Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life

Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life
Things through a different light...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Oh Come Forth Great Coffee Gods...

My first week of school is coming to a close technically (only two days of class this week).  Oh the joys of the chaos I thought I missed this summer LOL.

My caffeine intake has tripled and as I sit here, staring at the same article on Conservatism in politics that I've stared at for the last hour while my sweet 8 month old sleeps in his bed... I think I may need yet another cup.

This semester my classes intersect in a way... I am taking Contemporary America, A Seminar in History: 1963, and Seminar in History of the South...  it is actually really interesting stuff, my brain just refuses to cooperate today... perhaps it knows it is Friday.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And It Begins...

This post should be more aptly titled And It Begins Again... but I always look at another year of school as a completely different experience.  My second year of Grad school... what on earth am I thinking again???  My ever constant quest to become a History professor moves on with my fourth semester at Sam Houston State University and I am excited and dealing with a bit of trepidation because I am attempting a full load of courses (three) while also dealing with a very lively and awesome eight month old... I think everything will be fine and of course that means I will have at least four meltdowns, but that is just all part of the ride.  

This semester I am taking a seminar in the History of the South, a Seminar in History that is focused on the year 1963 and Contemporary History 1933- the present.  This is a bit out of my usual scope so I am hoping that studying something completely different will be interesting.  I will miss my colonial people and all their oddities, but I am sure there is plenty of odd, strange, and the outlandish in contemporary history as well...

Right now I am reading Cash's Mind of the South for one of my classes and it is a very strange book... for one, I have to constantly remind myself that Cash wrote the book in the late 1930s and published it in 1941 without any revision or updates (he killed himself shortly after the book came out by hanging himself in a hotel room in Mexico city after getting an advance to write a novel about the south)... his perspective is very limited and obviously of the time he lived, but it also brings to light a very odd time in the South, right after the Civil War.  I am not very far into the text...but I do notice its dated language...even though his eloquence is sometimes so novel like that I keep on reading and forget to take notes....

oh...he has no footnotes, which is sinful in history... I have no idea where he got his facts and have no way to check them out... mind boggling and infuriating lol.   

I am up a bit later than usual doing laundry, stalking pinterest, and attempting to motivate myself to fix Adam's lunch for tomorrow, but the book is calling me and I have other things to read.

I may be a bit sparse over the next few months, I am sure you know why.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013


If you are at all a book person and you read the news, lately things have been a bit depressing.  I began thinking about this from an odd angle tonight as Adam and I sat down and watched a cooking documentary featuring some of the world's top chefs and I recalled the first time I had something one would consider fancy fare.  

I was in my late twenties and finally the manager of a bookstore (I am going to refrain from using names, but most who read my blog know where I've worked so filling in the spaces will not be too difficult).  I adored my job, I really did... no matter how stressful or how unrealistic a forty hour work week was, I loved where I worked, my employees, my little store, and my company.  While I worked for a lesser successful portion of the company, I still managed during a pretty successful period on books...Twilight, Harry Potter, big series really boosted sales and more people were reading... OHHH the early 2000s, how the book industry loved you.

Managers were lucky enough to go to a yearly conference where we of course learned ways to better manage our stores, learned about our product, and learned how to really help customers... but we also met famous authors, stayed in lavish hotels like the Dolphin in Disney World, and ate this amazing food prepared by chefs and had fancy little dessert mousse shaped like books with ingredients I'd never tried (I blame this for my love of food now).  Anyone who worked during this time knew that things were going well and even when my small store closed (many people were getting away from small stores as the concept of mega stores caught on), I still believed I worked for this really prosperous company...

Ebooks are a tricky and dangerous mistress.
They are alluring with their ease and storing capacity.  I will not deny that I use them, I do... a lot and perhaps my own usage has contributed to the demise of these big book companies, but I don't think its that simple.

It is easy to say the ebook has destroyed print, but it hasn't... it may force publishers and book dealers to change the way they operate, but everyone has to change with the times to some extent... that does not mean though that every book store should get into the hardware business because THAT is not profitable, especially when company ownership shifts, goals shifts, priorities shift, and employees are no longer important to maintaining success.  When you cut hours, cut benefits, and try to find the cheapest labor while pushing a device instead of the actual item in your title BOOKSTORE, you lose important parts of your business and while I do not think that alone has harmed book dealers in the last ten years, I do not believe it has helped one single iota.  

For those of us who still adore books, who find them vital to cultural survival and believe that a space for those books is necessary... we want to see things go backwards for once.  No, I do not mean embrace some archaic 19th century notion of the bookshop... modern bookstores do a few things really right (no matter how much a lingering hours long customer can grate on the nerves)... cafes, cozy spaces, internet access, and BOOKS (at an affordable price...this is where the publishers who are truly murdering the business come in), all need to converge in an area staffed by competent, willing, and friendly it was say... five years ago.... Yes ebooks are a component of the business now that should not be avoided... BUT
I do not believe it is a good idea to push the idea of an electronic book over your ACTUAL PHYSICAL PRODUCT at all and doing that may turn a profit tomorrow, but it will shut you down in two weeks.  

I'm kind of out of the book business, moving on to an also dying profession, academics... but it does not mean that I don't worry.  I worry a lot because I think that if we let this part of our psyche die (even if its just in the US...the bookshops I visited in the UK seemed pretty busy and not focused at all on the digital format), it will be a terrible loss that we as a society will lament and I don't just say that because I am a book nerd, I say that because I think reading, the act of looking at a book, looking at the words on the back, choosing carefully which book you will take home... these are important things.

Squirrel Conspiracy

One of the oddest things... and I sat transfixed watching...

While I hurried in our laundry room (which has the heat equal to hell I am sure) to transfer wet clothes to the dryer, I looked out the window and noticed a squirrel toiling away at a task in the center of my back yard.  Upon close inspection I realized the squirrel was attempting to pull away a very long piece of cloth, pink cloth.  Now at this point, as I watched this squirrel, I realized that the piece of cloth was one of my socks and this intrigued me more because I thought to on earth did one of my socks make it to the back yard and get partially buried in the ground (half of the sock was buried and as it was a knee high sock, the squirrel struggled to pull it out of the ground and keep all of it in his tiny arms while running away).  Maybe there is some strange squirrel conspiracy because I have a basket full of missing socks...

I mean honestly... tell me...

Does this look innocent to you???

and look at all these missing socks... just think of the intricate and complex system of squirrel housing complexes that this many socks could make....

In my defense... It is really hot out and my brain may now be officially addled.  

Weekend Update

Someone made the decision that 6:15 AM was an appropriate time to awake from his slumber and thus force Adam and I out of bed as well.  There is plenty to do, poor Adam has to go renew his driver's license, which in Georgia now entails finding twenty thousand examples that you are who you say you are...annoying.

There is also some huge consignment sale in Perry and we are going to go check it out, I've never been to a big consignment sale so this will be an experiment.  

Adam's birthday is tomorrow, he and Aiden had an enjoyable time opening one of his gifts yesterday (Aiden really enjoyed wrapping paper).

I need coffee.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 8th

So school is back in for everyone except me and I cannot help but want something to read/study/research... that being said, I probably will express the opposite of that sentiment about three days after Fall Semester begins.

This week has been quite busy, Aiden's grandparents from Florida came up for a fun little visit and apart from spending quality time together I got some work done on remodeling my looks a ton better now.  :D

So a few things have been done...

A few books and some art
I have some of my favorite fiction books actually in the bedroom, apart from the other eight book shelves I have in the house...  My Harry Potter texts, some classics and all my Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman, we cleaned up the space, got rid of the clutter and added that awesome clock in the back... loving it.

If you like the art, here is the shop of the artist: HidenSeek  The art is truly special and I have tons of it all over my house, actually I should do a blog post just on that art one day.

My rosary collection

I've collected rosaries since I was a teenager and I finally have most of them in one place on display.  Adam's mom gave me this beautiful metal hanger with the birds because she thought it would be a great way to feature my rosaries, and it is, I love it.  One of the rosaries on the first hook was an actual standard issue rosary from WWII.


I tend to make everything in the house dark red and black, so this was an effort to NOT do that, I really like this blue quilt and the lovely accent pillow with the writing on it.   The picture above my bed is of a statue near Buckingham Palace in London that I took when we were there in 2011, it is one of my most FAVORITE photographs of all time...

This is my photograph of the Queen Alexandra Statue on Marlborough Road in London
I thought it would look great over my bed and so we took the photo, enlarged it, framed it and wooo haa!  I had a lot of fun doing this and Bunny was so nice to help me and make the room look so much more put together.  The accents on the new nightstands are great too, a beautiful bowl and this really pretty plate (Adam says he feels like he is in a fancy hotel).

We really had a nice time and did some productive things like clean and fix things and cancel cable.  Oh yea, we cancelled our DirecTV, after months of arguing when our rates hiked, after finally getting on this minimalist plan and then having absolutely no channels, and after Game of Thrones ended....whatever.  I will take my 81 dollars and spend it in other ways.  

Back to the visit...

Someone had a great time... lol

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Busy at Home Saturday

My mother used to kid at the chaotic state of my bedroom on a daily basis.  Unorganized is a kind word I would throw at the organization of my dwelling as a kid, but I'm thirty six years old now and those days are far behind me.  I would not say I am a neat freak because someone with this many books in a house accepts a bit of chaos, but I would say that I literally go into a clean panic mode when there is even an inkling of someone coming over to my house.  
There are multiple reasons for this, one being pretty personal and kind of linked to emotional baggage and issues from the past.  Prior to living in the house we bought in 2007, we lived in this cramped single-wide mobile home in the sticks that I loathed and on top of that, during the time we lived there...from early on, some really serious and emotionally hurtful things happened (one being the loss of a child) that kind of made me connect that place with all the bad that occurred during that time....
So I let the house basically turn into a hellhole, it really was... it was dirty, messy, old and rotting (some of that was not our doing...with pipes busting all the time and holes in the floor), but it was the most horrible place I've ever lived in and I wont go into it but dirty is not even proper to describe it.  I'm not embarrassed about it or ashamed, it was a bad time and we worked through it and are happy now.

Fast forward though and that period along with knowing some people who would be considered hoarders and how that scares me has really made me a sort of clean freak and I really get that way when people visit so all day today I was cleaning because we have Aiden's grandparents from Florida visiting (very excited!!!) and I want everything to be nice and perfect.  

After vacuuming, scrubbing the kitchen, and using so much bleach in the bathroom that I still can only smell bleach like 5 hours later, I only have a few things to do tomorrow before they arrive.  I like cleaning though, I like being active so it was a pretty good day...

I also boiled peanuts and made a carrot cake so yay for me!!!

Now I am relaxing a bit before bed, reading the news, pinning some stuff on pinterest because I cannot help myself, and maybe even playing some WoW.

Hope everyone else has a great weekend!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Mixture of Things

Just saw a post on a friend's facebook page about geek dudes trying to say geek girls are  So annoying....
My nerdness pretty much reaches its height because I play World of Warcraft and I actually stopped going to one Gamestop in my area because each time I went in to inquire about a WoW expansion that was set to be released they gave me less information than I knew, scoffed at the fact that I asked, and made references to the fact that it must be for my boyfriend...
Forget the fact that I ran my own guild... I was a girl playing a video game and thus must be doing it for other reasons besides liking it.

That sort of mentality actually pushed me away from some of the things I enjoyed that are technically geeky... besides shit plotlines for years and a growing disinterest in how women are portrayed on a regular basis... the way women are treated in Comic books kind of turned me off a lot...

Smart or geeky girls are not a rare breed that are predominantly fake just to get boys attentions, to be honest... seems like guys are reaching and a bit self important if they think that way.

Cleaning the house and preparing for some family to visit, I am hoping to make a second Carrot Cake this weekend (I love carrot cake, especially mine).  I just need to go buy all the ingredients which shouldn't be too hard and just eat the loads of cream cheese that I use to make it... oh cream cheese, you are so wonderful.

Waiting for book lists for my upcoming fall classes... I want something new to read.

I have gone back to reading The Fall of the House of Dixie which is a really good book...its dark.

Maybe I will read some fiction before school starts back... Re-reading the entire Harry Potter series does not count I don't think...but it did get me a free Pen from my Local Library's summer reading program (and I love pens).