERSELF that would confirm what I already knew. I'm not going to lie, I had some reservations, but I was determined to answer each question honestly (even though I considered answering the questions in a way I KNEW would lead to a Ravenclaw sorting)**** so that my sorting would be true. And that led to me being sorted into Hufflepuff. Now...don't get me wrong...there are many, MANY wonderful aspects of being a's just that I've never felt like a 'Puff. EVER.

So now I'm adjusting. And I realize that there is a SLEW of you who may not understand where this post comes from. And that's okay But I can list on one hand the things I've loved longer than Harry: my family, books in general, The Beatles, and the BFFs. So it IS kind of a bid deal. There are also people who think it's just a classification on a website, but it's more than that. This is a test that JKR created...the criteria that she used to sort every single person in the magical world. It's a big deal to me. Rumor has it that when the site is open for everyone in October that we can resort...but I'm not sure I can handle not being sorted into Ravenclaw a second time, so I'm not sure if I'm going to take that option or not.

Anyway...enough of the ANGST! If any of YOU are on Pottermore feel free to add me: WillowSword50. Just leave your user name in the comments so I know who sent the request. I'll be back with a non-HP related blog tomorrow!*****

*I realize that labeling isn't always a bad things, and that listing attributes is a form of labeling, but I think focusing on negative traits or putting people down by categorizing them is an issue. Feel free to disagree, but be respectful of others please!
***In case you haven't figured it out...this is a Harry Potter-centric blog post.
****SEE! Slytherin!
*****Because I promised fourteen September blogs and there are only 13 days left! YIKES!!! BEDATHEOS (Blog Every Day at the End of September which could also be BEDES) anyone?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

To Infinity AND BEYOND!

Or ya Charleston, SC for a book festival. One or the other. YOU DECIDE!!!

Actually, BFF2 and I (and maybe The Clone and Baby Neville) are indeed going to South Carolina in November for a YA book fest! I am SOOO excited!* And of course, since I am going to meet all of these AMAZING authors I have been SUPER stressed about my TBR list! I've spent the entire weekend scouring my list to cull out the books by authors who will be in SC this November and making plans to read at least one book by EACH author that will be there.** I also had to make a list for BFF2.*** Needless to say we have got a LOT of reading to do in the next two months. Not that I didn't already plan to make detailed monthly TBR lists! However, now I am just making a Y'All Fest Reading List and I'll post in on the TBR page and you guys can check it out there! They are still updating the author list, so I'll be updating the TBR list as the authors are announced. Luckily I have already read books by a few of the authors, so that lightens my load a bit. Right now it looks like I need to read about 12 books to be ready for the author meetings. NO PRESSURE!!! But, really I enjoy pressure. And I am so excited about the chance to meet some of these authors that I am about to EXPLODE!

In other news, we all know I failed BEDA. To make up for my cruddiness (and because the lack of blogging was kind of out of my control due to the dead laptop) I am going to make up the blog days I missed in September. I managed to do 17 of 31 BEDA posts, which means I missed 14 posts. So I commit to blogging 14 times in the month of September. I'm not sure what these blogs will contain (probably mass insanity) but  THERE WILL BE BLOGS! I hope that those of you who showed up during BEDA will stick around and that my lunacy hasn't scared you away!

Now, it's back to one of the two books I'm currently reading! Enjoy your Labor Day holidays (if you have one) folks!

*Because I am a nerd
**Because I am a nerd
***Because SHE is a nerd

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BEDA 17- Absolute Failure

I'm not actually surprised that I failed BEDA, I usually do. I always hate it though. I need to do this in February. It would have to be easier than August. August is SUCH a busy month! Ending Summer Program, writing service plans, starting school....all of that leaves me with not so much time to blog. And not much to blog about.

I have enjoyed BEDA this year more than other years. I have stumbled upon blogs that I would have probably never read if not for BEDA and I enjoy that. I love to see into what people do in their lives. My life is so.....uneventful? Maybe that's the word I'm looking for? I'm not sure. I just seem so run of the mill. I live in a tiny town, I read books, I have a job that allows me to do AMAZING things in the lives of troubled kids,* I go to local sporting events, I hang out with my cousins, and I watch TV with my grandmother. None of those things really inspire excess blogging. Well, the books do, but typing "OMGOSH I LOVED THIS BOOK YOU SHOULD READ IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!" does not a blog post make. But I love to blog. Even if it's about boring stuff. I like to put it down and send it out into the world and see what comes back to me. Sometimes nothing comes back, and that's okay. It is really more about doing something for myself. A way to see that things in my life have changed, that I have changed. That's what most of my social media experience is about. It's about communicating with people that I don't have the chance to meet in real life. My town is amazing, but I'm certainly not the norm in this tiny mountain town. It is lovely to see people like me, even if they only exist inside the internet :)

I hope you have all enjoyed BEDA this year, I hope to see you again NEXT August. And maybe next April as well.

*Which IS amazing, but not blogable.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

BEDA 16- This is NOT a blog post

No actual post today. First day back to school and while the day started well, it ended horribly. I'm not talking about it in my attempt to spread less suck into the world. Suffice it to say that the day has left me with a TERRIBLE headache and I'm currently wearing a sweatshirt that I've had since I started high school (that is riddled with holes) and curled up with a stuffed dragon I've had for years. I don't even want to read! It is well and truly shit.* I'm calling it a night and sleeping off the cruddiness.

Less whiny Chelle will return tomorrow!**

*Apologies for the cursing,  it's not a common occurance.
**I hope.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This week I have been deleting things. On Sunday night I managed to delete my entire blog for about thirty minutes, which led to a huge panic attack. Then yesterday I managed to delete numerous comments that I was either trying to approve or was simply reviewing. So, if you commented on the blog recently and you can't find your comment...that's all me. I'm not sure what exactly happened to hinder my ability to understand the difference between "approve" and "delete." I blame massive amounts of paperwork.

Speaking of paperwork. I also managed to delete large sections of my ISPs* on my last work day. I can honestly say that losing huge chunks of clinical writing is THE MOST ANNOYING THING EVER. ** Today is my last day before school starts and since I wasted the day yesterday running errands for my grandmother and playing with my cousins I have a million things to do today. Including cooking dinner. I'll also be doing another blog entry tonight. It MAY*** be a written account of my back to school/work panic.

Sorry for this kind of sporadic, crazytimes blog post.

*Individualized Service Plan. Basically this is the treatment plan we write for each client that we use to gauge client progress.
**Actually this is a lie. The most annoying thing is when you realize you are writing the exact same goal repeatedly and have to rewrite a treatment plan. THAT'S depressing.
***Read: most definitely will

Monday, August 15, 2011

BEDA 14- Chelle and BBF1 Remember the 90s

Apparently BEDA=list making. Oh well, I'm one heck of a list maker! Tonight I conned BFF1 into helping me come up with a BEDA List and she suggested listing things we liked about The 90s. Since I'm exhausted and kind of feel like garbage I agreed.
Things We Love: 90s Edition

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BEDA 13- The Beatles

Today I'm going to do something a little unconventional. Since I'm not really sure what to blog about, I'm going to talk about The Beatles. But instead of waxing poetic about how much I love them and why and various memories associated with The Beatles themselves, I am going to put my iPod on shuffle and talk about the first ten Beatles songs that play. Thoughts/feelings/memories/etc.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

BEDA 12- Rain

Today it rained, so prepare yourselves for a love letter to weather. Seriously, it's about to be like a chapter from Twilight. Today as I left the house to take E to a pool party with her friends it started sprinkling rain. It was one of those adorable summer rain showers where it is bright and sunny and HUGE drops of rain fall from the sky and plunk down on the world. It was fun and bright and beautiful. Unfortunately it was over too soon, and by the time I returned home fifteen minutes later the rain had stopped. This prompted me to tell my grandmother that Mother Nature was a cruel mistress who was nothing more than a tease. Obviously I take my rain showers seriously.

Friday, August 12, 2011

BEDA 11- Cupcakes

Well, it only took a few days to come to the point where I just blog about things that I eat. I mean, OBVIOUSLY I spend a lot of time tweeting about things that I eat,* but so far I've managed not to devote large amounts of blog time to food.** That all changes tonight!

I have a sick obsession with cupcakes. I absolutely LOVE them. Most of my weekends are spent baking at least one batch of cupcakes (or maybe scones) and then watching numerous episodes with BFF2. I know! My life is soooo exciting! Anyway, the point is I'm a girl who knows her way around a kitchen and I really enjoy having enough time to actually bake without feeling rushed.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

BEDA 10-Stream of Consciousness

For the love of all that is good and holy my head hurts! Lack of rain has led to my allergies being ALL out of wack. But enough complaining! On with the blogging! Since pain=lack of focus I'm just going to do a bulleted list of things I'm thinking about RIGHT NOW!

•The weather has been lovely recently, even without rain. Warm days and cool nights are fantastic and the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.
•I may go with BFF2 and The Clone to watch the Glee3D concert movie next week and I'm only a little embarrassed by that.
•I may yell "It's Harry freaking Potter" when Darren Criss comes on screen during the Glee concert movie.
•I need to gather books up tonight for CoworkerRachel because she loved a series I recommended and now wants a list of books she should read.
•She also wants to borrow books I own so she doesn't spend a boatload of money on books she may not love.
•I love recommending books to people.
•I love reading more than I love recommending books.
•I wonder how many kids read books from the reading lists I was asked to make at the end of the school year.
•It seems like cheating to make a random blog post about my scattered thoughts.
•Work today was super stressful, but not nearly as bad as I assumed it would be.
•Work was marginally decent thanks to my iPod (George) and BFF2.
•In all the time I listened to George I only heard one Beatles song.
•I should probably just make a suggested reading list (separated by genre) that I can make copies of and hand out.
•I have made a LOT of recommended reading lists in the last four years.
•My face hurts.
•Today's "Silver Lining" is that while today was a cruddy office day I have a lot less work to do to get ready for school than I expected!
•I use a lot of exclamation points and capital letters.
•I appreciate ANYONE who read this rambling list o' things!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BEDA 9- Office Supply LOVE

As previously mentioned, I have a sick obsession with office supplies. I have spent the past few weeks stocking up on pens, pencils, notebooks, a new dayplanner, etc. Then today the bag I ordered to carry to work each day arrived! I will spend a good portion of my evening packing the work bag with the items I'll use this week during my office work days and then next week I'll the items I'll need each day in the classroom.

And now I'm amazed that I'm blogging about school/office supplies. Unfortunately I don't have much to chat about. I've spent the majority of the month hanging out with my cousins and trying to help my grandmother around the house when possible. Basically, I've been a bum. With only two weeks off between summer program and school starting I've really made it a priority to be a bum.

I hope all of you are enjoying the end of summer!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BEDA 8- I Missed a Day!

I failed BEDA! BUT I am going to make it up! Honest! ONE day soon I'm going to post TWO blogs! I'm currently typing this on my brother's girlfriend's laptop and feeling horrible because I was doing SO well! I even managed to blog when I was out of town with NO internet service! Then things went to pot! However, things should be okay now.
I've spent this week (all two days of it) getting ready for school to start. The best thing about my current job is that I get to use office supplies, which means that I get to do all the fun back to school shopping! Yesterday my family went to the closest big town to us so that I could buy the supplies I still needed. My clients tend to lack the funds necessary to be prepared for school every day, so I try to have basic supplies on hand at all times so they are prepared for class. I also have a sick obsession with ink pens, so I had to stock up on my current favorites so that I am ready for massive note taking each day. After the school supply shopping for myself, Doda, and E we headed over to Best Buy any my mother fronted me the money to purchase an internet capable device. After a lot of consideration I decided that I should get a cheaper tablet now (since I have access to multiple desktops) and save to buy a quality laptop in the future. My dad seems to think there is hope that his oldest son can repair my laptop for little cost, which will be fantastic really. It is odd to be disconnected in a sense. Especially since it is not by choice. I finally got everything set up on the tablet* and it is (hopefully) ready to go.

I go back to work on Thursday, so you guys should prepare for boring work related blogs! I will do my best to provide quality entertainment so that you won't be bored to tears while reading. I'm certain I'll have exciting stories once school actually starts. I'm excited to go back and work with my clients and see the students at my school. Last week I was accosted by a student that was in the grade level I work with and she was EXTREMELY excited to see me. I adore the kids I interacted with last year, and I have missed them this summer. I look forward to another year of recommending books, laughing at silly things they say, and remind them that just because we are from a small Southern town we do NOT have to sound like idiots** when we speak. I enjoy interacting with tweens and teens each day and seeing the ways that I positively impact their lives.

*I think. Most likely I still need to download massive amounts of things and fiddle with the settings a bit longer.
**I seriously cannot count the number of times kids told me they didn't have to "talk right" because they're from the country. It's sad really that they have no interest in bettering themselves.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

BEDA 7- Dead Laptop

On Friday I tweeted about being a grown-up and not spending money I didn't have on a fancy pants new tablet* at Best Buy. Especially since I was going out of town for the weekend and school was starting and I have a lot of expenses for that. Tonight I got home from my trip and turned the laptop on to type a blog and watch a disc of Supernatural, only to be greeted by the BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH. It is horrible. Not only do I use my laptop on a daily basis for entertainment purposes, it is literally impossible for me to do my job without computer access. Needless to say, my 83 year old grandmother does NOT have a spare computer laying around. Or any computer if we're honest. Now I'm faced with adulthood. My work schedule has been really messed up this month. School doesn't start until the 18th and summer program ended on July 31, which makes money really tight until I go back to school and get a regular paycheck mid-September. Lack of funds make it impossible to purchase ANY type of computer. I'm so frustrated right now and I'm sad that this is just a ranty blog post about electronics. Especially since I KNOW things could be worse! It's a downward spiral of disgust I'm hanging out in. I'm just going to retreat into a book Goethe rest of the night, then sleep in my own bed.**

*Even though I REALLY want one
**I suppose "sleeping on my own bed" is the Silver Lining in this post.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

BEDA August 6- Desperately in Need of Coca-Cola

I desperately need a Coke.* For whatever reason I thought it would be a good idea to bypass caffeinated beverages until lunch time. I know, a foolish endeavor! After spending the morning back to school shopping with The Clone in an outlet mall on tax-free-weekend I am, in a word, MISERABLE. Terrible headache (brought on by no caffeine, allergies, and crowded department stores) and drowsiness leads to a not fun Chelle. I did go for a dip in the pool with The Clone and Jerry while my aunt and uncle visited some shops; however, this has not lessened the need to stab my right eye out. The stabbing eye pains lead me to believe that my issues are more allergy related than anything else, which well and truly sucks because there's nothing I can do about.


This is a FREE (except for meals and personal purchases) trip with people I adore. Lunch was at a restaurant
that was very similar to Chuck E. Cheese's. We watched Lord of the Rings while we munched on a variety of pizzas, salads, soups, and pastas. After eating we headed to the arcade section of the restaurant and played games for about an hour. I did not play games. Poor hand-eye coordination lead to me being a better observer than participator. I did enjoy watching The Clone play a variety of games, and I especially loved watching my aunt and uncle decimate a game called Galaga. Apparently this was a popular game WAY back when that is still available to play in some arcades. Watching that game play allowed me to overhear some ace quotes, including my uncle talking about previous high scores achieved when he was a teen, and my aunt telling me stories about their honeymoon and visiting arcades. These stories make it obvious that I am truly from a nerd family. Not that there was much doubt to begin with! Even when faced with physical pain, whiny kids (and me), large crowds, and hours of shopping I continue to be amazed by how wonderful my family is. This has been a great day despite the gross things we've dealt with. The best part comes in small moments. I'm currently typing this on The Clone's netbook while we watch Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and Jerry plays Angry Birds on my iPod. We've been constantly referring to inside jokes from the numerous times we've watched these movies and Jerry has made a ton of jokes about how horrid I am at any video game that isn't Tekken (or something like Tekken) while he is able to win the levels on Angry Birds with ease. Honestly, these are the moments that I love the most-whether we are home or in another state.

*This post is NOT sponsored by Coca-Cola, but I wouldn't object to free Cokes for life!

BEDA August 5- I'm a Travelin' Man

Well, maybe (definitely) not a man, but I HAVE been traveling quite a bit recently. I'm currently sitting in the backseat of my aunt and uncle's SUV, riding through Tennessee, while The Clone and Jerry talk in assorted accents. This is an interesting jaunt. The scenery is BEAUTIFUL, but then again I'm extremely biased toward mountains.

I don't really have anything to blog about today. Before departing on our journey I went to first aid training* and made a quick trip to the closest mall (45 minutes away) to buy Chucks for BFF2 and to make a quick trip to the bookstore. Yes, the closest bookstore is forty-five minutes away! It's QUITE dreadful! However, since I was leaving for this trip I was on a DO NOT BUY THINGS trip. For the most part I did well, I only purchased a collection of fairy tales. Anywho, not much of a blog entry. Apologies! I hope you all have fantabulous weekends! I'll be back on Sunday to comment on your blogs and lurk around the interwebs :)

*Complete waste of time. Took less than twenty minutes and there was a physical test that consisted of applying pressure to a wound and making a sling out of a bandage.

Friday, August 5, 2011

BEDA August 4-SO CLOSE (Yet SO far away)

Well I've already missed a day. Kind of. I'm not COUNTING it as missing a day though since this will be posted just a few short moments after midnight. I honestly could have posted earlier, but instead I was packing. WHY was I packing, you ask. Because my auntie (commonly referred to as Momma Clone) called me today midtraining session and invited me to come with her and her family on a long weekend jaunt to Tennessee! Tres exciting!!! So instead of blogging I packed. I also searched through iPod apps to find something that was free that I could use to blog so I wouldn't miss any days this weekend!

Now, on to the POINT of this blog. Tonight I took The Clone to see DH2, which I saw at LeakyCon with tons of other hardcore fans. And while realistically I KNOW that people watching the movie on a random Thursday night weeks after the movie released are most likely people who just needed a low cost activity (at least that's who they most likely are in MY little baby town) it was kind of a shock how different my viewing was tonight. When I saw the movie at Leaky it was an EXPERIENCE. Sitting in a theater full of people who laughed, cried, and cheered with you was special. I knew it was special when it happened. But tonight NO ONE reacted. There were no gasps, no crying (that I could hear), and certainly no cheering. Not nary a person screamed Neville Longbottom's name at any point during the film. There was some laughter, but not a lot. And honestly, this last Harry Potter movie had several moments that induced giggles. At one point The Clone looked at me (as tears streamed down my face while I laughed and clapped softly) and said "are you seriously crying? You've seen this before." Which frankly made me say "SO???" So what if I had cried before. I cry every time I read the books. Heck, I even get teary-eyed when the face the troll in Sorcerer's Stone and when Neville wins house points at the end of that story due to his extreme bravery.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that when you sit in a room full of people who GET it, it is very difficult to sit in a room o people who clearly don't understand. Even The Clone who has read (and loved) each HP book doesn't quite understand. There is a difference between loving something for a year and loving something for a lifetime. And that sentiment doesn't just apply to Harry Potter. I suppose it's the difference in love and like. Many people I know in real life like Harry Potter, but few of then have the lifetime love affair that I have had with Harry.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BEDA August 3- Esther Earl Day

Today is Esther Earl Day. If you're unfamiliar with Esther's story you can read about it here. To boil down the day though, today would have been Esther's birthday and last year she asked that people who wanted to celebrate her birthday make it a point to tell someone "I love you." She asked that you pick someone who you love, but don't generally say the words "I love you" to, not a crush but a friend or a relative. Someone who means something HUGE, someone who is a gigantic part of your life, someone who impacts your life and makes it better every single day. So today is a day when you celebrate the love you have for others in honor of a girl who did everything possible to show love to everyone around her.

Although I was not friends with Esther, she impacted my life in a very real way. I wasn't her friend on facebook, I didn't follow her on twitter, I didn't watch her videos on YouTube, and in fact I only heard about her in the few months before her death. However, I was impacted by the impact she made on the lives of people that I respect and admire. Listening to John Green and Lauren Fairweather talk about how they were inspired by Esther's life and affected by her death was a humbling experience. Realizing that this girl was affected by a disease, but refusing to succumb to the disease and instead fighting to make the world a better place made ME want to face each day with dignity and grace. It is so easy to complain. Finding the bad things in life is easy. It is so easy to list negative things. I'm not sure why. I can come home from work and spend hours talking about how crappy my day was. It is difficult to find good things. Since Esther's passing I've tried to be better. I've tried to think positively and spread love to others. I don't always succeed. In fact, I fail a lot of the time. But I think that making the effort counts for a lot. I positively impact the lives of people around me. I can say without a doubt that each day I get up and go to work that I make someones life better. They may not realize it right now, but one day they will be able to see how I helped them.

In keeping with Esther Day tradition I made it a point to tell someone that I love them. I am an affectionate person and I express myself well. I tell my family I love them, I tell my friends that I love them. I make it a point to let the people I care about know how much they mean to me. But there are times I drop the ball. I decided today that I was going to tell Doda that I love him. It's hard to explain the relationship I have with Doda, I was thirteen when he was born and his mom was my idol. I wanted to be with her all the time. And I generally WAS with her. I have loved him since the moment I laid eyes on him. I have so many warm and fuzzy memories of him. I cried this year when he graduated middle school. I'm talking buckets of tears. I had to leave the room until he left for school. And he KNOWS that I love him. All of the cousins do. But whereas I have no problem telling the other three that I love them, Doda tends to be uncomfortable with displays of affection. Generally if I tell him that I love him it is slipped into a conversation after he tells me something silly he has done. I rarely look at him and say "for serious, I love you." But today I did. And he looked at me like I was crazy, and said "okay," and went back to helping me do dishes for our grandmother. It was exactly the response I expected, and it was the only response I needed. He confirmed that he knows I love him, for keeps. And it is an amazing feeling to tell someone that you love them.

So, even though it is late I would encourage you all to take part in Esther Day and tell someone that you love them!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BEDA August 2- Already Out of Ideas

So, BEDA Day 2, how YOU doin'? I have no real idea what to blog about today. Which is OBVIOUSLY a fantastic sign for the upcoming month.  Today has been pretty quiet. As usually I can't keep E away and she is basically camped out at my house unless one of her parents have forced her to come home for a few hours. This week I'll also have Doodle and A every morning while their mom goes to work, so we've been doing a lot of fun things and watching some movies. Yesterday it was How to Train Your Dragon and today we watched Disney's Hercules. I also finished Wildefire by Karsten Knight, so it seems like I'm on a bit of a mythology kick today! I'm typing this while watching Doodle and E give each other mani-pedis. I can honestly say there are few things more hilarious than watching a three year old paint someones fingernails. Doodle's hand-eye coordination is okay, but the truth of the matter is that she struggles to make everything work the way it should.

I've also spent some time trying to pin down plans with Doda, The Clone, and Jerry. We are planning to watch The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen sometime this week since I've had the DVD for weeks. They have never seen the movie, but I'm so positive that they will love it. Doda has also mention a Lord of the Rings marathon before school starts. It's been three whole months since we've had a LotR-a-thon, so it makes sense that we watch them again soon!

Later this week I have to attend not one, but two safety training sessions for work. I'm not really excited about this, truth be told. Especially since I'm currently certified for both First Aid and Crisis Intervention. Oh well, at least it's a paycheck! Sorry for the boring blog kids. I'll try to do better tomorrow! Maybe something EXCITING will happen tonight that I can blog about tomorrow! Hope you all have better BEDA luck today than I did!

Monday, August 1, 2011

BEDA August 1-Introductions

I signed up here and agreed to do BEDA! Now I just have to make an effort to show up each day! Here is a simple introduction post, questions courtesy of Rachel, but the questions were posted on the BEDA blog. If you're doing BEDA you should check them both out!

What’s your name?

Rochelle, but I'm RARELY called Rochelle. For family and close friends it's always (ALWAYS) Chelle. Unless I'm in trouble of course, then I get the full thing: Rochelle Shanlea. Which is the name you can see if you find me ANYWHERE on the internet

How old are you?

27 almost 28.

How long have you been blogging? (Or is this your first try?)

I started blogging in 2008 for a previous job where I worked as a Youth Services Librarian. When I left that job in 2009 I started this blog. I don't post regularly, but I always want to make the time to write here. I try BEDA every year, and while I've never actually managed to complete BEDA on my personal blog I always enjoy the experience!

How did you come up with your blog’s name?

I live in an EXTREMELY small town in rural southwestern Virginia and I've loved books my entire life. Small Town Book Nerd is the best way to describe me!

What’s your Hogwarts House?


What do you like to read?

Everything seems like a cop out, but it's true. I read mainly young adult literature, but this year I have also been drawn to memoirs and biographies. Since graduating high school and college I've been on a quest to reread the classics that were thrust upon me (and I hated) as a student to see if with age and choice my opinions of these have changed, so I also randomly pick up books from my cousins' reading lists and read along with them.

What do you like to watch?

I watch Netflix for hours at night while I am doing paperwork for my job, so it's hard to narrow my choices down. Right now I am making my way through Swamp People, Supernatural, and the BBC versions of Robin Hood and Merlin. Doctor Who, House, Bones, Haven, Pretty Little Liars, reality TV: DWTS, Project Runway, ANTM. I enjoy a variety of shows and am general up for suggestions.

As far as movies, I generally watch romantic comedies, Disney cartoons, teen flicks with the girl cousins, movies based on books, and fantasy/action/superhero movies. The Cousins* and I particularly enjoy Indiana Jones, X-Men, and Lord of the Rings.

What’s the best song you listened to today?

Man, these "likes" questions REALLY get me! It is nearly impossible for me to narrow down choices, and I generally have background music at all times. If something isn't playing, then I'm singing something in my head.

Today (and for quite some time) I've been ridiculously in love with the songs "In My Life" by The Beatles** and "Dear Yoko" by John Lennon.

Have you done anything really fun recently?

I attended LeakyCon this summer with one of my best friends. We drove from Virginia to Florida and it was THE BEST thing that I've done this summer.

In addition to BEDA, are you doing any other awesome things in August?

School starts again on the 18th of August, so I'll be going back to work. However, until then I basically have three free weeks to just hang out. There are a few training sessions and work days that I have to attend, but they are child free so they will still be relatively relaxing. I plan to use my days to swim in my Auntie W's pool, have sleepovers and movie days with The Cousins.

Anything else you’d like to add?

A question that I frequently get is "What EXACTLY do you DO?" I'm usually rather vague due to confidentiality issues, but I refer to work a lot on this blog. So, to clarify, I am a Therapeutic Day Treatment Counselor. To break that down: basically I provide behavioral therapy to kids who are at risk of being removed from their homes or from school due to severe behavioral issues. We intervene and help our clients learn appropriate ways to react to anger, teach social skills, and just generally help them deal with any issues they have that prevent them from succeeding in school/life. I spend all day every day in the classroom with clients. Last year I worked in the seventh grade in a middle school in my county. This year I'm not 100% sure where I'll be, but right now it looks like I'll pick up with my previous clients and move with them to eighth grade! Joy of joys! Prepubescent boys are ALWAYS enjoyable...especially when they are bigger than me.***

Is there anything YOU would like to know? Feel free to ask! I'm relatively friendly and am always willing to respond to questions.

*The Cousins: Doda (14), The Clone (14), Jerry (12), and E (9). Also referred to as The Fantastic Four. Occasionally this core group is extended to include two of the younger cousins A (5) and Doodle (3) but generally ONLY refers to the original four.
**In all actuality, if I have heard a Beatles song there is a 99.9% chance that it will have been THE BEST song I have heard that day.
***Apparently I look REALLY young. Last year I was mistaken for a middle school student more than 10 times AFTER the first grading period ended.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goodbye Summer Program, Hello Vacation

I have the next three weeks off work! Kind of. I have several required training sessions to attend to ensure I'm prepared to deal with emergency situations in the classroom/school setting, and in theory I will have a caseload BEFORE school starts this year* and I will have some workdays where I update files and write treatments plans and other fun stuff at our office with my coworkers. This is always manages to be a fun experience AND a bummer all at once. It is so much fun to be with grownups and not have to worry about kids. Lunch dates, lazy days, and laughfests with coworkers that I don't see frequently because we are spread across the county and we only see each other a handful of times throughout the school year make these days awesome. However, these days are also a bummer because we are just swamped with file work. Write reports about treatment, coming up with treatment plans, reading about our clients and discussing cases with our supervisors and coworkers can be stressful. But by and large I enjoy workdays, and am looking forward to three weeks without clients.

So, what does one DO with three weeks free of work? I plan to read and catch up on some TV shows that have been abandoned due to work issues. I have several sleepover dates planned with The Fantastic Four and plans to watch Doctor Who with BFF2.** And I'm considering doing BEDA since I won't have to work for the majority of August. I know, I know. BEDA, it's not like I've EVER managed to actually DO BEDA, but at least I'm persistent! Right? So get ready for updates about First Aid training, movie nights with the cousins, and babbling entries about the books I'm reading! I hope you guys are EXCITED!

*Does everyone remember how much fun it was LAST year when I didn't actually have a caseload until the first day of school? No? Go read about it here.
**She's never seen it before and I love it enough that I am thoroughly  enjoying rewatching it with her.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Updating the TBR List and Packing Extravaganzas

I spent my long weekend doing a lot of random things. I hung out with BFF2,  I did some paperwork, I drove a total of eight hours to pick my uncle and cousin up after their two hour flight "home," I watched fireworks, and I did laundry. I mean a LOT of laundry. A ridiculous amount of laundry really. And since I hate laundry with a burning passion I decided that I would go ahead and pack for my upcoming vacation. In six VERY SHORT days BFF2 and I will depart for Florida. I am EXTREMELY excited about this trip. I haven't had a real vacation in several years. I went to Chicago earlier this year to visit a friend but it was just over a long weekend. THIS is going to be a seven day trip that includes a road trip, a theme park, and HARRY POTTER! And my best friend of course.

While packing the books I plan on taking with me I came to a startling realization. When I made my Summer TBR List I picked several books that are the first in a series. This is a problem. I don't actually feel like I can add MORE books to my list to accommodate the series books, but I know myself well enough to know that I won't be able to just read the first book in a series. THEREFORE I am going to have to spend some time rearranging the TBR list. I spent the day pouring over my shelves and making a list of possible alternate choices.  I realize this seems silly, but honestly having that list and knowing which books I've set a goal to read has really helped me stay on task this summer bookwise. It's been nice to just read through the list without worrying about shifting through my shelves (and piles) in order to choose a book. Soon I will update my TBR tab and you can see what I've decided to read!

And yes, I realize that I'm a nerd who just spent an entire blog entry talking about a Harry Potter themed vacation and a reading list!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Little Town

The good thing about transporting kids to the summer program is that I really get the chance to appreciate how beautiful it is where I live. Last Sunday as BFF2 and I drove the route I would have to drive this past week I was awestruck at how everything around me was so bright and pretty. All I could see was GREEN. Hundreds of shades of green. Mountains, fields, trees, grass, assorted flower stalks. It seemed as though the entire world was steeped in the color. Throughout the week I have snapped photos with my (not so fantastic) phone camera, and I have already decided that my actual camera will have a home in my work bag for the rest of the summer. Since there is no way I can describe the beauty that surrounds me with words, I've decided to take the easy way out and do a photo-blog this week, so that all of you can absorb the pretty as well!

There are always mountains in the background and it is hard to find any areas that are flat in my county.

Tipsy-turvy fence posts.
The hills are ALIVE with the sound of music.
Even the fields are hills! 
There is whimsy in everything here.

Road sign leading no where.

Our mailbox

But as usual, there is no place like home.

The long and winding road, that leads to my door.

Sunset in the mountains

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Tomorrow is the first official day of summer. At least it is for me. Friday was the last day of school and I have to say I was relieved to see it come and go. It was sad to say goodbye to the students that I have grown close to in the last year. I had major concerns last year about being at the middle school, and some of those concerns were valid. Middle school kids are harder than first graders, I'm relatively small which led to confusion when substitutes and new students weren't sure I was an adult, and most of all I had a LOT of clients which led to a lot of scheduling conflicts. But overall I am really satisfied with how my year went. I feel that while I may not have been an active presence on the internet (this blog in particular) I made a positive impact on many different kids this year. I left Friday to hugs, requests for book lists and yearbook signings, and even a few tears. I can honestly say that I hope I have to opportunity to stay in my school next year and move up a grade level with the teens I worked with this year. But that is ultimately a blog entry for another day, one that is MUCH closer to the end of this wonderful summer.

I have PLANS this summer. Some are glamorous (a trip with BFF2) and some are mundane (movie nights with The Fantastic Four and cook outs with my family) but all are exciting. Since I have such exciting plans I really (REALLY) want to blog about some of the stuff I do. There are things going on this summer that I really want to document and share. There will be some video-blogging (maybe) happening and of course I will be updating Twitter like there is no tomorrow, but I also want to be able to blog through my summer as well. So that is one of my major summer goals. At least a weekly entry here for updates. I am sure there will be more than one blog some weeks, but I am really dedicated to blogging once a week.

I also have reading plans this summer. And TV-watching plans. I recently bought some paperbacks to dive into this summer as I lounge by the pool or ride the bus during summer program field trips. I realize that I already HAVE paperbacks that need to be read, but I'm not really planning on using the Nook very often this summer. I love it too much to risk water damage or breakage by one of the cousins. Therefore, physical books are the key to summer reading. I haven't set any kind of reading goal for summer, and I'm really far behind on my yearly goal as it is, but I am considering making a TBR list for my summer reading and trying to stick to that list. I know several titles that I want to read before school starts again and having a list always helps me stay on task instead of being distracted by all of the new shiny books that I am sure I will procure over the summer.

So that's the major summertime game plan. Work, road trip, lazy days by the pool, family time, books. Best.Summer.EVER!*

*I hope!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Doctor Who

I failed B(A)EDA. Let's just get that over with. I am a failure. But that's okay. I'm still awesome!

Tonight is the premiere of Doctor Who on BBCA and I am VERY excited! I've talked about Doctor Who so much that BFF2 is going to start watching it. She is currently regretting that she didn't start soon enough to get caught up before the new season began, but I am DVRing all of the episodes so we can watch them when she finally DOES get them all watched. The Clone still hasn't watched all of the new Doctor Who series, but she has watched all of the Matt Smith episodes, so we will be watching series 6 together this year. However, I'm not sure I can wait for her to watch tonight's episode. I just found out my grandmother is going to be out of the house so I'll be able to watch the show when it comes on TV tonight instead of having to waiting until she goes to sleep to enjoy the awesomeness of it!

In preparation of Doctor Who coming back I watched "Blink" last night. And can I just say "holy weeping angels, Batman?" I'm not sure WHY Blink is (maybe) my favorite Tennant episode, but I certainly do love it. Sally Sparrow OWNS that episode and the entire time I watched I alternately thought "soooo freaking creepy man" and "why wasn't Sally Sparrow ever a companion?" I suppose because she has her own story to live out, but she would have been better than Martha Jones. Martha is easily my least favorite companion, which is saying something because I pretty much wanted to light Rose on fire when we first met her. BUT moving back to the topic at hand! Blink-terrifying beyond belief. I can no longer look at angel statues and if I ever see one with it't eyes covered I will probably soil my linens! Of all the "bad guys" on DW, the Weeping Angels are probably my favorite/the most horrifying but I love them all the same. I watched Eleven's Angel episodes three times and loved them a little more each time I watched them. I have to say, Steven Moffat did an excellent job with both this episode and the continuation of the Angels story line in series five.

Are any of you watching Doctor Who tonight? Are you as excited as I am?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

B(A)EDA 2: Music From My Daddy

Next week I am going on a trip. Alone. And although I am twenty-seven, I am still considered a child by most of my family. To them I am both strong and fragile, someone they all depend on but feel the need to shelter and take care of. This is a good thing, don't get me wrong. However, with a road trip looming on the horizon they are a tad bit freaked out. To make things easier on them I just sit back and listen to their advice, promise to make phone calls at each stop along the way, and not to pick up hitchhikers or stop for baby carriages on the side of the road.* I suppose they would feel more comfortable if there had not been a TERRIFYING case of road rage in my peaceful little town that led to a man nearly dying.

Another thing I did was ask my daddy for song suggestions for driving songs. I should have known better. He brought me a list of OVER three hundred songs to make a playlist out of. Today I have spent the day shifting through the songs he brought me and adding songs to the "Road Trip" playlist I have already made. I find it no surprise that I already have several of the songs he brought me in my playlist, after all my musical tastes are greatly influenced by him. For as long as I can remember I have been stealing his CDs and singing along with him and the radio in the car. In more recent years I have made him mixed tapes and passed along the CDs I've purchased to him so that he can listen to bands that I enjoy.

Love of music isn't the only things I share with my father. We also spend long periods of time talking about the news and various annoyance. We talk about TV shows and movies we enjoy. I tell him about the books I am reading, he tells me about books he read a long time ago and books he hopes to have time to read when he retires and has more time. He has always been my biggest supporter and is so completely amazing. He has the ability to make things better, no matter how big or little the hurt is. He gives this ridiculous advice that sounds like it is from some motivational calender, but makes me laugh like a loon and ultimately helps. His advice is so epically bad that he once told me to let the bad things people say slide off like "water off a duck's back."** While it IS true that water slides off a duck's back QUITE easily, it isn't excellent advice for a teenage girl who has recently discovered that her friends are saying mean things about her. All in all though, he always knows how to make things okay again, even if they are broken to the point that I think things will never be okay again.

I'm not sure how this went from a blog about road trip music to adoration for my father, but I suppose that's what comes from just doing a stream of consciousness type thing. However, I have wasted more than enough time and must put my nose to the grindstone and finish up paperwork!

*Yes, apparently this is a THING that people do now, lure people from their cars by putting "abandoned" children by the side of the road. Sickos.
**Advice like this led my college roommate to dub his advice "Davidisms" and now she randomly quotes them to me in emails and other messages.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B(A)EDA=Blog (ALMOST) Every Day in April

I suppose if you miss the first day of BEDA that it does not bode well for managing to blog every day for a month, huh? That is the main reason for the (A) I added in there. The other reason for the (A) is that I am a realistic and I know that I will most likely not actually blog every day. I have tried the past three years and have not been successful this far, but I will give it a go. Practice makes perfect and all that jazz! I will even extend a day and have May 1 be the last day of BEDA. I'm generous that way. I have a lot going on in April: a trip to see a friend next week, a break from school, and the planning of the summer program my company provides each year.

These things lead to MANY topics, but not so much time to actually blog. However, I'm going to try my best to provide ample excitement without resorting to one-liners and memes and such. I can't promise that there won't be some photo blogging happening, simply because a roadtrip leads to SO MANY photo opportunities. Are any of you doing BEDA or something like it?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Abandoned Books: February 2011

I hate to put a book down. For a long time I really resisted abandoning books and instead forced myself to struggle through no matter how miserable I was reading the book. However, now that I have less reading time I am much more willing to put a book aside if it isn't grabbing my attention and sucking me in. So far this year I have only abandoned one book, which is impressive! Here's the rundown:

Inkheart: This book came highly recommended, and I read it when it was originally published in 2005 and really enjoyed. However, as a reread it was a complete failure. The more I read, the longer the book seemed. I enjoyed it, I liked the characters, but after two months I still have not managed to finish the book. I may try it again in the summer, but for now I am returning it to the library and cutting my losses. There are too many books I’m genuinely excited for to linger over this one.

Monday, March 14, 2011

End Notes: February 2011

Another month where I didn’t actually meet my reading goal, but I did come closer and February was a shorter month, so I have hope that March may be the month I actually do it! Amazingly work is the main reason I read more in February. I had so much work and was so stressed that I made it a point carve out time to read. This worked out well, allowing me time to decompress after work before starting paperwork.

Books Read: 5
Rereads: 3
Abandoned Books: 1

As you can see, there were a lot of rereads in February. This was due to reading through previously released books in a series so I could read the books I haven’t read yet. This is a strange quirk of mine. Do you all reread previously published books in a series before reading the newest release? Do you reread at all? I’m curious because BFF2 and I are big on rereading, my dad doesn’t see the point of reading a book again. I also broke the Book Buying Ban in February. Kind of. I bought a series book when it was released in paperback without finished a book first. Not too terrible considering I only bought two books in February total.* I plan to continue the Book Buying Ban for the year if I can manage, but I’m pretty sure I need to reduce the amount of space taken up by stacks of books in my floor!

*Not including ebooks, because really, it isn’t as if they take up SPACE!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Lent Rundown

Apparently I only blog on Sundays, and those blogs are FULL OF LIES!!!!!!!!!*  However, I am HERE today to tell you about my Lenten plans.  For those of you who don't know Lent is a period of fasting that takes place before Easter. For forty days (not including Sundays) Christians used to fast from sun up until sundown. Currently, most people just choose a particular item to give up.**

This year I am once again not eating potatoes. After many years where I gave up Coca~Cola only to substitute it with another caffeinated beverage, I decided to try something different. Potatoes are easily my favorite food, and I usually eat them twice a day, sometimes three times if I have hashbrowns in the morning. Giving up potatoes for any amount of time is harsh. Not only am I not eating potatoes, I am not eating any potato product. Which means no chips, no fries, no nothing. This is not the easiest thing in the world, and I won't Sundays will be FILLED with potato nomming, but it is something that I feel the need to do.

Last year I added to my potato fasting by also agreeing not to purchase any books. Sundays are an exception, but other than ordering Will Grayson/Will Grayson last year I did not buy a single book during the Lenten season. I am going to do this again this year. I have to admit that it is made somewhat easier by the fact that I have already preordered Huntress by Malindo Lo and City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare on my Nook. However, Barnes and Noble is selling a signed addition of CoFA that I may preorder next Sunday. I also have a trip to Chicago coming up and I will be driving for several hours alone, so I may have to make a midweek purchase of an audiobook so that I am properly entertained for the long haul. I will however keep track of the books that I do read during this period to add to the books I'm allowed to buy under the conditions of the Book Buying Ban.

Do any of you do the Lent thing? Or do you have other fasting seasons that you participate in? It is a difficult, yet rewarding thing to do, and in the long run I'm always glad I have participated.

*Cause, ya know, last time I said I was going to blog more regularly, but I haven't.
**The details here may not be spot on, I am not a theologist. The main point is every year from Ash Wednesday until Easter I don't eat something I love.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hello March!

And hello to all of YOU! I really should update more, especially since my last blog was kind of a downer. Unfortunately, I have been SUPER busy lately. There has been an influx of clients at work and I am the lone wolf at my school, so I have been swamped with work stuff. There will be reinforcements VERY soon though and then I will be able to breathe and have a social life.

I did carve out some time this week to go see a movie with BFF1 and The Clone and to finish a book! I am planning both a movie review* and a book review this week. I will also be posting a Lent blog. I'm still not one hundred percent sure what I'll be giving up for Lent. The past few years it has been potatoes, and it has worked out pretty well I suppose. I have been asked to see I Am Number Four and Beastly, and I hope to fit them both into my schedule and my budget. I'd like to read Beastly before I see the movie, but The Clone stole it last time she was at my house, so I don't see that happening. I'll probably watch, read, then do a Book-to-Movie review. Probably. Expect a return to Teaser Tuesdays, and a February Wrap-Up review in the next week as well. I haven't posted any crafty time blogs because I haven't been creating recently. I have been tweaking the mitten pattern I found online to make my daddy** mittens, but the way things are going he won't be able to use them this year.

I decided last weekend that I am fed up with lack of storage. Living with my grandmother is AMAZING, but having one room to confine a lifetime of THINGS*** is difficult at best. So, I have decided that with the help of aforementioned Daddy I will be building bookshelves. We worked out a pretty amazing design that will utilize two entire walls and parts of the other two walls. When it's all said and done I will end up with a corner desk, a window seat with built in storage, and a corner nook thing along with bookshelves. I'm also trying to talk him into building a shelf that circles the room, but that is at the back end of the project. To start out I will have WAY too many shelves for just the books I own, but I figure I can put baskets, hat boxes, and the vintage cigar boxes I smuggled out of my grandfather's house in the shelves and use those for storage as well. I'm really excited about the project for a multitude of reasons, the main one being that I am looking forward to a project and the ability to add organization to my room.

March has brought RAIN! I absolutely adore rain and it has been difficult to stay inside and do paperwork when I'd rather be taking walks outside in the misty greyness. With spring comes the ability to actually work in my compost heap, which has been sadly neglected due to the horrendous amount of snow we had this winter. It snowed this morning, but I am hoping that slacks off soon so I can hang my hammock. There are few things I love more than hanging out in the hammock after school with a book and a glass of sweet tea. It is the epitome of Southern relaxation. 

I am looking forward to a lot of things about March, and I hope to have time to share them with all of YOU.

*I am using the term "movie review" in the loosest definition possible. Instead it will be me recounting the exploits of me, my bestie, and my cousin. But it will be HILARIOUS!
**Yes, I am 27 and still refer to my father as "daddy." It's been a rough week, roll with it.
***And by things, I mean BOOKS

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Explanation for My Vanishing Act

Recently I have been remote and quiet. Both of these are unusual things for me to be. I rarely blog, I do not tweet or even open Twitter, and I ignore text messages. Okay, ignore isn't the correct word, it is more like don't invest myself in conversations. This is something I do at times. Remove myself from my online presence and ensconce myself in the nonvirtual (or real) world. This time, I don't feel like I've made a conscious decision to DO that. I figured maybe if I sat down and just did a "stream of consciousness" blog about what has been going on, it may help me (and any of YOU who are interested) see what is going on.

Part of my reduced time is due to work. Multiple clients, multiple schedules, and serious issues leads to more paperwork and less down time during school hours. Because I don't have downtime to complete paperwork during school hours I bring more actual work home. (Quick refresher for those who are unclear about my actual job. I work with kids who have severe behavioral issues and are at risk of being removed from the home and/or school. I help clients identify their negative behaviors and learn appropriate behaviors, ways to handle their emotions, and coping skills. Each day I submit paperwork detailing my interactions with each client. This year I work in a middle school.) Having to do all my paperwork at home leads to less time to do ANYTHING else. It can take hours to type up notes, and that is on a good day when I have actual time to jot down notes during school hours. On the days that I am so swamped that I don't even have time to make notes about behaviors, I can be up well into the night trying to finish. In the past this has mainly led to me 1) complaining on Twitter or 2) complaining to BFF1 or BFF2 via instant messenger or text. I'm really trying to be more positive. Basically I deal with a LOT of negative things every day at work, and I'm trying NOT to be so negative everywhere else. It is a pretty new thing, but essentially when I feel the need to put words like "UGH! I HATE THIS" out into the universe I generally just choose not to tweet or to send the text message. Does my best friend CARE if I tell her I hate paperwork? Of course not, she KNOWS I hate it...but it isn't fair that the majority of our conversation is tainted by negativity. I would prefer to discuss Disney movies and horrifying listings on Etsy.

Unfortunately, as much as I would like to blame my lack of a presence on work, I know it is a convenient excuse. The biggest reason I have been mainly absent is because I have increased the amount of time I spend with my grandmother. As most of you know I live with her, and I have for a little over two years. She is one of the strongest people I know, and I am consistently in awe of how she deals with the hardships life sends her way. Almost four years ago my grandfather passed away in April. For almost 62 years my grandmother was married to the man she loved more than all others. In no way did they have a fairy tale life. My oldest aunt had polio, my grandfather lost his job and was unable to find stable work for years, the first year of their marriage was spent with my grandfather in the Army stationed in California while my grandmother stayed home in Virginia. They raised five children and ran a small working farm until I was in middle school. At 82 my grandmother has led a long and happy life, full of joy and sorrow. However, losing my grandfather has been the hardest thing I have ever seen her experience. She has dealt with it beautifully, rarely giving in to the sadness that she feels and keeping a strong facade in place for her children. But I see the cracks in her molding. She is willing to tell me when she is sad, perhaps because I am so willing to be honest with her about my own fears and sadness. There are months that are particularly hard for her. April (when he died,) May (her birthday,) June (their anniversary,) and August (his birthday.) She has had a difficult time at Christmas, because it was his favorite holiday and she was unable to fully enjoy it without him here but simultaneously felt guilty for bringing the rest of us "down with her sadness." Valentine's Day this year hurt her, and she has spent hours recounting sweet stories of how my grandfather used to celebrate with her. I have spent more time being AROUND her, providing a sounding board, and telling silly stories to keep her mind off of things.

There have been other difficulties in the last year as well. Last May my aunt passed away. Though, I have no children of my own I can only imagine the pain she experienced at the time, and the pain she continues to experience. Again, she handled herself with grace and reaffirmed her strength in my eyes. As time passes she is more able to reflect about my aunt's life. Silly stories from childhood, frustrating things about her as an adult, reasons we loved her, things she would love if she were here, things we are sad she is missing. Our grieving processes takes place as a whole in this crazy family of mine. We never do things alone, even when we want to. To add to my grandmother's grief, we received more bad news last fall. My aunt who passed away left behind a husband, who has been part of our fold for many years. He is one of our own, and still continues to be surprised that our arms remain open, even though she is gone. Last fall he went to have a cyst removed from his pancreas, a routine surgery that was not cause for worry. My auntie Wanda and my cousin Mimi took him to the specialist in NC and stayed throughout the day. There were mild concerns that there would be complications, but the news he received was completely unexpected. Two years ago he had pancreatic cancer and treatments that placed that cancer in remission. Apparently the cyst masked the fact that his cancer had returned and spread to his abdominal wall. He was given the option of having intense chemo, which would allow him to live for roughly 8 months; or refuse treatment, which gave him no definite timeline. My uncle chose to refuse treatment. No member of my family has handled this well. It is something that I didn't even discuss with my best friends until about a month ago when I had no choice but to tell them how bad things were. As his time dwindles, my grandmother becomes more upset. Evenings are spent crying or in silence. Attempts to engage her in conversation don't always work. My uncle is at peace, and accepts the path he is on. My grandmother is having difficulty accepting defeat. This brings back memories of my grandfather and my aunt suffering. She is about to lose a link to her child. She is losing another person she loves.

I have never seen her break. Yes, she gets sad and has mourned. She will probably mourn for the rest of her life. However, even at her darkest moments she has more strength that I can ever imagine possessing. She is the person I aspire to be. In no way is she perfect, everyone has their flaws. But she inspires greatness in me. She is a mother who raised her children with love and discipline. She took me in when I was an adult and needed somewhere to go, a place to heal. She gave me love and space to heal my own wounds and recover from a broken heart, even when she was grieving for the loss of a love much greater than mine. She would battle anyone for me, or any of my relatives. She is gentle and fierce, loving and strong, and the most incredible person I know. And a part of me is terrified she is going to break. She has withstood so many things in life, but now she seems fragile in a way she has never seemed fragile before. Perhaps because I am no longer a child, maybe because she has lost her helpmate. But I know that I cannot let her fall, and have therefore devoted more time to her. Fewer nights are spent with headphones in watching TV on the computer, I am involved in less textual communications. I cannot escape paperwork, but I try to be done with it early so that I can watch TV with her. We enjoy mocking contestants on American Idol and DWTS, we discuss which Food Network recipes we would try, and I impress her by answering Jeopardy questions. I cannot ignore the weakness she tries so hard to hide. I would devote myself to her if I were able, and never leave her side. Unfortunately I have to work. I feel a desperate need to help children, and I also have college debt to pay off. Since I cannot devote my working hours to her, I have invested more of my free time to her.

I have not made a conscious decision to avoid online communities, it has just happened. I miss the interactions I usually have with my friends online, and I hope that I can be more present soon. I hope all of you are well, and I am comforted knowing you will be there when things return to normal and I tweet 40 times a day and post semi-regular blogs.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Ten: Ten TV Shows I’m Currently Watching

Confession: I have a sick obsession with television. Maybe it comes from college, where I need background noise of my choice when I studied, so I kept the TV on pretty much 24/7. Maybe it comes from not having cable when I was a small child and only watching NBC and PBS. Whatever the reason, I am addicted now, and things like Netflix, Hulu, and TV on DVD do NOTHING to help me.

Here are ten TV shows that I adore and am currently watching, or rewatching as the case may be. When I say “currently watching” I don’t mean have been watching since the very beginning and am now watching the episodes that are currently airing. These shows are either shows I have watched multiple times because they are like comfort food or shows that I have just now discovered/fallen in love with.

1)      FRIENDS*
2)      Torchwood
3)      Psych
4)      That 70s Show
5)      Buffy
6)      Doctor Who**
7)      Castle
8)      Gilmore Girls
9)      Sherlock***
10)  Golden Girls****

* I have watched every episode multiple times and own all ten seasons on DVD. You may say I have a problem, but I absolutely LOVE this show and it is my go-to comfort item in the TV show line.
**Technically I am up to date on DW. However, I watched all five of the new series from beginning to end since October 2010. I’m also REWATCHING all the episodes with The Clone so that she will be caught up as well.
***Oh my goodness, SHERLOCK! *drools*
****Because who doesn’t love The Golden Girls? I watch this show more than any other TV show that has ever been made. And I generally live-tweet my viewing. I know, I have a problem!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

End Notes: January 2011

In January I did not keep up with my reading schedule. Why do I have a reading schedule? Mainly because I have a lot of distractions (work, family, Netflix, cute British TV stars, Twitter) so I have to sometimes remind myself that I have HUNDREDS of books that need to be read. I am constantly reading, but I have a bad habit of picking up a book and reading ten pages and then setting it down. I currently have six books started that are at various stages of completion. I may finish them all next week; I may forget I was reading them and start new ones. But that is why I have the schedule. So, my goal is to read 75 books this year, and have at least 50 of those books be books I have never read before. To do that I need to read about 6 and a half books a month. Here is how I did in January:

Books Read: 4
Pages Read: 1061
Rereads: 0

Of the books I read in January, none of the books were books published in 2011 and none were books I purchased in 2011. I am reinstating the Book Buying Ban starting February 1, 2011.* In order to purchase a book I must first read a book. The book read cannot be a reread UNLESS it is a series and another book in that series has been published. I’m not sure how this will work, I pretty much caved last year when I tried this. But I need a way to reduce the number of books I buy, especially since I am having so much trouble working through my TBR list!

*I know, it is already past February 1, but I haven’t bought books since Tuesday!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mittens and MORE

You would think that with all of the snow days we have had I would have 1) updated this blog more frequently, 2) read a book or six, and 3) crocheted.  I spent Saturday trying something new.

After listening to my friend Laura on Twitter talk about knitting mittens I was inspired to try crocheting a pair myself. A quick internet search led me to this pattern for mittens. I think they turned out well for a first attempt. I used left over yarn, which led to somewhat funky stripes, but all in all I feel like I was pretty successful.

I also took the time to work most of my remnant yarn into my Hodgepodge Blanket. This project will undoubtedly be put on hold soon because I am running out of remnant yarn. I have several other projects in the works to finish soon, which will give me more yarn for this project. Now I just need the motivation to FINISH one of those other projects!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday Ten: Books I Want to Read In 2011

There are a LOT of books I want to read. Everything from classics I didn't appreciate the first time around to books that haven't been published yet. There are MANY more than ten books I want to read. I think I will be forced to break this list down in to several lists. THIS edition will focus on books being published in 2011

  1. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  2. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
  3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  4. Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
  5. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
  6. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
  7. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  8. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
  9. The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
  10. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday January 18, 2011

NOTE: I am setting these up in advance due to lack of internet services, so I can't guarantee that I will ACTUALLY be reading these on the day they post. However, they are either recently read or at the top of my TBR list.

Today's Teaser is from Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld. This is a reread that I need to finish now that I have Behemoth back from The Clone. It was one of my favorite books I read in 2009, and my reread has been delightful!

"The huge tentacle swept through the air, a sheet of seawater spilling like rain from its length. The Royal Navy kraken was another of Huxley's fabrications, Deryn had read, made from the life chains of the octopus and giant squid."~pg 114 of the paperback edition.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.