I lack follow through

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.

Wish me luck!

Middle Grade Recommendations 2.0

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…

Furthermore/Whichwood

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…

Lalani of the Distant Sea

Series Review: The Twelve by Cindy Lin

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.

On having COVID

So I have COVID, yes I got it at work and yes, I am furious. I first went to get tests 10 days ago, a day and a half after my exposure (we are pretty sure), and right after I had a fever. It was a PCR test. The lab they sent it to marked the collection date wrong (confirmed via email). I didn’t get my results back until Wednesday night instead of Tuesday morning. In the meantime I was getting sicker and sicker and of course decided that it was the flu. The first test came back negative, but with the timing of infection, the mix-up, and my worsening illness it was recommended I get a second test. I really needed to know for work and for my own sanity so I got a rapid COVID test and flu test and the urgent care next to my apartment.

I had COVID, obviously. They made me wait to get the results because it was a rapid test and it was obvious to everyone except my delusional self that I had COVID. I had fevers, coughing, was nauseous, could no longer take deep breaths. I had to tell me work immediately, because I had been in person running event when I contracted the virus and contact tracing had to happen ASAP. My partner luckily had had their first vaccination so if they did contract the virus we weren’t seeing major symptoms (though he is still quarantining the full two weeks).

Now I know I have been luckily in that I haven’t been hospitalized, but it has been absolutely miserable. I couldn’t keep any food down for a majority of the time, and have just been attempting to stay hydrated. My body aches. It hurts to walk and talk for long periods of time. I have been falling asleep throughout each day. I felt amazing today because I could walk for 5 minutes without needing to take a breathing break, stayed awake all day, and ate more than once. I have been using a Pulse Oximeter, to keep track of my oxygen levels like the doctor asked (below a certain level you have to go to the hospital ASAP). However, it also watches your pulse rate. Today is the first day in almost a week that it was below 100 and my oxygen rate is back above 95.

I am going back to work tomorrow virtually, but I am really nervous about how long recovery is taking and how much I am actually going to be able to do.

Anyways wish me luck in recovery and please get vaccinated if and when you can!

Going back in-person

My work has just started going back in person. Both within our organization having small scale in-person meetings or days of work and hosting small outdoor programs for groups. This started once our state did start opening back up again but not once everyone had access to vaccines. To be fair our events are for youth (5-13) who are not eligible for vaccines at the moment.

Anyways for the most part while scary everyone has been pretty responsible. You are only allowed to use communal equipment with gloves, everything is sanitized, masks, etc. However, our area keeps fluctuating in cases and we are not working or running events in pods. The children go to different schools. We are all doing individual lives. However, we all have to do health assessments before entering any property. There are also resources and every meeting has a safety officer.

Unfortunately, not everyone can take it as seriously and we all make assumptions that everyone is being as careful as us and children are not carriers. Week 3 while filling out my health assessment before a program I took my temperature at it was a hundred. It might be a pandemic or it might be that I haven’t been near other people and immune systems in over a year. In the times past I would get sick really easily. So I got a COVID test today and regardless if I have gotten COVID or something else. Everything has to be put on hold and I have to report my status to everyone and everyone has to be kept more fully up to date with my health which makes me un-comfy though it is understandable.

Anyway wish me luck staying safe and healthy!

Job Update: 2 Years In

I have been at my current organization for a little over two years. Honestly, it feels a little crazy as it doesn’t feel like that long because we have been in the pandemic for half of that time. I also was recently promoted into a Manager position. It was really nice to feel recognized, especially considering the year it has been. I also had likely taken on an additional job since our RIF (reduction in force). I feel much more relaxed now that job is officially mine and because of the promotion I am being compensated for that and able to start to balance back my schedule.

While it is nice to feel compensated, it also feels a bit like an accident. I was in place to take over this position because 2 months into my job with the organization the person I have replaced (they left) had back surgery. Due to the fact I had just started I didn’t have a lot of responsibility and was able to take over part of their paperwork. When she came back in that fill in debrief process, we became friends. Due to that, I was asked to join the volunteer committee I now run. Basically I accidently slid into a position where I was already in place to take over when they left at the beginning of the pandemic last summer.

It also feels awkward. There is a huge culture at my organization that loyalty and time are the most rewarded. There are many members of the staff that have worked here years if not decades longer than me. It feels a little awkward to break that culture and be promoted ahead of some of my direct peers to become the same staff level with those who have been here 10ish years. I also feel guilty. We had a huge RIF in the fall (25% of our staff). Many of whom were friends and people I admired. It feels odd to have had the money to promote me because of this,

However, I feel like this is a space I would be willing to stay in moving forward. I like the work we do and I like my position. I also like most of the people I work with very much. What comes next will be interesting to see!

Wish me luck with my new position!

My Spring TBR

Happy Spring! I hope you are all enjoying warmer weather and will have access to vaccines soon! I wanted to have a more targeted TBR for the season and make some progress in the books I own. These are all books I own that I just haven’t been making time for and want to get around to reading this spring. If you have read any, which should I get to first?

Fantasy

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile by Shannon Messenger

Each of Us a Dessert by Mark Oshiro

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

Literary Fiction

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Punching the Air by by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Possessing of a Secret Joy by Alice Walker

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Mystery/Romance

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Non-Fiction

Pooh and the Philosophers by John Tyerman Williams

Series Review: Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure

Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure (formally Tangled the Series) follows Rapunzel after the events of Tangled. Rapunzel, Eugene, and their friends (Rapunzel makes friends; Eugene already has them) acclimate to life in Corona, new responsibilities, and the magic of the world. Mainly, it is a show about destiny and characters figuring out their place in the world versus what they want it to be. It does this in a really appropriate way for each character and every character is given the support and resources to better themselves when they choose. The soundtrack also slaps.

The Good

  • The relationships
    • Eugene and Rapunzel’s relationship is an incredibly loving and healthy one. Any conflict in the relationship comes from there separate histories and not miscommunication.
    • All the friendships and family dynamics are unique! Cass and Rapunzel’s relationship is different from Eugene and Lance. Cass’s adoptive father has a different relationship to her than Rapunzel’s newly found family. It is really exciting and shows really well how there is more than one way to have relationships.
    • None of the relationships are built or fixed easily.
  • World building
    • It starts small in Season One just in Corona and focusing on the mystery of the kingdom and the Sun Drop, It expands literally and figuratively in season 2 and 3. We venture to other kingdoms, gods, and magic.
  • Character Development
    • I like that for the characters this is is not always positive development. It explores really well what happens when any character trait is taken too far.
  • Talented Cast
    • It DID retain the voice cast from the movie which was amazing and they did a great job.
    • They got Jeremy Jordan and Eden Espinosa and did not waste them. They had frequent songs and all their talents were used.

The Bad:

  • Rapunzel had to retain her naivete and “niceness” from the movie into the series. Due to this she has to relearn many of the same lessons and often ends up not being able to differentiate between nice and good.
    • She lost two of her friends in the same way and kept being in fights with Max (horse) and Pascal (chameleon) for the same reasons, Some how neither Raps nor anyone else hold her accountable for this in her role as hero.
  • Shorty – was funny in season 1 but not necessary to join the permanent cast.
  • Filler Episodes – there were too many filler episodes in the later seasons as we had a clearer idea of the overarching plot. They made sense in Season 1 when this story was still coming together.
  • The Monkey – I really can’t explain this better

How long is it: 3 Seasons and a Movie

Best Season: Season 2. This road tripping season was focused on growth of the world and the characters. The development excelled!

Best Song: “Ready as I’ll Ever Be” or “Nothing Left to Lose”

Where to watch it: Disney Channel and Disney Plus

All images from IMDB

One Year

One year ago today I had my last day in my office. I know this because we were supposed to have an event on Pi Day (3/14) that we had cancelled because of the incoming threat of COVID and it was an event for very literally hundreds of people. We were answering calls and complaints and processing refunds. Then I wrote a check, cleaned my lunch container (as far as I know it is still there), and went home.

Monday morning we received an email asking us not to come into the office unless you needed a company issued laptop or phone. We started working 60 + hours a week, with hour cuts, pay cuts, and mandatory vacations through the summer as the world go more and more intense. Then raises, promotions, and 80 hour weeks into the fall and winter.

My partner and I have spent a full year with almost no one else. My cats separation anxiety has gone through the roof. We have switched diets approximately 4 times (Currently we are low carb). I have watched in the triple digits of seasons of shows, though to be fair many were repeats.

Family members have died and been hospitalized. Friends were laid off. It has been a really hard and weird year. It’s hard to believe that a full year of my life has been spent this way. 4% of my life has been a global pandemic, a national crisis, and not sincerely leaving my home.

I don’t know what the next year will bring, but if it is anything like the last one I am not at all prepared.

On going to the mechanic

So I have only been going to the mechanic/garage on my own for about two years since moving out of my parents house. Honestly, I feel like I was made to be more scared of it then I needed to be. Since I started driving and was taking drivers ed (9/10 years ago), I was told that mechanics would surcharge me, try to sell me on add-ons to every service, and lie to me. However, for the most part, that has never been the case.

Tips:

  • Know exactly what you are going in for (oil change, part replacement, state inspection, tire rotation, etc.)
  • Understand that unless they say ” To pass inspection” or “This is broken” you can probably wait to look it up yourself or get a second opinion.
  • Go early. Most people don’t make appointments for the morning they make it for the end of the day or the weekend.
  • Understand that the parts/fluid cost less on their own but you don’t know how or don’t want to do this labor. That is the extra cost,
  • It’s not that scary.