About Me

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I grew up in Small Town, Nebraska, feeling sheltered by the 'safety' of it all. When I moved to Big City, Nebraska, I felt like the world was my oyster. However, I soon felt like there was much more for me Out There... I moved to Chicago, thinking I was done with this 'little' state. It took living in a true big city to realize that Lincoln is just an oversized small town... and it's where I belong! I'm blessed to have a wonderful husband who understands me and all my oddities. My kids are young enough to still think I'm cool. Beyond that, who cares, right?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Almost Summer Vacation

I know it’s crazy, but I always get to this point of the year and am SO excited for the kids to be done with school! No more waking up early, trying to light the fire under everyone’s butt to get them moving, dropping off and picking up, cracking the whip to get that pesky homework done, making lunches, signing permission slips, helping with last minute projects, etc.

I’m pumped to sleep in a bit, get the kids to the pool, do a few picnics, go to the zoo, go on family trips. There’s such a relaxed atmosphere, no more tight schedules to follow. I love it! Summer is the best!

Unfortunately, I know this feeling won’t last. There will come a time, about three weeks before school is due to start, when I become very anxious and can not WAIT for school to start again. As much as I love the reckless, willy-nilly manner in which we’ll have been living for the past several weeks, I know I’ll be craving some structure in my life. I also know that the only way to get my kids to continue to appreciate each other is to get them to spend a LOT less time together. School is our salvation! My kids need the structure, as do I, and they need to spend times with other people, as do I. I know it’ll be rough, but come August, we’ll be ready for the challenge!

For now, though, I look forward to those lazy hours by the pool with my kids, sitting and chatting with my sister-in-laws, grilling out, road trips, and most of all, healing sunshine!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Manners

Both of my girls seem to have selected a very lovely core group of friends that they spend time with. Jim and I have witnessed some pretty special moments with these children. I know that there are ups and downs with friends, especially for girls, and I think my daughters have been pretty lucky so far to avoid any real, long-lasting heartache. I believe that’s because they’ve got some pretty good friends—and for this, I think we’re ALL blessed!

The thing that struck me this afternoon was the spectacular display of manners one friend just exhibited. Josie asked if she could have one of her friends over and we said that’d be fine. She called the friend, and luckily, she was available, and she headed right over. As she was walking in the front door, the first words out of her mouth were “Thanks for inviting me over!” I just think this is wonderful! I mean, it was said out of sincerity, and yet, she didn’t make a big deal out of it—like “Oh, I need to make sure I tell you thank-you so your parents will hear me and see how polite I am” (a la Eddie Haskell). She just made a comment in passing and moved on.

It made me wonder, how many people (namely parents) are really instilling the value of good manners in their children these days? I remember that it was a huge part of our upbringing when my older brother and I were growing up, and I can say the same for Jim and his siblings. We were taught not to speak until spoken to (when in the company of adults), we said ‘please’ or ‘thank-you’, we knew better than to ever talk back, we never argued with what our parents said and we tried very hard not to whine. When we answered the phone, we had fantastic phone manners. (I witnessed these in another friend of my daughter’s, the other day, when I called to talk to that friend’s mother, who is a friend of mine.) We wrote thank-you notes for all gifts received, for vacations spent with family members, etc. And we didn’t automatically expect anything (payments, rewards, kudos or thanks) for doing household chores… we merely did them because they were our chores.

Are we raising our children by the same standards today that we were raised by when we were growing up? I doubt it. And I know that some of this is because we maybe want to be a little less strict with our kids than our parents were with us. I think that’s okay, to a certain extent. But I don’t think that the manners our children display should suffer for that more laid-back approach to parenting.

I can’t say that I’m perfect in this respect… that my children are so much better than anyone else’s—I’m just as guilty as the next parent, when it comes to being lax about instilling good values. But I’m also grateful when I see someone who really seems to go above and beyond the average kid.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sleepy? or not so much?

I just finished some homework (stuff that was due at 11:59 p.m. last night....Sunday night, which to me, it still is) and submitted it to Blackboard at 11:59:38. Wow. Talk about a close call! I never got a chance, all weekend, to get around to it, and since I knew it wasn't due until tonight, I didn't feel like messing with it earlier in the week. I won't hold off that long again, though. (Part of the problem was that I didn't remember that the assignment was actually going to take some time and some thought. I not only had to write a review of a book I hadn't yet read, but I also had to create a lesson plan based off that book.) I got it done on time, though, so no worries, right?


The problem is, now it's almost 1:00 a.m., I've messed around on the computer a bit, and I'm still not tired. Why does this always happen? I feel like I'm seriously becoming a vampire. It's far less exciting than all the vampire novels make it seem. Basically, I want to sleep during the day, and at night I'm wide awake. It sucks. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't HAVE to be awake during the day. If I were single and childless, I could make this work to my advantage (y'know, get a night job, stay out dancing all night, whatever). As it is, knowing myself the way I do, if I could change things, I'd probably end up being sleepy at night and wide awake during the day. It's Murphy's Law, I guess.....

Monday, September 26, 2011

To bite an apple…

What is it about certain foods that makes them more appealing than others? More specifically, if a Gala apple tastes similar to a Red Delicious apple, why do some people prefer the Red Delicious? or the Gala? I know, for me, it’s the act of biting into the apple—especially that first bite. When I bite into a Red Delicious apple and there’s an audible *crack* as the skin breaks and juice springs forth… oh man, there is nothing like that! And likewise, there’s nothing so disappointing as biting into an old Red Delicious, or perhaps some other variety of apple, expecting that crack and juice, and finding it to be soft and mealy. Ugh! I know other people have tossed an apple after one bad bite like that, and I’ll admit, I’ve done it a few times as well. Blech! Now, if you go and just cut slices of that apple off the core and eat them as “apple chips” (as my kids call them), they’re still tasty and that mushy apple can be salvaged. But if you’ve got your heart set on the tactile pleasure of biting into a crisp apple, being let down can actually ruin the whole experience for you. At least, that’s been my experience.

I think I was in my early 20’s when I had someone explain to me that I am a tactile eater. Basically, if I understand that correctly, it means I like or dislike foods based as much on the texture and feel of the food as the taste. Some great examples I can think of are radishes and celery (again, they’re crisp when you bite into them, almost to the point of making that *crack* sound), nuts in ANYthing (ice cream, breads, cakes, cookies) are a good idea, ice cream with chunks of stuff (chocolate chips, bits of coconut, etc.), grease-soaked French fries over the crisp ones (I know this seems like the opposite of the trend I’ve set with other foods, but something about the texture of those greasy fries is so much more appealing to me than the crisp ones). I’ll always choose a candy bar with stuff in it over the non-crunchy variety: Hershey’s with almonds instead of the plain milk chocolate; Snickers instead of Milky Way; Crunch bars, Twix, Mr. Goodbar; Almond Joy over Mounds (though I do like dark chocolate, so I miss out on that by choosing the crunch of Almond Joy). My absolute favorite candy is Cinnamon Imperials/Red Hots. Those are some crunchy candies! I like Hot Tamales, too, but I prefer the crunch of Red Hots.

Anyone else out there a tactile eater? What else gets you excited about food?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Web 2.0 Tools–So Fun!

I just started using yet another Web 2.0 tool today. I LOVE these things!

First, let me explain, for anyone reading who may not be familiar with the term Web 2.0. According to Webster’s Dictionary (online version, of course—what else would I use?):

Main Entry:
web 2.0

Part of Speech:
n

Definition:
the second generation of the World Wide Web in which content is user-generated and dynamic, and software is offered that mimics desktop programs

Example:
Web 2.0 encourages collaboration and communication between users.

Etymology:
2004

Okay, so many of my classes in Library Science have focused, totally or in part, on utilizing Web 2.0 tools. It makes sense, when you think about it. Today’s modern Librarian is an Information Professional, not merely a book-pusher. Part of being an Information Professional is knowing about all forms of media, including books, but also various periodicals (magazines, newspapers), digital materials (DVD’s, CD’s, CD-ROM’s, etc.), play-aways (audio-book players), e-books, etc. There seems to be no end to the formats available for library patrons these days; and let us not forget that many patrons use their library for things other than obtaining simple reading material. A lot of people go to the library to use a computer, and we can only begin to imagine all the various computer needs people have. Therefore, an Information Professional must be fluent in as many of these formats as possible.

Lucky me! It behooves me to find more and more tools and delve into them in my spare time. One tool I learned about a few weeks ago, at the Women of Faith conference, was Pinterest. I hope to write about that sometime soon, but I’m still busy messing around with it…

In the meantime, I got busy today, finally, with something I’d heard about in one of my classes. Apparently (this should come as no surprise to me, but I just never really thought about it), there are various methods of online bookmark storage available. You know how you have your Favorites stored on your computer, within your browser? Say you use Internet Explorer (the little ‘e’ that’s probably on your desktop), or maybe even Firefox or Chrome or some other browser, to connect to the Internet. Somewhere in your browser, you have either Favorites or Bookmarks, but they’re the same thing… places you’ve been to that you know you’ll go back to, perhaps often. I’m not even going to get into the idea of dragging pages onto a new tab on your browser line… that’s something I’ve recently started doing with sites I visit nearly every day, but that’s another blog topic…. Back to Favorites/Bookmarks.

If your computer ever crashes (which I’ve had happen—ouch!), you’ll have to go back and find as many of your old favorites as you can, right? What was the web address for Tracy’s blog? I can’t remember it…. dang. Now I have to wait for an e-mail from her…. What about the web address for the County Assessor, so I can see a picture of someone’s house by plugging in their address (sometimes that’s more helpful than using MapQuest or Google Maps)… That was in my Favorites and now it’s gone. What to do!?

There’s an answer to this problem—of course you have to do this BEFORE your computer crashes, so if you’re reading this right after a crash and you haven’t already taken these steps, I apologize… I can’t help you. Go to Delicious or Google Bookmarks or Diigo. (Click on these words—they’re highlighted here, which means I’ve turned them into “hot links”… not Little Sizzlers, which are great with pancakes and syrup, but active website links for you to just point your mouse at and click.) I haven’t used all three, so I can’t say they’re exactly the same. I’m sure they each have their perks. The point is, you can use each of these sites to save your favorites from your browser. It’s private, it’s something you use a password to get into, but not only are they saved in case your computer ever crashes, you can also access them from ANY computer, ANYwhere! Awesome, right? I actually uploaded all my favorites to Delicious and then transferred them over to Google Bookmarks, because, frankly, it was easier that way.