Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holiday Baking

I am not one of those people who starts decorating before Thanksgiving, and in fact, as some of you know, my mother always insisted that we wait until Christmas Eve to decorate the tree. But I just received something that put me in a very holiday frame of mind - my friends Valerie and Janice's book is out, Cookie Craft - doesn't it look lovely, not to mention appetizing?




Book Description
Amateur cookie crafters can achieve bakery-quality design and homemade fresh taste. Thanks to the clear instructions and practical methods, Cookie Craft gives readers access to the entire world of decorated cookies, beginning with an inspirational gallery of 150 colorful cookies guaranteed to start those creative juices flowing.

It will be on display at bookstores, including Borders and Barnes & Noble, and available at barnesandnoble.com (my old account, I wonder how they are surving without me) and Amazon.

I could use some of those cookies now!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A rose by any other name

Someone at work called me Connie today. Several times. Which I hate. It was in an email so I couldn't correct him when it happened. And while it came from a pleasant individual and I know it was meant in a friendly way, I suspected that if I didn't say something, then all the people he had copied might start calling me Connie too! Next, it could be the whole organization. Then I might be stuck that way for the rest of my career... So I replied, saying yes, I would be happy to do whatever was needed, and signed my name (pointedly, I thought). However, the next email had another Connie in it! This time, when I signed my reply, I put Constance, not Connie. That got the message across satisfactorily, and I got two quick acknowledgements; I just hope it didn't make me seem like a prima donna...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

World Series

Are the Red Sox are baseball's loveable Goliath? This writers say, "When you’re a loveable loser and always the underdog, people cheer for you to finally taste victory. But when you win all the time — and spend a lot of money to do it — people start to get first bored and then resentful." This is certainly what happened with Duke: one day everyone felt bad for us losing to UNLV and then practically overnight people started rooting against us and throwing bottles at players' families! (Well, what do you expect from those Terps fans?!) Is it just a matter of time before the world turns on the Red Sox? We already hear that our (lack of) salary cap makes us just as bad as the Yankees, and the argument that we're good and they're evil simply doesn't sound convincing.

In this World Series, the Rockies are not only the underdogs, they are practically invisible as they stroll about town. But that doesn't mean they will be a pushover...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bob Ryan disses librarians!

The Boston Globe, October 18, 2007
IT ISN'T often that librarians make the pages of an opinion piece. When they do, it is usually because of standing up for patrons' rights or other fights for the freedom of information. This time, however, it came in the form of a negative stereotypical viewpoint of sports columnist Bob Ryan ("QB receives more support this season," Sports, Oct. 15). Ryan wrote, "And you can be sure [Tom] Brady will be seen in public with a homely librarian before he engages in any discussion about the difference between the receivers he was forced to work with last season and the ones he has now." Not only is that offensive, but it reinforces a stereotype that librarians fight against. It is outrageous how Ryan essentially equates librarians as lesser people to be associated with in comparison to, say, supermodels or actresses whom Brady may date more frequently.

It is time to stand up as a society and realize how important it is to break stereotypes and show respect to some of the most valuable community members we may be fortunate enough to "be seen with." As for Ryan, I would advise him to get to know his local librarians better.
TED SCHELVAN, Norwell, MA
The writer is a librarian at Norwell High School.

HOMELY LIBRARIANS unite - Boston Globe beautiful-person expert Bob Ryan doesn't think you are suitable for Tom Brady. Which is saying something, considering that Ryan looks like a cross between Bilbo Baggins, Tip O'Neill, and Elmer Fudd; comes from New Jersey; and makes his living watching other people play games.
On second thought, homely librarians - don't pay attention to what Ryan writes. It doesn't really matter.
JAY PARK, Easton, MA

I will say that Bob had an awesome piece today about sports fans which (partially) makes up for his insensitivity...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A proud day for Radcliffe and perhaps the world...

It is a happy day as former Prime Minister (and fellow Radcliffe alumna) Benazir "Pinky" Bhutto makes a triumphant return to Pakistan! While accusations of corruption brought down her government in 1996, she has always seemed sincere in her desire to bring democracy to her country (and some blamed the corruption on her husband, who I always suspected was part of a marriage of state, to disarm enemies who would not have taken her seriously if she were single). She has a very dangerous road ahead.



photo courtesty of Getty Images


Of course, tragedy struck, in the form of a suicide bomber, just hours after I wrote this, which must have been devastating for all involved but Bhutto sounds resolute.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

I am always lending books or donating my extras to the library, so when a friend in Houston recommended Bookmooch, which provides a way to swap unwanted books for ones one is seeking, I thought it was worth a try. For me, it has made the most sense when I could obtain a copy of a book from the UK not available here (and which might only cost a few pence in price but a lot in postage), although a) the most recent titles are often not listed yet, b) the used book/online market in the UK is very different from here so the inventory is limited, and c) one book took 3 months to appear! Sometimes it is a pain to make a special trip to the post office too, if one is doing the sending.

However, overall, the process is entertaining and Bookmooch seems to be adding 300 new members a day!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Land of Minnehaha

In Minnesota for work, I was able to rendezvous for dinner on Saturday night with several of the Twin City Betsy-Tacys, which was such a nice way to begin the week. Betsy Sundquist and her husband Kip picked me up at my hotel (Kip is a new acquisition since my last trip to Mankato, and had already shown himself to be a kindred spirit, not to mention a skillful city driver) and we drove to a place called Brits Pub not far away where Linda Gesling, Julie Chuba and Barbara Carter were waiting for us. I had not met Barb in person before but she was just as nice as in all our correspondence, and both Julie and Linda are old friends. As all Betsy-Tacy fans know, it is so easy to talk about every topic under the sun when we are together! Thus, it was also hard to tear ourselves away (and dinner was good too) but I still had several patents to read about so we left about 11 or so. Julie and I were amazed at the nightlife (and some of the outfits we saw) but the weather had been in the 80s so maybe it was a last hurrah before winter hits... It was a pity not to see the Target Center while I was there (oddly enough the Timberwolves were in London playing the Celtics!) but I was as charming as possible to all the local partners I met in the hope that they would ask me to come back to assist them with some important trial (however, don't hold your breath since a) there were plenty of very able new associates in that office too, and b) I may not know enough yet to be all that useful although I know a lot more than I did a week ago).


Left to right: Barbara Carter, Betsy Sundquist, CLM, Linda Gesling, Julie Chuba, Kip Sundquist. The ever thoughtful Betsy had also brought me a book to read, and the minute I saw the cover I remembered checking it out of the John Ward School library about 4th grade.

My work conference, which they called "boot camp" was both exhilarating and exhausting, with seminars and lots of practical application and role playing. I enjoyed getting to know the other new associates from different parts of the country but got very little sleep because we were working long hours (I have not mastered all the new technology yet and when I entered my hours for Tuesday, the computer argued with me, "You cannot work 26 hours in one day!" and I realized I had entered Tuesday and Wednesday in the same box. )

Here I am, hard at work, with two of my new colleagues, trying to fight off an (imaginary) infringing company:



I was amused to find the guy in the middle had been 19 years behind me in college! Needless to say, I did not share this with him. He was quite brilliant, and I have never seen anyone so adept with a computer who was not an IT professional. I wished he had been with me the first week of work when I was wrestling with PowerPoint! I have now signed up for a class since it is clearly going to be important to improve my computer skills.

I am always afraid in hotels that I am going to sleep through the alarm and miss my meetings, and Westin's Heavenly Bed threatened to smother me besides. I picked the nicest guy in my group (who unexpectedly confessed he watches Grey's Anatomy with his wife) and made him promise to call if I was missing at breakfast but luckily I made it down by 7:30 every morning.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Don't Gloat!

In New England, in Red Sox Nation, baseball continues amid joy and gloating.

However, gloating is never becoming and results in bad karma. And there is still a lot of baseball to play. I do think it is fortunate that my friend Dean was in Italy on vacation when the Yankees lost since he would not have taken it well.

photo courtesy of the Boston Globe

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Does this remind you of anything?

Chapter One

Tilly-Tod sounds like the name of just one little girl, but it was actually the name of two little girls who looked so much alike and were so much together that they were almost one, and so everyone called them Tilly-Tod, just like that, in one breath. There was no use in calling one all by herself, because the other one was sure to be close by her and to come running, too. Besides, if you did manage to get one all by herself, you could not possibly have told which one you had, for they looked exactly alike. (But probably, if it was Tilly you had, she would say, "I'm Tilly," because, for one reason, she was a very good child who liked to be helpful and obliging, and for another, she always wanted people to know that she was she. On the other hand if it was Tod you had, she would probably look at you with wide-open eyes that seemed to be seeing something amusing away behind you, and let you go on calling her Tilly without correcting you.)



They were twins. Tod was just as old as Tilly (and that would be eight on their birthday next July) and she was just as tall as Tilly, and just as round and chubby as Tilly... And they were both dressed alike from the tops of their sprigged sunbonnets to the tips of their square little black ankle ties.

This is from Tilly-Tod by Elizabeth Janet Gray, an author I have collected for years, and this book was the only one I had never come across. I finally got it via interlibrary loan a few days ago, and found it very charming although it is obviously intended for 6 or 7 year olds, and clearly has similarities to Betsy-Tacy, although is set some 40 years earlier. Gray was a noted Quaker, who went as a governess to Japan after World War II to tutor Emperor Akihito of Japan in English, then the Crown Prince. They stayed in touch her whole life, long after she had returned to Philadelphia. She also received the Newbery Award for Adam of the Road, although my two favorites are Jane Hope and The Fair Adventure.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What was your favorite?

I was asked on Saturday to come up with a list of beloved children's books, now out of print, with possible commercial potential. I came up with:

The Thirteenth is Magic by Joan Howard (story of siblings who live in a New York City apartment building where - mysteriously - there is no 13th floor) (the fact that used copies are over $100 might indicate there is indeed demand!)


Emmy Keeps a Promise by Madye Lee Chastain (19th century story of sisters Emmy and Arabel who come to New York City to make their fortune - or, at least, Arabel comes to teach in a private school for young ladies and Emmy comes to keep an eye on Arabel)

The Lark in the Morn by Elfrida Vipont (first of two books about Kit Haverard, the "untalented" child of a musical Quaker family who finally discovers where she fits in)

I would have included the Mushroom Planet books except that the first one is still in print. My nephew liked the first one but it may be hard to get him all the sequels. I remember selling a tired ex-library copy on eBay a few years ago for $50.

If I could include adult books, I would start with Elswyth Thane's Williamsburg novels, of course. They desperately need to be introduced to a new generation. They might be my all time favorites (a strong statement, indeed!).


Any other suggestions?