Thursday, July 28, 2011

Catching a cold is easier

The ALA posted a link called Work Experience Helps M.L.S. Students Get Librarian Jobs.  This article was all about how we should all just run out and get a part-time job or volunteer while we’re waiting on a full-time job because our MLS degree is only the bare minimum job requirement.  My comment was “if only it were that easy”.  I’ve asked libraries about volunteering and they flat out said “we don’t have volunteers.”  (Well, they have opportunities for teens over the summer, but not regular adult volunteers.)  I’ve applied for the few and far between jobs, part-time and full-time, that are listed and gotten absolutely no replies.  With any job, you need experience and it’s hard to get your foot in the door to get that experience but it’s even harder now.  Guess some of professionals who have a job forget that.

Anyway, Wednesday was another gray day in England.  It’s suited my being sick quite nicely.  I took my walk on Tuesday, went to the gym for a bike ride and started reading Ballad.  That’s a fine alternative to jogging because I can do something while exercising.  That treadmill gets terribly boring, especially now that I can’t watch The Housewives of OC on ITV2 in the gym anymore.  I don’t really like this show because a couple of these women are loathsome but it’s better than boring house remodeling auction shows.  Bleck.

The cold is still in effect at our house and while neither Steve or I are bad off, it’s just irritating.  So I haven’t done much at all.  Lemsip and chicken soup have been my friends each day.  It’s just this stuffy nose junk that keeps me from feeling normal.  And not feeling normal is no fun at all.  I’ll get better by the weekend though, I’m sure of it. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

iPhones and anything similar

In September my iPhone's long 2 year contract will be complete. That means I can find a new, suitable replacement for my friend and enemy the White 3GS. There are plenty of great things about the iPhone. I mean it is "the best" phone we have available as far as apps, screen resolution, and features. However, as most people know, I've previously posted plenty of reasons to look elsewhere.

Lack of Flash player, bad camera, irritating predictive text (why, iPhone, why is reading and white capitalized?) and our nemesis: iTunes. (Thank you for deleting my vacation photos when updating last Summer, btw.) In the UK we don't have 4G yet so the most awesome of phones (not oboes, iPhone) that I've heard of aren't available here. Without a contract the Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC HD7, and HTC Desire S are all super pricey.

I have the Blackberry Bold 9700 now to use in the UK (the iPhone is only used with Wifi in the house because of the old US contract still being active).  The camera on that is awesome but the silly thing gives vibration alerts for no reason, alerts you of things such as Twitter updates that you tell it not to alert you on, and it freezes randomly.  Also, I don’t like that I can’t hold it in one hand and type as easily as I can with the iPhone. 

Mainly it’s the apps that I’m wondering about.  I can’t get some on Android and Blackberry and while I only use a few of them right now, I still like the option for something new to be useable.  iPhone is going to get those apps first and as much as I resent it, I don’t want to be out of the loop for those.  Maybe I’ll just wait until an iPhone 5 comes out. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goodbye to the pink walls

Monday I woke up with the cold that found Steve while he was on his work trip. That means the Nike+ sensor and pedometer haven’t been taken on the road with me yet (Steve tried out the fancy technology of the pedometer out for me though.) Oh well, plenty of time in the week to get well and get back to my routine.

Sunday afternoon we painted the hallway finally. It was a salmony orange-pink as it had been when the flat was purchased. We talked about getting the walls a neutral color once I was here. We've had the paint for a while but the prep time was the biggest hurdle. After Steve had that done we turned on 6 Music and took 2 & 1/2 hours out of our weekend to make our hallway a nice grayish mocha color. Much better.

It’s been predicted as 64F for each day this week and no rain until Thursday.  I hope I feel better so I can out and enjoy the weather.  I’m going to try to take my laptop out with me to the park one day so I can write somewhere other than the house for a change.  As much as I want to keep old traditions alive, it’s so much harder to keep a notebook when technology is readily available.  Even my notes are done on the phone and emailed to myself. 

Oh yeah, and my profile was added to the #amwriting author directory.  It looks much smaller than I anticipated.  Oh well, the picture’s cute.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday is for rest

Our weekend was nice and relaxing. Since Steve had gone off to a Developers' Conference earlier in the week, it was nice to just hang around here together. Yesterday we took a walk down to Retail World before hitting Sainsbury's for groceries. I was looking for another Nike+ sensor to use with my sports band. But I decided to try and old one of Steve's instead. I did get a pedometer for £5 to keep with me for my walks though. It was funny: when we were at Sports Direct discussing if I could synch up an old sensor to the new sports band, this kid working there overheard us and gave his advice. He said the same thing Steve was telling me, that the sensors were universal. The kid, however, told me that I could just get a sensor on Amazon for £5. Good salesman there, Sports Direct. Not only does he tell me to not buy it at his store but he grossly exaggerates how much less it will be if we don't buy from his store. No big deal, just found it funny.

Yesterday we watched NASA's Greatest Missions. I love how the commander of STS-114, the flight after Columbia, was saying that while people think they should get rid of the shuttle because it puts astronaut's lives in danger, astronauts don't feel that way. It really is sad that our space program is at a standstill now. Not having our own National Aeronautics and Space Administration calling the shots, doing the research, creating new ways of exploring, it's just wrong. Our economy is a mess and I cannot wait until we can all get back to doing what we need to be doing, especially NASA. I'm glad that some of my old workmates are still employed at KSC and Cape Canaveral though.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A short little update

Just to post about how things have been going lately:

Went to Seven Stories, a children’s literature museum, last weekend.  It was really fun and gave us some inspiration for upcoming projects.  There were original manuscript sections and letters written to authors and editor Kaye Webb.  Plus, there were rooms that looked as if you were walking through Anthony Browne’s books.  It was very cool but sort of odd to be the only adults there without kids.  Oh well.

I’ve been keeping up my daily walk and got to take another try at jogging again on Monday.  I went for 15 minutes without incident so next time I’ll try to get back to my 20 minute mark.  I’m doing my stretching and doing what I can to make sure I don’t hurt my ankle again.  According to once I get to jogging 30 minutes at a time, then I can feel as if I’m doing well.  That will be my aim for now – I’ll worry about time, speed and distance later.

I’m sad to not have seen or heard shuttle Atlantis come in for the last time today.  I’m glad that some people I use to work with are still hanging on to jobs at the Kennedy Space Center but it’s a shame that everything is at a stand-still right now.  I do hope that we can get another program up and running soon.  Having good people from NASA not coming up with new technologies for the world is ridiculous.  We need science!

Everything here has been going well.  I’m still applying for jobs and writing at home and keeping myself occupied as much as possible.  Steve’s off changing the world of video gaming again so I have to gather up some dinner on my own.  I think a nice walk to Subway will be in order.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Over it with the internet

Yesterday I took a trip to the mall.  There was plenty to look through but, as is always the case, the things I want are too pricey and the things that are pretty good aren’t worth buying.  I’m still wanting a maxi sundress for hot days.  I saw every girl of all shapes and ages wearing those with a little cardigan.  Super cute!  I’ve been a t-shirt and jeans girl for a while.  Now, I’m walking around all the time so my need for sneakers and pockets has increased. 

I saw this tile artwork at the mall yesterday.  It was put together by drawings that school kids in the area had done.  I found it while wandering around the mall with my trusty map.  I want to have a good idea of where I’m going and where the stores I like are so I can make the most of my time when I go.  I have the bus trip figured out for the most part.  It’s just tricky to get back home because I have to pay close attention to when my stop’s coming up. 

I understand the fun of being online all the time but I’ve been bored of it recently.  There is stuff for me to do online but going outside is still my main objective.  I read half way through Twilight and I’ll have to write my review on that for my Unfinished Book Reviews.  I have food to list for my Foodie Blog too.  I’ve discovered proper curry.  Yum!

The last week of school here is next week and I’ve not heard anything about any kind of job position.  It’s frustrating and I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to be out of work.  After shopping yesterday I felt frustrated again about not having even a modest income. 

Until then, I’ll work on my writing.  I have an idea but I’m not sure how to make it zing. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

More motivation coming my way

Since my frustration of exercise and diet was the topic of my last post, Steve made me feel much, much better about all my little set backs I’ve had lately.  Jogging is tough, finding a job is tough, losing weight is tough.  But we get through it.

I’ve still not gotten anything other than rejection letters or silence from the applications I’ve been sending out.  (Heck, a library didn’t even reply to my application to volunteer!) But I’m still sending them to schools and (the very few) libraries I find here and there. 

There are plenty of library jobs listed near London and many of them have IT requirements.  I decided to poke around and find an IT certificate program online to attend maybe.  Since there’s no confirmed work for me I may as well use my time wisely.

I’m also going to look into going back to my Weight Watchers meeting just for the sheer social support of it.  Plus, the evenings I go, I can stop by the pool maybe.  (The little kids are always in that dang thing in the mornings.)  Plus, there’s always that slim chance that someone will say to me, “Oh I know of a place that needs a librarian/English teacher…”

Anyway, it’s been raining off and on but I feel tons better now that I didn’t try to get up insanely early.  I’ll take my daily walk, send out my applications and take a little adventure to find the library up the hill.  I hear they have poetry nights!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One size doesn't fit all

I said last entry that I’d like to eat healthier and take a walk each day.  Well, today I made stir fry and I walk to the park and back this morning.  Goal accomplished.  However, I spent my usual gym time at the library instead.  It’s been ungraciously hot here and I’ve been less than pleased with the lack of cool air floating around.  So I walked home and started thinking about healthy lifestyles.

We all know the old mantra: diet and exercise.  But what does that get us?  The ladies in the picture above are like tons of women I know and admire who do marathons.  I see people around town already getting set up for The Great North Run which Steve did a few years. 

I admire them because I simply don’t know how it’s possible.  I’ve heard time and time again that running gets easier and that it’s the best form of exercise.  I don’t think it’s that simple for everyone.

I started jogging outside in Florida and nearly caused myself to pass out from the heat, so I had to go indoors on a treadmill.  That worked fine but I could go a minute to five minutes at a time.  I kept to my Runner’s World book and paced myself as was indicated.  It didn’t get easier. It was just that some moments I could jog for five minutes while other times only maybe two.  I did this for a long while and I was never in any kind of marathon condition.

I also rode my bike for miles, swam for hours. I didn’t stretch or warm up I and never felt much more than some slight ache of muscles from a good workout.  I ate Subway for dinner each night – counting all of my allotted Weight Watcher points. I never lost weight.  Exercise does not make you lose pounds! I did Weight Watchers for years beforehand, sat on my butt smoking and counting every morsel I even thought about putting into my stomach and then I lost weight.  That meant candy bars and pizza were fine as long as you took account for it.  It’s not that simply once you get passed a certain age.  I don’t know how weight loss is achieved easily after the age of 30.

Exercise and running (not jogging, as I do) is healthy, but how long does it take to get to that point?  How obsessed and willing to throw your whole being aside for one activity?  Same with eating healthy.  In England I can either buy three ready made pasta dishes (fatty) for £5 or one piece of fish for one meal for £10 plus vegetables and rice for another £5 or so at least.   You have to eat this way in order for running to work as a weight loss motive.

Once I moved here I’ve walked everywhere and jogged at longer instances (a whole whopping 20 minutes at a time – still not marathon ready).  I’m presumably healthier.  However, I’ve lost maybe a few pounds due to my inability to spend cash on fresh fish, chicken and veg each night.  I’ve also still recovering from the sprained ankle I suffered from jogging over a month ago.  It’s a common injury if too many miles (I was jogging a little over 1 mile) are taken on too quickly.  I tried using the elliptical again for 5 minutes on Monday and was sore for a day. 

It’s going to take me a very, very long time to get back into getting up to the 20 minute mark again.  Steve’s telling me how stretching is the key but, seriously, haven’t I been working on this long enough that I shouldn’t be in pain that easily?  And marathons?  Running outside for distance?  Forget it!  How would I even manage that?  I’m sure people who run with ease will see this as an excuse but, seriously, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to exercise.  It’s not as simple as that.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A list of wishful thinking

I was going to say this was my goal list for the year, but I think maybe I’ll try this for the month of July and see how well I do. So far I’m doing pretty well so I’ll stick with what works.  However, if I’m able to do these things easily enough then I’ll have to amp up my game for August.

Write in the morning. This means blog posts, postcards, stories or anything that requires creative thought – I count this as writing. Twitter and Facebook posts do not count. It's no secret that morning, before the day officially begins, is the best time to get your ideas down. I didn’t succeed today as well as I’d hoped.  It’s so easy to play online rather than use it as a productive tool sometimes.

Take a walk each day.  Since I do exercise often, I’m not particularly worried about getting to the gym.  However, since I’m not able to jog these days (yes, the ankle is still reminding me that it’s not healed), I can only ride a stationary bike.  Also, the need to go out each day is even more present when it’s been so nice outside. 

Eat better. Cooking healthy food is expensive and inconvenient. The price of fresh ingredients is more than ready-meals of more than low fat food. Plus with the time to prepare, plus my ability to burn things easily, it's not as easy to eat healthy as popular culture would lead us to believe.

Read a book a month. At least one during the allotted check out time the library gives me. This will keep giving me ideas for my own writing and give me the fun opportunity to review the books I find.  I’ll have to include those points in my future reviews.

These are my objectives for the next 20+ days.  It’s a good start, again, since I’m able to get these things done if I stay on a schedule. (Oh how easy it is to get off of a schedule.) The days I’m not going to the gym, I’ll be taking my walk and working on writing more.  With that said, it’s time for me to get cracking.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A visit to the country

On Saturday Steve and I took a trip to the Beamish Museum. The bus ride was about 40 minutes and we went all the way through Gateshead borough limits, past the Angel and into County Durham.  It was so nice to go from shops and busy streets into long, winding rural roads.  It reminded me of the trip from West Virginia into Ohio.

I put together my Beamish photo album where you can see how neat this place is.  There was an old mining town and farm that showed how people lived in the Edwardian times. So we went into an old bank, an old candy shop, a replica mechanics, general store, church and houses. 

The best part of this is the “living” part where the little vegetable gardens were growing outside of the old houses.  The chickens walked around the pond and the horses were in the pasture with the pigs and sheep.  It was just totally cool to be able to interact with history that way. 

We didn’t even get into the mine or see the train station but once you go to the museum you get an unlimited pass for a year.  We’re excited to go during wintertime when they’ll have Christmas decorations up.  Before that though, we still have to explore the other parts of the museum while the weather is warm.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Female singers who are okay to like

It takes a lot for me to like female singers.  I’m know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  With the abundance of good, solid male musicians leading bands the girls still have a hard time holding their own.  However, there are only a handful of bands who have a female play an essential role of musician, not just a singer.  Still, there are some female music artists who are okay to like.


Meg White

Band: The White Stripes

Cool points: Part of the best American band of my time (imho).

While Ms. White maybe isn’t the talented Mr. White, she still is quite, quite cool.  She was chosen for a reason and you can’t help but admire her for that. Just too bad that they broke up this year.  I’m really going to miss seeing her.

Alison Mosshart

Band: The Kills, The Dead Weather

Cool points: Part of a couple of very cool bands, edgy look/music, funky lyrics

While “VV” isn’t playing an instrument most of the time, I give her credit for being a funky singer with the ability to hold her own among very good rock musicians.

Karen O

Band: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Cool points: edgy lyrics, funky outfits, unique voice

While Karen O has allowed her music to be on the horrible teenage musical television show which shall not be named, and she did music for a horrible movie, Where The Wild Things Are, her music with the band is awesome.

Courtney Love

Bands: Hole

Cool points: Kurt Cobain married her, Billy Corgan liked her enough to write songs for her, the whole look she had going.

No, this is not the best singer or band or even celebrity to listen to.  However, given the grand scope of grunge music in the day and her desire to be famous and do whatever it took to get into the ring, I give her credit.  Ugly plastic surgery and insane stupidity aside, she’s still on my iPod.

Siouxsie Sioux

Bands: Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Creatures

Cool points: amazing band, unique voice, trendsetting music, plus every hip female who wears back with too much eyeliner can thank Siouxsie for their look

Siouxsie doesn’t have to play an instrument for us to like her.  We look at her and think she’s amazing and cool.  She is in a category all her own.

Tori Amos

Bands: solo artist

Cool points: plays piano, writes her own music, unique, completely wacky (as are all of the above)

While I lost interest in Tori Amos a long time ago, I still appreciate what she does and her talent.

Liz Phair

Bands: solo artist

Cool points: plays the guitar, writes her own songs

Now remember, this is Liz Phair before her horrible “Why Can’t I?” radio friendly music.  In the 90s she was the grunge girl for everyone to appreciate.  We’ll just remember her that way.  She doesn’t have a strong voice or the most innovative lyrics but that’s what makes her interesting.


Bands: The Sugarcubes, solo artist

Cool points: awesome wardrobe, awesome voice, awesome music

What else do you need to know about Bjork? Iceland has brought us one of the best female musicians of our generation.  Not all of her music is spot-on but when she gets it right, man, is it good.  Surely she is the inspiration for Karen O’s look and style as well.

Fiona Apple

Bands: solo artist

Cool points:  plays piano, writes her own music, developed lyrics

I do like Fiona Apple a lot and her antics are mild compared to a lot of female musicians.  I’m not a fan of the washed-out anorexic look or her dramatic speeches but she’s a good artist.  The overly emotional lyrics get to me after a while but all in all I like what she has to say.

Honorable Mentions

With the above big-name ladies that needed mentioning, I have to include to the list: Beth Gibbons of Portishead (awesome), Alison Goldfrapp of Goldfrapp (new stuff is awful but the Black Cherry and Supernature stuff is amazing), Emily Haines of Metric (good stuff, just wish they weren’t on the Twilight bandwagon), Beth Ditto of The Gossip (girl’s gotta voice on her), Tegan and Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara (hip, cute songs – good enough for White Stripes to cover). Plus Debbie Harry, Stevie Nicks, and last but not least our First Lady of Female Singers: Janis Joplin.

Anyone I’ve missed is unintentional. Or is it?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blogging 102

This is why I cross-post: I like the techie side of going in to self-host a Wordpress blog because I can have a personalized template and I like the free, easy interface of the Blogger site. But now that I’ve played with, and while the site is very nice looking, there are a lot of scripts you can’t use. With a self-hosted WP blog you can do pretty much what you want but when you have unreliable web hosting issues as I always have (I’m not willing to pay a ton for this) then the site can go down and no amount of backup guarantees you can restore the blog in MySQL.

So that brings up back to Blogger which I used back in the day. I’m honestly surprised that it’s lasted this long and is that popular. I’ve asked online why people use it so much more than Wordpress and I’ve that it’s easier. Granted, I see that, but it’s the look that bugs me. The template designer is nice after I played with it for bit. It’s definitely much better than the old school templates they had before. I’ve also heard that since Blogger is tied into their Google account, then users can stay logged in for GMail, Google Reader, Blogger, and the other tools offered. I, personally, haven’t used all that Google has to their credit, but I understand why users want to keep this up.

My guess is it’s a work-based situation where they can log into Google. We never could at the public schools but maybe with the impending need for Web 2.0 resources, teachers and school librarians are allowed to have openly running Google accounts at their work computers.

Wordpress has also been tagged as “tough” or “for professionals” which I don’t really agree with entirely.  Granted I’ve messed with the installation side of it and it’s quite easy once you’ve done it a couple of times.  Especially with so many people needing to be web designers as part of their profession, I’m not sure why it’s not used by them as much.  It’s the top rated blog service but I see tons of bloggers not using it.

Blogger has a “easy” look about it that puts me off a bit.  It doesn’t scream “authority” to me.  It looks like it is what it is:  a free blog.  Again, however, it is way, way better than it use to be.  I still remember that pink template they used for years – how I loved that!  At least now I have a revamped version of my beloved pink blog template.

With this all said, I’m going to link myself up to the site through Blogger for a while. The minute I ever update I get a comment either on this site or the Unfinished Book Reviews site. With Wordpress it’s once in a while for comments and a bunch of spam related references bringing traffic to the site (thank you, Wassup Stats).  So the ability to have actual readers, commenters and followers on my site will happen in Blogger, it seems.  I had a whopping 11 followers on Endeavours of Librarianship before I stopped using it in May.

Granted, I still don’t absolutely love the site on Blogger but it’s growing on me.  At least I can run the scripts I want (most of them at least) here and I don’t have to worry about backups. I’m curious if all this work will be worth it.  I’ll get back to you on that.  Until then please read, follow, subscribe, share and most importantly: enjoy!