Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Goals - New Motivation

Michelle & I were talking the other day. I know this could go anywhere right! This time we got talking about the River Bank Run. This may will be our 3rd annual RBR and we are definitely doing the 10K again. Sadly neither of us are ready to attempt anything more, but we did get reminiscing about how last year we both ran two miles straight with out walking for the first time. This inspired us to do 4 miles this year with out stopping!! So there it is, this year's goal. Also to run more than just the one race together, which should be pretty fun. Well as you can imagine I realized that if I was going to run 4 miles with out stopping I better start training....
You know how I love that. But I'm easing back into it because it's been a long time, and to be honest I'm not crazy about my knees killing me all the time. So last night was my 3rd run since my motivation has returned to me and it went pretty well. I'm proud to say that I ran 3K which is 1.8 miles with out stopping and I had a few descent splits.

Distance: 4K
Time: 25:13
Best Kilometer: 3rd; 5:54
Worst Kilometer: 1st; 6:47
Weather: 45-ish degrees, chilly & grey 
# This Wk: 1st
Song I Finished To: I Am The Doctor
Stand Out Though: Stopping at that traffic light really screwed up my calf muscles.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

You know when you carry around a book and wonder what people are thinking when they see you with it? Well with this one I didn't have to wonder. I was frequently stopped by people saying, "Oh that book is SO good!" or "My friend read that and told me to read it because it's amazing." Those that weren't familiar with it stopped me with questions on what it was about. The cover itself is enough to make one curious.

The problem with people asking me what it's about is, that's a very hard question to answer. I have found that most quality fantasy books are difficult to explain briefly and most people well versed in fantasy will understand what you mean when you say just that.

First thing of note, this is a YA book which I did not know until I went to look for it in the bookstore. The main character is Jacob, a 15yr old boy that through a series of sad & confusing events discovers he is "peculiar" and what that means. He finds a time look where Miss Peregrine is guarding a number of other peculiar children and the plot thickens! While reading what stood out to me the most was how cleverly the author wove the pictures into the plot. Some of these pictures area actually quite famous but have little explanation. The world Ransom Riggs has established is both fantastical yet believable. As the reader you want to believe that these time loops exist within our own world. For me the only draw back to this book was that I did not feel invested in the characters. I found how he took the people from the picture & made them characters interesting but I did not really care what happened to them. At times that made it hard for me to finish, and I am not sure that I will read the other books in the series but I am really grateful that I read this one. I would also probably recommend it to someone that enjoys YA books but is apprehensive about reading fantasy. I feel like the realistic connection to the real world makes it more relate-able for those that have difficulty following when an author builds a world from scratch.

3 Quick Book Reviews

I am pretty far behind on my book reviews so you're going to get several brief reviews of the last few months of books that I have read.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night by Shakespeare is one of those books that's been on my list for a long time. I really enjoy seeing & reading Shakespeare, and this is one of my favorites but sadly this is the first time I've actually read it. I was pleased that I enjoyed reading it just as much as I have enjoyed seeing it performed & adaptations of it. Twelfth Night is of course the comedy where Viola is confused for her twin brother Sebastian & he for her. I actually found some of the awkward comedy in this play to be funnier in written form because it doesn't rely on an actors ability and your own imagination can fill in the gaps. Conversely having seen it prior to reading it I was anticipating the identity reveals of Viola & Sebastian which made me wish that I had read this one first. I found that on the page those reveals lacked some of the "umf" given to them by the actors & directors working on the show. For me at least, knowing ahead of time threw off the pacing. Scenes dragged leading up to it and then the reveal itself wasn't as satisfying. I am confident I would not have felt that way if I did not already know what was coming.

Sword of Summer

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan follows a similar formula to his other books where in teenage children find out that they are parented by various deities. This is book one of a new series that deals with the Norse Gods, and when I was younger the Norse Gods were always high on my list of favorites. Yes I was that weird kid that read mythology books, so Riordan has made the child inside me quite happy!
Reading his books as an adult I find it is very important to remember that the target audience is approximately 10 years old. That being said they are entertaining adventure books. Very easy to get lost in. This one lived up to my expectations & excitement about the Norse. All the usual suspects are there including fan favorites Thore & Loki ;). Magnus is a good hero, very likable & easy to root for. I found his imagery of Valhalla to be unexpected and very fun. There is also an unexpected connection to his Olympians books which I thought was fun and hope is foreshadowing of future stories. The plot was fairly predictable but as I said earlier I am not the target audience here. When I finished I was definitely looking forward to reading the next one.

How the Irish Saved Civilization

Anyone that follows my Goodreads account and not just my reviews here will know that I read about 1 nonfiction book a year. This was the one I started in January! Woot for finishing! It's dry, but it's designed to be informational like a text book rather than sensational like a novel. Regardless I found parts of it so funny that I laughed out loud.
I have been interested in Irish history for some time and the title of this book was the thing that caught my attention. The premise is that Ireland did not suffer the "Dark Ages" like the rest of Europe and was there for able to preserve writing, art & other cultural practices that were lost. I found his take on religion in Ireland as well as notable Irish figures (St. Patrick for one) to be very interested and broader than what one normally hears in a history/religion lecture. A very interesting read for those that are interested in the topic.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"The Fall of Arthur"

The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien & published after his death. The poem is not completed but as Christopher mentions in his commentary Tolkien wrote this in a similar style to various other epic poems. He also draws on other Arthurian literature to formulate his version of the tale.

I really enjoy his style of poetry! I loved it in the Silmarilion and was pleased that I enjoyed it in this book too. What exists of The Fall of Arthur was every bit as rich & enthralling as Tolkien's other works. I really wished that Tolkien had the opportunity to finish his account of King Arthur and found myself sad that it ended soon. I have been searching for a version of the Arthur legend to get excited about for a while now but every version I read is disappointing. Had he finished it this might have been what I was looking for!

The commentary by Christopher was surprisingly enjoyable. Sometimes I find it difficult to read analysis of a work I have just read, or maybe don't know as well. What I enjoyed was Christopher uses examples of the early drafts & Tolkien's source material to explain himself. I also particularily enjoyed the comparisons to Silmarilion as well as Nuemenor & Valinor that were outlined.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers that have an above average are interested in Tolkien and/or Arthurian Legend. Otherwise The Fall of Arthur might not hold your attention. Parts of it are a bit dry.

"The Glass Castle"

Every person that works in the social work or psychology field should read this book. It's a beautifully written account of how perspective matters. In "The Glass Castle", Jeannette Walls recounts her early life and what it was like growing up with her family. Walls tells tales about herself that would make most readers cringe.

Her father was an alcoholic, her mother was barely qualified to take care of herself let alone others, and both parents likely had one or more diagnosable mental disorders. The resulting chaos & instability that occurred in this household was at the very least neglectful if not abusive. I mentioned perspective because the story is told by Walls herself and this gives the reader a more intimate view of each instance she describes. It is easier to understand that neither of her parents wanted any harm to come to any of their children, in fact they loved them very much. I do not say this to excuse their behavior but to illustrate a fact that people in the psych & social work fields see all the time: family dynamics are always more complicated than they seem from the outside.

What I love most about this book was the way Walls perfectly portrays the gradual change in how a child sees their parents. There isn't one moment where a person sees their parent as a human being with flaws, there are many. These moments happen slowly over time as people become more in touch with the rest of the world. Walls shows us those moments in her own life, beginning with herself as a young child thinking her parents are larger than life, super heros almost. By the end of the book she realizes that her parents are not intentionally creating these situations they are just unable to care for their family and do not have the motivation to make changes.

The Glass Castle draws from the reader so many different reactions laughter, sadness, concern. The life of Jeanette Walls is an absolute inspiration and a true testament to the resilience of human beings. This is definitely a must read!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"The Bards of Bone Plain"

Patricia McKillip is one of my favorite fantasy authors. With all the hype lately over young adult fantasy & Song of Ice & Fire people have forgotten that there are many other wonderful fantasy authors. McKillip has made my list of favorites because she lyrical style that is uncommon to the fantasy genre. Her writing is so lyrical can never tell if I feel more like I am reading an epic poem or being sung a ballad. I suppose it's a good thing because music & bards are a common themes in her books. It is the main theme of The Bards of Bone Plain.

Centering around an ancient mystery that gets caught up in a modern competition for the position of Royal Bard. There are two plot lines that run parallel for the majority of the book but intersect beautifully as the story draws to a close.
The characters are rich & interesting.  I felt connected to them & was completely invested in how their story lines resolved. Sometimes with stand alone books I long for more character development but not so with this one.

McKillip's use of imagery is wonderful too. The world she describes in The Bards of Bone Plain was unique among the fantasy worlds I have read before. To me it felt like some strange combination of modern, steampunk, & standard fantasy world with medieval castles & city structures. Not to mention her imagery surrounding the standing stones! They were captivating & as a reader I was so excited that the plot centered around the stones because I wanted to know all about them.

In the Bards of Bone Plain McKillip uses, in my opinion, the perfect amount of mystery to keep her plot moving forward. I never felt frustrated that I wasn't getting enough pieces to the puzzle. Nor was the plot so convoluted that I got a headache from trying to follow it. There were just enough puzzles & plot twists to keep me engaged intellectually until the end! This is easily one of my favorite books by McKillip and I would definitely recommend it to any fantasy reader that enjoys different styles of writing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

For All Of Us That Couldn't Get A Letter

Today is September 1st, a day that comes with a lot of bitter sweet feelings. Summer is creeping to a close. The last of the cook outs will be happening. Pools are getting shut down and boats are being pulled off the water. School is starting which means an end to sleeping in & lazy hours. Life is about to get busy & cold again. On the flip side school means friends & sports. Jackets & scarves come out and pumpkin spiced everything is back. But for some of us September 1st is more bitter than sweet.

We are the generation that could never get our letters. Which generation are we? We were the kids that picked up that book in the bookstore wondering why that kid was on a broom stick. Or maybe we had someone give us the book for a birthday or holiday. We were the kids that talked about Quidditch & Time Turners with the one other kid at school that knew what we were talking about. We were those kids that adults gave a double take to because they were walking around with a novel at least twice as thick as their text books. We cheered when Gryfindor won the House Cup because of Neville, paniced when we realized someone put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire to kill him, had our hearts sink when we learned about Snape, and got goose-bumps when McGonnagall called the castle to life. We waited anxiously for each book (sometimes 3YEARS!) & begged our parents to take us to the bookstore at midnight in hopes of being the first one to hold that long awaited treasure in our hands. We are the Harry Potter Generation, and we were the first.

I know many adults read the books then too, and many children came after us. But we were the first children old enough to read Harry Potter when they came out, unfortunately most of us had already had our 11th birthdays. That means that most of the Harry Potter Generation realized during one of the early books (for me it was SS) that even though every part of us wants this world to be real, and even if it were real, we would never get that letter from Dumbledore telling us that we had been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. For many children in this generation Harry Potter changed our lives, or at the very least made it a little more fun. For us September 1st is always just a little bit sad but "why" is hard to put to words.
September 1st is the day the Hogwarts Express leaves from King's Cross Station carrying all the students to north towards Hogwarts. For the last 16 years I have known it was leaving with out me. I never got to hope that one day I would get to ride a train to Scotland where magical adventures happened at every turn. I never got to anticipate my 11th birthday and think about what kind of owl would drop my letter off. I always knew that I wasn't going. But there is no name for that feeling.

It's this complicated jumble of conflicting emotions. We know we're too old to believe in magical castles & wizards. But damn-it we still really wanna play Quidditch! And not the Muggle kind either, because that's taking it too far. Even though we love reading other, more adult reading level, books we still have this attachment to all the wondrous things we learned about & dreamed up while we were reading these books. For the first time we had that feeling of wanting to step inside a book & live in that world so intensely that it never left.

But it's more that that, Harry Potter took all the best parts about being a child, the wonder the magic & the adventure, then it used them to teach us real life lessons. We didn't just learn to do the right thing, that friendship is important, or that people aren't always what they seem. We learned that sometimes the "right thing" is way more complicated and hard to see requiring more sacrifice that anyone want to give. We learned what it means to be a good friend even when our friends hate us, won't listen to us. And that real friendship can never be broken. We learned that some people have good reasons for acting the way they do, even if they are still wrong and act like a jerk. But also that some people are exactly what they seem and we learned how to tell them apart. We learned about standing up for ourselves but also how to lose. We learned from heroes, villains and all the characters that were in between. We can't let Harry Potter go because it's a part of who we are. It took the best parts of being a child & gave us the moral compass for being the best kind of adults. 

For us September 1st reminds us that we are not going to Hogwarts this year, or any year. It reminds us that magic is just beyond our reach and that most adults were not young enough to cherish the lessons we learned from reading Harry Potter. We remember all the worst parts about being an adult and are left with a sense of longing to somehow go back in time and give our past self a copy of the books before we turned 11. That way all that magic, wonder & hope could be real for just a little longer.

So what do I do on this day? I try to ignore how much I long to get on that train and think about the children in my life. I look forward to being their crazy aunt who has the cool books about wizards! Getting to live the adventure again through their young eyes & maybe get to curl up to read it with them. Pass on all that magic, wonder, and the lessons too, because isn't that what you're supposed to do when you're the first generation to do something? Give it to the young and hope that it lives on? Then maybe just for a little while it will feel real again. Only this time I will be dropping them off at King's Cross Station on September 1st.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"From Notting Hill With Love... Actually"

Recently I noticed that my book reviewing on Goodreads was getting a little... well non-existent, so I decided I should get back to it but I thought if I'm going to be writing reviews shouldn't I  be putting them in my blog?? Of course I was in the middle of a series at the time and didn't feel right about reviewing it half way through, but since I just finished this lovely Chick-lit by Ali McNamara I shall give this a try!

I picked this book up originally because the title cracked me up. "From Notting Hill With Love... Actually", how many more chick-flick titles can you fit on one book cover? (Apparently more than that because there are sequels) So after reading the paragraph on the back I selected this to be my "break book". I read a lot of books that come in multiple installments, or classics, and I try my best to read non-fiction and other books with more substance. As a result sometimes you get done with a book and think "I just need something fluffy, light and maybe a little funny. These are my "break books".

This was exactly the type of book I was looking for. I had read some troubling reviews ahead of time that gave it one star but in my opinion their expectations were too high. No one watches reality TV or a Life Time movie expecting it to blow their minds and be thought provoking. They watch it to turn their brain off and just have fun. So why should books be any different. "From Notting Hill With Love... Actually" if a fun book. The main character is relate-able and easy to root for. There were a couple of spots that made me go "Really? Who does that!?" but only a couple. One was when she went to the flat of a perfect stranger to get a stain out of her shirt. It felt contrived and unrealistic, but it fit with the whole premise of the book which was to follow various movie scripts.

As someone who watches movies and quotes them regularly, I loved the ridiculous amount of references to chick-flicks! I say ridiculous because there is no other word to describe it. The main character sets out to prove a movie life is possible, and so between quoting movies or recreating scenes the references number at least 2 a page! They fit with the character & the plot so it never bothered me, and every time it came close to bothering me the author brought it right back to a reasonable place.

My biggest criticism  for this book is that the end felt rushed. The author does a good job of throwing a twist in to make you doubt the hero. It really wouldn't be a chick-flick with out it :) but it was so late in the book that the explanation for why he wasn't actually being a total jerk was really fast and confusing. It felt forced and a little hard to believe. You should believe in your hero again when he is returned to grace. It's that vindication of your belief in your hero that really connects your story with readers. I found that part was lacking and I was not as satisfied at the end as I wanted to be.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Cirque Part 11

It's been a strange summer for us in terms of our traditional summer circus gigs. The two Renaissance Fairs that started out our year last year no longer exist so we had two months with little excitement. I've been stilting at the ballpark off & on but even those gigs are fewer this year.
This past Saturday though, we hit up one of my favorite annual gigs we have! A group of the Aerial 4 Me (studio portion of the business) instructors, interns & advanced students head out to the Grand Rapids Pride Event every year.

I adore being a part of this event and supporting the community it represents. I realize that Pride events are not a new thing and in parts of the country it's a highly anticipate event every year. In some places it's no different than any other cultural festival that happens in the summer. But Grand Rapids is nestled in a very conservative portion of Michigan and for us to hold a Pride event right down town by city hall is fantastic! And it's been getting bigger every year! I hope to watch the even grow along with awareness & respect for all people.

This year we had a first time performer, and a student that would have performed last year but was out with an injury. It was great to get to see them doing what they love & actually getting to hear the applause of a live audience.
It really never gets old.
 And while I consider my own journey far from over, I think the part I like about becoming more "seasoned" is getting to share in journey of others as they discover what they love about performing. I always find it so refreshing to work with our students & interns. They bring so much life & energy to the troupe! I can't wait to see what next year brings for Pride, and I hope to have some fun new cirque stories to share with you soon!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Race Day 3: Bob Wasn't Even There!

So I randomly signed up for a 5K this weekend through work. I ended up having nothing to do and it was free so I figured "hey why not?" Why not? I didn't train that's why not! We help sponsor a Brian Diemer run every year which has become known at work as "Beat the Bob" because our CEO comes out and we all try to beat him. Except he wasn't there this year he was on some fancy vacation. Lame! It was cool to see so many people from work though. I ran into one of my work friends that is also a circus friend which was really cool! This was her first 5K and I loved getting to help her finish it out! It actually helped me keep going too because I was starting to get slow & negative. Got my eye on a few more runs this year, I'll keep you crazy kids updated!
Distance: 5K
Time: 33:10
Best Kilometer: 1st 5:21
Worst Kilometer: 5th 7:30
Weather:62 degrees, drizzle 
# This Wk: 1st
Song I Finished To: Novicane
Stand Out Though: Michelle is definitely my best running companion.

Friday, June 12, 2015

When You Open the Cover

What makes a good opening line? Should it make you laugh or make you nervous? Should it give facts about the story that is about to unfold, or should it just dive right in? I've experienced a lot of first lines in my life but only some of them really stick with me. Only some of them make me want to go back and start over as soon as I've finished. These are the first lines that make me feel all the fuzzies and put a smile on my face as soon as I think about them. If I am honest I'm smiling while I write this.
My mind drifted off on this topic the other day and I marveled on how some first lines can evoke such a strong emotion in an individual and others just got lost into the void of "oh yeah I read (or watched) that". I realize this is not an original thought, there are many blogs & lists of best or most influential opening lines out there. This is also a completely subjective concept, each list is different. Some lists are clearly specific to the person writing them and some are trying to capture what has influenced our culture as a whole. But culture is also relative and each writer will have a different opinion of what is influential. In this post I am talking about what opening lines are most influential for me. For me the first lines that stay with me are the ones that represent a moment of growth in my life.

I do not claim these are the best opening lines or even my favorite books. They represent an adventure that happened at a time when I needed the lessons it offered to better understand the world or myself. Some of them come with nostalgia of wiggling around on my mom's lap or the couch next to her while she read to me. While others remind me of a profound lesson or turning point in my life. Some of them are only important to me because they were the beginning of my adoration for an author. Here are my favorites, feel free to comment with some of yours!

Jenn's Favorite Opening Lines:

  • "“The A is for Ape. And B is for Bear.
    The C is for Camel. The H is for Hare
    The M is for Mouse. And the R is for Rat.”
    “I know all the twenty-six letters like that…
    … Through to Z is for Zebra. I know them all well.”
    Said Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell." ~On Beyond Zebra

  • "The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him "WILD THING!" and Max said "I'LL EAT YOU UP!" so he was sent to bed without eating anything." ~Where the Wild Things Are

  • "Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy." ~The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe

  • "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." ~The Hobbit

  • “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” ~Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone

  • “It was a pleasure to burn.” ~Fahrenheit 451

  • "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." ~Pride & Prejudice

  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." ~A Tale of Two Cities

  • "On the 24th of February, 1810, the look-out at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples." ~The Count of Monte Cristo

  • "Two households, both alike in dignity,
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean." ~Romeo & Juliet

  • "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend." ~The Wheel of Time

  • "Here is a small fact: You are going to die." ~The Book Thief

  • "Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early in the morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity." ~Elantris

  • "It was night again." ~The Name of the Wind

  • "I’m going to die, aren’t I?” Cenn asked." ~The Way of Kings

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Extroversion - It's Not As Easy As You Think

I feel like most of my blogs these days start out this way: recently I was having a conversation with my friend...
It never fails to be true though!
Originally when I started this post I had all kinds of  definitions because that's the kind of person I am. If I can get to the root of what something means I can understand it. Simply put Extroversion & Introversion are really just how a person recharges their battery. I am including the links below if you are also interested.

My friend and I discussed several points around this including generalizations when it comes to vocabulary. Must a shy person be an introvert? Or an out going person an extrovert? No, although most people generalize it that way. We both consider ourselves shy but as I mention she is clearly an introvert while I am an extrovert. Having a diverse combination of introvert and extrovert friends we began commenting on how they relate to each other and things that are hard about each. That was the point we realized we have been bombarded with lists over the last year, maybe more, of "struggles of being an introvert" and "how to relate to your introvert friend". It occurred to us that there has been no evidence of such a list for extroverts. Why you might be asking? I don't really know, but my best guess is that the qualities that come with being an extrovert tend to be prized and sought after in ambitious society so as a culture we see them as not struggling. Wrong. Not to down play the challenges introverts face, because if we are being honest, it really is an extrovert world we live in. But when your battery percentage depends greatly on who is around you life is not always a picnic. We extroverts have our own problems and I shall make my list now!
So world here it is:

The Struggles of Being an Extrovert

Was That Too Much?

As extroverts we tend to be excited about the prospect of meeting new people. It's like a whole new adventure & story that is about to unfold. Someone new! And quite possibly a new friend! IT'S JUST SO EXCITING!!!! At least that's what it's like on the inside for extrovert, which is fine. Until the excitement vomits out at an unsuspecting introvert, woops! All too often the energy we are drawing out of this exciting new social situation is far too overwhelming for the other person involved. You end up making a first impression that could be described as over bearing, pushy, overly chatty, irritating, know it all, aggressive, maybe even a little crazy. The honest truth is, we didn't mean to.

Sometimes I Need To Think About Things By Myself Too

Most extroverts need to bounce their thoughts & ideas off another person to process them appropriately. There are those rare times when even extroverts know that they have to sort out their thoughts for themselves. It is likely that they will bounce their conclusions off another person when they've sorted them but they still need the time to think. What ends up happening is a never ending string of "what's wrong", "are you ok", "you look sad", "can I help you", etc. I know my introvert friends understand this all too well, but I included it here because extroverts experience this in a different way. When you are an extrovert people around you become used to your energy level in public, your socializing, your chattiness. So when it's not there those people are uncomfortable and don't believe you when you tell them you are fine and they panic and insist on returning you to you the state they are most comfortable with. To which one wants to shout "OMG GO AWAY!!!"  There are some life events & problems that just require your own opinions and no one else's, even for an extrovert.

Pressure To Be The Life Of The Party

In a similar fashion, as an extrovert there is a generalized assumption that when you are out and about with people (which is often) that you are going to "bring the party". This idea didn't come from no where, it is often true, but with it comes a constant pressure to always be "On". Performers know what
it feels like to be in the spot light. Now imagine that's every social situation you encounter ever! Most of the time this is fine, in fact I know quite a few extroverts that will say "I'm just gonna hang back this time" and everyone laughs because they know it's super unlikely. Reality check though, no one can be "on" 100% of the time. Those moments might be rare, but please understand and don't make us feel guilty if we want the party rest on someone else's shoulders for the night. We will be back in top form again soon, promise!

What If I Don't Wanna Be In Charge

Leading right into the ever present pressure to be the leader, planner, or decision maker. Yes, extroverts gain energy from being around others but that doesn't mean that we are all naturally born party planners. Extroverts can get overwhelmed by all the details that go into planning events and being around people is not the same as managing them. Extroverts are as diverse as Introverts and some of them HATE planning, they just wanna show up and enjoy the event bringing their life & energy with them. If you ask them to create an itinerary or make a seating chart they may just rip their hair out. Decisions are hard and that need to bounce ideas off others can make being the decision maker even more complicated. You end up with too many opinions and if you're not a skilled planner/leader then you're more confused then when you started. The need to be around people for mood & energy's sake does not mean we should or are comfortable being in charge.

The Dangers Of "Negative Nellie"

As I have mentioned extroverts get energy from being around people and it effects their mood & thought process. What happens when an extrovert is surrounded by negative energy & people? It feels like being trapped in a room with an angry kitten (or puppy if you rather). It's frustrating, and hurts, and possibly kinda scary, and you wanna leave because you know it's better for you but you also wanna grab that kitten and cuddle it anyway because, kitten. It feels like a trap, as if you were being pulled into a vortex of negative thoughts feet first and even though you are grasping for something there is nothing to pull you out. We know the negative energy is toxic but sometimes you can't get away (like at work) and other times it's still less terrifying than being alone.

I Might Be Shy

They are out there folks, the elusive Shy Extrovert. Don't worry I've already done the definition thing but let me tell you what happens. If you are a shy extrovert your friends are all used to they expect you to be lively, talkative, and full of energy because that is what they are used to. But when you're faced unexpectedly with a social situation where you don't know anyone the anxiety starts to build.
You know you should talk to people, it will put you back in your element, but they all seem so scary and your thoughts start to race. It's not long before words become hard to think of and you have absolutely nothing interesting to bring up to start that crucial conversation. And just like with all shy people this is 1,000 times worse and more awkward if I'm attracted to you. It's real I promise because I've lived it.

Yes I Do Enjoy Solitary Activities

I have emphasized how extroverts seek out people, it gives us energy and improves our mood. This doesn't mean that we don't enjoy things that are considered "solitary" activities. I love to read! Sure sometimes I do it in a crowded room, but I still love reading. I also love sewing, which is quite hard to do with others and someone even once said that extroverts don't blog. Being active and social is an integral part of any extrovert's life but they are still able to enjoy individual hobbies & activities. Sometimes we even find ways to make them social. Don't count the extroverts out, they may be your next best book club buddy!

I Don't Actually Like Everyone

As an extrovert your super powers are talking to people and having a packed calendar! You love being around people this is how it goes. That means you like them all right? No. Please don't mistake my ability to talk to someone pleasantly because the situation demands it of me with actually liking them. I am not accusing all extroverts of being "fake" although I'm sure some are. I am merely pointing out that it's an easy generalization that people make often when it comes to extroverts. You like being around people therefore you like all people. Not true, we reserve the right to not mesh well with some people.

When Enough Is Enough!

I just spoke to how even extroverts need breaks, and no one can be "on" 100% of the time but the way you can really pick out an extrovert is how long it takes for them to become so stir crazy they
look like they are out of their mind. Only engaging in an activity for a couple minutes, moping, pacing, constant phone checking, sending repeated text that consist of ridiculously pointless nothings like "hey", talking to themselves because there's no one else to talk to. All are tell tail signs that your extrovert buddy has had enough! Let me try to explain what this terror is like for extroverts. You want to go out, because there's no one around, but you don't want to go out because there's no one to go with. You can't decide if you should move or just lay there and give up. Then you start imagining that everyone has really impressive lives and epic plans. And if it gets really bad yous start imagining that they are all together doing something amazing thinking that they are so clever they found a way to leave you out. Then the internal battle happens because you know this is all irrational but on the other hand it really feels like the apocalypse. It's terrible! What you hope of course is that someone will come save you from you plight but really all you need is a text acknowledging that you're still part of things.

Sometimes I Just Need You There

To all my Introvert friends, we extroverts are a lot to handle sometimes and for that I'm sorry. I can only imagine the kind of pressure you feel when your extrovert friend calls you up and wants to hang out. You might have to leave your safe place and have social interactions you're not comfortable with. I speak for myself only but I imagine there are others like me out there who feel this way! If you are my friend and you are an introvert, I know this. I understand that a lot of the things that I love are very difficult for you but please understand that there is a reason I adore introverts. You might not go to the bar or a festival with me (maybe you would) but quite often to do the list of things I need to do or truly enjoy that activity I've been looking forward to all week I need to be left alone with out being alone. You, my introvert friends, are in someways the most supportive people in my life because all I really need is for you to be there. We don't have to go anywhere, it doesn't have to be a special occasion, we don't have to talk, we don't even have to look at each other. I just need you there, even if you're on the other side of the room, doing what ever it was you would be doing alone. You are with me and that's enough.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Race Day 2: How Did This Happen?!

Everyone who reads this blog knows how much I detest running. For real though, the struggle. Last year I wrote about how the only good thing running has to offer was is participating in races. Still true! It was my second annual 5/3 River Bank Run and my first official 10K. 

Just putting it out there, I crushed it! OK not really but I definitely did better than I expected. My training this year has been really abismal. I haven't had the time, but that also effects my motivation which has been decreasing steadily. My running buddy and her dad is for real the only reason I came out of this with any kind of dignity left. We agreed ahead of time (due to lack of training) that she would help me find my pace and I would push her to keep going. It worked, way better than either of us thought it would. We both ran not just one mile with out stopping for the first time, but kept going and got 2 miles with out stopping in! We also finished way ahead of what either of us thought we would, our guesses were 1:16:00 and 1:14:00 (look below for actual results). I of course finished to the Olympic Fanfare but this year it meant so much more! Why you might be wondering? Well this is the first year that the 25K distance of the River Bank Run is an Olympic qualifying race. Ready for some Jenn Logic?? This means I participated in an Olympic event, which means I am now an Olympian, and I recieved a pin which I put on a ribbon making it a medal, which therefore means I am an Olympic Medalist!!!!

Lastly I would like to tell you all how proud I am of my mom. I convinced her to walk the 5K, there may have been some peer pressure involved. But she did! And she had a great time, and was such a good sport with infectious enthusiasm! She is an Olympian too :)

Distance: 10K
Time: 1:08:08
Best Kilometer: 1st 5:50
Worst Kilometer: 6th 7:00
Weather:66, Raining
# This Wk: 1
Song I Finished To: Olympic Fanfare
Stand Out Thought: Olympians don't quit!

And just because I'm so proud!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

More Than Just Princess Movies

My loyal readers will be well aware that no matter what I'm doing I like to reflect back on things that I have learned. Along with my love of stories it's surprising that it took me so long to get to writing about all the things I've learned from Disney movies over the years. Whether you enjoy them or not Disney movies eventually work their way into everyone's life. 

Before I get going lets take a minute to clear up that for this discussion I'm sticking to traditional Disney and Pixar movies. I will not be branching out into the Disney affiliate companies for the purposes of this blog. Also I do acknowledge that many of the "classic" Disney movies are not original stories but are based on fairy tales and literature from other sources. For some reason we all keep coming back the fluffy versions that Disney makes. Many (not all) people prefer them to the often darker and more grim (pun intended) original version.

We often get caught up in the voice actors, and advancements in animation, or the quality of the songs in the film and forget that most of us have learn some very important life lessons from those animated friends we all had. Everyone of course will take different messages from each movie and circumstance but what follows is a faithful and nostalgic account of my own experience.

 ***I apologize in advance for my unnecessary references to the Lion King I may have watched it on repeat for a summer because it's the only movie we had my mom would let me watch unsupervised***

Things I've learned from Disney Movies

- Never take the short cut
Like me, those of you that have left your 20's behind can understand in very real way that forks in the road are a staple of life. In Disney we are presented with literal forks in the road where characters are choosing which direction to go. The character always chooses the road that looks easier, shorter, and less scary. With out fail this leads to more problems, like Belle's father who chose the path that looked smoother and far less scary which led to him being chased by wolves and captured by the Beast and thrown in prison. Marlin chose the path above the trench because that also looked less scary and after being surrounded by jelly fish Dori almost died. While these are literal examples, these and many others come to mind when I'm forced with possible "short-cuts" in life. These stories taught me to realize that what seems too hard and scary might actually be the best thing for me.
- You can't expect other people to believe in you if you do not believe in yourself
Good self-esteem is one of the most elusive realities I have ever known in my time on this earth. We all have those friends and family members we can confess all our self doubts to and they will boost us no matter what. When it comes to the rest of the world the truth is the people around you can tell when you don't believe you will succeed and they won't believe in you either. Even Flynn didn't believe in Rapunzel when they left her tower but when she started to believe in herself she not only changed her thinking but Flynn and a whole bar full of questionable characters. Everyone around her was effected by her belief in herself. By believing in herself Mulan was able to find the will to go from the worst recruit in the Chinese army to saving her country from the Huns. Most of us are not lost princesses or fighting off an invasions of the Huns but when I remember to believe in myself I am able to give presentations, take risks, try new things, and really open up to people. I learned that to believe in myself is more powerful than fear and failure.
- The past can hurt
My absolute favorite part of the Lion King is when Rafiki hits Simba with his staff and tells him "It doesn't matter it's in the past!" to which Simba complains that it hurts. The moment is hilarious and that is why people like it as a child but when you revisit the Lion King as an adult you realize that it rings true throughout life. We all have to live through our share of shit. Do you want examples from the Disney world? Name a movie, it doesn't matter which one, pick you're favorite. Bad things happen and they will always suck. You will always feel terrible about it and it could very possibly feel like life will never move on. But it does and as Rafiki points out we all have the ability to learn about ourselves, others, and the world each time it happens.
- Truly original ideas are rare
I was odd as a child, my favorite version of Cinderella was not Disney it was the Roger & Hammerstein's musical version. I knew early on that Disney was not the only person to tell these classic stories and other tellings were also wonderful. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White all belong to the Brothers Grimm. The Little Mermaid, and Frozen were penned by Hans Christian Anderson. Lewis Carroll gave us Alice & Wonderland. Beauty & the Beast is a French folktale and we owe Victor Hugo for The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Mulan is based on a Chinese poem as Aladdin has its beginnings in The Arabian Nights. Pocahontas is history (albeit not accurate), and the Lion King is Hamlet. If you haven't caught on let me say it plainly with out it's satellite companies Disney has very few truly original stories. These revelations could easily ruin a person's childhood but what I took from it is this: it's OK if you're not the first. Spoiler alert, most of your thoughts have been thought before by someone else. What matters is not being the only one to have the idea, what matters is adding to the idea to make it better. That's what inspires progress.
- Loss
The loss of loved ones, special gifts, or treasured pocession etc. is a reoccuring theme in Disney movies. In fact the percentage of parents who are lost in Disney movies could be called astronomical! If you ask any person what their least favorite scene in all of Disney two that are bound to come up are Mufasa's death in the Lion King & when Bambi's mother dies. I may have been odd because these movie events never traumatized me but seeing such loss, in any movie, stays with you. Watching Disney movies as a child taught me simply, loss happens. It's real. You will loose things and people throughout your life. As I got older I started to realize it isn't just the heros that loose things that are important to them, all they characters do and they are defined by how they respond to that loss. The characters that allow their grief to make them stronger are the characters that become the heros we all know. Where as those that focus all their energy on trying to have something they will never get back become the villains we love to hate. Once I learned that I was able to see loss as a test of my own character, which doesn't make it better but easier to bear.

- Friendship is truly valuable
There is probably a BuzzFeed quiz out there where in you identify the appropriate best friend to the Disney character. Friendship is as integral to Disney as loss. Heros and secondary characters alike have their best friends and often times people talk about them together more than separate. Like Lilo & Stitch, Sully & Mike Wazowski, or Timon & Pumba. Their friendship defines the roles they play in the story. Just like the saying "You are the friends you keep", the friendships we build in our lives help define what role we play in our own stories. We also see friendship holding characters accountable for their actions. Aladdin didn't realize he'd gone too far until he saw the hurt look on Abu's face when he walked away, or how Flounder continually reminds Aerial that she needs to follow the rules. In the same way we all (even secretly) hope that our friends will tell us when we've gone to far or made the wrong choice. The people in our lives calling us out can sometimes be a truer test of friendship that standing by when they stand by us. But what is most amazing is how we see the friendships of Disney always pushing each other to be better than what they are & succeed. Marlin & Dori are a great example of this, they push each other to overcome different issues and end up better than where they started. In Up Carl & Russell become an odd pairing that is exactly what each one needs to be happy. They even sneak up on you sometimes, look at Max & Flynn Rider from Tangled! By watching Disney movies I learned how to have the BEST selection criteria for friends ever, and that I should cherish all the unique ways they make my life better.

- The power of choice
If my nerdiness hasn't shown already it's about to. Choice is something that's covered in the "Hero's Journey" and you guessed it all Disney movies follow this pattern. Which means there is always at least one major choice to be made. Simba had to choose whether or not to return home, Rapunzel had to choose whether or not to leave the tower, Mulan chose to return to warn the emperor, and Aerial choosing to barter her voice for legs. The list goes on really. Some of these moments are what made our characters heros, such as Simba or Mulan. In other cases they were the choice that started all the challenges like Aerial & Rapunzel. Whether these choices were solutions or catalysts each of these moments have several things in common. First they all required bravery, and in most cases the characters did not think they had it in them. Simba thought he could never face his family again. Second they changed the way the hero sees themselves and the way everyone else in the story sees them too. Those choices is what made Mulan a hero, and what made Aerial's dad view her as old enough to love & be taken seriously. Third, they set our heros on a completely different path from the one they were on before. Our lives might not be quite so dramatic as a movie, I know that mine is not but I can easily identify choices I've made that have required bravery, changed the way I am seen, and altered my journey's path so much I never saw it coming. These are the stories I always tell people and they are the moments that shape my life. That's a lot of power wrapped up into one small decision.

- Be yourself
This is an idea that Disney reinforced for me more so than taught me and it is pretty close to the top of my "hardest lessons I've ever learned" list. For as long as I can remember I was told by every adult in my life "just be yourself and everything will work out" but as the uncool odd ball in school this seemed cliche and far fetched. This isn't meant to be a sob story about how unaccepted and bullied I was, although I was. I bring this up to illustrate that kids grow up in an environment where having certain interests, or certain personality traits, or even certain possessions will gain you acceptance and friends. Which we all have come to know as "popular" or "normal". As a result many people (children & adults) will try to mold themselves into what they think they should be. I am no exception, I spent a great part of my younger years trying to fit in but not succeeding. At some point in college that changed. I don't know if I got tired or I just decided it wasn't worth it but I decided to "embrace my nerdiness" and just do what I like and talk about it with people who cared to join me. I stopped worrying whether or not people thought it was nerd and responding "yes I am" when others pointed out that I was a nerd or a dork. What happened was amazing, suddenly I was perceived as cool and fun to be around. I found myself with more quality friends than I had ever had before in my life and since that point in my life I have succeeded at things I never thought I would. Public speaking & performing are just two. I say Disney reinforced this because as I watch Disney movies now I realize that what I experienced in my own life was happening before me on screen. Snow White & Cinderella were persecuted for being themselves but they continued anyway and it eventually led to their success. Jasmine only fell in love with Aladdin after he stopped trying to be the prince he thought others wanted him to be and was himself. Beauty & the Beast was all about being who you truly are. Elsa could only save her sister and her kingdom after she conquered the fear of who she was. I only wish I had take the advice of the adults in my life, and of course Disney, sooner because being yourself is such an important lesson.

- Destiny is yours for the taking
I won't lie to you I wrote out this heading and I instantly heard Darth Vader saying it, which due to a technicality is now part of the Disney-verse, but I stated I was sticking with our classic animated tales and so I shall. Many, if not all, of the Disney fairy tales see the hero in situations where they future has been decided for them. Sometimes they are told they have a role or a destiny to fulfill and sometimes the villain is simply trying to get rid of them but one thing is certain. It's hard to talk about the idea of destiny with out talking about the concept of choices but I feel like it's more than just making a choice. We are all faced with potential futures every day and what happens when we start throwing around the term destiny is all the options go away and we are only looking at one future. We loose all sense of hope & responsibility for where our lives are going and what actions we have taken. Disney is full of characters like Tramp, Simba, and Pinocchio that took responsibility for their own actions and in doing so took control of their own Destiny. Likewise there are plenty of examples of characters that simply by finding (or re-finding) hope like Rapunzel & Tiana gave themselves far more options for happiness than they were faced with at the beginning of the story. Losing hope is easy these days. Anyone facing unemployment or mountains of student loans will tell you that. And responsibility virtually doesn't exist anymore in our culture but both are key if you want to be the author of your own great story. There are a lot of variables in life that we cannot control but what we are going to be and how our story ends doesn't have to be one of them.

- How to grow up
Whether you're watching Bambi or like me you're re-watching the Lion King for the 1 millionth time all Disney movies essentially boil down to the same thing. Coming of age. All of these other points can really be summed up into one unbelievably important lesson: How to grow up. We live in a world full of Peter Pans whether they are trying to not age physically or they are attempting to act like children their whole lives. As Wendy & her brothers learn we all have to grow up, life demands it of us. We are faced with the very same challenges as our Disney movie counter parts. Not how to save China or turning ourselves back into a human after being a frog, and unfortunately there are not many monarchies left in the world. The challenges I'm talking about are learning who you are, how you fit into this world, and how do you make a difference? If you pay attention, and glaze over some of the fluffy bits, Disney actually does give you the answers. So the real question is: If your life somehow played a role in a yet to be made Disney movie, what kind of character would you be?

Friday, April 17, 2015


I don't know if anyone actually missed hearing about my training. I kinda missed writing about it though, I have been slacking off on my blogging and it makes me sad. There's not much to say to be truthful though. I have been making good times on my 10k's right around 1:12:50 and my best kilometer is consistently my 2nd and 6th. I'd like to bump that under 1:10:00 but we shall see. My only stressor at the moment is how close Race Day is. Three weeks from tomorrow, and it's getting harder and harder for me to find the time to get out running! Now that's it's warm I might try this morning thing and go in the mornings... or not. I historically have been bad at mornings but it's on the table as a possibility. I also need 5 more songs to add to my playlist so I don't run out. If any of you lovely people that actually read this blog have any ideas leave them in the comments! Well there's you're update for now. If I am being truthful you probably will not hear about my running adventures until after my run, so get ready!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Opening Day!

The season Cirque Season is back! Also so is the baseball season :) I had my first gig at the Whitecaps and it was great to be back. This is my third season with them and it is truly a wonderful place to entertain. I still don't understand or care for baseball, and I'm starting to doubt I ever will (sorry Julie!). But I am starting to understand how the baseball culture has been romanticized over time. I was welcomed back by everyone employees and fans alike that recognize me from previous seasons and we were all out there in the freezing wind and at some points rain. Everyone there was happy to be cheering on their team. Even the people who were considering leaving because of the weather were still thrilled to be there. Everyone I talked to had some kind of tradition they were continuing with their friends, family, or they were starting with their on children for the first time. I love being a part of it and look forward to Opening Day almost as much as actual baseball fans out there! For me though it isn't just opening day of baseball, it's Opening Day for the cirque season! So get ready to hear about some crazy new adventures!!
Dang-it Jenn

Monday, March 9, 2015

Is Winter Over Yet?

So I made it through late fall, and I made it through the holidays but it seems I was not strong enough to make it through January & February. We had a record breaking cold February, I was so close to breaking down and getting a gym membership. But my perserverence was rewarded and this week the weather broke! I was able to get back on the road after 2 months of not training! Needless to say it was not my best run but hopefully the weather stays on my side.

Distance: 5K
Time: 33:43
Best Kilometer: 1st 6:24
Worst Kilometer: 3rd 7:15
Weather: 52 degrees, sunny, light breeze
# This Wk: 1
Song I Finished To: Palladio

Stand Out Though: I actually kinda missed this, and my muscles definitely missed it!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Basically Hipster

Basic and Hipster, we've all heard the terms. And I feel that we are all caught in the middle of this weird cultural civil war. So what do these labels even mean? And where did they come from? Call me old but I don't remember either of them from when I was in high school. Beards, skinny jeans, Ugg boots, Flannel, and Northface jackets all still existed. So when did this all become a thing?

Back in the day there were still groups & clicks that people gravitated towards. That part at least is human nature. We label everything and gravitate towards the things that are most similar to our own beliefs. It helps us understand and cope with the world and it's stress. So in the four years I navigated high school there were popular/preppy kids, nerds, emo kids, goths, skate boarders, and druggies (which were also sometimes the skateboarders), jocks, the supremely religious kids, band geeks, musical theater kids, and the loner kids that never went with any group really. We never had Basic or Hipster even though members of various groups certainly took part in traits of the two groups in question. 

Hipsters originate from Portland, OR as far as I can tell and were heavily focused on the arts. But at some point it became more than that to the point where I have trouble identifying what is and is not a Hipster. It used to be beards, skinny jeans, and flannel. But now now those things are every where and are considered mainstream not Hipster. At some point it started including things like Dr. Who, elbow patches, and Star Wars. So now Hipsters include nerd things as well. Does this make nerds Hipsters? What if you were into those things before? You end up saying the quintessential Hipster phrase, "I liked that before it was cool." So here's where I see the difference, no matter what cultural thing the Hipsters start taking over the biggest difference is this: when it becomes mainstream and cool a true Hipster will disregard their affinity for the trend. One thing is certain never try to be more unique then a Hipster they are always more unique and deep than you.

Basics, now here's a new idea for me mostly because they over lap so much with what used to be identified as the, "popular kids". But it's more than fashion trends and socio-economic status. You can be living on a budget and still be basic. Just look for the girl with leggings, Uggs, a scarf, bedazzled iPhone case and a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks and you've found her. I would love to hear the description of a Bsic boy/man, but I assume they exist. It's more than just a "look" though, it's a way of speech, and an attitude of general superiority. If I understand correctly the point of animosity here is that if you don't look the part and can't keep up the image then you are NOT in the club or worth their time. It's like the middle to upper middle class version of aristocracy. If the Hipsters are the best at being unique and standing out then the Basics are certainly the best at fitting and creating social standards.

The way I see it you have two groups of people that are using opposite means to achieve the same thing. Superiority. Both Basics and Hipsters strive to be better than the rest of the population and are not shy about letting you know. Where one group uses their "deep thinking" and uniqueness against you as a weapon the other group uses their conformity as a weapon to make you feel inferior. This is where all the angst and hatred of these two groups comes in but I have found in conversing with others there is always one of the two groups you bothers you more than the other. It is my opinion that the group that bothers you less is the group that you fit in to some degree. To be clear I do not think that the whole world fits into two nice neat categories but I do find that most people are more comfortable either fitting in or standing out but not both. It only crosses into Basic or Hipster when a person starts to act like their ability to fit in or stand out makes them better than others.

It's not the specific trends or identifiers that people don't like about Hipsters and Basics, it's that people don't like to be made to feel small by others. Especially when the superiority is perceived and not actual. I believe that Basics and Hipsters would start to disappear if people did, wore, and were into all the things that they like because they like them. Don't give them up because they are main stream for 15 minutes and don't cling to something you don't enjoy because everyone around does. You do not have to try to be unique, you just are because you're you. And at some point everyone feels like they don't fit in or there is no group for them but there is always a place for you to fit in, just keep looking. The problem with this cultural civil war we are having is people are afraid that if they follow their instincts they will be judged for it. It's Basically Hipster

When Its Time To Let Go

Over the holidays I ran into a bit of a dilemma. I had received several books as gifts and needed a place to shelve them. If you have read some of my previous blogs you will know my obsession with stories which is part of the problem. The books pile up.

As I tried desperately to reorganize my books the thought that started this bit of deep thinking was, "I need to move out so I have more room to put books!" Now I should probably move anyway but that's a whole separate topic for another day. What struck me about this thought was the fact that plethora of other reasons I should move out seemed so unimportant compared to the fact that I needed more shelf space.

Moving from college dorms to home, and back, and home, and into apartments, and new apartments and back home has taught me to cleanse my life of unnecessary belongings. I've become quite good at it. Clothes, mementos, souvenirs hair & beauty products it doesn't matter. If I don't use it for long enough it goes. Books are different, I can't seem to get rid of them. I think it's because I grow attached to the way they make me feel. Each time I start a book I'm going on a new adventure and I get to make new friends. Of course I know they are not real but for an hour at a time it feels that way. Each book makes me think about myself, the world, and pushes my imagination to go a little bit further. How do you let go of that? How do you hold that physical representation of your adventure in your hands and say "I'm getting rid of this."? Each book holds with it a memory of the time in your life which read it so how do you say, "I don't need this anymore."?

I have this problem with books, for you it might be clothes, or coffee mugs, or ticket stubs. It doesn't matter what it is I think most people experience this feeling. So how do you know when it's time to let go? When this gets hard for me I try to turn my thoughts around and stop looking at it like I am giving something up and realize that the memory, or the adventure, or the growth that each book represents to me has become so much a part of who I am that I don't need the physical book to remember it anymore. I live it instead. If I can do this, it's not so hard to look at giving my books away as giving the gift of a new adventure to someone else. Wouldn't it be selfish to deprive them of the thing I treasure so much?