Tuesday, July 24

Mad with Joy

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

I haven't had time lately to write anything, but the quote above is worth posting. I hope to write soon, now that I've finished Harry Potter 7!

Friday, July 20

I Can't Get Started with You

I'm going to a high school reunion tonight. While pondering the nature of success, this lyric came to mind and made me laugh. It's all relative, isn't it?

Lyrics by: Ira Gershwin
Music by: Vernon Duke
Originally made famous by: Bob Hope
From the Show: Ziegfeld Follies of 1936

There are a couple different versions on the web, so I just put them together.

I Can't Get Started With You
I'm a glum one
It's explainable
I met someone
Life's a bore
The world is my oyster no more

All the papers where I lead the news
With my capers Now will spread the news
Superman turns out to be flash-in-the-pan

I've flown around the world in a plane
I’ve settled revolutions in Spain
The North Pole I have charted
But I can’t get started with you

Around the golf course I’m under par
And all the movies want me to star
I’ve built a house and show place
But I can’t get no place with you

You’re so supreme
Lyrics that I write of you
Scheme, just for a sight of you
And I dream both day and night of you
And what good does it do

In 1929, I sold short
In London, I’m presented at court
But you’ve got me down hearted,
Cause I can’t get started with you

I've been around the world in a plane
Designed the latest IBM brain
But lately I'm so downhearted
'Cause I can't get started with you
In Cincinnati or in Rangoon
I simply smile and all the gals swoon
Their whims I've more than just charted
But I can't get started with you

O tell me why
Am I no kick to you
I who'd always stick to you
Fly through thin and thick to you
Tell me why I'm taboo

Each time I chanced
To see Franklin D.
He always said
Hi buddy to me
And with queens
I've a la carted
But I can't get started
With you

Wednesday, July 18

Unforgettable books--fiction

"A Winter's Tale," Mark Helprin's fabulous book of magical realism set in New York at the turn of the century, which features a consumptive heroine, a magical flying horse, and a gang leader who is a "color junkie, " is catalogued as follows:


Irish Americans -- Fiction.

Reincarnation -- Fiction.

Supernatural -- Fiction.

Burglars -- Fiction.

Upper West Side (New York, N.Y.) -- Fiction.

Nowhere do you find a hint of the book, and none of these are intuitively obvious.

Zorba the Greek is cataloged as "Love of life--fiction" and "Elderly men--fiction." It's a good start, but shouldn't there at least be a "Greek Islands--fiction" entry?

These are the Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication (CIP) categories, which the LoC kindly prepares so individual libraries don't have to reinvent the cataloging for each book. This save time and money and makes cataloging consistent from library to library. Fiction is difficult to classify, obviously, but somehow we're missing the heart of the book.

My solution, which might need some refining, is to have a category, "Must read this book." "Fabulous." "You'll kick yourself if you miss this one."

"Unforgettable books--fiction." Then the question is, who gets to decide what is unforgettable? I'm sure we could work something out.

Tuesday, July 17


This morning I ate a perfect peach, a proof of grace and beauty.

Do you remember the wonderful book Umbrella, by Taro Yashima? It's the story of a little girl named Momo, which means peach, and her umbrella. The rain, when it finally comes, makes the sound "bolo bolo, pom polo, bolo bolo, pom polo."

The Hennepin County Library doesn't have it, but the Minneapolis Public Library does. It was first published in 1958, and reissued in 1986. It's a perfect example of a classic children's book that stands the test of time, and a good example of why we need both kinds of libraries, the ones like Hennepin that have more copies of popular books, and a collection that is in general newer and in better shape, and a library with a big "back list" a deep collection of classics.

Friday, July 13

Jul 12, 1817

Yesterday was Henry David Thoreau's birthday, born July 12, 1817.

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink,
taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each."

Thank you, Jessica W, who posted the quote above and a Happy Birthday to Thoreau on First Universalist Church's Cybercoffeehour yesterday. Quoting Jessica, "Happy birthday Thoreau and thanks for your influence which is considerable indeed." Thoreau is one of our Unitarian Universalist ancestors, a UU saint. If we had saints. Which we don't. But if we did.

Here are some favorite, and most famous, quotations from his work:

I have a great deal of company in my house, especially in the morning when nobody calls.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
How can any man be weak who dares to be at all?
I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.
I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
In wilderness is the preservation of the world.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify.
The heart is forever inexperienced.
The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.
Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Happy Birthday, Henry.

Thursday, July 12

Wild Mondarda

For the past two days I haven't gotten out into the garden at all. This morning when I walked out to the car I noticed a lavender blur in a place I wasn't expecting one.

It was wild monarda, harvested from a field behind the Subway off I35 in Moose Lake two or three years ago, thought dead and gone lo these many years. I don't understand it, but I like it! I'm racking my brains to think if I've had other, more recent, Monarda adventures. This was growing in my brush pile, so it hasn't been watered all year. One tough plant! I'm going to transplant it to the front slope, which gets hot afternoon sun.

On a related topic: this is the first year we've had more raspberries than we can eat. I should harvest some. Right after the rhubarb, which should have been cut months ago. And I should really fertilize the roses, they should have been fertilized twice already.

This reminds me of a wonderful essay by T. B. White. I'll see if I can scan it and post it here. It's a long list of "I should" chores for his farm, with all the accompanying "but before that I need to" and "and as long as I'm doing that I should. . . " It ends "but now it's 4:00 in the afternoon so I think I'll finish this essay and go have supper."

Dale and Jim Ed read it on the Morning Program years ago for Labor Day (Labor=work=chores.) You could hear their voices grow embarassed as the essay went on and on, sounding longer to them than it had in their estimation, and I think they probably consider it one of their less successful moments. I loved it and went on a leisurely search for it that involved skimming many of White's books over the course of 5-8 years.

I finally found it while subbing in the Central Minneapolis Public Library ("downtown") Literature and Language Department with the help of a very experienced and wonderful librarian and a paper card catalog! The card catalog was no longer being maintained even at the time, and I don't know if it made the transition to the new building. On-line cataloging has improved and if the book were to be cataloged today it might, repeat might, have a list of all the essays. It's a good possibility. But of course, the book won't be re-cataloged, and in most libraries it wouldn't even still be held. In fact, it might have been weeded in the Minneapolis system, too. I copied the essay and I don't know if I even noted the name of the book. One small look at the inner workings, and trade-offs, of deciding what to keep and how to access it.

Wednesday, July 11

Ocean in view! O! The joy!

Ocean in view! O! The Joy! -- words of Lewis? Clark? on reaching the Pacific

I finally got out my reading glasses today to examine the back of the newest nickel. I'm so proud that someone chose this beautiful, poetic quote and vision. When I first traveled to Europe, their coins and bills seemed so glamorous compared to ours. This is better!

Shoe-Girl Express

Yesterday I went mad and bought a pair of peep-toe, leopard-skin sling backs. Whoo-hoo! Their only nod to Library Protocol is their modest 1" heel. Fortunately, the Library Code of Professional Conduct no longer mandates sensible shoes.

Cheryl G., Janice K-D., Stacey K. and I went out to Ray-J's for wings after work and then to DSW Shoes for their 80% off Summer Clearance sale. Our average shoe price was slightly under $10 per pair. I bought three pairs for under $30.

Today we all arrived at the first floor elevator at the same time -- never happened before -- dressed up and wearing our new shoes. What a hoot. As I got off the elevator and the others continued to the 5th floor I heard Cheryl say, "Here comes the Shoe-Girl Express!"

The other three are shoe-lovers from way back and can wear high heels with elan. I had to stick to low heels but got strappy shiny flimsy things.

Not only were the shoes and bargains lots of fun, but there was also a feeling of participating in a cultural ritual, akin to "going out for drinks after work." What came first, having shoe shopping become part of the cultural reference for "what is fun" or a critical mass of women loving shoes? Which came first, "Sex in the City" and Manolo Blahniks or a groundswell of shoe love? I knew of women with lots of shoes, but it seems like it only hit my radar with "Sex in the City." Of course, my fashion radar is notably undeveloped. In 1980 when I got married, shoe love and expensive shoes were not a part of culture, but expensive shoes have become a part of bridal expectations. That narrows it down to a sea change sometime in the last 27 years!

No matter, it was great fun to fool around with new friends. I drove home happy on a near-empty freeway in the magical long July twilight, the sky pale golden to the west, white-pink to the east.

This morning, the leopard-skin peep-toe sling backs pinch my foot (did I mention that the inner-sole is shiny gold?), and I think the black flats are inexplicably a size too big. As I drove to work I recalled the "Buy-Nothing Summer" blog I read yesterday, pondered the carbon cost of shoe manufacture and transport, and remembered my no-frills budget. It's now ok for librarians to wear cute shoes, but I don't know if Unitarians approve. Pas de problem. Today I rode "The Shoe-Girl Express."

Tuesday, July 10

Lazy Sunday

Last Sunday, July 8, was my first "lazy Sunday" of the summer. Didn't go to church or do heroic work in the garden. Slept until 9:00, read the paper and lazed around until 1:00, went to an afternoon movie (Transformers) with Jarrett and then to Border's Books. Wonderful!

AND, it rained! The weather report said it was the most rainfall at one time since last August. I think our part of town only got 1/4" to 1/2", but some places got an inch and a half.

Saturday was 98 degrees and humid as all get out; the cool front that brought the rain brought relief from the scorcher, too.

Monday, July 9

Home from the wedding

Lauren and Stacy's wedding was this weekend. They were radiant. Jarrett danced.

Home feels dull. "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps in its petty pace from day to day." Something like that. Even though I work temp, I still am in a rut.

That was my last "big thing" to look forward to. My class reunion comes in three weeks, but I dread it more than look forward to it.

So, what IS the meaning of life? Anything more than survival at one pole and amusement at the other? Into what should I put my time and energy?