Your Library Staff at Home — Thanks, Universe?

It has been nice to be able to continue with exercise classes online during the quarantine, but it was not so nice when I overdid it a couple days ago during such a class and felt an ouch. Bummer! Nothing serious but my routine is thrown and now my body is insisting that I need a few days off. I’ve been icing the swelling, elevating and resting and feeling a bit better, but it’s hard not to be discouraged– I had a schedule and a plan and life instead told me to slow down.

Pretty sure many of us had to swallow a truth sandwich as a result of the pandemic and the need for sheltering in place. Vacations were cancelled and postponed; graduations are being held remotely; and some of our really big events have turned into intimate ones. None of this is by choice.

But as I was recouping over the weekend with a Downton Abbey marathon, I’m determined to focus for a silver lining. Perhaps though fictionalized, Downton Abbey provides an excellent example of how humans are capable of growth and change. Along with all the scandal and drama that make compelling television, the Crawley family of Downton face the real-life challenges of surviving first World War, the Spanish Flu, and changes to their Aristocratic way of life. Generations before us have learned to play by new rules. It’s not easy but humans are resilient. We rest, evaluate and then, adapt. We’ll get through this–it’s human nature.

And meanwhile, let’s look at the silver lining. For me, today, the windows are open, the birds are singing, Downton is on and a copy of Denise Mina’s latest mystery Conviction is available for me on Overdrive. It’s going to be a fine day. Thanks, Universe!

Your Library Staff @ Home – Making & Crafting

Other than working from home, cooking and baking passionately for my family, reading and following my online programs, I’m trying to finish my traditional needlework -embroidery table cloth- during this pandemic and make the most out of my time while staying at home.

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There are some websites that I would like to recommend for you to check out for patterns and collections such as stitchedmodern.com and if you want to learn how to make cross-stitch designs, I would recommend visiting Creativebug in our Digital Library to see all the classes that we have.

Embroidery is extremely relaxing and fun to do. It adds a little color and design into your daily life. By using this time wisely, I even taught my daughter how to cross-stitch as well and she loves it. Being able to do make art while staying home is truly something special.

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~Semanur

Your Library Staff at Home – A Book and Two Cats

This week I’ve not only made my way through a whole novel, I loved it! Oh, and I am currently reading and enjoying a second. I don’t want to jinx it, but maybe my “cold” stretch of picking duds of books to read (and/or not having enough staying-with-it-ness to, well, you know) is over…but I sure hope so!

The book I loved was Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts by Kate Racculia. Tuesday is 33-year-old researcher who lives in Boston. To the outside world, Tuesday is an antisocial weirdo who got stuck in her goth chick days, but in her head she has ongoing conversations with the ghost of her best friend Abby, who disappeared when they were 16-year-olds in Salem. Tuesday breaks out from her solitude when a dead eccentric billionaire’s will is made public, inviting the citizens of Boston to participate in a macabre search around the city to compete for his hidden treasure.  She can’t resist going in and neither will you. This book has it all: mystery,  madcap adventure, Oujia board-wielding teenagers, mistaken identities, witty banter, intelligent writing–not to mention some heart-rending examinations of grief, guilt, friendships and romance.

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Are you convinced?  Place a hold in our catalog here

The book I’m reading now, All Adults Here by Emma Straub is brand new. I’ll keep you posted, but so far I can’t put down this novel about the flawed family of Astrid Strick and her adult children.

All this book reading has me sitting a bit more recently, much to the delight of our two cats, who I’ve decided are indeed the best of coworkers (no disrespect to my husband who is pretty good at sharing a workspace too). The cats, though, are excellent lap warmers and are the perfect partners in crime for when I’m looking for an excuse to stay seated and read just one more chapter. Thanks furballs!

Have a good week and if you’ve got one, give your own  furry coworker a head scratch for me.

Your Library Staff at Home -hunh?

Ooo! What happened? Somewhere over the past few weeks, I’ve realized my attention span has gotten very short. I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? It’s a good thing I’m already a fan of making lists -and checking items off the list. Now I need to figure out how to remember where I put my most current list… heh heh. (I also need to remember to recycle that finished list-geez,)

So maybe you’re on the same page as I am (book humor on purpose!) and you’d like to listen to an entertaining book or podcast right now? Great! May I suggest the following podcasts: Stuff You Should Know-covering a wide variety of topics, the length varies by episode, Flash Forward -possible futures based on current ideas, Imaginary Worlds-mostly SF topics but also plenty of general appeal, or NPR’s Life Kit -nicely compact discussions of truly helpful tips for navigating everyday life. May I suggest an older nonfiction book: Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt -I learned so much about European Starlings and Mozart (of course?) plus musical moments were included in the audio book! And how about an older mystery/dark comedy series: Izzy Spellman Series starting with The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz -you too might fall a little in love with this seriously loving and dysfunctional family like so many of us have!

Or if you want to fall down a rabbit hole of what? who knew? I need to try that! nope. Yes! May I suggest checking out #recipes on TikTok? (If you can figure out a good way to limit your time on this one -please send that good tip my way?!)

And please, don’t forget to be kind to yourself, okay?
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home – Watching Birds (& TV)

It’s been hard to concentrate lately. I know that many people also are feeling this way right now. I’m even (sniff sniff) having a hard time reading. So, for some escape this week, and for lots and lots and lots of laughs, I’ve been streaming NBC’s Superstore, starring America Ferrera. The quirky characters on this multi-season sitcom are coworkers at Cloud 9, a big box store, where hi-jinx ensue on the regular. This show just might help you stop missing your coworkers whileworking from home.

What else am I watching? Birds! We are an advanced-beginner bird-watching household. We have our dog-eared guide book and hurry each other to the window to see something new.

Ducks. Hummingbirds (Yes, they are back even with this snow!). Orioles. Nuthatches. I know these birds have always been in (or migrating through) my yard, but it feels like I am seeing them with new eyes. This shutdown has provided me with an opportunity to be present, it slows me down when I feel restless and uncertain and helps me appreciate what is around me– my backyard, my pets, my family. To be comforted by the familiar, and to be open to viewing the familiar in a new light are starting to feel like gifts.

I see more birds because I am looking more, which takes time. I know that eventually everything will bounce back and return to a new version of normal, but I aim to hold on a bit to the good stuff I’ve learned from this. When life picks its pace back up, I plan to keep taking the time to take time.

Your Library Staff at Home – Spring is (indoor) Spider Season?

Despite the recent snow (sigh) it really is Spring, a season that brings out all sorts of newly created flora and fauna. Spring also reminds everything that went into hibernation it’s time to wake up! While it isn’t really news to anyone, this year -being inside at home so much- I realized this includes house spiders! ugh. I’m working very hard to embrace the challenge of living peaceably with these multi-legged, fast-moving arthropods. (It would help a lot if they would stop running across the ceiling or hiding in the bathroom…¯\_(ツ)_/¯) So, what have you learned about your house this Spring?

As I give my new spider frens plenty of space, I’m also attempting to grow an avocado tree from a seed! I’m mid-week two and no roots yet but we’re in the early stages… oh, the hope! In-between refilling the water and moving Ava Cado to the warmest spots around the kitchen I’m enjoying some upbeat songs on Freegal, the Library’s new ad-free music service -all you need is your Rocky River library card and pin number to start streaming music! Check out the different genres and why not try making your own playlist – enjoy!

Be kind to yourself today!
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home – Making & Crafting

Last week, I interrupted our regularly scheduling blogging with a post about Book Harbor, RRPL’s personalized book recommendation service. Today, I am resuming my deep dive into making & crafting, with a little book recommendation thrown in – it’s a combo offering!

Spring has sprung and I am busy making my garden sing! I have a shady backyard and a sunny front – and I usually alternate years – one year I work a lot on the front – the next, the back. Well, this year it’s been a backyard effort – a shady, woodland type garden filled with a mix of native plants and non-native shade lovers. Last week, I took a trip to Wilmot, Ohio to the Wilderness Center, where I picked up some native plants that I had ordered in advance. I had never heard of the Wilderness Center, until an internet search brought up their plant sale. It’s a lovely area, surrounded by farms and rolling hills. I will definitely make a trip back there to visit their Interpretive Center and trails when things open up again. I bought Pennsylvania Sedge and Black Cohosh for the back garden and milkweed, liatris and rattlesnake master (such a great name) for the front. I’ve lived in my house for almost 25 years and my garden is, and will always be, a work in progress, but I love it.

Of course, there are many books that I’ve consulted about shade gardening because that’s what I do – I’ve got to read everything I can get my hands on before taking action (it’s a fault, I know). Glorious Shade: Dazzling Plants, Design Ideas, and Proven Techniques for Your Shady Garden by Jenny Rose Carey is a really good place to start. Then there’s The New Shade Garden: Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change by Ken Druse, who’s considered an expert on natural gardening, and Designing and Planting a Woodland Garden: Plants and Combinations that Thrive in the Shade by Keith Wiley which packs inspiration into every page.

I’ve also been making food – constantly it seems. I’m a member of Fresh Fork Market and we received chicken backs this week to make stock; so I threw them in a pot with some onions, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme (that I recently planted) and it’s simmering away right now, filling the house with an aroma that’s driving the dog a little crazy – delicious. I like to have to figure out how to cook whatever ends up in my weekly share – to cook seasonally and with whatever you have on hand instead of running to the store. I’ve also been dipping into cookbook/memoirs that I love to revisit. Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums is a memoir of her time after the magazine Gourmet folded, complete with seasonal recipes. Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, is filled with reflection and humor. And of course, check out If I Can Cook/You Know God Can: African American Food Memories, Meditations, and Recipes by playwright Ntozake Shange, who weaves together historical/sociological knowledge with personal experience of people, places and food.

Ok – onto Book Harbor! Please send us your requests at askalibrarian@rrpl.org.

8-year-old Abigail’s favorite books are Harry Potter, the Who Was Series, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Shannon, one of our talented Adult Reference Librarians, responded:

My first recommendation would be Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, which is the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles series. It features magic, humor, and strong female characters. A princess decides that she doesn’t want to marry any of the princes who ask for her hand, so she goes to live with the dragons. I loved this series as a kid (and still do!) She could also try Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. It’s a lot like Harry Potter, but with a lot more snark. Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius who kidnaps a fairy for ransom so that he can restore his family’s fortune. Third, she could try The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi,  which is the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles. In this one, two children go to stay with their great aunt in the countryside and discover a world of fantastical creatures.

Stay safe and stay home!

~Dori