What Happened?

It’s a question I ask myself every day.

But in this context, what happened so I didn’t write in two weeks? It’s something I like to call ‘Mere Functional Depression’.

I’ve only been doing the mere stuff to get me by. Work, rehearsal/performance, food, and bathing. Anything creative or hobby-ish practically didn’t exist. Of course, I tried. There are a certain three people who are making sure I do those things, and I’ve at least tried. I worked on some cross stitch, I drew. But none of it was joyful as it usually is. I just did it to do it. Writing was put on the wayside, unfortunately. I didn’t have anything interesting to say.

I can’t say if I’m fully back since I’m still in that uncreative yet functional funk. But at least I have an update for you.

Wednesday, I’ll talk about the play I was just in, and Friday…I don’t know. Guess we’ll see.

Good to be back, though.

Hugs

Alexandra

Book Club

Reading was on and off this month, but here’s what I got done. And reminding everyone, just because I have an opinion that is different from yours doesn’t mean either of us is wrong. We can like different stuff.

Let’s get into it:

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Um. For a book that had such positive reviews, I was expecting much more. If I’m honest, I didn’t like the book. I had seen the movie a long time ago, and I was hoping the book was better than the movie. Nope. Setting was odd, characters were off, and that ending was a poo. So…not a favorite. I don’t recommend this.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

This book was in my personal library and I have no idea how it got there. It just showed up out of nowhere. Oh, well, if it’s there it’s there for a reason, so let’s read it. It was a rollercoaster of emotion involving a young woman foster home hopping after her mother goes to prison for killing a man. There is a lot of sensitive story-telling and not for the faint-hearted. But for those who like super dramas like this would enjoy the writing. The characters weren’t my favorite, and man did I loathe some people in that book, but the story was well-written. I do recommend this, as I said, if you enjoy dramatic stories.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Another classic I wanted to give a try. I’m glad I read it, honestly, even if I wasn’t a fan of the story. I have to give it its props though. The characters are good, the story is well-written, and I did enjoy the way the action was portrayed considering Wells had to write the action with invisible particles. So, it’s a good book…I’m just not a fan of sci-fi. But I do recommend it.

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey

Finally got around to this. I had planned to read this last year, but that didn’t happen. I knew the basic gist of this, but actually diving into the content made me realize how sad and dramatic it actually is. And how terrifying the mental health care system/institutions were in the 60s. Characters were the key point rather than story in this book, though. And for good reason. I enjoyed it, so I read the play version as well. Prefer the play version over the book version (theatre nerd), but I liked the story nonetheless. I recommend this very much.

The Gingerbread Lady by Neil Simon

I was in the mood for another play after OFOTCN. This was in my collection, though I hadn’t read it yet. This was another case of the characters trumped the story. The characters were, on their own, a mess. But together, as they were, made sense and made a cohesive story. I don’t want to go too much into it since it’s definitely a play that needs to be understood in entirety, and I can’t do that. I will say, though, if I drank and stayed in acting, I’m pretty sure that would be my future. My theatre friends, please read this.

Home by Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews is queen, so of course I was interested in a memoir. Unfortunately, I was kind of bored the majority of the time. Let me say this, her memoir is fascinating. Her writing style is eloquent. My issue was my preference to how memoirs and autobiographies should be written. With Queen Julie, she was long-winded. Everything in as much detail as possible on every sort of surface. So, her memoir wasn’t bad. I was just personally bored. If you like memoirs of this kind, then I absolutely recommend it.

The Ugly One by Leanne Statland Ellis

I was actually quite shocked how good this book was! Following a scarred girl in the Incan times in Peru (or around Peru), it looks into what it means to be beautiful and worthwhile. Highly recommend to those in middle school (and to everyone in general).

You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris

I found this book at the Dollar Store, and while I got it at cheaper than cheap, this book is so worthwhile. An open diary of Antoine when his wife died in the recent Paris terrorist attacks, it’s a look into how despair affects everyone differently. And how you may not forgive, but you don’t hate. Very interesting thoughts, heart wrenching, and yes I recommend it.

While reading was sporadic, I did read quite a bit, and I’m thankful.

Next month, I’m planning on reading 1984, The Catcher in the Rye, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I think that’ll take up all of June.

Ambitious.

Let me know if you have thoughts about these books or if you read any of them.

 

Can I Enjoy Editing Again?

I have a YouTube channel. It’s there for everyone to see, promoted on the side of my blog here (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile). I talk about my videos a lot. And a couple of months ago I took a break, mostly because my computer went belly up for the last time, but also because I was a busy bee.

Well, recently I came back to making videos and…I don’t have the same passion as I used to. Filming was boring, editing was a time-fueled hassle, and I just can’t come up with good video ideas.

I could go the usual route of just quitting like I have many past hobbies. But I have invested so much of myself into it that I don’t want it to go to waste.

And then I realized that that was the incorrect mindset to have.

Nothing about it was a waste.

Not the time devoted to it, not the money that went into, not the blood, sweat, and tears it took to maintain it.

I loved doing it for the time I did it. I enjoyed coming up with ideas, writing scripts, becoming different characters, and chasing my cats around with my camera. Most of all, I greatly enjoyed editing. It was the best part of video-making.

Yes, I have invested so much of myself into it. In return, I was given new knowledge and new experiences I couldn’t have had otherwise. So, it was a very sound investment indeed.

Now, I not quitting YouTube just yet. I’m giving it a few more months (mostly until my Adobe Premiere Pro subscription is up). Maybe my passion will be renewed, maybe I’ll leave it be. Whatever the decision, I’m happy I took the adventure to begin with.

Hugs

Alexandra

Memorial Day

It’s one of those holidays I always hear about but is half-ass-edly celebrated to the point where I don’t even know what’s meant to be celebrated.

What is Memorial Day for?

It’s a technical federal holiday, meant for remembering and honoring those who died while serving in the Armed Forces. But what struck me wasn’t the respect to those who died, or lack of. It’s considered, more popularly, the unofficial start of the summer vacation.

That’s right. Memorial Day is known for marking the end of a school year.

Okay.

It was only while writing this blog that I realized what Memorial Day really was, and what should be on my mind.

Four years ago, my brother’s best friend, a boy like a brother to me, died while serving overseas. Memorial Day is to remember people like him.

Now, I’m not planning to really celebrate. I’ll be going to work, having a normal day, running errands. But, I won’t disrespect it. And in my head, I’ll remember my ‘brother’.

Respect those who lost their lives, even if you didn’t know any of them personally.

Comic Catch-Up

A month or two ago, I started Just Vinyl Comics. This post is just updating you with some of the comics that has been added since. If you want to see all the comics, make sure you check it out under the Art tab, or click here.

Pretty sure if you just click on the comic, it’ll enlarge so you can see it.

Thanks for indulging Just Vinyl Comics.

Hugs

Alexandra

What is Style?

Style (n)–a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed

In this context, I’m talking about outer appearance.

Style is so often talked about in fashion. But what is style? I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately, since I changed my wardrobe. (I was going to make a video about my wardrobe change, but other vids got in the way).

Style is a big part of fashion. But what people may not understand is that style is a big part of personal fashion. Style is expression. There is no set style because there is no set people. Individuals mean individual styles.

One article says that style is outer expression of your inner self. That’s why there are style coaches. They are just meant to help you express your inner self outwardly. Style is the way we communicate without words or facial expressions. (The article is aptly called ‘What is Style?’ and you can read it here)

So what does my style say about me? I wear all black. Literally. Just black clothes. But my shoes, hats, jewelry is not black. It’s all kinds of colors. So what does all black with a splash of color say about me? What does it mean I am expressing inwardly? What am I communicating?

I still don’t know.

I just know what I like.

And I dress in what I like. It is my personal fashion and my personal style. I’m not communicating anything beyond myself: a dark soul with splashes of color.

Dress how you like. Style is subjective. It’s about what you enjoy wearing, and it doesn’t have to say anything.

Hugs

Alexandra

Riddles

As a substitute, I was known for my bag of tricks. One of which was riddles. Occasionally, there’ll be some time left over, and not wanting the kids to go haywire, I would present riddles. It gave them a chance to do something fun while still using their brain.

So I wanted to share my favorite riddles to present to them (9-13 year olds):

  1. The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?
  2. Feed me and I live. Yet give me a drink and I die. What am I?
  3. Forward I am heavy, backward I am not. What am I?
  4. I am an odd number. Take away a letter and I become even. What number am I?
  5. What is always on its way but never arrives?
  6. What is light as a feather, but even the world’s strongest man couldn’t hold it for more than a minute?
  7. He who makes it has no need of it. He who buys it has no use for it. He who uses it does not know it. What is it?
  8. (my favorite to really wrack their brain) What 8 letter word can have a letter taken away and it stills makes a word. Take another letter away and it still makes a word. Keep on doing that until you have one letter left. What is the word?

Just something I wanted to put out there for other subs if they want it.

Hugs

Alexandra

P.S. The answers:

  1. Footsteps–2. Fire–3. Ton–4. Seven–5. Tomorrow–6. Breath–7. Coffin–8. Starting, staring, string, sting, sing, sin, in, I

Introducing our Rescues

We are a rescue household. Every cat and every dog (minus one) was a rescue to some capacity. We firmly believe in ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’. Rescues need so much love and can be some of the best animals you can ever share a home with.

Anyway, we’ve got quite a few rescues, a couple of which you know about since they work for me. So, I wanted to introduce them to you:

IMG_1570Edgar

My personal assistant. He was the offspring of two rescues, and I decided to bring him home to Idaho from his birthplace Virginia when the owner (my brother) couldn’t keep him.

He’s a grey and white fluff ball with a squeak of a voice. He wasn’t able to meow until about three months ago when he was able to squeak some sort of sound out. He’s headstrong and rebellious at times.

willowWillow

My caretaker. His mother was a feral kitty who would occasionally hang out on our porch when we fed the outdoor kitties. She gave birth in our basement, and kept her inside since. She and her other babies have since found new homes. I kept Willow as a birthday gift because he was born on my birthday. He’s a super purrer and loving.

img_6251Toothless

Our resident head black kitty. He was found under a highway overpass as a new kitten. Mother and my brother were the ones who found them. They were able to get all of the kittens, but the mama ran. Toothless was the only one not able to be adopted out because he’s a black cat, so he stayed with us.

He’s the head honcho of the family and puts all of the younger cats in line. He also loves sleeping on his back for some reason.

img_6659Twister

The baby. She was found outside of Vladimir’s work. Since we were known for cat rescue, his coworker brought her to us. We speculate she was abandoned because her head was a full 180 degrees from her body. She was a serious mess and had to have 24 hour care. She survived, is thriving, but she can’t be outside or she’ll get sick. We couldn’t find her an adequate home, so she’s with us still.

img_7292Bram

He was a barn cat found by one of Mother’s students, given to us again because we were known for cat rescue. He was healthy, just scared shitless. And again, we couldn’t find a home for him because he’s a black cat. Trust me, he’s scared of his own shadow; there’s no reason to be afraid of this poor baby.

img_5959Marie

Vladimir’s cat. She was found in a tractor tire in California with, I think, one or two other kittens. My roommate at my undergrad couldn’t find a home for her, so we took her when I graduated. She’s pure white with a yellow eye and a blue eye. She’s also pretty prissy. But she’s so cute!

img_7426Tiger

Now onto our seniors. We call him the weighted blanket. As you know, I have a decently bad anxiety disorder. I don’t have a weighted blanket (shit’s expensive), but Tiger loves to sit on my chest and stomach as a warm, purry weighted blanket.

He was an abandoned cat in our old neighborhood who was tortured by punk youth and stuff. We took him with us when we moved so he could have a loving home.

img_7328Chester

And our newest addition. We found him around the time we received shitty news, hiding in the corner of a cage at the vets office. He’s an 11 year old whose owner passed away and the family couldn’t care for him. He was at the vets for months because no one wants to adopt a senior kitty. We took him. He’s a sweet and playful thing once he realized he wasn’t going back to living in a cage.

And those are our rescues! Yes, I’m aware we have quite a few. Though, I blame circumstances for that. We still work with rescue organizations and the local shelter to help the animals abandoned, forgotten, or feral. Everyone deserves a good home.

If you are looking for a friend in your life, check out your local rescue organizations and shelters. They have tons of loving animals to connect with.

Hugs (and kitty hugs)

Alexandra

White Oleander Discussion-ish

If you were not aware, I am on another 50 books in a year challenge. The rules are that they need to come from the library in the category they assigned, so that we can expand our horizons.

One of the categories was a book club book, and to participate in the discussion. Problem is I live in cowland, Idaho with one book club…at the library…that meets when I work. So, a loophole needed to be found. That’s how I figured I would read White Oleander by Janet Fitch. On its cover, it proclaimed to be part of the Oprah Book Club, and this is how I am participating in the discussion: a blog post. So, let’s get to it:

(One side note, I owned this book. And I have no idea where it came from)

White Oleander follows a young girl, Astrid, as she hops around the foster care system while her mother serves time in prison for murdering her ex-boyfriend. Each home she goes to presents new problems, new trials, and new opportunities for her to learn about herself.

This story was, like, the ultimate nightmare of a foster child. But let’s start with her mother. In another online book club I looked into (found here), someone speculated that Ingrid, Astrid’s mother, is only pleased when everyone is in pain. This is shown through her own internal torture of being an artist. She aims to make Astrid an exact mold of herself, to suffer for her art. And when her ex-lover becomes happy away from her, she kills him. Now, for this last part, I have something to add. In my opinion, she recognized that she didn’t suffer around him, that happiness was hypnotic, and he was not to be happy when she was to suffer again. Ingrid was a character to be loathed, though others felt pity as well. Personally, I don’t pity someone who goes out of their way to make others suffer.

Anyway, back to the ultimate nightmare. Astrid was tossed from foster home to foster home, and each one was hell on earth in their own ways. The first was by her own design, in a way, and ended with her getting shot by her foster mom. The second treated her like slave by a racist foster mom, she was attacked by a dog, and was finally just kicked out. The third home, called the starvation home, could’ve been cut out, honestly. It had very little time to develop, and served no purpose. It seemed just to show another aspect of suffering. The fourth home was her best home, with a foster mom who cared. However, things unhinged, especially after a trip to visit Ingrid in prison, and the foster mom eventually committed suicide. Astrid was sent to her final home in a home of immigrants making all kinds of side hustles.

In the end, Astrid aged out of the system, is living in Berlin with her boyfriend, a foster kid she met at the orphanage, and Ingrid was released from prison.

There’s a lot to talk about with this story. Something to address is that this took place in the 90s, when the foster care system was still kind of shit. While there are many many people who want to foster and adopt for good reasons, there are some bad apples in the bunch. Astrid just happened to be placed with a punch of bad apples.

This whole book was about three things, in my opinion: suffering, a mother figure, and self. Those three were prevalent in each and every home (except the starvation home, which doesn’t exist). Ingrid had instilled these messed up morals involving these three things in Astrid. She showed Astrid that everyone needs to suffer, tried to make Astrid a carbon copy rather than letting her be her own person, and was a lousy mother, at one point leaving her with the neighbors for over a year so she can party in Mexico (I think it was Mexico?). Astrid tried to figure out who she was outside of her mother at each home, and through suffering she was able to learn more. As well, in each home she tried to figure out what is a mother figure.

In conclusion (of my TED talk, thanks for coming), suffering helps you learn, but it’s not to dictate your life/happiness. You are your own person, even if it takes years to figure out who that person is. A mother figure doesn’t have to be a mother, or a woman, or a person at all. It’s whatever nurtures you.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Yes, it was a bit farfetched, melodramatic, and yikes-worthy. However, it was well-written and presented the story amazingly. Yes, I loathe some of the characters. However, there was no perfect person, no hero, and personalities galore.

I would recommend this, but I do have to warn there is some underage things that happen. It’s a definite rated-R, and occasionally rated-Gross.

And because I wrote this, I am not including this in the book club post at the end of the month.

See you next time.

Hugs

Alexandra

Driving Laws

I was recently driving with my mother when we came upon a four-way stop. The person to our left went through, then we were about to. But the person to our right went through because he was there first. Mother then does a mild, 5-second scold to following four-way traffic laws. She does this at every four-way that doesn’t perform in a counter-clockwise merry-go-round manner.

When I went through drivers ed, I was never taught and four-way traffic laws. It was a first come, first serve basis. But during her little scold, I actually got to thinking: what is the law behind a four-way stop? And I decided to look into three states: California, where Mother learned to drive, Virginia, where I learned to drive, and Idaho, where we both live now.

Well, guess what. They all have the same right-of-way laws…and Mother was wrong.

At a four-way intersection, right-of-way is given to the person who showed up first. And if two cars are there at the same time, right-of-way yields to the person to the right, not left as Mother mini-scolds every time she goes through a four-way intersection.

This post is meant to educate, to embarrass. When Mother learned to drive, laws were a bit different. Things change, and in this case, we just accept it.

Hugs

Alexandra