Changes Coming to a Blog Near You

I’ve been hinting at some blog changes recently, and it is finally getting close to time to put them into place. With my move back Stateside for the next year or two (actual length of the DC stay should be determined by early November), the travel part of In Search of the End of the Sidewalk will be a bit quieter. There will still be occasional posts (hopefully one soon about my trip today to the new Smithsonian African-American History and Culture museum and definitely one next week about my first-ever trip to New York City), but it is hard to maintain a SE Asia travel itinerary out of Washington DC. (No Air Asia hub? How can I fly to Singapore for a $23?) So, while travel posts will still come as I am able to indulge, I don’t want this blog to wither away, meaning that much of its focus for the next bit is going to focus on my other love: books and literature. I already have regular book postings, and these will continue. I plan to see out my 2016 Book Challenge (although, I must admit it is getting more challenging as the calendar progresses) and will still repost my regular book review that I submit to The Caldwell Perspective once it is published by the paper each month.

Status quo then, you are thinking? So far, nothing here is new or exciting. (Well, other than then awesome new format!)

But wait!

You see, here is the brain-struggle I’ve been having lately. I read. A lot. And I would like to include more of those book on In Search of the End of the Sidewalk, but the reality is that when I read two to three books a week, I am just not going to write one to two page reviews detailing each one. Laziness? Maybe. But more than that, I am always too excited to get on to the next book in my queue!

Solution: Card Catalog Reviews!

This idea came about after hours of brainstorming and then a few short minutes of inspiration with a fellow blogger and friend. It has taken a bit of time to pull together, as I needed some new low-tech equipment to make it happen, but soon you’ll be privy to several new book reviews each week!

Short. Sweet. To the point.

A card catalog card gives me space for about 125 words. It will be a flash review of what I’m reading and whether I say “run to the library now!” or “eh, maybe wait for the next review.”

I’m excited to get these new reviews up and running on the blog. My adorable new-to-me typewriter is settled on the table and ready to roll, my pile of library-grade cards stacked in a neat pile next to it and now it is time to forge ahead with a new chapter at In Search of the End of the Sidewalk. Look for the first Card Catalog Review to hit the site in the next few days. (They will commence just as soon as I finish with the visual updates on the blog. No need for an introduction there, as if you are reading this, you’ve seen the huge change from a vertical feed to a horizontal one. I’m loving the new “bookshelf” look, but I know it will take us all a bit of time to get used to navigating the new format. Stick with me. I promise you will soon love it as much as I do!)

Until then, thanks for coming along for the ride, and hopefully you will find a great book to read, or maybe one to avoid, but always continue searching sidewalks.

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The Best of 2012 While Searching for the End of the Sidewalk

It is that time of year, where everyone and their dog comes out with a “2012 Best of _____” list. I don’t have a dog, but I do have two trusty turtles (GongBao and JiDing) who I am sure would be willing to contribute to my roundup of the year once they get done basking in the heat lamps of our spare bathroom.  But, since they are otherwise occupied and my dog lives on a farm in Idaho now (not *the* farm, the one all dogs seem to move to at some point in their lives, from which they never return, but rather the property of a good friend’s grandparents), I’m on my own to let you in on the best of everything over the last twelve months. (“Everything” might be a bit ambitious with just a few days left on the calendar…)

Best Books of 2012

Not knowing where to start with this one, I hopped on over to my GoodReads account and looked back over my literature intake since January 1. If my count is right (remember folks, I’m an English major, none of that fancy math nonsense for me!), I’ve had the pleasure of reading ninety-four books, but if my notes are any indication, there also appear to have been a couple in there that were decidedly not pleasurable. (I’ll not name names, since the idea is to end the year on a high note, with the positives of the last 365 days.)

{Links to related posts included.}

5- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

4- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

3- Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden

2- The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

1-Habibi by Craig Thompson (absolutely beautiful!)

 

Best Outings of 2012

5- Bangkok, Thailand. I may have been there for work, but a week of blue skies and sunshine were a much appreciated break from the daily haze I see out my window.

4- Los Angeles, California. As Thad did his final consultations before heading to China, I took one last opportunity to soak in America for all it is worth. I wandered on the beach, watching the surfers ride wave after wave of blue water; found a wonderful little family-run bookstore filled with all the paperbacks I would soon be missing; got a pedicure to make sure my piggies were ready for their big adventure; and hit up the mall for one last look at shops with clothing in my size.

3- Annapolis, Maryland with Erin and John just weeks before we moved away from DC. Not only is the old-town portion of the city full of things to see and do, there are ice cream shoppes (with an “e,” of course) on nearly every corner. Who wouldn’t love the city?

2- The Outer Banks, North Carolina. With a carload of friends from Idaho, we made it to both Kitty Hawk and the shoreline to see the wild horses.

1-Chengdu, China of course! There is always something ridiculous to see, something fascinating to learn or something worthy of a blog post in this city.

*Honorable mention: Caldwell/Nampa, Idaho. We may have sold our house this fall and are officially classy hobos, but the Treasure Valley will always be home.

Best Moments of 2012

5-Arrival of our HHE (this technically qualifies as a psychic event, as it doesn’t actually happen until tomorrow)

4-John and Lulu’s wedding in Guiyang

3- Moving out of the Crystal City mo-partment and in to our 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 24th floor digs that overlook the river in Chengdu

2- Mom’s surprise 60th birthday party

1-After almost exactly a year of being unemployed, getting hired as the CLO Coordinator for the Chengdu Consulate and once again joining the ranks of paycheck earners!

*Honorable mention- Watching Shea McClellin, one of my former 8th grade English students, get picked in the first round of the NFL’s draft this last spring!! Bragging about the Bears in Chengdu has become a new favorite pastime of mine.

So there you have it, without the least bit of help from my turtles, who are not only slow, but a little lazy to boot, it’s a roundup of the high points of the year. As I look ahead to 2013, plans are bouncing around my gray matter (although I think it is more pink than gray, which we all know I prefer anyway), looking to claim a spot in my continued search for the end of the sidewalk.

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