When my kids were in grade school, college seemed so far away. I remember dreaming of days when the laundry hamper wasn’t always overflowing and the question, “Is there anything good to eat?” was asked a little less often. Now don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed being a mom and doing things for my family. However, I did remember a time in my life when I had a little more free time and thought wouldn’t that be nice again someday. Well someday is here.
When my youngest child went off to college in August, I have to say it was a transition that took some getting used to. I have always enjoyed coming home after work to see the rest of my family and catch up on our day during dinner. Many times, especially in the last four years, that dinner has been from the crockpot after basketball and baseball games. My collection of recipes had grown over the years to include many crockpot recipes that fed the family. Several of these recipes came from great cookbooks at the library.
When I was faced with the challenge of changing my cooking from “family sized” to “just for 2,” I again went looking at the library. I knew I could find great recipes on the internet but paging through cookbooks is much more appealing to me. I realized that there were lots of great sandwich recipes that worked well for 2. I started with what I found at the Fort Atkinson library and then placed some holds for books from other libraries. What I discovered was a variety of sandwiches including panini and wrap recipes. To date my favorites have come from the book, Taste of Home Sandwiches, Wraps and More! I made a seafood salad recipe that was delicious and BBQ chicken quesadillas with a fantastic mango salsa.
I will continue to add to my “cooking for 2″ recipe collection so let me know if you have another good cookbook to suggest. I will also look forward to having the whole family home for a big Thanksgiving dinner this year. Since I always like to try something new, I am sure I will be browsing the shelves for something fun and delicious to add to that dinner.
One thing I forgot to mention (!) in my last post regarding tools that you can use to help you remember things is our SHARE system’s ‘My Reading History’ service. Once enabled, you can keep track of what you’ve checked out in the past. That way if you can’t remember if you read something, the system will allow you to check to see BEFORE you take it home and get halfway through the first chapter.
It’s important to point out that due to privacy considerations, we do NOT track people’s reading history as the default. In fact, libraries in this country have long been champions of privacy rights of individuals. That’s particularly important to note in today’s world not only from a government surveillance standpoint but also from a commercial standpoint where so much of a person’s life is sold in an effort to collect marketing data. Libraries believe that a person’s speech, research and exploration are private and that this privacy is critical to a democratic society. You can read more about the issue of privacy and how that intersects with libraries here. In Wisconsin, there is a state law that requires confidentiality of library records. In short, we take your privacy very seriously.
But you might want to remember what you’ve read! If that’s the case, we do offer a service called “My Reading History.” It can be turned on and off…at your direction. You can log into the system, go to your library account, and then look at your past checkouts. It only lists them from the time you enable the service until the time you disable the service. So you have full control of your list.
If you are interested in this service, please talk with a library staffer!
I’ve found that the older I get, the harder it is to stay on top of things. I forget things and lose focus more easily. They tell me it’s a natural sign of aging. (I don’t remember who told me, but it was MORE than one person.) Anyway, back to the story. (See what I mean?) On Monday, I wore mismatched shoes to work. I am not kidding you. In my defense, both were black and had the same heel height. I was shocked when I got home from work and discovered my fashion faux pas.
So you can see, I need help. Superior organization and simplification are high on my bucket list. In the meantime, I use tools to help me manage. For example, I now use an integrated email and calendar system that helps remind me of meetings. There are actually quite a few ways technology has improved my ability to stay on top of my life. I use an online password registration site, a cooking app, a file sharing site, and a committee meeting scheduler. When I travel, I can remember where it is I wanted to go by using one of several excellent trip apps. (You can click on any of the words in bold to see the particular software.)
So you can see–I think tools really help manage life. And maybe that’s why I’m always looking for ways to help people manage their library accounts. In short, I feel the pain. I can report that ever since I signed up for our library’s email and text notifications, I am much better about getting my library materials back on time. Sometimes I’m even early because I get notices IN ADVANCE of the due date. It’s a bit like having your mother remind you–but with no guilt attached!
I can’t actually guarantee that you’ll never have an overdue again. But these notifications help you manage your life so it certainly improves your chances! I haven’t heard of any software tools that help with shoe selection. Even Google can’t help with that.
I have always been a fan of historical fiction especially if it is written about the Civil War. I guess my love for this goes back to watching Gone with the Wind with my mom when I was a kid and the fact that history was always my favorite subject in school. I have read great books like The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara that weaves historical detail into a fiction book about the battle of Gettysburg. I also recently listened to the Land of the Lone Star series by Tracie Peterson. They were lighter reads that depicted family life and struggles in Texas during this time.
When I saw The Lincoln Letter by William Martin as I was shelving one afternoon, I knew it had to go home with me. This book combines current day action along with a storyline set in Civil War time. The hunt is on in both time periods to find the diary of Abraham Lincoln. Does this diary really exist and if it does how will the contents affect our nation?
As I was almost finished with this book, I was notified that my hold for the movie Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis was waiting for me at the library. As I watched it that weekend; I thought the timing couldn’t have been better. If you enjoyed that movie, I suggest you read The Lincoln Letter. There were many similarities between these two works but each was unique and worth the time watching or reading. If you have a suggestion of another Civil War historical fiction book or movie, add a comment because I am always looking for another good title.
My son has loved the game of baseball since he was a little boy. I remember him at 18 months, with his rubber bat and ball in hand, watching the Brewers play on TV. As a two-year old he refused to hit the ball off the tee so we pitched to him and he hit those wiffle balls over our heads. He is now a senior in high school and over the years he has taught me many things about his favorite game. I understand the term balk and things like fielder’s choice and ground rule double. I have a concept of the infield fly rule – just please don’t ask me to explain that one.
When I was looking through our new collection of Playaways for something good to listen to while I walk, I came across The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing & Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime by Jason Turbow. I thought here is something to help me understand the game even more but what did the author mean by unwritten rules?
As I started to listen, the answer to that question became clear. This book is not about anything you will find in a rule book. It is about the unwritten code among major league players. Do pitchers at this level really throw to hit another player? When is it acceptable to steal bases? Is it acceptable to watch your home run ball leave the park? How much of a lead is enough of a lead before you stop stealing and start subbing players? Here are the most important questions, what happens when the other team is not playing by the same codes? And, what happens if you haven’t learned all of the codes?
I actually had to check this book out a second time so that I could finish listening to it. When I left it on the kitchen counter, my son saw it and asked if he could listen too. That was the last I saw of it until it was due at the library. He really enjoyed this book and it was great to be able to talk about it with him. The library is great for many reasons. Now I can add another one to the list – ways for moms and their 18-year-old sons to connect and enjoy the same book!
Dog lovers – we are a unique breed. Since getting our yellow lab 2 years ago, many things have changed in what I do and how I do it. I vacuum non-stop, I always wear slippers so my socks don’t soak up water bowl splashes on the kitchen floor and I met my new neighbors by trying to get my overly friendly dog to come back into his own yard. On the flip side, I get enthusiastically welcomed home every day and I have a walking buddy who is always ready to go.
When I saw the book Wallace, I was intrigued because this book is about a pit bull and the subtitle read, “The underdog who conquered a sport, saved a marriage and championed pit bulls – one flying disc at a time.”
My daughter works for the Humane Society and she is always showing me pictures of all the great dogs available for adoption. I know if she had a bigger place she would bring home more of her work on a permanent basis. She recently took part in a fund-raising campaign for their shelter ambassador, Kira who is also a pit bull. Kira even got a spot on the morning news and gave the weather man a big kiss before leaving.
The story of Wallace starts with him living in a shelter and because of his behavior; they are considering having to put him down. A couple who volunteers at the shelter fights for Wallace and adopts him. They have to work on his behavior around their other dogs and find ways to productively use all of his energy. They discover that Wallace has a gift for chasing and catching Frisbees. This is the part of the book that I could visualize since my lab, Chase, has the same gift with tennis balls. I could see Wallace, just as I see Chase happily running, catching and returning only to sit with anticipation for the next throw.
With lots of time, patience and commitment, Wallace becomes a champion disk dog and more importantly a happy, well-adjusted part of a family. Just like the old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” thankfully Wallace got a chance not to be judged by his breed. The author says it well when he says, “Wallace hadn’t succeeded because or in spite of his breed, he had succeeded and struggled because of his individual personality.”
If you are a dog lover or not, I suggest you check out Wallace by Jim Gorant if you are looking for a good book.
The library recently added a new collection that I think is very exciting. Thanks to a donation from the Friends of the Library we now have audiobooks on Playaway. If you’re not sure what a Playaway is, let me fill you in. Each one contains an entire recorded book that you can listen to by attaching a set of earbuds or speakers. The device is about the same size as a MP3 player and comes with directions on how to operate so it is really easy to use. I love to listen to them when I walk, work in the yard and even when I clean the house. They are great because you never have to stop to change the CD. Also when you turn the device off it holds your place. The next time you turn the Playaway on it continues where you left off. If you are interested in trying this new format, just ask about them when you are at the library. There are titles available for kids, young adults and adults. If you like to listen to audiobooks in your car, also ask about how you can listen to Playaways through your car stereo.