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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

French Lessons

I wouldn't consider myself a full-fledged Francophile (even though my middle name was Chantel), but I am loving some things that are coming out of that country lately:

Nicolas Sarkozy

Stance on China Olympics

And Genevieve Antoine Dariaux.

OK, so she's not exactly...recent.

In fact, A Guide to Elegance and The Men in Your Life were originally released in the 1960s. I was first introduced to her through Kathleen Tessaro's novel Elegance, which had a fictional character following Madame Dariaux's advice, most of which is timeless. You do have to read it with a 21st century viewpoint, though, taking the advice that best applies to you and leaving some of it to the 1960s (Gloves? Who wears gloves on a regular basis?).

But I love how she alphabetizes the categories (i.e. Accessories, Don Juans) in both books. I love the colors--Tiffany Blue and Bubblegum Pink. And I love how she is wise and elegant, yet still manages to be witty and practical. I think they deserve a place on all ladies' bookshelves.

Oh, and the #1 thing I love about the French? Bichons, of course.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Photo Essay

Just a few more pics. Happy Friday!

Tiff's A to Z

So...I'm only about 1/3 of the way through Swann's Way, so no review on the horizon at the moment! In the meantime, I thought I'd borrow a meme from Bookgirl, who almost always has good ones!

Here's my alphabetical list of some favorite books and authors...(this was so hard to choose among favorites...)

Austen, Jane
Cleary, Beverly
Dickens, Charles
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Faulkner, William
Gone With the Wind
Harry Potter series
In His Steps
Junie B. Jones series
Keene, Carolyn
Lewis, C.S.
Murdoch, Iris
Niffenegger, Audrey
Oh, the Places You'll Go
Patchett, Ann
Q...I couldn't come up with anything
Rand, Ayn
Snicket, Lemony
Tan, Amy
Updike, John
Viorst, Judith
Welty, Eudora
X...Got nothing on this one either
Year of Magical Thinking
Ziegesar, Cecily von

Anyone have some Q & X suggestions?

Meanwhile, what would a Friday be without a few quick links?

Changes at the Huntsville Public Library

Troubling story about some schools in Arizona facing funding shortages. The first to go? Librarians. Here's the ALA statement.

"Hey, You! Pay Attention!" talks about students multi-tasking in class. My husband had a related post on his blog recently.

Here's some news on Britannica widgets

An NPR story about digitizing books

And...Carl Sagan on the great library of Alexandria

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Admiral Norris

Admiral Ackbar -- This rebel Admiral is renowned for his great powers of organization, responsibility, and administrative abilities. He is an individual who can be relied upon.

Click to see more about my Star Wars Personality or to take your test!

This might be more humiliating than the Which Superhero Are You? (um, Robin) test. And yet, I still feel the need to post it for the world to see. :) Happy Wednesday.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I went bargain-hunting through our house this weekend and realized we had some "freebies" that we needed to take advantage of--namely leftover gift cards. But after going out a couple of times and braving my most-hated-place-in-the-world, I wondered just how free are these freebies.

Here's the rundown:

Remaining $$ on On the Border gift card (from moving out here in August) :$5
Spent an additional $8 on an appetizer and tip

Remaining $$ on Outback gift card (from Christmas): $5
Spent an additional $8 on a chocolate tower and tip

Wal-Mart gift card (for re-signing our lease): $25
Bought an additional week's worth of groceries and spent every ounce of emotional energy I had in Wal-Mart (where I never ever go unless I have a compelling reason--like a gift card).
Not to mention, we got the "free" gift card for re-signing our lease, which is not really free at all.

OK, no more money talk. :) How was your weekend?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bragging Rights

I was so so so excited to learn this week that Rick Bragg has finished his newest book. He will be having a book signing at the Alabama Booksmith on May 9 before kicking off a national tour. More info here.

If you haven't ever checked him out, I highly recommend it. He is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I can't wait to read Prince of Frogtown. was National Library Week this week. And I didn't celebrate. Except by working in one. How about you? I promise to try and be a good citizen and patronize my local branch this weekend. on the SLIS listserv (and elsewhere) this week were copyright issues.

Publishers are suing Georgia State University concerning digital reading matter. Read more about it here and here.

I also liked what one of my former professors said about the issue. "Emerging technologies re-visit many of the long-standing issues of our field and generally tend to exacerbate those issues." True. (And hi, Dr. Coleman.)

Meanwhile, a story about Google's grasp of information.

And a couple of links with information about medical/science libraries on NPR's Science Friday. (My husband loves that program.)

So, that's all the quick links for this Friday. I would promise a book review soon, but I'm reading Swann's Way, and it might take me awhile. It's really good so far, but it's looooong.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm a Norris; You're a Norris!
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Only 104 Tiffany Norrises...compared with more than 1,400 Tiffany Davises. I feel somewhat more unique. (Is it possible to be more unique?)

Anyway, here are a few other statistics...

There are 296,262 people in the U.S. with the first name Tiffany.
Statistically the 215th most popular first name.
More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Tiffany are female. (Let's hope so.)


Alabama by Kay Cornelius

I was exactly halfway through this collection of four novellas when I wanted to give up reading it. The plots of the first two stories were weak, the characters lacked depth, and, frankly, I was bored.

Fortunately, I am one of those crazies who, if I make it through more than one chapter of any book, I finish it--no matter how dismal it is. But notice I say fortunately because, in this case, the reading only got better as I went along.

Cornelius sets all four of these Christian romances in the fictional small town of Rockdale, Alabama. This is actually why I picked up the book in the first place--my homesick radar for all things relating to Sweet Home. Each story links to the next, which is why I would suggest skimming, but not skipping, the first two stories, which are your typically painful boy-meets/fairly easily gets-girl.

However, the third section, Anita's Fortune, features a character who is Colombian-American. And it features her interestingly, fairly, and non-stereotypically, while also highlighting some of the discrimination and challenges she faces in this Southern town. All of the native Alabamians aren't villains, however. Anita meets plenty of people who treat her poorly because of her background, but she also finds many who treat her kindly. This takes on an added significance when you consider the wave of Hispanic immigrants who have settled in Alabama towns similar to Rockdale, such as Russellville and Fort Payne.

So, I was already feeling more optimistic when I reached Mary's Choice, and I wasn't disappointed. Mary is not your typical romantic heroine--contentedly single, overweight and enjoying life with her father in her hometown. Then one summer she finds herself being pursued by three eligible men who are considered to be good catches, at least in Rockdale. Having been unpopular and unhappy growing up, this is a phenomenon she has never encountered, and she isn't quite sure how to cope, and some of their attempts to "win" her are downright funny. While I would have chosen a different ending, I enjoyed the process Mary took to make her choice.

Anita and Mary more than compensated for the initial two characters' irritating lack of realism, and their stories made the entire book worth reading. Also, I did get my Alabama fix with Cornelius's beautiful descriptions of some of the less-explored areas of the state.

Favorite quotes:

Your life ought to be measured by more than just your job.

Sheriff Trimble made out the holiday work schedule according to the football bowl games he wanted to see.

It don't do to try to say why God does what He does.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Love Languages and Photo on the Schmap

For one of my class projects, I am evaluating devotional guides for couples. One of those was The Five Love Languages. Jason and I had heard of it before, of course, and we had made our guesses about our respective love languages, but we had never officially "tested". So...we watched the video, worked through the study guide and discovered that, once again, we are complete opposites. :) Go figure.

His primary love language--quality time (at the bottom for me). Mine--acts of service (next to the bottom for him).

I think we have some work to do! Nevertheless...I still stick to my original theory, though, of wanting all five love languages all the time. ha

Meanwhile, one of my photos has been selected for the Schmap Texas Guide. Here's Jason at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

This was taken (with my camera phone, believe it or not) at the Star Wars exhibit we visited shortly after we arrived in Fort Worth. Check out the whole story here.

Our weekend also included Flicka (so good), Korean food (also so good) and two loooong naps. Nice.

How was YOUR weekend?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Steinbeck, Steinbeck

I have been tragically reminded of why I do not like John Steinbeck. I have just finished rereading Of Mice and Men for next month's book club. (Now onto Animal Farm.)

I loved East of Eden, and I've promised to give The Grapes of Wrath another shot, but Of Mice and Men is just dreadful. Dying animals, really offensive language (and I don't think I get offended easily) and poor, poor Lennie. (sigh)

(Does anyone remember "Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?" Many, many profound things in cartoons.)

Anyway, I think I'll just read happy things this weekend before starting Animal Farm. Actually, I was excited to find a cool 1953 collection of Steinbeck's short novels at our awesome Half-Price Books. I'm willing to give his other stuff a chance!

Does anyone out there have further insights on Steinbeck?

Meanwhile, I hate to leave you without at least one link...there is apparently a controversy over the controlled vocabulary used in a federally-funded bibliographic database. Gary Price, curator of the Resource Shelf blog, has more information here.

*Updated link to another Steinbeck perspective:

Monday, April 07, 2008

Weekend Projects

We had one of those uber-productive weekends. Do you know the kind? Where you get on a roll, and you just can't seem to stop? Not exactly restful, but 90% of our weekends are spent alternating between the couch, the bookstores and the coffee shops, so it's nice when we actually get a few things done for a change!

Are you now wondering about the many, many things the Norrises accomplished? Let's just say you did. :)

Jason, bless his seminarian heart, finished a paper. That was enough.

I, on the other hand, finally finished...

This puzzle

Volver, which was so so good

Cleaning up some sticky stains that were left on the floor by our movers in August. Yes, I'm ashamed, but they were out-of-the-way, and I just recently read the tip of using hairspray to remove stains. (And it works!)

Spring-cleaning our porch

Beginning a photo project (I'm pseudo-scrapbooking--starting slowly, people)

Finishing a class project

Getting my hair back to its mostly-natural color and re-falling in love with Aveda products

Going to Game Night. (OK, that was just for fun, but it was great fun.)

Cleaning out our living room clutter, which was actually inspired by Game Night. Now our living room is actually clutter-free enough to host a Game Night!

Finding a cool 1953 collection of John Steinbeck's short novels (Yeah, we couldn't really make it through the weekend without hitting the bookstore.)

The one thing we didn't do? Make it to San Antonio to see my brother. :( It was going to be such a fast trip, and, frankly, I am just not the road warrior I used to be. Also, I'm still sad that Texas didn't make it to the Final Four.

So, how was YOUR weekend?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Persuaded by Persuasion

The inimitable First Friday Book Group at the library where I work discussed Persuasion by Jane Austen today. I really loved this book, and the discussion, of course, made it even more enjoyable.
There is something so rewarding about being a part of a group with a mutual love of literature...then finding that you all enjoyed the same novel--you cheered in the same parts, despised the same character and dog-eared the same one-line zingers! So, happy birthday to our three-month-old book club. Here's to many more!

However, for some reason, after such rich discussions, I find it difficult to later do the reviews here. It just doesn't feel as good to write from only my perspective after getting everyone else's! Suffice it to say, the book was typical Jane Austen--romantic, witty, socially relevant. But there was definitely more social commentary in this one, which was interesting. I also found many of the characteristics of the heroine, Anne Elliot, made her quite relatable (at least to my introverted self), and I will likely be reading Persuasion again and again.

So, here are some of my favorite quotes (sorry, there are a lot). And don't miss the quick links at the end!

Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister: her word had no weight; her convenience was always to give way;-she was only Anne.

She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older-the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.

There is hardly any personal defect...which an agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to.

She could only resolve to avoid such self-delusion in future, and think with heightened gratitude of the extraordinary blessing of having one such truly sympathising friend.

Husbands and wives generally understand when opposition will be in vain.

It was the misfortune of poetry, to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly, were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.

One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best.

How she might have felt, had there been no Captain Wentworth in the case, was not worth enquiry; for there was a Captain Wentworth: and be the conclusion of the present suspense good or bad, her affection would be his for ever.

Your countenance perfectly informs me that you were in company last night with the person, whom you think the most agreeable in the world, the person who interests you at this present time, more than all the rest of the world put together.

There could be only a most proper alacrity, a most obliging compliance for public view; and smiles reined in and spirits dancing in private rapture.

It is something for a woman to be assured, in her eight-and-twentieth year, that she has not lost one charm of earlier youth.

Want even more Jane Austen? Check out an earlier post from my other blog--pseudo-commentary on Jane Austen Mania.


Congratulations to one of my library school professors!

And a Sydney Bristow-ish librarian shows how to catch a thief...(and, after clicking, scroll down for developments on the Bush presidential library)

Read from the beginning...