Category Archives: life

Life and Book Update.

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I apologize. I haven’t blogged in quite some time. I was gone longer than I should have. And it isn’t because I haven’t read. Because I have. I mean I read A Little Life and didn’t blog about it. If I were going to blog about any book in the last few months, it would be that one. December was one heck of the month. We had several snow storms and I was waiting for a storm since I came back from Hungary but the snow can stop now. I got stranded in town for three days and it wasn’t fun. And I might have to stay in town for the next few days again cause of the wind and snow.

I feel like it has been very common knowledge that I have had my demons since I have been back from Hungary. Depression and anxiety, though not officially diagnosed. And I do have to point out that my experience is not as bad as others. I know I have it pretty good. I just have to get through my own head. I know. And I do feel like what I’m feeling is not as intense as it was when I first came back. The anxiety is just an annoying hum in the background and I have to learn how to deal with it.

But let me talk about the books I have read recently.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. So much better than I thought it was going to be. I did this on Audible and it’s 33 hours long. It’s a good thing that I got a dog to walk so I can listen to this. Oh yeah, I got a dog. Named Florence. I went into it expecting that the hype made it out more than it was going to be. No, it was legitimately good.

Jackaby by William Ritter. Not as good as I was hoping it would be. It’s very young Sherlock Holmes and yeah. Not a fan.

A Man called Ove by Fredric Backman. This wasn’t so bad. I didn’t love it, but it had it’s moments that it was charming. I have his other book trying to read but I have a hard time getting into and staying in the story.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I was nervous about this one. I have had it on my TBR for a while but then I hyped it up in my own head. It was good. I love the ending.

The Work of Wolves by Kent Meyers. I got this book when I made a trip to South Dakota and it’s by a South Dakota author. I couldn’t do it. I’m sure some people love this book but I couldn’t finish it. Nope.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I feel like I have read this plot before. It is definitely not my favorite YA.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. The second in a series. I’ve said this before about Riordan and I’ll say it again, he has the same voice in every book. I like it cause of the sarcasm but find a new voice for a main character.

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balsom. I liked part of this book. I liked the flashbacks and I like the elderly man but I hated the relationship between the P.I. and the lawyer. They didn’t have to hook up but they did. Could have been better written.

Rosemary by Kate Clifford Larson. Confession: I was sick during listening to this book and fell asleep during part of it. It was good though. I thought.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s about time I read this. I actually listened to it. It as good. It’s a book I do better listening to rather than reading. It sinks in better. It does give me flashbacks of watching the last Hobbit movie in Hungary. I fell asleep during that movie. I didn’t fall asleep during the book.

A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and the Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens. It was timely. I really liked the Carol and I skimmed the other two. The Carol is probably my favorite Dickens.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julien Rubinstein. Oh Hungary. I love Hungary. I love learning about what happened in Hungary. I think it was well written and it was enjoyable for me cause I recognize names and places in the book. I think this book isn’t for everyone but it definitely good.

I will try to keep up with blogging this year. I will not guarantee it.

Winter Garden Review

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First a personal update. I got a dog. I went to my 10 year high school reunion. I realized that I can’t handle people’s struggle as well as I thought I was starting to do again. I know I have my issues, it just sucks when my issues get in the way of a friendship. I can’t go back now. All I can do is learn from my mistakes. I could write posts upon posts on how I have made a lot of mistakes in the past few years with relationships and how not to make these mistakes. But this is a book review blog.

If you’ve followed my blog for any time, you probably have figured out that I’m a sucker for historical novels. It blends my English degree and my history minor. And because I have a weird fascination with war and I did my senior paper in college on this war, World War II is my weakness. And I have this little spot in my heart about families that try to connect again. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah hit a lot of those spots.

This book is a about a family that has their issues and the mother tells her girls her story without really telling them it’s about her. They have to figure it out. Which is nice to bring them together. It’s nice how that works out. They all open up and get closer in this book. I really don’t know how to feel about the parents’ relationship. Do they really love each other? Did they grow to love each other? How did she really feel about marrying an American soldier? Are they participating in polygamy? The first guy was alive the whole damn time. I’m sure they learned to love each other. He was way more open to loving but I don’t blame her for closing up. I close up a lot for more petty reasons. I mean she did learn to love him, she had to with how she reacted after he died. I do appreciate how she told her story. I like she told it as a fairy tale and I like how they started in regular print and then have a break in a sentence and go into italics. It helped me pay attention because when I know that there’s a story within a story, I space out usually.

I think the girls are way younger than what they really are. Especially with the nicknames. My siblings and I had names we called each other but we haven’t used those names in years. And the girls are in their 40/50’s? What’s the deal? Are they reverting to their childhood?

I get the relationship that these women have. Mainly because I shut down when something happens just like these women do. But I’m glad that they broke down their walls and became close again. There’s hope for me yet. I also like that there was a journey from being told that you are like your mother and hating it to thinking that a pleasure. I also relate to the girls because they’re close to their father. I have always considered myself closer to my dad. And that ending with the real Anya. It makes me happy. The world is right again. It makes me happy they found each other but upset that the mother didn’t find her true love until a year after he died. That’s lame. They should have found each other and then oops, I married another man. But I get what was going on.

I love the writing. Other than the reverting to the childhood. Definitely a go back to book.

Re-entry/life Update.

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I realized I haven’t done a personal update lately. Honestly, there isn’t much going on. I did do a mini-vacation to the South Dakota Black Hills. I have a friend down there and did a little hermit-ing. It’s a long drive and I’m one of those people that don’t stop unless I need to fill gas or my bladder will be exploding in two seconds. I inherited that from my father. He got that from his dad and from delivering bulls. I’ve also given up alcohol for a while. I realized that it would be very easy for me to justify having a few beers or a glass or two of wine by saying that the job was getting to me. I don’t want to be dependent on alcohol. And with being an extreme introvert having to be a CNA at a nursing home, it takes a lot out of a person and getting my rejuvenation from alcohol isn’t okay. I’m also looking at adopting a five year old malamute/shepherd mix.  It’s time for me to have a companion.

The big thing I want to talk about is June 18 of this year. That was the one year of leaving Hungary. I may have mentioned this in passing. It was a hard day on me. I struggled in Hungary. I also had people that I didn’t realize I grew to love in those ten months. People don’t understand how I would complain about Hungary and then be scared to come back. It’s because I didn’t realize there was love underneath the hurt. It’s not easy to describe to someone, especially if they are resistive to what you have to say. The first six months after I came back were very rough on me. I’m still dealing with the consequences. Sleep schedule, ovulation scheduling, (please, if you didn’t see me saying that, you need to read more of my blog) eating, all of that. I realize that there are people that have it rougher but I’m not going to lie that there was a lot of pain. I do realize there’s variations and depths to pain. I have realized that when me, specifically, is in pain, I don’t deal with someone else’s pain. At all. I had people wanting me and needing me to be present for their pain and I could not do it. I know I have one person, in particular, that will never forgive me for that. I regret that but I cannot go back and fix that. In that first six months, I needed to heal and reacclimatize to my own culture. It’s normal. When I was in training to go overseas, they were warned us about this. They said we will have two homes. It’s true. I keep in contact with a lot of people in Hungary, ex-pats and Hungarians alike. It breaks my heart every time they ask me when I’m coming back. I have two homes. And it’s weird. I talk to people in Hungary in spurts and then it’s come back to us. They can definitely tell at work when I miss Hungary. I start the shift very melancholy. If only I could live both places easier.

The one major thing about me being home and I noticed this some in Hungary that I am more sensitive to certain things. Little things that people don’t mean anything by hurt me and broken plans send me into a not a good place. Certain songs send me in a melancholy. Certain people I have to guard my heart against, even thinking about them, because I overreact. Sometimes this makes me feel silly that I can’t handle certain situations like I feel like I should. I also feel bad for anyone that is close to me or will be close to me because I have issues. Part of the reason I’ve become a little bit of a recluse. But there’s no shame in healing. And please don’t think that this happens all the time. It doesn’t anymore. I have come a long way. I wish certain people would have invested in me more after coming home.

I know that this isn’t my normal post and it would probably be a lot more in-depth if it wasn’t almost three in the morning. But I need something to do while listening to rain and carpool karaoke. Probably more of me at a later date. I am okay. I’m an adult, more than before, but I am an adult. I can handle this. Please don’t worry.

Not a Book Review. Life.

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I have gone back and forth on this post. After the last personal post, I told myself I wouldn’t do a personal post again because I got some criticism from people that made me upset. I figured why should I share my life if I get what I got. But then thinking, I shouldn’t be scared to share my life on my blog. I shouldn’t let the criticism get to me especially when it’s from someone who doesn’t know the whole story. There are people who have followed me since before I became a book blog. I didn’t hold back before and although I probably will here back more now, I’ll see how it works having personal stuff back on the blog. And this post will be pretty personal because just journaling isn’t enough sometimes.

It’s one thing to come back from living in a foreign country. Everyone reacts a little different. Some people transition just fine, some go through PTSD. It depends on what went on when they were overseas, what’s gone on back home, personality. It depends on a lot of things. If I came back last summer to a perfect situation, I think I would have transitioned fine. But it was not perfect. First I came back to a family that didn’t know how to react to me or help me. Then I also came home to a not great situation with the friend who was like my sister. She was going through a lot, more than me, and I couldn’t support her. So until 2 weeks ago, we’ve been going back and forth. In her grief she said things that I took way to personally and still haunt me. I told her minor things that were wrong when there was more going on to shield her. Two weeks ago or so, she said enough and we’re through. Forever. I think it’s a good thing that we have parted ways, in a way. There was a lot of anxiety and hurt on both sides. But forever is a long time.

In December, what prompted that last personal post, my sister-in-law left my brother. There’s a lot of details that I’m not going into with that. Just know that it has not been a great situation. They have been together almost 18 years, almost 2/3 of my life, and she was like a sister to me and now the respect and love is not there anymore. This one didn’t hit me hard, it hit everyone hard because they didn’t let anyone know what was going on.

So within too short of a time I have lost two women who were like family. One I will take a lot of the responsibility for because there were things I should have done differently. But hindsight is 20/20. The other wasn’t my fault. I looked around and realized that the other people who were in my life previously had not asked how I was holding up. They saw and knew of what was going on and still did not want to know. I admit some blame on some relationships going south because I won’t let anyone close anymore. But it’s hard to want people close to you when you hurt and you feel like you’re the only one trying. Again, that’s not with everyone that was in my life, but it’s with some.

What do I have now? I have no close friends I can rely on. Though my family is close, I cannot adequately convey to them what has all gone on and get what I need from them. I have trust issues. I hurt. I’m in various stages of grief. I have the want to start new somewhere but am scared to leave. I have a hard time doing a lot reading. I hit a reading slump. I have read a lot so that doesn’t worry me. Reading’s been the one thing that has made me feel understood.

Since I’ve come home, have I been selfish and self-centered and hard to deal with and unfair and done a lot of harm to a lot relationships? Yes. Do I have anxiety? Hell yes. It’s not fun. Am I still going through re-entry? Sorta. Coming back to your culture gets easier but you still have moments. Have I shared too much in this post? Probably. Are there things I will have wish I had added in this post? Most likely. I realize I have not been a lot of good things in the past two years. I get that. I realize that. I’m trying to work on that.

Now will every blog from now be like this? No. I just wanted people to know what was going on. It’s a lot. So if I haven’t seem normal, there’s a reason. I will never be the old me who was always joking around. I mean, I’ll joke around but it won’t be the same.

 

I’m Angry.

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I’m angry. Let’s back up. Let’s cover all our bases and back up. Since February of last year, I have been a little all over the place emotionally. It has escalated since last August. In the past year and a half or so, I have failed at almost everything. I failed at teaching. I failed at being a friend and lost the best friend I’ve ever had due to my own stupidity. I feel like I have failed epically at re-entering my own culture. I fail at being in crowds and at being alone. I can handle my own failures. Because I can usually make them right. Not always but sometimes but that’s okay because I know how to apologize.

It’s when others start to fail me I get upset. Recently, as in since Sunday, someone that I have known, loved and considered part of the family since I was 10 has disappointed me to the point that I probably will never forgive them. I don’t know how to. Not only has this person disappointed me, they’ve disappointed many people. I’m losing someone from my life that has been around for almost 2/3 of my life. And I’m not even losing them to death, it’s due to their own stupidity. And they’ve hurt my brother more than anyone else. That pisses me off. My brother has been an idol of mine for years and I get protective of him. And I hate that he’s hurt. This has what made me angry. The insensitivity of people. And it makes me not want to let anyone in and push everyone out.

The Last Juror Review and mini life update

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I’m pretty convinced that there are authors that everyone has that they refuse to try. Like I never see myself reading a Danielle Steele novel. Not my style. From what I know anyway. Until recently, John Grisham was on that list. I don’t know why. Maybe because he was too overrated? I don’t know. Just never went to him. I’m not sure how it happened but I have a copy of The Last Juror by John Grisham. The theory that I have this book because I bought it at a book sale or store and I thought that I should expand my tastes. That’s the only way I can see that I had bought it.

I decided to read this book the other night. Like I was running out of books…..yeah. I did read the back a while ago and set it aside to read it soon. So it wasn’t like it was never on the list. I don’t regret reading this book. It was decent.

At first I didn’t get why Callie was in the story or such a big part of the story. I was very mistrusting of the author. I can’t help it, it’s what I do. Sometimes I’m mistrusting of where an author is going. It’s like I think I know better than the author and know how it’s going to end. I do that. I get cocky and be like ‘I know better than you author….haha’. The author proved me wrong. I didn’t fully expect the ending. But at the same time I kind of did. The crazy lawyer had to be in the book for a reason.

I was very aware that this was the 1970’s. It was mentioned a lot weather it was actually telling us and the narrator talking about his long hair and his still hippie clothes or it was talking about cultural things like having a race thing with Callie on the jury. I was kind of interested in the laws of the time. Grisham does say at the end of the book that he distorts the law but they do talk about a law in the book that life in prison was really 10 years in Mississippi. This also made me think about media’s involvement in trials. It made me think about how the media affects trials today. Media is very involved in the legal system. It’s on different levels depending on what goes on and who’s involved like if it’s on a national level or a local level.

Sometimes I forgot who people were. Like I forgot the previous editor’s real name and only figured it out like 2 pages later if it didn’t mention his nickname. Looking back, I realize that there was a lot of backstory. Like you got the backstory of the paper and of Callie and the Padgitts. At the time, I didn’t notice how much there was. But it gives you an idea of the people. Which is important because without the people there is no story. But it was the little details that I think made the book better.

This is a random thing but I was just talking about how since I’ve been come back that I will notice Hungarian things in life, actually more in literature than anything. This book has one Hungarian and he dresses the editor nicely.

So the last couple nights, I have been very anxious about being alone in the house. And it’s only been very recently. Days are fine but it gets dark and I’m not okay. It’s like I feel like someone else is in the house. At first I was like, it’s because it’s October and Halloween is coming up. But then I really figured it out. My television isn’t working right. I don’t have it hooked up to cable or anything so all I have to listen to is DVD’s or VHS’s an let’s face it, as lovely as VHS’s are, I don’t watch them often. And on my other television in my room, is now skipping DVDs. I’m not a fan. So there’s a lot of silence in my house. A LOT OF SILENCE! So I’m fully aware of how empty the house is. Of course I’m going to start imagining things, start thinking I feel things around. So that’s that.

I also went to a library’s book sale. It was rather large and I was in heaven. The way they did it was they weighed it and charged you a dollar a pound for books and then they use it to buy new books for the library. I got 21 books for $18. I did go and get 2 regular priced books but that’s not the point. I got a lot of books for cheap. I also decided that I will teach myself how to hand quilt. So I got supplies for that. I also got together with someone I’ve known since college who also lived overseas. It was nice to see her and talk because she gets how it is coming back.