Monday, November 24, 2014

A Distorted View

Often when I have finished a semester's work, or gotten through a particularly difficult period of sickness, I will go into overdrive - trying to do everything that I missed out on doing while I was busy with other things.
I will keep lists of things I want to do once I am 'able to' and then try and fulfill them all at once.
You know what else tends to happen after I get through periods of sickness or work? I get sick again. Because I have pushed myself to do SO MUCH, my body just sits right down in the middle of the road and says 'No. No more.' and no amount of cajoling or encouraging or bribing will get it back up again.
I am at this place right now, sitting in the middle of the road and observing how I react to things. A lot of old stuff has been coming up for me in the past few days - recognition of how much I've been through, and how much I have left to go. Old fears - of my body, my mind, possible futures or losses. Realisations over how many friends I have lost in the past few years, and, in particular, the ones that I have had to let go of this year.
That last point has been needling me for a few days now. It doesn't upset me as much as it used to - lately it is just a gentle 'oh, I miss them' that arises, and a kind of melancholy that hits me. It doesn't help that my subconscious is sending me dreams of these people - people that I haven't even seen in YEARS in some cases - and letting me wake up thinking that I have restored a friendship I thought of as gone.

I think all of this is a reminder from my body and my soul to take things slow at the moment. A reminder of everything I have been through and how I now need to just take time to remember who I am and what I'm striving for - that's all become a bit lost lately in the medical appointments, hospital visits, Uni work and stress, and the other stuff that has popped up this year. I have a few things that I haven't been able to mourn properly yet, and I need to remember that it is my calling to look after myself - not anybody else's calling.

I sometimes fall into this drive to push myself as hard as those around me - it seems like an excellent idea and perfectly normal. Until I realise that when I push myself as hard as they do, I hit the ground twice as hard. This, it seems, is a lesson I may have to relearn over and over.

Anyway, how do you deal with old issues coming up? Do you try to force them away and power through, or do you take a moment to acknowledge them and let them go?

Love to all who read.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sparkle Points #8

LIFE To Do:
  • collect the piece of pottery I painted... one dayyyyy
  • draft up my first blog post on kpop idols~ more thought has gone into this, especially since there are a bunch of things happening in the kpop world at the moment. Perhaps soon. [still true.]
  • new slightly scary medical thing happening in November. Prepare for this and breathe~ it happened, and it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought. And I recovered quite quickly! :)
  • plans for Xin and my seventh anniversary of dating? working on this. We went to a cafe, and then had a picnic in King's Park. It was absolutely gorgeous.
  • read 16 books in November, with at least 8 of them being Aurealis books :) hmmm well I'm at around 12 at the time of writing, so we shall see!
  • work on my writing more, get into a regular routine of writing and try to stick to it.
  • more exercise! a walk every second day at least, and more yoga. maybe swimming?


UNI To Do:
  • maybe ask for help from someone re: how to enrol in online units? it's a bit bewildering, even with Open Uni people trying to help... I did! The process is happening! :D
  • Finish research essay! Celebrate! working on this...  donnnneeee! :D
  • finish enrolling in units for next year!

WISHLIST (current):
  • G-Dragon Album - Heartbreaker
  • Film for my instant camera! I got some more recently (just a little) and I forgot how much I love this darling device.
  • Crash Course DVDs?
  • a ukelele? maybe? this is a thing I have been semi-considering for a few weeks.
  • maybe a new art print for my wall. slowly choosing one at the moment, I want it to be just right.


This has been very helpful in keeping me active, actually. I hope these posts aren't too boring!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: The Book of Days by K.A. Barker

I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...





Title: The Book of Days
Author: K.A. Barker
Publication Date: September 1st 2014

Synopsis: "Most people believe the best way to forget someone is to throw them down a well. Or lock them in a room with eight keys, or bury them at a crossroad in the thirteenth hour. But they're wrong.
The best way to forget someone is for them never to have existed in the first place.
When sixteen-year-old Tuesday wakes from sleep for the first time, she opens her eyes to a world filled with wonder - and peril. Left only with a letter from the person she once was, Tuesday sets out to discover her past with the help of her charming and self-serving guide, Quintalion.
Along the way she runs into mercenaries, flying cities, airships and a blind librarian. But what is her connection with the mysterious Book of Days - a book that holds untold power..."

My thoughts: I had to give myself a few days to think after finishing this one. First of all, it clearly took me a really long time to get through. This little baby has been sitting n my 'currently reading' shelf on goodreads for over a month and a half now, just waiting for me to read the next little bit. And I think that kind of suggests how I felt about the book overall.

Don't get me wrong, the first chapter was brilliant - the premise was interesting, the characters were fascinating, and the writing was engaging. But I felt like it kind of slipped after that a little. There was just so much happening in this book - all the time - and I found myself not really connecting to ANY character, which made it really hard for me to keep pushing through. I didn't get a chance to get used to any place or person, really, and so that made the emotional commitment to the book really fragile and easy to break.

I can definitely see why other people enjoyed this book, though. It is quite well written, and the characters are really, truly fascinating creatures. Quintalion and the blind librarian (assistant) would be my favourites if I'd had more of a chance to understand them and their motives, but the others had sparks of interest for me, too.

Overall, this was a decent read. Just not one that I would go back to in a hurry. I am, however, interested in what K. A. Barker will be doing next.


I received an unsolicited copy of this book from Pan Macmillan.

You would like this book if: You appreciate John Marsden's taste (he liked the first chapter very much indeed); you like fantasy books with much action and a touch of steampunk.

Rating:  6.5/10

If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sparkle Points #7

Some more updates!

LIFE To Do:
  • collect the piece of pottery I painted... one dayyyyy
  • draft up my first blog post on kpop idols~ more thought has gone into this, especially since there are a bunch of things happening in the kpop world at the moment. Perhaps soon. [still true.]
  • read at least fifteen books in October, 11 of which must be Aurealis nominations This actually went quite well. I read 12 books all up I believe, and while only six of them were Aurealis, I was still pretty pleased.
  • new slightly scary medical thing happening in November. Prepare for this and breathe~
  • revamp chest of drawers done! it looks gorgeous.
  • plans for Xin and my seventh anniversary of dating? working on this.
  • read 16 books in November, with at least 8 of them being Aurealis books :)


UNI To Do:
  • start research essay because do it! :) Started!
  • Complete final blog post on defamation laws for my unit. done and done.
  • maybe ask for help from someone re: how to enrol in online units? it's a bit bewildering, even with Open Uni people trying to help... may have some help lined up for this.
  • re-organise silly withdrawal thing that is being drawn out and taking much longer than it should, because silly. oh my goodness you guys! it was organised and then they finally approved it! thank goodness.
  • Finish research essay! Celebrate! working on this...

WISHLIST (current):
  • G-Dragon Album - Heartbreaker
  • Film for my instant camera! I got some more recently (just a little) and I forgot how much I love this darling device.
  • Crash Course DVDs?
  • 2 ring binder the same as the lovely ones I have, that are somehow super hard to find now. I will find you! I actually haven't had much luck here, but I think I've found a way to reorganise things and re-use one of the lovely ones I already have :)
  • new lanterns from Typo :3 I want to choose some different ones for my room~ done! I ended up getting some letter lights. I will see if I can put a photo below...
  • organisation things for under my bed - ie. those space bag things that you can suck the air out of to store things, and also some sealed boxes to store everything in... MUCH STORING. mostly done! Man, those space-bag things actually work...
  • a ukelele? maybe? this is a thing I have been semi-considering for a few weeks.
  • maybe a new art print for my wall. slowly choosing one at the moment, I want it to be just right.


the letters say 'hon & ocha wa daisuki' which is very rough Japanese for 'I love books and tea.' :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

{2014} October Reading

Books bought:
~ More Fool Me by Stephen Fry
~ Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
~ Harsh Cry of the Heron and Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn
~ Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
~ Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
~ ORDERED: French Milk by Lucy Knisley
~ ORDERED: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Library Book Sale...
~ Japan: Masterpieces from the Idemitsu Collection
~ Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
~ The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
~ The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
~ Paradise by Toni Morrison
~ Room by Emma Donoghue
~ Aikido book (for Xin)

Books received:
Aurealis Awards...
{Please note, from now on since we are receiving so many entries and it's hard to remember what I received when, I am only going to list physical books that I have received for AA, not ebooks. If you would like the full list of nominations at present, please visit my goodreads shelf to see!}
~ Allegiance by Wanda Wiltshire
~ Nymph by Tonya Alexandra
~ Shadow Sister by Carole Wilkinson
~ Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Review books...
~ The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
~ Phantazein edited by Tehani Wessely

Gifts...
~ This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl (with others)
~ Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
~ Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover

Books read:
~ The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke (AA)
~ Demon Dei by L. J. Hayward (AA)
~ More Fool Me by Stephen Fry
~ Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
~ Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
~ The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
~ Phantazein edited by Tehani Wessely
~ The Sorcerer's Spell by Dani Kristoff (AA)
~ Drama Queens and Adult Themes by Kevin Klehr (AA)
~ Beckoning Blood by Daniel de Lorne (AA)
~ Allegiance by Wanda Wiltshire (AA)
~ Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach


I originally set myself the goal of getting through 15 books this month, at least 11 of which were to be Aurealis books. Well, I got to 12... with half of those being AA. Ah well. I'm still doing better than last month! (Way better!) I'm actually really pleased with the amount of Aurealis reading I did this month, but I want to keep increasing it if I can.

As you can see, I got a LOT of books this month. Not just bought by me, but sent to me from friends and such. So many books! My local libraries had a book sale last weekend and so I wandered around two of them and picked up a few lovely things. I also got back into graphic novels a bit this month - I enjoyed Seconds, but I LOVED Relish. I have already made two of the recipes she mentions, and one of them (for chai/spiced tea) I have made multiple times. Just delightful.

Towards the end of the month I started to feel a little stressed by all the things happening at the moment, and I just wanted something to comfort me and give me some joy, so I picked up Fortune's Pawn, the first book of the Pandora trilogy by Rachel Bach. It had been sitting on my bedside table for weeks - borrowed out from the library - just waiting for me to read it, so I finally gave in and picked it up. I'm so glad I did! I am currently reading the second book - Honour's Knight - and enjoying it immensely. I wouldn't say these are my absolute favourite books of all time just yet, but they are just what I need at the moment.

What are you reading at the moment? Is there anything in my books bought/received lists that you think I should get to sooner rather than later?

Love to all who read.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On Guilty Pleasures

I have been thinking about the idea of 'guilty pleasures' lately.
It seems to be this kind of phrase that we roll out for all sorts of things these days - not just food or drink, but books, tv shows and movies, even general activities.
And I've realised that I just don't really buy into it.
I don't feel guilty when I am seeking some sort of specific pleasure. I don't get angry at myself for eating a donut if it's what I really felt like eating. I feel bad for wanting to read some romance books that aren't considered 'great literature'. And I certainly don't generate negativity towards myself when I watch kids tv shows, or perhaps something a little less mind-working like Midsomer Murders or Charmed or Friends.
I tend to decide that, if I am going to enjoy something, then I go ahead and enjoy it, and give myself the freedom of not feeling bad about it later.

Now, let me get this thing out of the way here. Yes, I am unemployed and spend almost all of my time at home (due to illness, but that's beside the point at the moment). Yes, despite being sick a lot of the time and not exercising much at all, I haven't really put on any weight since about 2008 (my metabolism still seems to be working!) and I tend to manage to stay slim despite the overwhelming odds against my doing so. Yes yes yes I acknowledge all of that. But I could still feel guilty for these things if I decided to put that on myself - if I decided to listen to other people more than that inner voice that says 'it would really help me relax if I could do this' or 'I don't know why but I'm really craving this sweet treat'.

There is a line with these things - emotional eating tends to be one of those lines, and procrastination is another (though both kind of have their place). I enjoy these pleasures when I am able to, and I watch my reaction to them. Because when they stop being pleasurable, and start feeling heavy and not as nice anymore, that's when I know I have turned to these pleasures out of a need to avoid something that needs dealing with.

What I'm saying in a very roundabout way here is: are your 'guilty' pleasures really worth so much negativity? Or can they be 'guiltless' pleasures, enjoyed in the moment, without fear of your own inner nagger later? Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trusting the Process


many of my posts lately have probably indicated that I have been lost to illness more often than not lately.
it has been hard. I have not felt like myself 6 days out of 7, and when I do manage to get some of myself back I find it is quickly drained by all the things that have been waiting to be done while I have been drifting on the sea of sickness.
The fact is, I kind of miss Bethwyn during those times. She's pretty rad. She's driven despite her health issues, and she loves things like books, tea, and Cardcaptor Sakura. She delights in the small things like the new flowers that have sprung up in the garden, and her dog going nuts chasing nothing.
But sometimes I just have to trust the flow of things. Sometimes I drift on that sea and I don't remember what I was doing, I don't remember who I am.
But that just makes it all the sweeter when I return and remember.



This random blog post brought to you by three days of flu symptoms and pain :D

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