Tag Archive: birthday

Life Update

2014 Summer Reading Logo

So I apologize from being totally MIA from this site for the last month and a half. I started a new job at the public library and while I am loving it, it does keep me supremely busy. Plus I’m taking care of my son on the off days, which is very time-consuming, and all of this work (both paid and not) leaves me with not much free time. I was working more hours at my last job but the work was pretty easy and I was basically getting finished after a couple of hours and having a lot of free time. At the library, it is less hours, but I am packing more work into the time. I am working as a Library Assistant in the Youth Services Dept (for ages 0-18 yrs) and I get to help with some pretty cool programming, as well as working at the Children and Teen Desks as a general purpose/Reader’s Advisory/Reference point person. We’re in the middle of the 2014 Summer Reading Program (logo above) so there is a lot going on from now until July 26th, then hopefully things will slow down a bit in time for school to start again. This year’s program is very STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math) orientated as the theme has been Outer Space, so that makes for some fun programs too. The Reptile Adventures Show has been making the rounds at the libraries and my son and I got to pet an 18 ft Albino Reticulated Python named Lily, at another branch when I was off work (which my son thought was rather cool, I did too!). I’ve helped with programs on the geology of Mars, which includes making homemade Volcanoes (which points to life on Mars) out of baking soda and vinegar, as well as Paper Engineering,  where the kids have made all kinds of cool recycled paper games like Mini-Golf, a Pinball Machine, Robots/Spaceships, and Mini-Soccer Pitch. There are also STEM Crafts were the teen volunteers have taughts mini-classes on things like magnets and plants. We also have a Minecraft Education Server where the kids can have fun playing in the world on Creative (where they have all their resources) and Survival (where they have to find their own). In the future, I will be in charge of some ToddlerTime storytimes for 2-3 yr olds and Discovery Time storytimes for 3-5 yrs olds with a STEM influence. I’m also learning how to properly weed the collection of books that haven’t been circulated in over a year, which is actually more complicated than it sounds. Overall, I am loving the work as this is exactly what I got my Masters Degree in Library and Information Science for in the first place.


Aside from that, not much else is going on. I am keeping up with my reading as best I can, though even that is slowing down a bit with this new schedule. My dad gave my hubby his old computer, which is a better faster computer with a better graphics card, so I got my hubby’s computer with more RAM and better graphics card, so we’ve been doing a lot of computer gaming lately. I started playing Fable III, which is pretty additive, has pretty graphics and is a lot of fun to play. I’m looking for a new free-t0-play MMORPG, though that is tricky since I’ve played quite a few over the years. I downloaded Aionwhich I am having fun playing though the loading up time sucks and the client took me 16 hrs to download. The above picture is an example of the graphics, although I am playing as a Templar (warrior with mace/hammer and shield) and a Gunslinger (dual pistols). It gets a little grindy, i.e. lots of searching for materials for crafting and killing mobs but the main storyline is interesting enough to keep me interest.

In other news, my son turned 3 yrs old last Tues. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? I figure it’s as much a celebration of his birth as it is my husband and I surviving another year as parents. Everyone said the twos were terrible but now I hear that it might continue until he’s 4 years old. Goodness, I’ll just be happy when he’s completely potty-trained at this point (though less temper tantrums would be awesome!).


Happy 79th Birthday Elvis!


I was never a huge Elvis fan, but I appreciated what he did for musical history, especially the history of rock. He was after all The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I think my favorite song of his would probably be A Little Less Conversation, as it is a bit cheeky. The two things I always remembered about Elvis growing up was that he was born in Tupelo, Mississippi (near where my maternal grandparents grew up in the Delta) and that they both listened to him. He was one of the few non-strictly country music stars that they listened to, as when I was growing up I remember finding records of him, along with Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash. It is interesting to note that his music is considered Country, Pop and R&B.

The way I got to know Elvis was through musicals. As I have said numerous times before on the blog, I grew up watching movie musicals from the 1930s-60s. I went through a brief obsession with the 50s and 60s, where I listened to a lot of Beach Boys and other music from that area, and this included movies. So I watched Elvis in movies like Blue Hawaii and Viva Las Vegas. The above photo is from Jailhouse Rock, and shows him with his famous dancing pelvis. Does anyone have any Elvis stories to share?

 Here are some factoids about The King:

  • Elvis is Norse for “all wise.”
  • Elvis’ famous black hair was dyed – his natural color was brown.
  • He was distantly related to former U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter
  • When he was 15 months old, Elvis almost died in a Tupelo, Mississippi tornado, which would have meant that he would have joined his dead-at-birth twin Aaron.
  • Elvis purchased his first guitar when he was just 11 years old. He wanted a rifle, but his mama convinced him to get a guitar instead.
  • At 18, Elvis paid $4 to make his first record, a gift for his mama.
  • In 1954, Elvis auditioned for a gospel quartet named the Songfellows.  They said no.
  • That same year, a local radio DJ played Elvis’ version of That’s All Right.  He went on to play it 13 more times that day, but had trouble convincing his audience that Elvis was white.
  • His breakthrough hit was Heartbreak Hotel, released in 1956 – a song inspired by a newspaper article about a local suicide.
  • When performing on TV in 1956, host Milton Berle advised Elvis to perform without his guitar, reportedly saying, “Let ’em see you, son.”  Elvis’ gyrating hips caused outrage across the U.S. and within days he was nicknamed Elvis the Pelvis.
  • A Florida judge called Elvis “a savage” that same year because he said that his music was “undermining the youth.”  He was subsequently forbidden from shaking his body at a gig, so he waggled his finger instead in protest.
  • Elvis bought his mansion, Graceland, in Memphis, TN in 1957 for $100,000.  It was named by its previous owner after his daughter, Grace.
  • In December 1957, Elvis was drafted into the U.S. Army, earning a $78 monthly salary.  During his brief two-year stint on active duty, he was unable to access his music-generated income of $400,000.
  • In 1959, while serving overseas in Germany, Elvis (then 24 years old) met his future wife, 14 year-old Priscilla Beaulieu.  They were married 8 years later.
  • Elvis’ 1960 hit “It’s Now or Never” so inspired a prisoner who heard it in jail that he vowed to pursue a career in music upon his release.  The artist, Barry White, was then serving a 4-month sentence for stealing tires.
  • “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, a 1961 Presley hit, is set to the melody “Plaisir D’Amour,” an 18th century French love song.
  • Elvis recorded more than 600 songs, but did not write any of them
  • Elvis is the only solo performer to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll, Country, and Gospel Halls of Fame.



Heather Jarvis, Student Loan Counselor at: http://askheatherjarvis.com/blog/25-fun-facts-about-elvis-presley-the-king-of-rock-roll

Connie Wilson on Yahoo Voices, 2010 at: http://voices.yahoo.com/fifty-freaky-flakey-fun-facts-featuring-elvis-presley-5291223.html

CNN Library’s “Elvis Presley Fast Facts” on Aug 30, 2013 at: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/30/us/elvis-presley-fast-facts/

Happy Arbor Day 2013!

Cherry Trees near Kyoto, Japan

Today is Arbor Day, celebrated in the US and now all over the world, is usually placed on the last Friday in April (though the date depends on the region and best tree planting season). The holiday was first promoted, via the best newspaper of the day, by settler J. Sterling Morton and his wife after their move to the Nebraska Territory in 1854. According to the official Arbor Day Foundation History page,

“Morton not only advocated tree planting by individuals but also encouraged civilian groups and organizations to join in. His promotion of trees was further expanded when he became the secretary of the Nebraska Territory. On January 4, 1872, Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called ‘Arbor Day’ to the State Board of Agriculture. The holiday was scheduled for April 10th of that year, and it is estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.”

The first official Nebraska state Arbor Day was April 10, 1874 though it wasn’t legalized in the state until 1884. Finally the date of Morton’s birthday was selected as the official US holiday, April 22. The Arbor Day Foundation puts out a guidebook on how to celebrate the holiday and there are suggestions on the webpage as well. I especially liked this Nature Explore project I found off the Foundation’s website, which helps kids connect with nature, a collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, which helps fund outdoor classroom activities and provides information for families that want to start up nature programs on their own. The Foundation’s website also features a visual tree identification guide for the US.  Plus if you live in the US and join the Foundation, they send you 10 free trees to plant at your house or donate 10 trees to a National Forest that needs them.

Tree at Sunset

So naturally today’s poetry is about trees. I picked the first one because I liked the imagery and I have a soft spot for Frost. I had to memorize his poem The Road Not Taken in high school and is one of the few poems I can still remember by heart and remains one of my favorite poems ever. For the A.E. Housman poem, I liked the poem and I discovered the poet after posting his To An Athelete Dying Young for my Sports Poetry post a few days ago. The other two poems I’d not heard of but enjoyed the imagery of the poems. I would like to dedicate today’s post to my best friend Huma, as she loves trees and her birthday was this week.


by Robert Frost
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay 
As ice-storms do.  Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain.  They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer.  He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground.  He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return.  Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Loveliest   of Trees

by A. E. Housman
Loveliests of trees, the cherry now   
Is hung with bloom along the bough,   
And stands about the woodland ride   
Wearing white for Eastertide.   

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,   
And take from seventy springs a score,   
It only leaves me fifty more.   

And since to look at things in bloom   
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go   
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Song of   the Trees

by Mary   Colborne-Veel

We are the Trees.  
  Our dark and leafy glade  
Bands the bright earth with softer mysteries.  
Beneath us changed and tamed the seasons run:  
In burning zones, we build against the sun         
  Long centuries of shade.  


We are the Trees,  
  Who grow for man’s desire,  
Heat in our faithful hearts, and fruits that please.  
Dwelling beneath our tents, he lightly gains         
The few sufficiencies his life attains—  
  Shelter, and food, and fire.  


We are the Trees  
  That by great waters stand,  
By rills that murmur to our murmuring bees.         
And where, in tracts all desolate and waste,  
The palm-foot stays, man follows on, to taste  
  Springs in the desert sand.  


We are the Trees  
  Who travel where he goes         
Over the vast, inhuman, wandering seas.  
His tutors we, in that adventure brave—  
He launched with us upon the untried wave,  
  And now its mastery knows.  


We are the Trees          
  Who bear him company  
In life and death. His happy sylvan ease  
He wins through us; through us, his cities spread  
That like a forest guard his unfenced head  
  ’Gainst storm and bitter sky.          


We are the Trees.  
  On us the dying rest  
Their strange, sad eyes, in farewell messages.  
And we, his comrades still, since earth began,  
Wave mournful boughs above the grave of man,          
  And coffin his cold breast.

Trees   Need Not Walk the Earth

by   David Rosenthal
Trees need not walk the earth  
For beauty or for bread;  
Beauty will come to them  
Where they stand.  
Here among the children of the sap
Is no pride of ancestry:  
A birch may wear no less the morning  
Than an oak.  
Here are no heirlooms  
Save those of loveliness, 
In which each tree  
Is kingly in its heritage of grace.  
Here is but beauty’s wisdom  
In which all trees are wise.  
Trees need not walk the earth 
For beauty or for bread;  
Beauty will come to them  
In the rainbow—  
The sunlight—  
And the lilac-haunted rain;
And bread will come to them  
As beauty came:  
In the rainbow—  
In the sunlight—  
In the rain.

If you pay attention this blog, you will know from a previous post, that I am a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan! Ok not one of those over-the-top read all of the annotated versions and all  of the previously unpublished ones, but I love his Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit: or There and Back Again. I have tried to read The Silmarillion three times but end up stopping each time because it is one of those books, though intriguing, that is so dense that you really need to be in an insanely quiet space with no distractions in order to read. It is very much like reading an Icelandic saga like this one, or that passage in the Bible that reads like “so and so begat so and so who begat that guy who begat that other guy.” Plus you almost need a guide to the characters to remember who everyone is. I would like to read more of his works such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Children of Hurin (one of his unfinished books that was edited and finished by his son Christopher Tolkien I believe). The librarian in me was fascinated by this article, which I found on The Tolkien Society website. I also enjoyed the Library Events page, which featured information on how to do a Tolkien Reading Day at the library. For those interested, the Tolkien Society (based in the UK) will be having their annual conference March 1-3, 2013 at Valparaiso University in Indiana, which looks pretty cool in my opinion.

And yes, I was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings [LOTR] trilogy films and have all the extended editions and was quite miffed when they left Tom Bombadil out of them. I was so obsessed with the movies when they came out in the theaters. I saw the first and/or second one like six times because we knew the people who owned the local theater and went there all the time to watch it. And of course, when I was in Scotland, they came out with Return of the King and went to see it in the tiny local theater in town (it was absolutely packed and I was sitting in the upper balcony). I still have the souvenir cups from Woolworths. As I’m sure pretty much everyone knows, The Hobbit came out in theaters in the US on December 14 and I haven’t seen it yet (ah the joys of life with a toddler and no money). My parents already saw it and told me that “they dragged it out a lot, but there was plenty of gore and fighting in it”. I guess they would have to as they are now making into three movies, to which I say “Really, what the hell for?!?”  I mean the book is really slim, it’s not ridiculously long like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and no they shouldn’t have made Twilight: Breaking Dawn into two movies either). So the answer is probably to annoy fans and to make as much money as possible as the film had so many problems in the beginning, it is a miracle that it got made at all (and I was actually excited that Guillermo del Toro was to be the director as I love his work, but Peter Jackson obviously knows what he is doing too). Anyways, I found this interview with some of the cast members today while researching this post. And since I loved Howard Shore’s scores so much from the LOTR films, I found this article interesting as well. I also found the Middle-earth Recipes and its accompanying blog to be a fun read too.

So let’s raise a glass to “The Professor”!

I had known about this for a while and I knew I was going to write a post about it, as Julia Child is one of my culinary heroes, plus she was just an intriguing person to boot. I swore that I had written about her before, for this blog, but then I remembered that I had done a post on my previous blog for a short-lived group called Cookbook Lovers UniteMy first post for the group was about the first cookbook I ever loved (a 1950s black and white basic cookbook I found at a book sale in 5th grade), but it was also about another of my young adult favorite cookbooks, Julia Child’s Baking with Julia, and includes a recipe that I’ve still yet to try. One of the reasons she is so famous and beloved is because of her idea that anyone can cook and they should have fun doing it. I read her biography, My Life in France, which was co-authored by her nephew and for an average-looking young woman from Massachusetts, she led a varied and fascinating life and helped to impact generations of chefs and common folk alike. Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to her, as well as this article by Julie Powell, who penned the novel Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, which was later turned into a movie (which I only really liked for Stanley Tucci as Paul Child and Meryl Streep as Julia Child), although I did love the book. I particularly liked this quote from Ms. Powell’s article, “Julia was her own brand of feminist, one who saw the kitchen not as a symbol of drudgery and female oppression but as a place of opportunity, no less potent than a boardroom, a place where women – and men – can exhibit rigor and individual power.” The Smithsonian, in 2001, asked for and got the entirety of Julia Child’s kitchen, which is now a permanent exhibit at the Museum of American History. As I have said in a previous post, I love public television and watched a lot of it growing up (same goes for public radio) and still do today. I grew up watching episodes of The French ChefBaking with Julia, and Cooking with Master Chefs. PBS has a whole page of cool Julia Child stuff in celebration of her 100th Birthday, including videos, quotes, factoids, a Pinterest board, recipes and more.

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