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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Books vs. e-books (again!)

I'm so loving reading the various viewpoints, and am choosing to share some of them here.  Admittedly they will most likely skew to the book side of the debate; I am, after all, a book addict.  Physical books, books with pages I can turn, with ink I can smell, books.

I'm also a techno-geek who can't afford to buy the newest and latest and best gadgets, but I would love to!  I can see the value of an e-book reader for me when I go on vacation; that's one less suitcase I have to pack with heavy, breaking-my-huband's-back books.  I might even borrow one from my friend when I go to AC in November, just to try it out.

But I am a book person, through and through, and will never convert to an e-book reader.  That's not to say I don't enjoy the argument, though!!!

Quotation of the Day

The Coming 'Backlash Against E-Books'

"The backlash against e-books by those who aren't so in love with technology for its own sake has yet to begin, but it's coming.... And as for the death-by-2015 predictions of [Nicholas] Negroponte, it's just as likely that as the ranks of the early adopters get saturated, adoption of e-books will slow. The reason is simple: unlike the move from CDs to MP3s, there is no easy way to convert our existing stock of books to e-readers. And unlike the move from records and tapes to CDs, it's not immediately clear that an e-book is in all respects better than what it succeeds....

"So the world is left with an unconvertible stock of used books that is vast. If the bustling, recession-inspired trade in used books tells us anything, it's that old books hold value for readers in a way that not even movies and music do. That's value that no e-book reader can unlock.... Finally, and most importantly, as a delivery mechanism, e-books are nothing like music or even movies and television, and the transitions seen in those media simply don't apply to the transition to electronic books. Books have a kind of usability that, for most people, isn't about to be trumped by bourgeoisie concerns about portability: They are the only auto-playing, backwards-compatible to the dawn of the English language, entirely self-contained medium we have left."

--Christopher Mims in his Technology Review article "The Death of the Book has Been Greatly Exaggerated."

Monday, September 27, 2010

'Nough Said

"I noticed during takeoff and landing that I didn't have to turn off my book."

--Author Margaret Coel, speaking at Saturday night's Author Banquet for Literacy during MPIBA's fall trade show in Denver. She shared a story about a Kindle-loving fellow airline passenger who told her that the book she was reading would soon be obsolete.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My 8th Eggplant

So I spent two weekends peeling, slicing, flouring, egging, breading, frying, tasting, and freezing 8 eggplants we grew in our garden. I must say I've never had such great eggplant - so few seeds, so much flavor.

And I've discovered, too, that after it's fried, I can freeze it, then thaw it in the microwave, than bake it in the oven with gravy and mozzarella, and it will taste fresh and delicious, just like's it's fresh from the frying pan!

I was so worried that it might get too watery or the breading wouldn't taste right...

Of course, I don't want it frozen for a long time so we'll be eating eggplant, oh, probably at least once a week or so until it's gone. It's a lot of work to risk freezing ruining it all.

I'm donating a batch to my sister when she's sans kitchen, during the cabinet remodel... She can use the microwave and the oven so she'll have a nice fresh dinner for herself and hers...
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The value of a bookstore

Admittedly, even I am a fan of "search-find-click-done" - it's that immediate gratification thing we're all guilty of enjoying, but...

"Indie bricks and mortar bookstores may not always be able to satisfy that desire for 'search-find-click-done' instantaneity, but they do have an edge in browseability. And I would give a physical bookstore the edge in what I might describe in parallel terms as 'wander-browse-sample-done.... If all your book-buying is done online, you might find that your local physical bookstore is no longer there when you have one of those 'I wonder what life will put in my path' sort of days. And that would be a shame."

--John Mesjak, founder and editor of my3books.com and an independent sales representative, in the Huffington Post.

Friday, September 17, 2010

10 Pet Peeves That Irk Me (and There Are More)

1.  Typos, especially when I hit "send" or "post" and don't catch them until it's too late.  And if I can't delete the original message and it has to stay out there in cyberspace with a mistake created by me?  OMG.
2.  Words that don't exist but eventually, due to usage, make it into the dictionary:  staycation, edutainment, ugh.
3.  Taking 40 minutes to drive 9 miles to work.
4.  People mispronouncing words like "sangwich" (THERE IS NO "G" IN THE WORD!).
5.  Business buzz words like "proactive," "actionable," best practices," especially if they're not "real" words!  (For some fun, visit http://www.unsuck-it.com/)
6.  People/women who wear clothes 4 sizes too small for them.  I GET it when they're a little tight, we all have some "thin clothes" we like to think we still fit into, but once the size difference is in multiples, give it up!  It all just looks like sausage casing!
7.  People who think they're better than me and act like it.  If you really are, more power to you, just don't be an arrogant prig.
8.  People who don't say "thank you" or "you're welcome."
9.  People who don't hold the door for someone immediately behind them.  I don't need you to wait for me to catch up if I'm half a mile away, but for crying out loud, if I can hear you chewing potato chips, I'm close enough for you to hold the door for me!
10.  People who use their titles to impress others.  Quite honestly, it doesn't matter to me if you're "Ambassador Dimwit" or "Dr. So-and-So," if I have a 45-minute wait for a table, and you came in after me, YOU have a longer wait!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

About me

So I was reading the blog that belongs to a follower'o'mine (and there are so very few of you it will be easy to figure out who you are!) and she posted some of her art journaling and I decided to steal borrow the basic idea of creating lists about me, and perhaps someday, if I'm feeling creative, they'll be more than just words on a blog page; they might even hit my art journal, too!

So, without further ado, since I have nothing else to blog about today and I know you all really, really care about important things about me...  (Might I remind you that you might very well be playing a trivia game someday and you could TOTALLY win by knowing all this stuff!)

10 of My Favorite Authors (not my 10 Favorite Authors, Just 10 OF My Favorite Authors)
  1.  Richard Bach
  2.  Ayn Rand
  3.  Dean Koontz
  4.  Tami Hoag
  5.  Tess Gerritsen
  6.  Jodi Picoult
  7.  Kay Hooper
  8.  Karen Rose
  9.  Iris Johansen
10.  Sandra Brown

And yes, with the exception of Richard Bach and Ayn Rand, they are pretty much contemporary fiction writers who will probably not save the world and most likely don't make my brain work too hard when I'm reading their latest (except for Jodi, who teaches us something every time!), but I'm just coming off summer and "summer reads" and "beach reads" tend not to be all that educational or esoteric...

My New Year's Resolution is to post more in my blog.  Yes, I know it's not January and yes, I know I'm setting myself up for more failure, but if I can use filler like My Favorite Dish Detergents or A List of the Last 10 Days We Ate at Burger King So I Didn't Have to Cook, well, I just might be able to post more often!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today is the first day of the rest of the week...

Doesn't sound like much, does it?

Until you think about the fact that I'm starting full work weeks again - and yes, I'm totally obsessed by the fact that I have to work 5-day work weeks again.  After 5 or 6 weeks of 3- or 4-day work weeks (that's how I took some summer vacation - I was lovin' Mondays and Fridays!), it's not only my 1st 5-day work week in over a month, it starts my 10-hour days, too!

You see, J is a teacher and he decided, 18 years ago, to implement and run an after-school care program in the school.  He's the director, which means, given his sense of personal and professional responsibility, that he stays until the last kid is picked up, even if that's 7:20pm (a record).

The after-school care program ends at 5:30pm, just so you know.

He likes to be at work early, and he works the early breakfast, so I'm at my desk by 7:30am, and he picks me up, IF he's on time and all the parents are on time, at 5:45-5:50pm, depending on town traffic.

Do the math.  That's 10 hours at this desk. 

I'll have to post a picture of my cubicle so you can see how very exciting the idea of 10 hours in my orange desk chair really is...  Yes.  Orange.

Well, it's 4:57pm and I have about 45 minutes or so to go before I leave work.  I'm going to go and check the weather; maybe I'll leave early and walk on over to the school...  I have tons to carry so I'm not sure... 

Anyway, toodles!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tomorrow is 9/11

9 years ago tomorrow my world exploded.  Literally and figuratively. 

I was one of the lucky ones.  WE were two of the lucky ones.  We didn't lose friends or relatives in the attack.  As a teacher in Hoboken, J's students, though, THEY lost parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles.  And we were involved - up close and personal.  This happened in our backyard.

Every weekday from April 4, 1987, through September 10, 2001, I saw the Twin Towers.  I might not have noticed them every day, but I saw them.  They were there.  I drove home from work on Route 3, eastbound, every day I went to work.  And they were there, part of the NYC skyline, every day.

I admit it.  I didn't look at them every day.  Many days they were just background.  For some reason, my eyes are always drawn to the Empire State Building, even today.  There's just something about the more traditional, old style of that building that appeals to me more than the chrome and glass and squareness of the World Trade Center, or what was visible in the skyline.  But the skyline is so different today, so "not complete."

On 9/11/01 my mom called me early in the morning.  I was at work, sitting in my office, starting my day, and she told me a small plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and she told me to listen on the radio.  I ran into M's office and told her and we both put on our radios and it became the backdrop to our morning.  We soon realized this was going to be the backdrop to our lives, that day.

It didn't take very long for all of us to be in B's office, watching television.

At 10:28am, when the second tower fell, he turned to us, the owner of our company did, and said, "Go home.  You all need to be home with your families."

You need to understand how out of character this was.  We were supposed to work like it was our company.  NOTHING, do you hear me?  NOTHING comes before work.  It was a privately held, one-man show and that man was not known for his even-handedness or his kindness.  (Personally, I never had a problem with him but some people did.)

For him to be so affected by this tragedy that he would close the office for two days?  Wow.

I drove home, via Route 3, eastbound.

There were no towers there for me to "not notice."  There was nothing but smoke at the southern tip of Manhattan.  I couldn't see that they were missing.  We couldn't see the skyline in that area for days.

But I knew they were not there.  And I sat in front of the television for the next 48 hours, watching people die, grieve, love, lose.  I watched our lives change in those 102 minutes, from 8:46 to 10:28.  We didn't eat dinner, go out, do anything but sit in front of that 27" screen and suffer.

I've lost family and friends.  I've lost my father, my  grandparents, dear aunts and uncles, and many other relatives and friends.  I know what it feels like.

When I tell you that I grieve over the loss of these strangers like I do over my family and friends, I am not exaggerating.  They all mean that much to me.  They just went to work that day.  Just like I did. 

But I came home.

As we lived on, and heard stories, it's scary to see how close we came.  A cousin (by marriage) was in NYC and was supposed to go to the WTC for a meeting but they had flown in from California the day before and he overslept.  He woke up in the hotel, was rushing in the shower when his wife called him into the bedroom and told him to "sit down."

My cousin, who's more brother than cousin, was on the Pulaski Skyway in his car, heading into Manhattan for a business meeting.  He was one of those who saw it happen - saw the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower.  Saw the towers fall.  And he was trapped, too.  Trapped in the horror of those 102 minutes, trapped in his car, a captive audience.  Traffic stopped and emergency vehicles were squeezing through lanes that were too narrow, trying to get to the WTC to help.

I'm friends now with a girl who used to work in the Towers.  She had quit, mere months before, to have a baby and stay home and raise her.  I didn't know her then, but whenever 09/11 comes up in conversation, you can see how much it has touched her.  She lost friends and co-workers.

Our neighbor walked uptown, alone, until he could get to his sister-in-law or brother-in-law's apartment.  His wife was worried sick all day that something had happened to him, since phones were down and we just didn't know.  He didn't work in the WTC, but he was in the area...  Thank God he was okay.

I was home, in front of the television, desperately trying to call the school.  As the crow flies, J's school is just over a mile or so from where the towers stood.  The phones were down, and this was pre-cell phones for us.  His school turned into a Red Cross center, children were being pulled out of school, taken home to learn that family was missing, or dead.  He didn't get home until 5pm or so, and I had no idea until he got home if he was okay.

He said as he pulled up onto 495, he saw people walking home to NJ.  People covered in dust.  Just walking.  Like zombies, he said.  With blank looks on their faces, as if they still didn't understand what had happened.

It's 9 years later, and we don't understand "what happened" any better today than we did at 5pm on 09/11/01.

I'm going to go to Mass tomorrow.  I'm going to spend some time in church praying for those people who lost their lives that day, at the Towers, in Pennsylvania, at the Pentagon.

There's a lot of talk that people who don't live in the area don't feel like we do, living so close.

I can't believe that.

I know this affected everyone, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, race, religion.  To different degrees, perhaps.  More personally for some than for others, perhaps.


So please, think of the victims tomorrow, their families.  Please take a few minutes of your day to pray, or if you don't pray, send good thoughts to those who have lost so much.

You're here.  It's the least you can do.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Just popping by with an update...

Is it possible to update, well, nothing?

I'll give it a shot...

Hubby is back at school.  Praise be to God!  Hallelujah!  Thank you, Jesus!  Although of course, now there aren't enough hours in the day for him to do it all, whereas before, there were too many hours to fill when I didn't have a "Honey Do" list ready for him...  I tried renting him out to the neighbors, but for some reason, he was hesitant to do work in someone else's home unless it was my mother's...

It's Happy Hump Day, and this week, that means that it's the 2nd day of my last 4-day work week until Columbus Day week.  I spent all of August working either 3- or 4-day work weeks.  For the record, I really do enjoy taking Mondays and/or Fridays off in August.  I would, also for the record, enjoy doing the same all year round but I'm thinking my boss might not be so enthusiastic.

I have gone for my 2nd visit to the accupuncturist.  I chose one who is also a medical doctor, a man I met at the accupuncture school where my mom goes for treatment.  I saw him in the lobby when I was waiting for Mom and we chatted and he seemed so sincere when he said how much he respected my old back doctor, who I loved despite his distinct lack of a bedside manner (fodder for yet another blog post some day...).  I can't really tell you if it's working although, coincidence or not, I am not using a pillow to support my left leg to alleviate the discomfort, and according to my mom, I'm walking up stairs a bit more easily.  What that means, I'm not sure, 'cause it sure feels to me like I'm hurting when I walk up them...

I will be starting to take 2 capsules of Jarrow Formulas' Curcumin 95, a dietary supplement that is actually 500mg of turmeric concentrate.  According to the doctor, he's been taking 2 a day for years and he says that even though his family tends to get arthritis bad, in a big way, he feels no joint pain 90% of the time, and turmeric is what he recommends.  This was after I told him I don't like to take Advil or anything like that too often; I wouldn't mind if it wasn't for all that potential liver damage...

These 2 capsules, along with 2 1 calcium tablet (I'm supposed to take 2 a day but I forget the morning one all the time), 1 Vitamin D tablet, another daily pill that I take -- do the math.  That's 5 pills a day.  And I'm in good health!!!  What's going to happen in a few years when I'm old(er)???

I start a Yoga Basics class next Wednesday.  I've been assured by a friend here at work that I will enjoy it and I won't quite 'cause it's too much like exercise...  The doctor said I need to work on my flexibility and endurance...  Updates on this fiasco to come weekly...

And it's 3:35pm so I'm going to head out and go home early.  'Cause I can.  'Cause my boss said I can.  'Cause next week I start my after-school hours:  I'll be at work from 7:30am to 5:45pm.  5 days a week, except for every other Wednesday when I have to go to the nail salon with my mom.  (Yes, life is hard... NOT!)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

It doesn't exist anymore - I miss The Printed Word Book Store!!!

"What is the dream of book lovers everywhere? To visit the perfect book store, one that stocks only the best of books, where 'best' is defined by the guarantee of a transformative experience via the magical linking of words into sentences into paragraphs into chapters into BOOKS. A place where tables display not the latest products of publishers and marketers but instead the trustworthy choices of other book lovers. A place with couches to sit on, a place with long opening hours and a welcoming staff, a place where customers spend as much time as they want browsing or reading. A place where only good books are sold and no bad choices can be made.... The function of a bookstore is to match lover and loved to ensure the perfect date. The purpose of the bookseller is to provide what we addicts need, and a good bookseller recommends the best stuff to satisfy our love for books."

--Nina Sankovitch, in her Huffington Post review of A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé.