Saturday, November 14, 2009

Season's Greetings

I don't know if I've mentioned this before on my blog, but anyone who knows me knows that I hate winter. Scratch that - I LOATHE winter. I actually start getting bummed in August, while it's still eleventy-eight degrees and the humidity is so thick that what hair isn't sticking to your neck is frizzed out in a giant puff ball, because August means that summer is almost over, fall is about to start, and fall is a prelude to winter. Yes, I have issues.

But, for whatever reason, I get sucked into the holiday spirit of the months between October and December and get super excited about Christmas and decorating for Christmas and shopping for Christmas and eventually actually celebrating Christmas. (That being said, I refuse to leave the house on Black Friday - of all the ways to leave this earth, trampled by crazed shoppers trying to get a talking Elmo doll is not the way I'd like to go. Poor Walmart guy, that was so sad.)

Anyway, today we hung our Christmas lights outside and I think it may have been the best Christmas-lights-hanging I've ever experienced. Probably because it was about 65 degrees out there this afternoon. There is something to be said for nailing the lights onto the porch rail when your fingers AREN'T frozen.

The Christmas lights were my third step into the holiday season. First step: hot chocolate. You can claim hot chocolate for any cold weather time, so it's an acceptable fall beverage. But seriously, hot chocolate belongs to Christmas. Next was an early viewing of a Christmas movie last week. While You Were Sleeping is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies (even if it's not technically a Christmas movie, but kind of is), and I will watch it a good dozen times between now and the Big Day. We've already played it twice (somehow my mom and I both managed to sleep through the entire thing the first time around). And finally, today we got the Christmas lights up. That is normally a post-Thanksgiving activity, but when you have such nice weather in November, you have to take advantage of the opportunity - I mean, this is Indiana. We could have 10 feet of snow the weekend after Turkey Day.

I will try to hold out on the Christmas music until after Thanksgiving - you have to save something for the real season, right? And then the indoor tree has to go up (I love the twinkle lights in the living room when it's dark in the house; such a happy, warm glow), but that will go after Turkey Day, too. And then Merry Christmas and Happy New Year followed by 3 months of frozen-over H-E-double-hockey-sticks (only broken up by the most hockey-stickish of holidays: Valentine's Day. Bleck, blarg, barf.).

So I'll enjoy my twinkle lights as long as I can. But instead of sugar plums, I'll be dreaming of tropical beaches and palm fronds dancing in my head (just the palm fronds will be dancing, not the beaches).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Information Take-Out

The internet is chock-full of information. You can find everything under the sun: online diaries, satellite maps, the latest sports scores, celebrity mug shots, patent information, IRS forms, and oh-so-much more. Not only can you get information about any subject, you can also make it so you don't have to hunt through lots of other information to find what interests you. No, you can go to a site like Bloglines or use tools like Google Alerts to get the information you want gathered in one place and even delivered to your email or mobile device. No hunting necessary - set it up once and you're done!

So for the last few days I've been taking advantage of this information take-out and delivery service and set myself up with a few RSS feeds through Bloglines relating to my new academic field: Library Science. I got a lot of information about a lot of different things regarding libraries, librarians, and library technology. Some of it was interesting (see posts below about two such articles), some over my head, some dull, and some dead (as in dead links). Still, it was nice to get all of this information sent to me. I'm still new to this library stuff (ironically, that was the name of one of the feeds I followed: Library Stuff), so getting constant updates on current and topical information has helped me learn a lot.

Gotta love technology!

Simmer Down

There's a story hitting the internet (among other media, of course) about a librarian in Cheshire, CT defending the inclusion of a book in their collection. This particular book is drawing fire from the area because of its subject matter - it's a true crime book about a triple murder that occurred in Cheshire. The librarian added two copies of the book to the collection because patrons were requesting it, but that lit a fire under some community members who think that book should never have been printed, let alone have a place in the library.

I'm not going to comment one way or another about this story - about whether or not the librarian should have added this book to the collection or whether or not the book should be removed - primarily because there was a gag order on the case, so I don't know about the legality involved in printing the book in the first place. But what struck me more than anything about this article were the comments added after the article ended. A large number of the commenters are downright nasty in their words. They don't counter their arguments with rational reasoning; instead, many use name calling and threatening language to get their point across. One person wrote, "To all the jerks defending their rights to read this book, I hope something as horrific as this ever[sic] happens to you or someone you know!" Another warned readers to be careful that they don't spill on the book or drop it in the toilet before returning it to the library, in a tone that blatantly meant the contrary. A person on the side of the library wrote, "If you want to live in a society where the government limits your freedom by denying you choices, then I suggest you move to Iran or North Korea. Otherwise, stay away from the library and mind your own business."

I read things like this and it makes me twitchy. It's the same reason why I try to stay away from political debates. People fight dirty. They let their emotions, their anger, their determination to make their side be heard override their ability to state their opinion in a calm and reasoned matter. The people who want the book off the shelves are allowed to be upset. And the people who agree with the library's decision to put the book on the shelves have the right to want to keep it there. But name calling and nastiness aren't going to convince someone to join your side. Rather, you should just simmer down and discuss this like grownups.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Traveling Librarian?

I have always longed to travel, and I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I can incorporate travel into my career - either by going from place to place with my home base in the US or moving away to a job in another country. When I decided that I wanted to become a librarian, I figured my travel opportunities would rely strictly on vacations, conferences, and volunteering.

So when I came across this article from the Library Journal, I got a tingle of that old wanderlust. The title of the article is Going International! and was written by a librarian who had worked internationally for 11 years. One thing that really impressed me about this article was that it was more than a simple "You should be an international librarian; it's great!" article - the kind that you read with high hopes but come away with no useful information. This article had it all: personal stories, suggestions for what type of person should go, the areas of librarianship hiring internationally, where to look for jobs, contract suggestions, what you should consider if you have a family or pets traveling with you, and the knowledge that you're hearing from someone who has first-hand experience with all of these issues and knows what they're talking about. To top it off, the article, which was considerable in length, was followed by a list of resources as long as the article itself.

One thing I really liked in the article is that she addressed the idea of fear as a motive keeping people from pursuing international work - fear of travel in hostile times, fear of living in hostile environments, and fear of the unknown. One thing that holds me back is fear of change - if I take this big step, will it have been the right decision? What if I take a giant leap - move far away, leave everything behind - and it was a great big mistake? But if you let that fear affect your decisions, you'll miss out on a lot of fantastic opportunities, like working as a librarian in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, one of the places the author worked.

The moral of this story? If you're interested in international librarianship (as a career or as a volunteer) this is a great article. And don't let fear keep you from doing something amazing.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


No, your eyes do not deceive you, nor are you lost. My blog just got remodeled!

In honor of the new look, here's a little poem:

Books to the ceiling
Books to the sky
My pile of books is a mile high
How I love them
How I need them
I'll grow a long beard by the time I read them
-Arnold Lobel

Everything but the beard bit is true! (I hope!)

Small Towns

I've been enamored of small towns since I first started watching Gilmore Girls (fabulous show, you should check it out. Lauren Graham should have won an Emmy for it). I wanted to live in my own Stars Hollow, even with the locals who know all your business. I'll take a Taylor Dosie or Human Kirk (as opposed to Cat Kirk) any day to have the ambiance and charm and color of a beautiful little community.

However, I feared that cool small towns like that only existed in TV and movies (Stars Hollow is now Eastwick, and it gives me warm fuzzies to see that beautiful set again).
But in a new article by Budget Travel, apparently cool small towns really do exist! I'd take just about any town from this list, but my heart is now set on Cayucos, California, population 3000.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's been a long time...

I know it's been a while since I last will do that to you, I guess! I meant to blog about my first grad school experiences as they happened. Alas, the time has gotten away from me. As it stands, I'm writing this as I wait for library databases to load so I can do my homework (they are SLOWWWW).

Since I didn't get to write about my first experiences (they were good - I really dig my classes!), I'm just going to write and link some interesting things I've learned so far...

If you join the ALA and some of it's sub-organizations, like YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Associations), and you join their committees, it's possible that you can eventually join in choosing the best books of the year for that organization and get TONS OF FREE BOOKS to read and rate. I found my new calling...

The ALA's (by the way, the ALA is the American Library Association) Freedom to Read statement makes me want to wave my flag and lead the revolution, it's that inspiring!

While this blog is no longer updated, it's a humorous look at the daily life of a public library reference librarian.

While the internet and digital readers are swell, they will never take away my love for a real book.

Books in this country are challenged or banned due to a variety of reasons, the majority of which is sexuality in Young Adults books. Some, though, are challenged for rather ridiculous reasons. For example, a book by Louise Rennison (of the Georgia Nicolson series, a personal favorite) titled On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God: Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson was challenged because "an unstable person seeing a girl reading the book might think from the title that the girl is promiscuous and stalk her." Yeah, seriously. I wonder how they'd feel about other books from that series - one is titled Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas. The book in question was retained by the library. Source: Newsletter of Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2005, p. 74.

Ok, that's all for now, homework beckons. For those of you who don't have homework, go read a book!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Neighborhood Watch

Our neigborhood recently (or at least, I think it was recently, I hadn't noticed it before on Wrigley's walks) updated the neigborhood playground. It's not very big; it takes up about the space of a corner lot, but it's nice. It has a picnic table and swings and other new play things. They also put up a nice little sign to explain the rules of the playground.

Apparently, though, only the neighborhood vampire children are allowed to play on it:
Edit people! EDIT! You never know what kind of bloodsucking undesirables you'll have playing in your neighborhoods because you didn't take the time to read over your text!

A Little Piece of Paradise

I just took my first vacation in 4 years. It was well deserved and much overdue. My momma and I flew down to Florida to stay with the g'rents (this was the only way I could have afforded a vacation, and FAR superior to staying in a hotel somewhere!). The g'rents have a beautiful house in Debary, Florida, with a glorious backyard. Honestly, it felt more like we were at some fancypants, exclusive resort where only the rich and famous can go.
Amazing, isn't it? We had an awesome trip. We'd spend our mornings at the pool, our afternoons running around or hanging out, and our evenings going to the BEST restaurants in the area. I ate SO good that week. We also got to see a lot of family, generally in settings that included more yummy food. Our first full day included a major gathering at a great German restaurant in Sanford, Hollerbach Willow Tree. We actually went back again later in the week to get more of their dessert. We also went to a great Thai place in Deland twice because it was so great. There I had the Best. Dessert. EVER! It was sticky rice made with coconut milk and magical deliciousness in the center of thin slices of mango. The combination of flavors was amazing! I need to figure out how to a) make sticky rice and b) figure out how to pick and then slice a good mango!

But enough about the food (which I could go on and on and on about), we also made it to the beach for a day. We went to New Smyrna Beach, which I hear is the place where lots and lots of sharks like to live and play. I didn't see any. And as I don't get in water where things live, I wasn't at too much risk. I got in up to my shins, which is a major step for me (I got stung by a jelly fish as a child, and I haven't been too enthused by the idea of swimming in the ocean since then...I prefer the layout on the sand portion of beach activities.). It was a gorgeous day and the water was crystal clear and warm. Loves it!

Proof that I made it to the beach (this is all of me that you're gonna see from this particular trip).

To conclude, Florida was wonderful and I can't wait another 4 years before taking another vacation!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Why is prepping for a vacation so hard? Clean the house, do laundry, find a dog sitter (which is why the house needs to be cleaned - they'll be staying here), figure out how to get all your toiletries into tiny bottles, figure out if I need to buy a new suitcase, spend quality time with the dog before leaving, slather myself in tanner so I don't blind the Florida natives with my brilliantly white skin, make sure there's food in the house for the dog sitter, try to figure out how to give the dog sitter access to the internet (big, fat FAIL), make a sleeping area for the dog sitter, make sure all the dishes are clean and put away, write detailed instructions for dog sitter, make map of the area for dog sitter, find vet info for dog sitter (my dog is SO much trouble right now)...

I know I'm going to forget something. It's probably very important. I am seriously going to need this vacation once all this prep work is done. Sigh.

Monday, June 22, 2009

CIA Librarian

With a Library Science degree, you can pursue a career with a wide variety of businesses and organizations, beyond that of actual libraries. One organization that hires from the Library Science arena is the CIA.

Now, I'm not sure if I'd actually be cut out for a position with the CIA - it appears to be very heavy on the information science/techy area, and at this point, that is not me. However, how awesome would it be to say you work for the CIA?

"Hi, Rae, nice to meet you. I'm Bob; I'm an accountant. What do you do?"
"Well, Bob, I work for the CIA. Thank you and goodnight."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Garden Update

Here are some more pictures of the garden. In my last post, the pictures were from right after the veggies were planted. The pictures below are how they look today. We will be having a fresh salad soon!

In this picture, the hanging pots contain herbs: rosemary and thyme. The box in the back contains two types of lettuce. The box in the front has teeny little broccoli starts.

The Topsy Turvy on the left has a cucumber plant, while the right one has a tomato plant.

The giant leafy plant is squash taking to it is another tomato plant (Mom loves tomatoes; me, not so much.)

We have lavendar and sage in the back. Celantro and oregano in the teeny purple pots below them. To the left, middle, we have green peppers. The bottom left has strawberries (yay!). The bottom right is a variety of herbs - two types of basil, celantro, and parsley.

And yes, I had to ask mom (again) to tell me what was in all the pots in order to have an accurate post here ;) I love our little patio garden! It's so pretty, and soon it will feed us :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Out little garden

Mom recently planted a patio garden - rather than dig up a patch of dirt and planting on a plot that the critters (and Wrigley) could get into, we have all these pretty pots and earth boxes where we are now the proud caretakers of fruits, veggies, and herbs. Well, Mom's the proud caretaker, I just watch. We have tomatoes and cucumbers hanging from a Topsy Turvy; squash, more tomatoes, strawberries, green peppers, broccoli, and lettuce in earth boxes and pots; and various herbs included in the bunch.

I'm excited (for the first time ever - my mom is shocked) for these plants to grow and incorporate it into some recipes. I just made strawberry shortcake the other day, and it will be wonderful to use berries fresh from the garden!

Here's a little glimpse of our pretty, pretty garden!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Odds and Ends, Bits and Bobs

This post is about nothing in particular, just a few little tidbits about moi.

My grad school application is officially complete and IN!

This weather makes me happy. I don't really like the outdoors, but I'm really enjoying being outside in weather this gorgeous.

I have longed, since I was little, to be able to raise a single eyebrow. Unfortunately, this was not a genetic gift. I can roll my tongue, but not that. So many emotions can be displayed with an eyebrow lift. Disdain, disbelief, and even come hither. Alas, I have to show these feelings with my words. "Hey you, come hither please. Thanks."

I don't know which scares me more: spiders or speaking in public. It's a toss up.

There are several famous people who I know, if only we met, we'd totally be BFFs: Lauren Graham, Cat Deeley, and Kristin Johnson are just a few of them.

If I could do anything (had the physical ability and talent, which I don't), I would be a singer or dancer...or both (that is, if that pesky fear of speaking/performing in public didn't get in the way).

I like the outcome of baking, the eating and feeling of accomplishment at something I created, but I don't know if I could make it more than a hobby, though I've thought about it. As with most crafty-type projects, I lose steam after a while.

Hmm, that's all I have for now. Now tell me something about yourself!

Monday, May 25, 2009

How to host an awesome tea party

If you want to host a tea party, there are a few things you will need. First off, you will need some excellent recipes, like this one, or this one, or this one. Next, you will need to set the scene, or rather, the table.

If you have some old china, you can set a very pretty table. I found some pretty and inexpensive sets from Ebay and Home Goods. You can mix and match your place settings to make a shabby chic style table. It makes the table a little less formal, but just as pretty.

Next, get your mom involved. She can magically find some of her grandmother's old linens that will work as a lovely table cloth and pretty cloth napkins. She may even be able to find a stack of aprons, too. (I got mine from Target before I found out about our secret stash.)
Our menu included three types of tea sandwiches: cucumber mint, strawberry, and nut; cream scones with Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam, and lemon curd; and two desserts: lemon curd tarts and white chocolate and chai tea mousse. These need to be timed right for everything to be served at the same time. The mousse has to be started the night before, and the lemon curd is best prepared in advance since it will need time to set (we learned this the hard way). To help get everything done at the right time, it's best to recruit your guests to join in the work.

Finally, once everything is prepared, add the food to the table and settle in for a delicious meal!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Last weekend I finally finished my application to grad school. I painfully wrote my personal goals essay (I loathe writing about myself for these types of things), sent in for my transcripts, and begged for recommendations. Within 48 hours of sending out the official recommendation requests, two of my three people had completed my recommendations and let me know that they were done. A few days later, I got a notice that my transcripts had arrived. So now I'm waiting on one person to complete the final piece of my application puzzle. Remember, this was all just one short week ago. There is absolutely no reason for me to be anxious or impatient yet - one, they may have been busy last weekend. Makes sense - their lives don't exactly revolve around me. Two, I told them that I had two months before it had to be in. Three, this was ONLY A WEEK AGO!

And yet I find myself thinking about asking another college professor if he'd be willing to do a recommendation for me, in the hopes that he would say yes and my app would be done, officially done, and I'd be that much closer to finding out if I was accepted and the next step in my life would officially begin. Aye, there's the rub. My life, in a way, hinges on one person now (yes, I know, not really - my life is in God's hands, not people's). If this person doesn't complete the recommendation, my application isn't complete, and I don't get in.

But I have two months before this has to get done; it's been one week since I made the request. So my issue here is not one person and their calendar - it's my own need to control my surroundings and my inability to deal with uncertainty with my present and immediate future. And since there has been an abundance of uncertainty and upheaval lately, I'm not dealing well with things like this.

So again I pray for patience (always a risky move, cuz God may grant it) and to just take this long weekend and relax. I discovered tonight, as tears streamed down my face as I watched the heart wrenching Hotel for Dogs, that I'm a little stressed right now. And maybe a little time to rejuvenate myself might help me get things back into perspective. That being said, I wish you all a fun (and refreshing) Memorial Day weekend.

And now I'm going to bed. G'nite.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I had my wisdom teeth removed about two weeks ago and I've had limited solid foods since then. I think the lack of food has made me slightly obsessed with it. Every now and then I get urgings to bake, and this is one of those times. But why bake when you can't enjoy the fruits of your labors? So I torture myself by watching the Saturday PBS cooking shows and yearn.

Ahh, but when I can eat again, truly eat, I would like to make the following:

Buttermilk biscuits from Everyday Baking

Anything from (best baking site I've ever found) such as:
S'Mores bars
Brutti ma Buoni
Almond Shortbread Cookies

Asian Slaw from

And so much more. Everything sounds good. Even the doggie biscotti that my mom just made smells delicious, and the smell usually nauseates me while they're baking. That's how hungry I am.

New Beginnings

My life's been changing a lot in the last few weeks - my job of 4 1/2 years was eliminated, I'm starting a new one, and as of last night, I have officially applied to grad school. In honor of these changes, and with the encouragement of my friends, I thought this would be a great time to start a new blog and write about the new direction my life is taking.

So here's to new beginnings - may they be full of promise and new life!