Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boo From Cruella!

Leslie's book parade  post about dressing up as a book character reminded me that my three year old and I went as Cruella and dalmation puppy for Halloween 2008.

 I haven't read the Dodie Smith novel so I am actually Cruella from the animated Disney movie. Technically cheating, I know, but this was the funnest costume ever. Actors are correct when they say it is tremendous fun playing bad characters, Daah-ling! Mwahahaahha!

Reformed Cruella loves puppies!

But not for long...
During the parade of costumes at school, I chased the puppy around the gym. The students went wild! The rest of the day while my pup was in class, I asked students in the hall if they knew where the puppies were hiding and grabbed any dressed as animals for a new fur coat. Too fun!

I recommend this costume highly especially if you have kids in your life to dress as puppies--- sons/daughters,  nieces/nephews, cousins, neighbors-- any child will do. haha

My one caution: Beware the pumps!! They put the horror in Halloween!  

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Paraaaaade!!

Today my son was part of the Literacy Parade in his school. All the Kindergarten students (and teachers!) dressed as their favorite book character, brought the book, and marched through the entire school. The teachers and older students cheered and clapped as they went by!

Isn't this a great idea? What a way to get kids excited about books! And it was a hoot to see all these little ones! Too. Cute.

Of course, there were the requisite Spidermen, Disney Princesses, and other Super Heroes. But we also saw Alice, farmers, cowboys, Amelia Bedelia, Thomas, cats, dogs, and a host of other classic, adorable characters. I tried to read all the book titles as they marched by...
...but these giggly bookworms were too fast. They were chattering, pointing and telling us all about their books. Couldn't hear, nor understand them, but they were excited!

And you know what? It got ME excited too! I need to head back to the young readers section of the library and get reacquainted with some old friends and meet new ones!

If I got to be part of this parade, I might've chosen Ramona or Alice in Wonderland. Who would you have been?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, Library, Sweet Library

I am fortunate to live in a city that has not just one eh library, but nearly fifty! Wellll, one central, three special collections, and the rest satellite, mobile, and neighborhood branches.

And the best part, is that I can find any book or video that the library has, anywhere in the system, and have it sent to my neighborhood library. Too. Cool. I LOVE IT!

I don't often go to the library and browse, but I do online. I can look at the covers, the chapters, the summary, check any reviews by fellow Houstonians, and see all the other books by the same author or in the series. ON. LINE. Addicted much?

Anywho. As I said, I don't go to the library much, except to pick up my "order" (like fast food!). But occasionally when my nanny (or as she prefers to be called, Mom) keeps the little ones, I go to my favorite branch.

It's actually not in my neighborhood. It's in the nanny's. On my way to Einstein Bagels - which by the way has excellent chocolate filled croissants. Starbucks? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Ok, Les, FOCUS! Yes. I go to this branch. I don't even actually know the name of it. Ha. Ha. But I do like it. It's in this tiny little plaza, next to a British pub and a cute little coffee and sandwich shop. I think. Not really sure what they serve.

Anyways. I go there when I get the chance. The branch, not the suspect sandwich shop. It's all ivy covered, and quaint. Big windows. The inside is cozy too. With little reading nooks. The children's area is downstairs. It's brightly colored. Lots of reading spots - in the form of large stuffed animals and bean bags, cheerful rugs.

Well, my area - fiction - is upstairs. I could take the elevator, but I like the stairs. Unfortunately, they do NOT creak. I keep expecting them too. But...they don't.

The whole building should be creaky, but alas, it isn't. Also, there is no real parking. And if the crowded street is full, and you don't wanna walk a mile, there is only paid parking in a small claustrophobia-inducing garage. And guess what. It's $2.00 and it only guessed it - COINS! AND - AND (oh yes, that deserves a double "AND") - there is no CHANGE MAKER! Ya! I know! You gotta park the car and go back into the library or one of the XYZ cafes and get change. Cinder and ashes, Batman! (I think I may be getting that mixed up). It's soooo annoying!

Still, it's my favorite library. It's pretty.

What about you? Do you have a favorite library or bookshop?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Ends

     One of my husband's more annoying/endearing qualities is that he's smarter than me in ways and quantities that approach infinity.  This is why I won't play left brain games with him, even though we met playing chess.  He's also done the crossword puzzle in ink as long as I've known him so his right brain isn't too shabby either. This weekend he was so sweet. He tossed a half done puzzle from the LA Times aside, looked at me and with no intended insult said,
     "You could finish this one."   Aaaaand yet he lives.   
     See if you can figure out the pattern. If you can't, don't feel bad.  I had to ask.  ( and no, I did not finish it.  Sir Brainsalot did. )
Click on the image to enlarge

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Treasures: Back in the School Library!

 Tuesday Treasures is a recurrent feature in which I share the bookish distractions that catch my eye in the school library I work in on Tuesday. I'm not the librarian; I am the speech pathologist. You will hear no complaints from me about sharing a workspace-- this little old school library collection is chock full of wonderful treasures. Plus, I get to release my inner-librarian. The students who wander in looking for books assume I am the Tuesday Librarian.

I've been attempting to share Tuesday Treasure news since school started but was constantly thwarted the whole month of September. Do you know what a drag it is to have to re-upload all your photos and download editing programs ect? Well, that was the least of my troubles but still a major pain. Back in biz now though!

You may remember that last year the school library moved into my smallish classroom due to flooding-- which pleased me tremendously. (the move-in not the flood)  I was so anticipating the return to my cozy library workspace-- but guess what, when I walked into my room there was nary a book-- yep, the library had moved back to its previous location. Even worse, alternative ed was scheduled to be in my room in the mornings.  Did I despair? Nope, like any respectable bookworm, I followed my nose straight to the books and set up shop! 

As soon as I plopped down at the librarian's desk and glanced at this cart, I knew following the library was the right decision.

Just as special as meeting a longlost friend for a cozy chat! I've read seven {Gatsby, Scarlett Letter, GWTW, P&P, Huck Finn, Jane Eyre, Old Man) and two are favorite rereads-- definitely a good sign, don't you think.  How many have you read? If needed, click to enlarge the photos.

My speech therapy table-- I've spotted an amazing vintage series in this corner that makes my little bookish heart go pitter-pat. It will definitely feature in a Tuesday Treasure post.

There was no room for this picture book U in my old classroom. Now the books are shelved properly rather than stacked in piles. Yes, I've already spotted a few treasures here too.

This library is very spacious-- it has three doors and is the size of two very large or three smallish classrooms. So not as cozy as last year-- the librarian and I both miss the coziness but the space is better for the students.

The librarian and I maintain the 'cozy' by chatting through little notes left for each other under the computer keyboard. 

You know, cozy is where you find it and cozy is as cozy does-- yes, yes, it has been one of those nutty days and I'm channeling Madonna and Forest Gump-- so strike a pose and that is all I have to say about that!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Judging A Book.. its cover.

I went to the library last week. I'm on a healthy eating kick. It probably won't last too long. I needed a few vegetarian and healthy eating cookbooks.

Anywho, as I was perusing the cookbooks, and nearbys, I happened to see a few, uh, interesting titles.

"Schizophrenia for Dummies".
Schizophrenia For Dummies
I don't know. Something is just wrong about that title, right? Couldn't another franchise have picked up that subject? Although what would be the alternatives? "Idiot's Guide to Schizophrenia", "What to Expect When You're Expecting Schizophrenia"??

"The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets to a Moveable Feast"?
The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets to a Moveable Feast – 125 Recipes for the Regularity Challenged 
Seriously? Does this whet your appetite? Gotta say, it kinda grosses me out. I mean what if it was really good, and everyone's asking (at your dinner party, although why you'd be using this for your dinner party, I don't know) where you got this diviiiiine recipe, dahling, and you've got to tell them the title. Aaaaakwaaard.

Now, shifting gears, there are book titles that just grab your attention, right?

Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine 
 "The Mediterranean Harvest"
Doesn't that sound good? 
Like olives, figs, fresh hardy vegetables, fresh cream and butter. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I love that kind of food though, so maybe I'm partial.

People Are Idiots and I Can Prove It!: The 10 Ways You Are Sabotaging Yourself and How You Can Overcome ThemAnd lastly... "People are Idiots and I Can Prove It"
I mean, FINALLY! I've been saying people are idiots! Haven't I been saying that people are idiots? I've been saying that people are idiots! And NOW, NOW, we have the PROOF...the RESEARCH, if you will.
Maybe. I don't really know....

...cuz...I have not actually read any of these, and to be honest I probably won't read the first two. I won't be "fair" and give them a chance. Nope not me.

I did check out the "Mediterranean Harvest" out and plan on reviewing the recipes, in bed, with a glass of wine or hunk of chocolate....although I got it for my "health kick". *sigh* I chose it because of the cover. It just looked so soothing, you know? 

The last one did have me interested for awhile, but then it starts talking about how I can improve, so....not seeing that happening. It's the other people that are idiots, right? Why should I change?

Well, as you can see, although a book "lovah", I am not a fair judge. Am I alone out there? Has anyone else read a book or passed up one because of the cover - its title or illustration? Come can tell me. I swear I won't tell a soul!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

When you eat at the refrigerator, pull up a chair... good advice and the title of a wonderful book by Gennen Roth. I've battled with my self and "the bulge" long enough for me not to really want to talk about it but sometimes you find something and feel compelled to pass it along even if it means showing your soft underbelly, no pun intended.

If you've ever struggled with your weight or know anyone who has ( and are sure they won't take it the wrong way and bean you with it...) find this book and keep it in on your person. No sales pitch, just good advice from someone who knows of which she speaks, two women in fact, Gennen Roth and me.  I've lost 20lbs since I bought it and began applying the principles within, my two favorite being "Whatever you do, Don't Diet" and "Carry a Chunk of Chocolate Everywhere", chapters 1 and 15 respectively.

How can you not love a book that tells you that you must have chocolate on your person at all times?   It's a pragmatic approach to dealing with an adoration of food and the realities of physics...calories in vs. calories out and more importantly to my mind, it's about getting over your self-inflicted food drama. I'd tell you more, but it would spoil the ending.  Suffice it to say, the middle of the book looks a lot like a loose fitting pair of linen slacks and that my new happy place is See's Candies.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to make the most of your 60 cent stamp

I know Mrs BG would have been a letter writer. Can you just imagine finding her penmanship on an envelope in your letterbox at the end of your driveway with flowers nodding their heads in the afternoon sunshine? It's another era, and personally I have done nothing to wind back time.

My family is not known for its letter writers. My mother can fill an enormous box with treasures and ship it off without blinking an eye, but I cannot tell you the last time we exchanged hand written communication. My brothers have each sent me a letter, I think…maybe.

On the other hand, my paternal grandmother, despite having I-don't-even-know-how-many grandchildren sent me a beautiful letter each birthday. And my step mother's cards seem to arrive magically on the precise day required. I don't know how people do that.

So, it was a shock to marry into a family of inveterate letter and post card writers. My dear mother in law pops us a note in the mail every few weeks. Her handwriting is virtually illegible, but she'll also send along something of interest, something we've left at her house or something someone wants to give us. But her sister, Aunty Pat, is a legendary letter sender.

This last missive just had to be documented and shared. So here is what she sent;

Here is the actual post card, the central communication. But it must not have fit the envelope because it had to be trimmed. Not much content has been lost.

Here is a card for my mother. It also was trimmed. Aunty Pat has enclosed it because she says, 'mail is flowing back and forth' between me and my mum. And she assumes I will just pop this in the next one I send off. I haven't posted my mother anything in months and months… She's been great with the packages lately, though…

Here is a Dolce and Gabbana perfume sample card. It has no writing on it, but smells nice.

Here is a Chloe perfume card, with writing.

Here is a page from her newspaper about poor Michael Douglas. He looks really unwell.

This is an article about a man who was washing his car and heard two male koalas fighting. He went to have a look, came back and found a female inside his car. She has a baby in her pouch and was released in the bush.

This is a riddle. Not written on a perfume card. Anyone know the answer?

Here is a magazine article about Halloween. In Australia it's not really celebrated, so this is particularly interesting.

And finally, the back of the envelope is not just to enclose the letter. It is for last-minute thoughts or instructions. Neither she nor her sister has ever sent us an envelope with only the two addresses on it.

As you can see, my dear Aunty wrings every cent of value out of that stamp. She even asks us to pass it on to her sister.

The two sisters (my MIL and Aunty) are very similar. Getting a letter from them is like sitting at their kitchen table. You look at their photos and thumb through that little stack of paper they have by the napkins. It is not quite the same as zapping off an email or text.

So, I encourage, no, challenge you, dear readers, to send a card or letter to someone this week. Do it for Mrs BG, do it for my dear Aunty Pat. It's hard, I know, for some of us digital folk. Sixty cents is a significant amount of coin, and putting together a letter, bits and pieces, envelope, stamp and address is time-consuming. But it is worth it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

BOOKTRYST: Marilyn Monroe: Avid Reader, Writer & Book Collector

Did you know Marilyn Monroe was a bookworm who loved to be photographed reading?

photo by Eve Arnold

 If you find Marilyn Monroe intriguing check out this article:  BOOKTRYST: Marilyn Monroe: Avid Reader, Writer & Book Collector.   The photos and facts are fascinating but wait till you see all the books listed from Marilyn's personal library! The woman had an enviable library-- among other things...

For more on Marilyn's real life beyond celebrity you may find this newly published  book of interest---  Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shopping With Mrs. Baja

Let's go shopping!  All of Mrs. BG's gals love to shop but had no plans to promote products on this blog. The idea blossomed spontaneously during a weekend chat. Spontaneity might as well be Mrs. BG's middle name-- so far it has resulted in an impromtu readalong, a fifth co-blogger, a facebook group and now Amazon Affiliation.  No ruts for Mrs. BG!

Ads on this blog will only promote types of products that we either actually use and have blogged about or that we hope to receive as gifts. (hint hint dear hubbies)   For instance, DeLynne has blogged about the joy of gift cards,  the delights of tea and the beauty of  bookmarks. Tracy loves her kindle as she mentioned here and here.  And cookbooks-- Oh, we are obsessed with cookbooks. (click the cookbook label)

We are so excited to offer this service. Hopefully, browsing our favorite things will provide inspiration for the perfect gift for your next occasion-- or just enjoy a bit of window shopping.

Despite the term 'monetizing', this is about providing a service; a convenient resource for our readers to obtain more information about books and products--  whether they purchase or not.  If we earn enough for a little lagniappe every now and again-- a bookmark maybe-- that would be lovely too but we are not deluded-- none of us are quitting our dayjobs. ;o) 

Happy Shopping!

Just out of curiousity, since my opinion of ads has evolved over the last year: What is your opinion of ads on blogs? Do you ever click on them?  I did not click on many and never on Google ads but will now since Helen Smith explained here about cyber pennies -- such a cute funny post, check it out. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Many a Pickle Makes a Mickle, or Show a Clean Set of Teeth

Drunk monkeys, a holy man that's not, and a confused ice cream boy.
I just reread a very funny, bizarre, but sweet story about a family in India.

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai is one of my favorite reads. It's been around awhile. This is the author's first novel, and it's a "whimsical" first novel!
Sampah is a young man whose life is not going as it should. Fed up, he runs away to a guava orchard, climbs a tree, and refuses to come down. Very quickly he becomes the town's sage.

What makes this story so fantastic is that the absurdity of the situation is somehow familiar.

The author expresses so many insights into people, the private thoughts that we have and pretend to not.

The family of Sampah are delightfully odd - selfish and selfless, miserable and happy, all rolled into one - from his father whose love for his family drives him to greediness, to his angry, aggressive, yet sympathetic sister.

Don't these juxtapositions sound like real people?

The townspeople are equally enjoyable to read about, and the description of the countryside- the smells, the colors, and the foods - really make you want to visit this guava orchard, and perhaps stay there with Sampah.

Pick this up for a nice relaxing read, or to delve deepaahhh and deepaahhh into your soul. I'm not a deeeeep person, so I just enjoyed the hilarity of it all. Best reading, bookworms!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hats- an anthology by Stephen Jones.

"Wash and go" hat, 1999.
Stephen Jones, the master himself.

Art galleries always have the best books. Those glossy, expensive books with mesmerizing illustrations on every page. I have two art gallery books. One, a Gothic addition of Alice, the other a book I picked up on hats. The kind of hats that you see couture models wearing. The kind of hats you look at and think, 'Who would ever wear that?'

Stephen Jones, I have found to discover, is the only person who can place a shoe atop someones' head, call it fashion and not be questioned.

Hats have always been a love of mine, though admired from afar, as I have never been brave enough to try anything that Stephen Jones would dream up. This book looks over his very interesting life as a milliner, complete with pictures and quotes for the various stages of his life.

The section about the types of people who actually buy these hats, (The Client- pg 94) was what I found the most interesting, The work that goes into making the right hat, for the right client, for the right occasion is exhausting. Yet the reward is sweet, according to the book, when the hat the client wears becomes his or her 'signature look'.

Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones is an insightful edition to my duo of art gallery books.
Do you wear hats?


How to become a best selling author:

  1. Write a series with many parts
  2. Give the first one away on Kindle.
Bright of the Sky (Book 1 of The Entire and the Rose)
     In fairness, I don't know how many books Kay Kenyon has sold, but I know she wrote a really good series in "The Entire and the Rose"  Few of us have the luxury of browsing through books all the time .  (Fantasy life pause. Go ahead, I'll wait,............... Ready? k.  ) A good series is a very nice find. This one falls into the science fiction/fantasy genre.  It's set a few hundred years from now when some of "us"  accidentally end up "over there", in another universe, one that's begun to look at "us" like "our" stars are the solution to "their" power supply problems.

The story opens after the protagonist managed to get back where he belonged, but without his wife and daughter and no one believes he ever went anywhere particularly interesting.  The series has the typical alien/future technology character, but it's also a story about what defines family, how we ultimately suffer when we try to use each other, how people cope when they're wildly out of place, how loyalties assumed to rock solid can change over time and how there's a larger purpose than we often see on the surface.
For Kindle users,  Bright of the Sky (Book 1 of The Entire and the Rose) is the ├╝ber sample.  It's free. It's also so good you'll pay for the other books in the series, and because you like Kenyon so much, you'll buy an additional book (The Braided World) when you finish book four of the series, Prince of Storm.  Maybe compulsive book buying is a character flaw that I should addressed, but you see how my "best selling author" plan could work.  Either way, it's a good read, several in fact.

A quick note about the Kindle, and my on going love affair with it.  I'm as surprised as anyone, and every time someone asks me about it, I make them wish they hadn't.   The other night, I was waiting for a friend to show up for a dinner date and I was reading, from my Kindle.  I should get stock, I'm tellin' yah. I talked the waiter into giving his mother a Kindle, and Kathy of  and my personal favorite   (Sorry, Kathy, but I love the url's as much as I love the blogs!) awarded a word of the day prize to a post here at Mrs BG's, all because of the Kindle.

I know exACTly how this guy feels:
( thank you Aunt Deleese/Linnie)
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