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Posts Tagged ‘Library’

A Southern summer is upon us. You can smell jasmine in the air. In this Time of Coronavirus, the days seem to creep by slower and more deliberately. First up: watering the garden right after breakfast because later in the day would be miserable; temperatures soar past 90 and the humidity is at extreme beach hair levels.

I’m feeling confined again, not just from this pandemic but also from the Nashville weather.

Luckily, Bob and I did manage to get out of the house this past holiday weekend. The Bride and Groom were cooking hot dogs and veggie burgers so we sat on one side of their expansive front porch. Two old grandparents in a pair of rocking chairs! After a week of hugs and kisses in Florida I’m bereft, we are again consigned to making a beating heart with our fingers and blowing kisses. Our first socially distant Fourth of July.

Even in the shade, and with fans whirring above our heads, sweat ran down my back. Even their two rescue dogs snuck back into the cool, air-conditioned house, abandoning food and family on the porch.

The real excitement came earlier in the day while I was assembling a vegetable tart. The Bride texted me – “I’m going to West Elm to look at rugs, wanna come?”

You betcha! A big, beautiful store? Why I haven’t been inside anything but a Whole Foods in months, during “senior” hours. Bob gave me his quizzical look, the one that says do you really want to risk your life over a bunch of tchotchkes? But I DID. I wanted to get out of the house, alone in the car for awhile, and wander around this hip, modern furniture store on the fancy side of town. With my daughter. Wearing masks of course. And it was delightful.

Everyone in the store was wearing a mask, and it was very early so there were just a few customers. The soaring ceiling gave me an extra level of comfort. I sat in swivel chairs. I picked up dishes even though a sign said “touchless shopping” was appreciated. Mea Culpa. We looked at rugs, all kinds of rugs; some with wool from New Zealand and some that resembled a Jackson Pollock painting. We were looking for an 8×10 to go into her new library – shelves had been built after all, and she wanted a cozy rug.

A soft, cozy rug to entice her little digital natives to curl up with a book.

But then I spotted one man in the store, walking around holding a mask in his hand. It wasn’t on his chin, or over his mouth right under his nose, which is another pet peeve. I guess he was too lazy to actually put it on on his face? He trailed behind his wife and a store employee, both in masks, and I had such a visceral feeling of contempt. Is he stupid? Does he feel like the rules – specifically for a mask mandate in public – don’t apply to him? He was not abiding by this social contract, he was threatening all our lives.

My daughter had just finished an evening shift in the ER, she had worn an N95 the night before for eight hours straight, and we were wearing our homemade cloth masks in the store. Our first time in a store. The least he could do was #MaskUp. To be clear, most people in Nashville are now wearing masks in public. We are still in the business of making masks for neighbors, in fact, the Grands like to count the number of masks they see whenever they ride in a car.

I really wanted to confront the mask-in-hand man, but I just steered clear. After all, what if he was a “Florida Man?” What if he started yelling at me, accusing me of taking away his freedom? What if he called the police? After all I’m a “Jersey Girl” so I wouldn’t back away from a fight.

I wonder, is a “Florida Man” the male equivalent of a “Karen?” I know lots of lovely Karens and hate this sobriquet for a middle-aged, white entitled woman; it seems like just another sexist remark. Maybe we should all stop using mean, stereotypical words to describe the human race!

Besides I just finished a Qigong class with my Florida man via Zoom. He lives in Gainesville and is absolutely kind and generous! I’m sure he wears a mask in public. And now I have to set up the yoga mats for Pilates Zoom with Bob.

Come to think of it, this hazy, lazy summer is starting to get busy!

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Christmas used to be tough for me. Once the kids left home, Bob continued to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas, and I was left to my druthers. Sometimes, a newly divorced friend might join me at the movies, but most times I was on my own to ponder the meaning of the universe. Now that the Bride has followed in her dad’s footsteps, she finds herself working on Christmas too. And lucky for me, I get to hang out with the Love Bug in Nashville, my own personal little Christmas elf.IMG_2317

Yesterday, she took me to the most amazing puppet show at the Nashville Public Library. http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/john-updikes-a-childs-calendar-at-the-library/Content?oid=1203840

Updike’s A Child’s Calendar is an illustrated collection of twelve poems describing a child’s life as the weather changes and the year goes by. This staging is the brainchild of Brian Hull, the Nashville Library’s director of children’s programming, who transforms Updike’s collection into a musical show populated entirely by child-sized puppets. Hull’s puppet fixation is part of a Nashville tradition dating back to 1938, when longtime library associate Tom Tichenor first began holding marionette shows at the main branch.

The puppeteers are dressed entirely in black while they manipulate an old man puppet and a young boy going through each magical month around a growing tree on stage. Birds fly overhead, and blossoms rain down from the sky. At one point a real boy tried crawling up on stage to catch a blossom, and the puppet motioned him away! The Love Bug danced and watched every move with wonder, her eyes open wide. I wanted to cry, with joy. Because this is one of those things we’ve forgotten as adults. The sheer delight of everyday life as seen through a child’s eyes. Here is what Updike had to say about January:

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees’ black lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

Christmas holds hidden delights for everyone with children of a certain age. Some are watching a little elf who appears on a shelf every morning. He helps Santa keep track of every single child, naughty and nice. Some are going to see the Nutcracker for the very first time. And some are attending puppet shows and cuddling with their Nana. Instead of sugar plum fairies, grandparents galore are coming to visit!

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone! And tornado warnings or not, don’t forget that family comes first…and after that an egg nog latte helps. Cheers.

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While our extended family ate and laughed away the time in FL, I was on a hunt for the great American, independent bookstore. Lucky for me, I found The Hidden Lantern in Rosemary Beach. http://www.thehiddenlantern.com

Isn’t it funny how once a grandchild arrives, your first thought in the morning is “I wonder what the Love Bug is doing today?” Likewise, my first thought upon entering this little gem of a bookstore/art gallery was “I wonder what books she would like to read?” So I immediately went to the children’s literature section and there I stayed among young people climbing over comfy footstools. I love a bookstore with soft, enveloping couches and stuffed chairs. Libraries never had the same appeal with their hard chairs and tables. Plus, you couldn’t talk. I think things may have changed since the days of Marion the Librarian.

I had just finished Anna Quindlen’s “Every Last One,” which in hindsight, I should have kept at home. The plot twist is rather tragic and not beach reading material. Believe me, if you have teenagers, wait a few years to read this book. So I guess I needed a break from a novel, and turned to ladybugs and lions. I was missing my old Fair Haven bookstore, where the owners knew my name and would recommend great reads every time I dropped in. And this morning, by sheer luck, I found this article on NPR – http://www.npr.org/2012/11/27/165482333/librarian-nancy-pearls-picks-for-the-omnivorous-reader

Here is a librarian willing to share her secrets for picking books, “…without concern for whether they’re fiction or nonfiction, genre or not, or aimed or classified as being for children or teens. Because I am an omnivorous reader, at first glance my choices always seem to me to be completely higgledy-piggledy, with no book bearing any similarity to any other.” You’ve gotta love this in a librarian. You know how they ask celebrities what other job they may choose if (acting/music/sports/Kardashian) didn’t work out? I would be a librarian, a school librarian! Students would actually come to me for advice, imagine that. Oh, and I’d add couches to the library.

But back to devouring books. I’m currently reading “The House of Tyneford” by Natasha Solomons. It’s bridging the gap until Downton Abbey returns in January. And one last thought. All week everyone was saying how much the Love Bug looked like her Mama, including me. Then someone mentioned how much she looked like moi, which led me to dig in the basement for my baby pictures. The Flapper is sitting on a couch, with her broken dancer’s legs straight. Notice the ubiquitous cigarette. This must have been in PA, after she was released from the hospital. I have teeth so I’m a bit older, still. What do you think?

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Tim and Anita

What a day. Not everyone can say that one of their best friends also happens to be a relative – and a very savvy, politico too. We had just sat down to lunch on the Mall when my cousin Anita’s eyes lit up and she said, “There’s our Governor.” He leaned in, shook my hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Tim!” Needless to say, we had a nice chat and told Tim Kaine we were happy he wanted to fill Senator Webb’s boots next year.

After lunch, we hopped over to the Jefferson Library for a book launch. Next door to Monticello, it is the repository of everything about our Third President. A gorgeous piece of architecture that was built in 2002, you feel celestial, embraced by the bookshelves in its main hall. Author and current Professor of “Imperial British History” at Harvard, Maya Jasanoff introduced the standing-room-only crowd to her new book, Liberty’s Exiles, American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World. Called an intimate narrative history, this is non-fiction you can sink your teeth into.

Maya signing books

I learned that on November, 25, 1783 our country was actually liberated. That was the date that General George Washington rode into New York City and proclaimed the British Occupation to be over. 60,000 Loyalists fled taking with them some 15,000 Black slaves. Less than 15% went to Great Britain, with about half going north to Eastern Canada, and the rest scattered throughout the Caribbean and West Africa and even India. Here is history from a different point of view, freedom was promised to those slaves who would follow. But as Ms Jasanoff said, “Lives that are once unsettled, cannot be easily put to right again.” This is a must read, about migration and tolerance; looking at freedom through the Loyalist lens. And Mr. Jefferson was hardly mentioned at all.

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