New Year’s Resolutions – 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT: We are moving! If you’d like to continue to follow us, please do so at PurpleReaders.com!

Making resolutions at the start of each year used to be almost like a religious task for me. We were never very religious in my family, but I took resolutions seriously — working for weeks to make the perfect goals that would help me be a better, happier person. Unfortunately, that activity dropped off once I went into grad school. I was already working so hard on my education and my degree that I couldn’t imagine expending even more effort into making personal goals aside from that. However, even after graduating and earning my degree, I didn’t pick up the habit again.

With all that happened in 2016, and after seeing all the hate and vitriol spewing into the internet from people’s keyboards, I think a lot of usĀ need to make goals to help ourselves be happier, kinder people. True, many of us did not call each other terrible names or dehumanize each other, but with what we’re already dealing with, even voicing one unkind thought is voicing one too many, especially when it’s at the sacrifice of legitimizing someone else’s concerns and humanity. Life is hard and I don’t see why any of us think it’s okay to make it even harder for each other.

So, here’s to a better, kinder, more thoughtful year, and here are my resolutions:

  1. When compelled to say something unkind, take 10 seconds to breathe and come up with a more positive, productive response that will allow us to both treat each other with respect, as if we were fellow humans.
  2. Be more vocal — about my appreciation and gratitude for others and reach out to friends and family at least every other week; stand up against hate.
  3. Do something for a charity or good cause at least once a month, whether it’s donating, volunteering, or even something as simple as talking about a cause that’s doing good work.
  4. Laugh AT LEAST once a day.
  5. Be active for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week.
  6. Post more regularly on the blog this year.

I think these are very simple, and I’m working on the things I think I have the most trouble with. I’m looking forward to being more mindful about how I treat myself and others, and I can’t wait to make this year a great one.

Happy 2017!

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We’re Moving!

As a new year’s present to myself, I’ve decided to get my own domain for the blog (and in the process do a little rebranding), so this is an announcement to say that we will be moving to Purple People Readers!

We will still be posting here for another month or so, but eventually we’ll fully move to the other blog, so please go over there to follow us. We’re really excited about this new change and hope to see you on our new site!

Teaching & Nursing: My Frustrations

My mom is a pediatric hospital registered nurse and has been for just about 28 years or so now. Just last week, her nurse’s union went on strike because the hospital board for the hospital she’s worked at for her entire career has decided that they’re in the money game rather than the healthcare game.

The hospital took out full-page ads in newspapers to tell the public how greedy nurses are for wanting more money (they weren’t striking for more money), and then they locked out their own nurses for 4 days after the 1-day strike. This was partly was a punishment measure, partly that they people they contracted with to provide backup medical staff required 5 days’ staffing and the hospital didn’t want to pay their own staff for working as well. And when they finally opened the doors to the nurses, they thanked them for finally coming back to work. (?!)

The sad thing is that some of the public started agreeing with the hospital on social media. Yes, those nurses are so greedy and need to suck it up. Those nurses need to think about what’s best for the patients and go to work, regardless of work conditions, pay cuts, cuts in benefit, and retirement. Who cares about those nurses’ families and futures — they’re nurses. They need to work. So many people have it harder.

Nurses are not greedy. They work 12-hour shifts and sometimes don’t even take meal breaks during those time in order to make sure your family members are taken care of during their time of illness. They work weekends and holidays, they work through the night. They study and go to school throughout their entire careers so that people have the best care possible. On their days off, they teach CPR and first aid classes, renew certifications, go to professional developments. And yes, they have families who rely on them for support. My mom worked the evening shift full-time, would get off work at 7 AM after starting at 7 PM, pick me and my sisters up to drop us off at school, go shopping and do errands, maybe finally get some sleep starting around 9 AM, and then pick us up at 3 PM, drive us to our various after-school activities, and start it all over again. This is the situation of many nurses. And it breaks my heart for anyone to dare call people like her and her friends “greedy.” You have no idea.

My husband is a teacher, and people are complaining about how much he’s paid, because as we all know, teachers are lazy and make so much money for the job that they do. I’m sorry — but when did we start attacking NURSES and TEACHERS. What is wrong with people? They are literally saving lives and building futures — what wouldn’t you pay to have a highly trained professional in charge of YOUR LIFE when you’re in the hospital? What wouldn’t you pay to have a highly trained professional in charge of your CHILD’S FUTURE at school? When did people in society decide to think that nursing and teaching aren’t two of the most difficult jobs anyone could ever do?

Teachers are not lazy and aren’t just babysitters — most of them have spent over five years in school, whole YEARS dedicated to specifically learning teaching techniques. Yes, they get vacation time, but that’s because they’re working from 7 AM (6 AM in some cases) until easily 5:30 PM. That’s not even counting the weekends they spend supporting their students in various extracurricular activities. Then, when they get home at 6 PM, they lesson plan and read up on different teaching strategies for another hour or two. Trust me, these people are some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet. If they wanted to get rich working 50-60 hours a week, they would have gone into something that actually pays over $100k. My husband makes just under $50k a year working these hours. Don’t tell me he and his co-workers are greedy. They accept all of this, because they love their jobs and they love helping their students. People who go into service jobs like nursing and teaching aren’t in it for the money.

I cannot describe how angry I get when I hear someone say that maybe they’ll just go into teaching when they get bored of their current job. Excuse me? You’re using teaching as a chill backup for when you burn out? I have seen grown adults sob for hours because of the stress of trying to teach 150 teenagers to be decent human beings while also teaching content like grammar, basic writing skills, or math, or biology.

We need to re-think our values and re-think the way we accept the media spin on certain things. Why are you trusting what the person who makes over $400k a year says about how “lazy” nurses or teachers are when they’re asking for a living wage and decent retirement? Think about your own boss or CEO, think about your own situation, and imagine that your salary was under attack because your company has decided to use the money to build a new recreation center instead of giving it to the workers. So they’re asking you to work for 5% less, doing more work because of staff layoffs and cuts, and worse benefits because insurance is expensive. Nothing will change for your boss, though. They’ll still be making their $300k a year. Sound fair? That’s what these people are fighting against, and the higher-ups attacking them are somehow able to turn the public against them. Let’s be better about thinking through things before we accept the fact that workers who serve the public are greedy. Maybe the people trying to make a profit off public service are the ones we need to be looking at.

Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo!

So, last year, Andrew and I attempted to do the NaNoWriMo thing, but we lost interest because the novel we were writing was so unfocused and ended up being not very interesting to either of us. This time, though, I remembered in time that it’s coming up and we’ve decided to try it out again.

The next month will be spent doing lots of planning, brainstorming, and free-writing to see what we can come up with and hopefully have a more successful writing experience this November. We’re not expecting to write a full novel, or even to write something that’s amazing, but we’re looking forward to setting aside some time to work on creative projects and be more active about writing.

It was actually really nice last night when we had an almost hour-long conversation about what makes us want to write, what sort of stories we love, and what sort of thing we hope we can write in the future. Creative Writing was my major in college, so of course, it’s one of my favorite things to talk about — I really appreciate that I can talk about it with my husband and he gets just as excited about reading, storytelling, and the creative process. I can’t wait to see what the next couple of months will bring.

I Don’t Read New Releases

With the recent release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I realized it was the first time in a while that I’ve actually been intrigued by a new release. “Maybe I should get it now,” I thought. That was, of course, before I looked at the price and decided against it. New releases really aren’t for people who’ve just been married and gone on a honeymoon trip to Europe.

But that made me realize that I haven’t actually read a new release probably since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. I haven’t actually bought a book on the release day to read in about nine years, and I wondered why. It’s not because I don’t care enough about books or a certain series or author– I live and breathe books. It’s certainly not because I don’t have discretionary money, though I do have a habit of saving rather than spending. So, why? Why don’t I do that?

It’s also a trend in other entertainment areas — I don’t watch movies the first day they came out anymore (I used to love midnight showings), and I very rarely pick up a video game on its release day. And I think, really, it’s because of hype.

I am so over buying into the hype about something.

Being excited is one thing, and sometimes the first day excitement really is just that. But I’ve seen way too many mediocre things lauded as “amazing” because of the mob mentality hype that often comes along with midnight showings and release days. Recently, I’ve been waiting at least a few months, sometimes even a year before something comes out to see how it is. For video games, it’s purely a cost issue once reviews come out saying it’s good. But for books and movies, I just want to make sure that my opinions are my own and that I’m not raving about a book I would actually think is only okay if I weren’t immersed in a culture that was talking about how great it is.

I’m not trying to make a point or anything, this is just something that I’ve been thinking about now that The Cursed Child has come out. I’m so glad people get excited about books and I can’t wait to read the new Harry Potter book — in a few months or so.

 

Wedding Planning – It’s Happening

I feel like it was just a few months ago that I got engaged and moved in with Andrew, but now it’s already June and the wedding is just about a month away. How did this happen? Luckily, I’m a fierce planner and almost everything is taken care of. I just can’t believe that I survived May, which was incredibly busy, with BEA, my first dress fitting, and all the other assorted plans we were finalizing, like music selection and cake flavors.

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Cake with loops or
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Cake with dangles? So many choices! *Images taken from Scialo Bros Bakery*

All I can say is, thank goodness for family and friends. I am so lucky in that I haven’t really stressed at all about this crazy, beautiful day coming up. The parents are doing all they can to take it off me and are creating a wonderful day for us all to celebrate. I have never felt so cherished and loved — it’s been amazing to see everyone come together and help out with making this day perfect and special. My mom’s friends — people whom I’ve known basically all my life — helped create wedding favors, my future mother-in-law is taking care of centerpieces and floral arrangements, along with providing support and love. It’s been a truly special time.

And I can’t wait to share all our adventures in Rome in London for our honeymoon. We are so excited to be able to spend that time together and experience new countries by each other’s side. So, if you’re going through a busy time, just take a moment to appreciate the people supporting and loving you. It’s hard to see it in the minutia of every day tasks, but it’s a wonderful thing.

We Also Went to BookCon!

BEA being in Chicago was the best thing that’s happened in a long time book-wise, and I wanted to take advantage as much as possible. Unfortunately, with the wedding and honeymoon coming up this summer, Andrew and I didn’t really have the available time off that we would have liked to fully enjoy BEA, but we do work Mon-Fri jobs, so BookCon was the first thing we registered for.

Obviously, it’s not really like BEA. The lines are longer, the people are bit crazier, and there isn’t as much time to really connect with the authors, publishers, and other attendees. But, it’s about books, so we were in — especially once we found out that Hannah Hart would be making an appearance.

I went through a lot of emotional phases with BookCon. First, I was super excited, and then I read about people lining up at 3:30 AM just to get author wristbands at 8 AM or to get onto the floor at 10 AM, and I almost didn’t want to bother — seriously, guys? I already told Andrew that since we had such a good time at BEA Thursday, I just wanted to take it easy and not go too crazy, so we were already planning to go there a little bit later, but I was already psyching myself up for disappointment if it was too crazy busy. Luckily, I was happily surprised to find that it really wasn’t that bad, and we were still able to get free books! Andrew was a hero and mentioned that he wanted to stop by Hachette before we headed to our first panel, and the man was absolutely spot on. We both really liked Hachette’s way of dealing with galley drops and stopped by there often — like I said, we don’t like lines, and there wasn’t that much of a problem with lines at Hachette. Total win.

What we really wanted to do was see the Diverse Books panel about Love and Loss with Sherman Alexie, Jenny Han, Gene Luen Yang, Francisco X Stork, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Leigh Bardugo. We got a pretty good seat and really enjoyed hearing these authors’ experiences with love and loss, how that relates to their culture, and how it’s reflected in their writing. So lovely.

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So many cool authors!

We got all the books we could carry surprisingly quickly, and so spent the next couple of hours eating lunch and reading, which was wonderful. Then, it was off to the Hannah Hart panel.

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Our happy faces! Waiting for Hannah Hart!

This was so exciting for us. Hannah Hart’s channel was a staple of mine when I was going through grad school and Andrew and I like to go through past My Drunk Kitchen episodes when we feel like watching something fun and silly. We really enjoy her and so much appreciated being able to hear her speak about her new book, Buffering, and her experiences with writing it.

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Second row — there’s Hannah!

We were also lucky enough to go to a Meet and Greet with her and were actually able to hug her and take a picture with her! SO COOL! It really just made our week being able to see her in person, and it was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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AHHHH!