Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reading List 2013

Here's an archived copy of my reading list for this year. I'll be keeping up the new list here: http://mlisunderstanding.blogspot.com/p/reading-list.html

I would recommend the bolded titles with enthusiasm, and I enjoyed the italicized titles but probably wouldn't read them again.

Goals Check-in: December

Here's my end-of-the-month wrap-up regarding my 2013 goals:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Freezer Inventory: December

Here's an update on what's in the freezers headed into the new year (beginning in January, these posts will move to my new blog):

Resolutions for 2014

2014 will be full of changes for my family! Adjusting to new things can be tough, especially large-scale things like where we live, work, and volunteer, and who shares our life with us. Instead of nailing down a bunch of quantifiable goals, I've decided to change things up. I have had long lists of resolutions for previous years, but 2014 bodes to be both simpler and fuller in several ways. So my new year's resolutions are less numerous, but larger in scale.
CC by BazaarBizarreSF (Flickr)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Food This Week 25

Wow - with a whirlwind of holiday with the family and some scheduling mishaps that seemed to shorten the event, I was happy to fall into my bed last night after dragging piles of presents inside from the car. Highlights this Xmas:
  • a red cloth coat
  • hers-and-hers Sonicare brushes
  • 4 large Kilner jars for pantry storage
  • a homeowner's journal, in anticipation of our upcoming status
  • a fancy rolling pin (for my sweetie)
  • roast beast dinner
  • turkey dinner
  • hiding all of my sister's presents and leading her to them on Xmas morning! (in the garage, on the bookshelf she asked for)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Read Aloud Roundup (December 2013)

This month's reading session came right before the school closes for winter break. I found some fun stories about Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Solstice to share -- while many of them had a special lesson about giving, sharing, believing, or learning, I wanted the focus to be on the enjoyment of the story. There were a few bonus books this month -- mostly nonfiction titles that are supplementary, and definitely relevant, but not the best for reading aloud. There were also some special requests from the teachers. I love filling those! It's nice feeling more connected to the classroom curricula, even though I'm not there in person to discuss these things.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Food This Week 24

Last week saw multiple restaurant meals and potlucks -- the social season is truly upon us! This week's menu includes big family meals at other people's houses, so the meals we eat at home will be fairly simple. Both of us have to work on the 23rd (and my wife works during the day on the 24th), but we'll be with my parents and sister and the extended family for Xmas Eve and Xmas Day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Food This Week 23

Today I was out in the world so much! I met coworkers for lunch (missed my direct bus, so took a different bus, a train, and a shuttle instead), came back home, and then set out for the eye doctor's a little later. I get to have laser vision correction in a few weeks, it turns out. Yay! Being able to see what (it seems like) everyone else can see! It's a present to myself. 'Tis the season, after all. This weekend is my wife's birthday; she shares it with a friend of ours, so there will be much celebrating! She always gets a separate birthday present from me -- no lumping it in with Xmas. It's driving her crazy that she can't open the box yet.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

1) A hippopotamus 2) my two front teeth 3) you

...also, a yacht. Really, that's not a lot.

CC by Visit Cape May (Flickr)

I think Santa must be aware of this year's struggles in the battle between Naughty and Nice (just at this moment, I fear I have overdue fines on a handful of library books I've held onto for too long), but he's a pretty easy-going guy. And the season is treating me well so far. I mean, despite lacking space to put a Christmas tree in our apartment tonight, I was given the opportunity to decorate not one, but FIVE trees elsewhere -- all in 24 hours. Sweet.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Food This Week 22

Is everyone surviving their Thanksgiving leftovers? We had more than I'd planned for, which is really a lovely worry. Extra food (a HUGE banana squash, soup, garlic, and packet of ham from my mom, donuts from a coworker, cupcakes we had an expiring voucher for at a nearby bakery) made appearances several times. My wife brought home a whole bunch of extras from her work's catered dinner (she had to work a midnight shift on Thanksgiving), so we've had turkey cottage pie, turkey soup, and plates of plain leftovers for a while. She made a mole de pavo that's on the menu for tomorrow after we run some errands. Everything's been repurposed and eaten or frozen by now, but it will reappear! (Spaced out a bit, though.) I don't think we need anything from the grocery store this week, either. We'll see how boxed mac & cheese tastes with almond milk, which is all I have in the house...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Food This Week 21

Last week my coworkers and I left the office -- they're doing some major construction and we'll all be relocated until the new year. Some people will be working in a temporary office space in the city, but my team gets to work from home instead. So I am looking forward to hot lunches! I hope my hard-working wife will be able to come home to a cooked meal on frequent occasions. And, yes, I will be happy to work in my pajamas.

Happy Turkey Day!

Posting from my parents' place. I was reminded of the holiday this morning, more than once. In some ways, today is just a Thursday I don't have to work. (I hope -- I'm on call in case something catches on fire at work.) But it was nice to wake up and take a walk with my dad and the dog, and then come back to make a big breakfast for the 4 of us (my sister will appear tomorrow, boyfriend in tow).

We'll have an early evening turkey dinner tonight at a local family friend's. Tomorrow we'll be at my aunt's, with about twice the number of people, for Friday Thanksgiving. I made "real" cranberry sauce for that. Hmmph. Oh, and last weekend I made another turkey. Used a pesto rub and roasted it breast-side down, and it was crispy and good. We had a couple meals of white meat, cranberry sauce (from a can! my favorite), and roasted sweet potato fries. Already broke down the bones for stock, and the leftover meat will become turkey burritos, turkey pasta, and turkey soup.

Hope that you're able to take a rest today (amid work, family, and kitchen duties) and appreciate all of your blessings. See you next week!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Read Aloud Roundup: November 2013

This month we had a number of holidays to choose topics from -- my selections for Read Aloud covered Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah. I had an extra Hanukkah book left over from last year, which was fortunate, 'cause the kindergarten book Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood turned out to be written in stilted verse. The message was still inspiring, but the book was not as great as I thought it would be for reading aloud. Things got reshuffled. (And I ordered a used copy of How Many Days to America? by accident -- it was a withdrawn library copy with markings -- and managed to order a new one in time.) I included a "bonus" book that I can't use next month, as a backup in case any of the readers didn't like the assigned book. Here are the discussion questions for November.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Food This Week 20

Thanksgiving is here! Almost. We'll be eating a minimum of 3 turkey dinners next week, because the fixings are on sale, and because I loooooove turkey barley soup. This weekend I'll make a low-key turkey dinner and put up the turkey carcass for soup and extra sliced/shredded meat for planned leftovers. On Thursday, which most people in America know as Thanksgiving Day, my wife and I will be with my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandfather (and perhaps assorted others) for dinner. This is a surprising twist, because my family always celebrates Thanksgiving on Friday (an excellent tradition). We'll be doing that as well, with a slightly different cast of characters -- largely because my wife has to work a double shift. (Customer service is like that.) So I'll have a weekend with my family, and she'll have a weekend of... driving.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Surprise Soup Sale!

I saw my favorite flavor of Progresso soup -- Vegetable Italiano -- on deep discount at Lucky this week.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Food This Week 19

I've resigned myself to exceeding this month's grocery budget, because the holiday sales are so good. For example, this past week I scored a free turkey, but had to make a $25 additional purchase. Specific flavors of Progresso and Chunky soup (which I grew up eating and like to have in the house) were only a dollar a can (down from $2.99), and frozen pumpkin pies were BOGO. I stretched a little. We're getting food that will keep and that we'll enjoy eating, at a good price, and we have the money, so it's worth it to me. Also, did you know that hams are really expensive? I'd never bought one before, but I've been pricing them out at several stores. It helps that I'm getting a 10% discount because I answered supermarket surveys with the info on my receipts. Still over budget.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Follow-up on Paying Off My Student Loans

To recap:
I took out federal student loans to pay for grad school.
I saved up over time to pay them off before interest kicked in (or so I'd planned, and then the laws changed and interest started accruing on the second year of loans while I was still in school).
I asked FedLoan for a payoff amount. They gave me a number.
I paid off all of my loans in one big chunk, a couple of weeks before I graduated. That felt awesome.

CC Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones (Flickr)

And now, 6 months later, the final chapter.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Food This Week 18

November is Eat at Home month -- no restaurant food until December. The freezer has lots of meats, and the pantry is fairly full, too. With so many holiday deals at the grocery store, I expect we'll have lots of yummy meals. I am especially looking forward to the traditional post-Thanksgiving turkey barley soup.

Declutter: Sell Used Books

For most of two years I've been selling used books and CDs on Amazon as an independent seller. Once shipping costs are factored in, it nets a few bucks a month that have been snowflaked into our Adoption fund. It's kind of a hassle to package everything and get it to the post office during open hours, but my wife's schedule has made it possible. (And I soooo much appreciate that.)

Business has been kind of slow recently. The other month I reduced all my sale prices to match the lowest amount for that item (often $0.01 plus shipping). We sold a few more and shipped them off. And then the other day I deactivated all my listings. All gone!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Freezer Inventory: October

Here's an update on what's in the freezers (YES! I have TWO of them) right now:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Food This Week 16

I have been enjoying my BEAUTIFUL new chest freezer. It's a smaller model than I had planned on getting (5.1 cubic feet as opposed to 7.2), because the closest store didn't have the first one available. I could have ordered it online and had it shipped to the store, but I saw the smaller one in person and realized that it had plenty of space for our current needs. Given that it would be easier to move, take up less space in the kitchen, and was about $30 less, I thought it was okay to change plans. (Plus the price recently dropped, and because of Sears's Price Protection policy, I got an additional credit when I followed up.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Read Aloud Roundup: October 2013

Read Aloud has a new crew of volunteer readers this school year! My wife has sat in for the past couple of months while the roster got sorted out, and now we have some fresh faces along with the "old hands" who have read to the same teacher's classroom for many years in a row. I think it's great for kids to have that ongoing connection (even part-time) with an adult role model, and to have that adult lead discussions on big topics.

This month's general theme was Being Different. (A new title about Dia de los Muertos fit the bill as well as being seasonally appropriate.) I asked the readers (particularly the newer ones) to keep in mind the school's mission: to empower student learning by teaching awareness, acceptance and non-violence, celebrating our diversity, achieving academic excellence, and fostering strong family-school-community connections.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Food This Week 15

My wife and I are headed out of town this coming week, on a trip to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I planned it all and managed to keep my mouth shut even when I was dying to tell her (she wanted it to be a surprise), and there will definitely be some yummy restaurants on the itinerary. The meal plan for this week is therefore very simple! Just know that we will be enjoying fresh local foods from our B&B, at least one picnic lunch, and a variety of dinners that neither of us has to cook.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tomato Overload!

I was surprised by a gardener's gift of green tomatoes: her plants were at the end of their growing season, and she'd already put up 40lbs? 60lbs? (A WHOLE LOT) of cooked tomatoes. Sounds like she's tired of them by now! So when she uprooted the plants while I was visiting, I got the green globes -- and a few half-ripened ones -- that were still clinging (instead of them going to compost). Now what to do with them?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Food This Week 14

Ah, serendipity! When I find myself wanting to make a meal with ingredients I don't have on hand, I add those ingredients to the "when it's on sale" grocery list. Sometimes they sit there for a while, but it reminds me to keep my eye out for a good price on those items, especially if they aren't advertised. This week, when I opened up the store flyer, I knocked off a handful of those ingredients -- one that had been there for about a month, and several that I'd recently added. Guess I can have pesto pasta, pastry, brussels sprouts, potatoes with my pot roast, and apples with peanut butter after all!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Catch-up

I know this blog's become more about life stuff recently. Groceries and meal planning, frugal living, and personal achievements aren't the only things going on for me right now, but I'm out of library school and there's not much library stuff I can talk about right now. I hope to come back to it in a while. In the meantime, here's what I've been up to this weekend!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Food This Week 13

My bulk purchases from Amazon arrived: whole-grain bread mix and pumpkin bread mix. (I got really tired of waiting for canned pumpkin to go on sale, and this will make a nice easy addition to potlucks or housewarmings and such.) That purchase, plus some coconut oil on half price, took me over the September grocery budget. I'll be reducing the November spending to make up for that, but it shouldn't be hard with all the food we have in the house.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Adjusting Meal Plans for Reality

I'll be the first to admit that things do not always go as planned. (Despite my love of planning!) This past week I kept track of what we actually ate and compared it to the meal plan I'd put together in advance. The large strokes are the same, but the details vary quite a bit. Apparently I can't predict the future! However, very little went to waste, and we ate at every meal even though it wasn't exactly what the menu said.

So if sudden schedule changes are afoot, not to worry! It comes right in the end.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Food This Week 12

The grocery budget is spent (and I went a little over, too, with some bulk purchases that will last a while). And we have no room in the freezer for the mountain of chicken drumsticks I saw on sale, either... but I still wish I could stock up. I want to try this sticky chicken recipe. Or maybe this one. Ah, well -- the sale cycle will come around again. My wife's out of town this weekend, and I'm singing at the wedding of friends and then hitting the Big Book Sale, so it will be a few days of eating up odds and ends and single servings.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Today is Monday

And it is a MONDAY, if you know what I mean.

This song has been stuck in my head all day. (Wednesday: sooooouuuup!)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Read Aloud Roundup: September 2013

Yesterday was the first Read Aloud session of the school year! The books we used for the K-5 classrooms and the discussion questions are included below. You can click on the links for summaries, reviews, and more.

The feedback I received from the reader volunteers was positive overall; we have a few new faces as well as some that have been with the program for more than a decade. We also had a couple of unexpected absences, so my wife stepped in to cover the 5th grade session. She said they had a good conversation about beauty norms and judging a person by more than appearances.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Food This Week 11

I've been experimenting with our new (to us) FoodSaver! Although the machine is loud, it does what it's supposed to. It took a while to get vacuum sealer bags delivered (I had a bad experience with the first supplier and had to dispute the transaction in PayPal before placing an order with FoodVacBags.com), but so far things seem to be doing all right. I packaged leftover hot dogs (from the beach bonfire that was cancelled by a Spare the Air day) into pairs for easy defrosting, and hope that the small stacks of tortillas will work the same way. I did have a slight... incident... when it was very late and my brain glitched: I sealed up freshly-baked unfrosted cupcakes without freezing them solid first. Oops. They're kind of... squashed now. Very squashed. But good for emergencies!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Food This Week 10

The freezer is just about as full as it can be. I FIIIIIINALLY was able to get a specific brand of fish sticks I've been craving for a couple of months -- and at a very good price (BOGO plus manufacturer's coupon). I managed to squeeze in 4 Cornish game hens, which were BOGO twinpacks, but had to pass up the BOGO chuck roasts. I moved the Pedialyte pops (still there, although my epic sickness was a couple years ago now) into one of the refrigerator drawers, since they're sealed and won't go bad when liquid. Instead, I've been making ice pops (they're a fun way to use up our stash of herbal tea) in a small mold, but I have to remember to return the little plastic sticks to the sink afterward. The cats like to play with them. The plan, following our decision to move at the end of the year, is to keep stocking the freezer and pantry until November, when we'll begin to eat it all up instead of shopping. Groceries will be light this week, though.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Food This Week 9

When a particular ingredient -- especially a main protein -- is in great supply, it can seem like every meal is made with it. Thankfully, my household is fine eating the same things several days in a row. And it's pretty simple to vary the style of dish on the menu to keep from being bored. A couple weeks ago, we had a lot of beef on hand. Next week it's chicken dishes, because my wife found a BOGO sale on chicken breast and put a bunch into the freezer. (We had a few seasoned packets in there already, and want to use those first.) I could get creative and make chicken soup and chicken curry and chicken salad and chicken sandwiches and fried chicken and poached chicken and... yeah, I don't have that much kitchen creativity right now. So I'm keeping it simple (and sticking with whole chicken breasts). I'll make my standby casserole, for sure, but I also want to try a few new preparations and see how they turn out.

CC by romana klee (Flickr)
(Not the chicken now in my freezer.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

2014 Travel Plans

As my wife and I discussed household plans and timelines the other day, I suddenly realized that we have a lot more plans to travel next year than we usually do. I'm a major homebody, but I enjoy the vacation planning process quite a lot. Guess it's time to start working on that savings goal! And book some reservations as well, in the next couple months. I'm glad I have enough vacation time.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Food This Week 8

Finishing out the month and using up odds & ends... it's another week of pantry and freezer cooking, which is how I like it! We had a ton of eggs to use up, so I hardboiled a dozen for proteiny snacks. That means I can pack one for lunch and not have to be near a stove. The rest will keep (uncooked in the fridge) until we manage to fry them all up. I found a different brand of almond milk on sale, but it proved unsatisfying -- definitely thinner and less creamy than the store brand we've gotten before. I won't use it to make pudding... but it's an excellent excuse for cocoa!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Earworms of the Moment

I'm unloading my current earworms in the hope that it'll make them stop... a futile hope, perhaps. Feel free to share your own songs of the moment!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ban kids from reading "too much"?

On my virtual desk today (although it's from last week) was this article, in which a public librarian discouraged a 9-year-old from participating in the reading contest he's won for the past 5 years.

That's right, a librarian who tried to ban a child from reading.

I'll wait.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Food This Week 7

Happy circumstance: Mint categorized a purchase of school supplies at the grocery store as Groceries; once that was corrected, I have about $30 more to use for food this month. *cheer* I'll be restocking butter and flour, I think, and maybe getting some apples for applesauce. And treating myself to almond milk. (Cocoa! Pudding! No lactose!)

Freezer Inventory: August

Since starting to keep track of what we have in the freezer, I am starting to see cycles of emptiness and fullness. This is helping me plan grocery shopping and our weekly menu, and I think it's preventing odds and ends from being lost to the icy depths for all time.

Here's an update on what's in the freezer right now:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Children with Incarcerated Parents

Today I read a frightening statistic. 1 in 28 children in the U.S. have a parent who is serving a prison sentence. That's an average of one or more per classroom (though probably more concentrated in urban areas like mine). Many more who know incarcerated people -- family members, neighbors, etc.

Okay, this settles it: This year I'm using Visiting Day in Read Aloud.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Food This Week 6

Like my new feature image?
I made it at PicMonkey.com with a blackboard background from Erin.
Then I made it clickable by adding a URL to the image.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Making a Weekly Menu Plan

I thought I'd write a little about my process for planning a weekly menu and shopping list. No, it's not particularly library-related, but it does relate to organization of information and efficient systems. Plus, it's my darn blog and I'll post lots of stuff! Some of it will be home/life-related. Enjoy the links!

CC by LizMarie_AK (Flickr)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Food This Week 5

One part of menu planning that I've had to work on recently is flexibility. Last week, a lack of leftovers, forgetting to thaw frozen entrees, a rescheduled dinner invitation, and more unexpected changes caused a major reworking of the weekly menu. It's okay! I moved the meatloaf dinner over to this week, we ordered pizza once, and the last bit of tater tot casserole stayed in the freezer. (That's a real benefit of cooking ahead and not planning around all-fresh foods!)

(However, these fresh foods are yummy)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Choosing Books for Read Aloud

Although I get the summer "off" from bookbuying, I still do some work on the Read Aloud program. The bigger headstart I have at the beginning of the school year, the less pressure there is each month, I've found. So even without making purchases until the end of August, I've kept up my list of possibilities and I explore them in person when possible. (A library trip is great for this!)

CC by San Jose Library (Flickr)
The Read Aloud program I volunteer with is not affiliated with SJPL. These photos are for illustration only.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Food This Week 4

This is an off week for the produce box; we have a couple overripe nectarines and the two potatoes left from last Tuesday's box (and the white corn I bought earlier in the week), but will mostly be eating frozen veggies unless I come across a very good produce special. I've started splitting lunch into two meals most days, because we're not eating together during the week and often have some leftovers to use up that will only feed one. My wife doesn't seem to mind, as long as she gets fed.

Is leftover meatloaf ever a bad thing?
CC by rick (Flickr)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tomatoes Hanging Around

I have tomatoes! All of a sudden, it seems, the Topsy-Turvy fruits started reddening up. Tomatoes are so rewarding to grow instead of buy -- they smell amazingly fresh and... well, tomatoey. And they cost less! (At least, doing a single plant this way; I can't speak for full garden boxes of tomato plants.)

We used to have cherry tomatoes in the backyard when I was a kid, but these are full-sized Early Girls. Very firm and sweet. And there were, at the time of the photo, 17 still-green ones queueing up behind.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Food This Week 3

Still shopping the loss leaders and keeping an eye out for sales on staples. Next week we'll probably still be eating from the freezer for the most part. I think August will be a good month to aim for a 50% grocery budget -- that is, half of the usual monthly spending.

CC by Emilian Robert Vicol
Here's what's happening this week:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Food This Week 2

Freezer eating is still going strong! I'll be picking up a few things from the grocery store, which will restock it to a certain extent, but it's a net emptying. :) 

CC mtcarlson (Flickr)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Freezer Inventory: July

I took a rather belated freezer inventory tonight -- considering we've already been eating from the freezer for more than a week! It's a good feeling to be able to supply a couple weeks' worth of meals from the pantry and freezer.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Food This Week

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the produce box when it comes. By the time I remembered this week, I'd already put away potatoes and corn, juiced limes, and made zucchini bread. (This recipe, sans nuts -- although this one looked good, it involved math and then an uneven number of eggs to accommodate the amount of zucchini I had. I ended up short on the smaller batch as it was, but it tastes fine.)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Goals check-in: June

Here's my end-of-the-month wrap-up regarding my 2013 goals:

Happy Pride!

My little sister said it best on Facebook:

Happy Pride, San Francisco!! And a happier Pride to those tying the knot this weekend, next weekend, and forever after!   

(My sweetie and I will be upgrading our domestic partnership to a first-class marriage next Sunday.)

Now off to the Treasury to count some cash donations. Stay hydrated and SPFed, everyone who's out in the crowd!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Too Hot to be Cooking...

...but I seem to be doing so anyway. Most of it after the sun goes down, but the kitchen gets pretty overheated anyway.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Strawberry the First

This is the first ripe strawberry from our fire escape hanging planter. It was about the size of my first thumb joint.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Liebster Award

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Joshua Brown at Brown's Balanced Life. (Thanks! It's nice to know more about who's reading.)

This "award" (okay, it's more like a chain letter -- but don't be scared off!) says something like, "Hey, I like reading your stuff!" and is an opportunity for new(er) bloggers to introduce themselves to a larger blogosphere. Bloggers love an excuse to talk about themselves!

If you're coming here because you were nominated or tagged by me, welcome! Here are your instructions:
  1. Make a new post about this award in your blog.
  2. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. In your post, answer the questions the nominator has created (below). 
  4. Then choose 3-5 new bloggers (with fewer than 200 followers) to "nominate" and link to them in your post.
  5. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer.
  6. Go back to their pages and tell them about the award.
  7. (If you'd rather have an "Honorary Award", you don't have to do any of this -- just keep blogging!)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Strides in Snowflaking

As I've sent some extra snowflakes to the Adoption fund recently, it's grown quickly! Today I got an email from CapitalOne360 (formerly ING Direct) to congratulate me on my savings progress:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dinner Party Question: Broadway Edition

Having just attended a friend's dinner party, I was turning over the old interview question in my head: "If you could invite 5 people, living or dead, to a dinner party (presumably a fabulous one), whom would you choose and why?"

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Accomplishments of a Long Weekend

This four-day weekend marked the last of the 4-day workweeks I'd arranged for my final semester. As I'm done with all my coursework, it was an opportunity to recharge as well as get some chores done around the apartment. As I mentioned on Facebook, I have a stack of library books, a list of household chores, a watermelon, and the makings of chicken pot pie. This weekend is gonna be epic. (And I meant it, too. I must be a boring grownup now.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

At last! Final grades are in.

I have been compulsively refreshing the D2L webpage while waiting on my final grade in LIBR 285... and now I can close that tab forever!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I've graduated!

Although the SJSU commencement ceremony won't be until the 25th, SLIS had its own celebration on Saturday. Along with many of my far-flung classmates, I did not attend but observed virtually on YouTube. (While I envy the academics their velvet-striped sleeves, I was relieved to escape purchasing a "lemon yellow" hood for the occasion.)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Read Aloud Roundup: May 2013

April's Read Aloud was cancelled with short notice (schoolwide testing), so the books stayed on until May. The spring theme is still appropriate after Earth Day, thankfully. This was the last session of the year!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Greek Yogurt for the Lactose-Sensitive

I'm not usually one to post photos of my meals. Usually I just want to eat them! And to be honest, plating presentation ain't my strong point. Nonetheless, here is my lunch:

Greek yogurt with blackberries, oat cereal, and honey

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Paying Off My Student Loans Before Graduation

Subtitled: 3 years of scrimping was worth it. Jury still out on the extremely busy schedule.

Audio accompaniment: Omigod You Guys

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Internship Week 15: Wrapping It Up

So in this last week of the CPL internship, when I'm writing my final report for LIBR 294, I got some of the feedback I've been wanting to hear!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Volunteer for Green Branch May-September

Because I answered a similar volunteer call last summer and found myself with an unexpected but very worthwhile internship, I have to pass on this message from Green Branch Library's executive director, Shari Leskowitz:

We Need Volunteers!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dream Jobs Don't Just Fall Out of the Sky

...but occasionally a job listing will come your way and you look at it and think, "Well, I fit all of the requirements and then some, and it doesn't ask for a specific length of experience and it's local and it doesn't require an extra credential... Why not?" And then you start researching and you like it more and more as you learn about the place.

Because how often does a well-matched position turn up from a work environment that actually produces "Free to Be You and Me" in earnest? Dream big, kids!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Internship Week 14: Housekeeping

We're rounding the corner into the end of the semester, and I'm nearly done with the CPL internship. This is the standard weekly report (just shorter this time).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Things to Do After School Lets Out

This is not exactly "Things to Do After Grad School" or even "Things To Do After (any type of) Graduation". It's more a brief compilation of my thoughts on "SUMMER VACATION IS COMING YAAAAAAAAAAY". *ahem*

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Soundtrack of My Week

Here's a collection of frivolity, drawn from the earworms I've suffered this week. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Library List

When I run across a title that sounds intriguing, I go to Amazon and put it on my wishlist -- one of several, really. I keep at least one for each program I collect for, and there's the traditional gift wishlist, too. This one's just to remind me while I'm at the library (or requesting holds). When I've read the book, I remove it from the list, but that title still factors into the recommendations Amazon makes for me.

Remy's Library List

Lots of YA novels currently, and you can see other trends if you page backwards. I hope I'll have a bit more time for pleasure reading after graduation; I haven't even had time to get to the library in recent weeks, much less read much. (Probably one reason my temper's been so short; I hate being too busy to read.)

What's on your reading list? Or in the stack next to your bed? Anything you'd recommend?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Internship Week 12 (by the school calendar)

I realized where the disconnect was in my scheduling! I forgot to skip the week of spring break in my counting. So this is only Week 12. I am on what may be my last project for the CPL internship, and it's a doozy.

Nearing the finish line... too tired to care.

Well, I've completed almost all of the work necessary to earn my MLIS. I'm not celebrating yet, though. Not only do I have a couple of hoops to jump through, but also I'm not really in the mood.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

Today is my 29th birthday. I turned in my e-portfolio, went to sushi with a dear friend, took a few headshots (needed one for convocation), and got my nails done. Tonight will be mellow, with Chinese takeout and a movie at home, but I am told there is a litter of foster kittens waiting for me to visit soon! (No, we won't be taking one home.)

Lots of big changes in the last year (I've mentioned my Saturn return before). I'm ready to see what's next.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tax Refunds and Snowballing, part 2

I forgot about state taxes! I mean, I didn't FORGET... I filed mine. Ours. (California Registered Domestic Partners, filing jointly at the state level. It was complicated.) And we got a refund from that, too! It just hit my account.

Internship Week Whatever This Was

Oof. I really enjoyed researching digital storytelling and watching/listening to examples of both professionals and novices at the craft. It was fascinating. But by the time I'd spent 3 weeks on the topic, I was NOT pleased to be writing a paper on it. Especially since I ended up staying awake until 3AM a couple nights in a row to do so.

On the plus side, I shared a link with my site supervisor, because I thought it could help inspire content in the summer learning program, only to be told that it fit very nicely into my next assignment, which is about tying youth services into the new makerspace opening this summer at the Harold Washington Library Center. Serendipity! Now I'm going to have to interview some of my geeky crafty friends, because I am as far from a maker as it is possible to be. :/ 3D stuff -- cloth, clay, most types of visual art -- spatial understanding, kinesthetics:  all of that seems to slip through my fingers. I can work out cause and effect, and I think I would probably be good at the type of organization and logic required for coding... but physical engineering just isn't me. I've never understood the attraction.

But I like explaining things, so I'm going to start by looking over the Instructables contest and from there come up with family-friendly activities CPL can use this summer.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tax Refunds and Snowballing

Some financial updates (remember when I used to do those all the time?) as we count down toward tax filing deadlines:

  1. Married taxes are harder than single taxes.
  2. Registered Domestic Partnership (CA) taxes are harder than married taxes. (*grumble grumble equality grumble even Turbo Tax costs more grumble grumble file amended return GRUMBLE*)
  3. Nonetheless, there's a benefit -- I got the largest refund of my working life this year, even after splitting it halfsies with my wife!
And it more than funded the rest of our emergency savings goal. Hooray!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Goals check-in: March

Here's my end-of-the-month wrap-up regarding my 2013 goals:

Happy Spring! (Food and David Sedaris)

Last night we went to a leftist-Ashkephardic-English-language Seder where half of us were not of the tribe of Israel and exactly one could sing the Hebrew. The food was great. So was the company. I stuffed myself on gluten-free kugel and salad with avocado and orange, and laughed at the limericks with Yiddish punchlines. (The Ten Plagues finger puppets went missing, though... next year (in Jerusalem).) As the youngest in the room of speaking age, I not only read the 4 Questions but also was the one to find the afikomen. Yay!

Now we're headed to my aunt's for Easter brunch, where -- thankfully, perhaps -- she will serve quiche. I don't eat quiche, but I'm mostly full from Passover, so I'll be fine. I made some muffins, bought croissants, and I suspect there may be bacon. Or fruit salad. I'll get to see the little cousins, since this is the first Easter I've had free from church choir in about 6 years.

Then, once back at home, IF I could possibly be hungry for dinner, there are lamb shanks and roasted garlic from the slow cooker. I think we'll roast some (enormous!) Brussels sprouts and use the rest of the latke mix we opened on Good Friday. (Did I mention our household has an... eclectic sense of holiday?)

This is a track my beloved posts every year on Easter. It's only slightly more mixed up than we are. Enjoy.
David Sedaris talks about the Rabbit of Easter

Happy holiday of your choice, and may you have sunshine for it!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Internship Week 10

Another slow week for the internship (but I'm blogging about it as a required class assignment).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lazy Sketti Sauce

I am not much shakes at cooking, you may recall, but this month has offered a few opportunities for surprise in the kitchen. Most of them have been pleasant surprises.

So here's a lazy recipe: no measurements, no real timeframe, not a lot of rules. It may not be Megan-simple, but it's close enough that I did it, so it can't be far off.  And while it is not as detailed as Cooking For People Who Don't, neither is it Semi-Homemade. *shudder* (Also, the name itself is lazy... too lazy to pronounce "spaghetti".) I hope you -- or a novice-food-maker friend, colleague, or family member -- may benefit.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stocking Up on Meat

The weekly grocery ad featured a "Pick 5 for $25" sale on selected packages from the meat and fish counter, so I stocked the freezer.

In the Tetris puzzle: beef roast for the slow cooker, steaks with and without bone, boneless chicken breasts, ground beef, salmon fillets, tilapia fillets, lamb round shoulder chops, and a mess of boneless pork ribs. (Dunno what we'll do with that last, as I don't care for them, but my sweetie picked 'em out.) You can also see the last of the Grumpy Kitty soup, sorbet and coconut milk ice cream, some leftover curry, and Trader Joe's packets of confetti rice, samosas, and  multigrain mix.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Internship Week 9

This week was relatively mellow on the CPL front. (I've been catching up on my e-portfolio, mostly.) The new topic I'm researching is digital storytelling, and I logged 4 hours last week and 8 hours so far this week doing the research and outlining the report.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Read Aloud Roundup: March 2013

For Women's History Month, I selected stories about strong, smart, spunky girls and women -- most of them real historical figures, but also a few modern fictional characters. Nearly all of the titles are appropriate for, say, grades 1-4. There wasn't much difference in reading level/complexity, and the subject matter didn't have notable violence, say, as some of the more challenging titles I've had before (Henry's Freedom Box, Your Move) do.

One of my prospective titles didn't arrive in time, but I do have a few on hand to fill in gaps for this purpose (they're left over from previous months now and again, or donations I've picked up) and one was a great fit! Be Who You Are is the story of a child who realizes that she feels more like a girl than a boy, and has supportive family members who help her transition gender at school and in the world. We've often talked about the different roles people have for boys and girls, issues of equality and fairness (kids feel this deeply!), and respect for others, so this picks up the topic at a more advanced level. I gave it to the 2nd-grade reader who really liked 10,000 Dresses.

I also donated 3 additional books for the 3 classrooms of 4th and 5th graders. They’re longer selections that weren't appropriate for Read Aloud, but will be great for chapter book readers or for a longer unit with the teacher another time.

The Woman in the Moon

Friday, March 15, 2013

Internship Week 7 review

Last week was a busy one with the CPL internship. I submitted one new project and completed an ongoing one, logging 19 hours in Week 7.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Day in the Life, cont.: Sunday

This week I cataloged my daily activity for Hack Library School's "Library Student Day in the Life" project (#HLSDITL). Because most of my library school stuff tends to happen over the weekend (even though this week is atypical), I've decided to continue for a couple of extra days. You can read others' posts -- and see pictures and videos -- here. Maybe you want to write your own!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Day in the Life, cont.: Saturday

This week I cataloged my daily activity for Hack Library School's "Library Student Day in the Life" project (#HLSDITL). Because most of my library school stuff tends to happen over the weekend (even though this week is atypical), I've decided to continue for a couple of extra days. You can read others' posts -- and see pictures and videos -- here. Maybe you want to write your own!


Note to self (and anyone else who needs it).

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Day in the Life: Friday

This week I am cataloging my daily activity for Hack Library School's "Library Student Day in the Life" project (#HLSDITL). You can read others' posts -- and see pictures and videos -- here. Maybe you want to write your own!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Day in the Life: Thursday

This week I am cataloging my daily activity for Hack Library School's "Library Student Day in the Life" project (#HLSDITL). You can read others' posts -- and see pictures and videos -- here. Maybe you want to write your own!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Internship Week 7: Using Tumblr

Last week I made a Powerpoint presentation about the use of Tumblr in public and school libraries, and I dealt with underestimating the time it would take me to write the accompanying report.

A Day in the Life: Wednesday

This week I am cataloging my daily activity for Hack Library School's "Library Student Day in the Life" project (#HLSDITL). You can read others' posts -- and see pictures and videos -- here. Maybe you want to write your own!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Day in the Life: Tuesday

This week I am cataloging my daily activity for Hack Library School's "Library Student Day in the Life" project (#HLSDITL). You can read others' posts -- and see pictures and videos -- here. Maybe you want to write your own!


Monday, March 4, 2013

A Day in the Life: Monday

This week I am cataloging my daily activity for Hack Library School's "Library Student Day in the Life" project (#HLSDITL). You can read others' posts -- and see pictures and videos -- here. Maybe you want to write your own!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Week in the Life of a Library Student

Next week I will be cataloging my daily activity for Hack Library School's "Library Student Day in the Life" project (#HLSDITL). Because of the inadequacies of contemporary time travel, I'll be backdating my posts: that is, I'll live my day, write it up, and then publish it with a post timestamp of, say, noon from that same day.   So don't worry if it looks like I haven't posted anything on Monday -- just check back on Tuesday, and so on. If you have my blog in your feedreader, you'll get the new post at the time I click the Publish button, and I believe it will show up at the top instead of near other posts from noon. Don't quote me on that.

You can read others' posts -- and see pictures and videos -- here on the project wiki. Maybe you'll meet some library students you want to start reading. (I recommend Lezbrarian, for a start.) Enjoy the glimpses into different types of library student life and all the ways we integrate our studies into our other work and home commitments.

It's not too late to join the blogging/tweeting/otherwise updating crew! You could also have a look at the results from this trial period (March 4-8), and decide later about joining the next round. No pressure!