Came across this little Q&A tag on For What It’s Worth and decided to jump on the wagon. It’s been a while since I did a meme and since I’m trying to get back into blogging at least semi-regularly, I thought this would be a nice step that might bring some readers on my blog. After all, what is a blogger without at least a couple readers? Head on over to The Blended Blog to see the linky party and the rest of the posts. It’s a very cute blog too.
1) Real or Fake Tree? Neither? I live in a small apartment and have no space to put up or store a tree. I do decorate but no tree. I usually end up buying a bundle of pine branches and scattering them around my apartment for a touch of nature. Plus, nothing for the cat to destroy.
2) Favorite Christmas Cookie? It’s a split between the good old sugar cookie and thumbprint cookies, usually with raspberry jam but other jams and even Nutella are good too. Since having to go gluten free in my diet, cookies are a big problem. It’s hard to find GF items in a bakery and making cookies myself is still a bit of a learning process. I have gotten a good sugar cookie but have yet to produce an acceptable thumbprint cookie. Darn it.
3) Home on Christmas Morning or Travel? Travel. Although it’s rarely Christmas. We often gather on the closest weekend. It’s just my Dad, my Brother, and Sister-in-law these days.
4) Clear or Colored Lights? Clear! We always had colored lights when I was kid. (My grandparents had green lights on their tree.) But as an adult, I love the clean, simple look of white lights.
5) Send Christmas Cards? Yes! I actually join card exchanges because I love getting good old snail-mail holiday cards. The people in my life are less enthusiastic about it, the party poopers.
6) Favorite Christmas Present Received? The gold heart ring with my birthstone that my Mother got me when I was a young teenager. It doesn’t fit anymore, alas, but I still love it.
7) Favorite Christmas Present Given? That’s going to be the gift I got my sister-in-law this year. She asked for a prop from a TV show she loves but was unable to do the footwork to look for it. So after much searching, I finally found a Jadeite Fire King c-handle coffee mug that Giles uses in season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s going to flip.
8) Stockings or No Stockings? No stockings. No fire place. But I do have the old stockings my grandmother used to hang on her fireplace when I was young. I’m afraid of them fading even more, so I keep them wrapped up but I do have them.
9) Christmas PJ’s? Nope. Plenty of other festive wear but no PJ’s.
10) Favorite Christmas Carol?
Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we have no place to go,
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
11) Favorite Holiday Tradition? This one is tough. My family was never one for traditions. When I got to be a teenager, if I wasn’t the one to put up the tree, then it didn’t get put up. Or any decorations, for that matter. I was like 14 or so. We always had a meal and presents but very little effort was put into Christmas by my family. I know, kind of depressing.
12) Early Shopper or Last Minute? Early shopper! I’ve been done since before Thanksgiving.
13) Favorite Christmas Movie or Show? A Charlie Brown Christmas, of course!
14) Favorite Holiday Beverage? Hot Chocolate. Although hot apple cider is a close second.
15) Cookies and Milk for Santa? No. If I hadn’t seen it on TV, I wouldn’t have know that was a thing. Cookies are for eating, not bribing mythical spirits.
So, I have no excuse for disappearing for, like, the last year. I’m a fickle person, what can I say? But things have been happening. Most of them not so good. But, first, the good things.
I got a raise! A big raise. Honestly, my Boss scared the crap out of me when he told me. Boss called me into his office, which is odd in itself, and started talking about how periodically our company goes over the details of a worker and makes sure things are in line with other workers who do that same thing etc. etc. etc. I thought for sure I was about to be fired but instead they gave me a pretty hefty raise. An extra $2 an hour, which pushes me over $15 an hour. A nice chunk of change, really.
And I could use the money because I took a vacation to Colorado in September. Spent a little more than I really should have but it’s hard to reign yourself in when you are having fun. Flew into Denver Tuesday morning and then drove up to Estes Park. Visited the Stanley Hotel (alas, my travel companion and I were too poor to actually stay there but we took the tour at least) and then took a jeep tour up into the National Forest. Dumpy ride and, of course, I had trouble getting in and out of the jeep. I needed a step ladder. I’m short, ok! And not very graceful.
The next day we went up into Rocky Mountain Park. Very pretty. Then we drove south to visit Mount Evans. Only made it up to Echo Lake because we spent too much time in Rocky Mountain Park and it was starting to get dark but it was really nice. After that it was even further south to Colorado Springs to see the Garden of the Gods, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and take the cog train up Pike’s Peak. So, so cold at the top but gorgeous and good donuts. Then we went even further south to visit the Royal Gorge, in Cañon City and that was ok. I wanted to skip it and head back up to Denver to maybe see some thing in the city but my travel companion wanted to go to it. So, I gave in and we went. There was a nice rock shop at the bottom of the road. Then we headed back to Denver, insanely late, and flew out Saturday morning.
I have tonnes of photos, which I’ll share over the next few weeks with more details of my trip. At Christmas, we went over to my brother’s house, had a fantastic meal, and then they surprised me with a boatload of Alice in Wonderland items they had picked up during their trip to Disneyland earlier in the year. I spent most of my time petting their cats. I miss my cats. Their cats are gorgeous. I am cat envious.
Now for the bad stuff. My Mom has always had health problems and the last few years have not been good. In August 2014 she went to the ER with severe stomach pains and went into surgery for what they thought was complications with mesh from a past hernia surgery. It was not. They found cancer and removed her small intestines and a hunk of her colon. It was pronounced stage four. My Mom refused further medical assistance pretty soon after that. Treatment would only prolong her life a little and, while I still fluctuate between understanding her decision and anger that she didn’t fight, she didn’t want to drag her life out.
My Mom went into hospice care at home. (About a month and a half of pure hell for all of us in which they insisted I still go on my vacation despite her illness.) She died on October 6th, 2014 at the age of 65. One second she was there and then the next my Mom was gone. I still don’t think it’s settled into my brain even four months later. I still feel like if I go over to the house, she’ll still be there, reading bad romance novels on her Kindle. Sucks does not even begin to cover it.
Of course, the universe just had to get another dig in. On November 1st, I broke my elbow. Yep, when I hurt myself I have to be special about it. Tripped over my own feet and fell in my apartment. I didn’t even land badly but I knew I had done something to my arm pretty much instantly. A trip to the ER (6 freaking hours) and a trip to the orthopedic doc, and it was announced I had chipped a bone in my elbow. Basically, a chip of bone at the bottom of my humerus had broken off and flipped up like a wing. (The humeral lateral epicondyle, if you want to be technical.) I went into surgery (the first major surgery in my life, imagine how freaked out I was) and was off of work for two months. Yay, short term disability! I returned to work just after Christmas. It was all about as fun as you think it was.
I’m in physical therapy right now. I can straighten my arm pretty well but I’m have real problems bending it. Can’t touch my face or hair. Can’t reach my mouth with a fork or cup. I have to do everything with my left hand. It’s a complete pain in the ass. At this point, I think I’ll always have mobility problems in my right arm but I’m hoping for more range as I work with the therapy people. Good thing I got a big raise! Too bad it’s all going to pay medical bills. 😦
So, the last 7ish months have truly sucked. Couple that with having to deal with my lovely uncle and aunt because of my Mom’s death and then a friend apparently deciding to preach Christianity at me, it’s just worn me down. I’ve read a couple of books but, honestly, reviewing them was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. I might post about the ones that stuck out in my mind. I won a ARC of Uprooted by Naomi Novik from Goodreads last week, so I want to take a look at that.
I’ve just been trucking along, trying to get through everything and hoping it calms down soon. That’s life, I guess.
All of my guest bloggers were given the option of doing a book blogger interview and I thought it only fair if I fill one out myself. That way you can get a little bit of information about me.
1) First of all, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Patricia. I’ve run the Lady with Books blog for two years now. I’m 30 years old and I live in a one bedroom apartment. I work as a clerk in an engineering office. I take care of a colony of stray cats that last year we trapped and had fixed before releasing again. I like plants. A morning glory plant is trying to eat my balcony and my living room resembles a small jungle. I’m an amateur author. I regularly participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. I like to sleep. I’m an introvert and hate crowds and large groups. I’d much rather stay home and read.
2) What inspired you to start blogging about books?
I’d always wanted to write a blog. I’m fascinated by the idea of worldwide community without actually having to deal with people face to face. I had a personal blog but, really, nothing happened in my life worth writing about. I posted the things I wrote on story archives but what I really wanted was a blog. I began to think about which of my hobbies I could make into a blog, something I would have a snowball’s chance in hell of keeping up with. I didn’t even know that book blogging was such a big thing until I had set my blog up and started looking around.
3) What have you learned since you started blogging? (Like things that surprised you about the process or just how bloody hard it can be sometimes etc.)
Blogging takes time and creativity and I don’t always have an abundance of both sitting around. It’s hard to come up with fresh content and it takes work to get people to visit your blog. There are days where I just don’t feel like blogging and times where I feel like nobody is listening. It takes perseverance to maintain a blog. It’s really like having a second job. Blogging is not easy.
4) What attracts you to a book? (The blurb? The cover? Other reviews?)
Before I started blogging and reading so many other blogs, I would have said the cover was what attracts me to a book the most. Now, it’s what other bloggers I trust are reading and what they say in their reviews that decides what I pick up next. A pretty cover can still turn my head, don’t get me wrong, but I listen to other book bloggers first.
5) What is your favorite book and why?
Gosh, it’s hard to pick one. I have a favorite but it’s less of a single book and more of a trilogy. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is THE fantasy story. It is the fantasy story from which all other fantasy stories were born.
6) What is your favorite genre and why?
Fantasy, hands down. I read to escape and the farther I can escape the better I like the book. Fantasy can get me to other worlds. I call that pretty far.
7) Who is your favorite author and why?
Neil Gaiman. I adore all of his books because he has this witty, tongue in cheek style of writing and because his stories are always deeply magical but somehow still rooted in our world. As if the magical in his books could be right next to us, if only we were looking correctly.
8) Any advice for the beginner blogger you wish somebody had told you?
It’s not going to happen overnight. It will take work. You’re going to have to get out there and comment on other blogs and use Twitter and Facebook to drive traffic to your blog. It just doesn’t happen by itself.
9) Any thoughts on ebooks versus paper books?
Paper books will always be my favorite way to read but ebooks are easier to deal with and cost less. I don’t think paper books will ever completely go away but we’ll be dealing more and more with ebooks as the years go on. I use both and both have pros and cons.
10) Tell us a little bit about your reading habits. Do you follow a schedule or are you a mood reader?
I read in fits and starts. I can read several books a week or I can read nothing. My slumps, I call them. I wish I could follow a steady schedule but that’s just not going to happen. I read when I feel like reading and trying to force myself to read when I’m not feeling it is just going to skew my review unfairly negative. I’ve learned to go with the flow.
11) How do you use and handle social media as a blogger? Do you use Twitter? Do you have a Facebook page? How helpful do you find these things?
Social media is the best way to drive traffic to your blog, I know that. But Twitter mystifies me and all those tiny little posts overwhelm me. I try to post more to Twitter, get in on some other conversations, but to me Twitter is so unwieldy that I just get annoyed. I do have a Facebook account I created after I dropped my Google + page but there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on there compared to Twitter.
12) If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what 3 books would you want with you?
-War and Peace by Tolstoy. This is an inside joke with me. I always said that if I was trapped somewhere I would like to have the longest, most complicated book I could think of because then I’d have time to actually read it.
-Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival by Tom Brown. Because I would be dead in like a day. I don’t have any idea how to survive on my own! I don’t even go camping!
-The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. A series counts as one, right? 🙂
13) Is there a particular movie or TV series that you preferred over the book version? Or the book version over the movie or TV series?
I rarely enjoy the movie more than I do the book. The Lord of the Rings movies are on par with the books, in my opinion. Otherwise, I’m mostly disappointed by what a movie leaves out. The Harry Potter movies are great but they are so limiting and miss so much from the books. I usually prefer the book over the movie or TV version. Then I end up with casting issues a lot.
14) Any other hobbies besides reading and blogging?
A bit of writing. I, well, not garden because I live in an apartment but I take care of as many plants as I can cram in my apartment and on my balcony. I enjoy cooking but I’m only okay at it. Most of my stuff is edible but not great. The cooking gene didn’t get passed down from my Grandmother, I think. My mother can’t cook either. I do crafts. Mostly paper crafts and scrapbooking. A tiny bit of painting. I like to go antiquing and second-hand shopping. I like to shop and I like old things, which gets me in trouble moneywise sometimes.
15) Do you have a favorite memory associated with books?
My Grandmother taught me to read and my favorite memory is of us sitting in the white chair by the window in the bedroom with the orange shag carpet (her whole house was carpeted in shag carpet in wild colors), me in her lap and the book in front of us. Her finger would move under the words as she read and I remember how her chin rested on the top of my head. I got my love of books from her.
This or That?
Paper or Ebooks? -Paper
Fantasy or Sci-fi? -Fantasy
Romance or Thriller? -Thriller
Comedy or Horror? -Comedy
Mountains or Beach? -Mountains
Rain or Snow? -Rain
Summer or Winter? -Winter
Batman or Superman? -Batman
Train or Airplane? -Train
Texting or Calling? -Texting
Cat or Dogs? -Cat
Tea or Coffee? -Both. Either. With lots of sugar.
Chocolate or Vanilla? -Vanilla
Pancakes or Waffles? -Pancakes
Cake or Pie? -Cake
We’re going to call this the Friday Ramble. It may or may not turn into a weekly thing. It may just be a when I feel like it thing. Basically, I’m just going to talk with my fingers and you’re going to get every little thought that pops up in my head. If you’re lucky, it will even be book related. (Although I doubt that.) Fair warning; I have two hours of sleep and I’m running on my less than stellar willpower and coffee. Because if I had more willpower I would have gotten off the internet and gone to bed at a decent time last night. But I don’t, so I spent the night on the computer, even though I knew I would have to get up early today to answer phones at work because the regular receptionist is on vacation. Thus, two hours of sleep. I’m probably a public danger right now.
I heard that in 2013 “internet addiction” will become an official disorder. Yeah, I’m already there. Have been since I was a teen. So, around fifteen years or so. I can easily spend a whole day on the internet. Entire summers during high school were spent on the internet. But I’m an adult now (damn it) and I have to work for a living and now my internet time is limited to evenings and weekends. It’s just not enough. Thus, the occasional 48 hour stint. As a gal getting dangerously close to 30 years old, this is not as easy as it used to be. Instead of drinking a few Mountain Dews and being a bit wired like I was as a teen, I am now a walking zombie complete with moan desiring only coffee and other caffeine filled beverages. I’m not even sure caffeine affects me anymore. Too many Mountain Dews in my youth. (Interesting enough, I can’t stand Mountain Dew anymore. It was all my family drank when I was a teen and now a single sip just turns my stomach.)
Oh, Happy Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I listened to Roosevelt’s “This day will live in infamy” speech will driving into work this morning (in the damn dark, oh my god, it’s just not right being up before the sun rises). The History Channel will probably run on the TV in the lunchroom all day long, forcing us all to relearn every detail of the beginning of World War 2 for America all over again. I’m a History minor but an ancient history minor. Modern history bores the crap out of me. My father is obsessed with the World Wars. Books on the World Wars are his default Christmas presents. I wish the rest of my family was as easy to shop for. Mostly I just get them holiday scratchers tickets and hope I get a little kick back if they win anything. (Nobody ever wins anything but the possibility of winning something is exciting despite that.)
I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever read a book on World War 2 that wasn’t a school text book. I don’t think so. I find most text books dry and incredibly boring and I have no interest in war fiction. A good 99% of what I read is paranormal or at least fantasy based. Life is depressing enough without reading books that are just as depressing. (A blackbird just flew into the front window of the building. They do that sometimes when the huge flocks start flying around. I think it’s okay, just stunned. I’ll watch it for a while to make sure it’s okay. I can practically hear the little birdie voice going “Dudddde! Wha jus happened?”)
I’m sorry. I get weird when I’m sleep deprived.
Not only do I read, I also write. I write because if I don’t do something to get all these ideas out of my head then I will explode and nobody wants to clean that up. There are so many ideas rolling around my head that it’s hard to get one complete idea done before another takes over. I have a lot of half-finished projects that mock me with their incompleteness. I have notebooks and pens all over my apartment from the bathroom to the kitchen just in case an idea strikes and I need to write it down. If I don’t write it down, then there is a chance I will forget it. I’ve forgotten more stories than I have useless college math.
But, writing is like herding cats. Or kindergarteners. Just something unruly and temperamental. I have major plot points written down and I know that all I have to do is get the characters to that point so that such and such event can happen. Does anybody cooperate? No! My characters are running all over the place and nobody is doing what they’re supposed to do. I think I have everyone going in the right direction only to turn around and find a couple characters off making mischief that is not part of the story. I’m almost ready to introduce the second bit of conflict in the story I’m writing now but the main character wants to run away from the feast and is it really too much to ask that she just sit her ass down so I can get this one revealing conversation done and then she can run off to have her hissy-fit? I don’t think so!
Then I thought up this new idea over the weekend and plot from that story has been crowding the plot of my current story and I think I’m developing a split personality. That’s the only explanation. There are two people in this body and they both hate each other and wont’ shut up. I think writing is a symptom of insanity. Or insanity is a symptom of writing. Whatever. I’m going to make myself some tea and maybe get another bagel. Hopefully I won’t be attacked by a wild, rabid plot bunny looking to eat my brain. Dangerous things, those plot bunnies.
On Saturday, March 3rd, I turned 29 years old. (oh god) I gifted myself with a three day weekend and took Monday off. After convincing myself that it was in fact not a good idea to sleep my birthday away, I forced myself from bed and went shopping. I bought a silver jewelry box from a second hand store because I’m secretly a magpie and like shiny things. Then I went to the Saint Louis Bread Company (or Panera Bread as they are known elsewhere) for lunch and my rewards membership gave me a free pastry for my birthday. (I got a Cobblestone.) Then I got bagels because I am addicted to asiago cheese bagels and when I get to heaven the clouds better be made of asiago cheese bagels or I shall be very disappointed.
Then I went to my friend’s place on Sunday night to get drunk. There was pizza and brownies and strawberry margaritas, and sweet Moscato wine, and tequila shots. Then we watched Sherk and Labyrinth (it’s a tradition, shut up), and cuddled on the couch. Then we fell asleep. Then I woke up on Monday wanting to die. Then I remembered, tequila and I do not work well together. It was a memory I recalled too late. I was nauseous and had cramps and I wanted to die. So we went to IHOP for pancakes. (No, I do not have any self-preservation. Why do you ask?) Then I went home, took some cramp meds, and fell into bed hoping I would wake up feeling better (or not wake up at all. Either would have worked at that point.).
I ended up being so ill that I had to take Tuesday off sick because my stomach was still trying to turn itself inside out. I can’t remember ever being in that much pain. I think I might have gotten a stomach bug somewhere and it wasn’t just that tequila hates me. I shall not be doing shots anytime soon just in case. On the upside, I managed to finish reading Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey while trying not to die. I hope to have the review up on Thursday. You all benefited from my pain.
Happy Birthday to me!
My deepest apologies for falling off the face of the planet for the last two weeks. I have no excuses. I lost the will to read, for some reason. I needed a break. But leaving without word was not fair to my readers and I’m sorry.
I ended up returning the last batch of books unread to the library on Saturday but I did get some new ones. I got a fairly short book called Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Raji Codell to ease my way back into the reading mode. It’s light and funny and hopefully a good way to begin reading again.
Anyway, I’m terribly sorry for disappearing. I hope to get back to my regular posting schedule within the next few days. [bows a thousand times] Sorry.
1.What’s your favorite time of day to read?
Evenings or night-time. I mostly find myself curling up to read after dinner and then I like to read in bed before I go to sleep.
2.Do you read during breakfast? (Assuming you eat breakfast.)
No. I rarely eat breakfast. Mostly I grab something when I get to work (I keep a stash of granola bars and dried fruit in my desk) and on weekends breakfast is usually a bowl of cereal. I don’t stop to read.
3.What’s your favorite breakfast food? (Noting that breakfast foods can be eaten any time of day.)
Pancakes! More than one dinner has included pancakes.
4.How many hours a day would you say you read?
About 7 hours a day. Let me explain. I work in front of a computer but I deal mostly with paper drawings. (I work in an engineering office.) I have perfected the skill of shuffling paper around without really having to look at it and I’ve developed the habit of keeping either a PDF file with a story open on the computer screen or a book propped between the monitor and keyboard. (I get yelled at if I’m on the internet too much.) I bore easily; having something to read is self-defense. I also have a MP3 player that I use for podfics and audiobooks.
5.Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago?
Less. I was still in school 10 years ago and could reasonably be reading between and after classes and then lose an entire summer in countless books and online stories. If I take vacation off from work, it’s right back to my old habit. Hours fly by when I’m on the computer.
6.Do you consider yourself a speed reader?
I’m a fast reader but I don’t like to skim. I feel like I’m losing something if I just skim and I worry about missing some small clue. Since I read so much, I read faster than most people.
7.If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To be able to summon things. Like if I left my wallet in the car I could just summon it to me. Or if I lost whatever I could just summon it. (Or if I saw a pretty diamond necklace I could summon it out of its case. I fear I might be evil if I got a superpower. Sorry.)
8.Do you carry a book with you everywhere you go?
Yes. I take my current read to work with me every day.
9.What KIND of book?
Whatever I happen to be reading at the time. Mostly YA and fantasy books. I don’t tend to take my witchy books out into public. I don’t want them getting dirty and the last thing I need is some nosey fucker making a stupid comment.
10.How old were you when you got your first library card?
I can’t remember. I still use my original library card, so it’s just a piece of paper that’s been laminated. I want to say I was probably 12 or so.
11.What’s the oldest book you have in your collection? (Oldest physical copy? Longest in the collection? Oldest copyright?)
I have a set of leather bound children’s stories from my grandmother dated early 1900’s or so. There are others but they are so old and falling apart I’m afraid to touch them.
12.Do you read in bed?
Yes. Almost every night before sleep. It helps me unwind.
13.Do you write in your books?
Not in the fiction books but I do in my witchy reference and study books. They all have little pencil notes in the margins and are full of highlighter markings.
14.If you had one piece of advice to a new reader, what would it be?
Is anybody ever new to reading? I mean, even the youngest kid has had things read to them. Some kids or teens will insist they just don’t like reading but that’s because they are forced to read things they genuinely don’t like in school. The so called “classics” bored me to tears. Give anybody a book on a subject they like, and you have a reader. My advice? Find and read books you like and don’t let other people question your book choices.
15.What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask? (Actually, leave the answer to this one in the comments on this post, huh? So I can find them when I need inspiration!)
Ever read a book you thought you could have written better yourself?
Oh, Friday. The best day of the week, in my humble opinion. It’s also the last shopping weekend before Christmas and I still need to pick up some gifts. I need to get Mom a watch and to get Dad some house shoes. Ugh! Looks like it will be another trip to Wal-Mart! This is also the week when my workplace does all its holiday activities. We’re doing a toy and food drive and other contests. Right now, I’m wearing way too many bells that are driving me nuts and fake reindeer antlers that are making my head itch. Are we having fun yet?
This week’s Follow Friday question is: When you’ve read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?)
I rarely keep a book. This is mostly because I’m cheap and broke and get all my books from the library. At some point, they always want them back. Greedy library, always wanting its books back. (pout)
I do have a small library but those were mostly gifts and books bought with birthday money. My personal library consists of almost every book that was in my grandmother’s house, Neil Gaiman books, Terry Pratchett books, and my Pagan religion resource library and workbooks. Needless to say, the books I inherited from my grandmother far outnumber my own personal books. Since my grandmother’s books are all old, bound in some form of leather, and have gold lettering, I have no problem with this.