Friday, April 22, 2011


"There is nothing wrong with change if it is in the right direction." Winston Churchill

It's been a year of great change personally and now professionally. After 6 years at the library where I began my career I have accepted a position with my hometown library. In May I begin working at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, one of the finest libraries in Illinois. To say that I am excited is an understatement. The opportunity to work at a Library of such excellence, the Library where I've been roaming the stacks since I was a little girl is amazing.
I'm looking forward to working with the community and for the opportunities to learn and collaborate with the team at AHML.

With the excitement that comes along with change I am also deeply saddened to leave my current Library. My colleagues are more than co-workers, they are friends who have supported me through 5 years of library graduate school, my marriage, divorce, happiness and tragedy. I also have special relationships with our patrons. I will miss them and their inquisitive questions either at the reference desk or in my computer classes. The relationships will remain, gladly so as we will only be separated by 2 miles. So... now I begin the transition from one job to another.

Keep reading readers, you know I will share the experience. And thank you to everyone who has congratulated me on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It Takes a Village

I closed on my new house yesterday. I charming 2 bedroom, 2 bath, brick 50's ranch with a full finished basement and a large yard. My new home is in my hometown (12 miles outside the City of Chicago) where I have lived for the past 10 years after moving out of the City when my son started grade school. Buying a home in my hometown wasn't in my plan. I am single after leaving an 8 year relationship, my son is starting college in the fall and I was renting a home until I decided if I wanted to put new roots down back in Chicago or travel and perhaps relocate.
Fate seems to have had a hand in my decision.
I found by chance a fantastic Realtor when I inquired about a house I saw online last summer. I was house hunting mainly out of curiosity because it's a great time to buy if you don't have a home to sell and I was looking everywhere from downtown Chicago to the surrounding suburbs. So after 8 months of house hunting, I bought my new home at an excellent price. My Realtor hooked me up with my mortgage lender who was able to get me a great mortgage in the US's worst real estate market even with the tough federal guidelines. I have a close friend who's an attorney who secured a closing within 4 weeks of purchasing my home. Things just fell together. So I'm a home owner. Again. The 4th home I've bought in 10 years. But this one is HOME.
During the stress of the last month, buying the home, inspection, mortgage approval, closing...I realized how lucky I am to have such strong support in my community. Great people who really went the extra mile to get me and my little family in our new home. I love where I live. I'm a short drive or train ride to one of the World's greatest cities, my hometown has fantastic amenities including a great library, restaurants, park districts, golf courses, doctors, shopping, etc. and only a 15 minute drive to O'Hare airport for trips anywhere I want to go. The greatest blessing, I am surrounded by friends who really have become like family.
So if you are in the Chicago area and you need referrals for wonderful professionals, everyone from a Realtor to a mechanic to a doctor, let me know. Sometimes it takes knowing where to turn to find where you are going.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday List #14

Regular readers of my blog know that I am a serious Anglophile, the UK is my favorite travel destination. During my most recent trip in 2009 I spent weeks at the University of Oxford and also a couple of weekends in London and Windsor. I'm thinking of spending a quick weekend in London this fall either before or after I spend 2 weeks volunteering in Spain and in planning my trip, here is my list of 5 of my favorite things to do in London.
  1. St. Martin in the Fields. This iconic church across from Trafalgar Square is one of my favorite places in London. While my Mom and I were in London during my time at Oxford we often found our way to St. Martin in the Fields for a meal and concert. The Cafe in the Crypt serves delicious food at excellent prices, the perfect place to linger before or after a concert or a service.
  2. Walking. I've had some of my favorite afternoons in London by just walking, wonderful restaurants, coffee shops, cemeteries, parks, people...
  3. Eat. Remember years ago when England had a bad rap for food. Ya right, it's not just fish and chips or an English breakfast anymore. The island that has produced some of the biggest chefs in the world (Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver) has produced even better local chefs with family run restaurants and food stands. Oh and don't get me talking about Indian food in London, my mouth is watering. One of my favorite dining experiences, I wandered into a "restaurant" in a tiny room above a shop off Portobello Road about 10 years ago and had the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life. Lots of farm fresh English cheese, crusty bread and fresh herbs...simply fantastic, I've never forgotten it.
  4. Visit the dead. They are everywhere. Monuments at the parks, overgrown spooky cemeteries, plaques on the walls where the famous lived and died, portraits hanging in the museums and galleries. With the exception of New Orleans, I have yet to visit a City that has more relationships with their dead than London (Paris is close).
  5. Drink. Tea or beer. Both are practically an art form. I've spent many a day wandering from hotel to restaurant to shops...drinking tea along the way. Oh and don't pass up the scones with clotted cream and jam. I still think about the scones my Mom and I had at a riverfront cafe in Windsor. Join the English tradition, you can't avoid it and you won't get a better "cuppa" anywhere.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flash Back Friday #46

This video made the rounds on Facebook and email awhile back but I recently saw it again and wanted to share it here.
A high school student/basketball team manager has the game of his life.
Have a great weekend readers!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Books by Katie Fforde

A few years ago I began reading books by the British romance writer Katie Fforde and got hooked. Her stories usually follow the same loose formula: spunky English young professional female leaves her job in London and or her latest relationship and moves to a small charming English village where she buys or inherits a cottage or business, meets quirky locals and eventually finds her perfect partner.
I am currently reading Katie's latest book (US release), Love Letters and really enjoying it. I enjoy the quirky female characters, I admire how they change their lives either by choice or circumstance and things turn out the better for it. Katie creates dreamy and cozy English villages where everyone knows you by name, cottages are surrounded by lovely gardens, the pub owner pulls a perfect pint and new neighbors and colleagues become life long friends.
If you are interested in a little Anglophilia like me, here are a few of my favorite books by Katie Fforde.
  • Practically Perfect Anna buys a cottage and fixes it up, new best friend neighbor and a cute guy. Oh and there is a dog. Fun read.
  • Stately Pursuits Hetty "house sits" her elderly uncle's huge manor house, quirky town folk and yes a sexy guy.
  • Bidding for Love Flora leaves her London life to work in the antique business, weird family members and yes, a charming cottage. I liked this book, she finds love REALLY close to home. LOL.
  • Second Thyme Around Perdita and her organic gardening business, a gorgeous ex husband and the fun begins.
  • Wild Designs Althea has a house in the Cotswolds and a passion for gardening. I have wanted to attend the Chelsea Flower Show in London ever since I read this book.