Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Feeling exhausted but happy

Two days ago I couldn't sleep, ended up staying up all night and catching four hours of sleep the next morning. I had a paper due at midnight for my Reference class yesterday and as usual, I waited till the last minute to start it. I wasn't even sure exactly how I was supposed to get the info for the paper until I actually sat down and thoroughly looked at the assignment sheet and part of last week's lecture. Thankfully, it only took me about 3 1/2 hours to complete and I turned it in by 8:30pm. Needless to say I was exhausted after only getting 4-5 hours sleep and then stressing out about the paper. I slept for over 11 hours and feel groggy, but much better than yesterday. I got another Indian cookbook from the library, as well as an audiobook of The Hobbit, which I've started that today in the car. It's kind of random because it is a BBC Dramatization so it's full cast doing the book like an everyday conversation and some of the things they said in there, I don't know if it's the book or stuff they've made up on the spot. I haven't read the book since high school so my memory is a bit foggy. But I like it so far. The parts I keep remembering from the book are the 70s cartoon version (and again, not sure how close it is since I haven't watched it since high school).

I finally caught up on reading for my Research class, and managed to make one blog post for it. Oh, I forgot to talk about it on this one. It's a research journal for the class, whose main project is putting together a research proposal at the end of the semester, which will be on foster children and their reading/library use. It will go into what may affect the foster kids, like constant movement, Foster Parent/Biological parents' education, if the FP/Bio parent read to them and/or encouraged reading, and if they go to the library and if not how to encourage them to go. Luckily we just have to write the proposal and not carry it out, though I would like to in the future after I have a job in a public library. So the blog is basically where we record about things we read, things we need to ask, and where others comment about our thoughts. Here's the address:

Monday, September 27, 2010

*David Lebovitz*

Today's blog highlight is for pastry chef David Lebovitz's website. I had not heard of him before finding his newest cookbook Ready for Desserts: My Best Recipes that one of my Goodreads friends had read (fantastic recipes by the way). I then got his biography with recipes The Sweet Life in Paris which was about him moving from the US to Paris to live, and his food adventures in France. I've also read his cookbook Ripe for Dessert and his contribution to The Bakers's Dozen Cookbook, which were both excellent. So I subscribe to his blog as he always has interesting things to say, like when he was talking about "10 Thing to Bring Back from Paris," Economy Candy a candy store for adults in NYC,  or his experience with sushi in his life and in Paris. His website has a "My Paris" section, where he recommends good restaurants and guides to the city. There are sections for his schedule for book signings, frequently asked questions, a store to buy his books, a tour that you can book with the author for a fee (which I would absolutely love to do if I had the money), and the recipe page (which is currently being revised so is offline).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Doctor Who

As I was browsing the internet this morning, checking email and Facebook to see what is going on with the rest of the world, a friend of mine posted this random video of a baby monkey riding a pig. I thought it was cute so I watched some more videos by the same person, also cute but found this great one about Doctor Who. I have only become a Doctor Who fan with the start of the new series back in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor himself. I knew nothing about the series until my hubby got me watching it and after a few episodes, I was hooked. I loved the sci-fi adventure and slight romance attitude of the show, discovering new worlds and alien cultures, battling the bad ones and befriending the good ones. The best villains ever are the Daleks, the Doctor's most evil enemies from way back. I mean it has to be so lonely being the only person left out of your entire species (which isn't entirely true, but for most of the time he is), that's why every new season he has a new companion. Christopher Eccleston was a great Doctor Who (even though he only stayed around for one season), but David Tennant as the 10th Doctor was even better and he stayed for two seasons. The new 11th Doctor is Matt Smith, who at first (just like at the beginning of the other series) I didn't like but grew to love his random quirkiness and goofy looks. What can I say? I love nerdy guys.

Ah the companions. In 2005, there was Rose Tyler and she stayed on for a bit of 2006 as well. At first I was quite miffed that they had stranded her in an alternative dimension as she seemed to be the love of the Doctor's life, but then again that is pretty much the companion's job isn't it? Keep the Doctor doing his job, saving the universe and all, and then flirting on the side seems to be the companion's job. After Rose, there was Martha Jones (the doctor) who I also liked, as she was more fiesty than Rose. In between, there was my favorite semi-companion Captain Jack Harkness. The fans liked him so much, they gave him his own spin-off show, Torchwood, which I also fell in love with. Jack is so crazy, plus you can never tell if he is really into guys, girls or whatever alien crosses his path. But he also has a really vulnerable side, which I think makes him a good companion. Plus he loves the Doctor. The second half of the 10th Doctor's tenure we had comedienne Catherine Tate as Donna Noble who was my favorite real companion as she was so funny and lost the much on the show. The 11th Doctor's companions are interesting because it started out with Amy Pond and then later it grew to include Amy's fiancee Rory. Also instead of falling in love with the Doctor (ok she did as a little girl and a bit when they were alone, long story), she ends up marrying Rory at the end of the first season.

I can't wait for the Christmas episode and the new season in January!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Books Week starts today

Today was the first day of Banned Books Week! I am all about freedom to read what you want, as an American citizen and as a librarian, and this week is all about that freedom. I love this poster by the way! Here is the yearly list of books banned from 2009-10. I also liked this resource from The Kid's Right to Read Project. The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom Office has a blog that features great displays from libraries around the country. I really liked this display from Licia Slimon's Whitehall Library.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I had to write a paper this morning, which I just finished, on the inner/outer environment of the library I'm interning at, which at first I was dreading, but turned out to be a pretty good paper once I got it all written out. We had to discuss the social/demographic information, tell a little about the branch and the system it is in, strengths and weaknesses/challenges of the library, and projections for the future. So now all I have to write is the final paper for that class and finish my booklist for the homeschool program in November! I also need to catch up on my other two classes homework and readings,  and start my Reference paper due Tuesday I will be set.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

J.R.R. Tolkein and the Lord of the Rings

Since my hubby and I have been playing LOTR online obsessively for the past week, we thought it would be appropriate to start re-watching the extended Trilogy on DVD. We finished The Fellowship of the Ring and it was funny because we kept comparing it to the game and wondering what levels the characters would be. I told my hubby he should read the trilogy because it was a great set of books, once you got past all the Gimli son of Gloin son blah parts. John said that was the reason he didn't think he could get through it. I told him all he needed to do was read The Laxdaela Saga, an Icelandic saga which was similar to Tolkien's Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he could read it no problem. They are really good books, some of my favorite in fact. I read the trilogy in college, and yes it was around the time that the first movie came out, but all three right in a row because I got so pulled in to the storyline and Tolkein's world. I have tried twice to read (and once on audiobook) The Silmarillion but the book is just too dense. I've heard it's brilliant though once you get through the beginning parts. I would also love to read The Children of Hurin though I've heard it's not as good as his other works.

I was telling my husband that I would've loved to be at Oxford when he and C.S. Lewis were teaching there. They were friends, you know, and I bet their classes would've been fascinating (though I'm not sure how good I would've been at Anglo-Saxon). Re-watching the movies has made me think about The Hobbit, in both book and movie form. I was so excited to hear they were doing a movie version of it and that Peter Jackson would be involved, though not as director. I was especially excited to hear that Guillermo del Toro, director of the Hellboy movies would be directing it, but I am sad now that he has chosen to leave. I grew up watching the 70s cartoon version of The Hobbit, so I'm very curious to see what they do with two live action versions. It also makes me want to re-read the print version, so I'm borrowing the audiobook version once I finish my two current books.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goodreads and Fab Frugal Food

I know it has been a couple of weeks since my last favorite blog of the week post but things have been super busy around here and I forgot. To make up for it, I will include two blogs/websites this week:

The first is Goodreads. I've been a member here Sept 2008 when I started graduate school, but I didn't become really active till the following spring when I started taking all my childrens and teen literature classes. I love it because it is a good way to keep track of all the books you've read, though it's not got all the books I've ever read (but I add them as I think of them). I usually had to read 50 books per class, and I have really bad short term memory, so this is excellent for keeping track of the books I've read and what I thought of them. You can write reviews or just give them stars (out of 5), as well as checking out reviews before you read a book, adding books to your reading list, and listing what books you are currently reading. You can also add your favorite writers, rank them in order of your favorite and follow their blogs if you want. Ooh and they do book giveaways every months, I've won a few free ones that way. They have a ridiculously long trivia game that you can play, there are book discussion groups you can join, and sometimes authors come on there and you can ask them questions. Oh and you can add friends. I've "met" a lot of interesting people that way, mostly librarians which I enjoy, but also writers and other people with interesting reads. Once a week you get a newsletter which tells you which books they want to read and you can add them too if you like. Goodreads also links through Facebook if you are interested in that.

A blog that I really enjoy and check regularly is Fab Frugal Food, which does "budget friendly recipes for foodies." I have very expensive taste on a very limited budget, so I can't always have the kind of food I want but rather what I can afford. This website is great for that, as is the one I will feature next week. I like FFF because they feature vegetarian, gluten-free or vegan recipes, which I like to throw into my diet now and again for variety. Plus they endorse Meatless Mondays, another great food blog. They feature yummy recipes such as Peaches and Cream Quesadillas, Summer Rolls, Granitas Five Ways, and Artisan Cheese Bread.

Banned Books Week: Sept 25 to Oct 2

This Saturday through next Saturday is Banned Book Week, an American Library Association (ALA) event that celebrates America's freedom to read. This video off the Banned Books Week website is a cute introduction to the event with puppets. I'll be posting more on the event closer to the weekend.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Library Video

Given all the recent discussion in libraries and on the web about budget cuts, due to the poor economy in the States and all over the world, I thought it appropriate to share this video that I found the other day. Ok yes it's a very bad song but it's a cute video nonetheless from the Central Rappahannock Regional Libraries in the Northern part of Virginia.

Beginning of Fall Book Reviews

So this summer/fall has been big for me and I read a lot of really good Children/YA series, including Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments, Philip Reeve's Larklight trilogy and Fever Crumb, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series. This summer I was also looking forward to reading the last book of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, and the second book of the Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Shiver. However, they were not all that I expected them to be, but luckily I found another book that I enjoyed. Summaries taken from unless otherwise noted.

Suzanne Collins

"My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead."
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss. The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

My Review: 
I had really high hopes for this book, especially since I waited 8 months to read it. And maybe the author cracked under the strain to produce the final book, I don't know. But this book just didn't have the, how to phrase this, same vibe of the first two books in the trilogy (it felt thrown together). I had to wait two days to review this book to get together what I really thought of it because it left me really conflicted.

The book was exciting all the way to the end, and definitely kept me guessing. That part I liked. I get that it's supposed to be about the gruesomeness and pointlessness of war, hence the insane detail about torture which was really hard for me to read. I guess I kept thinking about all the 12 year olds that would be reading this and thinking, geez if it is hard for me to read (especially the ending scene with her sister)and gave me nightmares, it's surely got to be impossible for them, right? I understand why Katniss did what she did in the end and I'm glad that she managed to find some manner of happiness, even though she had to get completely messed up to find it.

Maggie Stiefvater
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)

In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves…and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love–the light and the dark, the warm and the cold–in a way you will never forget. 

My Review:
Now I enjoyed the first book despite the mixed reviews from a lot of readers. The second book I was not as much a fan of, and would give it 3 1/2 - 4 stars out of 5. The storyline was just too slow and nothing much happened. Basically it's just Sam and Grace pining after each other even though they are practically living together under her parent's roof (of course without their knowledge). Sam is still wonderful being ultra-caring, reading Rilke and writing beautiful songs about Grace. Cole and Victor are two of the new wolves that Beck (the wolf pack's leader) turned before he forever changed back into a wolf. Cole was a willing change because he hated his life and wanted to kill himself, but he convinced Victor to do it. Cole changes from wolf to human and back again in front of Isabel and they can't stop snogging each other. She wants to go all the way with him, but he doesn't want to hurt her. Then there's Grace being ill for most of the book and "no one knows what it is" but if you paid attention in the first book you should know and it's not going to end pretty. But then there is this twist ending so the author surprises you a little and leaves it wide open for a third book. This book made me think of the fourth book of the Twilight series, only with werewolves, better writing and no babies. 

Garth Nix
Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #1)

I can't even begin to explain the storyline of this book, so I will refer to this review instead, from Melissa's Bookshelf blog ( Her synopsis is "Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock. Arthur is safe--but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back--even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him. Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house--a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key--and discover his true fate." This is a very basic description, the actual book is much more complicated. As Melissa says in her review, the book is "quite bizarre actually, though also very intriguing and ultimately difficult to put down," which was how I felt about the book once I got into the storyline. I'm curious to see what his next book is about, though I know it will be awhile before I will have time to read it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finally got my car back and other distractions

So I have been two weeks without a car and let me just tell you how much that blows. It blows big time especially if you are used to having one to run errands and suddenly you have to rethink everything and keep putting things off, like a library visit to my internship site so I can finish up my booklist and get more info on the library for a paper I have to write due next Thursday, which I haven't started yet. The good thing was that we got to pay less than we thought because they took so long (it was supposed to have been done a week ago). I think I'm doomed not to have A/C because they apparently didn't fix that, even thought they did every flush and change imaginable since they took the entire engine apart.

humanThe other thing that has been uber-distracting is that I've discovered Lord Of The Rings online, which is now free to play up to level 50. So my hubby and I have been battling wolves, giant spiders, goblins, and brigands for the past three days. I have played online games before, my first being EVE (a space adventure game) that I started playing with my hubby before we were married, then I played a couple of free games named Rappelz and Flyff. For LOTR online, I started with a minstrel female human character and even though I love her random lute playing during battle, she has really low health and is more of a support character versus a fighter. So I started another character today, a female guardian (a tank character for those gamers out there) and she fights way better and has much higher health at lower levels. You can also pick a craft or craft area. The first time I was metalsmith/jeweler/cook and I love making the jewelry and mining, and this time I am metalsmith/weaponsmith/tailor since I always find a lot of animal skins out in the woods and again love mining. I'm a little miffed that the only hobby you can have is fishing as that's kind of boring. Once you get to level 15 you can get a house, which is great because you'll have collected a lot of stuff by then and you seriously have no room for it until you finally get to the town of Bree and can get a vault. However a house is a bit more permanent and once you've paid for the initial price, you wouldn't have to pay for upgrades like in a vault. So now I'm off to play again, assuming I can get on the server.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another great article from ALSC

ALSC, or the Association for Library Service to Children, puts out some great articles for practicing librarians. I'm thinking of joining them, but I can't decide between them and YALSA (the Teen Library Service). The one below is one from Abby Johnson, who some might know from her website:, is also a Children's Librarian. In this article, she lays out how easy, and most importantly cheap, it is to make a pinata for use in El Dia de los Ninos/Libros (Day of the Child/Day of the Book) celebration at the end of April, or you could even use it in celebration of Cinco de Mayo or Day of the Dead. I found this very helpful as I am volunteering to help a nonprofit Latino Children's program who want to put on a Dia celebration, and maybe partner with a library, so this would be a great craft for them to do either on their own or together. 

Let’s Make a Piñata!
by ALSC - The Association for Library Service to Children on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 10:11am
Or, How I Learned to Embrace the Mess and Had a Ton of Fun.

At the ILF Children’s and Young People’s Division conference I attended a few weeks ago, I went to a session by Vicki Parker from the Westfield Washington Public Library. She talked about ways to use art (not crafts!) in programming with young children. I have to admit that I have been squeamish about using messy supplies in our children’s programs, but Vicki convinced me that it’s worth it to embrace the mess in order to encourage creativity.
So, last week we had a piñata-making program for our homeschoolers! Yes, it was messy. But it was also cheap, easy, and really, really fun. And you can do it, too!! Here’s how:

First, you’ll want to know how to make a piñata. The How to Make a Piñata video from will show you the basics. There are several variations on these steps, all of which are easy to find by Googling.

I wanted to teach families how they could create their own piñatas at home, so in the program, we practiced making and working with paper-mâché. I also wanted them to be able to decorate and take home a piñata. Since piñatas need to dry between layers and they need at least three layers of paper-mâché, I pre-made about 20 piñatas so that after the kids were done putting a layer of paper-mâché on their balloon, I could switch them out and they could have a dry piñata to decorate.

I won’t lie: this was a lot of prep work. BUT if you can enlist the help of a few friends or a group of eager teen volunteers, you can get it done pretty quickly. It’s not hard, but you do need to plan ahead because it could take at least a day or two for all the layers of the piñata to dry. For the piñatas I pre-made, I only did two layers of paper-mâché, which is a flimsier piñata than I would normally make, but it was good enough for them to have the experience of decorating it. After the program, they’ll know how to make their own at home, so they can make a more sturdy piñata if they want to.

To set up the room, I had pre-cut paper strips (you can use old newspapers, magazines, or catalogs. If you get as many Oriental Trading catalogs each month as we do, you’ll have pleeenty of material to use). I set out balloons in bowls and I pre-measured the flour and water into more bowls. Of course, I had a book display with Pura Belpré Award books and books about piñatas and Latino history and crafts.

  I started off the program by sharing some information about piñatas. (Did you know that piñatas may have originated in China?!) Then I had kids mix up the paper-mâché paste (using spoons or their hands), dip paper strips in the mix, and put it on their balloons (which are sitting in plastic bowls). I explained that they needed to cover the whole balloon except for a spot at the top.

You know what? The kids totally surprised me by how well they were able to do this. Even the little ones had no problem doing it (with mom or dad helping, of course). Their first layers actually turned out really nicely. (One of my staff members saw the piñatas later and asked me, “Where are the ones the kids made?” She couldn’t believe that they had turned out so well!)

Once their balloons were covered, we switched the wet piñatas out with the pre-made, dry piñatas (in dry bowls) and passed out paint, paintbrushes, cups of water, and crepe paper. We used washable tempera paint and I took Vicki’s suggestion of adding a few drops of mild dish soap to the paint to make it easier to clean up (it really worked!! We will be doing that from now on!!). Kids painted the piñatas and added crepe paper to the wet paint if they wanted. I didn’t provide a painted sample for them, but just let them do their thing.

We had plastic bags for families to take their pinatas home and we handed out packets with information about piñatas and the complete instructions so that they can make their own at home! I didn’t provide candy and we didn’t break one open at the program, but you could do either (or both) of these things if you want to add a little something. The whole program took about 45-60 minutes.

This would be a great program to consider if you’re celebrating El dia de los niños/El dia de los libros or for the One World, Many Stories summer reading club theme!
Yes, we got messy. Yes, it was a lot of prep work beforehand. But it was so much fun that it was definitely worth it! And did I mention that it’s cheap? We had paint, crepe paper, plastic bowls, and spoons on hand. We used an old catalog for the paper strips. Balloons and flour cost less than $5.00 total (and we’ve got plenty of both to last us a long time).
So, what do you think? Are you ready to embrace the mess?

– Abby Johnson
Children’s Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fight for libraries as you do freedom

Found another great opinion piece article from one of my Facebook groups entitled Fight for libraries as you do freedom written by an Atlanta novelist. I think she had some great points in the article such as: "This is why the funding of American libraries should be a matter of national security. Keeping libraries open, giving access to all children to all books is vital to our nation’s sovereignty," and "We need to shift our national view of libraries not as luxuries, but as necessities," and especially this quote "Libraries are the backbone of our educational infrastructure, and they are being slowly broken by bankrupt municipalities and apathetic politicians. As voters and taxpayers, we have to demand that our local governments properly prioritize libraries." Amen sister, I totally agree with you, hence why I support my local library and am becoming a librarian. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

My weekend

This weekend was really long but we had a blast! I got to hang out with my friend Sioux and her fiance Jason, as well as some of their friends, which was nice. I also was involved in helping with the prep work for the wedding, which I had been missing ever since I dropped out of the wedding party due to financial reasons. The ceremony itself was an interesting mix of Christian and Native American traditions, as the bride was Native and the groom was Lutheran. At the beginning of the ceremony, they burned sweetgrass and tobacco to ward off evil spirits and then later burned sage to keep in the good spirits. After the couple said their vows, they did a wedding vase ceremony which involved the couple drinking out of a double necked Native American vase (which was interesting as I had seen them in Arizona and purchased one as I liked the look of it, but didn't know what it was) and then giving the rest to Mother Earth. A little later, the couple also did the wedding blanket ceremony where a traditional Native American blanket, similar to this, was wrapped around the couple to bless their union. The reception was nice as well and we danced to 70s and 80s music. We stayed at the B&B where the wedding was held, which had lovely breakfast. The other nice thing about the trip was our rental car (which we had to get since my car was still in the shop). We got a Toyota Yaris 4-door, which was fun to drive, even though I ended up doing all the driving. John liked it so much he's thinking about getting one, as our new car, once we finish off paying for the Mazda.

It was nice being back in Richmond, as I hadn't been there since Sioux's graduation from undergrad at my alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) three or so years prior. It made me remember how much I liked living in the area and so I've started to look for jobs there. The main thing is trying to convince my husband that it is not the land of rednecks (like it was in Danville, where my parents lived briefly), but rather a nice mix of North and South. I like Richmond because you can still get sweet tea, but it's not too Southern, or at least I don't consider to be so. Unless of course you count those Civil War crazies that sometimes hang out there, aka guy walking up and down Franklin Street with a giant Confederate flag on Confederate Memorial Day back when I was in school. Yes, it was the capital of the Confederacy at the end of the Civil War, but thankfully it has progressed a bit since then. It's funny because when I was living there during my undergraduate years, I thought it was great if you were married with children but not fantastic if you are single and in school, especially without a car. But now that I'm getting to the point of not being in school, I can see how nice it is to live there, and possibly raise a family. We'll see how things progress.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Funny and true library comic

I was going through my weekly subscription to Unshelved, my favorite webcomic, and wanted to share this one because it was very true. I know I've felt this way, and I'm sure there are others out there that feel the same way.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bright Star

Yesterday I watched the Jane Campion movie Bright Star about the very short romance of John Keats and Fanny Brawne (1818/19-1821), which happened in the last year of his life before he died of consumption (tuberculosis). It made me cry like a baby, especially when he died, as it seemed to have shattered Fanny. It is said the at she wore his mother's ring until she died. The poetry in it was beautiful and made me realize that I've never really read any of his stuff, so I borrowed his complete poems from the library. Bright Star is actually the name of one of his poems, in the movie and apparently real life he composes it for Fanny, so I thought I would include it on here. Everyone needs a little poetry in their life.

By John Keats
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art---
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors---
No---yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever---or else swoon in death.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Random Survey

I got this from one of the blogs I frequent and liked it so I borrowed it for my blog. I love surveys, so I am frequently filling them out. Here are some random facts about me, in no particular order.
8 Things About Me!

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To:
1. Seeing Sioux and Jason get married and hopefully spend some time with them
2. Being done with my group project
3. Being able to finally read Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
4. Being able to finally read The Wake of the Lorelei Lee by L.A. Meyer
5. Seeing my friend Huma over Spring Break
6. Being done with my classes and passing them successfully
7. Graduating and finally getting my Masters
8. Getting a steady job so that I can finally start a family

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1. Watched Disraeli DVDs, starring Ian McShane
2. Posted on the Discussion Board for my Intro to Research Class
3. Posted my brainstorm bubbles on my Intro to Research blog
4. Was in online lecture for two hours followed by another hour of group meeting afterwards
5. Ranted on my personal blog
6. Was upset by current car bill, which keeps getting higher and higher
7. Finished my Coffee and Chocolate Truffles ice cream—it was yummy!
8. Went to bed and actually went to sleep

8 Things I Love:
1. John (my hubby)
2. A few very close friends
3. My family
4. Traveling
5. Crocheting scarves
6. Poppet (our half basset/half golden lab dog)
7. Listening to music
8. Baking

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Be patient
2. Write awesome cover letters
3. Market myself better
4. Lose weight
5. Read more
6. Visit family more often
7. Get an awesome job
8. Travel more

8 Shows I Watch:
1. Glee
2. Grey’s Anatomy
3. Private Practice
4. No Reservations
5. Bizarre Foods
6. American Dad
7. Futurama
8. Fringe

8 Favorite Fruits:
2. Green Grapes
3. Mangoes
4. Pineapple
5. Clementines
6. Peaches
7. Strawberries
8. Lychees

8 Places I'd Like to Travel:
1. New Zealand
2. Greece
3. Hawaii
4. Spain
5. Egypt
6. Vienna, Austria
7. Brazil
8. St. Petersburg, Russia

8 Places I've Lived:
1. Hattiesburg, MS
2. Montgomery, AL
3. Dothan, AL
4. Alexandria, VA
5. Firenze, Italy
6. St. Andrews, Scotland
7. Aiken, SC
8. Columbia, SC

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sixes and Sevens

So I'm going to use a British expression here, namely the title of this post "Sixes and Sevens" to describe how life has been recently, it has been a bit crazy. I've not been able to get proper sleep since my job was cut, as I've been pretty stressed out and besides school, I don't have much of a reason to get up. I'm just trying to keep my head above water, though I'm already starting to feel overwhelmed. I have a reference group project due on the 14th, a paper for my internship that I've not even started due on the 24th and another paper for my reference class due on the 28th. Then on top of school stuff, there's my car in the repair shop that keeps getting more and more expensive. Our trip to Virginia for my friend's wedding is coming up this weekend and trying to decide if we are getting a rental car and an extra night's stay (more expenses), or if we can even afford to go at all at this point. Oh yeah, money talk is one of the biggest stress of all and the one my hubby and I get in the most fights about. That's not even talking about the job hunt which is pretty much on hold at the moment. I'll try to pick it up again soon but I'm still having a cover letter writer's block. I just hate feeling out of control all the time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Why yelling Fudgesicles is sometimes the best policy!

I get made fun of sometimes for making up silly names to use while cursing, but having worked with kids most my life, you have to get creative. My favorites include "fudgesicles" and "Geez, Louise!" This article explains why.

For the Potty-Mouthed Among Us

by ALSC - The Association for Library Service to Children on Monday, September 6, 2010 at 3:37pm

“Oh, fiddlesticks!”

The expletive exploded from my lips, echoing across the program room where a dozen preschoolers looked up at me wide-eyed, mouths agape. I swallowed hard and managed to glance up at the one mom sitting in the corner with a small toddler on her lap. I noted her eyebrow, cocked above a set of disapproving eyes. In response to a smile I hoped was apologetic, I received only a tight lipped “tsk” and a smooth dismissal. I never saw little Windham in storytime again.

It’s not the first time my potty mouth has landed me in some hot water in the library. Just last month, after spilling a container of glitter across the textured carpet (nearly impossible to vacuum up all those minute, shiny bits), I was heard to exclaim in frustration, “For the love of pickles!”

I’m not proud to admit that this foulness was said in earshot of several babes in arms, two au pairs, and a group of Cub Scouts. The shame still burns. Even now, simply writing about the Incident brings a hot flush to my cheeks.

For those of us with the oratory flair of truck drivers and men of the sea, children’s librarianship can pose some unexpected challenges. Controlling our colorful jargon is something they do not teach us in library school. From a flippant “Geez, Louise” to a venomous “Dash it all!,” even the most cool headed among us has been known to slip up.

My solution? Imbuing euphemistic swearwords with early literacy-building references. If one is going to swear, why not “Hot-chi Mot-chi,” a rhyming exclamation that increases phonological awareness? Or, how about “Egads!,” a sure way to draw attention to the importance of letter knowledge?

My ultimate hope is, of course, is to cleanse my mind and tongue of these egregious expletives. In the meantime, all I can do is hope to bear this cross with grace and tact.
So, my friends, should you find yourself mid-Toddler Time, struggling to remember the lines to Tom Thumbs Up and accidentally utter “Jiminy Crickets!,” know that you are not alone. We struggle together. And, at the very least, you can use the opportunity to discuss syllables, rimes, and phonemes.

The Yuca Diaries

This week's blog highlight is The Yuca Diaries,, which I discovered last week. The author is a Cuban-American who loves to cook. I love her description about the duality of the blog: "When I dream, it sometimes happens in English and sometimes in Spanish. This principle of duality holds true in my waking life which I hope to share here with you via my recipes, writing, photographs, and any other medium I think up on a whim." Plus she just has some great recipes for traditional Latin fare like Tres Leches, which is her current post, to other Cuban recipes like Fufu de Platano (which I hadn't heard of before, but looks delicious). She also has yummy recipes for Brisket and Butter Chicken. All in all a website I plan on keeping my eye on in the future.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Trying to think of something more fun to write about than the state of my car

Alas, I'm having car troubles yet again, and it couldn't be worse timing. I am going to Virginia next week to celebrate my friend's wedding so that I'll have something happy to think about on Sept 11 instead of depressing things. My car is in the shop and looks likely to be there until next weekend, which means I can't pick it up until next week. Boo!

Anywho, I've decided to write about two films I've watched recently instead. These are two very different and random movies. First off is the big budget but ultimately a flop movie version of the Broadway play Nine, starring Daniel Day Lewis as Guido Contini, with Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Marion Cotillard and yes sadly, Fergie. First off my dislikes. I don't think Daniel Day Lewis should ever be allowed to sing again and I thought Fergie's song was annoying and way too easy to get stuck in your head. Granted, I've never been a fan of Mr. Lewis, although my mother swears by him in Last of the Mohicans, as I'm sure so do a lot of other women. Fergie should stick with the Black Eyed Peas. I also thought the story was a little pathetic. I mean the guy has everything and blows it all and has to start all over again from scratch. I mostly just wanted to steal his car, which was this cute little Italian convertible. On to the likes: the choreography and the performances of Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard. The dancing was fabulous and the movie was directed by Rob Marshall, who did Chicago, another of my favorite movie musicals. Nicole Kidman was only in the movie for a very short period of time as Guido's muse and leading actress, sings a wonderfully sad song called "Unusual Way." Judi Dench is amusing as Guido's straight-talking costume designer who used to work at the Folies Bergere and sings a song about it and how great it was. I must admit her singing in French was a bit off-putting for me as I see her as the classic British star, but she did put on a good act. Penelope Cruz is absolutely gorgeous and vulnerable as Guido's mistress and she sings this super seductive song in lingerie that I'm sure her new hubby Javier Bardem is getting a kick out of now. Marion Cotillard, who I loved in La Vie En Rose about Edith Piaf and as the lady in red and pretty much the only good thing about Public Enemy, plays Guido's ignored and unappreciative wife. She gets to sing one really great song "Take It All" and one good song called "My Husband Makes Movies."

The second movie I've watched recently is The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. This film was directed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame and who also did movies like The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Brothers Grimm. It was the last film role for Heath Ledger, and he died while filming it. The movie also stars the venerable Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer (who was probably my favorite actor in this movie, I thought he was hilarious and I didn't care for him in the Austin Powers movies) as Parnassus's sidekick Percy, soon-to-be new SpiderMan Andrew Garfield as the stumbling vulnerable Anton, model Lily Cole as Parnassus's daughter Valentina and Tom Waits as the Devil. The premise of the movie is hard to explain, so I will refer to this AFI Fest article, "Gilliam's first feature since 2005’s TIDELAND, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is a return to the grotesque and arabesque aesthetic of some of his earlier work, including the Monty Python animations. Doctor Parnassus, like Baron Munchausen, runs a ramshackle theatre troupe, clattering round the shadowy streets of nighttime London in the hopes of entertaining a motley crowd of drinkers and shoppers. The show involves luring a member of the audience through a magical mirror and into the titular Imaginarium, where Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) uses his powers (he’s immortal) to amplify their waking dreams into the trip of a lifetime. Some lucky punters emerge from the mirror reborn, others find Mr. Nick (Tom Waits) lurking on the dark side of their daydreams, ready to lure them straight to Hell. The Parnassus crew is no merry band of players, however. The Doctor broods over a long-ago deal with Mr. Nick that is about to come due. Anton (Andrew Garfield) nurses an unrequited crush on Valentina (Lily Cole) who thinks of nothing but making a getaway, pasting the cover of Ideal Home (“norm porn”) above her bunk, to aid her dreams of regular family life. Percy (Verne Troyer) is Dr. Parnassus’ loyal longtime companion, but even he is getting frustrated by his boss’ drinking and mood swings. Their disequilibrium is disrupted still further when they rescue Tony (Heath Ledger), whom they find hanging underneath Blackfriars Bridge and he too becomes smitten by Lily’s charms. It’s inevitable that they will all end up in the Imaginarium, seeking answers and escape." Summary aside, I loved the movie and it's focus on imagination (the AFI article goes into Gilliam's views on imagination, which is a good read as well), and the battle between good and evil and which we one we choose. I loved the very Monty Pythonesque "Join the Police" clip in the middle of the movie, which I can't seem to find online to show anyone. I thought the visuals were fantastic, especially the monastery scenes and when they are inside Dr. Parnassus's imagination.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jobs Update

Well I just got one rejection letter in the mail from a library I phone interviewed with a week ago, and then found out today also that the other position I applied for with them, I was not selected for either. Oh well. I will be working on more job applications now.

Update 8:30pm: Finished weekly job search. Almost finished one application and working on a second. I will have to go get help to write cover letters as mine always suck.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Last week, I was listening to a bit of the commentary for Edward the King, done by the director of the series, Timothy West who plays Edward/Bertie and Annette Crosbie who played Queen Victoria. I had thought she did a good job as Queen Victoria, and knew that she had gotten a BAFTA (British Academy Award) for her role and she mentioned that she had also gotten one for her role as Catherine of Aragon in The Six Wives of Henry VIII. So I decided to see if Netflix had it and indeed they did. It was a series done in 1970, five years before she played Queen Victoria. She was rather good in it as well.

Most of what I know about Henry VIII I have learned from TV shows, reading up on him and the time period and asking my dad (the history buff) questions. I've yet to read Alison Weir's book on the subject, but it is supposed to be good. Suffice it to say that I, like a lot of people, seem to know a lot about the first two queens and almost nothing about the following four. I feel kind of sorry for Catherine because first she is to wed Henry's brother Arthur and she is married to him for a very short period of time and then has to wait a further six years before she marries Henry. Once they are married, they seem to be happy and he loves her and his daughter. But once he sees Anne Bolelyn, everything starts going haywire. I mean how would you feel if the husband you loved and had been with nearly twenty years suddenly decides he doesn't love you anymore and that your marriage isn't valid because you were his brother's wife?! I would be outraged and she was too! I was raised Episcopalian, so I know all about the Anglican Church. I believe that the Catholic Church was corrupt back in Henry's time, but I don't think that wanting to have a public mistress-to-be-queen is the right reason for separating from the Catholic Church and forming your own because you want to have your own way. And then he goes and puts her on trial on made-up charges and has her beheaded.

Since the first episode was so interesting, I decided to watch the rest of the series, minus the Anne Bolelyn episode. I know that Jane Seymour, his third wife, gave him his legal male heir Edward. He really seemed to love Jane and her influence over the king allowed for Lady Mary, his daughter by Catherine, to return to court. He mourned her death for two years after she died. The fourth marriage was very interesting as the only thing I had ever known about Anne of Cleves is what she looked like from the famous portrait of her by Hans Holbein, the court painter. She apparently was well-versed in politics and in the miniseries at least, she seems to want the marriage annulled as much as Henry did, but they stayed on good terms and he gave her property and the title "King's Sister". Kathryn Howard was his fifth wife and this marriage should never have happened. I had no idea that she was cousins with Anne Bolelyn, the other wife of Henry's to be executed. One reason they should not have been married was the age difference, he was 49 and she was between 17-19, and another was he had gained a lot of weight and had an ulcerated leg and was not in the best of health to keep up with a pretty energetic young girl. Kathryn was killed because she had affairs before and after her marriage to the king. In the miniseries at least, he seemed very upset that she would do these things to him. Katherine Parr was his final wife and she was twice-widowed by the age of 31. It seems she married the King because he was "old and lonely," but later grew to love him. She was almost tried for heresy by the Bishop of Winchester, but the king stopped it. After the king's death, she goes on to marry Thomas Seymour, one of Jane Seymour's brothers. Overall, I liked the series despite the sometimes bad/over the top acting.