Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reading, one cool librarian thing and a new blog

I've not been very focused on books, to be honest, mostly because all of my thoughts are preoccupied with the baby. The only books I seem to be able to focus on are cookbooks because they require a relatively short attention span, and have been on a Mexican kick with that, probably due to the amount of that nationality here in Arizona (despite the local government's best attempts otherwise). I started reading a great children/teen book by Nnedi Okorafor (a Nigerian-American writer I had been friends on Goodreads for awhile) called Zahrah the Windseeker. I had recently finished her adult fantasy novel Who Fears Death and loved it, so reading this book seemed like the logical conclusion. However, my brain is so scattered that I can't focus on it. I'm going to try to read a teen book that I've had on my to-read list forever called Marcelo in the Real World about a boy with autism, and hopefully I can get through that. 

I was browsing my library likes on Facebook and had discovered the ALSC blog (Association for Library Services to Children) and they have a section called "What I Wasn't Taught in Library School". Two points stood out to me, the first being humorous and the second being way more practical. As I've recently finished up library school and while I was there, participated in an independent study and an internship, I know there is so many little but important things they don't teach you there that you can only learn with hands-on experience. Working in customer service type jobs since I was 16 helps a lot with some of the stuff you come up against, like angry patrons, but things like trying to do programming with insanely low budgets or learning how to get the information about your programs out when your director doesn't like social media is not usually discussed. 

And last, but not least, my hubby has decided to share his love of cooking with world in the form of a blog. He has never done anything like this before, so I am helping to plug it on here. Please go check it out and share your thoughts/comments with him.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wall Street Journal article on YA books

I know I have been neglecting the librarian/books part of this blog a bit lately, but honestly I haven't had much to add to it. I haven't been reading much lately, though I did just finish a great adult book and am planning to read more by the same author. Apparently I read one of my new favorite author's (Gail Carriger's) books awhile back but forgot to review it, so I'm checking it out from the library again and rereading that next. I am currently not working and most of my excitement lately is coming from my husband starting culinary school soon, everyday stuff, and getting ready for the baby.

Anyways, I found this article from a Facebook friend who shared the link and thought it was a well-done article. I'm sure there will be people who disagree with me, but I think Mr. Alexie brings up some very valid points in his article. I loved his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian despite the difficult things that were in the novel. In the article, I especially liked when he said that most people who say that YA books are too violent etc are "are simply trying to protect their privileged notions of what literature is and should be. They are trying to protect privileged children. Or the seemingly privileged." I also liked when he explained why he writes the way he does: " I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed." 

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's getting closer to D-Day...and no I'm not talking about WWII

I'm about six weeks away from my delivery date, assuming Baby H comes on time, and believe me when I say that I really hope that he does. Last week was rough baby wise because I was feeling pretty crappy and very crampy pretty much all day every day. Apparently I am having more Braxton Hicks contractions as my tummy has been as tight as a drum, though the round ligament pains have also stepped up a notch as well. My mom says I'm not drinking enough water so I'm trying to drink a couple more glasses per day to cure that. My next doctor's appointment is this Wed and I'm probably gonna end up taking my ultrasound pics over again since my previous OB-Gyn has decided not to forward all the info from the ultrasound technician, even though we've been asking for them for about a month. I am not looking forward to that, even though it would be nice to see how the baby is developing. I finally preregistered at the hospital so they know about when to expect me. My grandparents have ordered the crib and it's supposed to come sometime on Thursday, so looking forward to finally having that. So the last major baby stuff that I need to get is the stroller and car seat. Oh and still need to pack my overnight bag for the hospital because as my husband keeps pointing out, it could literally be anytime in the next six weeks, and once things start happening I will be pretty incapacitated. We're still trying to decide on a name, have it down to final two but still not nailed anything down yet. 

The exciting news that I have to tell is about my hubby. Since he moved here, he has been trying to figure out what he wants to do career-wise and was thinking about making a change. He's a carpenter/house remodeler currently but wants to do something different. He really likes to cook and since there are at least three cooking schools in the Phoenix area, we decided to check them out. So we went to visit Le Cordon Bleu, the most famous of the three, and were really impressed. It was very up to date and despite having about 1000 students, the student-to-teacher ratio and class size was small. So he decided to enroll there and we've spent the weekend trying to get financial aid sorted. The program is 9 months long and he'll be taught basic French techniques on the basics, culinary arts, intro to baking/patisserie and given the option to pursue an Associates/Bachelors in Restaurant Management if he so wishes. The fees include a knife and utensil set, all textbooks, and the uniform (jacket, cravat, cap, pants and perhaps shoes). He is getting very excited but also nervous about starting. The funny thing is that he said he was more scared about starting the program than he was about the baby coming. He starts August 15. 

We had a nice weekend, which started with us going to the movies on Friday morning to see the new X-Men: First Class. I really enjoyed it because of the excellent cast and the back story that explains how Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto) formed the X-Men back in the 1960s, and how they picked sides. It also talks about the first X-Men came about and they included some that weren't in the previous movies or cartoon series that I had grown up watching. I'm thinking maybe they are in the original comic book series. My favorite character would probably be Hank because he starts out as this insanely smart young nerdy guy who because he wants to fit in, ends up becoming the Beast that we know now. My Dad's birthday was on Saturday and he decided to invite a couple friends over for gourmet burgers. Since we've moved here and especially since John has decided to go to cooking school, he has been the primary cook of the house. So he made up the burgers to order on Saturday. I had a beef burger with caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms under provolone cheese with bread and butter pickles and guacamole. Delicioso! Saturday was also apparently a Facebook friend's civil union ceremony and another acquaintance's Episcopal deacon ordination, so congrats to all of them. Sunday we went to a new church, which was an interesting experience, and then all the way out to Mesa (about an hour's drive away from us) where we had this insanely yummy brunch at a little bistro. It was actually the perfect blend of lunch and breakfast items as my hubby usually won't eat breakfast food, so they had beef, lamb and mussels for him but things like made-to-order omelets, Eggs Benedict, bacon and sausage for me. And the most enormous but still incredibly sweet and juicy strawberries with a chocolate fountain. We actually went out to Mesa for the free first Sunday of the month admission at the Arizona Natural History Museum that my hubby had found and suggested. For a free museum it was excellent, but I would've have paid the $10 per adult to go there on a regular basis. It was packed full of kids and parents there who were taking advantage of the same deal. It was very hands-on and kid-friendly with about 5 rooms of dinosaur stuff, the origin of the earth, rocks & minerals, a special exhibit on The Sea of Cortez near Baja, CA, Southwestern history, and even a gold panning area outside.