Saturday, September 10, 2016


I love to cook.

I find it creative and relaxing and, of course, I also need to eat.

Cooking is also a gift I give to my husband and friends.

Because I cook, I'm always looking for interesting recipes. I don't own many cookbooks. I used to, but realized I was only using a few recipes from each and books take up a lot of space. So I copied the recipes I like on 3x5 cards, put them in a file box, and gave the cookbooks to the Friends of the Library book sale.

As I read through the evening newspaper (it's really a morning newspaper, but I end up reading it in the evening when I come home from work), I sometimes see recipes I'd like to try. When the local food co-op sends out a newsletter, it usually has a recipe or two that I'd like to try. Magazines are another source of potential recipes. And I sometimes I'll borrow a cook book from my local public library, especially one on vegetarian meals, and look for recipes I'd like to try.

After I've tried a recipe, if I like it and M. likes it, I'll write it down on a 3x5 card and add it to the file box. Sometimes, I need to make adjustments and try it again before it gets written down.

Since I've liked to cook for a very long time (ever since I came to terms with the fact that a feminist can do something so traditional as cooking), I've been on the lookout for recipes.

After the recipe has been cut (or more likely torn) from the newspaper, or photocopied from the library cookbook, it sits on top of the microwave oven, in plain sight, until I've had a chance to try it. I used to put it in a drawer, but, alas, it would be forgotten and languish until I felt the need to hunt for it. Unfortunately, that pile on the microwave sometimes gets annoying and gets transferred to the recipe drawer to languish.

The recipe drawer is getting full and messy and it's too hard to wade through all of the recipes I've mostly forgotten about.

While trying to find a recipe I was sure was in there, I decided to at least sort through all of these pieces of paper and put them in some kind of order. That way, when I wanted to try a fish recipe, I could go to the fish folder and save myself a lot of time.

And so I began. I made piles: "breads", "breakfasts", "soups/stews", "salads", "pasta", "vegetables", etc. Then I took some file folders, labeled them, and stuffed the appropriate recipes into each. By then I was tired and was less than half way through all those bits of paper.

A few days later, I continued the task. I actually found pages of newspapers dating back to 1988! When I look at some of these recipes, I can truly say "I'll never make that" and just toss it into the paper recycling bag. That's where many of the fancy dessert recipes have ended. I need fewer desserts, fancy or otherwise.

My recipe pile is looking a little less daunting, though I haven't yet tried any of the recently unearthed recipes.

After I finish sorting through the "to be tried" pile, I'm going to weed out the file box. There are a lot of recipes I added 20 or 30 years ago that I no longer use. This project could take a long time. I wonder if I'll have any time to actually try any of these new recipes?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cats and Rabbits

This song has been running through my head for months. I even find myself silently singing it when I get up in the middle of the night to pee. I don't know why it suddenly appeared.

While it sounds as if it's from Disney's Alice in Wonderland (and it is), I haven't seen that movie in many years and I didn't remember that song at all. Not like "Painting the Roses Red" or "I'm Late, I'm Late".

The oddest thing is that when the song first appeared in my head, I could only remember the melody and bits and pieces of the lyric. As I worked on it (or it worked on me), I remembered more and more of the words. When I finally did my Google search, I had remembered the words almost perfectly. How did that happen? Especially since I didn't even remember the song!

I suspect that one evening as I was reading in bed listening to Jazz à la Mode, Tom Reney played the song and it seeped into my brain before I even realized it. While I'm getting a little tired of "Cats and Rabbits" there are far worse songs I could be stuck with.  

Alice in Wonderland is my very favorite of all the Disney movies. It's about a little girl who has big dreams. She takes a chance, has an incredible adventure, and meets lots of very interesting people. Yes, she's sometimes in danger, but she's able to cope without the aid of a prince - handsome or otherwise. What a wonderful story.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Judging a Book by its Cover

I often choose a book to read because I like its cover, so how could I resist a book that displayed a little black dress?

I love little black dresses. I've owned several over the years. I've admired even more. Who can forget Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's? Now that's a little black dress to admire.

Nine women, one dress was an absolute delight to read.

The book reminded me of works by Maeve Binchey or Fannie Flagg. There are lots of characters, beautifully developed, and a central theme, so that the characters are related and everything ties together. This is a book I can easily recommend to anyone and everyone.

On the workfront, I have finally arrived at the letter K.

I'm totally convinced there are gremlins that invade the MassCat database when I'm not working on it. They create duplicate records and typos and turn book records into e-book records. The more I try to straighten out this catalog, the more stuff I find that needs fixing. Every time I think I'm making progress, I stumble upon a section that is so sad, I have trouble believing I haven't found it before. Cleaning up this catalog is definitely a long term project.

I guess this is called "job security".

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Four Days of RDA

In June, I gave two all-day workshops on RDA. This month, I also gave two all-day workshops on RDA. That's the same workshop four times in two months. I'm ready for a break from teaching RDA.

There are pros and cons, of course, of doing something like that.

There's a lot of preparation involved for any workshop even though I've given this one before. All handouts have to be reviewed and many updated. Changes are made based on the success (or lack of) of examples and exercises I used previously. But I only had to do the prep once because the workshops were held so close together. That saved me a lot of time.

In giving these one after another, I was able to build up a sort of momentum. I was better prepared for certain kinds of questions because they had been asked just a couple of weeks before. As I began each teaching day, I felt more confident than I did for the previous one.

A lot of energy goes into giving a presentation and I use twice as much for an all-day program than for a half-day (which is usually the schedule for Continuing Education in Library Land). Therefore, I'm pretty tired by the end of each of the days. More so for two of them which involved an overnight because of their distance.

Right now, I'm feeling pretty satisfied. They all went well and the evaluations were very positive. But as I said in the beginning of this post, I'm ready for a break from teaching RDA.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Binge Watching "I Love Lucy" and Reading in Between

I recently borrowed the entire 4th season of "I Love Lucy". This was aired during the years 1953-54.

I've watched so many re-runs of "I Love Lucy" I don't know if I actually saw any of these episodes in first-runs. In those days, I was not old enough to be up and awake when the show was aired even though it wasn't all that late. I do sometimes remember when I couldn't sleep, I'd sit at the top of the stairs and listen to Lucy's antics and listen to my father laugh nearly uncontrollably. I didn't hear my father laugh a lot, so clearly, "I Love Lucy" must have been pretty special.

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz combination was pretty special. The plots were quite involved. Even though you knew it would turn out all right at the end, there was an extremely circuitous route to get there. When Lucy and Desi split and Lucy continued on with her own shows, I stopped watching. Those later ones are not nearly as witty or funny.

I also stopped watching "Cheers" when Diane left the show. Actually, I reluctantly watched for a couple of more years, but shouldn't have bothered. In my opinion, Rebecca was never as good as Diane. The only television show that continued to be great (if not better) with a change in characters was "M.A.S.H. "

I've also been reading an absolutely wonderful book. I'm nearly at the end and already feeling sad that the journey will be over soon.  A woman is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her son, Will, often takes her to doctor's appointments and chemotherapy treatments and visits with her while she spends the month of March in Florida to escape the New York City winter. Since they are both readers, they recommend books to each other and discuss them. It is an informal book club of two and the book is The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.

Sometimes Will and his mother re-read older books, sometimes newer ones. The subject matter varies greatly as both have widely eclectic tastes: novels, short stories, poetry, fiction and non-fiction, humorous and dark. There is so much information about books, that it is practically an annotated bibliography. And it's so beautifully written it's a pleasure to read.

Someone in my exercise recommended this book to me. Unfortunately, I can't remember who it was, but I want to thank her (I'm pretty sure it was a woman), and I fully intend to continue the favor and recommend this book to someone else. I want everyone to read it.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The New Office

MLS-Whately is now MLS-Northampton. We've moved into our new office and are getting settled.

My work space is much larger than the one I had before. I don't know what to do with all the room! The downside is that I don't have a separate office. Well, I never actually had a separate office. When I first became the MassCat cataloger, I shared an office with my boss Nora (who is now Director of the Emily Williston Library in Easthampton). However, Nora was pretty quiet and she was there if I had a question about how to do something in Koha.

When Nora left MassCat for her new job, the town of Whately had already purchased the building and began moving offices into it. The remainder of the MLS crew all moved into one office, but that was usually only one other person.

Now I'm in a big room with dividers and can hear other people's conversations. Fortunately, not many people are there most of the time and I'm in a corner, so I play classical music as background.

Here's an image of the Pot Pourri Mall. We have the office in the upper left hand corner.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Lisa Scottoline does it again

I've just finished reading Lisa Scottoline's newest book, Most Wanted. I highly recommend it.

Scottoline is one of my favorite authors. I love her Rosato & Associates series, but her other, stand-alone books, are excellent.

It took me a few chapters to really get into the story. I'm not a mother. While, when I was much younger, I imagined having children, I decided at age 29 1/2 to remain child free. I know many women who wanted children and agonized over becoming pregnant. However, it's not a situation with which I can identify. I try not to be judgmental, but sometimes women with fertility issues can sound somewhat whiney.

The beginning of this book reminded me of Jodi Picoult's Sing You Home that features a music therapist who is about 6 or 7 months pregnant and then miscarries. She is desperate to have a child and is consumed with trying to get pregnant again as soon as possible. Again, it took me several chapters to get past my lack of identification with the character and into the story - which turned out to be great.

So back to Lisa. This plot is a real thriller. The pregnancy begins to share top billing with several other issues: Who is the sperm donor? Is he a serial killer? Is that sort of pathology inherited? The twists and turns of this story are myriad (not unlike her other books) and my feelings about the young man in jail went back and forth as the story unfolded.

I like to take breaks from mysteries and read to become educated as well as entertained. A book recommended to me by a friend did just that: Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence. I've never visited the White House though I've been to Washington D.C. several times. Harry Truman was the President when I was born, but I have no recollection of him in office. (I do remember Ike and Mamie.) I was a history major in college and I'm very interested in 20th century American history. I read biographies of political figures and this book fits right in that category. It is about Harry Truman and his family as much as the house he lived in.

I've just begun reading First Women: the Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies by Kate Anderson Brower. Since I've read a lot of this information in other sources, I'm finding it a little repetitious. It's also a little too gossipy and rambly for my taste. However, I'll see it through to the end (being a somewhat OCD-ish person) and perhaps it will get better.

Waiting for me on the top of the "To Be Read" pile on my bed table is a book by J.A. Jance - another of my favorite authors. Something to look forward to.