Fall: a time for beer, reading, & tweeting

11 Oct

Last week I got an awesome Twitter “lesson” from my co-worker.  I am now deeply immersed in the world of twitter and I have to admit, I’m loving it! One way that my co-worker put it was, “It’s a way to disseminate information, gather information, and listen.” As a future librarian, who is learning every day how important technology and sharing and accessing information is, I’m happy to explore this particular online world of “conversing”.  While on twitter, I found this article about what to think about when considering a career of librarianship :So you’re going to library school…

Ever since I spoke with  my advisor, I’ve been thinking about the many “outside-of-the box” possibilities that librarianship can encompass.  He encouraged me to think of working outside of an actual building–and to think about other “spaces” that could work to serve people.  This way of thinking–creatively, flexibly, ever-changing–is enormously exciting for me. I am the sort of person who thrives on learning new skills while at work, and not repeating the same tasks day after day. An ideal work environment for me includes thinking creatively, being flexible, seeking out new trends/ideas and applying them, as well as working with people. I’m hopeful a career in the library field will fulfill all of these requirements.

Ok, now for some fun things.  These iPod/iPhone chargers made from old books are awesome and look great when you aren’t using them (not a bunch of wires, hooray):  Book charging stations

Over the summer I read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.  It was enjoyable, but I’ve heard even better things about his Corrections and I’m looking forward to reading it very soon.  I just read Game of Thrones by G.R.R Martin, and it was fabulous. Engaging, fun, well-developed characters, and a nice through-line. I’m really looking forward to reading the second one soon. (Although at a hefty 800 pages, I wish it could count as two books on my GoodReads Book Challenge, where I’m trying to read 125 books by the end of the year).

I just got these two books and started reading I Knew You’d Be Lovely and it is most excellent. Wow, short stories can be so beautiful and moving.

Although I’ve not had a chance to try this Notch Session Beer yet, I’ve heard most excellent things about it. I am hoping to visit the newly opened Refuge Cafe in Allston, where it’s on tap.

As always, I’m enjoying these two pumpkin beers:

And, on a last note, Mystic, CT is one of the cutest seatowns I’ve ever visited.  The people were all friendly and talkative,  plus the entire main street was aghast when a driver drove like an a*@hole.  I mean, wow, yeah, I want to live somewhere where everyone’s reaction is to frown at bad drivers.

Books I enjoyed as a youngster

20 Sep

Today at work I was creating a read aloud guide for the book Friends by Helme Heine and it made me remember how much I adored this book growing up.  For several reasons, the biggest being that my mother pronounced Helme’s last name as “heiney”, which of course always cracked me up! It also featured three very different sized friends going on lots of awesome adventures together on their bicycle. The watercolor illustrations were very engaging and I’m happy to say it’s still a hit with young people today.

The entire Little House on the Prairie series was also a favorite.  When I was younger I often thought I was born into the wrong era and thought it would be fun to live during a time when things were so unknown and there was so much to explore.  Days were filled with manual labor and nights filled with eating maple syrup covered snow balls and singing around the fire.  Sometimes I still dream of a life like that. Plus, Laura was so darn spunky and she didn’t adhere to the “rules”. A girl after my own heart. My parents read these aloud to us.

I would be remiss not to mention the George MacDonald books, which I couldn’t put down as a youngster.   I loved fairy tales and I believe these stories fueled my desire to be a fairy when I “grew up”.  If I am remembering correctly (it has been a long time since I read these) the main princess was a lot more realistic and courageous than other wimpy princesses that I read about.  I’ll have to re-read to see if I’m right! MacDonald wrote a whole bunch of books about princesses and I think I read them all.

Some other favorites included: Blueberries for Sal, Miss Rumphius, The Chronicles of Narnia, Children of the Forest, The Tomtom and the Fox, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Borrowers, Harriet the Spy, Judy Blume Books (especially Deenie), Island of the Blue Dolphin, any Roald Dahl book,  Lois Lowry Books, The Sweet Valley High Books (oh man, they were so bad they were good!), The Fear Street Series by R.L. Stine,  and Christopher Pike books.  Of course there were many more, but these are the ones that stick out in my memory.  What are some of your childhood favorites?

My birthday: a reflection of some moments in my Life

19 Sep

So, next Saturday, the 24th is my birthday. To me, I consider my birthday somewhat of a holiday, or more like a week (or more!) celebration! I like to think about what’s happened in the past year and what dreams and goals I have to look forward to in the year to come.  Growing up birthdays were always a special, joyous, and much heralded event.  Since I had many siblings, we couldn’t have big parties every year, but we took turns so I had a big party about every other year.  Some memorable ones: the year my parents rigged a cake so it floated down the creek like it did in the Tasha Tudor book (see image below), the many years of sleepover birthday parties in tents in the back yard full of ghost stories, boy stories, and peeing in the yard, visiting Gnome Countryside (a truly magical place), and in general, feeling good about celebrating another year of being Alive.  I’m happy to report that even though I’m no spring chicken, I still really enjoy my birthday and enjoy celebrating and reflecting  This year I decided to try to blog every few days this week about some memorable moments in my life. Maybe it’ll give you a better idea of the journey that’s led me to be me (and I do consider it an ever going journey).

First up are my memories of living in Arizona when I was one year old.  My parents, who were hippies at the time, lived on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Greasewood, AZ, where my mother was a teacher and my father watched me.  I have a few snippets of memories of baking delicious smelling cakes with my father.  I remember the one time it snowed and how in awe the Indian children were to see snow.  How my father showed them how to make snowballs and participate in a snowball fight.  I remember the giant looms the Indian women wove on–the big wooden structures with string and bright colors of turquoise, green, red, and yellow.  I remember, just a tiny bit, the red of the desert surrounding us and how the sun looked different there–more orange and the shadows longer. Someday I’d like to go back–perhaps on a future birthday?





Mass Brewers Fest Roundup

5 Sep

On Friday night I attended the 2011 Mass Brewers Fest at the Boston World Trade Center.  It was held on the veranda, for lack of a better word, with 25 local breweries set up at tables providing beer samples.  It was a lovely evening, with the first hint of Fall in the air with a touch of coolness as the sun set.  There was live music, a great view of the Boston skyline, good friends, and of course, lots of beer.  Nearly all the folks at the tables were friendly and more than willing to tell you about the beer samples they had brought.  Here were some of my personal favorites

Wachusett Brewery   Pumpkin Ale.  Yummy, yummy, yummy.  For the past few years I’ve adored Shipyard Pumpkin Ale, and have never tried anything else, but I’m so glad Wachusett had their Imperial Pumpkin Ale available to sample.  It was smooth with great pumpkin flavor, but it also had  hints of cinnamon, and nutmeg–the perfect combination to bring Fall to the taste buds.  I loved it. I will be buying more of this soon (but not until summer’s officially over, darn it!).  This is a new addition to Wachusett Beer and was just introduced in August. I also tried a Pumpkin Stout from the Mayflower Brewing, but it wasn’t nearly pumpkiny enough for my taste.

Jack\’s Abby Brewing  I had just read about this brand new brewery  started by three brothers (opened up six weeks ago) so I was quite happy to see them at the Fest and to try their beer.  I tried two different samples, Smoke & Dagger and Copper Legend.  Each was super smooth and very drinkable. The Smoke & Dagger was a dark black beer with lovely chocolate and coffee undertones and very little hops. It was 6% ABV. I look forward to drinking more of their delicious beer. I hope they are available in local stores soon, if they aren’t already (I asked them on FB and hope to hear back from them!).Rapscallion Brewery I had tried their beer once before at Deep Ellum, an awesome bar in Allston (if you live in the area, you should check it out-awesome beer, and a great back patio), but haven’t had one in a long while.  They were delicious! I tried Blessing, a high alcohol ( 8%) beer with a spicy, yeasty taste that just tasted so good! A friend got Honey and she liked that too. Honey is an extra pale style ale infused with local wildflower honey. Yay for supporting local honey!

Blue Hills Brewery I tried their Watermelon Wheat and it was delicious! Now, I’m a big fan of fruity beer, so this may not be to your liking of you don’t like fruity beer. It tasted like they had squeezed a watermelon jolly rancher into a beer. And  yes, it tasted GOOD.  I would like to try this again, because honestly at that point of the night I was pretty tipsy so perhaps my taste buds were not at their finest in determining flavor. I hope it’s as good as I remember!

Of course, my pals Clown Shoes Beer and Pretty Things were there too.  I tried Clown Shoes latest beer, Muffin Top. It was potent! Very high alcohol content and a very intense taste.  Pretty Things had amazing stickers and I picked up many of them to adorn various items in my house :).

All in all, a wonderful night of tasting beer with some good friends! I look forward to my next beer event! (Nothing planned yet, but I am sure something will pop up!).

The Waiting Game (good food & good books are distracting)

29 Aug

I went and applied to MLIS(Master of Library & Information Sciences) school!! Woot, woot! Now I’m waiting to see if I get accepted. If I get accepted, then I’ll have to wait for classes to start. Lately I’ve been feeling like my whole life is waiting and it’s really starting to frustrate me.  About a year or so ago I realized I was unhappy living in a big city.  It came on a bit suddenly, but once I started thinking about it, I realized how much I had outgrown the T, the throngs of students during the school year and throngs of tourists during the summer. I’m over it. First, I thought about moving just outside of the city to the north shore or south shore of Boston. Quickly, I realized that wouldn’t be financially feasible in time for the start of this upcoming year.  Then I thought about finding a new job, but that didn’t work out either. I’ve been waiting to have some extra money so that I can buy a beer kit and start making my own brew. It feels like for a long time I’ve been waiting for something new or different or fun to start and it just hasn’t. And it’s driving me a bit nuts.

It’s also causing me to lose sight of living in the moment.  Moving out of the city is the bright light at the end of tunnel for me.  Some days I feel like I’m barely floating above water.  It’s hard to think beyond just getting through the day sometimes…it’s causing me to become a lot more depressed, and unaware as a person than I usually am….and that really sucks.  I’m feeling stuck and I’m having trouble motivating myself to do things that I know will help me feel less stuck. Things that would help me to feel more hopeful.

Here are some things lately that have helped me to keep hope in sight: I joined the Y! I’ve already taken a cardio kickboxing class and a zumba class! Both super fun and an excellent work-out.  My face was beet red by the end of the kickboxing class, but I felt great! And zumba is like a high-energy dance party where you never stop dancing!!! This photo cracks me up! Once I get my moves down, I’ll have to get one of these snazzy outfits:

I got to drink a new-to-me Pretty Things Beer–American Darling. EVERY single beer I’ve ever had of theirs is amazing. Plus, this label has a hand-drawn lawnmower on it. Come on, who wouldn’t want to drink this beer? Here’s a photo of the Pretty Things collection we’ve got growing on the top of our fridge:

I’ve been trying to cook more and that’s been great. My friend and I cooked up a feast last weekend that included a roulade with cucumbers (from my earthbox) & ricotta, stuffed tomatoes (from our CSA), and a thrown-together sort-of gazpacho–delicious.  Here are some photos:


Salad I created with cukes, nectarines, olive oil & red sea salt

Stuffed tomatoes

Eating outside makes everything taste better

I just finished The Magician King by Lev Grossman. It was a fantastically great book to escape into–whenever I started reading it, I was transported to that world and didn’t think even once about my own life. Score. I just love books that transport you into another world so quickly and marvelously. This book reminded me a lot of The Chronicles of Narnia, which I adored as a kid, only darker and funnier.  I actually laughed out loud a few times at the sense of humor in this book, which is pretty rare for me when I read a book (not laughing out loud, that I do pretty regularly), so I guess the author and I have a similar sense of humor.  I love the first book in this series too,The Magicians, so I recommend both to folks who enjoy a good magical, adventurous story full of magicians and talking animals and such.

Fun Bumperstickers

9 Aug

So, as promised, a fun post about beer and reading bumper stickers (with one biking one thrown in because it’s just too awesome not to share).

This bumper sticker was on my old car and I got an excellent beep and thumbs up from someone while driving on the road about it (he actually mimed reading a book!):Here’s the one that’s on my car currently:

Here’s the one that’s on my bulletin in my house because it’s a little too explicit for my car (I sometimes drive to my sites and I don’t wan the kiddos seeing it…and it may be a little too aggressive for the public too, but I find it incredibly amusing):

This is also one that is hanging on my bulletin board inside (my roomie found it for me):

This one is funny and kind of true:This one is for my roommate (she loves puns):

And here’s one about biking that’s also on my bulletin because it’s too risqué to actually put on my car (but awesome):


I wish I had a beater car to just plaster with tons of awesome bumper stickers!! That would be totally rad! What are your favorite bumper stickers?

To become a librarian…or not?

5 Aug

I just got back from a wonderful vacation to Pennsylvania.  It was fun to show my best friends where I grew up.  Sometimes I forget how much growing up in a land of cornfields, on an Amish farm for eight years, and the magic of nature really shaped the core of who I am.  It felt worlds away from Boston because it is.  Coming back to driving in the city and getting lost on the freeway immediately made my shoulders tense up and pulled my mouth down into a frown.  I hadn’t seriously considered moving to PA until this visit.  And now I’m seriously considering it.  I guess it’s true that there’s no place like home for some people.  Over the course of the days I visited PA, I began to imagine what my future could look like there.  I madly searched for houses for sale–they are miraculously large for the price and in such lush settings.  My sister and I even drove to a few.  I also searched for jobs.  Which leads me to my current debate: to become a librarian or not?

Recently I have been thinking about other careers I could pursue. Since I have a broad (& sometimes wild imagination), these ideas range from the more practical of librarian to the somewhat outlandish graphic designer.  I think I would really enjoy graphic designing, but I have no background in it and have never taken a course in it in my life.  Other ideas have included opening up a brewery that also serves as an artistic space for open mics, small theatre production music etc.  I also think I’d be a good art center director, interior decorator, baker (or chocolatier), volunteer coordinator, mentor, and food taster.

Ok, so when I started this post, I wasn’t totally decided, but I just had a great talk with my roomie and today found what sounds like a great online program for MLIS.  I think I have actually decided I’m going to do this. YIKES!! And: EXCITING!!! And: HOORAY!!

Here’s why I think I will enjoy becoming a librarian: 1) I LOVE reading.  I love books and talking about them.  I like recommending books to people and enjoy helping kids find their “home run” book.  2)I like people.  I enjoy building relationships and over the past years have particularly enjoyed discussing books with kids.  3) I am ready for a challenge. I’d like to have a new (and obtainable) goal in my life.  Plus, I love learning and being in school.  So what if I already have a Masters? I loved getting it and it’s helped my work tremendously. 4)I would love to learn more about online technology and how that can help the masses access information. 5) I am an excellent read alouder (yes, a word we created at ReadBoston) as well as a pretty good storyteller (thank you minor in theatre) 6)Working for 11 years at a literacy non-profit has built a solid foundation around children’s literacy and literature as well as helping people find pleasure in reading.

So, yeah.  Doing it online will allow me to continue working and if I ever decide to move to a more rural area, it won’t affect my completion of the degree.  Holy wow, I think this might happen.  My goal is to try to start in the Spring.  Change is good.

My next post will be more fun, I promise. It’s going to be about kick-ass reading and beer bumper stickers! 🙂