Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I *heart* libraries

I work at a publisher and I love libraries.

There, I've said it. Seems like an oxymoron for a woman who makes a living marketing books to the masses. But it's true.

Tonight I had to drop off a few books at that library that were in danger of being overdue. As I walked out--with two new books in tow that I happened to see on the express shelf--I let out a happy sigh. Oh, how I love the library.

As a girl, there was no place I'd rather be in the summer than the library. My parents didn't have much money, so obtaining books for an obsessive reader came either by donations from friends cleaning out shelves or by borrowing them. I don't exactly remember the first time I was allowed to ride to the library on my bike, but I do know that for years after I took liberty with that freedom. First on my banana seat bike and then on a larger one with a basket, that trip was my own little piece of heaven. The library had blessed air conditioning and since my house had none, I could get away from the stifling mugginess of Indiana summers with a 15 minute ride.

I lived in a subdivision that had sprung up in the early seventies with road after road of identical ranch houses. The long roads were connected by shorter ones that made a back and forth path for me to get to my destination. I liked to ride and spy on my neighborhood, wondering what certain houses looked like on the inside. I was never afraid nor did my parents worry for my safety. I would be okay. Nothing bad happened in the seventies to kids except perhaps poison in Halloween candy, but we checked those before eating. My rides were uneventful, yet big events.

I hated all the rules of my parents and church; the library was a place for me to be myself and be on my own. I discovered many writers during those visits: Catherine Marshall, Nancy Drew, Louisa May Alcott, Anna Sewell, Grace Livingston Hill, Marguerite Henry...such a variety! It was escapism at its best. Horse books and mysteries, romance and humor--I read it all. There was one summer in which I determined to read all the books in my section of the library. Don't know that I actually did it, but I started at A and kept going until school started.

Once I had grown up and had a baby, I determined that my boy Zach would experience libraries as I had as a child. When my husband would travel, Zach and I would go over to the itty bitty library by our house and pick out books. It became our own little tradition--a date night that was our sacred routine when we were on our own.

The library where I now live is not a big place, but it has character. There is an arch over the doorway with neat little windows. That archway desperately need sweeping since the cobwebs make it look haunted, but I guess it adds character. There are a few little side nooks throughout the building where a comfy chair has been placed to read. One such place is Zach's favorite. It looks as if it was a closet at one point, but now it is a sweet spot just big enough for a chair, table and lamp. A very tall, thin window is centered on the wall that looks out into the yard where a tree shades it in summer. A few years ago while waiting for swimming lessons to start, Zach and I would often stop at the library to wait and kill time. He still claims that corner he discovered as his own special place to read. An obsessive reader himself, Zach once told me that he didn't like going to the library. He only wanted new books. Why? I asked. Because the new books haven't been read by anyone else. He's a book snob at heart. Publishers of America love him.

To me, the fact that hundreds or thousands of people have read or will read the books that I handle, remains one of life's greatest mysteries to me. Where has that book been? The beach? Someone's backyard? To Europe in a carry on bag? Did that person love this novelist as much as me? As an adult, I now choose to escape with writers such as Anita Shreve, Adriana Trigiani, Maeve Binchy, Anne Rivers Siddons, Cecilia Ahern, or Elizabeth Berg. Often times a cookbook or craft book makes its way into my bag along with a few magazines for good measure. These books are loved on and don't have crisp papers or sharp jackets anymore. All have ugly plastic covers that crinkle when you crack open the spine. But with each and every stack that makes its way to my home, I feel the same thrill.

Potential. Adventure. Escape. Dreams.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To My Son

Dear Zach,

Today is a milestone in your life, graduating from elementary school to make the big leap into middle school. This morning your dad and I will be seated in too hard metal seats as we watch you shake the Principal's hand and get a certificate that means much more than the paper it is printed on. You will strain and look for us among the sea of people and then flash that smile that I would know in a crowd of a thousand. And we will beam. And of course, I will take pictures. :-)

You came to us six weeks early on February 6, 1998. We weren't ready for you yet. Your room wasn't done and I didn't even have clothes to fit your tiny little preemie body. Your Aunt Tonya and Jammy had to shop and buy the only five preemie outfits that they could find at JCPenney. One was even a clearance outfit from Christmas. I look back at those pictures of us in those early days--Dad trying hard to hold onto you looking nervous, me with bloated face from the preeclampsia with HELLP syndrome that I had--and I can recall so many moments in great detail. I guess that I hadn't lost much sleep yet! McKenzie was a good little surrogate momma for you, pushing on your cradle and sticking her nose between the rails to get a good whiff of you. Tyson was a pup and only wanted to be let out about every ten minutes, beginning his life of driving me crazy, then batting those big brown eyes at me.

You were a gift. I remember laughter and giggles from a short, sturdy guy at two. The stubborn temper that you had as a tike and still continue to this day. How you loved and thrived on a schedule--we would have to warn you that something would be happening ten minutes prior or it would rock your world. The lines of Matchbox cars up and down the hall. The Lego builds that would engross first your three year old mind and continue still--the harder, the better. Sitting in front of Animal Planet and watching Steve Irwin and Jeff Corwin, learning every single detail of each animal and bug in the universe. You still know more about creatures than anyone I have ever met. Your temper that grew as you grew up--patient for awhile with someone, then WHAM-O, watch out! The caring spirit you have for animals and humans alike, worried about those that are upset or hurt. The random "I love you, mom" or "I love you, dad" yelled or stated from anywhere in the house or out on the town at any random moment of the day since you were teeny tiny. And the laughter, always the laughter that makes our world go 'round.

I remember when you walked into Lakes for the first day of K-5 and I will remember the day that you walk out of it. We are so proud of the little man that you are growing up to be. We've seen a maturing in you even over the last few months. You try not to cry when things upset you or you wait for bedtime to share your worries. And worry, you do. It's tough for you to control your imagination sometime--you are starting to sound like a few people I am related to! I know that you are trying hard to pray and think about what Jesus would want you to do. Dad and I can see those changes beginning in you.

Zach, Dad and I always have your back. We will support you and keep encouraging you the rest of your life. We want you to finesse your talents and abilities as you go through school, to discover things within you that we didn't find out about ourselves until we were older. We want you to find great friends that keep you moving in the right direction and that motivate you to be the best that you can be. More than anything we want you to mature and develop into a strong man of God and one that loves Jesus with all his heart. And when life gets too serious, we hope that you can always laugh in its face.

We love you Zachman. And we are so very proud of you.

Mom and Dad

Monday, June 1, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday

Just another manic Monday
Wish it were Sunday
That's my fun day
My I don't have to run day
Just another manic Monday

Thanks to the Bangles, that song pretty much describes my day.

Before Dan left for Flushing this morning, I discovered that Tyson had bugs in his food dish. Several. He only had a small bit of food left in the bowl that he was eating. I glanced down while walking by, and something moved. Aack. Gag. Seriously gross. I do not do well with that sort of business and was gagging. My hero washed the bowl outside and then I scrubbed Tyson's whole food area down afterwards. Unfortunately, the rubber garbage can that we keep his food in, seems to have more in it. And we recently dumped the BIG bag from Costco in it. Okay, YEAH...enough about that...my stomach is starting to churn, too.

The day was back to back meetings with one conference call lasting an hour and a half. My email was full so I couldn't send anything out. I left late because I lost track of time and there is no one to start dinner but me. Then this evening, Zach found a 3 day old bird (we found pictures online of a similar bird) and my resident zookeeper wanted to save it. This bird only has fluff on it and was at least 20-30 feet away from any tree. Man, was that thing ugly, but it was so pathetic when it strained its beak apart like a hinge. Poor guy.

We ended up making a nest for it in a small pot then read that it was best to keep stray baby birds outside (Are you kidding? I wouldn't think of letting it in the house!). I convinced Zach that perhaps the mom will come back and feed it as the websites said. I also warned him that in most cases, these little guys won't make it. I haven't figured out what to do with it once we find it dead in the morning. Hmmm...

The beginning of a crazy week. Zach's fifth grade graduation is on Wednesday and Dan and I are volunteering at the park for their class field day. Half days, Dan out of town again, sales conference deadlines coming up--ah, stress. I even cried tonight reading Lakes Elementary's school newsletter. The back of it had the class supply lists for next fall's start of school. I realized that Zach had moved through all of those classes and I wouldn't be needing this one anymore. Moving on up to sixth grade with all its new challenges and growth. This week is starting out to be an emotional biggie for me.

As I sit here typing, the power flipped out. For the billionth time in the past few months, no less. Glad it popped back on, but I am sure the cable will have to be reset. I was going to work some tonight, but I think I need to go to bed and start the day over.

Here's to Tuesdays that are bright and shiny and new.