Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category


Some things I would like to do in the New Year

January 8, 2012

Hopefully a week into the new year isn’t too late to get a list of pseudo resolutions in, but hey who am I kidding, I still have several things from 2011 I still want to talk about, so this won’t be the only late post. Also as you may have noticed I didn’t really post much in December.  Two big reasons for that exist, the first being my move across town to the lovely neighborhood of Ballard and second being I was trying to get this new self-hosted blog up and running and didn’t want to confuse my transfer by posting in two places. This is the new site for now, however my plans are to keep tweaking this lay-out and hopefully eventually teaching myself enough coding to make my own template.  But for now, I am just happy to have my own little corner of the internet to mess about with.

Create more

Write reviews – I consume a lot, primarily through my love of reading, which takes the form of many, many books, but also copious numbers of blogs, sites, and other forms of Internet writing.  However in doing thinking about ways to turn what I like to do into what I need to do to earn money, I have been thinking about strengthening my writing muscles. Essentially my enjoyment of reading and learning do little good if they end with me.  While the assumption that writing more book critiques, blog posts, maybe even jigsaw puzzle reviews will make the world a better place is definitely grandiose, it is a better plan that fervently hoping that one day someone will decide to pay me a modest income to just consume information.

Take a art related class – I tend to forget most of the time how good it feels to actually create something.  A week or two before Christmas I decided that I wasn’t going to keep my lack of a real Christmas tree from letting me showcase my newly re-acquired box of ornaments and so I selected some of my favorite 2D ones and created a Christmas tree. In addition, I decided to wrap all of my Christmas presents in paper grocery bags and enjoyed the chance to incorporate interesting folding techniques to actually cover all the presents with my limited supply.  While neither of these acts were huge works of art, they both reminded me how satisfying it is to use my creative muscle.  One of my old post-grad school goals was to take a class for my own enjoyment.  While I still have the goal of taking a foreign language class at some point, currently I would really like to take a basic sketching/painting/photography/graphic design course for no other reason than giving me an excuse to create.

Move more

I think sometimes my opinion of exercise gets too caught up into the general category of weight-loss as the key to society’s brainwashing in terms of thinness=only path to beauty. While I have my issues with the weight-loss industry, I have no argument with the theory that regular exercise increases energy, adds a sense of accomplishment, extends one’s years of active ability and generally improves mood: all of which are things I want more of. Unfortunately I also have a low tolerance for taking on activities that seem solely designed to bore me (running on a hamsteresque treadmill at the gym) and the huge lack of appeal of waking up an extra hour earlier to go for a jog, I still struggle to find a way to incorporate more movement into my all to sedentary life. So I actually don’t have a brilliant plan for this one, but hopefully continuing to have it as a goal will keep me moving in the right direction.

Sleep more

I don’t think I need to elaborate more than to say 8 hours of sleep makes me considerably more happy than 6-7 hours.

Spend less

I recently did the math and discovered to my complete surprise (sometimes I can be a bit dense to rather obvious things) that I am currently making $5.67 an hour.  Considering this is probably the lowest hourly wage I have received since my work/study jobs at the college and close to a 75% pay cut, it is now much clearer to me why adjusting to my “subsistence allowance” has been a bit harder than I anticipated.  While knowing that I make $5.67 an hour in my volunteer position, shouldn’t be anymore surprising than knowing all along that I would be making just under $1000 a month, it really is.  All of a sudden the decision to get the fancy latte at Starbucks or eat at the local burger joint ($5 and $10, respectively) seems much more frivolous when I calculate that I spent an hour of time earning half of that delicious burger. So my goal of spending less (specifically in the areas of eating out, music, clothes, books, and generally non-required items) is even more imperative given my general life goals of always living within my means.  I should also note that I knew going into this year that I would be accepting a paycut and given that the position has gotten me to Seattle, given me many good learning experiences and greatly extended my professional connections, I don’t consider that choice to be a bad one.  It also helps remind me to look at my current position as less of a job and more of an act of service, which I think will help me with some of the difficulties in making peace with the differences between expectations and reality.

Become a better speller

I have never been an excellent speller. However in the world of luxurious auto spell-check I have noticed a definite decrease in my abilities.  Therefore I will be attempting to not just right click on all those red underlined words, but instead attempt first to correct it myself before resorting to the spell-check suggestions.

So how about you all, do you make resolutions at the New Year? Do you have any for 2012?


Hey I finally moved my blog

January 7, 2012

Head over to and please update your feed-readers cause all the new posts will be over that a way.  It is still under construction, but I can promise there is actually a new post, so enjoy!


Day 30 – Last day of NaBloPoMo

November 30, 2011

Yay for being done with posting every day for a month.  This was a good month and my third consecutive year of completing NaBloPoMo.While I always enjoy the practice of daily blogging, I have to say I am enjoying not having the pressure to come up with a blog post tomorrow night or the night after that.  As is typical many of my posts ended up being a bit of one-off attempts to JUST POST SOMETHING, however I also enjoyed the extra post to write some more in depth posts and in general blog more frequently.  I hope you all have enjoyed the month and I will do my best not to drop off the radar for all of December like I did last year 🙂 However considering some of my goals for December, that might prove challenging:

  • pack, move into new apartment, unpack
  • read just under 6,000 pages to beat my 2010 statistic of 31,000 pages read
  • finish transferring this blog over to a self-hosting WordPress site
  • prepare for Christmas with baking, present gathering, etc

Thanks to everyone who followed along this month and especially those of you who commented! Happy Holidays!


So that NaBloPo thing

October 31, 2011

This is my third year running of National Blog Posting Month, where I commit to blogging everyday during the entire 30 days of November.  My first year, I didn’t really set myself any schedules or patterns, however my second year I came up with a set theme for each day and found that helped mightily when I was scratching my head at 9pm, wondering what the heck to write about.  Here is my current idea for a schedule, of course always subject to change.

Mondays – Links (or cool things I find on the interwebs)

Tuesdays – Food Show!

Wednesdays – Things I wear

Thursdays – Guest Posts

Fridays – Nugget o’ Thought (or probably something else brief, cause hey, it’s friday!)

Saturday – Book Reviews

Sunday – Photo Sunday

So hopefully that will help me keep this month ticking by and of course I will be looking for people to write those Thursday posts for me, so let me know if you are interested!


some draft posts and thoughts

October 27, 2011

Wow, 26 days, impressive, even for me and my general hit or miss blogging schedule (and by that I mainly mean miss).  Well, this will hopefully get the obligatory catch-up blog out of the way, so I can get into a more regular schedule just in time for NaBloPoMo.  Which if you are unfamiliar with this term, is the month in which some people attempt to write 50,000 word novels and others with slightly lower ambitions attempt to post on their blogs every day.  I have been doing this successfully for two years running and you can go see the 2009 and 2010 attempts.

So here are a list of partially written blog posts I have accumulated and few updates of the more general sort:

  • Draft post titled: Massive update and plans for the future – in which I attempted to give a synopsis of my parents’ awesome 2 week long visit at the beginning of October and our house plans to disband and move into apartments come December.  Never got further than 2 paragraphs, chance of completion: low
  • Draft post titled: Some thoughts on the book  The Help – in which I wrote up some thoughts that came up both while reading the book and after completion.  This one actually got mostly written and I will probably polish it up a bit more before saving it for NaBloPoMo fodder
  • Draft post titled: More October birthdays – in which I contemplate how it feels to turn 28 and how my expectations for birthdays have changed over the years.  I even drew a nifty graph for this on, chance of completion: medium
  • Two nights ago I went to sleep cold (we keep our house at 60 degrees because it is horribly insulated and we are all very poor cheap) and tossed and turned for close to an hour trying to get warm, until finally I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed my spare blanket and shivered myself to sleep.  Only, of course to wake up again later in the night, cold, but this time to tired to go hunt down my third spare blanket.  Now I have to admit I was kind of worried that my brief 2 months in Seattle had turned me into a pansy – I mean my down comforter has gotten me through 4 Chicago winters, with nary an extra blanket needed!  But the good news is, that our house doesn’t actually have any heat on!  Yes, that is actually good news, so instead of the 60 degrees I thought my room was, it was probably in the upper 40s, low 50s.  Thankfully we also possess space heaters, which will keep me from totally freezing until we get more heating oil delivered early next week.
  • Seattle has turned out to have a much better autumn than I anticipated – leaves have changed colors, repeated days of crisp blue sky weather, etc.

No filter - autumn in Seattle

And in conclusion, you all should watch this brilliant video of people doing absolutely crazy awesome things of which I have zero interest in imitating:

Young Adult Fiction: Is censorship an answer to dark themes?

June 6, 2011

As per usual, Linda Holmes of Monkey See blog fame hits it out of the park with her eloquent retort to Wall Street Journal’s claim that young adult literature is too dark.  I particularly liked this paragraph, mainly due how I felt very similarly about the mentioned books (especially in the comparison between Hunger Games and Lord):

Even the things we read for school were things like Animal Farm and Lord Of The Flies and even that horrible thing in Johnny Tremain about being burned by molten metal OW OW OW. If we’re speaking thematically, The Hunger Games has nothing on Lord Of The Flies.

While I enjoyed Hunger Games (or at least books one and two, I was not as sold on the last one, although I overall liked the trilogy), I abhorred Lord of the Flies.

Oh and this paragraph too, because I think her interest in Stephen King comes from a similar place as my interest in apocalypse based books.  When you strip most of society away you get some incredible stories of hope/despair/etc.

I was always going to read Stephen King, because I was interested in the way he talked about hope and despair, about finding salvation in other people, and about things like eating your own foot that were just plain freaking crazypants cool. Not reading scary, weird, dark, or dirty books wouldn’t have made me a different kid. It certainly wouldn’t have made me a happier kid.

It might have made me a kid who read less, though.

And of course the librarian in me loves that she throws a good dig at the idea of book banning as “guiding young people’s reading. Go read it for yourself!


First ever give-a-way winner!

June 1, 2011

It seems that Option 7 was the clear favorite with a total of 5 votes, so when I actually get around to finishing up the new and improved text, be prepared to see this over on my “about me” page:
Windy AbbyThanks to all of you who voted and managed to leave such lovely compliments, that was really sweet of you.  Anyways I went with the trusty Random Number Generator to pick the winner (and I figured I should have the screenshot to prove it) because……

CONGRATS Commenter number 6 (i.e. Dad!)! You are the lucky winner!  Let me know if you want the Amazon gift card or the 10,000 villages gift card.  Or alternately something at Nashbar?  Thanks again to all of you who entered, that was fun.  I don’t know how many of these give-a-ways I’ll do with actual prizes, but I could see doing more of the “win something random I found in my room” type of thing 🙂


updated context page

May 27, 2011

or as I currently title it “info for the context inclined”

So my about page over there on the right is getting a little aged.  Not only is the photo from Tim and Charletta’s wedding over 4 1/2  years ago (holy cow, you guys have been married a while now 🙂 ), but I haven’t updated the text in over two years.  Therefore, I figure what better activity than a little spring blog cleaning.  First of all I figure I should pick a new photo for the page and then I will need to do the hard work of trying to describe myself, at least a little bit.

Here is where you all come in.  The following photos are all pictures of me taken within the past year (or so), but in order to narrow down the options I want your opinion.  Now this doesn’t have to be the best picture of me ever taken, just one that captures part of my personality (and I have admit part of me is a little weirded out by the possible vanity of this proposition, oh my Mennonite ancestors are crying!).*  To encourage you to comment, I am going to have my first ever give-a-way.  So here is the deal leave a comment on this post about what photo you think I should use and I will use a random number selector to pick a winner.  The winner will get either a $10 certificate to Ten Thousand Villages or a $10 certificate to Amazon depending on the winner’s preference and location to Ten Thousand Villages stores.

Oh and since I guess this kind of thing has to have a time limit, the contest will end Tuesday, May 31st at 10pm Central Time (otherwise known as the approximate time I will be returning from my trip to Seattle).

Sparkly Abby

Option 1 (Taken by Jess)

Pinata hat, my favorite kind

Option 2 (Taken by Erini)

Option 3 (Taken by Steph)

"I wonder when it will fall down"

Option 4 (Taken by David)

Option 5

Option 6 (Taken by Becca)

Option 7 (Taken by Tim)

Braided hair detail

Option 8

*Alternately feel free to go poke around in my Flickr page and select a different option.

UPDATE: Voting and Contest are now closed, thanks for participating!


Thank you all for such a wealth of good advice

February 28, 2011

It was good to hear that for most people they wouldn’t be offended by this blog appearing as a part of a pre-employment google search (and would even consider it an asset!). 🙂  But I also think Katie’s point about the permanence of meshing professional and personal was a really good one and Justice Bird’s point about cost/benefit analysis were good ones.  This made me think about the fact that while I do occasionally write about professional topics or at least professionally related ones, this has been primarily personal and while I don’t think I need to live in fear of being “found out by an employer” I also might not gain huge amounts by taking down the boundary between personal/professional.   That said, if a potential employer asked to see examples of my blogging, I think I would feel okay using this blog as an example.

Anyways I still have some thinking to do about all of this, but I think I am leaning towards keeping this blog semi-anonymous.  Thanks again for all your great comments, they really helped me with this decision!


question for my readers (all 17 of you non-spambots)

February 24, 2011

Hey folks, as most of you know I am in that lovely post-graduate job hunt stage of life and as I brush up the resume, write essays about my ideal library, re-learn the art of the cover letter I am left pondering what to do with my social network footprint.  Here at Mennogirl, I have been blogging semi-anonymously* for over 6 years, which in the world of blogland is kind of a long time.  And in the world of libraries, the ability to demonstrate a mastery of blogging, familiarity with tweeting, knowledge of flickr, etc is currently seen as a plus.  Overall this blog is something I am actually kind of proud of, while not every (or even most) posts are written with specific topics in mind, I feel like this blog does a good job of representing the range of personal blogging.  BUT therein lies the rub, this has been and always will be my PERSONAL blog.  While I also have a pretty strict, “don’t blog about work and generally never blog something I wouldn’t say to a person’s face” policy I really don’t know if seeing this blog would be a plus or a minus to potential employers.  In regards to tweeting, I do that under a non-mennogirl name and that has been a bit more of a mix between personal and professional (tweeting was a key part of one of my library classes last spring).  As for Flickr, I also use that primarily personally and as a online back-up for my photographs.  However to access my blog is to gain access to my Flickr account, so my questions about that are linked pretty closely to my questions regarding this blog.

I did maintain a more professional blog for the above mentioned library class, which I am planning on including in my online portfolio, but it was also fairly short-lived (only a semester worth of posts) and may not be a representational of my blogging style.  Anyways so here is the question:

You all read my blog.  Pretend you are a library director of a middle school library, you have received my stellar resume, read my impressive letters of recommendation and are now looking through my online portfolio,  you see a link to my personal blog – Mennogirl and click on it.  Are you impressed? repulsed? frustrated with my lack of professionalism? happy that a potential employee demonstrates such familiarity with social network tools?

*To me semi-anonymously means not using my last name and attempting to keep Mennogirl out of the Google results for my full name.  In other words, it would not be difficult at all for someone to read Mennogirl and figure out who I am, but pretty hard for someone who doesn’t know me to find Mennogirl.