31.12.10

Resolutely Resolved

The past couple of months I've been inundated with bad news from (and about) good friends:  friends with only months to live thanks to the horror that is cancer... friends with parents close to dying (or dying)...  a husband in a serious accident while acting as a Good Samaritan... a friend battling bulimia... friends going through divorce or separation... friends dealing with mental problems (theirs or someone in their family)...

It's a seemingly endless litany that tears at my heart, and keeps these friends in my prayers.

So my resolution for 2011?  Not to take things, or people, for granted, but to be grateful every day for the good things in my life and for the good people I know.  That means you, my friends and family. 

Holding you all in the Light for 2011.

29.12.10

Works for me...

I know conventional wisdom says that you turn down the heat at night, while you're sleeping. For years I've bucked conventional wisdom and had my nighttime temperature slightly higher than my daytime (well, my daytime "at home" temp; my daytime "at work" is definitely in the cool range).

Why?

Because I don't like being cold when I wake up in the middle of the night, and it makes it difficult to get back to sleep. Now, some people might wonder why I'm so convinced I wake up at night - surely one run to the bathroom at 2am isn't that difficult to fall back asleep from? Except I wake up more often, frequently 4/5 times a night. Perhaps it's because of the cats, but I wake up to turn over in bed.

Seriously.

I don't move in my sleep, apparently, so when it's time to turn over, I wake up. I didn't realize my movements at night were so minor when I'm actually sleeping, as I'm pretty restless before finally falling asleep. This week I started counting the number of times I wake up, and the average is 4. At times the thought of keeping a dream journal has occurred to me, but that'd make me more awake than I'd like to be at 1:37am.

So the higher temp? Works for me.

15.12.10

So many books...

This list, via Shelf Awareness, made me realize how little current adult fiction (and non-fiction) I actually read. Of the twenty, I've read three!

The top 20 book club bestsellers for 2010 from Bookmovement.com based on readers' choices are:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

12.12.10

This hurts me more than it hurts you...

Let us agree that there is a precipitating event (or events), and that actual emotional or physical harm was done. Not just once, actually. And let us also agree that this was made clear to the other party. For example, "hey! you just stepped on that guy's foot" or "I don't like it when you say ....", etc.

So, should the response be

1. "I'm sorry I hurt you"
2. "I'm sorry you were hurt"
3. "Your/their [emotions/toes] will stop hurting long before my pride does"




(the above brought to you by reality, not necessarily mine)

2.12.10

Rethinking

Recently I've had cause to rethink first impressions - one in a positive way, one in a negative way. It's always difficult to change our thinking about someone or something, particularly if we're lowering our previously good thoughts.

The positive? I knew a man, let's call him Robert. We met on-line years ago and, well, disagreed is putting it politely. It wasn't just that we had different viewpoints, it was his feeling that if you disagreed with him (or understood the opposite position) you were stupid and somewhat evil. Needless to say, not one of my favorite people. Recently, however, I've come to know him in a different context and, well, in this context what he has to say is not argumentative and actually quite thought-provoking. Luckily, "I am not I, you are not you and they are not they" or else there'd be trouble!

The negative? I loved the book Still Missing, and I've recommended it to others. Then, this past weekend, I watched an episode of L&O UK. This particular episode, "Hidden", was based on "Bitter Fruit" (L&O "original"), which was based on the Ellie Nesler case... which seems to have inspired Still Missing. Not realizing it at the time, I'm now a little less enthused about the book (and let's not talk about the cross-over to Room).

I guess it's a classic case of win some... lose some...

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.

29.10.10

It's a Mini-Me!

I don't celebrate Hallowe'en, but when you're at a school it becomes difficult to ignore the day's festivities. So I decided to go with a mini-me approach to the whole dressing up thing:
(me and mini-me)

(mini-me at work)

28.10.10

Blog Challenge... Week Three

Lovely - my life as a mathematician is this week's prompt. It also comes at the same time as I read Scott McLeod's post asking How Much Math Do You Really Need in Everyday Life.

Perhaps the best way to describe my relationship with the idea of math is to say "fraught." I'm reasonably good with a calculator, and I balance my departmental budget monthly using Quicken. Beyond that... it's not pretty. I think the Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics (aka "Dad") once said that I was good at arithmetic but not at math (I could have that backwards, or totally wrong). Actually, I blame my year in Switzerland for all my maths issues. That and a serious case of "I'm not my father's daughter" (and yes, I'm nearly 50. rebellion dies hard in some places. just ask Chechnya.)

You see, that year was one in which I learned New Math.

New Math's not bad (I can still do bases, thank you very much Ms. Webster!), but it wasn't what my classmates back in SmallTown were doing and so I technically lost a year math-wise.

The other problem is that no one - and I mean no one - that taught me math ever once said "and here's how you'll use this in real life". Seriously, if I've ever done anything with f(x) since taking calculus, would someone please tell me when and where and how. Because I don't think I have. So there. The exception, of course, was Accounting, which I use almost daily (I create GJAs for our Business Office, and could even do manual double entry bookkeeping if called upon).

Now, of course, there's a learned helplessness and reliance on others (Thing One, The Emeritus Professor..., the Head of our Math Department) for certain things. Maybe one of these days I'll overcome my math phobia and....


Nah. Won't happen.

22.10.10

Imponderables

Every week in my mail I get a Pennysaver filled with local ads and with several glossy ads from national/regional businesses. Imagine my surprise when I found an AARP membership envelope!

Now, thanks to Thing One I'm already an AARP member (it's actually my second stint at AARP membership; the first was when I was 25 and working for SSC, which handled the mutual funds AARP offered - membership was an employment "perk"). So I'm not so worried about losing out on their offerings. What I'm worried about it the assumption that someone, somewhere, in this great and glorious country of ours, hasn't heard about AARP yet.

Oh, and could someone please explain why, with retirement benefits being delayed until 67(ish), why do they push membership starting at age 50?

19.10.10

Blog Challenge.... Week Two

This week it's a class poll.  So... hmm... what do I want to know from my vast legion of readers?

What's the one read (could be blog, a newspaper, or a book genre) you can't live without?

Answers below, please!

18.10.10

Notable Quotes

Have you ever wondered what the stretch of time smells like? I can't say I had, not before I set foot inside Milderhurst Castle, but I certainly know now. Mould and ammonia, a pinch of lavender and a fair whack of dust, the mass disintegration of very old sheets of paper. And there's something else, too, something underlying it all, something verging on rotten or stewed but not. It took me a while to work out what that smell was, but I think I know now. It's the past. Thoughts and dreams, hopes and hurts, all brewed together, shifting in the stagnant air, unable ever to dissipate complet ely.
The Distant Hours, Kate Morton

16.10.10

Feeling the urge...

Some people feel the need for speed... right now, I'm feeling the urge to purge.

My last clutter kick (including this) was inspired by the Awful Events at MPOW. This one is inspired by another Awful Event, this time a fire that burned some of my xlaws out of house and home.

Time to really get to work on my closets and the assorted junk lying around this house. I may even tell my sister that the hippo is hers...

15.10.10

Blog Challenge... Week One

This week's prompt is
What is your life as a reader like? Do you read for work, pleasure, instructions or emails? What is your favorite author and/or genre? What is your favorite reading spot? What did you like to read when you were the age of your students?
Wow. What a way to start... and I'm a little stumped. What is my life as a reader like?

Voracious. Necessary. Omnigenre. And faster than your average bear. Just look at the Notes from Bookpile posts.

My parents taught me to read early - very early. My first book was a vanity press book called Bobo the Clown, written, designed and published by Mike Milder. I think my parents still have it. Honestly, I don't remember a time when I didn't (or couldn't) read. When I was younger, books were better friends than most people. And yes, I started 'cataloging' and organizing my books early on.

In 1973 I was introduced to a world of reading beyond that in SmallTown - we lived in Geneva Switzerland that year and I found Enid Blyton and Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. I've collected their works ever since. I also read the old-fashioned books that my parents had read: Louisa May Alcott's books, some of the Pollyanna series, Hans Brinker... Because the Scholastic Book Club was around back then, I also picked up books like Shadow Castle (one of my favorites). And then there was my aunt, who gave books as gifts (although to this day I'm stymied as to why anyone would think that the transcripts of the Commission on the Attica uprising was appropriate for a middle school student). I also remember a contest my fifth grade teacher had where we reported how many pages we'd read each week; she didn't actually believe I read things like The Count of Monte Cristo in three days.  Oh - and Audrey Rose gave me my life-long interest in Jungian archetypes (thank you Robertson Davies for the Deptford Trilogy!)

By the time I got to high school, I was reading just about anything - and lucky for me the books assigned in class were challenging. I also dabbled quite heavily in "bodice rippers" and porn (hey, it was an all-girl's boarding school - sue me). College was a time to branch out, and I remember the look on one friend's face when I read the first of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenent the Unbeliever overnight.

My first job out of college was working in a box office: long hours all alone waiting for someone to buy a ticket. Solution? The secondhand bookstore in town, where I was able to buy just about every Nero Wolfe mystery written. Since then, I've put over 3000 books into The Collection. While I read a great deal of Children's/YA literature, my preference is for dark mysteries... although I love Wendy's comfort reads, interesting vampire books (more Tanith Lee and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, less Stephanie Meyer), non-fiction about personal passions (like the Acadians). See? Omnigenre.

The 321 books on Mt. Bookpile are from all genres, and I'm looking forward to curling up in bed or in front of my fireplace, with The Boys, and reading all of them. Heaven would be an all-expense paid sabbatical to just read read read.

Links Galore

13.10.10

Annotated Webclutter


  • I've been feeling sick the past month, so this list of comfort reads certainly helps in the healing department. (þ: Wendy) Yes, I've already read a number of them, but the new ones are on my To Buy In Case of Illness list.  On the other hand, the unreads on this list of Killer Thrillers would also do nicely...
  • While I don't usually do challenges, Wendy pointed me towards this one and ya know, I think I'll participate. Stay tuned for a weekly post on... well... you'll just have to wait and see, won't you?

11.10.10

Just talk to me

I'm back from my second visit to the doctor in two weeks (congratulations, Ms. Lazygal, it's a sinus infection - and doesn't it make a nice follow-up to last week's upper respiratory infection?). 

While I'm admittedly a bit old-fashioned about some things, there are things that it's right to be old-fashioned about.  Doctors, for example.  Now, I'm not complaining about the fact that with a few quick keystrokes my doctor can send a prescription to the pharmacy, or about the fact that my doctors are all aware of my various conditions and medications.  That's probably all for the best, right?  Safer, more holistic, etc..

What bothers me is that my doctor spends more time typing into her computer than she does talking to me.  I feel like I have to repeat everything at least three times before she hears me - and even then I'm not sure whether it's fully sunk in.  My former doctor did listen.  Even better, she looked at me when I was talking to her.  This one?  Not so much. 

Are all other doctors doing to be the same, or should I look for a new one?

From blech to mediocre

Poor Thing One: HPOW has been going through the From Good to Great process.  Problem is, they didn't start at "good" - just getting there would be a start.  Will Manley posted about all the different management theories that he'd been through.  Makes one wonder why, doesn't it?  If the institution is so in need of reogranization, of shaking up the "how we do things" that they go through process and process and process, it seems to me that one more isn't going to help.

What would help - and I've worked for companies that have gone through these programs, too - is if management stopped paying for "experts" to advise and manage, and started really listening to the people at the bottom levels.  It may make a Managing Partner feel as though he is listening to The Little People, but until there is honest assessment from the bottom up as to what would make the company "great"...

Corporate culture is delivered top down ("trickle down", to be accurate).  Yet for true change to happen you need more of an upside down approach.   I've yet to see that happen at any POW I've known about.

5.10.10

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Yep, here's my quarterly round-up. Reviews are over on Killin' Time Reading...

Biography/Memoir
Children's/Young Adult
Fiction/Literature
Humor
Mystery
Non-Fiction
Science Fiction/Fantasy

Books on Mt. Bookpile: 322
Added: 7
Net gain/loss: 60 loss(!!)

1.10.10

Better late than never?

Most people that know me would say that I'm a pretty straight-edged person - there's no real wild child hiding inside, it's more a mild child. As Mr. Franklin suggests, I'm early to bed, early to rise, even more so as 50 approaches and 40 rapidly disappears 'round the bend (30 - not to mention 20 - are distant memories).

So imagine my surprise when I realized the other night that in the past few years I've been to concerts at Irving Plaza, Webster Hall, Highline Ballroom and Mercury Lounge!

What's next? Raves**?














**do they even have raves any more?

27.9.10

Number 9... Number 9...

What is it with New York State and Route 9? Just recently, I've driven on the "real" Route 9, Route 9H and Route 9G. In the past, I've been on Routes 9A, 9B, 9D, 9N and 9R.

Of course, that's not the only thing I was pondering during my recent drive. I passed through the Town of Clinton, in Duchess County. This is not to be confused with the Village of Clinton, which is actually located in the Town of Kirkland (Oneida County), 140 miles away. The Village is the home of Hamilton College, which is not to be confused with Colgate University located in Hamilton NY (21 miles south). The Village of Hamilton is located in Madison County. No idea if it has any bridges...

21.9.10

Imponderables

My drive to and from work is along roads that range from rural to suburban, and few have sidewalks let alone shoulders.

So imagine my surprise and consternation when I saw a woman yesterday walking with traffic, reading. Completely engrossed in her book. Not paying attention.

Now, I'm a reader. I admire other readers. But this? Not exactly my idea of a time to read.

18.9.10

Where's The Shadow when I need him?

The summer is over, along with all the attendant angst over the library move. My health is on the mend, and I'm actually moving ahead with things... including more decluttering. Paper first, closets next, and by the end of the Winter Break: the basement. Even - gasp - possibly some books. Or maybe that's overreaching?

And once again I'm decluttering my life of people that aren't healthy for me. There's someone in my life that doesn't value me and what I contribute: the bad things are noticed and critiqued, the good things ignored or unnoticed. We had a conversation a while ago and it's clear that change is not going to happen, no matter what I do (or don't do). Thing is, people only change if they perceive that the change will bring more good things into their life, not because you want them to. That's not to say I can't change, but all relationships need to be a two-way street and if it's clear the other isn't going to change, it's time to find another road.

This realization hurts, of course, but ultimately the loss of stress and distress will be a very good thing.

It also reminds me of a few conversations I had over the summer with some very smart young women. They're both in their 20s (although one is "nearly 30"), and in some ways they are so very together. I wonder if it's a generational thing, or a chronological age thing, this nearly Zen-like ability to clearly see their lives and make choices uncluttered by the types of distractions that me and my friends have.

Years ago another friend said that you never know what's going on in someone else's life, which is very true. These two young women may not be as together as they appear... and the person that I'd like to change may have things going on that prevent the type of change I need.

Unlike the Shadow, I just don't know...

14.9.10

Too much of a good thing?

It occurred to me today that I've seen my parents more times in the past month than I have in, well, years. The visits have been short, but still...

The first was when I headed to SmallTown for a visit (at which time, you may remember, I was stood up by the boy next door, not that I'm still holding a grudge or anything). That was about a month ago.

Then, two weeks ago, I orchestrated a semi-surprise anniversary dinner for them (Uncle Anchises describes the cousins dinner quite well, and if you're not following his blog, well...). The surprise was that while they knew I'd be there, they had no idea that Thing One or my sister, her husband and two children would also be there. What I didn't expect was that my mother's boy-next-door (who never stood her up, by the way. not that I'm keeping track) would die and I'd have to hide Thing One somewhere so as not to ruin the surprise. Despite that little set-back, the evening went smoothly and the looks on their faces were so wonderful to see. Call that my annual mitzvah.

This past week, my cousin D and his family were in town (from LA, which is where the boy-next-door lives, too - and let's guess which one I'm more likely to see when I'm in Anaheim for ALA next summer, shall we?) to visit Uncle A, and I was invited to dinner. Just two days before, I learned that my parents would be at dinner as well. So, three times in three weeks.

And then there was Sunday, when we reopened our library. I'd thought all donors were being invited, so I mentioned it to them. Turns out I was slightly wrong, but they had a great time seeing my new workspace and meeting some of my colleagues. They even came to breakfast on Monday!

Four times in a little over four weeks. Wow. I don't know when I'll see them again, which is ok. Wouldn't want to have too much of a good thing.*



















* unlike That Boy, who clearly doesn't know what he's missing...

9.9.10

Deep breath

Without going into specifics, a Major Life Decision has been made. Stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, enjoy this link (þ: Deb)

7.9.10

Bad Boss Brigade

In honor of Labor Day, I've been thinking about the people I've worked for that have been... let's just call them disappointments.  I'm not talking about the ones that didn't give me that well-deserved raise, or who didn't give me the warm-fuzzies all the time, I'm talking about the ones that were just not even close to being a good boss.  I've tried to avoid these mistakes (and think that I have!), which isn't to say I'm a perfect boss.  It does seem that I'm a Bad Boss Magnet (NOTE: the reason there are so many is that 1. sometimes I reported to more than one person at a time, 2. in one job I had four supervisors in six months, and 3. some were bad in more ways than one).

I present to you, dear readers, the Bad Boss Brigade.

  • Topping the list is the boss who bounced my paycheck, and then got mad at me because I didn't have enough of a float to not incur bounced check charges.  IMVHO, the depth of my checking or savings account wasn't the issue.
  • Then there was the time that my boss decided not to pay us on Wednesday (payday was on Thursdays, but this was Thanksgiving week) and instead of coming in on Friday to cut paychecks decided to go hunting. 
  • The boss that threatened to fire me because I wouldn't answer my phone (I was home with laryngitis, and both Thing One *and* my doctor's office had called to explain my absence; he called me 10 times that day).
  • There's the boss that in all my years of service managed to only once find the words to say anything positive about my work.
  • One boss was so afraid of a discrimination lawsuit that one member of my department was allowed unlimited time off (example: Monday - called in with a sprained ankle, Tuesday - waiting for the doctor, Wednesday - waiting for the x-ray to be developed, Thursday - no call, Friday - at work with no limp, no cane, no nothing).
  • Another allowed a colleague to verbally abuse me and physically threaten me - while the other person was admonished, there was no apology or acknowledgment that they'd done wrong.
  • Yet another excused sexual harassment, saying "it's a small office... don't be so sensitive".
  • One left a memo/fax on my desk showing that upcoming budget/staff cuts eliminated my position.
  • In one office, there was a chain-smoker (2+ packs/day), a cigar smoker and a pipe smoker (yes, this was before NYC went No Smoking Anywhere Indoors; as an office with <25 people, OSHA would not get involved).
  • Another felt that any time my name crossed their radar it was a bad thing, even if the "blip" was a positive comment about my performance.
  • Let's not forget the one that felt that the best way to get good results was to berate people publicly. 
  • There were the partners (both 65+) who fought like children when the partnership dissolved - did it really matter who had more paperclips and manila folders?  - and drove me to Xanax.
Here's hoping that you've had better luck than I - but if not, please feel free to share in the comments section!

31.8.10

Worst. Summer. Ever.

Perhaps not "ever" but certainly within recent memory...

Why?

Things at MPOW haven't been going quite as well as they need to be going, and I'm not at all confident that we'll be ready for students to come back on Tuesday. That's a huge worry: books aren't shelved properly (yet); there's nothing up to highlight the Great! New! Books!; there's a huge archives project that needs tidying; our DVD collection needs to be rehoused; need I go on? On top of all that, Bogie's acting funny, requiring a visit to the vet. My house needs a serious cleaning. I'm very behind on updating my computer and on decluttering my closets. For every step forward I'm taking, I feel like this summer has been ten steps back.

Thing Two does something called "lie on top of", which is wonderful because it's like a human is acting as a security blanket; it's an eternal shame that I don't have constant access to a human for "lie on top of" (or that The Boys can't grow to human-size so that they can cuddle me back; part of me hopes that The Boys feel completely loved and snuggled when I do something similar to them - the certainly do purr as if they do!). Yes, yoga's good for destressing. Ditto dark chocolate. Or Ben & Jerrys. Still, give me a good "lie on top of" any day, and if you can find anyone to "lie on top of" you, do so immediately.

Of course, you could always tap your troubles away.

25.8.10

Poltical Imponderables

I'm listening to the recent primary results and in each race one candidate was "supported by the Tea Party" or "a Tea Partier". Hmmm...

At MPOW, there are many who have expressed a desire to see the Democrats take over the local, state and national governments. Not just this election cycle, but permanently. Unfortunately, this sentiment isn't confined to MPOW - I've heard it from others of a seriously liberal bent. If that were to happen, it kind of makes the Republicans the political version of the Washington Generals. And it kind of makes America a one party nation, something that should make every one of us rethink our allegiance to the flag.

On the other hand, the Tea Party is not the third party we desperately need. Unless it's the original (and still best).

23.8.10

Miss me?

Some things have happened over the past few weeks that have made me think about people that are no longer in my life. In part it's been seeing old friends and students, in part it's been random events that have made me wonder what [name of person] would have made of things.

The vast majority of these people are those that naturally slipped away - going away to school, marriage, leaving a job, etc. are all perfect opportunities to miss catching up with people and their lives. That's why we have school reunions, right? They're our chance to gossip about those that haven't come to the reunion, to share memories of each other and to wonder What Ever Happened To, as well as to revisit old grudges and dislikes. I've had great luck with my reunions, but other friends of mine? Not so much. The left over angst sometimes is difficult (as one friend said "they were all so happy to see me and acted as though we were friends, but back then I knew they really didn't like me so why pretend now that they did?").

And then there are those that are no longer part of your life because of a misunderstanding, a break-up or other catastrophe. The reasons then seemed great, but now you can't really remember why. And you miss that person, wanting to say "sorry" or "can't we find a way to work it out?".

I've done some searching for a number of these people. A few I've found; most I haven't found (despite all the reports to the contrary, not everyone has a web presence or online life!). And found or not, there are always those nagging doubts: do they want to hear from me? will they be as sexy/smart/funny/understanding/intriguing as they were Back When? will I have changed in ways that they don't like? is it too late to become friends again? would an overture be appreciated? If I were on the receiving end, would there be residual anger or embarrassment? What's the appropriate time frame in which to respond (too fast, and I'll look desperate, too slow and I'm clearly only being polite)?

One of the odd quirks I have is that I remember birthdays - one just passed for someone I haven't thought about in, well, 30 or so years. It was only seeing another friend that brought this person to mind, and I now know where they work. Should I send a card or note? Should I ignore the date? Does this person miss me, or am I too part of their distant past?

All of this to say that if I haven't been in touch recently, I'm sorry. I do miss you. Do you miss me?**










** and yes, I'm aware that a semi-anonymous blog post is not going to help with those I've lost touch with over the years. Still, it's "out there" as They say. Can't hurt, right?

15.8.10

Living in a bubble

Friday I headed north to SmallTown, in part to see my parents and in part to see a couple of people I hadn't seen in many years (that one of those people decided to skip lunch with me in favor of a golf tournament doesn't bother me at all and I'm definitely not bitter about it. Nope. But I digress.). Because things at MPOW have been completely messed up, my departure kept being delayed and then I rushed (serious traffic between the TZB and the Harrison tolls didn't help my mood, either).

Anyway, I got home and the first thing I needed to do was to use the bathroom. A discussion started about whether I could and it was decided that the toilet and sink were ok, but that I'd have to use my parent's Brand New Amazing Shower. At dinner, I asked what was wrong with my shower - I'd been regaled with tales of the 30 Year Leak (that led to removal of their shower, rotten wood paneling and other Tales of Woe, including the Great Garbage Saga) for months, but until now my shower (ok, to be accurate, the shower my sister and I shared) had not been part of the conversation.

It turns out that my parents were/are so taken with the new fixtures in their Brand New Amazing Shower that they want to put them in my shower. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the single knob hot/cold/more flow/less flow method, but I moved out over 30 years ago so I have no real say in the matter. And after owning the house for 40+ years, it's fine that they're making improvements. So... they've Made Plans.

Thing is, they loved the contractor they used for their Brand New Amazing Shower (and attending work) and assumed that the plumbing sub-contractors were of similar caliber. Dad called some time ago, and was told that there was no time and call back in six week. That was this past week. Dad called... Mutt (or Jeff, I wasn't clear which) said "tomorrow". "Tomorrow" was a no-show, so Dad calls. "3 o'clock tomorrow" is the response. No show again. Dad calls, but mysteriously can't get through. He calls Jeff (or perhaps Mutt), who is camping in the North Country and can't help.

My father is honestly shocked by this. Not "shocked... shocked!". Genuinely shocked.

I mentioned this to my friend D. (the one who did come to lunch. not that I'm upset about being stood up by L. at all), who has been renovating her house for the past year or so. She and her husband have had many issues with their contractors, so she's not shocked. I mention Briar's problems - this is more the contracting norm, right?

D. mentioned that I was forgetting one very important thing: our parents live in SmalltTown. There are no lines there. Everything is done right the first time. You don't have to drive more than five minutes to anything. Contractors are honest, hard-working professionals. It's worlds removed from MediumTown or BigCity. It's SmallTown.

12.8.10

What's in a name?

The other day at MPOW a colleague referred to the man she's in a relationship with as her "significant other". This colleague is a week younger than I, and it got me thinking: what term do you use when you're over 30 and "boyfriend" starts to sound a little like you're clinging on to your rapidly disappearing youth?

My paternal grandfather died in 1973 and his wife (aka my grandmother) died nearly 30 years later; during that interval she had two "gentleman friends", a term I don't believe anyone outside the Greatest Generation could use with a straight face. "Partner" sounds either as though this is a homosexual relationship or a legal/medical
relationship (a friend of mine had a life partner and a medical partner with the same name). "Lover" is a bit, well, TMI and implies that sex is the central focus of the relationship. "Companion"? Are we in Jane Eyre or some Trollope novel?

If it's a romantic relationship, POSSLQ is out (but thanks to the Census Bureau for a great acronym!). Equally, "roommate" doesn't cover that type of relationship and "fiance" might be pushing things. "Soul mate" sounds a little too Age of Aquarius.

So I'm stumped. Ideas?

2.8.10

My new life goal

In a couple of weeks, the people I went to public school with will be celebrating their 30th high school reunion (as readers know, I've already had mine). To be honest, of the 450 people that I would have graduated with had I stayed there, I only remember five. Recently I commented on one of those friends FB page; that night there was a message from another classmate who clearly remembered me but of whom I had no recollection. The other night I couldn't sleep, thanks to a midday latte, and I found myself looking in the basement for my 9th grade yearbook. Even with the photo as a prompt, this person's name wasn't ringing any of those memory bells! (take that, Thing Two: I don't have perfect memory of everyone and everything)

Reading the comments was interesting. Some were unreadable, because thin pen over a photo doesn't lend itself to reading. Most were of the "you're a good kid... have a good summer..." variety. So yes, I was a loser with few friends back then. There were a few "we had so much fun in [subject] class - never forget [name of teacher]". If my life depended on it I can't remember that teacher, or the class in which I apparently had fun! And then there were the comments that scared me.

Scared me how? Reading between the lines, back then I was smart, assertive, and hell on wheels. Plus ça change, right? Aren't we supposed to grow and change as we get older?

I mentioned this to Thing One, who said "I wouldn't say hell on wheels - you're more like purgatory on a unicycle." Maybe in another 30 years, I'll be "limbo in Topsiders." Certainly a goal to strive for.

27.7.10

Imponderables

One of the joys of Netflix is being able to watch old series that you missed the first time around  or those you'd like to rewatch (although why Mother Love and Die Kinder aren't available is beyond me: I'd love to see them again!). Along with all my reading (35 ALA-gotten ARCs down, 25 to go!), I'm watching many movies and series during my long weekends this summer.

The current Netflix is Poldark.  Now, I remember when it was on Masterpiece Theatre and I remember my mother refusing to let me watch any of the episodes.  So of course I've had an incredible curiosity about why.  I should have learned my lesson when I finally saw Upstairs, Downstairs (don't get me wrong, it's a great series, but there's nothing there that a teen in the 1970s should have been shielded from!)... but noooooo.  I'm watching the series (anyone else notice the resemblance to Penmarric?  or is that just me?) and, well, I'm underwhelmed.  1700s Cornwall-based soap opera?  Definitely.  But it's basically G rated, with the occasional PG moment. 

So why couldn't I watch Masterpiece Theatre when I was younger?  Anyone?

25.7.10

Things that *do* keep me up at night

(or, to be accurate, things that kept me up last night):
  • eau de pissed-off skunk
  • the howling of coyotes
  • a massive lightning display - almost like a strobe light in frequency, but (oddly enough) with continuous low-level thunder that lasted two hours

23.7.10

Running in place

As the Big Move approaches (Tuesday!!), I've been thinking about the past three years and what changes have been wrought. The truth is, I'm in much the same place - the things I had hoped to change, declutter and accomplish are still very much where they were in 2007.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, this treading water. Some of it has been a necessary keeping sane process , and trying to get my health issues under control has been a priority (when you prioritize what's important, certain things fall by the wayside). I'm less happy about the things I've backslid on, however. And some of those slides? Ugh.

So I'm getting back on track, dusting off (and updating) the old goals and figuring out how to move forward. Just watch my dust!

22.7.10

Things that don't really keep me up at night

Yesterday, LB1 and I were talking about her experiences with Landmark Forum; her uncle was really into it and convinced her to go to one of their seminars.  Her feeling was that it was so popular in California because people there feel guilty about the great weather they have, so they obsess over their issues that much more.  At 19, she didn't feel that she'd made enough bad choices to have any regrets, particularly not the type of things that seemed to keep her seminarmates up at night.

I started thinking about the things that don't really keep me up at night.  Nothing really does, although there are a few things that I'll obsess about** in the short-term.  Things like:
  • why I'm such a magnet for bad supervisors - the number of "spectacularly bad" far outweighs the "neutral" or "good"
  • "this isn't working out" occasions an 'ok' or no response?  really??
  • why my parents never really talk about their childhoods or families (seriously: I have to get my information from their cousins or siblings; a therapist would probably blame my adoption, I blame natural curiosity about what made them who they are)
  • what is the proper response to a FB message from someone that clearly knows you, but who you have no memory of at all?  it feels rude not to respond at all, but what on earth do you say?!
  • how do I keep from getting annoyed when going for an MRI and being asked 10 times in 5 minutes whether I'm sure I'm not pregnant.  trust me: I'm not.  stop asking.
  • can I really refrain from telling someone that just because they have an MBA from Wharton doesn't mean that their memos don't sound like they were translated from Masai into English via Basque?  
  • why I have such a distorted body image: I see myself as short, because I take a petite size (and you try getting pudgy petite pants, it's not easy) and as having a normal skin tone, rather than the incredibly pale coloration that everyone else tells me I have.
All the other, far more important stuff?  I guess going to Meeting and having friends and therapy over the years have helped. 

What things don't really keep you up at night?


** by "obsess over" I mean those things that stick in my brain and come to the surface of my over-caffeinated brain at 1am when I've been silly enough to  have a latte at, say 10am, and which don't bother me at all otherwise.

18.7.10

Culture Vulturing on a hot summer's eve

In the late-80s, David Johansen was playing seemingly weekly at the Bottom Line, and Thing One kept promising that one day he'd take me.  It took 20 years, but finally!  Don't know who David Jo is? Think New York Dolls.  Think Buster Poindexter.  Think Hot Hot Hot (on second thought, don't - I think we've all heard that song 50 times too many).

So, on a scorching night in NYC, off we went to the Highline Ballroom to finally see him in concert.  I don't know what type of a crowd Thing One expected, but a bunch of off-duty cops/firemen in their 50s wasn't quite top of my "this is the David Jo crowd" list!  The only song we knew we didn't want him to do was That Song, but Thing One did have hopes that we'd get "Hit the Road Jack" and "House of the Rising Son".  No such luck.  Instead we got "Funky but Chic", "Frenchette", "The Rope" (among others) and covers of "Rocket 88", "Boom Boom" along with some new stuff.  He was remarkably adept at ignoring the yelled requests from the audience, although he did allude to That Song with the casual remark "it's a living".  There was no band, just Brian Koonin on guitar, and the rock portion hearkened back to the 50s in tone.  All-in-all, a fun concert... almost.

The "almost" was the part that was ruined by David Jo's hairdresser, Sheridan, who was also part of Vaughn's birthday party.  No idea who Vaughn is, but he and his crew had one of the banquette areas of the Highline filled, and they were acknowledged by David during the concert.  Sheridan (also acknowledged as the one that comes to do his hair every day) was one of those fashionably chicly dressed types, and apparently is so used to her boss' music that she didn't feel the need to modulate her tones when arguing with someone at the party - those of us on that side of the room could hear her during several songs.  Then, during the second encore ("Heart of Gold"), she was at the bar, talking over the music to some guy (who had the good grace to notice that perhaps those closest weren't interested in whatever Sheridan's issues were, and be slightly embarrassed by the attention).  I didn't give in to my intense urge to stand up and ask Mr. Johansen to restart the song after his employee finished her conversation, but I did thank her for her contribution to my evening's entertainment.  

It was really too bad that such an enjoyable evening was ruined by such an inconsiderate person.  If I ever get the chance to see him perform again, I really hope she's not in the audience.

16.7.10

Links Galore

  • Personally, I hate waiting for things to load or update online.  This list from Dumb Little Man of ways to make money (albeit small amounts) while waiting is great.
  • Better late than never, right?  So contribute to this map of favorite independent bookstores  (even though we're past Independent Bookseller Week) (þ: Books Blog)
  • I got an A+ . What does Google Grade say about your social brand?  (þ: Will Richardson)
  • I used to love Mamma and Dogpile, but now Smartpage is my favorite search aggregator! (plus it's got privacy controls - how nice)

14.7.10

Not impressed

I'm watching the news and the anchors reported that Pres. Obama's disapproval rating is at an all-time high.

I'm not surprised.

Despite all the promises and all the hope, he's failed to impress me. For some reason, one they can't clearly articulate, my parents find him inspirational. If they could point to one speech, one action, one something that inspires them, I'd be happy. But they can't.

And really, how inspiring is it to have a half-white, half-black product of a prestigious prep school and equally prestigious universities with little experience governing as president? Take away the ethnic twist and he could be George W. Bush in terms of background. If he'd come straight outta Compton I'd have been impressed and possibly inspired.

That he hasn't kept many of his pre-presidential promises also doesn't surprise me. That others are disappointed does surprise me. Doesn't any one remember being disappointed by all election campaign promises, going back to the kid in 6th grade who promised that if you elected him there'd be homework-free weeks and candy for all on Fridays? Or the girl who promised that manicures would be available in the cafeteria every Friday, if only you'd vote for her? I was at college with candidate Rhett Butler, who apparently "gave a damn" to such an extent that I had no idea he was even in office.

President Obama has made mistakes. All presidents do. He has failed to inspire, like most of his predecessors. Had he used his primetime speech following the BP oil spill as his "man on the moon" moment, pushing for energy alternatives and promising real changes within five, or ten, years, he might have inspired. Instead he did what he's done in every speech I've seen him give: he lectured, he explained, and he was bland.

His low approval ratings? Not surprised. Are you?

Happy Birthday!!

Today is the day we celebrate the birthdays of three of The Gang: Bogie (14), Mallory (11) and Greta (3). I don't have birth certificates for them, but going by the age the vets think they were when they joined the family, mid-July seems appropriate as a birthday (in case you're wondering, Francis is a Thanksgiving baby, and he'll be 3 this year).

We'll be having salmon and perhaps some ice cream. And cuddles. Lots of cuddles.

12.7.10

Notable Quotes

It's bittersweet (without the sweet)
Honey from the rock (without the honey)
Was never absolutely clean
Never really love's young dream:
A pair of fairly fucked up bunnies.
Bittersweet, Shriekback

9.7.10

Links Galore

8.7.10

A case of the guilts

Uncle Anchises writes about the untimely death of his father (aka my grandfather), and his guilt over their last meeting.  I responded, but there's more.  Upon reflection, my family is filled with guilt over parental guilt.  How so?

My mother's felt guilty for the past 60 years over your mother's death (you want to talk untimely?  My grandmother died when she was 47!)  Mom feels that she let her mother down by not being as attentive while she was in the hospital, and by not wearing lipstick as asked; in short, for being a 12-13 year old girl. 

And then there's my father, who feels guilty that he didn't realize how sick his father was, as though he could have prevented the heart attack.

Neither have expressed guilt over their other parents' death, but I know that my mother's father's death still sits uneasily on her.

Thing One was lucky enough to spend a good deal of time with his mother as she was in the hospital dying, and was there when his father literally drew his last breath.  He misses them, but guilt doesn't enter into his feelings.

Wonder what I'll feel guilty about when my parents go.

5.7.10

Imponderables

Why is it that you can still get aerosol deodorant (I thought those were banned???) and yet you cannot find roll-on? Much less something unscented?

3.7.10

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Just got a new batch of ARCs during ALA Annual, and have already dived in. Let's see if I can finish them by the end of Q3. Reviews are all over on Killin' Time Reading.

Biography/Memoir
E.B. White; Scott Elledge
Episodes; Blaze Ginsberg
Julie and Julia: Julie Powell
Mistress of the Monarchy; Alison Weir

Children's/Young Adult
Young Samurai; Chris Bradford
Tenth Grade Bleeds; Heather Brewer
Thirteen Days to Midnight; Patrick Carman
Matched; Ally Condee
Nightshade; Andrea Cremer
13 to Life; Shannon Delany
Theodore Boone; John Grisham
Blood Feud; Alyxandra Harvey
Guardian of the Dead; Karen Healey
The Color of Water; Kim Dong Hwa
Scumble; Ingrid Law
Lord Sunday; Garth Nix
Sisters Red; Jackson Pearce
Museum of Thieves; Lian Tanner
Guardian of the Gate; Michelle Zink

Fiction/Literature
Espedair Street; Iain Banks
The Yiddish Policeman's Union; Michael Chabon
Beautiful Maria of My Soul; Oscar Hijuelos

Humor
Nightshade; Harvard Lampoon

Mystery
This Body of Death; Elizabeth George
The Black Cat; Martha Grimes
The Man in the Picture; Susan Hill
The Cruelest Month and Bury Your Dead, Louise Penny

Non-Fiction
Wicked Good Year; Steve Buckley
The Americans; Alistair Cooke
Lost London; Hermione Hobhouse
This Book Is Overdue!; Marilyn Johnson
Digital Revolutionaries; Steve Lohr

Science Fiction/Fantasy
Hastur Lord; Marion Zimmer Bradley
Dragons of Darkness; Antonia Michaelis

Books on Mt. Bookpile: 375
Added: 76
Net gain/loss: 41 gain

30.6.10

There's something about Amy

At last year's ALA conference, my friend Wendy introduced me to her friend Amy - and now Amy and I are friends.  Nice how these things work, right?  It was good seeing her at this year's ALA (even better that she reaffirmed that I was not - despite my fondness for, and knowledge of, Broadway tunes - a gay man [not that I normally worry about this, because I'm reasonably sure that no one looks at me and thinks "gay man" but when an actual gay man asks the question, you do get a little bemused, particularly when you've known said gay man for five years and have breakfast with him almost daily!]), doing the ARC ninja thing and then going to lunch.

It's the lunch part that makes me love Amy.  You see, earlier this year, at ALA Midwinter, Amy led Wendy and me on the Death March to No Dinner; while on this march, at one of the places at which we did not eat, we got carded.  Seriously.  The doorman would not let us in without checking our IDs.  Trust me, it made my night.  Heck, it made my year!

So this time, we went to lunch and when we ordered a drink, the waitress asked for ID.  I didn't have mine (I travel light during conference), but Amy did and mentioned that I was older than she (we're at opposite ends of our 40s).  This wasn't at night, I wasn't bundled up: I got carded in a restaurant in broad daylight. 

Wow.

And it only happens with Amy.  Of course, like the good daughter of a scientist that I am, I now need to test this under differing conditions: does Amy's magic only work during conferences? 

25.6.10

Links Galore

23.6.10

New Blog Alert

After bragging about my friend's blogs, the least I can do is promote my uncle's blog, Anchises - An Old Man's Journal. He's a wonderful writer (even his scholarly works are readable to a non-scholar like myself!), and this journal of his adventures in old age is filled with interesting insights and thoughts.