Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Facebook and google intrusions

I recently joined Facebook (if you want to follow me- feel free!) as our Library was setting up a page and to be an administrator you had to have an account to set it up. And knowing what I knew about networking (thanks to all my blogging friends who have taught me so much over the years!) I knew that I would need to be active on Facebook, friend people that I might not have seen in some years and take some risks. It paid off and the branch has the followers it needs but it came just as the Facebook scandal erupted about how Facebook had done a week long test in 2012 on it's users to see if it could get change their moods based on their friend's postings. So they only allowed them to see the negative postings of their friends to see how it would effect the users. It was pretty nefarious and of course that came close on the heals of all the mining that all of the social network sites do at the behest of the NSA. So I just feel a sort of love/hate relationship for all my social networking sites. On one hand, I love that  I have met blogging friends that I never would have otherwise and I have gotten in touch with friends (on Facebook) again. Google+ also automatically backs up all my photos so that when my phone inexplicably corrupted my SD card the other day, I didn't lose a single picture. It also does cute things like this:  
Made a gif of my little Leyla. So cute! A little scary though that it did it on it's own. It also makes photo albums of my pictures. Dates and puts the place in for me. Yup, a little scary. 
or like this one, it did a little finishing up on it. Framed it, changed the color... All a little creepy. Someday I'll wake up and my phone will have chosen my outfit for me. 

In other news... 
I hate to hear this but the Guardian had an article today that author median incomes are collapsing. The article stated,
According to a survey of almost 2,500 working writers – the first comprehensive study of author earnings in the UK since 2005 – the median income of the professional author in 2013 was just £11,000, a drop of 29% since 2005 when the figure was £12,330 (£15,450 if adjusted for inflation), and well below the £16,850 figure the Joseph Rowntree Foundation says is needed to achieve a minimum standard of living. The typical median income of all writers was even less: £4,000 in 2013, compared to £5,012 in real terms in 2005, and £8,810 in 2000. 
Despite headlines about record-breaking deals – most recently for a slice of One Direction fan fiction, which earned Anna Todd a mid-six-figure deal with Simon & Schuster – the "vast majority" of writers receive advances that are well below the level that would make them equivalent to a salary, said Smythe. "I know very few writers who earn above the Minimum Income Standard, and that means that they need second jobs," said Smythe. "Awards and critical acclaim used to be enough, in the heady days of 1970s publishing. It's simply not, now. 
"Most people know that a few writers make a lot of money. This survey tells us about the vast majority of writers, who don't," said Cope. "It's important that the public should understand this – and why it is so important for authors to be paid fairly for their work."
 I guess for me, this is why it's important to push the value of reading in our society. Those of us who are readers (and writers) assume that the rest of the world are like we are. And even if we have a vague idea that there are fewer people reading we don't take it terribly seriously, because well, we're reading and some people we know are reading so it will be okay. In fact, statistics show that fewer people are reading and fewer people will continue to read unless there is a push give a love of reading back to children. We have drained the life out of it with testing and reading levels and time limits, etc. It's time to give kids back imagination and fun! The love of a good book!!

In that vein, I remember what gave me a LOVE for reading: my second grade teacher used to read aloud to us. Specifically she read the Boxcar Children and Ramona the Pest. Her dramatic readings took me to the school library where I began my own forays into the many beloved titles.

What gave you a love for reading? 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Favorite Bookstore memories?

The Guardian had an article today that I wished I'd responded to today  Bookshop memories: your pictures and stories but since I have a blog I don't have to write in to them and just have somebody skim over my part dreaming about their own memories. I can write it here and then I can ask my blogging friends about their own bookstore memories.   

So I have two that I will share… The first is about the Tattered Cover. It is a one of the best bookstores in Denver and I've enjoyed going there for years. Romantically Maurice and I had our first date there 9 years ago on June 12th. Sadly, this particular location (which was a great one!) has moved and been changed to a home d├ęcor store and exercise studio. But they are still in three locations around Denver which we frequent will some regularity. 
Tattered Cover Cherry Creek
The second is my first big shopping trip buying books. I was preparing to go to college and I had save money to buy the things I needed for the year ahead. Most would think mostly about clothes, towels, shampoos… etc, Not me. I had about $400 (I think). I’d been more or less commanded to set some of that aside for clothes but the rest I’d designated that toward… books! So I headed off to the mall to do my shopping and spent a lovely afternoon at Walden books (back when they had such a thing at the mall). I bought trade paperbacks so that my small budget would go further (I didn't know how many used bookstores there were in Denver at that time). Herbert, Hemingway, Hawthorne, Bronte, Austin, and Tolkien were among the names that were added to my library that day. I was so thrilled to walk out of the bookstore, my arms filled with some of the best literature I could find.

So what about you? Do you have a bookshop memory? I’d love to hear it!     

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The comfort zone...

This week has been a week of chaos. I don't remember feeling off  my stride in the position I'm in as I have for the past week. We were interviewing for two shelving positions and were short handed. I was trying to get everyone breaks and lunches but that can be tricky when the person you're interviewing is chatty.

Part of it was The Weather
Tuesday hail started pouring down and pummeling cars. (I was checking on my car a bit anxiously- it's in the back of the lot)
Sirens were going off and we all headed to the community room for 30-45 minute intervals. All in all we got to have this much fun three times this week with 7 tornadoes being spotted in the Denver area on Wednesday. 
Washington Post
We are not in Tornado Alley and I can't remember ever having this many tornado warnings this many days in a row. It was reminded me of being a kid in Oklahoma and Kansas! To top it off we had a meeting I'd forgotten with our new manager on Wednesday (tornado day) when we also had interviews and that afternoon I was asked to cover... 
 Book Babies is our singing/story time for 0-2 year old and I've never even been in the room during that time. But we had no one else to do it and it needed to be done on Friday. Now I'm not a complete novice... I taught pre-school back in... deep time. But I haven't hokey pokied in ages so I was going to have to limber up and ungrease those wheels. I've been spending my working hours counting beans, making the schedule, and making sure stuff is getting done. I am not used to playtime at work. Major brain shift. To make it more complicated I was making a deposit just before I went in to play and my deposit was short! GACK!!!   

To end the week on a further uncomfortable note, a job posting came up for a new position in a different library system. It's a little nerve wrecking even thinking about putting in an application but sometimes you have to stretch your wings... 

Speaking of which, time to do some editing and writing. What new things are coming your way?   

Monday, May 12, 2014

snow, snow go away.

come again in the NEXT IN SEVERAL MONTHS!!!!!

It's almost mid May! This snow needs to vamoose!!!
Looking at the average temps for Denver this morning, it's not that it's unusual for Denver to get the last frost in May. But the average last frost is April 28 and for the last 10 years more of those days are falling later and later. Weather is definitely chaotic here!
 I'm sorry folks, get on board with climate change. Even Shell Oil, BP and the other oil companies admit it's real, they're just planning on profiting on the misery of those who can't protect themselves.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Humpty Dumpty...

It would be too much of a cliche to say my mind was elsewhere. Ha! Who doesn't get behind the wheel and half a block down, their mind is already midway through the day, planning lunch, thinking about phone calls that need to be made, or the to-do list that you'd write if only you could write legibly while writing?
Might try it just this once...?
Or get that phone call out of the way if the phone is just within reach..."
Glancing up, a blurred look at the cars in front of me and over to the seat as reach over for my coat. Failing to find the object I was looking for in the fleeting moment I thought it was safe to try. I look back at the street. Red light. Cars chestnut lights in front of me. Too close.
Foot down!
To the floor! 
oh my god
OH MY GOD!!!!!!!
im in one piece. 
Okay. I'm...
You okay? 
It's all business from there. Calls to insurance. Exchange of information. A tow?
It wasn't till later when I thought through the driving classes I've taken lately for work. The reminders of how fast it happens.
It will never happen to me. It happened to me. Just a glance. I looked. I didn't see. The light didn't register. Too distracted and I was multitasking.
Lesson learned. And learned hard.
Did you know that talking on a cell phone is as bad as being drunk? And people get in accidents all the time while driving distracted from eating or putting on makeup. Sleeping is also as bad as being under the influence.
Well, so now I have this cute little car:
       But I didn't have car payments before.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring showers...

Lead to snow here in Colorado (and eventually spring flowers). It never fails. We need the moisture, no doubt about it but I am ready for spring and I've been reveling in the early blooms I've seen here and there. Today while the snow is falling outside my window, I was editing some of the pictures I took last year to brighten a gloomy day.
 A wild columbine- so rare to spot. It's scientific name: "Aquilegia (common names: Granny's Bonnet or Columbine) is a genus of about 60-70 species of perennial plants that are found in meadowswoodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere, known for the spurred petals of their flowers." The Colorado Blue Columbine (A. caerulea) is the official state flower of Colorado.* 
There is of course a whole sad reference to the Columbine which I won't recount here but the flower is undeserving of such remembrance. It is a beautiful, graceful flower that graces the landscape it dwells in. 
 A wild rose- "Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose or Wild Prairie Rosesyn. R. pratincolaR. suffulta,R. suffulta var. relicta) is a species of rose native to a large area of central North America, between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains from AlbertaManitoba, and Saskatchewan south to New MexicoTexas and Indiana."*

The rose has a whole section in Wikipedia which discuses it's symbolism but just briefly I thought it's classic symbolism was interesting. Isis was just one of the goddesses to whom the rose was sacred. Her rose appears in the late classical allegorical novel The Golden Ass as "the sweet Rose of reason and virtue" and saves the hero from his bewitched life in the form of a donkey. 

The ancient Greeks identified the rose with the goddess of love, Aphrodite as did the Romans with their goddess of love, Venus. "In Rome a wild rose would be placed on the door of a room where secret or confidential matters were discussed. The phrase sub rosa, or "under the rose", means to keep a secret — derived from this ancient Roman practice."*
And this is a beautiful flower we have growing in our front garden- the Poppy. "Poppies are herbaceous plants, often grown for their colourful flowers. One species of poppy, Papaver somniferum produces edible seeds, and is also the source of the crude drug opium which contains powerful medicinal alkaloids such as morphine and has been used since ancient time as analgesic and narcotic medininal and recreational drugs."* Not this one though. It's a common poppy and simply provides beauty. 

However, reading on...  "Poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death: Sleep because of the opium extracted from them, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead. Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep. This symbolism was evoked in the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a magical poppy field threatened to make the protagonists sleep forever.
A second interpretation of poppies in Classical mythology is that the bright scarlet colour signifies a promise of resurrection after death."*


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The awe factor

Well I can't help myself! I had to share the news that I have a new baby granddaughter- Leyla-Rae.

She is a week old and already lifting her head to see what's happening in the world. I'm planning visits to the museum for a few weeks from now to begin filling the little mind with the wonders of the world- I'm kidding, of course but I do plan on taking her early and letting her play in the Space room and romp among the dinosaur bones. I plan on having many happy hours teaching her fun stuff about mummies and tombs. Such fun! 

Its lovely to have such good news right now because its still been rather bleak around here. I am hoping springtime will cheer me up- as it usually does. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Why Insurance in America sucks pt. 4 (this time I'll be brief) and...

Actually this isn't so much about insurance as medical care because in general the problem is medical care- which includes dental. Part of the reason that medical care sucks in the United States of America is that there are too many hidden costs and you don't find out about them until after the fact.

You don't find out that your insurance won't pay for a new dentist in the office you've been going to for years until after he's done a full round of X-Rays on your mouth because you assumed that the office took your insurance when in fact it apparently depends doc by doc. You have to ask! Buyer beware!! 

You can't find out the doctor's office is going to charge you for the experimental treatments they offered (or how much!) so that you can decide if you want to buy the device the doctor is recommending (not covered by insurance) until weeks after you had the appointment because in some cases the front office doesn't even know- their billing office makes those decisions.

You can't find out the difference in cost of one emergency room visit from another- so unlike other markets you can't shop around. But that's not how the "free market" is supposed to work: i.e. I can go from one car dealer to another to find out who is going to offer me the best deal or if Argonaut Liquor is offering a wine on sale I can get Keg Liquor to give me the same wine for the same price. But you usually won't/can't find medical care costs up front and can't choose which is going to be cheapest or ask them to give it to you for the same price. And no, you don't always get the best value for your money. I mean after all, a urine analysis is what it is. Do you need to pay $500 more for it at one hospital than at another?

So that's all I'm going to say about that. For now. Except that I think we are all suckers for not screaming at our government to give us a single payer option and giving it to us now. They can pay for wars that go on and on and on without any kind of result and not bat an eye but doing the right thing on healthcare is too expensive. Well, that's not the reason, I know, but I am not going into a political rant right now.  :)

Quack, Quack.

It's been pretty dry and fairly warm here (except for a couple of days when we dipped down with the whole country into the ungodly cold temperatures a few weeks back) and there's not a whole lot of snow around. We could go on some nice walks except for my shoulder still makes it difficult so these are pictures taken from last year...
What I'm reading? 
I've finished reading a friend's novel right now and giving him some feedback. It's a good solid literary work and I hope he finds a publisher although it's a struggle out there as we all know. 
Hope things are going well where you are!


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