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NOVEMBER 30, 2009
Sleigh Bells Ring...
Are you listening?
Yes, I am! Thanksgiving's over so tis the season for marathon listening to my collection of jingle bells, deck the halls, white Christmas and the myriad of cd's that only seem appropriate to play this time of year. I must have over one hundred cd's that fit the bill. Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah or just plain ol' winter hummings; I've got them. I'm not much of a winter outdoors person, so listening to this music, wrapped in a snuggly afghan with a cup of hot chocolate is pure heaven.
I have my favorites, both albums and songs and if I hear something new that I like I just have to have it. One year my husband and I were at a holiday concert at Longwood Gardens in Delaware and I heard a choir sing the beautiful O Sifuni Mungu (All Creatures of Our God and King) and fell in love with this soulful song. I finally was able to locate one version by Saint Olaf's Choir on their album, Choral Tapestry. Definitely Christian/gospel it starts slow and then gets into the rhythm Lifts me up every time I hear it. Not strictly Christmas it seems to pop up as a song at holiday concerts due to its theme of praise. Doing a quick search on the net today, I see there are more versions available now. You can hear it on youtube.com if interested.
From the lighthearted tunes like these two by Brenda Lee, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, and Jingle Bell Rock, to the more traditional songs like Light One Candle and O Come, O Come Emmanuel on Peter, Paul and Mary's A Holiday Celebration, this is my month to listen.
How about you? Do you have a favorite seasonal song or album, one you just have to listen to this time of year? I'd love to hear. Maybe I'll find a new gem to add to my collection.
Saxton B. has lots of good music to put you in the spirit. Here's a few to make your days merry and bright...
Time-Life Treasur of Christmas ~ Various
Charlie Brown Christmas ~ VInce Guaraldi
Candles, Snow and Mistletoe ~ Sharon, Lois & Bram
Christmas in Connecticut ~ Featuring Local Connecticut Artists
Driving into work this morning I was trying to think about what to blog about. But, all I could think of was how full I still am.
I love Thanksgiving. It’s probably my favorite holiday. I grew up in Manchester, so the Manchester Road Race has always been a part of my Thanksgiving celebration. I’ve never missed a year either watching it, running it, or walking it. In fact, when I was little I thought everyone went to a road race on Thanksgiving morning. It still blows my mind that some of my friends, who have lived in Manchester all their lives, have never gone down the race. What do they do all morning?!?
During dinner last night my family was talking about the race, and one of my cousins said that women weren’t allowed to run in the Manchester Road Race until 1974. I couldn’t believe it, especially considering the race began in 1927. Long story short, I just looked it up on the official Manchester road race website, and it’s true! In 1961 three women ran the race ‘unofficially,’ and thus began a 13 year battle to allow women to officially enter. It took a letter from the 1973 Manchester Girls Cross Country Team and a number of protesters to finally have a road race with women officially included. Click on the link below for the full story:
I looked a bit around this morning to try and find out how many women were in the race yesterday, but I couldn’t find a statistic. I know there were over 12,000 registered participants and A LOT more unregistered. I ran/walked the race yesterday with my sister, and can tell you there were a lot of women and girls, (and dogs, and strollers)! So, among other things, I am thankful to those first brave ladies for fighting for equality in Manchester!
Like Labor Day, the day before Thanksgiving also holds a special kind of magic for me. It is akin, I suppose to the Night Before Christmas: a time full of promise and anticipation. Oddly, it is the days before Thanksgiving that I can remember more clearly than the holiday itself.
I remember being very young and having it snow. I thought that must be a sign it would be a magical year. I remember cooking pumpkin pies and having far more than I needed and calling my friends to push them off before having to explain why 4 people needed 6 pies. I remember going out with friends and the relaxed state of knowing there would be a long break from school, lots of delicious food and this was the start. I remember grocery shopping…traveling…and calling friends and relatives since the next day might be intrusive. One particularly vivid memory was coming home from school driving South from Worcester and being stunned at the back up for the Mass Pike! It went on literally for miles. That year I was particularly thankful that I was not driving that route.
This year, as the day before Thanksgiving has arrived I’m sure it will also be one I remember. Being here at work, going home to cook… but also for the many things I am thankful for:
A town vote that lets us continue the path to explore a much needed library expansion project.
A tremendous kick off to the Library’s annual giving campaign.
A Library Board that deeply cares about the Library and community.
A community that is always a delight to work with.
And last but certainly not least… a wonderful Library Staff
The fun thing about blogging is I'm never quite certain what direction my writing is going to take. I had quite a different story in mind when I sat down at my computer today. Join me for this week's tale...
Thursday is Thanksgiving and that means it's time to print out my check list of food to buy and things not to forget for the big holiday meal. When computers and word processors first came on the scene I could easily see the advantage of creating a holiday dinner shopping list which I could revise as each occasion demanded. Hey, most of the time I end up buying and cooking the same foods, so why reinvent the wheel.
As I was checking off items on this year's list I started to reminisce back to the first Thanksgiving meals I had planned. I could picture myself as a young bride, hosting my mother-in-law for the first time. This conjured up all kinds of feelings and scenes. Better to go back a few years, so off I went even further back in time to remembrances of my mom in the kitchen on Thanksgiving morn, preparing much the same foods we still have today. In my minds eye I can still see my mom in her apron at the sink, peeling vegetables, potatoes, turnip, onions, etc, mixing flour and Crisco for pie crusts.
Stop!Her apron! My mom and my grandmother never cooked without wearing an apron. I even remember getting a few of my own as shower gifts. I think I have one lying around the house still. When did I stop wearing these? Aprons were once an integral part of preparing any meal. No self-respecting woman would probably be in the kitchen without one. I don't think my girls even know what aprons look like. Why would you wear one? Well, years ago, women wore pretty dresses, at least my mom did.On holidays, Sunday best clothing was at a premium and you sure didn't want to ruin your clothing with gravy stains or spattering grease. Aprons were worn to protect what was underneath. They were easy to sew and easy to clean. And besides, before the days of paper towels, they made a great place to wipe those messy hands.
A recent email reminded me of all the uses those pretty aprons had...
They served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
They were wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the Chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
If you look closely at thecollage accompanying this blog, you'll see my mom is wearing an apron each photo. With the hundreds of pictures I have of her, I had quite a time finding a few where she is wearing the apron. That's cause as soon as the camera came out, the apron was whisked off. Who wants a picture of themself in an apron?
When you prepare your Thanksgiving meal this week, will you wear an apron? Perhaps I'll dig through my closet of memories and find one of my mom's to wear.
As always, we try to bring our blogs full circle back to books so here's a suggeston befitting the theme:
Did anyone else hear that New Moon was coming out in theaters tonight?
Of course you did! No one can escape the Twilight vortex.
I have not read New Moon. I did listen to Twilight (you can see my post from July). I also tried to watch the movie Twilight.I thought I would like the movie since I assumed it would have all sorts of cool special effects. Alas, I did not like the movie any better than the book – don’t hate me! I thought the Cullen’s face make-up was way too white and powdery looking, and the special effects, especially during the sparkling in the sun scene, was L-A-M-E.
I think this is as sparkly as it got folks:
Seriously? No one knows these people are vampires?!?! Look how pale they are:
Talk amongst co-workers this morning informed me that there is a new director for New Moon, so maybe New Moon will be better. I know that Jacob Black will play a huge role in this movie…and he’ll be mostly shirtless, thereby ensuring lots of teenage girl appeal. In the end I’m not sure if it matters how good or bad the movie is, I think it will draw huge crowds and make mountains of money anyways.
I DO want to see the new movie Precious, based on the book Push, by Sapphire.
Wow, I sure sound negative. Let me try to lighten this post up a bit…
Happy Friday everyone! The sun is out! Have a great weekend!
November is national novel writing month. For us readers and authors, this is exciting. I do wonder whose idea it was to put this important event during the same month that contains Thanksgiving, wouldn’t say… January, February or March have been better?
Still, for several years now an online community has developed over this auspicious event. Nanowrimo.org
What is NaNoWriMo.org? An international, online community dedicated to “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing.” Those who are brave sign up (for free) at the website and begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Thousands have participated; in fact some published novels have even been born this way. (Perhaps you’ve heard of Sara Gruen’s Water For Elephants?) As of this writing, the word count for 2009 is: 1,315,967,901 with 12 more days to go!
Those who sign up at the website and reach the goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month receive a certificate praising them for their task. Sadly, I did sign up but have not submitted a word. Maybe next year.
But to all the authors out there and future authors out there – hat’s off and Happy November!
If you'd like a good novel to read or help with the novel your writing don't forget us here at the Library!
1.created the ToysRUs Kids campaign 2. started his life as Charles Lutwidge Dodson 3. was worth 30 million in 2008 4.was a pulitzer prizer winning novel (1931) was rejected because Americans are "not interested in anything Chinese" 5. disappeared from her Berkshire, England home in 1926 and was missing for 11 days 6.created the character Bertha Cool but was best know for his male character with the initials P.M. 7.earned $15 a month working in a mouse house, feeding mice used in medical expirements 8. got inspiration for his book by answering this question "What's the silliesy, least likely vampire I can imagine?" 9.wrote "A Boy named Sue" immortalized by Johnny Cash 10. was a ghost writer for R.L. Stine
Bonus: wrote an estimated 100,000 letters of which 20,000 still survive today
I hope you had as much fun as me trying to answer these questions. If you don't know the answers you can find them in a gem of a book just added to our collection:
I came across this book in a preview copy at Book Expo 2009, New York, which Su, Megan and I attended this past June. In a sea of thousands of publishers and books soon to hit the market, I knew this was one I wanted to purchase and share with you. Under the Covers gives you the inside story and is chock full of little known facts and trivia about some of your famous authors. Divided into chapters with such fun titles as Shot Out of the Canon: simply the best: tantalizing trivia about some of the greatest works in Western liteature, Young At Heart: Books you loved as a kid, books to revisit with your kids, Time to Make the Donuts: Odd jobs and moonlighting gigs of famous authors: brainy inventors, sexy rock & rollers, and more, it's the perfect book for lazing away a few hours.Both authors are great fact finders as they are Editorial Director for World Almanac Books and Editor of The World Almanac and Book of Facts, respectively. Includes an index which can be helpful in case you lose the fact you want to quote.
"Oh, Did you think I was going to leave you without the answers? For those of you who want to know and can't get your hands on the book:"
1. James Patterson 2.Lewis Carroll 3.J.K Rowling 4.Pearl Buck - The Good Earth 5. Agatha Christie 6.Earle Stanley Gardner creator of Perry Mason 7.Arthur Miller 8. James Howe creator of Bunnicula 9. Shel Silverstein 10. Tom Perotta
Lately, it seems like every time I turn around I hear about a new book coming out that I want to read. Good thing I go to the library a lot!
Right now I am in the middle of reading Bicycle Diaries, the new book by David Byrne (of the Talking Heads). His writing chronicles years of riding his bike through the cities he is visiting; Sydney, Manila, San Francisco, Berlin, Istanbul, and more. I had read some good reviews, and I really like the Talking Heads, so I was excited to get my hands on this one. He’s got some really interesting thoughts on each city, although some of his thoughts do wander all over the place (at which point I find my self skimming).
Zadie Smith has just come out with a new book, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays. I LOVED White Teeth, and I can’t wait to read this new collection of essays by her!
I’m not sure what to think about this one. On the one hand I was really excited to hear Jonathan Safran Foer was coming out with a new book, his book Extreamly Loud, Incredibly Close is probably in my top 10 favorite books of all time. BUT, this new one Eating Animals, is all about his struggle between being an ominove and vegetarian. I have read some good reviews, but often I find it hard to stick with non-fiction, even if I’m interested in the topic. If I do end up reading it, I'll be sure to post what I think.
We just got this one at the library - Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, an Marine & a Miracle, by Major Brian Dennis. Those of you who read this blog already know I am a dog person, but even if I wasn't this story would have brought a tear to my eye.
Anything new coming out that you are looking forward to reading? Let me know!
I can hardly watch tv or even movie credits these days without seeing his name, Jerry Bruckheimer. Executive producer, Jerry Bruckheimer. Who is this guy?. So off to the net I go. I start my search in the place I begin most of my searches, no not Google, but www.iconn.org, our state's research engine. A power search across the databases for his name resulted in these hits:
iCONN Newsstand 486 Biography and Genealogy Master Index 4 Biography Resource Center 6 Discovering Collection 1 History Resource Center - U.S. 40 History Resource Center - World 32
way more than I need. I should refine my search a bit but before I do I decide to take a look at the Biography Resource Center 6 hits. This should give me a good overview about Jerry. I'm in luck. The very first article is an update from 10/5/2009. At my first click I'm getting the lowdown on ol' Jerry. He was born September 21, 1945 in Michigan (that makes him what, 64). Occupation film producer, television producer. Well, no revelations there. Ah, the biographical essay says he's one the most powerful producers in Hollywood and has been making blockbuster films since the 80's. He formed his own company in 1996 and by 2006 his films had made 6 billion (not bad). And then he branched out to tv, having at least 10 shows in 2005 (ah, now I know why I see his name everywhere).Still, no real dirt. Reading on I find out that he's an only child (does that explain his success?). A tad more interesting is that he studied psychology, earned a BA in '65 and upon moving to New York got a job working in advertising at the international firm of BBD&O, starting in the mail room of all places. Moving on...he later formed a company with Don Simpson. Their first smash hit was Flashdance in 1983, then Beverly Hills Cop in '84, Top Gun in '86. Now we're getting somewhere. People thought Bruckheimer was focused on the productions and that Simpson was the creative member of the team. Not so says Bruckheimer in this quote to the Daily Telegraph's Sheldon, "Don's ego made him think that he was the creative guy, and he was. But it was never the case that I was just the numbers guy. I knew it was a real partnership, and that I had contributed to all aspects of it." Don and Jerry continue their formula to success into the mid 90's when Simpson dies.
On his own, his first big hit is 1998's Armageddon. In 2001 he was chosen to produce the mega-hit for Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Didn't know that! I'm finding out I haven't been reading all the credits.
Jerry Bruckheimer Television ~ He tells Michael Schneider of Variety, "We approach TV as a serious business; it's not just a sideline for us. We're passionate about it; we put enormous energy in it." First out is Soldier of Fortune (never watched it) and then the program that changed police procedurals forever, C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation, which airs on CBS and is a major hit, and its spin offs, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY. Without a Trace and The Amazing Race (now I'm remembering, that's where I saw his name first).
Not all of Bruckheimer's show were successes as evidenced by some I've never heard of, E-Ring, JustLegal, Skin and a comedy, Modern Men.
A private person, Bruckheimer keeps a low profile in Hollywood. According to this bio he likes to play Ice Hockey as he has since he was a kid. He has never appeared in any of his productions unlike some other Hollywood egos.
Not bad for one brief article from Thomson Gale, available at www.iconn.org and free to Connecticut residents. With just a few clicks I know more about Jerry Bruckheimer than when I started. One more click on the magazine tab nets me a new article mentioning one of Bruckheimer's latest ventures, my favorite new program of the season, The Forgotten. There's still more I'd like to know but that's enough for today. I can save my search and pick it up anytime.
If you've made it to the very end, a question. Do you have a favorite movie or tv program produced by Jerry Bruckheimer? My vote's for Without a Trace, which was not renewed this season. I sure miss Jack Malone, Samantha, Danny and Elena.
Pigs have been getting a bad rap lately. The pork industry reports a major drop in sales due to the public's fear of catching ‘swine flu’ from eating pork. There is no evidence that you can get H1N1 from pork, but of course, that that hasn’t stopped people from worrying about it. Anyways, in light of all the bad press for piggies, I figured I would try to boost their reputation by suggesting some NICE pig stories!
Some of my very favorite picture books of all time feature pigs:
Don't worry...Gerald the Elephant DOESN'T have swine flu:
Gotta love Olivia:
Max and Pinky! I just discovered these books - they are adorable:
Little Oink hates to get dirty...poor Little Oink:
Two twists on the classic story:
This week the first reported case of a cat with H1NI hit the media:
I am a first generation of Sesame Street visitors, which is perhaps why when I logged into Google today to see Big Bird’s feet, I was quite excited. Immediately rolling my mouse over the image to see what was up, I learned the news: 40 years and my has the franchise grown.
Still, just seeing those two big orange feet I was there. “TEN CHOCOLATE CREAM PIES!!!!!” “COOKIE!” I immediately thought of my old friends, Oscar, Snuffy and Grover. I was pre Elmo, and in truth, I’m not a fan.
With this news, I traveled to the Sesame Street website. This too was not what I expected, and quickly clicked on the 40th Anniversary news article. There, I learned that on November 10, 2009 (the true anniversary of the date the show first aired) Sesame Street will show a make over:
“When you turn on your TV on November 10,” says Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente, “you’ll see a brand-new and spectacularly beautiful opening sequence. We’re also launching an entirely new format for the show — the magazine format of Sesame Street, which has been evolving over the years, has been officially replaced with what we’re calling a ‘block’ format. And it’s just wonderful.” …
The new block format emulates children’s current television experience, Parente explains. “When the show first started [on November 10, 1969], we followed what was on the air at the time, so we used the techniques of commercials and variety shows to teach children. These days, however, there are entire networks devoted to preschool programming, and our show is an hour long, which is unique in preschool programming. So we thought, our hour really is a block of preschool programming, so let’s look at it that way.”
The site showed a preview. The format didn’t work for me. But I suppose 40 years and 122 Emmy Awards, they know what they’re doing. I hope. Elmo is annoying; this is not how I’d like my children to behave. It was not my Street any more
Perhaps I’m just too old to ‘get it,’ but one of these things was definitely NOT like the others.
If you’d like to get to Sesame Street – start at your library!
Fall back, spring forward, I'm definitely not as bouncy as I used to be. Ok, so you're supposed to change the clocks back an hour this past Sunday morning at 2AM. Now how many of us actually stay up until 2 o'clock to set all the clocks back? Some of us will set them back before we go to bed and others will wait until we get up in the morning. Of course, the trick it to know who did what, and that everyone in the house is on the same page. Otherwise it can get quite confusing as to the true time. Yeah, I like the idea of an extra hour, but what do I really do with it. And then you have those clocks that set themselves ahead and back, only they did it last week or someother time that's in their original configuration before the dates to change were changed yet again. Saturday night found me fighting sleep at my normal bedtime. I always figure I'll split the difference and try to hang in the extra half hour and then go to bed. I didn't quite make it. And then Sunday morning I was up an hour early, not only because my brain is still on the old time but because the sun is shining and the crows are cawing outside my window a whole hour earlier. If you have babies you're really in a bind. When mine were little, I used to try to trick them with the half hour scenario. Ha, didn't fool them either and they pretty much stayed on the their old time schedule. As they got older I found that a few minutes here and a few minutes there worked far better than trying to switch their time clock in larger increments.
And in the back of my mind is the reoccurring thought that I know I'm going to lose that hour in the spring and go through the whole body and sleep adjustment once again.Didn't do much with the gained hour and always wonder where the lost hour goes.
What nut conceived this idea? I've heard it's the same guy that flew a kite in a lightning storm. I've heard crumbling about the time change from many people over the years and even heard about possible legislation to stop the madness. Funny though, I just read that there is no federal rule mandating the change. I've even thought about refusing to bow to the time change, staying on my own time or move to somewhere like Hawaii, most of Arizona or Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Virgin Islands where they never change from standard time.
Daylight Savings Time, Standard Time, who of you know which one we're really on? What I do know is that I'll be grumpy and cranky for the next few weeks. I'd really rather adjust the whole by that half hour I keep talking about and call the whole thing off!