Tuesday, March 16, 2010

4 days and a movie tip or two...

While working the reference desk today I received a call from a patron inquiring about the availability of a few movies. I happily checked into each of the titles on her list – most we had, but some we didn’t. Only a few though. After jotting down the items which held a place on our library shelves, I ended the call by saying that if there were any on her list that I was unable to find I’d give her a call back. After a quick goodbye and the click of the receiver I ventured into the stacks, list in hand.

Treasure found, I sat down and began the process of placing courtesy holds on the DVD’s which she had requested. Entering in the barcode of the first DVD and proceeding to the next I realized this wasn’t just any list. The list was selective, consisting of seemingly worthwhile, albeit superior content. This person had taken her time in choosing what to watch. Possibly what to allow her children to view. I couldn’t help but wonder where the titles had come from. Had this patron found the titles on some other list? Where? That’s one thing about working at a library, I always wonder, “where do the questions come from?”

I found myself reading the back descriptions of each film selected and taking note, creating my own “to view” list based on her selections. Considering the sorry sum of what’s on at any given time I snap on the tube, and also taking into account the short supply of time I afford to being a couch potato, I recognized the value of this list. It’s such an interesting list, films highly regarded yet I’ve only heard mention of a few. If you’re like me, you take pleasure in the discovery of a good film, a can’t-put-downable book, or a new recording artist on the advice of another. I work in a library. I live for this stuff. As the old saying goes, so little time, so many books, or songs, or films...and never enough time.

For your spare time (which is precious), here’s the list:

Grizzly Man
(non-fiction documentary)
Body of Lies
(with Leonardo DiCaprio, who I liken to our time’s James Cagney)
Half Nelson
(Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps and Anthony Mackie)
(a film by Gus Van Sant, not about elephants)
In America
(scads of Oscar nods a few years ago)
(noted by the Chicago Tribune as quite possibly “the best music film of our generation”)

There you have it. Visit your local library and check one out. And while you’re at it, take a peek at the non-fiction DVD section. You’d be amazed at what you’ll find. Who needs American Idol? The real gold is on the shelf at your local library. Just a little tip from one who knows...

“I’m not a cabdriver, I’m a coffeepot.”
(from one of MY very favorite QUALITY films – Arsenic and Old Lace, 1944)


Monday, March 15, 2010

19 days winding down to 5, real quick...

it isn't just any birthday, but a milestone. the way i see it, if i haven't' got my #$%& together by the time i round fifty, then i'm going to quit hoping. that's not the way it is with me though. i'd like to think that i pretty much do have it together, for the most part.

there's always room for improvement though. a path in a better direction. i've anticipated this birthday everyday for the last 325 days or so. not in a bad way, but as a goal. i've written here on creating a list. didn't quite ever manage to do that, but that list is in my head, thoughts swimming around like goldfish in a bowl.

i'm down to the wire. no more time to waste. but then again, is there ever enough time to waste? waste no more, there's things i've got to take care of. things i've got to do. i'll jot them as they come to me, but here's a few just off the top of my head for today...

i wrote this 19 days ago
when i thought it was important
to make a list of things in my life
i needed to improve upon.
i've changed my mind about that.
we're always making lists, resolving, promising...
dangling hypothetical carrots before us
in an attempt to improve upon
what already is.
screw the carrots. to hell with the list.
i'm going to quit wasting time on "do better" lists.
we all should.
we're damn well good enough.
there are so many wonderful things about us,
yet all we focus on is the negative.
i hate negative.
a positive state of mind is my true nature.
how about a list of our accomplishments,
what we like about ourselves?
the part of us that is O-KAY
what a concept.
one thing i like about myself is that
i'm strong. emotionally, mentally.
strong to the point where i even surprise myself.
been through plenty of bullshit in my life
and have come out damn well for it.
know that there'll be plenty more down the road
but also know that my legs won't break.
i'll stand strong.
that's not to say there aren't moments when i cry my fool eyes out.
i do. then i grab a tissue, blow my nose,
and thank god that i'm still standing.
thank him mightily for cleansing tears
and the relief that comes after a good wash.
i always think about the me that my kids see.
the example that i set for them.
i know all too well that they're watching,
and as their mother, they need me strong.
they need to learn (through watching me?)
that instead of falling down flat and getting run over,
the road will rise to meet them.
if there's one lesson in life i've learned, it's just that.
every blessed thing that's happened to me, good, bad or otherwise
has made who i am today.
i have not become a victim. i am not a statistic.
i am a strong woman.
the child of a loving god.
i love my life - the good, bad, ugly all of it.
i am grateful for every lesson which my life experiences have taught me.
the most important lesson being
that i am no one's victim.
that in forgiveness we are made strong.
and i will survive.

the sun comes up every day and life goes on,
far too precious to waste on a bad memory
or a lesson gone unlearned.
i wouldn't trade one second of my life, not a second.
because of where i've been and where i have yet to go,
i am strong. i am me.
and i like that just fine.

seeing that fifty f-ing rocks...


the language? sometimes it just fits.
i'm not sorry for that either.
just being honest.
the photo? me, from another perspective
contemplative moments on a beach in maui

Monday, March 8, 2010

12 days...

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today and make a new ending."

Wise words, no? This is my today, yours too, to get busy and make happen the life we're meant to live. I've been presented with a circumstance which is causing me to have a good hard look at how I'm living my life, spending my precious time. Change is in order, doctor's orders, as a matter of fact.

I'm fully aware that the time has come to slow up. Let go. Give stress a good kick in the pants in the direction of the door. I'm the type of person that feels this idiotic need to do everything myself. I'm not saying I have to have it that way so that it'll be right, because that's certainly not the case. I just tend to take on way more than my share - here you have it, in print - I can be a bit of a control freak. That's just not healthy, for me or for anyone. And it's not really fair either to those who are far more talented than I.

I'm working on a list of changes I need to make. Areas of my life where the load can be lightened. Work. Home. But mostly work. I wear way too many hats there. I have a clear vision of what is most important to me in life, and I want to be here for as long as possible for those purposes. In striving to keep myself well I've focused all of my attention on diet and exercise, but have neglected to pay heed to the damage stress has on my heart.

No more. Time to come full circle and be wise enough to realize that I don't have to do everything. I am surrounded by wonderfully talented and fully capable people who are indeed far better than me at getting the job done. Time to realize what things can be eliminated in my life and to focus on doing my best at what's left after that. Time also to welcome new delights...writing, crafting. Giving my home some love. Spending way more time with my family. My wonderful husband. Time to stop giving everything else my first attention and save that for what's truly important. Living my life better so that I can have more. Time.

Reasons number 1 and 2 are pictured in the photo that accompanies this post - my grandbeans Tyler and Ella. I envision one more title to be included in my life biography, somewhere off in the distant future. Great Gramma. I'm going to live my life now in order for that to happen. And I know it will.

Keeping it all in perspective this foggy Monday morning,

quote - Maria Robinson

Thursday, March 4, 2010

16 days...

crimson seasons

late winter sunshine whispers lemony warmth
through lacy branch patterns
stirring you awake,
tracing your licorice trunk,
deep to your roots,
soon, buds tight as june bugs will spread open wings
revealing a fiery brilliance.
pie plate leaves in hues of
eggplant, fat sweet cherries and pinot noir
will shade the grass where children play
into fall where you’ll bid adieu
and in your farewell song will be all the colors
of a burning sunset...

This is my submission for writer's group tonight. Our prompt was to write a description of a tree without using the names of colors. This group sits among the heaping piles of blessings in my life. My only qualifications (term used VERY loosely here) in leading this group is my two-fold passion...for writing and for people. I don't take my position among these talented writers lightly, and I must confess to a grain of selfishness in being a part. From them I gain inspiration, motivation and a fair dose of confidence. Writing's scary business, but the rewards can't be beat. I don't ever expect to publish and I'm certainly not trying to convince myself that I'm the next great American author. I find my rewards in sitting back and resting in the feeling of peace that writing affords me.

Writing...just another wonderful discovery, a chapter in the book that is my life. I never, ever thought I'd take pleasure in writing. But then I followed my own advice and began to write fearlessly, with "reckless abandon." I love that phrase. Reckless abandon. Are you throwing yourself into something in your life in such a fashion? Should you be? Choose your passion and jump. Shed fear and just do it, for no one but yourself. It's totally okay.

Definitely not afraid of the water...


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

17 days...

I don't know what the heck happened last night when I was trying to post. Somehow my "18 days" ended up underneath "19 days." I'm not blaming blogger, as I'm fully aware that when technical difficulties arise the cause is typically operator error. So after tuning in to "17 days" take a look at "18 days" located under "19 days." HA!

Woke up with a smile on my face and a song in my heart today. No real reason in particular - just feeling mighty blessed and grateful. I've heard it said that if the only prayer you ever said in life was thank you, then that would certainly suffice. I woke up in the spirit of gratitude which is a fine good morning. That phrase has continued as my mantra all this sunny day long.

Mighty pleased with myself today...my goal at the gym this morning was to run for 20 minutes followed by a walk and a climb on the treadmill for a combined total of 40 minutes of cardio. I haven't included running in my workouts for months, so I was really talking myself into doing this today. I surprised myself though...after 20 minutes I just kept going 'cuz it felt so damn good. Exceeded my goal by running more than the equivalent of a 5K, which I haven't done for nearly a year.

40 minutes and 3 and a half miles later I was at the invisible finish line, feeling like I'd run for the gold. When I push myself like that my body reacts and my emotions just let go. Tears come and I can't stop them. I love that! On the drive home I could feel the adrenalin rush...warm and calming having an unmistakable physical effect on me. This is my drug, giving my body what it needs to sustain me, keeping me in good health.

I wish everyone knew the fantastic effects physical exercise (the kind that makes you break a good sweat) has on the mind and the body. When it comes to weight loss, looking and feeling good, I often hear the phrase "I wish there was a silver bullet, a key, an easy way." There is. It lies inside you. It's your ability to move. You just have to do it, religiously, and when you come to the point where you have an experience like I did today you won't ever want to go without it.

There's a part of me that goes missing when I put off my workouts, and the only way I can find it is by tying on those gym shoes and stepping out. This morning I moved. Moved more than I'd thought I would, much to my surprise. iPod blasting songs like shorty got low, what have you done today to make yourself proud, are we humans or are we dancers, the disco version of Pachabel's Cannon in D...damn that sure felt good.

feeling good, hope you are too...


Monday, March 1, 2010

19 days...

sometimes you know exactly which way the road's going.
you've been through the twists,
recognize the turns.
but other times you find yourself on a detour
forced to travel through unfamiliar territory.
no map, no where to stop to ask the way
and you're the one at the wheel
there are passengers counting on you.
to allow yourself to show fear, that you're lost
causes them the same alarm,
fear of the unknown.
and remembering, leaning on, falling into
faith that he's there, always, to show the way.
there, to calm your unease.
there, with a shoulder, ready to catch your tears.
and in remembering that, things aren't so scary anymore
there've been plenty of roads which you didn't choose to be on
and although you might have felt alone
he was always there, right there
on the seat right beside you.

writing it out has made me feel better,
see things a bit more clearly.

trusting & believing...

p.s...the butterflies are for my mom
the artwork is one of many on display at my library
the work of the students at the schools in my community

18 days...

on sunday i had my first "guest post" gig, although i wasn't aware at the time that what i was writing was "post worthy," especially on amy alessio's "vintage cookbooks" blog. amy is one of my librarian heroes - librarian, author, blogger, mother. i've met her only once, and that was at a program at my library, but happy i was to have had the chance. she'll be back at my library for her "crazy about cakes" program in may. trust me, you won't want to miss it.

amy is fun, interesting, so very smart, really has it all together. her blog is my favorite - i read it every day without fail. crazy recipes from "back in the day." i share her love of vintage. times gone by. looking through such a lens is like taking a step back in time. better times, i tend to think. times when people had a notion of the definition of respect. for themselves and for others.

times when ladies wore dresses and gloves and men wore hats, a jacket and a tie - not for a night out but for every day. sometimes i like to close my eyes and picture us now but in "back then" style. i wonder if things will ever turn around enough so that some things will go back to the way they were. i'm a dreamer, but i'd like to think that maybe there's a chance.

for now though, i remain in a "singing in the rain" world. and i'm sure grateful for those who share the love of days gone by like i do. like amy. funny though, for all that she's "vintage," she keeps the teens at the schaumburg township library happy, busy and in the library - the definitive programming diva. amy's second book on library programming for teens will be published this spring. my hero? definitely.

i'm a total blogspot idiot and am ignorant in how to post a link to the word "here." so click the link below if you're interested in checking out my 15 minutes of fame on my favorite blog...

amy posted my recipe last sunday, february 28. scroll down and read and have fun reading everything before my post. i'll be you'll find yourself enjoying amy's blog as much as i do.

happy tuesday evening.
i'm pooped. it's been a long day.
time to head upstairs with my book
amy & isabelle
no, not that amy:)
i'm reading it for the second time around for book club
and it's even better than i remember...