A Belated Look at 2018

A Belated Look at 2018

2018 was a year of change, hopefully ushering in a year of growth.

My husband and I moved out of the apartment we had started our lives together in. We left behind terrible neighbors and an uncaring land lord to an apartment with heating, insulation, and sealed doors and window. We have neighbors that are kind and quiet, and a landlord who checks in to make sure we are happy.

I left behind a job I’d been holding for eleven years. A job I would have enjoyed had it not been for the emotional and mental abuse that was rampant there. It took me too long to realize just how much manipulation was happening, and more courage then I’ve ever needed before to leave. It’s proven to be the best choice I’ve ever made; while my anxiety is still a constant companion, the depression that left me paralyzed last spring has dissipated, and I’m able to face each day, if not head on, the at least with my chin up.

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Under the brown fog of a winter dawn…

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn…

This is… hard.

Christmas Day 2018

I stand at the end of the hall. I feel like a giant, too large for the memories that surround me. I can see my grandmother in bed, her frame so much smaller than the space she occupies in my heart, all rose gold and dust, all clouds in a big April sky.

I climb into bed with her, hair like spider webs strands and soft as silk, she brushes it from her face. I remember being small, as small as she is now, smaller, climbing under the cool covers to spend the night in her oversized bed, hearing stories, sharing my little girl dreams. Now I don’t know what to say. I talk anyway, I don’t remember now what it was that I said, except that I promised to come visit her on New Year’s Day.

She rouses herself from bed long enough to eat at the table with us. It is an ordeal, one that causes her pain. But she does it. She is strong and proud, even when broken and weak.

I want to cry. Instead I smile.

That night, as I lay in the circle of my husband’s arms, the steady rhythm of his heart breaks my own. Every beat is one I’ll never get back. I’m desperate for the rhythm to slow, for time to ease its endless forward assault. A storm inside me screams for something more, but nothing changes. I pull away, the sound of life too much for me tonight.

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Christmas Songs: Sometimes They’re Just the Worst.

Christmas Songs: Sometimes They’re Just the Worst.

I used to work with my boss, instead of for her. During those times, we would complain about how early Christmas music began, “Right after Thanksgiving!” we would say disdainfully, “It’s still fall for gods sake!”

Oh how things change; now that she is a business owner, her habits reflect those of a vast majority of retailers, both large and small. The day after Thanksgiving I walked to work in a world of scarlet and gold. Only to find a shop full of red, white, and green.

Not terrible, as a lot of people want to get their shopping out of the way. What broke my spirit was the music. We complained, our customers complained, but our bosses wishes stood above all else, and so it began.

Pandora is a mixed blessing- good for introducing you to a myriad of artists and styles you might not normally be exposed to. But it has a darker side, a side of playing bands you’ve down-voted over and over (I’m sorry, The Chieftains, I just cannot learn to like you), and repeating the same song every two or three tracks. Up-vote one tune and hear it three times an hour until you skip it and make the program understand that maybe you don’t want to hear it for awhile. But skip too often and your right to that is revoked, even with a paying account, because it’s algorithms can recognize you skipping a track, but not that it just played four songs from 2000’s “The Grinch” back to back,  bookended by the eleven minute long Dr. Seuss Story Version.

You see my problem(s)?

So… all in the name of venting and the good fun that entails, here’s some holiday songs that make me pray for an excuse to go into our stores nightmare inducing basement or out into the cold streets of downtown.

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2018 Gift Guide: 15 Items for the Book Lover who has all the books.

2018 Gift Guide: 15 Items for the Book Lover who has all the books.

It’s almost here, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve got your fingers crossed that this year people will pay attention and get you the things you want. Or maybe you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, and you’re at a loss for what to get the bookish person in your life.

Hint: More books.

But, if that fails, here’s a list of book related items that are sure to please someone who would otherwise be putting all their disposable income towards acquiring more things to read.

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Comic Review: Critical Role: Vox Machina, Origins

Comic Review: Critical Role: Vox Machina, Origins

 

Story: Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer
Script: Matthew Colville
Art: Olivia Samson
Layout: Chris Kawagawa
Colors & Lettering: Chris Northrop
Color Assistants: Travis Ames & Cassie Anderson

Vox Machina Vol 1

Nnnngh…

I loved it.

If you’ve been paying attention, you probably caught me mentioning Dungeons and Dragons and/or Critical Role. I was a huge fan of the original campaign, so when I heard there would be a (beautiful) graphic novel released that recounts the original adventures of the group that will become Vox Machina, I was thrilled.

A quick (or maybe not) overview for those who somehow missed me talking about it, or someone else talking about, or those huge billboards that were up in Los Angeles (maybe still up) and it’s a strange world we live in when “a bunch of nerdy ass voice actors” live streaming their D&D campaign gets advertised like that. Umm… what was I talking about? Oh, right, Critical Role is Matthew MercerLaura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Sam Riegel, Travis Willingham, Liam O’ Brian , Marisha Ray, and Ashley Johnson. Matthew is their Dungeon Master, and he’s that particular brand of unassuming evil that only nonthreatening, finely boned people can pull off. It’s all fun and games until it’s not, then you’re failing your saving throws and your life is over. The rest of them are (respectively) a ranger, gunslinger, bard, barbarian, rogue, druid and paladin. You might not think you know the above list of names, but just click through and you may very well be surprised. Liam even does commercials for cat food and he’s Illidan Stormrage in World of Warcraft (You know, “You are not prepared! I’ve got Gul’dan’s skull! Why did you come here anyway?”)

Oooops, getting distracted.

Much of the early campaign took place off camera, so we missed out on how this group of strange, poorly adjusted, angst-ridden adventurers met, which is a shame because Vax was even more stabby back then.

And you thought that wasn’t possible…

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A Witch List for Reading

A Witch List for Reading

Halloween is almost upon us, and I don’t know about you- but I’m ready to spend my day as a steampunk aviator and my night as a glam rock vampire. To celebrate the season in a blogging sort of way, I’m discussing some of my favorite literary witches. I’ve got your obvious ones from Practical Magic and the Harry Potter universe, but I’ve also got a couple others in there that I didn’t see on anyone else’s list.

So call your familiar and put the lime in the coconut- here’s a look at my top six literary witch loves.

pexels-photo-417049-e1540571029397.jpeg

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Book Review: What if it’s Us, by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Book Review: What if it’s Us, by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

JAR  copyright
Hey, that’s my bed!

Adorable, funny, awkward, and sweet. What if it’s Us? puts you in the shoes of high-schoolers Arthur (a Georgia native spending his summer in New York City) and Ben (a New York City native spending his summer being miserable).

I sped through this book in a day, laughing and smiling at how ridiculous and truthful it was. Every awkward interaction, every moment of inarticulate babble, every proclamation of love, felt like a shout out to being a confused, lonely, almost-always-panicking teenager. These two let their insecurities get the best of them again and again, but that doesn’t stop them from trying just one more time to make things work.

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