May 15, 2015

A Quarter of a Century

Today I became a twenty five year old woman. I spent the first hour of my birthday awake in bed with my mind on overdrive. I was not in a celebratory mood. I wanted nothing more than to stay in bed all day. A dark cloud decided to take up residency in my brain and I could not remove it. Nevertheless I got on my feet, showered, dressed, and began my day. I asked for very little this year. Gift cards to buy books, oil pastels to dive back into art, and a Burt's Bees kit because I love their products. I wanted to keep it simple.

A few days ago my mother told me that she wanted to take me out to dinner for my birthday. I didn't want her to know how I was feeling today as to not worry her so I decided to not cancel on her. We went to Mojo Books & Records first. I walked straight to the fantasy genre section without hesitation to see if I could find a used paperback copy of A Storm of Swords at a bargain price. No such luck. We then went to Wesley Chapel to visit my favorite Barnes & Noble. Why is it my favorite, you ask? Because it's the largest Barnes & Noble I've ever been in, plus it has two floors. Jack pot. I wasted no time and put my gift card to use there.

We had dinner at Burger 21. It was my first time there. I ate a chicken parmesan burger with sweet potato fries and I drank a key lime pie milkshake. No complaints here. After we ate we went shopping at different stores. On our drive back home my mother felt the urge to recount the story of my birth. I've listened to the story of how I entered the world so many times that I've lost count. I'll summarize it and you can use your imagination to fill in the rest: "I've never seen your father drive so fast in my life", umbilical cord around my neck, emergency Cesarean section surgery.

Night fell around us and a thunderstorm joined the darkness. The last hours of my birthday were spent at my grandmother's house. I requested not to have a cake several months ago, so I was given a cupcake instead. The birthday song was sung to me, I blew out a single lit candle, and I made a wish that will never come true.








CHARLENE ZALE

May 10, 2015

Mother's Day + Starbucks Update

Today was Mother's Day. I worked an early shift at the coffee shop, then I went grocery shopping. I did get to spend time with my mother and grandmother. If I am to be honest, I am not too big on holidays like this. My family doesn't have any traditions for today, nor for Father's Day. Of course I do sweet things for my parents and grandmother during these holidays, but that's about it. Parenting is an everyday thing, the love and appreciation doesn't cease.

Work at my new Starbucks location is going well. I like most of my new partners and I've warmed up to my new manager. A few days ago she asked me if I would like to transfer back to my old location because she knows partners who would like to transfer to our new location and she is currently overstaffed. I said yes, of course. I still prefer my old Starbucks location mainly due to its cozy neighborhood vibe and wonderful customers. The only problem is that my previous manager just hired three new baristas and I don't think she needs me at the moment. Regardless, I know I will be transferred back eventually. Oh, and I still hate the drive-through. I was right, it does ruin a coffee shop atmosphere. The customers who use drive-through tend to be in more of a hurry and they are impatient most of the time. Rude does not even come close to the description of the kind of people I have to deal with.

Nothing major has happened since my last journal entry. My 25th birthday is in five days. It turns out that I will not be visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter like I wanted to, but before the summer ends I will try to go. Also, this is the second birthday in which I requested to not have a birthday cake. Minimalism has definitely changed me and made me a better person.





CHARLENE ZALE

April 27, 2015

A Game of Thrones

TITLE: A GAME OF THRONES
AUTHOR: GEORGE R.R. MARTIN
NARRATOR: THIRD PERSON ALTERNATING, MULTIPLE CHARACTERS
PUBLISHER: BANTAM SPECTRA, 1996
GENRE: EPIC FANTASY
SOURCE: WILSON'S BOOK WORLD
REVIEW: 5 STAR OUT OF 5

"I have a realistic grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses. My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind ... and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. That's why I read so much, Jon Snow." - Tyrion Lannister


For several years I would see the books of A Song of Ice and Fire series lined up neatly beside each other at the bookshops and each time I did I would tell myself that I would read them eventually, yet not any time soon because I had other books that I wanted to give my attention to. I finally purchased A Game of Thrones at Wilson's Book World last year during a trip to St. Petersburg. I didn't begin reading it until this year and I actually finished reading the book on my Kindle. I knew that I wanted to read this book series long before I began to watch the HBO show, before I even knew that I would begin to watch the show at all. I had known of the theme and the setting. Dragons, knights, kings, conquests, wars, and the like. I just didn't know the specifics. I never thought I would have read the first book in the series as soon as 2015. The only reason this happened was because last year during autumn I began to watch HBO's Game of Thrones and I fell head over heals in love with the show.

Because my style of book reviewing does not involve spoilers nor much of a summary, I will keep this short. A Game of Thrones is a magnificent book! I adore Martin's style of writing. This book was more than I previously hoped it would be. The story grabs you at the collar and pulls you in, much like the show. It's such a multi-layered piece of work. It's overwhelming. All of the characters I love on the show (examples: Eddard Stark and Jorah Mormont), I love more in the book and all of the characters I hate on the show (examples: Joffrey Baratheon and Tywin Lannister), I hate more in the book. I am oddly happy that my love and hate are consistent between the two. I am also glad that I watched the show before I read the book, otherwise it may have been a bit difficult to read and keep up with the motives and thoughts of each character. I don't necessarily think this book is for everyone, I must admit. If you know you don't like epic fantasies with medieval settings, you will not like this book. Also, unlike most epic fantasies, you won't find many heroic "moments" within the pages of this book. It's cruel, bloody, and heads will roll.

CHARLENE ZALE

April 26, 2015

A Lovely Sunday

Today was a delight. This morning my fellow Starbucks partner, Gabby, and I went to her church. It was my first visit. Everyone I met was kind and welcoming. South Tampa Fellowship's sermon for today was on Ephesians. After the morning service was over we went upstairs and I helped the middle school aged children sign in for their Sunday class. It was refreshing to see a group of children get excited about God. As I watched them I realized how much I miss working with their age group. After the class was over we went to Moe's Southwest Grill for lunch. Two of Gabby's friends joined us, Jessie and Wade, and I really liked them. We talked for quite some time as we ate our burritos. Later I went home, but then I decided to go to the bookstore to write and discover new reading material for my Kindle. My last trip of the day was to Trader Joe's to buy a few groceries for the week. And that was my Sunday in a nutshell.


CHARLENE ZALE