Raw Food part I

Totally trying this recipe for tomorrow’s breakfast: Raw Oat Groats

I realize the majority of you are thinking, “Wow, that sounds disgusting,” but hear me out! Since last year, I’ve been very interested in the raw food, or living foods diet. Basically it’s what it sounds like– you don’t eat anything that’s been heated above 104 degrees (this number varies), and typically stick to vegan, gluten free products. Some people go all out and are 100% raw, but I don’t like getting that strict with what I eat since I’d probably go crazy after 2 days, drive to Wendy’s and order two of everything. Also, I don’t tend to eat raw stuff in the winter, when all I want is hot noodle soups and things like that. (This all makes sense in light of the other dietary “thing” I sometimes adhere to, Ayurveda, but that is way too complicated to get into right now).

So does this mean eating salads and raw fruit all day long? Yes and no. If you are hardcore and own appliances like a dehydrator, a heavy-duty food processor and high-speed blender, you have many more options than those of us that don’t. With that stuff, it’s possible to make fake bread out of ground and dried nuts and seeds, all sorts of “burgers,” desserts, and so much more. So while I can’t get that fancy, I do at least have a small blender, so I can make things like smoothies and cold soups (think gazpacho). If you don’t mind spending a chunk of change at Whole Foods or your local natural food store, there are packaged versions of the “breads” and crap you can just buy and eat.

You will be eating a ton of fruits and veggies, but you can also have nuts, seeds, sprouted (or at least soaked) grains and legumes. Liberal amounts of good fat are added to meals so you really won’t find yourself getting hungry right away– from avocado to olive oil and yes, lots and lots of nuts, they really do make a difference. And besides the fact that you’ll be eating healthier by default, I’m not kidding when I say that the energy boost is intense. I can drink coffee and Red Bull all day long with NO effect, but eat a good sized batch of raw “noodles” and sun dried tomato sauce or raw chili and you can very literally feel the difference.

The biggest downsides are that it’s very, very time consuming. I remember last year I must have spent about an hour chopping a billion different fruits, blending some, measuring out all sorts of spices, only to be left with what was essentially a fancy fruit salad. :\  It was GOOD, but someone like me does NOT have the time to be doing something like that all the time! Even the dishes that don’t take quite as much preparation always require some.

The other downside is that you have to buy a boatload of produce and hope you find time to use it all before it gets moldy. That or you can go to the grocery store every few days but again, not convenient for most people.

The answer for me is, like I said, not even trying to be 100% raw. I’ve been trying to do one raw meal with some raw snacks throughout the day. Once I graduate and have a *little* bit more time, maybe I’ll try ramping it up to two raw meals some days, but we’ll see.

And on that note, I’m going to stop typing about food because I won’t be home til about 11 and I’m already kind of peckish. :p

More on this later!


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How Did Comps Go, You Ask?

You know I’m not going to tell you that easily. Here’s the full story.  ^__^

Got up ungodly early. Attempted to wrestle with the contact lenses and somehow ended up dropping both of them. Despite having paper towels in the sink, I could NOT find either one. Weird. I have dailies anyway, so no big deal, but I decided not to push the issue today and just take my stupid glasses.

Left the house awhile later, planning to get to the room a half-hour early so I’d have time to relax and focus. Tried to keep my mind off of things by listening to MC Yogi (who I am so glad to have been in an Anusara yoga workshop [I just wrote worksheep O_o  lol] with last August– he and his wife Amanda are the nicest people and great performers as well!) instead of my usual industrial/techno/goth mix.

Once I actually got to URI, it was cold and drizzly out, grey skies and everything and so naturally the proctor of the exam wasn’t there yet, meaning we all had to stand around outside the building in the lovely weather. There were only a handful of us there at that point– and I only recognized one person thusfar. I was very relieved to hear that everyone else felt just as tentative about the exam as  I did. But one of the girls had found out that comps aren’t given an actual grade, you either pass or you fail. That certainly made me feel a little better since I figured I’d be able to write down something coherent for whatever they asked.

Turns out that the proctor was my information literacy instruction professor, the one that had given me the perfect teaching score, so that also made me feel better. She used to be an elementary school librarian, so she has that calm yet cheerful demeanor that is pretty much prerequisite for working with kids that age (hence part of why I never, ever will lol). She opened up the building, we went in, went into our usual classroom. Even as more people filtered in, I was surprised not to see anyone else I knew. From the sounds of the conversations around me, everyone there was in the school library media track; they may have started the program at the same time as me, but took very different classes from the ones I did as an archives/academic leaning librarian, hence why I’d never seen them before.

Since there was still about twenty minutes before the test could begin, I didn’t stay seated the whole time. I got up, went upstairs where the landscaping department has their workshop, read the stuff on their bulletin boards. Went down to basement, paced up and down the dark, sketchy hallway, was surprised to find that the hidden bathroom down there was currently in use– most people avoided it after some cockroaches were seen darting around but eh, I’ve never seen them and wouldn’t care even if I did.

After awhile I returned to the classroom, now considerably fuller though there were still few people I recognized. Sat down, got comfortable, took some deep breaths and cleared my mind.  I’ve never really considered this meditation, per se. . .but I guess in a way it is.  I find it helpful to do before tests because by that point, you know as much as you’re going to know. By letting that space into your mind, you can actually stop and think about what you’re writing instead of just vomiting random facts onto the page as quickly as possible.

Before too much longer, it was time. Blue books were passed out and then the test itself. Before doing so much as picking up my pen, I decided to read through every question first.  As long as I could answer one in each section, I’d be golden. None of them turned out to be awful or impossible, but I decided on the three I’d do and opened up my extra “note taking” blue book to sketch outlines for each essay. Once that was done, I sat back and rested for a moment before really starting– this really wasn’t going to be awful.

It took me about 3 of the 4 available hours to finish. I’m sure I missed little things here and there, but seeing as these are graded pass/fail, I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. What were the questions? Since I know you all care so much, here they are (or at least the gist of them):

1. With technology being so omnipresent nowadays, is it wise for libraries to provide patrons with a specially designated “no technology zone?” We were asked to provide reasons why or why not based on a theoretical mission statement/guiding philosophy for the type of library of our choosing.

2. Explain how you would design an information literacy instruction program for a particular population that visits your institution. Describe who they are, why they have a need for ILI and what your program would consist of, including elements of evaluation and assessment. This was sinfully easy for me because I’m essentially *doing* this as part of a project for one of my classes.

3. How do millennials differ from other generations? What do they have in common? How would your type of library be able to better cater to them in a variety of ways (which we were told, but I’m not listing them all here). This was also sinfully easy since Travis and I talk about this ALL THE TIME. In this case they had millenials defined as 1983-2000, but I still think that generation doesn’t really begin until 1985 or so. At least they didn’t lump *us* into that category. I’m sorry, but being born in 1981 and 1982, we remember a world without the internet VERY WELL– the kids currently in college do not. This could easily turn into an entire entry in itself, so I’ll stop there, though maybe I’ll dive into it another time.

So fine. Everyone was right and comps were pretty damn easy.

Later in the day, Travis and I went  grocery shopping, but first we stopped at the Alex and Ani store that’s right across from our Whole Foods. Unlike the oh-so-popular Pandora, Alex and Ani make bracelets that are interesting to look at and much less expensive! Also unlike Pandora, their bracelets are meant to be stacked, so aside from ones with charms, they have “filler” bracelets with colored beads or patterns, etc. I’d take a picture of my bunch if I had a camera handy, but alas. I decided to go with the OM charm today, but there are a ton of others I like, so I know I’ll be back. ^__^ Another great thing about the company is that the jewelry is actually made here, in Rhode Island, which means buying their stuff is supporting local jobs. Actually the company’s world headquarters is located in offices right above the shop, so it’s altogether a local outfit. Just taking RI back to its jewelry making roots. 🙂

Well, that’s about all for today since I’m exhausted. Can’t promise I’ll write tomorrow because I slacked off in a number of creative ways at my jobs this past week, so now that all my hell weeks are over, I need to get back to doing legit library stuff. But do keep an eye out because half the time I say I’m not going to do something, I will and vice versa. Damn Libras never able to make up their minds, lol.


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I Need to Brag

now, because I just do NOT have a good feeling about my comprehensive exam tomorrow– aka the test I need to pass to get my degree. Everyone I’ve talked to is like “eh, you’ll be fine,” but that’s what everyone told me before I failed my first driving test too. v_v I think part of what I’m worried about is that there wasn’t even a real way to study for this test. These questions can cover ANY aspect of librarianship– from collection development to designing info lit courses for under-served populations to cataloging issues. It’s 3 essays;  you must pick from one of two questions for each of the 3 sections, so you do have *some* choice.  Old questions have been posted online and yeah, I took a gander. Some were not bad but there were a few that made me O_o;;;

So. Tomorrow. 9am. Wish me luck. ::cry::

Okay, now for the bragging!

Switching my focus from archives and preservation to academic libraries and info lit was the best possible move. I never wanted to become a teacher, in fact I was a little unhappy when I found out that is a HUGE part of being an academic librarian, but apparently it’s where my talents lie.

– For my info lit class last semester, I am the only person the professor has ever given a perfect score after observing my lesson. . .and she’s been teaching for like 15 years.

-Last year, I was the only grad student asked to teach several of the 2 hour long info lit classes that occur during the summer. The kids were asked to rate the class at the end, and apparently several students gave good feedback about me specifically. And I heard from someone who read the feedback that out of the 5 or so people teaching the classes, I was the only one who was singled out like that.

-I ran yesterday’s LIB 120 class from beginning to end– it was the main project of my Professional Field Experience. I wrote the lecture, I created the activities, I guided the discussion, I even created a 4 minute video on the subject (more on that later). Was I nervous? A little, just because I knew that the class’ normal professor, who is also my PFE “mentor,” would be watching and evaluating everything. Mind you, she *knows* her stuff when it comes to information literacy instruction. First of all, she’s the head of URI’s ILI department;  secondly, she’s co-written several books and scholarly articles on the subject; lastly, she’s run a national program called “Immersion” which is a VERY big deal in the academic library world. Just to be accepted into the program is an ordeal– you must already be an instructor whose made significant contributions to the field at your institution. I looked at the application once and even that was concerning, lol. Plus like I said, she has not only been through this program, she has LED it.

After class we chatted in her office about how things went. She asked for my opinion first, and though I felt the class went well overall, of course I pointed out several things that I thought could have been better. To my surprise, her response was, “Well I thought the whole thing was great!” She read all of her notes to me and the only things she pointed out were very minor, and weren’t even technically corrections, just suggestions. So, awesome.

-About the video I mentioned above. I made a video for Bryant last semester using Camtasia software– it’s a very simple video editing software to learn and I was coming from zero experience. For whatever reason I felt like making one to go along with yesterday’s Web Evaluation class. When I showed it to my mentor she was thrilled by it and immediately asked if she could forward the link to the other LIB 120 teachers! Naturally I said she could. A few librarians emailed me back some compliments on it, including one guy we’ll call L. L is a nice enough guy, but he’s NOT quick to praise student work. Apparently he liked my video so much that he decided to show it in his own LIB 120 section. Again, my mentor was like, “Um, he is never impressed by anything so. . .wow.” Honestly, I think the video I did for Bryant is better! If you’d like to see what all the supposed fuss is about, here’s the link.

-I received applause at the end of the last three classes I’ve taught. Applause. For the record, normally the students cannot wait for the library class to end and as soon as you finish talking, they immediately pick up their stuff and march out of the room silently. I don’t know. I try to throw in humor when I can, I’m not afraid to be self-deprecating and I’m quite animated. . .no hiding behind the computer for me! It comes naturally to me; having been on stages of various sizes since I was about 5 might have something to do with it, but no matter what, it’s a trend I hope will continue. Happy students = attentive students = students who might have actually learned something! lol

-And finally, I’ve been given my own entire section of LIB 120 for the Summer, which is partly why I’m doing my PFE in it right now. As if that’s not awesome enough, there’s about a 95% chance I’ll also be teaching a class in the Fall semester, too. I’m quite honored about that because not many recent graduates get asked to return as lecturers. . . more often as reference desk staff.

Okay, that’s enough of that. I actually feel bad for writing this entry, but I guess it’s acceptable to have a self-esteem spike once in awhile, lol. I’ll let you know how comps go and then I’ve got some other things up my sleeve worth discussing. Now– onto other random things instead of doing library related stuff!

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There Will Be Changes!

And obviously I’ve already started renovating, lol.

So although I’m only taking a short break from my story before jumping into Part II, I’ve decided to widen the scope of what I talk about in here, make it more of a personal blog than a story only blog. I want to talk about library stuff, I want to talk about teaching stuff, I want to talk about raw food creations (oh my god, I should start by giving out the recipe for the burger I made today-AMAZING) and all sorts of other stuff.

I considered making yet *another* journal, but then I stopped myself and was like, “Really?!” Face it. If– and only if– my story ever gets an actual “audience,” there’s only so much extra stuff I can write about concerning it. I am seriously considering attending the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, where I can have some people who are not me and Travis to read what I’ve done and hopefully give some advice. Well, that and I’m a conference junkie, seeing as I have two library-related ones in May and now this, lol.

Hoping to start the new stuff soon. For the billionth time, I have a lot of big things coming up this week, so I really shouldn’t be tinkering around on here a ton. But yeah. Hopefully broadening my subject will help me write more often. We shall see.

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Changes coming

Oh hey, so what’s the perfect thing for me to be doing this week, with my class on Thursday and Comps on Saturday? Changing my blog, of course! No, I’m not moving for the 395749 time, but as you can see I’ve already changed the appearance and I plan on changing some other stuff too. Just FYI.










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Part One is DONE

And I am so, so happy with it. ^_____^ Yeah, it still needs a ton of editing, and there’s small sections that I skipped over to get to the “good parts,” but it’s something– a concrete step. And I’m giving myself a break before I start on Part II (which also needs to be totally rewritten, from scratch) just because I am super busy this week and, like I said,I’d like to do at least one more full revision of the first part. Hell, I’m already working on it here at the library, lol.

I’ve also been playing around, jotting down bits of stories from what is theoretically happening to my characters right now, cuz remember, they don’t stop aging. Cassie actually has a storyline of some importance growing, which is good. After all, she and Damian and Lucretia are the next generation of this story so they’ve gotta start getting involved somehow (well, maybe not Crete since she’s only 5 months old, but. . . )

Okay, enough babbling, back to editing!

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Part One Almost Complete!

Pretty psyched about that. Now once I go home, create and edit my evaluating website video and tally up all my PFE hours thus far, I can write some more.

I’m quite happy with how it’s coming out but I’m getting to THAT scene. Sorry Randi, it needs to be done. 😦

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Messed Up Stories Continued

Seventh grade didn’t start out so well. I hated science. I hated math. They were impossible. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I simply didn’t hand in some kind of math project involving note cards– a parent-teacher conference ensued. My parents elected for me to get weekly “progress reports” in all my classes, which I was incredibly miffed about, feeling like my every move was under scrutiny.

I should also mention that I was very busy outside of school. I had recently gotten accepted into the state’s major ballet company, which meant I had to take extra lessons on top of rehearsals and performances several times a year. I had also taken up horseback riding lessons again over the summer, although that privilege was taken away  until my grades improved. I know, first world problems. So, put those time consuming activities along with trying to maintain all A’s and B’s in my classes, and my schedule was chock full. As someone who now loves her down time, I have no idea how I did this and stayed sane.

No big surprise that I craved some kind of outlet, and that meant creating more stories. I returned to Whisky’s life, who now, because she was an orphan (though no longer an alien), was living with a new guardian and again had horses. But as much as I liked her and coveted parts of her life, as a story, it was pretty dull. I needed to add another character into the mix, but who?

I am grateful for two disparate events which occurred to me at school that year.  I was randomly called to Guidance one day,  asked to show around a new girl. Her schedule had been mirrored off of mine so she would always have someone “there.” I was just fine with this, but she and I just did not gel. She wasn’t mean, although she did kind of act like I was unnecessary. It was pretty obvious we weren’t bound to be friends. ::shrug::

The second thing happened in English class. This was one of my best subjects; I paid attention, did my work, everything was cool. One day, fed up with a group of disruptive kids in the back corner of the room, the teacher ordered some of them to switch seats with those of us up front. Guess who got moved back. Not that I cared. . . I’d been moved closer to the kid I’d had a crush on forever.

Fast forward to the next class. I got there early, sat in my new seat. The kid with whom I was asked to switch with came in, came to where I was sitting. He told me to move. I reminded him that  he was sitting up front now. He argued that it was only for that day. I said I didn’t think it was. When I went back to reading my book or whatever, obviously not intending to move, the kid decided to make me– he pushed the chair over with me in it. Angry and literally bruised, I silently gathered up my stuff and went to my old seat, pretending nothing happened. And then guess who had to move back up front anyway as soon as the teacher came in. ODD. @_@

Both of those situations got my mind cranking. What would happen if *Whisky* had to show around a new kid, but instead of merely being unfriendly, he was actually horrible to her for no apparent reason. My situation but kicked up a notch or two. How could I incorporate the chair scene? The idea delighted me, and after some pondering and some other serendipitous events, Randi Hirst was “born.”

Although I began dreaming up the story in my head that year, it wasn’t until tenth grade that I actually started typing them out. I’d hide away in my Dad’s office at our first computer,  listening to Green Day’s Kerplunk! through the CD-ROM player as I worked.

There have been hiatuses, sure, but I haven’t stopped creating their stories since.

My characters’ lives happen in real time, starting in 1993.  They age, they wait for big events to happen, sometimes they die, from natural causes or not. Friends, significant others, and pets come and go. Their lives have ups and downs, just like anyone’s.

Although much of their story has been typed out,  the chapters are scatter shot and there is much to be completed that will mend them all together. I do not intend to quit writing about my characters ever. . .they are me. . .not that I’ve experienced everything they do, not by far. But I truly can’t imagine life without them– if anyone else ever enjoys reading my stories, so much the better.

And hey, Whisky– during those time your life starts to suck, look at it this way: at least I didn’t leave you dead in a packing crate en route to Australia.

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My Stories Have Always Been Messed Up

Disclaimer: I actually had a good childhood

First grade, on a large piece of paper, the kind that was only lined at the bottom so you had room to draw a picture on top. I believe the story was called “The Bobcat” or something else benign. Gist of the tale: My Dad and I went camping, but before going to sleep I noticed a bobcat. So my Dad shot and killed it. Remember, there was a picture with this.

Third grade. Each week we did a creative writing exercise. At the end of the year, these stories were combined into a little anthology of sorts.  I titled the thing “My Meow Book,” a crudely drawn cat, horse, bird and other things on the cover talking about how good this book was. At least I had confidence, right? From the looks of it, my anthology should have been full of cheesy stories about cats and other animals romping about.

Yeah, well. Most of the stories *are* silly, the kind of things you’d expect a third grader to write about horseback riding, a trip to Epcot center, a poem about a turkey for Thanksgiving. But a few of the stories have a decidedly darker turn, with characters drowning, being packed into crates and dying from lack of food or air, or that were just plain depressing. I’m lucky this was back in 1989-1990. . .I’m sure nowadays I would have gotten dragged to the child psych. :p

One of my characters from this set of macabre tales particularly stood out to me: Whiskers, an alien from a planet of half cat-half humanoids who was discovered here on Earth (she was the ill-fated person later packed in a box). You could say that Whiskers, or Whisky, became my alter ego. I thought up a pretty awesome life for her. She did ballet and Girl Scouts and all the things I did, but she was also a naturally amazing horseback rider. She had a golden horse named Griffin and together they astounded people at the horse shows they competed in. I would imagine the scenarios she’d be in as a kind of movie– and Elton John’s Live in Australia tape was the soundtrack because that was often playing in the car while I was being driven to ballet, thinking about these things. Why not.

Although I often pretended to be Whisky, any more stories involving her did not occur right away. In fact, for whatever reason, it wasn’t until 6th grade that I began writing for fun. I was newly enamored with the musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” thus, my new batch of stories involved a girl, her walking, talking plant J.R. and the sadistic dentist that lived next door with his daughter. You have no idea WHAT I would pay to have these notebooks again. I don’t remember the particulars of any of the stories– I do know that they were often violent and involved horses.  And not only did I write these stories out, I also illustrated them in all their gory detail. I remember being damn proud of my creations, often working on them during study hall, letting my English teacher read them when I was done. She always had complimentary things to say, but in any case, when 6th grade ended, my stories did too.

But not for long. . .

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