Wednesday, February 29, 2012

blurry eyed and sleepy

I woke at 2:30 with a horrible cramp in my calf. I hobbled out of bed and walked it off and of course couldn't fall right back to sleep. So, when I finally did, I overslept! So, no lengthy blog post this morning!

The middle kid won her first soccer match of the season 3-0. My first library board meeting went well and we shouldn't have another one until July! I started reading "The Wolf Gift" and as usual love the lush writing of Anne Rice.

So, all caught up......Happy LeapYear Day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

the cupcakes

The daughters and I have become quite intrigued with Pinterest. As we inched closer to the oldest's birthday, the tempting cupcakes often 'pinned' on the boards became a source of steady chatter. Should we try a recipe? She found one, printed off the recipe and gave it to her sister to make. Of course, the younger sister recruited me on the spot to assist.

The recipe was easy enough, just a jazzed  up box mix with a small Reese's peanut butter cup in the center. The batter came together well, and we managed to get the cupcakes in the oven with no problems. We made just shy of two dozen of them. We sort of overfilled the first dozen by just a smidge, and wound up with only 21 instead of 24.

On Sunday we made the two frostings. Yes, two. The picture showed a swirled chocolate and peanut butter frosting. We couldn't quite manage the dual swirl technique. That would have required purchasing all sorts of frosting equipment, and I wasn't going to do that, we improvised. I swirled on the chocolate and the daughter swirled on the peanut butter. They turned out super cute and the birthday girl and her guests all seemed to enjoy them.

Fun to have this baking project to share with the younger daughter and fun to see the older one so pleased with the results.

Now for books.....I picked up Anne Rice's latest, "The Wolf Gift" from the library yesterday. I will be reading this on the heels of finishing Diana Gabaldon's "The Scottish Prisoner" and Kim Harrison's "A Pale Blood." Thumbs up for both of those titles.

Monday, February 27, 2012

one for the books

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I'm now the mother of an 18 year old. Where did that little girl go and who is this young lady living in my house?

There are moments when children make huge leaps in their growth and development. One happens when they start middle school. You put that sweet, little girl/boy on the bus for their first day in 6th grade, and they come home as a middle school kid. Another happens when they start high school; a shift happens in them and it is visible.

We had another one of these events just happen as the oldest went on another visit to UA. She left on Thursday as a high school student and returned with a more collegiate attitude. Just a bit more confident, a bit more self-aware, a bit more 'hey, I'm 18 and I'm sort of an adult....I can even vote!' Ha Ha.

When our girls were born, time capsules were all the baby shower rage. I have one for each girl and the oldest opened hers yesterday on her 18th birthday. It was wonderful...lots of ugly crying, but still wonderful. The tin contained all sorts of things, many of which I had totally forgotten about placing inside the container.

The most poignant items were the letters to the future penned by her grandparents and greatgrandparents. Also, I kept a journal while I was pregnant with her and a daybook calendar too. She spent most of the afternoon yesterday reading 'her' books. My mom had given me the journal to keep and in her wisdom knew it would be a special thing for Julia to read someday. It was.

It was also a special thing for me to share with her and it provided us some moments of laughter and even more tears.

And a note on that...the wisdom of my parents.  As we get ready to send our first child off to college, I think about all the lessons, and all the love, that surrounded me while I grew up and how hard my husband and I have tried to give that same love and support to our children. Seeing our daughter respond to that time capsule in such a loving, humble and emotional way brought home the fact that we've done more than okay with her. She is ready to start the next chapter in her life.

Yes, this weekend is one for the books. It was a wonderful day yesterday and while my folks and hubby's mom weren't here, they were all present in one very special 18 year old young lady.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

big projects

We are embarking on a journey at work. A rather big project has been assigned to us by our board of directors, specifically the past president. This guy is a go getter - global sales director for a major player in our field - total East Coast kind of guy. I've spent the last two days cruising the web for ideas and materials for the HUGE website redesign/overhaul we will begin to work on this year. 

New projects are always so shiny and spiffy....for about the first few weeks. Then the slog begins. The saggy middle. The part that never ends.  Good thing my boss and I can cheer each other on as we travel this new road. Going to be a learning curve as far as the tech stuff goes and an opportunity to polish our 'herding cats' skills as we deal with the various other non-profit groups involved in this. Dealing with our board can be a bit of a herding exercise as well, although I have to say, we both wanted to give a gold star to one of our stalwart board members yesterday. This gal kicks butt, big time. She knocks out projects and has enthusiasm to spare.

So, fun stuff for me at work. Makes the days go fast and the weeks fly by.

I'm at my Friday, folks.....enjoy your weekends and see you on Monday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Last thing I expected to hear as I woke this morning was thunder. Yikes. I expected to hear the coffee pot brewing, but then remembered I'd forgotten to set it up last night so it could automatically brew. Ugh.

Not doing so hot first thing today. And now my computer is acting weird.

So, I'm not going to push my luck any further and call it done for now.  Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

short week, thank goodness

After a lovely four day weekend, off to work I go. Short weeks tend to be quite busy and that is just fine by me. I look forward to the next three days zipping by and the my weekend beginning again. Next Sunday the oldest will turn 18. I ventured into the attic yesterday and pulled down the memory capsule we created for her in 1994. It is filled with all sorts of things, most of which I'd totally forgotten about.

Yes, I peeked in it!

I'm excited for her to open it and will be standing by with a box of tissues handy. We plan on opening it before her party guests arrive. She is having her group of friends over for Chinese food and cupcakes. We found a cupcake recipe on pinterest that she wants to make, or rather, have her sister and I make!  They do look yummy.

Here's to a sunny and happy Tuesday where ever you may be.

Monday, February 20, 2012

downton finale

Delicious. I parked myself on the sofa last night and watched the guilty pleasure that is Downton Abbey. The season finale came much too soon, but what a wonderful episode. And I continue to be amazed at the wonderful lines they give Maggie Smith!

I managed to finish two books this past week. The first, "To Serve a King" by Donna Russo Morin tells the story of a supposed orphan who is raised by her aunt to be an assassin. Her 'vocation' is the wish of King Henry VIII who hopes she will one day eliminate the King of France. Of course, when she finds herself in the French court, her opinions change as to who her true King is. It was okay.

Then, after a fairly long wait, I was able to finally download the last Janet Evanovich book, "Explosive Eighteen" onto my Nook. When I first put a hold on this title, I was 19th in line. Took about a month to get a copy, and in this situation the consortium actually purchased five copies for downloading. It was worth the wait. You know what you are going to get when you read a Stephanie Plum novel, and Evanovich delivers a madcap escapade with Steph and all her 'peeps.'

Up right now is the latest John Grey book from Diana Gabaldon. This one features Jamie Fraser and is set during the "Voyager" time frame in her Outlander series featuring Jamie and Claire.

I noticed that since the new year, 11 of the 13 books I have read were via my Nook. Quite a strong statement about the convenience of this device and how easily I was hooked!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

happy anniversary to my mom and dad

Today is my mom and dad's anniversary! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.....well, not really. But, they did get married in California. In the 60's.

Best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. H!

Lots of Love, Liz

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

back to my office of one

My boss left yesterday to head back north. It is always a bit odd when he first arrives as we are both used to working alone. Then we get into the swing of having an office partner and things click along. Of course, his stay is usually no longer than a week at best, so I have another adjustment to make today. It will be much more quiet and a bit lonely in our office.  But, we came up with a very long 'to do' list for ourselves and I'm sure the day will fly by.

More rain in the forecast. Two new books loaded on to my Nook from the Library. Dinner ready to go in the crockpot. Things are moving this morning.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the hunchback assignments and heist society

I found both of the titles listed via our Library's ebook collection. I'd read books by "Heist Society" author Ally Carter before. Her Gallagher Girls series featuring a spy school run for teenage girls are fun reads. "Heist Society" is also a fun book, but with a bit of history tossed in as well. With a plot similar to the "Oceans" movie series, the book features very successful thieves. Kat has tried to leave that world by enrolling in a boarding school. She is pulled back in when her father is framed for an art theft. Out to prove her father's innocence and return the art to the very dangerous man who 'owned' the art, she uncovers historical information about those pieces of missing art. Carter tosses in a bit of history regarding how the Nazis during WWII stole art and the attempts ever since to return those pieces to their rightful owners. "Heist Society" is an easy read, but Carter always does a nice job with her characters and her plots. Thumbs up!

"The Hunchback Assignments" by Arthur Slade looked quite intriguing and it proved to be a very interesting read. This is not what I'd consider a steampunk novel, although it has several of that genre's qualities. Modo is  rescued from a traveling circus by the mysterious Mr. Socrates and raised to work for his organization as an operative. At fourteen Modo is left on the streets of London to survive on his own, a test of sorts, and uncovers a plot to destroy Britannia by a competing organization. Enter a fellow operative named Octavia, a variety of nefarious characters, crazy experiments and a lot of daring do. Darker in tone and subject matter, Slade offers up an adventurous tale filled with science gone mad, hidden agendas and moral lessons.

Both books have sequels out and available. If our Library's ebook collection had them, I'd download and read the next installments.

Two winners for today....enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

fancy, schmancy, mocha, choca, latte

Yes, that is what my husband ordered for me yesterday at Starbucks. We went to mass (got lectured on the new HHS ruling) and then headed to the grocery store and the nearest coffee stop, which was Starbucks. We were in Krogers for less than 10 minutes as all I needed was cole slaw and some tomatoes. In Starbucks, we got our hot beverages of choice, I really wanted a white chocolate mocha, and then drove back to church so we could sit in the parking lot and wait for the three kids to finish with PRE.

Once we got home, it was time to start preparing dinner. We had my boss over again as he was in town thru the weekend. He is always fun and an easy dinner guest. Then we had a variety of TV shows to choose from, but wound up watching an hour of the Grammys followed by The Walking Dead and then I caught the last hour of Downton Abbey.

We might get snow today! It would be quite the birthday treat for my youngest to have snow on his birthday.

I did read two very different YA books in the last several days. More on those tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

library board

I had my library board orientation yesterday. The director and I sat down and for 90 minutes we went over what the library has done in the last 6 years and what they hope to achieve in the next several years. Of course our local school issue plays into some of those goals for the future. A lot of unanswered questions there, but some exciting possibilities as well. While the director and I haven't always seen eye to eye on some issues, she has never been afraid to try new things and to think outside of the box when it comes to what the library's mission might be. She truly wants our library to be a 'hub' in our community and works very hard at providing all our citizens with a variety of programs and resources.

I was quite excited to learn that our investment in Overdrive will be increased next fiscal year. She is taking a small percentage from each department's acquisitions budget and allocating it to e-books. Yippee! She also shared stats with me from Overdrive regarding circulation. Interesting stuff.

We will have our first board meeting this spring in order to accept donations from not only the Friends but also some other local civic groups. We will also be changing some policies at that time on books claimed to be lost. Fun stuff!

So, it was a good meeting. Today is my Friday, yet again. Wow. The week went really fast and with the kids having tomorrow off due to a teacher 'in service' day, I need to make a plan to not only get my normal chores done, but to also have some fun with them along the way.

Enjoy your weekend when it does arrive.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the family picture

We missed getting our picture taken for the church pictorial directory last time they put one together. I believe procrastination and soccer played a role in that happening. This time, we have an appointment and are planning on trooping over there to smile for the camera on Saturday afternoon. Right after the boy takes the ACT for the very first time. He should be good and zombie like for the event!

We've had two other professional family portraits done. The first one was when the oldest kid was a baby and I was pregnant with kid number two.  The second one was after all three kids were here, but the boy was quite young and I had to strong arm him into sitting still on my lap. I don't so much as have a grin as a grimace on my face. Both photos were for our parish in Indiana.

I thought this opportunity was coming at a good time as it just before the oldest heads off to college.

Coordinating the clothing will be my next task and may prove more difficult than trying to coordinate five people's schedules to allow us to make the appointment!

I'm up to the task. I really want this photo taken.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

the sound and the fury

The oldest is sitting here at the kitchen table reading "The Sound and the Fury."  She should have read this yesterday afternoon, but she fell asleep on the couch. Although we didn't curtail our usual noisiness, she slept until dinner time.

I remember reading this book back during my senior year in high school and stumbling through the first chapter. In fact, she just finished Wuthering Heights, which I also read my senior year. I had to write a 10 page term paper on WH; oh what good times I had!

She doesn't like the Bronte sisters. She hated Jane Eyre and only disliked WH. I will be interested to hear her opinion of Faulkner. Her class has already talked about traveling south, just a short jaunt, to see his home in Mississippi. Field Trip!

Happy Tuesday.....enjoy the day!

Monday, February 6, 2012

the ads, the halftime show and the food

Four years ago we had a group over to watch the Super Bowl. The Pats and the Giants were playing. Fast forward to last night and we had a group of friends over to watch the Super Bowl. The Pats and the Giants were playing, again. Smaller group last night, but still a good time and we had enough food to feed four times the number of folks.

We laughed at the ads. Who can resist a sling shot baby grabbing a bag of Doritos, or even Matthew Broderick revisiting his Ferris Bueller character for Honda. Then there was the Clint Eastwood commercial which was delivered with the style, grace and power that only a man like Clint can provide. Madonna moves and looks like she is no where near her 50's and she can still entertain with the best of them. She's stood the test of time and finished up with "Like a Prayer" the song that became an anthem after it was such a 'controversy.' Wonder if Lady Gaga will be still on her game at that age.

Of course, I was happy the game was a game. It wasn't over until the clock expired and the final buzzer sounded.  Nothing worse than a Super Bowl that is a blow out.

And so, with that behind us, our week begins. Lots and lots of stuff going on this week. Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

a writing journey

When I first started this blog years ago, I was actively writing fiction. I had a couple of novels underway and several short stories started. I even finished some of them! They are still stored on this laptop and a jump-drive, because, some day I might get back into writing fiction again.

The Library and the Friends slowly began to consume more of my life and my free time about 6 years ago. I was writing, a lot, but it was either about the bookstore or about book sales or our group in general. That writing satisfied my need to create. I was doing good work and I was seeing my name in the newspaper on a regular basis. It was fun!

Now, I get paid to put words down on paper, well, actually a screen. The writing I'm doing for the Friends has been cut back to a monthly emailed newsletter via Constant Contact. I created the template and craft the content for this piece. Each month this newsletter goes out to over 100 members of the Friends. I don't mind doing it, but I have to say that after working at my paying job, sometimes the last thing I want to do is work on that newsletter.  I had meant to write a press release for our new officers and announce not only their election, but several other 'newsy' things going on with the group. It is now February and I haven't done it yet.  Maybe this weekend. Maybe.

As my work week seems to fly by and the weekends are filled with family activities, it is difficult to push away from everything and write. Frankly, I'd rather grab my Nook and spend that free time reading.

I've rambled on a bit, but what prompted this was the subtitle on my blog. It mentions my writing journey. My journey hasn't been what I'd expected or even hoped it would be at one point. It has, however, made me happy and brought me to the good place I am today.

Whatever your writing journey holds in store for you, sometimes what seems like a detour is really the new direction you should take. My detour into writing for the Friends led me to the job I now hold, a job that has been such a blessing for my family.

Enjoy the journey, each step along the way, bumpy road and all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

friends of the library annual report

As I've done for the past four years, I compiled some basic stats on what the Friends accomplished in 2011 and used MS Publisher to create a spiffy looking document for the group. Hubby printed copies at his office and the current president now has them to hand out for tomorrow.

I don't mind doing this task, it is rather interesting to see what we've done over the past year and the cumulative results since we started tracking this information.

While the Library does a nice job of recognizing the Friends, seeing those numbers in one document, brings smiles and usually lots of applause at the February meeting.

I won't be there tomorrow, so I will have to hear second hand how the report is received by the group. I gave the president extra copies to provide the Contemporary Club. That was the group who first started a library in our town over 50 years ago.

Not sure if I want to continue with this task or not, as I continue to scale back my involvement, but it has been a rewarding one. Always fun when you can show folks just what their countless hours of time and energy created.