Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas is just about done....and it's not even December 1

So. last week Fred's parents were in town.

We never have company for the holidays and let me tell you that even with the stress of having extra people in the house, it was nice. It felt more festive. What are the holidays without complaints of in-laws sleeping in your bed?

But here is the cool thing:

It isn't even December 1st yet and guess what? The HOUSE IS DECORATED! Inside and out!

Our traditional Santa Countdown Chimney is up in the kitchen where it always is and we haven't even pulled a peg yet.

And not to gloat or anything, but all of the gifts I need to purchase and ship? It's already done.

Who knows, I may even get to bake cookies in advance and send out Christmas Cards before the week of Christmas!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

NINE days until school starts!

I know. I'm not in school anymore, right?

Why am I counting down the days?

Welcome to the life of a public librarian. We work through the summer. Not only do we work, but we work hard.

Yes, I know. There isn't a whole lot of heavy lifting involved in being a librarian. Oh, don't get me wrong...those book carts can get pretty heavy and once, this summer, I had to carry two boxes containing 500 heavy medals* from one side of the building to the other. I kid you not, my arms were shaking for the rest of the day.

But the hard work I speak of is keeping your composure and public face on all day. Every day. All summer long. Even after repeatedly pointing out the display of Wimpy Kid books and explaining why the performer series is for kids and if we allowed parents to attend, a child would not be able to see the fill in the blank.

I love people and love my job but after three months of heavy usage, I am looking forward to my friends getting to spend more time with my school counterparts!

And to be honest, I can feel my forced smile starting to show. No sense in frightening the children...

*Not heavy metal - no lead in the library, although I think we have some Metallica CDs in our music collection.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Tree Dies in Grapevine

We are sad to say that our lovely backyard oak didn’t survive last summer’s drought, so we are inviting friends with fond memories of its lush shade join us for a final celebration underneath its branches.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pete the Cat and His Four GROOVY Buttons by Eric Litwin

Illustrated by James Dean. (I can't make this stuff up!)

So even though I work in a library and am surrounded by books all the time, I am still surprised every now and then by something I missed.

Case in point...Pete the Cat books. I don't know why, but I "missed the boat" on this book. Better late than never? Let's hope so!

So, as I mentioned, I didn't really pay attention to the first couple of books in this series, but I picked up the latest one, PETE THE CAT AND HIS FOUR GROOVY BUTTONS. I laughed so hard and then thought...Holy Hannah, the kids are going to LOVE this at storytime.

Then I thought...Hey...I can make a flannel board out of this to use WITH the story.

So I did. Here is my "Pete," who I drew in bits on separate pieces of construction paper, and then glue together, and laminated.

So anyway...Pete is a cool cat who wore his favorite shirt with four GROOVY buttons. He loved his shirt so much he sang a song about it. "My buttons, my buttons, my four groovy button..." but one popped off.

Here is the deep part: Did Pete cry? No. Buttons come, and buttons go.


That right there spoke to me.

Especially in light of recent changes.

So the funny part of the story is that I was going to sing the song as part of storytime, but I made up my own tune in my head.

Boy was I wrong.

The tune the author came up with was VERY different. And so much fun.

Here is the video:

Now while I am sorry to not have noticed Pete, groovy buttons or no, before, I now get to discover what so many people already know!

Changes...they are coming.

With the news that our old blog spot is going away, there is a mad scramble to find a new blogging home.

I confess that while I have had this spot for a while, I so rarely use it. I confess it isn't as easy to use and I guess they have recently changed the format, so that I now have to re-learn the dashboard.

Maybe that's a good thing.

While there are good routines to get into, like exercise and writing, there is always something positive about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.

My husband, upon reading this will smirk and call me Mary-bland in his head. He will snort and say that I HATE change. And I do. But even I am smart enough to know that change is inevitable and will come whether I welcome it or not.

Just trying to go with the flow folks.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Does anyone have some Advil?

If you are a public librarian in Texas in the summer, you probably have pain relieving capsules with you. If you have pain relieving capsules with you and you leave them in your car, they will probably melt. If you have melted pain relieving capsules, you will not be able to take the pain relieving capsules, just photos of their molten beauty.
Don’t take photos of their molten beauty…
Too late.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

PS....It is really quiet in the house.

Happy Father's Day.

I am thinking today of my wonderful husband and wishing him a happy Father's Day.  Being the good dad that he is, he is out in the middle of some lake along the Canadian-Minnesota border, canoeing, portaging and camping with his sons.

Fred and I have been together for a long time. As with any long term relationship there have been many ups and downs.  Even during down phases I always respected and admired Fred for the amazing father he is to our children...and the good example he is to our friends, and our sons' friends. 

PS....Doesn't Fred look good? He lost 30 lbs to get ready for this trip and no longer has to take medication for his blood sugar! I kinda hate him...but am proud and happy for him too.



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bacon, Bourbon and Peanut Butter Cookies
Any cookie that has, as a step: "Crumble the bacon, remove (eat) any chewy bits" is good enough for me.

Now I just need to buy Bourbon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rockin' the hat!

Fred doesn't like the photo, so sorry, but it is so rare that we get one of all of us together...and let's face it...I WILL NEVER GRADUATE AGAIN!

Monday, May 7, 2012

What I just finished reading

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

From GoodReads:

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

From me:  Yes...water horses called the Capel Ishka.  When I first heard about the story someone said "sea horses" that eat flesh and I kinda chuckled.  Really?  Sea Horses? 

Nah, not the kind you see in the aquarium, but the kind of ancient Irish legend, which I hadn't heard of until now.  Here is more:

The writing is just SO DAMN GOOD.  Seriously. I listened to it on audio and when I wasn't listening I was reading.  There were sentences that I would stop and reread.  One line mentioned a woman's green rubber boots "unimpressed with our mud."

If you get a chance....pick it up.  It is labeled a teen book, but don't be put off.  Check it out. 

If you get a chance to listen to it, please note that the music used was written and performed by the author.  Kinda cool.

Ah...I was looking for the music included and found it here on this book trailer (commercial for the book)


What I am reading...

This is the third book by the author.  The second book is a companion book, and this is sort of a sequel to the first.

So far, it is amazing..even though I can't seem to get enough time to finish it.  Here is the blurb from GoodReads:

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.(less)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The great menu debate

So...we are having a party.  A graduation party for ME! 

In light of all of my many, many years in college, I decided I wanted to have a Red Solo Cup Party. 

I don't know if this kind of party needs an explanation, but just in case, I will supply one.  

When you are a poor college student (like Fred and I were/are for so many years) you attend many parties with kegs of beer, and drink from cheap red plastic cups.  The red cup was made iconic by this country song:


You get it right?  It's ironic!

Anyhoo...we are going to have a keg of beer and play beer pong and be a little rowdy. least I am going to be a little rowdy!

Now, here is the debate.  What food to serve. The party is at 7 pm.  Graduation starts at 2, so we will probably not be home until 5.   

When Fred and I were in school (the first time...back when we met) we would attend sorority fundraisers called "Beef and Beer" which was a keg and hot roast beef sandwiches. 

I suggested we just call and have pizza delivered. 

Fred says I deserve better than that and wants to have catered food brought in from our favorite Mexican restaurant. 

Now Fred's idea is a good one since the food will be all done and ready to serve, but it costs the most. 

The hot roast beef sandwiches would be cheaper...maybe.

Pizza...well. There's that.

So...if you were going to a college day themed party...what would you serve? Or expect to find?





"I am not a fan of Office Depot," or "How one hour can turn your day upside down."

Well, I think I mentioned that I had to revise my dissertation's Table of Contents, right?  I needed to add dots.

I finally got around to doing that last night, since I was going to drop the corrected pages (two copies each on resume paper, and one on plain) to the Graduate School this morning. 

I corrected the pages and then uploaded the files to the Office Depot website for printing.  I figured I would pick them up in the morning on my way to school.

Now my school isn't necessarily close by. It takes about 45 minutes to drive there, so I try to be efficient and multi-task while there. was my plan for the day. 

8 am - Pick up paper from Office Depot

8:15 - Pick up flowers for my professors

9 - Arrive in Denton and the Graduate School.  Drop off paper and drop off flowers.

9:30 Meet with fellow librarian regarding some TLA* stuff

11 - drive back to work.

Now, Fred will tell you that I like to plan things to the nth degree.  He is pretty much correct about this.  I do like to plan.  That doesn't mean that I can't roll with it when needed, but it makes me cranky.

This is what my day actually looked like:

8 - arrive at Office Depot.  Are my pages printed?  Nope.  Is the computer that contains the files, or the printer even turned on or fired up? No.

9:10 - leave Office Depot, cursing their name.

9:12 - Call my 9:30 apt and tell them I will be 30 mins late

9:30 - when I should have been done with most of my day and at a meeting, I leave Central Market with flowers.

9:50 - curse the truck in front of me for driving 10 miles BELOW the speed limit on a two lane road.  The speed limit is 65!!!!! He was doing 50!  This is TEXAS...everyone drives 15 miles faster than the speed limit, not slower!  MOVE!!!!

10:01 - arrive at meeting.  Have a really good jalapeno biscuit which makes me smile and makes me want to drive back to Denton to have another.

11:10 - leave meeting and head to University.

11:30 - all pages and flowers dropped off and back on the road to work. 

12:10 (10 minutes late) I arrive at work. 

From all the stress and rushing I have a killer headache.

And I want another jalapeno biscuit.

*TLA.  - Texas Library Association.  I am going to be talking about this a lot.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Actual email sent from our son's Physics teacher:

Mr. Follis,
Yesterday Fred came to class and told me "I was going to do my homework... but then I made pancakes". I understand the importance of a delicious and nutritious breakfast, but next time I ask that he please share!... and do the homework.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On a lighter note....

So, I work in a public library that is HEAVILY used.  On a typical day every available table and study room is full to bursting with people using our electricity and free wi-fi.  We average 500-800 people visiting a day and considering how small our building is, well, it always feels full.

Right now, (not quite 3 p.m.) all of our public PCs are full and there is a waiting list.  A middle aged man just came in and powered up his laptop and while he was in the process of plugging in the power chord, before he even signed on, the DVD or streaming video he must have been most recently watching, started to play.

As I said, he hadn't unlocked the computer, so there was nothing was running on his screen, but the sounds of orgasm filled the air at high volume. 

When I approached the man and told him that this was not an acceptable noise level for the library he did the usual song and dance..."I have no idea what that was."

Uh, right.


Some sad news

(Retro blogging)
Yes, I know.  I passed.  Everything is supposed to be easy now right?
On the day I drove to drop off my final (at the time) copy of my paper to the graduate school, I got a text message that a friend had passed away.
I think I mentioned Donna in my blog before.  As a matter of fact, click here
Donna was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer nearly 10 years ago and at that time was given a year to live.  She had two small children at the time, 7 and 10.  Her goal was always to stick around to see them grow into young men and create memories along the way.
A photo slide show was part of her service and in photo after photo after photo we saw Donna with her friends and family with her ever present smile. 
I know not everything in life is about me, but this is my blog, so I will tell you what I am thinking.  How often do I shy away from the camera?  How often am I grumpy and distracted by things that I need to do and don't live in the moment. 
I need to be more in the moment.  I need to make more memories. I need to smile more.
Donna did these things.
Drew and Hunter are sweet boys and will grow into men who had this strong, smiling brave woman as their mother.  That is going to leave a mark.
So hug your kids, make memories and smile.

Monday, April 23, 2012

This is the song that doesn't end

Do you know this song?  It is one of the most annoying children's songs EVER.

This is the song that doesn't end, it just goes on and on my friend.  Someone started singing it not knowing what it was, and they'll be singing it forever just because...this is the song that doesn't end...(repeat)


I passed. 

End of story right?


There are conditions to passing.

One is that you make the recommended changes to your paper.

The changes they wanted?

1) Some editorial things.  A typo, a missed comma, etc.

2) Further explanation of a method...I had to add a paragraph explaining why the summative results of a decade can be different than the results of individual years.

3) Removing two tables.  I was fine with this because they were confusing data that my statistician threw in. They even confused me and my advisor had talked about removing these before the defense.

4) Creating ten new tables.  I created a screen shot in my defense that showed two tables that were on separate pages on the same ppt.  They liked those and wanted 10 of for each year. 

5) Create a new appendix with some additional information.

Wow. Writing it out like that sounds like a lot.  It really wasn't all that bad.

So, I made all of these changes.

All totalled it was 207 pages.

I needed two copies on resume paper and one copy on plain paper.  Too much for my poor little printer to handle, so I sent them off to Office Depot for printing.

Thankfully I had a 40% off coupon.  It still cost $72.00!!!

As soon as I transferred the files to OD, I called Fred and burst out into tears. 

He laughed a little at me. 

But it was the strangest thing.

It was the reaction I would have thought I had after the Defense, but here it was.


What am I going to do with all my time?

What was I thinking? 

I actually did it.

I actually finished it.

It was over.


I went to Office Depot to pick up the print outs and put them in order to turn in to the graduate school.

A little background here: There are so many rules and regulations about writing and printing your dissertation. 

Example: Margins.  1 1/2 margins on the left and top. 1 inch on the right and bottom.

EXCEPT...the first page of each chapter has to be 2 inches from the top, which can be done by adding three single spaced returns after the normal bizarre margins. numbers need to be 1 inch from the, very little text actually goes onto a page.

Even after I turn in my paper to the graduate school they can (and usually do) KICK IT BACK to the student for formatting revisions.'s not done.


As soon as I turned it in the Graduate School Advisor looked at one of the pages, the signature pager that my committee signed off on and said "That needs to be two inches from the top and it isn't, you are going to have to reprint this with correct margins and have them sign it again."

So...figuring that there would be further issues with format, I held off, waiting to see what else she found wrong with the paper.

She contacted me on Thursday.  I didn't add dots on my Table of Contents

Chapter 1..............................................................

and there were times when my subheading had longer names and took up two lines. In those cases I needed to put the page number on the second line of text. 

After the dots of course.

I now have to make those revisions.

Get the signature page resigned.

Then maybe it will be done.





Here's how it works. 

You give your committee your paper. 

They get to read it for two weeks.

Your defense date is posted and open to the public.

You convene before your committee and anyone else who is interested, where you present your paper. I did a Power Point that I will gladly send you if you have any interest.

The public is asked to leave.

Your committee grills you.

You leave the room.

They talk about you.

You come back in and

they tell you if you have passed or not.


For the record...I asked Fred not to attend.  It's just that your spouse knows you as a different person. 

You know Fred.  He doesn't listen.

Not only did he stay for my presentation, BUT, they didn't ask him to leave when the rest of the audience left. (Actually there were only two others present aside from Fred and the committee and they both left because they had classes to take or teach).

He got to watch them question me and then waited with me while the deliberated.

Presentation: 30 mins.

Questioning: Another 30

Waiting in the hallway: 5

Wrap up, including the edits they wanted: 25.

90 minutes.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

24 hours to go.

Video - Breaking News Videos from
Here's what some of our neighbors endured yesterday. We were right in the middle of it all, but are all fine. Some of Fred's planes got hail damage and were grounded, but house, cars, kids and pets are all ok.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why did River cross the road?

To get to the chicken mug!

Saw this and thought of you River!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

For River....

Look!  A chicken!



I am such a city girl.  Even after living in suburban TX for 17 years, I am still thrilled to see any kind of farm animal. 

While the guys were working on the project, I was distracted by the neighing of the horse, the chatter of chickens and the curiousity of the goats.

More photos to come, but I wanted to get this out to River...



Eagle Scout Project...first user!






While this young woman has been taking riding lessons at this ranch for quite some time, this is the first time she has ever been able to get onto the horse on her own.

I think the smile says it all.



Group photo.




Freddy's Eagle Scout Project

So while it seems like our family has been "all about me" the last couple couple of months, Fred has been busy working with the boys and Scouts; particularly getting Freddy ready for his Eagle Scout Project. 
Now the hard part about the project is that it has to be kid led.  Freddy had to initiate paperwork with "the council," email volunteers, get donations, etc.
Freddy, like many teenage boys is not all that proactive.  He needed reminding.  This job fell to Fred. 
Anyway...Freddy found a project working on a horse ranch in the next town over. Riding lessons are given there, with a focus on disabled persons.  The ranch is called Ride with Pride.
The project was to build a set of ramps so that people with disabilities could mount a horse; some independently, some with assistance.
Fred, Freddy and volunteers worked last weekend, cutting wood to size and giving it its first coat of paint. This past Sunday, they put the ramps together.  On one side there are steps leading to a platform where an able bodied person could assist from one side of the horse, and the ramp on the other for a wheelchair to be pushed or someone with limited mobility could climb with ease.
Here are a few shots....


Checking for fit....


(It still needs another coat of paint and handrails...)
The Crew:

More ranch photos and first use photos next.