I just spoke with a high school teacher from the tri-cities area in Washington state.  She said her school doesn't use textbooks any more because they know students won't take them home and read or study them.  Instead, she has to come up with all her own handouts for her business writing class.  She teaches her 2D animation class step-by-step on the computer (which probably is the best way to learn new software).

She said she attended a workshop on schools and reading recently.  Colleges and universities are seeing the same issue.  Students don't want to use the textbooks.  Which reminded me of library school.  We had textbooks assigned for each class, but for the most part were assigned articles to read, projects to complete, or books to read for reader's advisory purposes.  We weren't assigned readings from the textbook.  I suppose it was for students who didn't think they were busy enough with the rest of library school to use.

Just yesterday I spoke with a parent of a fifth grader who was appalled and critical of her daughter's school because it doesn't have textbooks either.  She said her daughter's teacher prints off articles from the Internet for her students to learn history, etc.  She also complained that the majority of the school day is spent with reading and little time is allotted for history and science.  This parent believes her daughter's liberal arts education to be greatly lacking.

It is hard to imagine learning in this new environment.  My elementary and high schools used textbooks.  We read from them in class.  We were assigned chapters to read for homework and expected to study the textbooks for tests.  I'm not sure how students study now.  I hear many parents complain about all the homework their children have.  What exactly does that homework consist of?  Worksheets?  Research?  And then there is the great criticism of American public schools and the quality of the education they provide.

I used to think the great debate of whether books would be relevant, and thereby libraries, in the future was a big joke, thinking that books are forever.  Now I'm wondering.  We read about a drop in newspaper subscriptions because people get their news online.  E-books readers and e-books are gaining popularity.

If the young people of today are learning primarily through digital media, printed media may indeed have a shorter shelf life than I ever expected.

Something is in the air.  I'm not sure if it's the Christmas/holiday season, full moons every night (I'm sure it's possible!), or something in the Ogden water, but there is a lot of nervous, perhaps a tad bit excited, energy waiting to be expended by so library patrons in Ogden!

Or maybe it's just that it is winter and the warmth of the public library draws more people in.  We have our usual transient patrons who sit in the library all day reading and occasionally using the Internet.  Seriously, people who complain about "those people" using the library should shut up and complain about the taxpayers who also use the library and actually cause problems.

In the past couple of weeks we've had several incidents.  The Juggalos are back and intimidating patrons.  They're also spreading their damaging influence on the younger regulars.  It is so sad when you see seventh graders passing around smokes (even though these same kids can be terribly obnoxious). And, yes, I know Juggalos are not bad in and of themselves, but these ones in particular are not model citizens.

Sunday we had a young adult run into the library claiming someone in a car pulled up to the 20 minute parking in front of the library and pulled a gun on him.

Then yesterday, we had a couple of "incidents" at the same time.  One was a rumored attempted child abduction, which actually turned out to be inattentive parenting, a good Samaritan trying to keep the kid out of the street, and a meddlesome regular who likes the drama the front of the building has to offer.  At the same time, a couple of our obnoxious kids were being accused of harassing patrons.  Maybe a rude comment to one of the associate directors will be enough to kick the kids out once and for all for a whole year because they were actually caught in the act of harassing and not just reported.

Then we have the young people who are on winter break from school and excited about the prospect of escaping into a good book.  It is so much fun to suggest books to kids who enjoy reading and take a stack of 10 novels to the checkout counter, barely able to hold onto them, with huge smiles on their faces.

Today I couldn't stand it and while Baby and daddy were sleeping this morning, I went on a walk and even jogged here and there.

Boy did it feel good! It always feel good to work up a sweat, to get the heart rate up, and feel the euphoria of doing something strenuous. I didn't appreciate this feeling back when I was regularly working out because I had been in the habit of exercising for several years. Today I truly appreciated it.

And I realized I was jogging for myself. Not for the people who I passed, not so I could say I'm running, not so I could look skinny (although this is partially why it has been a concern for me and another source of guilt; need to lose those pregnancy pounds). When I realized how good it feels, I decided this was something to do just for me.

Then I thought about yoga and how wonderful that feels. I began community ed yoga a year after I got married and continued for about nine months. Then the night of the class changed to a night I work so I stopped doing it altogether. But the feelings that come from yoga and meditating are hard to replicate and I remember them and ache to have those feelings again. There is a release and clarity that comes with focusing on one's self in the manner that yoga and meditation offer. Yoga is about strengthening an individual's mind and body.

Here are some tasks that I can do that focus on myself in varying amounts of time. Many are ones that I used to enjoy but have let fall to the wayside. (Seriously my life consists of work, family, and reading--but reading so I don't have be alone with myself--sad, huh?) Some are activities I've recently come to enjoy. They may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour depending on what is feasible for the day. My goal is to do at least one of these activities every day.  I cannot do anything else while I'm focusing on these tasks. 

* Walking (sans iPod)
* Yoga
* Running (sans iPod)
* Journaling
* Cooking a yummy meal/new recipe
* Listening to music (I used to do this all the time; just sit, listen, and enjoy)
* Write
* Doodle
* Draw
* Meditate
* Watch a favorite television program or movie without doing something else at the same time

Please comment on what you like to do just for yourself.

A couple of weeks ago, once Baby hit five weeks, I felt I could handle doing more around the house, including experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes. I use the website Allrecipes.com to find easy, tasty, and healthy recipes to make. Bev's Orange Chicken is quick and easy to make. And my biggest food critic--my husband--thought it very tasty!

Here is the recipe:

Bev's Orange Chicken

Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 1 Hr 30 minutes [original recipe; I cooked mine for 45 minutes, which was enough time for the internal temperature to be the USDA recommended 160 degrees F for cooking poultry]


* 1 cup orange juice
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
* 8 chicken thighs [I used chicken boneless, skinless chicken breast]


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a small bowl, stir together the orange juice, soy sauce, onion soup mix and garlic powder; set aside. Rinse chicken, and pat dry. Place chicken thighs into a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Pour the orange juice mixture over.
3. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 30 minutes in the preheated oven, basting every half hour. If using boneless chicken, reduce cooking time to 1 hour.

Nutritional information: Calories: 180 | Total Fat: 9.9g | Cholesterol: 59mg

Rusty liked the chicken but couldn't really taste the orange. I even added a little extra orange juice. Of course, I could taste the orange but that may be because I knew it was one of the ingredients. The website offers comments and suggested alterations to the recipe including shortening the cooking time, which I'm glad I did. Had I cooked the chicken the full hour and a half, the chicken probably would have been dry.

Not sure who decided that dogs are man's best friend, but I really think more men enjoy monkeys. Men seem to instinctively think monkeys are quite funny and cute, more so than your average woman.

Today I caught part of a documentary called Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History by filmmaker Allison Argo. It focused on the use of chimps in various forms of entertainment, as pets, and for research. Chimps used in movies lose their star appeal by about age 9, when they are no longer considered cute (chimps can live to be 40 years old). Chimps used in the circus often have their teeth removed and are given away once they are too strong for the circus workers to control, which is also the case with people who take on chimps as pets and realize that their strength is too much to handle. The chimps in these three scenarios are often sold to research labs, where they are isolated in cages and given various diseases to test vaccines and drugs to treat human ailments.

There are actually chimp sanctuaries in the U.S. and Canada for chimps who outgrow their uses in the above roles. These facilities have caring workers who soon learn that each chimp has its own personality and past to deal with. These primates may be scarred from losing their loved ones, from being isolated, or abused. They can form attachments to the humans that care for them, which is very touching. I also thought it funny that chimps eat similar food to humans (including fruits, vegetables, ice cream, pizza, etc), sleep with pillows and blankets, and may enjoy wearing clothing and being reminded of their past lives. These sanctuaries try to provide a little bit of freedom for these animals that have lived in captivity and could not survive being put back into the wild. These caretakers and facilities are to be commended for taking in these animals who have been stolen from their natural habitat and forced into unnatural circumstances.

I would like to visit one of these sanctuaries and observe these intelligent animals. If they were not wild animals, I could see the appeal for having a chimp as a pet.

One thing they don't tell you about being a new mom or having a newborn is that you begin to identify with dairy cows.

1. Electric Breast Pump: While Baby was in the NICU for 4.5 days, I had to pump after every feeding. The hospital gave me an electric double breast pump to use. I sat on the hospital bed watching TV holding the milk receptors to my breasts. Cows have it much easier with their milk machines since they don't have to hold the pump attachment to their udders.


This isn't the exact model I used. Mine stood about 3.5 feet high and was VERY heavy duty! I did go out and purchase a single breast pump for home use, which is much easier on the hands than a manual pump.

2. The purpose of life? MILK!: A dairy cow lives to provide milk. The past 3.5 weeks I've often wondered what my purpose in life is. Well, right now it is basically for one thing: feeding baby (and loving him; I feed him because I love him!). Every few days, Baby decides to change his feeding schedule. I never know from day to day if he'll want to feed every hour, two hours, three hours, or the very rare four hours. These hourly milkings are nuts (probably a growth spurt) and leave little time for anything else, including sleep.

3. Feed/Express Milk, Eat, Sleep: The three important activities for moms of newborns are similar to that of a cow. What does a cow spend its days doing? I can't imagine they do more than be milked, eat, and sleep.

Despite having a dairy cow as my personal mascot, I love having this little guy and enjoy the time I have alone with him in the early morning hours to feed him, see his cute little smile (dimples and all), and get to know the little guy.

We went to the Muse concert a week ago in Salt Lake City. It was fantastic! The venue was bigger than the one a couple years ago in Orem and there was hardly an empty seat (in fact it is still a mystery as to how people were stuck sitting behind the stage at the E-Center; how much did those seats cost?). We, on the other hand, had excellent seats.

The opening band was Silversun Pickups, who I hadn't heard of until Muse started touring. Turns out the radio plays a couple of their songs, which were the best ones they performed at the very end of their allotted time (which was way too much allotted time in my opinion). The rest of their songs just sounded the same and the band didn't exhibit much of a stage presence. We chuckled when the lead singer, trying to pander to the crowd, calling us "insane". Don't know what he had been smoking but the general admission crowd was just standing around and those of us with seats were just...well, sitting. Yup. Insane, alright.

And for those who are wondering: apparently so long as you don't have any complications, you can go to a rock concert at 8 months of pregnancy and not go into labor. In fact, the only time Baby moved was when I was sitting down.

Here are some pictures that Rusty took with his cell phone. Hopefully, the next time Muse comes to your neighborhood you can take advantage of this highly recommended show.