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Allison’s Favorite Reads of 2012 (Part One)

December 30, 2012

I wrote about my ten favorite books last year and since then I’ve been looking forward to doing it again this year. I reached my goal on goodreads of reading 100 books this year, so I really have a lot to choose from. The really fun thing about my reading lately is how many formats I read in now. Usually at any given time I am listening to one book during my commute, reading one book on my Kindle, as well as usually reading one adult book and one children’s book all at the same time. Throw in a good mix of comics and graphic novels and it becomes pretty clear I will read almost anything! I hope you enjoy hearing about my favorites.

ageofmiracles The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Adult Fiction. In this book, the end of the world as we know it comes in the form of a slowing down of the rotation of the earth. As the days and nights grow longer and longer, throwing the world into chaos, Julia is just an 11 year old girl trying to deal with all the normal parts of growing up. I really love literary speculative fiction and this absolutely fits the bill. Julia’s voice is so fresh and the writing is beautiful and exquisite.

 

The Brides bridesof Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan. Young Adult Fiction. This novel explores the legend of selkies, seals that are transformed into beautiful women. The island setting is richly evoked and feels so real and haunting, though at the same time is not any one particular time or place. The story is told through different points of view through several generations as a witch uses her magic to summon the seal wives out of the sea. I loved the atmosphere of this book and the magic and mystery of the story.

splendors Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. Middle Grade Fiction. This is another magical/historical novel. You can tell what I was really into this year. I like to call it literary speculative fiction, my favorite genre. Anyway, this story is about two orphan children who work for a Puppet Master in Victorian England. It reads very much like Charles Dickens for children, but with puppets and magic and an evil witch thrown in. I loved this book and would be so happy to see it win the Newbery this year. I think it has a good chance too!

saga Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan. Adult Graphic Novel. For a long time I would have said that Fables was my favorite comic book series. Well, sorry Fables, but there is a new series this year and it is called Saga and it is not only my favorite comic/graphic novel this year, it is probably one of THE GREATEST THINGS I HAVE EVER READ! Okay, I know that sounds extreme but I could gush about this comic for ages. The artwork is exquisite and the world is so unique and richly imagined and the characters and storyline are just awesome, awesome, awesome. This is basically a Romeo and Juliet story, except where the couple in love are from two races of people at war with each other and they have a baby and run away from the trained assassins after them to give their child a better life and take vows of nonviolence in a world where violence is all they have ever known. The storyline of the comic reminds me a lot of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which if you remember made my list last year because I absolutely loved that too. Although I want to recommend this comic to everyone I know, I do have to give a caveat that there is a lot of adult content and some graphic nudity so please be aware.

green Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Picture Book. It certainly helps that green is my favorite color, but I absolutely love this picture book about the color green. Each page illustrates a different shade of green. Peek-a-boo holes in the pages hint at what shade is coming up next. The green of a fresh cut lime, the glowing green of a firefly, the lush green of a  forest, it is all there in this beautiful book. I’m dying to share this book with a child and I only wish there was a book like this for every color in the rainbow.

Christmas Owls

December 29, 2012

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I knitted these two little owls for my sisters for Christmas. The first one I made has wonky eyes but Maddy didn’t mind one bit because she likes things that are a little different. I had a lot of fun making these! My hands are just itching for their next knitting project.

2012 in Review

December 24, 2012

(P.S. The world didn’t end!)

 

Click on an image to see the gallery. I know I did not blog a lot in 2012 but it was such a busy and exciting year! I finished school after 18 years of education and I got a job doing what I love and we moved to South Bend, Indiana. Now is the exciting beginning to the rest of our lives! I hope you enjoy taking a look at what we have been up to this year. May 2013 bring many more happy memories!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Novel Writing Month

October 28, 2012

I’m going to do it!

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I first heard about National Novel Writing Month three years ago when I was in my last semester at BSU and a fellow classmate was doing it in my Creative Nonfiction class. Immediately I knew I was going to do it someday because it was just the kick in the pants I need to actually write something! Last year I considered it and even went so far as signing up on the website, but I never actually wrote a word. This year I am serious!

NaNoWriMo is an event that happens every year in November. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. The website helps you keep track of your progress and you can also meet up in person with other people in your area who are participating! I am so excited about this now for so many reasons. As soon as I committed myself to it, the ideas for my novels just started coming to me. I am the kind of person that really needs goals and challenges so ever since I finished school it has been hard to find something to replace the constant goals of schoolwork and grades. But the one thing I’m really excited about is that because we are still so new to this area and really don’t know anyone, this is going to be such a great way to meet people! Tonight is the first meet up so I can’t wait to see how it goes.

Your job, as my family, friends, and support group, is to check in with me through the month to make sure I don’t give up. I have to write over 1,600 words a day to make the goal and that is going to be HARD and I’m going to get stuck. I’m counting on all of you to help me through it! Here we go on this awesome adventure. I really hope I am able to write something amazing from this.

Three Years

October 27, 2012

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Michael and I celebrated our third anniversary on Tuesday. We got our dressy fall pictures that are now a tradition and of course had to get the obligatory sitting on a bench shot. Here is a post with the pictures from the past two years.

The coolest part was hearing from my dad that my family honored our anniversary too, by going to the Boise Temple open house where we were married three years ago to the day. I was so happy that they chose our special day to do that and to remember us in that way. I have heard that the temple looks beautiful and I hope we get to see the changes sometime soon. I have so many amazing memories of that very special day.

Michael has stood by me through good times and bad and has been an amazing support and comfort to me. I honestly would not have been able to get my degree and get where I am today without him by my side. I love you so much honey. Thank you for a wonderful journey and I can’t wait to see where it takes us next!

 

The Birds

September 3, 2012

Being in nature truly replenishes my soul. Since our move away from Bloomington, we haven’t had as many opportunities to get out into the country, the wilderness, nature. This area of Northern Indiana is a bit more densely populated and urban than Monroe County and Southern Indiana. The great thing about Bloomington was all the rolling hills and how beautiful Brown County was only a few minutes away. I realized I was really starting to miss that up here. So we on Thursday we took advantage of a day off and discovered our nearest state park, Potato Creek.

I was so happy to discover that this park is only about 30 minutes away from us! This park had pretty much everything you could want in a park. Hiking trails, bike trails, horse trails, bikes to rent, boats to rent, a sandy beach, cabins and tent areas. It was perfect. There was even a really cool little Nature Center. We went on a really fun 2 mile hike and then enjoyed a picnic together. The great thing was how empty the park was in the middle of the week, right before the Labor Day weekend rush.

My favorite part of the day was going into the Nature Center and looking out the bird watching windows. They had a ton of birdfeeders set out in front of this window and it was a great place for viewing birds! We saw at least a dozen different bird species out there. And since I was having a great time I picked up a Birds of Indiana Checklist and decided to start keeping track of the birds I saw! Of course my next stop was to pick up a Bird Field Guide at the library. Next I’m hoping to get a bird feeder for our little patio and eventually maybe a pair of nice birding binoculars. I love birds so much! Since moving to Indiana I have been struck by the beauty of the birds in this part of the country. I think Cardinals, the Indiana state bird, will always be my favorite. Another favorite is the Great Blue Heron. It reminds me of those special mornings we would see a heron fishing in the pond in our backyard growing up.

So far I have counted 18 bird species on my checklist. That is a very small number of the 990 North American bird species in my guide book, so I have a lot of birds yet to discover!!  My new goal is to reach 100 species by next Fall!

Summer?

August 25, 2012

Where did the summer go? That’s what I’d like to know. I haven’t updated this blog since Michael’s birthday in April and the past four months have gone by in quite a whirl! Here’s the highlighs:

May 4: Graduation! I graduated with my Masters in Library Science. My mom was able to come to my graduation and Michael’s mom came too! It was a weekend of mothers and we had a wonderful time.

May 16: Interview at the Elkhart Public Library! I actually got the phone call inviting me to the interview while I was in the yarn store with my mom graduation weekend. I will never forget that thrilling moment. The interview went pretty well and it was over 2 hours long! I should have realized that was  a good sign.

May 25: The library called and offered me the job! They wanted me to start right away, in just 2 weeks. I cried, we prayed, we told our families, and we accepted the job. Just three weeks after graduation and I had a job!

June 8: We moved from Bloomington to Mishawaka, IN. What an exhausting day! We were in a completely new place and we didn’t know a soul. Thank goodness we found a donut shop first thing the next morning!

June 11: My first day at my new job! Head of Young People’s Services. It’s a lot of responsibility but also a lot of fun. Everyone at the library is so friendly and awesome. Being a librarian is the best!

Everything after June 11 has just completely flown by. I can’t believe August is almost over. Without the start of fall classes, it doesn’t feel like summer ever really happened. The first time in 18 years August has not meant starting school again! It’s a little weird. But I love it. We are having so much fun in our new home and my new job is really everything I hoped being a librarian would be! We have been very lucky and very blessed. All we need now is for Michael to find a really great job too! We are sure it will be happening soon. And thus starts the great adventure of the rest of our lives!!

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