Friday, December 3, 2010

The word for today is lonely

Last night, before I went to sleep I had an attack of whistle-itis.  This is where I feel compelled to whistle some melody that is going around and around (and around) in my head.  So, there I am lying in bed whistling "Alone in the World" from the Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol special.  You know the song; is has lines like "Millions of grains of sands in the world; why such a lonely beach?  Millions of pairs of hands in the world; why can't my fingers reach?"
Yeah, that one. The tune is not terribly melancholic.  If you had never heard the lyrics and someone whistled that tune (probably because they HAD to), you'd think it was a love song or a ballad, not necessarily sad.  But it is sad that is.  BTW, that is one of my favorite Christmas Carol versions.  Hey, Dickens!  You the man! 

Then today, Hub and I went to see HP and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  Talk about L-O-N-E-L-Y!  Whoa!  That whole movie was about loneliness in the face of adversity.  Everyone is all tensed up with worry about the people they love and the inevitable final parting.  Friends fight and young lovers are forced apart and poor Harry has it shoved in his face more than once that he is ALL ALONE in the world.  His family deserts him.  Ron deserts him.  Hermione doesn't but she is tempted when Ron leaves.  I got tears in my eyes more than once watching that film which was also pretty scary.  Lonely and scary.  Now, there's a good time.

That song and that movie made me feel so lucky that I have the Hub and my family and friends.  Take a few moments to offer a prayer for the truly lonely people, and for the temporarily lonely people, too.  Hold them in the Light and envision them in God's hands. 

Now I want to find the Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol DVD.  At least, I know that story has a happy ending and no one ends up all alone. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Last week, a Republican candidate could not believe her opponent's claim that "separation of church of state" was in the First Amendment.  During a news story on this debate, another conservative candidate said that the phrase "separation of church and state" came from a Fascist leader.

So, I looked it up.  Of course the words "separation of church and state" are not in the Constitution.  The Constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

THOMAS JEFFERSON used the words "separation of church from state" in a letter to a church that expressed concern that the new government might infringe on religious freedoms.

During his presidency, Ulysses S.Grant made a speech where he suggested that church and state be forever separated.

Neither Jefferson nor Grant were known to be fascists - or Nazis as that conservative candidate claimed.

Other stuff that people believe that are not true.  Our taxes have NOT gone up since Obama was elected.  98% of working Americans have received a cut in their federal income taxes.  We just get a little bit more in each check, rather than a single check.

The "bailout" will cost our children and grandchildren billions. The "bailout" will cost the government 1/10th of what it was estimated to cost and several large financial institutions have already repaid the money they received.  This cost is less than what we paid out in the 1980s.

The inheritance tax will wipe out everything you've worked for.  Well, yeah if you're worth more than 3.5 million.  I'm not worth that much!!!

Why do people just assume that candidates that shout the loudest or make the funniest insulting remarks are telling the truth?  Why don't people check the facts?  There are objective books and websites that ferret out the truth.  Read the Constitution yourselves, people.  Don't believe every nasty thing people tell you.  AND do your homework BEFORE you vote.  Not after loudmouth know-nothings get in and make things worse.

Oh and the "bailout"?   Bush - a conservative - was in office when that was voted in.  And that's the truth. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Teen Library Events?

Howdy strangers!  Long time and all that, eh?
   Some random thoughts on library events for teens.
   So, in the summer I asked a bunch of teens, "What nights - or days during the school year- are best for teen events?"  And the answer I got was "Never on a school night."  "Saturdays in the day - not so good."

Well, this leaves me in a bind since the library is only open Mon. through Thur. nights and it closes at 5 on Fri. and Sat.  So, I countered, "Would you come out for an event on a Friday night?"
And the answer was an enthusiastic, "Yes!"
OR so I remember. 

Last night, I held my first ever school year "after hours" teen program on a Friday.  (I have held two Saturday night programs during the school year in my 2 decades at this library.  They were not well attended.  Summer Saturdays are better.)
Last night, the presenter did a fine job of marshaling the creative juices of the audience and we wrote the first verse and chorus of a song! The event was fun and well prepared and carried out.  A Songwriting Workshop with a knowledgeable and experienced musician, who has a degree in music and broadcasting experience - this should bring in a lot of teens, right?. How many teens signed up?  A mere handful, alas.  How many showed up?  Half of those who signed up.  There was food and I gave out door prizes - including a guitar strap with the name of the band, "My Chemical Romance" etched on it.  (Oh and a pirate pistol!!! and Burt's Bees lip gloss and a couple of books and some other stuff.) 

I'm blaming the lack of teen presence on football.  And in January, the excuse will be the weather.   In the spring, there is soccer and SAT prep and prom and date nights and the mall.  There's always the mall.  I'm thinking that the library is just not where the teens in our library's service area want to be "after hours".  UNLESS, I let them dress up in costumes and scare little kids....OR stay up all night reading and making me insane.    Hmmm, insurance nightmare?  OR mental nightmare? Which should I choose?

It's a conundrum.  That's what it is.  HOWEVER, the lyrics of the song will be posted on this blog on Monday because they were GOOD (if I do say so myself).  Perhaps, we can have a contest to see who can write the best second and third verses.  I recorded most of the song with my little pocket sized video camera and if the musician agrees, I might post that here as well.  Just so you know how the melody goes.

 In the meantime, I will continue my attempts to offer meaningful, fun teen events that teens will actually attend. Wish me luck.
Oh, I want to make sure you don't get the wrong idea. Our library is FULL of teens, reading, working on school stuff, and volunteering.  They are in and out of the YS office all the time.  If they can get volunteer hours for an event, I can gather a huge bunch of them.  But no credit, no show. Sigh.  What happened to FUN?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Six Items or less

Could you imagine only having six items of clothing in your wardrobe?  Think about it.

I keep a tall kitchen garbage can in the attic to hold all the clothes I decide I no longer want to wear.  Every three months a local charity calls and picks up my cast-offs.  I can easily fill three 30 gallon trash bags every three months.  And I don't even shop all that much!!!

There is a movement to wear only six items of clothing during one month.  The point, I guess, is to prove that Westerners own too many clothes - and waste too much of the world's resources on fashion.

For more info, check out the movement's blog.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Our summer intern at work made a Facebook page for our workplace so I spent the summer updating our work blog and the new spiffy Facebook page.  Ergo, I had little or no time to blog here.  Life is sometimes very unfair.

But our wonderful summer intern has returned to school.  I don't a zillion programs to blog about and update so I am here to tell you my innermost thoughts.

I have decided that I am a discontent person.  I complain when the summer is soooo busy I can't breathe or think, what with people coming and going and asking for book suggestions and needing Summer Reading Club prizes.  But, now that it is quiet at my workplace, I am bored.  Grrrrr!  There is no pleasing me. 

My other innermost thought is this.  I'd like to read the entire Hunger Games trilogy again for the very first time - one right after the other.  I am jealous of new readers who have the luxury of sitting down with all three books and racing through them without stopping.  No waiting for months and months for the next book to come out.  Lucky stiffs.

Enough innermost thoughts. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


A former teen volunteer friended me on Facebook this week.  She stopped by the library and found a note she and another teen volunteer left for me almost exactly nine years ago.

They teased me about the note and asked me every summer - for a few years - if I had found it.  I never did.  I didn't have time to check under every shelf.  I did look when I thought of it but nine years is a long time.

Margaret took pictures of the note and, until I get a chance to check tomorrow morning, for all I know she may have spirited the note away.  She shared the note and its contents with her partner in crime, Carmen.  Carmen shared the contents of that note on her livejournal.  If Carmen adds something before you get a chance to read the note, look for the post titled "Traveling back in time".
Now I know why I have stayed at this job for almost 22 years.   Thanks, Margaret and Carmen.  Thank you so much.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Boks, books, books

I just finished reading Shannon Hale's The Actor and the Housewife, which turned out to be quite a surprise.  I know Hale's work with teen novels, fantasies - some based on fairy tales but all set in another place and time.  The Actor and the Housewife is firmly set in this decade and centers around a Mormon mom of four and her very unlikely friendship with a  very handsome, very desirable, very British, very famous actor.

I am not a romance reader.  I do NOT go in for clandestine affairs so I put off reading this book for a whole year.  This book - it made me laugh out loud very very quickly and it made me cry, as well.  The ending was bittersweet because I like these characters a lot.  And I resented losing each and every one of them, especially since one of them was lost irrevocably.  Enough.  Read the book.  I think it would make a great movie.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book trailers

I got my haircut today. (My sister is an EXCELLENT hair cutter person.  Call her.)  And I was telling her all about the amazing Guys Read book trailer (see other blog or ...  no wait, click here).  And before I got home she called to tell me about Libba Bray's book trailer for Going Bovine, which came out in Sept. and is available at the Parkland Community Library and book stores everywhere.  So I watched it.  You can, too!  Click here.

I LOVE book trailers.  (Could someone young teach me to put little hearts in place of the word "love"?  Could someone young-ish teach me how to ramp up this blog?  I don't have the time to figure these things out by like going online and asking help pages because I am not young anymore.  Time is more precious to me, now -sniff.)

I have a friend, Kim Chatel, who actually MAKES book trailers (Warning - not all these trailers are suitable for children) for Guardian Angel Publishing.   Kim also writes books - not all of which are suitable for children, either.  But they are all GOOD.

Here are other book trailers I have found and loved:

Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maezen Miller  
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick

Alas, I wanted to add Jarrett Krosoczka's very funny Vimeo about how he developed the idea for his Lunch Lady series (also available at the Parkland Community Library and book stores, etc.)  But I was only able to find this snippet starring Tomie DePaola.  Well, there are other snippets, too.  Look in the sidebar to watch them.

Get to know your favorite authors.  Look for book trailers and then...bother your librarian to use his (or her) continually diminishing budget to buy the books you love!  If you are lucky she (or he) will already have those books on the shelves.  Or go to book stores - especially the small cozy ones like the Moravian Book Shop (which is not all that small really) and buy the books there.

Libraries RULE!!  Love your librarian!!   GO BOOKS! (and book trailers!)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hand Wash Cold

The blurb on the back of Karen Maezen Miller's new book, Hand Wash Cold, compares it to Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Miller's book resembles Gilbert's book, the quote says,..."without all the running from."  The comparison works in drawing attention to Miller's thoughtful work.

I enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir of a year searching for balance.   Now, I want to spend four months in Italy eating pasta and gelato.  Gilbert's narration is delightful.  Her ending made me smile!  I may want to pick this book up sometime in the future but I don't need to.

Miller's book, on the other hand, is more instruction book than memoir.  She uses her own life as illustration to her philosophy.  This is a book I paused over, flipped through several times before returning to the library.  Ever since, I have wanted to just check what she has to say about this or about that.  So tonight, I went online and soon I will own my own copy of Hand Wash Cold.

Hand Wash Cold is about embracing the life we have now because here is the only place and now is the only time that we truly have.  Miller is not preaching against "planning ahead" or "dreaming".  She simply explains how important it is to appreciate the things we normally rush through to get to...whatever it is we think we'd rather do, or wherever it is we think we'd rather be.  This is advice that I need, right now, when I am "planning ahead" for another summer of chaos.  I need to appreciate each task I complete.  I need to concentrate on each aspect of each task before it is completed.

Sigh. If only I had Hand Wash Cold right now!!! ;)

Afterthought:  Have you noticed a trend toward titles with three words in them?  Adriana Trigiani's Big Stone Gap, Will North's Water, Stone, Heart.   I zhould write a book entitled Paper, Rock, Scissors, about how chance enhances creativity.  Someone beat me to it with Rock, Paper, Scissors, a digital book about game theory.  I have no idea if the book is any good.  Oh well, there is nothing new under the sun, only different ways to say, sing, paint, play, sculpt, build or dance.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Advanced Reader Reviews!

She's SO Dead to Us by Kieran Scott comes out this month.  Ally Ryan's dad lost the family's money - and the money of several of his friends - in bad investments in Ally's freshman year and the Ryans fled in shame.  Now Ally and her mother are back, living in a condo on the other side of town.  Some hunk is living in Ally's old house.  And Ally's old friends do not greet her with open arms.  Nasty pranks, cruel asides and romantic maneuvering ensue in this book about the invisible caste lines that inhabit every high school.  The ending is a "What!!!???" moment so I certainly hope this is the start of a series!  Scott can't possibly expect her readers to be satisfied with THAT as a resolution.  It's a quick, fun read.  It did give me the uncomfortable feeling that those invisible caste lines exist - even after we're all "grown-up".

Cyn Balog's new book, Sleepless, is due out in July.  Eron is a Sleepbringer or Sandman and his 100 years of service are almost at an end. Soon he will be human again to complete the life he lost 100 years before. Julie is one of Eron's charges, a 16 year old girl with a tragic past who has just lost her boyfriend in a car accident.  Eron's emotional involvement with Julie is complicated when his replacement shows up - Julie's boyfriend, Griffin.  Balog takes a childhood myth and turns the Sandman into something sexy and frightening at the same time.  This book was a grabber from the start.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Advanced Reader's Copies

My collection of ARCs is reaching critical mass.  If I do not pass some of these books on, I will be crushed under a tower of Unread Book Anxiety.

So, I suggest beginning an ARC club.  Anyone interested?  The details are still fuzzy but the end result is to distribute these Advanced Readers Copies and to collect reviews.

The books are mostly fiction for adults and teens and some fiction for children. 

Let me know if you are interested.  BTW, I don't intend to mail books out.  It will have to be something done locally.  AND if you take a book you have to email me a review.  That's a must.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy endings??

At the end of Polly Horvath's My One Hundred Adventures,  Felicity marries Ned and Jane (Felicity's oldest daughter) has finally had one hundred adventures.  In Northward to the Moon, we discover that Ned, who carried the whole family off to the prairies of Canada to become a French teacher, doesn't speak French and has been fired.  Hmmmm, another typical Horvath novel about an atypical family.

Now, Horvath doesn't always deliver pat happy endings but the first book had a happy ending and this is a family of very nice people with a talented, serene and delightful mom and a normal (at least, I think so!) teenage daughter.  So, the whole way through, I expected a happy-ish ending. (And to be honest, the ending isn't UNhappy.  It's just abrupt and unsettling!) So, Ms. Horvath, there had better be a third book.  That's all I'm saying here.  Because, although the ending of Northward to the Moon, makes perfect sense and I had an inkling it was coming, I have QUESTIONS!  Lots of them.  If not for me, write the book for Jane.  She could use some answers, too.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Books and Videos

I have spent the last couple of weeks re-discovering how very much I love reading.  I read a lot, anyway.  But SLJ's Battle of the Kids' Books gave me the push to read outside my comfort zone.  New authors, new genres, new subjects.  I mean, how often have I thought to myself, "I need to read a book about a frog scientist and then I just have to learn more about the first all-female swing band."?  Never.  But now I have read a book about a frog scientist and I have learned something about America's first all-woman (black women for the most part) swing band.  I have read a book about the Darwins and their differences of faith and I have read graphic novels and short stories.  None of these are books I usually choose.  And because these books are all so different, I have learned - again - the joy of reading.

On a similar note,I've noticed that publishers are using YouTube more and more to sell books.  It was a video that got me to read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  The book was good, very good, but the video was excellent.  I just saw a video about a spiritual guide called hand wash cold by Karen Maezen Miller.  Now I want to read the book.  The images the videographer chose, based on the author's written images,are so lovely, so reminiscent of a gentler time.  Hearing the words gave me a fuller sense of the author.  The book is out in April.  I look forward to reading it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Project suggestions

I feel like I need a new project - something with a deadline that will make me excited to get out of bed and keep my brain running - happily- at night.

Something different!  I have a lot of projects in the works already, storytelling performances to prepare for, Summer Reading Club to pull together, the craft fair people to chase down - LOTS of projects.  I have done those things already.

Now, that I've written the last few sentences, I realize, I don't have time for a new project.  But it is Spring (officially) and my spirit feels restless and dissatisfied.  Where is the poetry, the art, the packets of seeds?  Where is the time to spend as I want?

So it is NOT a new project that I need.  It is a walk.  Or Spring Cleaning.  Or an attitude adjustment.  I just have a temporary lack of direction, Spring Fever at its worst.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Tweet-ish random thoughts (I guess, sort of)

I have finished my term as a club pres and NO ONE else wants the job.  Neither do I.

I am jealous of my sister who is so enthusiastic about her job - at which she is excellent, btw.

The Battle of the (Kids') Books starts tomorrow.  Check out the contenders and make your prediction HERE!!!  Here are my personal favorites for this year. (Since Suzanne Collins' Chasing Fire is not even mentioned, I will take a deep breath and plow right in.)  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate,  or  When You Reach Me,  or A Season of Gifts.   I have to be honest.  I did not read all the books on the slate.  I did not read any of the non-fiction.  Nor did I read Fire by Kristin Cashore, or The Storm in the Barn.  I promise to read those books as soon as they come back to the library.  (and Marcelo in the Real World and two others.  I am sooooooooooooo embarassed.)  This would not have been a very good Tweet.

Still on BO(K)B:  Tales of Outer Suburbia  is a real contender and Peace, Locomotion was touching and true.  Fight on great books for young people!  ON to victory!  But I stand by my top three.  (Unless I read some of the others and change my mind.)

Back to randomness:
Why is housework so darn boring and so necessary?

I think I would totally stink at Twitter.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Doing nothing

I am a big fan of doing nothing until I actually do it.  It is almost 2 pm and I have done NOTHING of import all day.  Snowstorms do that to me.  But around mid-afternoon - like NOW - I start to berate myself.  I haven't even READ anything today.  I have six books waiting to be read.   I haven't done ANYTHING and tomorrow - or the next day - when I have to go back to work, I will kick myself for not taking advantage of all that "FREE TIME".

There are so many easy ways to waste time.  This morning, I found myself mesmerized as I read the scrolling list of day cares on the weather channel.  I have no children at home.  Go figure.  Well, I get better get moving.  I still have some free time left.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Containers that I love

Here is a list of the containers that I like a lot:
Oatmeal boxes:  They're round and they're boxes!  That's reason enough.

Clear plastic clamshell containers - the ones that produce comes in.  I recycle them.  But as I put them in the recycling bin, I can't help wondering what kinds of stuff I could store in them.  The possibilities are endless.

Really big coffee cans, or plastic jugs:  These are great for collecting compost, or storing batteries in before recycling or holding buttons and beads.  And they're big and they're round, too.  I like the ones that have handles molded into the plastic.  How convenient, if unnecessary.  How many of us are going to tote around a 3 pound container of coffee?

Shoe boxes:  Oh how I love shoe boxes! Shoe boxes are a whole world of organizational potential in themselves.  I can store photos in them.  I could make dioramas out of them, except I have no need to make dioramas.  I can organize small office supplies in them and all those little things that collect in my junk drawer. They make great valentine mailboxes for kids.  Or underbed treasure storage; or stackable craft supply storage because they are flat.  And they have lids that detach so anyone can open and close them easily, unlike other boxes that need the lids tucked in, in that special over-under way, to keep them closed.

Copier paper boxes:  They are like really big shoe boxes and they are great for storing fabrics and yarn and old magazines and holiday decorations and they stack too!!!  (Sigh!)  I wish I had one right now....

Glass jars:  For specialty cookie mixes, and paper beads, and soup mix, and to store bread crumbs and cornflake crumbs in.  Glass jars are excellent.

I also like pill bottles but I never use them for anything.  Recycling has made the need to find other uses for containers sort of obsolete.

And I hardly ever do any of the organizing that these containers promise that I can.  I wonder if my affection for these containers is just nostalgia.  There was a time when the things I cherished most could fit in several shoe boxes.  Now, I want decorative baskets with matching liners.  Shoe boxes are a whole lot cheaper, though.  And they stack!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Confessions and Mind Wipes

Confession, they say, is good for the soul.  That's one thing the Catholic Church has gotten right.  There is something cleansing about admitting your sins out loud to another person.  There is something reassuring in knowing that the person who hears you will not repeat the confession, as well.

That said, a mind wipe would be even more comforting.  Here I am, confident in the knowledge that I am a good person, and out of the deepest reaches of my mind I remember THAT .... or that OTHER thing...or even worse the time that I....  AUUGGHHH!!  I apologized!  I made amends.  I promised, honest, never to do it again.  I did my penance.  Why does it come back to haunt me?  And since most sins - at least the ones that matter - have victims, I then worry about them, too.   Did my unkindness cause a permanent scar on someone's psyche? Did I damage someone's faith in themselves, self-esteem, trust in humanity? How could I DO that, or SAY that or ...??

I propose that when someone sins, confesses, does penance and atones,  everyone involved should have their minds wiped of the event.  The sinner should know the importance of never doing that kind of thing again, but, not know why.  The victim might have altered feelings about the sinner but the reason would be hazy.  Yeah.  I'd sleep better not being able to remember some of the stupid things I've done.