Top Tens and Teasers – 10/9/18


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic:

Top Ten Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

At first, I wasn’t sure how to determine this, but then found a way to sort my GoodReads list by the number of pages in each book. That’s nifty! It’s also pretty funny when you look at it. See if you see a theme here.

  1. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (1177 pages)
  2. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (1125 pages)
  3. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (1061 pages)
  4. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (1010 pages)
  5. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (1006 pages)
  6. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (901 pages)
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (870 pages)
  8. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (848 pages)
  9. Winter by Marissa Meyer (827 pages)
  10. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (819 pages)

So yeah, is it any wonder that it takes GRRM so long to write books! They’re huge! I have to say, though – it does not feel like a huge book when you read it. Those books are fast paced and a whirlwind. Keeps right on moving.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

So here’s a really stupid thing about the world: The trick to looking cool is not caring whether you look cool. So the moment you achieve perfect coolness is simultaneously the moment that you actually, completely don’t care. I didn’t care about the gravitas of that TV show, and the freedom and security and confidence that came with that was a rush. It took me a while to realize that the feeling I was feeling was power.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I can honestly say that this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. I am enjoying it quite a bit.

Got any good teasers this week? Read any really long books? Let me know in comments!

Drabbles · Uncategorized

Wake up, it’s Monday! – 10/8/18

But I don’t want to.

Seriously, sleeping in would have felt sooooooo good this morning! Alas, it’s not meant to be.

In this random post, I want to talk about a dream that I had. This post might get a bit personal. The dream has made me think a lot this past week about a lot of things, in that random way dreams do. I’ll explain.

In the dream, I was waking up from a nap, but I was not in my house or any other home I’ve ever lived in. I was sleeping on a couch, curled up at the end, using an arm rest as a pillow. The couch was not in a house or an apartment – it was in a library. The library didn’t seem to be open – the lights were mostly off except for a few. It took me a few minutes, but I soon realized that I recognized the library as the one that I worked at when I was in college. I didn’t remember a couch being in that spot, but I did remember the room I was in.

I look over and notice that I’m not alone sleeping on this couch. This is the weird part. My ex-husband was sleeping on the other side of the couch, slouched down, his head resting on the back of it, snoring lightly. That’s when I should have known it was a dream – he never snored that quiet! Before I could even process this, I hear someone running towards me. I look up and see my daughter, arms outstretched, a big smile on her face. Only it’s not her now, as a teenager. She looks like she’s maybe seven or eight years old. I ask her what she’s doing there and she throws her arms around me, tells me she missed me, and that grandma “brought her early.” I look up and see my mom walking behind her. She waves at me. My ex wakes up. And then I wake up, for real.

So, a lot to unpack here.

While I’m not necessarily a person who believes that ever dream is meaningful, I haven’t been able to get this one out of my mind, so I’ve been trying to process it. The only thing I can come up with so far is that I am feeling very nostalgic for a particular part of my life, which the location of this dream would point to. I loved being in college. I loved everything about the environment, which is part of why I had originally never wanted to leave. I wanted to either be a professor once I got my Master’s degree, or to come back and work at the library as a regular employee. Neither of those things ever happened for me, and I’m starting to realize that they most likely never will. It’s next to impossible for me to ever get my Master’s and I would need one for either one of those scenarios.

This also fits with seeing my daughter as a happy little girl. As much as I was stressed as a parent back then, it is so much harder now! I worry constantly about her mental health, her safety, her school, not to mention the fact that the world is getting to be a much more negative place. I do miss when she was little, but mostly I miss how easy it was to make her happy. This has been an ongoing thing with me. I see a cute little outfit in a store and literally start crying. I would give anything to go back to that time and spend more time with her.

The only thing that doesn’t quite fit here is my ex-husband (yeah, he didn’t quite fit in my life either). I don’t miss him or miss being married to him. At all. Those eight years were some of the hardest of my life. The only thing I can think of is that maybe I miss him living closer because of our shared kid. He lives several states away and it has put a mental toll on our daughter and, as such, put a toll on me as well. I don’t miss him as a husband, but maybe I miss him as a father since he is missing out on so much.

I don’t think my mom in the background represents much other than the fact that she is always there in my life. With everything I have been through, she has been my constant, my rock.

So maybe this dream is just a way of acknowledging things that have been and finding a way to say goodbye to them. Saying goodbye is always hard, but maybe it’s just time. Time to accept that this is where life has taken me and, even though it’s not where I thought I would end up, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good place.


Drabbles · Uncategorized

Wake up, it’s Monday! – 10/1/18 edition

“Wake up, it’s Monday!” posts are pretty much just the ramblings of an under-caffeinated mind that I post. If you want to skip my ramblings, that’s totally fine. I cannot guarantee that the following post makes any sense at all.

Holy Moses, can you believe it’s October already? I sure can’t. Luckily, it’s starting to feel a bit more like autumn outside. It’s not quite so hot and humid, which is a good thing for us, because our air conditioner decided now was a good time to just stop working. Our house is HOT right now, and not in a good way. We can’t keep most of the windows open because our cats are crazy and will make a bid for escape (they don’t know how good they got it, honestly). It has made me more than a bit cranky, which I am trying to control. This is a totally First World problem and I get that. I should be thankful that I have a roof over my head at all, especially given what all has happened out on the coast with Hurricane Florence. I still can’t help myself when I am sprawled out on the couch, begging for any hint of a breeze through the front screen door.


On top of that, yesterday we had my kiddo’s birthday party. Wait, I have been told that she “doesn’t have birthday parties anymore,” so this was just a group of friends coming over to hang out, and coincidentally there was pizza and a cake with candles. But it was NOT a birthday party! That should be clear. So our already hot and humid house now had 3-5 additional teenagers in it, depending on when various people came in and out of it. They did spend a lot of time hanging out on the back deck (it was cooler there), but still. It felt completely chaotic and crazy and I was very glad they came, but also very glad when everyone finally went home.

It was nice though, seeing the kiddo smiling and having fun. I don’t see that as often as I wish. Depression and anxiety have taken some of that away from her, which is sad, but she has been getting better and has been working through it. I’m proud of her that she’s made it this far. I honestly can’t believe she is fourteen years old.

So I spent a good part of yesterday feeling awful but trying to be upbeat and fun so her friends will like me. I have been dubbed “the cool mom” because I don’t sweat the small stuff and have always talked to kids the same way I talk to adults for the most part. And now, I will try really hard to be upbeat and professional at work, even though all I want to do is curl up and sleep in my air conditioned car. I feel bad complaining. My husband hasn’t complained at all, but he’s a much more patient, rational person. I envy that. But he is handling getting a repair person out to our house (soon?? please??) so hopefully that issue will be resolved soon. Then I can focus on all my other issues, of which there are plenty.

Hope everyone else out there has a good week!


Imposter Syndrome

While yesterday was mostly an upbeat, positive day, today has . . . not been. I’m not even sure why. In the past month or so, I have been bouncing wildly between being really happy to being really sad. There is sometimes a good reason: I was supposed to be really happy that I found a new job. I was supposed to be sad when my daughter started having problems with her suicidal thoughts again. So some of these I can account for, but most I can’t. I will probably start using this blog somewhat as a means for tracking this sort of thing, just to see if there are any patterns or anything else I can recognize.

Today I feel very down, which concerned me at first, but then I looked at the date. Yeah. This one I get. Even if I didn’t know immediately what the date was when I got out of bed, the energy was in the air. It’s weird how you can feel that, even when you are by yourself. And I’m not going to spend this blog post talking about 9/11, except for this one paragraph. It affected me, of course, but only as it affected all Americans. I wasn’t there. I didn’t know anyone who was killed or injured in any of the attacks. I was scared for my country and for the uncertainty that had suddenly been put upon us, but other than that, my life continued on in a pretty normal pattern. I realize how lucky I am to be able to say that, to the point where I almost feel a bit guilty for admitting it. Which brings me to what originally inspired this post.

A video popped up in my Facebook memories, which I shared again today because I thought it was funny. I am not savvy enough to link the video here, so I will just describe it. A mom is watching her kids walking to the bus stop from her window. She is telling the camera about how she is hiding from the “fancy moms.” You know, the ones who are always put together and seem to know all the right things to say and do. This mom (and I absolutely adore her) was still in the clothes she had fallen asleep in the previous day. She couldn’t figure out how the “fancy mom,” who was in clothes to play tennis (which she apparently does every day), was able to not only be so perky, skinny, and awake, but also drinking from a “wealthy person mug.” This real mom is not the one who will be bringing homemade cookies to school, but she will be glad to write a check. “I’m the check-writing mom,” she says towards the end of the video.

While I don’t go out of my way to hide from other moms, I’ve never been completely comfortable around them. Like other parents at my kid’s school, for example. So many of them just seem to have, not just parenting, but their whole lives figured out. They either have a job that they are good at and find satisfying, or they stay home and raise their lovely younger kids.  With few exceptions, they never seem frazzled. They always seem completely in control.

I wish I could feel that way. Even if it was only for five minutes.

So what do I do when I have to interact with these people? I fake it. I fake it so hard. Seriously, anyone who thinks that I am a bubbly, upbeat person is someone who does not know me well. At all. And then I go home hating myself because I had to fake it in the first place. Why can’t I be just like all the other moms out there who have everything put together and figured out? I moaned about this on Facebook, mostly as a joke, partially as a cry for help, po-tay-to, po-tah-to. And here’s the funny thing: I got several comments and messages back from friends of mine who are moms, all admitting that they have no idea what’s going on either. And not just moms my age – one of them is the mother of a girl I went to high school with! We’re all muddling through it, and none of us have a clue what we’re doing! Yay!

It made me feel a bit better (and also a bit worried for the rising generation who will be looking to us for guidance at some point). It’s easy to forget that you are looking at usually people’s best selves when looking at social media. Vacation pictures. New babies. New pets. If someone posts about a hardship, you see outpourings of support and prayers, followed by a heartfelt thank you for how much that helped. When I was a kid, I looked at the adults that surrounded me and thought that they all had life figured out. That was just what you did, right? You grew up, you understood life and your place in it. End of story.

If only, right?

One of the commentors on my Facebook memory said, “Imposter syndrome is a very real thing. I always feel like someday people will find out that I’m not really talented or kind or good or intelligent or (insert whatever here).” And it’s true. I replied that, “I keep wondering how long it’s going to take before people realize that I’m just a scared kid in an adult costume!” So I’m putting it out there now. I am a scared kid in an adult costume. I have been since the day I turned 18 and expected this wash of knowledge and “adult-ness” to come over me. It never has, and it never will, but here’s the best part. I’m starting to believe that I am not alone. This is what most of us go through and you know what? That’s okay.

We’re okay. Or at least, we’re gonna fake it. And most likely, that “fancy mom” is faking it.

And that’s okay too.


Wake up, it’s Monday! – 9/10/18

Good morning, folks! I am still adjusting to being up early on Monday mornings ever since school and my new job started, so I’ve decided to try and celebrate it. As much as one can when one is not a morning person.

So it’s Monday. What can I say about this week coming up? I’ve recently finished two wonderful books, both very different but both very inspirational. I will try to get reviews posted as soon as possible. HOLD ME TO THAT, INTERNET! I am really bad at follow through, but I am trying to do better about that.

The new job is going well. There are still lots of other aspects to learn, but I have been told that I am doing a great job so far. My only real concern is that I really need to buy some new clothes. At my old job, very few people saw us, so we could wear whatever we wanted. I actually think I rolled in there in pajama pants once when I was not feeling well but wasn’t sick enough to actually stay home. My new job not only expects me to dress like a grown up, but a well-dressed, professional grown up at that. It’s an adjustment, to be sure, but probably a good one. It does feel nice to dress nice. I just need some more comfortable dressy shoes at some point.

I think school is going well for the girl child. Who will BE TURNING 14 THIS MONTH!!! When did that happen? It just doesn’t seem right! She had a bit of a slip during the first week when anxiety and depression got the best of her, but she is doing much better now. This weekend, she got to spend some quality time with her grandma, which she always enjoys. She has also done something else that made me really happy – she ordered a bracelet from Life Token. Her phrase: Stay Strong – You Matter. Such a breakthrough for someone who has been battling with depression so young for so many years. I’m really proud of her.

It left me stuck with the boys for a good part of the weekend, but we amused ourselves. We decided to dust off our old Dungeons & Dragons campaign (of which I am dungeon master – heaven help us all). I don’t even remember when we started it, but the Boy has been through two characters so far. The first one didn’t die, he just decided it was too boring. So goodbye, human fighter, hello dragonborn bard! The Hubby is continuing to play his half-orc paladin, although he has stopped trying to convert the goblins to the worship of Lathander. For anyone familiar with D&D, we’re running the Lost Mine of Phandelvar starter adventure and are smack in the middle of the Wave Echo Cave. Still trying to figure out where we’re going to go from there if we keep playing.

Hope you are all ready for a good week! Stay positive. That’s what I’m trying to do. I know things are really hard for a lot of people right now, but we can get through it all together.


July Blogging Challenge: Day 21 and 22

Yesterday was full of travel and chaos, so I missed yesterday’s prompt. Let’s make it up here, shall we?

Day 21 – The best thing about summer

Ugh. If I’m going to be honest, I am not a fan of summer. I’m much more of an autumn/early winter girl. I do like the more relaxed schedule of summer. Since the kiddos are not in school, there is less to keep up with. Plus I can sleep in a bit. So that’s also good.

Day 22 – It’s embarrassing but true

Not sure if this is embarrassing or not, but I specifically don’t bring it up usually, so I guess it embarrasses me a little? So confession time. This is actually something that most people probably don’t know about me, but I absolutely love fanfiction. The stupider, the better.

For anyone who doesn’t know (I can think of a few people who read this who don’t), fanfiction is when writers, typically amateur or hobby writers, take an established creator’s existing characters and/or story world, and use it to make new stories. This is often to make certain characters pair up that didn’t in the original, or sometimes to explore plot points that didn’t get fully explored.

I first started reading fanfic right before the last Harry Potter book came out. Several fanfic writers were using it to detail their book 7 predictions. After that, I couldn’t stop. I particularly like anything that is told from another character’s point of view (especially Hermione, because she is the best), but my favorite is dystopian Harry Potter fanfic, which details what could have happened if Voldemort had won, Harry had either been killed or captured, and a small group of fighters are trying to take on the new regime.

To further embarrass myself, I also tend to read Phantom of the Opera fanfic. Most of this either tells the story in a modern setting (not my favorite, but sometimes enjoyable), or finds a way to have the story end with the Phantom and Christine staying together (usually by turning Raoul into a complete jerk – poor Raoul).

I have, sadly, binged reading fanfic to the detriment of reading actual books. Sometimes I’m just in a mood. But hey, if you know any good stories out there, let me know! I’m always ready to go down that rabbit hole.

(And Alice in Wonderland fanfic is usually pretty good too.)


July Blogging Challenge: Day 14

Day 14 – A weird thing I do when I’m alone . . .

Honestly, I probably do this when I’m not alone as well, but I can’t always help it.

I. Talk. To. Myself. Constantly.

I have conversations with famous people. I have conversations with fictional people. I come up with lines and comebacks I wish I had said from conversations that had already happened in real life.

This happens a lot in my car. That’s probably the place I do it most.

There have been several times when someone has come in on me talking away to myself and I have to try and explain that no, I’m not crazy. I’m just gabbing to myself for no reason.

Well, you know what they say. Sometimes it’s the only way to have an intelligent conversation.