Posts Tagged With: books

I Took Time Out

Where do I begin? Where did I leave off? So much to say there’s too much to say. Let’s try nutshells, shall we?

Running: January saw 24.25 miles. I’m okay with that number because I was insane at the end of 2016, running practically every single freaking day. January was my rest month. February was a little better: 40.6 miles, thanks to the St. Pat’s nemesis I always blather about. March kicked off with 13.7 miles in the first week. I have skipped a few runs to…wait for it…to weight lift with a certified bodybuilder trainer. I figure if I’m going to punch someone I need to be strong enough to knock them out! Just kidding. I called truce with the nemesis, by the way. I have yet to walk a single step…and, and. And! I find myself with a new PR: 1 hr 4 seconds. The cool thing is, I didn’t “race” this run. I spent the first four miles cruising, just looking for my friend. Once I found him and decided he wasn’t staying with me, I took off. It kills me that I spent only two miles of the run trying to race!
Next up: a NEW 10k for April. This one is a head scratcher. The race director emailed the runners and asked us to decide on the course: did we want to run laps (um. no) or go long. I voted long. Of course.

Books: I read 10 books in January, 9 in February & I’ve finished 7 already this month. That’s what I get for reading Truman Capote, Adimchinma Ibe, David Halberstam, Barbara Gowdy, Marianne Leone, and Laura Esquivel’s incredibly short books.

Music: I have already heard Trey Anastasio. On the horizon I have plans to see Natalie Merchant (of course), The Dead (of course), Phish (of course) and Sean Rowe (of course) before the summer is over.
Truth be told, the summer hasn’t even begun so who knows who will be added to the list.

Travel: Maine, California, Alaska, New York. Not necessarily in that order. More on that later.

Categories: Confessional, running, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

January Just Left

I consistently misspell January. Judging by the mistake I know I’ll be misspelling February for the next 28 days, too. It’s a question of typing too fast. My fingers can’t keep up with what my brain has finished saying.

It’s been three weeks and a few days since my last confessional. I think I left you on a treadmill in Rockland, Maine. What to tell you now? Where am I now? January just left the building. I ran a total of 24.85 miles for the entire month. Yes, that point eighty five does matter. I’ll tell you why. Because, with a week off from the run, I have been able to return to my steady pace of 10:24 -> 10:03. That’s huge. By the end of 2016 I was warming up (read: limping along) at a 12 minute mile pace and barely getting above that for the duration of the rest of the run. True, by the end of December I was running more miles in one week than I had in the entire month of January, but speed was pretty pathetic at the end. I like where I’m at now. Seriously

In other news, I have returned to a pretty consistent yoga routine and get this…I promised four people (six if you include myself and moi) I would join a real, honest to goodness (gulp) gym if I got a raise. And. I got a raise. So there’s that. To be fair, I haven’t joined yet. I’m waiting for a few mini turbulences to pass. More on that another time.

Lastly, Question – what do you get when you cross a librarian with a runner with less mileage on her schedule and more time on her hands? Answer – a woman with more books finished. I was able to cross ten titles off the challenge list.

I’m short on time so I can’t tell you the latest with New Guinea or about the jet stream I’m about to enter…Until next time.

Categories: Confessional, running | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Words to Live By

This is not about running. This is about realizations. There is a saying I tend to parrot from time to time, “if you want it bad enough you will make it happen.” I’ve said it many, many times to Kisa. I’ve said it to myself from time to time. It’s true. The drive to do something is hidden in the desire.

Case in point. The 1000km challenge. I finished it. I. Finished. It. 1001 kilometers to be precise. Despite a bad cough and a burning need to be anywhere else I found myself pounding out the last mile on New Year’s Eve. I’m happy I did it, but not happy about the way it ended. Each run was getting more and more difficult. Yes, I could run nine miles but I needed to start at a pace of 12 minute miles and I was never faster than 10.54 at the end. My quads would burn at the beginning of the run and not the end. I can’t imagine running St. Pat’s right now. But, I finished the challenge because I said I would.

Since I’m not running, here are the things I have taken up to occupy my time. These are my words to live by:

  1. Yoga. Not just the kind for runners
  2. Books. Science fiction (Hyperion)
  3. Movies. See every Academy award winning movie (best picture, documentary and animation). Blogs coming soon.
  4. Strong…as in…wait for it…weight training. A friend of mine is hitting it hard in the gym. I can’t bench press 150 like she can, but let’s see how strong this grace can be.
Categories: life, running | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Strangled Charity [Repost]

I have a decidedly dumb dilemma. Books. Too many of them. Well, more accurately I have too many uncorrected proofs. Nearly 70 different titles. In the beginning…we’re talking 2006..I was asked to join LibraryThing’s Early Review program. Here’s how it works: ever month LT posts a list of new books to be published and you request one to be reviewed before publication. I have been honored to “win” nearly 70 early publications and I have reviewed them all. Well, let me clarify. I have faithfully reviewed every title I have <strong>received</strong>. I’m still waiting for two…

In the beginning it was a pride thing. I was so thrilled to be asked to join this program that I saved every single book I was asked to review. I wanted to keep an entire collection of “librarythings” to mark the accomplishment. But now they are taking over! Ironically, the two favorites I wanted to keep I loaned away and never saw again (<em>The Translator</em> and <em>Losing Clementine</em>). But, back to the books I can’t keep. I argue with myself and moi about what to do all the time.

Here’s how it goes:
Me: We donate them to a charity?
Myself: It’s uncorrected proof. No one wants to read an unfinished product.
Me: We could donate them to a library?
Moi: You wrote tags, notes and stuff all through them. You underlined and dog eared pages. (Shame on you, librarian!)
Me: We could give them to friends?
Myself: And how would you decide who gets what? Think of that <em>Orgasmic Pregnancy</em> one! Who would get that?
Me: We could offer them up free to anyone interested near and far? FaceBook? They would just pay my shipping costs?
Myself: And what if people don’t send you $$ to mail them? You are trying to renovate your kitchen, remember?
Me: We could throw them out?
Moi: You would hate yourself and chase after the recycling truck to bring them back.
Me: We could just keep them?
Myself: Out of the question. You don’t hold onto books unless you love them. You are running out of room with things you don’t love.
Me: I do hate clutter.
Moi: See?

So. What to do? Maybe when the weather gets warmer I’ll set up an alfresco book store with a big ole “Free” sign and see what happens. It could be a study in sociology. Do people like uncorrected proofs? Would they mind my in-page musings? Do people like free no matter what? And who will take that <em>Orgasmic Pregnancy</em> book?

Categories: Charity, Librarianship | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here in the Surf

“Even here I read myself to drowsiness, and, reading, I hear the cadenced trampling roar filling all the dark” (p 46). The Outermost House by Henry Beston.

This was the quote of the week while I was home. I did a tremendous amount of reading (finishing nearly three books in seven days) but best of all, I did it accompanied by the sound of the surf. That, in it of itself, was pure heaven. At night, when the autumn chill had settled in around us I would curl up with a glass of Malbec or Old Vine Zin (depending on the mood), huge wool socks, a warm hippy sweater with missing buttons, and a great book. The wind could rattle the windows and howl down the chimney but I was snug and secure in my big chair nest. My only shivers came from Mary Shelley’s description of Frankenstein’s monster seeking companionship or Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula in his creepy castle. [Dracula, incidentally, is not on any Lust list so, when I discovered that (after reading 187 pages), I stopped immediately. How pathetic is that?]

During the day after a good long hike I would drag a huge red Adirondack deck chair closer to the rail, put my feet up and devour Beston’s words. It was easy to do with the cacophony of birds darting in the bushes, the far off sounds of Trap Day trucks and boats, and of course, the ever-present surf keeping time in the distance. Each element of sound keeping time with each sentence on the page. There is nothing like reading on an island.


Categories: Confessional, Monhegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Are You Now?

It has been an incredibly stressful week, from start to finish. A week ago Tuesday I flew to Colorado and while I love that state with a passion you know me and flying…we just don’t get along. So first element of stress – flying. Second “stresser” – meeting new people. Third stresser – seeing family and confronting grief head on. My fourth stresser was something I didn’t anticipate but I’ll get to that later.

The flight was, for the most part, fine. I think I drove Kisa crazy wanting to talk about September 11th the entire time. An odd choice of topic for someone as nerved up about planes as I am, but I can’t explain my mind. I practically started and finished a book on the same flight (Tear Down the Mountain by Roger Alan Skipper). I sat next to a girl who kept her nose in a book the entire time, too. Funny thing was, I noticed her in the terminal and was dying to know what she was reading. All I got was it was by Nicholas Sparks. Figures. On the second leg of the flight I noticed a guy in the terminal reading while standing up. Every once in a while he would chuckle to himself. Odd. Guess what? I sat next to him from Charlotte to Denver. He was reading Homer. The Odyssey. Go figure.

Anyway, meeting new people. Best Man West’s new girl. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. In the end I was actually more social and comfortable in my own skin than she was. Who knew?

I’m saving the family/grief part for another time. I still need to process that part. I also need to deal with the new stress I encountered on the trip. The purpose of this quick and dirty is to let everyone know I am alive and well. I wasn’t home but I am now. xoxox

Categories: Confessional | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Are You?

I have this friend. I use the term “friend” loosely because in this day and age the word friend is subjective. I have friends at work and I have friends on FaceBook. Then I have friends I would cross a burning bridge for. This is not about any of those friends. This friend and I, we are book friends. We sit across from each other and talk about plot and protagonists like they are relatives. “I just can’t understand Ivan and his screaming” he would say. “Maybe that was the only way he could articulate his feelings?” I would reply. “It makes as much sense as Jane’s silly journey across the moor” he would shoot back. “I thought Brother Juniper was onto something with that divine intervention theory” he changes the subject. Back and forth, forth and back we would talk intention, talk character. The routine is always the same. He flops in a chair across from me and, steadying an overburdened backpack on his less than steady knees, he will pull one, two or three books from its depths. These books are what we will talk about. Usually I have nothing to be surprised about. Nothing catches me off guard.
One day all that changed. Instead of pulling books from his bag out he drew by one ear a stuffed toy rabbit. With a flourish followed a goose feather of considerable size. A pink petite cat dish. A bottle of bright blue dish detergent. I stared at these gifts as though petrified. In a way I was. This was breaking with tradition. Way left of normal. These gifts were vipers, poisoning what I knew of our “friendship.” ‘Oh’ was all I could say. Oh was all that crossed my mind and escaped my lips. Oh. What else could I say? Our relationship had jumped the rails. It was now so far off track I couldn’t think straight. Could I build a library around the lunacy? How could I contain it back to normalcy?
In a word, impossible. I decided to draw my own conclusions:
Dish detergent ~ Biodegradable Soap by Amy Ephron.
Goose feather ~ Tide, Feather, Snow by Miranda Weiss
Cat dish ~ Darconville’s Cat by Alexander Theoux
Toy rabbit ~ The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, of course.

Maybe this is what we will talk about the next time I see him.

Categories: Confessional, Librarianship | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Only For You

I packed your bag tonight. I tried to think of anything and everything you would ever need. Leave nothing to be desired is what the voice in my head begged. No want. Never. Kisa loaded the car under the cover of darkness. No need to advertise your Ford Escape.

But, back to the bag. I tried to think of all your senses and cover them with kindness.

  • Touch – your travel companion of black and purple while Skidz is in the Sunshine state. It’s nice to have someone to hold on to. Squeeze him hard if need be.
  • Taste – protein bars with lots of nuts and fruit; gum and breath mints
  • Hear – Music, music and more music. Mumford and Sons, Adel, the Brothers, ZZ Ward to name a few. Oh and as always, Natalie. I remembered an audio book you said you liked: The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim. It’s long winded so it should keep you busy until Dallas.
  • See – because you are such the book snob, a paperback in real, honest-to-goodness print: Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Try not to cry in public, but if you do I packed tissues…discreetly.
  • Smell – green tea and roses (enough said). You have makeup, spritzer for the face and dry shampoo along with lotion and lavender.
  • Think – crossword puzzles and more crossword puzzles of the not so typical kind. You also have Free cell on your phone, your favorite. But, you knew that.
  • Care – letter writing materials complete with paper, pens, envelopes and addresses and stamps
  • Reflection – two travel journals and a datebook. What could you possible say when nothing has happened yet?
  • Art – a camera. Try not to take pictures of men sleeping with their mouths wide open.
  • Communication – your ever present phone should you need to call for help.
  • Recklessness – nip bottles of pineapple vodka and pills; just what the doctor ordered.

I think I thought of you and yourself.

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Nonsupporting Cynic

I think what I have to say will make me sound like a complete bitch. Maybe I am the adult version of a pouting spoiled brat who didn’t get her way. I’d rather think of myself as an nonsupporting cynic. Let me vent, get it out of my system and move on without looking back.

I am disappointed with my hometown library.

There I said it. Every year I get an annual membership “bill” along with a nice letter outlining the latest news. This year they announced that their news was “great!” They got themselves a library website. Tahdah! On WordPress. Oh. Joy. I checked it out and Oh joy turned to just Oh.
Okay. I need to back up a little and paint the entire picture. I need to explain myself on this one. A few years ago, maybe five, I approached my library about developing a website. Not just any old website, but an honest to goodness, up to date and searchable catalog. I got the idea I could help them “get with the program” by introducing them to LibraryThing. I thought this site was the best way to go for a library of their size (and I still think so). With LibraryThing it is easy to add books to the holdings, easy to tag books, easy to create genres, easy to create collections, easy to search, easy to post pictures, easy to create an “about me” section for updates and “happenings” like book sales and story hours. Easy. Easy. Easy. Did I mention it was easy? I saw LibraryThing as a perfect match for my tiny library AND I was willing to do all the work. At the time I was told the library would NEVER go world wide web. It would lose its charm and blahblahblah.

Funny how times change. Last year I received the annual membership letter bill with the announcement, “we’re thinking about joining the 21st century! We’re thinking about getting a website!” Again, I offered my services. Let me build something on LibraryThing. With a check for membership and donation, I might add. This was ignored. No reply at all.

So. This year my library got itself a website. Not a searchable, up to date catalog. But a blog. Don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love WordPress. I’ve been here forever. A blog is good but it’s not a searchable catalog. In order to tell patrons what NEW arrivals the library has received someone has to go in and update a list. It’s clunky and it doesn’t showcase the library’s incredible one-of-a-kind collection. Grrrrrr. It’s so frustrating I’m tempted to create my own LibraryThing account for them. Although it would be nearly impossible because I don’t have the ISBNs and OCMs for their material. I don’t even know the extent of their archives (except to say that it SHOULD be cataloged because it is impressive). Okay. I’ll admit it. My motives (in the beginning) were self-serving. Everyone knows I have a strict reading list. I know what I’ll be reading in November 2016. I wanted a searchable catalog so that whenever I went home I didn’t have to lug 3-4 books with me. I would actually visit the library. No such luck. I’ll continue to lug my books. I’ll read the blog, but bring my own books home.

Categories: Confessional, Librarianship, life, Monhegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Signed, Sealed, Committed

I celebrated another birthday recently. Nothing outrageous, nothing wild. It was pretty quiet except for the discovery that I am committed to be crazy. Hook. Line. Sinker. I am caught up in a colossal challenge I can’t (won’t?) escape. to explain:

In 2006 someone gave me Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust (better known as simply ‘BL’ in my world). Nothing more than a compilation of recommended reading for “every mood” as Pearl put it. When I first flipped through it I thought, “how quaint.” After some serious page turning I thought, “what a great idea to catalog all these books in such this way!” Funny how first impressions are so innocent. Hindsight definitely reveals a stranger, more elusive obsession in the making. I really don’t know how it all started. I don’t know what made me decide to read every single book indexed in Book Lust. All I do know is that after I was given More Book Lust (MBL) soon after that sealed the deal. Somehow that second book committed me to the challenge. I found myself promising to read EVERY book indexed in Book Lust AND More Book Lust. I wasn’t looking for a fight; no throw down. I didn’t challenge anyone to join me. This was going to be a battle fought by me, myself and moi. I remember meeting Nancy Pearl at a convention. After she signed my books I told her about my insane challenge. She seemed excited when she asked, “are you the one with the website?” but was definitely deflated when I said no, I wasn’t. To be fair, at the time I knew there was at least one other person with the same such project. She had a website and was soliciting book buyers to help her with her reading. I wasn’t that person. As a librarian I could do no such thing. Circulation is at the core of library success.

Anyway, fast forward to Happy Birthday to me. I’m opening a package from my sister. Sitting in my truck with the engine running because I just couldn’t wait. Despite being in my own driveway. I had to laugh when my own eagerness revealed Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers by Nancy Pearl. Here we go again. I knew myself all too well. The only question was how long would it take before I would decide to add all the titles of BLTG to my challenge? Not long. Not long at all. In fact, I hadn’t read a single word of BLTG before I was formulating a new plan. Adjustments would have to be made. Between BL and MBL I had amassed over 4,000 titles to read. At first glance I estimated BLTG would add another 2,000 unique titles…give or take.

And so it begins. I have a feeling LunaSea will be busy.

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