Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feeling Thankful

Turn on the news lately? Read a paper? Listened to the radio? Wondering if it is all doom and gloom? I have...
Then I read a touching personal story or hear of a remarkable human being or watch a video of extraordinary animals (love the ones where animals adopt other animals) and I step away from the sadness and anger for a minute.
So I started writing down the things I am thankful for today and thought I would share a few, you should do the same it keeps things in perspective.

I am thankful for:
My family
My health
The health of my family and friends
My friends
My job (in one of the last "free" environments..need a book, a music cd, a movie...then go to the library...an original reuse and recycle environment)
That I have no credit card debt, ZERO, ZIP, NADA. I'm not part of that problem.
My smart financial adviser and my equally smart lawyer. Planning ahead equals piece of mind.
Independence. One of my greatest strengths and something I rely on in tough times.
My freedom

So turn off the news, stay away from CNN and find something positive today. It shouldn't be hard.

Monday, September 29, 2008

One of the Greatest Home Libraries

Last week I blogged about home libraries and a few days later came across this excellent article on one of the world's greatest personal collections at Wired.com.
The article, Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library takes you on a tour of the founder of Priceline's "priceless" collection. The pictures show an almost unbelievable library built to display a mind numbing array of books, artifacts, models, antiques and maps. Walker owns an original 1493 copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle, a 1535 Coverdale Bible, 20th Century books covered in jewels and thousands of other items in the same room as an original Sputnik satellite, a field tool kit of Civil War surgeons, the original hand from the TV show The Addams Family and a chandelier from the Bond movie Die Another Day!
Check out the article and the amazing pictures. The library is private and has only been viewed by invitation from Walker, in fact the article is the first time a member of the press was allowed access.
Just reading about this man's fantastic collection made me happy that somewhere someone had the means and the thought to collect all those treasures. To me just a glimpse of such a place is a fantasy brought to reality.

Friday, September 26, 2008

ILA Conference at Navy Pier

Yesterday was Day 2 of the Illinois Library Association's 3 day conference held at Navy Pier in Chicago. I attended and thoroughly enjoyed each of the 3 sessions I participated in. After years of employment at the American Library Association and working conferences in San Diego, Seattle, Orlando, Boston and Chicago it was nice to attend a Library Conference as a participant and not as an employee.
The sessions I chose to attend were really very good, particularly the Library 2.0 session with speakers from the Schaumburg, Skokie, Arlington Heights and Park Ridge libraries. I also sat in on a Learning Lab session (how to create an experiential learning environment within your library using Green technology and ideas) and a session on weeding your reference collection.
Like most conferences the rooms are rarely adequate for the attendees who show up, the rooms are either too small or too large, too cold or too warm, too noisy or with too many distractions. Like most PLA sessions I scheduled rooms for at ALA conferences getting the right room for the right program is almost impossible with the exception of opening and closing sessions when you know you will need the largest rooms.
What surprised me the most as an attendee in the sessions was not about the inadequacy of the facility but more the inappropriate behavior of other attendees! In my first session there was the constant stream of late arrivers who entered through the loudest and heaviest doors on 2 sides of the room. Or the attendees who after a few minutes decide they don't want to stay and get up from a seat in the middle of a row of 15-20 people and have to scooch by with multiple bags (free vendor handouts I am sure) full of free books, bottles of water, lunch bags etc. that smack each person they squeeze by.
In my 2nd session there was the woman sitting next to me in a packed overly small room who constantly fanned through the edges of her magazine for 60 minutes, zphhhhhhhhhhhhhh, zphhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Or my personal favorite the woman in my 3rd session with the snorting and clearing of her nasal passages every 1 minute. Seriously it's appalling when people are so clueless of their distracting behavior.
All in all the sessions were excellent, the speakers were well chosen and well spoken and the lovely setting of Navy Pier was a bonus. In between each session it was lovely to step outside and gaze upon the Chicago skyline while watching the boats sail in.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bibliophilia Must Read Book-Among the Gently Mad

I've posted before about my book collection including some of my rare books, see post:
In my pursuit of acquiring some great rare books I am reading, Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book Hunter in the Twenty First Century by Nicholas Basbanes.
Full of strategies for the modern day bibliophile this book is a must read for any collector. Topics include finding rare books at auctions, book fairs, brokers and collectors as well as through websites such as Ebay.
A must read for any bibliophile!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are you Social Networking?

One of the coolest things about social networking are the people I have reconnected with, some after more than 20 years. Since high school and college, there have been friends that have crossed my mind over the years and as the Internet grew, so did the ability to search for them. I never had much success until I got on Facebook and have finally reconnected with former roommates, ex-boyfriends and even childhood playmates.
My favorite part of reconnecting is the sharing of memories especially events I had forgotten until reminded of it by someone who experienced it with me.
I recently connected with a friend from high school, an older guy who I totally crushed on my sophomore year. Funny to think that is how old my kid is now.
Anyway, he reminded me of a memory that has had me laughing ever since, in his words, "Lastly... I was reminded of us drinking Peach Schopps (sp) in my backyard the night before your ACTs. I am glad to know you did well enough to get into college. ;-)"
Thanks Rich, good times back then even if I did have to retake those ACTs.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Feeling Nostalgic

(Picture is the cast of the classic 80's television series Degrassi Junior High which ran from 1987-1989. Check out the clothes and hairstyles!)

So this is homecoming week at my kid's school, which also happens to be the high school I attended (Class of 1988).
Today is 80's day and because he didn't want to dress up, not cool for guys I guess, I went through my bin of high school crap and found some buttons from homecoming 1984, 1985 and 1986. He liked the 1985 button and is wearing that as his little bit of school spirit.
I have a couple of large plastic boxes, one full of high school memories and one full of college memories. When pawing through the high school box last night I stumbled across a shoe box full of notes from friends passed in classes, ticket stubs, id's, tacky plastic neon jewelry, love letters (so funny!), pictures and anything I thought was worth saving as a teenager. With my 20th reunion in under 2 weeks I might sit down and go through the entire box.
The 80's doesn't really feel like it was that long ago until I saw all the kids walking into the high school today in "costumes" reflecting what we used to wear as teenagers. Side ponytails, big earrings, tight acid wash pants, "Flashdance" style tops, patterned tights, leg warmers, men's jackets with the sleeves rolled up and neon, way too much neon. Geez, when I was a teen the theme days in school were 50's and 60's days and my Mom let me wear her saddle shoes or bell bottoms. Sigh...how times change so quickly.
Check out this hysterical website of everything 80's, the pictures are great!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Me and the Magic Man

Since it's all about Copperfield this week, check out the pic below!

Friday Flash Back #15

In honor of David Copperfield's birthday which was Tuesday, here is a flash back video of the disappearance of the Statue of Liberty. Fabulously retro clothes, radar systems, spotlights and pay attention to his hand gestures, hysterical!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Home Library

In my deliciously cozy family room I have large built in bookshelves as well as a comfy leather sofa and reading chair in front of the fireplace. The room is small with only light from the french doors that open onto my yard which makes it the perfect place to curl up during cold Chicago winters to read.
In my perfect world I would be a billionaire bibliophile with a castle in England full of my fine rare books and my old favorites. Of course, my favorite room would be my library. (kitchen you say...HA...you do know I don't cook)
While stuck in a rather drab meeting today in a library too close to Wisconsin for my liking I wasted a bit of time searching the web on my ITouch for pictures of more appealing libraries and found some terrific websites on creating your own perfect home library.
The website Library Designs here: http://www.librarydesigns.com/ has some great pictures of classic home libraries many with the wall of books and rolling ladder.
And check out this great article at Business Week online for a slideshow of home libraries. http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/12/1220_superlibraries/index_01.htm?sub=travel
Encourage your young reader or inspire yourself to start your own library at this wonderful website which includes a great selection of bookplates you can customize for your collection.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are You Registered to Vote?

I completed my refresher course on voter registration and was sworn in as a Deputy Voter Registrar this afternoon. Your right to vote is one of the greatest privileges in the world and I hope you all vote at every opportunity.
If you live in the State of Illinois and are NOT registered to vote... well that doesn't make me happy, but lucky you, I can register you! Or if you have changed your address you will need to re-register.
So, exercise your right to make a difference, and YES it DOES make a difference.
So VOTE! You might see me as an Election judge this year. Totally cool!
Helpful websites:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Looking for...

that misplaced car or a goose? If you are, check with David Copperfield. I saw David's show in Las Vegas and it was tons of fun and left the audience going, "How'd he do that?" Seriously entertaining.
Copperfield was a total stud when I was in high school (late 80's) and in college (early 90's) so seeing him live was a huge thrill for me. I think I've seen all his over the top cheesy shows (making the Statue of Liberty disappear, walking through the Great Wall of China) so I was expecting some good tricks and he didn't disappoint. Making a car appear over the head of guests he pulled from the audience and walking through a steel plate were some of his cooler tricks. What was surprising was how OLD he looked. Maybe it was an off night but I was expecting the movie star looks from tv and his posters all around Las Vegas, but when he walked out on stage I was shocked, he is OLD! Well not old, I thought he looked at least 60 and was shocked to find out when I Googled him he is only 52. This is the man who dated Claudia Schiffer for years but whatever, maybe the man has been a playboy too long. Maybe it's the magic that keeps the ladies interested, he is totally amazing.
Check out site here: http://www.dcopperfield.com/

Monday, September 15, 2008

Have you ever seen?

The Golden Gate Bridge? After missing my flight from Las Vegas to Chicago (long story!) I ended up catching a flight to San Francisco and at 1:30 a.m. this morning the plane left California and flew over the Golden Gate Bridge. Lucky to snag a window seat the view was breathtaking, flying over the bridge and under a very bright full moon. I'm finally home after what should have been a 5 hour trip took 15 hours.
The rains in Chicago have stopped, the flooding continues and I wish I was still sipping pina coladas at the pool.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...

Will of course be shared here next week.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yummy Food for the Soul

So after today's difficult workout, I've stopped crying which is a good thing, I am regenerating with some yummy foods.
I started out with good and hearty Irish oatmeal this morning at 7 am with a teaspoon of natural honey and a handful of raspberries and blueberries. After my workout I made a delicious 4 eggwhite scramble with feta cheese and green peppers with a slice of Irish brown bread and Kerrygold Irish butter and a banana. I'm already feeling better and am almost ready to start packing for Las Vegas.
After spending some quality time in Ireland over the last 2 years I am completely addicted to a few Irish food items and a shipment of my favorites arrived at my home yesterday. Every day I have 2-3 cups of Lyon's Tea which I buy from the Food Ireland website here: http://www.foodireland.com/
I also enjoy good brown bread and Food Ireland has a delicious selection which they ship to you within 2 days.
I've always been an egg addict and love a good hard boiled egg soaked for days in a jar of leftover pickle juice. "Pickled eggs" are a Southern favorite and I grew up eating them along with pickled pigs feet in Florida (way before I went vegetarian). Near my family home in Gulfport Florida the local convenience store had large jars of pickling pigs feet and eggs on the deli counter and they were a cheap and delicious treat on a hot summer day. There is no way one of those feet would cross my lips now, but I still love pickled eggs. My healthier eating habits have me losing the yoke and enjoying the whites, but the taste remains the same.
I gotta go pack for Vegas, I'll be taking my own oatmeal and tea for the mornings and hopefully can find a healthy buffet for the mornings after our late nights.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Puppy Lullaby

I had to post this video, it absolutely made my day.
Make sure your volume is turned up to hear him sing the puppies to sleep. Amazing!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back to the Grind

Well after having Friday and Monday off due to working Saturday and Sunday, I am back to the grind at work and eagerly awaiting my trip to Las Vegas in 3 days.
Trainer Troy is teaching me to box, which we worked on this morning and has me eating oatmeal EVERY MORNING! Apparently as a veggie, I am not getting enough protein and amino acids. So oatmeal and egg whites it is!
After getting the kid off to school this morning, he left the TV on to MTV and some show called The Hills was on. I couldn't look away, it was like a train wreck involving all the popular kids in high school. Fake jobs, fake problems, fake boobs, it just went on and on and because the episode was in Las Vegas I watched the entire episode. I was seriously dumber after watching but completely enjoyed picturing the stupid girl Heidi and the annoying girl Lauren's faces while hitting my trainers gloves. They did go to a cool looking nightclub I may have to check out this weekend though...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Flash Back #14

I gotta cut back on the water, I think I am floating my brain because this morning in my dream Wonder Woman showed up to hang out and give me fashion advice.
So thanks WW, I love the large metal bullet reflecting bracelets, wearing a whip as an accessory, large earrings are totally back in vogue and I will never underestimate the miracle of a great push up bra while performing gymnastics to save myself from a giant killer laser.
Enjoy a clip of one of the coolest shows from the 1970's.

P.S. I hope my new trainer Troy makes my ass look like yours in those huge blue panties!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Losing my mind and...

hopefully my "wobbly bits" (in the words of Bridget Jones).
This morning I signed up to work with a personal trainer 2x a week starting next week. Over the last 3 years I have completed a 6 month boot camp class, worked with a female personal trainer for a few months in 2006 and tried various yoga and pilates studios, but I still haven't built up my cardio. Until I met Troy today. Troy is my fitness Master for the next 6 weeks. Not needing to lose weight my trainer will instead teach me how to increase my endurance, flexibility and strength and to maintain my fitness goals. My biggest goal is to enter my first mini triathlon next summer (1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride and 3.1 mile run).
Each day I have to write down everything I eat and drink and try to finish 4 liters of water a day! I will have to live vicariously through my Bridget Jones' DVDs for awhile.

Mark Darcy: (Bridget gets out of bed covered in a sheet and begins to fumble around) "What on Earth are you doing?"
Bridget Jones: "Getting dressed."
Mark Darcy: "Why're you dancing around in that tent business?"
Bridget Jones: "Because I don't want you to see any of my wobbly bits."
Mark Darcy: "Well now that's a bit pointless isn't it. As I happen to have a very high regard for your wobbly bits. In all circumstances."
Bridget Jones: (Bridget's head emerges from the sheet) "Really?"
Mark Darcy: "Absolutely. I think it's high time we had another look."
(Bridget drops the sheet on the floor)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kurt Russell is King

In the lapse of anything decent to watch on tv I am introducing my son to the man who made movies worth watching in the 1980's. KURT RUSSELL. Russell is my King of the ridiculous but classic cult films and absolutely my favorite 80's actor. We started with the cherry on the sundae of Russell's 80's films, Escape from New York. My son was very skeptical at first but Snake Plissken is now one of our favorite movie references. We then moved on to the campy combination of Asian street gangs, monsters, 200 year old horny ghosts, Chinese girls with green eyes, truckers (my heroes), Kim Cattrall, and a floating head with dozens of eyes, the excellent Big Trouble in Little China. Really I don't think there is a better campy director than the brilliant John Carpenter who directs Russell in both. Next on the film review list are Overboard with Russell and real life love Goldie Hawn and one of my favorite romances EVER Tequila Sunrise. We will then work our way into Russell's 90's films including the absolutely excellent Tombstone and the sequel to Escape from New York, Escape from LA.
Looking for something to watch? Netflix a Russell/Carpenter film and relive the days when there were no rules in film making and actors still said quotable lines.

From Escape from New York
Hauk: "Plissken? Plissken, what are you doing?"
Snake Plissken: "Playing with myself! I'm going in."

From Big Trouble in Little China
Jack Burton: "When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Guardian Angels

After a lovely girls night on Friday I loaded the beagle in the car on Saturday morning and headed to Michigan for the long weekend. While on the Indiana Toll Road I hit some metal debris and my right rear tire was history. As I tried to find a safe spot on the side of the road I passed about half a dozen stranded cars who had also hit the debris and finally pulled in front of a huge semi tractor who had his emergency cones out. After a wasted call to Triple A I was going to attempt to change my own tire when the truck driver behind me walked up and asked me if I had a spare. When I showed him my jack and spare he changed my tire and gave me directions to the nearest TA truck stop to have it fixed. Daniel, the trucker from Nebraska, thank you. Not a lot of people would have helped me, I hope your lunch was good and the beer was cold.

That is the 2nd time a trucker has saved me from what could have been a disastrous situation. At 19 I was driving around Ohio looking at colleges when my engine started on fire late at night while driving in the middle of nowhere in a thunderstorm. I left the car on the side of the road and started hitchhiking because all I was thinking was to get to a public place. A trucker driving an empty car transporter pulled over and offered me a ride. There was no front passenger seat so he threw down a suitcase and gave me a towel to dry off. He took me to the nearest truck stop with a "Good luck little lady" and he was off. So to both my trucker Guardian Angels, thank you for being in the right place at the right time.