My “Torc” {APADO #18}

(thubis ubis ubapubadubo, my lubittle blubog suberubies thubat ubi’m subo tubired ubof ubintrubodubucubing. subo ubi dubecubidubed tubo dubo ubit ubin ububbubi dububbubi.)

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Brandy wears a braided chain / made of the finest silver from the north of Spain…

…or a piece of steel stock from an engineering workshop.

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restraunts, swimming, in the car, photobombing at my sister’s wedding…

I’ve worn my necklace every day since I got it, and I’m still not sure why.

Maybe it’s because I’ve tied the leather cord it’s hanging from so tight that I can’t get it off. I have to pull it off the hitch ring every time I go through a metal detector.

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penny for scale

For awhile, I was calling it my torc. I forgot what it means. It’s something in Russian, because when I got it, I was obsessed with a race of Russian wolves I was trying to come up with for my infamous dogstory.

I got it from a professor at our local university who really took a fancy to our family after he met my older sister. He made it out of some scrap steel and told me, “I dunno what you’re supposed to do with it, but it sure looks cool.”

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oh yeah, this was the journal where I was pretending I had a twin brother.

I wanted the torc to mean something. Maybe a reminder, or a symbol.

So I found a shoelace in one of my drawers and worked up a necklace. Somehow, the shoelace lasted for way longer than it should have, but when it got nasty, I kidnapped a leather strip from a Moleskine notebook and I think it looks alright.

It’s been a year and a half, and I still have no idea what it’s supposed to stand for.

Any ideas?

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

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Everyday Miracles {APADO #12}

(APADO = a post a day, october = nerve-wracking heart-attacking self-inflicted blog challenge i should be regretting but i’m not)

(this is going to be a short post, seeing how yesterday’s was as long as four cvs receipts)

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I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it, but I really love to roller skate. I’ve been doing it off and on for years, but I get the same thrill every time I pull a pair of skates on.

But life’s been busy recently, and I haven’t had a chance to get to the rink. It doesn’t help that I outgrew my skates (which were hand-me-downs from one of my sisters). They were a good little pair of quads…before I got gargantuan feet.

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from a go pro vid at the the skating rink (and feat. my older older brother mac)

It’s not as easy when you don’t own your own skates. I have to bring an extra dollar to rent a pair, and they really aren’t terrific. (I mean, if you consider the constant abuse they go through, they’re astonishingly good. But the wheels are really slippery. Maybe it’s a ploy by the management to get insurance money or something.)

Earlier this year, I was considering buying a pair of roller blades. But they’re expensive, and although I have some spending money, I can’t justify spending a hundred dollars like that.

That hasn’t stopped me from wanting a pair, though. They’ve been on the brain since the beginning of summer.

So let’s flash forward to today. My granddad was going to this giant fair-thrift-store-rummage-sale-thing, and being the spontaneous person I am, I came along.

(Now when I say “Granddad”, please imagine a 70-year-old man who looks like he’s 40, laughs like he’s 20, and gives advice like he’s 104. He’s the definition of hardcore awesomeness.)

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I give you – an ENFP paradise!

This place was awash with awesome stuff. I brought my camera, meaning to take lots of pictures, but honestly I was too busy looking at everything on the tables.

At least I got a shot of these baskets of records, though. Aren’t they minorly aesthetic?

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Anyways. I was having fun looking at everything, destressing from a very long week, forgetting about all the things I really should have been doing – when I saw them.

Rollerblades.

Beautiful rollerblades from the era where they had the joint for your ankle to flex correctly. In my size.

For – I could have sworn I was dreaming – $3. Three dollars.

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I still can’t get over how amazing God is. How I had almost given up on getting roller blades, and He dropped them in my lap when I was least expecting it. How He works in big, big ways – but still cares about little things like…rollerblades.

It’s been a really, really good day.

tl;dr: Little miracles happen every day. You’ll never know until you start looking for them.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

Journalling {APADO #8}

(you’re reading APADO – a post a day, october – a self-inflicted blogging challenge that i’m kind of regretting but kind of not.)

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I think it’s safe to say that I’m a veteran journaller. I’ve been writing every single night since I was about ten. Even though I’ve thrown away my first eight journals (it was a horrible idea and I regret it so much), I keep count like I still have them, which puts me on working on #14.

I’ve often stopped and wondered what it is that keeps me journalling. I don’t write anything groundbreaking, it keeps me up for fifteen extra minutes, and I’m the only one who’s reading them. Isn’t that a waste of time and effort?

But if it’s such a waste, why am I still doing it?

After my most recent self-debate about this, I came up with some reasons – and some thoughts about journalling in general.

Why journal?

  • It’s therapuedic. There’s something relaxing about getting your thoughts out on paper – maybe it’s just that we humans love to write about ourselves. Whatever the reason is, I’ve found that it’s fun and soothing.
  • It helps create a healthy bedtime routine. I’m lucky to not have any sleep problems, even when I’m travelling. I think it has something to do with my journal. When I open it up, it triggers my brain to calm down. And calmness, especially with how busy my life is right now, is something I could use a whole lot more of.
  • They’re fun to go back and read later. Not only do they remind you of exactly what you were thinking back then, but it’s also hilarious to see what you used to think was cool – or abhorrent. Trust me, I know.

Journal myths:

  • You have to write a bestseller every night. Absolutely not. A journal is an intimate, private thing. Since no one will be reading it but yourself anyways, it’s more important to write frequently and truthfully.
  • It has to look pretty. Pintrest and inspirational blogs make it easy to think that looks are a must. Yes, it’s nice to have an aesthetic journal, but it doesn’t have to look good to be important. In fact, I’ve found that trying to make my journal look nice tires me out instead of relaxing me.
  • You can’t write about stupid stuff. Um, yes you can. This is your personal book. There are no rules about what you can or can’t write about.

Tips for better entries:

  • Write about what happened, not what’s going to happen. Writing about future plans can make you sound like a Burma-shave sign. Ten more days until x! Nine more days until x! It’s best to stick to the present and write about things when they actually happen. (Y’all have no idea how much I struggle with this.)
  • If you’re stuck, write song lyrics. They’re a good reflection of your mood that day, and they don’t take much effort. Another bonus: later, you can see what music you liked back then.
  • Don’t be afraid to be a little crazy. Crazy is fun. In the mood to write a stupid poem? Do it. Feeling like writing the entire entry in Ubbi Dubbi? No one’s stopping you. The crazy stuff is the stuff you’re going to remember the most.
  • Try to get in the habit of writing an entire page a day. You’ll be surprised how much this improves your entries.

And NEVER:

  • Throw away journals. Ever. Trust me, you’ll regret it.

tl;dr: Journalling is fun and relaxing – especially if you let yourself be free with it.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

(i’m probably going to go write in my journal that today’s apado post was about journalling. and that will be really meta. and i will also write about how meta it is. now do you see why i’m slowly going insane?)

Roller Coasters {APADO #6}

(This is APADO, a series where I attempt to write a post once a day for the entire month of October. And I’m already burning out. And this is fun, I’m reminding myself.)
(This is Saturday night, it’s been a really long week, and I need to get batteries for my camera so I can write some posts that actually mean something – but hey, gotta do whatcha gotta do.)
(And the photo in the graphic’s not mine. And I don’t really care….? It’s from Six Flags’ website. Kudos to them. Ditto to the gifs.)

APADO 6

You never know just how brave you are until you sit in a roller coaster car and pull down the restraint.

Not only are you about to experience ridiculous speeds and incredible Gs, but you also just chose to do so. Willingly.

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For me, this realization brings my heart rate up at least 25 bpm every single time I ride a roller coaster, even though I go to Six Flags a bit more than your average person.

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It’s easy to talk big when you’re safe on the ground, watching the coaster do its thing. But it gets progressively harder as you weave through the cue line, as you get up close to the ride, as you feel the energy it’s throwing off surging beneath your feet.

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And the very hardest part is sitting down in the car, pulling the restraints down, and accepting the fact that you’re going to do something that doesn’t make logical sense.

But that’s the fun part about roller coasters.

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Because you made a stupid decision. You’re doing something that doesn’t make sense.

And you’re able to.

When you’re going up the hill, you know you’ve been really, really rash, but when you’re going down, you know why people love roller coasters.

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Because humans like to go fast.

We like to feel the power of something we’ve invented.

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somewhere in there is yours truly after riding the coaster pictured above – my mom dragged me on it >w<

And we like to feel proud of ourselves when we come screaming into the station. Because against all odds, and everything coming at you – you just rode a hundred-foot-tall metal beast. On purpose. And you had fun.

Imagine the places that kind of mindset will take you.

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me and younger older brother – nothing like a day at the park ^v^

And this is why I love roller coasters.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

(P.S: yes, I have ridden all the roller coasters pictured in this post. yes, it took much determination/panicking. my home park is six flags over texas.)

 

 

My Horseback Riding Journey {APADO #5}

(APADO = a post a day; october. I’m trying to post once a day for a month and it’s kind of killing me, but I’m doing alright. *wipes brow*)

(I really, really, really need to get batteries for my camera so I can take some photos for blog posts instead of relying on my backlog.)

(and this post is kinda personal so if that’s not your thing then that’s okay ^w^)

APADO 5

I think it’s public knowledge that I love horseback riding. I’ve been doing it for three years now and I feel like it’s going to be a part of me for the rest of my life.

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these photos all look bad but I don’t have time to fuss over it right now

Though I had loved horses for all my life, I didn’t sit on a horse until I was 12, when I saved up all my money and bought a semester of riding lessons. They weren’t exactly as I’d imagined, but they weren’t too far off. I’d say the best thing I learned was how to groom a horse. I had no idea how much I’d use it later.

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There was a little show at the end of them – just to show off to our parents what we’d learned. I placed last in all the classes, but I had fun.

All my ribbons said “participant”. As in “good try!”

Of course, I didn’t really care that much about the ribbons. (Honestly, I was just glad I had won anything.) What I did care about, however, was how expensive the lessons were.

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hanging with my uncle’s crazy horses

I spent that summer still obsessed with horses (as usual), wondering what I should do. I could either get rich or get creative.

I chose to get creative.

That fall, I started helping out at a broodmare farm. I groomed horses, mucked out stalls, and did whatever I needed to do. And it was here, at Willow Tree Farm, that I found out that I love to ride bareback.

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I also drew this picture of one of their horses. on notebook paper.

There wasn’t, though, enough to do at Willow to justify my riding there – I didn’t have enough experience to do what really needed to be done. Even though I didn’t want to leave, I unofficially started looking for another place. But the chilly evenings spent cleaning tack or riding bareback on their old jumping mare will always be a special time in my life.

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i’m legit always wearing this tobymac shirt to the barn?

I found Skyline Farm at the beginning of last year. It’s a stable that specializes in riding lessons for all ages. Being the dork I am, I wrote a letter asking if I could trade barnwork for riding lessons, and eventually started assisting the trainers during the kids’ lessons. It’s actually a really fun job. And I get paid in – oh yes – riding lessons.

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from one of my gopro videos

I really have to thank my trainers at Skyline for getting me to the place I am in my riding skill today. When I came, I hadn’t even trotted yet. Now I’m jumping and cantering and stuff.

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I even competed in a small show they had there (and actually won first place!)

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from another gopro video

But what’s really made Skyline good for me is all the ground experience I’m getting. I’ve learned so much more through helping out with lessons than if I were just taking them myself.

Honestly, I don’t know what my horse future has in store for me. But I’m just going to keep in stride with it, to use a horse term. Hehe.

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If it’s anything like how things have been so far, I don’t think I’ll ever be bored.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

Conversations With 13-Year-Old Me {APADO #4}

(This post is part of a series called APADO, where I try my hardest to post once a day for the entire month of October. So far, so good.)
(I’ve been giving a lot of advice recently and it feels weird so I’m just gonna talk about cringey old posts okay? okay.)

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What was I doing in 2016?

I was being a little weirdo (and enjoying it).

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this is from a video my brother took of us fooling around at a uhaul place in amarillo. in 2016. it wasn’t supposed to be slo mo but doesn’t it look majestic?

I was playing in the snow, hiking and camping, riding bareback at Willow Tree Farm, and really enjoying my childhood (even though I was technically a teenager).

I was starting this blog.

According to my first post, I was a horse-nut, writer, gardener, photographer, half-crafter, artist, and reader. What is “artist” doing so low on this list?

I had a huge vocabulary and no discretion on when to use it. I was throwing around words like “liable”, “whatnot”, and “filibuster”, just because I could.

I was clueless on how I should talk to my followers. Or to anyone, for that matter.

In short, I was being every 13-year-old: living life, having a good time and thinking I was better than everyone else.

And, as a result, my first posts on this blog are really dumb and self-absorbed. On one hand, I want to bury them and hope they never meet the eyes of anyone I respect and trust.

But on the other hand, why bury what you could ridicule? Publically? For your followers’ enjoyment?

The things I do for you guys.

Let’s go see what 13-year-old me was up to.

We’re diving right in with my first post. It was called “The Beginning Of It All”, and it starts:

G’day. I’ll bet you came here from Silver Sky Dolls, my other blog, and I’ll bet you’re wondering why I decided to begin the personal blogging adventure.

Okay, Tess. Never assume that your followers are wondering anything, because they’re probably not (unless they just worship you). Oh, I forgot. You don’t have any followers! Yet.

Why Steeplechase? It’s sort of a crazy name. A steeplechase in the horse world is a race that goes through several jumps and ditches. My outlook on life is a lot like that – a lot of it is going through obstacles. In this same way, my blog is not themed persay, unless me-themed counts.

I know you’re trying to sound like you’re knowing what you’re doing by explaining this blog’s name. Why don’t you just tell them the truth – that you just picked the name because it sounded cool?

(Honestly, I’m surprised I was able to be trusted to pick a good blog name at age 13. By some miracle, I still like it.)

I have my feet wet in a lot of places, and I am liable to get them wet in several more over the years.

Yep! You’re right! You might go on to try animation, embroidery, and sticking googly eyes to anything and everything.

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I went on to talk about envelope art. I didn’t really make a point, maybe besides that presentation is important.

I finished that post with this little specimen of a note:

(P.S: Soon, I will go to THE TALLEST PLACE IN TEXAS….Guadalupe Peak! It is an 8-mile round trip for hikers. I’ll be traveling every week next month, so we’re going to have a little bit of a traveling theme for here at Steeplechase and at the partner blog Silver Sky Dolls.)

Get used to travelling, Tess. You’re going to be doing a lot more of it in years to come.

(Also: is the hike the eight-mile round trip or is that the distance to the park? Clarity is important.)

(And: please stop considering SSD as a partner blog. It really is its own thing.)

I did end up going to Guadalupe Peak a few days later, though. That hiking trip was a lot of fun.

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I must have been exhausted when I wrote this post, though, because it has less energy than a slug taking melatonin.

So…We Meet Again…For The Third Time… (Let’s hope I can say that without sounding like your nemesis.)

That’s creepy, Tess. Please stop. It’s not “cool” to be creepy.

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This is a very bad, very blurry picture…

Oh, get used to that, too! Your pictures will be bad and blurry for years to come. Isn’t that comforting?

I had intended to go to bed at ten o’clock the night before, but that didn’t happen, and I was in bed at eleven-thirty. (I sort of go to bed kind of late all the time. Nobody’s perfect.) I didn’t get to sleep until midnight. (I have a minor form of insomnia, I think. It always takes me a little to get to sleep.) And I woke up at four the next morning, because we needed to leave at five, so I ended up with four hours of sleep. Yippee.

You really should try going to bed earlier. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in the habit of doing that before sleep becomes a thing you crave?

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That’s the scope of things. Consider Guadalupe Mountains National Park as your next hiking destination!

Unless you’re a couch potato. Then you can enjoy my photos!

*slow clapping* Very nice. You just called all your followers who aren’t athletically inclined couch potatoes. Oh wait, you didn’t have any followers at this point.

Until Clara was nice enough to follow me, that is. Love you, Clara! Thanks for dealing with me through thick and thin.

I decided to talk about amateur art after that. It was definitely still amateur at the time.

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awww isn’t completely ignoring perspective and depth cute?

(WARNING: BIG BLOCKS OF MONOLOGUE AHEAD. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THEM.)

So…people will probably not read your monologues, no matter how much you beg. Why don’t you do the obvious and just REWORD YOUR MONOLOGUES, YOU VERBOSE CHILD?

Random tip #1: You can draw anything, even if you don’t specialize in that specific field.

Um…okay? But just a question, Tess – why are you giving art advice? Didn’t you just begin this post by saying you weren’t really an artist?

Random tip #2: It is very, very normal to have bad drawings, sessions or even days. Don’t give up just because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to.

Alright, I’ll give it to you – that’s actually pretty solid advice. I mean, that’s a pretty solid “random tip”. You take yourself so seriously, don’t you?

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Random tip #4: Draw from real life, but draw from imagination too.

Well, that’s nice and elucidated. You’re so thorough!

I am not telling you to invent weird creatures or design spaceships (but if you want to, knock yourself out; no one’s holding you back).

*facepalm*

How does that sound, CLARA??? I know you are my only follower right now, so I will start addressing YOU more often. Sound good?

See ya later, CLARA!

From, Tess

So there’s this thing called a signoff, and you can use it so you don’t sound like a sarcastic jerk begging for followers.

I decided to get more personal after this. And hopefully stop giving advice. But I didn’t stop being condescending?

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what’s funny is that my bedroom really hasn’t changed much

I share a bedroom. I have shared a bedroom all my life. Before you go, “Oh, how dreadful!” hear me out. Bedroom sharing is an excellent practice. After all, you’re not always going to have a room all to yourself, be it rooming at a college or grown up and living with your family. Thus, if you have your own room, I am better off than you.

All the flavors in the world, and you choose salty! Okay. This is a good concept worded abhorrently. Maybe you should go for something that doesn’t make people with their own bedrooms feel guilty? Just a rule of thumb – never make your followers feel guilty. Tess, you have so much to learn about writing blog posts.

I hope this inspires you to clean your room!

Spoiler alert, Tessie – it probably didn’t!

Yours sincerely,

Tess

Maybe you meant “sincerely yours”?

I started to get the hang of things, though. Which is good. I started to try to add humor into my posts. Which…is good in some ways and not really great in others?

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Random tip: If you want to draw a horse in action, but can’t draw a rider for beans, put it on a lunge line, like so:

TESS. “RANDOM TIP” IS NOT OKAY. NO ONE CARES ABOUT “RANDOM TIPS”. OR THE WORD “RANDOM”. OR ART ADVICE FROM A 13-YEAR-OLD.

Gah, I was so cocky back then. Or is it confidence? I can’t tell which is worse, though – to draw horribly and be proud of it? Or to draw well and stress about improvement?

I’m leaning toward stress, though. At least you’re tolerable to be around.

Unlike a certain 13-year-old me.

Ready to be blown away?

(Well, don’t take my word for it, but I am positive you will be.)

Do yourself a favor and stop taking yourself so seriously.

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Most Western bits are made of a metal called sweet iron. The reason they call it such is because it tastes sweet in a horse’s mouth, the same way pennies taste sweeter than dimes. (If, as a young child, you ever ate your father’s coin collection, you would know what I’m talking about.)

So, this is actually okay, Tess. You went straight to the point, you explained it well, and you actually made it semi-funny.

(But maybe I just think it’s funny because everything else in these posts is so unfunny, this stands out as mildly amusing. Hm.)

That minor success doesn’t stick around for long, though.

I went and did the stupidest thing. The unthinkable. I wrote a self-centered, boring, rambly “top ten things you didn’t know about me” post. Oh, Tess, you’re an idiot.

7. My second favorite animals (horses are first) are blue macaws.

Tess? There’s this animal -it’s called a wolf. It’s majestic, beautiful and fun to draw. Have you ever heard of it?

I’m still drawing. Still doing amateur art.

It still looks kind of terrible.

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once upon a time, this was my best piece of work.

What would you like to see me draw? I’ll consider it.

What would I like to see you draw? Something that has respect for proportions and volume. Ahem.

Things I wish I could tell 13-year-old Tess

  • You are a cocky little jerk who can’t stop talking about yourself. Seriously. Yes, it’s your blog, but that doesn’t mean you can think you’re better than everyone else. Newsflash: you’re not.
  • Your art needs improvement. Also, please start learning to shade now, so that when you’re older, you’ll be better at it.
  • “Random tips” do not equal sound advice.
  • Drop gardening as a hobby. You have a black thumb and you kind of know it, but you’re too prideful to admit it, aren’t you?
  • Be nice to your followers. They might end up being your best friends one day.
  • And please, please, please tone down on the verbosity! THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO USE THE WORD “LIABLE” IN A PERSONAL BLOG POST. EVER.

Conclusion

Disclaimer: I don’t mean to bash beginner bloggers. There’s a learning curve to it, just like anything, and it takes quite a while to get the hang of the right tone of voice to use.

(Here’s where I wonder if I’m being cocky again. I think my blogging tone is good right now, but that’s what I thought back then…oh no, here comes the anxiety.)

I think I was most shocked by my personality back then, though. I haven’t ever realized what a stuck-up, prideful twit I used to be. In fact, I used to think I’ve always been a nice person. Maybe not so much anymore.

It’s very, very encouraging to look back on these posts and see how far I’ve come. In maybe more than just my posts’ quality. Hehe.

tl;dr: Don’t be cocky. Unless, of course, you want an ample supply of cringe to read later.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

The Personal Library Awards™ {APADO #2}

(yep we’re going from dead-serious to mostly-living-not-so-serious in 2.5 seconds)
(also I know that this is posted at the very end of day 2…I had camera complications and then the pictures still look horrible and I feel like I wasted a bunch of time and effort for nothing but EH)
(was this post even worth it?)
(yes. yes it was. *deep breaths*)

APADO 2

I’ve wanted to talk about my library for a while now. It’s three shelves of variety that I’ve collected and bought over the years – some fiction, some non-fiction, and some stuff that’s only remotely book-like that I don’t know where else to put.

I could just take some pictures, gush about how they look remotely aesthetic when they’re all sitting together, and call it a night. But I like to think I’m a little more creative than that. Because what are you supposed to do with that information besides immediately forgetting it?

So I decided to come up with some awards. And “some” turned into 25. And the awards turned into a challenge, should you choose to accept it. Turn down the lights, grab some popcorn, and let’s give it up for The Personal Library Awards™!

(okay it’s not actually trademarked, I just learned the alt code for a ™ and wanted to use it for effect.)

Newest: The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

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warning: photo quality in this post is -2

Straight out of 2016. This book was…okay. I don’t exactly regret it, but it wasn’t the best thing I have ever read. Which was kind of disappointing, because I bought it brand new and I sort of feel like I wasted my money? Oh well.

Oldest: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

This award is for my physically oldest book – this first-edition copy of my favorite hist-fict that I got in an antique shop. It’s from 1943. As in, this book is 75 years old. They don’t bind them like they used to.

Childhood Favorite: Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry

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Even when I was a little horse potato and knew nothing about them, I loved this book to death. It’s basically some nice paintings and some fun little anecdotal stories about the different breeeds of horses. And it was actually successful in extending my woefully poor attention span.

Most Loathsome: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Ugh. Okay, classics are usually the best. They’re usually rolemodels that inspire me to write stories as great as they are. I’m not going to go so far as to say that Great Expectations isn’t a great story, but I can’t stand it. It’s way too wordy, the characters are all jerkfaces with absolutely nothing to stand behind, and it has an unsettling tone I can’t put a finger on. It’s the last Charles Dickens novel I’ll finish (because yes, I finished it).

Most Obscure: At Agincourt by G. A. Henty

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I’m going to guess you’ve never heard of this book. That’s okay! I’m still not sure if I like the resolution of it, but it definitely kept me reading, even though the type in this edition is ribosomically tiny. Also I accidentally slammed the backseat of an SUV down on top of it and I actually cried about it.

Biggest Surprise: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba

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Going into this, I was thinking I was going to yawn the whole way through. I ended up finishing it in one sitting and realized that I had actually been really riveted the whole time! Who knew windmills were so interesting.

Biggest Disappointment: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Tarzan is my favorite Disney movie. So that means I’ll love the books, right? Correction: I would have loved the books if they weren’t so horribly cliched and just…ugh. I only keep this one around because its format is so gloriously beautiful. But the pretty cover is honestly the only good thing about it. ALL 800 PAGES OF IT. Okay, I’ll stop ranting.

Longest: Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson

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Non-fiction homemaking encyclopedia. It’s more interesting than you’d think and weighs in at 884 pages. Lots of information and useful stuff that I’ll probably need later.

Shortest: Felicity Learns A Lesson by Valerie Tripp

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yep, it’s the pleasant company edition ^w^

Fun fact: this book got me into AG dolls. It’s only 67 pages, but it certainly talks about a lot in that time frame – bullying, disloyalty, the Boston Tea Party, and not knowing what to do when your values are called into question. These American Girl books are seriously underrated.

Prettiest: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Firstly: this book’s a classic and if you haven’t read it, you should. Secondly: I’m in love with the way this book looks. The colors are so well coordinated and the beautiful design carries over into the pages, too. Yes, I do judge books by their covers. And I hate myself for it. But don’t we all?

Ugliest: The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

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I actually don’t think I finished this one? I think I forgot about it. Even though I’m not sure how I forgot the mustard yellow, bright orange, and strange circus animal motif. THERE AREN’T EVEN ANY CIRCUS ANIMALS IN THIS STORY. Who even designed this cover? It’s ancient, and I got it for free, so I can’t complain…but still.

Largest: The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams

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I can’t get over how amazing the information in this book is. I also can’t get over how physically big it is. It’s about nine by eleven inches and I think it must weigh five pounds. It feels like fifteen when I’m hauling it around, though.

Smallest: Pocket Horses by DK

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This is another book I lived by as a kid! And it’s really really small – about four by five inches. And apparently you can get it on Amazon for literally a dime? I can’t tell if that’s amazing or sad. Maybe it’s amazingly sad. I liked it.

Most Abused: CHA Composite Horsemanship Manual by the Certified Horsemanship Association

If you want to learn to ride, seek out and devour this book. It’s chock full of actually useful information, not just the stuff that sounds good on paper. I have used it so much that the pages are falling out of the binding.

Most Read: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I think I’ve read this one (both parts!) at least ten times. It doesn’t get old, though! I’m surprised I like this book so much, seeing as I’m not usually a fan of the genre, but I grew up on this one and still love it. No movie adaptation can beat it. =u=

First To Be Hypothetically Donated: The Complete Encyclopedia of Horses by Josee Hermsen

I’ll give this one credit that it’s trying to be a horse encyclopedia. That’s not an easy feat. But the editing in this book is really weird. Miscaptioned photos, poor grammar….I can’t even.

Last To Be Hypothetically Donated: Freehand Figure Drawing For Illustrators by David H. Ross

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This book is amazing. Enlightening. Game-changing, if you’re an artist. And there is SO MUCH information in it, I think it’ll probably take a lifetime to learn it all. I need it. *protectively shields it*

Funniest: The Watsons Go To Birmingham: 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

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I don’t want to admit it, but I read Christopher Paul Curtis’ books when I want to laugh my head off. Yes, they have themes and plots, but honestly the humor in them trumps everything else.

Most Boring: Wings by Tom D. Crouch

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I bought this book at a Goodwill just because the cover was pretty. (Back on this again…) It looks great, but it’s pretty much a four hundred page research paper on flight. Not that I don’t like research papers, I just lost interest. Maybe I’ll pick it back up again. In ten years.

Most Useful: Scouting for Girls by The GSA

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Yep, the original. Survival tactics, star maps, instructions for cooking a three-course dinner. And doesn’t everyone need to know how to cut perfect stars from cloth? (I still can’t seem to get it to work…)

Least Useful: A Healthy Horse: The Natural Way by Catherine Bird

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I inherited this book and it’s 150 pages of herbal remedies? Yeah it’s not really useful to me, seeing as I don’t own a horse. It’s also kind of fruity – I always expect to see yoga poses suggested to enhance the cures, even though it doesn’t touch on that. Can horses even do yoga? Hm.

Most Powerful: The Giver by Lois Lowry and The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

I had to split this award. I had to. I couldn’t decide which was more important: The Giver‘s thoughts on the worth of human life, or The Bronze Bow‘s emphasis on the power of hate – and forgiveness. Both are excellent and you should go read them the first chance you get (if you haven’t already).

Most Frustrating: When London Burned by G. A. Henty

This is a reprint of a very old book. I have nothing against it plot-wise – actually it was pretty solid…once I got through the forest of typographical errors. Did they even give it a read-through? IT’S AWFUL AND IT DISTURBS ME.

Honorable Mention: Wolves At Our Door by Jim and Jamie Dutcher

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Wolves At Our Door is a memoir about a couple who lived near a pack of wolves in order to make a documentary about them. The end result is much more interesting than it sounds and than I expected. Definitely one of my favorite true stories.

and…

Favorite: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Annnnnd….time for my favorite book. I always come back to Treasure Island. Something about the aesthetic, or the story, or the characters just keeps dragging me in. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it – or dreaming about being on the open seas, with all the danger and glory and….gahhh. I love this book. Fight me.

*applause*

Did I just decide which of my books was my favorite? Wow.

I’m really glad I decided to do it this way instead of just listing them off. These twenty-five aren’t my entire collection, but they’re a good sampling of it. (We didn’t even get to Counting by 7s…!)

I had a lot of fun making this post, and I hope you do too.

That is, if you accept my challenge.

I would love to see your own versions of The Personal Library Awards™!

I don’t really consider myself a “bookish” person, so I’d be interested in what spins you guys would put on this idea. Would you add awards? Take some away? And, of course, which of your books would win the awards? Honestly, I’d love it if some of you more competent book bloggers would take this idea and run with it!

Do you dare to undertake a round of The Personal Library Awards™?

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}