Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Books and Food

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1.  Finally making some progress in Dreams of Gods and Monsters.  And by progress, I mean I read for over two hours and finished only 10% of the book.  It's a long one!

2.  A work errand that will take me out of the office today.  Who knows if I'll come back!

3.  Chocolate chip muffins for breakfast.  I might as well have had cake, but it was yummy.

4.  Green tea with honey.  Every morning Doug and I make our tea-his black with sugar, mine green with honey-and about once a week he asks me if I need the sugar to which I reply "No, I use honey."  A simple no would suffice, but I like to be specific.

5.  Plenty to do today at work, so just keep busy.  Not only does it make the time go faster, but if you're busy, people are less likely to bother you.  I hope anyway.

I'm starting to regret not taking that cataloging class more seriously in grad school.  I could have made a great cataloger, sitting in my cubicle, obsessively entering my MARC records, getting angry with the children's librarians for wanting a Theo LeSieg book in with the Dr. Seuss books, rarely emerging from my haze of metadata for anything other than coffee or more paper clips.  Sounds like bliss!

But, alas, I am not a cataloger today.  Maybe tomorrow!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Country Music and Reading

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1.  American Honey by Lady Antebellum on the radio this morning.  It's a great song to have stuck in your head all day.

2.  A clean house, not including the dog hair.  It's high shedding season, so dog hair abounds, but the bathrooms are spotless!

3.  Reading time at lunch today.  Finishing up a great little review book for Booklist about a covert chef who unwittingly becomes a restaurant reviewer.

4.  I can already tell that there is a root beer float in my future.  Or Dairy Queen if it's not pouring when I get out of work.

5.  If everything gets to be too much today, I'm just going to open my Kindle app and do some denial reading.  I'll be in denial that real work needs to be done, that dinner needs to be made, and that the Southern Charm Reunion is on tonight.  Well, let's be real, I'll still watch that!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five Things about Student Evaluations to Brighten Your Day

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way
Student Evaluation Edition!

So, let's say I work in Sheldon Cooper's department at Direction State University.  Go Fighting Mascots!  Do you love my cheeky attempt at vagueness?

Anyway, it's course evaluation season and it's a little known fact that when students write down their course evaluation comments, there's a secretary locked in a dark basement typing up those comments for faculty to read later.  Maybe I'm not in a dark basement, and maybe I'm not locked away, but these comment sheets are kinda my life for two weeks straight and it's very entertaining!

1.  Smiley faces.  You would not believe how many smileys I get on these evaluations!  I'm no master at emojis, but apparently the students are.  And I include them…all of them.  Which brings me to number 2.

2.  Drawings.  Yes, students will draw pictures on their evaluation comments.  And these pictures have nothing to do with the subject.  I've seen a whale, sailboat, wizard's dual, cat, dozens of stick people, and a tiny portrait of the professor that was actually quite good.  Again, I include these!  I'll pull images from the internet, or draw the stick people in paint.  I was really tempted to scan the tiny portrait, but I settled for a smiley with a mustache.

3.  Exclamation points and other methods of showing intensity.  Again, if a students uses 8 exclamation points, I'm using 8 exclamation points.  And all the underlining, and sometimes caps lock, although I don't like doing that since it feels like I'm yelling.  Also, some people just write in capital letters, which brings us to number 4.

4.  Handwriting.  Oh my, our schools are not spending enough time on penmanship.  Most of the time I can figure out the sloppy word from context, but there are other times that I just have to type what I see, and it usually ends up like this:  gi$$henp.  Your guess is as good as mine!

5.  Funny comments.  Then there are the comments that make me laugh out loud.  These are usually comments to express how much they liked the course or what not, but just put in funny ways like #madgenuis #yolo.  I had to explain that one to a faculty member.  Another memorable one "You're full of win like Charlie Sheen".  Yeah, that totally makes sense.  But the winner was last year when I flipped over an evaluation and saw "Well hello there good looking".  Yes, an evaluation tried to pick me up.  I'm waiting for the day when an evaluation says "How you doin'?"  I might have to quit my job because it just can't get better than that!

That's my day!  Lots of interesting expressions of gratitude, smileys, drawings, and bad handwriting in my future.  Hope your Friday is filled with a similar amount of silliness!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So much support

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1.  Lasagna for dinner tonight that a friend brought by.

2.  Supportive cards from Doug's fraternity brothers.  It's hard to imagine that the guys I sang off-key Bon Jovi with in college could turn into such caring people.  It's amazing how we've all grown up.

3.  Season finale of Souther Charm on my DVR.  I still love trashy reality TV.  Maybe I haven't grown up that much.

4.  Tracking my packages online.  Call me a nerd, but I love tracking my shipments online!  I mean I love my Amazon Prime that gets my purchases to me in two days, but there's something kinda fun in seeing my dress travel through Nashville, then to Illinois, then see it delivered--YEA!

5.  My husband.  Forgive me while I get sappy, but he's amazing.  I know that having children is going to change our dynamic, so I'm soaking in all the goodness now, but I think the real good stuff is yet to come.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Mostly Sleeping

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1.  Beautiful Easter weekend.  Who would have thought that after this winter I would actually be able to wear an Easter dress to Easter service?  What a great weekend!

2.  Sleeping with the window open.

3.  Spring showers.  The kind where it's kinda warmish outside and you can sit inside and just watch it rain.  Lovely.

4.  Lunch with a friend

5.  Sleeping in your own bed.

Well, that's two brightening things that have to do with sleeping.  I'm a girl that loves my beauty rest!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fridays and Field and Stream

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

It's Friday, which is something to brighten your day all by itself!

1.  Bright sunny days.

2.  This too cute due date card pouch from Out of Print.

3.  Pictured above, the new issue of Field and Stream.  There are several funny things about this.  First of all, I don't subscribe to Field and Stream.  Somehow, we've been getting a gift subscription for well over a year.  But my dad hunts, so every time I see him I pass along the issues I have on hand.  This one strikes me as particularly funny because I think there's a good chance that my daughter could end up looking like the cover model if my dad has anything to say about it.  He's already shopping for a pink gun and bow and arrow set.

4.  Visits to the farm.

5.  Short work day.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Short Stories and Sharing

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1.  It's Thursday, so that means Short Story Thursday!  Author Jacob Tomsky emails you one public domain short story every week on Thursdays.  I like to think of it as my weekly shot of high brow literature.  Most of the time the stories are rather bleak, but sometimes they are pretty funny or unusual.  Plus, Tomsky gives a commentary that is often plagued with profanity and sarcasm, so that brings the high brow literature right down to my level.  If you want to sign up, check out his website, but seriously, if profanity bothers you, check out a different blog.

2.  Thursdays are also my resistance training days.  It's just 10 minutes of hanging out with a grad assistant and chatting while doing some basic stretches, but it breaks up the morning.

3.  Want to know the best part about maternity pants?  There's no zipper so you never have to wonder if you zipper is down!  Just one less thing to think about.

4.  Potato chips and cottage cheese.  You might think this is a crazy pregnancy thing, but I've been using cottage cheese as a dip for my chips since I was like five.  It's delicious.

5.  Doug's reaction to the food in our fridge lately.  I've been buying lots of pre-cut fruit and random juice and other such things that I don't normally buy.  And Doug's been asking permission to eat or drink them.  Last week he even said "Wow, who's root beer is that?"  Um, ours.  It's our house, our fridge.  But he knows the rules of ownership in marriage:  What's mine is mine, what's yours is mine and what's ours is mine, so he asks.  I've assured him that he can have whatever he wants in the fridge though.

That's what's making me smile today!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Family Pics and Girls Night

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1.  This picture of my mom holding my big baby belly.  Her seeing my baby belly for the first time this weekend was special like when my dad walked me down the aisle at my wedding.  

2.  Random old Regina Spektor song on the radio this morning.  I love a random happy song to start the day.

3.  Lucy and Tiffany girl's night!  Doug is tied up with meetings (because life is tough when you are saving the world one rural water treatment system at a time) so the dog and I will be enjoying non-stop Bravo tonight!

4.  Sunny skies and green grass.

5.  Root beer floats--it's the one thing this pregnant girl is craving.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Money Palms and Monkeys

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1.  The money palm on my desk.  It's growing like crazy in absolutely no natural light with no water!  I'm taking this little beauty with me when I go on maternity leave.

2.  Facebook conversations with an old friend.  It doesn't matter how you tell someone how you feel as long as you say it.

3.  Snuggling in a big bed all by myself!  Or with my hubby, or puppy, or someday my baby.  Basically, I love my bed.

4.  The way Lucy runs into a room when you say banana.  Or just open a banana.  There's a reason why her nickname is monkey.

5.  Hugs.  That should make the list everyday.

Monday, April 14, 2014


I have this old GPS system, you know the one.  Every time you take a road or turn that the GPS wasn't expecting, it says "Recalculating" in that annoying robot voice.

Fun side note, the voice on our GPS is called Samantha, which really helps when you are angry at the GPS for not having an avoid-the-ghetto option.  It's much more effective to yell at Samantha instead of a little black box.

My apologies to my friend Samantha, but since I call you Sam, it's all good.

Another fun side note, our GPS was maced by sunscreen last year and doesn't really work anymore, but I needed the recalculating reference, so please excuse the fact that a) I have a non-functioning GPS, b) Samantha now sounds really wonky, and c) this post is going no where.

All this to say, my life is recalculating right now.  Some how the directions I was using got lost, or were wrong, and now I find myself in a totally strange situation.  Samantha is not helping me, rather she just keeps repeating "Recalculating".  I get it Samantha-I'm lost!

And when you're lost, you might turn down the radio so you can think and get yourself even more stressed out because frankly when you're lost and lonely, you need to be singing along to Ke$ha.  You can't take life seriously when you are sining along to Ke$ha.  So instead of metaphorically turning down the radio, I'll be cranking it full volume and enjoying the ride.  It's gonna get dark, it's gonna be a long detour, but eventually, I'll be back to normal.

Are you really still reading this?  If so, give yourself a pat on the back, because I'm actually reaching my point!

Instead of book reviews and librariany stuff I'll be posting my 5 Things to Brighten Your Day for each day, because despite being lost, this little pregnant lady needs to stay positive.  I honestly just won't have a lot of time for reading in the foreseeable future, which is a bummer, but that's okay.  Plus, I'm not sure that the epic battle of Dreams of Gods and Monsters is so appropriate right now.  I'm in a Liesl and Po kinda mood.

So, here's today's list:

Five Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS That May Get In Your Way

1.  Pink Cardigan.  How can you seriously have a bad day when wearing bright pink?
2.  Green Tea….it's this pregnant girl's coffee
3.  Baby kicks.  I'm in that sweet spot of feeling the kicks without being hurt by them.
4.  Sleepy beagles.  Lucy is adorable when she's sleepy, mostly because it's hard to be muddy and loud when sleeping.  I'll probably feel the same way about my children.
5.  Family pictures.  We got some great shots this weekend and I promise to get them printed and framed soon.  I might actually become a picture person.

So, for the time being, check in and see what's making me happy instead of children's book reviews.  I'm guessing that more people can relate to random happy things than a 30+ year old reading children's books anyway.

Stay Happy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

But You Knew That Already

I interrupt this reading of Dreams of Gods and Monsters for an important announcement.  Well, it was important a month ago.  The results of the 2014 Monarch, Bluestem and Caudill have been released!  Now, let's see how I stacked up.

The 2014 Monarch Award Winner:  The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray
My Pick:  I Wanna A New Room by Karen Orloff Kaufman
The Verdict:  I didn't do so hot.  I gave Gingerbread Man 10-1 odds and 12 place in my bracket.  The rhyme didn't work correctly for me, and that's a major deal breaker.  New Room took the number 9 spot, which I find a little surprising.  I would say that mostly the books fell in the range that I thought they would as far as Top, Middle, and Bottom, with the big exception being the winner.

The 2014 Bluestem Award Winner:  Wonder by R. J. Palacio
My Pick:  Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The Verdict:  As far as the real winner and my pick, I wasn't that far off, but holy cow, I was dead wrong on almost everything else!  I thought the Bluestem would skew younger, which is why I had Wonder at number 3.  But Wonder benefited from what I deem The Older Sibling Effect--the older sibling is reading the book, so the younger reader wants to read it too!  But really all the great non-fiction or quicker chapter books that I thought would own the top half fell to the bottom.  That's something to remember for next year:  Bluestem readers are a savvy bunch.

The 2014 Caudill Award Winner:  Wonder by R. J. Palacio
My Pick:  Wonder by R. J. Palacio
The Verdict:  I didn't have to read all 20 books to know that Wonder was going to win (in fact, I only read three).  Wonder is the book of the moment, for very good reason too.  And seeing it win the Bluestem and Caudill, and countless other regional awards means that this is a book that is here to stay. Like I've said in the past, if students are reading it for fun anyway, it's a guaranteed win.

With the 2014 award season behind me, I need to start thinking about 2015.  I already did a little recap of my 2015 reading progress here, but just in case you want to jump to the master lists, check out the 2015 Monarch, Bluestem, and Caudill lists.

Happy Reading!

(I will now return you to your regularly scheduled reading of Dreams of Gods and Monsters)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Thought This Day Would Never Come

Just in case you are new here, my favorite book series is wrapping up today.  It's a bittersweet time, but I'm very exciting to get home tonight and tuck into Dreams of Gods and Monsters!  

Here's a round-up of posts leading up to this momentous occasion:

Impatiently waiting for Days of Blood and Starlight
Days Release Excitement
Days Review
Fan Girl Jewelry
Book a Vacation to a DSB Location
Night of Cake and Puppets Review
DSB Fan Girl
Impatiently Waiting for Dreams of Gods and Monsters
Dreams Teaser

Or, just click the Fan Girl label and you'll be led to all of my Daughter of Smoke and Bone related posts.

So far this day is living up to all of my expectations:  It's spring-ish outside, my five year wedding anniversary on Friday was lovely, I made it through three big work events in five days without punching anyone, I got to Skype (via sonogram) with my little biscuit who is growing every day, and my favorite book arrived on my Kindle at 11:48 pm last night without a hitch.  Had I known it would hit my Kindle before midnight, I would have waited up, but this little biscuit likes to sleep, so mama had to get to bed.  My husband was actually a little surprised that I wasn't going to wait up, like I might have in my younger days.

I'm afraid that this will be another slow week for posting, but at least this time it is because I will be reading myself into a tizzy, which of course I will then share with you.  It's seriously taking all of my will-power to not download this book onto my computer and spend all day reading covertly.  It will be hard, but I can do it!

Happy Reading!! (and if you're reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters, call me in two days and we'll discuss!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What to Expect When You're Expecting

What to Expect When You're Expecting
By Heidi Murkoff
Workman Publishing, 2008
Audience: Parents to Be
Publication Date: April 10, 2008
ISBN:  9780761148579

This is the real reason why very little is getting done on the blog right now.  I'm pregnant with my first little biscuit and due in July.  More on that in a minute, but first, let's talk about the book.

In case you're unfamiliar, What to Expect has become the end-all be-all for pregnant girls.  It breaks down your pregnancy by week and tells you what's going on, plus gives great advice without being terrifying.  I honestly pick up this book every couple days, just to find out if a symptom I have is normal or read ahead and find out what's coming up.  I've even read through the labor section, just to get a little information so I don't scare myself all at once.  

And unlike so many "mommy blogs" out there, What to Expect isn't about scaring you, and telling you the "truth" in terms that just make you want to crawl in bed.  Trust me, don't click on those links on Pinterest that claim to tell you the truth about pregnancy and parenting.  I'm convinced that the mommies behind those blogs just want to freak you out and haze you into parenthood.  More often than not, their blogs read like the rantings of unfulfilled women who are unhappy with their life choices.  Personally, I'm happy with my life choices, so I promise not to fill your head with pregnancy horror stories.  I'd much rather talk about books.

But not right now.  Right now I'll tell you how I'm doing with this little person.  So far I'm over the halfway point and doing great.  No morning sickness, no real cravings, no problems!  My biggest hurdles so far have been tiredness and nasal congestion.  The first couple months I was exhausted, but your body is doing a lot of work building this little biscuit and it's nest, so that's to be expected.  Then came the winter to kill all winters and I had colds on top of colds.  Bummer.  My nose still feels full and stuffy most of time, but again, I'm told that's pretty normal, so it's a weird symptom, but not a problematic one.  

The one thing that's crazy about all of this is the diet.  No deli meat means no turkey sandwiches and no Jimmy John's and that was kinda my life.  Also, sorry to say this, I was one of those weird girls that would regularly forget to eat, so being hungry and picking up extra calories every day has been a little difficult.  I know so many people out there that would like to slap me for saying that, but it's true.  You can't gorge yourself on chips and cupcakes, you have to think healthy, so it's been crazy amounts of yogurt and protein bars and fruit and milk.  All good stuff, but I have to really plan ahead on eating.  It's just different for me.  

Giving up caffeine and alcohol was no problem.  I'm not a big alcohol drinker anyway and I swing between coffee and green tea, so when I got pregnant, I went with green tea (and decaf lattes every now and then for a treat).  But the biggie is coming--no hot dogs!  All summer with no hot dogs!  That makes me sad.  

And just in case you think this is an April Fool's joke, here's the proof: 

That's me and my beagle Lucy curled up together last week.  See that baby bump, it's for real!  Someone commented that Lucy didn't look too happy, but she is just weird about getting her picture taken.  She was very cuddly and sweet moments before this photo was snapped.  She actually lays across my belly every night and I can't wait to see what happens when the baby really kicks her!

And that's why I've been a little slow on the blogging lately.  Between being all pregnant and stuff and reading for Booklist reviews, I haven't had much time for pleasure reading, other than Sweet Valley High of course.  You'll most likely see a lighter blog schedule from here on out, with more picture book reviews, but that's fine.  My life's changing, so this part of my life will change too.  

Stay tuned for more book reviews, pictures, and other news as I take on being a mom.  Plus, you know I'll be posting all about reading to my little person--it's already what I'm looking forward to most.

Happy Reading!