“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Sneak Preview

Friday, August 26, 2011

I've been working furiously on fixing up vacation photos to make them blog-worthy. Not that I'm particularly picky – a photographer I am not! There are a TON of photos and I'm trying to weed through to get the best ones, and then crop, resize, and sometimes brighten them up just a tad.

I'm getting close now, but I'm not quite done yet, so in the meantime, here is a bit of a preview.

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The Professor and the Madman

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Well, the European vacation photos are still stuck on my husband's laptop. I'll try to encourage him to share them with me by this weekend.

In the meantime, I have a great book to share with you. You may have heard of it already since it was first published in 1998. It is The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester. I downloaded the audible version from

This is not a novel, but in some ways it reads like one. It is a true story about two men – Professor James Murray, who led the enormous task of creating the Oxford English Dictionary; and Dr. W. C. Minor, a criminally insane man who was one of the primary contributors to the project. It is really two stories intertwined.

I know it might not look like the most interesting book when you see that it is about the making of the OED; after all, how can the making of a dictionary be interesting enough to write a book about, right? I guess that depends on how much of a word geek you are. But it gets much more interesting (regardless of your penchant for words – or lack thereof) when you add in the incredible story of the man whose tragic life led to his living in an asylum for many years, where he had the luxury of spending his days contributing to the amazing work of the creation of the OED.

I found this book fascinating. The audible version is only about 7 hours long – I listened to it in one day while mindlessly entering data at work. If you choose the audible version, the narrator is the author, Simon Winchester, who has a very pleasant reading voice. (I suppose I should say here that I have no connection in any way to That just happens to be where I got the book from.)

Let me know in the comments if you have read this or decide to read it. I'd love to know what you think of it!

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European Vacation - Part 1

Thursday, August 04, 2011

In May, my husband's company offered him an exciting opportunity. They had acquired a company in Europe with offices in Holland and Germany, and wanted him to go there to lead the project to integrate the new acquisition's computer systems with their own.

The good – traveling to Europe, an exciting new project to work on, high-profile project with the opportunity to look really good in front of lots of important people. The not-so-good – he would be away from home for 9 weeks. 9 weeks is a really, really, r-e-a-l-l-y long time to be away from home.

He traveled from city to city, hotel to hotel, usually moving every 1 to 3 days, never settling in one place long enough to even bother unpacking. This was hard on him.

The hard part for me was not having him around. I eventually got used to him being gone at night – enough so that I could sleep reasonably well most nights. But I learned what it was like to expect a particular response from someone who is always there and be surprised when it doesn't happen. I thought of women who have lost their husbands, and those military wives whose husbands are gone for a year or longer and reminded myself to be glad I only had to wait a for 9 weeks.

There was some good that came out of this though: I was able to go join him for a European vacation. We went to Amsterdam and toured the canals; Bruges, Belgium and enjoyed the amazing architecture of a thousand years ago; Paris and saw the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and Versailles; and we spent a few days traveling around Germany, visiting and touring castles. It was a wonderful way to end a long time apart.

The vacation was so packed with things to do and sights to see that I'm going to break it up into a few posts, but suffice it to say for now, after a successful project on his part, and an amazing vacation for the two of us, I am so very glad to have him back home.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A lot has changed in the past couple of months here in the Geek household. Actually, the more accurate statement would be that one big thing has changed which has prompted other changes: as of the end of June, I no longer work outside the home.

When My Geek and I moved to the country, we knew we wanted to have a hobby farm. We also knew that we wanted me to be home to take care of it full time. Recently our life became such that we decided it was time to take the plunge. I am now a full-time homemaker and soon-to-be hobby farmer.

We have a garden already, which I hope to expand at some point and maybe grow enough to start selling at the local farmer's markets. Next year we'll be adding goats as the first animals in our little farm from which we will get milk (cheese!) and meat, and we may also get some chickens to get the tick population under control.

My first task at hand is to plan. I am learning everything I can about raising livestock - where to get our goats, how to go about buying them, what breed we want, what kind of shelter to build, what other supplies we need, what we feed them - so many questions and things to learn.

My main source of information right now is the book Barnyard in Your Backyard by Gail Damerow. I borrowed this from my father-in-law (who has chickens and has considered other animals) but I will be buying my own copy as it is an invaluable reference tool and will continue to be as I meet various challenges of raising farm animals. I'll be seeking out other sources of information as well.

Other than that, I've been spending most of my days getting the house in order and rescuing it from the sad state of neglect it's fallen into. It's starting to look pretty good and will soon be in purely maintenance mode. Yay!

We're also working on finishing our basement, which is currently just one giant concrete-floored room full of boxes and stuff. And we're finally hoping to build ourselves a nice front walk (after having lived here for almost four years with no real front walk to speak of - that's how we roll out here in the country).

I also want to make time to do more crafting, especially to add to my Etsy shop and maybe bring in a little income that way. And, of course, I want to do more writing, perhaps actually finish a book and attempt to publish it.

People always want to know what in the world women do who don't work outside of the home - how they fill their time. Well, this is a pretty good start, I think. I can't imagine I will be running out of things to do any time soon.

Oh, and I can't forget - I'd also like to get back into blogging more regularly. With all these wonderful new challenges in my life, I feel like I finally have something to say here again.

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