Category: Special (page 1 of 2)

Of course I’m back on Facebook. In other news…

In my defense, I lasted a week without it, which I consider a feat. And yes, that’s a puppy. Her name is Lucy, and we’re picking her up from the breeder on Saturday. I’m so excited I can’t stand it, of course.

Further, I changed the blog theme yet again. I think I’m happy with this one? Maybe? I know I need to write posts more than anything. Hopefully I’ll be better about that.

And, finally, I’m attempting to learn how to paint. This watercolor is, quite possibly, my favorite:

I really like this one, but I’m just getting started – and this one came from a Skillshare tutorial, anyway. I haven’t painted much on my own yet. There’s time! Well, there’s time until Saturday afternoon when we pick up Lucy and after a few months when she becomes sensible. I’m so used to Penny (mostly) behaving that a puppy will be a shock. Here’s a video of Penny mostly (okay, not) behaving:

Goodbye, Facebook! For now…

I’ve just deactivated my Facebook profile, so what do I do to ease the withdrawal? Read about Facebook withdrawal. There’s a really interesting article from LiveScience that explains that while Facebook triggers pleasure in the brain similar to that of cocaine or other drugs, it doesn’t quiet the part of the prefrontal cortex responsible for inhibitions.

Which means that Facebook is addictive but that we can probably quit it pretty easily.

We’ll see about that. A friend deactivated her profile a couple of weeks ago because she’s super busy, and she talked about the withdrawal, though she didn’t seem to have a terrible time keeping herself away from the site. Her experience made me consider how much time I spend scrolling through post after post after post – most of them photos of dogs from around the world. There’s no justification for the amount of time I spend doing that. Facebook is an attention black hole.

I should probably note that I’m not at all trying to deny the human need for distraction. We’d all go crazy if we didn’t have something to distract us. I just want to spend my distraction hours elsewhere on something I feel is just a little bit more worthwhile. I’ll probably be in a better position once I figure out what that something is. It might end up being Twitter, though I don’t know how anyone could spend as much time on Twitter as they do on Facebook. And there lies the latter’s genius: remember when we could just scroll through a chronological news feed? We could log on and quickly see that no one had updated anything, then log off and return to our business. Now, that’s not an option: we see a mix built with an algorithm that Facebook thinks we will like and that will keep us scrolling. Endlessly.

Sure, deactivating a Facebook account isn’t at all permanent. After I’d clicked through the various “are you sure???????” screens, I was finally logged out but presented with a big button, front and center, reminding me that none of my data is lost and I can log back in whenever I want to. We’ll see how long I last.

A brief log. Since I deactivated my account about three hours ago, I’ve read some book, washed dishes, and hosted my mother for a few minutes while she petted my menagerie. I also checked Twitter and read the aforementioned Facebook-and-the-brain article. The alternative, of course, was to scroll endlessly through dog pictures. I admit: there are worst things.

When it comes down to it, though, do we really care about anything we read on Facebook, or is it manufactured idle curiosity springing from the knowledge that we can check up on anyone at any time? Do I really care that my old high school friend who lives across the country took her kids to the park today? Does anyone care that my dog played in her pool today? No. I don’t. We’ve just been conditioned to keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.\

But just in case you do care about what Penny did today, here’s some video evidence. At least I didn’t post it on Facebook?

Seedlings and projects and ethics, oh my!

Now that Christmas decorations have been stowed and the surprisingly calm (for me) Mardi Gras season has begun, things have calmed down, and we’ve been able to focus on more mundane, non-family-related projects.

As usual, Palmer did an excellent job decorating the mantle.

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I’ve been up to my usual crafty shenanigans, at least for this time of year, crocheting things.

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This is the beginning of a temperature afghan. Each line of single crochet represents a day. The color is chosen depending on ten-degree variations in temperature. You can see that January has been a little crazy. For instance, the temperature yesterday hit 76. In the middle of January! The wind was also raucous, though of course it refused to perform properly when I took out my camera.

In other project news, I’m attempting to grow herbs from seeds. I planted¬†seven pots – five with basil, two with dill.

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I put them in my kitchen where I’d see them often, and Palmer was kind enough to mount a grow light on the wall behind them. And surprise, surprise, I have a sprout!

One of my basil seeds has sprouted! ūüĆŅ

A post shared by Lindsay Attaway (@ohwaitiforgot) on

Three, actually. I’ve forgotten how to use manual focus on my good camera (and am obviously too lazy to figure it out today), so you only get to see an Instagram photo from yesterday. Isn’t it glorious!

Palmer has also been up to his own projects, making diorama model scenes. A few amazing trees and ginormous spiders were involved.

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There’s also Louise, who you see in the featured photo. She’s her own project. I promise she’s not¬†always¬†angry, though she is always angry if I’m trying to get anywhere near her.

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Hopefully she’ll come around eventually.

omnivoreIn other news, I finished¬†The Omnivore’s Dilemma, of which I was downright terrified. It had been on my TBR pile for well over a year, but I was under the impression that it would instantly turn me into a vegetarian, and I wasn’t sure that was the best idea. Turns out that’s not what it’s about at all, really. Yes, it details some of the terrible things that happen to industrialized farm animals, but it also explains that there are relatively humane options, say, from small local farms like Mahaffey. You can actually visit them – I have. The animals are in pastures and eating what they’re supposed to eat: there are no cows piled into disgusting feedlots being forced to eat corn and beef fat. Mahaffey’s cows eat grass. That’s what¬†The Omnivore’s Dilemma¬†is about: knowing where your food comes from so you can make informed, ethical decisions about where you’re willing to spend your money and what you’re willing to eat. The best option for those criteria seems to be places exactly like Mahaffey, as “industrial organic” has its own problems. Anyway,¬†The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a book you should probably read, whatever side of the vegetarian/non-veg or organic/conventional arguments you fall on. It’s good to know what happens to your food before it reaches your plate.

And with that, I’m out. School has just started, and I’m taking three classes again, so we’ll see how much time I have to write blog posts. I’m already waffling on my 50-book reading commitment because I’ve made my massive school to-do lists, and there’s already too much reading on that end. Hopefully I’ll handle this semester a wee bit better than I did the last. Wish me luck!

It’s 2017. In other news, I read a book.

Yeah, I’m a little bit late on this one. I’ve been a little bit late for a while. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with this blog and with my year in general because, you know, that’s what one does this time of year.

I only made one formal resolution: Read that damn pile of 50 books again.

If you’ve ever looked at this blog for more than two minutes, you probably know that I used to read¬†a lot. I signed up to read 50 books for the Goodreads Challenge and completed it every year for several – I even hit 64 one year – and then I totally fell off the wagon. I’m not quite sure what happened, but it probably had something to do with starting round two of grad school. That and being bored with blogging and feeling like writing about every book had become a job.

Translation: I’m going to read fifty books this year, dammit, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to write about them.

Some of them, the particularly interesting ones, I might. Who knows, I might even get back into book blogging. (Really, though, that’s doubtful, as my final year of grad school – it¬†better be ever – begins in about a week, and this lovely excess of time I’ve been enjoying for just under a month is about to end. Meh.

As for the blog, I’d like to post more. Note that I haven’t turned it into an Official Resolution, but I’ll call it a plan. (I also plan to spend less time in the Facebook Black Hole, but I’m already failing miserably at that one, soooo)¬†I have some fun stories and photos from Christmas I’d like to share, but we’ll see if I get around to it. This post is a good start.

wildwoodOkay, I’ll talk about books for¬†just one minute. I just finished my first book of the year last night,¬†Wildwood by Colin Meloy. Yes, the Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, and no, until about three weeks ago, I had no idea he’d written a book or I would have read it a while ago. If you’re familiar with the Decemberists, this book is just about what you’d expect if the lead singer wrote a children’s book (that really fits better into YA but the main characters are 12 and no one asked me, etc). It’s dark, it’s fantasy, and there are beautiful illustrations throughout (by Meloy’s wife, Carson Ellis). (Carson ¬†Ellis also did the illustrations for¬†The Mysterious Benedict Society, a fairly popular kids’ book that I really didn’t like. The illustrations were lovely, though!) You don’t have to be a kid or a teenager to enjoy this book. And even better: it’s the first in a trilogy. I’ll be reading through those in short order, though I’m diverting to the much less fantastical¬†The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which downright terrifies me.

But wait, there’s more!

Awwww what? A post? Gah, it’s been a long time. Yes, this does mean your Very Favorite Blog is coming back, and SOON!

I just need a minute to sort things out.

So this page is gonna look silly for a few days until I get everything looking and working like I want it (note the new title font!) – or until I load up the default WordPress theme and call it a day.

It won’t be the old book blog of yore. I’m on a break now, but I’m still in Round Two of grad school, and I have a year left and not enough time or motivation to read much of anything that isn’t boring library essays. It’ll be more like the latest posts – photos of the dog in various places and such. I want to use my good camera instead of my iPhone (there’s a HUGE difference in picture quality!), so most posts will be photo-heavy. The featured photo is a good example. Dog Doing Things, Taken with Good Camera.

I’m also seriously considering starting from scratch – from this post, probably. The old posts going back to 2010, or so, would go away. They’d still be accessible, but elsewhere, like somewhere on WordPress.com or so. I’m not sure about that one.

But! I’m coming back! We’ll see what this blog turns into. There will be dogs and photos and possibly, even some Minecraft. I’m keeping the subject open to help me get excited about it again. I might fall back into a theme – maybe even books – but we’ll see.

Keep an eye out for new posts! The’ll start soon!

Let’s try this again…

Yeah, yeah, it’s been a while. We’ve had a couple of false starts, but we’re going to get back on track…right?

The truth is that I haven’t been reading much lately. Hardly anything, really. In my defense, I’ve been busy. Besides work, I’ve started a second round of grad school (this one is Thesis Monster-free!), and I have a puppy that I mentioned in the last couple of posts. That doesn’t allow much time for reading unless you count the journal articles I’m assigned for class, and no one wants to hear about those.

So what am I going to do with this¬†book blog, you ask? For now, at least, I’m going to broaden the scope. I’ve been doing some photoblogging elsewhere (here and here if you’re interested), but I decided that my own damn site, which I still pay for, should be home to the primary posts. So here we go. I’ve made a pretty drastic change to the theme that’ll better reflect what is happening here.

There will still be books. I just read¬†Into the Wild, which had been on my Do Not Read List for a long time, and I really enjoyed it. Now I’m trying to get through¬†A Walk in the Woods before a new DeLillo novel comes out on May 3. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also still kind of in the process of reading¬†Redwall, which is super fun. There’s also a game called Stardew Valley, but we won’t talk about that here (except to say that if you like Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon and have a PC,¬†jump on it).

Does all this mean I’m back for good? I hope so. It won’t all be about books, and it hopefully won’t be about the dog, either, though you can tell from the featured image that she’s super-cute. She also goes with me everywhere the rules allow her to go.

One of which was the Linden Wildflower Trails Festival this past weekend, which involved neither wildflowers nor trails but did involve free puppies. I’ve posted some photos from that event:

My 35th birthday is coming up, and my lovely husband is getting me a sparkly new camera, so hopefully I’ll be able to spend lots of time taking pictures and posting them here. Most will be of hiking and (hopefully, before it gets too warm) camping. Otherwise, who knows. The school semester is about to end, so I should have a good month of free-ish time on my hands.

I’m baaaaaack!

See, I told you I’d eventually come to my senses.

After taking off a little more than 6 months, I’m bringing the blog back. Why, you ask? Because it’s (about to be) a new year – and all I have to do is work, raise a puppy, and start library school! Wait.

The actual answer: It’s been long enough that I miss it. Writing about books also encourages me to read more of them, and I haven’t done enough reading lately. Not that that’s especially easy for me right now. And, really, we’ll see what happens after school starts. I’m hoping I still have time for puppy AND books, but if that turns out just to be puppy, there will at least be a lot of cute pictures. That’s something, right?

I’m not even going to try talking about all of the books I read but didn’t write about, but you can check out my ratings on Goodreads if you want an idea. And expect my usual list of likes and didn’t-likes to appear around the 1st of January. Also, expect a change of theme. Soon. I’ll be switching from Divi by Elegant Themes to Extra, a brand new one that I’ve been looking forward to for well over a year. We’re back in business! Wish me luck.

Finally, I’m not going to explain the dog story here, but here’s a video of Penny play-fighting with Shakespeare:

Non-Book Update Time (of course it’s mostly about the dog)

I made a few changes to the blog to accommodate posts that don’t involve books, and I haven’t written even one non-book post since. Until now. You, dear readers, have been underinformed about dog-related happenings, and it’s time to rectify that situation.

Zelda went to the dog park in Longview, TX.

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Which wouldn’t be so monumental if Shreveport would ever get one. (They say the paperwork is signed, but I’m guessing we¬†might have one in 2020. Maybe.)

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Longview is over an hour away, so we stopped in Marshall for a bite to eat. Zelda tried her first potato chips.

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(She also snapped at the owner’s hand, but that was because he got¬†all up in her face and scared the living bejeezus out of her. I was mortified.)

Zelda was timid at first, but she eventually joined in the fun and had an excellent time.

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It was nice to see her run. At home, her only outside option is a leash. Hopefully, we’ll have a backyard fence installed soon.

After the dog park, we met some friends at Starbucks, and Zelda enjoyed a puppy latte.

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In other news, Shakespeare turned 11 on January 1. His present was his very own cubby next to my desk, complete with a heating pad and No Dogs Allowed sign. He spends a good bit of his time there.

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And, finally, I got a master’s degree. The one I’d been working on for years. Good times.

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2014: The Year in Books

Here we are at the beginning of another year. As usual, I read Lots of Things last year, and I plan to do the same in 2015. Here’s what I read in 2014, formatted as always: bold means I really liked it, italics means I hated it, and plain ol’ text means it was good enough.

Lots of bold this year!

So, you ask, what was the best? Sort of like last year, I’m going to list a couple: the BEST book I read (as in objectively the best) and the book I most enjoyed. If you’re a regular reader, you probably know at least the first book already.

Drumroll, please…

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Yep. This is the second year¬†in a row¬†that John Williams has taken the prize. Last year, it was¬†Stoner, which is in my top five Best Books I’ve Ever Read. I’m not sure that¬†Butcher’s Crossing made its way that high, but it just might be in the top ten. It’s perfectly constructed and definitely the best book of 2015. I had to get it from the library’s ILL system because there was no local copy, and I liked it so much that I asked for my own copy for Christmas. It’s sitting on my shelf next to Williams’s only other novel,¬†Augustus, which I’ll probably read this year.

Okay, the best novel is down. This second category isn’t quite as easy, and my decision surprises even me. Ready?

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What? I know.¬†Where’d You Go, Bernadette was the first audiobook I listened to on my frequent walks with Zelda, and I enjoyed it so much that it made the top of the list. I somehow doubt it’d be here if I’d read the book, as the audiobook presentation made it for me. That’s one I’ll probably listen to again at some point.

Of course there are honorable mentions because I can’t make up my mind about this one.¬†Butcher’s Crossing is my rock solid choice for Best Book, but I’m clearly fuzzy about¬†Where’d You Go, Bernadette, so here are some close runners-up, in no particular order:

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So there you have it:¬†Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino,¬†The Inverted World by Christopher Priest, and¬†The Wind through the Keyhole by Stephen King. Oh so good! I’m reliving them in my head right now. I sure hope Mr. Stephenking finds it in his heart to write another¬†Dark Tower novel…

Onward!

2015 is off to a slow start: I’m reading¬†another novel by Mr. Stephenking, and it’s LONG, so give me a couple weeks. I’m trying to make myself suffer through the second half of a crappy audiobook so I have something to post, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. I’ve decided to dispense entirely with any extracurricular reading goals (beyond the Usual Fifty), so we’ll see what happens. I’m not even going to try making a TBR list because we all know how that turned out last year. Yay, 2015!

Photo credit: Jack

Yay Christmas! (And we survived Thanksgiving.)

The various end-of-the-year holidays are always exciting, but for me, it’s all just a build-up to Christmas. It’s been so long since I’ve lived in New Orleans now that it’s eclipsed Mardi Gras in my Hierarchy of Awesome Holidays, and I start looking forward to it once the first Fall cold snap hits.

Speaking of Fall, Shreveport is beautiful right now.

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We don’t get the amazing colors of the Northeast, but it’s good enough for me.

Did I mention that we somehow agreed to host Thanksgiving for the first time this year? I’m still not quite sure how it happened. We had six guests: Nunpoo, my uncle David, my mom, her husband, and Palmer’s parents – and somehow everything went well! Palmer was well-prepared with a 21-lb. turkey, which he put in a brining bag in our ginormous refrigerator for a full 24 hours.

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It turned out beautifully.

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There was SO MUCH food. I made brussels sprouts with apples and bacon, zucchini boats, and autumn squash soup; my mom made the famous Sweet Potato Business and a green bean casserole; and Palmer’s mom brought a(n amazing) pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, macaroni and cheese, cornbread dressing, deviled eggs, yeast rolls, and…I’m probably missing something. One table wasn’t big enough to hold it…

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So Palmer had to carve the turkey on the coffee table.

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The food was excellent, and we all had a good time.

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I even volunteered to do it again next year.

But wait, you say, where’s Zelda in all of this? She’s young and energetic and super-jumpy, and I’m always terrified that she’s going to knock Nunpoo down, so she was locked in my library until we’d finished eating and everyone had settled down and stopped moving. She napped during most of that time and behaved admirably once she was released. I made her Puppy Pumpkin Pies, which might have made her feel a little better about things. She was exhausted after everyone left.

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After a huge dinner and a nice, long puppy nap, it was Christmas!

On Friday, Palmer and I headed to Santa’s Woods in Frierson, where we always buy our Christmas tree. It proved a little difficult because the latest Arctic Vortex killed most of the pines, which looked bad this year, anyway. So we ended up with a cypress.

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We were both worried about how Zelda would react once we got it home, but things didn’t go badly at all.

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Palmer got a video of her first reaction, which we both thought would be different.

You can’t tell from the thumbnail (which I should probably change since it looks a bit violent), but all was well…until we noticed she was picking little pieces one by one. I think she’s stopped.

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Later today, we’ll be putting on the lights and garland. After that, we might add a few ornaments if the puppy allows. We’ll see.

We’re gearing up for a fantastic (or at least very interesting) Christmas!

 

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