Friday, October 31, 2008

Haunted Libraries

I found this excellent website with lists of Haunted Libraries by US region. Posted by George Eberhart each post is comprehensive and fun to read. Makes me wish we had our own library ghost or 2!
Check it out here:
The link will take you to the list of Haunted Libraries in the Midwest, there are additional links to more library ghosts at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are you a Gamer?

My kid is and he's really good. Halo is his game of choice although a few days ago Fable II came out and he is completely obsessed with it. I have to say, I'm not a gamer, I have vertigo and when even a few seconds of my visual sight is distorted I get ill. But I sat through 15 minutes of Fable II and it is absolutely amazing. My son was exploring the World of Albion and was wandering through every pub, shack, store and castle in a pirate town with his faithful dog at his side. Watching the amazing graphics and listening to the interactive characters was unbelievable and didn't produce more than a headache for me. WHOHOO. Makes me wish I could play without vomiting, but whatever.
Gaming is becoming very popular at libraries, watch this quick clip of a Chicago area library that hosts gaming tournaments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When Authors Go Awry

Ever wonder what to read when a favorite author takes an about turn and starts writing completely different or writing in a new genre altogether?
This has happened to 2 of my favorite authors.
First the Queen of all things dark and disturbing, the Gothic Anne Rice finds her lapsed Catholic religion and leaves witches and vampires behind to find Jesus Christ.
Then Nora Roberts, she of the light hearted romance and Celtic fantasies takes the plunge into vampires and demons.
In regards to Rice, I am definitely mourning the end of an era. In the 90's when Anne was churning out Gothic fantasies I was eagerly anticipating each new book. I made numerous trips to New Orleans looking for her dark world and loved the spooky quality of her writing and the strange lifestyle she lived (a haunted mansion in the Garden District and arriving at book events in a coffin, BRILLIANT!).
Nora Roberts Irish Trilogy is one of my all time favorite series. During a trip to Ireland in 2006 I dragged my husband to a small coastal village she based the books in and happily visited sites she wrote about. Sadly I've tried to read her later works and find them ridiculous and happily return to re-reading my favorites.

So what do you do when an author goes awry? Find a new author?
The crazy popular Twilight vampire series by Stephenie Meyer is a possibility, I've started that but just can't figure out WHY this series is such a phenomenon. See my post on Buying the Hype below.
I've replaced Roberts with other artists who do the contemporary and historical romance or series writing as good or better than Roberts.
But I still mourn these 2 authors and find consolation in their earlier works. I'll keep my loved dogeared copies and keep reading my favorites over and over.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

1 More Week-This will keep you laughing

Wonder what the Oval Office would be like with Palin as President?
Check out this website
Hysterical way to waste way too much time, but wait until you see what is behind closed doors, oh and the dinosaur of course...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Read Your Insurance Coverage Papers Lately?

I recommend doing so. My husband's best friend is also our insurance agent and thankfully we have excellent coverage. After I was involved in a car accident on Friday I went back through my car insurance documents and read through my coverage. I'm confident in my insurance (State Farm)and also extremely happy to have rental car coverage since my car is undrivable.
This wake up call also made me read through all of my insurance coverage including car, home, health and my life insurance as well as my Will.
Gave me some piece of mind that in the unexpected not only am I protected but so are my loved ones.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Buying the Hype?

So I'm reading Twilight, the insanely popular teen vampire novel by Stephenie Meyer. I'm trying to finish the book before the movie comes out on November 21, but so far I'm just not getting the hype.
I'm a big fan of vampire novels but during my "gothic romance phase" the novels of Anne Rice were all the rage. Frankly, once you've read Rice I'm not seeing the hype of Meyer's writing. I'm going to keep reading as a few people have told me that I'll get used to her juvenile writing style and really start to get into the characters. So I have faith. I'm missing the lyric beauty of Rice's writing and the immersion in the horror fantasy she created in her Interview with the Vampire books as well as the Mayfair Witches. I'm going to keep turning the pages of Twilight and try to stop comparing the writing and just get into the story.
Wish me luck...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recycle Those Caps

Ever wonder what happens to plastic caps? Caps from water and soda bottles, shampoo, milk etc end up in landfills and wash up on riverbeds and beaches. Recycle plastic caps by bringing them to the nearest Aveda store, such a small task with make a big difference.
For more information check out the RECYCLE CAPS WITH AVEDA website here:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Whatchya Reading?

Went to Michigan this weekend to relax and enjoy the beautiful Fall weather. Saturday we went apple picking and Sunday my son and I spent the afternoon at an art barn happily creating gifts for my new niece.
Whenever I pack for a trip I always take a stack of magazines. I prefer to take back issues from the library, a small way to be green, I hate buying and reading a magazine only to throw it away. I have favorites, some trashy tabloids that are completely mindless and some healthier options. This weekend I happily flipped through issues of Body+Soul, Real Simple and Cooking Light. To me magazines are the perfect mix of good writing and excellent photography.
Support your local library by checking out back issues of their magazines and save a forest by not renewing your magazine subscriptions.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Flash Back #17

I'm going to be an Aunt soon, my sister will be delivering her daughter sometime today!
The baby made famous in the 90's tv show Ally McBeal, enjoy the dancing baby.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Are You Aware of the Dead Zone?

The Dead Zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico that cannot support life. Located where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf and varying in size each year, the Dead Zone is an area of low oxygen caused by nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizer which kills algae. With no oxygen fish either leave the area or die and the eco chain is destroyed. Check out this great website on the Dead Zone
Think it doesn't matter what you use to grow your lawn, kill your weeds or feed livestock, think again. Be smart, get educated and support local responsible farmers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Vitamin Shoppe

One of my new favorite shops is the local Vitamin Shoppe which is conveniently located a few stores down from my neighborhood Trader Joes. Quick and healthy shopping without having to drive all over town. Last night I went in looking for a new multivitamin (one without gelatin) and ended up happily browsing for 30 minutes. Not only does The Vitamin Shoppe have a mind boggling selection of vitamins and supplements but they also have a great selection of healthy snacks and bath and body products. The Burt's Bees items were cheaper than my local Target and Walgreen's so I stocked up on the items I haven't been able to find elsewhere like the Burt's Bees Radiance Night Creme with Royal Jelly (from honeybee's!).
Check out The Vitamin Shoppe's website here:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life Changing Book by Randy Pausch

First read this excellent article in the Wall Street Journal by Jeffrey Zaslow, A Final Farewell and then go to your nearest book store (most library copies will be in the hands of patrons)and buy the book The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch co-written by Zaslow.
Ever since seeing a story on ABC last year where Pausch was chosen as Person of the Week I have followed Pausch's fight against pancreatic cancer through his daily update page here:
When Randy passed away in July I heard the news on the BBC while in Ireland and without access to the Internet was unaware of his swift decline.
During his final months Pausch with Zaslow completed the book The Final Lecture which continues Pausch's wisdoms made famous in his "Last Lecture Speech" that he gave at Carnegie Mellon in September 2007. I started the book last night and simply couldn't put it down. I am going to reread it again this weekend and then pass it along to those I love for them to read. The book is a powerful testament to a man's desire to leave a legacy for his children. The miracle is that Randy's legacy which was originally shared with just a few hundred people is now shared with all those lucky enough to read his excellent book.
For more information check out the website The Last Lecture and while you are reading about Randy watch the video of his Last Lecture speech, it's not to be missed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A strange Halloween

I miss trick or treating. I also miss having a kid young enough to go with. Sigh.....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Flash Back #16

I was watching music videos on VH1 this morning while my kid was getting ready for school and was feeling young and chipper until I sat through videos by New Kids on the Block and Gavin Rossdale.
Back in the late 80's while in my first 2 years of college I was working at a grade school supervising the before and after school programs. In 1989 all the kids were obsessed with the New Kids. Their faces were on every lunch box, backpack etc. Horrible really. Then in the mid 90's with the British Invasion of bands like Oasis and Bush (Gavin Rossdale's former band) it was all about hard partying Brit musicians. I saw Bush back in 1995 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago and they were topping the charts with their album Sixteen Stone. So this morning I sat through new videos by New Kids and the now solo Gavin Rossdale (more famously known as Mr. Gwen Stefani) and seriously aged about a decade in 5 minutes. Rossdale is probably in his early 40's and the New Kids are in their late 30's and these once teen crushes are now nearly middle aged men! Funny that their videos are still aimed at young females with the New Kids video showing them in expensive suits picking up women half their age in a bar and Rossdale's video features him half naked through most of it either in a shower or a pool (I'm not complaining).
After closing my gaping mouth I turned off the TV and went upstairs to rub some anti wrinkle cream on my face.
Enjoy some vintage New Kids on the Block with their video for Hanging Tough.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Got Snacks?

During tours of libraries I am always amazed by the students, patrons and childen who see the library as a comfort zone, a place to wear your comfiest clothes, drag your backback or bookbag and even pack a lunch or snack. This to me is a great feature of a library, a home away from home where people feel comfortable. Some libraries have a no eating or drinking rule which I think is ridiculous. If you are going to spend hours in a library, having a snack and certainly something to drink is a must. That's why I love the libraries that open cafes within their walls. Nourishing the brain while nourishing the stomach keeps patrons happy.
As I write this I am happily nibbling on one of my favorite snacks...goldfish crackers! I don't really gobble them up, I pop one in my mouth at a time and suck on them, I love the salt. My favorite are the Parmesan goldfish but right now I am on a whole grain goldfish kick, so yummy. And a little snack size bag fits perfectly in my book bag. Plus the little smiley face on each fish makes my smile.
What is your favorite snack?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bette Davis Eyes

I am on a Bette Davis movie marathon and enjoying every minute. This weekend I watched the fantastic Now, Voyager starring Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and Gladys Cooper. This movie is simply NOT TO BE MISSED!
Davis plays the spinster aunt in a well to do Boston family who suffers a nervous breakdown but after therapy emerges a confident and beautiful woman who finds love and fulfillment away from her domineering mother. The film is simply a feast for the senses. Davis's famous eyes are highlighted in almost every scene she is in and the sets and costumes (fantastic!) are center stage shot in gorgeous black and white. The music score is excellent as are all the performances. They simply don't make films in Hollywood like this anymore.
The movie is famous for the smoking scenes throughout. Nothing really happens without Davis or her co-stars lighting up. In today's PC culture that wouldn't happen in modern films but in this one the smoking is foreplay and sexy in a shared intimate way. You'll understand when you watch Paul Henreid light up 2 cigarettes in his mouth and slowly offer one to Davis. It becomes their signature intimacy symbolic of the only thing they can share.
Later this week I am immersing myself in Dark Victory and Jezebel. I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Treats at Loyola University Chicago

Last Friday I joined the RLA CE Committee (Reference Librarians Association Continuing Education group) for a tour of Loyola University's new Information Commons and the Women and Leadership Archives collection in Piper Hall.
Loyola's Infomation Commons is a silver certified LEED building and it is an excellent blend of technology, comfort and "Green" architecture. Situated on Loyola's lakefront campus, the building was built on the shores on Lake Michigan and the views are breathtaking. I can't think of many college campuses built in such a stunning location, at the edge of a world class city and directly on the water. The IC is truly a stunning example of sustainable architecture and a model of an academic building.
After touring the IC we got a quick look at Loyola's beautiful Madonna della Strada Chapel, also built on the shores of the lake as well as a glimpse of the reading room at Cudahy Library. We then proceeded to the Women and Leadership Archives in Piper Hall. This beautifully restored 100+ year old mansion is the former home of the all women's Mundelein College and now home to the Archives. Part of Loyola University the archives are an excellent collection focusing on women leaders, women's organizations, Mundelein College, radical nuns and social justice activism. The mansion has been beautifully restored and sitting in the rooms or gardens with views of the lake is wonderful. Well worth a visit if in Chicago! Don't miss the beautiful Tiffany stained glass window.
A special thanks to the RLA committee and Leslie Haas, director of the IC and Beth Myers archive director for the tour.
For more information on the RLA and to view pictures of the IC and archives click here:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Books for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Thanks to an excellent article in the September 1 issue of Library Journal by Bette-Lee Fox, here is a list of books on the topic of breast cancer. Cancer touches us all so during the month of October be aware of the ongoing fight against breast cancer.
With more than 7 women on my mother's side of the family having been diagnosed with breast cancer including my Mom, it's more likely a question of "when" than "if" I will be diagnosed in the future. So in October remind yourself or the women you love that if you are over 40 or with a history of breast cancer in the family, schedule your mammogram. And read!
After the Cure: The Untold Stories of Breast Cancer Survivors by Saskia K. Subramanian and Emily K. Abel.
Cancer is a Bitch (or, I'd Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis) by Gail Konop Baker.
A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors: Inspiring Stories of Courage and Triumph by Colleen Sell.
Swimming on My Wedding Day: My Cancer Journey Through the Seasons by Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager.
From Oncology Nursing to Coping With Breast Cancer: My Journey There and Back by Kate Hayward.
What Helped Get Me Through: Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope by the American Cancer Society.
The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: The Script You Need To Take Control of Your Health by Dede Bonner.
100 Questions & Answers About Breast Cancer by Karl Boatman M.D. and Zora Brown.
100 Questions & Answers About Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer by Lillie Shockney R.N.
Breast Cancer the Complete Guide by Peter I. Pressman M.D. and Yashar Hirshaut M.D.
Black Smoke: A Woman's Journey of Healing, Wild Love, and Transformation in the Amazon by Margaret De Wys.
Unraveling the Ribbon by Maureen White and Mary Kelly.
Don't Bet Against Me! Beating the Odds Against Breast Cancer and in Life by Deanna Favre with Angela Hunt.
Understanding the Mammography and Controversy: Science, Politics and Breast Cancer Screening by Madelon L. Finkel.
I am Not My Breast Cancer: Women Talk Openly About Love and Sex, Hair Loss and Weight Gain, Mothers and Daughters and Being a Women with Breast Cancer by Ruth A. Peltason.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Check out the Librarians Against Palin Blog

The possibility of Palin in the White House is terrifying to me. For information on Palin the book banner check out this excellent blog at: Librarians Against Palin.