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Monday, June 30, 2008

A mule has no hope of posterity...

Poor mules. As Maggie and others have pointed out, they don't fare well in Southern literature. (This photo is from pbase.com.)

William Faulkner once said "A mule will labor 10 years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once." Faulkner got his revenge for that kick in As I Lay Dying by making sure two mules met an untimely end due to the lazy and ludicrous actions of the Bundren family.

We read As I Lay Dying for our book club earlier this year. One of our participants put it best when she said "It was Pulp Fiction meets the Beverly Hillbillies." Just about too weird for a review. But just about right for this contest. :)

State of the Mule - Death by Drowning - Pages 149-154 (This was a slow death.)

Between two hills I see the mules once more. They roll up out of the water in succession, turning completely over, their legs stiffly extended as when they had lost contact with the earth.
The mules dived up again diving their legs stiff their stiff legs rolling slow.
He is going back to look at the mules again where their round bodies float and rub quietly together in the slack water within the bend.
I see the mules come rolling slow up out of the water, their legs spraddled stiff like they had balked upside down, and roll on into the water again.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Question

I was surprised at the number of respondents I got to this question on Facebook, so I thought I'd try it here, too. :)

I'm thinking of cutting off my hair. Any thoughts?

It's hard to tell just from this picture, but it's down past my shoulders. I was curious to see if I could let it grow really really long, but it's kind of bugging me.

Meanwhile, I caught this "first" survey on MySpace and thought it might be fun. Tag yourself if you wish, and happy weekend.

Who was your FIRST prom date?
Josh James

Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
Nope

What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
Wine in Italy

What was your FIRST job?
Ironing for my parents...but I guess that doesn't really count, so waitressing at The 2nd Street Rib Factory in Sheffield

What was your FIRST car?
1985 Honda Accord (a.k.a. Buford)

Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
Jason

Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
Fred because he was sleeping on my feet

Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Mrs. McAffrey(sp?) at Mars Hill

Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
Detroit, Michigan. Exciting, huh? I was actually going to see my brother and sister-in-law in Flint, and Detroit was the closest airport.

Who was your FIRST best friend and are you still friends with them?
Melody Ford, and we have recently reconnected via the fabulous Internet.

What was your FIRST sport played?
T-Ball

Where was your FIRST sleep over?
The Hames girls across the street

Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?
Jason

Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?
My brother and sister-in-law

What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
Made coffee

What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
New Kids on the Block....hahahhaha

FIRST tattoo or piercing?
I got my ears pierced at 11. No tattoos yet, but I really want one for my 30th birthday.

FIRST foreign country you went to?
Canada

What was your FIRST run in with the law?
Hm. I had my first wreck when I was 16 (not my fault, that first one), so I guess that's it.

When was your FIRST detention?
I never had detention. Such a goody-goody.

What was the FIRST state you lived in?
Alabama

Who was the FIRST person to break your heart?
Um...the man that told me the Big Dip (ice cream place) was closing in Muscle Shoals? I don't really know.

Who was your FIRST roommate?
Shelley, in college, and she is now my Metroplex-mate. Woohoo!

Where did you go on your FIRST limo ride?
I've never been on one, but I'm open if anyone wants to swing by and pick me up.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Re:Circulation

It's been a busy couple of weeks around here. Between a quick vacation to Alabama and an unexpected job change, I haven't had much time for reading...much less blogging.

So, the new job...I'm still at the seminary library, doing what I've been doing since August...but now I'm also "Circulation Librarian" which is a lot like what I was doing...except times a gabillion (shout out to katydidnot). It's fun, though. I have a lot to learn, but I'm loving it so far.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping to have a couple of book reviews up soon (I've thankfully regained my reading time since coming home), but here are some quick links until then. Enjoy!

Library Journal article about choosing a good work environment

Job resources for librarians

Ideas on how to further your library career

Two SLIS alums in the news:
http://www.al.com/birminghamnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/community/121317219615730.xml&coll=2
http://www.al.com/huntsvilletimes/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/1213175759280140.xml&coll=1

The New Age Library

Reading Into the Future

An article about Google

And one about ProQuest

Friday, June 20, 2008

Jobs, Vacations, Reunions & Pictures

Where to start? Where to start? It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks.

Major shake-ups on the job front. I got a second job...for about a day...then quit. Then, I thought one job thing was going to happen, but another job thing did instead. (Could I be any vaguer?) Suffice it to say...I'm now the seminary library's Circulation Librarian--doing exactly what I did before...but doubled...or tripled...ok, probably quadrupled. But so far, I really, really like it.

Moving on...in the midst of all this, we headed to Alabama for my 10-year high school class reunion. I (and others) have been working on this since January, so it was really rewarding (but stressful) when it all finally came together.
Here's Jason and me before the big night (with Fred watching us). It was kinda like prom. haha



The reunion committee...I had so much fun with these girls!



Guess who traveled the farthest?

DHS Class of 98...well, at least about 35 of us. ;)

We also took in the traditional Spring Park light show while we were there.

Fred liked it...



So did Jason and my new little brother. (That kid has amazing hair.) By the way, we also had so much fun visiting with Dad and the newest members of the Davis clan. Thanks for the hospitality, guys! It was great seeing Jason's family, too.


This was my favorite because of the lights...


In other goings-on...

-Jason and I made our first (and possibly last) overnight road trip.
-Fred got his first (and second) tick.
-I wished my grandmother a happy 87th birthday.
-I said goodbye to five much-appreciated and much-missed coworkers.
-My wonderful, fabulous friend Shelley has moved to Dallas. HOORAY
-And...we're in the process of buying a Mac.
Yay.

A Sense of Place

Sorry I've been behind on blogging lately. Life has been insane--updates to come. But I didn't want to miss the deadline on Maggie's Sense of Place contest!

I saw this clock here on campus and thought it had such an interesting design (especially for a seminary clock). Then, as I was reading The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King, I realized it might be a better fit for the store she describes called Celestial Things.

Here's the description:

The shop was smaller than it looked from outside, with scarlet-red walls and a black ceiling dotted with glow-in-the-dark stars. The crude wooden floor was scattered with rag rugs that looked hand-loomed, the air thick with the sweet smell of incense. On a glass counter across the back was an old-fashioned adding machine and cash register. We peered inside the case of jewelry: black-and-white yin-yang necklaces, Celtic crosses, zodiac signs, sun and moon earrings.

Sounds like a fun place to visit!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Quick Quotes

We discussed To Kill a Mockingbird in our book group last week. A great discussion of an absolutely amazing book. It is one of my all-time favorites, possibly topping the list. (But that's a tough call for a librarian to make!) In lieu of a book review, I thought I'd just share with you a few of my favorite quotes. Many are by or about Scout because I identified with her so much when I was growing up.

Meanwhile, changes are coming at the library. I'll have more to report soon. (And a couple of quick links are at the bottom of this post.)

I told Jem if he set fire to the Radley house I was going to tell Atticus on him.

North Alabama was full of Liquor Interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors, and other persons of no background.

I never deliberately learned to read, but somehow I had been wallowing illicitly in the daily paper...I could not remember not being able to read...reading was something that just came to me.

I told Atticus I didn't feel very well and didn't think I'd go to school any more if it was all right with him.

There are no clearly defined seasons in South Alabama; summer drifts into autumn, and autumn is sometimes never followed by winter, but turns to a days-old spring that melts into summer again.

My campaign to avoid school had continued in one form or another since my first day's dose of it.
I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she [Aunt Alexandra] said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants.

She [Miss Maudie] said, "Atticus, you are a devil from hell."

You'll grow up waiting on tables if somebody doesn't change your ways!

Scout, I couldn't go to church and worship God if I didn't try to help that man.

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.

In Maycomb, if one went for a walk with no definite purpose in mind, it was correct to believe one's mind incapable of definite purpose.

I had leaped triumphantly into a ring of people I had never seen before.

I could stand anything but a bunch of people looking at me.

Atticus said naming people after Confederate generals made slow steady drinkers.

Havin' a gun around's an invitation to somebody to shoot you.

Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere.

I came to the conclusion that people were just peculiar, I withdrew from them, and never thought about them until I was forced to.

Meanwhile...

Super Librarian!

An article about rare books going digital

Fathers, Be Good to Your Daughters...

I had so much fun remembering my mom for Mother's Day that I thought I would return the favor for Dad. I'm so thankful that I am continuing to make memories with him, and I am excited about seeing him this week! (Get ready, Alabama!)

One of the things I'm most thankful for is that Dad provided me with a strong foundation for my faith. He instilled habits in me like studying the Bible (which we're doing here in this picture), faithfully sharing the money you earn and going to church. But he also helped me realize that your relationship with God is strengthened by--not dependent on--habits.


This picture is from a trip Dad and I took to Gatlinburg in 2003. We climbed to the top of "the Chimneys," and it was so much fun (and a great view). We are still talking about making the trip again, and we might let other people come with us this time. :)

This picture says a lot about our relationship. We drink a lot of coffee. A lot. I blame/thank Dad for my coffee addiction. He can still drink me under the table, though. (And he is so polite when I do crazy things--like dying my hair red.)

Dad is a fantastic grandfather. The kiddos love him, and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual!


But...he is just as nice to his grand-dog. Fred adores "Grandpa," and he always stays really close when Dad comes to visit. (Dad always finds awesome toys for him, too.)

So that's a quick introduction to my dad! Basically, I think he's awesome, and I thank God every day for him!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jonah's Gourd Vine

Jonah's Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston

Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a gourd and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the gourd. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the gourd so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."
-Jonah 4:5-8 (TNIV)

As my Haiku indicates, I spent most of the novel trying to figure out whether John, the main character, is supposed to represent Jonah or the Gourd Vine.

John is the adopted son of a shiftless, scam-prone sharecropper. His biological father is the white owner of a plantation where he goes to work and flourishes. He is given an education and new clothes, and he is treated better than he was at home. At this point, John's circumstances are largely beyond his control, and he seems more like the gourd vine. He considers himself a victim, but often rightly so.

However, he soon falls in love with and wins the hand of Lucy, who encourages him to rise above his circumstances and make something of himself. She is a foil for John--loyal when he is unfaithful (time after time), calm when he is hot-headed and patient through difficulties when he, like Jonah, displays a propensity to run away when life gets tough. He finally finds himself preaching at a Florida congregation and doing quite well, despite his indiscretions. He and Lucy have seven children and, overall, a happy life.

But after his years of flourishing with Lucy, she dies. This leaves John (again like Jonah) with the sun blazing on his head and without the "protection" that Lucy provided. Or, you could say, this is the point where John (like the gourd vine) begins to wither.

He once again becomes a victim--to the politics of his congregation and to the hoodoo-based schemes of his second wife. And he must ultimately decide whether he is strong enough to take actions to escape his circumstances or whether he will always be a victim.

Jonah's Gourd Vine is Hurston's first novel, and it is a linguistic treasure. She writes in the black dialect of the time, which enlivens the characters and gives even more heat to the Florida setting. It does take some getting used to--you almost have to hear the dialogue, rather than just reading it word-for-word. Also, Hurston occasionally interjects clarifications, which breaks up the narration a bit. But it is still a novel that begs to be enjoyed and dissected.

So, which is it? Is John Jonah, or is he the Gourd Vine? Maybe a bit of both. Why don't you read it and let me know your thoughts?

Favorite quotes:

We's free folks now. De big bell done rung! Us chillun is ourn. Ah doan know, mebbe hit'll take some of us generations, but us got tuh 'gin tuh practise on treasurin' our younguns. Ah loves dese heah already uh whole heap.

"Whuss de news?"
"Oh de white folks is still in de lead."

"Whut you doin' settin' on top uh dat boy?"
"Ah ain't settin' on top of 'im. Uh milk cow could git between us."

If she make her bed hard, she de one got tuh lay on it.

Jes' 'cause women folks ain't got no big muscled arm and fistes lak jugs, folks claims they's weak vessels, but dass uh lie. Dat piece uh red flannel she got hung 'tween her jaws is equal tuh all de fistes God ever made and man ever seen.

A Southern Haiku

Thanks, Maggie, for the challenge-within-a-challenge!


Bible story tweaked
Is John Jonah or Gourd Vine?
Hurston never tells

Read from the beginning...