Monday, November 28, 2011

let the mad dash begin

We had an awesome trip to Florida and enjoyed visiting with everyone. But, like all good things, that vacation is now over and it is time to move on into Christmas preparations. We have a house to decorate, gifts to buy and wrap, cards to send and plenty of other things to do.

Today will be make the BIG list day. Then we will have a place to start. But, first, I need a cup of coffee. Pronto.

Happy Monday, whether you do any cyber shopping or not.....enjoy the day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

turkey hash

Thanksgiving is coming! Thanksgiving is coming!  I'm super excited about the holiday this year. We're heading south to visit my folks and my brother and his family.

I've managed to get some Friends of the Library work completed as my presidency winds down. I've gone through the policy manual with the new president. I sent out the book club list to the gal at B&N so we can purchase the 12 titles for 2012. I've created and sent two Constant Contact newsletters this month. Things are getting done! Whoop!

But, this year, my Christmas shopping isn't done. I always try and have the majority of it completed prior to Thanksgiving so I can enjoy December without having to even think about buying a gift. I have nothing done...nothing, zero, zilch, zip. Ugh.

The house won't be decorated until, gulp, December.

For now, however, I'm not going to dwell on what isn't done and focus on what is and wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Feast, laugh, enjoy this holiday and  be thankful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

look a roo

I popped into the library and tried to check out Lionheart so I could finish it. Of course, it wasn't there and knowing we are heading out of town for the holiday, I didn't bother to put a hold on it. Will have to do that once we get back into town. Instead I picked up two other titles, both of them from authors who are new to me. The first one, "Those Across the River" is a debut novel from Christopher Buehlman. I picked it up off the table solely because Charlaine Harris blurbed it on the front cover. I've seldom been steered wrong when one of my favorite authors gives an endorsement that makes the book jacket.

Interesting read. An American horror story set in the south just after World War I.  Some beautiful writing in this novel and an interesting take on what the residents of Whitbrow call a 'look a roo'. I read this one in an afternoon and enjoyed the story.

I also picked up another Elizabethan murder mystery novel, this time featuring John Shakespeare as the sleuth hired by Wm. Cecil to work on behalf of the Queen.

The book club at the library has selected their 12 titles for 2012 and I need to get over to B&N today or tomorrow and place that order. Some interesting selections, as always, from this group.

It is Thanksgiving week, which is hard to believe. The year is slipping away and the holiday season is upon us.  Enjoy your Monday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

fairy tales: on a big or little screen near you

We've had vampires, werewolves and assorted other 'monsters' in our homes courtesy of Hollywood for several years now. Decades, really. Those creatures of the night are quite expected to pop up on the movie screen or the TV screen each season.

Yet this year brought two new TV series featuring strong fairy tale themes. "Once Upon a Time" takes the classic fairy tales we all know and love, twists them around and offers some new fresh ideas. "Grimm" is less fairy tale-esque and more like a revamped "Buffy", which makes sense as some of the same folks are involved in the new show, but we have a strong link to, the Brothers Grimm.

Then hop over to the big screen and two new movies are coming out with the legendary wicked queen played by Julia Roberts in one film and Charlize Theron in the other.

Snow White is getting a lot of love this season!

So, why? Why all of a sudden is this fairy tale theme exploding into popularity? Did the vampires and werewolves pave the way? Fairy tales have always been with us, and of course, Disney rolls out these characters on a regular basis, but Snow White is going mainstream and is now visually marketed to the folks who read the fantasy, sci-fi and urban fantasy books filling our libraries and bookstores.

Is it a return to the 'gothic' as my MFA candidate coworker suggested at work yesterday? As in most things, what is old is new again. I'm glad fairy tales are getting their moment, again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the tag team....yes, you are it.

My boss is coming into town in December and will be meeting with the head of the marketing department and the Director of the whole enchilada about next year's conventions. Which ones can we attend?  Will they send both of us? Both conventions he has targeted are going to be held in my 'home' state's capital....which could be very fun!

In other news.....hubby and I attended the Town's 'thank you' reception last night for all those volunteers serving on the various Boards. Same faces year after year, but it is always a good time to see all of those folks in one place. We were both asked if we were going to run for office next year! Uh, NO!  I may, however, fill out a volunteer application to be appointed to a board. Maybe. I'm thinking about it. Seriously. Someone slap some sense into me!! Please!!

While I was gone on my trip I read "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson. It was a delightful, easy to read debut novel. I also started reading the latest from Sharon Kay Penman, "Lionheart." No one does the Devil's Brood like Penman; she captures Henry, Eleanor and the gang the best of any historical fiction writer I've ever read.  Unfortunately, I had to return it before I finished it. I must get back over there and check it out again; I wrote down the page number where I had to stop reading.

Up for tomorrow....the fantastic trend in TV this year: fairy tales!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the good, the bad and the ugly of dining alone

On my recent trip, as I was sent to work this convention all by my lonesome, I had to declare my 'party of one' status on multiple occasions.  The first night I chose a brew-pub restaurant. After traveling most of the day, and spending a frustrating and sweaty hour setting up our booth, I needed a beer. Pubs are one place that solo diners/drinkers are not out of place. I was given a lovely booth, proceeded to enjoy a good meal, a great beer and several pages of "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand".  I was tired, a bit grumpy and in no mood for conversation as my ears were plugged from the flights and the head cold that I'd brought with me from home.

The second night I chose a chain Italian place I'd never eaten in before.....don't bother with Spaghetti Warehouses for their food, but the decor is stunning.  A whole bunch of educators were in the lobby of this establishment waiting for the golden 5:00 pm hour so they could be seated.  A few groups ahead of me, I overheard another lady say she was alone. When I made it into the dining room, they had placed her at a nasty two person table stuck back in a corner while I was given a nice 4 person table by the window. I, of course, asked her to join me, which she did. We had a lovely time getting to know each other over a mediocre meal. It was nice to 'break bread' with someone else.

By the time Friday rolled around my voice was toast - a combination of the lingering cold and talking for two days straight. I had selected a really nice place for dinner, a lovely bistro with an up and coming chef. I settled into my table, the waiter was a pro and made me feel comfortable. I had a great steak meal, a nice glass of wine and a fabulous apple cider creme brulee for dessert. All was well until the bistro started filling up with groups going to the college basketball game. Being the only party of one in an entire room is a bit daunting. I had left my book at the hotel and had to settle for people watching as I enjoyed my meal. The waiter was quick to pick up on my need to depart quickly, I'm sure he was also eager to sit two people in the space I occupied.

The good, the bad and the ugly of dining alone. Well, it is often the perfect ending to a hectic day. It can also be a very lonely experience when surrounded by groups of folks happy to celebrate Friday and an impending basketball game. It can be an opportunity to meet other people as I did on Thursday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

home again, home again

Ahhhhhh. There is nothing better than coming home. Not even good chocolate. The whole family was waiting for me at the airport when I arrived back from my trip to L'ville.  Love them!!!

The trip was very interesting and I took some time Saturday morning and jotted down several things about the convention and the overall experience to share in a blog post. But, at the moment, I'm just not in the mood to revisit those observations.

So, instead, I'm going to brag a bit on the good things that happened here at home while I was away. The oldest got yet another scholarship from the big SEC school to the east. Whoop!  She also won two awards at the soccer banquet. Whoop!  The youngest is almost caught up on his work from his seven sick days. Yeah! The middle kid finally found a pair of heels for the NHS induction. Yippee!  The house was clean, the laundry done and all in order when I arrived home. YES!! My dog finally stopped giving me the cold shoulder for leaving him by Sunday afternoon. Tee-hee!

Very good things, and being gone for 3.5 days made me appreciate all of it so much more.

Happy Monday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the art of the cover up

You find 'it' in book plots all the time. A terrible deed is done. The cover up ensues. The dashing hero or heroine unravels the mystery and the culprits are revealed and brought to justice. When someone manages to get away with 'it', we call that a plot twist!

'It' almost always comes out. I guess it is the temptation of getting away with 'it' that keeps people trying to cover up misdeeds. From toddlers to politicians, are we just hardwired to cover up our mistakes and foolishly think no one will ever know? Hush money is never enough, even if the check came with a contract.

In other news.....I jet off tomorrow for another Ville and a convention. Not going to try and cover up the fact I've never done this before - traveled for work or staffed a booth at a convention. It should be quite an adventure for me as I have NO idea of what to expect.

So, this is my last post for this week, but come next Monday I should have a variety of interesting things to share!

Monday, November 7, 2011

a whirl of wind

The last ten days has been a bit chaotic. Between soccer and the sick boy, our normal routine was pitched out the window and replaced with......randomness on a gigantic scale. I am a creature of habit and to have my days turned topsy turvy just isn't my cuppa. Throw into this mix our 'falling back' clocks due to the time change, UGH.

But, the soccer girlies made it home on Friday. The boy was diagnosed with pneumonia on Thursday and given the correct medicine. He is on the mend now, thank goodness! The pantry was kind of restocked on Saturday. Hubby got a round of golf in and I sort of regained my grip on the huge training manual I'm creating for the next Friends president.

So, even in the midst of the chaos, we all managed to get things done. The boy even started to chip away, assignment by assignment, at the mountain of homework he must complete after being out of school for 7 class days.

Starting today, everyone should be back in their places for the most part. I'm working today and then have tomorrow off in preparation for my departure to the convention I'm working later this week.

Happy is to blessed, normal, boring routines, we never appreciate them until they are gone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

and the cleats and gloves come off

My darling soccer girls ended their season after 110 minutes with a 2-0 loss. Yes, 110 minutes. It was 0-0 at the end of regulation and overtime play kicked into effect.  One of the mom's, she helps moderate our booster club facebook page with me, posted that we had two defensive miscues within 5 minutes and the other team capitalized.

Hubby said the team played their hearts out, but sometimes that isn't enough to win the game.

As of this morning, I'm no longer the goalie's mom. She says she wants to play for fun, and not in the goal....on the field.

After 12 years of soccer with this child, half of those years on competitive teams, a chapter has ended. I can't help but think about all the times I've watched her warm up, diving for balls, getting ready for a game.

I love you, Miss J -- my goalie girl. xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

friends of the library

When I left the Library's staff almost 5 years ago, the president of the Friends grabbed me and set me to work. I've been working for them ever since. First up was to create from scratch our used bookstore and then to manage it for two years. Then I was elected president of the group.

Those four years flew by. The election of the officers for the 2012-2013 term is today. It is now time to downsize my involvement and pass the reins off to some new folks. I will continue to handle their marketing efforts, submit a story or two to the newspapers and take care of their monthly emailed newsletter. All work I can do from the comfort of my kitchen in my spare time.

Going back into the paid workforce when I did was not in our original plan, but several things necessitated an early entry into the world of paychecks. My new employer was supportive of my wish to finish out my term and allowed me to preside over the meetings until my term ended. I'm so grateful for that.

But, now things are winding down and I'm wrapping up a variety of loose ends. If you have a library in your town and you have a Friends group, by all means, get involved in whatever capacity you can manage. Library budgets are woefully underfunded and the Friends groups around the country are often the ones who pick up the slack when it comes to money for materials and programs.

It has been a joy to be as involved as I've been with our group. I've made some wonderful friends while volunteering in a rewarding way. I've learned a lot about myself and about leading such a diverse group of people.

If I could rewind the clock, I'd do it all over again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the halloween that wasn't

We never bought and carved a pumpkin this year. None of the kids went out to trick or treat. We had candy left over when I turned the porch light off at 8:30. And that leftover candy is easy to resist as it doesn't contain  any chocolate.

It was the Halloween that wasn't this year.

With the youngest feeling under the weather (he has an upper respiratory infection and is now on a Z-pack) our Halloween plans never took off.  The girls were busy packing for the state tournament. Hubby worked late and I was pretty exhausted after a busy day at work followed by a flurry of house cleaning when I arrived home.

On the plus side, no bowl of chocolaty goodness to tempt me into eating all the mini Snickers/Hersheys/M&Ms I can lay my hands on. Also on the plus side, we now have a slate of candidates for our Friends officers and will vote on them Wednesday!

And I have a new Sharon Kay Penman book to read on my trip next week. Penman is the best, in my opinion, at bringing Henry and Eleanor's brood to life. This new novel is all about the Lionheart, Richard. Historical, yummy goodness.

It might not be a candy bar, but it will still make me happy!