I’ve always noticed and appreciated sculptures that greet visitors of public libraries.

But lately whenever I visit a different library, I am in awe; and even when I visit the same library over and over again, I stop to admire the sculptures and how they capture the beauty of reading and the library itself–a special home open to all to share and receive that which lies within the library walls.

Recently, I visited a library that was new (to me). I’m on a mission to obtain as many library cards as I can whenever we go to a nearby city and it makes sense. Although, it may not be convenient to physically check the books out from certain more distant locations, I gain a new library card, and online access to e-books and audio books. I enjoy visiting each of the library webpages to learn about new books and librarian recommendations.

These are just a couple of the sculptures from two different libraries. It’s always fun to see the vast differences in how an artist captures the magic of reading and the libraries.

A book that comes to mind is Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public Library at 100. It was one of my first free downloads, when it was available for free, when I purchased my first Kindle reader. I still need to come back to it and finish reading the reflections by various people on their favorite books from the collection.

Here I sit at the local coffee shop,
a circular construction, tables all around,
waterfalls in the background, trees reach
wide around the space, making me feel as
though I’m in a treehouse, and for these moments,
I feel free, at ease, childlike–
in my element.

Advertisements

A few weeks back I went with only one bag, ready to fill it with orphan library books. It was that time of year again when the library takes stock, unloading its shelves of books that will find happy, new homes. I’ve perused Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project in the past, but didn’t immediately jump to action.

When I saw a beat up copy of the book staring out at me, I thought now seems the right time to dive in, figure out some more simple pleasure that I can add to my list and find new perspective in the familiar. There was a “Damage Noted” sticker on this one: “ragged, readable.” I taped up the front and back cover to reinforce it to get more use out of it before it starts to fall apart. I found some other books; I could’ve taken more bags, but I made a deal with myself that one bag was enough. I did also end up carrying a few books under my arms.

I’ve been dipping in and out of books. At one point I was going to pick up, in book form, where I left off in the audio version. I didn’t recognize anything, then I realized it was the wrong book and felt better. I sometimes worry that I’ll start losing track and cross plots and characters amongst the books I’m juggling. I’m usually pretty good about keeping it all separate. It’s challenging though, in the sense that I yearn to get back to one book, then another pulls me in, and that other one over there is saying, ‘read me, read me.’ All these books are vying for my attention.

Sometimes I know right away if a book and are will get a long really well; other times, I need to keep going a little longer to see if we’re a good fit. And still other times, I will feel satisfied right where I’ve stopped–forcing a new ending because another book is calling.

One book I almost gave up on is Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook. I’m so glad I didn’t. Month’s ago I started reading it, then put it aside. I had also downloaded the audio and started listening to it, then back to reading it–then perhaps it was being in one of the small bookstores looking through the tables of recommended books, and just maybe it was the woman nearby, also looking, searching, whom looked to me and said I loved this book, have you read it. I looked and because it was the hard cover, I didn’t immediately recognize it, then I said, “well, I started it, but haven’t finished it yet. I do believe it was her nudge that brought me back to the audio version. A sweet love story, that talking about, is making me want to go back for a visit.

One book that I recently downloaded is A Concise Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers. It’s different, in the way it’s organized through words–through the words the protagonist is learning, sprinkled with Chinese sayings. It has intrigued me and I think I’m in for the long haul. I want to see where this goes, how the language and thought process develops, how it ends.

Traveling through books is one of my favorite pastimes and also reading about peoples lives. I don’t always know whose lives will pull me in, wanting to read more, wanting to get to know the person more, read (hear about their experiences).

A couple of these that have recently come to my attention are Take Off Your Shoes: One Man’s Journey from the Boardroom to Bali and Back by Ben Fender. I am looking forward to traveling alongside Mr. Fender and his family. I’ve read up until the point where the transition begins and am happily awaiting getting back to the journey. The writing is clean and already I feel like I’m just beginning to know his family.

Driving Miss Norma: One Family’s Journey Saying Yes to Living by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle. How could I not be inspired by a 90 year old woman, who is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and decides to say yes to life , join her son and daughter-in-law on an adventure on wheels, living out the time she has left in what may possibly be her last hurrah.

I came across these books from the daily BookBub email that I signed up for. I have found out about many great deals from them. It’s great!

http://www.bookbub.com

I came across the book, The Novel Cure while I was looking for another book in the library shelves. I like the concept of being prescribed a book for what ails you. I also like the idea of being introduced to books that I may not come across or some that I’ve read to see what the ailment was. A fun one to flip through.

Here I sit, writing in my journal, one of my tippity-top forms of happiness and one of which I’ve been depriving myself from enjoying.

Here I sit feeling the cold on my arms,
feeling my muscles tense with the chill.
One last sip from my teacup,
minty freshness perks my senses.
I hear the television in the background,
the aroma of someone’s hearty dinner wafting in the air,
happiness found in the tap tap tap of fingers on the keyboard,
as thoughts connect with words connect with the page,
making the day feel alright.

Not too long after I applied for the library position, I had a reply from the Human Resources department stating that I did not meet the minimum qualifications, but that I had the opportunity to submit additional information to show that I had what was required.

Surprisingly, the news came as a slight disappointment, not an altogether shock, and ironically, a bit of a relief. In my head, I had listed the pros and cons and reality–and well, I have cast that stone and am ready to move on and will be ready for any interesting adventures that I cross roads with.

End of chapter.

A few months back when hubby and I were on the lookout for garage sales, we saw a sign for a backyard open studio art sale. This photo is of a piece that greeted us in the front yard. It made me smile immediately. I like the way the colors of the surrounding flowers compliment it perfectly.

I’ve been gravitating toward fiction for younger readers these days and biographies or memoir in audio format and any other fiction or non-fiction that grabs me. I have more time to listen while driving, and lately I’ve been too tired to keep my eyes open for long.

I don’t remember how I came across Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. I listened to the audio version narrated by Gemma Whelan. I do remember reading that fans of the Harry Potter series may enjoy it. I must say I was immediately pulled into the story of Morrigan Crow, one of the ‘cursed children’ who who escapes her fate and finds herself whisked away into a world where anything is possible. The story was captivating, the writing lovely; just what I was needed to feed my imagination. I’m looking forward to book 2.

I think that’s it for now. The weather has cooled down dramatically. I’m sitting outside right now and almost ready to put a sweater on whereas the past few weeks the temperature has been in the high 90s. It feel good, cleansing in a way. I only pray that those effected and all the fire fighters are safe as they battle the many fires that have broken out across the country.

I sit here, feeling at peace,
the stress of the day unravels into the breeze,
Lucas stares off into the dusk,
watching the trees blow as he usually does,
inspecting the yard, barking when it suits him.
He’s satisfied, looks one last time, and goes back inside;
I follow his lead.
The day is done.

I finally wrote in my journal yesterday for the first time in a long while. I’ve been wanting to mark a few events, so that I can come back and remember. The thoughts feel quick in my mind—as though a quick sketch with words.

July. It’s been a year since my Uncle’s passing; it’s been a year since I decided to apply for a County job. I would not have been able to do it without the support of my old boss because it wouldn’t have been possible to even go through the process without having a job. Everything takes so much time. I remember almost not applying because I doubted myself, but then I thought that I had nothing to lose. I would then be surprised a month later when I received the invitation to move onto the next step of taking the test; after which, more time, another call, an interview, and the offer. I was elated. It took roughly three months to go through the whole process. July also marks the ending of my 9-month probationary period; next Monday, I should be declared a permanent employee. I like my job, I really do, but…

I like to look at the County job board because I’m curious and because—I don’t know. Well, I’ve seen library jobs, but those that I’ve seen require a bachelor’s degree, which I do not possess. Over the weekend, I saw another library job that was an entry level position, but I don’t have the required experience. I have the customer service experience, just not in a library setting, which they want. I have the love of books. I am tempted to apply without the 100% requirements. Would I be able to state my case, my love of books, libraries, learning…I don’t know. Is it worth it? Nothing to lose. I won’t know unless I try. Why do I keep looking?

It’s strange to be moving along, content, I like the work—mostly; the customer service aspect is my favorite part. It’s been a reality check in the sense that I’ve been working a part-time schedule for the past ten years—somehow it worked. My migraines made me nervous, not knowing if I could work an eight hour schedule again. Now I’ve been introduced to a 9/80 schedule, which means you work 44 hours one week, then 36 hours the next. All 9 hour days, except for every other Monday off, and 8 hours the alternating Monday. I must say my body has had to adjust—that extra hour is felt; however, having an extra day off is a nice perk.

July also marks my birthday month.

I have some thinking to do or maybe I’m just making things more complicated than they need to be. If I apply for this position, I’ll treat it the same way. Apply, then leave it to chance—to the Universe. Knowing that, what is meant to be, will be.

The day pushes down as I try to stay on top of the rainbow, ride the light until the day ends curled up with a cozy blanket and a good book.

It’s nice to have a day off. I’ve been in my new job now for a little over five months. The timing was right to leave my old job and I had no idea or expectation that things would work out as they did. I did put my faith in God, in the higher powers of the Universe; I prayed for guidance each day to let me know, to offer some sign…now here I am, with many serendipitous moments along the way.

I feel grateful. There is a probationary period–9 months; after I reach that hurdle, it will be official. Until then, I wait, I work, I rejoice for the opportunity.

Today I visited the library, it’s where I gravitate on my day’s off. I visited two today and here I sit in the second as I type these words out. I always enjoy browsing through the “New Books” shelves to see what I may have missed. I checked out a small stack and purchased two used books from the Friends of the Library bookstore. I had listened to the audio of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery years ago and have recently wanted to revisit it in book form. I remember listening intently to the story and am glad that I listened first. It may have been harder for me to find the right voices in my head for the characters and I may not have been as open to the young character who is planning her suicide.

Another audio that I’m happy to have listened to is Anna Karenina read by the actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal. I had sampled other versions, the readers not piquing my interest, but when I read about how much she loved the story, and upon hearing for myself–the care and passion that comes through effortlessly, I was immediately drawn in and have since listened to the story several times over. What a treat to the ears, the mind, and heart.

At my first library stop, fiction mostly was the aim. Here at my second stop, creativity and food won me over. It is getting close to lunch, so of course a bowl of soup or any Latin American dish sounds scrumptious. I couldn’t pass up Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books by Cindy Wang, since I love anything to do with books and my mother-in-law has been knitting hats, I thought she might enjoy a look at this book for some added inspiration and whimsy.

I know I won’t read all of these books, or the countless samples I’ve downloaded to Kindle or the freebies, or…

I’ve always enjoyed audio books and lately I’ve listened to more and more because I have extra time in the car on my way to and from work. I still read books, more slowly than usual. But even if I only get to know a book quickly, read a small portion of it–I tell myself that it counts for something; it counts for getting to know the book, if only a quick tryst. It’s better to have been acquainted, than our paths never crossing. A quick hello, or time over a cup of tea, and then goodbye, possibly only having this one chance meeting or perhaps our paths will cross again.

Last week was filled with moods colored by the feeling of something outside of myself that I was letting inside, or perhaps what I was feeling on the inside was coloring how things looked on the outside. I suppose it’s always a little bit of both.

I enjoy my daily beverage from Starbucks each morning–a guilty pleasure on many levels. I usually reheat my mocha in the microwave and on one morning last week, the lid fell on the counter, and with everyone being sick, I tossed it in the trash and took the cup to my desk, being careful not to tumble it over. After a while, I noticed more words than just my name, and saw that the Barista or someone had written on the cup, near where the lid was, “Have a great day : )” I needed to hear those words in that moment–I needed a positive lift to remind me that the moods of the week would pass. I wasn’t feeling especially bad at that moment, but it just felt good to have someone practice a random act of kindness in this way.

If I hadn’t dropped the lid, I may not have seen the message hidden just out of reach underneath.

**

On my daily walks, I try to find something that I haven’t noticed before or that brings a smile to my face. This little yellow flower was one of the little beauties that sought me out.

Pigeons gather around,
gobble their bounty
at the curbside.
Car door opens-

In unison, pigeons fly away
and around, only to return
to the beginning.

This morning, I knew that when I left the house, I would be stopping at the coffee shop before work. I knew I would attempt to write something on my blog, and I knew that there was a book that I wanted to share before so much time went by, that the thought fell away. 

At this particular coffee shop, there is a waterfall in the background, trees, and large cement structures that hold bright pink and white flowers and other textured shrubbery. Usually, if I stop for coffee, it’s in and out, then off to work. It feels like my little piece of Zen–the soothing sound of the water swooshing out, bees buzzing here and there, and the canopy of trees that makes me feel like I’m in a tree house–these beauties get my day going in a peaceful direction.

This morning, as I sat at the table, before I opened my iPad, I stretched to the left to help alleviate some muscle stiffness and what did I spy, but a heart shape on one of the red bricks. This brought a great smile to my being; and it felt like that feeling you get when you feel like the Universe is speaking to you–as though the Universe is smiling or tickling your funny bone. Here I was sharing a heart yesterday, a heart that I had taken a photo of a long while ago; and here, this morning, another heart appears in the present moment. Such a wonderful feeling.

The book that I’d like to share that is written for young readers and the young at heart is The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan. I was lucky enough to come across this when my mother-in-law came across it in one of her book catalogs. She passed it along to me and said how much she loved it. I happily accepted it and put it on a nearby shelf to be read when I felt in the mood. It’s a very short story that can easily be read in a short sitting. I chose to read half in July and was drawn to finish it recently. I was taken with its beauty, with the love on those pages. It’s a special book to be read and shared. For anyone that loves dog’s, children, poetry–they will especially appreciate this book.  

As the day comes to an end and time for sleep is near, I think about the day, about the books, changes, obstacles–I think about an image that I want to put here and this one comes to mind. I saw it on one of my walking breaks, right there on the sidewalk, just as it’s seen here. I always love finding smiley faces and hearts. It’s like they wait for me to find them. 

When I see this image, I think of peace and love and send these feelings out into the world because we need more of both.