Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is it about vacations?

     As I watched the "Sunday Morning" television show from my kitchen, that question was asked...what is it about vacations?...and it caused me to pause in making my breakfast.
     The narrator said it's the anticipation, the planning, the looking forward to.  The anticipation is more than the actual vacation, he said.  The anticipation of joy, he said, is what makes happiness before, during, and after.
     I took my cup of coffee to the sofa and watched the rest of that two-or-three minute segment, but I really wasn't paying much attention after all.  My mind was running wild.  Those words - anticipation of joy - had run a bell with me.
     Today is my last day at work for about three weeks.  I am anticipating the joy of my vacation.
     I am anticipating a visit from my daughter, who will stay with me for two weeks and three days.  I have the time counted out almost to the hour before she flies back to her home.
     The anticipation of joy with her is revealed in the way I clean my home, the purchase of food she likes, the way I fill a gift tote for her, and how long the list of things we want to do has become.
     The anticipation also includes actually seeing her again, touching her cheek, holding her hand, hugging her tightly.  The anticipation includes long, intimate talks about family and friends, jobs and hardships, dreams and future plans for both of us.  And it includes the silences we'll share as we write and read and listen to music together.
     It won't be a vacation at the beach or some resort.  It won't be a vacation of traveling and sightseeing. 
     It is the anticipation of staying home, watching favorite DVDs, drinking cold tea on the front porch, knitting and crocheting together.  It's the anticipation of little things...eating together, washing dishes side by side, cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them in our dream books, and talking about stuff.  It's a smile, a knowing look, a whisper.
     What is it, the narrator asked, about vacations?  To each his own, I suppose.
     No matter what kind of vacation it is, the anticipation of joy can be extreme, with happiness before and during and after, and with the planning of the next one to come.
     Oh, great anticipation!  The next vacation!
     I'm gone now.  See you later!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What are you going to do with the kids in the car?

     This morning while checking my emails, I saw an interesting essay in The New York Times Sunday Book Review.  Judith Shulevitz's essay, Let's Go Reading in the Car, made me remember when I traveled with my kids.  Depending on the year, I had one to four of them that I traveled with.
     But I have to admit, Judith had it much easier than I did.  She had a car that would play audiobooks!
     Her daughter was 8 and her son 10, and they would drive two and a half hours up to their weekend house in the mountains, all the while listening to audiobooks.  I thought, "Wow!  That had to be great!"
     And she talked about the different kinds of books they listened to, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Odyssey, The Railway Children, Peter Pan, and even Ramona Quimby, Age 8.  And Philip Pullman's Golden Compass.
     Judith talked about the power of the spoken word, not showing her children the audiobook cover to influence them, and the excellence of actors who could voice the different characters.
     Now, I have to admit the whole essay had lots of good information in it, but I wondered how my job in this library would have affected my life outside of it back when I had kids at home.  And of course, I wondered what the difference would be today if I could travel with my kids again, by car, to some long-awaited destination.  What would I do to keep them busy, keep them from being so bored that they wouldn't punch and crunch each other in the back seat of a car for two and a half hours?
     Since today we'd have a CD player in the car, I wondered how many of the Schulevitz-mentioned audiobooks we have in our library today.
     I found four Harry Potter audiobooks (Sorcerer's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban, Order of the Phoenix, and Chamber of Secrets) in our library.  The other books I knew I could order through our Interlibrary Loan System, which is almost as good as having them in our facility.  Just takes a little longer to obtain them, but that could happen, too, if they were checked out from our library by someone else.
     Those audiobooks in Schulevitz's essay I could obtain from the ILS were Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, John D. Fitzgerald's The Great Brain, Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Shiloh, and E. B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan.
     All well and good, I thought.  Those would fit in with the modern age of MP3s and CDs.  But when I decided to look in our PINES Online Catalogue for just plain books, I found even more that I could read to my children.
     Such as Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House Series, Lois Lowry's The Gooney Bird Series, Megan McDonald's Judy Moon Series, and Judy Blume's The Fudge Series.  We have them all, all those books plus the books for the above mentioned audiobooks!
     I don't know.  Now that I sit here and think about it, it still seems better to sit in the middle of that back seat with a kid snuggled on each side of me and the other two hanging over the back of the seat from the fold-down behind (this was an old station wagon), listening as I read some great adventure to them.  And I, too, always read with a different voice for each character.
     Maybe some things are just better when you read a book together.  Everyone's still quiet and calm and interested.  Some even fall asleep!  And the reading continues, just like an audiobook.  But there's a different feeling to it all, something I'll always cherish.  Maybe it was the snuggling part.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Look at your creative side

     A few of us were talking yesterday about creativity. 
     What would life be like if you fully tapped into your creativity? 
     One person said they'd even found a blog that asked "What would it be like to be re-energized and re-inspired?"  She said the blog had talked about having times when we're going through the motions or approaching life the same old way.  She wondered what our library had that might perk up her interest.
     Another friend asked almost the same question.  She said she wanted to learn something new this summer, start a new project while she was on vacation, and since she didn't have the money to take a class at the arts center, she wondered what our library might have that could help her.
     Of course, after I left my friends, I also wondered what we have that would re-energize me...re-inspire me when I take my almost-three-week vacation starting June 1.  I mean, I take time to write all kinds of things.  And I read lots.  But what else would I want to do to fully tap into my creativity?
     Snooping around our library has always been one of my passions.  I love looking in the stacks at all kinds of books that show me what a big, wide-open world I live in.  And I don't even have to get in a moving vehicle of some kind to travel around the world to see it all.
     I took my pen and paper into the stacks, and I found all kinds of things that a person could teach themselves.  A summer project that could lead into a winter project and back into next summer.  A project that could become a life-long passion.  Look what I found.

     * Creative Canvaswork - 646.2C
     * Creative Ways to Paint - 751.4F
     * Creative Knitting and Crocheting - 746.43C
     * Think for Yourself (creative thinking for those with curious minds) - 163C
     * The Creative Book of Gift Wrapping - 745.9B
     * Creative Carpentry - 684C
     * Room for Improvement (interior decoration) - 747O (that's an O, not a zero)
     * Listening to Music Creatively - 780S
     * Creative Divorce: a new opportunity for personal growth (now, this one surprised me) - 158.2K
     * Creativity in Flower Arrangement - 716.2B
     * Three Genres: the writing of poetry, fiction and drama - 808.02M
     * Creative Costumes for Any Occasion - 391W

     I found information on creativity that included table settings, ideas for Christmas, basket making, art ideas for third and fourth graders, claywork, leather, mythology, macrame, science experiences for the young child, fingernail art, grandparenting, rugs, and on and on.  There are over 300 items of information in our library to give anyone a new project (and they don't have to pay for a class anywhere), to pump up their intelligence, to re-energize their excitement, and re-inspire them for a lifetime.
     By the way, do you know you can take a free craft class at the Doerun Library each month on the second Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.?  Get that?  FREE!
     I've found my new project for the summer months, beginning during my vacation.  I have always wanted to know how to wrap gifts in such an interesting and gorgeous way that the people who receive them don't want to open them.  I envision myself practicing on boxes and bags of all sorts, with ribbons and feathers and glue and...and...I don't know.  But I'm excited just to think about it.
     What would life be like if you fully tapped into YOUR creativity?  Think about it.
     And visit our library.  Your answer may be right here.  Be sure to bring your library card.  You're probably going to go home with several books!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Mother's Day Tribute

     I would imagine the majority of us know that Sunday is Mother's Day.  But I wonder, also, how many people actually think about what Mother's Day means.
     Wikipedia says that Mother's Day is commonly celebrated in many countries, usually in March, April or May.  It also says, "Celebrations of mothers and motherhood occur throughout the world; many of these can be traced back to ancient festivals....  However, the modern holiday is a US modern invention and it is not related to these celebrations...."
     Well.  Isn't that interesting?  Our holiday is a "modern invention."  Why am I not surprised.
     For many years as Mother's Day approaches, my children prepare and send gifts.  Sometimes flowers or small gifts, sometimes big gifts, sometimes just cards and phone calls.  I stress them, I'm sure, because my birthday is also in May.  That makes me remember my brother, who had a December 9th birthday and my folks always gave him one of his Christmas presents.  I always felt sorry for him.
     For another many years, I've always wondered how I would celebrate Mother's Day with my mother if she were still alive.  And that makes me remember that our church always gave women whose mothers were living a red rose; those whose mothers were not living received a white rose.  I must admit, I hated that white rose.
     This Mother's Day will find all my children living in other states, but we will keep in touch by phone, cards, and letters.  Maybe even small gifts.
     And a dear friend I claim as an adopted son has invited me out to dinner.  A special event.
     But, you know, somewhere during the day I know it will creep into my mind again...what would I be doing with my mother if she were still alive.
     Celebrations in other countries, ancient festivals as compared to our "modern invention," must be all-day celebrations.  At least, that's what I imagine.  What do they do?  I'm sure there's lots of food, prepared by members of the family, arranged in a large place of sharing...a kitchen, a dining room, a large yard.  Mama probably is not allowed to cook, but given the chair of honor, maybe with a soft pillow.  She's probably given a wonderful drink to sip.  How do they decorate?  What songs do they sing?  What gifts do they bring?
     If they are a country that celebrates Mother's Day and are war-torn, how will they be celebrating this year?  Pulling together their small means, hard-to-obtain food, sitting together and glad they are together?  I don't know.  I can't imagine.
     But I know this.  If my mother were still here with me, I don't think I would be able to leave her side.  I would want to hug her, hold her hand, give her little kisses, talk to her, let her tell me about her early life, find out anything I could about how she feels in this day and age.  I would feel so blessed to just be in her presence, just to look at her face, see her smile, hear her voice.
     I hope this Sunday, May 13th, here in the United States, you'll take the time to think about what Mother's Day really means.  And if she's still in your life, pay a special tribute to her.  Make this modern invention of ours something special for her.  Let her know what you think Mother's Day really means.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Something for the guys, he said

     Remember my "doom and gloom" friend?  I've told you about him a couple of times.  Well, he caught me in Winn-Dixie the other day (for those of you who don't know, Winn-Dixie is a grocery store chain).
     "You still writing that thing for the library?" he asked after tapping me on the shoulder.
     "You mean the blog?" I asked back.  "By the way, hello," I added.
     "Yeah, that blod.  Whatever."  (Did you catch that?  "The blod.")
     "I sure am.  You have any suggestions for it?"
     Today he had on his Old Poop's Hat (like Henry Fonda wore in On Golden Pond), his fishing vest, Army-green pants with 100 pockets, and loafers without socks.  I like my "doom and gloom" friend.  He makes me conjur up all kinds of stories to write.
     "Yeah.  Why don't you do something for the guys?" he said.  (He would never admit it, but apparently he reads it.)
     I had to admit, I don't usually do something specific for women or men.  Children, sometimes.  But he was right.  I need to do something for the guys.  I guess.
     "OK," I said.  "What would you like me to do?"
     Now, "doom and gloom" never really smiles, but this time I saw a slight twinkle in his squinted eyes and maybe a little uplift of the right side of his mouth.
     "You need to do something about grilling, fishing, and golfing."
     "OK," I said again.  "You got it."
     He didn't say a thing, not thank you or even bye.  Just walked away.
     So, today I'm telling you we have books here in the library about grilling, fishing, and golfing.  Maybe even an Audio, too.  And I'm going to list them here.  Right now.  Hopefully, "doom and gloom" will say he read it, even if he doesn't say thank you or bye.
     *  Grilling by John Phillip Carroll (641.5C)
     *  Smoke and Spice by Cheryl Alters Jamison (641.7J)
     *  Fresh and Simple: 5 o'clock grill by Kristi M. Thomas (641.5F)
     I don't think he'd want to read Thou Shalt Not Grill by Tamar Myers (M-Myers) or The Grilling Season by Diane Mott Davidson (Audio M-Davidson), but you never know.
     *  Book of Fishing by Esquire (799.1E)
     *  Tactics on Trout by Ray Ovington (799.1O)
     *  Bent Poles and Tight Lines by Charles E. Salter (799.1S)
     And he probably wouldn't want to read Taking Care of Your Fish by Joyce Pope (J597P-JUV) or The Carp in Your Bathtub by Barbara Cohen (EC JUV), but you never know.  He has grandkids.
     *  The Golfer's Home Companion by Robin McMillan (796.352M)
     *  Golf Swing Basics by Oliver Heuler (796.352H)
     *  Book for Senior Golfers by Mead Dodd (796.352D).
     Now, he might really like to read The Official Golf Lover's Joke Book by Larry Wilde (808.7W YA), but probably not Final Round by William Bernhardt (F-Bernhardt) or The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie (M-Christie), but you never know.
     Wonder what he'll say to me the next time we meet?  I have to admit he does make me think about what goes on the blog...or blod...or whatever.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's a sad day in the life of Maurice Sendak's fans

     When you opened your special Internet site this morning, I'm sure you saw the news.  Maurice Sendak, one of America's favorite writer/illustrators of children's literature, passed away at the age of 83.
     If you don't know who he was, that's a shame.  His most famous book, "Where the Wild Things Are" was made into a movie...about a little boy named Max, who had a fight at home and runs away into the woods. He finds a boat there, jumps in, and ends up on the open sea, destination unknown. He lands on the island of the Wild Things, and soon he becomes their king. But things get complicated when Max realizes that the Wild Things want as much from him as he wants from them.  It was a fantastic movie!
     Maurice Sendak has been called one of the most important, if not most important, writers and artists to ever work in children's literature.
     His books of fantasy and imagination have fans ranging in age from five to seventy.  His books-turned-films have stayed in the minds of the millions who delighted in seeing his stories on the big screen.
     And now there will be no more of Maurice's special talents...the stories that delight and haunt us, the pictures of big and small monsters with funny faces and sometimes kind, loving arms.
     In checking our library, I found we have three books by Sendak:  1) Pierre (1991), Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1967), and Where the Wild Things Are (1963).  But there are more through the Interlibrary Loan.
     Even if you don't have a child to read to, these books are wonderful reading for adults.  You might try the following for delightful entertainment:
  • Bumble-ardy (2011)
  • Mommy? (2006)
  • Very Far Away (2005)
  • Sign on Rosie's Door (2002)
  • Kenny's Window (2002)
  • We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (1993)
  • Some Swell Pup (1992)
  • Seven Tales (1991)
  • Alligators All Around (1991)
  • and more....
     He might have seemed like a funny-looking old man, even cranky in the interviews he gave, but he was an amazing artist and writer.
     I'll miss those special talents of his.  Just like I miss Shel Silverstein's.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The magical month of May - summer reading begins

     To me, the month of May is magical.  Two reasons: 1) it's my birthday month, and 2) it's the month of Mother's Day.  I get to celebrate both occasions.
     If you read this blog very often, you know I always find a way to bring my thoughts about something in particular around to the subject of our library.
     Well, May is a magical month here at the library, too.
     It's the time when we begin our registration for the Summer Reading Programs for the month of June, when most everything begins.  BUT, some things are going to happen in May this year also.
     The Summer Reading Programs will not only be at the Moultrie-Colquittt County Library here in Moultrie, but also at the Doerun Municipal Library and with the Colquitt County Bookmobile.
     Lets look at the Moultrie Library's activities:
  • "Dream Big READ!" for children 9 and younger in Moultrie will be held in June on Tuesdays, 6 to 7 p.m., and again on Thursdays, 10 to 11 a.m.  Registration begins today, May 1st.
  • "Own the Night" for pre-teens and teens will be on Fridays, 6 to 7 p.m.  Registration is also May 1st.
  • Bookmobile registration begins May 30th.
  • And "Between the Covers," the adult reading club, will be the second Tuesday of each month (except December and May), 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Registration is June 12th at the first meeting.  Members who met in April decided they would read a different genre each month.  For June, they're reading about "Books That Keep You Up At Night!" and the genre will be Thrillers and Survival stories.
  • The Children's Library Coordinator Michele Croft is starting a LEGO Club and looking for members.  The activity is scheduled for 7 to 12 year olds.  For more information, call Michele at 985-6540, the Moultrie Library.
     Doerun Municipal Library's activities are:
  • Game Day is the first and third Wednesday of each month from 1 to 4:30 p.m.  They're presently playing "Hand and Foot," which is a form of the card game Canasta.  It only takes minutes to learn and is so much fun that players will not want to go home.  If you'd like to play bridge, chess or something else, they will be willing to find a teacher.
  • There will also be a "Pin-It" club for creative people.  You can create with them on the second Tuesday of the month, beginning May 8 at 12:30 p.m.  If you want to participate in the May craft activity, be sure to bring a glass jar with you to the meeting.
  • Doerun's "Between the Covers" adult reading club will meet the fourth Tuesday of each month starting at 12:30 p.m. on May 22nd.  In June they will be reading "Books That Keep You Up At Night."
  • Plans are underway to have a LEGO Building Club in July for ages 7 to 11.  Registration will be required and class size will be limited.  You can call the Doerun Library at 229-782-5507 for more information.
  • The Summer Reading Club for children and youth will be held on Thursdays at the library beginning at 2 p.m.  This is a change from the past few years, so be sure to mark the new date and time on your calendars.
  • And one more event...a BIG one!  There will be a Used Book Sale at the library on Saturday, May 5th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the library.  The sale is open to the public. Items will be sold for 25 cents to $2.00.  A great way to get ready for your summer reading.
     Didn't I tell you May is a magical month?  Just look at the different activities you can participate in and those for your children.  It's wonderful to have the library open during the summer for a lot of entertainment.  We're a great lifestyle for the whole family.