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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Triple Threat

Pumpkin Squares...

Pumpkin Leek Soup...

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds...

The squares were fine. A lot like the crumb cake.

The leek soup was amazing! To my knowledge, I have never had any interaction with leeks.

If you find yourself in this situation, too, let me give you a heads-up. They're HUGE. They took up almost a whole shelf in the fridge...but you only use the white/light green part at the very end. Maybe 1/4 of the leek.

Why do they sell them so big?! Big or small, they're tasty little suckers. A lot like wild onion. Not as strong as regular onions...simply perfect with the pumpkin. (And perfect with my little white pumpkin from the Farmers' Market.)

The soup also called for chunks of real pumpkin. Thus, the roasted seeds.

Two things to note:
-Pumpkins are really, really hard to peel. So hard that I think I may never do it again.
-Those roasted seeds are pretty tasty themselves. I have another recipe that I'm going to try if we ever get around to getting another pumpkin to carve.

Heard in my library...

A quick funny...

I went to pick up a book I had on hold at my (UNT) library tonight. The librarian asked me the title, which I couldn't remember (shame on me), but I said I thought it had feminist in the title. Instead, women was in the title. "Same thing," he said. :)

Women in Communication if you're interested.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On a personal note...

I'm walking in the DFW Brain Tumor Walk next month in memory of my mom and to help support the National Brain Tumor Society.

I would love it if you'd read more about my decision on my off-the-record blog, and I'd be thrilled if you'd consider helping, too.

OK, back to the books. ;)

Walking for Mom

I was 19 years old when my mom was diagnosed with cancer.

Stage IV glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor (big words just to describe pretty much the worst kind of brain tumor you can have). The odds were not good for her, but she fought hard anyway. She lived three and a half years after her diagnosis...about three years longer than the doctors expected. Those "extra" three years let her welcome my niece into the world, watch me finish college, and make a million everyday memories that I am so grateful for now.
(This was us with my grandmother just before I went to college in 1998...about seven months before Mom was diagnosed, I think.)

I'm still amazed by the strength, positive attitude, and faith she displayed while she was sick.

Eight years since her passing, and God has given me some perspective, guidance, and a huge amount of comfort. At the time, though, I didn't know how to handle her illness. I was a kid. I wasn't where I needed to be spiritually. And, really, the terminal illness of a parent is a big curve ball at any stage in life. But I didn't always handle things well or honor her the way I should have.

So now, I do my best to honor her as much as I can--by telling others about her, by living my life following Christ in a way that I believe would make her proud, and, this month, by walking in the DFW Brain Tumor Walk.

I learned about the walk, which benefits the National Brain Tumor Society, last year. I was too late to register then, but I knew I wanted to participate this year.

The NBTS does some great work in their search for a cure. They fund research, of course, but they also offer a tremendous amount of support to patients and families. I can't help but wonder if I might have handled my mom's illness better if I'd been able to take advantage of some of these types of programs.

So I'm walking, and I'm fund-raising for them, and I hope I'm honoring my mom by doing so. I know there are a lot of worthy causes out there, and many of us are spread thin financially. But I would love it if you'd be interested in sponsoring me for this.

If you knew my mom, or if you just want to help support the NBTS, you can click here to donate.

My sweet family helped jumpstart the funds, but I don't want anyone to be overwhelmed by the sums that are listed there. Like public radio, any amount helps. :) And I would be thrilled if you'd be interested in helping.

Monday, October 25, 2010

PhD Application

I've been working on an author report about Dr. Brenda Dervin, the sense-maker (as I've been calling her) because she developed something called Sense-Making Methodology.

It's been a fun project, and I've enjoyed thinking about how I can apply some of her theories where I work. (One of the benefits of working in the field you're studying, yes?)

Majorly paraphrasing here, but one of the things she talks about is being user-oriented. She makes the case that information providers (librarians being one type of those) MUST consider people's needs, circumstances, motivations and such when answering their questions and seeking to meet their needs.

Sounds simple, but systems are often so system-oriented that the users (and their real needs) get lost in there somewhere.

She's one of the people responsible for this "paradigm shift" in library and information science, and, after studying her work, I've had a paradigm shift or two of my own. Can't wait to read more of her work! (There is plenty of it.)

Dad's October Visit

Usually my dad comes to see us for Labor Day weekend, but he postponed the trip this year. It was the weekend of the South Carolina game, so I think his breaking of tradition jinxed us. Just kidding...mostly.

We still represented the Tide well...

Then I changed into my Mean Green gear...

They didn't win either, but it was fun seeing a new field...

And a pedicab (why do they have these in Denton)?

The next day we headed to Fred's (sans our little Fred) to try quail and eggs for brunch...
Yum! I can't believe this is the fourth football season Dad's been out here to see us. Time flies, huh? Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Second Semester, Squee-Worthies, and Some Other Stuff

Wow...life has been moving so quickly lately.

I met with my advisor last week and am just about set for my second semester at UNT. This is hard to believe because it feels like this semester just started, and I still have A LOT of work to do before it's over!

Things have also been in transition and, thus, quite busy at work, so other things have been getting pushed down the priority list. Sadly, my online activity is one of those things, and fun reading is another! I got some good advice from a fellow student last week, though. He suggested reading something for fun every day--even if it's just two pages. Just keep the habit going and make the time to do that. I'm on it. :)

In the meantime...

I don't think I've mentioned it here, but I LOVE this site. It's incredibly encouraging to read about other women of faith who are also academics. I squee a little every month when the newsletter hits my inbox.

Another squee-worthy something...Bob Edwards talking about libraries!

How would you feel about having a personal librarian? I think subject librarians can be so helpful--especially at larger universities. This is a similar concept...but with a bit of a twist.

Another library twist...private companies taking over public libraries. Thoughts on this one? It was hotly debated on the UA-SLIS listserv!

A new Library Journal column talking about library and information science education...



Also, picture books are languishing?! This made me so sad!


Finally...I just thought this quote was interesting...

Metadata (literally data about data--or cataloguing to us common folks) is a pompous neologism conceived by librarians and computer scientists intent on reinventing the bibliographic wheel.
-Michael Gorman, former president of the ALA, who also referred to users' "flight from expertise," something I've been reading about lately

Double Pumpkin

I realized, at the rate I was going, my pumpkin recipes were going to take me through December. If you've read very long, you know that's peppermint/hot chocolate season (#seasonaleater), so I've decided to start doubling up on the pumpkin fun.

Last week, I made a pumpkin crumb cake...

It was yummy but hard to taste the pumpkin. Tasted more like a really moist cinnamon roll. But, still, quite tasty!

Also, a black bean pumpkin soup...

Pretty tasty; only a couple of complaints. 1) My pal Debra made a better one a couple of weeks ago (more of a kick...I'll be trying that recipe soon)! 2) As I've gotten older, some things (like beans) stick more heavily with me, so I really had to limit the amount I ate. I wanted a big, warm bowl but just had to have a tiny one for lunch every day.

This weekend, it's time for the annual Great Pumpkin viewing tradition, so I'll try to come up with something special for that one!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Upside Down Pumpkin

I made a Pumpkin Upside Down Cake (originally Pecan-Pumpkin Upside Down Cake, but I'm not big on nuts in desserts) last weekend. Recipe via our library dean's administrative assistant (one amazing lady, let me tell ya, and not just because of her good cookin')...

As a little bonus, my dad was here to try this one!

Lots and lots of thumbs up! Hooray!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Congrats!

Congrats, Anonymous! I'll email you for your address and get your goodies on the way.

Thanks for commenting!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cryptonomicon

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

This is part of the book review I did for my class for Cryptonomicon. Just thought I'd share. :)

Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon combines historical and science fiction to lead readers along two techno-thrilling plot paths. One path covers two to three years during World War II; the other parallels about the same length of time in the “present,” which, in the novel, would be around the turn of the century.

The World War II portion centers around Lawrence Waterhouse, a brilliant, but socially challenged mathematician turned cryptanalyst, and Bobby Shaftoe, a Marine who somehow manages to survive battles and situations where all those around him end up dead. Waterhouse is given the ultimate security clearance in the British and American governments, and his goal is to break German and Nipponese (or Japanese) codes without letting the Axis powers know they have been broken. Part of his job description says, "No action is to be taken on information herein reported, regardless of temporary advantage, if such action might have the effect of revealing the existence of the source to the enemy. . . It is all a question (oddly enough!) of information theory…Information flows from Germany to us. . .we can extract information that is crucial to our endeavors. . .but. . .there is a certain point at which information begins to flow from us back to the Germans. We need to know where that point is." Shaftoe, conversely, provides comic relief, intermittent haikus, and, most importantly, a face to the dates and places of horrific battles. He serves to remind the reader that the type of work Waterhouse is doing has consequences and affects real lives.

Meanwhile, the modern story follows their grandchildren. Randy Waterhouse is a hacker, software developer, and all-around computer genius, who is working on his latest company project of creating a data haven in the Pacific Rim when he meets America (Amy) Shaftoe, a free-spirited contractor and treasure hunter. When Waterhouse’s project begins to attract the attention of governments, powerful investors, and other interested, but nefarious, third parties, he, Amy, and their colleagues must work quickly to not only secure their data and their lives, but to also ultimately define their roles in a changing economy of information.

The book is fiction, so its main purpose is to entertain. However, Stephenson also challenges the reader to think about the value of information and how that information can be controlled, used, and protected.

Neal Stephenson is the author of 10 novels, the most recent published in 2008, and Cryptonomicon won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 2000. Because he is writing fiction, Stephenson has not been highly cited in scholarly journals. However, his work is referenced in a handful of articles on subjects like cyberpunk culture, the future of computation, and even techno-orientalism.

It is primarily set in and around the Philippines, where governmental controls have not quite caught up to the available technology. Randy Waterhouse, his colleagues, and his enemies are using this situation to their advantage. "It would be interesting to approach this as a problem in information theory. . .how can data flow back and forth between nodes in an internal network. . .but not exist to a person outside." These encryption possibilities have enormous implications not only in terms of information privacy, but also for economies and governments. What will a government's role be in terms of the economy of information? Will it be a controller, a money-maker, or a distant observer? What do information scientists think that role should be?

Reading Cryptonomicon requires a certain level of information literacy. Those without a technical interest or mathematical background might find themselves skimming certain parts or struggling to catch up, even though he provides helpful illustrations for many of the more difficult concepts. But information scientists should still have no trouble following along with the multitudes of connections Stephenson challenges readers to make throughout the book. He highlights the value of information, the flow of information, the economy of information, and the potential problems arising from control of all that information—particularly by governments. All of these questions will be of special interest to anyone going into an information field.

The book is also a good reminder to librarians in particular of the importance of being knowledgeable about issues beyond their subject specialties. Randy, for instance, was working in his college’s library after graduating with a degree in astronomy. “His larger sphere of interests, his somewhat broader concept of normalcy, was useful when certain patrons came into the office.” Being able to take a broad view of life (or just research) and having a working knowledge of technological advancements are almost requisite skills for librarians now.

Cryptonomicon includes a good reminder about general research. "Good ideas come to him as fast and thick as ever, but he has to keep his eye on the ball. If the idea is not relevant…he has to jot it down and forget about it for now. If it is relevant, he has to restrain his urge to dive into it and consider: has anyone else come up with this idea before him?" And on a surface reading, the book might offer more specific research directions or questions to mathematicians or computer science students. In fact, the word “information” is relatively small in a Wordle created from the book’s text and does not show up at all on its LibraryThing tags. However, its above-mentioned underlying information questions can obviously be of great value to those studying information sciences. "Of particular interest has been the subject of just how much information can be extracted from seemingly random data." This reading of various sources and synthesizing the information found in them is one of the tasks information researchers and doctoral students perform almost every day. Reading Cryptonomicon is a great way to start thinking about the questions behind those tasks.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Double the Pumpkins {and Fedoras}...Double the Fun

We had a great time hanging with my bestie, Shell, and her husband this weekend...
You can't go wrong with matching fedoras. {I hate when my smile is all gummy, though. What is that?!}

I also tackled the pumpkin mousse pie...

Definitely the most complicated of the pumpkin recipes so far. It called for things like a double boiler, thermometer, and gelatin...all things I either don't have luck with or don't have at all.

So, it turned out a little runny...

But still tasted good. :)

Can't say the same for the pumpkin pancakes. {Even Fred turned up his nose at them.}

I had leftover pumpkin and egg whites {the pie just called for the yolks}, so I made these as a reward for pulling my first PhD all-nighter.

I think next time I'll stick to the pumpkin spice latte for my reward!

Catching Up With a Triple Threat Giveaway

So, I let September slip by without a giveaway. :S

Truthfully, it didn't really slip by. It was consumed with school work, particularly the reading of Cryptonomicon. So good, but so long!

It is now finished; although, the book review still isn't. Nevertheless! In the spirit of celebration, let's have a giveaway.

Simply leave a comment, and you'll be entered to receive...

Making a Case for Life by Stephanie Wincik
At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
Half Magic by Edward Eager (perfect for October, I think!)

Also, some {belated} back-to-school supplies, a NorrisCreations bookmark, and lots of pumpkin and fall deliciousness {I'm thinking candy corn and pumpkin spice tea}!

Winner will be randomized next Monday in honor of Columbus Day!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Doubting God's Goodness

This is a really good season in life for Jason and me right now.

Some exciting things are happening on the job front, school is challenging and inspiring, and, for the first time in three years, we're able to catch our breaths financially. Praise God for all the blessings he's given us!

But sometimes I can relate to what David says here. He's complaining about evildoers, but the part that still stood out to me said, "There they are, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread."

In good times like these, I have trouble with dread. I wait on the other shoe to drop. Because I know it's coming--it always does. That's just life. But I hate that I allow dready feelings to sneak into what should be good times.

One of my favorite bloggers, Brooke, wrote a post awhile back about the "absence of dread." {Yay for Google blog search!} And what she says is a good reminder for me when dread sneaks in...

I felt him reminding me that hard times will come again. They will come but He will always be good even if things aren't.

God had a good reminder, too, in the next Psalm over..."Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me."

Again, praise God for His blessings and for every good and perfect gift He has given us!

Read from the beginning...