Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Where I've Been

My posts lately have been sporadic at best, but mostly non-existent.  I've still be reading, albeit at a much slower pace than usual.  There are a few reasons for this: the renovations on my house (which are now over - thank God), work, and my general state of mind.

While the renovations were being done I had no free time at home, I'd get home from work and entered a construction zone, which I had to navigate around, and pack up everything and move it from room to room depending on where they would be working the next day.  This made every evening awful and every weekend awful.  At one point I was sleeping in the dining room, and for a few months we didn't even have a kitchen - which made figuring out dinner a complete nightmare every night.

I've also been slammed with work, which I normally don't mind, but this particular workload has been frustrating to deal with.  The project that is causing most of the trouble was supposed to have been completed in January; my boss is hoping for an end of July release, which I'm seriously doubting.  On top of that project there are others that are not going well, it stresses me out just thinking about it.

Finally, I've been pretty depressed lately.  It's a general discontentment with my life, and I'm the type of person to shrug off my problems because I know others have it much worse, so why should I complain?  It's not a good frame of mind to have, I know, but I've gotten pretty good at dealing with it through the years as it comes and goes.  This is the worst it's been though, my coping mechanisms haven't been helping much.  I get pretty burnt out pretending everything is going well (this is my usual mechanism, fake it until you make it - act happy until you actually are), but I usually have evenings and weekends to recharge before I have to face the world again.  Not being able to decompress while home paired with the double stress of my work and trying to act like I'm okay has seriously been taking a toll on me and making it much harder to snap out of it.  

On top of all of this the past year I seem to be getting more bad news than good.  There's been quite a few deaths in my family that have been rough.  Then there's my pets, one of my cats died a year ago, she was pretty young when it happened.  My other cat is currently recovering from surgery (she's the youngest of my menagerie - and my favorite).  Figuring out what was wrong with her and getting her better has been an awful (and expensive) process which started back in February.  The other two I worry about too, the dog is aging and the last cat is losing a lot of weight (I'm being optimistic and saying it's a positive result of his diet change).  Then there's work - they announced back in April that our facility would be closing next year.  I'm one of the fortunate few that gets to keep my job since I can work remotely.  Quite a few of my friends will be losing their jobs, some coworkers have already found new jobs and left.  A few of my friends are also going remote, including two of my closest, one of which moving farther away - not too far thankfully, but it will still be a difficult adjustment not seeing everyone everyday. 

The trip to Europe helped a bit, it's been the only good thing that's happened to me so far this year.  While I was there I was actually happy for most of the time.  However, there were still some rough days.  Unfortunately my worst day was the part of the trip I was most looking forward to.  Coming home from the trip made everything else worse though, so the respite didn't last long and now it seems even more daunting to overcome this.

For a while my video game helped, but since the trip even that is losing its appeal.  One thing I did post trip was shift my work hours earlier (yay jet lag!) so now I'm home earlier and can relax for a bit outside with a book.  It seems to be helping.  I've even forced myself to sit and write some reviews (Flawed and The Serpent King will be coming soon!  And hopefully I build up the energy to actually finish writing the Alexander Hamilton review).  It will be a slow process, but I'll be back.  I'm going to start up Top Ten Tuesdays again - for real, I've had a few false starts - and put out at least one review a month, until I get back into the swing of writing reviews after reading the books.

Baby steps.  That with a few good things happening in my life should get me out of this funk.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday [36]

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics

Top Ten Reasons I Love Travel

I'm still alive! And back in the states!  This open top ten list coincided perfectly with my return from the trip (I got back late Sunday night).  A perfect way to kick start my blog again, I was able to read quite a few books while away (hooray long train rides and flights!) so I have some reviews lined up to write.

1 - Food - I'm a huge foodie, so to me nothing beats sitting in a restaurant ordering traditional local food and enjoying the meal

2 - Local Alcohol - There are so many different types of alcohol that you've never heard of all over the world.  Even the typical things, like beer, wine, vodka, etc. are so different when you have them locally.  My latest trip was all about the wine (France and Italy, how could it not be?) and I drank some of the best wine I've had in my life.  It's not just about what you're drinking though, it's also about the experience of drinking it, allowing it to enhance the experience, not become the experience.

3 - Learning Local History - Being a history nerd I love wandering cities and taking in the history of them.  Looking at old buildings and imagining what life was like 100, 200, 500, years ago.

4 - Seeing Amazing Works of Art - I'm not hugely into art, but I definitely do appreciate it.  I'm including architecture as works of art, just look at some of those old buildings, they're incredible!

5 - Shopping - I go a little shopping crazy, especially when I'm abroad.  I never buy the kitschy touristy stuff, I go for the good stuff.  It's a lot of fun to go into smaller local stores too, you get to see a different side of the cities.

6 - Scenery - Geography can be amazing, gorgeous mountains, sunsets over rivers and seas, turning a corner on the road and a beautiful view appears.  Windy streets in small towns, towns nestled in valleys, or perched on the side of a mountain.  There's always something amazing and picturesque to see.

7 - Learning New Languages - I love languages, and I try to learn as much as a can while I'm in a country (I can say 'thank you' in an absurd number of random languages).  

8 - Experiencing New Cultures - This goes along with the food and drink and shopping, it's all about the culture of the place, trying to meld into pace of the place you're visiting, trying not to be an annoying tourist.

9 - Arriving at the Destination - I absolutely love the anticipation of arriving, especially when I'm flying.  I love the window seat on planes, as we make our approach I'm glued to the window, watching my destination materialize beneath me, and get larger and larger until we bump onto the runway and we're there.  It's the best feeling.

10 - The People - The people I'm travelling with, when you travel with amazing people the overall experience of the trip is so much better.  The people you meet during your travels, it's so much fun to meet people and give advice and tips to them and they do the same to you, we found some really cool places this trip that way!