Posts Tagged ‘library’

In my last post, I promised to share more information about a couple of the books that are in this photo.


Going to the neighborhood library and appreciating your tax dollars at work was #5 on Mary’s “Wintry Mix” list.

In that same vein (sort of) I respectfully piggy back on the reading theme in this post for #6.

Go local.

Okay, I really wanted to type “Go loco” above instead of Go local. But I didn’t.

Support not just your local library but the local authors and bookstores. And authors who write about your locale or community.

Honestly, not sure why but I always feel like I’ve got some skin in the game when I’ve got one of those books in my hands.

Like I get all, “That’s my neighborhood. My town. My state. My people.” You can just imagine me with a puffed out chest. And not a puffed out post menopausal belly. Full of pride.

About two months ago I met Jeanne Mc Williams Blasberg at this literary event in Providence. She was on her own so there were a couple of extra chairs begging for middle-aged occupants. Jeanne was kind enough to allow me (and a friend) to sit at her table.

Got chatting, as one does, and I absolutely did the whole Rhode Island thing. That is to relentlessly dig until you find out what or who we have in common. I usually have the energy for it. That night was no exception.

Well, we are both mothers, both lived in California and both did the expat overseas gig. Okay, sure, that could be enough to keep a semi-decent conversation going between people who just met- before the event and during intermission.

Then I found out she was an author.

Wait, what?

She has a book “Eden” floating out there and a new one being published soon.

Truthfully, between you and me, I think I might be an authorphile. You could put me in a room with Tom Brady and a writer and I be like, “Tom, I will totally hook up with you in a few. I swear. Just gotta catch up with Jeanne here.”

Tom Brady dropped like a hot potato by JBM. True story. Ain’t gonna lie.

I’m always curious about every human being but now I have questions galore for this stranger at my table. Her table. She was there first.

“Wait, how do you spell your name? Plasberg? Is that with a P? What’s it about? Where does it take place?”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I might have been a little loud because, well, I am loud. That’s who I am. And it was in a dark bistro (I know that dark should not matter for sound but neither should immediate radio music turn down when looking for a house number while driving) with a crowd of other ladies all excited to be at a watering hole with their ilk. So their noise level didn’t help mine.

“Eden” is set in my home state of Rhode Island. A fictional coastal town many natives might recognize. A novel about a family and secrets. How the lens might originally be black and white but gets a little grainy and gray (Thank you, Jesus!) with each new generation.

I really enjoyed it. Jeanne incorporates historical events-whether economic collapse or a world war-as a back drop to give the reader a feel for the time and its social mores.

Okay, Jeanne is not native to Rhode Island but she has a place with us now. Not everyone can be born here. We just don’t have the room. But as people leave or the older folks depart then spaces open up and we need to be welcoming. And then supportive.

When I was at the library poking around I noticed they had a section, by the check out desk, that had books written by local authors or about the area.

Well, why wouldn’t I read them?

I brought home Mary Cantwell’s “American Girl: Scenes from a Small-Town Childhood.” Mary was an editor and columnist for the New York Times but grew up in Bristol, Rhode Island. This book is filled with lovely memories of her childhood in this seaside town during the 1940s and 1950s. It’s like finding someone’s diary. I feel like everyone has a story. Hers was a pleasant one. Added bonus was I had a better understanding of the town’s history after reading this simple, old-fashioned memoir.

As you can see in the photo I had also grabbed Bernie Mulligan’s, “I Made It.” A story set in the town of East Providence where I was raised. I didn’t read it yet but I will. I had too many open books at the time.

This book is about a woman who was fully paralyzed from polio. She also had four sons under the age of seven when it happened! Can you even imagine?

I am so surprised I never knew about this. It’s a story of family love and commitment. Her husband fixed up an old bus so that she and her family could travel. When he passed away the neighborhood kids collected 6000 books of Green Stamps to buy a Winnebago. Or a caravan for my European readers. The newly licensed young neighbors all took turns driving her across the country to the Pacific Ocean. Oh my gosh. That’s God’s work right there. Makes me proud to be a Townie. I definitely have to read this.

Couple of books from Ann Leary in that photo. Northeast girl living in New England. I love her books. She just gets me. LOL I mean, I just get her. She’s married to comedian Denis Leary but I feel like she actually might be the funny one in that relationship. These two books (in the photo) were good but I loved, “The Good House.” I remember laughing out loud while reading it. Very few authors make me LOL. I also really liked her book “The Children.”

Not in the above photo but here is another book I recently enjoyed. Staying with the local vibe.


When I was born my parents lived in a tenement. I get it. When my husband and I bought our first home it was in Providence. A condo on the East Side. In a freaking tenement! I still haven’t heard the end of that one. But when I walked in, after the Boston group that owned it did their rehab and tagged the three floors as condos, I fell in love with the original wood floors gleaming on a sunny day. I coveted the fireplace that had been there for ages.

We’ll take it!

What I didn’t consider was that the bathroom had no heating. At all. That original, like the drafty windows we could barely open, wasn’t always a good thing.

Still. So many fabulous memories in that place. No regrets.


I consider the purchase of this book a trifecta. I supported a local book store Twenty Stories, a Providence author and really enjoyed this memoir. Filled with quirky tenants, boyfriends and lore.

That’s it for my #6 on getting through winter! Enough about books already. I’ll lay off bookspeak for awhile. I’m exhausted. Yes, it has to do with books. I will tell you why in another blog posting. Not the next one. But someday.







Read Full Post »

Let’s add this to Mary’s “Embrace the Fall and Winter” list. I believe this will be number three. It’s definitely not a ranking of importance. Just a numbering system of what pops into my head at any given moment.

Take a class.

It doesn’t have to be a big commitment like night school. Check to see what is available in your area. There might be cooking, soap making, painting, music and other classes going on near you.

As my faithful readers know, I live near the beach and as a result of my daily beach combing have amassed quite the collection of sea glass.

Over the summer, I noticed that our local Audubon Society was offering classes at their Nature Center. It was a jewelry making course. With sea glass. Well, that just called out my name. But unfortunately, after consulting my calendar, I had another commitment and wouldn’t be able to attend.


But I figured it couldn’t hurt to give them a quick buzz. I called them and asked if there would be any future classes. They advised me that there would be additional offerings. In the Fall.


My friend and I signed up, paid and marked our calendars.

It was just a couple of hours on a Saturday. We walked to the center on the East Bay bike path. And thoroughly enjoyed the morning.

It was time with my friend. Also met and chatted with new people. Had a couple of laughs. Learned something new. Got out of the house. Communed with nature.

Here is the result. Mine is the lavender one-top left.


The thing is this. You never know what will ignite your passion.

My cousin, Elizabeth, learned how to knit awhile ago and now she’s a freaking yarn junkie. She had no clue that it would hit her like that.

Maybe sea glass jewelry making won’t be your thing. Or knitting. Or painting. But there might be something out there that could end up being a match made in heaven. Your new passion.

Or it might just be a nice couple of hours out of the house in autumn or winter. A respite from cabin fever.

Expanding your horizons. Being in adult company. Maybe meeting a new best friend. Adding to your skill set.

Check the community board at your library. Grocery stores usually have these types of notices taped to their windows. Locally owned  businesses are always happy to share fun events. If all else fails search Google. 🙂

Go seek fun and cheer.



Read Full Post »

I was thinking about libraries today. About some things I miss back home.

I have always loved being in a library. My mom used to bring us all the time when we were children. And I continued my visits as an adult.

When my children were young I did the same and had them armed with a library card as soon as they were old enough.  Was pretty much a permanent fixture at our local library in Coppell, Texas. It was fabulous.

Rainy days? Go to the dry library. Hotter than Hades summer afternoons? Head to the air-conditioned library. Antsy kids? Put them up for adoption. Or hit the toddler time reading circle at the library.

My girls have attended magic shows and reptile exhibitions. They’ve gone on scavenger hunts. Joined summer reading clubs. And let’s not forget the endless arts and crafts.

I went alone. And I also brought them. I was there usually once a week. Or at least every other week.

They made it so easy for me. It was free of charge (ok, our tax dollars were hard at work) and it was comfortable. I could select my books on-line from home. They would shelve them with my name on it in a special section and I could pick them up at my convenience. And hit the check out machine if I didn’t have time to stand in line to wait for the librarian.

They had a wonderful collection. They even had a bin outside if I needed to return my books during hours when it was closed. If I was in a hurry or couldn’t drag my kids inside the building.

All great stuff. But the reason I really loved it was because I felt totally at peace while I was there. And totally comfortable. A place I always felt welcomed. No judgement from anyone. Could lose myself in my thoughts. And a book. Sit in a comfortable seat and enjoy the quiet. No phones. Didn’t have to talk. And I was with folks that were there for the same exact reasons. And I always went home with something new.

I was thinking the same thing about church today. Another thing I miss from back home.

I see the parallels.

They made it so easy for me. It was free of charge (ok, contributions welcomed) and it was comfortable. I could choose what time I wanted to go. It was always near my home. There was always someone greeting you at the door with a smile. There was ample parking. Always a volunteer group, project or organization to join. And donuts, coffee and fellowship after Mass. And beer for St. Patrick’s Day. Ok, that was just my California parish.

All great stuff. But the reason I really loved it was because I felt totally at peace while I was there. And totally comfortable. A place I always felt welcomed. No judgement from anyone. Could lose myself in my thoughts. And a book. Sit in an uncomfortable seat and enjoy the quiet. No phones. Didn’t have to talk. And I was with folks that were there for the same exact reasons. And I always went home with something new.

I haven’t been to either a church or a library since I moved to Malaysia.

Yes, I can download books on-line. And I do.

I can also be spiritual without attending a service. And I try.

There are a few reasons why I haven’t visited either place. I could list them all but what would it matter. The biggest reason I haven’t is because it just wouldn’t be the same. Some might say that’s just an excuse. Maybe. Or that it could be something better. Somehow I highly doubt that.

I know that Easter and a visit to the book store this weekend prompted all of these thoughts. It’s not even meant to be a complaint. I’m away from home and it is a different place. That’s just the way it is. But it certainly makes you appreciate certain things. That will never feel the same as they do back home.

Not to say that there won’t be other wonderful things happening wherever you happen to be. There most definitely will be. But some things just can’t be replicated.

Remember to enjoy and appreciate all the things that bring you peace. And make you truly feel at home. Whatever it might be. Wherever you happen to be.






Read Full Post »