Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Monday, La La,, La, La La La (huming to the Mama's and the Papas...)

So --

We all survived our long weekend.

It was fun.

The house was actually clean for most of the two days. However, the new football which was the birthday gift for Son Number One meant that both boys had to go outside in the MUD... let me repeat that MMMMUUUUDDD!!!!  numerous times, which meant they clumped back inside, brown and gooshy from waist to toes. They then had to change clothing EACH TIME they played.

They played football at least four times on Saturday (and this is after Son Number Two came home brown from face to cleats from his soccer games), and five or six times on Sunday.

The dirty clothes pile is sky-high right now and there was a fracas this morning regarding the lack of clean pants to wear to school.  Which one of them remembered that they needed clean clothes for school and that since we had company....?  Neither of them.



Much food was eaten (too much for my poor tummy). Lots of stories were told. It was very nice.

I have some pictures but I have to see if I got any that aren't blurry before I put them up.

And for today.... well, today was bill paying day.

And after that, it was invoices done, calls made, plans figured....

And this evening, there's going to be pizza for the scouts and a basketball game with the boys on one team and the parents on the other.

Hopefully no parents will be harmed in the process.
If I'm lucky, I'll get incriminating pictures!

Tomorrow, it's back to data entry.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


There was a time when we actually got a bit of time in the morning on weekends to sit around, read the paper, eat leisurely breakfasts, then figure out what to do with the days...
(Of  course the down-side to this is that if we DON'T have a schedule for the day, the boys get discombobulated and start to act weird).

So --

for the last eight (?) weeks, we've been up at 6:00 - 6:30AM and out the door by 7:00AM for soccer games.

Today was no exception. Son Number Two had a make-up game today for a game that got rained-out earlier in the season. Son Number One didn't so he stayed home and helped clean the house for company this afternoon and tomorrow.

There were PLANS made and written down for all of us.  There were repairs that had to be done.
There were two soccer games to play.

And -- for some reason, by this afternoon, ALL of us were cranky and snappy and discombobulated.

Probably because we all get nervous having company over (with four of the five extended members of the family being introverts of one degree or another, company is something we do rather infrequently and not necessarily well).

As for the soccer today -- first game was a tie and the team was looking decent. Not their best game, but they seemed to be pulled together and working as a team.

The second game came after an hour break -- we lost three boys to other activities that they had going -- and the teamwork part fizzled and died.
Son Number Two was sent to defense. He HATES defense (with a passion) and made his feelings known LOUDLY and OFTEN. In the end, he didn't play the entire second half of the game and made such a fuss that we'll have to do a LOT of apologizing next week when we go to practice.

That seemed to be the start of the crankiness.  However, when we got home, Son Number Two was a bit whiny and Favored Husband was worse.

By the way, it's HIS mother who is coming to visit. We deal with MY mother on a daily basis.

I'm hoping that things work themselves out before 5:00PM comes around and they get here.  If not...well....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spinning my wheels....

It really feels like I'm getting NOTHING done, even when I sit at the computer for hours at a time.

Today, I did end up emptying out two boxes of books from the fair, but mostly, I just put new pictures with old descriptions and send them off again to the online databases.

I listed three new books.

I emailed a bit (responded to orders, sent invoices, etc.).


that was it.

I sat down at the computer at 9:30 (approximately -- had a bunch of house cleaning that had to be done first....and MORE housecleaning that needs to be done before this Saturday when company is coming). I finished at 1:55 (approximately again, ) so I can pick up Sons Number One and Two from school....

And that's pretty much the end of my work day.

I will try to pull the pile of books from the list I compiled -- it's a list of the first 200 books in my database.... but of those, this list includes only the titles that are STILL AVAILABLE!!!  42 books have been sitting on my shelves since sometime around 1996/1997.

I'm going to pull them, send them to Ebay, or list them for cheap on one of the newsgroups, then give them two weeks or a month (Ebay fixed listings are one month) and then I'm DONATING THEM.


See, one of the things I need to do this year is clean out old stock that's stuck in my database, AND make space on the shelves.

Since I have limited space in my house, there needs to be some coherent plan to REMOVE the beasts once it's clear that I'm not the appropriate person to sell them.  I'm not saying they are bad books. In fact, the reason they are still on the shelves this long is because I've checked them over several times and still think they're good books.

But there comes a time....

when I need to be realistic.

So I'm going to take the time to finally do this.


This is book number 7 in my database. This is the first book on the list of STILL Available.

Book number 11.

Book number 14.


Not BAD books -- just books that for some reason want to stick around and enjoy the ambiance.

Well, no more ambiance for them.

Out they go.

Hopefully I'll get some time this afternoon to stick them up on Ebay.

And now a complete change of subject --

Next week, I PROMISE to find some time to so some research on a book or topic and blog about it.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A few photos for the heck of it.

Partly because I like photos in blogs, and partly because .... well, I just feel like it.

It's not the best picture, but Son Number One is on the left (you're left) in the oversized robe looking a bit shell-shocked.  This is his first stint as accolyte. He's definitely growing up.
(PS: some members of the congregation asked why his brother wasn't up there with him -- honestly.... he's NINE and being stuck next to his BROTHER  and having to sit STILL AND BEHAVE?  Nah....!)

These two cats have spent the better part of the year as mortal enemies (well, technically, Shadow, the one at the back of the picture, was the one who spent the year hissing and running. Izzy, the one in front, playfully would bound up to Shadow and TRY VERY HARD to make friends.) This is the first time in memory the two have sat anywhere near each other.  I think an armed truce has occurred.

Smiling Izzy.

Puff is inside the bag. Izzy is peering in.
Finally cleaning up the last of the Christmas bags. I thought I'd give them something to play with.
It worked.

 Unfortunately, you can see some of the boxes of books packing my workroom from this shot.
I'm officially insane.

PS:  About an hour into playing, Puff got herself stuck in the bag and I saw her tearing off into the bedroom with this thing stuck upright on top of her.
Poor cat.

I have my computer back!

So, all is not lost. My computer made it through surgery with nary a hiccough (well.... it made it through, I'm the one who almost didn't).

It only needed a repair. Also received a much needed cleaning  / dust removal (yeah, I WILL clean it out every six  months or so... really!) and backing up of old, yet important information / jpgs, etc.

The guys who did the job got paid AND a can of Boy Scout caramel corn popcorn in thanks.

We cleaned the desk (I know it's electrostatics that cause the dust to accumulate -- well, my husband knew it was-- but MAN my desk turns into dust bunny heaven at the drop of a hat.), plugged everything back in and it's working fine now. In fact, it's running much faster (overloaded the desktop too, he said).

I'm still trying to decide if I should let Sons Number One and Two back onto the machine.  We've had LONG talks about what this machine can handle, but they STILL don't seem to get that it's old and NOT a heavy graphics machine.

AND Son number Two (while at the  computer repair store) said.... MOM, for my birthday, you can get me A NEW COMPUTER!

Yeah, if I CAN'T buy a new one for myself, how do you think I'll get one for you?


Now it's back to work. Especially data entry.

AND cleaning the house for my mother-in-law's visit this coming weekend.

Life it good.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Computer Crash....

Friday night, Son Number One was playing an online game on my desktop (my WORK computer) when the screen went black. Something had snapped --

Now I've been warning both number one and two sons that they were pushing my poor old computer too hard with the online graphics heavy games... AND playing U-Tube videos / songs in the background at the same time.  It wasn't unusual for me to come up, check the computer and find five or six screens up, all with U-Tube videos loaded, while they played Toontown.


I think I've found one of the new digital divides..... these boys are so used to computers doing any darn thing they ask them to, they don't realize there are limits.

Friday, they found the limit for this computer.

I didn't get angry. (probably a first for me). But I did really want to sit down and cry. At that moment, I was thinking about the loss of ALL my business data. All the photos for business and home AND Scouts. The programs that I needed.

Everything was on that one computer.

On the good side though, we found a computer place in town (the one I used to use went out of business) that worked on Saturdays AND Sundays (and it turns out, on holidays as well).  There was a chance that all it needed was a repair.

So we took the computer in. (and I am SO embarrassed at the amount of dust and dirt that came off that machine.... I KNOW I'm supposed to pull it apart and clean it every six months or so, but really, DO YOU?)

In the mean time, I'm using the netbook to read email and communicate, but until I know one way or another if the desktop works, I can't do any data entry or mailing... because then I really screw up the database program.  Right now, the database is my biggest worry.  I backed it up before I went to San Francisco, but not since I got back (BAD ME.... I know).

So I'm not completely screwed with the database. I've got all the info before last week, and if necessary, I can recreate the invoices (can't really remember which books I reworked since then though, so would have to search some. Time consuming, but not truly terrible).

So, overall, I'm not at a complete loss.  Just behind again, and it's going to cost something to fix.  (And with the month I've had so far, that bites).

So that's what my weekend has been like.

On the good side, we still had soccer on  Saturday to help keep my mind off  the computer. Son number one's team won both their games.
Son number two TIED the first game and WON the second!  This is real cause for rejoicing.

I'll try to keep updating on the computer situation.  Hopefully we'll have an answer one way or another by Wednesday.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Some Pictures to Cheer you up....


These just went with me to San Francisco (and came back again :(  )


They're from the 1920's an contain short stories about the two main characters, Peter and Pan. They're cute, quaint and just plain fun.

Oh Yeah, I'm the Taxman...

Well, not really, but I got to see my accountant today and took care of taxes for the year. (ALL DONE!!!)
It was quick and easy this time.  I mostly remembered the things I had forgotten to bring along last year and the ones I forgot, I was able to phone home and get because my husband had the day off today. So it's all done and I'm set to start work on THIS year's books now.

In honor of that, I think I'm going to try and really switch over to QuickBooks Pro this year.  For eons I've used a copy Quicken (2000 edition, actually, so not eons, but decades, at least) which is simple and does just what I want, but I need to learn QuickBooks, in case I'm actually hired at a REAL job, and, like, you know, it's good to keep up with technology, even in baby steps sometimes.

Yesterday, instead of processing a bunch of new stock  (or stock from the book fair that needs to go out on my website), I ended up figuring out what my Webelos scouts have been doing for the past three months -- I got some new worksheets to help keep track of things better (yeah... needed that) then transferred that info over. Took WAY longer than expected, but hopefully now I'll be better able to keep up through the rest of my stint as Webelos leader.  We've actually accomplished quite a bit of work in the last several months, which is nice.  We still have more to go, but we won't have to do a mad dash next year to get everything done before we head on up to Boy Scouts.

Oh, and going back to the tax info for a moment....

One of the things I have to do every year is an inventory of what I HAVE for tax purposes. 
I counted the boxes in my office (and in the hall way, and in the furnace room, and elsewhere.....).

Last year I had 40 boxes of unprocessed books that still needed to be dealt with.

This year....

SEVENTY BOXES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I have been doing a bad job of keeping up and that has got to STOP.

So, this year is going to be a clean up, pull out, either put those puppies in the database and sell them, or get them OUT.

I'm also going to try very hard to go through OLDER stock (you, know, the books I've had on the shelves for 15 YEARS...) and get them out too.  I'm out of shelf space, I'm sick of looking at them (they stare at me in their free time, of which they have an abundance), and they need to find better homes, so boot, out they go.

REMIND ME of this promise somewhere in June, when I haven't gotten to the job yet, will you?

And as today was taken up with Tax stuff, I didn't get a chance to do any data entry today either so far.  Sigh.

Tomorrow there are four soccer games (close by each other, sort of, geographically speaking) so I'm hoping to make it to three of the four -- cheering my lungs out as always).

Sunday, I'm going to finish painting the bathroom (yes, it's closer than it has ever been to being painted) and put away more boxes of stock from the book fair.  Next week is crunch week -- my Mother-in-Law will be here on Saturday (20th) and everything needs to be polished up, cleaned, put away and ready for PEOPLE in the house.

After that, I'm hoping to have some serious time to work on BOOKS!

Seventy Boxes of books -- WHAT WAS I THINKING???!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back down to earth and to business...

Monday was the day to enter all the invoices and update the database both at home and online for the actual sales (Yeah!) made during the San Francisco Book Fair. Then it was on to emptying out the van of boxes, bookcases, etc. so that I could fit the boys back in for Scouting that night.

Yesterday, it was clean-up stuff that hadn't gotten done on Monday (or Friday, Saturday and Sunday).  I was also SUPPOSED to be doing some of the phone calling, email writing, etc. that needed to be done either for work, home or scouts. Some got done. Some didn't, which pushed it on to today.

Today, however, I had no excuses. I HAD to get back to real work. (and by that I mean data entry, paperwork, daily grind stuff).
And BILL paying.... which is no fun, but has to be done anyway.

So that's what I did.

And I've got a pile of done books to the side of my desk to prove it.  I've also emptied four boxes of books from the fair already  -- it helps that my Mother-In-Law and my husband's family are coming for birthday party stuff in two weeks time -- that' gives me incentive to get the boxes unpacked, the shelves up and neat....


Yup, the painting of the walls in the bathroom has been put off for one reason or another since NOVEMBER. So, with people encroaching (people who matter-- people who USE bathrooms...) the bathroom WILL be finished by the 20th.  So say I.

After that, it's data entry drudge work for a couple of weeks and then guess what.... another BOOK FAIR. This one should be less pressure, it's in Sacramento and it's not as fancy as the SF book fair and I don't feeled as pressured to have GOOD STUFF (underlined, and intoned in a deep voice).

It would be nice to have NEW stuff though.


Here are a few shots of interesting books that came back from the fair that I think should have found ready homes:

A wonderful Art Deco style illustrated book of children's poems, etc. by J. Paget Fredericks. Black and white and color illustrations that are just so exquisite.

Irwin Shapiro's Jonathan and the Dragon illustrated by Tom Vroman. A classic and a great dragon book.

Who can live without the actual lyrics to the early Sesame Street songs?

Not me. It includes The Pigeon, my all time favorite Sesame Street song.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Left my heart.... In San Francisco... (hum, hum, hum...)

Actually, I think I left my brains there too.  It was a good weekend, but long, and I was still feeling a bit under the weather, and didn't get as much sleep as I should have (but that's the case with ALL book fairs, at least for me).

I did remember to take some pictures of my booth this time.  I forgot to take pictures of other booths and other dealers -- which I was hoping to remember to do.

here are some of the pictures:


Here's what the booth looked like from the front.

and from one side
and the other side.

here are some individual shelves.




And last, but not least.

Overall, I was pleased with the set up I put together. I am never quite happy with it, and when I see all the extravagant booths from the other dealers, well, I just want to crawl under a rock.  But the stock I have is mostly modern and not as showy on the outside as some of the dealers who deal with more antiquarian books.

What sold?

Picture books.

Weirdly enough,  90% of my stock that sold at the fair itself was picture books or youth fiction. 

Very little Science Fiction / Fantasy.

A few ephemera, including three of the items I had especially picked to bring to this fair as a trial of me adding ephemera to my list of book fair takings.

I got myself a trophy case to display better items (or items that were better displayed open).  Of the books in the trophy case NONE sold except for the one item I took out and stuck on the end of a table.  There were a few people who looked in the case and a smaller few who actually asked to look more closely or reached in themselves to find something, but NOTHING from the case sold which was very disappointing to me. 

I did bring a number of items specifically for other dealers to think about -- items not  in my normal area of expertise, but I have to say that few, if any dealers really LOOKED at my stock (except for the children's book dealers) nor bothered to ask me if there was anything they might find interesting.  I know there was a contingent of librarians at the book fair as well, looking for items that might fit their collections (the dealer across from me was quite pleased when Cornell University's librarian stopped by). Either I have books that librarians aren't looking for, or they were much more likely to go to dealers that they already knew. 

In speaking to other dealers at the fair, it appeared that there was much more interest in antiquarian material -- both the dealers themselves, the customers and definitely the librarians -- than in modern material, especially Modern Fiction.  
That being the case, it was still a good fair overall.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A melange of Musings....

First off, I didn't get a chance to do this before today, but my friend, Christine Lowenstein just finished, and has in-hand her first ever printed catalogue of books for sale. This catalogue is a complete knock-out. It covers Books by and about Dante Alighieri. Congrats Chris!  Chris's catalogue.

Second, Son number one won both of his games on Saturday -- and therefore was awarded his current favorite... chocolate cream pie from Marie Callendar's. Don't ask me why, but lately he's walking around saying...."I like PIE!!"  He's very happy with his pie now and that's fine by me.  On a sadder note, son number two's team lost both of their games, however, it wasn't all bad because by the second game they were starting to work together much more like a team. Much improvement was made which makes the boys, their loudly cheering moms and dads, and their coaches very happy.

Third -- I don't know if I've mentioned my asthma much on this website. It's a chronic illness I have and it won't go away, but it is generally speaking, under control.  What I've found, though is that my version of asthma (I have not had to rush to the hospital because I'm blue and can't take a single breath nor have I had to do that for my sons either, for which I am very thankful) is sort of insidious -- IE: I can't really feel if I'm having a problem until it starts to really affect me in weird ways....

like this week.  I thought I was feeling down and tired and draggy, and unable to remember anything that I haven't written down and stapled to my forehead because I've got a LOT on my plate; because the cold weather at the soccer games is not fun; and because I'm somewhat anxious about the Book Fair that's coming up in TWO DAYS.

Last night, I finally tried one of my last resort options for asthma medicine (before hanging my head in shame and visiting my doctor) and found that I could actually THINK this morning. 


I find out AFTER I start to think I'm going crazy, that it's me not getting enough oxygen.


SO -- fair warning-- If you ever find me dragging around,  acting like I'm depressed or completely clueless and not able to remember things -- TELL ME TO CHECK MY BREATHING!


Fourth -- Did I MENTION that the Book Fair in San Francisco is in TWO DAYS?

No, well it is. I'm not READY.... I'm not READY! (whine, whine, moan, gripe.)

I WILL BE READY by Friday though.


I'll even have directions printed out (because I tend to forget exactly where it is I'm going every time I do this fair). I'll also have both boys organized for their soccer games on Saturday and try to get some food ready for dinners before I leave (yeah, right...they can fend for themselves!)

I'll try to keep updating the blog throughout all this, but right now I can't make any promises.

Wish me LUCK!