Monthly Archives: January 2017

Books, eBooks; Libraries and Bookstores

I have always dreamed about having a library in my home. A cozy room filled with beautiful books, lots of windows, dark wood, comfy chairs with soft ottomans and possibly a fireplace.

 

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McGregor Room at the University of Virginia

Here’s the problem, though: I actually hate buying books! I’ve always been a library girl. In fact, I remember signing my first library card when I was in like first grade. And I was incredibly insulted when I was in high school and my dad and I decided to get cards from a different city (when it was free to do so) and I was told that my dad had to sign my card because I was a minor and apparently couldn’t be trusted with their books!

When eBooks came into vogue, I vowed I would never switch to them. I love everything about physical books. The look of them. The weight of them. The smell of them. But I don’t like the price of them, so I shall never have my beautiful library full of books in my home.

In high school I finally got access to the internet at home (dial-up on an ancient computer) and learned all about ordering library books from home to be available for pickup at my leisure. This solved the problem I’d developed after years of library usage: I’d pretty much read everything that I knew I’d like and was having trouble finding new books to read. I dreaded having to search the shelves.

Then I went to college and didn’t have much time for personal reading despite access to more than 5 million books and gorgeous libraries.

After college, I was back to devouring books. I’d found the Goodreads website and quickly had a to-read list of nearly a thousand books! With even better internet access at home (WIFI and a laptop!) I was able to peruse the library catalog at my leisure, compare it to my to-read list and order a stack for my dad to pick up on his way home from work (he was also doing all his book ordering online).

It was a great system, but with one small flaw: the quickest possible turnaround was about 24 hours, so even when I really wanted to read the next book in a series, I was forced to wait. I always had to anticipate what I’d be in the mood to read for the next 3 weeks or so, because I had a personal rule not to order more than 5 books at a time, with the expectation that they would come in 2 or 3 at a time because of other people checking them out.

I was content with this system for a good 5 years, but then I moved in with my husband and even though I had no trouble getting my library books because I work with my dad and he’d bring them with him, I was starting to seriously consider eBooks. I’d already started playing around with them because the library had been advertising their eBooks on their website and the Overdrive app was easy to install on my computer. It was very convenient to get the books I wanted to read immediately, except of course, when someone had already checked them out. The problem was that the computer screen isn’t very conducive to reading traditional books, for me at least. It’s just not comfortable, especially when I’m laying in bed to read myself to sleep.

Reading in bed has actually been one of the biggest selling points for switching to eBooks on an eReader. After fumbling with 2 different book-lights and getting annoyed with falling asleep with the lamp on or not being able to have the lamp on because my husband was in bed with me, I decided that I needed to make the switch.

I knew I wanted a tablet because I wanted it to double as a radio for work. I knew I wanted it to have a screen about the size of a paperback book. The Amazon Fire at $50 was the perfect price and since I knew I was going to get most of my eBooks from the library (the rest from Project Gutenberg), it didn’t matter if it didn’t have much internal memory (because library books expire).

After a year of having my tablet (which I call “my book” and it’s case is decorated as a black and white composition book) I still feel some guilt about abandoning traditional books, but then I remind myself that in all reality, my consumption of books has not changed. I still get nearly all of my books from the library and so long as they are comparatively priced, the authors who create the works are not harmed by the switch.

As for the printers, I work in a print shop and am still confused about timecards. I am resigned to the fact that I will most likely lose my job within 20 years (and this is being generous for the industry). This is reality. I am not sad. Besides, there are so many damn typos in modern books it’s nauseating and I have always preferred letterpress to offset printing, so it’s not like I’m going to fall in love with the typography of modern books any time soon. Okay, there are a few that are very pretty (The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor instantly come to mind) and I do like that many hardcover books today have the trend of leaving the edges of the pages (the signatures?) rough instead of cutting them flush and are using nicer and nicer papers…but the cost!

I know in my heart that I will never purchase them so long as the library owns them and I will only re-read them about once a decade if I ever decide to re-read them!

At the end of the day, what matters to me most is the story and an eBook can give that to me easier than a traditional book. Because I do so love to read in bed!

But…I do have a confession to make. When the occasion occurs that I want to purchase a book because the library doesn’t own it (and refuses to purchase it), or because it’s something I really, really, really want on my bookshelf, I will purchase the traditional book not the eBook. Of course, it will most likely be used and come via Amazon because finding used books in a shop is like finding a book in the library…a bit of a crap-shoot. Great for the people who love that, not so much fun for me.

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To the person who riffled through my car tonight:

I’m not mad. Seriously-you’ve picked probably the one person who isn’t upset by your actions. Well, my husband’s car was gone through as well, and while he doesn’t sound upset, he did report it to the police even though the only thing missing is his DCJS Certification (the license that lets him tow for police departments), but I’m not 100% certain it was taken (he had to report the missing Cert. regardless of his feelings, of course).

Anyway. If you needed anything, all you had to do is ask, but I don’t mind that you felt it was easier to go through my stuff.

If you were hungry, you could have taken the sweet potato pie from Bojangles. Or my chocolate Pop-Tart (or rather “toaster pastry”, since I haven’t bought name brand in awhile). Or the three apples slices that are getting kind of old…actually, I don’t blame you for leaving those.

If you were cold, you could have taken my really fabulous gloves. Though I’m sure your hands are a lot bigger than mine as I’m a tiny freak of nature. So, I’m kind of glad that you didn’t take them because it’s so hard to find items in my size. But if you needed them, you could have taken them. My jacket shell isn’t very warm by itself, but it makes a fabulous raincoat in case you were wet. Feel free to take the bright pink sweat shirt–it’s very comfy!

If you needed paper, I have plenty. Take it. Unfortunately, I don’t leave many pens in my car/backpack, but it you found one and needed it, it’s yours.

If you needed a book to entertain you, they’re in the back. If you needed a book to read to your child, they’re under the sweet potato pie you ignored in my passenger seat.

If you or your significant other is on her period, there’s a pad in that pocket you emptied of everything else. Usually there’s some Ibuprofen in that pocket too, but I keep forgetting to return it. The Gold Bond works pretty good on the backs of my hands that get so dried out this time of year; my husband doesn’t like the smell though.

I’m not sure where you found the napkins, but they smell weird. I think you found them by one of the 6 dozen air fresheners left by the previous owner–I wish you’d made the air freshener’s presence known, though, so I can dispose of it.

I know that ERC doesn’t have a physical tollbooth, but if you need the $1.50 in change you could have taken it.

Need a pillow? It was a thrice-times unwanted Christmas present (hence why it’s still mostly wrapped). I’ve heard it has Star Wars images on it. It’s yours.

If you needed any other random bit of my life cluttering up my car, you are more than welcome to it.

Here’s the thing: I know I don’t lock my car doors. For one, my driver’s door lock is wonkey and doesn’t always like to unlock from the outside with the key. Since I’ve heard horror stories about people who’ve had their car windows broken because someone really wanted the $2 in change in the cupholder, I’ve made the conscious decision to leave my doors unlocked knowing full well that someone may decided to go rummaging about in it. This would make for the second time in 3 years. The items that I leave in my car are items that I really don’t care that much about, or rather, I care enough to not want to throw them away, but if they were to disappear, I really wouldn’t mind. My back hatch section (I drive a Mountaineer) is full of stuff I’ve moved out of my parent’s house, but haven’t moved into my husband’s. There are only a couple items, namely those gloves and my jacket shell, that I would sincerely miss.

My wallet and tablet don’t get left in my car. And I think I’ve discussed the fact that if I was mugged on the street, the person demanding my phone would take one look at it and laugh in my face before handing it back (it’s a “dumb” flip phone).

After three phone calls with my husband, it’s obvious that he’s as tickled as I am about our mysterious visitor this evening. While I am appalled that they wouldn’t take the perfectly good pie from my car, we’re both shocked that they didn’t take the GPS, bank card, or other actually valuable items out of my husband’s car (I still don’t think they took the DCJS Cert, though it’s better to be safe than sorry). Of course, I’m highly surprised that he didn’t lock his doors since he has a fob and usually he does lock them because he knows what’s in his car. I may have to reprimand him for his carelessness tomorrow. 🙂

I was going to finally toss the $100 Amazon gift card we were given as a wedding present since the money has long been put into my account (the card had been set aside only to be stumbled across this past weekend), but am now thinking that I’ll stick it in my car, just to see whether the next mysterious visitor will take it. Maybe I’ll stick a post-it on it tell the visitor to take a book or two home, too.

 

Bad Mouthing

I’m reading “Wicked Stitch” by Amanda Lee. One of the characters just said something “normal” about an unpleasant character. Something that would usually be said without any qualms, but in this case, the mean character is dead, so the first character chastises herself over the comment.

Why do we, as a society, have no problem talking bad about people before they’re dead, but can’t say the same things after they’ve died? Shouldn’t the two circumstances be treated equally since in neither case can the person defend them self? Either both are bad or both don’t matter.

A Routine Traffic Stop

I have never been pulled over by the police, except for that one time when they were having a DUI checkpoint when I was driving home from the bowling alley. But, this doesn’t stop me from feeling like I have to have a plan should that ever happen to me.

This morning as I drove to work I evaluated the situation in case a cop decided to pull me for whatever reason. I have a slight lead foot (I end up going 5-7 mph over the speed limit usually) and drive a 20 year old SUV. I don’t pay attention to my taillights and could have one out without knowing it (I nearly always turn my lights on, even in broad daylight).

Anyway.

This morning, I realized that if I got pulled over, I would find myself in a bit of a pickle. My wallet, with my driver’s license in it, was in my backpack, which was on the floor of the front passenger seat (this is true about half the time, with the other half being my backpack is in the actual passenger seat). Now, the last time I reached over to the passenger floor while wearing my seat belt, I pulled a muscle in my back/neck and thought I was going to die because it hurt so bad. Virginia has a seat belt law, so taking my seat belt off before the cop sees me wearing it seems like a very bad idea.

Plus, there’s the whole issue of the cop seeing me reach around into my floorboard before he gets the chance to walk up to my car window–what’s he going to think I’ve grabbed?!?!

Did I mention that there’s a whole host of random crap in my backpack and my wallet is usually somewhere at the bottom?

And my registration is in my glovebox, I think (it may be in the center console). One of the two. So again…do I break my neck or risk a lack of seat belt ticket?

So. I guess I should leave my important stuff in their places until the cop gets to the window so he can see my seat belt is on. But then…what’s he gonna think when I ask to start rummaging (seriously, there would be some rummaging going on) in my backpack and my glovebox?

I guess it’s a good thing that I’m a tiny white girl and not a black guy of indeterminate size. Cop is totally going to assume I’m harmless.

Which got me thinking–what would I do if I actually was a black guy of indeterminate size?

Ya know what? I think that if I get pulled over, I’m just going to do what everyone recommends black guys of indeterminate size do: I’m going to leave my seat belt on and I’m going to keep both my hands on the steering wheel (I may even turn my car off so that the cop doesn’t think I’m a flight risk). I will already have the window rolled down. When the cop comes to the window, I’ll be polite and tell the cop that my license is in my wallet in my backpack and that my registration and insurance are in the glove box (you know what? I think I’ll make sure these items are  in my glovebox in a clearly marked envelope). When the cop tells me that I can reach over and pull them out (because that’s how tiny white girls are treated), I will calmly tell him that I’m more comfortable staying as I am and give him (or her) permission to retrieve the relevant items. When the cop looks/acts uncomfortable doing this because I’m a white girl…well, that’s not my problem.

Hmm…thinking about moving my period supplies from their private pocket in my backpack to the main compartment with the rest of my crap, just to add to the awkwardness of the situation, in case the cop is a squeamish guy.

Anyway, what do y’all think? Good plan?

 

3.5 days!!

At the bowling alley tonight I was able to ask him how long he’d gone without a cigarette so far and he admitted to 3.5 days! I’m not sure when he’s counting from and I really couldn’t care less because he survived being outside with some of the smokers, getting a “contact high” without actually smoking himself. While I don’t like the second hand smoke going into his lungs, progress is progress as we work our way to my 3 week goal.

By the way, I have no idea if 3 weeks is actually a magical deadline, but to me it seems like a great place to start.

Oh dear…I literally just realized that he’ll be facing his biggest test later this evening if he goes over to his best friend’s house (yes, they’re both night owls). I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed one of these visits where my husband didn’t smoke at least a few puffs. Good luck, honey! I love you and know you can persevere! Not that he reads this blog or even knows that it exists, haha.

Oh! And last night I was able to ask him if he has a pack somewhere. He answered with a “I really don’t want to talk about this!”, which for some reason I’m taking as a “no”, even though this kind of redirection is typical for him when he’s trying to hide something. It just doesn’t feel like he’s got a pack…yet. But just because he doesn’t have a pack doesn’t mean he won’t beg a cigarette off of someone. It amazed me how easily he was able to get cigarettes off of people when we went through that attempt to quit!

He Yelled At Me!!!

Woohoo!

Okay, before you start thinking I’m some kind of weird abused wife, remember, my husband is a smoker who has been trying to quit for 3 years to appease me, a non-smoker.

When I got home from work today I was grumpy because I was hungry and we had a minor argument about what to eat for dinner. He wanted spaghetti (his favorite meal) while I wanted anything but spaghetti. Since I’m the cook (the only thing he can make is spaghetti, mashed potatoes, and grilled steaks), I knew I’d get my way, but still wanted to make him something he’d eat. While I peeled potatoes, I decided that since we were already grumpy with each other, I might as well go for broke and asked him for a status report on the bedroom he’s supposed to be be cleaning out.

That’s when he got really annoyed and was like “I don’t know. I’m grumpy.” which he never says–he’s generally always in a good mood and/or hides his feelings deep down and won’t speak to me about it regardless of my asking what’s wrong at which point he goes outside and has a cigarette, which pisses me off even more than his silence. So for him to actually admit that he wasn’t in the mood was amazing!

Me being me, though, I was like “and why are you grumpy”? And that’s when he shouted “Because I haven’t been smoking, okay?!”

Dawwww! I teared up a bit :-). And I gave him a big hug and a kiss. And I told him that if I hadn’t already peeled half the potatoes I would have made him the spaghetti. Seriously; if he’d told me when I walked in the door that he was seriously trying to quit (I think this may be the first time he doesn’t have a pack in the wings…maybe…I’m afraid to ask), he would have gotten the spaghetti without argument.

Now, I know, I know. We’ve been here many times before. His last confirmed cigarette was late New Years Eve. Like I said, I don’t want to ask him if he has a pack waiting in the wings because the last thing I want to do is make him upset so that he gets one. Been there, done that. But when his son called a little while ago and asked about the tradition of the groom’s family paying for the rehearsal dinner (which would probably be okay if they’d asked us at the beginning so we’d be part of the planning of the dinner, but the wedding is in a month and we don’t have the money saved, but I don’t really see his fiance wanting us to pay and it was her dad who brought it up with his son, so I don’t really know what was going on), my husband said afterwards “I picked a hell of a time to quit smoking” which I have NEVER heard him say!!!

It’s always been “I’ll try” and “Maybe” and “I’m trying”. So, you can see why I’m excited about him possibly finally quitting for real!

The next three weeks will be interesting. I figure that’s how long it’ll take for his body to work through all the withdrawal stuff and he’ll be less grumpy. Though really, so long as I stick to the normally scheduled pleasant stuff (no hounding him about cleaning that bedroom or bugging him about his pack; the stuff I already know will annoy him) I wouldn’t know anything is different. In fact, he’s is downright adorable right now!

…I just wish I could know if he has a pack somewhere…BUT! I won’t ask…maybe…We’ll see. I’ll try to keep y’all posted!

Mojo Monday #478

I’m on a roll :-).

Here’s the card I just made for Mojo Monday’s sketch. I may make a few more cards using this sketch this week if I feel extra ambitious. I may have done more tonight, but the hubby wanted me to watch an episode of Star Trek Voyager with him so now it’s my bedtime.img_0217

As I look at this image, I feel like it needs something in that top corner…so I just added a “Happy Holidays” sticker to the corner. And I’m not feeling it, so I peeled it off. Let’s call this a work in progress since I don’t have anything in my stash right now that will work (that I know of). Cheers!

Cooking with Jelly

I usually only eat jellies and jams in the traditional ways: on bread in its various fashions. But one of my aunts gave me 4 jars of various homemade jams for Christmas and I’m going to try to figure out a way to use them all since I like a little sweet with my savory. If you have any recipes that use jelly, please share them with me!