Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour, Music, and Wildflowers

I took photographs of coneflowers last summer when our sweet neighbors took us to Tabor Hill last summer. I am looking forward to a lot of cone flowers this summer! Tonight Steve and I will join the rest of the world and turn off the lights tonight for World Earth Hour. It should be cool. I wonder how many people worldwide will participate? Also, Purest Green had rehearsal tonight. There was a disconnect with where the practice was held, so two of us ended up in Cassopolis and three people ended up in South Bend. And we ended up rehearsing in Mishawaka. Go figure! Anyway it was both annoying and humorous for all parties involved, but at least it was a lovely early spring afternoon. We managed to meet and rehearse. I enjoy playing Celtic music, but my heart is in big band, blues, and jazz. I was so happy to play jazz again. ;) S. was a great hostess. We're playing a mix of Celtic and Jazz for the next show in April.
After rehearsal, I went to the store, bought four large jugs of vinegar, and headed out to the back yard. I dug out the outline of the backyard for our wildflower garden. Steve read online that vinegar does the same job as round-up, so I sprayed vinegar all over the grass where the wildflower garden will be. It's going to be a friendship/memory/poetry garden. I want to get the backyard ready to entertain this spring/summer/fall. I talked to a friend at a party recently, and he inspired me to have a Indiana native wildflower garden.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Bittersweet Day: From Libraryland to Limboland

It was an interesting day. We attended a meeting at the Western Branch (one of our sister branches.) It's always fun to see colleagues from other branches. We had a good time discussing customer service. It's also strange almost being on the other side of libraryland. I am in limboland right now: it's a little strange. I was saddened to learn about the death of one of my regular patrons. Our staff loved her. She was a spritely, sweet sixty-something lady who would also light up the library with her smile and her sunny personality. She was always a pleasure to wait on and choosing the right books for her was fun. My heart fell when her sister brought in her books and told us the news. My heart is heavy today. The library felt empty today without her.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ratamacue Rat

(Ratamacue Rat plays the cymbal.)
(Close-up of Ratamacue Rat.)
(Ratamacue Rat plays the Djembe.)
Ratamacue Rat is traveling already. He is at band practice and is quite the ham.

St. Patrick's Day at CLub LaSalle

(The ensemble performing at Club LaSalle.)
(This is the logo for our myspace page created by one of our band members.)
Last Wednesday, Steve went with me to Club LaSalle for Purest Green's St. Patrick's Day show. The day was unseasonably warm, so it was easy to haul percussion equipment. We set up the percussion equipment early (around 3p.m.) and then we had a complimentary dinner. The staff at Club LaSalle was great. One of the bartenders was a percussionist, so we had a lot to talk about.
Overall it was a good show; however there were some inconsistencies with some of the starts, endings, and solos. I won't go into sprecifics here, but it was frustrating, since we worked so hard in rehearsal. Otherwise it was a good evening. We had a lot of compliments. We had the first set from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. There were so many people there after approximately 6:00 p.m.. There were a lot of kilts and some green hair (like mine.) Fortunately, I had hairapy the next day, so all the green came out of my hair.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Leaving Libraryland

This is the most painful decision I have made in a long time--if ever.
I am resigning as manager of the LaSalle Branch Library as of May 28, 2010. I am in the process of applying to graduate school at IU to earn my master's in English (literature and writing.) I am going to take courses this fall and if I like it, I'll stick with it. I also want to work part-time and pursue my passions of art, music, photography, and writing. It's time to close this chapter and open a new one.
I love SJCPL, my staff, my colleagues, my coordinator, my superiors, and my patrons.
I always will.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rehearsal and Puppets in Vegas

Saturday morning Purest Green had a mega rehearsal before our next performance at Club LaSalle. We practiced at B's house for five (!) hours. We took breaks and B had food for us to keep all of us energized. It was fun: three sets of Irish music. There's also a new member in the ensemble-- a guitarist (C.) He's super cool and a talented guitarist. He adds a lot of positive energy to the group. I am learning so much about Irish music. And since it's part of my heritage and Steve's heritage, it makes it more meaningful. Meanwhile, I am thinking of purchasing green dye to wear in my tresses on St. Patrick's Day. After rehearsal, I crashed for a few hours. Steve and I then found a cool film online: Terry Fator: Live From Las Vegas. If you watched America's Got Talent, Fator won the first year with his ventriloquism. He didn't just throw voices into puppets; he sang tunes in the voices of the original artists. My favorite is Louis Armstrong. It was quite amusing and just what we needed for the evening.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cool Websites from Photocraft

In the resources section of Photocraft, there are great websites to peruse for creating your own art. Here are some of my favorites: www.iStockphoto.com Sell or purchase photos from this site. www.jewelrysupply.com Purchase jewelry supplies from this site. www.photowow.com An LA based site that will make your photographs into large-size prints. www.pictureframes.com A great framing site.

Photocraft

Today while waiting for an appointment and lunch with my dad, I perused a book called Photocraft: Cool Things to Do with the Pictures You Love by Caroline Herter, Laurie Frankel, and Laura Lovett. I enjoyed this book because there are so many things to do with your photographs! There are step-by-step directions from the simple to the sophisticated. There are resources and informative websites at the end of the book, and of course, an index (which to me is a measure of a good nonfiction read.) Enjoy!

Taxing Wednesday

It was literally a taxing night. The good news is that we saw our friend and tax preparer E. again. She is delightful, knowledgeable, and has really good hair. As usual, she gave us some good tax advice that I will pass on to you for free. In Indiana, if you are a homeowner and purchase energy efficient items such as a new air conditioner, doors, furnace, and windows, you can deduct up to 30% of $5,000 worth of improvements. This is only applicable for 2010. (Some years have this option, others do not.) As a result, your total deduction could be up to $1,500. However, this does not include appliances. Also, if you are going to take classes, it is a good idea to open a c529 plan. Apparently this helps with tax deductions with supplies and tuition. This can be done through your broker or bank. (And of course, before you do any of this, consult your own accountant.) Steve and I continued our yearly tradition of going out to dinner to celebrate (or commiserate) the tax experience. This year we definitely needed comfort food, so we opted for Rulli's Italian Restaurant. Mm.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Denial

Today Steve and I enjoyed a Sunday brunch with his folks. (It was my mother-in-law's birthday.) After brunch, we visited Barnes & Noble. Steve and I then attended a play that a friend told me about. It's entitled "Denial." It's a play about a Holocaust denier who is going on trial and the lawyer, who is Jewish, who is his defense attorney. It's a very heavy but a very good play. The theatre group, founded by my friend in 2007, is called The Nickel and Dime Theater. It's based on the true community theatre concept--local actors (beginning and seasoned) from the community performing multicultural plays. I was pleased. After seeing this play, I have the desire to write plays again. I miss the theatre experience.

Bell, Book, and Candle

Saturday I took my first springtime walk around the boulevard. I'm so relieved that winter has (temporarily, at least) released its chokehold. It was freeing to walk outside with my iPod and not look down at the pavement and not worry about slipping on the ice. In the evening we entertained friends. We devoured pizza, sipped wine and champagne, and sampled chocolate cake that K brought over. It was delicious. We watched the classic movie
Bell, Book, and Candle with Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak, and Jack Lemmon.
I enjoy classic movies.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Introducing a Rat...

...named Ratamacue. He's a friend of Lady Rat who adorned my blog for a long time. Lady Rat was rat-napped and went on many adventures. However, she got homesick, so she was returned home to Centre. Ever since, I've been on the lookout for the perfect rat to make a return appearance on the blog. Lady Rat was a hard act to follow. And when I have almost given up on the search, I found one.
Ratamacue Rat lived in a shop in the mall, on the leftover Halloween shelf, next to the disgustingly cute stuffed animals. I rescued him from the cuteness, purchased him, and took him home. He has claws, little teeth, and whiskers: just enough to slightly freak Steve out. (Poor Steve: my delicate little flower.) Although photographed here on the dining room table, Ratamacue lives high up on my bookshelf near the woodcarving of a gray gargoyle with red eyes that resembles the Winged Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz. This is rat insurance; the three felines that run this household eyed him was I was photographing him.
Friends, meet Ratamacue Rat.

Day 29

I completed a cycle for the 29 Gifts. I gave the last of the flowers to a patron who was having a rough morning. I petted a big puppy outside who belonged to one of my loyal regular patrons. (I wanted to meet one of my four-legged patrons. Rover Roving Reference...) It was a good run and I learned a lot from the experience. Mindful giving is really cool, especially when you can visibly see someone's spirits lifted. Now to figure a way to keep my own spirits lifted... lately, that has been a challenge for me. Perhaps I need to start another cycle of giving. And I do appreciate the gifts others have given to me and the gifts I have in my life.

Labor Day Weekend: Library, Gaming, Rock Band, and Kayaking

Isn't it interesting how a simple, one-line post on social media can inspire a person to write more about it on a blog? Yes, that is w...