Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘personal

(crossposted from The Itinerant Librarian)

The tag comes from Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. I figured this could be a bit amusing in these Hard Times, and if nothing else, I can say I wrote at least one thing related to the pandemic. Questions are as provided.

The last thing you googled.

To be honest, as I write this, I do not quite recall what was the last thing I googled. It was either the hours to our local Ollie’s Bargain Outlet (they had at the time a pretty good deal on hand sanitizer, which the Better Half did manage to get) or some unknown phone number that called my cell phone that I looked up to determine whether to block or not (they got blocked).

Last book you read.

As of this post, Tarot Plain and Simple (link to my review).


Last movie you watched.

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead (it is listed in my April 2020 Media Roundup).

Last thing you did before socially isolating.

Another one of those things I am not quite sure about. Given I am fairly introvert, and I go out minimally, it probably was something pretty routine.

What is your quarantine personality? couch potato or overachiever? 

Pretty much couch potato.

Average number of hours you sleep at night?

According to the FitBit, I am averaging 9 hours this week. My sleep routine has not really changed as a result of the quarantines. I tend to go to bed on the early side, read a bit before bed, then go to sleep.

Last thing you ordered online.

Hay House was having a big card decks sale the first week the quarantines and social distancing hit, so I went ahead and ordered the Light Seer’s Tarot deck and the Native Spirit Oracle cards. They were $10 or so each, so they were practically giving them away. The Tarot deck was the one I really was after. The oracle deck I got more out of curiosity and because the art looked good on some online reviews  I saw. While I tend to avoid Native American themed decks, this one looks nice, it is fairly basic and inoffensive, looks fairly universal in appeal. We will see how it works out. When I work with the decks a bit, I will post reviews here on the blog.

First thing you’ll do when this is over.

Probably take a small road trip, go out someplace. Do some overdue sightseeing.

If you could choose– who would be your ideal quarantine companion?

I already got the Better Half. I am good.

What are you most grateful for?

I am grateful for the fact that the effect of the lockdowns has been pretty minimal on our family. I am able to still go to work, albeit in an empty library where the few of us providing services virtually keep social distance (a lot of social distance). The Better Half is still able to work as well; she works food service so we keep good thoughts she stays safe and healthy. Overall, grateful then we are both still gainfully employed, still getting paid. Many people out there cannot say that.

I should add I am grateful that I work for the college I work at as academic librarian. At a time when a lot of universities and colleges basically tossed out their students into the cold and are furloughing or outright laying off employees (especially lower rank workers), my college has done its best to keep everyone employed and has taken relatively good care of the students that had to be sent home. Things may not be ideal, but they have been pretty good here. Many out there are facing seriously grim conditions.

I am also grateful that so far everyone in the family is healthy. We take precautions where we can, social distancing, I wear a mask when I go into some places, and overall limit going out. Definitely grateful for still having relatively good health.

I am grateful we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and options for entertainment such as media and books. I am grateful for the blessings we still have in these Hard Times.


(crossposted from The Itinerant Librarian)

Another one of those little blogging prompts. I found this one at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. The questions are as provided:

Rather read only series or standalone books?

As much as possible, stand alone books.

Rather read a book whose main character is male or female?

Don’t care one way or the other as long as the story is good.

Rather shop only at Barnes & Noble (or other actual bookstore) or Amazon?

Neither Barnes and Noble nor Amazon. I prefer Half Price Books as much as possible. However, for some things, like Tarot decks and books, I often have to use Amazon since I live in the middle of nowhere.

Rather all books become movies or tv shows?

Neither. It is rare a movie or television show lives up to the book. To be honest, more often than not a book being turned into movie or television show signals Hollywood’s laziness in creating anything original, so pick something from the bestseller shelf and see if  it sticks. I prefer reading the book.

Rather read 5 pages per day or read 5 books per week?

5 books a week for me.

Rather be a professional book reviewer or an author?

As much as I have an idea or two for a book and would like to be  an author, I have no delusions I will ever get one written and published. I do enjoy being a reviewer for the variety it gives me in reading and the opportunity to do a little reader’s advisory online.

Rather only read the same 20 books over and over or get to read a new book every 6 months?

New book every six months. For some books, it may well take me six months to get through it, so that would actually work for me.

Rather be a librarian or own a book store?

I may be biased, but librarian.

Rather only read your favorite genre or your favorite author?

Favorite genre

Rather only read physical books or eBooks?

As much as possible, I prefer physical books. I do much of my ebook reading on an older iPad, which feels like it weighs a ton when reading in bed. I recently got a much smaller tablet, but the habit has not caught on with it yet. Also as much as possible, I prefer to read print since I often read at bedtime, and not using electronics helps to sleep better.


I saw this at Cornerfolds, and I figured I could try it out and give my two readers here a bit about me as a reader. Questions are as provided.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Not particularly. I do read in bed, and I do read in my work station/desk at home, which is where I also do my blogging, my Tarot and oracle card practice, and some other things.


Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I prefer a bookmark, and in fact I collect bookmarks. I have plenty of bookmarks, enough to last me a few lifetimes. However, in a pinch, I will grab a random piece of paper to mark a reading spot.


Can you stop reading anytime you want or do you have to stop reading at a certain page, chapter, part, etc.?

Depends. If I am reading nonfiction, I can usually stop just about anywhere. If I am reading fiction, where I am following a story or narrative thread, I need to find a logical stopping point be it the end of the chapter or part or just a pause in the narrative. This is why I tend to prefer reading nonfiction, especially outside of the house because I can stop and interrupt as needed and pick it up fairly quick.


Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yes. Not every time, but it has been known to happen.


Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

If it is soft music, I usually can read just fine. For television, unless I am paying attention to the program I can read right through it just fine. I am pretty good about tuning out the exterior world overall once I am reading. I am the kind of reader who can read almost anywhere including moving vehicles and aircraft.


One book or several at once?

Several. The minimum rule for me is to have a nonfiction, a fiction books, and a graphic novel or comic going at any given time. It is pretty normal for me to have more than the minimum three mentioned going at any given time.


Reading at home or everywhere?

I can read everywhere just fine. I do try to have a book with me handy as much as possible be it in print or loaded as an e-book in my electronic devices.


Reading out loud or silently in your head?



Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

This is where I break (full pun intended) with most book lovers and librarians. I have no problem if a spine breaks. Way I see it books are for use not to be art objects (at least not the books I use and/or own). While I appreciate pristine books, as I said, they are made for use, so I have no problem breaking a spine or two.


(cross-posted from The Itinerant Librarian)

I saw this blogger tag over at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures, so I decided to try it out. However, since I rarely buy books these days, I decided to modify the prompts to account for things like media and Tarot and oracle decks, my latest growing passion.

Prompts are as provided.

  1.  Pay Day! – A book you would buy right now. Cost doesn’t matter!  These days I am not buying too many books. There are various reasons for that ranging from I am using my libraries more (my work library and more so my local public library), and I do get ARCs for review now and then from a few places. The one area I may be buying books still is in Tarot and esoterica but even that is limited. So this is tricky. So I’ll do a Tarot deck, and my choice at this time would be Ciro Marchetti’s Tarot Decoratif. Anyhow, I would buy it right now. . . if I actually had the funds. And I do not even like Marseilles Tarot decks; the Decoratif is a hybrid deck combining Marseilles and Waite Smith Tarot systems, and an artistic masterpiece (in my very humble opinion). Librarian pay day does not stretch that much lol. If you want to see more, here is the promo video when the deck was made (YouTube video). On a positive, U.S. Games Systems recently announced they (finally) got Marchetti’s Grand Luxe Tarot deck (also you can see the trailer for that one on YouTube too) on pre-order, so in practical terms, this would be the “buy right now” deck; I can likely afford that.
  2. Pay a bill– a book you would get rid of right now. This is not as hard. I am currently in the process of aggressively weeding my personal library mainly due to space issues (we live in an apartment), so there will be more than a few books that will go out of the house, likely sold to some second hand store to get a few bucks but mainly to get them out of the house. One that I can think of that is on its way out is Campus Confidential because to be honest last thing I needed to read was a safely tenured professor pretending he is somehow “taking a risk” or “breaking ranks” by “spilling the beans” about higher education. His so-called revelations are things I long knew already, and to be honest, I think more people are aware now than we give them credit for (especially after the college cheating scandal). They may be aware but whether they wish to see the evidence is a separate question.
  3. Doctor Appointment — a book that makes you feel better when you are down. There are a few of those. My old Mafalda comic collections for example.
  4. Meeting — a book or series you felt obligated to read; because of the hype. I do not really read based on hype, so for me this is a bad question to ask. In fact, these days I rarely read a series unless I know it is complete. In fiction, I tend to prefer standalone works. Even in graphic novels and comics, I tend to favor trades of series that are completed than ongoing things. Too much cost in time.
  5. Lunch date– a book or series that you fell in love with; because a friend recommended it to you. As of this post, that would be A Pound of Paper.
  6. Work/School Week– A book that was hard to get through. Holy shit, to this day, probably Ensayo Sobre La Ceguera (On Blindness) by Jose Saramago. Holy shit again. To this day, I hate that book, and I have no idea how I got through it. In fact, after dragging myself through that I swore I would never, ever read anything that guy wrote ever again.
  7. Gym Day– a book that gets your heart pumping because it was such an exciting page turner. Kieron Guillen’s run of Star Wars: Darth Vader for Marvel Comics. (Link to my review of the first trade volume)
  8. Date night– a book with your favorite romantic couple. (This would be non-applicable at this point in time)
  9. Vacation– a book or series you would want to binge on if you had all the time in the world. This would be more for some old TV shows. Recently, I got to see the first season of Emergency!, so I would love to binge watch the remaining seasons. I would not mind binging on Homicide: Life in the Street, some others.
  10. To do list– a book you keep meaning to get to, but don’t have time for. Ha ha! So many books and so little time. I usually read based on mood, what may catch my eye at the time, or stuff that may look interesting. As a result, though I have a big TBR list, it varies on how much attention I pay to it.

Now that December’s whirlwind is calming down, I have some time to start posting these again. As noted previously, you can find all the prompts here; Lisa Frideborg Eddy, the author, has put them in a PDF book that you can download for free. For this series, I am using the Santa Muerte Tarot deck.

Challenge: How lucky or unlucky were you in 2018? Perhaps you feel luck had nothing to do with anything that happened in your life. Let’s see what the Tarot has to say about it. Pull a card for what sort of luck you had in 2018 and another for the kind of luck you will have in 2019.

Two Tarot cards. Page of Swords and Page of Pentacles from the Santa Muerte Tarot deck

Page of Swords and Page of Pentacles from the Santa Muerte Tarot deck.


Luck is not something I think about much. It’s either for gamblers or lottery players. I prefer the idea of making good “luck” if you work at it. But overall 2018 had more good breaks than bad. That’s something.

Interesting to me that I drew two pages. Right away this indicates small steps, beginnings. Luck in a small scale, small breaks rather than big lucky moments.

On my luck in 2018: Page of Swords. The luck here was based on some planning. Before starting anything, take a seat, plan, think, and reflect. Giving careful thought, being cautious so as to avoid grief and misfortune. The idea was that things might be peaceful but they could suddenly change, so be prepared.

This also reminded me of a quote from a book I am reading at the moment. The context in the book is Lord Commissar Rasp mentoring Commissar Yarrick, again, on the need for caution, especially when things seem easy or calm:

“Our rapid triumph is a certain conclusion, and is therefore not to be trusted. When matters are at their most cut-and-dried is when you must be most wary” (17). —Yarrick: Imperial Creed.


On my luck in 2019: Page of Pentacles. Again, small steps. Try to save a few coins here or there for rainy days. Also, this speaks of preparation, especially in practical and material things. Remain observant, learn, save. Saving is not just money. It can also mean be more selective with use of time and other resources, “bank it” where you can for use later, whether for yourself or to share with others.


July 2020


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