So Many Books, So Little Time

So Many Books, So Little Time

I love books. No, that’s an understatement. Books for me have been a lifelong addiction.

I read everything–histories, romance, detective, classics, biographies–and I cannot catch up on all the things I want to read.

I have lists of books I’ve read, and books I want to read.  It’s quite the dirty little secret.

While I have never (ever!) stood in line late at night or in the early wee hours for concert tickets to any band or singer, I confess that I have stood in line–at midnight–at the local Barnes & Noble to purchase the next installment in the Harry Potter series.

Sometimes I feel frustrated that I don’t have enough time to read all that I want to read and I get very invested in certain authors or series of books.

As the technology evolved and ebooks made their debut I was vehemently against them. I thought reading would not be as enjoyable as holding a book and turning the pages myself.

Then I received my first  Kindle as a gift. I learned how to connect it to Amazon books and my local library.  I downloaded the Kindle App on my phone and the obsession continued.

Having a whole library in my pocket gives me access to my books whenever I have downtime–in line at the grocery store, waiting for my oil change, or on my coffee break.

But here is an idea to get more reading time in, if you have the reading addiction like I do:

  1. Get a library card
  2. Download the Overdrive App on your mobile phone.  This will give you access to audiobooks for free.
  3. Electronically check out the books you would like to listen to–and you can listen to books during times that you must spend your time attending to something else.

I listen to my books in the car as I drive to work and back, to run errands, or on weekend trips to other cities.

I listen to my books while I cook and meal prep and do my laundry and while I am on exercise machines or walking in my neighborhood.

This is not the same as reading the written word and turning pages, swiping left or scrolling up, but it is fascinating to listen to books read to you as your brain conjures the pictures in your mind–and it allows you to get a few more books in….

So many books, so little time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tobacco–Rewriting History

Tobacco–Rewriting History

There is nothing worse in revisionist history than the current generation trying to rewrite the past to meet their social sensibilities.  Some of these things are so ridiculous that it makes me laugh but when I came across the following I was seriously worried about the direction our world is going.

You are not going to believe this one.  Apparently, there is at least one museum in London in which pictures of Winston Churchill have been digitally modified to remove his cigar.  Wait what?  His cigar?  And more importantly why would anyone care?

Winston Churchill is one of the great men in history that we can thank for helping remove the scourge that was Hitler and the Nazi party during World War II.  He was a strong statesman, an inclusive partner on the world stage, a promoter of capitalistic ideals and the freedoms of people–not just the British people–but all people.

He smoked a cigar. Everyday and all day long. It was his trademark, if you will.  And now someone who finds tobacco offensive is trying to remove it from Mr. Churchill’s persona.

It seems that some folks–who feel that smoking cigars are bad for your health–want to “promote” healthier living by changing the truth.

I don’t know who you are–but I have a message for you.  Tobacco is not offensive.  If you find a cigar offensive–then don’t buy them and don’t smoke them.  You can even go farther–don’t associate with people who like cigars.

But for the love of Pete–don’t change the historical pictures of great men because you find their socially acceptable habits offensive.

Here’s a short lesson–tobacco was brought to the new world from Great Britain.  In the wonderful soil of Virginia tobacco was a huge economic boon for the mercantilist economy of the mother country–Great Britain.

The colonists made a lot of money on tobacco–but Great Britain made even more.  Smoking cigars was popular then, especially among elites, and are still popular now–by people who enjoy them.

Both countries benefited from these economic gains–giving them the money to continue protecting the world against tyranny for over 200 years.  To me it is a symbol of success.

Winston Churchill obviously enjoyed it–and changing the fact that he smoked cigars–will not help “promote” anything in today’s world.

So please, stop trying to change history–if you want to do something positive–try working for the future by being truthful and standing up for freedom. I hope you put that in your pipe and well…..you know.

The Loss of Fear

The Loss of Fear

I feel, having reached the ripe age of 50, that I now have a certain amount of experience, knowledge and understanding about how the world works.  I can objectively judge a person’s character and I now have enough time behind me that I can remember how our society was and how far we have come.

One of the things that has evolved–to our detriment–has been the loss of fear.

I’m not talking about the fear of the boogeyman. I am talking about the fear from safety.

Let me explain.  As I was growing up–I had a lot of fears.  I did not see those fears as a bad thing.

I was afraid of strangers–so I never strayed far from my mother and father when in public.

I was afraid of getting sick–so I wore my gloves and my scarf in the cold, an umbrella in the rain.

I was afraid of big dogs–so when I walked home from school with my little sister, I made her cross the street with me so we could avoid the house on the corner with the big german shepherd.

As I got older I was afraid of different things.

I was afraid of failing–so I made sure to study and get the best grades I could–in high school and college.

I was afraid of drugs–so I stayed away from them and anyone that used them–even if it was just “one time”.

I was afraid of being attacked, mugged or abducted–so I made sure to never go out at night by myself.

These fears, to me, were healthy. They kept me safe. And I did not “miss out” on anything.

Kids today, I am finding, have lost their fear.  They are not afraid of vicious animals–they instigate them. They do not take care of their health–often walking through the rain in no hurry to get where they are going, or wearing the inappropriate clothes for the weather.

But worse–they are not afraid of strangers talking to them, calling them or connecting with them on the internet.

They are not afraid of drugs, drug users or drug dealers–seeing it as a right of passage.

They are not afraid of guns or violence often running to see what is happening when a serious situation takes place.

They are not afraid to walk around late at night in the dark by themselves.

This new generation has lost their fear–and with it they have lost their safety.

As a middle aged woman now, my new fear is these young people. Not for what may happen to them because of their lack of fear–but for what may happen to us due to their disregard of actions and decisions that keep us all safe in our community.

The loss of fear is hurting our youth and our society.  The world around us has not changed that much–it is how we choose to view the threats in our world that has changed.  I will chose the healthy fear–every time.

Reinventing The Library

Reinventing The Library

I am a reader and I love books.  I have been reading books for as long as I can remember and I have been a patron of my city library practically all my life, in every city I have ever lived in.

My earliest memory of going to the library to check out books is one of myself at about age 6, walking several blocks to the public library on Belmont Avenue. I remember choosing the books I would read and hugging them to my chest all the way home in anticipation of the stories I would enjoy.

When I had my own children, a trip to the library was an exciting outing–each of us with our own library cards–to choose the next adventure we were to read. Both my girls are readers too.

Over the last 45 years I have continued to borrow books from the library.  But as technology has changed my borrowing habits have changed as well. Now that I have an e reader on my phone and as a separate tablet–all I have to do is  download the app, borrow the book and enjoy it.  I never even have to leave the comfort of my home.

When I have gone to the library for an actual book these days, I have found that it is very empty and understaffed–with staff that is not as knowledgeable as they once were. Also, I found something disturbing.  A library patron, who seemed to be homeless, was bathing herself in the library restroom.

That in itself is a sad situation. For the lady and for others who witnessed it. I am not saying she was unwelcome to use the facilities at the library–but clearly she was not there to check out a book.

So I began thinking of how times have changed and how the original reason for the city or state to provide libraries has now changed as well.

The public library was established to provide all citizens the right to borrow books to read and have a place of sanctuary in which to read them, regardless of income, race, religion or creed as a public service.

Over time the public service expanded to include computers, job search and job training classes, children’s reading sessions and a myriad of other programs for the public good.

And–of course–it is all free to the public.  But–of course,– it isn’t free.  The public library is funded from a portion of homeowner’s property taxes–so it is not a free service at all. We are paying for it.

More and more people are not using the library to check out books and many buildings are lonely.  Each city, is different, but the libraries have changed none the less.

Librarians are not paid a very high wage and in fact, I found after a bit of research that most libraries now have very few full time positions–opting for part time positions in which they do not have to provide benefits for the librarians–who have to have a bachelor’s degree to even be considered for the job.

The hours of the library have also been cut. The library closest to me now is even closed on Sundays when it would actually be the most convenient for me to browse and pick books up.

The libraries in out country seem to be dying.

It is this avid reader’s opinion that perhaps we should reinvent the library.  We should consolidate multiple libraries that exist in the same area to save the money on the upkeep of the buildings and reinvest that money to provide more books in electronic format that can be managed by  less people but provide more availability to the actual patrons that read the books (electronic though they may be.)

Certain libraries can be maintained as the Main Library– in cities in which people can still visit and check out a physical book if they choose–still providing that service.

While it is sad that libraries are dying, what is important is that people–especially children–are still being encouraged to read.  The skill that is needed the most by an informed nation is the ability to read and comprehend–not the physical building in which to house the multitude of books that are being left on the shelf.

I still enjoy searching for authors and books that I might enjoy. I still am eager with anticipation at the start of a new book.  The love of reading has never left me even though the technology has changed. Reinventing the library can keep the flow of the written word alive for many generations to come.

What say you? Should we reinvent the libraries–for the public good–so that they will still provide a service and be of use? Or should we just let them fade away and lose the treasure of being able to have thousands of books (electronic books) at our fingertips?

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

I went into a craft mega store yesterday that I love because it is jam packed with crafts, ideas, decorations, themes, colors and smells.  I can spend hours in there.  In fact, I have.

I was especially excited on this visit when I started seeing 80% off signs on summer stuff.  So I was really in my shopping groove when I turned the corner and I saw it….

The reason for the big sale was the cleaning out of several aisles of goods in order to put out all the Christmas decorations, trees, wreaths, nativities and all the other Christmas decorations that make the season so great!

As you can tell, I love Christmas!

And I appreciate that the ideas are out in July.  Some people may be dismayed to see Christmas out before Halloween and Thanksgiving–but I think it’s brilliant.

The free enterprise system is telling us how wonderful our economy is this year! The optimism is amazing.  The idea that we are all doing so well that we can plan ahead to these upcoming holidays is heartening.

And I am all in!

When I got home–I sat down to make my Christmas list.  Not the gifts I want to receive–that list is a hard one–but the people I want to find the perfect gifts for.

I love looking for things for others that they may love and are not expecting.  Each year that is getting harder and harder to do. There is so much available so quickly to everyone that finding the perfect gift for the people that mean the most to us is quite the challenge.

That is probably why so many people dread the holidays!  They procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get inspired on what to get their friends and family and then run around crazy looking for the perfect gift.

Of course, as hokey as it sounds–there is also nothing like a home made gift.  At the very least it is original, customized to the person receiving the gift and can not be found on Amazon.

So my excitement aside–and the great craft mega store addiction–let’s remember how magical Christmas can be–even when the feelings come in July!

It’s a wonderful life!

How do you feel about Christmas?  Drop me a comment! And have fun!

 

Surround Yourself with People Who Appreciate You

Surround Yourself with People Who Appreciate You

Finding myself this year has been quite a journey and an eye opening experience.

The last 7 months have been, thankfully, uneventful.

I have simply followed my heart.  These are things in my heart:  my faith, my family, my health.  And in my heart, is also my life exactly as it is:  my love of reading and writing and history and politics.  My interest in health and healthcare. My joy in teaching.  My desire for fairness, honesty, and loyalty.

It seems that if I was on a journey to find myself and a “new” life that I am pleasantly surprised to find that I was not lost–that my old life is my new life–as life continues to evolve all on its own.

What I have found surprising, at times, over the last few months is how others around me that do not hold my values have not fallen away from my life. In fact, while I have become healthier, happier, at peace and have enjoyed myself–others have expressed disdain, criticism and shock at my calm.

That is the most interesting thing about this journey–I have been able to easily find the fake friends around me.

Here is how to identify the 4 kinds of fake friends and the lessons to learn from them:

The Gossiper.  This is the friend that you cannot trust with a secret.  They will promptly find some willing ears to hear your secret, but will also embellish any story to meet her needs–and to increase her credibility over yours.

The lesson: This person values other people’s mistakes–Live your life without secrets–do what is right and you never have to worry about a gossiper’s story.

The One-Upper.  No matter what you tell this person, they have also experienced the same situation but in a better, worse, more frequent or more pronounced way.  They can never let you have anything they have not also experienced.

The lesson:  This person needs attention–to remove them from your life, simply ignore them.

The Bully.  Often a strong personality, the bully, treats you with kindness while being condescending and treating you as if you are not capable of making decisions on your own. They also have no regard for the things that are important to you.

The lesson: This person is insecure of their own worth.  You will never win over a friend that only sees her own vulnerabilities in your successes. Smile and continue on your way.

The Pretender.  This person in your circle pretends to be your ally but has no real loyalty to you.  They will look you in the face with a smile as they pretend to be your friend or to deny your friendship if they feel it would advance their favor with others.

The lesson:  This person does not understand loyalty–be kind but do not trust them with anything that is important to you.

Life is a wonderful journey.  Surround yourself with people that appreciate you for who you are, who respects you and loves you even with your failings. But that will never use you to cover their own.

Enjoy your journey!  Leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts at emptynestsaavy@gmail.com

 

Pity Party

Pity Party

So many people lately have invited me into their misery.  Not only have I been invited but then asked why I am so happy all the time?  I am chastised for being the “lucky one” by having to listen to their “horrible situation”.

They are all in a midsts of their own Pity Party.

I do not mean, that when bad, sad or truly unfair things happen to us we shouldn’t feel bad. We should. We should mourn the losses, we should cry at sad circumstances, we should  get angry and we should get all the help needed to get through it.

And then, no matter how difficult the situation may seem we need to pull ourselves up from our bootstraps and move on.

Most people do–from truly horrible events–death of a loved one, disease, or the destruction of their home by a hurricane.

Those are not the pity parties I have been invited to.

The pity parties I’ve attended recently–not by choice, mind you, are miseries that are getting us nowhere.  I listen–because that is what I do–and it gives people attention.

Attention, apparently, that they really need because no matter how well a person listens to their woes and encourage them that all will be well, they continue to pity themselves and to share their sorrows  and indignations until everyone around them (who have been invited to the party) disappear!

No one wants to attend their pity party!  Especially when they are so upset because…

…their children are young and they are so tired because it is so much work,

…their children are big now and making choices of their own,

…they hate their job, their boss is unreasonable, and can you believe they got in trouble for being late…ONE time?

…they have a lot of debt and are broke,

…they are single and cannot find the love of their lives,

…they are married and the love of their lives is getting on their last nerve,

…they are young and no one understands their “struggle”,

…they are getting older and are feeling “unneeded”,

…they are going through “the menopause”

…they are indignant that their politician did not win.

And on and on and on. What is happening to us?  As a society, a community, we are falling apart!  We are creating all kinds of suffering that is not really real just so that someone else will pay attention to us…

So here is what I have to say–to those throwing these parties and those of us who ended up on the invitation list.

If you are throwing the pity party–STOP!

I mean really stop, and think for one moment how lucky we are to be living in this moment in time–with the kids, with a job, with politicians we can debate about and yes, even with “the menopause”!

Stop feeling sorry for yourself over situations that you got yourself into, have the power to get yourself out of and are truly “just life”–nothing bad has really happened to you!

Be thankful everyday for your wonderful miserable life. So many people in the country and the world–have it so much worse!

If you are the lucky devil getting invited to these pity parties–STOP attending!

Walk away, make a polite excuse and get out of that party as soon as you can.  It is best that you don’t attend at all–don’t get sucked into bringing the wine!

We are not helping the miserable soul get on with it by attending–pity doesn’t help anyone–the pity-er or the pity-ee.

So please, save your invitation–I’ll be uh…busy training my elephant that day…You have one life people, enjoy it!

Drop me a comment below–or feel free to email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com!