2016 … Unexpectedly Difficult

I haven’t updated this blog since the beginning of January, which seems surprising and negligent in retrospect, but the last several months have been kind of a slog for me. About midway through January, my 15 year old dog, Abra, got really sick. She had been slowly showing signs of her age, getting disoriented on walks, for instance, but she went downhill fast. I couldn’t coax her to eat, she lost a shocking amount of weight in very little time, and basically … everything fell apart. We had to put her down at the end of January, and everything since then has seemed a blur.

But, I’m pulling myself (slightly) together, so I would like to get back to updating this blog! There’s a lot to look forward to in my immediate future. While I got a rejection letter from the college I really wanted to go to, I did get an acceptance to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn’s Writing Program, so mid-April I’ll be hopefully headed to NYC to check out the school and see how it feels. (I have one more outstanding college application that I should hear back about sometime in April, too. That college would allow for a *lot* of study abroad opportunities, like two or three a year, so I’m really interested in that one, too. But, when you’re 26 and have taken way too many gap years, it’s super hard to get colleges to take you seriously. 😦 Pratt, you had to submit a writing portfolio for, so I think that was a huge bonus for my otherwise paltry application.)

Anyway, so I’ll be visiting NYC soon (hopefully seeing Hamilton, even if it puts us into massive debt. My mom’s an American History teacher, and I’m completely obsessed with the musical, so it would be torture to go to NYC without seeing it, right? *trying hard to justify the bajillion dollar price tag*). I’m supposed to go to a Las Vegas Harry Potter convention in July, but the NYC trip’s cost puts that in question. Hopefully it can still happen, too. Other than that, I’m finally writing again. (Abra’s death put me into a sluggish, blank-headed depression and serious creative drought.) April’s Camp NaNoWriMo is going to be an important step towards productivity for me. April also has another 24 Hour Readathon that I’m excited for! And speaking of reading, I’ve been reading tons of books that I’ve either really enjoyed or really haven’t, either one of which can make for an interesting review. :3 Hopefully, I can get this blog moving again.

I needed some blank, nothing time to come back from my grief. Abra was my dog. It’s been so strange, not having her sitting on the couch, getting excited when I came to sit beside her. Not having her to go on walks with. She was the dog where, if I was crying, she would hurry in and put her head in my lap and lick my face. My other dog doesn’t do that (he actually leaves the room when I cry, lol, he doesn’t like conflict), and never was that more painfully apparent than when I was crying about Abra’s death and realized she was never going to come in and comfort me ever again. She was my dog since I was 12 years old, throughout my adolescence, and it’s a terrible thought that she won’t be here for my adulthood. Anyway. I loved that dog. I’m slowly coming back to myself, but it’s been hard. I like that I can come here and share that, though. I want to keep this blog alive for that reason alone.

Kiss your pets, love them, and give them an extra hug for me. ❤

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#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks — My Only New Year’s Resolution

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As evidenced in my last post, I received a metric ton of books for Christmas this year, and, as evidenced in my #Shelfiehop picspam, I wasn’t exactly lacking reading material to begin with. (I’m a book hoarder, I admit it.) So, when I saw the #ReadMyDamnOwnBooks challenge/resolution over at Estella’s Revenge, it sounded like the perfect opportunity to get my TBR under control. Because it’s currently out of control. Unquestionably.

I went through my shelves and tried to count my number of unread books, but once I’d hit triple digits, I had to stop. Clearly, I collect books faster than I read them. The whole idea of the Read My Own Damn Books resolution is to place as feasible a book-buying ban on yourself as possible and, for 2016, read only what’s always sitting on your shelves. Because we all have those books which have been languishing on our bookcases for years, ignored, unloved, wondering why they’ve been consistently passed over for some shiny new release. 😦 Think of those books! Think of their hurt little book-y feelings!

(And now think of over a hundred of these books all gathered together on your shelves, grumbling to each other, watching you ignore them, plotting against you, and forming some kind of revolt — this is how you get yourself buried under a bookcase, I’m telling you.)

So, because all challenges need a little structure, here are the rules/goals I’m setting myself:

  • Read only from my shelves. There’s no set order, I can cherry-pick, use the TBR jar, whatever. But, if I’m stumped for a new read, I have to go alphabetically from the beginning, hit up that top shelf and pick the first unread book I find.
  • I’d love to set a limit of buying just ONE book a month, or even making a list of all the books I want and saving them for my birthday and Christmas wish lists. We’re gonna have to see how realistic that is, though. I have a notorious lack of self control when it comes to “OOH, BOOK, SHINY, MUST BUY, GRABBY HANDS.” We’re going to try for 1 a month, though. Fingers crossed.
  • Another big goal: cull my shelves of anything I either can’t get into the first time or am never going to reread. My collection is already bursting at the seams and I have no room for another bookcase, so if a book isn’t holding my attention by page 100 (though you can usually tell by page 20 with some duds), or I am so uninterested in the description I can’t bring myself to open the dang thing (this happens too often when you buy books during a flush of interest in a particular genre or theme, and then the phase passes and you’ve still got all these unread books based on some interest you no longer have.) I HAVE to put it in the charity pile, or, if it’s teen/YA, give it to my sister for her classroom library. Get these things out of my house!

Okay, there you have it. My main goal for 2016. Get my TBR under control and cull my collection to something manageable — and SHELVE-ABLE.

I’ve got some great books to look forward to. Just glancing at my book closet now, I see The Handmaid’s Tale, The Invisible Man, The Once and Future King, P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde — it’s gonna be a year of classics, I think. I’m going to set my GoodReads goal at 52, like I always do (aiming for a book a week), but around June or July I’ll readjust depending on how long some of the books are taking. (For example, I’d love to read The Count of Monte Cristo, but I highly doubt I’m getting through that in a single week…)

If you’d like to join the Read My Own Damn Books pledge, check out the original post here. And tell me in the comments, what are your reading goals for the new year? Are you going to place yourself under a book-buying ban, or do you, unlike me, actually have a hold on your TBR (and self-control)? What book are you MOST looking forward to reading in 2016?

Christmas 2015 — the Haul, the Party, the Post!

My favorite present this year was, technically, a gift to myself: a complete set of the Penguin Little Black Classics collection!

I hardly know where to begin — first of all, a belated Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you all had a happy holiday season, ate lots of sugary deliciousness, and got something you really, really wanted. (And more importantly, spent lots of time with people who mean something to you, and that you gave someone something that made them very happy.)

The Christmas Party

We had a fairly low-key Christmas, all things considered. My mom and I threw a party on Christmas Day, with my sister, grandparents, and aunt all in attendance. (Technically, I guess, my dad was a host, too, but he basically just sat outside with my sister’s puppy the whole day.)

I want to share some of the amazing food we had, because it all turned out EXACTLY the way I’d imagined it. (And I had been planning this party and this spread alllllll month. Gotta do something while you’re in bed, recovering from wisdom teeth yankage.)

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Continue reading “Christmas 2015 — the Haul, the Party, the Post!”

My Wisdom Teeth Are OUT — beep boop, hello world, I have returned.

*climbs blinking into the light* It’s been a long time, blogging world! Even though I’ve been mostly laid up in bed the last couple weeks, I haven’t been in a state fit for coherent blogging.

A summary of what my last few weeks (or last month, really) has been like:

1. Starting at the end of October, a wisdom tooth appeared in my mouth and brought with it a whole host of complications. Bloody rips in my cheek, a bacterial infection that swelled up my gums, and some awful sinus infection thing that presented itself with a two-week-long headache. I seriously thought my skull was going to implode.

2. The day before Thanksgiving, I had my wisdom teeth taken out. What I remember of the surgery experience:

  • arriving early for my 8:15 appointment only for everyone else to be running late. Didn’t actually go back into the room until after 9.
  • Laying in the chair in this freezing operating room, waiting for the doctor. I was shaking so hard my teeth were chattering. I’d had to take an antibiotic before the surgery, so I was certain I’d drank too much water with the pills and was going to have some cataclysmic anesthesia complications.
  • Doctor comes in, my mom’s ushered out, an IV is injected, a rushing air nose-thing is fitted over my face, and everything got extremely loud. Like, I’m standing in a windstorm with Conch shells attached to my ears and a train rushing at me loud.
  • Next thing I know, I’m somehow in a completely different room, my mouth the driest it has ever been. Sahara desert experiencing a drought dry. Gauze wedged in between my teeth, my tongue unaccounted for, and I’ve got my cellphone in my hands. My mom just handed it to me. I was texting people, I was tweeting …I said a lot of stuff.I texted an explosion of affection to my cousin:
    textcousinThen I found my way onto Twitter:Screen shot 2015-12-08 at 10.58.13 AM Screen shot 2015-12-08 at 10.58.34 AM

    Horrifying.

3. By the time I got home, I was a full blown train-wreck. I was supposed to take a pain pill as soon as possible, for when the anesthetic wore off — swallowing a pill is a little tricky to do when you can’t feel your tongue, or your lips, or the back of your mouth, and you can only open your mouth by half a millimeter. And once the pain pills went down, each one gave me an awful stomachache and room-spinning dizzy spill. By Day 2, my mom and I had abandoned the pain medicine and I was just taking CVS brand knock-off liquid Tylenol. Worked just fine.

4. I don’t even know what the last couple weeks has consisted of. I have a strong memory of waking up on the morning of Day 2, opening my mouth, and just sloshing a mouth-bucket of blood all down my blanket. I’ve had Netflix on this entire time, first The Office and then (when it became clear I couldn’t smile or laugh because of my stitches) Friday Night Lights. (Which is such a tear-jerker. I would be eating, watching the show, and then just suddenly quietly sobbing into my mashed potatoes. A more pathetic picture has never been taken.)

5. Somewhere in there I took the final exam to a Western Civilization class and managed a 95% — which isn’t bad at all, considering I now have no memory of that experience whatsoever.

6. Tried my best but totally bombed NaNoWriMo, my first ever year of not reaching the goal. I don’t really care, though. Most of November I had all these infections swirling around my skull, and the last weeks of NaNo I was pretty much an incoherent and drooling, stitched-up mess. I’ll make up for my recent writing drought here in December.

7. Also somewhere in there, I wrapped and shipped my #TBTBSanta present for The Broke and the Bookish’s Secret Santa event! Again, I have very little memory of wrapping those presents, but it apparently happened.

My #TBTBSanta gift is ready to ship!!!

A post shared by Christina (@yellowhairedrobot) on

Every morning, though, I would feel loads better than the night before. The restorative power of sleep, ladies and gentlemen! I never did bruise, either, and the swelling never got too extreme and was gone by Day 4 or 5. And the stitches seem to be dissolving really well, the wounds closing up. It was an uncomfortable first few days fraught with drama as we scrambled with every meal to find something I could eat without pain, but overall — I’ve been doing great. Happy, good moods, improving drastically every day. I’m almost completely back to solid foods and real meals. (I would get so hungry, the last couple weeks, I would just scroll through pictures of food on Pinterest and pin recipes in a wistful someday I will eat this way.) And I never have to deal with wisdom teeth drama every again!!!

I read 3 books over the last two weeks — Everything, Everything, Magonia, and Rainn Wilson’s memoir The Bassoon King. I want to post some mini-reviews or something about these soon. But, for now, I’m still climbing out of my post-surgery nest and reintroducing myself to daily, not drool-y life, so it might be a little while before I post again. At any rate, that’s my update, that’s what I’ve been doing, and let me leave you with a life mantra of the last several weeks, which I posted to Twitter a few days ago:

 

Have a good Tuesday, everybody. 🙂

Anticipating a Hiatus — Wisdom Teeth Extraction!

I’m having surgery on my wisdom teeth tomorrow morning! Not super thrilled, as I’m pretty much an obsessive hypochondriac and cripplingly afraid of going under anesthetic, but there’s no arguing my way out of this (and believe me, I have tried) — I’ve been having sinus and bacterial infections for the last couple months thanks to these angrily protruding new additions to my gums, and it’s time to get the damn things ripped out.

My oral surgeon doesn’t anticipate the procedure being too difficult. (He said, on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the hardest, my surgery should only be a 3 or 4.) Over in a half hour, and I should be out of the office another hour after that. (Me being me, I’m imagining all these awful, worst case scenario, my sinuses get ruptured, I choke on a deluge of blood, the anesthetic makes my brain implode, a wisdom tooth ends up being connected by some random fiddly ligament to my brain and when they try extracting it, they pull all my gray matter out with it — okay, this is what panicking looks like, all laid out in words.)

So, anyway. That’s the situation. Hiatus on the blog front, probably. And I’m starting to highly doubt I’ll be winning NaNoWriMo this year — unless I go nuts with post-wisdom tooth surgery, mashed-potato-fueled creative energy, I’m probably going to spend the next couple days watching The Office and Jane the Virgin on Netflix and trying not to imagine every twinge in my mouth is about to spell my imminent doom. Might not be the best atmosphere for productivity. 😐

Anyway, if you’ve had your wisdom teeth out, or any other dental surgery where you were regulated to a diet of soft foods, any suggestions for what I should eat? We’ve stocked up on yogurt, those squeezie apple & fruits or vegetables puree things (that babies eat), pudding, and three different kinds of packaged mashed potatoes. I’ve heard milkshakes and smoothies (sans straws), but I’m really leaning more towards warm and savory — we found some soups, butternut squash, tomato puree, etc., that should provide some nutrients. BLAH, okay, I’m still over-analyzing and agonizing. FOODS. HOW DO??? <- me, basically.

Okay, I’m off to distract myself and hopefully go to bed easily. By 7:30 tomorrow, I need to take a dose of like 4 antibiotics, and by 8:15 I need to be at the oral surgeon’s. 8:30, everything begins, over by 9:00, and I guess I have to stay at the office until 10 or 10:30?? I’ll keep everyone updated on twitter, provided I’m COHERENT. Eep. Wish me luck!