What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

30 November 2010

Rhetoric, Writing, and Narcissism

I had an amusing conversation with my rhetoric instructor Red Ball last week, in which we admitted to one another that we worry sometimes about being narcissists. It's hard to study figures in history whose personality disorders changed the course of millions of lives, to read their words and see their rhetoric, and not think, "Oh, no, I do that, too."

There's a big humongously thick line between essential human survival instinct (which leads us all, at times, to be a bit selfish), and a brain flaw that leads one to believe that one is at the centre of the entire universe all the time. We only have slices of the historical figures that are causing me angst, and sometimes the slices hit too closely to home. And so I wonder, "Am I more self-centred than necessary?" And the answer is: "Probably."

29 November 2010

We Interrupt Your Regularly-Scheduled Ranting...

Again. :)

This time it's a blogfest. I usually don't enter these, but this one sounded a bit more "up my alley" than usual, so I'm in.

Isn't this little turkey cute?

Anyway, Erica is running this BlogFeast, and giving away prizes, and you should so go and enter, because it's a good way to get the creative juices flowing and meet other bloggers. And also to prolong the Thanksgiving fun, and let's be honest, who wouldn't like a few more days of pie, right?

So! Visit Erica's blog, sign up, and write 1500 words involving family secrets and Thanksgiving between now and December 7th. The two stories I've read so far have been all kinds of brilliant, and I'm a bit nervous to be competing with that, actually, but what's the worst that could happen? Someone saying, "This story is crappy, Su!"? It's not like it would be the first time. ;)

Okay, I now return you to our usual Cheek.

The One Where It All Makes Sense

Yes, this is the final installment in my holiday-related series. I hope some of what I've said has been at least marginally helpful. If nothing else, I hope it causes you to step back from the edge of the "Merry Christmas" cliff, take a deep breath, and consider what you're really trying to accomplish. So, here is tip #3:

28 November 2010

Okay, I'll Play

Yes, I'm joining the 'look at this list of books from the BBC' craze. Except this is an older list that I've had kicking around my computer for a while. Starred ones are ones I've read; italicised are ones I've started; underlined are ones I've seen the movie (or at least a movie version) but not read the book. Yet. For overlaps, read trumps watched.

Hold the Tar and Feathers, Please

2. Bar Santa from the house.

Yep, here's the unpopular one. And of course if you have children between 3 and 10-ish who have always had Santa, this is not a route you will be able to take. But you know those families I mentioned in idea #1? Yeah, they do this, too.

27 November 2010

And Now the Good Stuff

Do I have any readers left? Yes? Great!

So now, having given my thoughts on all the ranting, I offer three ways to keep Christ in Christmas. (One at a time, of course; can't have you getting greedy!)

26 November 2010

Also Appearing this Month

So, now let's get to the other December holidays. Being a Protestant, I’ll leave off some of the Catholic holidays that I’m not planning to take part in (or, likely, even be aware of), but if I have any Catholic readers please do fill us on on what we’re missing.

25 November 2010

A Day of Gratitude

I'm sitting on my couch, in my warm apartment. My NaNo novel is in front of me, with only 10,000 words to go until I win (and a lot more writing and revision until it is complete). My chicken and vegetables are in the crockpot, getting ready to give our little family a few days' worth of meals. And I have a stack of homework waiting for me to finish out the semester in the other room, that I'm planning to work on as soon as I finish watching the parade.

And speaking of the parade, I still love it as much as I ever have done. Just about every act brings tears to my eyes, whether of amusement, nostalgia, or just plain gratitude. (And the St. Jude's Hospital advert actually had tears running down my face.) I spent years watching the parade with my family on Thanksgiving morning.

On this Thanksgiving day, my family is scattered across the country: My grandma is in California, with my mum's older brother and his family. My parents are driving back to Indiana from West Virginia (and I hope to goodness they are driving carefully), where they spent yesterday at a funeral. As is the wont of funerals, they turn into family reunions, and I'm so happy for my mum that she got to spend some time with family she doesn't often see, even though it was under sad circumstances. (Mostly sad; I'm sorry to lose my great-aunt, but she's been ill for years and it was time for her to go to her reward. And I know that she is spending Thanksgiving with my Grandpa and the rest of the family who have gone before and are watching over us.)

And that would be the cue for my cousin Deb to start crying. :) If it helps, Deb, I started crying while writing it.

24 November 2010

Do We Have This Backwards?

I briefly mentioned the “Happy Holidays” people and the “Merry Christmas” people yesterday. And I’ve pretty much expanded on them all that I intend to do, except for one detail: It’s important to remember to take what the media says, or what you see on TV, or what you read in your email, with a grain of salt. And in today’s climate, perhaps with an entire salt shaker.

23 November 2010

Happy Holidays

There are a lot of people who I love very dearly who go completely insane between Thanksgiving and New Year.

They are the "Merry Christmas!" people.

22 November 2010

Su's Guide to a Happy December

It has started already.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, rejoice in your ignorance. For about five more seconds, because I'm about to tell you what I'm talking about.

The Great Happy Holidays v Merry Christmas debate.

21 November 2010

Fuzzy Socks and the Truth About College

 Today's guest blogger is, miraculously enough, not from Lubbock. She's my baby (Ha! She's been taller than me since she was about 10) cousin, who is from Greenfield but is currently in... wherever Ball State is. 

Muncie, Indiana, Google tells me, is where Ball State is. So, that is where Amanda is as well. She introduces herself in her post, so I shall leave her to it, along with her take on life in college.

20 November 2010

The Library

Yay! Another guest blogger has stepped up to save my sanity!

Today's guest is Kate, who lives in-- you guessed it-- Lubbock. She's a homeschool mum, a non-trad student at Lubbock Christian, and all-around fun person. The first time I saw Kate and her gaggle of red-headed children, I wondered who let the Weasleys in (unfortunately (for me, not for Kate), there are no twins among them). For the record: Kate and the Kate-lets have never dressed up as the Weasleys, but I understand that is on the cards for Halloween next year.

So, Kate's views on that most sacred of places: the Library.

19 November 2010

NaNoWriMo Update

My potential guest bloggers have bailed on me... I have to write an actual post! During NaNo and end-of-semester crazy! What??

So, with 11 days remaining in NaNoWriMo, here I am: I've written 29,201 words, meaning I am 2466 words behind at this moment. (I'm going to a write-in later this afternoon, though, so I plan to be caught up-- or even ahead-- before I go to bed tonight.) So far, I'm averaging 1537 words per day, except that's not really what I'm doing-- I've had three different days that were 6000+ words, and other days when I wrote nothing. Those are the breaks.

18 November 2010

Job Search

Today's guest post is from my friend Kathryn, another one from Lubbock. (I do have friends outside of Lubbock, but thus far none of them have answered my pleas for a guest blog post.) Kathryn and I have many interests in common (including, but not limited to, our sci-fi geekiness), and I often say that I'm going to be Kathryn when I grow up, because of the frequency with which she says aloud what I am thinking. It's really pretty fun for both of us (or so she tells me).

Kathryn shares with us today her thoughts as an almost-empty nester.

17 November 2010

Holiday Reading Challenge

It's that time of year again; the time when I think to myself, "Geez, why can't I ever think of a good idea?"

Bookwormy Girl is having a holiday reading challenge at her blog. I'm planning to spend the whole of my Christmas holidays reading and writing anyway (there may also be some cookie eating and hot cocoa drinking involved), so I decided to join in. If you want to get in on the action, too, the contest is after the jump.

16 November 2010

Strong Enough

Today's guest blogger is my friend Menie, also from Lubbock! Or, as we also like to call her, the pink-haired woman. :) Yes, I am totally jealous of Menie's amazing hair!

So, today's post is Menie's reflection on the life God has given to her. Read on and be encouraged!

15 November 2010

November is Going by too Fast!!

Good morning, faithful readers! In the interest of finishing NaNoWriMo-- and, you know, the semester-- I've rounded up some guest bloggers for this week.

To kick us off, I'd like to introduce Linda, who is a good friend as well as being the secretary at the church where we attended before we moved. Linda wanted to share something that's been bugging her a bit this week (and give us some food for thought-- please feel free to leave (kind) thoughts/encouragement).

14 November 2010

Ceud Mìle Fàilte

To my ever-growing list of reasons why I love Austin, I have added another: The Austin Celtic Festival.

The Keebler Elf and the Unicorn
Last weekend, the Princess of Unicorns and her father, the Keebler Elf, arrived in Austin to join us at the Celtic Festival, and a weekend of hilarity, cupcakes, and Irish accents ensued. 

Yes, the Unicorn Princess runs on cupcakes. I had no idea. Okay, I had some idea, but didn't realise how serious it was until she got out of the car and immediately asked for the nearest cupcakes. Good news: We found some. And they were fabulous.

13 November 2010

Somebody's 30!!

I refuse to feel old while writing this post.

At his wedding. You know, in case the
white dress & tux didn't tip you off.
Yes, my sweet little brother is 30 today. Yikes, that is just obscene. My earliest memory is of us bringing him home from the hospital: I was 2 1/2, and a bird got in the house while my dad got my mum & Billy in, and then the suitcases (I was old enough to get up the steps myself). And of course, the bird went straight to Billy's room, where it flew around in circles. I remember watching my dad trying to get it out, and I've been told that I was encouraging him not to hurt the birdie.

So, that was the beginning of life with Billy. It's gone uphill since then. :)

I will begin by saying that my brother was the cutest baby in the nursery when he was born. In fact, he's probably still the cutest baby I've ever seen, and I would scan some baby pics & post them, if our scanner weren't so irritating to use. I think it was the look of panic that was always on his face that I find so endearing; he had wisdom well beyond his couple of days to know that life was best approached in a semi-panicked state.

12 November 2010

Austin: Just a Little Weird

I love this city. No, really, I do. It's fabulous. Every day I find something new to be amazed by, or giggle at, or just plain wonder why I didn't move here ages ago.

A few examples of the fun, the weird, and the otherwise-brilliant of life in the Texas capitol:

11 November 2010

Lest We Forget

I think I post this poem on Remembrance Day most years, but goodness knows it bears repeating. (If you'd like to read a different poem, and see Brisbane's really beautiful Remembrance Day display, go to L'Aussie's blog.)

10 November 2010

Thank You, Mostly-Forgotten Classmate

Jen at Unedited asked an interesting question a few weeks ago: "How do you label the bully in your middle grade/high school years? Who were you in high school? ... Do you use someone you remember as a guide for your stories?"

A question worth answering, methinks. Or, rather, three questions worth answering. And, I guess this is as good a way as any to find out if anyone I went to high school with is reading my blog. ;)

09 November 2010

A Generation Gap

I've volunteered for UT a few times now, and some things always strike me:

1. These newly-minted adults are so willing to give up their free time, without too much complaining.
2. They are very eager to help with whatever needs done.
3. They are actually a lot of fun to be around.
4. We always have an amusing conversation, one way or another; either about majors, or life, or the funny thing the parents/roommates/classmates/teachers said, or "Wow, you really don't go out? Oh, you're married? Whoa, how old are you?"

08 November 2010

How Many Books Can I Read at Once?

I glanced at my "reading" sidebar the other day, only to discover something astonishing: I had not finished very many books on the list. Given my usual track record with books (pick one up, read in a couple of days, repeat ad infinitum), this is pretty astonishing: Of the ten most recent books I've picked up, I finished three. Four of them I put back down again, and the others are still in progress.

07 November 2010

Have Thought, Must Blog

I'm pretty intent on conservation in my own life; such ideas as taking care of what I have, making the most of my possessions, using things as long as possible, etc.

Hence the reason I follow (although not in a participatory sense, just yet) such things as the 100 Thing Challenge and Living on a Dime. The two sites don't have the same mission, nor the same message per se, but both address realities in my own life: I don't want to be a slave to my stuff, I do want to use my money wisely, and I have a low budget.

06 November 2010

Election Day

One of my life goals was realised on Tuesday: I worked the polls on Election Day. (Of course, when working out this life goal as a 16-year-old, I had supposed I would be working the polls in Indiana--c'est la vie.)

Election paraphernalia at the LBJ
This opportunity came about because an acquaintance of Chad's was an election judge at his local precinct, and last weekend one of his clerks backed out on him. The guy sent out an SOS email, Chad forwarded it to me, and I quite happily signed up.

05 November 2010

Remember, Remember

Parliament, as you can see, not blown up. Although it was
under construction when we were there last.
So, I do a lot of British things, as a result of living in Scotland for a couple of years (where I basically adopted the things that I liked). And some of those things carry over to my writing, although my current British writing quirks are more the by-product of continuing to read the BBC news on a regular basis than they are from living there 10 years ago.

The biggest one, of course, is the spelling. I spell like a Brit. I get lots of comments on Facebook, and teasing from various family members, for spelling like a Brit. My uncle recently sent me a Tweet: "When in Rome, spell like the Romans do." I replied, "But I don't know Latin!"

04 November 2010


There's a great debate, or so it seems, between the "just folks" people and the "swallowed a dictionary" people. If you've missed it, I would like to request that you let me know whether there are any houses for sale on your street, because it's really annoying me and I'd be happy to escape.

Not that I think this debate is anything new; I was already being mocked for being "book smart" (by adults in my own family, mind you) before I was out of middle school. Which is funny, really, because there's no other kind of smart to be in Greenfield, Indiana; suburbia does not offer a lot of opportunity for gaining street smarts. Especially not tiny-town suburbia.

03 November 2010

Writing a Marathon

... would probably be easier than running one was. Maybe.

So, in the past couple of weeks erica and christy posted about running and writing having a lot in common. And then sparquay also mentioned the two in the same sentence (although he would probably like for me to point out that he didn't actually draw a metaphor or make any kind of link between them). Since I am nothing if not a bandwagon joiner (that doesn't sound right), I am today fulfilling my duty as a running writer (or perhaps a writing runner) by telling you some things that the two have in common.

02 November 2010

Old People On Campus: More tales from the Non-Trad Trenches

If only I could get away with this
sort of behaviour on campus...
So, with just over a month left in the semester, what have we learned?

1. College students are delightful.
Okay, I didn't just learn this. I knew this already. In fact, I've been crazy-spoiled into expecting all college students to be like the kind, thoughtful, reasonably intelligent, engaged, completely-fun students I know from South Plains. Imagine my joy at finding similar people at UT. I haven't given them all nicknames yet, but you may hear more about Sprained Ankle, Moderately Amusing Freshman, More Non-Trad Than Me, Happy Spanish Student, and Free Spirit. They are making my days so much fun.

01 November 2010

Banned Books

I'm a bit late to this party, seeing as Banned Books Week was a month ago, but I'm just now getting around to sharing my thoughts. Because I'm slow-moving. And was thinking about other things. And... never mind, let's just get to the good stuff.