Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lemon cookie recipe

We have parties at our library for people's birthdays. Actually, I like to slip in parties for other days, too. You never can have too many goodies at the library! Well, as long as you wash your hands before and after eating.

Today was Lynn's birthday, and since she likes lemony things so much, I decided to drag out an old recipe that was hidden away in my own journal. I made them a couple years back with a friend. After making the cookies, I went home and wrote down the recipe by memory and never had a chance to try it out (I went to grad school instead!). Luckily, it seems that I remembered it correctly, because the cookies turned out just fine. In fact, Lynn asked me for the recipe. Fancy that!

In case you want to try them, it is as follows:

1 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
mix until fluffy

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
mix into above

2 1/2 c. flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
mix into above

cool for at least 1/2 hour

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
roll into balls, cover with sugar, place on ungreased cookie sheet, press down with a fork. It takes about 8 minutes, take them out before they are fully cooked through, and eat warm.

Recipe should make 5 dozen.

Now I need to figure out what to do with my excess, because certainly I shouldn't eat them all!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When she danced she was just this happy ballerina.

I was, for many years, a ballerina. My co-workers would attest to this by the simple fact that I can not just walk across the library from the reference desk to the circ desk to answer a patron's question (or a co-worker's question), but instead I must, well, you fill in the blank, to get there. Glide, leap, prance, hop, skip. They probably all fit. If only I can be so peppy in 50 years time when I'm wacking around the pages with my cane and muttering about the "good old days".

Therefore, I was shocked to read BiblioFile's blog to find out that there was a series of ballerina books that I had never read. I admit, I wasn't a girly girl. Give me something pink, and I scorned it. Frankly, the only reason I ever got a doll was because I turned up for pictures as a "Party Girl" in The Nutcracker and discovered to my horror that everyone else there had brought a doll and I had none. I had to borrow another girl's doll for my picture. Needless to say, that although I was given many ballet-themed items (and scorned most of them), ballet books pretty much weren't among them. At a library book sale, I found an old copy of Noel Streatfeild's book Dancing Shoes, and it was a tradition for me to read it over summer break. Perhaps it was my own way of getting my mind into the game for Nutcracker auditions.

Back to the new series. The Drina books by Jean Estoril. Unfortunately, this books rate the same as Sally Watson books. Which are near impossible to get. No, I have to take that back. Sally Watson books have been republished in softcover by Image Cascade Publishers. They specialize in republishing vintage books. So, maybe there is hope for Jean Estoril books! But finding original Sally Watson books is like the Holy Grail in book sales. I will fight you for it!

Happily, I was able to ILL two of Jean Estoril's books. Drina Dances in Italy and We Danced in Bloomsbury. I just love the title of the last one. Some titles I just find so attractive and I'm drawn to them. Yeah, maybe I'm weird. In the Drina book, she's just come back from a year dancing in the country to return to her former dance school. They like to point out throughout the entire book that she dance the name role in The Changeling (I guess it's an important fact that we shouldn't forget). But, her Italian grandmother finally gets her way, and Drina is off to Italy for a visit for the second part of the book (the first half is her getting back into the rhythm of London/worried about Italy). Of course, dreams are realized in Italy and new friendships are formed. I only wish I could get ahold of the other books in the series!

After reading this book on Saturday, I sniffed back a tear and went to find my ballet bag which I was finally reunited with after several years earlier this month. I preceded to walk around my apartment with my pointe shoes on, thinking that I should really get back to ballet. I can't be too old and funless for it yet. I just need to find a place to attend! Though doubtful anyone would want me seeing how out of practice I've been since college.

We Danced in Bloomsbury Square follows the fortunes of the Darke twins, Dorrie and Debbie. It's told from the point of view of Dorrie, who feels the lesser of the twins, being "Darke in name and dark in nature" as her teacher called her. They both audition for a scholarship spot at a dance school in London. While both are accepted, only Debbie is given the scholarship, and they can't afford to pay to send Dorrie. Of course, doors are open, but before then, Debbie says some very hurtful things about Dorrie to her face, and causes a major rift between the twins. The book follows Dorrie as she begins to believe in herself, as an individual and as a dancer.

They were both very satisfying little reads that reminded me of how much I loved being a dancer. Though, perhaps, my feet are thinking of something different!

Picture time! Here's me as a snowflake from the "Snow Scene" in The Nutcracker.


I would say, "pretty hot, eh?". But, it should rather be ice cold, I should think. I was, I think, in 10th grade when that one was taken.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Last Summer (of You & Me)

"As children, they had dozens of names for the beach... A placid, white-sand and sparkly turquoise affair was a Tortula beach... The Rily beach, also known as Fight beach, was when the little grains of sand whipped like glass against your skin and the surf was ragged and punishing. An Alice beach was truly rare, and it involved tide pools." ~pg 10, The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares.

I walked out my door this morning into a "Wales day". You see, I sometimes like to name my days according to the places I've been and of what they remind me, rather like how the characters in Ann Brashares' book named beaches. To me, a "Wales day" is one that has a slight chill in the air, is overcast, and if it is slightly misty, all the better. Despite the unpleasant sound of that, I really do love these days. Bring on the hiraeth! Of course, then there are "France days", which can also be slightly chilly, but are blindingly bright in the early morning hours. These bring to mind the days I spent studying abroad in France during high school and my early morning walks to the bus stop. Each of these days are rare, so I'm always overjoyed to find one when I step out of my apartment.

This was actually the first book by Ann Brashares I have ever read. I know! I know! Horrible me for not reading her Travelling Pants series. And I did find some bits of it to be overwhelmingly "Danielle Steele-esque repetative" (especially Paul's emotional musings over Alice), I did, overall, enjoy the book. It only took a couple chapters to realize that it really would be the last summer for one of the characters (ooo, gone all totally A Summer to Die on you, haven't I?).

Out of the three characters, I think I related most to Riley, and, of course, she was the least well representative of the "voices" Brashares used in this book. But there are times, as I'm sure comes to most everyone, that I don't feel that I quite fit into this world as well as most people, and perhaps it would be better if I were to die young (and not just because of how good I am, thank you Billy Joel). Which, I know, makes no sense. That and the fact that my heart and I have a love-hate relationship starting from the time that I had to get an EKG (because I have a heart mummer), which still gives me an "ick" feeling whenever I think about it, to the time that I woke up and was completely convinced that my heart was not beating. I could not feel a think, and not for lack of trying. (I then decided that God had given me a few moments to find my parents to say goodbye to them, and I couldn't find them. Which meant I stumbled back to my bed and collapsed in a cold sweat, and then passed out-not pretty, I assure you). But, if it all comes down to it and I had the choice Riley had, I think I would chose to end it how she did

So as far as being "emotional" when reading this book, I didn't really go there like Julie did. But, then again, I only show emotions when I watch cheesy Hilary Duff films like Raise Your Voice (I admit, when her brother died at the beginning, I was completely balling my eyes out because I was thinking what would I do if my brother died and I was all to blame). But don't tell anyone I said that! There were some times, however, when I didn't think I was going to be able to finish this book, because I hate the talk of medical things, it makes me go faint. Perhaps that was why I never got into those Lurlene McDaniel books that were so popular when I was growing up.

Gosh, I am really bad at trying to review books. I should give up!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What was that book?

I have to say that I adore this LJ community: What Was That Book?.

It's like a big mystery story just trying to figure out from the little clues people remember about a certain book what exactly it is. And, it makes me realize how few books I've really read when there are so many out there I can't ID!

And, I sometimes find some very interesting sounding books there that I just have to read! Like A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley.

As Tim Gunn would say...

How to post this onto a blog 101. Make it work!


The above posted by Zoho Writer. Trying to see why Terri's wasn't posting correctly.

"Flirting is Manditory"

According to the Dove chocolate I just ate, "flirting is mandatory" today. I rather absently read it and threw it away. Now I'm wondering if that really is what it said. Seems somewhat suspect.

We have the Dove chocolates here because I bought them as an incentive to Terri to finish her 23 Things blog. She's going to do so today. Well, she had better. We work late together tonight (finally!) so I will be poking and prodding her all night long. And stealing her chocolate incentives!

Flying out to St. Louis a couple weekends ago, I finally got a chance to read some of the ARCs I got at ALA. The first was Jinx by Meg Cabot and I, suprise suprise, actually enjoyed it. I act suprised (really) because I haven't much enjoyed the last couple books she has written for teens. And although I thought that the plot was going to turn out all Witches of Eastwick "we want the perfect man" and in walks the devil. But, it wasn't. And despite the transparent love affair, rather enjoyed the book.

Sadly, I was not as impressed with Shannon Hale's newest book Book of A Thousand Days. I'm not sure if it was because I wasn't so familiar with the fairy tale it was based off of, or the fact that she pulled a HP7 ending where everything managed to be wrapped up in a perfect conclusion and I wanted a bit more conflict. No. Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh. It was a good story, there were just little bits of it that annoyed me. The biggest issue I had was at the end with the "interview with the author" bit about this really being some real story that was found and translated, etc. Fake things like that annoy me.

I did, however, love Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend. Those stories are too cute.

Oh, and Jonathan Crombie, you know, Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables, well, he's going to be on Broadway in The Drowsy Chaperone as "The Man in the Chair". It seems hard to believe that he won't be playing a romantic lead. I really wish I had been able to see him in Romeo and Juliet back in the day up in Stratford, Canada.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Week 9, Thing 23

Bling bling ka-ching!

It looks like I'm at the end of the road for this learning process. I have to say that I think my favorite aspect was this blog. It helped me to meet and connect with other librarians in my area as well as abroad. And, really, how cool is that? This means that I will truly do my best to keep up with this blog, and learn how to write proper book reviews. Proper ones, mind you! Because, it should be useful, shouldn't it? Instead of just full of random book/theatre/baseball bits and pieces that go floating around like normal. Though, I suppose that's just me, and it's a hard time changing a personality, isn't it?

Out of my 7 1/2 lifelong learning goals, I have to say that this one prompted me to focus on my spelling on learning how to be a mentor to my co-workers which is something I freely admitted to being weak on since I felt too young. But, helping Terri work on her blog gave me a sense of accomplishment and feeling of goodness that I would have lacked otherwise. Plus, we helped each other stay inspired, and you can't want anything more than that, can't you?

I am quite sure that I would be interested in doing other sorts of things like this, should Maryland/ESRL libraries do offer something like. Though maybe not so much over the summer. It seemed extra busy, especially with everyone away on vacations!

Week 9, Thing 22

Lacking a mp3 player (yes, I am so last century), I never really had the sudden urge to go download an audiobook from NetLibrary, which is the service that our library provides. Though, I did note that when I was scanning through the titles that some of them were unavailable for download through our library. I was disappointed with the lack of selection of some of my favorite authors. But, I freely admit that my tastes in authors run to very obscure minor authors or ones that are dead, so it really is no great suprise that I was coming up empty with the authors I searched for.

However, it would be a good resource to use while at home, as I can download the audiobooks onto my computer and listen to them while I, say, crochet a blanket. I hate just to do one thing at a time, especially crocheting, because as relaxing as that gets, it can get mindnumbingly boring, especially when I have a deadline and "can't stop now" fever! Thus, an audiobook would work just as well as the tv, and perhaps slightly more intellectual.

Week 9, Thing 21

I was slightly amused when I searched under the term "library" at PodcastAlley.com to find coming in at #56 Erotic Expressions, or "An audible sampling of steamy erotic fiction from the Lusty Library at lustylibrary.com ". Needless to say, that one did not make my cut. Over at Yahoo Podcasts, I was happy to find several that had Jasper Fforde in them as a guest. I really wish that they could podcast his book talks because he's all sorts of brilliant. The ones they had there were a couple years old with him talking about some of his past books.

In the end, however, I ended up at the BBC podcasts because I was curious to see if there was anything familiar from BBC Radio 2, which just happens to be the radio station I listened to while studying abroad in Wales. Not only did I find several podcasts of familiar radio personalities (at least to me) and added them to my bloglines accounty, I also found one from BBC Radio Wales which I happily added to my bloglines even though it is in Welsh and I probably won't understand it. The way I think about it, it can't hurt, and perhaps it will help jog my memory with the Welsh language. However, there are currently no episodes up for listening, but, it seems like they want to do it, so it can't hurt and I'll hope for the best that they will soon start doing Welsh podcasts.

Now if I can just find a French one, I'll be all set language wise!

I can see how these could be useful, especially for book discussions and talks. Within the library or outside. Some, I noticed, are even just readings of books which is good to know when you can't access downloadable books or audio books. The important thing is just being able to find them!

And, however tempting it would be to make a podcast, I'm holding back the urge. Not that anyone wants to listen to my voice here!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tireless pursuit of the lamest joke.

Can I just say that Jasper Fforde is brilliant? Well, there you are.

Stretch your mind back two weeks ago, I, along with Peggy, attended the Jasper Fforde reading at Politics & Prose in DC. I drove the two of us there, and might I say I was just too pleased with my parking.


That's me next to my CR-V. I hadn't parallel parked since my road test years ago (swore I never would), but look what I managed to do in the "big" city?! And, it was pure perfection, just about an inch from the curb.

Just added to the bliss of the event. Jasper is a hilarious man, just like you would expect if you were to read his books. I had trouble at times seeing him, seeing as I'm so short, but I adored his voice. I have about six pages written up about the event in my personal journal, so I won't bore you to tears, although I love the fact he asked a museum gift shop worker if they sold "Dodo Home Cloning Kits" and she told him to come back in 25 years. Though, I'm mighty glad that Pickwick is Pickwick and not Elmo the Cat. That and when I was flying home, the presentation by the flight attendents was just like the one presented by Jasper and Mari.

I went crazy at the signing part because I had brought a couple books from home (U.K. editions) to see if he would sign them, and he did. He even did a little "Plock!" on one of my Thursday Next books when I asked if he would, just because I love Pickwick and saying "Plock". Actually, I adore the Pickwick graphic on his site (Pickwick's Cavalcade of Fun) where he runs across the screen saying "Plock". Maybe I have issues.

And, I didn't act like a complete idiot when I talked to him, though I did ramble on a bit why I have the UK editions. But, that was ok because I ended up having a nice little chat with Mari because she actually grew up in the next town over from Carmarthen (Llanstefan). And, her mom teaches art at the school there. And, it was all very exciting. Plus, I got a picture with the two of them! (People didn't seem to be taking many pictures, but there I was with mine, bwhahahaha!!!!)

Never fear, though, for I did have an opportunity to make a stupid comment to a remotely famous person (well, famous in my books). Robert Hunt! After seeing him in Les Miserables that weekend (and loving his performance as Javert as ever), I asked to get a picture with him, telling him that "I've loved you for three years!". When something like "I've been a fan of yours for three years" or "I've loved your Javert for three years" would have been a bit more apropos. Still, front row seats is not a thing to be scoffed at, especially when it is your friend's 100th performance.

I also enjoyed "A Most Notorious Woman", a one-woman show about Grace O'Malley (and the foxy English queen and all the men who loved her) as well as the new musical "Glory Days". Both viewed at the DC Fringe Festival.

Today I received two new books. The Fox by Sherwood Smith which I've very excited about because the first book in the series was very fun and Little Lady, Big Apple by Hester Browne, which I have read, but was a suprise gift from my friend.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week 9, Thing 20

Since I've already posted the one lone video on Youtube that features myself, I decided to turn to musical theatre and bring some "Frou Frou" into this blog's life. Otherwise known as the musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, a book that I have cherished for many a many years. Of course, the musical version did play heavy with the Marguerite/Chauvelin romance aspect, but, it did have some wonderful baritone songs for ChauChau. And Douglas Sills as Percy was hilarious!

So, here is the Tony Awards performance:



The site seems easy enough to use. I think it could be used for library things such as the video from Mitali Perkin's book launch party that I had posted previously. It could show the community just what's happening at the library. Oh, I am full of brilliant ideas this morning.

And, speaking of The Scarlet Pimpernel, my friend over at Bronteana highlighted two vampire Scarlet Pimpernel romance novels. Which sound absolutely, um, interesting, to me. They are Possession and Confession by Lori Herter.

The snippet posted by The Scarlet Pimpernel Merchandise site from Possession tantalizes us with:

A really bad vampire/romance novel. The interesting thing about it is that the hero is a playwright who became a vampire in the year 1616, but lives latter-day Chicago and his newest work is a musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel in which Percy is a vampire. The author has a nympho vampire friend, who becomes obsessed with the actor portraying Percy. Most of the book is set during rehersals, which, oddly enough, all of which the actor does with full prosthetic makeup and costumes. He has to wear a blond wig and the rubber mask because he has a round cherubic face (not an aquiline nose) and brown curly hair, and because he was very famous on a sitcom, and doesn't want the audience to see his TV image.

It's unfortunate that I can't get this one on ILL. ::sniff::

Week 8, Thing 19

This one is inspired by my mom, who has decided that I need to buy a house. I think it's so they can move in with me during the summer now that they've sold their "summer home" and don't want to live in Florida full time. Ah, the life of the retired!

So, I checked out both Zillow and HousingMaps. I found HousingMaps to be nice and simplistic, as it is just based on Google Maps. Unfortunately, the focus is on houses around the DC area, as that is the nearest Craigslist site. Though, I did happen to click on one in Richmond, VA. Close enough, I suppose. What's a few hours?

HousingMaps actually had stuff in my area. Granted it was very expensive and I could never afford it. How depressing. Well, when I become a millionaire, I'll think about it. The "Make Me Move" thing was interesting. As my mom always said, "It's all for sale". I guess some people just need the right price.

Then, of course, thanks to poking around on Mingle2 (a site my mom would never approve of), I found a link to this priceless gem (a.k.a. the Millie "I'm going to marry my boss" Dillmount approved site of the day) Wealthy Romance, where you can find all of your rich men dating needs. Now you know how I'll be spending my down time on the reference desk.

Ah, I probably shouldn't even admit to finding that one, should I? It's just too amusing.