Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Possibly you could call it working -- but to my mind, getting books invoiced and sent out to the post office is just the tip of the iceberg of what needs to be done this week (remember that BOOK FAIR in two days?), and that's basically ALL I got done today.


Today, Son Number Two and I jostled over who got to use the computer (make that MY Computer) again. Not badly. No.  Son Number Two is being, generally, a model of a child on vacation from school. He's pleasant. He finds things to do, he's almost eating.... but when it comes to computers... well, he prefers MY computer over any other of those in the house.  Quote - your computer is faster than those OLD ones - Unquote.

How he figures that my three + year old desktop is faster than any of the other computers in the house, I haven't the foggiest notion, but he does. So when he wants to play, he wants my computer.

And as I've TOLD him for the millionth time, THIS WEEK, I HAVE TO WORK!!!(see, the exclamation points are supposed to make it stick in his head).  NEXT WEEK, I'll be much more accommodating (well, maybe not, but at least two days a week I promised him that we'd DO STUFF).

Today, I got five books processed and on the pile to be boxed.  Not the stellar stack that I was hoping for.
Tomorrow, I need to get my fingers in gear and WORK!

Oops. Forgot the skate pictures too. And I got to go out and watch him skate today. I just forgot to take pictures.  I'll have to get in gear.

We did get our free pastry munchy at Starbucks today though, as a mini-outing and brain freshener. No longer does he settle for the kid's cocoa. Oh, no. Now it's GRANDE sized cocoa with WHIPPED CREAM by the handsful. And he plowed through it in a whopping three minutes.

What next, Whale sized Cocoa?

You think Starbucks will offer something in a giant economy size?

Hopefully I'll have a year to prepare before he wants the Venti.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Four Days until Sacramento Book Fair

Today was, of course, Monday again, so I spent time taking care of things left over from the weekend (as always). Today, however, was also the first day of Son Number Two's spring vacation -- AND I had a review to write.  Which meant that less than normal amounts of book stuff got done.

We did take time to go pick out a new pair of inline skates -- I had seen them at a local thrift store about two weeks ago but didn't pick them up for the  boys.... found out yesterday from Son Number Two that the one pair we did have was kaput. So, now instead of getting an extra pair so both boys could race each other, we are back down to one working pair.  Sigh.

Tomorrow I'll have to get a picture of Son Number Two doing death-defying stunts (not really) on the new skates.

In the meantime, since I couldn't really get work done, I took the boys to the batting cages today for a bit of batting practice (and no, even though I wanted to, I didn't do any batting myself) and then it's on to Boy Scouts tonight.

I'm hoping that I can get LOTS of data entry done tomorrow, because after that, it's going to be hit-and-miss the rest of the week.  And nights are all accounted for (again). Baseball practice every night except Wednesday.

And that's the way the week is going to go....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

From Erin to Errands....

 Today was another errand day. Which meant that the only book work to get done was balancing the check book before taking off on more errands. Oh, and packing a few books to ship out.

All told, not one of my more productive days.

And the MESS that is getting ready for a book fair has multiplied and spread.  Last night, I pulled the fold up table into the living room (where the TV is) and got a small stack of dust jackets covered and ready for boxing for the fair. Normally, I start this process at least two weeks in advance so I can do a bit at a time. Mostly, I try to keep my book mess to an area away from regular living space -- and KIDS. But, had to take a break and sit down for a while last night to cover the books, so the mess moved with me.  Hopefully, by Wednesday next week, the mess will be contained in lidded boxes, ready to be stuffed into the van (Wednesday is also seat removal day -- taking the hefty seats out of the van and cleaning it in preparation for boxes & book cases).

I'm going to try and remove my mess from the living room tonight.

Yeah.  That'll be possible.

More errands cut into that this afternoon; first its hair cuts for the boys (and Son Number One is actually thinking about cutting that stringy mop of long hair OFF this time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!), and then home for quick dinner (what, I don't know) before baseball practice.  After that, some quick homework (or before practice, we'll see) and that's the end of the day.

And just to make this post more visual...
This is one of the most recent fun finds which is going to the book fair with me.
I'll post about it, with some research and background when I get back. Until then, you'll have to settle for the picture.

This was another fun find from the same location. I've had other early Margaret Wise Brown titles, but not this one.  Again, I'll blog more about it after the fair.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Bragh!

Ok, That's the complete extent of my spoken (or written) Gaelic.

Somewhere in the dim recesses of history, I have some relatives who have Irish blood in them, but not many and not in the very recent past. I do not have curly hair in any way shape or form, and my red-headedness is purely wish fulfillment. Nevertheless, I'm a Happy Irish-person for one day a year.  I wear green. In the past I've made Corned beef and cabbage or Irish Stew along with a trial of Irish soda bread, which either was a rotten recipe, or just not too my taste. This year, I'm being obstinate, and mostly lazy since I didn't get to the grocery store to make any of these.  I didn't even turn my eggs green this morning in celebration.

I still don't know what's for dinner tonight -- in fact, it's closing in on 2:00PM and I'm not even sure what I'm having for lunch. This of course, is not really a good thing. I just can't find anything in the house that I want, and haven't yet gone out to face the masses at the grocery store to see what's out there.

I did get books listed though. At least some books.  I was hoping for a STACK a mile high, but the fact is, no matter what, your fingers can only go so fast, especially if you have to stop to research something.

I need to get another picture of my workroom posted -- it looks strikingly similar to the picture I took before the last book fair, and the book fair before that, and so on, and so on....

In my mind, I keep trying to find a way to RID THE ROOM OF BOXES ( if you put it in capital letters, it shows your seriousness, right?).  AND, after I get the boxes moved ELSEWHERE (as if elsewhere will actually take care of the problem), then I can clean, and BEAUTIFY the room.

Yeah, right.

I wish.

It's now officially one week plus a few days until book fair set-up day arrives and I've got BOXES of books that I want to bring which haven't been processed. BUT, since this month has definitely slowed down, I don't want to neglect my chance at on-line sales (you know, to pay the grocery bill -- see above). So I'm doing generally complete data entry on each item that I want to take, AND adding it on line to help spur some sales.

Yesterday, I spend most of my work morning putting together and mailing out my monthly e-mail newsletter.  (The putting together doesn't take that much time, but because of restrictions regarding spamming, the sending part takes a great deal longer... and makes my fingers sore from constant mouse clicking, which is another reason why my output today is slower.)

Oh, and yesterday was the first day of Son Number One's baseball practice -- Son Number Two  had his on Monday, with a coach we know and love (the unfortunate part is that one of the practice days happens to be MONDAY, which, if you keep up here, you know is our day for SCOUTS -- this means we have to either miss baseball practice a couple of days a month, OR miss scouts -- and since I'm the den leader....well, we miss baseball practice).

So Son Number One is on a team that seems quite sharp. Don't ask me how he got on this team, he did OK at his tryouts, but I didn't think he was fantastic since we didn't have time for ANY practice beforehand,  but the coaches thought he might be mold-able, I guess.  Lucky for him. He's got FOUR coaches (conditioning, hitting, fielding, and something else I can't remember) and so far, he's bouncing around like a happy puppy.  I think we might have lucked out again with teams this year.

And, since I can't really come up with some Irish books for you, here are some pictures of books entered into the database today (which, coincidentally, means that they are FOR SALE!)

Mostly Childrens picture books because they're quick
and at this fair they tend to sell well.

But there are a few (at least today) of other
exotic items tossed in to keep the boredom down.

This last one is an early auto-biography by the sister of Gypsie Rose Lee,
you know, the famous stripper. Her sister had great fame when 
she was just tiny, but by the time she was fourteen, she was a washout.
And married, and broke. 
Sad story.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March... or Not...

Seeing as I'm NOT Julius Caesar, I think I'll be just fine today.

No back-stabbing necessary for me.

It's funny the things you remember from enforced assignments from school days of old -- Julius Caesar (the one by William Shakespeare)  was one of those assignments. I never had a problem with reading Shakespeare -- in fact, I found it fascinating, unlike some of my classmate who felt that reading and trying to understand Iambic pentameter was more in the realm of pulling teeth.  Thing is, of that particular play, the quote about the Ides of March is pretty much all I remember.
except for the fact that the Ides of March was the day that every Roman senator took a stab (literally) at Julius Caesar. That was one ANGRY bunch of senators. 

But there was one bit about this Ides business that bothered me right from the beginning -- why is it only MARCH that has Ides?  Well, technically, I know that the other months probably could have the 15th of the month be called the Ides... but the only one we ever talk about -- or even remember after 400+ years, is March. 

What about beware the Ides of August?  (My grandmother's birthday was August 15th -- and frankly, on a BAD day, I'd definitely be wary of her and it).

Beware the Ides of January.... just doesn't have the same ring to it.

And that, I suppose is the insidious nature of the works of Shakespeare (not in the bad sense, but the gradual, yet overwhelmingly prevalent nature of his words and how they have morphed into parts of our life that we don't even realize.)

We use phrases from Shakespeare REGULARLY in our every day lives and most times we don't even realize where they came from.

I've always been more fond of the comedies than the tragedies -- though Kenneth Branagh has made a real impact with some of  his re-interpretations of the historical plays.

And, I should probably hate to admit it, but one of my FAVES is Kiss my Kate with Katherine Grayson and Howard Keel.  Not only are the tunes catchy, but you can really see the shrewish nature of Kate at the beginning.  I've  never believed that a bit of pushing women around will make them turn to mush, as this play / musical implies, but as far as musicals go, it's one of my favorites.

So, sure - beware the Ides of March.
Don't let the senators take a hack at you,
and before you speak, think about where that turn of phrase, or pithy statement, or hackneyed old quote came from before you utter it.

In other words,

Brush up your Shakespeare!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another day in the salt mines....

I haven't had a copy of this book in a while -- and this one, is not only in FINE.... condition, but is signed by Dunning.  NICE....

So today was another solid (supposedly) work day.  I was SUPPOSED to get TONS of books listed in the database and ready for the Book Fair (which is now TWO weeks away).  I think I listed four books new to stock.  I did end up with two (the one above being one of them) books where I could enter them quickly as I had already had copies in stock and the information wasn't too different.  That was probably the easiest thing to do today.

PS:  as for the Dunning / Cliff Janeway mystery above --  many who love the world of antiquarian books adore this series. Mostly, I think, for the nifty bits of trivia about rare books. Some love the prose.  Me, I tried reading the series back when it first came out (I got through Booked To Die, but barely) as the characters were (and this is personal opinion only) stiff and the plot wasn't my favorite.  After that, I pretty much stopped reading them.   BUT -- the rare book esoterica  was nice to read.

If I had my druthers, I'd pick Laurence Block's series about a used / rare book dealer any day.

Then again, I'm a self professed non(ish) mystery reader.  I don't mind mysteries, in fact, add mystery sub-plots into SF and I'm a happy camper (speaking of which I just finished re-reading Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold which is an SF mystery if there ever was one), but I like my SF / Fantasy stuff far more than straight out mysteries. 

Come to think of it though.... a dose of Mystery on PBS is something I'd watch regularly if I ever got to watch TV....

What I DIDN'T get done today was the email newsletter which I was supposed to have done and out to the masses at the beginning of this week (or LAST week even).  I've got to get that done & I keep putting it off... who knows why.

And I'm not going to get to it tomorrow, probably.... going off book hunting tomorrow (there are two places I've been meaning to hit).

And after that, it was Parent Teacher conference time at the middle school.

And once that was done, well, the boys were out of school and my time is not my own.

Now it's time to start dinner (and take out the trash) and think about doing more exercise...and get the birthday cards addressed and ready to mail... and start reading my next assignment...

Wish me happy hunting tomorrow -- so far, the last several places I've gone have been winners.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

200th post today....

First off, the jpg makes it actually look worse than it really is.  Sort of.

This book is not in the greatest shape, and for most other books, I would have just left it where I found it -- as being not nice enough condition for my stock.  HOWEVER -- this particular book, and the subject thereof, is difficult to find in any condition, good, bad or otherwise - so I picked it up.

This is one of the first books to actively research in-depth with a jaundiced eye regarding the Meadow Mountains Massacre which took place in Utah during the California Gold Rush era.  The Massacre-ees  were on their way to California via wagon train when they stopped at Mountain Meadow in Utah to water and feed their animals.
What happened next is up for debate and the subject of much controversy. Was it an Indian raid which went overboard?  Was it A Mormon inspired object lesson for others traveling through the area?

In all over 200 men, women and children were executed (they had surrendered and expected a peaceful resolution to the encounter only to be summarily murdered by the raiders). Only 17 children under the age of eight were spared ... then they were parceled out to Mormon families, along with the possessions of those who died.

There's a nicely detailed wikipedia article on the subject here: Mountain Meadows Massacre.

It's an interesting book. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday ramblings

Let's start off with some book stuff this time.

Above, you'll see a picture book (this one has a Japanese title -- which translates as : My Journey) illustrated by Mitsumasa Anno.  This illustrator is justly famous for his wonderfully, intricately illustrated picture books. Most of these picture books are books without words. Which means, basically, that the ENTIRE story is shown in pictures.

Not an easy thing to do.

Mitsumasa Anno has illustrated more than 50 books in his career to date and the majority of those books are books without words.  Just now, in looking him up on Wikipedia here-  Mitsumasa Anno, I found out that he attended the Yamaguchi Teacher Training College in 1948 and became a teacher for a number of years.  This explains a LOT about the illustrations and the types of books he has published.

I wish I had a picture of some of the math books he's done -- I've HAD copies, but currently don't have any jpgs or copies available.

The thing is, when you actually take a close look at the contents of his books, you could spend HOURS just picking out the details.

Here's another example:

This book, along with the one shown above is one of three books I have left in stock by Anno.  Over the years I've seen many of his titles -- but they tend to sell as quickly as I can get them in. (However, I do have two copies of this particular book).

If you've never had the chance to look closely at one of Mitsumasa Anno's books -- do so.  And remember to pay close attention to the details. They're small, but they're worth the effort.

And now -- onto a few books just recently added to the database:

This is the second book in the Wolves of Willoughby Chase Series by Joan Aiken.  A wonderful read.

Introduced by Princess Grace of Monaco, with poems by Fleur Cowles, the book is illustrated by the subtle and beautiful artwork of Robert Vavra.

Here's one you wouldn't expect (though I do have a customer who is always looking for children's books by Adult, Modern Fiction (well respected) authors--

the book is a tale about cooperation and outer space by Umberto Eco (yeah, the guy who wrote The Name of the Rose!) with illustrations by Eugenio Carmi.

All three of these books, along with others (yippee!  I got some data entry done!) were added to my database today & should be available on my website by tomorrow (if not sooner).

And here's hoping that tomorrow I'll be able to add a bunch more.  

I need NEW STOCK to take to the Book Fair in Sacramento, so I need to get cracking with the data entry.

In other news -- last evening, the Webelos scouts started work on their Engineer pin --  who was to know that building bridges.... which seemed like a relatively easy task in the planning stage... turned into a rather difficult task in actuality.
Three of the boys seemed to have a clue (well, two got it this time, the third is a transfer second year Webelos who did the pin last year and just participated this time).  A couple of other boys started to make sense of it. Two of them didn't get it at all.

However, a goodly amount of pipe cleaners and drinking straws were turned into all sorts of things (including items to chew on, and to spit at each other as missiles).

Next up -- catapults out of shoe boxes with marshmallows as ballast.  We'll see if it works.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Well, that was a blur...

Last week went by in a blur of wild and wooliness. It was cold and rainy all week. We had finally finished our last weekend of Mini Season soccer with a two day tournament in Merced (both boys were at the same place -- different times, sort of, which was nice. Next year, it will probably be different).

And then it was time to start practicing for Baseball.

BUT -- you can't practice if you can't get outside.... every day we had free was a day filled with rain and wind.
No batting cage practice in that sort of weather, so we went to our baseball tryouts this Saturday with virtually NO practice (especially batting practice) at all.

It's a shame because the teams are picked based on the tryouts.  The good thing is that the coaches know that most of the boys haven't had much practice yet this year, so they take that into account.  AND, if you look at least like you know what you're supposed to do, even if you don't do it exactly right, it still counts for something.

We should get our team information this week.  I'm not sure when practices begin, but it will probably be soon.

(for me, that means I don't have much down time to finish doing the housework that got neglected for the last two months).

The good thing about it is that the boys really enjoy getting the exercise and the time with friends.

As for me, today's another Monday.  Had to wrap up all the stuff that didn't get done over the weekend, try to straighten out my desk and organize myself (not an easy task lately, it seems).

I also had a review to turn in, so that takes another hour out of the mix today.

After this, Son Number One has minimum days all week long, so I have to end my days early -- which is a real bummer as I've got TONS of things to do before the Sacramento Book Fair which is in THREE WEEKS!!  (you know, like data entry!!!)

So today is a short work day for me-- though a LONG day, as both boys have scouts so we won't be getting home till nearly 9:00pm tonight and there's lots of errands I have to run before I can get to scouts.

I have STUFF to pick up for Son Number Two's meeting today.

I promised to get back to blog entries dealing with books last week. Unfortunately, that promise had to go by the wayside since I didn't have TIME or access to my computer ... or for that matter, a BRAIN (again).

This week, I'll try to do better.  I did get in a couple of nifty books last week that I want to mention but I have to get pictures and do some basic research -- which won't be done today as I'm about ready to fly out and start the errands that MUST be done...

Oh, to have a leisurely life.  Of course, if I DID, I wouldn't know what to do with it anyway.


I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of the MUD PIT we got to play in for our games last weekend. 
It rained the night before the first day of tournament -- luckily, we didn't have rain DURING the games, but the fields were six inches deep in water the first day...

Can you guess what the second day looked like?
All the fields ended up looking like Pig Wallows, especially around the goal boxes.


And while I didn't get a close-up of Son Number One or Two covered in mud, I got a picture of Hollywood after he took a dive....


PS:  They ALL looked like this.  
Saturday night was spent soaking and cleaning the gear so it would be decent for Sunday's finals.
And then they did it all over again with double the mud!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mea Culpa....

Last week was....

too much, actually.  And it's still going on, so this is just a quick note to say I'm sorry that I haven't been able to post anything since last Monday.  And this short post is all I'll be able to do today.   Hopefully by tomorrow things should settle down again (momentarily) and I can get more time to post about what's been going on.

However, this week there are minimum days for Son Number Two all week long (and he gave me the wrong time today so I was EARLY... but that gave me a chance to do some of the reading that I have to have done by next Monday so it worked out o.k.).

Next week, Son Number One has minimum days all week.  Go figure.  Can't win around here. And then, at some point, they'll all be home on Spring break, giving me no time to get things done at all.

Again, sorry about the blank blog this last week.

Will post soon.