Friday, February 26, 2010

Adopt a Pet-friends of HOOTe CAT

One of my students/computer club attendees/Twitter guru/friend Jill put together this YouTube video. Jill started attending my computer classes awhile back and began making videos of her amazing cat. HOOTe cat is now a star! I teach Jill and Jill teaches me.

Watch the video she created below, you might fall in love with a cat that needs a forever home.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Dahling just throw on your Burberry and we'll go for a pint."

During my travels I usually buy something special on each trip. I enjoy not only the shopping experience but the benefit of VAT refunds at the airport. I've bought beautiful leather goods, Louis Vuitton, pearls and other items that have cost me less by purchasing them in Europe (even with the exchange rate). While I was studying at Oxford last year I bought a classic item that to me defines English fashion. During a weekend in London I purchased a Burberry trench coat and joined the devotees of this timeless piece.

For London Fashion Week this year I was only interested in a few collections like Pam Hogg and Pringle but especially the classics of Burberry. While reading a fashion blog about the collections I found a link to a great website for lovers of Burberry trench coats. Burberry-Art of the Trench is a fun site with all the information you would ever need to know about the trench. You can submit a picture of yourself in your Burberry trench coat to be featured on the site and I submitted the picture above of myself wearing mine in London.

Sure it's just fashion and clothes are a basic and simple need. But really, there is something to be said about wearing something special when it fits you perfectly and makes you feel good enough to meet the Queen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Immortalized in Print, Painting or Memory?

Ever wonder if you've ever made such an impression on someone that they might have written about you, sang about you, painted you or immortalized you in some way? Is there a character in a book based on you? Or a song playing on the radio about your break up. Perhaps a painting or photograph hangs on a wall somewhere and every time people pass it they wonder the story behind it.

Years ago I saw a film about a man who time traveled to find the woman he saw in a photograph. You might have seen it too, it's a cult film starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour titled Somewhere in Time. It's a haunting, sad film that stays with you long after you've seen it and leaves you wondering, "Can you make such an impression on someone or fall so deeply in love that the memories sustain through time?"

The movie Somewhere in Time is based on a science fiction book titled Bid Time Return. In both the book and the film a man travels through time to find a woman he sees in a photograph. In reality the author of the book walked into an opera house and saw a photograph of a reclusive stage actress from the 1890's named Maude Adams. The photograph so intrigued him that he fell a little in love with her, fictionalized his experience and eventually adapted the book to film. There is a moment in the movie when Christopher Reeve walks into a hotel and sees for the first time a picture of Jane Seymour. Taken decades before he was even born he is immediately obsessed with the woman in the photo and eventually travels through time to meet her. One wonders what it is that creates that connection between 2 strangers.

Like the author of Bid Time Return many writers and artists are intelligibly tied to a muse. Salvador Dali and his muse of 50 years Elena, Gustav Klimt and his companion Emilie, Yoko to Lennon, Linda to Paul, Elizabeth Siddal to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. These women were immortalized again and again but what about the relationship that inspired your favorite love song? Or the real life person that inspired the quirky character from your favorite movie or TV show? Do you think you would know if you'd inspired someone to create something that reminded them of you? Would it be enough to know that somewhere someone remembers a moment?

Here is one of my favorite clips in film, Robert Redford sharing with Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal about the stranger he never met and never forgot but immortalized in memory.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fantastic Chicago Area Restaurant

Last night I enjoyed one of the best meals I've had in memory. I joined friends at Marion Street Cheese Market in downtown Oak Park for a dining experience I am looking forward to enjoying more often. Oak Park Illinois is western suburb boarding Chicago known for it's Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and as the birth place of Ernest Hemingway. I've spent many an evening and weekend exploring Oak Park during the 6 years I attended graduate school at Dominican University in neighboring River Forest, Illinois. Last night's dinner at Marion Street Cheese Market will definitely keep me coming back for regular visits.

The Market includes a cheese and wine shop/cafe as well as a full restaurant and wine bar. The chef prepares and sells seasonal food from local farmers, breweries and wineries. Last evening I enjoyed cheeses from Indiana, Iowa and Illinois and wine from small vineyards across the US. I liked the choice of selecting cheeses and creating a "cheese flight" which came with Marcona almonds in an organic trail mix and selection of flat crackers and breads. I also tried a "beer flight" and "wine flight", small samples from a variety of breweries and vineyards. My main dish was barrimundi fish served over a risotto cake that was delicious.

After dining your receipt entitles you to 10% off your entire purchase in the shop and I happily bought locally made organic peanut butter, wine, fresh gherkins, cheese and breads. I'm looking forward to going back regularly especially in the evenings for live music nights and for tastings done by local farmers and brewers. The staff was very knowledgeable about everything we ate, where it was made and receptive to any requests we had. The restaurant interior is cozy and modern and we enjoyed our meal in front of the fireplace. If you are a Chicagoan or in the City for a visit, don't miss the Marion Street Cheese Market, it's truly worth an eat.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Create Your Own Photo Videos

A couple of years ago I started using Animoto, a website that allows you to create short videos from your photo and video clips. You can add music from Animoto's music library and chose from their consumer or commercial collections. I'm considering paying the yearly fee in order to create more personalized and longer videos. Currently as a free user I am able to create an unlimited amount of videos but only at 30 seconds each. Below you can watch the first video I created in 2008 using pictures of my family, it does include music. Animoto is easy to use and a fun tool to replace boring slide shows.

Create your own video slideshow at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Worth a Read?

Up for sale at a Chicago auction house are letters and telegrams between John F. Kennedy and his Swedish lover Gunilla von Post dated from 1953 to 1955. They are intimate, private and ironically for sale. How sad that such personal correspondence should be on the auction block. It's no longer a secret that JFK was a dog with an unquenchable taste for the ladies. His lovers have been coming out of the dark for my entire adult life and after so many books, movies and articles, I remember little about what I learned in history class of his presidency and instead think of his lusty and shameful affairs.

Like a train wreck I couldn't look away from, I perused the letters and read every word that JFK wrote to his European lover. Surprisingly instead of being disgusted by this obvious affair while married to Jackie, I found myself sympathetic. "Tell em what they want to hear" is what I've heard men say. JFK certainly said the right things to Gunilla. He wrote to her after meeting briefly at a party and stayed in touch through an extended stay in hospital and his first years of marriage. She believed their connection was real and who's to say it wasn't. Two years after their first brief encounter they met up at a castle in Europe and spend an entire week together. Like so many teary stolen moment romances (Bridges of Madison County anyone?) JFK's is now immortalized in print.

His lover Gunilla eventually wrote a book about their "relationship" and now their private letters are up for sale. Like Gunilla, who bought every word he wrote her, now anyone can buy his words too. Sad, but worth a read?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Things I Love

I am not a celebrator of the silliness that is Valentine's Day. But I do love to love.
So here is my list of things I love in random order. Obviously my list changes but many of these things are constant.

My Kid.
A hot spot on the hardwood floor where the sun shines in through the window.
Jewelry from a quarter machine my son bought me.
Bubble gum.
The musty watery smell on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World.
French fries.
Baume Du Jardiner Gardener's Hand Healer Lotion.
Nibbling on my niece Lily's sweet cheeks.
A good stretch like a cat.
Sharp Scissors.
Those who notice the nervous child or the person who came to a party alone.
Those who do something about it.
My family.
Hugh Grant in 4 Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill and Bridget Jones. Just Hugh Grant really.
Cold Beer on a hot day.
My Peanuts gang pillowcase from the 70's.
BBC 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice.
Fuzzy socks.
Sitting in a pub listening to Irish music
Getting an empty seat next to me on a flight.
Good bags.
Sitting on the bow of a boat as it races over the water.
The ocean.
Hot fudge sundaes.
Gulfport Florida.
My friends.
Waking up and remembering it is a Saturday morning.
That 4 am light when I get up in the summer to let the dog out and the sun is just beginning to rise.
The smell of bus exhaust (reminds me of high school ski trips).
My beagle Eloise.
My son's raggedy baby blanket.
My Grandparents.
The thought I haven't found IT yet.
The monkey tree.
A bargain.
Nice teeth.
My first husband's nickname for me (ask me and I will tell you).
Cubs games at Wrigley Field.
Hotel bathroom soaps and shampoos.
When a man touches the small of my back as he waits for me to walk through a door.

What do you love?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Winner of Lively Librarian's 2nd Contest is:

Leah! Twitter name leahlibrarian!

Congratulations!! Please contact me via private message on Twitter or Facebook and the $25 Target gift card will be sent to you via email.

I've had such fun tweeting this past week! Thanks to all my new followers and thanks for staying in touch. The next contest will be soon, stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What You Can't Learn From a Book is Scuba Diving...

I'm thinking the hobby I am beginning tonight might be one of the few things you can't learn completely from a book. I'm starting scuba diving lessons. In typical librarian fashion I immediately searched for appropriate library books on the topic of scuba diving but didn't have much luck. I then thought maybe I could get my hands on a few educational scuba films. Ummmm...not really. Try searching for movies with any scuba diving in them and the results are films like:

Aliens of the Deep-I kid you not...James Cameron movies DO NOT make me want to get in the cold water.

Fools Gold- only thing remotely good about this movie was when it ended. Watching Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson = total and complete loss of brain cells. I have to take another course at Oxford to get my smart back.

Into the Blue- some Jessica Alba film, I think most everyone died in some deep water related disaster with drug dealers. I'll skip it.

The Cave- HA how about a film about sea creatures that eat scuba divers trapped in...wait for it...a cave. Not.

So I'm totally flying blind before my first scuba class and not very happy that I couldn't find a manual or Scuba for Dummies book. But it did get me to thinking, what other hobbies or skills are there that you cannot learn entirely from a book? Here is my list:

1. Scuba Diving
2. Sex

Yes, EVERYTHING else you can learn from a book. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment field.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Do You Deja Vu?

I have the opportunity this week to step back in time. To literally step into a deja vu.

I've been invited to a dinner party hosted by a friend of 20 years who I haven't seen in over a decade. Those in attendance will be people who in my 20's were very important to me. I walked away over 10 years ago to start a new life and have happily followed new paths ever since.

So I'm wondering, if you had the chance to re-visit a past life...would you?

My decision was fairly easy, I'm not interested but it got me to thinking...why not? When I was younger connecting with old friends was important. Like everyone else I've wondered how people who shared a part of my life ended up. Did a girlfriend I consoled through many a "frog" finally find her "Prince"? Did an old boyfriend get married to a woman who would watch football with him? Did the first couple I know to get married remain together or get divorced? It's natural to wonder but it's also reality that after awhile we just lose touch. In today's society we have the ease and laziness of connecting through Facebook and email. But I think really...maybe the connections just fade too much.

The party I have the opportunity to attend this week would give me a glimpse of a life I lived but also the people who I voluntarily left. They may be living in the same homes, dating the same people, going to the same places. Maybe they have experienced a hundred adventures, fallen in and out of love, changed careers or traveled the world. For me, in the decade since I lived a life with those people (and last saw them), I've lived a number of alternate lives and the idea of catching up over a few bottles of wine doesn't have the appeal it did when I was younger.

I want to remember that life and those people the way we were. Young 20 something couples and friends who loved and laughed, fought and partied, traveled and played...together. I don't want to see the reality of 40 something adults who might still be where I left them or maybe so different that reality will alter the history. There are no regrets, no questions or answers, no lingering loss. A poignant love is all that remains. So I will see them in my memories...not across the dinner table where time will interfere.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lively Librarian's 2nd Contest!

Hello Readers!

After months of my techie friends extolling the benefits of Twitter I succumbed and created an account. To get my Twitterness rolling I thought I would combine my 2nd contest with a way to connect with other Twitterers.

To enter to win a $25 Target gift card you must have a Twitter account and "follow" me at Yup it's that simple, you merely have to follow me on Twitter!

The winner will be chosen by random from my Twitter followers. The deadline to enter is 8:00 am on Monday February 15. I will post the winner's name on 2/15/10 on Lively Librarian and by Tweet on Twitter.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Flash Back Friday #33

A friend posted this video on Facebook and I thought it was amazing, so I'm sharing it with you.
In 1992, a 13 year old girl spoke to the UN on behalf of ECO the Environmental Children's Organization. She's mesmerizing. What she says is inspiring.

Do you want to know where this amazing girl is now, click here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Best and Worst Cookbooks

My regular readers know I love cookbooks. I read them like fiction.
Here is a link to an article about the best and worst cookbooks of the past decade. I don't think anyone will be surprised tv chef/celebrity Paula Deen is on the worst list.

Here are 3 books I am reading now and can recommend. I'm addicted to juicing and learning a lot about nutrition and health. I wouldn't consider any of the books below to be the best or the worst, just worth a look if you are interested in juicing.

Borrowed from a friend, I am reading The Juiceman's Power of Juicing by Jay Kordich. Good book about remedies for common ailments and illnesses by the power of juice.

Juice Alive: The Ultimate Guide to Juicing Remedies by Steven Bailey. A good selection of recipes but better for the information on the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes in fruits and vegetables.

The Juice Lady's Guide to Juicing for Health by Cherie Calbom. A terrific guide to recipes and nutrition and the prevention and treatment of health disorders by drinking juice.