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Sunday, January 30, 2011

February Focus

So a January sans sugar went pretty well. 


{This was my oh-so-delicious cupcake treat.}

I only lost an inch, but that is likely due to my replacing sugary snacks with more salty ones. :) This is something I will obviously need to work on in February.

As part of my 2011 plan, I'll also be working on cultivating good habits--not just breaking bad ones. So, for February, I'm going to focus on two: brushing Fred and drinking my water. 

I do both of these sporadically but not on a regular basis.

If you know Bichons, you know they are high maintenance little balls of fluff. Fred is on a constant quest for me to spend more quality time with him, so a brushing with a good game of growl as follow-up should be helpful in that area.

Also, I can usually get in about five glasses of water each day, but I struggle with those last three-five that I need. {That should help with those inches as well, yes?}

To kick off February, I'm doing a Shakeology cleanse. I'm pretty sure I can get by with the limited calories, but I'm a bit nervous about three days with no caffeine. I'll be sure to report back next weekend and let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The field stinks, so I am giving it up!

In one of my recent posts, Iliana asked me if I still had any time for fun reading. Short answer: not much!

I do still have a few books going, and I've been trying to read just a little bit every day--even if it's just a page or two. Even that, though, has been really hard!

I started thinking about it, and here are some other things that I've either been giving up or finding I just don't have as much time or energy for since starting school...
  • Cleaning (Jason has become a rockstar in this department.)
  • Exercise
  • Facebook
  • Podcasts
  • Sweets (yep, that includes chocolate)
  • Weeknight to-dos
Here are some things that I've been a little surprised to find still fit into the schedule...
  • Blogging
  • Healthy eating
  • Sleep (although not quite as much as I'd like)
  • TV (not marathons...but we can do one show during dinner)
  • Twitter
  • Weekend to-dos (just not as many)
What about you? What do you give up when life gets busy? And any suggestions for this ongoing difficulty of balancing work, school, family, and...sleep? :)

Vacuum Blowout

So, our vacuum died. The second casualty of a combination of Fred and kind of cruddy, thick carpet.

Here's the thing. We've been hoping to buy something like this...
Or (*swoon*) this...
We wanted to wait just a little longer...maybe until we get a house. We're praying that we can do that this year, so, in a way, it makes sense to just bite the bullet and get the nicer vacuum.

But I'm kind of paranoid that our cruddy carpet will "mess up" the really nice vacuum.

So, dear blog friends, I'm turning to you for advice. Should we get a temporary cheapy one while we figure out the house thing, or should we go ahead and splurge? And if you were buying a vacuum, what kind would you get?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Because I'm Lazy...

I'll just link to my other blog with a post about our newest bookstore find, Recycled Books.

I'm in love.

Downtown Denton


Most of what we've seen of Denton has been connected to the university there, but we did a little exploring of the downtown this past weekend. I say a little because the first thing we discovered was Recycled Books, an opera house-turned-book store with three stories of miles after miles of treasures.



And we, of course, got stuck browsing...the books and the quirkiness...

Then, all of a sudden, it was night.

And we made another fun discovery--a local coffee shop, the Jupiter. They make a mean cafe au lait and have tons of tables and space for studying. Starbucks, you've got yourself a little competition in Denton.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spring 2011 Schedule

Did I tell you the classes I'm taking this semester? I didn't think so. :)

Statistics for Educational Research
Communication and Use of Information
Seminar in Information Issues
And a {surprise!} addition, Telecommunications and Information Professionals.

Since I added the class, that means I've officially started my residency (two back-to-back nine hour semesters).

I've already started looking at classes for the summer and fall, and it looks like I'm on track to finish my course work in the fall or summer of next year {2012}. How is it passing so quickly?

I'm excited and scared and overwhelmedly pleased with all the goings-on. Hope your week is going well!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wearing Wednesday: Accessorizing

I love black on black; it's just really hard to pull off.
It's easier than you think.
{Smallville, anyone?}
How did I pull off my black blazer-on-black jersey dress look today? By adding some of my mom's vintage jewelry and crimson tights (that go with the garnet or ruby colored stone in the earrings and brooch).

I almost went with my red boots as well, but Wednesdays are long days for me {class}, so I opted for my more comfy black ones. And, at the end of the day, I can confirm: good decision.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Great Grammar Book

The Great Grammar Book by Marsha Sramek

Always have trouble with your vs. you're? Their, there, and they're? It's and its?

Like it or not, common misuse of these words, misspellings of others, unnecessary or omitted commas, and general poor writing looks really bad to potential employers, professors, and even fellow bloggers.

But Marsha Sramek's The Great Grammar Book is here to help.

A primer on basic grammar concepts, the book is packed with examples, reviews, and tests (and, of course, an excellent index). Sramek has gone out of her way to make those examples interesting for adult writers and to not sound pedantic.

As a bit of a grammar nerd, I really appreciated the thorough, accurate information included, but I also liked the chapter on good writing principles. Because even if you get all the grammar right, it can still be difficult to write well.

The Great Grammar Book is by no means a final stop for learning about grammar and writing, but it is, indeed, a great start.

Where the Heart Was

Where the Heart Was by Glenn Boyer

Where the Heart Was is a coming-of-age, historical fiction novel that primarily follows Bennie Todd and his family from the Civil War to World War II.

Bennie is young, sick, and poor at the height of the Great Depression, but he loves books, learning, and history. These passions serve him well as his family's luck finally improves, and they are able to acquire farm land in Wisconsin.

The question of Bennie's fate is always in the background as he travels, falls in love, learns about life, and watches war get continually closer.

Bennie's and his family's stories are compelling, and the characters are tragic, funny, and believable.

However, the book employs many, many flashbacks and is terribly long--long and complicated enough, in fact, that I think it would have been better as two or even three books. Boyer writes so well that readers wouldn't lose anything by dividing up and slightly simplifying the story. There are some sections that I would have edited out as well just because, in my opinion, they didn't add much of value.

On the other hand, the detail is part of what makes the story so authentic and engaging, and, despite its length, the book is definitely that. I look forward to reading anything else that Boyer offers.

Favorite quotes...

He'd learned long ago that you had to be sneaky sometimes and get scared pretty good to really have fun.

He often dreamed of that library thereafter; in some enchanted metamorphosis it had expanded. Shelf on shelf was filled with exotic, large books with covers all in glowing colors. He always knew they were books that could be obtained absolutely nowhere else. In one of them he would find the secret of creation and life, if only he opened the right book in time.

A person with him would have been a nuisance, wanting to talk when he wanted to listen, to go home when he wanted to linger and watch.

She smiled, the first time either of them had seen her smile, and it changed her wonderfully, lighting up her serious countenance in some remarkable way.

He contrasted it with all the romantic movies he'd seen about cabins in the West and Alaska and figured it was a good thing you couldn't smell movies, or they wouldn't make a cent.

He'd brought his Ph.D. to a jerkwater high school, rather than to a university, so he could live the contemplative life without having to publish or perish. The contemplative life was just about to be derailed.

Some men are as maternal as women, but they never get credit for it. Most of them hate to admit it themselves. And people, like the ninnies that most of them are, say, "Men are all alike." I know better.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Goof

Don't you hate it when you mess up?

We had taken advantage of the Shutterfly-blogger deal to get our Christmas cards, and they turned out to be quite lovely!

I was so pleased, in fact, that I went ahead and started a Shutterfly account and got my pics from the last few years uploaded. As another reward, they gave me 50 free prints...and I kept meaning to get around to choosing them.

I finally did get around to it today, spending plenty of time looking back through my albums and deciding which ones I wanted. And, by the end, I was pretty excited.

When I went to checkout, I was surprised to see that my discount hadn't kicked in (the email said it would be applied automatically). So I went back to re-check the details and scrolled down to the fine print to see that it had expired a mere two days ago.

Blerg.

It was totally not Shutterfly's fault, and I still ended up making some cute Happy Birthday cards with Freddy on the front. I'll probably also order more prints at some point, too. But, for now...blerg.

I hate it when I'm reminded that I'm not perfect. ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wrapping Up Christmas


Well, we had a lovely Christmas in Alabama.

I was so taken with the trees above in the window of one of Tuscumbia's downtown shops. I would probably have a pink tree if Jason would let me get away with it.

Here was another nice one from our favorite stop, Coldwater Books.

And the hubs perusing there. Some good finds this year...

Below you'll see Fred checking out our Snoopy collection and the amazement and confusion of a Davis Christmas morning...






Jason and I were being silly in the last two and swapped gifts. He was very pleased with his purple high heel ornament, and I loved my giant flannel shirt.

We celebrated Christmas and New Year's (and Alabama football) with my best pal Shelley and her husband when we got back...
Long lost sisters, I tell you. We both got each other houndstooth blankets this year. Mine has been oh-so-warm on these cold winter {yet still snowless} nights.

OK, that was Christmas! Back to the 2011 posts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wearing Wednesday: Black and Blue {and Belted} All Over

Two of the lovely, stylish blogs I like {Style Rookie and What I Wore} have inspired me this year to be a little more experimental on the fashion front.

Now, experimental for me is still pretty tame. I'm a librarian, but I'm also a manager--so a higher level of professional dress is expected.

But two things I want to try in the new year are incorporating more color {I wear A LOT of black} and more belts {because it's nice to remember that I have a waist}...
And I have really enjoyed this outfit today!

Just enough blue peeking out in the tights and the layered shirt to make me smile {and not look like a Smurf}, and the belt reminded me to keep my stomach in and stand up straight {in a good way, not in an I-can't-breathe way}.

On another note, Fred is not a fan of the ol' photo booth. Look how disapproving he seems. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thoughts of an Alabama Christian

I was checking my email after checking the national championship score last night and found my pastor's blog. It kind of hit me like...well, a linebacker...because this is something that I've been marinating on during the last football season.


I grew up in a Bama house, and that meant not only pulling for Alabama but also pulling against Auburn and Tennessee. Those rivalries have always been strong and, at different times in my life, pretty personal. But something felt wrong this season about the level of trash talk, the intense emotions these games stirred. I know for a lot of people (my calm, cool husband, for one), it's only a game and all in good fun. But it stopped being fun for me and started being something I was convicted about but couldn't pin down...until tonight.


Here's some of what Dr. Dean wrote...{emphasis and italics my additions}

Following Jesus requires obedience to Him...But Jesus also knows that something in our sinful selves will always resist going His way. He knows that when we determine we will follow him it will require denying ourselves...Though over time some of the battles with self-denial will grow easier, other desires may doggedly hold on...


Contrary to our wishes, there never is a time when God stops confronting our sinful self with His righteous commands. We may reach a level of maturity where some commands of Jesus no longer require a great battle...But having overcome that habit the Holy Spirit may begin to put His finger on another area of disobedience you had never discovered. It may relate to anger or lust or doing good things to be seen by others...or our attitudes during football season. Rest assured that God will be about this pruning work in our lives until the day we die.

Rejoice when the demands of Jesus call you to deny yourself in a certain area. Know that in that event Christ is pulling you more tightly into His orbit to where everything in your life--even football--revolves around Him.

So {deep breath}, congratulations to Auburn. Let's see if I can be a bit nicer this fall.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Let It Snow! {Again, Please!}

This is what I was hoping the outside would look like when I woke up this morning...
Nope. Our flurries from yesterday didn't stick.

What's all this then? Oh, this was Alabama on Christmas Day.

And I hear you guys have even more now!

Send some back our way!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Resolutions: 2011 Style

The idea of destinations worked really well last year for me, even though I didn't reach all my "goals." {But that's the beauty of destinations, oui? The journey is just as much a part of it.}

I'm doing something similar this year, taking a look at what my life looks like and what I want it to look like. I still like the spirituality, responsibility, creativity, relationships, physical, and fun divisions, but I'm thinking a little more holistically this year. For instance, if I'm physically fit, I'm more likely to feel up to investing some time and energy in relationships.

I'm continuing to try to live more simply and cleanly, too, and cultivate good habits. So, each month, I'm going to alternate between dropping a bad habit and starting a good one. {They say it usually takes about three weeks, right? Easy, I'm sure.}

So, for January, I'm giving up sweets. I'm not being legalistic about it. I'm definitely still eating fruit {Fit for Life disciple}, ketchup, even honey. But I'm nixing the cookies, cakes, Little Debbies, candy bars, shots of syrup into my coffee...you get the idea. It's been a week, and it's really been OK so far.

I've missed my nightly Yoplait dessert {Who knew the "good for you" stuff had high fructose corn syrup?}, but sugar-free popsicles are an acceptable substitute. And I have a feeling the weekends will be tough because we tend to splurge then.

But I'm hoping to feel better and, honestly, be a little slimmer by the end of the month. If so, I'll have a treat {perhaps a caramel sundae from McD's?} and continue with the sugar-free life in February.

Censoring Huck Finn, Predicting the Future, and the Demise? of Delicious

Happy 2011! {We're all agreed on pronouncing it twenty-eleven now, correct? Two-thousand-eleven is such a mouthful.} Several noteworthy things going on the literary world, so let's start the year with some quick links!

Dear NewSouth Books, just what do you think you're doing messing with Huckleberry Finn? Why stop at removing offensive words? Why not just delete any plot lines that, although historically accurate and/or merely descriptive, you find offensive? Bah. You won't be getting my book business.

Almost as controversial...a couple of articles concerning the potential future of academic libraries...

A challenge for my fellow PhD students to really make that reference list pop!

Has everyone heard about the reported demise (and then refuted demise) of Delicious? Caused a lot of conversation on the listserv I subscribe to, and it seems that many are backing up their bookmarks just in case.
Anyone tried out any of these?
Google Bookmarks {Google really is taking over the world, isn't it?}

Finally, congrats to one of my very favorite librarians--Nancy Pearl--on being named Library Journal's 2011 Librarian of the Year! Brilliant!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Winter Wind Hymnal

I've been working on my Winter playlist. Some of these made the cut simply because of their names; others have snow on the album covers; and others just feel cold to me.


But I'm not as excited about this one as I have been the other two for some reason. Perhaps more Fleet Foxes would help...

  • Auld Lang Syne-Straight No Chaser (a nod to my a capella loving hubby)
  • Belfast, Believe, and Cold-Elton John
  • The Box-Johnny Flynn
  • Cold Cold Heart-Norah Jones
  • December-Norah Jones
  • Dindi-Allison King
  • The Downeaster "Alexa"-Billy Joel
  • Here Comes the Sun-The Beatles
  • House-Elton John
  • It Never Snows (in Charlotte)-Philmont
  • Latitude-Elton John
  • Leningrad-Billy Joel
  • Please-Elton John
  • Running on Ice-Billy Joel
  • Scandinavian Skies-Billy Joel
  • Snowbird-Anne Murray
  • Snowglobe-Allison King
  • Song for a Winter's Night-Sarah McLachlan and The Full Moon Ensemble versions
  • Spell-Allison King
  • White Winter Hymnal-Fleet Foxes (a close second favorite)
  • Winter Night-Little & Ashley
  • Winter White-A Fine Frenzy
  • Winter Wind-The Full Moon Ensemble (absolute favorite on the list)
  • Yellow-Coldplay

Any I'm missing?


And, on another note, do those of you who use Google Reader find that it makes you lazier about commenting? I've read several really nice posts lately, and I've wanted to comment but been all...ergh, I have to click on the blog link, then on the comments...


Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. I resolve to do better about that this year. More about my other 2011 resolutions coming soon.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Birthday Randomness

So I'd been working on a post for awhile but never could get it to come out right. {Ever happen to you?} And, anyway, it basically came down to...let's all be nice to each other...so there you go. Some excellent advice for the New Year.

Let's catch up. In December, I took a picture of pretty trees...

...celebrated my birthday with lots of free food...

...a lot...

...a lot a lot...
{and this might have been the best sandwich ever. I seriously talked about it for days.}

...got some birthday boots!

...and took a funny pro-PETA picture of Jason

We also went to Alabama and played a lot of Mario Kart. But enough about us...how've you been?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

On a Facebreak

Taking a break from Facebook for awhile. Here's some of what I wrote there to explain why...


In a lot of ways, 2010 was an awesome year. We've continued to see God provide for us and guide us in amazing ways, and we're ready to see how we can serve him this year, too. Jason finished his master's, and we both started pursuing our doctorates. I've taken on some challenging, but exciting, new responsibilities at work, and Fred learned to roll over. :) But in the midst of all the work and school stuff, I got pretty overwhelmed.


A new friend (hi Ms. Leah!) wrote to me a few months ago, "Sometimes when the schedule's too full, it's because we are trying to shoe-horn in new stuff into an old routine. Sometimes it's easier to go with a new routine. Some of what might have been necessary before may not be now." And, since I read that, I just haven't been able to get this idea of a new routine out of my head.


I can't do anything about my work and class schedules, but I can reevaluate how I spend my time outside of there and, maybe equally importantly, what I spend my time thinking about and where I pour my energy. Time and energy have become valuable commodities, and I really want to use them wisely and in ways that please God.


Facebook has been awesome and fun, and I love connecting with friends. But I just need to do that in different ways right now. So I won't be around here for awhile (with the exception of maintaining the library's page and, of course, I'll still get direct messages in my email if you want to get in touch that way).


If you do want to stay connected with me, here's how. Even though it's become old school, I'm a rockstar emailer. Also, I'm reevaluating all of this social media stuff, but I'm planning to keep on blogging and stay on Twitter (@MrsMcBookworm) for now.


So I'm not trying to be legalistic or hibernate or anything...I'm just hoping I can create a new wineskin for this new stage of life that God has placed me in. And I thought I'd give you a heads-up about it.


Thanks for reading, and best wishes for 2011!

Read from the beginning...