Monday, April 30, 2012

My Home Library

Over the past week my home library has become a reality. My friend Eric put together my bookcases (Ikea Hemnes), then Paul and I went to a local book sale that had a selection of 1930's books at auction that I wanted to add to my rare book collection (I won!). After almost 2 years in boxes my books are finally home.
Here is a picture of my new reading area.

Thanks to Nancy for sharing the video below of a couple's home library! Watch the little dragon on the table...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Want to Be a Mermaid

During my childhood summers in Florida, I spent every day on the beach or pool hopping with my friends (not always legally, but more fun trying a strangers pool or those at fancy hotels on St. Pete Beach). My friend Shirlann and I would pretend like we were mermaids and we were really good at swimming with our knees and ankles together like a dolphin. Like so many other little girls I thought for sure one day I would spot her, that mermaid in the surf. Maybe it would be just her tail as she dove, but I knew there was an underwater world full of mermaids.

Back in the early 80's before movies such as Splash and Disney's The Little Mermaid and before the days of mermaid Barbie dolls and costumes, we had little but our imaginations and books like Hans Christian Andersen's tragic story from 1836, The Little Mermaid. In the 30 years since I pretended to be a mermaid, there are many more books and movies out there for little girls who believe.

Here is one of them, Last Night I Swam With a Mermaid and the book trailer below. It's like watching myself on the beach looking for a mermaid...enjoy. (Image above is one of my favorites, John William Waterhouse's Mermaid)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

600 is a nice number...

WOW, this is my 600th post! Over the 5 years I've been writing Lively Librarian I've met great librarians, authors and many of my regular readers. Thanks for reading!

Looking back, here are 5 of the most read posts I've written based on visitor stats:
  1. Books for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  2. Books by Katie Fforde
  3. Flash Back Friday #30-Fire with Fire
  4. A Friend Online
  5. The Wonder and the Reading

Monday, April 16, 2012


I spent 2 days in Baltimore Maryland over the weekend and got a glimpse of this beautiful and historic city for the first time. We spent Saturday wandering through Ellicott City's antique stores, enjoying Maryland's local beers and taking photos of the buildings including America's oldest surviving railroad station. Ellicott has been named one of the most haunted cities on the East Coast, we explored an old private family cemetery but didn't run into any ghosts.

On Sunday we headed to Westminster Hall and Burying Ground to find the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. For years I have followed the stories of the "Poe Toaster", a mysterious man who appeared at Poe's original grave every year on Poe's birthday bringing 3 roses and a half full bottle of cognac. The man's identity has never been known and this year the 75 year tradition was declared over after a 3 year absence of the Poe Toaster. When entering the graveyard Poe's monument and new grave is immediately to the right of the gate. To locate Poe's original grave you must wind your way through the historic graves to the back of the graveyard.

When I was a little girl I first read Poe's tragic and haunting poem, Annabel Lee. Like so many of Poe's works, this poem explores the death of a young woman, often believed to be his own young bride, his first cousin Virginia whom he married when she was only 13 and who died when she was 24. Virginia and her mother are buried with Poe in the graveyard.

If you haven't read the works of Poe I suggest starting with his poems. The Raven being his most famous (another tale of a dead young woman with a frightening talking bird, "Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore" and madness thrown in) but his other works, often darkly romantic and of course macabre are also unforgettable. Favorites of mine include, "Fairy-land", "Spirits of the Dead" and "To One in Paradise".

I eagerly look forward to a return trip to Baltimore for more laughter and fun with our friends, exploration of the city, a drive up the coast and more time to immerse ourselves in the history of the area. Maybe even find time to climb aboard the ship USS Constellation in Baltimore's Inner Barbour where we enjoyed lunch before we headed home to Chicago.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Bette Davis

Regular readers of my blog know that I am a Bette Davis addict as proclaimed in other posts:

April is the birth month of "Bright Eyes" Davis (April 5, 1908) and here are never seen photographs of her in her prime that Life magazine is publishing. Love.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday List #22

It's been a while since I've posted a Monday List. With Chicago in the full bloom of Spring I thought I would share some events and projects I am enjoying before summer.

1. The Antiques and Garden Fair will be held April 20-22 at Chicago's Botanic Garden. I am looking forward to attending on Friday April 20. I am unable to attend the lecture by David Howard, "My Gardening Life" on Saturday but imagine it will be a fascinating program. Mr. Howard is the former head gardener of H.R.H Prince Charles' estate Highgrove House and will discuss his 40 year gardening career in the UK.

2. Bookcases. I purchased 3 of the Ikea Hemnes bookcases over the weekend, once in place they will line an entire wall of my living room. I considered purchasing 1 of the glass door bookcases for my rare book collection but found the doors to be rather unstable. I instead went with 3 of the open bookcases which will allow me to rearrange the shelves and add photos, plants etc... Once the room is painted this month the bookcases can be installed and after 2 years of having my collection in storage I will finally have a home library again.

3. Travel. Did you think I was on a traveling hiatus? Never. I will be enjoying my first trip to Baltimore this weekend. For our 48 hour trip I have 3 things on my to do list:
  • Enjoy seeing this historic city with Paul and our hosts
  • Eating crabcakes and lobster rolls
  • Visiting the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. I am re-reading some of my favorite works of this macabre writer, especially his poetry. Haunting.
In May, Paul and I will be returning to New Orleans for 4 days and then directly to Los Angeles for another 4 days. On the agenda, listening to jazz at Fritzel's, learning to cook NOLA specialties in a cooking class, spending time with friends in Santa Monica and enjoying the trip with great people.

4. Time. With my boy. There just aren't enough hours in the remaining weeks until May 31 when he leaves for NAVY training. I'm spending every minute I can with him at home cooking, watching movies, talking. He is a typical busy teenager who is right now planning his much anticipated upcoming trip to Indiana University for the Little 500.

5. Gardening and Vintage Shopping. Between getting my vegetable beds ready with seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and buying and listing vintage pieces for my new store, I'm busy. And happy.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Flash Back Friday #52-Cadbury Bunny

I remember this commercial from years ago, the famous Cadbury Bunny. It still makes me smile.
Enjoy your peeps, chocolate bunnies, peanut butter eggs and Cadbury treats this weekend.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Do You Zillow?

I'm a real estate junkie. With a couple of exceptions, the only shows I watch on TV are House Hunters and House Hunters International on HGTV. Other tools that help feed my voyeuristic tendencies for house snooping are and The app is one of the most widely used apps on my iPhone. I use it to find listings via GPS whenever I am in a neighborhood I like. Completely addictive when wandering through a city like Chicago or New Orleans.

One of my favorite websites is When I was couch bound last week fighting a cold, Zillow kept me entertained in between naps and watching movies with my son. I narrow down the filters and virtually travel around the interactive map to investigate real estate listings. I'm guessing my real estate addiction is thanks to my parents who had multiple properties when I was growing up. I was born and raised near Chicago but spent months each year at our other homes in Florida and Colorado. Now as an adult, it's nice to be as familiar with other cities as I am with Chicago.

One of the homes my parents purchased was when I was about 8 years old in the sleepy beach-side town of Gulfport Florida, inbetween Tampa and St. Petersburg Beach. Gulfport is old Florida, small bungalows, oak lined streets, nightly dancing and bingo at the Casino on the beach and friendly people who take things slow. In the last 15 years or so, Gulfport underwent a revitalization and is now known for it's eclectic shops, art festivals and great restaurants. But for me it's still the small southern town where I roamed the streets with my friends and got into all sorts of mischief as a teenager in the early 80's.

I recently was browsing Zillow looking at properties in Gulfport and found a few charming bungalows with wide front porches, giant palm trees and carports within a short walk to the beach that can be bought for a song. A 2 bed, 1 bath for $35,000. Yes. A 3 bedroom, 1 bath for $89,000 with new tile floors (a MUST in the sweltering summers), a remodeled kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counter-tops and a sun porch. Yes. Or maybe a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with a beautiful pool for $149,000. I found one.

Maybe a small sleepy beach town in Florida is not for you but if you are looking for real estate or just if you're a junkie like me, give Zillow a go.