Hermit Season (aka Winter) is Coming

It’s November 1st  and although it was up in the 70s last weekend, colder temps are on their way…eventually.  With the chill comes the start of the holiday season which leads into my director time for dinner theater which really just means Im about to be a hermit until spring. It’s not something that I ever intended to happen, but upon reflection it happens every year so why not embrace it? Figured I’d use the season to kick off a reading challenge. I’m really excited (restarting one From a few years ago) We’ll see how many I can go through. I’m starting with number 23: a book more than 100 years old. I started Frankenstein a week ago or so, so I guess that book will get grandfathered in to this tally. I’ll note any audiobooks I listen to as well but will strive to make the ‘official count’ only with books I read.

Hermit season I embrace you – It. Is. ON!

Until next time
~ Q

The List (book / audiobook)

  1. A book with more than 500 pages
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie
  4. A book published this year
  5. A book with a number in the title
  6. A book written by someone under 30
  7. A book with nonhuman characters
  8. A funny book
  9. A book by a female author
  10. A mystery or a thriller
  11. A book with a one-word title
  12. A book of short stories
  13. A book set in a different country
  14. A nonfiction book
  15. A popular author’s first book
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
  17. A book a friend recommended
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
  19. A book based on a true story
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  21. A book your mom loves
  22. A book that scares you
  23. A book more than 100 years old
  24. A book based entirely on it’s cover
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  26. A memoir
  27. A book you can finish in a day
  28. A book with antonyms in the title
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  30. A book that came out the year you were born
  31. A book with bad reviews
  32. A trilogy
  33. A book from your childhood
  34. A book with a love triangle
  35. A book set in the future
  36. A book set in high school
  37. A book with a color in the title
  38. A book that made you cry
  39. A book with magic
  40. A graphic novel
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before
  42. A book that you own but have never read
  43. A book that takes place in your hometown
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language: The Prague Cemetery
  45. A book set during Christmas
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials
  47. A play
  48. A banned book
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
  50. A book you started but never finished
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sechs, sei, sex, sé, seis, six unique/different/unusual things about me

Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life. Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

  1. I know that if I hit my right wrist against the base of my left palm my middle finger ‘wiggles’ longer than the middle finger of my left if you do the opposite. My hypothesis is that it’s a result from breaking my third metacarpal in high school (or was it the proximal phalange). Perhaps the fact that I know that is the odd thing.
  2. I read, a lot, and lots of random selections. My coworker’s husband dubbed me the literary one the first time I hung out with them. Likewise they had a friend from Australia visiting and it came about that I was reading a biography on Catherine the Great. The only thing the girl could ask was why. When at first I didn’t have an answer she gave me a very odd look. Then I recalled the original reasoning and that seemed to placate her. The reasoning was still shaky, but apparently I had to have some tenuous reason.
  3. I am a published author, sort of. In high school I submitted a piece of poetry into a competition and it was accepted into that year’s anthology of young poets for our state or region. I don’t think I even have a copy anymore and vaguely remember the poem being quite silly.
  4. At age sixteen I was well versed in parliamentary law. Although it may be a dying system I actually competed in an event to display how well I could conduct myself in a business meeting. It’s probably a good thing I had this training. Although it bugs me that not every meeting I go to is run this way, it has trained me to somewhat keep my tongue in check.
  5. I always have to pause before I say the word subtle. When I was in school I had issues with spelling (that still persist to this day). So, as instructed, I would sound the word out in my head. However subtle was one of the words that I wrote much more often then I said. So when I say that word aloud, if I’m not careful, I pronounce the ‘b’ despite the fact it is suppose to be silent.
  6. I am training for a 5K obstacle course (called a Foam-K or something like that). Although hundreds of people participate this event and there are several events around the States it may not be exciting or that unique but I am terribly excited for it. I think it’s the only way I would actually run. I detest running, it brings back flashes of my junior high track coach following us in her car as we ran on the gravel roads in February (or was it a snowy March). I was always in the rear so I got to be good friends with her grill.

*bonus* as the title of the post may allude to, I have always enjoyed listening to other languages. I would often go to the library and get language tapes. Although I can only speak English, to this day I enjoy listening to them.

Condition Blue…

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I don’t do well under pressure. I freeze up and then over react emotionally. I have vague imprints of reacting well when in a jam but I can’t call them to the front of my mind to evaluate them. Readily available are times where I reacted disproportionately poorly with a given stimulus.

Honestly, I can’t recall any real crises I’ve endured. Oh, unless you count accidents, I’ve been in a couple of those. In that given set of circumstances I was able to keep calm until I had an appropriate moment in which I was able to break down. Then I cried and after a few moments of self pity (or shock or whatever) I moved on. I get’s that’s my M.O. Repress/suppress emotions until a time that they can be drudged up and dealt with properly. Until that time I have things to do.

Obviously given my knee-jerk reaction I don’t put pressure and crisis in the same category. Given enough pressure I do not do nearly so well. I think the difference is that a crisis is an isolated incident where as pressure can build up over time, unnoticed, until it just gets to be too much and then there is a volcano of emotion. Obviously volcanoes are rarely good (I can’t think of an instance when an eruption was good but I’m sure there’s been one instance, right?).

All in all I think my crisis reactions are satisfactory for now, I don’t plan on improving them since to do that I’d have to go through them. However if the instances arise I hope I can preform better than I have in the best, there is always room for improvement. I am not happy with my reaction to everyday pressure though, usually I’m able to shrug it off, I just need to find constructive outlets to de-stress at night to ensure residual pressure from the day isn’t carried over into the next day. That way there should be no pressures right?

Maybe I’ve acknowledged this on a subconscious level and that’s why I decided to pick up volleyball and music. Exercise always releases endorphins and is a good release in and of itself. Even playing my piddly chords the last few nights has chilled me right out for bed. It unwinds me more than anything else, especially reading since I get so caught up in what is happening to the character(s) (WHY DID SHE JUST JUMP OFF A BUILDING?!).

So long answer summed up: Yes, I’m happy with how I react in a real crisis. I’m working on being happier for my reaction to everyday ‘crises’.

I resolve to use my napkin

I feel that New Year’s resolutions fail partially because the person making them resolves to do something thing that isn’t in their nature, it’s a vague resolution, or both. For example ‘I resolve to work out for an hour everyday’ or ‘I resolve to be healthier’. The first is doomed to fail because it can be quite an undertaking to go from never working out to committing to 7 hours each week. The second is so nondescript that the sheer ‘nothing to go on’ – ness of it would make it broken in about a week.

With that in mind my buddy Allie and I set out to make some resolutions. As we brained stormed we tried to focus on various parts of our lives. In the social we discussed perhaps adding ‘date more’ or ‘put yourself out their more’ (for me). Those were nixed though. For starters they go against my nature (as much of a social creature as I am, I don’t really have the confidence to go out to a random place by myself  and strike up a conversation with some random person). Then there is the vagueness of the addition of ‘more’, going just once would be ‘more’ but wouldn’t really change me like resolutions are challenged to do. Thirdly they would rely on outside force to do something I try to avoid when making my resolutions.

In the end we both agreed we had to make quantifiable resolutions if we wanted any hope of meeting them. Although a couple of mine go against my nature (and one relies on outsiders) in the end I’m fairly happy with the list we came up with. Without further ado the list numbered in no particular order:

  1. Read three non-fiction books (I pretty much only read fiction, it’d be nice to diversify a bit).
  2. Participate in 150 minutes of active living a week.
  3. Learn to juggle three balls (eventually I want to be able to juggle pins. I have these old juggling pins as decorations in my guest room and they call to me).
  4. Write for fifteen minutes every day (blogging alone will guarantee that but I would like to journal ‘more’ too. Especially since my memory is particularly sieve-like).
  5. Go on ten day-ventures (originally when I started this blog I had aspirations of exploring Iowa, well this is the year it begins).
  6. Set a budget and stick to it (my only non-quantifiable one, but hopefully the money I’m able to set aside as a result will be quantity enough).
  7. Win a volleyball game. (This is a bit of a cheat since I am on a team of nine but hopefully, hopefully this one will be met in January. My volleyball team (the bruised lemons) has gone down a level so we’ll actually be playing people at our skill level. However since we got dangerously close to winning one of our tournament games I think this resolution is quite attainable despite having to rely on others).

Resolution NapkinThere you have it, my seven quantifiable resolutions for the New Year. Written, quite fittingly, on the back of a napkin. In an attempt of accountability I kept my buddies and she kept mine (she kindly sent me a pic of it though). Other resolutions that crossed my mind were learn guitar (which I am going to try but I’m terrible at keeping time and I’m teaching myself to play Hendrix style. Always brilliant, that’s me), learn Italian, or cook three ‘proper’ meals each week.

41 days of Celebration: Days 23-36

Day 23: Friday, December 14: WHO Friday
I know, I know, not as good of a ring as “WHO Wednesday” but I realized I had forgotten an Christmas episode when I looked at how many there were vs how many Wednesdays there were during this season of celebration. I always forget this episode exists because it falls in that grey area of after a season but before the specials so it really is just a trick. Anyway instead of watching a movie Friday night I watched The Next Doctor episode. Only it was a lie! He wasn’t the next doctor (hence no Matt Smith) but 10’s hair was once again fabulous. Seriously, sign me up for that job.

Day 24: Saturday, December 15: War Horse/Tree Decorating
IMG_2910 Nothing says Christmas like carnage right? That’s what I found when I went to War Horse. That play is phenomenal. Who ever developed that deserves a gold star. I was shocked at how they were able to portray even a slight degree of the genuine terribleness (bad word, sorry) of war. *Spoiler* There was this scene where the horses were going into battle. There were the two main horses at the front of the stage and then a handful of others lined up next/behind them (they were standing parallel to the front of the stage charging the other side). As they are charging machine fire starts and bombs start to fly. All of a sudden you see the torso of a man fly off one of the horses. Very blunt, it put things in sharp focus and it was only a puppet. Only during intermission was my mind able to process that the back horses had never had actors on them, but it was too late. The die had been cast and the impression made. Spoiler over. Anyway, I really enjoyed the play although I don’t know if I could go through that emotional rollar coster again. It was quite tasking in that way, I cried twice, so exhausting.

IMG_2908Afterwards, once we returned home my sister and I set about decorating the Christmas tree. This was the first year we got a blue spruce (usually go with a fir of some sort) and it was fun getting something new. Although we did have to wear gloves to decorate it, the needles were pretty spiky, but the end result was quite lovely and new.

Day 25: Sunday, December 16: Cooking/Classic (Little Women)
IMG_3126It was a fabulous day of cooking, although I should have read the instructions more clearly. Then I would have known I was making five dozen sugar cookies. Ah well, the more the merrier, right? I also made Ninja bread men and bark. Two kinds of bark, one would have done, but peppermint and M&M were made and enjoyed. Later that day, after the cookies had been rolled and cooled I popped in Little Women which is always bittersweet. I enjoy the movie so much, but it is so very sad, bits of it anyway. This viewing of it was just the same in that regards.

Day 26: Monday, December 17: Mail out Christmas Cards
Christmas LettersI finally met my goal of getting my cards out on Monday!! Yes, later than I expected, but done…and before Christmas to boot. So that was a good ‘Christmas’ task done. The picture is a bit rough, decided to use the digital file for showing the inside and the lighting in my apartment is special so that’s why they don’t quite match up – color wise.

Day 27: Tuesday, December 18: Wrap family presents
PresentsLast year we tried to implement everyone wrapping with a different color, why I can’t recall. Since we all live apart that was pretty easy to do. I have been on a green kick (if the Christmas cards weren’t a clue) so I continued that onto the wrapping I did for my family. (Which worked out because only one other family member did green and she chose dark green.) I even decided to print out some special cards at work. I figured eventually my nephew will be in charge or handing out so I designed the tags to have both faces and names (since he wont really be able to read at first). Now if I can only remember where the files are next year…

Day 28: Wednesday, December 19: WHO Wednesday
Ah, one of the saddest Christmas Specials to date, A Christmas Carol. Well, both of Eleven’s are pretty sad (or make me cry at least). I really quite enjoy this one, it may be my favorite. Actually, I’m pretty sure it is, and I quite enjoy how it parallels The Christmas Carol (hence it being titled the same) but has it’s own twists (Like Amy Pond/Williams being the ghost of Christmas present). Anyway, continuing with the WHO Wednesday was the first of Matt Smith’s Christmas specials and he does it justice, of course.

Day 29: Thursday, December 20: Finish presents for my pals
IMG_3130I decided to get my gal pals gifts that could only be gotten (bad grammar I know, but not sure which other word to use, acquired?) in Story City. Oh what fun that was. I had already picked out little figurines for them but made them notepads at work to go with them as well. Finally finished the notepads and was able to wrap them too (it was a bit of a shoty job though, it’s hard to wrap hippos and pigs, and don’t get me started on eagles).

Day 30: Friday, December 21: CLEAN / photo booth props
I was hosting a holiday party so I needed to get things cleaned up. I had the food done (since I’ve been baking sweets all month) but did need to get the apartment ready. I also quickly cut out some photo props, although they pretty much went on used except one photo (below) since I had them out of sight behind the photo curtain, out of sight out of mind and unused. Brilliant Jamie, just brilliant.

Day 31: Saturday, December 22: Holiday PHoliday Propsarty
As stated above I had a party. My mom commented that she wasn’t sure where my oldest sister and I got these ideas about having Christmas party, but to me it comes to no surprise. My mom is the great instigator of bringing family together, especially around the holidays (hence we usually have 20+ grown adults at our house for a long Thanksgiving weekend. People on top of people for three days, but it’s family so you let it pass). And since friends are the family we choose why wouldn’t I want to bring them together. Okay stepping off my box now, I had a mini reunion with all of my friends (many from high school) and it was nice to be together and catch up for the evening. Shenanigans were had and memories were made, the best byproducts of any gathering, right?

Day 32: Sunday, December 23: Finish presents / ‘Cooking’ but no classic
Some how I still had last minute presents. It’s not like Christmas was a surprise or anything but I spent most of the day inefficiently finishing the design on some personalized planners for my mom and dad. Dad asked for a calendar, I did one further and decided to do a weekly calendar. Then I decided if I had all the work done it wouldn’t be that hard to then replace all the photos for my mom to have her own version. Took forever, granted I had the television on in the background which I’m sure ups my time by 50% or so..so there’s that. But it was worth it in the end because they loved them (I think, they certainly seemed to).

Bath CrayonsOh, I also realized that I had a TON of goodies. I guess I didn’t really keep count of just how many tupperwares I was filling while I’ve been baking over the last month. However that didn’t keep me out of the kitchen, oh no, I just didn’t make the Bon-bons and other miscellaneous things I was going to try. Instead I tried making home made bath crayons for my nephew. I HATE melting stuff in the microwave but it felt weird to put soap on the stove to melt so I tried it. I’m pretty sure these will crumble as soon as they hit the water but hopefully he can get one use out of them.

Day 33: Monday, December 24: Last minute wrapping / journey to my parents
I worked a half day and then headed home. It was a bit of a surprise that my eldest sister’s family wouldn’t get there until right before bed but that was no big deal, the rest of us had a mini-cribbage tournament. I did fairly well for never playing before, I got second (out of four) so that was fun. I didn’t do as well the following day in our six-person tournament. But that’s fine, I’m now a bit addicted to playing cribbage though, whoops.

Day 34: Tuesday, December 25: CHRISTMAS DAY IS FINALLY HERE!!!!
Typical Christmas:

  • Wake up semi-early (this year to a screaming/excited two year old)
  • Marathon unwrapping of presents
    (complete with the enjoyment that comes from surprising others)
  • Enjoy gifts
  • Take naps
  • Enjoy fabulous Christmas Dinner
  • Family movie (we watched Star Wars Episode 4 this year, that’s why my family is awesome)
  • Cribbage tournament

Day 35: Wednesday, December 26: WHO Wednesday
Although there was a new WHO episode premiered on Christmas Day (I believe) I didn’t watch that one, nope. I finished up with the old ones. (Not entirely sure if the new one is available in the states or not.) This week it was the The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe. Par for Doctor Who it was magical, simple (yet epic), dangerous and done in time for Christmas.

Day 36: Thursday, December 27: Christmas Vacation
Compliments of my sister, I know have a handful of Holiday movies. I decided I couldn’t wait until next year and cracked open Christmas Vacation. I haven’t seen this movie in forever and it certainly made me laugh. Good grief Griswolds, nothing ever goes right.

Ideal Saturdays [Daily Prompt]

What would my ideal Saturday be? Perhaps I’m being influenced by the season or circumstance (the heat is out in my apartment so even though I’m not cold my brian is telling me I should be) but I think my ideal Saturday would involve burrowing. I’d wake up, make my self breakfast (waffles or pancakes with a mug of chai or coco), snuggle up on the couch with a quilt and dive into a good book (literally, my ‘too read’ pile is getting obnoxiously big). Why am I not partaking in said utopia today? One of my besties is graduating with her masters today and she came down last night to stay and celebrate with me! I’m so proud of her. Speaking of, I should go be a hostess.

Fun prompt, although now I’m torn between wanting to hang with my buddy and wanting to be anti-social and curl up on the couch. Until next time ~ Q