Posts Tagged ‘about us’

I must say, I am looking forward to the year 2013. 2012 was not a spectacular year for me overall, and I figure 2013 is bound to be better by default. However, some amazing things happened last year.

  • My oldest and dearest friend got married! I’m so happy for these two and I was honored to be involved in their wedding.
  • I learned a lot professionally from my current position. Granted, most of it was what-not-to-do and how to handle less-than-great situations; but now I’m more prepared.
  • I did pretty well on my 2012 resolutions. I resolved to exercise regularly and widdle down my credit card debt. I can honestly say that I never went a full week without exercising at least once. I admit, however, that I need to work on a better schedule. While I am not credit-card-debt free, I did make a sizable dent, and hopefully I can take care of that this year. (Although I probably need a better paying position first.)
  • I read well over 9,502 pages! I only counted the completed and reviewed books for this blog, not including professional material and books started. I’m going to track my pages read this year as well. It’s fun to see the progress.

I only have two official resolutions for next year:

  1. Learn to knit socks. It seems like all good knitters know how to do this, but I failed at my attempt. Fortunately, I got good instruction books for Christmas, and I got some lovely yarn on a year-end sale. I’m going to make this happen.
  2. Break the 10,000 pages read of completed works. I’m a slow reader, but I got awfully close last year.

I have some things I want to work on/tweak in the coming twelve months.

  1. Come up with a manageable, consistent exercise schedule.
  2. Obtain another job. I do love my profession, and have a fondness for my current position (as mentioned.) Unfortunately, I’m not terribly fond of the locale, nor am I fond of the pay and general lack of respect and support from the community. It’s starting to wear me thin.
  3. Keep working on that debt. It will be slow but hopefully steady.
  4. Work on corresponding with far-flung friends. I do love all of my friends, but it’s hard to stay connected since we are all scattered to the wind.
  5. I’ll be attempting knitted items for the holidays next year. Like reading, I’m a slow knitter, so we’ll see how this goes.

So there you have it, folks! Do you have any new year’s resolutions, or things to tweak in twelve months time?

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I might have mentioned in passing that I work in a library. It’s a great job. I’m particularly proud of my profession despite the fact that most people, for example my brother-in-law, have no real grasp of what I do all day long. (“Why do you need a master’s degree to check books out to people?” is a question I get on a regular basis. Le sigh.)

However, as with every occupation, there are downsides. One in particular for my job is that I love books! I love reading books(though not always in their entirety.) I adore delving into a well-written novel or learning something from non-fiction. I love the feel of books; new books with crisp paper and fragile old things which have yellowed from love and light. I especially enjoy the small of books. When I do go out into the rows of books to find something, I often take a moment to crack a spine and inhale. Since I like art, as well, I also have a fondness for book cover art. I like to see how books are marketed and presented in an age when so many of us judge a book by its cover. (You do it, too; admit it.) I love talking to people about books. I gather great joy from watching faces light up when they get that books they’ve been waiting on for months, maybe years if the author is particularly slow. Or how some people cannot wait to get home or check it out and plop down on the floor to peruse a passage or two.
City, public library
You may now be thinking, “Where is this downside?” But didn’t you just read?! I love everything about books! It’s terribly distracting. I like to stay professional and attempt to limit my book-sniffing to only once a day, but it doesn’t always work. I’m almost certain it takes me twice as long as it should to order books because I want to read the tagline, then the synopsis, then the excerpt, and so on and so forth. After being exposed to so many potentially fantastic volumes, my to-read list if off the charts and growing by the day! While I have no trouble taking books out of the library’s circulation collection, I inevitably want to take many of them home with me. (99% of the time I do not in favor of passing the books along to our Friends of the Library used book sale. But it’s a struggle every time.) I definitely have an excuse for talking to random strangers about books, but it does become slightly problematic when there’s a line and I still really want to recommend a certain title.All in all, I really love my job. Even though the bookish portion is only about 40-50% of what I do on a daily basis, it’s a fabulous 40-50%. The other 50% or so isn’t bad either. I get to teach classes, write (usually grants, but that’s not so bad) and generally help people out. True, there’s about 10% that involves less-than-stellar people with less-than-polite attitudes, and employees that may not be up to snuff. However, 90% job satisfaction is pretty darn good.

I write all of this because this is the season to be thankful for all of the good in one’s life. I hope everyone else derives as much joy from their paycheck as I do.

Do you have a job you love and want an excuse to brag? Or maybe just more questions about mine. Either way, I’d love to hear from you.

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Reading ADD

I have been experiencing a very serious case of reading attention deficit lately. I just cannot sit down and finish the last few books I have picked up.

First, there was this epic romance, Olivia and Jai, of an America who falls for a bad boy Indian (as in from India) in the 1830s. I got fed up with the female lead. “Oh. He’s so bad and everyone has warned me about him. But I must have him!”  UGH! Give me a break. He’s a jerk and you’re better off without him.

Sherlockk Holmes bored

how I feel about the recent books I’ve read

So then I thought, an action is what I truly need. So I picked up this book Spartacus: The Gladiator. This was certainly more promising at first, but I just could not get emotionally invested in the characters. (I believe I’ve mentioned how easy it is for me to become emotionally invested, so I see this as a huge problem the author has.) None of the characters had enough depth to keep me going.

Alright, so let’s try a non-fiction book. Perhaps I needed more realism in my life. I’m going to admit right here that I did no do the smart thing and go to the library for a book I wanted. I went to my personal library and picked a mythology book that I had purchased but only read one section of before. New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, updated in 1968, is awful! It’s the most ethnocentric thing I’ve read since I did a project on 1940s propaganda for my undergrad. Honestly, the writer shows absolutely no respect for other ancient civilizations and he never takes the wider context from which the cultures are coming from. He continuously compares to other, Western cultures and myths. It’s just awful. The only good thing about that book at all is that it’s fully illustrated. Which means I might donate it to my sis who occasionally dabbles in collage.

I am still technically reading Coffee House Mafia, and while it is funny and I do like the characters; I just do not particularly like reading on my iPhone. (As I have also previously mentioned.) So please do not take my lack of reading out on the book.

I think I might try non-fiction again. I think I was on to something with that. Does anyone have any suggestions? Either for fiction or non-fiction will do. I’m completely open. I’ve just been catching up on professional reading in the meantime. (Which is also pretty boring, but at least I feel productive.)

How do you get over reading ADD? Have you experienced this before? How did you get over the hump?

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What is Love?

While talking to my mom Thursday morning, she sprung a doozy of a question on me. Seemingly out of the blue she asked if I am in love.

1. Yes, friends, family, people of the Internet, I have a boyfriend.
2. Apparently it was my dad who asked the question. This struck me as odd since we don’t talk about these things. Instead we shoot things or disagree on politics. I guess my mom is slowly filling him in. Interestingly, when I called him this afternoon, specifically to see if he’d mention anything, he only told me to drink in moderation (I was on my way to a wedding and I’m pretty sure my dad thinks I’m a lush, but that’s a post for another day.)
Anyway, I didn’t know how to answer this question. I’ve never been in love. Sure, I love my parents. I love my friends. I love my students and I love my dogs. But I’ve never experienced that totally different kind of love. Love with a capital L.
How do you know? My mom said you know when you know, which was entirely unhelpful.
After my mom posed the question, two songs* immediately came to mind. Haddaway’s “What is Love” and “That’s How You Know” from Disney’s Enchanted.
The first song describes my fear of love (baby don’t hurt me…). I have a hard time getting too emotionally invested in just about anything because I fear the hurt that will come when things don’t work out. Even applying to colleges I was afraid to love one too much, in case I didn’t get accepted. Perhaps this is because I only applied to really good schools. I didn’t have a safety school. I had one good match school and several reach schools. As it turns out, I think I ended up much happier at the good match school than I ever would have been at the East Coast schools my heart was set one. But even in that situation I was determined to not set my heart one particular East Coast school. Whether or not that worked in practice is up for debate (I still hold a soft spot for Boston College).
If I get this afraid of rejection from a team of administrators, just think about how terrifying rejection from a boy is for me…
However, the Enchanted song reminds me (okay, maybe not remind since I’ve never been in this situation, but it reminds me of what the movies and books and my friends tell me) of the wonderfulness and excitement of love. I desperately want to feel this feeling but I’m afraid my fear will hold me back.
Perhaps it is the stoic Norwegian in me rearing its placid head. Maybe it’s a confidence issue. Who knows. I will say that I am, and probably always will be, a very even-keeled person, emotionally. My swim coach used to rag on me nonstop at swim meets to show emotion behind the block. I always wanted to tell him, I was excited and pumped about my race. I just didn’t show it by jumping all over the place behind the blocks, or splashing myself with water (never understood the tradition). My calm stretching and weird little goggle traditions were my own displays of excitement.
I guess this post really has no purpose except to talk myself thorough my feelings. Oh, and to brag about my boyfriend. He’s sweet and romantic (he remembered on our first date that I complained about the lack of stars and told me, once we have the time he is going to take me somewhere we can see all the stars). Yet he’s “manly” and athletic (6’2″ hockey player!!!) while being intelligent (hello scientist!).
So yes, I am excited. I think he could be my first real love, but taking that emotional step is huge for me. And that is terrifying.
*I apologize. I forgot/wordpress changed and I don’t know how to embed videos anymore.
**If you watch/listen to all 10 hours of the Haddaway SNL skit I will simultaneously love you and judge you…

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I’ve never read the titular book, but it’s on my never-ending list of TBR’s! The list is growing more quickly than usual because it is taking me FOREVER to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’m really not sure what the hype is all about. I’m about to give up on it…

Anyway… during the time not spent at work or trying to keep my eyes open reading Dragon Tattoo I’ve made some interesting observations about men and women. I admit, these are broad categorizations and I know there are many a man who would fit in the female group and vice versa. Nevertheless, here they are.


When a woman gets back into a physical activity she used to excel at (or at least succeed at) she doesn’t start of at a sprint. No, a woman overestimates her loss of ability and starts out slow. Afraid of tiring too much before the workout is complete. Whereas men put all their effort into the beginning and often find themselves dragging at the end (or getting out of the pool early). I’m not saying either is good. Women should not doubt their abilities so much. It’s kind of like brushing off a compliment (“Really? I feel like I look really bloated and messy” in response to “You look great today!”). We should take a leaf out of man’s book and be more confident. Sometimes, a bit of confidence is all you need! On the other hand, starting off too strong can lead to injury and frustration.


One of my guy friends has his favorite passages and quotes pulled from the books and framed. All eight are hung in his bedroom. It’s hard to describe, and I don’t want to use his picture without permission, but it looks really cool. I’m seriously thinking about copying him, so I started thinking about which authors belonged on my wall. My gut reactions were:

Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)

Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Katherine Mansfield (Miss Brill a short story found in her collection, The Garden Party and Other Stories)

Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows)

Shakespeare (The Tempest)

Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)

My friend’s choices are:

Ernest Hemingway (Hills Like White Elephants)

Nam Le (Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice)

Donald Barthelme (Some of Us had been Threatening Our Friend Colby)

Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)

William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury)

George Orwell (1984)

Kurt Vonnegut (not from a book, but from a speech)

F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)

Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead)

I don’t consider myself a romantic, but all my quotes (except for the passage from The Wind in the Willows) are about love, or at least relationships. I do not know exactly which passages my friend chose, but I’m pretty sure they are not about love.

I know there are many women out there who love these authors, but combining all these authors in one group seems very masculine.


Let me give you two scenarios, one from a female friend and one from a male friend (in order to avoid he/she I will use “they.” Even though I know it is not grammatically correct). Both are wonderful people. Both are scientists. When one friend knew their oral exam was approaching they studied like crazy. For 6 months. They wanted to be absolutely certain they knew anything and everything their advisers could throw at them. They were stressed, stressed, stressed. For a very long time.

The other knew their oral exam was coming up, and did not tell me. I did not know about them until two days before. This friend stayed out late with friends, made new friends, religiously watched their Alma Mater play in the March Madness games. Basically had a grand old-time. Unfortunately for them, the exams did not go well.

Can you guess which of these was my female friend and which was my male friend? If you guessed female for scenario number one, and male for scenario number two, you are correct. While my female friend probably over stressed herself, which is not good, my male friend was not stressed enough. There is a fine line, which, granted, is hard to walk. Too much stress and you don’t sleep. You don’t eat . This makes concentration difficult, affecting the final outcome. On the other hand, winging it is fine for some situations, but your future academic career?

So, are any of these 3 qualities better than the other? No. I just think it’s interesting to think about.

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We write a lot about history here, but no necessarily our personal history. I am a firm believer that if we pay attention to the lessons of history, we can learn from them. In that spirit, here is a portion of my history, and I hope it helps someone.
I once dated a real jerk, let’s call him Jerkface Root. Don’t get me wrong, he had good qualities, too. He was brave, good-looking, intelligent, and funny. Unfortunately, he was also a liar, inconsiderate, selfish, and had a temper. For a while our relationship was good. Yes, I saw the bad qualities he possessed, but I thought it had to do with his time in war. I thought those unpleasant tendencies would ease up after he spent more time stateside. After all, I’m not one to shirk from a challenge, and I have a pretty nasty temper myself. We fought occasionally. (Not physically, mind you. True, Root had some PTSD issues. However, I only ever felt he would actually hit me once, and to his credit he restrained himself.) We had a lot of good times, too. Most people really liked him. Most people thought we worked very well together.
We talked about our future, about getting married. As we talked a funny thing began to happen, I noticed that the more we talked about our future the more it seemed like his future. He had very specific ideas about his life and very little concern about what that meant for mine. We fought.
However, at this point, about two years in, I was convinced that we were meant to be together. I actually started thinking about different ways to change my plans to match his. He never budged.
Everything shifted when I spent a summer in a foreign land in which I did not know a soul. I was happy. I realized I didn’t actually need Root for my life to be fulfilling. I could be happy all by my onsie. Still, I wanted to make it work with Root. I did love him after all. When I returned to the US, I began to stop budging myself. I decided that if he wanted a life with me, he would have to work with me instead of me just giving in constantly. I really dug in my heels. We began to fight a lot more.
Right before a holiday celebration we had a doozy of a fight about his unwavering position, and how that would absolutely not be possible with what I wanted to do, and couldn’t he just move an inch to help me out. He didn’t. I gave him an ultimatum: he had to either change and compromise with me, or he would lose me. I gave him three weeks.
He did not change. We broke up.
For a while after breaking up we maintained a friendship. He saw other people. I saw other people. We remained on good terms and even went camping together. (Separate tents and all, no worries.)
Twice after we broke up, he asked me back. He said he had changed. He said he wanted a life with me. Twice I believed him. Twice he shattered my heart.
I was wrong. He was still the same inflexible, inconsiderate person he had always been, and probably always will be.
Do me a favor, if you find yourself in my position, get out when you first notice these inhospitable traits. Get out before you waste four years or more of your life on a man who does not deserve you. Because whoever he might be, he is not worth re-directing your life when he would not do the same.

This is just my side of the story. I shouldn’t have to point out that I’m no saint. I have not-so-good qualities in my own personality. However, in my defence, I have managed to remain on friendly speaking terms with all of my other ex-boyfriends, which I figure is a pretty good character reference.

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I’ll admit, I’m not the greatest at keeping up with the goings-on of the world. Considering I have a B.A. in journalism, it’s probably a good thing I never went on to pursue a career in journalism. There are, however, a few things that I keep watch on–namely gay and reproductive rights.

Today, I came across this petition and letter. Personally, I’m shocked that the Susan G. Koman corporation revoked funding for Planned Parenthood, based on new company rules that exclude supporting foundations under investigation from the government. I don’t care what your views are on abortions or birth control, I think it’s amazing that the Susan G. Koman, a BREAST cancer research and funding organization, stopped funding another organization that provides medical services to underserved and/or insurance-less women in America. These medical services include Breast exams.

I really, really, wish the people wielding the power in these situations would stop and think about what they are doing and saying. Imagine you lost your job and no longer had insurance. Where do you (or your wife/daughter) go for their yearly pelvic exam? Not the doctor’s office, because that would cost far more than you can afford at this point in time. In these situations most women turn to Planned Parenthood. Yes, there are other organizations, and they are just as important. However, Planned Parenthood has a history and a following. You might think you’ll never need them, but, come times of trouble, you’ll know at least one place to turn.

I know this from experience. I won’t go into detail, but I had a scare while in school. I was still under my parents health insurance, but I couldn’t find a doctor’s office near me that accepted that particular insurance. I could go to the clinic at school, but since I didn’t have the school’s health insurance the visit would cost $80-$100. Being a poor, lowly student, I couldn’t afford that. The first place I turned was Planned Parenthood. Without that option I shudder to think of what would happen (nothing health wise, well maybe mental health. It turns out I was fine, but I was getting really stressed  and scared).

In my opinion taking away organizations like Planned Parenthood (once PP goes away, you know smaller groups will slowly die) will bring us back to the days of yore. Yes, we at 3 Bluestockings love history and historical fiction. But do we really want to live in those periods? Sure they have some advantages, but there are several disadvantages. Like lack of suffrage. Terrible treatment of women in lower positions–if you watched Downton Abbey the past few weeks you’ll know what I’m talking about (although it can be argued that this problem still exists today, see this video about slut shaming). Taking away women’s rights would bring us back in time, and not just to the turn of the century and earlier. Have you ever watched Mad Men? Granted it’s a fantastic show, but I cannot watch it without feeling for my grandmother, my mother and her sisters. It’s unfathomable to me that my mother was a teenager at time when sexual innuendoes and what-we-call-harrasment today were an everyday occurrence.

My mom worked at a factory before going to college, and once I asked her about Mad Men and whether or not the office interactions are accurate, she told me this story: Apparently there was this foreman type guy at the factory who would ask the female workers to sit in his lap and “see what comes up.” As a child of the late 80s, I am totally appalled at this type of behavior. What scares me most, is that this interaction happened around 1969. That’s only 43 years ago. Technically, 1969 does not fit our (mine, Sapphire and Cornflower’s) definition of bygone times.

I have a really hard time accepting the view that it’s okay to deny basic human rights to someone just because they can’t afford health insurance, and yet this, along with rampant sexual harassment was the norm only 40 years ago. We’ve come so far, yet we could fall back so easily. The first step is denying women basic health rights. Which include breast exams, which if you ask me requires an experienced medical hand. Breasts are naturally sort of lumpy…  Also, cancer and STDs terrify me, and if we got everyone in the United States to get tested regularly I truly believe the world would be a better place.

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