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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Beth Mitcham's LiveJournal:

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Friday, January 1st, 2010
12:17 pm
New Years Resolution
I'm going to look at exercising. I'm not sure I'll actually do it, but I'll look at it. With both eyes open, at least most of the time.

So, I bought new sneakers, found my honest-to-gosh running shirt, size bigger-than-me, and even got an exercise bra. And today I donned my gay apparel and poked my nose out my front door, and did two micro laps. Probably less than five minutes total exercise, but this was just a proof of concept kind of thing. I viewed the second lap as a major sign of my commitment to this whole live-past-my-fortieth birthday idea.

Tomorrow my goal is 3 (three) (one more than two) micro laps. (A micro-lap is the circuit of sidewalk in front of my house, about 1/10th of a block.)

Current Mood: blah
Sunday, June 28th, 2009
10:19 am
Writer's Block: First Aid
Have you ever performed CPR, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or the Heimleich maneuver on someone in an emergency?

Yes. Well, the baby Heimleich.
Sunday, June 7th, 2009
9:42 pm
48 Hour Finish Line
Whew, I'm done!

8:30 Friday night -- 8:30 Sunday night
Blog: 1 hr 30 minutes
Read Blogs & Comment (only a few comments, I'm shy): 1 hr 22 minutes
Read: 22 hrs 30 minutes

Total: 25 hours and 22 minutes.

I read 13 books, but four were books I had started earlier and needed a boost to finish. I had promised myself to give $1/book to my kid's school library -- a cheap pledge because Friday was their big fund-raising run and the school did pretty well by us already.

Words I never thought I'd hear my fourth grader utter "Mom, I'm tired of pizza." Was it my fault the school Spaghetti Dinner was changed at the last minute to Pizza Night? I had already penciled in pizza delivery for Saturday's dinner, and I had forgotten that Sunday was Family Movie night (with aunts and uncles) at which we
traditionally serve, uh, pizza. Ghost Busters was fun, at least the parts I could see while frantically finishing up Fever. But I think we'd better have soup or something tomorrow.

Current Mood: accomplished
Friday, June 5th, 2009
8:33 pm
48 Hour Reading challenge -- Go!
I don't think I've blogged since the last one, but I'm starting this year's challenge now, at 8:30 Friday Night.

I'm going to keep adding to this entry to keep track of my reading time.

Read more...Collapse )

Current Mood: awake
Saturday, October 11th, 2008
8:21 pm
Princess Bride
Anybody want a peanut?

Also rans:

Life is pain, highness.
As you wish.
I'm not thinking about building a summer home here.
She does not get eaten at this time (loose quote).

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, June 8th, 2008
7:31 pm
Finish line -- 48 Hour Book Challenge
After locking myself up in my house for most of the past 48 hours, I now
announce the finish line for my Challenge (from http://www.motherreader.com/2008/04/third-annual-48-hour-book-challenge.html).

I read: Read more...Collapse )

I've got to share the computer now, but I like the range -- YA, non-fiction,
SF, fantasy, contemporary fiction, older novels, and a few kids books.

I read 15 books, although they don't all count since I started a lot of them
early so I'd know what I was getting into. I was hoping to use this challenge to
finish a lot of my open books.

Total pages: 3129

(edited to add mini-reviews, final counts).

Current Mood: accomplished
Friday, June 6th, 2008
11:22 pm
Finished 2 already!
Challenge Update:

I finished off _Peeps_ and _Water For Elephants_. Now I'm
trying some nonfiction until I fall asleep.
6:50 pm
48 Hour Challenge
I'm about to hunker down for Mother Reader's
48-Hour-Book-Challenge from
I'm officially starting at 7:30 on Friday, so I'll be going through
Sunday evening. I've started a bunch of books because I figure
I'll be better at finishing with the challenge blowing me along.

Wish me luck!
Sunday, May 25th, 2008
2:13 pm
First book Challenge
I signed up for a reading challenge over at http://bookawardschallenge.blogspot.com/2008/05/book-awards-ii-rules-and-signup.html.

I haven't decided on the books, partly because I want to see what I have on my to-read bookcase first, but I'll
probably have include a Hugo, Pulitzer, Newbery, Carnigie, and Nebula winner. I'll see what other awards look tasty, too.

Current Mood: complacent
Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
9:14 pm
Books I've read
There's a 1% challenge from http://1morechapter.com/1percent/ that
I'm eyeing, but I'm not sure I'm confident enough of the author's ability to pick winners
to commit myself to his list. He's got some great books there, but also some faddish ones,
and ones that I bounced off sky-high. So maybe. But these are the ones I've
already read:

Read more...Collapse )

Current Mood: awake
Monday, May 19th, 2008
9:00 am
A meme!
My first post in ages!  I did a meme.  I got it from several places.

What we have here are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish, asterix the ones you own. Read more...Collapse ) edited because I forgot the cut.
Sunday, June 10th, 2007
4:52 pm
Last book
In the interest of symmetry, I finished _Secrets of Big League Play_, by Robert Smith, 1965, 171 pp (minus the 71 or so I started with). I know feel like an official baseball inside, and I shall confidently shout out instructions at practice and deliver little strategy pep-talks during the rides to games. I just hope nobody asks me to demonstrate any of my great fielding, batting, catching or pitching ideas. And it's a good thing I'm so bad at names, because since the book is dated 1965, I doubt any of the kids will have heard of any of the greats I want them to emulate. Maybe Willie Mays. Probably another 2 hours for that book, since I kept getting distracted and having to reread huge swatches.

So this book was probably another 2 hours, and I also spent some time (8 hours?) frittering my time away with _Claimed by Shadow_ (a vampire book), _Assassin's Quest_, and all those other books I mentioned yesterday, but nothing got finished. I find I can only handle about 2 Arabian Nights tales at a time.

I wasn't as focused as I'd hoped to be, but it was a crazy and upsetting week, so I forgive myself.

This is Beth, 48 hour Book Challenger, signing off at 5:00 Sunday afternoon.

Current Mood: content
Saturday, June 9th, 2007
9:46 am
Finished a book!
Which given my attention span, is cause for celebration (I'm also reading about five other books, plus the Baseball book, which I put down after the chapter on batting).

_Chasing Vermeer_, by Blue Balliett. 254 pages. This is sort of the Da Vinci Code for kids; it has two kids running around looking for a lost Vermeer painting. Everything is connected in a mystical coincidental sort of way, and they meet some interesting adults. There are codes and stuff hidden in the pages, but I'm on a deadline here so I didn't bother to figure them out. Also, I dislike pentominos, and I really dislike pentomino astrology, which is an important part of the plot. When the kids start basing decisions and making discoveries based on which pentomino they pull from a pocket, I start throwing tomatoes at them.

Anyway, it's a sturdy little book that demands puzzle solving and blind faith from its readers. The characters are small but rounded -- not fully fleshed out but big enough for the constraints of the book. I was too curmudgeonly to really enjoy the book -- I refused to do any of the pentomino codes, so I never knew what the boys were writing to each other, and I only looked for stuff in the pictures, I didn't try to solve anything with what I found. If you are willing to bring more to the book, you'd probably get more out. B-.

Time spent: 2 hours. (And another 5 hours on the other books, but I'll only give myself credit if I finish them, and anyway the time was interrupted by Life a lot)

Also reading: Secrets of Big League Play, The Nurture Assumption, Peace Like a River, Tales From the Arabian Nights, Getting Near to Baby.

ETA: Yay, another one! _Getting Near to Baby_, by Audrey Couloumbis, 211pp. Probably about two hours. I agree with the judges of the Newbery and ALA Notables -- this is a very fine book. As is common among Newbery books, it's about a tragedy, but it's about the aftermath of tragedy and how families deal with it. The family is mourning the death of Baby. Willa Jo and Little Sister go to stay with their aunt because the mother is so lost in her sadness. Willa Jo narrates, so she doesn't have much sympathy for her bossy aunt's ways, but as an adult I did. I liked the other people in the small town, and I liked Willa Jo's stubbornness and protection of her little sister. I liked how there were no villains but people with good intentions but selfish streaks.

Still reading: All the books mentioned above -- I didn't start anything new, which is a good sign, I guess.

Current Mood: accomplished
Friday, June 8th, 2007
6:02 pm
48 Hour Reading Challenge
I'm starting the 48 Hour challenge (http://motherreader.blogspot.com/2007/04/second-annual-48-hour-book-challenge.html) at 6:00 PM Friday night.

I don't think I really count, because I don't have a Cool Blog, but I can follow along in my little way.

I'm starting with _Secrets of Big League Play_, by Robert Smith, so that I can provide useful hints to my little leaguers this summer. Beyond "don't do it like this" I mean. Oh, and I'm starting at p. 71 because I cheated and read some earlier.

Go Me.

Current Mood: ambitious
Saturday, June 3rd, 2006
11:38 pm
Cooking Cookies
TheGreat found himself solely responsible for cookie making today, since I was throwing together a meatloaf for us and some people who just had a baby and find themselves saddled with my cooking for tonight, poor souls. Alexander had to read the recipe, measure the stuff (I did manage to help a bit with mission-critical ingredients such as vanilla extract, especially since I seem to have lost our measuring spoons), assemble and run the mixer, and taste the ingredients.

Read more...Collapse )
I read some regency romances last week: Read more...Collapse )
Friday, May 26th, 2006
12:47 pm
Long delayed joys
I have long considered Eleanor Estes's book _The Witch Family_ to be a beacon of perfection, a book that I read knowing that it would be even more wonderful read aloud. This was a strange feeling, seeing that in living memory I usually hate it when people read to me, unless I can't read for some reason that I'm not grumpy about (I'm driving, for example). There are a few exceptions, but not many. But I always knew that this book was meant for reading aloud.

Now I'm all grown up and I have two kids. Two boys. Who are of perfect read aloud age -- five and seven. But they are boys. So I was a little nervous about pulling this book off the shelf. Well, also because no book is really that perfect and I worried that I would be disillusioned. But mainly because the book is about two imaginative girls who meet and respond to their creations. And the girls are six going on seven. Conventional wisdom says that boys don't like books about girls and they don't want books about younger kids. And my boys aren't even big on drawing or making up stories beyond plot excuses for whacking each other with sticks.

Yet we are all loving the book. Moneybags has stopped boycotting the chapter book portion of bedtime (he hated Harry Potter, especially OOP -- not that I blame him, but he also didn't like Princess Bride and he was bored by Ramona). TheGreat loves it and tries to get me to sneak in extra chapters. He almost had a conniption last night because we ended a chapter just as Amy and Clarissa are abracadabra-ed to Little Witch Girl's birthday party -- this is the first time the witches and girls have met and he can't wait to see what happens. I am a complete sucker for tantrums about not finishing books -- I don't give in, but I really don't blame you for them. I completely see the point.

Unfortunately both kids just flew off to spend Memorial Weekend with their Dad, so they'll have to wait to see if anyone gets hurt.

Current Mood: depressed
Monday, April 24th, 2006
11:16 pm
Happy Birthday Paulos!
He's five years old today. It was a nice day -- he was still rather low on energy from his fever last week. Cupcakes went to school, he got to pick lunch (cold cereal), and then we went to Chuck E Cheese for dinner. Poor Flameboy fell asleep on the way and didn't wake up until almost time to leave. Then home for cake and prezzies.

All presents scored high marks. Paulos was a little intimidated by the Legos, since they are for 5-12 and he's a bit worried about not living up to the higher expectations of a five year old -- like what if he makes a mistake and causes the universe to explode? I mean, it could happen, right? I promised to help him. The Star Wars laser looked very cool but it was too close to bedtime to hook it up. Same for the electricity kit. But he also got (mostly from Alexander) an armor & sword set with helmet, breastplate, shield, sword & scabbard, so he ran outside to test them out. After he finished the cake.

Oh, and he's still Moneybags -- the quarters that came with Gramma's birthday card were eagerly counted and hoarded. Again probably his favorite present. Allowance was handed out yesterday, but he was only 4 then and only got $1.
Sunday, April 23rd, 2006
12:44 pm
Happy Easter
This is our second Easter, but it's at a lower key. The boys have been sick for the past few days, so we just smashed some eggs (TheGreat won). Then I'll drag everyone out for haircuts and prepare for the Big Birthday tomorrow.

I'm currently drowning in magazines. I read about one a week, which makes subscribing to two weekly magazines a bit problematic, especially when several monthlies creep in the door. The New Yorker would be a lot more fun if I were better at skipping the boring articles. The Economist now just makes me feel guilty for reading it late.
Monday, April 17th, 2006
10:21 pm
I got my taxes done. Actually, I got them done *yesterday* which is a whole day early, so I'm ahead of next year. Maybe by the time I'm fifty I'll get them done reasonably.

I also got to speak with Ms Bujold. I'm such an author groupie.

Yesterday's book was Renegade Raiders, a Trailsman book by Jon Sharpe (2005). It was a slow and dull read for me; maybe you need to read some of the 200 earlier books in the series to get a real sense for the characters. It was chosen for me by one of the kids -- some days at the library I have them each pick out one of the honor books for me, and somebody wandered off to the Western rack. The bad guys were Very Bad, the Indian Princess was eager to couple with our hero any time she could take a break from her grim mission to wreak revenge on the Very Bad Guys.

Today's book is The Iron Giant, by Ted Hughes (1968). I've avoided this book for years because it was so highly recommended that I thought it would collapse from the weight of the expectations, but it was a pleasant read if a bit treacly with Allegory. Maybe I'll go rent the movie now. It might make a good read aloud book, especially for the bright listener. It has five chapters, so an easy week's read. Maybe I can convince my kids to listen to it and escape another week of Harry Potter and the Infinite Order of the Phoenix.
Sunday, April 16th, 2006
12:50 am
At Norwescon today
Lots of fun for me -- the GOH is Lois McMaster Bujold, one of my favorite authors. I got a book signed, heard some of her next book, and even listened to some filk. TheGreat and Moneybags came home today, and TheGreat went back to the con with me in the evening to play some Laser tag. Much fun was had by all.

I recently finished Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (2005), so I kept evaluating the quality of all my snap judgments. His idea is that we make a lot of decisions by thin slicing information -- grabbing just a bit and making judgment calls. The quality of these decisions various greatly depending on how expert we are in the area we are evaluating, but often we have no idea how accurate we are -- I might have a lot of confidence in a spot judgment, but really have no idea what is going on. I was doing a lot of new things this weekend, so I kept stepping back and thinking about how I making decisions and whether I could trust my calls.

Except when I got too busy having fun to worry about it, of course. I'm a lousy laser tag player and can't figure out who is on my team to save their life, but it sure is fun to pull that trigger. Zap!
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