Entering Finals…

Every semester, it’s the same post: finals is here.

This semester has been particularly tough thanks to a certain class, so finals are gonna suck a little extra hard. But we’re gonna work hard, as we’re meant to.

Others are also entering finals soon, if not now, and I wanted to send my well wishes to you poor unfortunate souls as well. Don’t kill yourself to get work done, but don’t leave it in the wayside either.

Just do your best.

And everyone’s best is difference.

I’m going to work extra hard this week on some projects and presentations, so no post on Friday.

Hugs

Alexandra

Bringing the Dementor Back

I realize I never talked about this, so now’s the time, I guess. It gave me a lot to think about, so I wanted to share this experience.

Last year, I made an over-seven-foot dementor for a Hogwarts themed harvest fest. It was a mega hit, and I loved doing it. (And if you want to know more, I made a post about it last year here).

This year, the person in charge of the harvest fest asked if I could bring the dementor costume back since she was going to be doing the Hogwarts theme bigger and better. I said, of course, and I set out to fixing it back up, since it’s been in storage for a year.

The day came, and I was a little ill-prepared (I forgot some padding to lessen the pain of wearing it). But it’s all good. The reactions make it worth it. Let’s get to it! Walk around, scare some kids, impress the farmers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t stay in costume for long.

I was in costume for maybe 45 minutes or an hour before I quit out of frustration.

Something I knew would happen during the fest would be kids playing along, pointing wands at me, running from me, expecto patronum-ing me. I’m super down to play along with them, too. But, this year, kids and preteens were poking me with their wands (I don’t appreciate being stabbed with a wooden stick), yanking on my cloak (which is almost entirely supported by my neck, and I don’t want to die today), and pushing me (my vision is limited, and if I fall I’m not getting back up). The worst was when a young man, 12 or 13 maybe, decided to punch me in the stomach!

Punch. Me. In. The. Stomach.

Why were the kids so violent this year? Anyway, after multiple instances of abuse, I called it quits and took my costume off for the day. My friend, Kiki, who was there with me that day, was so angry and wanted me to point the kid out so she can drop kick him for me.

I wasn’t terribly hurt. A little sore but not injured. But that shouldn’t matter. It is NOT okay to touch or hit a character at an attraction, which is what I was. I’m a person underneath all that fabric, and I can get hurt, physically and emotionally. I was upset and sore, and I don’t know if I’ll be busting out the dementor again.

Just wanted to share the experience with those who maybe have kids. Please teach your children not to touch or mess with a character at any kind of attraction, whether it be Disneyland or your local harvest fest.

And I didn’t even get any pictures this year…

Hugs

Alexandra

Concussions, Stitches, Burns, and Falling Behind

Out of the four adults in this house, three of us suffered some recent injuries.

One of us fell and cracked her head on the pavement, causing a concussion and some major body pains.

One of us burned his arm during welding class.

And one of us had a benign tumor in her back and had to get it removed.

The fourth adult in the house has Parkinsons, so we’re all doing bad.

Thanks to some rough seas, I fell behind on school work, so much so that one of my professors emailed me about it. Oops.

Sometimes stuff happens in your life and you fall short. This happens. The question becomes, do you stay at the foot of the tree or do you start climbing again? I fell behind because of stress, taking care of house stuff, and caring for some stitches in my back, but I know I can work hard and catch up. And I will.

We can’t always control if we fall out of the tree, but we can control if we stay out of it.

Hugs

Alexandra TG

P.S. I’m fine, and healed for the most part. So is everyone else.

To California and Back

As said in my wee little update on Monday, I had gotten back from California. So, now I’ll explain why I was there in the first place.

Way too early on Friday morning, my mother and I went down to LA, California from Undisclosed, Idaho. We drove down with the goal of picking up my uncle, who is now going to live with us in Idaho. Uncle has lately been suffering from various medical issues to the point where he can’t be on his own.

Friday consisted of driving down and then a dinner with my brother who lives in LA. That’s it.

Saturday, Mother and I spent more time with Brother. We got breakfast at Portos (which was delicious but an experience), we walked on a trail (which was awful for SO many reasons), then we walked down Hollywood Blvd (which…yeah). It was cool to walk or whatever, but if you are unaware, I wear all black and it was HOT. I also have a medical heat sensitivity, so my time there was not nice. However, Mother found a Sanrio store, something we hadn’t seen in years, and I was able to find Danny Kaye’s star, which is all I cared about.

Thankfully, we also went to my friend’s house, who also lives in LA. I must thank her for a calming atmosphere and introducing me to Over the Garden Wall, which I will be binging a lot more. (Also, Inigo, I’m gonna send this to you, we had a deal, I watched Over the Garden Wall, you need to watch Men in Tights). It’s nice when you have a stressful time full of emotions to have a calming place with a calming person. Thanks, Inigo.

After that, I went to my cousin’s house, who ALSO lives in LA (everyone lives in LA). And Brother came over for a movie (Shoplifters, 2018, 3.5/5 stars).

Sunday, we left…ugh. I think the plan was to leave before 10 am? We didn’t start leaving LA until 2 in the afternoon. I was already not in the best state of mind due to a lot of high emotions throughout the past week, so it wasn’t a good way to start a road trip.

We didn’t get home until after 5 in the morning.

But, now we’re back, Uncle is trying to settle amongst our cats, and I’m trying to relax my high emotions before I go back to work (which, this will be published after I go back to work, so we’ll see how I did).

Sometimes travelling isn’t necessarily fun or a vacation. But it’s still necessary. We do what we have to do, make it work, and do our best.

Hugs

Alexandra

Memories in My Library

I recently had to move my little library into a different room, and while some may ooh and ahh about the amount of books I have, I make sure my shelves are covered not only by the memories I’ve read but the memories I’ve lived.

So, I thought I’d go through some random memories I have on my shelves with my books.

img_9998First, I have a drumstick. A single drumstick. It looks rough like it’s been hella used (it has). If you’ve been to concerts for bands, you’ll know at the end of the concert the band members will toss out various items including guitar picks and drumsticks. Now, let me tell you about Travis Barker, drummer for Blink-182. I’ve always resonated with the drums, and Travis is my favorite drummer. I love his work and his talent. I went to a Blink-182 concert, was right in front of the stage, and at the end of the concert when Travis tossed his drumsticks, I caught one! It was a great concert, made even better by having the best kind of merch. So I keep it on my shelf, a place I see often.

img_0001Second, yes, that’s a skull. I love skulls, I have a ton as decoration, but this is the one that means the most to me. Why? Because I made it. Sort of. It used to be a regular, white, basic skull until I took props class and we all had to recreate our skulls. I’m proud of my work in props, I enjoy prop work greatly, and my love of skulls has only strengthened. So, Friend here (yes, that’s his name) has been a good companion. Even brought him to Glasgow when I lived out there.

img_0002Third, a zombie barbie doll. She was originally nailed to a wood plank but the wood broke. Kept the doll, though. When I was in my undergrad, my props prof created something called the Zombie Walk, in which we terrorize Main Street dressed as zombies. Ends with a block party. There were awards for best walk, best thriller dance, best makeup, etc. that my prof made…out of barbie dolls. So, my little barbie zombie was an award for best zombie makeup, and it’s been an inspiration since.

img_0004Lastly, my little Ghibli shelf. Beyond the books, I have a little Heen, a little Teto, and a tiny painting of Totoro. Obviously, I love Ghibli, so it has it’s own section. Heen is from a store in Glasgow called Tokyo Toys, Teto is from a stuffed animal maker in Japan, and the painting is by a friend named Charles, who gave it to Mom before he moved to Texas (which I promptly stole). Ghibli has been special to me since I first started watching the movies, and little items like these just make me happier.

If you have random items that remind you of moments or feelings, they are worth keeping around. Seeing these memories remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced. Keep the happy memories around you, in whatever way you want. For me, it’s decor and items I received scattered about my shelves in my library. It’s always a joy to see them.

Hugs

Alexandra

A Serious, Personal Topic (PTSD Triggers)

Alright, friends, this post is going to talk about serious topics, specifically about PTSD. I won’t be going into details about anything, but I know just talking about PTSD can hurt some, so I am letting you know now that I will be talking about PTSD and triggers. If you don’t want to read on, please don’t. I’ll see you on Wednesday. ❤

So, I have PTSD.

For those who do not know anything about PTSD, it stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a mental disorder that can develop after a traumatic event. Now, not all traumatic events cause PTSD. In fact, most people who experience trauma don’t develop PTSD (source). It’s most known to develop in veterans after experiencing warfare, but can also develop in civilians who experience near-death, assault and/or abuse, and traffic collisions.

And those with PTSD, like me, can have triggers that sets it off.

Everyone with PTSD triggers are different and could possibly have multiple. As I’m going off of my own experience, I will say I do have multiple but I’ll only discuss two of them since they came up in the last week.

My first trigger is being on time. I have to be on time, preferably early. I can’t be late. I stress this, I cannot be late. The moment I realize I’m going to be late, I feel like I’m in danger, I will cry, and it’s not pretty. I’m told not to worry, it’s okay to be late, nothing bad will happen if I’m late. But that’s not how this trigger works. My brain believed something bad will happen if I’m late. Usually, these triggers will result in a crying session followed by a numb breakdown that can last days. Recently, Vladimir and I were late for a Vampire the Masquerade session, and I spent the whole time on the way there blasting music and crying, pretending I was fine during the session, crying on the way home, and having a breakdown for the next 30 hours. There was a genuine concern for my safety and I was hearing some not so nice things in my head.

My second trigger is being around electric/motorized garden tools. Lawn mowers, weed whackers, tillers, trimmers, etc. I’m terrified to be around them, I don’t like hearing them, and I will NOT touch them. I don’t mind regular tools like shovels, rakes, whatever, but the minute they have a motor or an electric cord, I’m not involved. It’s another sense of danger but also gives me vivid flashbacks if I’m around them for too long. Recently, I’ve been becoming more assertive about my involvement with these tools, and if my house mates ask for my help, I will tell them that I will not touch those tools. Vladimir was trying to get the weed whacker to work and asked me to look at it, mainly because the house owner asked him to. He brought me out, showed me he tried everything, assured I wouldn’t have to touch it, and let me go back into the house as soon as he was done. Thanks, man. I will say, I’m able to bring myself down easier with this one, but it’s still considered a trigger since it brings some awful mental and physical symptoms of being near them.

I won’t go into other triggers, but I think my point was made anyway.

If you know anyone with PTSD triggers, please respect them. When they are not respected, the people can relive horrific events and can even become a danger to themselves (since some dangers with PTSD can include self-destructive thoughts {source}). So, please respect them. Help if you can, and get them help when necessary.

And for those who suffer from PTSD, you are not alone. There are several resources to help you out. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Hugs

Alexandra

Glasgow “Regrets”…or lack thereof

img_3320As you may know, I spent a year in Glasgow, Scotland receiving my Masters from the University of Scotland. I was chatting with someone who heard that I had some interesting adventure while I was out there, and since it’s college in a foreign land I probably had something I regretted. But, to be honest, there’s nothing I did during that year that I regret. Let me go through some stuff.

Starting with some trips I took, I went to London several times for various things, including spending the day in the Tower of London, a book tour (or two), and an expo. Did not regret a single thing about those trips. I didn’t even regret staying in a sketchy hostel while I was down there because, man, that was an experience. I went up to Edinburgh even more, mostly to see cats. I went to Manchester to see a drag show and spent some time by the Alan Turing memorial, where it’s a mini tent city sadly. Don’t regret spending time with them. And my biggest trip was to Paris, France, where I stayed at Disneyland Paris, spent a few days there, and went on a Paris excursion to the Louvre. Hella expensive, but I don’t regret a single expense.

When I was actually staying in Glasgow, I still had the time of my life, with no regret. I spent time in city centre whenever I had the aching to be there, and I found a ramen shop which I ate at more times than I can remember. Of course, there were plenty of events I took part in, mostly shows and concerts. I saw Amadeus live, Christmas Queens, Bianca Del Rio, an opera, plenty of plays (hello, major in school), a Halloween costume contest (which I won), an outdoor festival with Radiohead, and concerts by Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Blink-182, Starset, Breaking Benjamin, and more that I’m probably forgetting right now. What’s more, I was VIP to some of the concerts (because it’s cheaper in the UK than in the US…for some reason). Did not regret a single moment of those.

What about school? How was I able to do all these great things and be a Masters student. Honestly, I don’t remember. But I did it. I worked hard, got my degree with honors and lots of experience. Not only was I able to work as a dramaturg and write a play, but I was able to be a reviewer at the Fringe in Edinburgh and I was able to write and perform a small one-woman piece.

Long story short, I don’t regret my time. Even now as I’m back in school for a degree that seemingly doesn’t have much of anything to do with the Masters I got, I don’t regret the experience at all. I’m sure I had some regrets back in the day, but looking back I have nothing but love for my year out there. I can’t afford to spend brain power regretting anything. I’d rather remember it as the awesome place and time it was.

Hugs (and haggis, which wasn’t disgusting)

Alexandra

Meet Sophie

During my unintentional hiatus, I got a new little puppy!

Some of you may know about a little angel of a dog named Carmel that I had. Carmel was a chihuahua that died a year and a half ago on my birthday celebration. She was with me through a lot of trials and hardships since I was 13 years old.

While I am very much a cat person, I understood how having a small dog with me was beneficial to my overall state of being.

After searching around, figuring out my best options, and trying new things I found Sophie.

She’s a long-haired chihuahua (probably a mix of something else but her parents were both your generic short-haired chihuahuas so). She was born on 5 January, the same birthday as one of my heroes Hayao Miyazaki, which is why I gave her a Ghibli name. Sophie is named after the heroine from Howl’s Moving Castle.

She’s officially part of the crew with Assistant Edgar, Caretaker Willow, Official Toothless, and more. I’m sure she’ll have a chance to speak to you once she figures out her place in the TG home.

Welcome, Sophie!

Hugs

Alexandra

Time to Shop! (Also, Happy Friday the 13th)

It’s time for Christmas shopping!

Here are some tips I use when I go shopping:

  1. Coupons! Yes, I sound like a total suburban mom, but coupons are literal wallet lifesavers. If you are members of any catalogs, keep an eye on coupons usually glued on the outside of them. Otherwise, a simple Google search could help you out. And make sure they’re in date.
  2. Reusable bags! Not only are they eco-friendly, but they are opaque so your friends and family can’t see what you bought them.
  3. Honey! This is if you’re buying anything online. There’s an extension for your Google called Honey, and all it does is provide promo and coupon codes for your online purchases. Costs nothing and saves you money, and I use it all the time. (This is not an ad, I just love Honey).
  4. Have! A! Budget! This is the biggest BIGGEST thing about shopping. Know how much you have and how much you can spend. Be frugal; don’t go overboard if you don’t have the case. Sit down with yourself before you do any shopping and know what you got.
  5. Go to multiple places! Various places have various prices, so it’s best to go to those various places to get the best prices you can. If that makes sense.
  6. Please, for the love of God, wear deodorant and have mints/gum! Shopping for Christmas is so crowded, and the only thing worse than bumping elbows with strangers is being around smelly ones. Don’t be that one.

I know I’m missing some, but these seem most important at the moment. As you go about your shopping, make sure you’re kind to yourself and those around you, especially the over-worked customer service workers.

Good luck.

AND happy Friday the 13th! Just wanted to say that, so double good luck with your shopping.

Hugs

Alexandra

Finishing a Semester

78741619_10215728516380993_3577122662763200512_oThis past Friday I’ve finished the first semester in my graduate program.

Now, I’ve actually done a graduate program before. I have my Masters. So, yes, I’m going through it all over again. As opposed to my dramaturgy and playwriting degree I’ve gotten before, on campus, I’m pursuing Information Science online. It’s a whole new monster.

I went from an art to a science, essentially. From left brain to right brain. But it’s something I want to do.

The challenge this semester came from three things: time management, IT, and environment.

I love being organized. It’s something I do very well. But I absolutely suck at time management. I didn’t know how to properly do it this semester, and it really kicked my ass. And now I’m hoping I learned something to take into the next semester.

I can work my way around a computer, handling a blog, making videos, etc. But I never expected how much IT I would actually encounter. I knew I would be learning some new IT, but I didn’t expect to learn Greek AND Chinese. (Basically, I didn’t expect how much I would be learning and it really killed my brain for a hot minute).

I’ve always loved being in classes, having an instructor in front of me, taking space as it were. I liked having offices to go to, a library to study in, and peers ready to meet for a drink and a study session. Now that I’m doing everything online, it’s not the same. I get to wait for emails, studying exists almost solely in my own personal library, and the nearest classmate is literal hundreds of miles away. It’s tougher, but, again, I hope I’ve learned something I can take with me into the next semester.

So, my fellow college students, enjoy your winter break. And let’s hope together that we don’t kill ourselves next semester.

Hugs

Alexandra