Guess I Never Did Learn to Share

I’m not very good about sharing my books.  I hoard them, but in an organized sort of way.  And I always know which one has been removed from its place–‘cuz there’s a giant hole where it used to be–and exactly where it is.  However, I do let a few hand-selected folks borrow a book every now and again.  I realize I sound entirely selfish and like a literary snob, but honestly, 90% of my books are used and I’m only tight-fisted with them because I treasure them.  And because I’ve known my sisters to lend out books and never see them again.  Lesson learned. 

Last summer, I read all of the Anne books and I absolutely loved them, so I persuaded Miss A. to read one or two and let her take them home with her.  That was probably 4 months or more ago.  A few weeks ago, I started getting antsy about said volumes.  I knew where they were, I just thought they should have been read and returned by that point.  I get nervous when they stay away from home too long; you never know what sort of disaster might befall them. 

So I called Miss A. intending to ask her to return my books.  I made small talk for a bit and then asked if she was enjoying the books I’d loaned her.  She said she was loving them!  I was so glad to hear it; I felt better knowing they were being appreciated and not lying around someplace collecting dust under someone’s week-old coffee.  I know Miss A. stays very busy with work and school, so I can’t fault her for not having time to read for fun, and of course I wouldn’t have the heart to ask for them now I know she enjoys getting to know Anne, Diana, Gil, Marilla, and the gang. 

I also lent her all of my DVDs because she sometimes gets bored at her apartment or just wants to watch a movie with some of the girls.  I asked how she was liking those and she offered such a positive review of several and expressed how glad she was to have them on loan that I just couldn’t ask for those, either.  So I’m feeling a bit unbalanced because I know things are missing from my stores. 

On my last trip home a few weeks ago, I discovered that not only am I a poor lender, I am also a hesitant borrower.  My mom offered to loan me some magazines she said she was finished with, so I agreed to take them home with me for a little light reading some quiet evening.  Later she remembered she had other magazines I might like, though she hadn’t read them yet or had begun but not finished a few.  I told her no thanks.  She was confused as to why I refused her second offer, but I told her I just hated to have something I would have to remember to return to her.  I’ve got enough space junk floating about in my noggin I have to keep track of without adding anything else to the mess.  On the bright side, at least I know I’m not a timely borrower; it’s better to know it for myself than to have to hear it from someone else!

What sort of borrower/lender are you?  

Are there particular items you loan out frequently or others you rarely lend? 

Are there items you borrow frequently but forget to return?

What experiences have helped develop these attitudes?

Kitchen Crusades

Ingredients for Cookbook:1-2-3-4 Cake. From le...

Ingredients for Cookbook:1-2-3-4 Cake. From left: Plain flour, eggs, milk, butter, sugar, baking powder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My chapati bread was a success!  It’s especially tasty with strawberry jelly; two with butter and jelly even make for a pretty decent start to breakfast.  As for the baking powder biscuits…well, I have baking soda, not powder.  Big difference.  Fortunately, I realized this before I started baking!  Well one out of two isn’t bad, I guess. 

In other news, I finally moved in today!  I technically moved in 3 weeks ago, but it hasn’t felt like home until today.  Because today…I unpacked my books!  All 5 boxes of them.  Now they’re spread over a couple of different shelves, in an organized sort of mess, but they’ve got a home again and it makes the apartment feel more like mine.  I don’t really know where anything is right now, so I think I’ll have to make cards listing the books on each shelf and tape each card to its section.  But maybe I can jazz them up a little with some colored pens and stickers and designs and things.  Gotta make it lively! 

I’m just super excited to finally have a reading room all to myself, really a living room/reading room.  I’ve got my books and a great wingback chair (I’ve always wanted one!)  for reading and I’m ready to get to some serious page turning!  Good thing, too, because I’ve got 3 library books and untold volumes of e-books to peruse!

When the Clock Turned on Me

I have re-entered the orbit of the working world and find myself with far less time than I am used to, a frustration to me.  A day spent in one place for 8 hours is constricting to a mind and body used to roaming an empty house and sparse garden, with all the time in the world.  Time, then, used to feel often empty and dull.  Once any dishes, clothes or carpets were clean, the kitchen floor swept, the table and counters scrubbed of the morning flurry, and weeds and rocks plucked from the garden during the day, I sat and stared at my computer, unsure of what to do.  Often, I site-hopped as long as I was carried along aimlessly by music and I tried to forget about time, lest the abundance overwhelm my idle hands. 

But not all of my time was idle.  During the past 5 months, between long, dull sessions of online job hunting, editing my resume again, requesting even more transcripts, and doing home chores, I read.  Not at every opportunity, but I did manage to discover 25 new stories.  Of course I enjoyed some better than others, and some I downright despised.  I read classics, author biographies (one of my new favorite genres), children’s fiction, self-help books, histories, and more.  My most challenging reads included A Sentimental Journey, The Unbearable Bassington,and several stories by George Eliot.  I’m still not sure what to do with the first; the second was difficult at first, but enjoyable once I fell into the Virginia Woolf-like groove of the storytelling, a style I like and am a little used to; and the last were terribly slow and deep-reaching, but I felt the author made some very insightful points, though at the risk of losing her audience’s interest.  I nearly gave her upseveral times, but was determined to plow through and finish.  So I did. 

Around the World in Eighty Days was also rather difficult for me to read.  There was a plot, surely, but it hardly kept my attention, it flew so fast and everything was too calculated.  Verne’s obsession with time in this piece also irked me a bit.  But when I finally neared the  last pages–and very thankful I was of that, let me tell you!–the story exploded in my face.  Everything that had been so clear and perfectly planned, the motivation for an entire round-the-world trip was jerked from beneath all the characters, until a loophole was caught and the most unlikely character saved the entire expedition, besides the reputation and fortune of his master. 

My favorite books were the old histories of what is now Great Britain, biographies of authors like Austen and L.M. Montgomery, and a few little fiction books no one has ever heard of. 

But now that I’m once more a full-time contributor to the economic system, I pay my dues in hours and minutes, feeling keenly the sacrifice of all that free time.  I am glad to a paycheck and work for my hands again, but I do find myself struggling to adjust to a schedule and to a severely reduced number of open hours in my day.  But then it makes me value my minutes more.  When I had all the time in the world and more (much more than I wanted), I squandered consecutive hours to make them pass as quickly as possible, though there was nothing on the other side of them that I wanted, and I groaned at the thought of a new day.  I am much better off and more  useful on this side of things, praise God.  Heaven knows what I would have become if I had continued in that way much longer, in a small town with nothing to tend but dirty floors and counters and a dying garden.  But I have been mercifully dealt with and am blessed with wonderful coworkers, new things to learn, a place of my own, and a town to explore.  In my off-hours, I will organize my time and keep track of it like I do for my money, a little bit at a time.  :)

Death of a Book Club

Anne Frank

Anne Frank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve never taken part in a book club before, though I did try…once.  But I should have seen the end coming sooner than I did.

A good friend suggested starting the book club.  Despite working in a library, she wasn’t much of a reader, though I suppose the two don’t have to be connected.  Surprisingly, she wanted to start with The Diary of Anne Frank, an unusual choice for someone who would rather read Nicholas Sparks or shop for clothes than anything else. 

So I found a used copy for about $2.  I was ready to begin the journey!  I read a few pages to get started, since the three of us (the club included my sister, too) never did decide what to read when or when to discuss what we’d read.  I suggested we start with Chapter 1 (“Start at the beginning!  And when you get to the end, stop.”), but I was trying to ride a dead horse. 

My sister seemed interested in reading the text, but lacked the encouragement a book club generally offers.  Because she primarily reads self-help books and medical texts, Anne Frank was unusual for her, too, though she gamely went along with the plan.  Our leader lost her enthusiasm almost immediately, so we never did get anywhere.  I got a copy of Anne Frank out of the deal, but was disappointed there was never any discussion about the book, or even about reading the book.

I’ve not really been keen on joining any book clubs since then, but mostly because the book sounds dull, I’m in the middle of a reading project, there are too many people in the group, etc.  I know, I’m being picky.  Still, I do get a little wistful sometimes when I think of that first book club.  I think it really could have been a lot of fun if we had all jumped in and explored the work together, but perhaps we were all too different to make it work.  Or maybe no one was committed to it in the first place.  But that’s okay, because whether I read alone or with others, I get to discover a new story.  And that is an adventure in itself.

Have you ever taken part in a book club?  If so, what was your experience like? 

If not, why not?  What book would you most like to read with a group?

Thanks! Love, Me

It’s Thankful Thursday again!  It feels like I just did this a few days ago, but that is definitely okay!

1. Sunday night, we got a downpour that satisfied my very thirsty lawn, my mom’s parched flowers, and our desperate vegetable plants.  Thank You, God, for rain!  We even caught some in a rain bucket under a down spout!  Boom!

2. I got 2 more letters about interviews this week!  And I got the paperwork done for all 5 letters so I’m rip-roaring and ready to go!  Let’s get this show on the road!

3. I have 3 interviews next week!  I’m a little anxious, but still hopeful!

4. I got my first one-on-one makeup tutorial last weekend!  The woman who helped me was wonderful and I even took some very scribbly notes while I tried to understand what all of this stuff was, what it was for, where to put it, how to put it on, and which brand, type, and color to buy…oh my!  Men, you have no idea how easy you’ve got it!  You don’t even have to bother with makeup to look beautiful!  ;) 

Fortunately, I did manage to make some progress today, though it will take practice, a few more how-to videos, and some playing around with the stuff, which I need more of, apparently.  This already feels like a very expensive project to adopt! 

5. I’m thankful for the amazing, professional, laid-back folks at the blood drive on Tuesday.  I love them for doing what they do: for actively raising donation awareness and using their skills to balance the deficit at the blood bank. 

6. When I went to the Post Office to mail a job application, there was a new woman behind the counter who was incredibly helpful and sweet in helping me get what I needed.  I really appreciated her since I’d been freaking out about everything I had to get and do and remember to apply for the jobs in the letters I had received over the weekend.  I kept messing up and forgetting things, so I was really glad she was there to help me!

7. There have been a few points this week when I really just needed something to help me pass the time pleasantly and nothing answered the call quite like a book.  Whether I was waiting for something, trying to feel productive, or just not feeling well, I was grateful to have such a small, powerful friend to tote around. 

8. The comforts of home: Books, tea, card games with my mom in the evening, a soft bed, clean clothes, a clean house, a garden to tend, and a house full of family.  I may not always remember or appreciate it all, but I am so blessed!

9. I heard back from 2 good friends who I only ever see at the beginning of their school semesters.  I hadn’t heard from them all summer, so I was excited to hear what they were up to and what was going on in their lives.  I love getting messages from friends!  :)

10. Pain medicine.  I’m not complaining, just very, very grateful!  People would have killed for this stuff 100 years ago and I can’t blame them!

Meeting Paddington at the Repair Shop

Today I met Paddington Bear, so named because he was found at Paddington Station in London.  He’s sort of like another Winnie the Pooh, always getting into scrapes and being his adorable, innocent self all the while.  I packed him along in my “comfortable, toting” purse, which is much more spacious than my “going-somewhere-important” purse, and set out for my appointment at the auto repair shop.  I’ve been there a few times, so I knew the wait would be a while. 

Knowing, as I do, that this shop’s magazine collection is sparse and the TV is no help–nothing but embarrassing soap operas today–I went prepared with two thin volumes, The Red Bad of Courage and A Bear Called Paddington, the first book of the series.  My appointment stretched a bit longer than I expected, so for the 2 hours I was there, I was in Paddington’s charming world.  It was pretty tough to read with the TV on, but I managed to get to chapter 6 somehow, though I had nearly fallen asleep by that point.  It was no fault of the bear’s, but mine since I went to bed rather late and woke early this morning. 

I always like to pack something to read when I know I’m going to be waiting someplace for a stretch of time, whether it’s the doctor’s office, the dentist, or the DMV, and of course the auto shop.  The Red Badge of Courage will stay in my bag until my next long wait, but I’ll look for more purse-sized books in the meantime.

How do you prepare for or endure a long wait? 

 The “going-somewhere-important” purse; see, it is too small for my books.  :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “comfortable, toting” purse; it’s just the right size!  I guess I could call it my Goldilocks Purse.  :)

Wordsworth, The Last Half of a Poem

 

M. R. Henderson

M. R. Henderson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I must admit this is my favorite half of the poem I posted on yesterday.  It’s hard to choose between reading and being outside, but these lines have me convinced that being outdoors is the most desirable of the two.  

In yesterday’s poem, William’s friend Matthew criticized him for spending all of his time in Nature when he could be using it to better himself through book study.  Matthew failed to recognize that much can be learned by examining the outside world and that that education may be worth more than what is found in any library. 

In today’s piece, William takes his turn poking at Matthew for spending all of his time cooped up in a library with his silent books when he could be enjoying the lessons of Nature, which he believes offers much worth knowing.

The Tables Turned

An Evening Scene on the Same Subject

UP! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
          Or surely you’ll grow double:
          Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
          Why all this toil and trouble?

          The sun, above the mountain’s head,
          A freshening lustre mellow
          Through all the long green fields has spread,
          His first sweet evening yellow.

          Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:
          Come, hear the woodland linnet,                             
          How sweet his music! on my life,
          There’s more of wisdom in it.

          And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
          He, too, is no mean preacher:
          Come forth into the light of things,
          Let Nature be your teacher.

          She has a world of ready wealth,
          Our minds and hearts to bless–
          Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
          Truth breathed by cheerfulness.                             

          One impulse from a vernal wood
          May teach you more of man,
          Of moral evil and of good,
          Than all the sages can.

          Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
          Our meddling intellect
          Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:–
          We murder to dissect.

          Enough of Science and of Art;
          Close up those barren leaves;                               
          Come forth, and bring with you a heart
          That watches and receives.

-William Wordsworth, 1798

Which half of this set of poems do you like best?  Why? 

Do you agree with Matthew’s opinion or do you see more clearly from William’s side of things?