Hooray! We can slowly start doing things again (in a safe and reasonable manner). I know my partner and I love to travel and take small weekend trips, but since living together have had very little opportunities due to my work schedule and a global shutdown. Personally, we like to pack light, but I also assume disaster is waiting around every corner. So this is the basic first aid kit I pack anytime we go anywhere at least overnight that I feel covers all our bases.
Aloe: In case you burn
Melatonin: In case you can’t sleep in a new place – most people can take this and doesn’t conflict with many medications
Acetaminophen: For pain – I feel comfortable knowing I likely can’t take too much, but personally I also find it to be more fast acting
Benadryl (topical and oral): Allergies baby! I am allergic to a couple things (I do not go into full anaphylaxis it is a lot of pain and a bad situation). I can’t necessarily control how often I come into contact with them on vacation and eating out. I like to have these on hand.
Band-aids: For injuries of all kinds
Alcohol wipes:: Same as above especially when in a new place, you gotta clean it.
So I as a person love making lists and tracking different obscure things. However, because I enjoy making them so much I often don’t go back and follow up. So recently I have been really stressed at work so I went back to try to relax and make some new lists based off of old ones.
Last year before the pandemic I made a list of all the narrative (not reality) TV shows I had seen at least one season of on ListChallenges.com. There was about 260 shows. I freaking love TV, understand I have a problem, and cannot reiterate either enough. So, what fun, I thought I would make a list of TV shows I have seen every episode of guaranteed. It is only about 80. That is 30%!!!!
I have done a lot of stupid stuff in my life but I was incredibly disappointed in myself when I saw this. And so many of them were shows that were cancelled early and only had one to two seasons. WHAT EVEN IS THAT?! I love television how can I not have seen through so many of these shows. Now some I have seen all I intend to see because of decisions that were made for the last season (ie. BBC’s Robin Hood, Once Upon A Time, That 70’s Show). But so many are just shows that I cannot explain why I never finished, especially when all episodes are available on a streaming service that I HAVE.
So anyway, I cannot figure it out beyond the shows that are still airing or I don’t have access to. I really feel like a quitter but completely on accident. I am going to try to complete a couple more, but considering how much I love television I am definitely feeling really upset with myself about this revelation. I am going to attempt to complete 5 more shows by the end of summer.
If you are still looking for something to read for Middle Grade May, I just want to throw some of my favorite suggestions in the ring. I really enjoy reading middle grade because it tends to be very thematic, whimsical, and makes me feel better about humanity. If none of the following suggestions strike your fancy, you can check out my recommendation list from last year here.
If you like cults, found family, and DRAGONS, you may like…
Wings of Fire
If you like fairy tales, independence, and making the wrong choices, you may like…
If you like tea, kindness, and graphic novels, you make like…
The Tea Dragons
If you like misconceptions, dismantling systems, and monsters, you may like…
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
If you like fairy tales, self-discovery, and a good quest, you may like…
The Twelve duology is an own-voices middle-grade fantasy series by Cindy Lin. In this world those born with Zodiac powers need to stay hidden in fear of death or being taken by the Dragonlord, a dictator that has torn apart the land. Personally, I think this is an older middle grade as there is significant brutality mentioned as well as both books are around 400 pages. We follow Usagi, born a wood rabbit, who after losing those closest to her must recognize her own power and realities of the her world. It is an adventurous story of community and rebellion.
The World: The magic that one is born with depends on the coinciding for the timing of ones birth in an element or a sign of the zodiac. We did get significantly more world building in terms of geography, species, and variation of powers in book two which I wish we could have seen more of in book one. Overall there was a lot of variety and it felt like a real country with history, economy, and culture. There are a magic bullet catch-alls called the “Treasures of the Twelve”; while these can magically save the day most are missing and our heroes don’t have access to them.
The Characters: There was a pretty large cast of characters, but we only followed one point of view, Usagi’s. Each character is traumatized from their world and still growing up. Our heroes all have reasonable character flaws and conflicts. While redemption arcs do happen they are not offered to every character that was ever liked during any point during the series. I found that nice to see especially in a middle grade series.
The Verdict: This is a darker middle-grade (TW: mass death, betrayal, neglect, indoctrination). I do think that it is worth it to read. The culture and characters are well developed and unique to a lot of other middle grade fantasies. In my opinion, there is a good split between nuance and good versus evil. It was a solid 4 star series and if there are ever any spin-offs in the world I will be first in line to read them.