Book Reviews

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Over the next week or so, I’m going to try really hard to get some of my backlogged book reviews up. I have several cozies that I’ve read over the last couple of months that I just didn’t get a review up at the time for whatever reason. Since some of these have been NetGalley reads, I’m going to really try to get them written in the next week or two, so that I can mark them as read on NetGalley and get my feedback rating up!

I used to have down time during the day when I could write a quick post or a review of something. That doesn’t happen much now. I’m always busy busy busy, so I’ve gotten behind on reviewing. I’m hoping to remedy that over the next week or two.  Consequently, you may have a barrage of posts one day and then nothing for a day or two or three.

I appreciate those of you who have hung in with me even tho’ my posting frequency has dropped! It means a lot!

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Life… it happens!

I know I haven’t posted a lot lately, and I’m sorry for that. Life has been… well, life. Here’s what’s been going on in the last month or so.

I took some vacation time over the holidays. I’m usually not online much during my vacation, whether I go away or stay home. I might flip through Facebook once a day on my phone, but that’s about it. My best friend was supposed to come for New Year’s but car problems prevented that from happening. I spent the time working on what is seemingly the never-ending room project.

For those of you who are newer to my blog, I’ve been working on deep cleaning/throwing stuff out/donating stuff/decluttering/reorganizing my room for months now. To say it’s never-ending is a bit of a misnomer, I know, because I really am so close to the end. I’m down to two tubs and a pile to get thru plus a few other things that need to get put away. It’s really not much. However, since I’ve been working on this since JUNE (on the weekends mostly), it seems like it’s never-ending! My mom keeps reminding me tho’ that it took me 2+ years to get it to the level of disaster that it was so, 7 1/2 months really isn’t bad since I can only work on it on the weekends and sometimes that just doesn’t happen due to mental health, physical health or prior plans.

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 On top of the seemingly never-ending room project, things have been quite crazy at work. Over New Year’s weekend, we migrated to a new software system for our library. If you’ve ever migrated to a completely different software system at work, you know it’s not precisely easy. Nor does it usually go off without a few hitches. We had to switch. Our old software was being discontinued by the manufactured. However, our new software is drastically different from the old and it’s really taking some getting used to. Not only do I have to figure out cataloging of regular items to do my main job in acquisitions, but I also have to figure out the cataloging of Inter-library Loan items since I’m a part of the ILL team and the only ILL team member with cataloging knowledge. It’s been challenging to say the least and by the time I come home at night, I’m pretty dead tired.

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I was also sick the week that I went back to work, so that didn’t help my trying to get used to the new software. I had no patience for things that didn’t work like I wanted them to!

Finally, this winter is actually getting to me and wreaking havoc on my depression. Usually I do okay in winter. I even like winter most years. But this year we’ve had weeks and weeks of single digit temperatures with wind chills below freezing. It’s the kind of cold that just zaps your strength if you’re out in it at all. Supposedly the rest of January is supposed to warm up and be better. I hope it is. Maybe it’ll help me get out of this funk I’m feeling lately. It’s definitely warmer today so it’s a good start. 🙂

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Hopefully the warmer weather will help me get back to feeling more human and less like a popsicle. I have reviews I want to write, I just haven’t had the momentum/energy to do them recently. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

 

250th Post – Some of my Artwork

This is my 250th post as a blogger! Wow! I can’t believe I’ve made that many posts and that people actually read them!

I’ve had a couple of people asking me to post some of my artwork, so I thought it’d be a great way to celebrate 250 posts! When I make art, sometimes I simply color adult coloring book pages. Sometimes, I make crazy shapes, color them in, and as I’m making these shapes, the artwork just speaks to me on what it should be so then I choose colors accordingly. Sometimes I do decoupage or paint ceramics. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of my decoupage or my ceramics, but I do of my coloring/drawing.

Here’s a couple of my recent coloring pages:

 

Both of these coloring pages are artworks by Selina Fenech, an Australian artist whom I absolutely love. The one on the left is titled Within the Coffin and is from Selina’s Gothic coloring book. The one on the right is called Her Special Place and is from Selina’s Magical Minis coloring book. Selina has many coloring books available including one that’s just ponds and flowers which I really enjoy.

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I’ve also found a coloring book group to be a part of on Facebook. Joanna Campbell Slan, an author I like, set it up and it can be found here. Below are two of the pictures I’ve done from there.

I’m actually in the process of coloring a few more of the “Breathe” picture so I can give them to important people in my life who need the reminder to “breathe” from time to time.

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Now to share some of my “original” artwork. I’ve never been real good at drawing. If I practice for hours and hours a day, I’d get to the point where I was good, but never great. So, instead, for probably 20 years or more, I’ve made my own type of abstract art. Sometimes, I have a set palette of colors in mind when I start; a set concept for what I want it to represent. Sometimes I don’t know until I get started with it and then I will get a sense and tailor my color choices around that sense. All of these, I already had the concept in my head for what I wanted it to represent. Even still, the shape of the various shapes and the colors aren’t chosen ahead of time. That all happens in the moment.

This first one is all about anger and rage. This one I did as I was processing my feelings from our annual Staff Day. We had a speaker from the police department and at he was talking about gun laws and things like the open-carry laws in Michigan and how libraries aren’t considered protected spaces like schools are. I was doing okay with all that. Then all of a sudden he switched over to active shooters, including videos. There was a complete lack of warning about content of videos. I made it out of the room and didn’t see any of them, but I didn’t make it to the lounge quick enough and I heard the whole first video. I was livid that no warnings had been given about it. There was no “if you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t have to sit here” warning like there was the first time we had active shooter training. It seriously triggered me (and I later learned that it also triggered some others with PTSD). This artwork came out of processing those feelings and triggers.

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The blue is due to the fact that often when I’m angry and raging, I cry. Messy, ugly crying. Thank god for great co-workers and friends. Also, thankfully, the speaker AFTER the police department was incredibly funny and that help break up some of the tension that was still there after all the ugly crying and breathing to stay grounded.

Line of art supplies - rolled canvas, paint brushes with paint on tips, paint jars, paint tubes, watercolor trays, and paint palettes
© Graphic Garden

The first of the following two I did at Staff Day as well. I had actually started it before the active shooter surprise. It’s simply supposed to represent fall and all the brilliant colors we see in fall.  The second one I decided to do after fall. It’s winter, but I’m not that pleased with how it turned out so I’ll probably do another one soon.

The white I have currently isn’t real great. I need a new Prismacolor white. A few months ago, for one of my programs at work, I used my white pencils to trace shapes on black paper. Most of my white pencils were pretty much obliterated during that, including my Prismacolor white.

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Thanks for joining me a special 250th post! I’ve got a couple of reviews coming up this week for you and other stops on blog tours as well.

Small Victories

Things on this end have been so-so lately. Apparently, mid-October is a rough time mentally/emotionally for me. I never realized this, but my therapist and my best friend both say that every year this time is difficult so I trust them!

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Given that, I’ve been focusing on small victories lately.

  • Over the weekend, I got a bookshelf moved by myself (it’s a tall skinny one, easy to move alone), I cleared off another so my dad and I can take it to the basement (hopefully this weekend), and cleaned out my entertainment center so it’ll be easier to move.
  • This week I’ve also pre-wrote and scheduled some of my blog tour posts in advance. I’ve had a hard time lately – forgetting them or having life get in the way and they ended up posted late. Now I don’t have to worry about the next 3 posts. They’re already written and scheduled to post. That makes me feel good.
  • In the past, I had a real problem with self-harm. I still have urges now and again since it’s somewhat of an addiction, just instead of drowning my sorrows in alcohol, I did it with cutting. It’s just easier to say no to the urges now than it was in the past. The other night, the urge was pretty strong, but I did not give in, so I’m proud of that.
  • I’m diabetic and I’m doing better at not eating so many sweets. I’m never going to be someone who doesn’t eat any at all – ice cream is my vice. BUT, knowing I was going to have ice cream after work last night, I said no to a cupcake. Yay!

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Sometimes, the way the world eats at us and gets us down, we’ve gotta find the small things that will lift those spirits. Most of the time it’s my adorable niece and sweet nephew who lift my spirits, but this week, I found some other victories.

What kind of small things have you been grateful for lately? Any victories you want to share?

Rosie the Riveter – World Record Event!

On Saturday, October 14th, I was part of a group of women who came together to set the record for the most women dressed as Rosie the Riveter in one place.

To give a little background, there’s a friendly competition between my group of Rosies here in Ypsilanti/Willow Run and a group in Richmond, California.

You see, the original Rosie the Riveter, Rose Monroe, worked at the Willow Run Bomber Planet located here in Ypsilanti. The Yankee Air Museum has saved a portion of that old bomber plant from being torn down and is now in the process of renovating it into a new space for the museum. My group of Rosies wants the world record to stay here in Ypsilanti because that’s where Rose Monroe worked.

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California, on the other hand, has the “Rosie the Riveter/World War II Homefront National Historical Park”, so their group wants to keep the world record there for that reason. It’s been a completely friendly competition back and forth for the last few years.

It all started in 2014 when the group that I’m now a part of set a world record of 760+ women. In the summer of 2015, California took that record away with their gathering of almost 1100 women. Their record didn’t last long. In October 2015, myself and the group I’m a part of took back the record with 2096 Rosies, including 21 Original Rosies (women who actually worked in the factories in WWII)! California took our record away in 2016 with just over 2200 Rosies.

We took it back on Saturday the 14th. The new record is 3755 Rosies!! AND we set a record for the number of original Rosies in one place with 55. It was so much fun! Our youngest Rosie was 6 weeks old and our oldest Rosie was 110! We even sent a video to the group in Richmond saying “Willow Run loves Richmond but Willow Run WINS!”

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I volunteered to work one of the clothing tables during the beginning of the event. Because this is going in the Guinness Book of World Records there are some very specific requirements.  The biggest thing people had trouble with were finding red socks and finding bandannas with the right size white dots (dots much be bigger than a dime). I was selling socks and bandannas along with a few other ladies.

It was fun to watch ladies of all different ages and races come in dressed as Rosie the Riveter. Every time an original Rosie would come through the crowd, everyone would cheer for them.  These were the women who kept our servicemen supplied with bombers and tanks and guns during World War II. They were just as integral to winning the war as the men and women serving in the armed forces during the war.

I even got myself a pair of boots to use (last time I used my dad’s boots and just darkened ’em with shoe polish) so that I can join the Tribute Rosies and do things like be at the air show, do parades, etc. as Rosie. 🙂

I didn’t get to take a LOT of pictures since I was volunteering, but enjoy the ones I did take! Forgive me for the quality of some of these, my tremor was acting up that day and my phone doesn’t have the stabilization that my good camera has.

It was a great day, though VERY tiring!  It took me about 3-4 days to recover! On one hand, I hope it takes California a long time to beat our record, but on the other hand, it’s so much fun, that I kind of hope that it doesn’t. hehe.

We even had Uncle Sam & Waldo visiting with us!!