Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Giant Blarg!!!


This week has been brought to me by the letters A R R R G G G

You know those weeks when it is nothing major but little things just drive you insane....

Like a slight annoyance about a grade...weird stuff at work...no time...

Yep....



Dumbledore and I do not Care...




Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Update (accidentally put this on my other blog first)

School is back in session so my blog has become a bit sparse I admit. With two seminar style courses (one with a heavy reading list for the first half of the semester) and outside activities...my schedule has been a bit full, but I have spared anyone the freakout moment yet, nothing has occurred that would equal crazed level of panic.

I did want to discuss something of importance to me today, even if it does not reach the people who it is meant for..who would not care probably even if they did read it because I have learned that the internet is just a place to bark at others who do not agree with you.

Voting is a right here in the United States, it is actually a foundational part of our country's make-up and therefore it should be something that we as a society take very seriously and work diligently to ensure that ALL people have every opportunity possible to participate in that process, but for some reason...here in the US, we like to really try to make voting hard and that is confusing to me (really it is not, I mean I get it...but I am going to take this from a positive...let me explain angle today). 

As Americans we should want every single eligible person to have the opportunity to cast their votes to sway the tide of government, in a free society like ours...that right is paramount because it is how we, the average people...illustrate our support or disdain for the work being done in our name in Washington or our States. There are people who would like to make that hard for others...hell the other day I saw a clip of someone advocating tests again (please see the civil rights movements to understand why that sort of thing is disgusting).

People in the United States have been arrested, beaten, tortured, and MURDERED in order to vote and please understand creating long lines or closing polls to those who may work or have schedules that prohibit voting on Monday-Friday is a bad thing. It does not hurt a single person to have polls open every day of the week... it does not hurt anyone to work towards universal suffrage not just as a legality, but as a truth. 
It makes our country more representative of those who occupy it.

If that scares you...then you may need to re-evaluate what sort of government you want to live under, I am sure there are some less than liberated dictatorships who would love to have you.

*steps off soap box*

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Being Stubborn

I do not buy into food fads and diet trends usually. I spend a lot of time working towards exercising every day and coupling that with attempting to eat better and with school beginning again three weeks ago, the processed foods sneak back in the diet and suddenly, I find myself getting sick after eating...often.

I do not believe I have any sort of gluten allergy, I can eat bread without any problems, but processed or sugar heavy foods... destroy me. 
For example, I made pancakes this morning and almost immediately after eating them I felt ill.  I am trying to figure out if it is a sugar thing, I do not eat a ton of sugar, but if I do eat something horribly sweet in a large quantity...it gets me ill every time and I am thinking some of these processed foods have just hidden sugar in them
It is so hard to pick and choose at the grocery store and maintain a budget so this food issue is really bugging me.
I bought a lot of fresh fruits and veggies this week... so we shall see, obviously the pancakes are doing horrible. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What is up with the Founders?

Why is it that the "founders," you know...those guys who put together the United States' first governments (yea..remember...there were two) are portrayed as being pretty old... when in truth... they were not?

In 1776

James Madison was 25
Thomas Jefferson 33

If you look at portraits of them (granted most of their portraits come in the 1790s or after the Revolution)... they look a great deal older.
If you rely on the way they are portrayed in film...they all look well over mid-twenties and early thirties for sure.
What is that about?
Were they that weathered by life and stress in the Colonies that they just looked older or do we find comfort in portraying our leadership with more age and experience than they actually had?

Just found it odd...this is what I do when I read for class... I get stuck on the smallest and most insignificant thing. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Coffee Review : Deathwish Coffee's Valhalla Odinforce Blend

I enjoy a dark cup of coffee on a daily basis.  I do flavor it with a bit of cream and some sugar and I know to some that is sheer blasphemy, but my cup...my kitchen, deal!

Today I tried Deathwish Coffee's Valhalla Java Odinforce.

who would NOT try this coffee?

When I opened the package, I did get a hint of chocolate so I was worried it would be flavored, but it was not...just a nice, smooth and dark coffee that tasted pretty lovely with a little dollop of cream and a sugar cube (at least I go light on the extras). I feared it would be overly dark, but it was nice...it was perfect and I really liked it.  It was a bit pricey, so I will not get it every time, but it is great for a coffee treat.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Random Acts Controversy?

I recently read a news article about an incident where a Starbucks in Florida had a line of people...over 300 I think who kept paying it forward...essentially, buying the next person in line their drink and thought, wow...that was nice.  I've had it happen to me once at the coffee shop, the person in front of me... for no reason other than being nice, paid my tab and it was pretty cool.
So... the controversy came from a blogger guy (who has a reputation in the town) read about this as it was still going on...got in his car, drove the the starbucks, and intentionally stopped the line because he felt it was wrong or stupid or something...
He even insinuated that Starbucks had started it as an advertising ploy or something like that... really odd to me.
Anyway...
He got all hot and bothered because the barista at the window...was telling the customers that the person before them had purchased their drink and asked if they wanted to continue the gesture....obviously "pressuring" the person to do so or I don't know...suffer the wrath of the Starbucks employee??? Who knows?  Sounds like a kind of dickish thing to do if you ask me but...anyway...
People got involved in some overwhelming unnecessary internet debate over the dumbness of random acts and how it doesnt really help anyone and its some first world way of making someone feel  noble.  My problem with this is... no one is trying to save the world by purchasing the customer next in line a cup of coffee, they are just being nice.
What is wrong with simply just being nice?
Why do we have to make it an issue?

I am on a sub-reddit where the entire object is to randomly buy someone something from their Amazon wishlist...for no reason, other than sometimes its really cool to get a little something for yourself.  I've never gifted anything expensive...usually its 5 dollars or less, but it does feel good and it makes someone else's day a bit brighter.  

I wonder why the internet has to make everything an issue... I wonder why the internet just makes people feel they NEED to hit that respond button of they even have an inkling of an opinion different than the one they are reading.

I really have had to stop talking on most social media because of this....people are disrespectful, nasty, rude, and refuse to even acknowledge someone else's views or understanding of something might have validity. 
half the time I see false facebook memes or horribly incorrect information and just shake my head now because in the world of social media scrutiny, the facts have no bearing if those facts interfere with how someone thinks...even a free cup of coffee from a stranger is wrong if it interferes with someone else's worldview. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lazy Weekend

I want it to be fall... I really do.  When Adam and I went shopping for our "day out" to celebrate our annivery... I picked our orange roses and all I want is fall to get here... just a few degrees cooler...a nice breeze... turning leaves.
I do not even really get hot, but it is like 100 degrees outside.

To move along fall... I planted my fall flowers at the post.

alternated with red and yellow mums and some marigolds in the center

I would go buy a Pumpkin Spice Latte if I thought it would help....

Please cooler weather, wind breakers...breezes... revisit this place before I melt.  I know my title for the blog today is lazy weekend...but I have a lot to do, I just feel lazy and sluggish and tired. 




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Tea Party

My love affair with all things British (apart from their politics in Ireland lol) enabled me to host a small gathering of ladies for a tea party. We had a lovely time and unfortunately...we had such a good time, I was unable to take any photos...I forgot LOL. 

Though...I did get a "before" photo...

before the food was laid out, my small table decor

The Menu consisted of:
(all freshly made)

Tea Sandwiches-
-herbed goat cheese and turkey
-cucumber with dill and cream cheese

Buttermilk Scones-
-Fresh Lemon Curd
-Clotted Cream

Shortbread-
-traditional scottish
-pecan
(Both made by a friend who attended)

Vegetables and dip

and
Macaroons... with chocolate yummm!


We had two types of tea
-English Breakfast
-English Afternoon

and it was amazing.  I loved having friends over and everything turned out perfectly.
(Lemon curd is a pain)

I am planning another, probably close to Christmas with a breakfast theme  :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Yep

And when people ask me why I want to leave and move away so badly... mark the night I had to call the police because our insane neighbors got into a screaming match in the front yard in the middle of the night...throwing each other's belongings from the house and threatening to kill each other....

I hate this place. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Few Things...

We visited Charlotte, North Carolina this week for the Liverpool vs. A.C. Milan game.  Charlotte has a lovely and artistically diverse downtown that I really enjoyed. Their modern art museum looked really awesome and they had a variety of uniquely decorated public park areas for people to enjoy. Because the day was overcast and uncharacteristically cool for the Summer, it was a nice day to spend walking around before the game.  

One of the Random outdoor Art scenes in Charlotte

On top of lovely scenery we also enjoyed some pretty tasty food.  First, we had lunch at an Irish pub called The Ri Ra. The place was overwhelmingly packed to the walls with hundreds of Liverpool fans watching other football matches before the game (we even had some authentic Liverpoolians {is that even a word lol} try to bond with us in a drunken happy stupor).  I of course had Guinness and shepherd's pie...because yea...

this stuff was fantastic

The match was equally amazing.... I've not had so much fun in a long time and I have really grown to love the sport because of its rich history and tradition... I adore it. 

Me about an hour and a half before the game...yea we got there early, the game had 69,300 in attendance
All in all, after a 2 - 0 win, we had an amazing time and really enjoyed ourselves.


Friday, August 1, 2014

WWI

The First World War, while so world changing and so devastating for millions of people...often plays a backseat for those who enjoy studying war. I've held a fascination with the Great War since childhood, when I checked out a book from the Rocky Creek Public Library (no longer open) about the war on a trip there with my grandmother (a veteran of the second world war). I found the idea of tanks and calvary as crazy...the clash of technology and lack there of, the trenches, the use of chemical weapons....the sheer numbers of the dead.

One of the first books I read on the war was Barbara Tuchman's Guns of August, a book that covers the lead up to the war....its an amazing book, Ive read it more than once.  If you are interested about the roots of a war that would have an effect on the world decades after its end...read this book.

The Guns of August

On top of my obsession with the war and what happened.... I have an entire shelf dedicated to the war at my house...

My WWI books!!!
Although I love all of these books... I have a favorite...
Over the years I have developed a side love of the WWI poets like Brooks and Sassoon....  I have a collection of their poems as an ebook BUT...
I also have this...

my awesome book from Dublin, Ireland
We went into a tiny bookshop in Dublin, Ireland and I found this gem on the shelf AND it was affordable (many of the books in the shop were not...the place has been on famous travel shows like Anthony Bourdain's)...  The book was printed in London and its old and tattered...but I love Rupert Brooke's poetry so it was awesome to get it.  
I found out today that the journals of Sassoon are on the web for free now here... if you want to read what life in the trenches treated those unfortunate souls placed in them... read it.
Or...read Ernst Junger's Storm of Steel or about the way the war affected the civilians... read Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth

OK done.  :D

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Battle of Dunlap Hill

I am no way a Civil War buff, I've taken quite a few courses on the war throughout my education, but it is not my chosen field of study and being a Southerner who does not believe in the Lost Cause mentality, I often shy away from it....
BUT, I do enjoy history, I love local history and I really enjoy preserving historical landmarks in my area.
So I volunteer at the Ocmulgee National Monument whenever I get a chance.

Today the Mounds celebrated the 150th anniversary of The Battle of Dunlap Hill and we had camps, cannons, horses... and well lemonade.
It was a good time.

LOOK I even tried to make it LOOK old.  lol 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cheaper Stores

I did what everyone does when they realize they have to cut back on the finances because things are more expensive and switched to two "cheaper" grocery stores.  What did I find?  The food was not as good, the service was horrible, and the prices...were not really cheaper at all.


So originally we shopped at Publix. Publix is a great grocery store (they pay a decent wage for one) and it is never overwhelmingly crowded or really out of anything we need...unlike the other stores we switched to (more about that later).

First.... we switched to Kroger.

Kroger is deceptive in its pricing.  Yes, they have deals like 10 for 10$ and some buy one get one deals a lot, but in the end some of the staples are a bit higher than what we were paying at Publix or...the bigger problems...overcrowded and long lined stores with bad meat, produce, and other perishables. 
  
         In the three months we shopped at Kroger we dealt with:
                 1. Molded bread
                 2. Bad Yogurt
                 3. Bad Milk
                 4. Rotted fruit
                 5. Out of Date baby food
                 6. Bad Meat
We were also spending an average of 75-80 dollars a week on groceries (we do not bulk buy, use coupons, or buy a lot of frozen things)

Second...after the sixth issue with rotting food at Kroger, we dived into Wal-Mart.

Walmart is a hell on earth, at least the two in my area feel as such.  It is always over crowded, loud, hot, and there are never enough lines open.  Also, the buggies are horrible, most of them have the strap broken on the seat for toddlers and thus we spend 10 minutes looking for a buggy that is functional.  Furthermore...the prices are, like Kroger, deceptive. Milk, Eggs, and Butter are always either higher than Publix or the same price...and those are three of our main purchases every week...  The produce selection is very limited and walmart also has a freshness problem.  The last time we went, I checked some fresh corn to see if it was yellow or white and discovered that nope...it was moldy black (we put stuff down and went to Publix). 
We were spending around 85-90 dollars a week at Walmart, I also think that is due to the fact that Walmart is also a department store, but I believe the layout of the store tends to influence a shopper to wander and just pick up random things to buy... things you dont really need.

So....For a few months now we've been back at Publix.
This morning, after a few weeks of vacation (and a very bare pantry and fridge), Aiden and I went grocery shopping and I spent right under 61 dollars....

This is what we purchased.


Please ignore my messy kitchen.

To Sum this Up:
1. Capt Crunch (Publix Brand)                                        12. Tabouli Salad
2. Spaghetti                                                                        13. Strawberries
3. Organic Brown Eggs (dozen)                                      14. Rasberries
4. Chicken Cutlets                                                             15. Bananas
5. Lettuce                                                                            16. A Bell Pepper
6. A Fruit Pouch                                                                17. Canned Green Beans
7. A Salad Cucumber                                                        18. Canned Pineapple
8. A Yellow Squash                                                           19. Canned Fruit Cocktail
9. A Zucchini                                                                      20. Cento Tomatoes
10. Scallions                                                                       21. Baby Carrots
11. Green Beans (fresh)                                                    22. Half and Half


23. Koolaid Packet
24. Frozen Lemonade
25. Yellow Onion
26 Frozen Mac & Cheese
27. Frozen Pasta Shells
28. Smoked Turkey Breast Deli Meat
29. Sliced Sandwich cheese
30. Three Limes
31. Two Red Potatoes
32. A Gallon of Whole Milk
33. Publix Brand Diet Soda
34. Publix Brand Regular Soda.

I did not purchase butter and bread on this trip because we were not out, but they were together.... five dollars  so my total with even those things we did not get, but usually do.... 65 dollars, cheaper than Kroger and Walmart....and look how fresh these items are!

In addition to the money savings...the store is cleaner, the isles are easier to navigate, they have lovely bakery and deli items (oh man fried chicken).... AND they have wonderful and helpful employees who actually get paid a decent wage. 

So... The "Cheaper stores" were not cheaper at all and I am at Publix for good. 








Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Like Cities

We are in Atlanta for the weekend with Adam's parents and having a lovely time.
I love the city and I like having a break.

It has been raining this weekend, but that did not stall an enjoyable visit to the zoo, shopping at Whole Foods...and good pizza. 

AND relaxing in a cool porch to read...


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Yesss.....

I know it is the small things....
But with a weird walker/runner unfriendly area (lots of busy roads) and really high temp humid heat...the inability to pay for a gym (too expensive) and the closest running trail requiring a drive down the road....
WE FINALLY GOT A (very used) TREADMILL!!!!
for 75 bucks!

Today I was able to do five miles within the comfort of my home and it was glorious.

I really am serious about getting in better shape and I think this helps, a lot.

now to figure out this fitness ball....


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ugggg....

I know anxiety plays a huge part in how things affect me, but I swear sometimes we just cannot get ahead....
Of course the week we are supposed to drive to Florida for a MUCH needed weekend away... a tire is messed up and will cost us 120 dollars we do not have...drives me insane.

I just want a break, just a few weeks without a crisis.

I am organizing my books to stay calm, this really has just messed up my entire day. 


Friday, June 6, 2014

Busy Summer

I always have this false idea that the Summer will be less busy (LOL).  With a very energetic toddler and working on a few projects (mainly PhD app process), I am pretty busy.  After some setbacks with the safety of the neighborhood and an admitted drop in confidence when walking alone, today we did our first walk without driving to the Trail about two miles away. We did two miles with no incidents.  I felt a bit silly at first carrying the pepper spray, but I will admit I was not nearly as nervous when walking...so yay!  (Although I am still searching for a good 2nd hand treadmill)

Aiden's Summer Reading is progressing.  I know, I know... seventeen months old, but I want him to love reading as I do and you know, gotta start the brainwashing young.  We've read sixteen books since starting the program at the library in Warner Robins on 5/29 and that includes 3 chapters of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (our second run on the series).  He's begun this cute little process of finding a book on his bookshelf (half of his books stay on the floor these days), climbing into my rocking chair in his room, and "reading" his books out loud with the most adorable baby gibberish on earth.  I wonder what his version of the stories are, I imagine they are fascinating. 

I am still attempting to find healthy/easy recipes for dinner... cooking is such a chore these days...by 6 Adam and I are both exhausted, its hot, and we just do not have the energy to cook some complicated healthy meal... and I do not think our trip to Nu Way Wednesday night counts as healthy meal choices.  I know I am working out a ton, but it does no good if he and I eat crud.  Aiden eats this amazingly healthy diet...maybe I should just eat cut up fresh fruit like he does LOL.

I made two jars of fresh pickles yesterday...they are semi-healthy if you do not count all the salt right???  ;) 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Everyone is Outraged on the Internet

Before I preach... I am guilty too because I've raged against the machine quite a few times on the internet...hell I blog...so there.

But...

So I've seen this a few times now and its just dumb, I am sorry.

The Disney movie Frozen does not promote lesbianism just because the characters are not saved by men.

its 2014 people.

I love my husband, I do...he is amazing, I adore him, he is a wonderful father and I could not imagine my life without him, but that is because I love him as a person, NOT because I need a man to function.

Did I mention it was 2014.

So what a character didn't end up with the guy she met the day before and live happily ever after... So what a girl actually fixed an issue on her own.

btw...2014.
Wolstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women  was written in 1792...its time the rest of the damned world caught up.

I had someone once tell me it was nice that my husband "allowed" me to get an education.
LOLOLOLOLOLOL....
little do they know.....

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Exhausted

Working in the evening while also taking care of a toddler all day can be a bit draining.  That being said, I am on break and the stress of getting a book read in a few days while also working and taking care of a toddler is gone... yay!
Until August...


he is so adorable... I am not bias

While on vacation, I tend to watch movies during the day... something I cannot do usually during the Semester and so I revel in it during the Summer.
What did I watch today?

It is a four part documentary about Hurricane Katrina and if you've not see it... watch it, it is amazing.  I had the privilege of visiting New Orleans in February of 2005.  I remember the excitement I felt when I realized I finally had the opportunity to visit a city I dreamed of traveling to since I was young.  It was amazing and I had a lovely time looking at old buildings, soaking in the living history of music, and of course coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde. I remember a group of us (I was there for work) went out to dinner after a day of meetings and found ourselves in a neon lit Bourbon Street club at around midnight (it was drag queen night) and the performers were fabulous. We had such an amazing night, but apart from the glitz, the touristy feel of Bourbon Street... we walked the French Quarter and stared at the beautifully designed old houses... I loved New Orleans, I still do.  
Fast forward to January 1st 2009. I accompanied my parents to a football game in New Orleans, but we stayed outside the city and on our way in... I saw the creepy remnants of Six Flags and the FEMA trailers where people still lived and I was heartbroken. The documentary is powerful...and it illustrates the level of suffering and the ability to endure that makes New Orleans such an asset to American culture.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

History vs. Popular Thought

I will never understand the genuine (not joking...because joking is one thing) disdain for the French with the excuse that they were somehow cowards militarily...I realize it generates from a complete lack of knowledge of history, but even without looking at their prowess in the late 18th and early 19th centuries...the French fought in both world wars, people died, people were tortured and risked everything... and to diminish that is inappropriate and disrespectful. Adam found a disgusting "memorial day menu" at a restaurant where they used their menu to pretty much crap on French people and its evident that the person who wrote this menu has no concrete understanding of French history at all.  We should never debase those who fought alongside our own troops to free Europe from such a devastating period...French citizens and members of the military consistently fought against the occupation and died for it... anyone who honestly treats those people's sacrifice as lesser when they struggled against oppression on their own soil should take a moment to cherish the fact that they've never had to experience what it was like to be occupied by a foreign force. Other countries in Europe were occupied... look at Austria and Belgium and how their populations also responded to the Nazi threat... it was harrowing and horrifying for so many people, an experience we have no relation to at all.

550,000 people military and civilian died from France in WWII... that is not a cowardly sacrifice and we should never degrade or diminish the suffering of someone else because we think our guns were bigger/better....thats horrible.


Some of the destruction in France during WWII

I forgot to mention the over two thousand French soldiers who gave their lives to help us here during the American Revolution.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Side Projects

I wrote a book review of Diane Setterfield's Bellman & Black

See it Here

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It is Late.

Officially on break after a pretty long and eventful Spring Semester. I am glad of it, I think a few more weeks of the chaos would have done me in. After surviving and obtaining a 4.0, I can breathe a bit, attempt to get into PhD programs and just do less...lol.

I did stay up until almost 3 AM watching Jane Austen. I always think to myself after watching any early 19th century film...that I would have so much liked that style of clothes better HAH.
I have no clue why, you wouldn't dare catch me in a dress now, but something about the light fabrics, the capped sleeves, and the empire waist... appeals to me.

Also, Aunt Petunia is in the older version of Persuasion....I prefer that one, I do not know why... I rather like the newer one done by the BBC a few years back, but...ehhh I really like the older version for some reason. 

Wow it is late and I have a five year old's bday party to attend tomorrow. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

In a Moment of Procrastination...

Every big reader has an obsession book or set of books...the one they revisit, go over and over again...begin to analyze and mine is Harry Potter.
It is funny because when Harry Potter the series first emerged on the scene I scoffed at it and refused to read it, after all I was an adult and these books were for 10 year olds.
I have since got over that hump and acknowledge my full obsessive love of the books.

I have my own wand, scarf, and socks even.... so yea.... there is that.

Today, in an attempt to avoid reading about the doom and gloom poetry of medieval France, and because my son is watching Goblet of Fire, I thought about something that struck me as odd in the Fourth book.

The Goblet of Fire in all its glory!

In the fourth Harry Potter book, the plot setup follows the occurrence of the Triwizard Tournament, an event that promotes wizard relations and friendship through placing three school aged wizards through a number of mentally challenging and dangerous tasks...the winner gets the triwizard cup and a cozy thousand gallion prize...not bad for facing dragons, weird sphinx riddles, and scary merpeople.  My conundrum begins when underaged wizards including Fred and George Weasley attempt to enter their names in the tournament (there was an age limit placed due to the dangerous nature of the tasks) and everyone cheers them on and thinks is a gas, but when Harry Potter's name is called (the fake professor moody places his name in the cup in order to set up an elaborate plan to revive Lord Voldemort), everyone turns on him and treats him like dirt, even his best friend Ron (who is jealous mind you).  Just made me wonder, is it Potter's own personal fame that caused most of Hogwarts to turn on him or is it just kids being kids.
Nevertheless, it does not really matter.   This all comes from my own avoidance of work lol. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So Angry

I am beyond annoyed. We have experienced a continual rise in crime and disturbances in our neighborhood over the past six months in Warner Robins, Georgia.  We purchased our house seven years ago and for six and a half years...no problems at all.  Now, we have thefts consistently... we've had things stolen twice now (last night, our grill was taken from our driveway against our house in the middle of these storms). Our neighbors have reported thefts and unfortunately nothing has changed...we call the police, we report the crimes and the police respond rather quickly, but I believe a lack of patrols/manpower in the area on a consistent basis does not help the situation and I have no idea what else to do.
We've called, we've contacted city council/the mayor (heard nothing).
It is beyond frustrating.
My neighbors and I truly feel like we are not being heard and the issues continue to increase.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Who Am I?

Attempt at the intellectual seflie
Is there anyone who reads this blog who does not know me? I doubt it, but reading up on how to run blogs and how not to run blogs... I found you are supposed to do this "about me" sort of intro (that I've never really done).

So who am I?

I'm a first time mom in my mid-thirties (late thirties but you know, mid sounds better to me). 
I am a student.
I am a bookseller.
I am a historian?
I am a semi-tolerable wife.

I am currently working on one of the last few papers I have due for this semester before summer break.
I NEED summer break.

What are some things I enjoy:
books, gardening, photography, eating, baking, studying history, spending time with my family.
Am I super exciting... no.
BUT... if you ever have a question about Harry Potter... I bet I can answer it.


So that is it.

That's who I am. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Chaos

There are days where I truly contemplate taking the entire family and moving to the top of a mountain in a far distant land...as long as there is an internet connection I am good.


In other news... I have three papers to go and if I do not finish them soon, I may need to take a long vacation in a padded room.

This Summer, while I will be working diligently on PhD program admissions, I swear I am going to take it easy.

So back to work and dreaming about this as my home...


I know this is probably fake...but do you see the effort it takes for people to actually get to you....dreams!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting Late

I do not always have the sunniest of dispositions, I tend to think of the worst when a problem arises and I am trying to work on that.
When something is misplaced, I immediately think about how much it is going to cost to replace it.
When something is not working properly, I automatically assume it is going to have to be completely replaced or the repair costs will break our bank.
This is my nature...this is what I do, and yet I truly believe that I need to be more positive.
Yesterday was a bad day, we all have them...I had one.

Today was much better.

I received word that I've been awarded an academic scholarship for next year and while it is not a super ton of money, it will help purchase books and supplies that I need.

I also received an advanced reader's copy of a novel I am going to review...reading for fun and a review, yay!

It was a lovely day and my son and I got out of the house for once and went and got coffee...well I got coffee, he laughed and chased things.

There was a moment today when I looked around and my house was destroyed, the kitchen was a mess, my child was pitching a fit, and I realized that I did not get as much done as I wanted to and I did not freak out.
This is progress.

I have to get up and go to work tomorrow...my one day a week of retail punishment, then back to medieval peasants and slave narratives.

Summer is almost here....

Sick, so Slow

I was sick yesterday and got very little accomplished, I hope today is much more productive. I want to get a lot done so my weekend won't be swamped, I have a feeling my weekend will be swamped...so if I do not grace this highly important blog with words of wisdom...I will be back next week.  :D

Here is something to think about that connects to my previous post.

This semester I've read a great deal regarding our fear of "the other." That can easily translate into our fear of anything different. It is not a rare trait...to fear people who are different, to fear change, to fear a challenge to your own set in ideologies and it is not a modern phenomenon.  The peasant class in Europe were often relegated to "other" status to justify their forced servitude on their Lord's estate...this was a feat for Europeans because they usually oppressed peoples of other faiths, who were not Christians, but with the peasant class in Europe, they were also Christians (I wont go into how the clergy of the day raised them to an almost holy status because of their saintlike labor and at the same time subjugated them as well on their own estates...very different clergy though, most of them went into the church because they were the sons of major lords and needed to find a lucrative and economically productive career...middle ages was a period of great change for the church and it worked diligently throughout the end of the middle ages to remove that sort from service to the Church and replace with people who wanted to teach and live in a more chaste and holy manner...but  it took a while).  Apart from medieval peasants or slaves, the obviously oppressed, I cannot help but continually connect the fear of "the other" with modern forms of oppression.  In many countries, a dominant group will oppress a minority group be it for religious, ethnic, or ideological reasons and usually do it because as the other...that society has placed certain negative traits (often unfounded) on said group.  There are many people who fight this type of oppression, and they too have existed since the middle ages... and you wonder, are we making progress?  We must be, but what will it take to convince people that there will always be differences... and we cannot hold one person down because they look or believe differently than we do.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Other

I finished Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl for the fourth time today. It is a narrative I am very familiar with and always astonished by. I wonder how was it that not too far in our past...that in a country founded on the premise of individual freedom...we turned human beings into animals and justified it because they looked different.

I then thought about today...
We do not enslave or condone slavery in America and yet...we still attempt to justify oppression or the erosion of rights based on difference.

It is easy to chip away at voting rights and disguise it as a protection.
It is easy to tell two citizens that they...although Americans...have not the same rights to cohabitation and love on a legal level because their love is not "the same" it is somehow "wrong"

There are a lot of excuses to judge and oppress... and perhaps some think that with enough excuses and justification it hides the ugly truth...

but it does not.

Harriet Jacobs, while hiding in New York, in a free state...was outraged at the fact that the Northern states had given in to the slave owning south and allowed for the Fugitive Slave Act...making the freedom she endured many pains to obtain as frail as paper in a rainstorm.  She was angry and mocked the idea of liberty and democracy in America....
She was angry because she knew enough to know what freedom and liberty and rights meant... and they should not be conditional upon skin color, wealth, or sexual orientation...they should just be.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Reading is SO Important

We've all heard it and probably have similar reactions....

"I don't read."

You what? For me, the person with nine bookshelves (not counting my son's or the shelfless books that exist throughout my house...hearing that is one of those take a pause moments.

"I don't have time."
"Reading is hard."
"I read too slow."

Yea...yea...yea...

We are creatures of memory and story...it colors our lives and makes us uniquely human.

I read, on average, about three books a week and yes, that is a lot, but I have to. If I were on break, one a week is the average (unless it is a very short book). A novel is like a story of my own making to some extent...yes the story is there, but I immerse myself into it so much that I can picture it all as I read.  I forget I am reading....and the story just unfolds to me.

Everyone should read.... that is what I believe.

Currently, I am reading slave narratives and they sometimes become difficult...not because of the writing, or the length, or the millions of other excuses people lay out to me when they are looking for a school reading list title and moan on and on about how reading is stupid...
but because I am into it and I feel for the experiences of the people I read about.

There are days when I am too empathetic to be a historian LOL.

Edit:
Another reason reading is important, I dont have to avoid the internet so I won't see spoilers when movies and tv shows are made from books because I know already.
yay disaster filled George RR Martin weddings.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I am Totally Freaking OUT! (Thanks Peg + Cat)





I do not wallow in the pity party often, but it has been (and pardon my language) a shit-tastic day. I am the stress-plosion time... you know, I seem pretty together until I am not.  First, my new computer (that has already been repaired once within the first month of ownership) is back in the repair shop with a display problem.  That being said, the tech and all the support staff were amazing, friendly, and helpful and they think that the problem was not fixed the first time (they replaced the wrong part) and have assured me that regardless, if it acts up again...they will replace the entire system.  But of course... I got extremely upset because that is what I do when I let stress and frustration build up... I go bonkers at something completely meaningless...

First, I am about to start applying for PhD programs, as I've said before and it is just freaking me out... I feel at times I have an immense amount of pressure on me to move to the next step and I want to, but I always worry that I will not get in a program...my grades, my test scores, my writing samples... won't be good enough and then what?  Seven years on two degrees for what?  I do not think a job or a career should define a person, there are millions of people out there who do what they do to finance the joys of their lives and that is fine... but for a very long time I've dreamed of being a professor and it is something I truly want. I just chose a very small field with very few prospects right now and it bothers me. 

Second, I am extremely agitated about the state of affairs in my community. We moved into our house in 2007 and the real estate collapse took a toll on the neighborhood, leaving quite a few houses empty (two uninhabited since we moved in). Although there were a few empty houses and such...we've had a relatively quiet go of it for six and a half years, but problems began about six months ago and they've done nothing but escalate.  We've heard gunshots, witnessed attempted break-ins, and have grown quite accustomed to looking out the window and finding three to six police cars out in front of one house or another.... Earlier this week I had the awesome experience of hearing my dogs bark (I am so thankful for those pups now) and opening the back door to see a man attempting to break in the house beside mine.  I do not feel comfortable, especially because I have a child to worry about and one who I would rather raise in a non-thunderdome like environment.  Moving though...takes accomplishing the educational goals. 

Third, there are days when I feel like I just do not have enough time for me. I have an amazing family, I have a positive educational environment, I like my job...but between those three things, there are moments that I just get lost in the shuffle and feel like some of the things I want/need just get thrown to the wayside (and this is mostly by yours truly). I feel guilty if I want to say... I need a moment... I need to do something for me and yet, because I don't and won't really ask for the help (I would rather people read my mind and do such) I get that run over, neglected, unimportant feeling that is pretty dreadful.  I've just felt let down by a lot of things lately... people, projects, efforts... and realize that while I can put on a good show and act like I know what I need to do, I'm so overwhelmingly frustrated with the 10000000 things coming at me at once that an unsolicited hand of support would be nice every now and again. Sometimes the little red hen rings so true to me...

I feel bad, I loathe being negative and I hate self pity and just wallowing in having a crap day and whining about it... but here it is.   Crap day, annoyed about some things (still), and just over it. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Gardening... Get a Life Woman!

I believe I am almost finished with the planting portion of my gardening venture.

Today I planted my rasberry bush...well stem, it is a stem.... and I can only hope that it grows to produce tasty rasberries for the jam I plan to make...for my little summer tea party I plan on having (ambitions ambitions).

I also...well, had a moment ....

So I bought these 4 solar lights and I've been completely annoyed because all four of them didnt work and I just haven't taken the 5 minutes to figure out why (they were cheap, I thought they were just defective) well..you had to twist them...
yep...they've been planted since February...
they are lit up tonight!

LOL

I finally got my little easter wreath up too! yay.

please ignore the horrible sign which will be removed

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gardening

I am working on my spring garden this year....
well... my second.
The first garden fell victim to the late winter frost (that we don't usually get in Georgia).

But...
I have now replanted.

and this is how we are doing.

We've already picked one strawberry, used the thyme, marjoram, oregano, and rosemary... my two types of basil are starting to look very productive...two tomato plants are thriving as are my 5 pepper plants...
the Kale looks strong, the lavender is about to bloom...the parsley and cilantro look great...and my snapdragons at the mailbox are blooming...

My bell peppers and parsnips have not come up (I am beginning to worry) and my brussel sprouts are blooming but I do not know if they will actually produce fruit

Here are some of them...I do a lot of container gardening.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Looking Towards the Future

I am working on a few things right now:

1. Attempting to stop my toddler from continually running into everything.

2. Working towards graduating from Grad School

3. Starting my PhD apps and hopefully getting an acceptance letter.

4. Moving out of Middle Georgia.

These are all physical and mental things to some extent... just working towards getting to the next Chapter.  Adam and I are really positive about it and we are highly motivated.

There are also some more personal things I am learning to deal with:

1. Stop letting people's behavior/treatment of me and my family bother me so much.  

2. Learn that the only people's happiness I need to work on is mine, Adam's, and Aiden's.

3. Stop depending on people who are not going to be there for you if its not in their interest.


It is a lot... but I can do this!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why Are We So Obsessed With Guns?

Disclaimer (and I hate to have to place this here..but experience):  If you don't have something constructive and respectful to say...keep it to yourself, no one needs snark, rudeness, sarcasm, or jabs... not every statement made on someone's blog, facebook, twitter... is an open invitation for someone to try to be funny.
Thanks.

I've heard all the Second Amendment defenses I care to hear, unlike a lot of people who just scream Second Amendment when they think someone might dare bring up the idea that gun cultures cater to gun violence... I've read the Constitution.

If you want to own a gun to make yourself feel safe... I do not have a problem with it, granted you understand that unless you are trained and know how to use that gun... you could endanger your friends, family, pets, random people...just as much as anyone who might pose some harm that you are protecting yourself against.

I do NOT allow guns in my home, I WILL NOT allow guns in my home and I do NOT care if you think that is a faux pas... it still will not happen.
Does that make me any less American... if you think so, I feel sorry for your perception of what American means.

Recently Georgia passed an insane law that 1. lets you basically carry a gun anywhere you want 2. bars police from asking for gun licenses... yes... BARS POLICE FROM ASKING TO SEE A GUN LICENSE...
that terrifies me.

The Governor has not signed it yet, but I have little hope...

I know quite a few responsible, trained, and logical gun owners...guess what, they don't feel the need to tote their guns everywhere they go.

So... Do you think it makes people feel safe when they see a random person carrying a sidearm?  Let me talk about my recent experience...

While volunteering at an event a patron arrived with a gun on his side, not in a locked holster, but just in a loose one, there were TONS of little children around, including my 15 month old son.  Was I glad to see a citizen was there to protect me from what??? random attacks??  No.  My husband actually thought about letting our son run about, because it was nice out...it was an open space...and he is in the toddler run phase...but when he saw the man with the gun...he decided against it.  He actually went far away and soon after left and came back to pick me up when I was done... mentioning to me that he just didn't feel safe with our little boy running around a man who had a gun out in the open like that...

Have we ever asked ourselves why as a society we are so obsessed with having a gun knowing how many innocent people die at the other end of them daily....   When is it not OK anymore?  When is it appropriate for people to have honest adult discussions without both sides becoming so defensive that NOTHING gets done...

Not when people get massacred in a movie theater....
Not when dozens of little kids get murdered in their elementary school...
guns are too important...how dare we concerned parents speak up when something honestly worries us???

Business Owners (you know the people we praise in America) cannot even have an opinion about keeping guns off their property without catching a complete firestorm.....

"One is Sean Brock, a well-regarded Southern chef with restaurants in South Carolina and Nashville.

He shot his first gun when he was 8, and sleeps beside a 9-millimeter handgun every night. But he doesn’t want guns in his Husk restaurants.

“It’s a bit strange to me that you think you need to carry a gun when you’re having a cheeseburger,” Mr. Brock said."

----------

I wanted to post the above article on Facebook, but I have relatives and friends who I respect and care about, who would immediately get snarky, rude, and aggressive that I didn't....
God forbid I take that tone with anyone who has an opinion, they would jump my case...
but it is quite alright for people to bully those against gun violence because we dare bring up the idea that perhaps our gun obsession in America has gone a bit too far.  Its awesome to poke fun at us because we truly worry about the influence guns have on people....its stupid for us to worry about the safety of our families...I mean...why not just get a gun??? right???



Do I think we should ban guns?  No.  I have moved away from that utopian concept that perhaps we don't need guns in a modern and advanced society...
Do I think we need to have an honest discussion about safety, regulation, and the responsibility of owning a weapon that when used can easily kill someone?  Yes.

I just do not, for the life of me, understand why it is so hard to be logical, respectful, and empathetic about a subject that causes so many problems....

Because statistics are not used to hold down the gun owners of America...

Guns in the Home and Deaths

More Guns = More Homicide

Additionally...
There are studies that also cite unsupportive evidence, and I am fair... Academic studies are not perfect and experts on both sides of the argument note that guns can help and hinder crime...

Gun Crimes Plummet



but all I want is a movement towards awareness, education, and efforts to remove illegal guns off the streets...
Why is educating a person about the weapon and requiring safety classes or training in order to own a weapon such a bad idea?  Why is making sure you own a gun legally an infringement of your rights?