27.11.10

No harm. No fowl.

At the end of the recent NEIT conference I got a massage - if you're ever at Mohonk Mountain House, you must spend time at the spa! This was the best massage I've gotten, bar none. The last one I got was an in-room massage, which was lovely because there was none of that getting up and going home horror to deal with, but this was a better massage.

At the end, there's a promised Guided Power Nap. This is more like a minor relaxation exercise than a Guided Nap: the masseuse tells you to send energy to those muscles that aren't sufficiently relaxed, leaves the room and after a while returns to ring chimes marking the end of the session. The description suggests that there'll be imagery, and, well, more than that.

Anyhoo, I was lying there, all relaxed and dozing lightly when all of a sudden I heard the honk of a distressed Canadian goose. Of course, that startled me and I woke in a panic... only to find that the only distressed goose around was my snore. Yes, it woke me up. No, I don't think anyone else heard. I hope.

Then yesterday I was drifting off into a Non-Guided Nap when I heard the harsh rasping of an intruder getting louder and louder. Flinging Mallory off my stomach in panic, I learned that the intruder was, well, me.

Thing is, when I'm sleeping on my side I don't make noise. But when sleeping on my back? Bring earplugs.

26.11.10

Foodie Alert!!! Spoiler Alert!!!

(I almost entitled this post Hearth (and home) (and Harry Potter).. stay tuned)

First of all, my extreme gratitude to Laura Lutz for telling me (ok, telling anyone who reads her blog, which includes me) about @terroir, which led me to the announcement of a Thanksgiving feast at Hearth. Thing One was up for it, so instead of prepping and cooking and cleaning and stress, yesterday I headed down to NYC for a movie and dinner.

Which movie?  Harry Potter VIIa.  Of course, I've read the book and equally of course, Thing One hadn't (he gave up midway through Book II, I think).

Of course, this brings up the Dreaded Spoiler Issue... and honestly, I just don't get it.  I mean, this isn't the Crying Game, fercryinoutloud!  It's Harry "multimillion copies sold" Potter.  I'm waiting for another uproar over Mrs. Weasley's use of Inappropriate and Extreme Language in the next movie.

Then it was off to dinner... and what a dinner it was!  We started with an amuse bouche soup, cranberry and I forget the other ingredient.


The perfect starter.  Was there wine?  But of course - Chateau Masur's Bocher.

Don't know it?  You're seriously missing out. Being lazy, I didn't take a photo of the winter salad - but imagine vegetables and lettuces with a wonderful, light dressing.

True confession time: I'm not a huge fan of turkey.  Maybe it's too many dry turkey dinners in my youth, maybe it was the endless leftovers.  Whatever it was, I decided to go for the dry-aged sirloin.  It was a little surprising that steak knives were not provided, but they just weren't needed.  This was some of the best sirloin I've had.  Ever.  The sides were delicious, too; Thing One loved the potatoes while I loved the braised winter vegetables.



And don't you live the coaster that came with my tea?  You'll have to imagine the pecan tart and pear gelato - it was gone too quickly for a photo.


No muss.  No fuss.  No overly stuffed Lazygal.  No soon-to-spoil leftovers.  Thankfully perfect.

Here's hoping your evening was equally perfect.

17.11.10

Blog Challenge - Week Seven

During this time of the year everyone is taking time to be thankful. What is one thing you are thankful for and why?

I could go with the easy answers - the Things or The Gang. But that's easy, and who wants that?

So I'm going to say I'm thankful for my parents, all of them. You see, as an adoptee, I've always known I've got some other mother and father out there (not together, I suspect, but you never know... or, in my case, care). Without Mommy1 and Daddy1, I physically would not be here. There'd be some other Lazygal, though, but she wouldn't look and talk and be this Lazygal. And without Mommy2 and Daddy2, I wouldn't be Lazygal. Who knows who I'd be - probably not an athlete, but possibly not as big a reader. Probably not a school librarian. Not Mommy to (gulp) five cats. And let's not forget the incredible opportunities I've had in terms of travel, education and "culture".

I've never met M1 or D1, and I have no desire to do so - their role in my life ended at birth. M2 and D2 took over then, and shaped my life. It may seem odd to non-adoptees (or even to some that, like me, have four parents) but I'm deeply grateful to all of them, and to me they're equally important. And I'm equally thankful for what they've given me.

16.11.10

Silly me!

Today I received an e-mail from my father:

My ever-inquisitive uncle was asking about the sex life of books... something I, too, have wondered about over the years.  My response was that I'd thought the dust jackets might act as prophylactics, and that the children's/young adult books were just not developed enough.

Then I started thinking: shouldn't there be fewer murder mysteries than there are?  and what could possibly explain the missing history books?

What goes on in your library?

14.11.10

Feeling resentful

I just attended one of my favorite conferences. Favorite because of setting, favorite because it's a great opportunity to mix and mingle with techies and librarians and learn with/from them. And they're my local peeps, so those connections can be furthered over dinners/brunches/drinks throughout the year.

Yet I resent it. Not as much as I used to, when I stayed overnight (it's a beautiful setting). Just a little, because I get home later than I usually do. Thursday I had dinner with some friends from college and they were shocked that I was driving home afterwards. I tried to reassure them that this was what I wanted to do, that staying at home was really best for my heart and mental health.

For years I used Thing Two's home upstate as an escape from Brooklyn. And I resented that. I'm eternally grateful to him for allowing me to stay for long weekends and vacations, but the fact that it was his home, not mine bothered me. It wasn't my bed. My boys weren't with me. The sounds and smells and where things were was all different from my home. And I hated that.

Yes, readers, I'm a nester. I hate leaving home. I don't want to leave on Sundays for Meeting. I don't want to spend the night with Thing One in Brooklyn. I don't want to go to my xlaw's 50th birthday party next weekend. And while I enjoy seeing the people I'll see, or the whatever the event is, it's not taking place in my home.

It's not quite as bad as being an agoraphobic, but it's (dangerously?) close.

In addition to various goings-on, and going to work and shopping and all the quotidian things we do, I have another conference in January. It's in San Diego. If only there were a way I could spend the nights at home...

13.11.10

Imponderables

This past year at MPOW I've noticed something I thought was perhaps unique to this school, something I didn't really understand but, well, when you're making food for over 1000/day and it's a school setting, perhaps these things happen.

So imagine my surprise when I saw the same thing at the Very Swanky Hotel I was at for my latest conference.

What? Balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing that looks more like light chocolate mousse than salad dressing. Same color, same texture. Since when does salad dressing glop on to your salad? And it's only the balsamic - the red raspberry and other flavors of vinaigrette don't seem to have this bizarre quality.

The fact that I've now seen this in two places prompts me to ask: why????

11.11.10

Blog Challenge - Week Six

This week, we're asked to write about writing. 
What is your life as a writer like? Do you write for work and or pleasure? What kind of things to you have to write as an adult? When you do write is it texting, computer, paper, journal or other?
Years ago I tried to keep a journal. It failed mostly because I wasn't writing for me, but for Posterity, for the Great Unknown Reader.  Ugh.  Too precious and snotty for words.  All copies have been destroyed, I believe.  Or perhaps that's I hope and pray.

As an adult, my writing has been professional - articles for national library publications, mostly.  The occasional chapter for a book.  Blog articles.  Book reviews. The usual, I suppose.  One might blame my affinity for non-fiction writing on my winning a prize in sixth grade for Best Report on the Class Trip to Enney.  Or on my academic textbook editor aunt (she of the infamous Attica Report gift).  Whatever, it's my preferred writing.

The biggest change in my writing has been that I am now able to compose on the computer.  As recently as the mid-90s I couldn't: everything was written out longhand and then typed in.  However, editing is still done pen-on-paper!  And while I can (and will) edit anyone, editing myself is difficult.  I don't think I'm alone in that.  While I do tweet, it feels limiting; 140 characters isn't enough and I really hate those abbreviations you need to use to compact your message into that limit. 

I'm also more comfortable communicating via writing (be it fountain pen on personal stationery or pixels on screen), perhaps as a result of my years as a voracious reader.  For better or worse, I think I write the way I talk and expect others to "sound" the same. Readers, what do you think?

9.11.10

Blog Challenge - Week Five

(ETA: another one that for some reason hid in draft!)
Sometimes your day is not about the planned events but instead it's the small moments that make us think, reflect and savor what we are doing/learning. Tell about a small moment you had this week and what you learned or experienced in that moment.
For me, there were several small moments - all regarding students.  One student has been coming to the library daily and reading.  He read through the Cirque du Freak series, and when he finished, he came into my office, closed the door and talked to me about it (and other books) for the rest of the period. 

Another student is excited to start our Varsity Reading Team.  She's got ideas and enthusiasm for 20 students.  Others, passing through, tell me about the book I suggested, or recommend a book they like. And then there are those who don't have to say hello, or share something small from their lives, who stop me in the hall.

Even better is the message I got on Facebook from a former student.  She asked my advice about research and books - and I haven't been "her" librarian in nearly six year.  She ended the message with "I miss you."

It's these (sometimes) brief conversations that make me realize that something is going right.   I'm not just the Shusher-in-Chief, I'm someone that helps make their daily academic lives better.  And that makes all the other stuff (the filing, the budget work, the tearing-my-hair-out-over-bibliographies, etc.) bearable.

8.11.10

Blog Challenge - Week Four

(ETA: Oops!  Forgot to take this out of draft)

Another "gulp!  how can I possibly answer this one" post - "What Book Made the Biggest Impact on your Life?" Because if you're a real reader, there isn't one book, is there?  There are books that, in what ever moment and a certain time, just make so much sense that your life is in some way changed.

Hard on the heels of this prompt came Cam's tagging me on Facebook: Rules:  Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

That's easier. So I'll combine the two, and in no particular order:
  1. A.S. Byatt
  2. Robinson Davies
  3. Julian Barnes
  4. Rex Stout
  5. Carolyn Keene (ok ok she's not a real author but work with me people!)
  6. S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders
  7. Abraham Kaplan's In Pursuit of Wisdom
  8. Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook
  9. Frank de Felitta's Audrey Rose
  10. Irene Hunt's Up a Road Slowly
  11. Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
  12. Iain Banks
  13. C. S. Lewis
  14. Martha Gripe's Hugo and Josephine
  15. Noel Streatfield's Ballet Slippers
 There you have it - the authors and books I really couldn't imagine my life without; some for their ideas, some for the way in which my life was altered after reading that book. 

2.11.10

Holding my nose

Today I vote (well, by the time you read this, I'll have voted - I like to vote very first thing, despite it usually being fraught with districts not being entirely set up and ready; and who knows what will happen with the New! Improved! voting machines in NYS).

And once again, I'm not voting for candidates, I'm holding my nose and voting against others (well, I am voting for one, but the rest it's nose-holding time). I'm even lodging a feeble protest vote.  Seriously.

Why?

I'm tired of candidates slamming their opponents rather than telling us what they stand for and what they'll do if they win.  I'm tired of the increased partisanship and "the other party is Evil! Evil! Evil!" rhetoric.  I'm tired of gotcha journalism and political discourse. 

Even voting the current lot of idiots out doesn't help: the next batch are even more partisan and unwilling to work with others for the good of the people (who, after all, they represent and work for).  You know, I've never once voted for a candidate I really liked and admired.  Not once.  It'd be so much better if I could vote for "none of the above" - my guess is that if we had that as an option, more people would vote and that option would win.   What a shock for the political class, eh? 

A lazy gal can dream while holding her nose, can't she?

1.11.10

Notable Quotes

... I stared at the pictogram of a burger nestled between similar representations of shakes, sodas, and fries on the front of my register.  I wondered why humankind seemed so set on destroying all of its accomplishments.  We draw on cave walls, spend thousands of years developing complex language systems, the printing press, computers, and what do we do with it?  Create a cash register with a picture of a burger on it, just in case the cashier didn't finish the second grade.  One step forward, two steps back, like an evolutionary cha-cha.