Sep 30, 2012

Banned Book Week 2012

Well, it's the last day of September which must mean it's Banned Books Week!! This year marks the thirtieth year since the ALA created banned books week as a means to fight against censorship. Down with censorship!! (haha, I feel like saying that is a weird meta of censoring censorship . . .) Really, the ALA calls it "the Freedom to Read," which is actually a great way of putting it.

Last year I wrote a blog post about how I feel about societal censorship. I say that I personally choose which books I feel comfortable reading or not, and I always feel that that is a personal decision. For example, as I was trying to find a book to read this week, I researched a certain book that is considered quite a classic. After reading about why it was banned, as well as several synopses, I decided that it wasn't the sort of book I wanted to be reading. But I wouldn't stop others from reading it.

Which brings me to what I have decided to read this week. I wanted to read a book that was relatively new to the "challenging/banning" game. I know of two this last year. The first was A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This was banned from the school on the grounds of the negative picture it paints of Mormons. I read this book before the school in Virginia banned it, and, as a Mormon, I found it hilarious in all it's inaccuracies. As, as someone who has studied literature, I knew how Victorians felt about Mormons and was able to use that as a point of reference. I appreciate that someone realized that this was not a good introduction to the religion, but I also feel that it would have been the perfect opportunity to discuss what is a major American religion (and part of the history of this country) in a positive, historical way. In no way did they have to preach the gospel, but talk about historical inaccuracies, and why Conan Doyle would have portrayed Mormons the way he did. That's the amazing thing about literature--it opens up a conversation! How said that the parents and teachers didn't take that opening.

The second book that was challenged in the past year was Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. This actually ended in the suspension of the teacher. This is the book that I will be reading this week. The book was challenged on pornography issues, but no one I know that has read it says there is any such thing. And these are people I trust. Nor does the little I know about the book lend itself to pornography. So I went out (last month before my "no spend month" started) and bought the book.

There are links in last year's post to lists of banned books, or you can go to the ALA website for more information. Please read a banned book and fight for the freedom to read!

Sep 29, 2012

No Spend Month in Review

So, as some of you know, I decided that September was going to be my "no spend month"--to revive some of my spendings after a vacation and a work-clothes shopping spree.

I felt like the world was working against me. TWO of my favorite clothing websites had huge sales this month (one was up to 70% off!!); Amazon kept sending me e-mails about this on sale, or that, culminating in a ginormous sale on ALL of the David Tennant Doctor Who DVDs--WHAT?!? (That resulted me in sending an e-mail to my parents with a "hint hint". Hey, there's a holiday coming up in a couple months where people buy each other presents.) Anyway, it was very difficult to not spend this month!

Part of what this "no spend month" taught me was that there are just situations when you should spend. I know that sounds weird, but here are a few examples from this month:

I was able to go to the State Fair for free because I was demonstrating lace-making with some people from my class. So, I got in free (SCORE!), but when I told people that this was the first time I had ever gone to a fair before, I felt like everyone was telling me to get a funnel cake. I didn't even know what a funnel cake was, but at least one person said, "Funnel cakes are the best part of the fair." So I decided to get one. No, I didn't need it, it wasn't essential, but it was part of the experience (and it was delicious).

The second example was when I went out with a friend to a singles' dance. We left early (it was . . . kind of lame) and she asked if I wanted to get ice cream or something. We ended up going to Sonic and getting drinks. And it was nice because we just sat in the car for a little bit and talked. I could have said no, but sometimes paying $1.50 for a lemonberry slush is worth it (and seriously? it was $1.50).

Near the beginning of the month I thought, "Wow, wouldn't it be cool if I didn't use my credit card at all this month?" Which, it really would have been, but let's get real here. How do you pay for gas? Card. How do you pay for a birthday gift? Card. What do you do if you don't have cash on you? Use a card. And, honestly, I just don't carry cash around with me that much. I use my card like cash.

I also came up with a monthly budget plan, which is in a way good and in another bad. It makes me feel more poor than I usually do. :(

Anyway, here's how I did it (all moneys blanked out of course--I don't want the interwebs knowing all that!):

I did just notice I forgot to put something on. Guess I'll have to go fix that! Anyway, it's pretty straightforward. All the things I spend money on in a month, all the things I want to save up for, and the things that fluctuate on my spending.

I'm feeling all grown up.

I think people might be interested in knowing what I'm going to spend money on in October, now that I can. Well, Perry needs a new set of tires, and some filters. I do get a new pair of shoes (my reward), but instead of getting new new ones, I'm going to be replacing my favorite pair that broke last month. Sad. And . . . I think I'll buy a the new Rick Riordan book that comes out on Monday. Because I want it. I'm also looking for longer skirts to wear to work now that the weather is getting colder, and maybe some fun tights to help keep my legs warm.

It's hard being all grown up.

Sep 23, 2012

Halloween Costume!

So I have finally decided on my Halloween costume (by the way, this excitement over a costume is new to me. I am not usually a fan of Halloween, but I have be invited to a party, plus it will be fun to wear a costume when handing out candy). Here it is!

Yes! I am going to be Rosie the Riveter! (For anyone looking for couple costumes, I think it would be so great to do a Rosie/WW II Soldier thing. But, alas, I am not a couple. But that's okay! "We can do it!") I found this picture of a full-body shot of Rosie:

So what I'm going to do is buy these coveralls (I figure I'll be able to use them for other things, like painting or whatever) and a red bandana (I seem to at one point throw away all my bandanas--probably thought I would never use them). I'll roll up the sleeves and pants of the coveralls (and probably wear a belt with them just because I'll want some definition to my body). As for the shoes, I'll just wear tennis shoes or something--I don't want to even try to find circa-1940s style boots. I'm pretty pleased with myself and think it is a great costume idea!

Anyone know any good (easy) ways to copy 1940s hairstyles?

Sep 17, 2012

Creative Cooking

So the past week my parents were out of town, which meant cooking for myself. It was kind of nice to be reminded that I can take care of myself when necessary, but it also reminded me how creative I have to be to cook for one person. But, it was nice to be cooking for me and to be able to use as many burners on the stove as I wanted, without having to make room for roommates. So, that was a plus. :)

Several times at work today my mind would wander to what I would have for dinner when I got home. The only thing I could think was, "Well, I have some chicken in the freezer." So that's what I decided to do (after looking through everything else in my freezer).

I cut the chicken into strips, then dipped the strips into flour, an egg, and bread crumbs with grated parmesan cheese and italian seasoning. Then I fried it in a pan with olive oil. I like cooking the chicken nearer high than medium, because I feel like it makes the chicken more juicy. I also had a summer squash fried in butter with salt and pepper, and pasta-roni parmesan flavor. It was a pretty good dinner!

The rest of the week I had some leftovers and had dinner with a good friend and her adorable daughter. I also made some really yummy spaghetti sauce from this recipe. I actually ended up making 6x as much (on purpose). The size of recipe here is enough for about three people (I've made it before for my parents and me to eat). I use stewed Italian style tomatoes, but also put in some more herbs. Then I just made some pasta to eat with it. The rest of the sauce went into the freezer for a quick meal another time.

So, next time you're making dinner for yourself, look into making some good chicken or tomato sauce!

Sep 9, 2012


ob-ser-va-tion: noun, an act or instance of viewing or noting a fact or occurrence

Here are just a few things I've been noticing:

Vacuuming is a lot more fun when you dance while you do it.

I really dread putting new sheets on the bed. I don't know what it is, because I can make my bed everyday, no problem, but when it comes to changing the sheets and putting new ones on, I don't like it. And it takes less than five minutes to do, so it's not really cringe-worthy. I think it has something to do with having to walk from one side to the other every few seconds (I've got a queen sized bed).

Fairs are fun, but would be even more fun to experience with children.

This is something I knew, but just kind of "observed" lately as I try to keep my home clean: Putting things away right after you use them doesn't take that long and it makes it so the room feels cleaner and more open (and keeps things from building up).

You have to size your clothes to the biggest part of your body (unfortunately).

One of the definite perks of owning my own car is that I never have to adjust the seat and mirrors when I get in. They are always exactly where they are supposed to be!

Being stylish doesn't mean wearing the trends--it means finding your own style and wearing it with confidence!

Restricting myself from spending money this month has just made me think about all the things I want to buy next month--which seems a little bit against the point of restricting my spending this month.

Having several little tasks to work on makes the one big task you have to do seem less frustrating and stressful.

Speaking of stress, having a clean home helps eliminate some of the stress you feel.

If someone can't do something that you can, they seem to think you are patient, accomplished, and naturally talented, when really you just worked at it same as they could.

Listening to too many stand-up comedians makes you start feeling like you could be a stand-up comedian. ("What's the deal with wedding guest books? You stand in line and . . . ") It's also probably not the greatest idea to listen to them at work when you sit in a cubicle. I've almost broken my pencil from biting down on it to keep from laughing out loud.

Sep 3, 2012

Halloween Costume Ideas

I got a Pinterest account last week and proceeded to spend a lot of time looking at websites that certain pins led me to. One of those is Disney Bound, which I think is so creative! After spending about four or so hours on it, I had tons of ideas for Halloween costumes! (Yes, I know Halloween is still two months away, but I want to be prepared in case I have somewhere to go this year. Or whatever.)

I'm not fond of going all out for costumes, so Disney Bound is perfect. What I like about Disney Bound is that 1) it's clothes that you can wear over and over again, 2) a lot of the clothes are probably ones you already have in your closet, and 3) it's subtle. Here are three "costumes" I have been thinking about for Halloween this year (and thanks to Polyvore for having a great site!):

Eeyore Disney Bound outfit

I would have to buy a pair of gray pants and a sweater. But I think this is a very cute idea! I'd wear my hair up in a ponytail with a pink bow.

Female Superman/"Clara" Kent (Not Supergirl, because, let's be honest, she wasn't that great):

Superman/"Clara" Kent

For this one I would just need to buy a Superman t-shirt. 

Female 10th Doctor:

Female 10th Doctor

Polyvore didn't exactly have exactly what I wanted. I could either wear my brown skirt or some slacks, and maybe get a brown tie to go with it. And maybe just a plain white or blue button up shirt instead of what's pictured here. 

Anyway, I'm obviously having way too much fun with this, but it's been a fun way of thinking of outfits and putting together things. With my blue dress and black flats I could be doing an Alice in Wonderland outfit; or with a green dress and purple shoes, a Little Mermaid inspired outfit. Anyway, have fun looking through the Disney Bound site and thinking up your own character inspired clothes!

Sep 2, 2012

Vacation Review and September Goals

Well, I've been back from my vacation for two weeks and I feel bad that I haven't written anything about it.

First off, it was great! Exactly what I needed at the time I needed it. I was a little nervous about the long drive, but I had good company, music, audiobooks, and food, so it was fine. (The last two hours of each drive were the hardest. I just wanted to be there.) We arrived in California ahead of schedule, even with the little detour we accidentally took (thank goodness for the road atlas my insurance agent gave me!). Here's a review of the week:

We went to my sister's work--a chocolatier--and had a tour (which included free chocolate). We also went to the aquarium. The ocean is so amazing and it was beautiful to see the life that is under the surface. They had a beautiful exhibit on jellyfish, which are beautiful in their pink and oranges, silently floating through the clear water.

This was probably the best day of the whole trip. We went to San Francisco, which is about a 2 hour drive from where we were. Bro-in-law was able to get the day off, so all four of us went together. The first place we went was the Golden Gate Bridge.

I saw it and I started crying (I know, I know, you're asking yourself: "Did someone drop a hat?"). I've seen thousands of pictures, and it's such an iconic piece of Americana, but seeing it for myself, with all the fog surrounding it, and it is so beautiful, I couldn't help myself. Tears came to my eyes and I knew that I was in San Francisco, a place I wanted to see for a long time. Fortunately sis understood and just hugged me. Then I cried again later when we went to Grace Cathedral when the organ was playing when we walked in and the light was shining through the stained glass. We also visited Golden Gate Park where we went to the Japanese Tea Garden, and Chinatown (of course!).

The first two days were pretty exhausting (and it didn't help that I had a hard time sleeping--stupid sea gulls), so I let bro take Perry to go hiking, and I spent the day with sis. We visited Fisherman's Wharf (after I got lost walking to her place), the museum of monterey, and read on a bench listening to the ocean.

Sis's boss gave us tickets to the Concours Races (it was Concours week). So we headed out to Laguna Seca and saw a lot of old cars, some races, and got sunburned. It was fun, but tiring, so we spent the rest of the day watching a web series.

Sis and I headed to Carmel and wandered around looking at all the shops. We headed back and met up with the boys. We went to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch (and to try out every restaurants clam chowder). That afternoon we headed to a little town to see a Mayan Festival, but it was just ending when we got there, so we stopped by a produce stand on the way back and got some artichokes, peaches, bread, and some other yummy things.

We went to church and then hung out at bro-in-law and sis's.

The only exciting thing about the drive home was when Perry started not working quite right and the check engine light came on. I made it home, but Dad took the car in the next day when I was back at work and fortunately nothing horrible was wrong. But it did cause some anxiety on my part.

Something I did learn in California was to be a little bit more of a confident driver. But the driving rhythm there is so different from here! I don't want to say that they are bad drivers, but compared to the way we drive in Utah, it seems like it. They seem to be a bit more aggressive, whereas the drivers in Utah are more . . . defensive, maybe? Or maybe that's just me. Anyway, it was nice to be someplace cool, and to do different things. I don't feel as restless as I did before the vacation.

September Goals
I already fulfilled one of my goals and that was to clean my apartment and organize all the piles of papers that were just sitting everywhere. I do still want to go through drawers and cabinets. And to keep my apartment clean and organized. I really hope I can! But now that it's clean, if I clean it every week, it should stay clean, right?

My other goal for September is not to spend any money on nonessentials. I went on vacation and when I came back I bought some clothes (all for work, so I'm going to get a lot of use out of them), so I came to the conclusion that I need to spend a little less money. So, no books, music, movies, TV shows, or clothes; I can, obviously, spend money on things that I pay monthly, like cell phone, Netflix, rent, car payment, etc.  It's only the second day of the month and already I'm having a hard time! Some new books are coming out and they are discounted quite a bit on Amazon, but I can't do it! Huge exercise in self control, which I haven't had to do since college. Oh well, I'm telling myself that I can buy myself a pair of shoes in October if I make it.