‘Twas I That Arted

I have alluded to but not provided much detail about my recent stint with driving the struggle bus.  Seriously, it’s been nearly a year of . . . “meh.”  Since November of 2018, I have just been unable to “get it together.”  I have written zero response letters to the pile of mail I have received from pen pals, I neglected Postcrossing until about a month ago, I have been completing only one or two swaps per month via swap-bot, I’ve traded a mere handful of patches, and I have run only 450 miles since January 1st.  I have so many projects that remain unfinished: the contents of a parcel I intended to mail in April remains unpackaged, a half completed quilt intended to be a house warming present is now for a home that is no longer new, so on and so forth.  Even my blog has been a victim of my neglect in that I have not written about my runs, for though my training has been subpar in comparison to past years, I have still been showing up to my races.  I think the only aspect of my life that has not suffered from my “meh” is my reading; my Goodreads goal for the year is 67 books, and I am currently at 54 read.  I have also been less “on top of” certain tasks at work as well, but I attribute (some of) that to a bit of head butting with a superior.  There was a period of time where I dreaded coming to work; I even interviewed for a position elsewhere, but I realized shortly into that meeting that the (new) position was not an ideal fit.

Over the past few weeks, I have started to feel better, more myself, and by “myself,” I mean more like the me of a year ago, before I got behind the wheel of the struggle bus and put the pedal to the metal.  I have even found some inspiration to create for the sake of creating.  The ATCs and postcards below are not for particular swaps and have no ulterior purpose; I just felt like . . . arting.  Approximately two weeks ago, I completed my fitness objective of earning my Fitbit goal daily for 30 days.  With two more races left this year, I have been longing to fall in love with running again.  This is not to imply that I no longer love the sport, but I have not been as dedicated to or excited by running as I once was . . . until I’m crossing the finish line.  Crossing a finish line inspires me to keep going, to keep trying until the next race, but then I do not maintain that desire . . . until the next finish line is fast(ish) approaching.  (I’m not fast).

A step in the right direction toward finding the (better version of) myself has been spending time in my craft room and workspace with no guidelines and no deadlines hanging over my head or stifling my creativity.  Below, for those of you who do not follow my Instagram account, are photos of some of the artist trading cards (ATCs) and postcards I have been making.

After my final runs of the 2019 “season,” I will compile the photos and thoughts I have been collecting and share them in one post.  September 28th is the Dempsey Challenge 10K and October 6th is the Maine (half) Marathon.  Anyone who wants to follow my progress during the latter race, as I traverse the 13-mile course, there’s an app for that!  Let me know of your interest, and I will provide you with the app name and my bib number.

In summary should you have chosen to skim-read . . .

I have been sucking, and I no longer want to suck.

The Gypsy

 

Potions

 

Henry

 

Freud

Note: I am well aware that the paper doll I chose for my Freud PC (postcard) is not Sigmund, but the doll looked similar enough, that I took some artistic liberties / poetic license and used it anyways.

Best Costume

Flippin’ Floppin’ & Flounderin’

After a four month hiatus, I think that it is about time that I dedicate some effort to my writing, my blog.  I am particularly glad that approximately six months ago, I did not buy stock in the idea that 2019 is the year of me.  However, if I did make that purchase and just do not remember doing so, then I am pleased that I did not take the notion too seriously because . . . Wellllllllllll . . . I. AM. FLOUNDERING!  My current spirit animal is a freshly caught fish, floppin’ on the boatdeck.

Truth be told, it is comforting that flying fish exist.  Flopping now shall equal soaring later, amiright!?

So, what have I been up to since March, you wonder?  I have already indicated what I have been up to . . . floundering!  Gosssshhhhhh, pay attention, dear reader!

Before I outline what has been troubling me, let me share with you the one task that I have been absolutely slaying since January: the tackling of my GR reading goal!  I set my Goodreads goal at 67 books for 2019, mainly so I can finish and close out my Day Zero Project goal of reading 100 books.  I am currently working on books 38 and 39, which means, my fellow math whizzes, I have completed 37.  That translates to, “I’m 55% of the way there!”  Admittedly, I have been slacking as far as writing book reviews goes; add that to my list of slackage.

Slackage List

  • running
  • blogging
  • letter writing
  • swap-botting

and just added:

  • book reviewing

Running

It should be noted that my current interpretation of slacking re: running is that I am not at the level that I once was, but my use of “slacking” in this regard is not to imply that I have not been doing it . . .  as of late.  (Keywords: as. of. late.).  Since my NYC run in October, I did indeed stop running for several months, but I picked it back up when my first 5K of the year drew near.  I do believe the date of that was April 28th.  The Dash for Dogs 5k went well in that I ran the entire 5k, my only break being at the one water station.  I tend not to run with my cup of water because I splash and slosh.  Between April 28th and my second 5k on June 1st, I hardly ran, and I was utterly mind blown at the traction I had lost in merely a month.  Desiree’s gentle reminder, “You’ll be mad at yourself!” when it looked like I was about to walk, rang true; I finished the 5k (and with several PRs, according to Strava).  During the Law Enforcement Torch Run on June 5th, I was miserable.  I have been dwelling on how just one year ago, I was so proud of myself after the LETR, and this year?  This year, I let myself down.  I allowed myself one evening to wallow, and then I worked my way through my muddled headspace.  I have since gotten back to using the gym located at work, using my own (home) gym, or hitting the pavement.  My heart has just not been in it, and I cannot place a finger on why (or why not), but I think I am getting closer to those answers.  With that being said, when I am on the road or on the treadmill, I am happy and proud and I feel great, and I need to start clinging to those feelings, especially since I have big goals ahead!  This upcoming weekend is the Dennis Sampson Memorial 5k.  In July, I have the Moxie 5k, (maybe) a 4th of July 5k,  and the David Payne Memorial Run.  In August,  I am scheduled to run the Beach to Beacon and the Eugene Cole Memorial Half Marathon.  In September, I have the Dempsey Challenge on my to do.  Finally, in October, I am running the Maine Half Marathon.  I have also decided that I will be finding a way to run the 2020 NYC marathon (I infer “finding a way” because my entry will depend on winning a spot via the lottery OR raising at least $2,620).  So, I have not lost my love for running, nor my heart; I’ve just . . . temporarily lost my way.  (Pictures from Dash for Dogs, Safe Voices, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run forthcoming).

Blogging

My last entry was in March.  Since March, I have had copious thoughts and perspectives, but my gumption to write has been lackluster at best.  Writing this entry is my attempt at locating that luster that I have lacked.  I must admit, I have indeed missed sharing my blather.

Letter Writing

I have written no more than five letters in the last year.  I surmise that my lack of composing correspondence is due to my overwhelmed state when I look at my bucket of mail that awaits a response.  I need to sit down, go through the bucket, and determine who I want to continue writing with and who I do not.  My fear of hurting feelings or causing offense is what prevents me from completing this particular task, but I do need to widdle my list down to a manageable number, thus making the hobby enjoyable once more.

Swap-Botting

I have not been utilizing swap-bot.  My desire to swap was quelled by a member who caused me some distress.  However, that is neither here nor there.  I know that my love for swapping will trump my hesitancy to do so, especially since I do have a reliable group of people with whom I can swap.  In fact, as of today, I have four swaps that I have signed up for.  Now, whether I stay in said swaps or drop them before partners are assigned . . .   On the bright side, my lack of swap-botting has allowed me to re-engage with Postcrossing.

This entry is mainly about what I have not done / been doing, but I am brainstorming a follow up featuring what I have done / been doing.  I will get back to being 100% Amy, one step at a time.  Luckily, I took some hefty strides today.  Maybe today is the day I turn it all around.

So, when I do work my way out of my slump, will I be floundering at floundering?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Ripley’s Believe It or Not

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Ripley’s Believe It or Not

*This review may contain spoilers pertaining to some content found in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, though it is minimal spoilage*

I am thus far finding Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the graphic novel, intriguing. It is different than other novels, of the graphic variety, that I have followed because it contains more than one story within its pages. I am one of the lucky NetGalley members who was approved to read this book pre-publication, and therefore, it was a free / no cost to me read. However, if I were to have purchased this, the multitude of stories has a more bang for the buck feel to it.

I think that the text is appropriate for most ages; profanity is implied with symbols @$! However, I would not give this to a small child but mid – late teens would be an appropriate audience, I think. (Keep in mind, I don’t have my own children. So, for all I know, I just became the bad aunt for giving someone’s kid a book they shouldn’t be reading). Some of the images are graphic (heeyyyooooo). For example, in the second story, the main character, Phineas Gage, gets a railroad spike through the left side his brain and face due to an explosion gone awry. Though the image is not what I would consider gory, it may still be disturbing to a young audience.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel is the use of color. In particular, I think that the illustrator did a wonderful job giving each story its own color scheme.

Overall, I most enjoyed the tidbits of history I learned from reading this entertaining piece of work, most of which I was entirely unaware. I rate this one a 3.5 – 4. Ripley’s Believe It or Not was colorful, interesting, and enlightening.

Book Review: Girl Logic

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Girl Logic

Not a solid 2 from me, more like a 2.5ISH.

Ehhhhh, I have a mixed bag of thoughts on this one.

I “read” the Audible version of Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity so it was entertaining as can be. Shlesinger is one heck of a narrator, and her narration is similar, if not identical to, her stand up delivery.

This book is probably best for those who are single, dating, trying to date, etc. Also, the most appropriate audience would be young women in their 20s who are looking for themselves, developing who they are, and tend to overthink and overanalyze because they are still growing and developing.

The above thoughts are all that I can share, all the while remaining impartial and in keeping with Iliza’s book, as the rest of my insight would be delving into my own opinions, feelings, and ideas that are not entirely applicable to Girl Logic.

Was I entertained? Yes.
Would I tell a fellow book nerd that they just HAVE to read this? No.
Was I disappointed? Highly.

Book Review: My Squirrel Days

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My Squirrel Days

I wanted to like this book, and I continue to want to like My Squirrel Days, but I just . . . don’t. I cannot quite place my finger on why I am not enjoying this one. I am beyond disappointed because I quite enjoyed Ellie Kemper as Erin on The Office (one of two of my go-to shows to watch over and over and over again, the other being Seinfeld).

I find that Ellie Kemper and I have quite a bit in common personality wise, particularly in my description of myself as “probably annoyingly enthusiastic” featured on most of my profiles (swap-bot, WordPress, etc.). We also have some food / hanger issues. However, one quality I do not share with Kemper – loudness. I think this is part of why I am not quite liking the Audible version of this book, and I love, love, LOVE me some memoirs read by their authors – they are the books that I tend to gravitate to when selecting an audiobook. To be blunt, Kemper’s narration is just straight up annoying the f&*$ out of me, seriously.

I have no doubt Ellie Kemper is attempting to be delightfully endearing, but it’s an epic fail – she’s obnoxious. I’m sad to say, I don’t think I like HER as much as I like her AS other people. Erin – delightful. Kimmy – tolerable … actual Ellie Kemper- meh.

MEH :-/

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face

My 2019 (Goodreads) reading goal is 67 books.  Between the 1st of January and today, I’ve finished 10 books via a combination of reading and listening.  I have written several reviews on GR that I have yet to post in my blog.  If you follow my blog, I apologize in advance for the multiple email notifications you are about to endure indicating that I have posted new content.

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Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

I am cognizant that the intention of this book is to uplift and empower women, buttttttttttttt it felt more like a platform for Ms. Hollis to spew her greatness. Furthermore, there’s an underlying implication that the reader is sucking at life but just unaware of their inevitable suckage.

Girl, dismount from that high horse and shimmy on down that pedestal.

Are there a few aspects that I can relate to? Yes. I too am overworked, over tired, facing the daily grind can be a struggle, I’m riddled with stress and anxiety, and I’m not a perfect Christian. What I cannot relate to – the need to tout my perception of my own greatness. If you want to build women up, you encourage them – simple as that. You don’t rain shiznit on others’ parade because their goal isn’t buying a $1000.00 purse. Some of us feel like we’ve “made it” if we pay ALL of our bills on time in one month. Granted, I am certain that this result was entirely unintentional. I know for certain that Rachel did not sit down and ponder, “How can I make people feel really poorly about the life they already think is great, even though by my standard of living, it’s mundane and utterly ordinary and therefore, it’s wrong and baaaaadddd?”

I’m not saying that Rachel should not be proud of her accomplishments, she clearly has many under her belt – yay for you and good for you, seriously. What I’m saying is . . . don’t shove your successes down others’ throats and disguise this assault as uplifting, motivating, and inspiring. Having a successful business, writing books, and speaking keynote are all wonderful, but some people are rocking at life if they just make it through the day without giving someone a good ol’ throat punch, and that is OKay too.

*At first, I thought that perhaps my interpretation of this book is based on my own insecurities and deemed failures – this is what Rachel Hollis would have you believe, for if you don’t like what the book contains, it’s obviously on YOU and YOUR perception – it couldn’t possibly be because of her and her tone, but I digress. Like I was writing . . . originally, I thought that my dislike of the book was solely on me, but in reading copious GR reviews just now, I’m NOT the only one who was rubbed the wrong way.

I think something that Ms. Hollis should tuck under her cap and practice is BE HUMBLE.

 

 

Book Review: Dracula

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Dracula

As per usual, I am seemingly in the minority re: my thoughts and opinions. It would seem that the books that are overall the most beloved, those are the ones I myself do not love. I am so disappointed because I wanted so much to adore Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I just . . . don’t.

My hang ups:
-For a book titled Dracula, there is very little about Dracula.
-The narration
-Miss Lucy, what makes you so delightful that three men are chasing after you, huh?

Granted, perhaps some of my dislike for this title can be attributed to the narration. I did partake in the Audible version, and I more than likely should have read this one to myself. I find that unless it’s a memoir being read by the author, I tend to loathe female narration. I know that the Audible version has been touted as having an “all star cast,” but I found the characters of Lucy and Mina to be just absolutely over the top.

With only two hours left until this book can be officially ticked off my to-read list, I am confident that my rating will remain at a firm 3-stars. In reading others’ reviews, thoughts, and questions, I stumbled upon this, “Am I the only one who thought the ending of this book was the literary form of coitus interruptus? I thought the book was wonderful until the end and then it lost me.” User’s name is Rachel, but I’m not sure if I can link her profile or questions here. So, Rachel, if you’re reading this, I’m quoting you; credit has been given where it is due (:

Anyways, back to my point. My reasoning for sharing Rachel’s pertinent, Dracula related question is . . . I obviously have nothing to look forward to in the end. I am basically finishing Dracula because I’m 13.5 hours in, and there is just no turning back.