On Visiting Alaska

So for the past week I have been mostly off the grid on a family vacation in Anchorage, Alaska. It was amazing. I have wanted to go to Alaska for such a long time (yes, partially due to Son of Neptune, but it counts). It did not disappoint in beautiful scenery and adventuring time.

My favorite part of traveling anywhere new is the food. It is often slightly different that local fair, but something to make it special. In Alaska there were some very unique types of foods, elk meatballs, for example. One of my pizzas had reindeer fennel sausage. The sushi in Alaska was of such good quality because of the freshness of the fish, highly recommend at least once. One of my family’s places to go when traveling is to local dive restaurants it’s normally really good homey food where you get a sense of the local flavor.

Alaska is well-known for it’s wildlife and it is in fact recommended that you buy bear spray no matter where you hike. We luckily never needed it. We actually didn’t see a lot of wildlife except for a couple very cute harbor seals, a fat moose, and a lot of birds. Actually one of the highlights of my trip was explaining to a man from Hawaii that chipmunks were full grown and not just babies. (Apparently chipmunks do not occur in Hawaii). One of our best tourism stops was the the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where they rescue and rehabilitate or permanently home wildlife. We saw some amazing creatures there. Also, Santa’s reindeer were most likely girls.

As a PS there were two porcupines, this one is Kit-Kat (and missing a leg) and the other one is Snickers!

All family vacations are hard because it is 100% of your time is spent with the same people. Which fyi is hard no matter how much you like your family it is a lot of exposure! So that can become emotionally draining. As well as especially if you hard-core tourist like me either have a very long day of walking and/or driving in a car. So it can be physically wearing also versus the relax you may be expecting. We ended up averaging about 5-7 miles a day. It was absolutely incredible, except that time when we ended up getting lost down a bike trail on a mountain. No matter how taxing the views were always worth it.

Overall, Alaska is 100%, maybe 98% worth the journey, plus no sales tax.

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Mid-year book Freakout Tag

Holy poop the year is half way over! Also I really read a lot of books, almost 60! Working weird hours and having an easily accessible library has really helped my reading life. So I have always seen this tag going around booktube and book blogs and I thought I would try my hand at it.

  1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2018?
    • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. The hype is real but also well deserved. I thought it was beautifully written and I love fantasies that seemly integrate politics and religion. cbb
  2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018?
    • Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire. The third in the Wayward Children series but this is the first direct sequel to Every Heart a Doorway. I love seeing so many worlds and finding out about different travelers and magic systems and it was delightful.beneath the sugar sky
  3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To?
    • Either Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian or Furyborn by Claire Legrandash princess
  4. Most Anticipated Release For Second Half of 2018?
    • Either of Kiersten White’s new books: Bright We Burn or The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankensteinbright we burn
  5. Biggest Disappointment?
    • The Beast of Cretacea by Todd Strasser. I really wanted to like but I didn’t know Melville enough and I feel like there wasn’t enough suspense to care about the twists.
  6. Biggest Surprise?
    • To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. It was really good and I don’t usually like contemporary. to all the boys I've loved before
  7. Favorite New Author?
    • Maria V. Snyder. I read the first 3 of the Study Series in like a month and am totally obsessed. I want to read the rest of the series this year!poison study
  8. Newest Fictional Crush?
    • Cassian from ACOTAR
  9. Newest Favorite Character?
    • ISEULT! from the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. I have never felt so connected to a character and her arc and I just feel like we need more always because she is smart and fierce and scared and important and I love her. truthwitch
  10. Book That Made You Cry?
    • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Obviously spoilers involved.the lies of locke lamora
  11. Book That Made You Happy?
    • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. This is the last book in the Heroes of Olympus Series and it made my heart feel so good and wrapped up.
  12. Favorite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year?
    • N/A
  13. Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year?
    • N/A
  14. Most Beautiful Book You Bought So Far This Year?
    • So I only recently borrowed this from the library but Death Sworn by Leah Cypess is stunning so I’m saying it counts.death sworn
  15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of The Year?
    1. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
    2. Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
    3. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
    4.  Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher
    5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

My first week of work

Surprise! I got a new job! (I have not left my old job this is just a second job on the side) I am working in a local warehouse for a used bookstore. Currently I am assigned to the sorting division.  I am only working part time so I am going to work 3 8-hour shifts through out the week.

My job is very different then any job I have experienced before sitting by a computer. For one I am physically active for 8 hours which  I don’t think has ever happened before in my whole life. I got orthopedic insoles for my sneakers by day 3. They did really help but I feel very old. I have never had to punch in and out before I always just checked in with a supervisor. I like punching in and out though.

For the most part it’s solitary work. I have a station and I rarely ever have to talk to anyone other than when people come to bring in or clear out palettes of books. This I like my other job is mostly completely social and I like having time to myself. I get to have my iPod in and headphones on all day. I don’t remember the last time I heard some of my favorite songs. It does make me very self-conscious though because I have to make sure not to dance or lip-sync cause there are a lot of people everywhere.

However, I have also eaten lunch by myself every single day and will probably continue to do so. I get so nervous around new people and I just want a chance to unwind a little and have fresh air. Also, I forget where the break room is and I am too afraid to ask again. In addition I take my lunch break pretty late in the day. For me, after lunch time seems to pass much slower until the end of the day. So I try to push it to when I come back I only have 2 or 2 and half hours left in the day versus four, that way I feel like I can get through it better.

I don’t know how long I’ll be at this job I don’t. Maybe I’ll be there until my vacation and maybe I’ll be here until November or maybe even a lot longer. I don’t know. But right now I like it. I like the schedule and waking up early and my guess is I’m going to be in the best shape of my life (past or present). We will see where it goes.

Wish me luck.

Favorite Summer Reads

So I like summer because typically I have more downtime to read, either on vacation or on break from school. This summer there is no break but I am going on vacation in a month and hopefully will get some extra reading done. For me I like to go back to some of my favorites. I frequently re-read Harry Potter over the summer. Here are some other excellent books to read over the summer.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares -This 4 books series follows every summer as 4 best friends grow-up between their sophomore years of high school and college. It’s a very sweet series that gives each character individuality and focuses on all relationships and growth versus just the romantic.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Every love letter Lara Jean has ever written was mailed to them, without her knowing. It was a really sweet story that dealt with a lot of the male tropes, the player and the nice-guy wanna-be player. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. This summer is the perfect time to read it because the move comes out on Netflix in August!

Codex Alera by Jim Butcher – This adult military fantasy combines the magic systems of Avatar the last Airbender and the Golden Compass. In other words, it is AWESOME! If you need a large mass market paperback to bring to the beach or on a flight this is the book for you! Plus over the summer you’ll have more time to commit.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan – As most know this series happens at Summer camp! though for some it is year-round. It is a camp for demi-gods or humans with a godly parent. I’m pretty sure everything else is known if not what are you doing with yourself

Pern by Ann McCaffery – Pern is not a series but a world. This world has lots of series and standalones with in it to jump around with as you will. It’s a wonderful world of dragons and firelizards and young people who have to make serious decisions. Plus the northern continent is pretty much all desert so you can relate to the heat the characters are facing.  (I recommend starting with the Harper Hall trilogy but do as you will)

 

 

Making friends versus being professional

I and, I think many people, have a pathological need for people to like me. Partially, I think because my natural instinct is to assume that no one on earth likes me and it’s a miracle when people do. I try, really hard. However, I also am attempting to be a working professional. I really want to be productive and work with people to reach a common goal. However, when I work with others I often get distracted by wanting to become friends with who ever I was working with.

You know when you are working in a group project and often end up hating those who can’t hold their weight in a project. It’s so easy to let professional feelings mess with personal feelings and vice versa. Just because a person isn’t your favorite doesn’t mean they aren’t good at their job.

Sometimes I feel like I take that mindset with me into my work life. I take on more work than is fair so people will like me more. It’s hard to find a balance between effectively doing my job and befriending those in my new job. It is a lot harder than I had initially anticipated. I want to balance my life, but being liked in my job is important cause you know politics and stuff.

Wish me luck.

I burn bridges and it’s a good idea

Ending any relationship with those close to you is hard, even if it’s for the best. Closure is harder. I find that burning bridges is the best way to achieve closure because it doesn’t let you go back, there is no temptation of the grass being greener behind you. I have a bad habit of going back on my decision, treating myself like a doormat because I prefer to be friends with someone. Even if they are TERRIBLE friends.

I don’t know that I had ever actually experienced closure until recently. Mostly because I am a super fan of quitting people cold turkey, because of the reasons mentioned above. However in the past 2 months I have a had to see a couple people that I had thought, hoped, prayed, I would never see again. This time, instead of feeling crazy and stressed, I felt good.

I felt so satisfied with my decisions and like oh yeah, my life is better without these humans. My pushing them away after the relationship needed to end, keeps them away and keeps me from going back. Anyway closure is a wonderful feeling and for me burning the bridges really helped me get there.

Thanks.

Best Short Lived TV Shows

Happy mostly Summer, but technically Spring or as my still in college friends call it: Finals Season. What I always like during the summer season is to watch a lot of short TV Shows that I can binge in a weekend and then move on.

1. Terra Nova: I am still upset that this got cancelled but it’s an excellent story and the first season is a good and complete arc. It is the story of the family that goes back to a colony in the Jurassic Period because the Earth is dying. The CGI holds up especially since it was made for TV and it’s just beautiful to watch. Also I really like family shows and dinosaurs.

2. Firefly: Probably the most classic unjustly cancelled TV show of all-time. Space Pirates. The cutest characters of all time: Kaylee and River.

3. Middleman: Think Torchwood by goofier and American (maybe implied). A young woman is recruited to be the assistant to the ONE man to defend humanity from all things alien in weird. It was hilarious and there was an Android assistant.

4. The Secret Circle: It was one season but once again for the most part the initial story arc felt complete. About a coven of witches and teenagers who make bad decisions and are honest about it, which is refreshing.

5. No Ordinary Family: This one we needed more from but it was so good. It was about a family that had suddenly acquired superpowers during a plane crash. It’s really sweet and has my favorite trope of accidentally working for the antagonist .

6. Dark Angel: Jessica Alba’s best role to-date no questions, she plays a woman who as a child was genetically modified and escaped a military compound as a child and tries to be a superhero. It’s two seasons and the best decision you can make.

7. Life Unexpected: Two seasons. The first show I remember making me cry. It is about a girl who is trying to be emancipated from foster care and finds that her birth parents never signed adoption papers and must find them.

Honorary Mention: Heroes because only two seasons are actually good and Star Trek: OG because in skipping the bad episodes you only have about a season worth of TV.

Happy watching.

Monthly Recommendations: Mental Illness

This month’s topic for Monthly Recommendations, a Goodreads group, is Mental Illness Rep. A big problem today is the stigma against mental illness and those who suffer from it. I am only choosing to include fictional books on this list although there are some excellent non-fiction and reference books on the subject.

The most current that I’ve read and probably one of the most popular is Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. The main character in this has OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which John Green also has. It’s really fun mystery but the anxiety representation is really well done. It also deals really well with grief.

Wintergirls by Laurie Anderson Hale is also one of the most reference but for a reason. CW: anorexia, bulimia, self-harm. It was the one of the first books I read that shows eating disorders as a form of self-harm and didn’t pull punches in the consequence that follow.

Another classic is Go Ask Alice by Anonymous. It is an diary by a real person from the 80s I believe that chronicles a teen girl’s spiral into addiction. Addiction is a serious public health problem as well as mental health. It is very gritty but it is a true story and a fast read as it is journal entries. It is a CW: rape, self-harm.

Something that needs to be addressed in the book community is mental health in fantasy books. Two books that start to address it are A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling. Both main characters Feyre and Harry, respectively, suffer from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They relive their trauma, through dreams and panic attacks, and experience increase in aggressive and anxious behaviors after these experiences.

My top recommendations for general mental health books are She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb and Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. She’s Come Undone follows the story of a young women’s life from her early life to her late 30s. CW: rape, binge eating, sexual abuse. A large portion of this story takes place in a mental hospital and emphasizes the important of therapy, medication, and the myriad of ways to cope. Impulse takes place in a mental hospital following three characters that have recently tried to commit suicide. CW: self-harm, sexual abuse.

If you are struggling with any of these issues, there is always help.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: (800)273-8255

National Alliance on Mental Illness Crisis Text Line: Text NAMI to 741-741

Can People Change?

I knew what I have wanted to write about for a while but it wasn’t working, because I was writing this blog on forgiveness. Recently, I had the mind-boggling experience of having someone who hurt and manipulated me for years and hurt my friends on top, decide that we were okay. General conclusion is the forgiveness is not necessary for closure.

It was very confusing why this threw me into such a tail spin. I mean it’s all I thought about for days trying to figure out what could have gone on in her head. Then mostly through powers of therapy I realized it because I always assumed one day she would change and/or care about the people she hurt. It appears that it was not the case.

I went through the same thing for years with my brother. He would mess up, he would hurt or steal or push buttons. He would be in the dog house and have stricter rules. We would trust him less but eventually things would return to normal and all would be forgiven and forgotten. Then it would happen again. He could justify doing what he wanted because in the long run nothing would change.

For someone to change there needs to be a real reason to, an opportunity cost something to lose or something to gain. If they remain apathetic to the consequences that happen naturally I don’t see it being possible to achieve real growth. Until someone starts caring, they don’t see a need to change and that’s what must happen first.

Sorry just something I needed out of my system.

On Making Adult Friends

I really like having friends or at the very least someone to talk to and have fun with. However friends have always been kind of forced into my life, mostly in school or camp. It’s easy to be friends with who lives in your dorm hall or you have to see every week.

My job is really about meeting a lot of people and networking but there is no one I see or talk to everyday except my candidate and my family. It’s been hard to figure out how to make friends and who is a friend versus someone who tolerates you while you are at the same event.

I would like friends where I am living but it’s hard. Mostly because I am pretty sure I am too aggressive when trying to be friends or like actively avoid people. I have found myself to be a relatively polarizing person, and I am very afraid of the people that don’t like me.

The easiest technique that I have used is just showing up, at events, restaurants, the library, etc. People just seem to get used to your presence or maybe I got used to them and finally felt comfortable. Either way several people I hadn’t talked to were convinced we were friends just because they had seen me so often. (I know this sounds like a joke but it’s how I made my two best friends since moving back home).

If anyone knows another way to have fun, platonic people in your life I really would like to know about it.