Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012! Welcome, 2013!

I remember my farewell post for 2011. How much different I felt about it and how much less excited I was about 2012 than I am right now about 2013. I thought, nothing could top 2011.
I hate it when I am right about things like that.

On the other hand, this was a year of opportunity. So much love, excitement and hope are filling our home and we can't wait to welcome 2013 and everything that it has to bring us.

So, we are saying goodbye to 2012:
- a year when we had bread on the table
Christmas cookies LR2012 (27 of 40)

- a year when we had fun
Christmas cookies LR2012 (40 of 40)

- a year when we were bored sometimes
Christmas cookies LR2012 (14 of 40)
- a year  when we lifted each other up
Christmas cookies LR2012 (36 of 40)

- a year when we butted heads from time to time
Christmas cookies LR2012 (23 of 40)

- a year that I learned ( thanks to the camera remote of course) that we all can smile at the same time on a picture. :-)
Christmas cookies LR2012 (15 of 40)

-But most of all,a year we loved each other and stuck together through think and through thin. 
Christmas cookies LR2012 (17 of 40)

It might not have been the best year, but it was our year and we made the best of it.
Now? Now we can't wait for the love, luck, laughter and miracles ( big and small) that await us in 2013.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A wish

This post is not going to be funny, it's not going to be witty, it's not going to be clever or long.
My heart is heavy with sorrow, my eyes are heavy with tears. I'm hugging my two children, I am bewildered how to talk about the tragedy that took innocent lives today, how to explain why all of this happened, why some parents won't be able to hug their children anymore, why some siblings won't be able to love and tease each other again, why children won't get to see their parents come back from work ever again....
How do you explain what you can't possibly comprehend because it is an act so horrific and merciless, and leaves so many hearts and souls broken forever?  I don't know if I can...but I'll have to, and I will.

But now, now I will just cry silently away from their eyes and I will make a wish none of this happens to anyone ever again.
My Christmas wish....because of her...because of him...


Friday, October 12, 2012

The Casual Vacancy

This is exactly how I imagined JK Rowling's comeback. It is a TRUE book that should be judged on its own merit ( I love HP books, if that matters). Once you clear your mind of any expectations about what this book should and shouldn't be, you will find a rare and profoundly moving literary work of an amazing writer. English( American) is my second language and yes, I understood and enjoyed every bit of the book( I'm mentioning it because a lot of people commented on the "trouble" they had with reading the book because of British English). Not only that, I swear I "saw" the future movie in my head while I was reading it, including I now have my own "cast" for it, because as much as JK Rowling denies that this is a "filmable" book, I sincerely doubt she believes it. The book is excellent, her writing is even better.
I highly recommend for people who enjoyed Muriel Barbery and her " Elegance of the Hedgehog"- a book about life at its most beautiful, most ugly and most truly real.
Hats off, Ms. Rowling!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Online Reference Service Presentation for librarians

For the past two semesters I had the privilege to work with an amazing partner on two group assignments, and I am very proud of what our collaboration resulted in. That is why I wanted to share with you  one of our new creations- a presentation on Online reference service, the target audience is librarians, but it can be very useful for patrons as well. We enjoyed making this presentation very much and I sincerely hope you will enjoy it too.

( Use full screen, it is a much better experience)
Link to presentation on YouTube (just in case)

Part of the fun was that we got to include our own artistic creations. Jeremy Hall ( my project partner) created the music, I did the artwork.
This is my first experience with crating many digital images and I am so glad I practiced with my Wacom Bamboo Create Pen and Touch Tablet (CTH670), because it turned out to be much more complicated and time consuming than I expected. Digital drawing turned out to be much different than regular drawing. :-)

These are the supplemental materials, which we referred to in the presentation, in case you would like to learn  more about the topic we were discussing. I realize that it took us a long time to finish that presentation, but it was totally worth it and one of the most interesting class projects we had o far.

Jeremy is not only the best group project partner I had ever had, but also a very talented musician (his band's name is Blue Coyote). If you would like to contact Jeremy and his band, you can write him an e-mail.  Here is their latest album, which I really like!

 Let us know what you think, we would appreciate your comments!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's day romance for busy parents

Wow, what a cliche title, nice job Annie!
Well, cliche or not, it's the absolute truth and I'm not backing down. I had 2 sick kids with bronchitis, one (almost) sick grad-student-working-mom ( aka. me), one busy dad that's been moonlighting as WonderDad ( aka. making things happen at home even when he's not there, especially when I'm having an emotional breakdown - why-oh-why did I have to start so many things at once), and a whole lot of romance/Valentine's day surprising/Dad-appreciating  on my hands to organize.

What do you do, when you have someone special in your life and you want to surprise them, and"
- you can't go anywhere ( sick kids, remember?)
- you can't order anything ( since you were so sick yourself until the last minute that you were not sure you'll be doing anything, and now there is absolutely no time for an order to arrive)
- plan on a budget ( no private jets dinners, I'm afraid)
- have to keep the house from falling on your head + all the engagements you have, and keep the kids occupied?
- did I mentioned keep the kids occupied?Right!
- Have 24 hours to pull the whole thing off?

I'll tell you what- you improvise! There was a whole lot of improvisation happening at our house, all right.

First, don't panic. Things can't get any worse, even if you don't plan anything, so whatever you do, it will be OK.
Second, as the penguins from Madagascar said " use some grit 'n' spit 'n' a whole lot of duct tape".

My plan- a romantic dinner for two in a French restaurant.
Card monstrosity? Check!
Valentine's day 2012-209   Valentine's day 2012-208

Kids occupied? Check!
Card for Daddy? Done!
Valentine's day 2012-211
Dead camera battery? Check! Crappy phone pictures? Check!

Dinner for two with 2 kids in the house-mission possible! What you need is that patio table for two you have in your basement, that's been waiting for the summer to come. Then you need a white tablecloth, a piece of lace ( preferably pink ;-) and some patience to actually haul the damn' thing upstairs from the basement without breaking your back. ( Chiropractor appointment on Monday? Check!)

Valentine's day 201206

Valentine's day 201211

Pink and purple lights from your daughter's room, a lot ( and I mean a lot) of scented candles or any kind of candles you can find for that matter, paper doilies from your daughter's Valentine's day craft projects last year,
 Valentine's day 201210    Valentine's day 2012-206

fresh ( and not so fresh to down right plastic) flowers,
Valentine's day 201209  Valentine's day 201208 

awesome dessert, made by your most awesome co-workers at Coccadotts cake shop,
Valentine's day 201213

a whole bag of rose petals leftover from the time you made your daughter a tutu, a white blanket ( to make the dark couch contrast with the light petals, since the room will be dark anyway,

Valentine's day 2012-201

a romantic french music, obligingly provided by Amazon Cloud Service :

all leftover balloons, ribbons, confetti, in all colors you can find and a whole lot of courage that you can pull this thing off.
What's that? The food? Oh, yeah! The food! Good food always helps set the mood, right?
So, here it is:
1. Mini organic crackers with fig spread and Havarti cheese cube

Valentine's day 201218
2. Mixed greens salad with fresh strawberries, Gorgonzola cheese, caramelized pecans and honey mustard dressing
Valentine's day 201224
3. For the main course chives mashed potatoes with sour cream and feta, lamb chops with fresh rosemary and garlic, mint infused olive oil, red wine gravy.
Valentine's day 201220

Valentine's day 201225
4. A bottle of Cote Du Rhone
5. A basket of garlic bread ciabatta baguette and fresh organic butter with herbs.

Here is the place to share that none of this would have been possible without the two waiters, who agreed to show up for the occasion ( although politely declined their picture taken), who dressed up, served with a smile and such politeness, I never knew existed in this house. Not to mention while we dined with WonderDad, Kalin ( my eldest) typed, printed and presented the dessert menus, which I didn't even know existed until he gave them to us. Our kids even brought a silver bell ( from the Christmas decorations) for us to use ( and a pair of walkie-talkies later in the night)!Talk about dining in the future! As my son pointed out, he doesn't know anything about romance, but where he was deficient, my daughter ( who is 5) clarified things for him.

I have to admit, the dinner didn't go as I hoped, it was MUCH better!Thank you, Kalin and Ellie, for making this dinner even more magical than I could have imagined!
But most of all, thank you, WonderDad, for saving the day, everyday!

Happy Valentine's Day, moms and dads everywhere!

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