Tag Archives: public libraries

My Own Book Club

When my sister helped me set my Word Press account, she introduced me to the Widgets that I could apply to my page. Not wanting to overcrowd my page, I just kept to a simple format, but did apply one that linked to Goodreads. Before starting my blog, I had never heard of Goodreads. I have always loved to read, but never thought of recording my books started, finished or under the “want to read” category–let alone write reviews about the book when I did finish. I just did so in my mind. I didn’t consider books as a social activity.

At least not until this year. As I started to read more good books, I started to discuss them. Most of the time it was with Mom, as friends for me were still in Colorado. During the same week as my blood clot surgery, the ladies Bible study that I had signed up to attend had started. Missing only a few times, I got to know these women and respected their godly wisdom as I was the youngest in the group. Today, two of these ladies are now good friends. Age shows no boundaries in friendship. As Spring turned into Summer, I also started to get to know a few people in town. My friends were now more than just acquaintances. I still Skype, email, text and write letters to my dear friends in Colorado and wherever else they may reside, but having friends in the current area has been a joy.

I bring up friends (and I include family members in this too), because like myself, many are avid readers, love the library, and don’t mind if I bring up a few good book title recommendations. I decided books run in my blood line. 🙂 Now, I can’t tell you why I started this year to see books as social activity, but when it first started, I found that when I shared what I considered to be a good read, I enjoyed being able to remember what I read. Sounds funny, I know. But I was never good at reading to remember (unless it is an exceptional read.) This is why I preferred final papers over final tests in school.

Now that the year is nearing its end, I am glad that I have a Goodreads account. I looked back at the books I read this year–some I liked, others not so much; some I bought, some I borrowed, some I gave away when I finished; some I checked out from the library, some I read in a coffee shop, some I finished in the car on a road trip. There are still many to enjoy, which is the point of this blog post: I will now share my year-long secret with you. Actually, it is not really a secret, but it is sort of silly so I never told anyone.

In March, I noticed on Goodreads that there were different polls and book recommendations on the side margins. I noticed one in particular–a reading challenge: how many books are you going to read this year? I didn’t think much on it, thought it would be fun and set my challenge: my 2013 reading challenge. 40 books. I thought that was a good number…not too low, yet not high where I felt it unreachable. I was so serious about it when I first started, then forgot about it all together and hardly read at all during the summer. Something about students returning to campus, the thought of classes and learning and hours of studies in coffee shops got my mind refocused on enjoying book or two. On Monday I was writing a book review on Goodreads and finally checked my number for the challenge, as I was clueless of how many more books I needed in order to make my goal. According to the stats, I have read 39 books…one more to go to reach my challenge. 🙂

The book challenge was never my motive for reading, but it encouraged me to keep reading (at the times when I remembered I even had a goal to reach.) Would I set another challenge for next year? I have thought about it. If I did, I would challenge myself to read a few more than 40–but would keep my number a secret. 😉 But I don’t think numbers are important. It is not about how much I read, but how well I read–what I discover in the text, decipher in my thoughts, and share with others. That is what I consider a good read.

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Filed under Books and Movies

Back to paintings…

I have been finishing some paintings these past few weeks…here and there amidst everything and pretty much finished just in time before tomorrow. There are some details left, but I am going to procrastinate the rest of this week on that part and feel just fine in doing so. 😀 However, I am highly anticipating what is coming up after this week and wanted to share a bit of exciting news. The month of February will be full of art! If you are in the area, my paintings will be in two different places: a coffee shop and a library. Yeah, you read that right–A LIBRARY!!! 😀

Xenia Community Library displays local artists’ work on the second floor in the hallway. My paintings will be on display there for the month starting February 4th (actually that is the day I will be hanging them…so starting February 5th). Displayed are some of my personal ones as well as a few from the art show in August. But just the fact that they are in a library is so cool! Books and art! Just add a cup of coffee or tea and it is like a free museum. 😉

My paintings will also be at the coffee shop, Beans-n-Cream, in Cedarville again. I painted some new canvases themed with spring, love, flowers, bright colors, and fun. I incorporated different media (silk flowers, buttons, book pages) in the paintings as well, as I am trying new techniques and styles. Like my Dad always said when we were ordering pizza: “Expand your horizons.” (I always just wanted cheese. Then I realized I was missing out! Add the veggies!!!) 😀

I am getting very excited for these two avenues as they approach quickly! Just getting back into painting has been exciting too! It had been too long.

Here are a few paintings that will be at Beans-n-Cream:

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Untitled

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Now that the paintings are set, I am ready for this week though my thoughts have been anxious (especially today). Not fearful, just nervous I guess. Like I can’t sit still, because I am trying to get a few more things done before tomorrow. But I should just take a bit to sit and be still…so I am remembering Zephaniah 3:17 (italics emphasized),

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Tomorrow starts very early…please pray for safety as we travel down to Cincinnati and thank you for already praying for the surgery and doctors. I will not be taking my computer with me this time, but if anything comes up or I stay long, I will get a post in somehow.

Thank you for your continued prayers, love, encouragement, Bible verses and letters. They mean so much.

Mel

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Hospital Trips, Paintings

[pruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuhn]

This week has been a good week. I restarted a few hours of cashier shifts. Let me clarify that…I said I would do a max of 2 hours cashier each shift. I am so glad I said that because it ended up being more exhausting than I realized. Or maybe it was due to late (LATE) nights on the weekend, because my sister was officially home from college. Much cheer. 😀 Either way, I found Tuesday’s 2 hours in cash office/2 hours of cashier consuming my energy. I came home that afternoon and found myself sitting on my bed watching a bit of tv shows on Hulu while I worked on a wedding gift. Wednesday, I just came home and took a full nap! 😀 I had today off! I am so glad! It was BEAUTIFUL outside!!! I went with my mom on some errands, picked up my bridesmaid dress for a wedding in June (more to come on that in a bit!), took a walk around campus in town and read a lot! I am finishing up an amazing book. I want to tell you about it now, but there are so many thoughts in my head and emotions that I think it is best to finish it (almost done!) and then share my thoughts. It was one of those books where once I started it, I could not put it down!! Good thing I started it Wednesday evening. I only worked 2 hours yesterday, so most of the day otherwise was spent reading. 😀

Yesterday, I got my new glasses! I think they are superb!!! And totally cute too! Here are the sides. Note the lack of eyebrows and perfect eyelashes. 😀

And here is the front:

I got a comment from a friend that they were my “librarian look” glasses. Now, people might think of this as a strange comment, but anyone who knows me–knows that I think librarians are cool (most anyway). CCU librarians probably thought I was an obnoxious student, because even if they were sitting at the desk, I would still come up and ring the bell. LOL. That is my favorite part! 😀 I thought about being a librarian. Who knows. Maybe someday I will be. But for now, I have a few things I need to work on. One–not so much that I talk loud (which is a no-no in public libraries–at least the one in my neighborhood at Denver), but I talk TOO much! So, I need to control my talking, especially when books or my favorite subjects are concerned. A librarian listens and offers good recommendations (and doesn’t reveal the entire plot or ending of books to people). 😉

Also, if I were wanting to be a librarian, I would need to take a bit more caution on my pronunciation of words. I think what is hard for me is that I do not always hear the correct sound when someone is saying the word. Or, I say it like I am reading it. Or, I just don’t know the word and the first time I say it, I say it how it is spelled. Other times, I just get my words mixed up or something with lip-reading is involved. Maybe part of it is my talking too fast or now that my lips move a bit slower on the left side (I now spit when I speak…embarrasing!) maybe that affects my speech. The latter is a bit more an excuse. I have a history with getting my words mixed up or pronouncing things wrong. The first one I remember saying wrong is when I was in junior high…maybe freshman year of high school. I was discussing hair with my dad. Not sure why we were having this conversation, but I was telling him how he should get a toupee though I said: “Dad, you should get a tapoo!” My dad was confused and asked, “What is a tapoo?” I said, “You know…” while pointing to my head. Thankfully, Dad thought it was hilarious and that was the last time I mentioned anything to my dad about a new hairstyle! 🙂

Another time, we were driving through town and I noticed a new shop that opened on Main Street. I said, “Look! Corner Mercantile.” But I pronounced it as “mer-can-til-ee”. My mom liked that one. Once in college, my roommate and I were getting ready to call it a day. She had the top bunk and I slept on the bottom bunk. I was always up later than she was so I thought she was already asleep. I had already taken out my hearing aids and taken my glasses off (the time when I feel a bit like Helen Keller) and my roommate turned over and sat up. Pretty much startled me and she asked if I could get her the vaseline from her desk drawer. Of course I read vaseline clear as day (I had her bend her head down and I stood on my tiptoes to read her lips), but for some odd reason when I opened the drawer, I grabbed the sticky notes. Confused in my brain, I went back to the bunk beds and said, “For some odd reason, ‘vaseline’ looks like ‘sticky notes’ when you read lips.” [It doesn’t. LOL] My roommate said, “That’s because I did ask for the vaseline!” HAHA. We laughed so hard about that one for a long time.

After I graduated, I roomed with several roommates over a year and a half. The last girls I lived with were really fun and made my last of Denver a great experience. I remember one time I had chemo on Friday, December 30th. I went to work the next day (yes, more to come on that in the post about the book!) and as I got home, they invited me to attend Downtown Denver with them for Cheesecake Factory and fireworks. I knew I was tired and cold, but I thought I could attend the fun. We rode the metro to the 16th street mall (first time metro ride for me), but it was not a fun experience. I got such bad cramps, I felt sick! I knew I was having a bathroom problem, so I told the roommate sitting next to me that I was about to be sick and needed to find a bathroom asap when we got off. We found a Walgreens, but they don’t have public restrooms (ugh!) So, we found a Starbucks not too far from there and thanks to the compassionate girls in line, they let me cut and that was that. My hands were so cold, I could not button my pants and just tried to buckle my belt tight. I came out in tears and my dear roommate (her boyfriend was there too) offered to take me back home. 🙂 Anyway, back to pronunciation–two of my roommates worked for a coffee shop called, The French Roaster. They had awesome White Peach ice tea. I went in a lot to read and have tea. Once, I decided to go for breakfast. I was reading the menu and decided to try something new. My roommate’s friend took my order (my roommate later told me this) but I said, “I will try your cinnamon crepes.” But I pronounced it as “creeps.” How was I supposed to know the French italic pronunciation?? LOL. I was so embarrassed after that when I saw the girl. She was so kind about it though and we had a good laugh.

The most recent one, I have to admit was only a few weeks ago. My mom and I were driving back from an appointment and we passed some restaurants, one being a Thai Asian place. My older sister has Celiac disease, so she is not allowed to eat any glutton or wheat products. I know her and her husband love Asian food and so I said, “Too bad she isn’t here so we can go to the Thai food place.” Except I pronounced it as “thigh.” Oops! 😀 Needless to say, we had a good laugh about that one!!! There have been many others, but I can’t think of anymore at the moment. Maybe with more intellectual looking glasses, my phase of mispronunciation will pass. Here’s to hoping. 🙂

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Filed under Family Times, Funny Stories

A pleasant day, indeed!

Today was refreshing. Got to do some laundry, organize my paper clutter of bills and things to do (while getting things done in the process) and I even got to go to the town’s public library. 😀 It was the first time that I stepped foot in there and I thought it was a very studious library! It is not very large, but it presents an adventurous atmosphere of learning, especially for children. I even got a county library card and can’t wait to put it to good use–guess I need to finish the books I have already started!

I am a funny person when it comes to reading books. I think it reflects my personality. I read at least two books at a time; right now I am reading three. Might seem silly, but unless it is absolutely captivating (such as Safely Home by Randy Alcorn or I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp), then I like to switch off and on with books–reading a few chapters a day out of one book and switch to another book the next day. I see this pattern in the way that I go about completing projects or “to do” lists. Some people might say my jumping from one subject or task to another is the same as being distracted. Possibly so, but I like to think of it as following a train of thought, so to speak. Even when I talk in a conversation, the subject at hand will remind me of something else, so I say what I am thinking and then return back to the original conversation. Of course, if I think too fast–I forget my train of thought and then say, “Where was I going with this?” 😀 Relating back to books–see how I am following my train of thoughts, ;)–reading ignites a path for learning. My brain loves learning! However, I am about as picky with my book preferences as I am with my vegetables. I am getting better; as I grow older, I see that my preferences are starting to broaden in what I enjoy reading and even what veggies I eat. 🙂

What kinds of books do you like to read? There are so many aspects of literature: fiction, autobiographies, biographies, history, philosophy, theology, sports, science fiction,  poetry, drama, folktales and myths. fantasy…the list goes on and on!! Thomas Jefferson had a personal library of over 200 books! We saw part of his collection in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.! I own 2 bookshelves and try to keep my books organized, but somehow I never put them back in the same spot. Jefferson had his library completely organized in relating to what subject the book was about and even had the sections labeled. For example, “Mathematics”, “Philosophy”, “Science” and “Theology” are a few of what I remember he had labeled. There were so many subjects presented! Jefferson once told John Adams in a letter,

“I cannot live without books; but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.”

Cappon, Lester J. ed. The Adams-Jefferson Letters. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1959. Monticello, Home of Thomas Jefferson, 1988. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. March 30, 2012 <http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/i-cannot-live-without-books-quotation&gt;.

[*A really fascinating website! We visited Monticello when I was in junior high. Very rare piece of history and another favorite is George Washington’s Mount Vernon!]

If you have not noticed by now, history is one of my favorite subjects! If you want statistics, I would say that probably eight out of every ten books that I own is about history. I find any period of history an enjoyment to learn more about and study! (Which is another thing that I am excited for in using my library card: documentaries! :D) I also enjoy biographies, classic works of theology or philosophy and of course, any other books considered to be “timeless classics.” Right now a few classics on my list to read are Utopia by Sir Thomas More, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Moby Dick by Herman Melville and The Arabian Nights: tales from a thousand and one nights by Sir Richard Burton. A few of my favorites already read are A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Confessions by St. Augustine of Hippo.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I told myself that I would like to see more time spent reading. After I got out of the hospital from the blood clot, I had to sit a lot with my feet up. I read A TON! I finished three books and started a few more! It was so relaxing!

Even Muffy was relaxed! 😀 I find now that my physical body is back to a more normal status, my time is now back to a “busy body” schedule. I miss sitting for hours reading, but at the same time I am very thankful that I don’t have to sit for hours and can get out to enjoy the warm weather–hard to balance between the two. I could read outside I guess. 🙂 Speaking of the outdoors, I must go. It is a lovely evening and I get to spend it with my Dad. More to come…

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Filed under Books and Movies, Muffy, Random