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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fred Goes to the Library!

And a good time was had by all...
(In no chronological order, but loosely arranged in order of cuteness...)

(This was for Take Your Dog to Work Day. Love it.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Take Your Fred to Work Day

This is just one of the many reasons I love my job. :) I was so excited to be part of Take Your Dog to Work Day last week. Fred seemed to enjoy himself, and I hope you enjoy the pictures as well...
Ready for an exciting day!
Department one (Audio-Visual/Computer Learning Center)...

Department two (Circulation)...

Helping to shelve the books...

Getting sleepy after a tough morning...

Oh, my apologies to those of you who read all three of my blogs--the posts will be somewhat repetitive, but I'll be sure to vary up the pictures. haha

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Lovin'

When I was growing up, summer was my hands-down favorite season. I think it had something to do with being out of school, spending the days riding bikes and swimming and spending the nights reading and watching baseball.

I think my dislike of summer started somewhere around the time of my first internship in college--when I spent the days getting coffee for reporters and covering intern-worthy news stories and the nights going out to dinner and doing other grown-up-ish sorts of things.

Summer and I enjoyed a brief reunion during 2006, when I was working as a school librarian and only worked part-time during the summer. But I was married then and didn't have cable, so the swimming, sunning and baseball-watching just didn't come together in the same way.

Since moving to Texas, the land of the seven-month summers and copious triple-digit days, my dislike has grown to the point of hatred. I don't like the heat, the sweat, the clothes, the drastic change from frigid AC-controlled buildings and cars to wet-blanket outdoors. Blech.

However, one of my pet peeves is when people complain about the weather. It's the weather--what are you gonna do? I love this quote from John Ruskin I saw on Ashley's blog:

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

Generally, I wholeheartedly agree with this and try to act like it. :) But I've developed a bad attitude about summer. So, in order to combat this, I've been making a list of the things I really do like about summer.

So, in case you're needing some summer lovin', too, here you go:

Summer dress code--tops on the list this year. Where I work, we normally have to wear skirts or dresses (except on Fridays). This summer, we can break out the pants any day of the week. Woohoo! Ironically, this has actually made me dress more professionally. Instead of wearing all my skirts and dresses, I'm able to choose the more professional items and leave the more casual ones for the weekend.

Summer food--fresh fruits and veggies (tomatoes, watermelons, strawberries, cherries, cantaloupe, peppers); cilantro thrown into everything; cornbread, beans and buttermilk for supper, as much lemonade as you can drink, a shaved ice or Sonic cream slush for dessert...summer feasts! Yum!

Summer music--Centerfield (John Fogerty), Boys of Summer (Don Henley), Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts), anything by Sheryl Crow, campy Beach Boys music, some local Alabama stuff that reminds me of summers at home. It's hard to stay irked with the heat when you've got some good tunes going.

Summer reading--Maggie's Southern Reading Challenge, the Fort Worth Public Library's Summer Reading Challenge (see my first prize? ha). Maybe I still have a lingering perception that I have more time to read in the summer, too.

Summer sports-baseball, running and swimming. Where the sunshine and longer days come in handy. I think I could spend every. single. night at the ballfield. Any ballfield. So relaxing. We might even make it to a Cats game next month.

So, there you have it. Summer and I are pals again. But I can't guarantee we'll be speaking in August.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things I Think Should Be Free...

Yes, I get the whole capitalism thing, but let me dream for a minute. In my world, these would be free and unlimited...

-Books (of course)
-Music (to download)
-Wireless Internet (should also be available everywhere)

and...the GRE, which I'm taking next month and is decidedly not free.

The Man With the Dancing Eyes

The Man With the Dancing Eyes by Sophie Dahl

I'm not sure where I first heard of The Man With the Dancing Eyes, but I'd been curious about it for awhile. And it did not disappoint.

It's a short, charming story of the affair between Pierre (a girl, in this case) and the Man With the Dancing Eyes. Of course, everything is perfect in the beginning but at some point comes apart, and we have to see if it comes together again.

The story is not that deep or exciting, but it is lovely and pleasant. And Annie Morris's illustrations are fabulous. I looked through it again and again just to more closely examine her drawings and colors. Beautiful!

Two fun facts: Rumor has it Dahl loosely based the story on her own relationship with Mick Jagger. She is also the granddaughter of the equally-charming Roald Dahl.

Favorite quotes...

Mostly she was happiest sitting on top of the Aga, her small nose firmly buried in a book.

As the opening bars of her favourite Ella Fitzgerald song began to play she tried to take a step forward, only to find that she was firmly rooted to the ground, anchored by her Christian Louboutin shoes.

And there began a glorious affair.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Divine Connections

Divine Connections by Shawn Easton

Divine Connections is all about Christian mentoring. Shawn Easton makes the case for its importance, gives biblical examples and plenty of practical application for Christians today.

I will say from the beginning that the book is geared to a Christian audience. If you are a believer, you won't struggle at all with the jargon or principles, but I don't think it's a book I would recommend for someone who hasn't yet made a decision to follow Christ.

Each chapter reads like a mini-sermon, which, in this case, is a good thing--especially for daily devotionals or group book studies. Easton stays centered on the text, expositing without taking too many liberties or adding insights that really aren't found there.

I also appreciated that he recognizes there are different types of divine connections, and he doesn't necessarily promote one type over another. For instance, one chapter talks about the divine connection of marriage, but he doesn't over-glorify marriage or make those who have chosen to be single feel as if they're missing out on this connection. He highlights family relationships, friendships, older adults mentoring younger adults and even divine connections between ministries. And, again, all of these are solidly based on examples found in the Bible.

I suspect Easton and I have slight doctrinal differences (eschatology, biblical translation preference, for example), but I don't like to "major in the minors." I got a lot out of this book in my personal walk with Christ, and I would absolutely recommend it to any other Christians who are looking into mentoring or who perhaps haven't yet considered its importance. It's an inspiration.

Favorite quotes...

In the kingdom, God desires each believer to be a blessing to each other; He purposely desires the spiritual believer to help the new saint in the Lord by loving, strengthening, instructing, lovingly disciplining, pushing him to endure and interceding on behalf of the new saint.

Living in the world's system develops a hard, survival mode mentality, a self-defense mechanism which forms to take care of oneself while in the kingdom of darkness...But as the new convert experiences the love of Christ...through...the body of Christ...his mentality will begin to change.

People today...define being a man as having many women and being hard, emotionless and without sensitivity. A man is quite the opposite in the kingdom of God.

Sometimes in life, you will have to decide to go further in God's Divine Connection for your life, and only then will God bless you with more revelation. Although you may feel weary, know in your mind and in your spirit that God is trying to get you somewhere, not only you but also the person to whom you are connected.

God will accept you, love you, restore you and deliver you from the things you experienced in the world's system.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Mansion

The Mansion by William Faulkner

The Mansion features a conflict between Mink Snopes and the rest of the world.

Mink is a classic victim; yet, he is honorable in his own way. After letting his cow illegally graze in his neighbor's pasture for the winter, he kills the neighbor for charging a nominal, bureaucratic fee on top of a (reduced) cost of grazing.

He is sent to Parchman prison for this, but he believes his cousin, Flem, could have saved him. So he plans to kill Flem as soon as he is 40 years. While we wait, Faulkner tells us of Mink's life in prison, the happenings in Jefferson and the loves and tragedies of Flem's daughter.

The characters are peculiar, interesting and surprisingly realistic...but not terribly sympathetic. The novel, meanwhile, is typical Faulkner--complete with a wandering plot, subtle social commentary and unbelievably rich descriptions.

It is the third in a trilogy of novels of the Snopes family, but it stands on its own. You won't miss much if you haven't read the first two. In fact, Faulkner even admits there are some discrepancies between The Mansion and the first two Snopes novels.

I double-dipped a bit on this one, reading it for both my What's in a Name challenge and the Southern Reading Challenge. While Flem's mansion (thus the title) doesn't factor heavily throughout the novel, the hot weather did Mississippi proud--making it a perfect beginning for this summer's Southern reading.

Favorite quotes...

He...was not a contentious man...It was simply that his own bad luck had all his life continually harassed and harried him into the constant and unflagging necessity of defending his own simple rights.

So he went to Parchman...having left the hills which he had known all his life, for the Delta which he had never seen before--the vast flat alluvial swamp of cypress and gum and brake and thicket lurked with bear and deer and panthers and snakes, out of which man was still hewing savagely and violently the rich ragged fields in which cotton stalks grew ranker and taller than a man on a horse.

Nor did he even count off the years as they accomplished. Instead, he simply trod them behind him into oblivion beneath the heavy brogan shoes in the cotton middles behind the mule which drew the plow and then the sweep, then with the chopping and thinning hoe and at last with the long dragging sack into which he picked, gathered the cotton.

I can read reading, but I can't read writing good.

Eula Varner...never needed to be educated nowhere because jest what the Lord had already give her by letting her stand up and breathe and maybe walk around a little now and then was trouble and danger enough for ever male man in range.

As Texas would be where it had spent the presumable most of its prenatal existence, wouldn't nobody be surprised if it was cutting its teeth at three months old.

And even though the rest of the world, at least that part of it in the United States, rates us folks in Mississippi at the lowest rung of culture, what man can deny that, even if this is as bad as I think it's going to be, we too grope toward the stars?

That was humility, the only kind of humility that's worth a hoot: the humility to know they's a heap of things you don't know yet but if you jest got the patience to be humble and watchful long enough, especially keeping one eye on your back trail, you will.

Women are marvellous. They stroll perfectly bland and serene through a fact that the men have been bloodying their heads against for years.

The same government that wouldn't let you raise cotton on your own land would turn right around and give you a mattress or groceries or even cash money, only first you had to swear you didn't own any property of your own and even had to prove it by giving your house or land or even your wagon and team to your wife or children or any kinfolks you could count on, depend on, trust.

Being a Southerner, he knew that no white man understood Negroes and never would so long as the white man compelled the black man to be first a Negro and only then a man.

Politics and political office are not and never have been the method and means by which we can govern ourselves in peace and dignity and honor and security, but instead are our national refuge for our incompetents who have failed at every other occupation by means of which they might make a living for themselves and their families; and whom as a result we would have to feed and clothe and shelter out of our own private purses and means.

Friday, June 12, 2009

You've Been Tagged...Laser Tagged

I'm in the market for a laser pointer.

One of these things...

...that has driven everyone from George Costanza to preachers to pets to Monk...


And now add me to that list.

Because the laser pointers have made a comeback here on campus with the 12-year-old boy crowd. Wretched boys with their wretched laser pointers drive me nuts every. single. day.

To be fair, they haven't shot me directly (Jason's got my back), but they've hit tons of others--including several library patrons, and I walk around in fear that I've got green dots all over me.

So I think the only way to protect myself is to be ready to hit 'em back.

Anyway, this would all be old news, but I got a Facebook invitation this week to one of those laser-and-light shows at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

I didn't exactly read the information closely...just saw "laser" and, for some reason, thought "tag." So I wrote on our main event calendar at home "laser tag" for Saturday night.

Poor Jason.

He finally asked me about it yesterday, and I was like, "Oh, yeah, a bunch of people are apparently getting together to play laser tag at the Botanic Garden. Sounds fun."

His response: silence.

Then, "Laser hiding behind the flowers and running through the plants. Are you sure?"

After re-checking the apparently i'm not sure.

Instead of addressing that oversight, Jason chose to ask, "You spend every lunch hour trying to avoid those boys with their laser pointers. Why would you voluntarily go and get shot again and again with giant laser pointers?"

Good question.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Southern Haiku: The Mansion

Left Parchman prison
Ready to kill again
Mink seeks redemption

Loving this novel so far, and I plan to have the review up this week!

Five random thoughts from this weekend...

1. Two-hour naps on Saturday and Sunday afternoon aren't the best preparation for Monday afternoon.

2. Zyrtec turns me into a zombie...but a zombie who can breathe easily.

3. It's strange going to church by myself after I've had a "plus one" for the last four years or so.

4. A couple of middle-school-aged boys walked past me this weekend, and as soon as they were out of sight, I heard one of them say "4.6." I wondered...are they rating me?? that 4.6 out of 5 or out of 10? I know it doesn't matter; they're two random middle school kids...and, of course, it's out of 5.

5. Putting a pair of tighty-whities on a freshly bathed Bichon will just make him really really angry.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Re-reading and re-linking

Do you re-read your favorite books, or do you save your precious reading time for all new material? If you do re-read, what are your choices and why? Here's a story on the pleasures of re-reading...

I try to read To Kill a Mockingbird every fall. Even though a large part of it is set in the summer, it has a fall feel to me. I also enjoy reading A Christmas Carol guessed it...Christmas. I also can't get enough of Harry Potter--especially as the new movies continue to come out. Having finally completed my collection, I'm about to go back through A Series of Unfortunate Events as well. And reading Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott and C.S. Lewis has become a lot like catching up with old friends.

OK, I'll stop now. Your turn!


Do you love libraries? (Don't we all?) Then this improved site is just for you!

A big ol' book fair comes to town...

On the serious side, a new government report examining the role of museums and libraries in strengthening communities...

Libraries will also be strengthening the online community...

More thoughts on the Kindle...

Troubling info about some phony medical journals...take your pick of three links about the same story:

Read from the beginning...