August Update or I’m Not Dead I Promise!

I’ve been pretty MIA for awhile, I’ll admit. I’ve been doing what I can to get out and explore the city and make friends, plus I’ve started working on projects. But don’t fret! I am planning on getting back in the habit of posting. Plus the projects I am getting involved with are kind of awesome.

So what have I been up to?

Well, I have been reading and listening to more podcasts. This week I plan on getting out a few book reviews, specifically:

  • Asylum by Madeleine Roux (and eventually its sequels, which I’m working on reading)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Podcast wise, I’ve started listening to some new ones — primarily comic book related ones. I’m learning ALL ABOUT the X-Men, and Panelology keeps me up to date on the major comic books of the week (primarily DC/Marvel reviews).

I do plan on doing a Season 2 recap of The Black Tapes Podcast as my Season 1 recap gets hits on a daily basis.

I can talk a little bit about some of the projects I’ve been working on, but not too much:

  • I submitted my first story  idea to a website, which took most of July for me to panic and actually write. I find out tomorrow (GASP) if it was accepted, and either way I’ll post more about where you can find/read it afterwards. …Because I do have a backup plan for it.
  • Also, research, research, research. For both books.
  • I’m going to get into podcasting — woo! It’s in the beginning stages, and we’re (myself and 5 other wonderful ladies) getting ready to record our “lost” episode – one that will never see the light of day. It is book related, specifically YA, and as it gets closer to being released, I’ll post more about it!
  • Gishwhes is…. Gishwhes.
  • I helped a friend with an episode of her podcast — I seriously doubt it’ll ever see the light of day, but man. If you aren’t listening to podcasts, what are you waiting for? There is literally something out there for everyone. And if there isn’t, you can start it yourself.

What else? If you aren’t watching Stranger Things or Scream, you should be.

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No YOU carry too many notebooks…

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The way to my heart is through a notebook. It’s not surprising, and maybe a little sad, but I am a sucker for a beautiful notebook. I’ll go into a stationery store to calm myself, and am usually good about not buying anything new. Occasionally I cave, if one is pretty enough…

….Even if I carry 4-5 on a daily basis as it is. What isn’t pictured are any legal pads, because I’m currently between book ideas. Well, “between” is used loosely — I got frustrated with one book idea and set it aside, and haven’t started outlining any of the ideas I’ve been tossing around in my head. Plus I’m not 100% sure my bag or back could handle too much more weight.

To be fair, the brown one on top doesn’t leave my apartment too often. It’s my personal, “no one will ever read” journal. I am a strong believer that every writer should have one of those, even if you don’t write in it every day. My twitter becomes a dump for thoughts frequently, and based on reading it, you can kind of imagine how this journal looks.

The second, small journal is my book idea journal. It’s literally just for the purpose of jotting down book ideas, notes for book ideas, etc. I keep this on me 100% of the time. You literally never know when inspiration going to hit — I’ve spent an hour in the Natural History Museum jotting notes and ideas down. (I found the museum horribly disappointing outside of that hour, which is sad as I could not wait to visit it!)

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The tree area of the Natural History Museum and I became good friends.

The third notebook is literally a collection of lists. It has my new year’s resolutions, my book challenges, my bucket list, my 30 day challenges, my current grocery list, hiking list….you name it, I’m working on a list of it (hopefully?) I am such a scatterbrained person naturally, so I need ways to focus. And unfortunately, I can’t get on board the electronic route. This notebook doesn’t always travel with me, but it’s with me usually (especially during the work week.) Have I proved how odd I am yet?

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Did you ever see John Tucker Must Die? The insane girl who was constantly GO GO GO? That’s what this notebook reminds me of.

The fourth notebook is the smallest, and I have it in 5 more that size plus 3-4 larger ones. I don’t know what I love about this brand (Cambridge Limited), but it’s a decent daily writing notebook. I use it for my daily writing prompts (which I go in and out of doing regularly… currently “in.”) I think it’s their floppiness yet sturdiness — allows for easy crossing out!

The final notebook is one I received from Women in Aviation International when I went to their conference in March. It’s a gridded notebook, so I’ve turned it into a daily calendar notebook that looks like this….

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Note the WAI logo? It’s a fantastic organization. I’m sure this isn’t what they want their notebook used for, but it works for me. Each thing done daily gets a colored square. I am embarrassingly behind on this month’s coloring (and…well…accomplishing anything) or I would post a picture of what it looks like currently.

I should feel more organized in life, or at least like I am on my way to becoming someone who doesn’t casually consider themselves a writer, but really I’m just a notebook hoarder. I have a shelf with so many on them, and yet I think it might be time for a new one….

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Questions Me Before You Caused

 

I saw Me Before You tonight — I am a sucker for a chick flick, and Sam Claflin’s quite perfect jawline. I haven’t read the book, nor do I plan on it. But I feel like if I get some thoughts out on it, maybe I can move past it (and by watching Zombieland — thank you MTV.)

  • Why can’t her dad find a job? Why does it fall to the daughters to pay for the household?
  • Jenna Coleman’s character is a single mom — who what how?
  • ….Could I pull off Jenna Coleman’s haircut? (No Meg. No you can’t.)
  • Does anyone else think Matthew Lewis is looking a little too thin? I’m worried about you bud. I hope you’re doing good.
  • This is just a manic pixie dream girl trope. Why is everyone getting teary-eyed?
  • Okay. The mom breaking down made me tear up. I swear I’ve seen that look in my own mom’s eyes and that does it.
  • Emilia Clarke’s shoes are all wonderful and I need to know where to buy them.
  • And how to walk in heels on cobblestone paths.

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  • ….no one is going to explain how or why this dude’s parents own a castle, but no title?
  • I have confusing thoughts on assisted suicide now.
    • Seriously, I’m conflicted as hell.
    • But I still found him to be a selfish prat.
  • Some people want a small-town life and can we stop trying to shame them for it?
  • Why can’t I pull off the side braid? Maybe I can pull off Jenna Coleman’s haircut.
  • God thank god for some real live flirting. Not just movie crap flirting.
  • …But we all recognize that she essentially cheated on Patrick right? Like, I get that the guy wasn’t meant to be deep or anything, but god I felt bad for him.
  • Really the person I felt for the most was the mom. What does that say about me?
  • Seriously. Seriously. I want to be able to pull off Jenna Coleman’s hair.

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I’ve been doing a little bit of research, which in my vast medical experience [re:none] means I am doing the next best thing: screaming into the internet abyss.* Since this blog hits all of my social media accounts, consider this a super lazy post.

Any fellow Wegener’s Granulomatosis/GPA patients gone from Rituxan/Rituximab back to Imuran or methotrexate? I never did cyclophosphamide(s?) and don’t plan on going down that route ever, but I’m trying to weight my options between another round of Rituxan and its expenses/increasing side effects, or just going back to daily pills.

 

*For the record, I know that any final decision is between me and my doctor(s), but my new one doesn’t have the best bedside manor/patience and I don’t know the protocol on calling former doctors/doctors in another state. I also would rather hear experiences rather than data/stats.

Mid-Month Updates, ICYMI

I think I am having the best February ever, and now I shall knock on wood to keep from jinxing myself.

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Especially as I am driving tomorrow for the first time since I moved to Brooklyn.

I am not reading much at all right now — Fangirl kind of ruined me for a little while. I am not sure what’s going on, but I’m moving slowly through books. I think most people have this ebb and flow, no? I’m slowly making my way through an ARC, which 25% in there still doesn’t seem to be any story.

But I made it out to Books of Wonder on Sunday, and ended up picking up Sophie Jordan’s Reign of Shadows and Victoria Aveyard’s Glass Sword

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I am ashamed to say that I knew nothing of Sophie Jordan’s work prior to the signing, but I did buy her book out of interest. Then she started talking, and I became a fan almost instantly. She’s incredibly chill and fascinating to listen to. I cannot wait to get out of my reading funk and read her book. Victoria Aveyard was pretty cool too. I have been to a few book signings, but never a dual panel. These two seemed to get along well!

I’ve been writing quite a bit this month too, outside of work related writing and blog posts. I actually posted my first chapter of a fan fiction I’ve been working on off and on since last July – a Gilmore Girls x Supernatural x Chuck x Veronica Mars crossover. Ambitious, no? If you’re interested in following along, let me know.

I’ll get to the point where I’m posting actual writing samples, but I haven’t actually finished anything that I’ve drabbled.

So I guess my ponderings for this week are kind of easy:

  • Does anyone else have a direct, inverse correlation between their reading and writing habits?
  • What do people do when they can’t bring themselves to read anything, not even really fan fiction? Just ride it out?
  • Are love triangles over? Can they be?
    • Piggy backing off that — would anyone read a YA story where the relationship doesn’t have jealousy or insane insecurity? Like a couple that gets together and stay relatively chill?
  • Where do people pull writing prompts? I swear, half my battle with writing is deciding writing prompts.

Planning January – Updates

It’s the middle of January, so it’s time for a small update to make sure I am staying on track!

Books TBR

  • 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (went on the list because I finished it Jan 2)
  • The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (Read, just haven’t reviewed yet)
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • Broken by Susanne Valenti (ARC) (Currently Reading)
  • Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (ARC)
  • Cranky Ladies of History – Short story compilation (Currently Reading)

Projects to Work On

Okay, I haven’t really finished any of these yet. But I have been working on the presents for Grey! 

  • 85 lines of my 4th Doctor scarf (I’ve done the math, and it’s 1004 lines total. I should have it done and ready for next year)
  • Presents for Grey
  • Hats for a friend’s daughter

Monthly Goals

  • Fix/Redo my Bucket List – it’s a bit old and outdated
  • Get out and do a 2nd hike (weather permitting — won’t be fun to do all the 52 hikes from May-August now!) It’s been too cold and I’ve been fighting a crappy cold. But hopefully I’ll find a day this month.
  • Write 9,000 words
  • Get back into yoga Currently working on – I am doing DailyBurn’s yoga program. 

Other Things

I decided on my yearly reading challenges! I am doing Bustle’s Reading Challenge, which encourages reading books by women and writes of color. I need to sit down and assign a book to a spot, but I’m excited. I am also doing Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenge, which is 12 books in 12 different categories. As I finish books in either challenge, I’ll be sure to denote it on my reviews.

I also cleaned up my 30 Days Challenges and made a list of hiking places to check out near the city. I still need to make a list of things to check out in NYC.

Powerball Ticket? I can’t decide.

Living in (or near?) America, you know that the Powerball is currently at $1.4 billion. That’s over $860 million, lump sum. Remember that book from when you were a kid: How Much is a Million? That’s all I could really think about on my walk home today. It’s a pretty uphill battle, so pondering things makes it go much quicker.

It would take me 17,500 years to make $1.4 billion.
A billion seconds is roughly 31 years…which means I haven’t lived a billion seconds yet, and I won’t for 3 more years.

And yet, I am still on the fence about rather or not I would want to play in the lottery. I’ve got until Wednesday to decide, and I doubt that it’ll go unwon again. And to be fair — odds are, it won’t just be one person who wins. And there is the whole “lottery curse” thing. Most of the good lottery stories involve people giving away most of their money. It’s understandable — pay it forward. And to be honest, while my life isn’t perfect or to a point where I don’t worry about money, I really am content in my life. I have a job that pays well and doesn’t require me to work 24/7. My health, while not great, is sustainable.

But still, with a very cold, half mile walk that’s 60% uphill, I couldn’t help but think about what I would do with my (imaginary) winnings. After I disappear for a few months, because I so couldn’t handle the media or anything.

Of course on the personal side, I would:

  • pay off all my medical, student, car and regular debt. Duh.
  • set my 4 youngest siblings with trust funds for college (or whatever they decide to do), even though two of them don’t really talk to me or anything. And of course, a second trust fund, in case they super screw up (but not for repeat screw ups, come on now.)
  • The other 3 siblings would get their past debts paid off, as well as trust funds.
  • My dad and step mom would get his ranch in Montana, with all the horses they want, as well as their past debts paid off. And a trust fund, of course.
  • I’d take my mom traveling, hiking, shopping — there would a year of “what does my mom want to do or go?” Seriously, my mom, being the woman who gave me life at the least, also changed my bandages after my car accident, gave me blood thinner shots when I couldn’t and wouldn’t, forced me to get up and get better, has been my voice of reason and realism, and has been there for everything. What I’m saying is, I know I owe my mom everything. And a trust fund.
  • Mike would get …I dunno, do you want a new house? Maybe just some new cars? Both? Plus his debts paid off and a trust fund.
  • My grandparents — all 5 of them, even the estranged ones, wouldn’t have to worry about money, no matter their health issues.
  • I’d move to the more yuppy part of Brooklyn or Union Square, set up a travel fund, and make sure I gave myself an annual income still — and set aside a few million that I couldn’t touch unless it’s an emergency.
  • I have 5 friends that have stuck with me through so much, seen me through so many problems. I know wouldn’t ask me for money, nor would they expect much from me. They know who they are, and they’d definitely get something.
  • The doctors that saved my life? Except a wonderful Christmas gift. (I’m looking at you, Dr. Kamran!)
  • Plus a few other random things that I’m sure I’m forgetting.

And then of course, I’d quit my job, travel, write, read and live. But that is at most, what $400 million (hahahahahaha)? That’s a lot of money left over.

So here’s what I’d do with the rest:

  • Invest some of the money so that the giving can continue.
  • Start a college scholarship (or trades-person scholarship) program for those trying to make something of themselves while battling illness. One of my own prides is that I got through college, despite getting sick and nearly dying in a car accident. Whatever happens to me, that was something I succeeded at.
  • Or maybe medical funds. Because what’s paid for treatments can be so much more than what’s paid for college.
  • And a WAI scholarship. I am so excited to attend their conference again this year. The atmosphere, the support, all of it is just contagious while you’re there.
  • A good portion would go to autoimmune disease awareness and cures. Cause seriously, that shit needs it.
  • School systems. Lunches for kids. Seriously. I hate seeing those stories anywhere. There are just under 100K public schools according to the 2009-2010 census (probably closer to 120K now), so $1M per school? And keeping the arts in school.
  • HeforShe. Equality, seriously.
  • Random acts of kindness. I’d seriously just travel and give it away in random ways at random places.

There are so many other charities and organizations I would consider and think about, but it would take research. But seriously, I would give so much of it away. And have to settle that I’d probably never marry, which I think I’m okay with.

So much is wishful thinking, of course, given that I haven’t even bought a ticket. Maybe I will tomorrow.

 

Planning January

One of my resolutions is to be a bit more organized. Today I accomplished quite a bit by organizing my apartment. I packed up my yarn and cleaned around my desk, also setting up a lamp in my front hall. I’m really not a fan of overhead lights, so I have a collection of lamps throughout the entire apartment. I also finished organizing my kitchen, getting ready for my new table and chairs that are coming this week.

So here are my plans for the month, outside of office organizing.

Books TBR

  • 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (went on the list because I finished it Jan 2)
  • The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • Broken by Susanne Valenti (ARC)
  • Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (ARC)
  • Cranky Ladies of History – Short story compilation

Projects to Work On

  • 85 lines of my 4th Doctor scarf (I’ve done the math, and it’s 1004 lines total. I should have it done and ready for next year)
  • Presents for Grey
  • Hats for a friend’s daughter

Monthly Goals

  • Fix/Redo my Bucket List – it’s a bit old and outdated
  • Get out and do a 2nd hike (weather permitting — won’t be fun to do all the 52 hikes from May-August now!)
  • Write 9,000 words
  • Get back into yoga

NYC Places to Visit

  • National History Museum
  • Flophouse Screening

December Wrap Up

I think I am going to start doing monthly wrap ups and projections for the month. Seems like a fun idea, no? But it’s also a way I can keep myself on track. Especially as I work on my New Year’s Resolutions, which one of them is to stay more organized! So let’s see….

Books Read

I definitely didn’t finish as many books as I wanted to, so a few will end up on my “To Be Read” list next month. But here’s what I’ve finished for December:

  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey 3/5 Moose (I can’t bring myself to review this chick-lit book.)
  • Santa Maybe by Scarlett Bailey 3/5 Moose
  • Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey – DNF My first DNF. That’s sad.
  • Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore 3/5 Moose
  • Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan 4/5 Moose (Review will probably come out tomorrow.)
  • 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (about 17% in the book and LOVING IT. I hope it stays this good.)

Projects Started/Finished 

  • Blanket and baby things for Grey Hudson (started)
  • 4th Doctor scarf (started)

Words Written

I wrote two starter ideas, and then restarted sketching my main book idea. This is here because a NY Resolution is to write more obviously.

Monthly Goals

  • Visit High Line – did not do (weather and drama)
  • Unpacked all my boxes (done! Though there is one more box to move down to the garbage.)
  • Organize kitchen (done! Thanks to my mom’s wonderful Christmas present)

Places to visit in my new city 

  • High Line
  • Museum of Mathematics  Visited – definitely for kids. Disappointing!
  • National History Museum – oh my god. the line?!
  • 9/11 Museum – Visiting with my mom today.
  • Union Square Holiday Market – Loved!

 

A Salinger Character Moment

Despite its thin walls and lack of air conditioner, I love my new apartment. I good portion of it is still in boxes (most of my bedroom and half my kitchen?) but I can sit in my living room and pretend that the rest of the place is unpacked.

And getting rid of a car and commuting by subway is much better than I expected. I’ve read eight…maybe nine books this month, 90% of which was done on the subway. I’m three reviews behind, but I’ll catch up soon enough.

You might be thinking that clearly, living in a city with so much going on, you’d never stay home. Well, I’m not that kind of person I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I go out and explore — I try to explore a new area (hopefully of Brooklyn) at least once a week. This weekend I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, then found Kee’s Chocolate, which was featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network. (Levain Bakery is another stop from the show that I’ll make at some point!)

I also just bought a ticket to see Misery on Wednesday with Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf:

But I tend to be introverted, so days like yesterday are spent inside, writing and playing video games and cooking. Lori’s taco soup is going in the crockpot soon for this week’s lunches, and I spent the better half the night working on a few book ideas. I’m a little stuck, but that’s mostly because my desk and boards aren’t se up yet. And with alcohol delivery as simple as food delivery, well.

Fireball whiskey with amaretto or vanilla coke is wonderful.

And so thus, my best friend pointed out to me this morning that while my night sounded boring at first, I was writing in Brooklyn drinking whiskey. And something about the “in Brooklyn” part made is that much more magical? I truly regret not sitting on my fire escape pondering my wasted youth.

Unfortunately, unpacking boxes in Brooklyn doesn’t have the same ring.

Anyways, I did not participate in NaNoWriMo like I wanted to (thanks move!) so expect my December to be a bit more NaNoWriMo-ish. Especially while I flesh out a potential chick-lit idea, loosely based on my life drama. It’s hard to write, knowing the characters are kind of based on real people.