Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions revamped.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I'm hoping that you guys are all looking forward to 2013. A new year always brings much excitement. I'm reminded of something that Zig Ziglar said. This is paraphrasing but essentially he said, why wait until the new year to make a change? Today is a new day! Make the change now.

But that's not really what I'm writing about tonight.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what my resolutions for 2013 should be. Every year, I make a list of resolutions, typically between 5 and 10. Apparently, I like to overwhelm myself. As I'm sure you can guess, this approach hasn't worked out. I forget about them by March and don't think twice about them by December. And suddenly, I'm greeted with a new year. New resolutions! That never come to fruition.

So this year, I decided that rather than a list of resolutions I'm creating a bucket list. I don't view bucket lists as "have to" do. Rather, I see them as goals to hopefully achieve. I wish that didn't sound as flaky as it is coming across but at the moment, eloquence and clarity seem to escape me.

Moving on...

What is on this list? I'm not going to share the whole thing because I'm already up to 15. But here are a few:
-read 52 books that are not textbooks
-complete couch to 5k
-reach 600 books in my collection.
-open my etsy shop

What is on your bucket/resolution list for 2013?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wag of the Spoon: Girl Panties

Warning: this post might piss someone off.  You've been warned.

I decided this year to participate in the Christmas donation project that was taking place at Stephen's Mommy's Day Out program.  I offered to buy a pack of girl's underwear.  No age was indicated.  Just "Kid Size".  

(This story starts out innocent enough right?)

Off I went to the store with Kathryn (Note: I'm intentionally not naming the store).  When we arrived at the girl's section, there was a shelf unit set up specifically for displaying packs of girl's underwear.  Yay!  So easy right?  

Wrong.

Much to my dismay (yes...DISMAY), there was quite the selection for the style of underwear.  What do I mean style?  I mean, that the size 4 (that's for a FOUR YEAR OLD) underwear pack did not just come in your traditional briefs style.  No no.  You could also select "hipster" (...what?) or "bikini" (....jaw drop...EXCUSE ME?).  

Look, I am not saying that I don't have a collection from Victoria's Secret that has the most ridiculous amount of style choices.  Because I do and I'm proud of it.  But I'm also an adult woman.  

WHAT FOUR YEAR OLD NEEDS TO BE WEARING BIKINI UNDERWEAR?!  And look, when I say bikini, I'm talking underwear that has the two bands on the sides attaching the front and back parts of the underwear.  

Some people are really upset (and rightfully so) of the increase of teen pregnancy.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not about to point at these underwear packets and say "THERE'S YOUR PROBLEM!"  But I think it speaks volumes about how quickly our children are being exposed to a more sexualized nature if four year olds have the option of bikini underwear.  

So this Wag of the Spoon is going out to the panty brigade.  Let our little girls be LITTLE!

It's also going out to those who buy these.  Why?  Because if there wasn't a market for it, they wouldn't be made.  Supply and demand.  That's what keeps those wheels turning.




Friday, December 14, 2012

Connecticut shooting

I weep today for the victims of the shooting in Connecticut.

I weep for the family and friends of the victims and the shooter.

I pray for comfort and peace for all involved and touched by this tragedy.

I pray for peace and mental clarity for all those who may be silently suffering in their own depth of darkness.  

Today, I pray for a blanket of love on all of us.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When I posted my "Mommy Docket", I pointed out that there is a box on there specifically for "me" time.  To some, having time to yourself seems like a no-brainer.  You need to recharge...reenergize...unwind...decompress...whatever word you want to put in that blank.  

However, I found that once I had Stephen, finding "me" time or even making it into a priority was difficult for 2 reasons.
1) There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done.  I'm a stay at home mom, a full time grad student, volunteer, blogger, and freelance book reviewer.  I'm also a wife.  Go back and count that up.  That is six titles.  SIX.  There are 24 hours in the day and at least 7 of those have to go to sleep (preferably without interruption but that's pretty much up to Stephen).  I have a lot on my plate and yes, I do realize that most of that is by choice.  I don't have to freelance.  I don't have to keep this blog.  And I don't have to volunteer.  Technically, I don't have to go to school either but if I want to have a career, then I sort of have to.  

2) I have found that not fulfilling x, y, and z duties under any one of those titles has led me to feel a bit like a failure.  I think as moms (and I'm not saying the dudes can't feel this way...just can't speak on behalf of them because I don't know what it's like to be a man) it is very easy for us to get caught up in everything that we have to do.  Women, in general, seem to worry and stress more about things to do.  And what's worse is the mommy guilt.  Oh the guilt!  I was talking to a friend of mine the other day that realized she is angry about some things that have happened recently but hasn't processed any of it because she felt guilty about being angry!  We try to live up to this June Cleaver view of motherhood and let's face it...it ain't happening. 

Just because we aren't June Cleaver doesn't mean that we aren't good moms.

And that's what I've been trying to tell myself.  

So what do I do for "me" time?  There is really a variety of things on my "me" time list.  I can tell you what's not on it.  

TV.

I used to love to veg out in front of the TV.  LOVE IT.  I could do it for hours.  But now, I find television almost obnoxious.  Don't get me wrong.  There are a few shows I'm devoted to (Bones anyone?) and I watch them without fail (Zooey Deschanel always makes me laugh on The New Girl).  What is it with those Deschanel girls?!  They are awesome!

Moving on...

But I can't do it anymore.  TV doesn't distract me or relax me anymore.  Especially with all the heinous trash that is on the TV now, why bother?  And yes, some of it is heinous trash.  I'm not judging anyone for watching it but let's call a spade a spade, shall we?

Rather, here's what I have found relaxes me, which lowers my cortisol levels (├╝ber important):

  • crochet
  • painting
  • knit
  • embroidery
  • paper crafts
  • calligraphy
  • writing
  • reading (for fun)
  • research (yes...I'm aware that I'm the biggest nerd on the planet)
  • meditating/prayer
  • yoga
  • working out (although to be honest, there hasn't been enough of this lately)

So, allow me to encourage you to take a little bit of "me" time today.  Whether you are a mom, student, dad, employee, CEO, monk, whatever...Take a little bit of time out of your day to just be you and revel in that for a little bit.  Lower your cortisol levels and breathe in and out.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Excerpt of the day: Crochet Saved My Life

[Kathy Gleason] says, "knitting has been such a wonderful soother to my troubled mind that it's amazing to me that more people haven't discovered its therapeutic benefits. I think that in many cases, rather than a prescription for the latest designer anti-anxiety medications, doctors should write out prescriptions for several skeins of soft wool, and for the really desperate, cashmere."

From Crochet Saved My Life by Kathryn Vercillo

Book review to come soon

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mommy Docket

Hmm..Maybe Mommy Docket isn't really the best title for the document.

Here's what happened.

Life got super out of control.  Juggling motherhood with a toddler and attempting to take four (that's right FOUR) grad school classes this semester has proven to be just on the other side of the crazy line.  And not the good side of it.  Eric would have simple requests for me to complete during the day time and by noon, I likely had texted or messaged him online saying "What did you ask me to do?" or "I'm sorry.  I forgot what you needed." or "Does this really have to be done today?  Because I'd much rather pull out my hair right now."  The tasks weren't even difficult.  Basic things like: do one load of laundry, unpack this one box of stuff, get dressed.  Whatever.

Fortunately, Pinterest came to the rescue in the middle of the night.  I noticed that a lot of mommy bloggers posted PDF versions of their "Mommy Docket" or "TO-DO TODAY" list.  After trying a few out over the course of a couple of weeks, I decided to make my own that makes sense for me.  Here it is:
I realize you can't really see that too well.  But let me break it down for you so that it hopefully makes some sense.  We'll go left to right, top to bottom.

The top left box is titled "Top Three".  This is where I write the three most important tasks of the day.  Usually, "Homework" is in there.  Why three?  Because I'll be honest, it's a big deal for me to get three things done in a day.  Stephen wants to play outside for about 18 hours a day which is not conducive to getting things done at all.  He also wants me to do every activity with him which is adorable, but again, not conducive to getting things done.  So I have three things on the list.  These can usually be completed during naptime or after he goes to bed at his strict bedtime of 7 pm.  It makes me feel really good when I scratch one off but when I scratch off all three?  Well, bring on the champagne!

The next box (top right) is my "Honey Do" list.  Eric usually has one thing that he'd like for me to do.  It's usually things that I already planned on addressing that day (i.e. laundry) but sometimes, he really needs a load of whites done specifically.  This is where I write those little notes down.  

There is also a box for appointments.  I only have space for four different appointments because time-wise I cannot afford any more in one day.  But we never have that many appointments in one day anyway.

Errands.  That sort of speaks for itself but seriously, sometimes, I cannot remember that I need to go out and buy a gallon of milk even if I've opened the fridge four times that day to find that we don't have any.  


Calls to make list.  This is UBER importante for me.  I can NEVER NEVER remember who I am supposed to call (that explains why I haven't called you right?).  

"Dinner prep" is the box that I write the dinner menu in.  Also, if it's more complicated than protein-rice-salad, I'll add notes to myself like "Begin marinade at 4" so that I can remember to do specific tasks at certain times.  

"All About Me" is a section that is there specifically to remind me to take care of myself.  Honestly, I am TERRIBLE about taking care of myself.  HORRIBLE.  DOWN RIGHT STINKING BAD AT IT.  Add a baby and grad school into the mix and it's a cluster of ... poo.  That's the nice way to say it.  I'm working really hard at correcting this though and part of this endeavor is taking 30 minutes a day for just me.  But there will be a post in the near future to elaborate on this.  

Like the starburst???

Finally, "Weekly Goals" are super important to me.  I find that if I see the larger goals that need to be done by the end of the week, I can remember to work on them little by little.  This can be a big paper for school (which I've recently completely two of) or this can be a project in the house.  It's always different.  Sometimes, the weekly goal is to workout five times in the week.  Who knows?!  

So there you go.  That's my mommy docket/to-do today list.  If you'd like a copy of it, please let me know.  I'll be happy to email you a copy of it.  FOR FREE!  What up!?  

No seriously.  It's not copyrighted or anything like that.  So it's up for grabs.


I'd also like to make a shoutout to Zamzar.com.  I used their service to convert the pdf version of that document into a jpeg.  And it was SUPER fast, SUPER easy.  Just how I like it.  Conversion, that is, you gutterheads.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Birch Box rave

I've already talked to some of my friends about this and if I've talked to you about this already, I won't be offended if you skip this post altogether.

I am emphatically in love with Birch Box.

I discovered it through one of the blogs I follow, Fantabulously Frugal (follow her now if you don't...you won't regret it).  I warn you: if you go to the blog and click on the Sample Box page, you may get swept up in it and never return.

Moving on...

Birch Box is a sample box subscription company.  For $10 a month, you receive a box in the mail with 5-6 samples.  What samples are they?  Here are a few things I've received in the last three months:

-Three organic tea samples
-Larabar sample
-Four different perfume samples
-mascara sample
-lip gloss sample
-face wash sample
-beach wave creme sample
-conditioner sample
-shampoo/conditioner sample pack
-highlighter sample
-BB cream sample
-primer sample

and more.

What's the big deal?  The big deal is really the quality of the samples you are getting. These are great companies with great products.  Granted, not all products are going to work for everyone (that's a given).  So some of the samples may not be good for you but you can pass those along to a friend as a little gift for fun.  Either way, it's a fun treat for you every month.  There are a couple of subscription options and if you choose to go on a month to month basis, you can always opt out if you want to.  If you decide you love one of the samples, just go to the site and order it!  The sample box comes with a card that describes each item and tells you the price for the full size item so you can have an idea if the item fits in your budget or not.  Yay!

If you would like to sign up, click the link below to get an invite to join:
Join Birch Box!



Friday, November 30, 2012

An epidemic...

Has anyone noticed how prevalent cursing is now?

There's a new radio comedy station here that I'm somewhat addicted to.  Since Stephen hasn't started talking, I don't really have much conversation during the day so the comedy station gives me an opportunity to listen to adults talk.  The major bonus is that I laugh ridiculously hard.  

However, while driving around today (Stephen was not with me when this happened), I was surprised to hear the comedian say "bitch" and it wasn't edited out.  He wasn't using it as the technical term for a female dog but as the derogatory curse word.  

Now, let me be clear.  I am not innocent of cursing by any means (ask Erin).  In fact, and this is not something I'm proud of, I've been cursing since middle school.  Frequently.  Like a sailor.  In fact, I think I've said things that would shame a sailor.  Again, this is not something I'm proud of.

Maybe that I'm getting older.  Maybe it's because I'm a mom and I'm becoming much more aware of the words that people are using, how they use them and in what tone.  Whatever the reason, I find it a little sad that cursing has become such a blase aspect of society now.  Most people don't bat an eyelash when "bitch"/"shit"/"damn" are thrown out.  Fortunately, the almighty F-bomb hasn't made its way into prime time television.

So what gives?  Have we really lost all touch with any form of eloquence or intelligence that we cannot find better words to express ourselves?  George Washington said:
"The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing, and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it."

Although I can't say that I whole heartedly agree with this statement because there are times when the curse word just feels right, I do think there is some truth behind it.  As parents, should we not teach our children a vocabulary that is strong and vast enough to thoroughly express themselves without curse words?  

Did you know that the word nice at one point in its history was considered utterly offensive?  

Considering that, is it possible that curse words are going the route that nice has taken?  Meaning, will "curse" words lose their offensive power altogether at some point in the future?  

Either way, I'm starting to believe it is time that I expand my vocabulary.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankful



In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm posting a list of things that I'm thankful for.  Brought to you by the letter X because it's awesome and the number 4 because that's what time I woke up this morning...and no, I haven't been watching too much Sesame Street.


  1. I'm thankful for my ridiculous collection of fonts on my computer.  I love them.  They're pretty and fun and help me to express when I'm feeling whimsical, scary, enchanting, etc.
  2. I'm thankful that Eric discovered the 24/7 comedy radio station.  There's nothing better than driving home from dropping Stephen off and choking on my biscuit because I'm laughing too hard.
  3. I'm thankful for having parents and in laws who help out so much.  We realize how much harder things would have been over the last two years if they hadn't been here to help.
  4. I'm thankful that Stephen has such a sensitive character.  It's incredibly touching.
  5. I'm thankful for my collection of books and that I have a husband who indulges me in that.  I could have a husband who flipped out every time I bought another book.  Instead, he buys them for me, he laughs when I talk about my collection, and he thinks it's cute (at least, I think he does).  Let's see what he thinks when I take over his workshop in the basement...
  6. I'm thankful that I have a larger kitchen to cook in now.  Seriously.  All I want to do is bake/cook/saute/whatever.  
  7. I'm SO thankful for my volunteer opportunity at the school of theology.  It's SO cool!  I feel like I should be wearing gloves in there sometimes.
  8. I'm thankful for a local friend that I have a ridiculously strong connection to.  
  9. I'm also thankful for my friend, Erin.  Because regardless of how inappropriate, silly, ridiculous my text messages may be to her, she still responds and still talks to me.
  10. Finally, I'm really thankful for coffee.  Without it, I would not be able to function at this moment.
What are you guys thankful for this year?  I don't care how silly it is!  :P

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Different Kind of Normal



A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb

Will no one read Cathy Lamb's novels??

Seriously, I've recommended her to countless people and not one of them has taken my suggestion.  This is a little concerning because my taste in books is excellent really good decent ... fine.  My taste in books is all over the place.  If you saw my personal library, you'd completely agree.  But that is beside the point.  Lamb has quickly become one of my favorite authors and that should be fairly obvious since
1) I own all of her books.  ALL OF THEM.  There's six.  Be impressed.
2) I've READ all of her books.  ALL OF THEM.  And not like "eh...I'll skim these 400 pages for the good parts" kind of reading.  Cover to cover, every single word.  And every book has made me laugh, cry, gasp, exclaim profanities.  EVERY ONE.  But let's look back at the opening line of this numbered point: "I'VE READ ALL OF THEM".  You may be thinking, "But Caroline...you are the world's greatest book nerd.  If there were a world record for being a book nerd, you'd win.  So why is this a big deal?"  Here's why, dear reader.  Because in my home, I currently have 523 524 books.  That does not include text books or kiddie books for my little guy.  That's right.  It's not a joke.  I have a catalog on my phone so I know exactly how many books I have and which ones I have.  In my in laws' home, there is roughly 200-250 more books waiting to be moved here.  In my parents' home, I believe there might be another 20-30.  Out of all of the books that I own, I may have read about 30% of them.  This means that out of the 524 in my home, I have probably read about 150 of them.  Not so much if you think about it.  However, I own ALL of Lamb's books and I've READ EVERY SINGLE ONE.

BAM!

That is logic that cannot be refuted.  She is obviously very talented and writes excellent novels.  THerefore, you should all go out and purchase or borrow or download...whatever...her books.  Do it now.  I'll wait...

And for those of you that disagree with my logic stated above or disagree that you should read her stuff, consider yourself disowned.

Okay not really.

But I may make it very difficult for you to get a library card to borrow from my personal collection.

I know the owner.

MWAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA.

Alright enough of that.  On to the review!

A Different Kind of Normal has a beautiful female protagonist as its star.  Jaden.  She's the mother of a teenage son, Tate, and you are quickly informed of 2 important details:
1) He is not her biological son.  He is the son of her drug addict sister who gave him up a couple of days after his birth.
2) Tate has a serious condition that he was born with.  He has a shunt in his head that goes down into his heart to pump out extra cerebral spinal fluid.  This also means that he was born with an oversized head and one of his eyes is larger than the other and placed higher on his head.  Needless to say, he doesn't look "normal".
Jaden also works as a hospice nurse and the scenes with her patients are both entertaining, endearing, and emotional (like all those e's?).  I cried for the first time by page 12, and was in love with Jaden and Tate by page 20.

There is no way to NOT love Tate.

He's not your average 17 year old.  His condition and physical description aside, Tate is incredibly smart, witty, and sensitive.  Lamb's description of his character is played out in various scenes with a variety of people.  He is incredibly attached to his young cousin, Damini, who lost her leg and wears a prothesis.  He also enjoys making Jaden groan over his jokes about how women can't control their hormones around his sexual prowess.  I guarantee you: Tate will make you laugh.  Several times.

For instance, Jaden, Tate and their extended family went to meet Tate's doctor, Ethan (a.k.a. Dr. Hunkorama according to Jaden), for a rafting trip.  Unbeknownst to them, he would have a woman with him for the trip.  She immediately showed disgust and perhaps a bit of fear for Tate because of the way he looks.  Rather than be dejected and hurt, Tate turned the tables on her quickly, making jokes about how it was contagious.  The whole family joined in with Caden (Jaden's brother) proclaiming that he was certain his head had started to grow more with the condition.  Damini informed the poor woman that she lost her leg to the disease and perhaps the lady wouldn't lose her leg but her "boobies" (which were described as rather large).  The scene ends with Tate and Damini chasing her around shouting that she couldn't catch it unless she got hit with some "spittle".

It's not an easy life though.  Jaden is facing trumped up charges of malpractice and neglect from one of her late patient's sons who is just a pissed-off-Napoleon-complex-overcompensating prick (my words, not Lamb's).  She's also struggling with the fact that Tate wants nothing more than to try out for the basketball team but she's terrified that he'll get hurt and possibly die (that's not nervous mommy issues...that's because of the shunt in his head).  Tate also wants to meet Brooke, his birth mother.  And to make things just a little bit more hectic, Jaden is in love with Tate's doctor, Ethan.

*sigh*

I cried.  Seriously.  I cried so much.
I also laughed.  A lot.  Tate will forever be one of my favorite characters.

Lamb did it again with this book.  She sucked me in, tied me up in these characters lives, and made me wish that I was a part of their chaotic yet lovable clan.  I finished this book two nights ago and I want to go back and read it again just so I can reunite with the characters.

Get it.
Read it.
Get it now.
Here on amazon

Monday, August 27, 2012

Today is August 27.

Apparently, I have no shame when it comes to avoiding writing in the blog.

Because, to be honest, I am avoiding.

Why?  

I struggle with the level of honesty to use on the blog and all of the questions that weigh into that decision.  Why do I want to be so honest?  How much should I share and at what point is it inappropriate or just word vomit? Why am I actually keeping this blog?  What purpose do I want it to serve now?  At one point, it was a journal of sorts to keep friends and family posted on what we are doing in Colorado.  At times, it has served as a cooking adventure log or a craft log.  

So, now where to?

I'm just going to ruminate on that thought a bit longer.  In the meantime, here's a quick update on what's been going on:

  • We bought a condo.  We haven't closed yet but hopefully, we will be moving in about a month.  In the interim, I'm shuffling through tons of paint chips.
  • School started up again this morning.  
  • We traveled to Louisiana and Gulf Shores.  Stephen had his first experience in the Gulf and he loved it!  Yay!
  • Still working towards learning more about being a personal historian.






Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Year of Fear

Wow.  It's been a while.


So, how are you?


...


Good good.


I'm sure you may be wondering where I've been.  I'll give you a brief explanation and beg for your forgiveness. 


In January, I started working towards my Master in Library and Information Science.  If you've been through graduate school, you probably understand how time consuming this can be.  On top of that, I'm still a stay at home mom and I've continued my freelancing work.  You can say I've been fairly busy for the last six months.


I bet you're also wondering why I'm back.  


In the last few months, it's come to my attention that I'm becoming hindered by anxiety and fear.  I'm not thrilled about the fact that these emotions have taken such a stance in my life and I've decided to rectify that situation.  Hence, the title of this post...the year of fear.  That's what I'm dubbing the next year, July 2012-July 2013.  Essentially, each month I will have an activity that will force me to face a fear or work towards training my mind to focus on the more positive and optimistic.  I currently only have 7 things on the list.  It's obviously a work in progress and the list may end up revised over the next few months as things get underway.


Here's what I have so far on the list and the reasoning behind it:

  1. Audition for a play/musical: I have stage fright.  It's been something I've struggled with my entire life.  BUT I LOVE BEING ON THE STAGE.  That's in caps because it's so true.  Typically, if I can get on the stage and just start whatever I'm doing, the fear dissipates.  The problem is getting on the stage or spotlight.
  2. Eight Fold Path: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path Here's the link to wikipedia on it for those of you unfamiliar with the Eightfold Path.  The goal of doing this is to help discipline my thoughts towards a more positive light rather than focusing on irrational fears.
  3. Karaoke: This plays a role in the stage fright issue.  But it also has to do with insecurities of being laughed at.  I used to be a pretty good singer and then pregnancy sort of destroyed my vocal chords.  I'm planning on tackling this one when I am back home in Louisiana for Christmas.
  4. Frugal Month: I make a small amount on the side from freelance work.  Guess where that money goes?  Starbucks mostly.  But also to books and clothes that I don't need.  Which is completely ridiculous because I have a perfectly good coffee pot at home that I use almost every day.  So how does this play into fear/insecurity?  Basically, the month is to just get down to the basics and not spend money.  I think that I attach a little bit of confidence to being able to buy things frivolously.  Besides, WHO DOES NOT NEED TO SAVE MONEY ANYWAY?!
  5. Run/job outside 5 times a week: I hate working out in any fashion outside.  Why?  Because I'm POSITIVE everyone is looking at me.  And not in a good way.  However, I know that this is one of those fears that cannot be overcome without facing it directly.  Gross right?
  6. Self-defense month: I'm super excited about doing this particular month.  It'll be chock full of activities which is why it'll take place after the frugal month and later on in the year because I need to save some money for it.  So far, the month includes kickboxing, martial arts, self-defense class, and a shooting range.  I'm totally prepared to be a badass.
  7. Volunteer: I can't explain why volunteering scares me.  It's not that I don't want to explain.  I just can't figure out why it freaks me out.  I've wanted to volunteer for many things over the last few years and I just cannot get over this fear of it.  It's quite ridiculous and I tend to laugh and shake my head thinking about it.  

I decided to resurrect the blog to track my thoughts/feelings/progress over the next year.  I can't guarantee that I'll post every other day or even every week.  But there will at least be a monthly update about the year.  And as I figure out more things to tackle in my year of fear, I'll add them to the list.


So what are you afraid of?





Friday, January 27, 2012

Excerpt of the Day

"Habermas's ideal of unfettered communication is a natural fit for librarianship: By building diverse voices, perspectives, and arguments into our collections and services, we keep alive the means of realizing true democracy--by transcending our nation's historical shortcomings of exclusion and discrimination, and our profession's similar shortcomings, through the struggle to include censored works and underserved groups."


"Like education, our field has been called upon to play a so-called crucial role in bringing about the information society and the new economy, but without the public funding for that expanded economic mission."


"We are a society out of balance--tilted too much toward business and market solutions and too far from the ideals of a true public and a democratic society.  Perhaps more disturbing is our unawareness of the historical fact that we as a society used to regard our public institutions differently and managed them with the goal in mind of furthering the public good.  The new economic model of public philosophy has become both the reason and the method to reform and shape public policy for a generation now, directly shaping priorities that determine the spending for and mission of public cultural institutions."


"A private consulting firm suggested that the word "public" be dropped in describing schools because it 'has come to have negative connotations' with such entities as public libraries, public radio, and public assistance [...].  We should stand apart from--and even in opposition to--the shift to a democracy of consumers where the only voters are those who can afford the privilege."


"Our ideas about our profession and our institutions should be more expansive, more democratic, truer to our principles, and not merely limited to what is good for the economy."


All of these quotes are from the article "Staying Public: The Real Crisis in Librarianship" by John Buschman.



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kitchen Play: Pork. Nuff Said.

Yeah...Kitchen Play with Pork.  


Oh the jokes Eric would make about that statement...


Here's how things went down a couple of days ago.  


Eric (throwing something in the trash): I noticed you drank a Dr. Pepper today.


Me: What?  No I didn't.  [lie]


Eric: Oh so that's the can from the other day in the trash?


Me: ... No.


Eric: (laughing) oh okay.


Ten Minutes Later...


Eric: (coming out of the bedroom) Well since you had a Dr. Pepper earlier, I'm going to go get a Pepsi to drink with dinner.


Me:  Ooo....will you please get me a Dr. Pepper too?


Eric: No.  You had one earlier.


Me: No I didn't!  Please get me one!  I've been cooking and really need a Dr. Pepper to have with dinner.


Eric: No!  You had one already.


[by this point he's walking out of the apartment and I run to the open door]


Me: (calling out to him as he walks out and down the corridor) Eric!  Please!  Come on ... Get me a Dr. Pepper ...  Seriously?  ...  You aren't going to?  ... POO HEAD!


That's right, ladies and gentlemen.  I am that mature.  I called out to my husband in our complex and called him a poo head.


Of course, he came back with a Dr. Pepper for me.


I should have know better.


Moving on to the topic at hand...


That evening, I was attempting an experiment.  I am not HUGE on experimenting with food because I'm terrified of wasting it and messing it up.  My experiment was with Pork Chops. Typically, I'd just cook them on the stove top in a pan.  Nothing fancy.  Simple.  But I was inspired and decided to stuff them.  So here's the recipe that I came up with:




Stuffed Pork Chops


2 boneless pork chops
3 tablespoons of rough chopped andouille 
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of pepperjack cheese, grated
2 tablespoons of bread crumbs 
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of olive oil
toothpicks


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place a pork chop between cling wrap and beat until about a quarter inch thin.  I have a meat mallet but in the past, I've used a rolling pin when I was in a pinch.  If your arms get too tired, just make sure that the meat is flexible enough to be rolled up.
3. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients.  
4. [NOTE: This step can be done one of two ways.  I did each pork chop differently and found that each method just as easy as the other.]
Method 1: Roll the chop sort of like a cannoli so it's tube shaped.  Push the toothpicks through so that they hold the chops together.  Fill the pork tube (hehe) with the stuffing mix.
Method 2: Spoon the stuffing mix onto the chop.  Roll the chop around the mix and push the toothpicks through to hold the chop together.
5. Place the chops in a baking dish and bake for roughly 20 minutes.


That's it!  It's super easy (other than the beating meat part) and delicious!  Plus, the stuffing is flexible.  You want to add beans?  Ok!  Or squash?  Or tomatoes?  WHATEVER!  Have fun with it!

I served mine with a white bearnaise sauce (you can see them simmering in the sauce in the picture above).





Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scalloped Tomatoes Revisited

So I recently posted about making Ina Garten's Scalloped Tomatoes.  However, I didn't take pictures of that.  LUCKILY, we loved it so much that I made it AGAIN!  Here is a picture of the second attempt.




I SWEAR THAT'S NOT OUT OF A MAGAZINE!  Although, I'm sure you can tell with my dirty stovetop in the background.  Doesn't that look scrumptious though?  That's cause it is!  And I'm not saying that because I made it.



Monday, January 23, 2012

The Hot Librarian: A Little More from Lady Lamb

For those of you keeping up, you will remember that last week I wrote a review on Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb.  I'm going to stick with this author because:
1. I love her.
2. You should too.


The first of her books that I read was Such a Pretty Face (get it on amazon).  Stevie Barrett is the main character.  Here's why you love her:
1. Her name is Stevie (come on?  How could you NOT love her)
2. She's got the SADDEST story ever and you just want to hug her.
3. She accepted that her obesity was going to kill her and she did something about it.


There's about 45 more reasons to love her but I'll leave it at that.  Stevie is trying to get her life together after this enormous physical change.  She works in a dysfunctional office, has a best friend that treats her like shit (seriously, I wanted to punch this woman repeatedly), and she has crazy cousins and an aunt and uncle who are ridiculous beyond belief.  She's filled with so much love and breaks her back repeatedly to try and pour this love out on people that are horrible to her.  Well...she pours it out to everyone except for the hottie that she wants (isn't that always the case?).  But there is something in this character that as the reader you get amazing glimpses of by seeing what she does when she's alone.  Who would have thought that her garden is glorious and precious to her?  Or who would have ever known that in her garage are the most artistic chairs that you have ever seen?  


I realize that this review is kind of pathetic.  Although I can't remember the phrases that made me laugh or the awful things her friend said, I remember the impact of that book.  I remember lying in bed on my side pregnant and having my pillow soaked by the tears that flowed for Stevie.  I'm fairly certain at one point I had decided that no matter what Eric said, if the baby turned out to be a girl, I was naming her Stevie.  


Read it.  Love it.  Then come back and tell me how much you loved it.


You will.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pinterest Weekly


Ahhh...Pinterest.

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways...

Our focus this week will be on motivation/quotes from Pinterest.

Via
Have I mentioned how much I love Jillian Michaels?  She makes me feel powerful when she yells.

via
I saw a Chinese medicine doctor once who explained to me that energy is contagious and leaves behind residue.  He also told me I tend to collect other's energy and carry it with me.

I think that means I need this sign in my home.


via
Nuff said.

Via
I'm going to makes this sign and put it in my room.

If you like what you see, follow me on Pinterest!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kitchen Play: The Only Way I Eat Tomatoes

I don't like tomatoes.  I've been struggling to train my palette to enjoy them but it has been a serious uphill battle.  I find that the only way I'll even semi-enjoy them is if they are cooked into something.  


Enter the Barefoot Contessa's Scalloped Tomatoes.


I made this recipe the other night and Eric began singing its praises immediately after taking the first bite.  Although I was glad he enjoyed them, the real test would be what I thought (because, really, isn't that the most important thing?).  


O
M
G


Seriously, they were AH-Mazing!  I served them over pasta rather than making a sauce for the pasta and I ended up going back to the baking dish and scooping spoonfuls out and shoving them in my mouth.  (Note: this recipe is not intended to be served as a sauce.  It's supposed to be a stand alone side dish).  This is actually why I don't have a picture of the completed dish.  I just have a picture of the picture in the cookbook.  Uber lame, I know.


Since it is only Eric and I, I scaled down the recipe.  I've included the recipe below and in the ingredients section, I put the changes I made in parentheses.


picture from the Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? cookbook
Scalloped Tomatoes
Serves 6


5 tbl good olive ol, divided
2 cups [1/2 inch] diced bread from a round rustic bread, crusts removed (I toasted two slices of wheat bread and diced that)
3 pounds plum tomatoes, 1/2 inch diced [14 to 16 tomatoes] (I used 5 plum tomatoes)
1 tbl minced garlic [3 cloves] (2 cloves)
2 tbl sugar (1 tbl)
2 tsp salt (1 tsp)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, lightly packed (I used dried basil and added to taste)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I didn't measure...I just covered the top of the tomatoes with it)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Heat 3 tbl of the olive oil in a large (12 in) saute pan over medium heat.  Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil.  Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.


Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  ADd the tomato mixture to the bread cubes and continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the basil. (Because I was using dried basil, I added it while the tomato mixture was on the heat).


Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.  Serve hot or warm.


Recipe from Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? by Ina Garten.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zydeco: It's Not Just a Type of Music

Have you had your serving of sweet potatoes today?

No?

That's sad.

I have.

Your jealous aren't you?

Okay, truth be told, I hate sweet potatoes.  HATE HATE HATE them.

However, my friend, Michelle, has created the most amazing nutrition bar that uses sweet potatoes.  And it's DDDDD-EEEEEEE-LICIOUS!  Seriously.  I love them.


They are moist, nutty, and full of energy.  So, we will be eating a ton this year as we attempt to reach our goal of hitting up 15 of the Denver hikes.  Eric will definitely need them since he will be carrying Stephen in the backpack.

Show my friend some love!  Like her facebook fan page and feel free to order a box off the website.


Monday, January 16, 2012

10 Thoughts From a Late Great

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr, here are 10 quotes that are my favorites.


1. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.


2. A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.


3. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.


4. Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.


5. At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.


6. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.


7. Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.


8. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.


9. History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.


10. I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.



The Hot Librarian: Julia's Chocolates are yummy...

I've really got to work on my post titles.


le sigh


I'm a huge Cathy Lamb fan.  HUGE. It started with Such a Pretty Face and then on to The Last Time I Was Me.  Over the holidays, I read through two other books that she has written.


Today, I'm talking about Julia's Chocolates.


For starters, let me acknowledge what some critics who have read Lamb's books may be thinking: they are formulaic.  I'll give some credit to this argument.  There seems to be a running formula for some of her books (keyword: some).  There's the protagonist in the story that's female (duh).  She's had some kind of rough past and is broken.  And in some way, she's running.  There's a love interest in the story (why wouldn't there be?) and there is a lot of personal growth that takes place.


Sounds like a formula for "gag me with a spoon", right?


Wrong.


Lamb brings to the table a level of humor and cutthroat truth that is hard to see past and makes her characters so damn lovable.  For instance, after reading Julia's Chocolates, I've decided I want to be Aunt Lydia when I get older.  Aunt Lydia has a farm full of chickens and pigs and paints her door black in order to ward off evil spirits and seedy men.  She also has four giant concrete pig statues in her front yard.  Each one is wearing a name tag; they are each named after a man that has pissed off Aunt Lydia.  She holds weekly psychic nights at her house because her friend, Caroline (yes!), is a psychic.  Psychic night has a different theme every week and Aunt Lydia encourages her friends to rein in the power of their breasts or forgive their vaginas or some other "I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR" kind of theme.


Seriously...how can you not love her?


She also doesn't beat around the bush which is what makes me adore Aunt Lydia.  She gets straight to the point and she's loud and in your face.  


Julia, on the other hand, is very broken.  She has left her fiance on the day of their wedding, thrown her wedding dress into a tree, and driven across the country to escape at the farm.  Before you start feeling sympathy for her ex, you should know that he's the scum of the earth.  He rapes her and hits her on a regular basis (in fact, the day of the wedding, she has a black eye).  He calls her names that are typically disparaging remarks about her weight.  He's scary, intimidating, and really needs to be kicked in the balls (sorry guys...I know it's harsh).  


I could go into all of the antics of this story.  Like how the minister's wife is a bit of a lush because, secretly, she's an incredible artist and is dying inside being trapped in a life of prayer meetings, church sessions, and bible studies that she thinks are what her husband wants of her (although he really just wants to love her...communal "awww" is appropriate right now).  Or how Caroline, the psychic, has a secret past.  She's a beautiful hippy who is haunted by the things that she sees and loves to live in her tiny home by herself.  And then there's Katie.  Her husband is an abusive drunk who can't hold a job, doesn't help her with their kids, and doesn't appreciate anything she does for him.  Instead, she takes care of the kids, cleans the house, cleans him up, and then works two jobs just so they can keep a roof over their heads.  


So, what do I love about this book?  I love stories about women grabbing themselves by their bootstraps and kicking the world in the ass.  Seriously.  I love the growth that takes place because these women think they are pansies and in the end, they prove that they are much stronger than they ever thought possible.  They tap into the well of strength that lies in all of us and make a complete 180 of their lives.  I love that when I finished this book, wiping tears from my cheeks, I felt excited, fulfilled, sad (to have the story over), but best of all, I felt cleansed.  That is my favorite feeling from a book: feeling cleansed.  Like I was made anew by getting to know the characters and walking beside them for a little while.


It's kind of like visiting with an old friend.


Have any of you read Julia's Chocolates or any of Cathy Lamb's other books?  What did you think? 


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