Moments of Zen: Sept 24-29

happy-banned-books-week

I had a bit of extra zen when I sat outside and watching the Angry Birds movie with my son, on a giant projected screen, the previous Friday night Sept 23rd. It was a nice time and we both enjoyed it, though next time I would probably bring my own food and drinks and a bigger blanket and a cushion. Sept 25-Oct 1 is Banned Book Week, so please do celebrate your right to stand up and read what you want to read. Here is the Banned Book list of 2015 in pictures. I’m hoping to get to at least one of them on the list this week that I haven’t already read. 

Sat: The few minutes of by myself without worrying about Liam during his swim lesson, where I got to float on my back in the pool and not think about things. This is also a time where I feel particularly lovely and graceful. 

Sun: Sept Book Club meeting, where I presented a mini-talk about author Jonathan Swift and a bit about his book Gulliver’s Travels, and we talked about the book, politics, satire and anything else that caught our fancy. The potluck theme was British food and we had homemade pasties, salad, appetizers, scones (apricot oat ones made by me) and tea. It was perfectly delightful. We decided next months theme would be the French to celebrate our reading Kristin Hannah’s book, The Nightingale. 

Mon: Listening to my Spotify music while I write a new Dragon Age fanfiction story. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this one. Honestly it’s just nice to have a creative outlet again. 

Tues: Finally starting to weed my parts of the Children’s collection which I’ve been meaning to do for months but haven’t gotten around to doing; working more on my DA story. 

Wed: Playing SWTOR and enjoying my Sith Inquisitor character Skarnax (Force Lightning FTW!). 

Thurs: Finally finished up The Nightingale, which I really enjoyed reading though it definitely was an emotional roller coaster and had me guessing till the end. Should make for an excellent discussion at Bookclub next month; Watching Green Wing on Netflix and absolutely cracking up at Season 1, Episode 3: The Lodger (probably the most random and hilarious episode ever). 

Moments of Zen: Sept 17-23

Well this week has been a bit better and a bit worse. I had a job interview on Wed for a Librarian position, so fingers crossed on that!

Sat: Got a new car, well new-t0-me car anyways, at the first place my mom and I went to: a Nissan Altima. It’s a nicer car, better than I would’ve thought to be honest. And it’s got decent reviews on Kelly Blue Book/Edmunds. 

Sun: Going to church with my parents and Liam and just enjoying the space. We went to a different church and it was gorgeous inside. Also identified a bit with the sermon, though not in the way the priest intended (he was talking about the true meaning of stewardship and how all our wealth comes from God). Later, it was nice to just listen to some Classic Hip Hop and Rap and relax for the first time that day, even though it was the end of the day. 

Mon: Watching back to back episodes of Mr. Selfridge Season 2. I recently discovered it and love the Edwardian-era Masterpiece Theater show.  My favorite part of the story is the love triangle between Victor, Agnes and Henri (the right three people in the below photo).

meet_the_staff_of_mr_selfridge

Tues: Finally getting to sit down and, in the quietness of the Children’s workroom in the evening, read some more of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale during my lunch break at work. Also psyched that one of my favorite British comedy shows, Green Wing,  is available on Netflix and I got to watch an episode – which really helped me decompress after work!

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Wed: Got to politely show off storytime skills in an Librarian Interview for Maricopa County. 

Thurs: Sitting down and started to crochet two scarves and finishing up a third, whilst watching Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Fri: Presenting my Cloud DiscoveryTime storytime and eating lunch at Blue Fin while reading Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. 

Moments of Zen: Sept 10 – 16

This week was pretty stressful, and I had a lot of things on my plate. My son had better behavior, so that I am very thankful for, as last week was very exasperating. 

Sat and Sun: Honestly, it was probably when I finally got alone time to play Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR), the MMO game. It is the current game du jour for me, since I’m not playing Dragon Age: Inquisition (though I will be in November, yay!). I currently have 4 characters, 2 Rebels and 2 Imperials. My son likes watching, though I don’t let him sit for everything as it can get a little graphic. 

Mon: Reading my son I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems for his bedtime story. It was very silly but a lot of fun to read, as are most Elephant and Piggie books. I especially liked the multitude of colors Gerald turns after trying the slop, but explains to Piggie that it is good to try new things even if you don’t end up liking it. 

Tues: Having a girl talk moment with two co-workers during my lunch break and talking about my friend’s dates. It’s silly but it is nice sometimes to talk about fluffy stuff like that to take your mind off of other things. 

Wed: When my friend Joanna called me back yesterday b/c one of my FB messages sounded sad and was wondering how I was doing. Yesterday was a sad day for me, so to have someone thinking about me and wishing me well really meant a lot. Plus her phone call distracted me and got me laughing again. 

Thurs: Dancing to Pitbull’s song Fireball in my car. That song always makes me smile. Oh, and of course getting to go to ASU Gammage’s production of Cabaret for free, courtesy of my parents, which has great music and reminds me of my childhood (I was a bit obsessed with the movie version). I definitely plan on going to more live theater in the future. 

cabaret

Fri: I was a little surprised at how much the parents/kids loved my brand new Dinosaur DiscoveryTime! I would change a couple things with it, but overall a success. Also had a serious Moment of Zen where I disconnected from the world for about 1/2 hr during lunch at Blue Find and had a Panko Chicken Bowl and read Kamisama Kiss Vol 21.  

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Snow White: A Graphic Novel

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Snow White: A Graphic Novel written and illustrated by Matt Phelan

Published: Sept 13, 2016

Using watercolor in the Art Deco and film noir style, Matt Phelan introduces us to a fresh take on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves story. After Samantha White’s (aka Snow) mother dies of tuberculosis in the 1920s in NYC, Snow and her father are heartbroken. Ten years, her father, “The King of Wall Street” is lonely and discovers that the “Queen of the Ziegfeld Follies” is performing on Broadway. He is captivated with her elegant style and bobbed hair and promptly marries her. The Queen is not pleased that Snow is around and promptly sends her to boarding school in the country. She soon gets rid of her husband, but he still gets the last laugh, which she discovers during the reading of the will. Her husband has gone behind her back and left Snow three-quarters of the estate. The Queen is furious and vows revenge by getting rid of Snow, but the Huntsman spares her. She is rescued by the Seven, a group of street children that adopt her and try to protect her, though she still falls to the Queen’s poisoned apple. The Seven put her in a glass cage. Will she be rescued by her Prince Charming and live happily ever after? To find out, read this charming version of Snow White. Recommended for ages 10+, 4 stars. 

I was honestly not a fan of the artwork until I learned more about it from the author, via this interview. I liked that he not only loved the Disney Snow White version (one of my personal favorites), but also enjoyed film noir movies such as Citizen Kane and the Thin Man movies (which I also enjoy) and these influenced how he created the graphic novel. I really loved the story line and the twist on the classic tale. The Ziegfeld Follies were always cool to see on movies from the 1920s and 1930s, and they must have been spectacular in real life, so yeah I can see how the King would be dazzled after seeing the Queen of the Follies dancing so glamorous and looking like a real stunner on stage. I liked that the Seven were a group of abandoned street kids because in a way, they are kind of like Snow, forced to fend for themselves even though they’ve definitely gotten a more rotten deal. I also liked that they made the Prince a working detective instead of a superficial pretty boy. 

Moment of Zen: Sept 3 – 9

It has been a crazy week and I’m glad it’s nearly over as I am whooped physically and mentally. Just working until the early afternoon tomorrow and then I’ll be free for the weekend. 

Sat: Even though my face and shoulders are sunburned because of it, getting to relax and just float for a bit, on my back in the pool, while my son took his first swimming class (which he really enjoyed). 

Sun: Getting to have brunch and a coffee with my dad and just talk about stuff going on. I find I need to vent more than ever before, and he’s a good listener who gives his honest opinion about things. 

Mon: Hanging out in Prescott, for the first time, with Joanna and my son. It was a perfect sunny 82 degrees F and slightly windy. Hopefully by next month, the weather will be even better for the mini-break I’m taking with my parents and son next month. 

Tues: Having lunch with Joanna at one of my favorite local restaurants, Blue Fin. This is actually the place where I first thought about doing these posts as whenever I go there, it makes me totally relaxed plus I love the food. It’s right across from the library where I work and the people there are so nice and always make me feel welcome. It’s been there for nearly 35 years, and they make excellent panko chicken with brown rice and tonkatsu sauce, and my favorite Oyako Chicken (eggs, chicken, cabbage and onions all mixed together with a sweet sauce) over brown rice. The Oyako is just so comforting, so if I have time as it takes a little longer to prepare, I usually get that. 

Wed: Weirdly enough, my favorite part of the day was the small staff meeting we had to discuss some routine stuff, in addition to learning that I will do more outreach for The Amazing Library Card Campaign (encourages public school kids in target low-literacy areas to get library cards – 3rd year they’ve done it) and this year’s theme is Peanuts (last year was Star Wars so we had the local Star Wars charity group come shoot photos at the library in promotion). Also my duties at work have changed a bit. They’ve added me to the “Ask a Librarian” team, which I’ve never done, but am a bit excited to get a new task

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Last year’s theme (Stormtroopers in the Library’s Archives, Sept 2015)

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This year’s theme

Thurs: Today it was just nice to relax and not have to do anything except my counseling appointment first thing in the morning. I’ve not really had the opportunity to do so in the last week. 

Fri: Ok this one is kind of weird, but it made me happy. Finally got a chance to talk to two of our interns and assign them tasks to start next week that will mean I get to fill out less paperwork and give them a bit more ownership of the program. I will be talking to them more next week to set it up properly. Yay for interns!

Teetotaled

Teetotaled

Teetotaled (Discreet Retrieval Agency #2) by Maia Chance

To be published: Oct 4, 2016

In the sequel to Maia Chance’s sassy 1920s romp Come Hell or Highball, we again meet the ladies of the Discrete Retrieval Agency, which includes former socialite Lola Woodby and her Swedish cook Berta Lundgreen. They haven’t been detectives for long and are currently living at Lola’s dead husband’s former love nest. The lady sleuths are broke again, and must take a case to pay the bills and for those ever important cocktails. A friend of Lola’s mother has asked them to investigate at a fat farm and detox facility to steal her daughter Grace’s diary. Only shortly after they arrive however, the diary disappears along with its owner and Grace’s mother-in-law-to-be is murdered. They end up working for a senator to try and solve the murder. Will they be able to solve it in time and finally get paid? To find out, read this funny and witty sequel. 3-1/2 stars.

I really enjoyed the first book, so I jumped at the chance to read the second. I didn’t think it was as good, and kept losing interest while reading it, as the story dragged a bit in the middle. I like that Lola is a curvier girl, who isn’t afraid to admit she likes pastries, chocolate and cocktails. She has started doing the detective thing rather reluctantly, but has a knack for it. Berta is probably my favorite character because as she is no-nonsense and she usually figures out things way before Lola does. I like Ralph’s character as well as he is your typical ladies man detective with a soft-spot for Lola.

 

Moment of Zen: Aug 27 – Sept 2

This week has been pretty interesting, with the exception of Monday and Wednesday, which were just kind of a blah days. Tues was my last day at the branch library I’ve been helping out at for the last month and I was a bit sad to leave as it is nice to meet new people and work at a different place every now and then and see how other libraries work. The manager will still need help in the future, so I’ll keep my ear out for more opportunities and I’m on the substitute list for other branches, so if not there than someplace else I’m sure. 

Quote of the week, taken from Brian Selznick’s The Marvels pg 599, writing about Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale: 

“Maybe the play wasn’t about miracles. No, maybe it was about the passage of time, and the need for patience, and the ability to forgive. Maybe Shakespeare was saying that even in a world where miracles can happen, there’s still going to be pain, and loss, and regret. Because sometimes people die and you can’t bring them back. That’s what life is, Joseph realized, miracles and sadness, side by side.”

Sat: Late night drink and talk with my dad about food, cooking and travel; apparently Guy Fieri makes the worst descriptions of food on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, according to my dad

The Japanese Lover

Sun: My friend Joanna and I started an adult bookclub called “A Novel Idea” in July and Sun was the second meeting and we doubled our attendance! We discussed Isabelle Allende’s The Japanese Lover, and had some very interesting discussions about race, prejudice, immigration, growing old and much more. It was cool because all but my mother had worked or was currently working in a library, and everyone was a reader and it is always awesome talking about books with educated ladies. I’m hoping we’ll get even more people the next one and for Sept we are reading the classic by Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels. This was the nicest time I’ve had in awhile and it was so much fun to be a part of the group. 

Tues: Going out with my friend Joanna and her friends and doing 90’s trivia night at a local market downtown. We came in 15th place but it was still a lot of fun, even though the questions were a little obscure. I would definitely do this again. 

Wed: Snuggle time with my son watching Hotel Transylvania 2

Thurs: Getting to talk to my new counselor about everything going on and setting up a plan to help sort me out in the future

Fri: I had an epiphany moment this morning during my DiscoveryTime storytime (storytime plus STEM) where I was reading the book Big-Mouth Frog by Keith Faulkner and the parents and kids were so into the story and I felt like “Wow, this is really what I’m meant to do (being a librarian).” So I need to keep that in mind when I’m having moments of professional self-doubt.