What are we talking about today?

Normal topics suspended for the A to Z Challenge. It's all books from April 1-30.

If you're here from the A to Z Challenge hoping I'll comment back if you comment first: Sorry to disappoint, but that probably won't happen. I work full-time and I grad school full-time, so I can't give the time to blog commenting that I would like. I'll visit after the end of the semester, I hope.

31 December 2012

That's a Wrap

Well, it hasn't been a very busy year here at Cheekyness, has it? I just had a look at my blog stats & apparently I ran out of things to say once I stopped going to college every day. Well, that's a bummer. Guess it's time to re-adjust my lens and find interesting things in my non-campus life.

So this is the time of the year when some people will make (and for most, promptly abandon) resolutions, some will avow that they never make resolutions, and there's always that group that says they don't make "resolutions", they make "goals", accompanied by dictionary definitions of both words that should clearly explain why one is better than the other. Okay, well, if thinking of things that way works for you, on you go, then. For me, it's six and half-a-dozen whether it's a resolution, a goal, a plan, or whatever you want to call it.

How was 2012 for me? I managed about half of the things I set out to do. But one that I missed is going to be bugging me-- I came up just over 100 miles short of my cycling goal this year. I wanted to do 2000 miles; I finished at 1895. And I'm not going to go ride a century today just to catch up, so that's it. On the upside, it's still nearly 700 miles more than 2011, which was 400 miles more than my next best year (2009). So, I guess I'll embrace it. But I think I'm shooting for 2013 miles in 2013, just for fun.

In the bigger picture, 2012 was not a good year. Too many shootings, too many traffic fatalities (77 in Austin this year, up from 54 in 2011), too much hatred spewed across the internet... just too much. I would hope that 2013 will be better in that respect, but I have to say I'm almost out of optimism. The best I can hope to do is hang on.

Well, that's not a very happy note to end on. Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve! Enjoy your fireworks, your friends, your parties, or whatever it is you do to welcome another turn of the calendar. And let's all hang on together in 2013.

What are you doing to celebrate tonight?

18 December 2012

In My Mailbox

I haven't done one of these in a while, but I should probably rename it. None of these books came in my mailbox. However, it's the sentiment that matters, so here goes-- books I've read in the last couple of weeks (all images from Goodreads):

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

One of my holiday favourites! There was no way I was letting Christmas go by without Dash & Lily. I've pondered buying this book instead of checking it out from the library every year, but I'm afraid if it were within reach to re-read all the time, it would lose its magic. So it remains my 'read-every-Christmas' book.







Buzzwords, May Barenbaum

Chad picked this up for me from the library a couple of semesters ago when I was eye-deep in classwork. I added it to my to-read list with the promise that I would come back to it, and now I have. Haven't started it yet... it's sitting on my shelf begging for my attention.







A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

I can't believe I've only just read this book. It was on my Kindle, I was on the bus, it was a long trip, and this is a short book (much to my surprise-- I thought it was longer). Loved it.








Head Over Heels, Sara Downing

Another Kindle read. Liked it but didn't love it. Enjoyed the writing style, though!









Diary of a Mall Santa, Stewart Scott

Heartwarming holiday read. Brought me to tears a couple of times. There's no doubt in my mind that this man is an excellent Santa.









Thumped, Megan McCafferty

Sequel to Bumped. Not quite as satisfying as the original, but it kept my attention enough to read it through in a single evening.









What are you reading this week?

17 December 2012

A Time to Pause

I really wish I could write an appropriate, touching, rational post about Friday's horror. I'm afraid I can't do it. Not because I don't have words-- I have plenty. But because words won't help, and they're all being said already, by everyone.

I also wish I could express the frustration I felt as my Twitter feed scrolled down my screen Friday morning. None of the arguments that sprung up, none of the tears shed, none of the "in remembrance" pictures that are circulating will bring back what we had on Thursday. I hope the tears and words and prayers can bring some help to the families as they heal. But as I lay in bed Friday night, all I could think was, "What do you do after you've lost a child? How do you even take your next breath?" I don't know the answer to that, and I hope to God that I never find out.

After a quick Google search, I found two organizations where you can help, if you are able: a school support fund through the United Way, and a private memorial fund. If neither of those work for you, here's the CNN article with more organizations.

I pause today to share this because I want everyone to know that when I resume posting my usual nonsense (tomorrow), it's not because I've forgotten or don't care. How could I not? Part of me making sense of my world is to write down what I'm thinking. And I could go on posting, day after day, about the senselessness of a school attack, as I'm sure we all could. But that's a short road to bitterness, to fear, to never leaving my house again. I won't let one madman have that much space in my head; he already has more than I wanted to give him. Than any of us wanted to give him. May God bless the families in Newtown. May they know that we all stand beside them.

Please, share whatever you'd like.

13 December 2012

I win again!

I'm not clear on what I won this time, because final grades aren't in yet, but last night around 10:30 I turned in my final assignment for my first semester as a graduate student. I'm once again looking at five blessed weeks of peace and freedom and no need to lug around a giant textbook everywhere I go in case I have three minutes for reading.

Source.
My first class was Introduction to Rhetoric, which was nice for me because that's what I've been studying the past to years in undergrad, so it made a nice transition to graduate-level work to have some of the same material that I've already seen a few times. Here's another nice transition: Remember Caffeinated, my instructor from a few semesters ago? Well, one of my classes next semester uses one of his books as the textbook. I will totally be reading my textbook in his voice, which should be really entertaining. More importantly, since I've been introduced to his teaching and writing style already, I have some hopes of understanding what he means, which will be a great improvement over this semester's textbook.

So, my plans for the next few weeks are: READ (for fun! yay!), blog, crochet, finally learn to knit, run, tidy my house, bake some bread, and oh yeah, put up some Christmas decorations. And take them down again in due course.

Students & teachers out there: How close are you to being done for your holiday break? Everyone else: Do you have a book recommendation for me?

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