Posts Categorized: Meta

Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise

August 30, 2017 Meta 5

Yes, we live in* Houston. No, we are not under water. Yet.

The streets here did flood and we were unable to leave the house for 4 days.

Since I’m generally a vibrating ball of nerves anyway, I spent most of that time moving random stuff upstairs and back down again + packing and unpacking go-bags. And obsessively watching the news, of course. And listening to the rescue helicopters flying overhead, airlifting people out of our sister subdivision to the nearest overpass, where they could be taken by boat/truck to the nearest shelter.

Photo provided by my spouse, Gary. The mailbox is ours; the submerged cars are not.

Many of our neighbors and friends were not so lucky.

And storm season isn’t over. Harvey is still chugging along over Louisiana right now. Plus, there’s a little area in the Gulf right now that is thinking very hard about whether it wants to be a hurricane when it grows up.

If you want to help, please consider donating to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (established by our mayor but managed by the Greater Houston Community Foundation) or the United Way of Greater Houston. Alternatively, if you’re worried about displaced/abandoned pets, BARC (the city’s animal shelter), the Houston Humane Society, or the Galveston Humane Society are all great options.


I can’t tell you how proud I am of my community right now. Despite enduring the worst flood in the city’s history, people are still our there surviving and helping other people survive. We have a very difficult road ahead of us, but we’re going to be OK.

*Technically. But also technically in unincorporated county. On one side of us is a busy 10-lane freeway, and on another side it’s cows, and on another side it’s a Superfund site. It’s complicated.



After all, tomorrow is another day

June 5, 2017 Meta 12

Just a quick note to let those of you who are reading the Wheel of Time series or the Wizard of Oz series along with me that — to no one’s surprise — my reviews/discussion posts will be rather delayed for the 5th and 6th books.

Confession: I have hardly been reading at all lately.

I know! Shock, despair, confusion, disbelief, etc. I don’t think I’ve actually think I’ve read a book THIS slow since I was first learning how to string letters together to make words.

And I owe a great many comments on other blogs as well. My RSS feed has well over 1,000 posts waiting patiently for attention — and let’s not mention my avalanche of browser bookmarks to sort through.

No apologies, just stating the facts. I hope you can forgive me, and possibly indulge a few non-bookish posts here in the near future. Life is a smörgåsbord for me right now, and I’m trying to embrace that rather than worrying about what all I’m not doing.

Thanks to you all for your patience, and I hope that you, Dear Reader, are enjoying good times or successfully fighting your way through the bad times right now.

30 by 30 Project Wrap-Up

April 21, 2017 Meta 3

Well, my 30th birthday has come and gone, so I guess it is past time to wrap this project up!

Let’s see… how did I do with my crazy list of goals?

  1. Read at least 250 books
    ✓ Grade: A
  2. Read at least 20 new-to-me classic books
    ✓ Grade: A
  3. Participate in SpoT High 2014-2017
    ✓ Grade: B

    I had back out of this commitment after only 1 year, because my job changed and I am no longer working in teen services or building teen book collections at our local public library. Still, I worked really hard on this committee’s project while I was a member, so I’m calling this an overall win.

  4. Write at least 40 book reviews
    ✓ Grade: A
  5. Write at least 100k words for my multi-year NaNoWriMo project
    ✓ Grade: F

    Not even close. Which, honestly, is fine — because I figured out that writing a novel is just not something I’m motivated to spend time on right now!

  6. Finish cataloging our home library
    ✓ Grade: C

    I made a good start on this a while back, but I’m already dozens of books behind on this project!

  7. Research my family tree
    ✓ Grade: A
  8. Build a genealogy website to share with my family
    ✓ Grade: B

    Started building it in May of 2015, and started keeping track of my research and posting about particularly interesting finds in January of 2016. It definitely still needs some work, though.

  9. Organize + digitize all of our personal photos
    ✓ Grade: C

    Again, I made a good start on this, but it’s nowhere near finished.

  10. Organize and back up my hard drives
    ✓ Grade: B
  11. Have a movie marathon
    ✓ Grade: A
  12. Visit a vineyard or attend a wine festival
    ✓ Grade: F

    This is still something that I’d really like to do!

  13. Go on a picnic
    ✓ Grade: A
  14. Go to a geekish con or fest — bonus points for cosplay
    ✓ Grade: B

    We’ve gone to Ren Fest 2 years in a row now, but still haven’t managed to put together proper costumes.

  15. Leave the state for a vacation
    ✓ Grade: A

    We went to San Diego in October of 2014 and Chicago in July of 2016.

  16. Spend a day at a spa
    ✓ Grade: F
  17. Have a party at our place
    ✓ Grade: B
  18. Write a fan letter
    ✓ Grade: C

    I wrote a letter to my all-time favorite author, Terry Pratchett. Knocked off a few grade points because I only managed to write it after he died.

  19. Give up video games for good
    ✓ Grade: B
  20. Lose weight — ideally, about 50 pounds
    ✓ Grade: D

    Uuuggghhh. I did lose quite a bit of weight over the last 2 years, and managed to gain most of it back over the last few months for no good reason. Oh, well, I’ve done it once so at least I know I can do it again!

  21. Go a month without fast food or delivery
    ✓ Grade: A
  22. Visit a dentist
    ✓ Grade: F

    This might seem like kind of a weird goal to have, but the truth is that I have a severe phobia of hypodermic needles and I’ve been a bit traumatized at dentists’ offices in particular. That said, I’m working with a therapist on overcoming this phobia, so hopefully this long-overdue task is something I can tackle soon!

  23. Stitch at least 10 wearable/usable things for myself
    ✓ Grade: F
  24. Sketch or paint at least 10 things
    ✓ Grade: A
  25. Craft at least 5 hand-made gifts for other people or pets
    ✓ Grade: F
  26. Cook, really cook, at least once per week
    ✓ Grade: B
  27. Cook my way through a cookbook or food blog
    ✓ Grade: F
  28. Start a custom recipe book
    ✓ Grade: B

    I’m using a combo of Copy Me That and a spreadsheet to keep track of which recipes I want to try, have tried, need to modify, absolutely love, etc.

  29. Vote at least once
    ✓ Grade: A

    Voted in the national, state, and local elections in 2014 and 2016.

  30. Buy a house
    ✓ Grade: A

    We closed on our first house in September of 2015.

Whew. I feel like I did a lot, but there are still quite a few “F” grades up there. Oops.

Still, my average grade is a good solid “C” so… at least that’s passing, right? You know, I never was a straight-A student, haha.

I thought about doing something similar to this and the original 25 by 25 project again, aiming for another milestone and switching up a few of the goals to better reflect my current aspirations. But TBH right now that just feels like a bit too much. I mean, I have short-term and long-term and super-long-term goals, of course, but I’d like to try and focus more on being in the now for a while, if that makes sense.

Have you done something like this? Do you find lists of long-term goals inspirational or stressful or …?


March 31, 2017 Meta 1

Howdy folks, this is just a super quick update to let y’all know that I’m out of town for a few days and didn’t plan ahead very well, so the following posts will be delayed a bit:

Also, sorry I haven’t been making the blog rounds and commenting as much lately — “real life” is demanding a bit more attention right now, so all your lovely blog posts are really piling up in my RSS feed!

Quick Classics Club Update

January 20, 2017 Books, Meta 6

This is just a quick little post to let y’all know that I’ve updated my Classics Club page. It now includes my original list, arranged by title with color-coded categories, and two other arrangements: by time period, and by geographic origin.

And because I’m apparently completely bonkers, I’ve already been working on future Classics Club list(s)… with well over 200 titles to play with (and growing), I felt like I needed to be a bit more organized! Hence, the multiple sorting options.

I’m still debating on whether I ought to call for peanut gallery opinions on future CC picks. Or maybe I should publish the list(s) ahead of time to provide opportunity for comment. What do you think?

Overambitious Plans for 2017 and Beyond

December 31, 2016 Meta 12

Happy New Year’s Eve, my friends!

I don’t typically make resolutions at this time of year, but I do think it’s a convenient period for reevaluating what I’ve got going on here at this lil’ ol’ blog of mine.

Take a look at my Current Projects page, where I’ll be keeping track of of my progress towards some of these goals.


Wizard of Oz Read-Along

I’ll be reading L. Frank Baum’s 14-book Oz series starting in January. Want to join me? Sign up HERE.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Wheel of Time Re-Read-Along

I will also be reading the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (+ Brandon Sanderson) over the next 15 months. You can join me on this epic journey, too.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Foodies Read

This will be the 3rd year that I’ve signed up for this reading challenge. It’s being hosted again in 2017 by Heather at Based on a True Story. I’m going with the “à la carte” option because I’m just not sure how many foodie books I’ll have time for this year, but I still want to participate and read other foodies’ reviews too.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Back to the Classics Challenge

Several bloggers that I follow have done/are doing this challenge, and I thought it would be a nice tie-in with my Classics Club reading goals (below). If I stick to my reading plan, I should be able to accomplish at least 6 if not 9 of this year’s categories. This challenge is being hosted by Karen at Books & Chocolate.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Classics Club Catch-Up

I signed up for the Classics Club back in 2014, but I’m not even halfway through my list yet. One of my goals for this year is to really buckle down and prioritize these books. You can see my full list here.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Movie Musicals Challenge

Even though this challenge is only supposed to take up 1 year, I’m nowhere near finished with it — but I do think that these films are interesting and culturally important, so I’m going to go ahead and extend this into 2017.


Post at least 8 times per month

I’ve been posting kind of inconsistently since I started blogging here a little over 5 years ago. Sometimes I would try to follow a schedule for a month or two, but I would soon run out of ideas or blogging mojo and would start to slack off again.

For the past couple of months I’ve been brainstorming and planning and drafting posts with the intention of building up a “hope chest” of ready-made blog posts + creativity-sparking ideas. Fair warning — some of these blog posts will be a little more personal in nature rather than bookish.


Do a better job of noting where/from whom I heard about a book when adding it to my TBR

I haven’t been in the habit of tracking the details of recommendations — my usual method goes something like:

  1. See an interesting title (“Oh, shiny!”)
  2. Add it to my to-read list on Goodreads (“Gimme gimme!”)

So… yeah. I need to remember to give credit where credit is due, not least because this might help me figure out where I’m getting most of my TBR titles from.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Develop a more diverse to-read list

One thing that quickly became obvious to me when I took a closer look at my Classics Club list earlier this year is that I need to work on consuming a more diverse reading diet. I’ve already started working on my next CC list (yes, even though I’m nowhere near finished with my first one — I just like making lists, OK, shut up) and I’m seeking out more books from women, non-white, non-English-language, and pre-19th century authors.


Work towards meeting those 30-by-30 goals

My deadline for my 30 by 30 project is coming up pretty soon (/gulp). Although it’s clear that I’ll never be able to manage some of the goals at this point, there are still a few things that I don’t want to leave undone. Wish me luck!

2016: The Year that Was

December 29, 2016 Meta 8


Ehem. Sorry about the all caps, it’s just that… well, 2016 has been super weird and not in a cool way, right?

That’s not what this post is about. There are plenty of thinkpieces out there on this topic that are probably more eloquent than I can hope to be on this subject. But really, I’m just happy about finally being able to tell 2016 to get the eff outta here.

This is actually a wrap-up post for 3 different challenges:

Foodies Read

I ended up reading 8 books for Foodies Read this year:

Introductory Post

  1. The Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury — Reviewed 18 June 2016
  2. Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson — Reviewed 27 Feburary 2016
  3. The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt — Reviewed 31 January 2016
  4. Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-Changing Egg Farm — From Scratch by Lucie Amundsen — Reviewed 9 May 2016
  5. Wine Folly by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack – Reviewed 4 September 2016
  6. Community Cookbooks of West Texas – Special Feature, 19 November 2016

My favorite of these was probably Locally Laid by Lucy Amundsen, but Wine Folly and The Food Lab both tie for a close second — and, of course, the community cookbooks have a special place in my heart.


I didn’t do as well with this project as I’d intended, but I honestly don’t feel TOO bad about this. After all, 10 books is better than 0 books.

Introductory Post

  1. Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury — Reviewed 18 June 2016
  2. Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson — Reviewed 27 February 2016
  3. The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt — Reviewed 31 January 2016
  4. Foundation by Isaac Asimov — Reviewed 29 January 2016
  5. In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall — Reviewed 26 March 2016
  6. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle — Reviewed 22 December 2016
  7. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum — Reviewed 23 December 2016
  8. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Reviewed 6 March 2016
  9. Wildlife of the Concho Valley by Terry Maxwell — Reviewed 16 December 2016
  10. Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind — Reviewed 13 Feburary 2016

The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt was definitely my favorite of these. Wizard’s First Rule was by far the WORST book I read this year and it makes me mad every time I see it on my bookshelf. (Still debating whether I ought to take it to the used bookshop for credit or just trash it like the true piece of garbage it is.)

Women’s Classic Literature Event

Again, I wish I’d read more books that counted for this project — but again, something is better than nothing, right?

Introductory Post

  1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Reviewed 9 July 2016
  2. The Awakening by Kate Chopin – Reviewed 2 July 2016
  3. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell — Reviewed 19 June 2016
  4. In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall — Reviewed 26 March 2016
  5. Middlemarch by George Eliot — Abandoned!
  6. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys — Reviewed 17 September 2016
  7. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman — Reviewed 6 February 2016

It’s really hard to pick a favorite of these. All of the fiction books were wonderful in their own ways, so I’m going to take the easy way out and say that Jane Goodall’s science nonfiction book In the Shadow of Man might be my favorite.

A few other things also happened this year…

I gots me some capital-P Plans for the coming year, too — more on that tomorrow.


October 26, 2016 Geekery, Library Life, Meta 4

I’ve been kinda MIA due to a conference that my library has been hosting this week. It’s been a really interesting, fun, nerve-wracking, AND rewarding experience… but I’m also pretty dang exhausted right now.

But I’ve got a few posts in the pipeline and some big plans bubbling on the back burners right now, so stay tuned!

Beautiful final evening at #SCCMLA16 #Galveston

A photo posted by Louise (@bibliothekla) on

Summertime Intermission

July 17, 2016 Meta 4

I have a confession to make:

I haven’t been reading.

Shocking, I know. Please, take a moment to breathe deeply and calm yourself. Smelling salts are available for a small fee at the concessions stand.

Truth be told, I’ve been dealing with some personal issues lately. Nothing life-threatening; no need to reach for those smelling salts again. But various factors have combined to make me uninterested in books… well, not just books, but almost everything I’m usually interested in pursuing during my leisure time.

Just about the only thing I’ve been consistently interested in has been perfume, of all things. So don’t be surprised if you see a post or two about perfume here on my lil’ ol’ blog. Hey, I only ever said this is a mostly-bookish blog, not an ALL-bookish blog, right?

I’ll probably be reading plenty when we head to Chicago in the near future, but thinking about which books to pack is already stressing me out a little bit. Anyway, I also have a handful of half-done bookish posts to finish up and publish eventually.

I suppose that if one must go on hiatus, the summer is a pretty good time to do it. Summertime is basically made for intermissions, isn’t it?

Welcome to the New Digs

May 31, 2016 Meta 2

If all went well during the little switchover, you should now be seeing my new site! (Or at least seeing this post on it, if you’re following via RSS, if I did the feed update correctly, haha.)

Please feel free to poke around. Many pages are the same as they ever were, but some have been updated. I’ve tried my best to redirect old links as needed, but you might still hit that 404 page if you find one that I missed.

Want to follow along? Subscribe by email (see the form in the sidebar) or find Lone Star on a Lark at on social media: Facebook & Twitter. You can also follow me on Instagram & Tumblr, although for me those platforms are less bookish / more of mishmash of personal things.

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Comments on old posts were not ported over properly, and I’m working on replacing them. Your previous comments are not lost forever, I promise.

You may notice that some old posts are missing. Sorry about that. I took this opportunity to restructure some stuff, which took a lot of time and finagling and I’m sure lost a couple of things here and there.

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Find a problem? Please feel free to contact me about it here!