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About Gemma

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  • Birthday 11/18/66


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    Coastal Swamplands, NC USA


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  1. Book Riot's 2018 Read Harder Challenge

    I didn't, but I claimed several - thanks, @Grumble I'm not a huge epic poetry type either, but I bought it because I own everything else that Christopher has published since his father's death. So since I have it anyway, I'd rather deal with the poetry than try to slog through A Confederacy of Dunces again (now there was an assigned book I hated! Actually I don't remember if my Humanities teacher assigned it or just recommended it). Back when I felt compelled to finish a book if I'd started it, I got to the end of that one thinking "what the heck did I do with the last week of my life?"
  2. Broki's Frozen Blight - Warrior Mini Challenge

    Ooh, this just sparked a thought - I had been planning on bringing some of my light dumbbells downstairs and doing straight-arm holds while reading or otherwise goofing off, something my mentor recommended a long time ago and I hadn't got around to yet.
  3. Book Riot's 2018 Read Harder Challenge

    I'm in the opposite boat - I have never seen the movie, but I finished the book not too long ago and loved it and now I can't wait to see the movie. The second Mrs. de Winter was a weak character, but she faded into the background for me and became just a narrator - like Nick Carraway in Gatsby. And I adored Mrs. Danvers. So rare to see a female villain done well. I just bought Fahrenheit 451 because it was on sale cheep at Target. I also picked up The Handmaid's Tale for the same reason, and I think that would also work for me for task 24. I am loving Britt-Marie was Here, I'm about halfway through and it is great. This is another one I would never have considered if not for this challenge but I'm glad I did. On the other hand, A Bollywood Affair is ... a typical romance novel. Meh. Not my deal. Unrealistic plotting and uneven character development, in the manner of, y'know, romance novels. But the cultural stuff is interesting. And it got me to Google the Ypsilanti water tower, so now there's an image I'll never get out of my head.
  4. Gemma is ISO much of her muchiness

    And now I am completely overwhelmed. I tried to be all responsible and start doing the things, since work is not having any current emergencies. I got on my insurance provider directory and narrowed down a nice list of 10 primary care providers to call. And then I did a search for Licensed Professional Counselors. Within five miles of my office, there are seventy three. I even selected for "female" - not that I have any strong bias, but I had to narrow it somehow and I thought it might be hard for me to talk to a guy about body image issues? That's silly, I know men have the same sorts of problems, but I'm of a generation where men were NOT talking about that sort of thing so I have prejudices. There's no way to narrow the results further, no listing of who has, for example, specific training or experience with eating disorders or body dysmorphia. Those of you who have had to do this - how do you do it? Just play eenie-meenie-minie-mo? Spend all day Googling every one of them by name? I'm sure this must be worse for the nerds who live in big cities. I swear my brain just shut down when I saw that list. I'm having anxiety symptoms thinking about choosing someone to talk about my anxiety symptoms with. This seems ... ironic? (Thanks, Alanis, for making me perpetually afraid of misusing that word!)
  5. courtniemarie's bills bills bills challenge

    I dig how you can make wedding planning sound like actual fun, 'coz I was all like
  6. Miss Marissa - Trying a new thing

    You say that like it's a bad thing.
  7. Mike Wazowski: Week by Week

    As long as I'm being obnoxious about your word usage, I guess the least I can do is vouch for your excellent taste in books. I recently finished listening to "Big Magic," thanks again for that recc - it was wonderful!
  8. Gemma is ISO much of her muchiness

    Not Alice, but I needed this reminder today: So far so good. Went to the gym today - went light weight, high volume because I am basically a jellyfish, strengthwise, probably due to (attempted) cutting. I'm not recovering well at present. On the emotional health front, I walked in to work today and found a boiling-over anthill of panicky stressy Marines trying to solve a problem that they did not understand but that falls solidly in my grid square. Good news: it took me less than an hour to identify the problem, define the scope (much smaller than they thought), and set a fix in motion. Better news: I did, temporarily, get angry at the person who made the error (I'm over it now, it's fixed) but I did not get angry at myself for being at the gym instead of at my desk when the red star cluster first went off. This is kind of a big deal - I can usually almost always find a way to blame myself for anything that goes wrong, convince myself that I am incompetent and should never have got this job, and fling myself down into a deep and profound shame spiral.
  9. I have mental health ... things. They are generally no big deal, have been well-controlled and unobtrusive for many many years and now all of a sudden - they aren't. Symptoms: I cry, uncontrollably, at really insignificant triggers, usually related to fitness/weight (e.g I miss a lift, I gain a pound, I look in the mirror and see body fat that I haven't noticed before) I cry in public, which I have never been prone to in the past. I have random occasional anxiety symptoms - difficult breathing, chest tightness, hyper alertness - when there is no threat or possibility of threat present. A return to prior levels of my AD/HD behaviors: lack of productivity, hyperfocus on entertainments (especially really dumb games on my phone - I can lose hours), task-jumping Most likely explanations: This is just plain ol' depression, which is well known for popping up randomly at times in my life where there are no problems, significant stressors, or reasons for being sad at all -or- Menopause hormones are the devil. I've never had emotional problems with PMS or anything before, but this "woman in her 50s" business is a whole new world. Additional evidence for this being age/season of life related - I have cut calories, upped cardio, been accountable to an excellent nutrition coach for every bite of food I have consumed for three months, and I can't lose an OUNCE. I've struggled with my weight and body fat before, but I've always been able to lose it pretty easily once I got up the gumption to make the food changes. Now, the things that have always worked ain't working, not a bit. The immediate plan to make my current Wonderland more wonderful is: Ask the Cheshire Cat: (a.k.a. get solid advice from reliable sources) More confessions - I'm terrified of medical doctors. Surgeons, physical therapists, chiropractors, dentists - all fine. But any kind of doctor who might try to pressure me to take some kind of pharmaceutical treatment more aggressive than Excedrin terrifies me. But I need the help, so at some point I have to find a few bouts of 20SOC to: 1) Find a therapist. I'm pretty sure I need to talk to someone about my resurfacing body image issues and emotional outbursts, before I go back down the ED rabbit hole 2) Find a general practitioner who can order bloodwork, so I can make sure that this isn't my thyroid or something else physical Hone my Vorpal Sword I don't want to lose all of the strength I have fought so hard for over the past year, so 3) keep showing up at the gym 3x/wk 4) add bar hangs on non gym days at least 2x/wk. Growing and Shrinking 5) continue tracking 6) hit at least 110g protein/day Guiding quote: "I can't go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then."
  10. In a nutshell, this is an honor system challenge to read books in 24 categories (tasks) that may fall outside of your usual genre/style/literary comfort zone. Some books may fit in more than one category, some may be "what you normally read all the time." Target is 2 reading tasks per month, but it is also possible that some books will satisfy more than one task. Full details are at, including an editable PDF that you can use to track your progress - and there's a Goodreads group and all, but I thought that if any other NF nerds were into this sort of thing, perhaps we could chat about it here. The 2018 tasks: A book published posthumously A book of true crime A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) A comic written and illustrated by the same person A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) A book about nature A western A comic written or illustrated by a person of color A book of colonial or postcolonial literature A romance novel by or about a person of color A children’s classic published before 1980 A celebrity memoir An Oprah Book Club selection A book of social science A one-sitting book The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image A book of genre fiction in translation A book with a cover you hate A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author An essay anthology A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60 An assigned book you hated (or never finished)