Very few words this morning.
Lots and lots and lots of prep to be done still.
Very few words this morning.
Lots and lots and lots of prep to be done still.
Jim and I have decided we need to explore our local world more, so today’s field trip was to the Fitchburg Art Museum. We’d been there once (or maybe twice?) before, but it’s been several years since we last visited, and we were very pleasantly surprised by the changes. We were obviously the only visitors in the museum when we first arrived, and we were greeted enthusiastically by an older woman at the desk who informed us that the museum has a new director who has made significant – and good – changes to the museum. And it’s clear that the director is on to something, because every security guard in the museum was happy and friendly and helpful and welcoming. I’ve never seen such a great bunch of security guards; usually they seem to be wishing they were someplace else more exciting, but not this crew.
It’s a small museum, but they have two awesome special exhibits at the moment, one of paintings from the Hudson River School, and the other (my favorite) of photographs from the museum’s “world-class collection.” (See the museum’s website for more information on each of these exhibits – scroll down a bit on the home page and view the six page cycling banner.) I’m not a photography expert, but I think they had some pretty awesome photographs in that exhibit…photos by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Berenice Abbott, and many many more.
We also enjoyed the other exhibits we visited: the Egyptian gallery, the gallery of Eastern art, and the African masks. The enthusiasm of the guard in the Egyptian gallery knew no bounds, and his enthusiasm encouraged us to explore that gallery in far more depth than we otherwise would have. I even took the time to look at the mummy of the cat, and moved from being grossed out by it to intrigued by it. And the mummy of the tiny crocodile was fascinating.
We were happy to see other museum visitors arriving as we concluded our visit, and hopefully the energy of the museum’s new director will bring many more people to this small but vibrant cultural gem. As for us, we will definitely be back, sooner rather than later (upcoming field trip with Dad to see the photography exhibit).
And next week’s Sunday field trip is to meet our new nephew!!
I have absolute proof that spring is coming, despite the snow currently fluffing through the air: at Monday morning’s storytime, several of my regular attendees – kids who are always attentive – were practically bouncing off the walls. Some of these usually docile children even had to be taken out the story room by their grownups. Spring is definitely coming.
And thank you to all of you who left such sweet comments about my last post on the loss of our dear Ophy. I appreciate your love and support. I’m slowly getting used to the idea that Ophy isn’t around anymore, and I keep reminding myself that she was terribly sick and ready to move on. I’ve never had to make that decision before, and now I fully appreciate what our wonderful vet told me: while putting a beloved pet to sleep is very difficult, it is also one’s obligation as a caring pet owner to make that decision when the time comes. And hopefully Ophy is cavorting in the great beyond with her best feline pal, Rudy.
Ophelia Harper Kingsbury ~ 1998 – February 26, 2013
Goodbye, my sweet.
Yesterday we (ok, Jim – I was just the passenger) drove out to Shelburne Falls for a day trip. Our original plan was to go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, but then the night before I remembered our failed visit to IKEA on Monday – it stinks when you make a longish drive to get somewhere and then can’t even get parking because it’s school vacation week, so you have to turn around and come home without achieving vacation happiness. So Shelburne Falls seemed like a much better alternative.
It’s definitely mid-winter – the dead of winter. The views along the highway were rather desolate…leafless trees, dirty snow, bleak sky. And Shelburne Falls was very different from when we’ve visited in the summer time. Not many people around, and those who were in town were obviously locals. The town had a bit of the feel of Nantucket in February (a trip we often make): cold, a bit sad, empty. But a couple of excellent used bookstores were open, and we each got a book: Victorian Fairy Tales edited by Jack Zipes for me, and The Lowell Canal System for Jim. Then a walk up to view the glacial potholes, an excellent and cheap lunch in a small restaurant, a visit to an art gallery/store where there was some cool art glass (loved the glass octopi – too bad they were $250), and then a bit of wandering around to take some photos and get some air.
All in all, a very nice day. And now we settle in for the last two days of our vacation, which will include much loving attention to sick Ophy, game night with friends tonight, and then another weekend snowstorm. It will be hard to go back to work on Monday!
I’m absolutely exhausted tonight, having had more exercise today than I have since I broke my foot in December, so just a quick update on our vacation…
Dinner at the Local Table was excellent. We enjoyed two beers that we had never heard of before (one each, thank you, we’re not lushes) and the best burgers either of us has had in a long time. And not too horribly expensive, either.
We fit in our once-yearly visit to a mall, this year to the Pheasant Lane Mall, with two goals: to buy Jim a new charger cord plug thing for his iPod, and to visit Newbury Comics. Check and check, and then we got the heck out of mall-land.
We made a trip all the way to Stoughton to visit IKEA – they have the best towels around, and we needed new ones. But unfortunately, they were SOOO busy that we couldn’t even get a spot in their parking lot or garage, and ended up driving back north and having lunch at the Colonial Inn. Yummy food, and I love that back bar room at the Inn. Then a little walk around Concord center, with stops at our two favorite bookstores (Barrow Books and Concord Bookshop).
Tuesday’s outing was a trip to Lexington center, based mostly on my dental appointment. We had lunch at Panera Bread, which made us feel quite urban (the decor there is amazing for a sandwich shop), and the food was delicious. Then a little trip to Sweet Beads of Lexington to get me my bead fix…and quid pro quo for Jim, we drove to Minor Chord of Littleton for Jim’s guitar fix.
And then today we ventured up to the Peabody Essex Museum, where we enjoyed an excellent lunch at their cafe before seeing the Yin Yu Tang house for the first time. Then a quick tour of their other galleries and a very very quick trip into the gift shop (it was the first day of their big sale, members only, and it was pretty cutthroat in there). After leaving the museum, we drove up to Beverly and walked on the beach a bit – Jim walked more than I did – so that Jim could check out Baker’s Island through the binoculars. And I got some nice beach glass.
And now we’re home and tired and planning the rest of our week off!
First day of vacation – woo-hoo!
Jim and I have lots of fun things planned for this stay-cation; I’ll try to find time to post updates over the next week. And absolutely NONE of those updates will be work related – that’s a promise!
Today’s plan is to take care of boring errands like buying TurboTax (Jim’s vacation starts tomorrow, so he is at work today), have a pancake lunch with my dad (I make the meanest pancake around), and to feel very happy that Ophy’s most recent health issue (huge weight loss) seems to be due to hyperthyroidism. And then dinner tonight at the Local Table! Happy vacation to us!
We read all kinds of books in my library book groups, but until yesterday we had not yet read and discussed a nonfiction title. I’ve tried to convince the groups to let me try a nonfiction book, but the idea has always been promptly shut down.
I was very pleased, then, when this years’s 6th grade book group acquiesced and permitted me to thrust a nonfiction title upon them. They weren’t enthusiastic - they were skeptical - but they still said “yes.” And so yesterday we discussed Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose.
I purposefully chose a book that I was excited to read, knowing that some of that excitement would help carry the group, but I also chose this book because it is absolutely fascinating and engaging. A species of shorebird that is suffering a rapidly decline, yet one individual bird of that species has thrived for twenty years or more? And flown from the tip of South America to the Arctic and back each year? Amazing. I LOVED this book: it’s one of the best books I’ve read in the last year.
Unfortunately, as I had predicted to myself, it didn’t go over so well with the book group. Of six group members, only three attended yesterday (one who couldn’t come most surely had read the book, though), and of those three, only one had actually read the whole book. One other had read four pages, and the third hadn’t read any of it. Fortunately, Phillip Hoose’s website has some great links to useful video and audio, so we watched (and heard) Hoose discuss why he wrote the book and read an excerpt from it. We also watched part of a great informative video by Parks Canada about the rufa red knot to bring everyone up to speed on the subject of the book. And the group member who had read it helped me discuss and explain the most interesting parts of the book to the other two sixth graders present.
All in all, not a failure, this first foray into having a nonfiction title to discuss in book group. Perhaps the secret might be to introduce nonfiction titles right at the beginning, with our youngest book group (the third graders) so that it doesn’t seem odd or unusual the way that it did to the sixth graders. I’ll keep trying, definitely, and I’m very glad to have had a reason to read this excellent book.
Yes, I’m still here – but I’m finding that my still-healing broken foot is limiting my evening creativity. While at work, I think of things that would be awesome blog post topics: a very young child who says or does something charming, a book group that takes the book discussion to a new level, an idea for a new program. But I can’t write blog posts at work, and by the time I get home I’m a bit cooked, mentally and physically, after stumping around at the library all day with the walking boot on my foot.
So here’s a quick summary of what I’ve been up to for the last couple of weeks:
Hopefully my foot will be fully healed soon (eight weeks and counting right now, this is a loooooooong process), but until then please forgive me if I have lapses of blog entries. I’m still here!
Thanks to N—-, I had a sizable gift certificate to the Concord Bookshop burning a hole in my pocket. The Concord Bookshop is my favorite bookstore, and I can’t think of anything more fun than having a guilt-free shopping trip there.
Monday was the day I got to use my gift certificate, and for the first time in years (more years than I can count), I didn’t make an immediate beeline for the children’s and young adult section at the back of the store. In fact, I realized that I had absolutely no interest in looking at books in either of those sections; I wanted and needed to avoid them for a change. One bad side effect of being a children’s librarian is that you need to read gobs of children’s and young adult books, and it becomes very hard to have enough time left to read grown-up books. And, for the first time in years, I think that I’m actually burnt-out on juvenile literature.
So here is what I ended up buying: two Agatha Christie books, The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side and The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and a Philip Pullman book, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, A New English Version (which was shelved in the adult section). Admittedly, fairy tales are often viewed as children’s literature, but I like to remember that they were not always intended for just children; I’ll be reading Pullman’s versions of the tales from that perspective. And, admittedly, Agatha Christie’s books aren’t necessarily deep and challenging novels for adults, but oh how I do love them. Nothing like a good murder mystery to keep you company by the woodstove on a winter’s evening.
It’s been lovely reading these books the last few nights, knowing that I don’t have to read them, and that I can savor and enjoy them just because I want to. I’ll need to kick into gear this evening and reread Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon for tomorrow’s book group, but then I’ll move right back into one of my new purchases for a little study break before I dig into next week’s book group book. And I have a feeling that I’m entering a phase of obsessive reading of Agatha Christie…