Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Sunday Post #304

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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #304

On The Blog Last Week

On The Blog This Week

  • On Tuesday, I talk about childhood books that will never leave my book collection.

In My Reading Life

Last week, I finished Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. This book has amazing ratings on Goodreads, so unpopular opinion alert: I got bored with it. It wasn't what I expected, which is probably my fault and not the book's. I didn't read any reviews before I started it.

Great Circle is a thick historical fiction brick about a female pilot during Prohibition. The synopsis led me to believe that it was about a woman flying around the world. It's not. It's about a woman who wants to fly around the world, but she just has sex instead. I actually love the characters and the Montana setting. The author writes excellent nature descriptions, and the characters are believable. There are a lot of characters, but they're all very distinct. I never got confused about whose point-of-view I was reading. They feel like real, unique people. There are parts of the book that I raced through because I cared about the characters and wanted them to be okay.

I was less thrilled with the plot. This huge book covers the entire life of Marian, the pilot character. The chapters about her childhood are entertaining, but when she becomes a teenager, she starts bouncing from romantic relationship to romantic relationship. She does that for the rest of her life. It's realistic, but it's also repetitive. I just wanted her to fly around the world! I feel like I spent the entire book waiting for something big to happen. I got bored while waiting.

Right now, I'm reading Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I've only read 14 pages, so I don't have any judgments. I'm excited to see what the hype is about.

In The Rest Of My Life

This section is going to look different today because my life changed last week. I'm not even being dramatic. I feel like I have mental whiplash or something. I'm going to divide this section into two subsections: The Ridiculous and The Depressing. Feel free to not read them.

Subsection 1: The Ridiculous

Remember how I was applying for jobs I'm almost qualified to do? One of the jobs I applied for was park ranger. I've worked at a park for years, but I'm not a ranger. I do customer service and radio dispatch. I sort out customers' problems and then boss the rangers around on the radio until we get the problems solved. My job is basically long stretches of boredom and audiobook listening separated by sudden bursts of extreme stress. I don't hate it, but I've been doing it for years, and I want to try something new. That's why I applied to be a ranger.

I made it through a few rounds of applications and background checks and questions I had to answer. Then I got an interview. The interview sucked. It was kind of humiliating. All the questions were like, "What would you do in this potentially deadly situation?"

All my answers were like, "I'd potentially die because I'm not Bear Grylls; I'm an anxious potato with hiking boots!" I even turned a few of the questions into jokes because I had no idea what to say. If you're going to fail, you might as well be entertaining about it, right? At least the interviewers laughed. It would have been really awkward to bomb the interview and the jokes.

The interview was so stressful that I stopped at the store afterward and bought a bag of Cadbury Eggs and a book about historical serial killers to make myself feel better.

Fast forward to last week. I got an email from one of the interviewers. It said, "You're a park ranger now. Can you start in 4 days?"

Um . . . What?

Are you sure? Really, REALLY sure?

Do you want to double check if you emailed me by mistake?

I guess I'm a park ranger now? If you're reading this on the day I post it, I'm already at work. I probably won't be around the blogosphere much during the next 6+ months. My schedule will be intense until it snows in the fall and my hours get cut.

Subsection 2: The Depressing

My dog, Kiera, died last week. It wasn't completely unexpected because she was 13 years old and sick. Even though I spent thousands of dollars at the vet, nobody could figure out what was wrong with her. Last September, she started having seizures and losing her balance. Then she rapidly lost weight and lost hair and got skin infections that wouldn't go away. I stopped posting photos of her on social media because you probably would have had me arrested for animal abuse. She looked terrible. She was literally falling apart.

The house is too quiet now. After I brought Kiera's body to the vet, I went home and stared at the walls because Baby Brooklyn was at daycare and there was no sick dog to take care of. What was I supposed to do with myself? I've had dogs for all but 1 year of my life. I don't know how to be a dogless person.

Kiera was dumber than a box of rocks, but she was sweet and bouncy, and she was mine for 13 years. I miss her. I miss all my dogs. I want them back.

Kiera (black dog): 6/22/2008 - 4/21/2022
Cheyenne (brown dog): 10/31/2006 - 5/10/2018

Do You Have Mental Whiplash Now?

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Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. Congrats, Park Ranger. Seems they need rangers so you could have said anything and would still pass, as long as you are an okay person. But they may have also liked your humor. Good luck and keep us posted.

  2. I'm so sorry about your dog! I know how much you liked to go for long walks with her.

    But congrats on the job! That's totally awesome!!

  3. Aaaaah AJ.... My heart is breaking here for you and I literally went from laugh out loud for your post to bursting into tears. Do you want a photo?? I don't look good on Sundays if I didn't dress up for church and just stayed in bed reading and Sundaying, so rather not.

    BUT I might have to join you on the depressing bit in a couple of weeks... Maybe less.... (Yes I'm crying here). My female Labby is turning 13 and she really struggles to walk now and she's too heavy for me. So my husband has to pick her up at night to go outside to do her business. It's getting really cold here in SA and I know it can't be nice for her. I just CAN'T get myself to take her in for the final goodbyes. She does have some meds to help with the pain though.

    But enough - let's celebrate the Park Ranger!!!!! Whoooo hoooo!!!! I am so very happy for you!!!! Bear Gryllis in female form. You go girl!!! I laughed at that comment. And I remember your post when you bought the Cadbury eggs and I was wondering if you might not actually get the job to be honest. Maybe all the quirky and good vibes helped!

    Have fun and I hope you will still have time for reading.

    Have a good week!

    Elza Reads

  4. So sorry about Kiera! But how amazing that despite your concerns about the interview, you got the job! I hope you love it.

    Have a great week, and here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

  5. I'm Bonnie. I'm new to Sunday post. I'm so sorry about the loss of Kiera. Our pets are members of our family and with us a relatively short time. I know how tough that is.

    Re: Great Circle, You had me laughing at "It's about a woman who wants to fly around the world, but she just has sex instead." I think I'll pass on that book. I hate books that use sex as filler.

  6. Oh AJ, what a week! I am so sorry about your dog; losing a pet is always more difficult than I think it will be. They become part of the family and our daily routine. Maybe a new job (congratulations!) will keep you busy and help the transition.

    And your new job is so exciting! Apparently you DO have the skills and knowledge to be a ranger. Wear the title proudly and have fun.

    Enjoy Red, White, and Royal Blue, which I thought was really fun. Somehow, books seem the least important thing in this post :-)

  7. I was laughing and then I was crying. So sorry to hear about the pup. Never gets easier to lose those we love. I feel awkward, but I am really happy that you got the ranger job. I hope it turns out to be an amazing and incredible opportunity for you. (side note: I actually said, "what?", and then you wrote, "what?". It was pretty amusing from here.)

  8. Congratulations! Sometimes when you bomb an interview you find you didn't really... bomb the interview? Who ever knows? Anyway that is so cool!

    I'm so sorry about your dog though. How awful. Sending best wishes to you...

  9. How exciting! I hope the new job provides some additional pluses to your old job. I'll be interested to see how it goes. Will you get some additional training? I am so very sorry about your dog. We lost Gina in 2018 (after 17 years) and I couldn't face another dog right away. But about 10 months later, we got Lulu and she is the best. We chose a rescue, a 1.5 year old so no potty training. It has been awesome.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  10. Damn AJ! these are bombs there! First congratulations! I guess park rangers are requested to have a great sense of humor! As I plan on going back to Colorado again one day and visit National Parks, maybe we'll finally meet! Then I am so sorry for Kiera. I am a dog mom and I dread the day mine will leave us. Big hugs!

  11. I'm so very sorry about Kiera. Even when somewhat expected, the passing of a beloved pet is tragic. Congratulations on being a Park Ranger!! I retired from The National Park Service and worked with many rangers and it always seemed like such a cool job. Best wishes to you and your new job!

  12. I am SO sorry to hear about yuor dog's death. That's awful and I know you are hurtng. {hugs}
    Congrats on the park ranger gig. We are at Lake Seminole in Georgia "camping" in an RV. We love it and we love the rangers here.

  13. Oh wow, that is a lot. Congratulations on the job, and I am so sorry about Kiera. She looks like a wonderful dog.

  14. Congratulations Ranger AJ! Do you get a campaign hat? But so sorry about Kierra. It hurts to lose a pet that has been with you for so long.

  15. So sorry about your dog. Very hard. heartbreak (I've been there too). It's impossible really. We have 2 dogs now - one is 10 years and one 1. If we lose the older one, the world will collapse I'm sure. Thanks for the word on the Maggie Shipstead book - doesn't she fly anywhere? or just relationships, sigh. & a big congrats on being a Park Ranger. That's impressive. and I hope you get to celebrate.

  16. You had a big week. First, I am so sorry about your dog. That is always so hard. I miss my dogs to this day and I haven't had one since Wyatt was born seven years ago. :( They are your babies too!

    Congrats on your new job!!! That is fantastic news!!! I can't wait to read your stories from the wild.

  17. Wow! What a roller coaster week. I'm sorry about the loss of your dog. Thirteen years is a long time. And congratulations on your new job. I know you will do great! Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  18. I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing a precious pet is the worst. I hope your heart heals soon. Also, congrats on the park ranger job! Good luck with it! I hope you'll post about any and all cool things that happen. :)

  19. I’m very sorry to learn of the loss of your pet.
    A huge congratulations on your career success, I hope your first days have been good ones!
    I actually quite like the sound of The Great Circle, even with your criticisms.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  20. I'm so sorry about Kiera love. Trying to help our furbabies is so stressful then it's ultimately devastating when we lose them.

    Congrats on getting the job!!! I guess you did know what you were talking about in that interview haha.

    I usually get bored with hyped up books. Red, White and Royal Blue was one where I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.

  21. Park ranger would be my dream job. Wow, wow, wow! You did it! Good for you. I can't wait to hear more.

    I'm terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. Gut-wrenching. There are just no words.

    I read a couple of negative reviews of Great Circle so I decided to pass.

  22. Congratulations on the new job, and I'm very sorry about Kiera! Great Circle never appealed to me and now I guess it's just as well. Historical fiction has never been my first choice of reading, but I've started to be a little more accepting of it as I've gotten older!

  23. Congratulations on your new job. Such a contrast between celebrating this and mourning Kiera. I am so sorry that this has happened.

  24. I'm so sorry about Keira! It is just heartbreaking to lose a furbaby!

    Also, congrats on the new job! Being a Park Ranger sounds awesome, so I hope it ends up being so! - Melinda @ A Web of Stories

  25. Congratulations on the job! How wonderful. I'm so sorry about Kiera. That hole they leave is so hard to fill for a long time. I've had smart dogs and the dumber than a box of rocks dogs and honestly the dumber than a box of rocks have some serious perks. I hope you are a feeling a bit better and are loving your new job.

  26. Oh, wow - I missed a lot by not visiting your Sunday Post last week!

    First of all, I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. I have had dogs pretty much all of my life too (besides when I was in college and for a couple of years just after I graduated when we lived in a tiny apartment), and I know how much they add to your life.

    Secondly, congratulations on your new job!!! I hope that it came with a nice pay raise and that it leads you to feel more fulfilled with your work.

  27. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. Even if it wasn't completely unexpected, it's still a void in your life and heart.
    But congrats on the new job though! Sometimes we think we bomb something, but it's definitely nice when we don't after all :)

  28. I'm sorry about your dog <3 Congrats on the job though! Hopefully they're teaching you what to do in all those potential deadly situations lol. Maybe next month you'll have some interesting stories!