Friday, May 28, 2010

Armchair BEA: Getting Personal

I've had a hard time trying to decide just what to blog about for Armchair BEA. The first thing that went through my mind was how hard it would be for me to come out of my shell if I had been able to attend BookExpo America and the Book Blogger Convention. I'm an intensely shy person in real life, and I have a hard time meeting new people. I usually do a bit better when people approach me, but in general I feel like a totally awkward and socially inept person in informal face-to-face situations.

To a certain extent, I think I do this on my blog as well. I know I haven't been especially personal here, and you guys don't know a whole lot about me (though I've been trying to open up a bit about myself lately). So, inspired by J.C.'s post at The 3 R's Blog, today I decided I'd pull the curtain back a little and get a little more personal.

<--This is me - the pic is from our camping trip on the Oregon coast last summer. We love to camp in our travel trailer and just got back from a trip to Pismo Beach, CA. I'm usually the one behind the camera in our family, so sometimes it's hard to find recent pics of myself. This is a pretty good pic because I generally have my sunglasses on my head year-round (hey, I live in sunny Southern California, so I'm trying to save my eyes). :-)

I'm turning 32 in July (*sigh* where does the time go?). My husband and I have been married for 12 years (yep, I got married at age 20!). We have two kids--my son just turned 5 this week and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall (he's already reading everything he can get his hands on!). My daughter is 3 1/2 and is my little helper bee. My parents live an hour away from our city, and we have a pretty close relationship. Mom tries to visit once a week and Dad comes when he can. He just retired from teaching Elementary P.E. last year so he's been able to visit a lot more than before.

I've mentioned this before on the blog, but I work from home most of the time. I have an MA in US History and I've been teaching online history classes for our local community college for a couple of years now. It's been pretty convenient to work from home with little kids in the house. Every so often I teach a class on campus for the local state college, but budgets are pretty bad and I think it will probably be a few years before I get to do that again.

I started this book blog last August because I love to read and wanted to talk about books. I had a few years when I didn't do very much recreational reading (when I was in college) but when I had my kids I started reading more as a way to relax. A couple of years ago I joined Paperback Swap and my reading picked up even more. Through the forums there I started discovering new authors and series, and was having a lot of fun. But I don't really have many people to talk about books with. My mom reads like I do and we've swapped books a lot, and hubby reads a bit but we read totally different genres. I had been writing short reviews at PBS and decided to start a blog to post the reviews instead. I'd been maintaining a family blog for a couple of years (which has been sadly neglected since I started this one LOL), so there wasn't a huge learning curve. When I discovered the Book Blogs Ning I started to realize what a great community there is among book bloggers, and I started to really feel more like a part of the community when I joined Twitter.

I've participated in some fun activities in the last 9 months--I am loving all of the reading challenges I've joined, I participated in the 24-hour Readathon, and now I'm really enjoying Armchair BEA. I admit, I can be a bit of a lurker, but I'm still here, reading your blogs, and enjoying them very much. I think I'm following like 300 blogs or so, and I've enjoyed finding books and authors I've never heard of. It's been a great experience.

So that's me. If you have any questions for me, I'd be happy to answer them in the comments!

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