Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Vacation Recap

Jacob, George, and Henry

 I'm nearing the end of my 2-week hiatus from work over the Christmas/New Year holiday break, so it's time to tell the story!

George and Henry's cousin, Jacob, came to visit from Boston, so we had an impromptu games night at our apartment on Christmas Eve. (George, ever the comedian, still makes the bunny ears behind family members in pictures! That aside, this is the best picture I got of the three of them.)

Moravian Lovefeast at Watts St. Baptist

Before the guys came over, George and I went to a Moravian Lovefeast at Watts St. Baptist Church in Durham. I hadn't been to a Moravian Lovefeast since college, so it was a delight to attend one this Christmas Eve! (It was my first time in Watts St. Baptist, and it's a lovely sanctuary.) We sang lots of familiar Christmas hymns, had coffee and buns as a congregation, then everyone lit their beeswax candles and the sanctuary lights were dimmed for the final hymn or two. It was a really nice experience, and I would recommend it to others next year.

Christmas Dinner at Il Palio, Chapel Hill
On Christmas Day, we gathered at Il Palio, a nice restaurant in the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill, for lunch. It was great to have family together, and it was the first time in several years I've been with my parents for Christmas. Uncle Marion came over from Goldsboro, too! The food was fabulous, and the service was top notch, too! If you're looking for special occasion dining, Il Palio should be on your list!

Christmas 26 Snow Behind Apartment
It started snowing on Christmas night, and by the next morning, this was the view outside our apartment! I think this was the first time I've ever seen "live" snow for Christmas! It was beautiful. We still have some on the ground, but it's melting away and the roads around here are much better.

In other news, I signed up for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon (March 20) a couple of days ago, and it's been nice to spend some extra time at the gym, as a result. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow Day

It's another Snow Day here, the second one in two weeks, and it's still just December! This time, the wintery mix has happened on a workday. I made it in to work safely, but may just stay half a day if it looks dicey. Meanwhile, it's quiet here in the office. I think I'm posting this quick blog post for a little bit of bit of noise (fingers hitting the keyboard keys) and company (even if it's virtual)!

Okay, back to work! Happy Snow Day!

Clipart from

Monday, November 29, 2010

Knowing When to Throw in the Towel

Well, I decided not to finish my NaNoWriMo 2010 attempt, and I'm feeling okay with that. I stoppped writing my NaNo novel for a day to see if I missed it enough to forge ahead, but I was actually relieved to be able to spend the time on other things. It is a busy stretch, as I'm getting ready for a birthday bash at our apartment, plus there are other writing projects in the works, like my grad school application essay and catching up on posts for my North Carolina Odyssey Project blog. (I haven't finished either, but have made progress.)

I'm not sure when I'll have another opportunity to do NaNoWriMo, since I hope to be in grad school (on top of working) this time next year. Maybe I needed the practice in "letting go," and setting priorities--for other things I needed (and wanted) to do this time. There will be other years for NaNoWriMo, though. I'll be back!

Thursday, November 04, 2010


I started National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, 2010 on Monday, at the beginning of what looks to be a really busy month! I think that's part of the excitement of it, though, you know? Can I find the time to shoehorn a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel into my life this month? Good question! I'm looking forward to the challenge, though.

I finished NaNoWriMo last year with a few days to spare, and I learned a few things from it. I liked the discipline of writing every day, and I enjoyed meeting some new people at some write-ins around Durham and Raleigh. I'm looking forward to seeing what this month's writing journey brings. If you want to follow my progress on the NaNoWriMo website, I'm RunnerWriter over there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10 on Tuesday: 10 Things I Like About My Job

1) I enjoy my co-workers a lot! It's a group of smart, funny, interesting people, and I enjoy interacting with them.
2) I get to work with books. Everyday.
3) My workspace is neat. It's a renovated  tobacco warehouse on a college campus, and the parking is great! How many college campus buildings can you say THAT about?!
4) I have a good supervisor. She's a great role model and mentor, whether she knows it or not. I've learned a lot from her.
5) It has a tuition reimbursement program that I'm hoping to take advantage of next fall, if I get into grad school. Yay!
6) Both of my nieces, for this year, attend school where I work. It's a lot of fun seeing them around campus! The older one graduates in May, and the younger one is a freshman. Auntie Heaven.
7) I graduated from the school where I work, and I'm getting a kick out of being back on campus. There's a lot of camaraderie over working there, by and large, partly because it's the largest employer in the county.
8) Cultural benefits abound. I've gotten to attend several concerts, sports events, and speakers on campus that I probably wouldn't have taken advantage of otherwise. Among the most famous: Duke Men's Basketball games and Karl Rove.
9) I get to work with college students. Every semester, our unit has at least a couple of student assistants, and it's fun and energizing to work with them.
10) There are lots of opportunities for professional development at no cost. Between on-campus and off-campus options, there are a good many things to do to learn more about librarianship and various related tasks. For instance, next month I'm taking Intro to HTML, Photoshop for Digital Photographers, and Making Better PowerPoint Presentations, three afternoon classes available for free to students, faculty, and staff here on campus.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

From the Archives

Wyoma Elizabeth McLamb
Originally uploaded by dukefan86
My mom's mom, who went by the nickname China, died when I was 7. Since my family lived in Alabama and she was in Goldsboro for her adult life, we didn't get to see her as often as everyone wanted. Now, my memories of her aren't as sharp as I would like, but when I saw the movie "The Trip to Bountiful" several years ago, I thought, "That's Grandmom!" I was just mesmerized by Geraldine Page's character, and the mannerisms that reminded me of my maternal grandmother.

Since I started researching my family tree, mostly the lines from both grandmothers, I feel like I've gotten to know Grandmama Edwards a bit better. (She was a McLamb before she married an Edwards.) One time I took this picture to a family reunion of a different branch from mine, and several people talked about her fondly, and complimented me by saying they could see the resemblance.

My mom thinks this picture was probably taken in the late 1920s. I just love the outfit!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Who's On First? Or Flickr?

I couldn't pass on the baseball reference, especially since the Atlanta Braves are in the playoffs. Since I was born in Atlanta, the Braves are my default team to root for, not because I know anything about the team anymore, but because it's my "hometown team."

But Flickr, it's my new best friend! Flickr is an online storage website for photos, and while I created an account there some time ago, I've recently rediscovered it, and have been having a fun time adding digital photos, some of which are old "hard copy" photos that I've recently scanned in. Just this week, I've embraced my Flickr account with such gusto that I upgraded to a "Pro" account and am adding additional photos from my hard drive, including pictures from my NC Odyssey Project travels. It will take a while to upload and organize everything, but I'm excited about this latest challenge! I think that part of the reason I've latched onto this project with such gusto is that I've had to cool my running jets due to right foot issues, and I've been looking for another channel for my energies. This feels like a good, fun focus!

Check out my Flickr photostream, which is a work in progress.

Clipart from

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Newness Comes in Fall

Just this week, I've joined a new gym and tried a new hairstylist. Funny how the fall season, one when leaves are falling off the trees, finds me trying out new things. I think part of it is the cooler weather that signals my "newness factor." (The fall weather in North Carolina is just great!) I also think it's a good time of year to shake things up a little, before the dreariness of winter sets in.

Clipart from

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Working on Grad School Application!

I've been busy lately, and part of my free time has been taken with getting my application ready for graduate school! It's a big step for me, because I've been thinking about it, even talking about it for a long time. I finally decided to start making it a reality. I registered for the GRE (Oct. 18), and am collecting all the pieces for the application. My target date is next fall. I've started a grad school blog at Lesley's Journey to Grad School. (I'll have to change the blog name once I finally start!) I will continue working full time at a job I enjoy, while I go to school after work and on the weekends. It will definitely be an adjustment, but I'm looking forward to the flipside, and finally completing the MLS degree at North Carolina Central University's School of Library and Information Science.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Duke-Alabama Football

I'll be heading to the Alabama-Duke football game tomorrow. Since I grew up in Alabama, I'm wondering if I'll see anyone I know at the game. In all the crowd, I'll probably see Duke people I know, but I'm not sure I'll be able to spot any Bama fans I know in the masses. Still, I'm looking forward to the atmosphere of tomorrow's game, and seeing the number 1 football team in the nation (and defending national championship team) play. I expect that Alabama fans travel to see their team play! I hear that some 600 Alabama football fans bought Duke season tickets so they could attend tomorrow's game!

The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke has a a great blog called The Devil's Tale, and their latest post has a nice history of the Duke-Alabama football connection.

Clipart from

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In the News

The latest issue of Working@Duke,  a Duke employee newsletter, is out for September, and I made page 2! In the online version, the story I'm in (and accompanying picture) are on page 2 as well. The story is about the Kindles now on loan at Duke University Libraries. I've now checked one out twice, and it's a lot of fun to be able to take one home! Maybe one day I'll have one of my own, but in the mean time, it's a treat to be able to borrow one for a couple of weeks at a time. Check out the article here.

Meanwhile, my blog about my home ownership aspirations got a mention on the blog at! Check it out here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Return to Duke Gardens

 Yesterday, George and I had the pleasure of meeting Christina from Arizona, and her boyfriend, John! Christina's in the area on business, and came out a couple of days early. Christina and I know each other from our running blogs, so it was fun to meet her in person! After brunch at Gugelhupf, we drove around Duke and landed at Duke Gardens, where the picture on the left was taken. From left to right, it's Christina, George, and John.

Another picture in the Gardens. Check out the dragonfly hovering over the flower on the far left!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cleaning for Company

Tomorrow, my niece arrives in town for a pre-orientation program that begins Monday morning, as she begins her career as a Duke student. She'll be staying with us tomorrow night, so G. and I have been sorta busy cleaning! It's different cleaning for overnight than it is for our church Covenant Group, which happens to be meeting here Monday evening! There's a different level of cleaning in general, plus, it's the first time G. and I have had overnight company! (We don't have a guest room, so my niece will be camping out, sort of.) And then, there's the fact that it's my niece! I find myself wanting to think her Aunt Lesley is neat, clean, and organized. In reality, she's known me all her life, so her impressions of me are already formed, with tweaks optional. Still...

It's funny what I'm cleaning! I'm currently taking a break from cleaning the cabinets underneath my sink! Really, is she going to look under there?! But ya know, it's been something I've been meaning to do for a long time. Nice to be getting it done.

My niece really is a neat kid, and I can't wait to see her and have her spend the night! In the big scheme of things, I can't wait to catch up with her, one-on-one. Usually, the whole family is around for that, which is great and all, but it's going to be cool to have her to myself for a night, and to drop her off Monday morning! Next weekend, the rest of the family will be here to catch up together and help her move into her dorm. What an exciting time!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

10 on Tuesday-10 Favorite iTouch Apps

I don't have an iPhone, but I really enjoy my iTouch! Here's a list of 10 favorite iTouch apps I have (in no particular order):

1) Facebook
2) Scrabble
3) TapFish
4) Paper Toss
5) FourSquare
6) DukeMobile
7) SmartVocab (GRE)
8) Google
9) Goodreads
10) Words with Friends

Ask me again tomorrow, and I may have some others on my list, but for today, this is my Top 10 list.

It's a Virtual Piggy Bank

A few weeks ago, I happened upon the website SmartyPig, and decided to check it out. It's a website devoted to helping people set up savings goals, but with a real world way to put those goals into action.  The website has teamed up with Compass Bank to created online savings accounts for customers through SmartyPig, based on individual savings goals (not just amounts, but deadlines too). I'm pretty charmed by this concept, as well as the savings interest rate of 2.15% APY.

I've ended up setting up and tweaking several savings goals using SmartyPig, and it's helped me to be more realistic about my goals. Another plus is that it's helped me to alter my spending habits as well, which is not a bad thing! I've never been good at creating and sticking to a budget, much like trying stick to a diet by keeping a food diary. Anything that feels like too much trouble for an extended period isn't going to have staying power. So far, this feels like a fun (and consolidated) way of saving for different things in my financial life.

I'm curious, is anyone else out in blogging land using SmartyPig? If so, what do you think about it?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Libraries Go Pop Culture

Just when I need a little motivation to study for the GRE and do my grad school app for library science school, libraries make the news! Check out this interesting article about libraries and pop culture from NPR.

I'm taking a vacation day tomorrow to make it a long weekend. I think I'll whip out my GRE for Dummies book. :)

Seattle's Central Library

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

All in a Morning's Work

This morning, I walked from my department over to Lilly Library, to be photographed for a article about the Kindles available for circulation, and on the way back, I stopped to enjoy some dancers and drummers (from the locally headquartered American Dance Festival) , who where performing under a big oak tree on the East Campus lawn. While there, I chatted briefly with a lady out walking her dog, a long haired dachshund named Daisy Mae. Needless to say, it made for a nice morning to return to work from my "staycation."

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's back to work tomorrow, after being off since last Wednesday, June 30. My department works on a fiscal year that ends on June 30, so it's been nice to take a break and relax a bit since then. George and I stayed local for the July 4th holiday weekend, but it was a nice "staycation" for a number of reasons.

1) I tried a new running course at the White Oak entrance of the American Tobacco Trail. It was a delightful place to run, and I ran into a running acquaintance there. I finished 8.18 miles, my longest distance so far.

2) I got some cleaning and organizing done at home. While I'm not done by a long shot, I feel like I made good progress.

3) We had a good combination of time with friends and family, and time to putter. We tried a new-to-us deli over in the Brier Creek area, and saw "The Last Airbender" in Cary with George's brother. It was the first movie I'd seen in AGES, and while it wasn't great, it was nice to see a movie in the theater for a change.

So, tomorrow I'll be heading back to work, feeling refreshed and thinking about the new work year, FY11, ahead.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Never Eat Alone

I recently listened to the audiobook version of Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Sucess, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi. While it probably could've been a little bit more concise, I did get some interesting ideas from the book, and last week I ended up having lunch with others on three days out of seven, and George and I enjoyed dinner together with friends on two nights last week. It made the week feel a little busier, but I must admit I enjoyed the company at each meal a lot. (In some cases it was better than the food!)

However, I did feel the need to "cocoon" on my "alone" lunches and after work to a greater extent. I am an introvert at heart, and sometimes I miss the opportunity to recharge over lunch or after work. I do think I lean toward the extroverted side of introvertedness, as I really enjoy being around people, but I do need some pretty regular "alone" time. Anyone else like that?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens and the 36th Parallel

On Easter Sunday I visited the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University. I used to work on West Campus at Duke, so I could visit the Gardens pretty regularly. Now that my department has moved, I don't get over there as often as I'd like, so I enjoyed my Easter morning visit. I could even hear some Easter hymns played on the Duke Chapel carillons when I first got there. Fun!

This was one of my favorite finds in the Gardens that particular morning, a plaque marking the crossing of the 36th parallel north at that point. According to Wikipedia, it only passes through North Carolina for about 14 km, and part of that is in the Duke Gardens!

Monday, May 17, 2010

What 5 Things Would You Take to Kindergarten Show & Tell?

In no particular order (and without worrying too much about whether or not I'd bore 6-year-olds!)

1) My photo album from the summer I worked at Yellowstone National Park
2) My marathon finisher's medal
3) A wallchart of the family tree that I've researched
4) My favorite book de jour, or whatever I was reading at the time
5) My iTouch

What would YOU take to Show & Tell? :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another Blue Devil in the Family!

NEWSFLASH! My niece learned this afternoon that she's been accepted into the Class of 2014 at Duke University! Woohoo! She's very excited, and also very relieved, because it's been a long and challenging process. See, she applied early decision, then got deferred to the regular decision group, and then she got waitlisted! Today, she finally got the news she's been sooo hoping for! Yippee!
It's been pretty fascinating watching her get ready for this day for the past several years. She's studied, been involved in activities, taking all those standardized tests, submitted numerous applications after getting deferred by Duke. It's been a long and interesting haul for her. Along the way, she's been successful at pretty much every thing she's tried. Being accepted at Duke has been one of the hardest things she's ever done. I think she expected to learn before now that she was accepted, so the wait--and the persistence, have been a good life lesson, I think.

I'm especially excited that BOTH of my nieces will be at Duke come August! L. will be graduating this time next year, but for a whole academic year, both L. and E. will be in town! It'll be a good time to be Aunt Lesley! :)

Friday, May 07, 2010

What Does Your Car Say About You?

I recently finished a book about personal branding, my first on this subject, and it was an interesting read. I've been thinking since then about how I present myself at work and how other things, like my cubicle, reflect on me as well. My desk, what I wear, how my hair is, things like that are pretty obvious indicators of your image or "personal brand." One section also mentions your car, and the author asks the question, "What does your car say about you?"

That got me thinking, and I decided that my car was saying I'm a North Carolina resident (car tag), a reader (a number of library books in the backseat area), a runner (some race numbers and safety pins still in the car), practical (based on it being a 4-door Honda Accord), yet umkempt (all those books in the back seat area!) and  dirty (it had been a while since I've been to the carwash).  So Sunday afternoon, I went by the carwash, where I vacuumed and cleaned my car, then went by the gas station nearby and topped of the gas tank. Well, I must admit that it was a treat to start the work week with my car in order! Does anyone else besides me feel like their car drives better when it's newly clean? There's an added sense of safety and confidence in driving a clean car, I think.

And then this morning, on my way of the gym before work, I didn't recognize my car at first, because it still looked clean! (I did have the chance to rinse the pollen off again yesterday, which helped.)

This was just the first on the list of things I've been thinking about working on, partly because it's pretty quick and inexpensive to wash my car, but it's a nice start.

Now my car says I'm still a practical North Carolina reader, but now I'm organized and clean too! :>

So what does your car say about you?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Broader View

I've spent the past few weeks as part of a search committee for a librarian position at work. It's been pretty fascinating work, getting to know the committee members, as well as the candidates, better. This week, we've had two candidates come to campus, so I've attended several meetings each day to get a better sense of the two librarians. The meetings included open presentations and Q&A, as well as specialized discussions on a particular topic. Some of the meetings I attended also included other staff members, as well as library staff from two other area universities. The search committee, itself, included a faculty member and a librarian from another area university.

As this process is (probably) coming to an end, I'm a little bit weary, but in a very satisfied way. It's been fascinating to be part of this process, to find out what excites these two candidates, how my colleagues are interested in working collegially across disciplines, departments, and univerities to serve users in a broad sense. I also enjoyed the professional sense of humor that shone through to lighten things up over the past couple of days. :)

I think that all of this has helped me see a bigger slice of "The Big Picture," both professionally and personally. There are things I enjoy doing, some things I'm even passionate about. How can, and do, I convey those interests?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Extreme Emotions of a College Basketball Game

Earlier this month, I watch my alma mater and employer, Duke University, play Butler University (who defeated Syracuse, Kansas State, and Michigan State before playing Duke) in the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship Game. It was an impressive and amazingly close game throughout, and I was on the edge of my seat for pretty much the whole game! My sister and her family were there, and it was fun to receive periodic pictures of them, donned in Duke blue, from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

It was interesting to follow the feedback fom Facebook and Twitter, two social networking sites I'm on, in the couple of days leading up to the Duke-Butler matchup. Admittedly, if Duke hadn't been in the championship game, I probably would've been rooting for underdog (but barely!) Butler. After the game, I was fascinated by all of the banter on Facebook. Because of the various activities I've been involved in outside of work in the area, I'm Facebook friends with a number of people with different loyalties for ACC (and numerous other) schools. It's pretty interesting how adults (some of them years out of college) have such loyalties to one school's team, that the thought of pulling for one's conference or state is unthinkable. Many of my Facebook friends are Duke fans, as you would probably guess, so we had fun commenting on and "liking" each other's posts!

I can certainly understand school pride, even as an adult. I guess what I find a bit surprising is how dramatic some adults' negative feelings were about Duke's win, especially since none of them was actually playing on the Butler team!! While some people have expressed a "good game" sentiment, at least outwardly, a surprising number have had negative things to say about Duke's win. Below are a few comments that I saw publicly, some directed AT me:

* "Not Dook. Gotta draw the line somewhere."
* "Good game.....too bad the wrong team won."
* "Ironically, I can't stop throwing up."
* "I have no words...what a way to end an already horrible season for the Heels." [a reference to the neighboring rival UNC Tarheels, who won last year's NCAA national championship, but finished the current regular basketball season at about 50%, and lost in the championship game of the NIT.]

With written text, it can be hard to know the true intent, perhaps written with a wry smile or even a laugh. It's interesting, though, that taken straight up, adults would show a lack of good sportsmanship. (Sometimes I think silence is golden.) I remember, as a student, taking wins and losses with more emotion, for sure. The Duke mens' basketball team lost in the Championship game in 1986, my senior year. But now, eventhough I'm back on Duke's campus and being paid by the university, I would have wished Butler (and their fans) well if they'd won this year's title game.

In some articles I've read about Duke since the game, I know many people think Duke has a bunch of snobby rich kids in its student body. I'd like to ask those people if they've met my niece, a Duke junior. Or the sharp work-study students that the library (and many other departments) hire on campus every semester. Or the kids who volunteer for Habitat or Duke Hospital or the local school system. And Duke isn't just about its students. It just so happens that Duke is the largest employer in Durham County. That's pretty amazing, especially considering all the corporations that reside in Research Triangle Park, which is in Durham County.

Just yesterday, I ran in a 5K in Raleigh, and commented on a fellow runner's Duke National Championship t-shirt before the race started. She smiled at me and said I was the first person all morning who'd said something about the shirt, and what a great game it was. She was with a couple of her friends, and one of them  said something negative about the game, replying that she was a UNC Tarheel fan. A friend with me responded, "Go Tarheels!"  and the two of them smiled at each other. I let it go, but I was surprised (in person this time) by the lack of good /gracious sportsmanship.

I will get off my soapbox for now, but I will share the link to an interesting article from that a Duke classmate posted on Facebook. Take a look at it here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Too Trusting!

Late yesterday afternoon at work, I decided to take a [walking] spin around the parking lot, so I found my Garmin Forerunner in my purse and set on one of the outside windowsills to sync with the satellites (this could take a while on such a cloudy afternoon!), and returned to my desk for a few minutes to work some more. When I went back outside to get my Garmin and walk for a few minutes, it was GONE! Yikes! I looked all around the front of the building, our department's building manager's desk, all over, nothing. Slapping my forehead, I returned to my desk, looked up the local REI's number, and called to confirm they had my model in stock. They did have one left, so I stopped by on my way home from work to get it.

I don't think anyone in my own department took it. We share a university building with a number of departments, some of which get student traffic. Who knows?! I've left my Forerunner outside in the same spot for 2-3 years now to sync up before walking at work, with no problems. I suppose I've been too trusting, but that won't happen anymore. Been burned, lesson learned.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Julia Child @ My Doctor's Office

Last month, when I had a check-up with the internist who's advising me on my weight loss, he asked if I'd seen Julia Child's omelet-making video! Uh, no! So, he pulled it up on the computer for me to watch! (This was in reponse to my admitting that I don't always do a good job of finding time to cook!) Check this out:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Name That Durham Location!

Where is this sign located?! Oh, I know, but do you? :)

I've recently started waymarking again, and this sign is a local (to me) waymark. A neat fact I learned about Julian S. Carr is that his middle name is Shakespeare. My parents actually met in a Shakespeare class in a building named for Julian Carr! Pretty cool, I think!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why I Do It....

Back last September, I mentioned that I've gotten back into, and have been leaving used books around the Triangle area on occasion. I'm continuing to have fun with this, and have actually met a few other local Bookcrossers at a monthly meetup at a Starbucks in Raleigh. I'd been leaving a lot of books at that particular Raleigh Starbucks, which has a nice, multishelf bookcase for used books. The powers that be recently moved it from a prime spot just as you come in the front door, to some wall space on the side of the store (i.e. kind of out of the way!). The past couple of times I've been there to leave books I've registered on Bookcrossing, the shelves have continued to be jam packed with books already (some of them ones I've left before), so I don't think the customers are noticing the assortment of used books as much. The bookcase is out of the line of traffic for the "to-go" customers, and has been replaced by a handy-dandy display of Starbucks products. Okay, okay, not very surprising, huh?!

So, that inspired me to start thinking about where else I could serendipitously leave books around the area. Lately, I've left books in post office lobbies, Wal-Mart, Subway, and a bench outside a nearby nail salon. So far, all of these recent non-Starbucks "wild releases" have disappeared, hopefully into the hands of interested readers, but the only one so far that's gotten an online reponse (or "journal entry") on Bookcrossing is a Weighwatchers cookbook I left on a bench outside a local Food Lion.  The response was pretty cool!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I was surprised. I was becoming discouraged in cooking healthy and I food [sic] this book. Thank you...


The person who found this cookbook obviously had food on the brain, but I hope it helped her/him through a discouraging spell with their healthy lifestyle change! How often do you have a cookbook with you as you're heading into the grocery store?!

I like to think that any number of books I've left around may be just the book someone needed to run across at that time to feel inspired, comforted, challenged, or less bored! I don't expect to find out who's picked up every book I've left "out in the wild," but it was especially neat to find out about this one, since I'm on a healthy cooking kick too!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Birthdays are on my mind lately. My mom's birthday is in February, and my dad's birthday is in March. They're both in their late 70s, so I'm thankful that they are both in decent health. I have some freinds and co-workers who are caregivers for one or both parents, and it reminds me how fragile life and health can be.

Speaking of which, my dad's youngest brother and my mom's last living aunt have both died in 2010. R.I.P., Aunt Roetta and Uncle Bill! You're both missed.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Slowing Down

It started snowing here Friday night, and didn't stop until yesterday (Saturday) afternnoon, and by then the snow storm had left several inches of snow, plus just a little ice thrown in. It gave me a much needed excuse to spend a Saturday indoors, and it was delightfully restful! We built a fire, we both cooked at different times, we puttered around, we napped. It was all a really nice change of pace! It made me realize that while I'm a low key kind of gal, I don't slow down very often. Well....I don't slow down often at the beginning of the day, anyway. I'm usually eager to get the show on the road at the beginning of each day, which often starts with a workout at the gym or on one of the local trails. This time, I stayed in my jammies for a big chunk of the day, and my mind as well as my body enjoyed permission to power down.

Funny, though, that I started to get a little antsy later in the day, so I popped an exercise DVD into the VCR. It's done by Jillian Michaels of "Biggest Loser" fame, and she's anything but low key! This video is called "30 Day Shred," and it's gotten lots of good reviews on Well, I decided to try it out, started with the easy level of "Day 1." Man, that was a lot tougher than I expected! I thought I was getting in decent shape...well, I am getting there, but this was a reminder that I'm definitely a work in progress! After I finished the about-20-minute workout, I was bushed! Back to being mellow again! :) I'm not exactly sore today, but let's just say I'm "aware" of my arms!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Work in Progress

In case you aren't a follower of my running blog, I've been busy working on the "new" me, physically, anyway! I started working with a running coach in mid-December, and have been following her daily workouts since then. Most of our contact has been online, via my workouts and feedback posted on a calendar, by email and by phone. She does live locally, so we've seen each other a couple of times in person, but otherwise I can do the workouts on my own schedule and post how they go, and she provides feedback as needed. I think it's going well so far. In some ways, time will tell, in the improvement of my training and racing times. But already, I feel stronger and am running a litter faster already.

Also, I've started a low carb diet under the care of a physician within the Duke Healthcare system. He's an internist who specializes in bariatrics, but pushes a low carb diet rather than the popular bariatric surgeries. With all the controvery over the Atkins plan, I must admit it feels a little strange trying this, but so far it's working pretty well! I have made progress on the scales just by cutting out the foods I can't have, those made with refined sugar and flour, plus no fruit in this early phase. My weight and my blood sugars have gone down, and that's a help, in and of itself. My pants feel looser too--yay!

One of my favorite things about visiting this doctor is that my body compostion will get tested each time. Between the first and second visits, when I hadn't started the diet yet, my weight increased a little, BUT the percentage of fat in my body had decreased, and the muscle in my body had increased, just in  week's time. I think that was because of the coach-directed workouts I've been doing. Yay!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm a "Stuff" Collector

I've been thinking lately about how much "stuff" I have, and pondering the whole quantity vs. quality thing.

One thing I have a problem with is books! I have so many books at home, that the one bookshelf in my home office is double stacked, and they won't all fit, so some are stacked on the floor, other pieces of furniture, you name it.They're everywhere! Some days I love having so many books around, but other days, I'm thinking I should turn off the computer (the TV isn't an issue for me, but the computer is) and read them. Some of the books are keepers--old favorites which are like old friends, or gifts from friends and family that I don't want to part with, but a lot of them are books I haven't read yet. It's time to read them and/or pass them along. Of course, I could get another bookcase, or something like the picture here, which would be tempting in the right room in the right house! And the next picture of a home library, not too shabby either!

But in the mean time, until I have the room for a home library, I need to work on making do with the space I have to work with. Making my home office a more pleasing room to be in is one of my goals for 2010.