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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where has the Time Gone?

Holy cow!  February is almost gone, and we're inching closer to Spring.  I think most of the country agrees with me when I say it can't come soon enough.  I'd much rather have a few blizzards then having snow storms every few days that require frequent use of the shovel every week.  Although it is the only exercise I've been getting lately.  There  is no more room for snow around my house.

School is going fairly well; this semester is going to have much more output for big papers than last semester.  I'm handling my time a little better, but still have to ban myself from seeing Bud whenever I want to  because I have so much homework to do every week.  I'm happy to say I'm going to the ALA (American Library Association) conference at the end of June in Las Vegas, and two of my nieces are going to join me for a weekend of fun.   Discovering where my heart lies in the world of librarianship continues….just goes to show surprises can still happen when you least expect them.

I hate to say I quit the Y because I haven't been since I started school in August.  Shame on me.  I can feel the difference, too.  I am so anxious to get outside and start running again I've become positively twitchy! Hope to get in a few small races this summer.  I have no problem starting over in my running quest.  Slow, steady progress is what I'm after, and the ability to work off some stress (and weight!) in the beautiful outdoors.  

So until this never ending winter finally goes to sleep, here's a reminder of warmth, color, and the scent of spring:



One more thing:  I'm celebrating my 100 followers on my other blog, Bookalicious Babe with a giveaway.  Please check it out and enter to win a book of your choice from my reading lists of 2013 and 2014.  When all else fails, read a book!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mom has a Beau and My Boyfriend has Banned Carbs…Welcome to 2014

I have no idea what 2014 will bring except for sure more homework and a fair bit of stress with school. 

 So far, it has brought me the news that my mom has met a man at her retirement home who keeps her company and makes her happy.  I must admit I immediately went home and cried my eyes out; it gave me such a pang to think of my Dad.  Don't get me wrong--I am very happy this has happened.  Moving my Mom to a retirement home this past Fall was difficult in ways you can't imagine.  My brother and sisters and I spent a lot of time making this possible and were beyond stressed by all we had to do on top of living our lives and managing things.  We are still working to keep things operating smoothly.  It is tough to do when you can't ask your parent about things because  A) she either won't tell you, or B) doesn't remember.  Fingers crossed things will be better as we go along.

In the meantime, my Mom is eating regularly and getting all her medications at the correct times, which means she is a completely different person--and that  is a good thing.  She's making friends and taking part in what goes on where she lives.  She has an apartment (this is an assisted living place) and seems to have finally become used to being in a new place.  And her beau appears to have given her an opportunity to be more active instead of sitting in her apartment and watching tv.  

My darling Bud has decided he needs to cut carbs out of his life--and of course it's the fun carbs that I like--pasta, potatoes, and bread.  Boo.  I'm working on making sure I do what I can to help him along when he eats supper at my house.  I've been trying to get him on the quinoa train and so far he hasn't seemed impressed with this high protein stuff.  Thanks to Iowa Girl Eats and other food blogs, I've got a few recipes to try that sound incredibly tasty.  Meanwhile, I still eat pasta when he's not around :).

I can't wait to get out and start running again!  This cold weather and snow makes it seem light years away; let's hope for an early Spring.  What are you doing to make it through the winter?  Any good recipes for soups to share?  And quinoa--how often do you eat it?  




Thursday, December 19, 2013

One Semester Down, Three To Go!

I handed in my computer final last night and that is that.  That class was a struggle for me, and while I am not happy with my performance and lack of understanding, I am glad I used my "marathon" memories to power through it.  It certainly felt like a very very long run.  Still waiting on grades, but I have to be happy with knowing I did my best.  The problem with grad school is that you know you're smart enough to get in, and you don't like not feeling so smart when you have trouble in class.  It shakes your self confidence, especially when you've been pretty confident in the rest of your life.

This is my first night since August where I don't have to think about homework.  It will take me a few weeks to decompress, just in time to start again in January.  As always, I've learned a lot about myself and hope to use those lessons to be better next semester.  For one, I neglected to realize I don't have a place to study at home.  I will be taking my spare bedroom and turning it into a study room, complete with desk, chair, and good smelly candles.  Sitting on my couch and using the coffee table has just about driven me mad!  This is one of the few bad things about having a small house.  No kitchen table.
I need to create a space that is conducive to studying and learning.

I also missed running terribly these past few months.  I simply didn't have time to work out at all.  My schedule for next semester will hopefully be a bit easier (only have to travel to campus once a week) and enable me to get back into the gym.  I also learned the hard way that I need to spend more time with Bud for my mental health.  I got a bit depressed not seeing him much at all; sometimes not for a week at a time.  When you love someone, you want to be with them, and Bud's faith in my school plan needs to be reinforced sometimes with him being here with me !  So we're working on that.

It's been a semester of playing catch up and trying to learn Excel and Powerpoint on the fly.  I'm taking an Excel class in January over the course of two nights to learn a bit about it so I feel better prepared for school.  I've been feeling fairly frustrated over missing opportunities to get some experience in librarianship.  Working full-time leaves little time for extra stuff.  This semester I'm going to take some chances on the temporary opportunities that come up at school to help with projects.  I'm excited to see what's around the corner.

So…I'm relaxing tonight on the couch with a beer and mindless tv.  Retail Christmas hell is in full mode, and bad weather is a 'comin the weekend before Christmas.  Cue the hyper shoppers frantic to finish their shopping.  I'm just looking forward to baking a few breads and making a batch of cookies before Christmas Eve.  And cue the reading marathon I am starting tonight.  I have one month to cram as much reading in as possible.

Everyone have a wonderful Christmas!  What are you looking forward to in 2014?




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Friday, November 1, 2013

November. I Made it Through Mid-Terms. Barely.







October was beyond stressful.  It was pretty darn awful, in fact.  I am glad to see it go.  It means I have about 6 weeks of this semester left.  We are down to single digits for remaining classes.  Learning so much and wading through information coming at me left and right.  

I've figured out a few things to help me next semester: make plenty of muffins and easy breakfast items that I can stick in the freezer. Make plenty of meals to stick in the freezer to take to school for lunch.  I'm very fortunate to have a SLIS program that not only has a study/computer/relaxing room for all of us, but a kitchen where we can keep our food and reheat it.  Iowa City is ridiculously expensive and money can be spent pretty quickly eating on the run.  Over Christmas break I'll be making lots of soups, beans and rice, and other easily portable lunches to feed me through the Spring semester.  

Right now I'm figuring out what to take for classes in the Spring.  So many opportunities to try so many things at school it's hard to make a choice!

And I miss my running.  I so miss running.  All the things I need to do to keep me calm and focused aren't happening--meditation, exercise, good, clean eating.  Skipping meals, not drinking enough water, and not getting enough sleep are keeping my energy not so high.  All of this is a big part of adjusting to a major change in my life; a change that takes up a lot of time.  So I'm not that great at being organized yet.  But it will come!  And lucky me, I haven't even had a sniffle, while people around me are all sickies.

What can I say about the coming few months?  On the downhill slope now; but Christmas is coming.  Not too far away, can you believe it?  Without a doubt it will be a small gift giving season for me.  I did find a fantastic little shop in Iowa City yesterday that will keep some of my money.  Can't wait to go back when I have time to pick up a few presents for Christmas.  

Pomegranates are back. Oh, happy days!  And cranberries.  Love them any which way.  I think I may have to make a pomegranate martini sometime this month just to celebrate that glorious fruit.  

My dates with friends are starting to stack up.  I think so far I have three outstanding "when you have time" appointments to meet friends over drinks.  And my dear Bud, what a wonderful man.  He's been so patient and accommodating to my "I can't see you this weekend I have to study" phone calls.  He keeps me going.  Can't wait to spend some quality time with him!  We've already made a date to have a get away weekend in January before school starts again.  I'd be happy just lying in a hotel room watching tv  for the weekend.  

How is your November shaping up?  Fingers crossed the snow holds off until after Christmas!  




Friday, October 4, 2013

An October Chock Full of Stuff: School Is In Full Swing!





I have always loved October, until my sister Patti passed away last October 19th.  Now I don't like it so much.  I can only say I am glad this sad anniversary is on a Saturday, where I'll be at work and hopefully so busy I won't think about it too much.  The first year is always so damn difficult.  My grief is still evident every week, but slowly getting better.  I think this process will be going on for quite some time and I don't see a day yet where I can't think about her without getting teary.  

But life goes on.  Thanks to Patti, I decided to go back to school. And through miracles of timing and help from above, I got in and started school in September.  I talk to Patti all the time, and I said recently:  "Ok, you helped me get in, now help me get through it!"  I figure I'll ask help from anyone to keep me motivated and moving forward--family and friends are a big help.

September was such a big month of change.  I felt a bit out of place the first few weeks of school, and overwhelmed.  But I quickly realized that my fellow SLIS (School of Library and Information Science) students all felt the same way, too.  And my age really doesn't matter.  I also realized just how much I had missed being in the academic world.  I really do like to be in school.  It is such a change from my day to day life as a manager in a bookstore.  Night and day.  And while the stress from working full-time and going to school full-time is a daily test of my resolve, I can say I love arriving at school and being in a different world for a day.  I don't have anyone asking me where a book is, how to set a display, or deal with customers.  It's only for 2 days a week, but it's a needed mental break from that side of my life.  And when I'm at work, I can't think about school.  It requires my manager hat and simply getting things done and serving customers.  

One of my professors said yesterday that October is the month where students have to cope with an enormous amount of work for the program.  Looking at what's due each week, I can agree wholeheartedly.  Just a few things I have to do this month:  attend a conference (and write a paper), present a book report, give a 1 hour presentation, a mid-term, weekly computer homework assignments, reading a book each week for class, keep up a reading journal, interview a librarian (and write a paper), work on an information page about music therapy with my librarian mentor, visit a library 3 times, gather information, and write a paper, and weekly article readings due for discussion in class.  I don't think that's all, but it's enough. 

I have begun to carry my planner around with me so I can schedule things in the few free moments I have available.  At work, I have a book talk next week for my friends at a local retirement facility, a book talk for local librarians in a few weeks,  and at the end of the month, setting the store for Christmas.  Yep.  Christmas.  

I can only hope all this stress decreases my appetite!  I haven't exercised since I started school, which sucks.  Sleep has been very sketchy, so getting up even earlier in the morning to workout before school or work just doesn't compete with trying to sleep another hour.  I've kept up my gym membership, so I hope to get back into my pump class soon.  Some things have to fall to the side, and this is one of them.  Housework is another.  Making pumpkin and banana bread is another.  

How is your October shaping up?  What do you do to cope with stress?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Spending the Day With Bud and Friends--and Holy Crap! Lots of Food

My first weekend off in a loooong time.  Working and going to school 7 days a week made me forget what it's like to have a whole day where I don't have to do either one!  Except homework, laundry, dishes, and de-trashing the house I've ignored since school started.

Bud and I went to our first ever college football game yesterday, complete with early morning tailgating with our friends Kelly and Jon.  Jon tailgates for every home Iowa Hawkeye game, and he's a dedicated fan of the Hawks.  And since I am officially a "hawkeye" for the next 2 years, I figured Bud and I needed to see a game.  

Yesterday's weather was absolutely perfect.  It was a bit chilly at 6 AM, but it warmed up enough that we both managed to get sunburns on the side of our faces that faced the sun whilst watching the game.  I also have raccoon eyes, thanks to my sun glasses.  So attractive.  

Bud, me, Kelly & Jon
yes, Jon & I are drinking whiskey at 9 AM
Our tailgate was fantastic.  Yes, I did drink beer at 8 AM.  It tasted pretty darn good, too.  I made guacamole, pumpkin bread, chocolate/apple/caramel bark, and brown-sugar bacon.  I made 3 pounds of bacon and it was all gone.  It was pretty awesome--and I put in cayenne pepper to give it a slow burn.  Sticky, hot, and bacony goodness.  I was also up at 4 AM to make it, too.  

Jon made breakfast burritos (hence the guacamole) and nearby tailgaters brought apple crisp, fresh fruit, and cinnamon rolls.  It was all so damn good I ate too much.  And the game was fun, too.  I immediately went hoarse from yelling within the first five minutes.  I am that way at sporting events. It is embarrassing for those with me.  


People rent out their front yards for tailgating
We had so much fun, it made getting up at 4 AM worth it.  Good food, good people, and good times.  And most importantly, Bud and I got to spend the whole day together!

Bud took this panoramic view of our little tailgate community


We won!  Boy, did we win!

If only I knew I was getting a lovely sunburn!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Am Doggie Paddling As Fast As I Can!

So....I continue to adjust to the work/school week.  Not having any time to think is making the time go fast--in a blink of an eye it's Thursday night and the week is (mostly) over.  

School is getting thicker.  That's the only way I can describe it.  I have been strongly (yet in a totally friendly, enthusiastic way) advised to attend another librarian convention in October.  I talked it over with my Bud and a friend of mine, and they both say "you'd better go!".  So, pencil that into my schedule.  That's two conferences in October--both within 10 days of each other.  

I am finding myself taking bits of time here and there to quickly try and get some homework reading done; plan my days, and think about upcoming assignments.  I am learning PowerPoint this Saturday on the fly from my sister--who says "I looooove PowerPoint!  It's so easy!"  I hope she's right.  I have my first big presentation next Thursday for class and I'm doing it on PowerPoint.  I feel like I should be flying a flag from my truck antenna that says "flying by the seat of my pants"  That truly is how I feel.  Really wishing I had a blow up ring around my middle to keep me afloat.

One thing I really really miss is working out.  I simply haven't been able to do it since I started  school.  40 hrs of work + 8 hrs of classroom time + 10 hrs of homework a week don't leave me with much wiggle room.  Right now I feel that getting sleep is more important.  Getting up earlier in the morning to do homework before work means I am ready for bed by 9 PM.  

School is much more time consuming than I predicted.  As I said in my last post, graduate school is so much more different than undergraduate school that you have to go through it to get it.  When I say "I don't have time to do that/for that" I really mean I have no time.  Just ask the unfolded clothes in baskets and the dirty clothes hamper; the sink full of dishes and the meals that I haven't made all week.  

I am not complaining.  I do not regret even for one nano-second going back to school.  It is hard.  It is time consuming.  It is tiring.  But I will get through it, one week at a time.  Me and my vitamins!  How do you cope with added responsibilities?