Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

IMG_7917

This past weekend, I had the honor of helping represent The Harry Potter Alliance at ALA Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida. I was thrilled about the opportunity for a number of reasons. The biggest was that quite simply I love the volunteer work I do for the HPA, so getting the chance to talk about it for four days straight is basically my idea of heaven. I’m also debating whether I want to get a Master’s in Library Science as well, so spending a weekend talking to librarians sounded wonderful. Side bonus – I picked up some ARCs, met a bunch of authors and was able to get a few signed books as a result! (I’m already looking at these to build our wish list for next year’s Accio Books campaign – don’t even know yet what charity we’re working with but gathering the materials and knowledge to build them a library!)

That said, I think my favorite find so far is Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. (Yes, that’s right, I’m in my 30s, but my favorite find was graphic novel for kids.) Geared towards middle grades, Roller Girl is a relatable story about a young girl in that awkward time between elementary school and junior high when people change and friendships grow apart. After watching a roller derby bout for the first time, Astrid decides to take up skating and signs up for a roller derby summer camp, assuming that her best friend will join as well. Instead, her friend joins a dance camp with another friend; she has no interest in joining roller derby at all. Now, the heroine must learn this tough new sport while discovering who she is on her own. (Bonus – it is an accurate depiction of roller derby!)

If you’re book shopping for a kid between 4th and 8th grade (or, you know, happen to be a 30-something who loves roller derby), I highly recommend this book. A+  for both the writing and artwork.

Annual Book Challenge

Last year’s reading challenge was an abysmal failure. I did not anticipate actually having a social life for once, so I fell off that challenge quickly. It’s very disappointing – it seemed really interesting and fun. But alas, I didn’t even hit my normal 50 books for the Goodreads challenge. (To be fair though – I read a LOT of fanfiction this year. There were easily novels worth of fanfic.)  That said, I’m still going to try again this year. Why?

1. Fifty books is a fair goal to read. That’s less than a book a week. If I actually put my mind to it, it’s an easy goal that can be achieved by re-instituting my old rule of reading for 30 minutes before bed each night.

2. Books are a wonderful way to calm the mind and improve the spirit.

Both PopSugar and BookRiot have reading challenges out this year. The PopSugar challenge includes 52 books, many of which are in my comfort zone, and many are outside of it.  Very few of them seem all that particularly difficult; in fact, I have books on my shelf for nearly all of them.

BookRiot’s Challenge is called “Read Harder.” There’s a lot of overlap between the two, which has me considering tackling both challenges at once. “Read Harder” is shorter than the PopSugar one, but the prompts are a little meatier:

Continue reading

New Things Goals

I seem to have a complete inability to blog in a timely manner. I have been making attempts at trying new things though!

1. Dapper Day at Disney

2. Ate a snail!

3. Graduated college. Finally!

4. Stayed at the new Cabana Bay Resort at Universal (so brand new it still smelled like paint)

5. Played some really hardcore laser tag (I’ve played laser tag once as a kid, but it was a long time ago and a very carefree laser tag compared to this Call of Duty-esque game.)

6. Helped run a book drive (currently going on! Drop your books off at the Winter Park Library through May 21st!)

7. Bought food for a homeless person (a sadly subversive act in a town where this has been made illegal, at least if you feed more than 19 or 20)

8. Voluntarily wear a dress to work

9. Pay for an expensive meal for my parents (usually the other way around)

10. Volunteered to help get people set up with health insurance as the ACA deadline loomed closer

11. Held a HP meetup large enough that we took over an entire restaurant. (Seriously! They closed it down for us!)

12. Cosplayed as Professor Umbridge (Portkey to Magic’s Yule Ball)

 

Plus a few new recent things that I promise I’ll blog about. But now I have a nice place to keep everything organized!

 

A Tale of Two Julep Boxes

I recently made the decision to start getting in touch with my feminine side and started using makeup regularly for the first time (I used to put it on for some special occasions, but generally stay away from it. Now I’m wearing it everywhere, though I’ve started small.) To help me out, I’ve subscribed to a couple of beauty subscription boxes. First up – Julep.

With Julep, you take a test which decides which of their “styles” that you match (I am apparently “Boho Glam”), and they send you a intro box for that style. I had that sent to me but since it had colors that I love but can’t wear to work (blue and silver – Ravenclaw colors!), I went ahead and ordered the March Boho Glam box as well since I absolutely adored the colors in it and could wear them at work. Both boxes shipped out a few days later on the same day, but via two different methods. The intro box was shipped using USPS, The March box was sent via DHL. USPS was scheduled for a Thursday delivery but arrived a day early! DHL, on the other hand, tracked my box as leaving Washington state a couple of days ago but nothing since. It’s not scheduled for delivery though until Friday-Tuesday, so there’s still hope! I’m just always uncomfortable when something I’ve paid for just disappears off the radar like that. At this point, I’d be happier if it was stuck in the black hole that is Jacksonville.

Julep

(It’s hard to tell, but the nail colors really are blue and silver.)

UPDATE: Julep box #2 arrived one day after the last day in the delivery window. It was missing and then just all of a sudden my phone blew up with updates from the post office that it arrived at the local office. The box is giant, particularly considering it has five nail polish colors, one lip gloss, and a piece of candy.

 

Sundowners Syndrome, or This is not my best day ever

It’s been a rough holiday this year. Since coming home, my family broke down and told me that my granddad has Sundowners Syndrome, which is a disorder that often comes with dementia or Alzheimer’s that affects behavior at night. Once the sun goes down, there’s an increase in restlessness, confusion, irritability, anxiety, depression… it’s awful. Apparently he’s had it for awhile, but it’s getting worse. He’s woken me up every night around 11PM or so, wandering around the house trying to figure out if things are okay.

On Christmas Eve, we left him alone for a couple of hours so we could go to Kim’s house for Christmas Part 1, only to have the Sheriff’s Department call us on every cell phone at the party (not just ours – every attendee. Literally Every Cell Phone) in order to let us know that someone called the cops because he was out wandering. They had a couple of deputies sit with him at the house until we arrived to take care of him (which meant Dad missed one of his very rare opportunities to get out of the house, as well as an opportunity to spend time with his fiancee’s family.) When we made it home, the deputies were very sweet about it, but said when they arrived, he was wandering around the yard calling for his cat. He keeps letting the cat out and then worrying about where it is five minutes later. We’ve all been trying to stop him from letting out his cat anyways, but he does what he wants, really. Nothing we say is penetrating the dementia. 

So today, all day long it’s been cloudy and the Sundowners has him in its grip. He kept trying to let the cat out. We kept telling him no (I fear we were a little too strong about it at times, leading to some hurt feelings at times.) So naturally, everyone here goes to bed around 9PM (it’s the middle of nowhere. Nothing else to do but sleep), I go to bed at 11PM, and 11:30PM, I hear my dad and granddad arguing. My granddad popped up in the middle of the night and just let the cat out. It’s absolutely freezing outside and he all of a sudden remembered that that’s one of the many reasons why we told him not to let the cat out. Of course, by the time he’s closed the door, he can’t remember if he’s let the cat out or not. So he starts going from room to room, looking for the cat. At one point, he even flips the light on in my room to look for him, startling me to the point where I’m fully awake. He and Dad got into a bad argument, during which P’pa threatened my dad’s life, and Dad threatened to put him in a home (which might be more than a threat. We’ve been discussing the fact that P’pa might be slipping beyond home care at this point.)

It’s now 2AM and I’m still up. The only way I could get P’pa to go to sleep is to promise him I’d stay awake and keep an eye out for the cat. I even went outside and searched for him at one point, made even more fun by the fact that there is only one street light on this .9 mile long street. One. I didn’t find the cat, which is unsurprising. The cat is probably off enjoying his first taste of the outdoors all day. I don’t expect him back until 7AM, yet still I sit, because I promised. 

Dad’s currently asleep and snoring on the couch next to me. It’s one of those giant wrap around couches, so he’s got the long part, I have the short loveseat part, and the dog came up and claimed half of my part, so any fantasies I may have entertained of cat naps have fizzled out. 

New Thing #2: That Time I Ate a Snail

New Thing #2: That Time I Ate a Snail

I’ve had a very firm “no bug” rule when it comes to eating ever since I learned in elementary school that people eat a ton of spiders in their sleep. I held firm on this over the years, even with the pressure of eighth grade science class when our professor offered extra credit to any student brave enough to visit him during one of his volunteer shifts at the Smithsonian and eat one of those cricket tacos they served at the station he manned.

However, a couple of weekends ago we were going to EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival (excellent event if you haven’t been, by the way – lots of small plates and cute little glasses of various forms of alcohol) and my friend Christy wanted some escargot from France. With absolutely NO liquid courage in me, I tried it!

Thoughts? It was pretty good, though I have absolutely nothing to compare it to and don’t know if this is how it’s traditionally served. It was in a tiny bread bowl with tons of butter, so buttered bread is all I really tasted. The texture of the snail inside was a bit like a cooked kalamata olive. Overall, not bad though. I’m interested in trying it again, but I’m not 100% sure I’d order it in a restaurant.

New Things: Dapper Day, and reflections on turning 31

Well, I totally failed at trying to do 31 new things before I turned 31, but I haven’t given up! I’m going to give it a try again this year. I’m actually doing well so far; it’s really just a matter of taking the time to blog everything afterwards and before I forget. 

I turned 31 this year. Turning 30 didn’t feel like a big deal to me. It just felt like the natural progression of things, like “Hey, my uncertain 20s are over. This next decade is going to rock!”  But 31? I feel *old*. I’m taking vitamins like my grandma used to (even have the old grandma daily pill organizer!), I’m losing my ability to keep my tongue when I’m pissed at someone, and I’m more inclined to stay home than to go have a fun night out. I’m also becoming more risk averse. I know I need some sort of big change in order to reach my goals in life, but it’s getting harder to pull myself away from the known issues with my current life in order to take the leap towards a new, potentially better (but potentially worse!) life. Needless to say, it’s more important now than ever to force myself to get out and try these new experiences, otherwise one day I’ll wake up and realize I spent my 30s lounging in my PJs while reading The West Wing fanfiction.

To celebrate my birthday this year, my friend Melissa and I went to Dapper Day at Walt Disney World. Dapper Day is an event that’s been taking place for a couple of years now. It started at Disneyland and worked it’s way over to the East Coast and Paris. Basically, a bunch of people dress up in either 1950s clothing or stylish modern clothing and visit the theme park. For the WDW event, it was held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which has a 1950s theme throughout the park. We had a lot of fun – there were tons of people there in costumes, which always makes me happy. Everyone looked fantastic… and we had a number of people stop us to tell us we looked very pretty, which was a nice boost to the ego! Later in the evening, we all met up at The Great Movie Ride to, well, ride the ride. They took a bunch of pictures as we were going into that, but I haven’t seen them yet. I’d love to though – it would be great inspiration for next year’s costume! (Yes, already thinking about next year… particularly since it’s at MK, which I love more than the Studios.)

Itzel even came over the night before to help me with some pin curls…

Image

…that did not work out so well.

Image

 

It’s time to accept the fact that I have full-on Hermione hair that can not be worked with. But I think I still managed to look good for the event!

Image

It’s amazing what hats can hide. (You should have seen my hair at the end of the day when I took the hat off. Eeeek!)