Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library


Meatloaf Mice

On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from my husband asking if I could come up with something to cook for a Halloween themed party he was having at work.

Hmmmm….interesting request, especially since I hate Halloween (chalk it up to my upbringing, those who know my parents understand).

Anyway, I sat up all night Wednesday trying to come up with something delicious and Halloweeny. The best I could come up with was Meatloaf Mice. (/sarcasm)

What you’ll need:
Ground beef to make mouse shaped meatloaf (you can make mini ones like I did or big ones)

Cooked spaghetti noodles for the tails (I separated them on wax paper to let them cool)

Baby Bella mushrooms for the ears (try to match the sizes so their ears are symetrical)

Toothpicks to attach the ears to the body

Spinach and bread crumbs for the grass

To make:
Shape your favorite meatloaf recipe (my recipe is posted on flickr) into a mouse shape – rounded end for the butt, pointy end for the face. After you’ve finished baking, set the “mice” on wax paper to cool and begin prepping the “grass.”

Coat a glass baking dish with olive oil, add spinach and season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with plain bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

After mice have cooled, begin assembling: use a toothpick to attach mushroom “ears” to either side of the mouse head and place on the grass. After you have arranged the mice the way you like them, place a piece of spaghetti under the rounded end to form a tail.

And there you have it!

For fun, you can put a dried tomato in the center of the body before cooking to form a “heart”. I also made a dipping sauce to go with the mice:
- 1/2 c ketchup
- 1/2 c honey mustard
- 2 tbs molasses
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1/2 small onion chopped
- red pepper flakes to taste
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
Bring to a boil in a small sauce pan


PSA: Call the Police

I’m angry and I think it’s time others started to get angry too…

About a month ago, a young man was beaten to death while a crowd of people watched, some even taped the young man’s death on their cell phones. This week a teenaged girl was raped after her Homecoming Dance while roughly twenty people stood around and watched – some even cheered for the rapists.

Wtf, people? Really? Is this what we as a people have come to? What happened to people stepping in and doing the right thing? What happened to people using their cell phones to CALL THE POLICE?!

I’m so sick and tired of hearing excuses about people being afraid to get involved – you know what? When you stand there and watch someone being brutalized and you don’t help them, you are complicit in the crime and you are already involved. When you take the time to use your cell phone to tape the brutality, you are as guilty as if you you were participating. I’m not saying you have to put yourself in danger but stop recording the crimes with your cell phones and use them for the purposes for which they were intended – to make a phone call. If, after you make the call, the crime is still occurring, record the faces of the perpetrators and hand it over to the police – do not post it on YouTube or send it to your buddies.
Someone being beaten to death or raped is not entertainment, stop treating it as such.



It’s been a week since I posted that I was going to let my hair go natural and I’ve been asked when I’m going to post some pics. Well, here they are… It’s actually been about four weeks since I’ve put a relaxer in my hair and maybe six weeks since I’ve dyed it.

To see a before picture, click here. So I’m at the point now where I have two different hair textures on my head – wavy near the scalp and straight at the ends (where the relaxer remains). The red dye that I had in the front of my hair has now faded to a rust color – this part is hard for me. I’m used to dying my hair every couple of weeks. I treat my hair as an accessory because, well, that’s what it is. I’ve had red hair, pink hair, blue hair, black hair, burgundy, blonde, olive drab green (that was an accident, but I wore it like a champ)….
Anyway, to combat the dual texture problem, I’ve taken to braiding my hair at night and finger combing it in the morning to blend the waves. I think one of the biggest differences I’ve noticed is that the texture of my hair is definitely different – the natural part is actually much softer than the chemically treated portion. This has me a little concerned – I do not want my hair to break because I am not ready to do the big chop.
I’m actually handling this whole transition thing better than I thought I would – of course, it’s only been four weeks so let’s see how it goes in another two weeks…


I Am Library 101, Are You?

After months of hardwork and contributions from librarians all over the world, the Library 101 Project made it’s debut at Internet Librarian to much fanfare. Twitter is all abuzz with excitement over Library 101. After viewing the video, all I can say is Michael Porter and David Lee King did a fabulous job and my heart is full of g33k love for them right now. They totally rawk!

I’m posting the video here, but please, take the time to check out the complete Library 101 website. The website has not only the video but essays from librarians and a very prominent supporter of libraries. There is also a list of 101 Resources & Things to Know. You can also view additional Library 101 videos on YouTube and check out the pictures on flickr.


Book Review: Sweetsmoke by David Fuller

Sweetsmoke is the story of Cassius Howard, a secretly literate slave, and his desire to find justice for his murdered friend, Emoline Justice. Emoline was a free black woman who served as surrogate mother and mentor to Cassius while he was recovering from a severe beating. Using his cunning and the limited freedoms granted to him as a favored slave, Cassius is able to gather clues to the identity of Emoline’s murderer. These clues take him from his plantation, Sweetsmoke, to the campgrounds of Confederate and Union soldiers to the middle of a battlefield during the Civil War. Along the way, Cassius meets a host of characters who alternately move the story along, offer historical sidenotes or bits of comic relief.

Part mystery and part historical fiction with a dash of romance and social commentary thrown in for good measure, this novel had the makings of an exciting debut novel. However, David Fuller seems to have forgotten that he’s writing a book and not a screenplay. Here are some of the issues I had with the novel:
1. This may seem minor, but it bugged me – the words of whites were written with quotations while the words of blacks were not. I’m not sure why this was done. Was it to distinguish between the speech of the black and white characters? If so, there were better ways to handle that such as the use of dialect…
2. Cassius’s interaction with the Bryants was a bit awkward, to say the least. When Cassius first meets Bryant, he tells Cassius that he and his wife are abolitionists and their home is a stop on the Underground Railroad. Fine, I think. But Bryant pushes it a bit further by stating that his wife once spoke to Harriet Beecher Stowe. Would this have meant anything to a slave? Bryant doesn’t bother to explain who Stowe is nor does Cassius ask.
3. Even a “favored” slave would not have had as much freedom as Cassius. He seemed to come and go with a great deal of ease and no repercussions whatsoever. Furthermore, a black man never would have been allowed to roam unquestioningly between Union and Confederate camps. While I realize this novel is historical fiction, this book forced me to move from the area of suspended belief into the realm of total implausibility.
I wanted to like this book. The premise was interesting – a free black woman is murdered and a slave sets out to find her murderer and obtain some form of justice for her. The story itself is rich and engrossing, and had the potential to be so much more than it is. I think with better editing and a few tweaks this novel could be better (I do realize this isn’t writing class and do-overs aren’t the norm, but this book would benefit from a re-write).
I received this book free of charge in exchange for a review because I am a LibraryThing Early Reviewer. This consideration did not influence my review.

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