Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Question: How many Blogs are too many?

I've done it!

I've created my literature blog!!

And I now officially participate in 6 blogs.

I think that's too many...

Oh well.

You can check out the blog here. (I've also added it to my sidebar.)

So, go take a look. And tell your friends about it!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Confession Time

So, I’m not a big movie person. Some people find this weird.

But, I didn’t realize just how weird I was until I was talking to a co-worker of mine, and she asked me what the last movie I saw in a theater was. And after thinking about it for like 5 minutes (seriously) it dawned on me that is was P.S. I love you.

And my co-worker looked at me in horror and disbelief, saying “But, that was last year!!”

My response: “Oh, really?”

That’s right friends. I have yet to see a movie in a theater this year!

It’s not that I don’t want to watch any movies. I do! It’s just that I never get around to going out to see them and then I completely forget about them. At this point, if a movie comes out that I’d like to see, I automatically save it on my Netflix because I know I’ll forget about it. (And then years later, someone mentions the movie at some kind of social gathering, and I’m the only dumbo who’s never seen it and I feel like a social pariah.)

So, please friends, next time you’re going to the movies, give me a call. I need to report back to my co-worker that I do actually watch movies. (I have a hard enough time explaining to people that I don’t watch reality TV shows.)

Oh, and thank you for still being my friends even though I’m slightly quirky. (But, really, aren’t we all?)

[This is unrelated, but if you're interested in participating in the literature blog, read the comment I left on my last post!]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Do you really need ANOTHER Blog, Liz? (You already have two that aren't so great...)

Yes, I do.

“Why?” you ask.

Because I was so excited about the responses I got on my last post (about forming a literature group).

“What does that have to do with a new blog?”

Well, as I was thinking of how best to facilitate my group, I thought that a blog would be a wonderful idea.

“Why would you think that?”

Let me explain… You know when you’re reading a book, and you come across a passage or chapter that you don’t get, or one that you love, or a character you hate, and you just need to talk to someone about it?


Well, that’s what the blog will be for! A place you can immediately go to and quickly jot down your thoughts. A place where you can cry, or yell, or commiserate. A place where you can say “I hate this book!” or “This book is changing my life!” Where you can ask “What do you think he’s saying here?” Or “Did you notice all the ‘red’ images in the first chapter?” The blog will be a place where you can come and talk it out.

“Are you still going to meet in person for literary discussions?”

Yep! But, not everyone might be able to make it to the meetings (Nor be interested in every book we’re going to read). So, the blog will be a place where they can offer their opinions and insights, as well as, keep up with what we’re reading next (or skip ahead to a book they find more to their liking).

“Well, I guess that sounds like a good idea.”

Thank you! And please tell all your friends about it. Having a blog will mean that people all over the country, nay, the world, will be able to participate!

So, stay tuned for more information.

(And get Don Quixote. We’re going to begin next week!)

Monday, April 21, 2008

School, oh, how I miss you!

[Warning: This is a long post as I reminisce about days gone by, while trying to drum up interest in my new idea. So, if you don't have the time, just scroll down about 2/3rds of the way and begin reading at "Here's my plan."]

Those of you who know me, might find the title of this post a little puzzling, because I complained about going to school the entire time I was in it (which means the entire time you’ve known me seeing as I was in school for about 50 years (at least it felt like 50, but I guess it was more like 27, which is still an incredibly long time and makes me feel like an old lady…)).

While I was in school, I was miserable. The exams, the professors, the students, the assignments, etc., I hated the whole lot of it. But, there was one thing I loved: good discussions!

Sometimes, (rarely, I’ll admit), I would be in a class and a conversation would start about whatever book/essay/short story/poem we were reading. Time would fly by as tons of interpretations and ideas were discussed. It was in these moments when I really learned, when my mind would begin to make connections between the symbolism in the novel and my own life, when something written by a stranger seemed like it was written for me.

These were powerful, life changing moments. And, I’ve missed having them.

It’s almost been a year since I stopped going to school, and it’s been nice. I’ve felt like I’ve been on vacation. To be able to leave work, go directly home, and do anything I’ve wanted for the remainder of the evening has been a treat.

I’ve read. I’ve composed songs on my guitar (don’t laugh). I’ve written a book and numerous poems. I’ve painted. (I’m going to finish your painting, Katie. I promise.) I’ve gone out with friends. Yes, I’ve had a glorious time.

But, I’ve missed having literary discussions. I’ve missed challenging myself.

So, I’ve decided to do something about it: I’m starting a literature group.

What’s a literature group, you ask? Is it like a book group? Well, sort of.

Let me explain…

In a book group, everyone decides on a book, reads it (at least most do), and then gets together to talk about it. But, they usually get side-tracked with other fun things to talk about and the next thing you know, the entire evening has gone by and you’ve barely even mentioned the title. Book groups are really fun, but not always a serious discussion about the novel.

A literature group differs in that way. It’s still supposed to be fun, but it’s far more focused on the intricacies of the chosen book. In this type of group you will talk about the symbolism, the structure, the tone, the character development, etc. This group is all about the details.

And this is the kind of group I want to start.

Now, I know by saying this, just about everyone reading said a loud “Ugh, I don’t want to be a part of that kind of group. It sounds boring and a lot of work.” Let me respond to that by saying “I promise it won’t be!”

You also might be thinking that you don’t want to be in that kind of group because you’re not the “literary” type. To that I say “Bah Humbug!” I’m not looking for English majors, or big readers, or deep thinkers, or any specific kind of person. (And, anyhow, you’d be surprised at how the right questions can prompt a whole flurry of thought.)

I’m looking for people who can read and can talk. So, that includes you!!

Here’s my plan. I have a book that’s all about reading. (You know how I love to read about reading.), and in it, the author has organized a chronological reading list in 5 areas (Novel/Autobiography and Memoir/ Histories and Politics/ Dramas and plays/ poetry).

I’m going to start with the Novel section, and work my way through the list. A lot of them I have already read (so, those I’ll just refresh myself on) and some I’ve never attempted. I was going to do this on my own (and still will), but then I thought I’d open it up to all of you in case some else might be interested.

And, hence, the Literature Group!

Now, this may not be your cup of tea. And I completely understand that. I’m a very systematic person, so I like things chronologically organized. I like analyzing what I’m reading. I like heated discussions about tone or symbolism or characters. And you may not. That’s okay. I’m not going to think any less of you if you’re not interested at all.

Also, you might have other things on your plate and the last thing you need is another assignment. Heaven knows all the things I had to turn down because I was so swamped with life.

But, if you are interested, and want to challenge yourself (and help me do the same) let me know!

I’m open to how we do this. We could meet in person every month, or we could use email. (Or both). I don’t even care if I don’t know you. This offer is open to strangers!

Or people who read my blog, but have never commented before.

Or, my grandma! (Hi, grandma!)

And just to give you an idea of what I’m going to be reading and discussing (even by myself), here’s the list of novels:

Don Quixote
The Pilgrim’s Progress
Gulliver’s Travels
Pride and Prejudice
Oliver Twist
Jane Eyre
The Scarlet Letter
Uncle tom’s Cabin
Madame Bovary
Crime and Punishment
Anna Karenina
The Return of the Native
The Portrait of a Lady
Huckleberry Finn
The Red Badge of Courage
Heart of Darkness
The House of Mirth
The Great Gatsby
Mrs. Dalloway
The Trial
Native Son
The Stranger
Invisible Man
Seize the Day
One Hundred Years of Solitude
If on a winter’s night a traveler
Song of Solomon
White Noise

Now, I bet a lot of those you’ve already read, or have always wanted to read but have never gotten around to it.

So, think about it. But, no pressure, though.

Really, I’m fine doing it on my own. After all, I have my family I can bombard with my thoughts.

They’re used to it!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hey, look over there!

So, check out my poetry blog to read about my P.I.Y.P. day results!

I was surprised by the whole thing.

And so were my co-workers.

No one expects you to say "Good morning! Here's a poem for you."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Can't Multi-task...

So, this week, I'm going to be posting on my other blog.

If you're interested in poetry, check it out.

If not, come back next week, and I'll have something new.

Pinky Promise!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Definitely NOT Fluff…

On Wed. night, I became an aunt for the fourth time!! Yay!

(And I spent a few hours on Thurs. watching and holding him. And that’s my plan for tonight, Saturday, Sunday, and so forth.)

Initially, we were calling him “Little Joe” to differentiate him from my brother, Joe. But then Ashlee, my sister-in-law, went in for an ultra-sound and the doctor thought he had a large head. So, we started calling him “Little Big Joe” and the name has stuck.

Ashlee ended up having a c-section (he has a big head, after all), and is doing very well. She’s already been up and walking around.

In case you’re interested, here are LBJ’s stats (the baby, not the President):

Weight: 9 lbs 7oz
Length: 22 inches
Chest: 14 inches
Head: 14 ½ inches!

Yes, his head is a little larger than his chest cavity. And no, he doesn’t look freakish!

To prove that, here are some pictures…

See! A sweet, darling newborn baby!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Back with a Bang (or, really, just a long post, not a bang, because "bang" makes you think of something exciting, and this isn't)

So, in case the four of you who read my blog haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a blog break.

And it’s been mutual. I’ve been sick of my blog and my blog has been sick of me. But, because I’ve received a few (okay, one (thanks, Rachel)) request(s), I’ve come out of my self-imposed moratorium and have decided to post again.

I thought I would catch you all up on what this last month at work has been like—you know, since I’ve been training my job replacement.

To give you a sense of what I’ve been enduring, I’m going to reproduce (to the best of my ability (and with some creative license (but not much))) a little bit of a training session I had yesterday.

And I’m going to do it in the form of a one act, one scene play.



LIZ: mild-mannered, kind, intelligent, and down-to-earth woman in her early 30’s who is hoping to hit it big as a poet, but realizes that that is a pipe-dream because no one hits it big as a poet, even people with talent, so she has resigned herself to her job, and is just hoping that her new trainee will make it through the rest of the year.

TRAINEE: she’s a nice woman in her early to mid 40’s who needed a job, any job, so that she could have insurance, and a 401k plan. She’s in her 40’s, after all, and needs to plan for retirement.


In a brightly lit room are two desks, across from each other in opposite corners, one by a door, and the other by the room’s only window. The room is sparsely decorated, with big filing cabinets against every wall, like a mausoleum of paper. At the desk by the window, sits LIZ. She’s looking out at the view of trees and grass with a look of longing in her eyes.

LIZ (in a depressed whisper): Oh foliage, how I’ve missed you…

In walks TRAINEE. LIZ gets up from her old desk with a sigh, and TRAINEE sits down. LIZ pulls up a chair and both women turn towards the computer.

LIZ: Okay, this morning we’re going to download a few things to your desktop to be used as a reference while you verify files.

TRAINEE: Sounds good.

LIZ: First let’s go the website to download the files.

TRAINEE: Okay, how do I do that?

LIZ: Open up “Internet Explorer” and go the website I placed in your favorites.

TRAINEE attempts to do that by clicking on the “Word” icon, and not the “Explorer” icon. Soon, 7 word documents appear on the computer. LIZ gets frustrated with each incorrect click of the mouse.

LIZ (In a sweet tone): No, you click right here, on the “e” for “Explorer.” “W” stands for “Word.”

TRAINEE: Oh, yah.

After a few minutes, and additional assistance from LIZ, TRAINEE gets to the right website.

LIZ: Okay. So now I need you to click on the sentence that says “Handbook: Volumes 1-6.”


LIZ (a little impatiently): Right here, (pointing with her finger), the only sentence highlighted in blue that says “Handbook: Volumes 1-6.”

TRAINEE clicks on it. Nothing happens.

LIZ: Double click. Remember how I said that sometimes you have to double click on things? (Said nicely to make up for her initial irritated tone.)

TRAINEE: Oh, yah.

LIZ: Okay. Now, you see the list of all the volumes? We are going to have to download each one, and place it on your desktop. So, click on the first one… Good… And select “Master” because that will include everything for that volume…Good…Now let’s save that to your desktop.

TRAINEE: How do I do that?

LIZ: Click on File, Save as, then select Desktop.


A few seconds go by as TRAINEE sits there, not doing anything.

LIZ: Go here…then here… then select “desktop.” Good. Now, go on to volume 2.

TRAINEE clicks on volume 2.

TRAINEE: Which option do I choose?

LIZ (In a slightly annoyed tone): “Master.” You want the master for each volume.

TRAINEE: And where do I save it to?

LIZ: Your desktop. You’re going to want to save each volume to your desktop. Remember I just said that?

TRAINEE: Oh, yah. Okay.

TRAINEE goes through the process and saves volume 2 to her desktop. And then stops.

TRAINEE: Now what?

LIZ: Go on to the third volume. Remember, we have to do all 6 volumes.

TRAINEE: Okay. (She clicks on vol. 3 and pauses.) I need the Master version, right?

LIZ: Yes.

TRANIEE: And now I save it to my desktop, right?

LIZ: Yes.

TRAINEE proceeds to download vol. 3.

TRAINEE: Okay. Now, do I load vol. 4?

LIZ: YES! (Said gruffly.) We have to load all the volumes. (Said nicely to soften the early gruffness.)

TRAINEE: And I need to load the Master one?

LIZ: YES!! YOU NEED TO LOAD EVERY MASTER COPY!! (Said sharply and with definite irritation.)

TRAINEE: Okay. (She clicks on vol. 4). And I load it on…

LIZ: Your desktop! You load it all on your desktop.

TRAINEE: Okay. (She loads it.)

LIZ: Now, on to 5.


LIZ (Interrupting): Master


LIZ (Interrupting): Desktop. Now go on to 6.


LIZ (Interrupting): Master


LIZ (Interrupting): Desktop.

LIZ looks longingly out her former window, remembering a simpler time…


So there you have it. I think I’m going to have to up my loving-kindness meditation, because the half hour is not making me feel loving or kind anymore…

Please pray for me to develop more patience.