Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thoughts While Watching TCM

After moving into our new house we signed up with a satellite providers for subscription TV. One of the channels we receive now is Turner Classic Movies (TCM). In the last few months that has become our default channel, and we've enjoyed several old favorites and discovered many movies we'd never seen. 

Yesterday was Hitchcock day on TCM, and one of the films was "Shadow of a Doubt," starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton. We came in about halfway, but a quick check of the plot on IMDB got me up to speed. 

My favorite scene was where the Teresa Wright character wants to get to the library so that she can check the newspaper to see if her uncle, Joseph Cotton is a murderer.  The library closes at 9 p.m., and it's five minutes before 9. As she walks up to the library, the lights go out, and the door is locked. She pounds on the door, and finally the librarian (a stern looking older woman) tells her that the library is closed. Teresa begs to be let in, and the librarian relents and tells her she has three minutes. 

This is where Hitchcock's genius is apparent. How did he know that my recurring work dream is where it's closing time, and people keep coming into the library and won't leave?  I just had that dream the other night, and it's been almost six months since I've worked in a library. It's like he knew everyone's worst nightmare. 

This morning we watched "Between Two Women," one of the Dr. Gillespie series starring Van Johnson and Lionel Barrymore. I find those entertaining as it gives me an insight as to how the medical profession, or at least the Hollywood version of the medical profession has changed in 70 years. Case in point: in today's movie, Van Johnson is treating a woman who refuses to eat by using psychoanalysis. To try to learn what trauma is causing her condition he goes to the nightclub where she works and gathers all the employees together to see if they had any insight into her condition. So much for doctor/patient confidentiality.  Thanks to HIPPA, we'll never see that scene again.  Unless Dr. House makes a return. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Saying Goodbye

It was an emotionally draining day as I walked through the rooms of our house one last time. After 7 years, we are leaving Maine and heading west to be near our son and his family in Colorado. And while I know that I'm going to love being close to our adorable two-year old grandson and his parents, it's still hard to say goodbye. 

When we moved to Maine in 2007 it was a difficult adjustment. The job I took here turned out to be much more stressful than I could have imagined, and the stress of being far from family and friends was almost more than I could bear. But through all the difficulties, this house was my sanctuary. While sitting on the deck or in my backyard or in the den, I was able to put aside the drama of work, and feel a deep peace. I've always felt that it was a gift from God, a place for rest and sanctuary. 
The deck in autumn
Enjoying the backyard with friends

Once we decided to sell it, we embarked on a flurry of activity that allowed me to not think about the consequences of the process. Even after we accepted an offer back in April, it still didn't feel real. Over the past two weeks I've been saying goodbye- to co-workers, friends, and our wonderful church family. And as hard as that's been, I know that I'll see many of these people again, and will be able to stay in touch. But leaving the house, that was tough, because it's like leaving a part of me behind. 

Today at the closing, we met the new owners. They are delightful, and totally in love with this house. The moment they walked in, they knew they loved it. The wife is of Swedish heritage, and when she saw my Swedish-style kitchen with the Swedish cookbooks and trivet, she knew it was right. Then as they walked through the house, and saw the color scheme we had done, they were sold. As I sat through the closing, I was assured that my house is in good hands, with people who will love it as much as I do. 

Now I know that a house is really just a shell, and it's the people who live there who create a home, and I know that God will provide a home that will be just what we need in our lives right now. But I will always be grateful for this gift for the last seven years, and how it helped nourish and replenish my soul. 

I'll also be eternally grateful for the people who were put in my life here in Maine. There were so many of you. I already miss you, but know that you'll always have a place in my heart, and in our new home. Thank you for your kindnesses, your grace, and your friendship. I appreciate it more than you could ever know. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Life Interrupted: Trafficking Into Forced Labor in the United States by Denise Brennan

For the past year I've been interested in the efforts of those who are fighting to end human trafficking around the world. It's a serious problem, and there are no easy solutions. Earlier this year I read Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade- and How We Can Fight It by David Batstone, the founder of Not for Sale.  In it, he described the ordeals of specific individuals who had been enslaved. It is an eye-opening work, and I suggest that everyone should read it. 

Thus it was with great interest that I discovered   Life Interrupted: Trafficking Into Forced Labor in the United States by Denise Brennan in the Net Galley list. Brennan is an anthropology professor at Georgetown University whose research focuses on human trafficking and immigration reform. In Life Interrupted Brennan outline the experiences of several women and a few men who were enslaved here in the United States. The experiences of these people were different; some were forced into the sex trade, some were farm workers, and some were domestic workers. However, despite these differences, the one thing they all had in common was the lack of freedom. Eventually all the people Brennan describes were able to achieve freedom, but for many that was not the end of their difficulties. 

Once they were freed from servitude, they then faced the bureaucratic and legal issues experienced by many immigrants who do not enter this country legally. Many are able to receive a special visa for trafficked individuals, but many remain in limbo. Once those hurdles are overcome, they then have to adjust to life in a totally alien country with no means of support. For many, the circumstances of their past make it difficult to reach out to others from their home countries, and many lack training and skills that would enable them to find jobs. 

Brennan outlines these problems and describes many of the organizations and individuals who are reaching out to those who were trafficked. At the end of the book is a lengthy appendix with sources of information on how we can get involved in the fight to end human trafficking and how to help those who have been freed.  

While I found Brennan's accounts of the trafficked individuals compelling, I felt that this book is a bit too academic to appeal to those who are just becoming aware of the issue.  There was extensive footnoting, and in many places the narrative became bogged down and a tad repetitive. I do think, however, that anyone who is passionate about ending trafficking and has a good grasp of the issues should read this book, especially for the appendix. For those just learning about the cause, I would suggest David Batstone's Not for Sale.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

My 2013 Reading LIst

Something happened to me this past year that I thought would never happen.  I hit a reading wall. The year started out with such promise, reading-wise.  I read 10 books in January, and I thought for sure that I'd surpass the number of books I'd read in 2012. But then last summer I got to the point where I just couldn't read another book.  This is something that's never happened to me, and I found it quite discouraging.  

So, I took a bit of a reading vacation.  I decided that I would only read the books that I wanted to read, and would not worry about how much I read, or about reading the books everyone's talking about.  I started this at the end of June when I was going to be spending a lot of time in airports and on planes.  I'd been wanting to read Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall for some time, so I decided that would be a perfect  book to bring along.  I got about halfway through when I returned from all my traveling, and managed to finish it over the next month.  For the rest of the year I've continued to read, but have slowed down the pace. Now I'm focusing on the books I need to read (or re-read) for book discussion, and the books I really want to read.  

As much as I love being a librarian, I think that one of the problems inherent with the job is the danger of losing the joy of reading.  Keeping up with the reading interests of our patrons is an important part of the job, and can become a chore, rather than something done for pleasure. So my  goal for 2014 is to not worry about how much I read, but to slow down and savor each book. 

With that introduction, I'm presenting the list of books I did read in 2013.  Feel free to ask me about any of them; despite my sluggish attitude this year, I do still love talking about books. Happy New Year, and Happy Reading.

Books Read - 2013
1.      Smith, Amy - All Roads Lead to Austen
2.      Martel, Yann - The Life of Pi (Book Discussion)
3.      Hoffman, Beth - Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
4.      Evans, Rachel Held - A Year of Biblical Womanhood
5.      Manzano, Sonia - The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano (Juvenile Fiction)
6.      Dallas, Sandra - The Persian Pickle Club  (Re-read for Book Discussion)
7.      Bradley, Alan - Speaking from Among the Bones
8.      Donovan, Jeremy - How to Deliver a Ted Talk
9.      Taub, Patricia - The Mother of My Invention
10.  Kidder, Tracy and Todd, Richard - Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction
11.  Pym, Barbara - A Glass of Blessings (Re-read)
12.  Martin, Demetri - This Is a Book
13.  Grissom, Kathleen - The Kitchen House (Book Discussion)
14.  Wodehouse, P.G. - Right Ho, Jeeves (Re-read)
15.  Patchett, Ann - Bel Canto (Book Discussion)
16.  Crombie, Deborah - The Sound of Broken Glass
17.  Jennings, Ken - Because I Said So
18.  Fuller, Gary - The Trivia Lover's Guide to the World
19.  Haruf, Kent - Benediction
20.  Clayton, Meg Waite - The Four Ms Bradwells (Book Discussion – skype with author!)
21.  Haruf, Kent - The Tie that Binds
22.  Beaton, M.C. - Death of Yesterday
23.  Moore, Edward Kelsey - The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat
24.  Close, Jennifer - The Smart One
25.  Fforde, Jasper - The Eyre Affair (Book Discussion)
26.  Lipman, Elinor - The View from Penthouse B
27.  Sloan, Robin - Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
28.  Semple, Maria - This One Is Mine
29.  Fowler, Therese Ann - Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
30.  Arsenault, Emily - The Broken Teaglass
31.  Wein, Elizabeth - Code Name Verity (Young Adult – audiobook)
32.  Barnes, Julian - The Sense of an Ending ( Book Discussion)
33.  Hainey, Michael - After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story
34.  Koppel, Lily - The Astronaut Wives Club
35.  Sedaris, David - Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (audiobook)
36.  Potok, Chaim - The Chosen
37.  Cullen, Lisa Takeuchi - Pastor's Wives
38.  Ryan, Tom - Following Atticus (Book Discussion)
39.  Gaffigan, Jim - Dad Is Fat
40.  Salzman, Mark - The Soloist (re-read for Book Discussion)
41.  Grabenstein, Chris - Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Juvenile Fiction)
42.  Mantel, Hilary - Wolf Hall
43.  Lethal, Mac - Texts from Bennett
44.  Lutz, Lisa - The Last Word
45.  Moran, Johanna - The Wives of Henry Oades  (Re-read for Book Discussion)
46.  Goolrick, Robert - A Reliable Wife (Re-read for Book Discussion)
47.  Paton, Alan - Cry the Beloved Country (Re-read)
48.  Steinbeck, John - Travels with Charley: In Search of America (Re-read for Book Discussion)
49.  Thompson, Jean - The Year We Left Home
50.  Bradley, Alan - The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
51.  Skloot, Rebecca - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Book Discussion)
52.  Mantel, Hilary - Bring Up the Bodies
53.  Pullman, Philip - Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
54.  O'Flynn, Catherine - Mr. Lynch's Holiday
55.  Steadman, M.L. - The Light Between Oceans (Book Discussion)
56.  Faulks, Sebastian - Jeeves and the Wedding Bells
57.  Zierman, Addie - When We Were on Fire
58.  Smith, Alexander McCall - The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
59.  Setterfield, Diane - The Thirteenth Tale (Re-read for Book Discussion)
60.  Semple, Maria - Where'd You Go, Bernadette (Re-read for Book Discussion)
61.  Attenberg, Jamie - The Middlesteins (Re-read for Book Discussion)