Wrap Ups

It’s time to wrap up the reading month of February and the Sci-Fi Experience hosted by Carl.

Reading was pretty damn bad for the month of February. Especially if you consider the fact that I’ve been reading the same 300 page book for half a month now! I’m currently not reading 2 books. Not finished Alice in Sunderland yet despite the fact that it’s due back today and non renewable. Oh well, I’ll just pay the library an overdue fee. I don’t mind…you can look at it as me supporting the library, right?

So here’s what I read this month:
1. The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, 1991, 235 pgs., 4.25/5
2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, 2005, 288 pgs., 5/5
3. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby, 2004, 143 pgs., 4.5/5
4. The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan, 2004, 32 pgs., 5/5
5. The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan, 2004, 32 pgs., 4/5
6. The Red Tree by Shaun Tan, 2003, 32 pgs., 5/5
7. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockheart, 2008, 345 pgs., 4.75/5
8. The Suburban Dragon by Garassamo Macagnone, 1992, 50 pgs., 2/5

Don’t let that fool you though…4 of the 8 books are picture books for a grand total of 1,157 pages. Believe it or not, I’ve actually had worse reading months. I think my favorite book of the month is The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks despite it not having the highest rating. It was just a really great book.

Time to wrap up the sci-fi experience too. Thanks again, Carl for hosting this! It was great fun despite the fact that I only read 3 books.

1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
2. The Starry Rift ed. by Jonathan Strahan
3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Without a doubt, my favorite of this challenge was Old Man’s War! Amazing amazing amazing book. Now that that’s over it means it’s time for the Once Upon a Time Challenge….yay!!!

And just for fun, here’s the house that we’re sincerely looking at buying! As in we’re going to a mortgage company to hopefully get a loan for it on Monday. I’d live on the right side. And that big ugly thing in the middle is a vine that grew out of control that will be cut down as soon as the house is mine! Debi mentioned that she had never heard the term “shot gun double” before. I think it’s a New Orleans term for a style of house. This style of house is very “New Orleans-y” and it’s the kind of house that I’ve always dreamed of living in. Basically, a shotgun house is one where the rooms go straight back…where one proceeds to the next. It’s named that because if you shot a shotgun from the front door it would go straight through the house to the back door without hitting anything. I know, only in New Orleans would we name our houses after that :p They’re typically raised houses like this one with a front and back porch and creaky wooden floors that I just love….and 13 foot ceilings. They’re just gorgeous. I’m in love with it. Enough rambling though, here it is:

house1

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Rambling

I have been so out of sorts lately. I don’t know what’s going on, but I just can’t get it together. I promise though, I promise. I’ve been good for the past few days about actually reading blogs and keeping my reader under control. Commenting is another story though. I’ve been just awful about writing blog posts lately, and even worse at reading! I think I’ve been reading Ursula LeGuin’s Voices for the past 2 weeks! And it’s a really good relatively short book at just over 300 pages. It’s sad when there’s not even time to read in a day. I think I need a vacation. Scratch that…I know I need a vacation. It’s just not possible right now. 

So we’ve been looking at houses and found one that we really like! I’ll have to post pictures soon. I’m going to meet with the dreaded mortgage lender soon to see what I can get pre-approved for. I checked my credit score today and it’s shockingly excellent! I mean, I knew I had good credit, but it’s still nerve racking checking it. Anyway, what we’re doing is going in on a double shotgun house. Me and my friend Jessica have been friends since I was 15 and while we know we could never live together, we can buy a double together and each have separate sides. It actually works out to cheaper than rent and we’ll actually each own something and have some equity finally! Yay for equity! It’s a really nice classic New Orleans shotgun double with wood floors and 13 foot ceilings and is in a wonderful neighborhood that’s very involved. Lots of young professional type people who are just getting started like us. It’s in mid-city which is sort of in between uptown and downtown New Orleans. You’re close to everything! Yeah, I’m excited…but it’s still stress…good stress, but added stress. 

As for reading, well like I said, it’s not going so good. I have 2 huge stacks of books that I really have to read too. 1 pile of review books which includes R. Scot Johns’ Beowulf, Kim Hanks’ Save the Best for Last, Martin Millar’s Lux the Poet and Max Frei’s The Stranger. Then there are the library books which need to get read before they’re due back! I have 7 out right now. Went to renew them last night and learned that Alice in Sunderland is non-renewable, so I’ll be reading that tonight and tomorrow. 

Car’s in the shop. I dropped it off after work tonight and hopefully it’ll be ready tomorrow night. I hate it when cars start making strange noises :/ I just know that it’s going to cost me an arm and a leg and I really can’t afford that right now…oh well. That’s what credit cards are for right? I love you American Express. 

On the blogging front, have you seen how cool this and this is? Yeah, very cool! I’m so proud of her. 

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Friday Fill Ins:

1. I’m stressed, I’m overworked, I still enjoy life though

2. Why do I have books and not bookshelves to fit them on.

3. How does this shit work, anyway? (seriously, one of my favorite things to say :p)

4. Every morning, I put shampoo on my head.

5. I consider myself lucky because I have a great family, a few really good friends, a job during these tough economic times, and a good credit score!.

6. One day we’ll see world peace. (one can hope, right?)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to laying in my nice cozy bed and reading a book knowing that my car is fixed, tomorrow my plans include working all frickin’ day and Sunday, I want to not be at work all frickin’ day, but I will be! (notice that every other weekend, this end bit is the same…..)

Mailbox Monday (on tuesday) and Bad Bloggers!

I’m a little late on this one, I know. I have to confess that I have been COMPLETELY out of the loop for the past few days, so if I missed anything important, please let me know. You see…there’s this thing called Mardi Gras here in New Orleans that lasts for 2 weeks straight and it’s a prerequisite to stay drunk for the entire two weeks. I did not do that, but rest assured that today is my first day of sobriety since Friday morning :p I promise I’ll get back on the blogging track now and I’ll be reading and commenting and responding to my own comments! 

A quick link for those participating in the Dewey’s Books Reading Challenge, Nymeth has announced the details for her March Mini Challenge and you can read all about it on the challenge blog here. Jill from Fizzy Thoughts will be announcing a challenge as well on March 1st and I’ll have another prize to give away soon!

As for Mailbox Monday, it was quite a busy week this week and it was honestly quite a surprise! I didn’t expect to bring 10 books into the house this week….in fact, I was convinced that it would be a dead week, but it wasn’t. Here’s what entered my house:

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1. Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson – I’ve been wanting to read this one for awhile now. I’ve read fairly mixed reviews of it, but it still seems like on that I’ll really enjoy. The review that told me “ok, I have to have this” was Deslily’s, so a point to her for this one!

2. Save the Best for Last by Kim Hanks – This one is an ARC for a Pump up your Book tour. It looks short and sweet! Just what I need sometimes 🙂

3. Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going – I’m giving a point to Dewey for this one because I found it on her bookmooch wishlist. She had such great taste in books. I have no idea what this one is about, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it!

4. Praise Song for the Day by Elizabeth Alexander – This poem has been criticized so much since Ms. Alexander read it at President Obama’s inauguration. Personally, I loved it though and wanted a copy of it as soon as I could get one. I found this lovely little chapbook edition of it on Amazon.

5. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan – So excited!

6. Abraham Lincoln by James M. McPherson – I’ve been wanting to read a biography of Lincoln and I found this one in my local newspaper and it sounded great! I trust McPherson when it comes to political history and the great thing about this book is it’s thin at under 200 pages so I won’t get bored too fast! Looking forward to this one.

7. The Inaugural Address 2009 by Barack Obama – Can you tell that I’ve been in a political mood lately? This book is really cool. It’s beautifully put together and regardless of your political orientation, it looks like one that can be enjoyed. It contains Obama’s inaugural address, Lincoln’s two inaugural addresses, Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, and an essay by Emerson. Cool, huh?

8. The Saga of Beowulf by R. Scot Johns – This massive volume is also a review copy for an author tour. I just hope I can read it by March 17th! Sounds really cool though. It’s a retelling of Beowulf in a typical fiction format vs. the original poetry format.

9. The Stranger by Max Frei – So frickin excited about this one!! It’s an ARC that was sent to me. This series is apparently a classic in Russia but is being released for the first time in the US in April. I couldn’t help peeking into the first few pages but then I couldn’t put it down! There’s some quote on the book that says something like “if Harry Potter had friends who smoked cigarettes and partied [or something like that] it would be this guy”. Gotta love it.

10. The Encyclopedia of Counseling by Howard Rosenthal – Yeah, I don’t expect for this one to appear on very many wishlists :p It’ll help me study for the National Counselor Exam though!

Friday Fill-Ins and Thank You!

1. Give me a long period of time off of work and I’ll finally get some reading done!.

2. Whenever I’m feeling down, I can always count on my blogger friends to cheer me up 🙂.

3. I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day! Oh Mother Nature can’t you change your ways?.

4. Sugar cookies and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing that my sister made was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5. To live in this world you have to learn to be flexible, patient, and willing to adjust.

6. Other than this one, I have no idea who is the last blog I commented on I’ve been horrible about commenting lately though, and I really apologize for that!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to heading to my friend’s house after I get off of work to spend the weekend, tomorrow my plans include watching parades and having some drinks and Sunday, I want to watch more parades and have more drinks!

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I thought that instead of responding to each comment individually from the last post, I’d just do one big response here. First of all, thank you. Thank you all so much for your support and advice, it means the world. CJ’s comment especially struck a chord with me. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I want to leave my job, because I don’t. I really, really enjoy it! I agree with everything that CJ said when it comes down to it, but it can still be so frustrating as she mentions. I know that counseling is another profession, just like anything else. And it’s a way to make a living, which I have to do. When I start seeing patients privately, I know that they have to pay me for my services and that I can’t help everyone. But I wish I could, lol. Once I go into my private practice, I plan on doing a sliding scale fee where the payment that you make is based on your income. So for instance, if my standing fee was $75 per session, it might be $40 for someone with a lower income. That alleviates some of the financial burdens that some people have. But the company I work for doesn’t do that. And they won’t even do a payment plan for anyone. They want the money up front or you’re not admitted basically…unless of course you’re suicidal, homicidal, or hallucinating…then we have to admit you by law. 

I just see so many people at my job get disillusioned, and that part frustrates me. They’re at the point where sometimes they just seem to have no empathy any more. I know I’ll never get to that point (and if I did, I would leave the profession) but it’s still upsetting to see other “counselors” who feel this way. It’s become a corporate office job for some people. Which is partly what it is I guess. There are certainly times that I am frustrated with some clients and would rather “not bother” with them…times when people are obviously abusing the system when others really need the help, times when a person who doesn’t really need the help gets in because they have money while I’m looking at another person who just doesn’t have the money and really does need it. But that IS part of this profession and I just need to find the balance of accepting that and helping those that I can rather than stressing and grieving over those I can’t. In a perfect world, we could help everyone…but this isn’t a perfect world. 

Anyway, all this is to say that everyone’s advice truly helped me sort things out somewhat and I really thank you all for it. You’re a gem.

In other news, I’m gearing up for a very fun filled weekend! I probably won’t blog again until Monday (in which we will assign blame) and I probably won’t read after tonight until Monday. I have a friend who lives on the parade route in Uptown New Orleans, so I’m packing my bags tomorrow and moving in for the weekend! During Mardi Gras, you really can’t leave once you get a parking spot! So I’m hibernating there and just enjoying parades all weekend. There will most definitely be twitter updates though throughout the weekend, so if you’re having withdrawals from me, you can follow me there :p See you Monday guys!

Conflicted

Most of you who follow this blog know what I do for a living, but some of you who are new around these parts may not. I’m a counselor at a private psychiatric hospital. “Private” being the key word. What private means in the psyc world is that you either have to have money, good insurance, or be committed involuntarily by a doctor to come in. This has always bugged me a little bit. Actually a lot a bit. 

The thing is, I got into this profession because I enjoy the work and I like to help people. However, when you work at a private hospital, it also becomes a business. People become money. I don’t see people that way but the “company” I work for does, so I’m forced into that predicament. 

There are public and state funded psychiatric facilities but they are SO scarce since Katrina down here in New Orleans. If you’re lucky enough to find a place that gives free counseling or does a detox for drugs/alcohol, you’re going to be on a long waiting list to get in. Some people don’t have a long time to wait. Mental health is not something that can be put on the back burner for very long.

Today I had a person come in who wanted to detox from heroin. Now I have to admit that I’ve seen a fair number of people who come in to detox only to come back the next week looking for detox again. And it’s often paid for by Medicare (which means my tax dollars) and that sort of annoys me. But occasionally you get a person who comes in that honestly wants the help. That’s how my person was tonight. The person had been using heroin for the last 5 or so years and had been using IV for the last year. Their life had gotten to the point where it wasn’t worth much anymore, so they came in to detox. And I can tell that person honestly wanted the help…was crying for it. But we wouldn’t admit them because they didn’t have any money. That’s just sad to me and it goes against what I feel is right as a counselor, as a human. But once again, I work for a business. Since heroin is not usually a lethal detox (though it is extremely ugly), we’re not mandated to keep someone who can’t pay.

I love my job, I honestly do. It’s fascinating to me and it feels so good when you can make a difference. I love the people I work with, the clients I meet, but I really dislike the business aspect of it and I imagine that most counselors who work in a private hospital do as well. 

My main passion is working with children and adolescents. That’s why I got into this field. I’m just counting down the days until I get my licensure and can start seeing kids in my own private practice. And it’s sooner than I thought! I recently learned that as soon as pass the NCE (National Counselor Exam) which I plan on taking over the summer, I can start seeing clients on my own as long as I’m being supervised. Then I have to be supervised for 2 years before I can see them on my own without being supervised. So it looks like I may move closer to my goals this summer and get back to working with just kids and adolescents. I love working with adults. I didn’t think I would, but I do. But I enjoy working with kids even more.

Anyways, I just had to vent a bit about my frustrations. I feel better now…thanks for listening 🙂

Mailbox Monday and Bad Bloggers!

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badbloggers21. Heartsick by Chelsea Cain – This one is all Stephanie’s fault! After reading her review of this one, I was just dying to read it!

2. Old Magic by Marianne Curley – This one is Bart’s fault. I added to my wishlist after his review and then mooched it from him after he listed it on Bookmooch! How cool is that?

3. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time, but had never picked it up. Then Darla reviewed it and put me over the edge. She gets a point for this one.

4. Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami – I’ve been trying to figure out what my next Ryu Murakami read would be. I knew I wanted to read more by him after reading In the Miso Soup. Then Bellezza reviewed this one and I had to have it! And then I won it from her! How cool is that? Point for Bellezza.

5. Lux the Poet by Martin Millar – I think I’m more excited about this one than all of the rest. It isn’t released until May but I have it now! How is that? Soft Skull Press, one of the coolest publishers I’ve found sent me a copy to review! Thanks guys!

You may have noticed that I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I don’t know why really. Things seem to be going pretty well. But I haven’t been much in the mood for reading lately and I’ve been a horrible blogger/commenter. I apologize for that everyone. I’ll get it together. I should be in a better mood though…it’s Mardi Gras and I’m looking at houses to buy with a friend of mine. We’re talking about buying a double together and we’ve seen some great ones. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway guys, if you’re playing along with Bad Bloggers, just leave a link to your post in the comments! Details on the right hand sidebar by clicking on the pic if you want them!

Reading Journal 2/14/09

Remember when Dewey used to do these posts? I always used to love Dewey’s Reading Journal posts. Maybe I’ll start doing some of my own when I don’t have anything else to say. In fact, this may turn into more of a Sunday Salon since I have more to talk about than just reading :p 

I have been reading though! But just barely :/ I haven’t been in much of a reading mood lately believe it or not and can’t really get into anything that I pick up. I am in the middle (or beginning) of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and I have to say that I am in love with his writing style!! It’s just amazing. He’s a wonderful storyteller and paints the most vivid picture you can imagine as you read his writing. Sadly, I’m only 79 pages into this chunkster since I’m always exhausted when I have some free reading time. I end up just falling asleep. Monday should finally give me some time off to actually read a decent amount and enjoy what I’m reading. At this rate, I’m lucky if I finish this book by the end of the month. I have all of these library books that I have to read too!! Seriously, like 8 of them just sitting here and the first batch is due back on the 23rd :/ Looks like I’ll be renewing them. 

snuggieI did get a reader’s best friend…that would be the Snuggie! I found it at Walgreens for $14.99 which comes out to way cheaper than the tv infomercial would have you pay. Seriously, you should get one of these…apparently you can’t help but be happy when you wear one of these…just look at the box. They’re all so happy. They look kind of cultish when you think about it…reminds me of the Heaven’s Gate people…remember them??

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Another reason for my not reading lately is that Mardi Gras started yesterday! I’ve never been that big of a fan of Mardi Gras, but it’s really cool this year because my friend is renting a house right on the parade route. I love New Orleans. The city is just full of an electric feeling during this time of the year. I thought I’d share some very crappy pictures and I might do this throughout Mardi Gras and sort of chronicle it this year.

Here’s the first picture. This is the parade lining up in front of Jroy’s house. It’s much bigger than the picture would have you thing. For parades, they always have the “royalty” floats first which tend to be much smaller and carry the king, queen, captain, maids, etc. They you get the big two story floats with animatronics and all kinds of stuff. I’ll have to take some pics of those next time. One of my favorite things about New Orleans is the old trees everywhere. Uptown New Orleans is covered with oak trees. You can see a couple in the pic. They literally line all of the streets and form a canopy. I love watching the streetcar go down the neutral ground of St. Charles underneath the trees. Anyway, enough rambling, here’s the pic:

parade1You can click these to enbiggen (I love that made up word :p) them. This second picture is just me and Jroy drunk on her patio :p another great thing about New Orleans is that there is a bar in walking distance of wherever you are :p And you can drink on the streets! So maybe that’s not such a great thing, but we like it. We walked down to Superior Grill and got some Margaritas, then switched to wine.

parade2Finally, here’s a pic of one of the marching bands. I adore the marching bands in parades. Used to hate them when I was a kid because it meant that I wasn’t catching beads, but now I really love them. Poor guys had to wear rain coats because it was raining 😦 Lots of fun anyway though!

parade3Let me know if any of you ever come down for Mardi Gras!! I’d love to do something!

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Two more things:

1. Don’t forget about Vasilly’s giveaways for the February mini-challenge!!! If you read a book for the Dewey challenge, please also leave a comment on her website to be eligible for free books!! Not many takers for her last giveaway. So head over there!

2. I found this wonderful video of my old professor, Dr. Zonana talking about her book, Dream Homes. One of my favorite reads of last year. Go check it out!!