Personal Update: Of Beginnings, Endings, and Intermissions

A photo grid of nine images from Instagram. Includes a pregnancy announcement, two selfies, three vacation photos, two landscapes, and a photo of a Book Riot monthly box.

My most popular Instagram posts from 2017

Happy (belated) New Year! It’s a good time for change, I’ve heard. But 2018 in the Dreamer household got off to a bit of a rocky start. My husband had the flu, though thankfully I managed to avoid it. We’ve gotten less than happy news about our oldest dog; her health is declining, which we knew but weren’t really accepting. She’s 14 now, and starting to show it. She’s slowly losing the use of her hind legs, her eyesight is diminishing, and she’s having heart problems. We’re doing what we can to keep her happy and comfy, and she still seems in good spirits and still gets the occasional bout of the zoomies.

My father-in-law is not doing well, either. We’re not entirely sure what exactly is wrong, but basically the approach seems to be the same: try to keep him as comfortable as possible until we can’t anymore.

We had a scare with the pregnancy as well; I had some complications but we quickly ruled out miscarriage or any injury to the baby. Everything looks fine but I’m just supposed to take things (relatively) easy and monitor my condition for changes. So far, so good … things have only gotten better, and I’m nearing the end of Month 3. It’s hard to believe how quickly it’s going by, but I get the idea that feeling is going to be pretty much permanent from now on.

So … ultimately, things have been a bit stressful since the holidays. I made the difficult decision to take the Spring semester off from graduate school, though I’ll be returning to my studies as soon as possible, which in all likelihood won’t be until August. (They don’t tend to offer many online options in the summer). And while it does seem like all bad news, things really aren’t all bad. I’ve started seeing a new therapist (10/10, highly recommend) who, after just a handful of sessions, has already helped me make some great strides in my stress and anxiety management. It also means that Tuesday Reviews Day will be returning, so look for new reviews content starting January 30!

Anyway, thanks for putting up with my inconsistencies and my ramblings. I hope you’ll be back for TRD, and let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading!

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Personal Update: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So the radio silence since August 29 was not planned, but a lot has happened!

I’ve completed my Fall semester at last. If you haven’t read back, I took Literary Theory and African-American Literature. Both of my professors were great, and I’m glad I enrolled in those courses. I’ve gotten grades back, and I got another 4.0 this term!!!! I’m so stoked. I really was aiming to get a 4.0 for the whole program, but my complete inability to read my Film professor really boned me on that goal. Oh well. Next semester begins on January 18, when I’ll be taking American Literature in Perspective and Theories of Teaching Writing. I’m not as excited about that semester as I was about this one, but I’ve had one of the professors before and got on really well with him, so that’s a plus. And I’ve already had a breakthrough in my plans for my thesis, so I’m really excited about that. (I’m also pretty thrilled about the month-long break from classes; let’s be honest.)

In other very happy news, my husband and I found out that I’m finally pregnant!! We’re expecting our first child in July of 2018, which is actually really great timing. I’ll be out of class for summer and have about a month before Fall 2018 classes begin, which will (hopefully) be my final term. I’ll be down to one course and my thesis, provided I can take both of those simultaneously (I’m not sure yet about my uni’s restrictions on that).

I also started seeing a new therapist, who has recommended me to remain cautiously optimistic about school post-baby. I’m worried it’ll be too much, but she agrees with my husband that it may actually be easier to finish on schedule, while the baby is small and mostly stationary, ha. We have a huge amount of family locally, and they’re over the moon, so thankfully we’re in a really good place with regards to childcare. I’m not going to become a mommy blogger or devote my IG account to the little bun, though; I know too well the distinct pain of infertility, and while I will certainly be posting about our addition and possibly sharing photos, I’m committing myself to not overdoing it because I remember how hard that was. I remember having to unfollow/hide people on Insta or Facebook, not because I wasn’t happy for them, but because I couldn’t stomach the depression, the jealousy, and the anger. Why her? Why not me? And I’m not going to do that to others who feel that pain and suffer alone. On that note, if you want to speak with me privately about this issue, feel free to comment and we can exchange info.

Moving along … I have not been doing much reading on my break. The holidays are always pretty hectic for me and mine, and this year is the first year that my husband and I will be hosting his family’s Christmas dinner. I’m excited about it, but it means we’re doing a lot of cleaning and recipe trial runs and getting packages wrapped earlier than usual which … still isn’t all that early, to be honest. I did start reading The Clockwork Dynasty thanks to some excellent reviews, and I’m already in love with it. Reviews posts might start back up again, but with all the changes in store for 2018, I’m not sure yet what the regularity will be. Just bear with me, please! I’d love for you all to stick around through the new year and navigate new frontiers with me.

What have you all been up to? Read any good books lately? Drop ’em in the comments!

Aside

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I really would like to get into a more permanent rhythm, and posting reviews every week just ends up getting out of hand, especially once I start classes back in the fall. (Just a few weeks to go now; yikes!!)

In that spirit, Tuesday Reviews Day will be every other week, while I try that on for size and see how it works. There won’t be a review post tomorrow, but I already have one scheduled for next Tuesday, and I think y’all are going to love it.

Also next Tuesday is my first-ever surgery; it’s minor and none of the doctors seem worried, but I’m a professional worrywart and I am doing my thing! So if you can spare a few kind thoughts or prayers or whatever you’re into, please send some my way next Tuesday; I could really use ’em! Love y’all.

Not Quite a PSA

You can expect the usual Tuesday Reviews Day content tomorrow, about something I’ve recently promised to cover, but I wanted to drop in briefly today and say a few things.

First of all, I haven’t completely forgotten about the other days of the week, and I do realize that currently there is an average of two weeks between each Tuesday Reviews Day post. I want to remedy that, so hopefully I can up my reading game and get you guys a fresh review every week. I also want to make a return to personal posts, which will appear more regularly. Of course, I would like to stay focused on reviews, but I like having some content in there to switch it up.

So on that note, what are some topics you’d like to see this blog cover? Do you like the snapshots of my personal life, or would you prefer I stick with general geekery? (No offense will be taken, no matter which answer you provide.) While I would prefer not to review video games (for a host of reasons, none of which I feel obligated to explain), I don’t mind reviewing books you’re curious about reading but nervous to purchase, or movies you might like to see but aren’t sure you’ll enjoy it. (My husband is a huge movie buff, so you can rest assured we’ll either see or own a majority of popular films, especially.) Of course, you’re more than welcome to ask about my opinions on video games that are available on my preferred platforms (PC/Mac, Xbox, PS3, Nintendo 3DS), but I do like focusing on books so I’ll attempt to keep that the same.

And finally, tomorrow’s Tuesday Reviews Day will be book-related but not focused on any single book; you’ll see when you get there. But next week’s installment will focus on a book I’m currently reading, and it’s already made such a huge impact on me I couldn’t resist giving you a sneak peek at my feelings on the book: Shadowshaper, by Daniel Jose Older. This is the second book of his I’ve read, and it’s every bit as amazing as I expected. But what’s so striking about this book is its focus: the main characters are all POC. And honestly, I hadn’t realized how whitewashed my book choices were until I took the No-SWCM Authors Challenge back in March. I’ve discovered worlds of fiction I never envisioned, and this book is amazing. Not just for this reason, but it strikes me as I read that this is not about me. And I love it. I don’t feel excluded at all; it feels familiar and comfortable, like hanging out with friends, but it isn’t mine the way my family is mine. It isn’t my story. And I love it for that. It’s refreshing to read something that doesn’t feel worn out. It’s refreshing to see books about people who look like people I know, who talk like people I know, but who are not exactly like me. I know the inherent privilege that comes with admitting that; I might as well say “wow, it gets really boring to read about people like me all the time,” and I realize how that sounds. But I am bored of it. I’m tired of ‘White’ being the default setting. It is refreshing to read about something else, to learn about someone else. And I imagine that, for POC readers, it is refreshing to finally see a mirror. I truly believe this will help change the way I write characters of my own. I can’t wait to tell you more about this book, and I can’t wait to finish reading it for myself.