Sunday, December 28, 2008


So I've decided it's been far too long since I've posted anything.  Here's a brief update on what's been happening with us.

Kurt finished his classes a couple of weeks ago, so we've both officially graduated! We're both working full time, but actually that gives us plenty of free time, and we've been enjoying that.  Kurt works as an editor for Western Governer's University.  I'm working at JMS school for the Deaf here in Salt Lake.  We both enjoy our jobs quite a bit.

Things have been a little crazy lately, but hopefully once the new year begins and rutines are re-estabilshed, I'll get back to regular postings.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Cost Curtains

Home decorating is something I have always had a passion for.  I get addicted to HGTV and TLC if I'm not careful about my intake. However, being recently graduated with a husband still in school, I have not yet graduated from the student budget.  It proves to be a great struggle for me! I really love my apartment, but a $25 security deposit per wall if I wish to paint deters me from that option and the overarching blandness from the white walls is something I really struggle to overcome.  

My husband and I have tried using bold colors in our decorations in an attempt to contrast the stark white walls.  Our apartment is still a work in progress because we can only spend so much 
so often, but one thing that really helped out was making curtains for our bedroom.

The apartment came equiped with blinds, so privacy was not an issue I had to deal with, although my solution would work to help out with that as well.  My solution was to use bedsheets, but to be creative in my method of putting them up.  

Because of the size of the windows, I chose twin sheets.  To custom fit them to your window size (if you'll look closely, the two windows in our bedroom are two different sizes), you can simply make a "Z" shapped fold on each end of the sheet.  It really is quite simple.  You measure how much overhang you have on each side of the window after you center the sheet on the window.  Then, take the sheet where you want it to end (the edge of your window or slightly past), and bring the edge of the sheet to meet that spot.  After doing this, you should have a loop of extra sheet.  (If you were to spread the layers apart slightly, it would make a "Z" shape.)

All you have left is to fasten it to the wall. I used push pins.  Seriously.  Since sheets are long, I
 also had the ability to make a valance that hangs over the push pins to hide them.  I did this
 without cutting up the sheet, in case I ever wanted to use it on a bed again.  I actually did this step first by measuring how close to the floor I wanted the edge to hang and having the excess just fall over in the front. (Of course, if you already have a rod on the window, the process is much simpler.  Just flip the top of the sheet over the front of the rod and safety pin the two sides together.)

To make it more decorative, I took some ribbon I had lying aroung (never throw away ribbon, it has SO many uses!!) to tie around the middle of each sheet.  And voila.  No cost curtains.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Review: Salt Lake City Public Library

A vital part of any thriving metropolis is its public library. Of course, this opinion is coming from a former English major, so it may be tainted, but I believe it to be valid. After all, my love of books came from the frequent trips made to the public library in which my mom encouraged each of my siblings and I to check out our own books with our own library cards. I would imagine that many families have the same tradition. So, I feel validated in my claim that the library is an important part of any city.

Yesterday afternoon I took my niece (almost 3 yrs old) with me on my first trip to the Salt Lake City Library. I had heard that it was impressive and that it had a good children's section, so I went to find out for myself. Before leaving and a number of times on the way there, I reminded my niece that in the library we need to use our quiet voices. I was a little on the nervous side since I didn't know if she would be bored or not and, consequently, how much noise she would make. Turns out, my worries were unnecessary.

The first place we went to was the children's section. Since it is its own floor (smart planning on their part) the noise level wasn't so much of a worry. Secondly, I had trouble convincing her to explore the rest of the library. They had a few different rooms that were strictly for playing. One, called "The Attic" had a ton of fun little architectural elements, such as low, exposed beams, exposed brick, etc., that made it feel as though it were an attic in an old farmhouse or something, even though we were in the basement of the building. There were a number of stairs and steps all lined with carpet which she had a blast scooting along.

Once I had convinced her to leave that Attic, we discovered another little room with a row of computers, all placed at child's size, as well as another playroom. Similar to the attic room, this one was called "glacier ice" and was appropriately decorated with stairs and steps through which she could explore. Most impressive to me, however, was the selection. There were as many bookshelves in the children's section as there were in the adult general fiction section.

In addition, the young adult literature was on another level of the library. This was an excellent decision! Most young adults do not wish to enter into the adult sections of the library because they anticipate them being boring or too difficult to read. However, they do not wish to be associated with children. Having the young adult section on a separate floor helps to make the distinction that they are more advanced, more mature readers, which fosters self esteem and encourages reading.

While the selection in various genres of non-fiction was not as impressive as other libraries I've seen, it held its own. There were also ample places to comfortably sit and read as well as the various computer stations and laptop work stations. Along with the coffee shops on the first floor, the library was a very encouraging environment to sit and read—unless of course you were distracted by the threat of paying $1.25 per half hour for parking. (Thankfully, the first hour is free.)

The most impressive aspect of the Salt Lake City library, however, has to be its architecture. The entrance is not just a vaulted ceiling, it is the only part of the library with no floors above it. When you enter, on either side of you, you see 5 floors of glass walls towering above you on either side. Even the elevators and the stair walls are glass. I suggest that if you are afraid of heights, you take the elevator and stare at the door! :D

Overall, I found the Salt Lake City Public Library to be a beautiful building, with beautiful accommodations. If you can find a cheaper place to park, it's a wonderful way to spend a day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Let's Talk Twilight

Quite a bit of attention has been paid toStephenie Meyer's best-selling series. Teenage girls—and let's be honest, even quite a few mom's I know—love it. Academics and professors scoff and turn up their noses. My unofficial survey has turned up very few lukewarm fans. Most readers either love it and believe that Meyer can do no wrong, or they hate it. Let's take a look at both sides, shall we?

To be perfectly honest, Meyer's prose is somewhat less than appealing. When read aloud, it becomes laughable. If the book were Meyer's attempt to enter the literary cannon, I would agree wholeheartedly with those snide academics who see no value whatsoever with her work. But, take a look at her intentions.

Meyer fully and wholeheartedly admits that the first book in the series was nothing more than a personal exercise for her imagination. She had no original intention to publish. And to those who criticize her grammar and typos, well, those criticisms should be aimed at her editors rather than the author herself. This admission also negates the criticisms that she should have been more aware of her young adult audience by making the messages her readers took from her books more positive. Again, she did not originally intend for the book to be published and the reason her book is categorized in the young adult section is simply because the protagonist is a high school student.

Now, about the teenage fan base. I will readily admit that the cultish following that the series has produced has grown to disgusting and unhealthy levels. However, such levels are encouraged and promoted within our consumeristic culture (another discussion for another day). When there is an entire industry based on the invasion of celebrities' privacy rights and the goals of our citizens, as individuals, usually revolve around emulating certain aspects of celebrity lifestyle (be it cosmetics, clothing, what have you), it is only natural that the economic powers that be would capitalize on the idealization of fictional characters. We see it with Harry Potter, High School Musical, and Hannah Montana. (Personally, I believe all of these fascinations to be unhealthy, but give props where they are due. If Meyer had been a failure as a character writer, such phenomena would not be seen.

Stephenie Meyer's greatest strength is her ability as a character writer. She posted on her website various exercises in characterization that she started, one of which evolved into her newest "novel" Midnight Sun (part of the first novel from Edward's perspective).

So what does this mean for the upcoming film? Well, since the greatest strength of the books is the characterization—which is almost impossible to develop on screen to the same extent as in a novel—the film will probably not appeal to any broader of an audience than the already existing fanbase. Secondly, because a film is an artistic venture in its own right and adaptations cannot simply be "the novel on screen," there will be a great many variations from the novel itself. Because of the fanatic level of devotion most fans have, I cannot foresee them being very forgiving about variations.

My prediction is that the film will do outstandingly well in the first week or two, then drop very suddenly in popularity and quickly go soon to DVD to be forgotten within a few years.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Starting Out

For quite a while, I have had the desire to be a critic--in fact, I have even been told by others that I should be a critic. In conversations with those around me, I evaluate everything from films, to books, to restaurants, and even products I use every day. This isn't because I belive my opinions to be more valuable than any one else's or anything like that. More because I often find it helpful to be able to get information on something before I try it, whether that is reading a review before I go to a movie, buy a book, or buy a product. This research doesn't mean I change my opinion based on one person's review. Instead, I try to get as much information about something as possible, simply so I know what to expect. After the purchase is made or movie watched, I also enjoy finding out who agrees with my assesments of things and who does not.

Since I enjoy reading critiques as well as discussing my opinions with those around me, I decided to enter the blogosphere and give everyone else one more opinion to help them gather their own research. I hope you all enjoy it and I look forward to writing many more entries.