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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Bikini Bodies Are Made In Winter”

T or F?  Bikini bodies are made in winter.

If you’re me, the answer is . . . really effing F.

So, I have been less than “nailing it” over the course of these winter months.  What I have been doing cannot even be described as bumping or tapping.  I’ve been downright, straight up, and absolutely struggling.  However, with all of my notions of failure, I have not thrown in the towel, and that alone is a success that trumps all deficiencies.

I have (close to) perfected the skill of not dwelling, not getting so bogged down by my perceived defeats that I either succumb to a depression or decide to no longer strive.  I had worked so hard, and currently, I feel as though I have backslid.  I have gained back a few of my lost pounds, and though that does not seem altogether Earth shattering, it is still detrimental to my well-being, particularly the head game.

So, before I become irreparably downtrodden and continue to backslide, I have taken action!  First and foremost, dear reader, remember several posts in the past when I wrote about comparison being the thief of joy?  I am fairly certain you recall it; I know you have read and memorized every titillating post, but just in case this singular write up has elusively slipped from your memory, in summary . . . COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY.  I believe this sentiment to be true not only in examples of comparing oneself to others, but it is also legitimate in instances of comparing our current habits, or lack thereof, with our former ones.

My POA, or plan of action, is to start slow.  I have been active only intermittently since October, and I will not allow myself to reflect on my past routine for any purpose other than to eventually implement it again.  I know it is not reasonable currently to wake up, feed my Fitbit a couple of miles and walk the dog before work, hit the gym for an hour and a half during lunch and breaks, respectively, and after work, do body weight exercises and thirty minutes of yoga.  I cannot immediately pick up where I left off, but I can once again realize this system.  I have done it once before, which means I can do it again.  My temporary faltering is not synonymous with inadequacy.

In order to get back to the grind, I am actively executing three premeditated ideas.  If nothing else, I have spent four and a half-ish months reflecting.

  1. Set a reasonable goal that is not associated with exactness.
    • So, no goal weight by THIS date, no specific distance run by THAT date.
    • Goal: GET OUTSIDE.
      • My (reasonable) goal to get outside is to help me ease myself into warmer weather.  I struggle in the heat, and I hypothesize that this is attributed to my consistent indoor exercise.  When I participate in a run that takes place in the blistering, dastardly heat of August, and I have trained only in air conditioned spaces, the humidity is utterly oppressive.  If I exit my comfort zone and walk and run outside effective immediately, perhaps the heat and humidity will not be so onerous because I, like the temperature, have transitioned with the seasons.
  2. Set a futile goal free.
    • So, quit a previous goal that was once attainable but has since become insurmountable.
    • GOAL: Let go of RTY 2019.
      • I will most definitely continue to track my mileage and progress toward 2,019 miles run this calendar year, but it is no longer a set in stone goal for myself.  I am so far behind the eight ball nowadays, the daily commitment to complete the Run the Year objective would be adverse.
  3. Do what makes me happy.
    • So, by doing something that makes me happy, all else will fall into place.
    • GOAL: Get run registrations completed.
      • Unquestionably, running events thrill me: 5Ks, 10Ks, halfsies!  The training up to is oftentimes arduous, but when I cross that finish line, the effort is SO worth it.  So, I have gotten my run list compiled for the season, with openness to two or three more.  I have also started to work on my 2019 run playlist.  *Feel free to leave a comment with a few songs that get you up and running*  Ba-dum-chhh

So, my bikini body was not made this winter.  However, an improved adaptation of “AmyBP (oneword)” is in the works.

Finally, a shout out to Erin for sending me this beauty!  Impeccable timing, my dear!

tapeworm

P.S. I’m for serious regarding *Feel free to leave a comment with a few songs that get you up and running*

 

 

 

 

 

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: 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.

Book Review: The Escape Room

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The Escape Room

I like to leave some feedback midway through a reading of a book, and I do so for a variety of reasons. The first reason being to let the author know that I am indeed reading their work as I tend to be a slow reader. Second, I like to gauge where I myself am at as far as liking or disliking a book; this allows me to decipher when a book either goes south or takes a turn for the better. Finally, it allows me to make my notes and share my thoughts without forgetting them.

So far, I like The Escape Room. Manhattan is my favorite place to travel to, and I find myself intrigued by the stereotypical Wall Street types. This story has allowed me to live inside their world, if only briefly and with a stretch of the imagination. I do not know the validity or extent of corporate greed in NYC so I do not know if the facts and figures tossed around in this book are accurate, but what is unfolding now, midway through the book, is the moral conflict and dilemma of one of the main characters.

I have found a few typographical errors, mainly extra letters or missing spaces, within the text. For example, “off” instead of “of.” Ultimately, very minor mistakes that have no true influence on the story itself.

This is the first of Goldin’s books that I have read, and at this point, at the time of this writing, I would consider reading her other work. This story has a wonderful back and forth between what is currently happening, during the firm’s escape room exercise, and the groundwork which is established by a visit to a previous time. The alternating of past and present is obvious, and there has been zero confusion between the then and now, which, in many tales, becomes muddled between current tense and flashback scenes. Goldin has written The Escape Room in a way that makes it nearly impossible to put the book down; I find myself wanting to read ‘just one more’ chapter to get closer to the moment when the past and present merge.

In summary, so far, SO very good!

01/08 – I have finished the book, and my review has not changed. It’s a clever work, and I found myself completely and utterly absorbed in The Escape Room, longing to know what’s going to happen next. Again, some minor typographical errors that have little impact on the story itself.

Book Review: The Daughters of Salem

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The Daughters of Salem: How we sent our children to their deaths (Part 1)

I am writing this review as I read The Daughters of Salem. First of all, just from what I have read, this is not going to be what I would consider a glowing review. However, I would like to take a moment to express my pleasure that Netgalley / the author did approve my request to read this. The agreement within Netgalley is to write an HONEST review, so here goes . . .

Firstly, the writing is what I would consider to be too simplistic. IMO, this graphic novel is geared toward an adult audience. Now, I don’t think the writing should be Shakespearean in nature and style, but the level that the text is currently at, it doesn’t even qualify as YA – yes, it is THAT simplistic.

I found some minor details to be a bit confusing. For instance, Abigail Hobbs claims to be 14YOA on page 7 and alludes to a time when she was 13YOA; without giving too much (anything) away, stuff started getting real when she was 13. So, as the reader, I assume that she is currently 14 and sharing a flashback to the previous year. Fast forward to page 32, and it’s two years since said “stuff” got real, but she just told us readers that she is 14! Also, her picture doesn’t match the text. Her hair was cut short, as a penalty for becoming a woman (age 13) – so why on page 7, when she is supposedly 14, is her hair the length it was when it was shorn the previous year? The long haired version of Abigail should not be stating that she is 14. There could be a much better way to show her at 13 years old while narrating at 14 … or is it 15? See how confusing this all is?

When I read or hear the descriptor of a character as “a man in black,” I envision a man that is dressed in black from head to toe, NOT what would appear to be a Native American with what can be described only as Blackface (so sorry, but it’s true). I am fairly certain no ill intent or racist themes were intended with this character; perhaps where this is published by Europe Comics (“a joint digital initiative run by 13 European comics industry players from 8 European countries.”), they are unaware of the faux pas such a thing is in the U.S. I know that this is taking place way back when, but the Black Faced American Indian still feels . . . icky despite when this story takes place.

So, the text is simple, almost too much so, the story a bit confusing if you get hung up on its minutiae, and some of the themes can be deemed as offensive. With all of that being said (written), I do like the artwork. It’s not as bright and vibrant as many of the graphic novels I have chosen to read in the past; I tend to be drawn to bright colors. The art in this novel is subdued, Earth toned. I think it suits the time period and topic(s) of the story well.

If you want to add a new author or graphic novel to your repertoire, then by all means, give this a read. However, if you’re just starting out with this genre, I would not recommend The Daughters of Salem be a jumping off point. Finally, if you’re at all squeamish with images of animal brutality and cruelty or fight scenes, this is definitely not to be picked up by you.

Two stars because yeah, this is just “ok.”

Book Review: Unicornucopia: The Little Book of Unicorns

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Unicornucopia: The Little Book of Unicorns

I’m giving this book 3 stars because I “liked it.” This book can be summarized as cute, borderline adorable. I learned a lot of interesting tidbits that, though I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable regarding unicorns, I did not know. The art is bright and happy. The section(s) with unicorn crafts and unicorn recipes may be useful in my craft and swapping endeavors. What I did not love about this book was the section on unicorn worship. I think that an altar for the sake of the worship of a unicorn for wealth, health, and / or happiness is a bit excessive. Will I re-read this book? Probably. Did I enjoy it? Yes, I sure did. However, I didn’t love it enough to give it a 4 or 5 star rating. Again, it’s cute, educational, but some aspects are a bit over the top.