August 31, 2008

Family Heirloom: A Lamp

Recently, I went up to Knoxville to visit with a friend. While I was there, I got a chance to visit with a cousin I have not seen in ten years. It's not so unusual. She is much older than I am, and we have never been close. I was glad to reconnect with her and hope we can be more a part of each other's lives.

As I mentioned, the last time I saw her was ten years ago. The occasion? The death of our mutual grandmother, Lois Dunn, or Mimi, as I called her. When our grandmother died, different people received different things. I guess this lamp was one of the things my cousin received. I received some bedroom furniture, which I still have. At our breakfast, my cousin told me she was moving and needed to get rid of some possessions. One of these was this lamp, which belonged to my grandmother. So now the lamp is reunited with the bedroom furniture.

It's a very unusual lamp. It's a ceramic lamp, almost like a vase. The color is a mint green with tiny pink rosebuds all over it. I was really happy to receive it. It's an unusual piece, very vintage looking. It goes well with my floral Asian bedspread, even though the greens do not exactly match. And it's in great condition, just one small tear in the lampshade.

Honestly, I never really appreciated my grandmother until after she died. I like having her furniture and the lamp because it makes me feel like I am carrying a part of her with me. Anyway, just wanted to share my new possession.

August 16, 2008

Library Program: Murder Mystery Party

A few weeks ago, I held a murder mystery party as a teen program. My hope was that teen would attend this program. A few did, but the majority of the people that showed up were the parents and siblings of my actors. Like last year, I bought my party kit at a website called This one was called The Murder Game, and it takes place in the 1920s.

The scenario is that a very powerful woman, who had her finger on almost every major industry that made money during that time, was strangled during her own dinner party. The guests were a flapper, a silent film star, a gangster, a stockbroker, a speak-easy manager, a secretary, a jazz musician, and a journalist.

The game is played a lot like Clue. Each guest has a set of clues. Based on the clues, guests deduce the who, the where, and the why of the murder.

My only complaint is that this year, the kit didn't give a lot of guidance. My last kit had a script. I thought just having the clues might be easier, but it was hard to know what order the clues should be said in. So I had to take the clues and write a script myself.

August 06, 2008

Book Review: Confessions of a Carb Queen by Susan Blech

Susan Blech was on a downhill path. In her late 30s, she weighed an amazing 468 pounds. This amazing book is about the path she took to get to that place, what life was like in that place, and about the steps she took to lose over 268 pounds without surgery. I call this book amazing because I probably had my mouth open the entire time I was reading it. You won't believe what this girl used to put in her mouth every day. That someone could eat this much and still be alive is amazing. For all her lack of self control, Susan must be a very strong woman. She was still alive and able to turn her life around. Some people never get that chance.

She used to go up and down both sides of the street picking up gigantic bags of food from every fast food place, eat it all in her car, and then dispose of the bags, convincing herself that it didn't count if she ate the food in her car. Some weeks she would spend $300 to $400 dollars on fast food.

This was especially interesting to me because she lost the majority of her weight at a weight loss center in Durham, NC called the Rice House. That's only about an hour from my house.

Anyway, this is a fascinating read. Susan also includes recipes of low-calorie, low-fat foods. I have been trying some of them, and they are good.

August 03, 2008

Library Program: Wizard Rock Concert

The crowd is cheering. Alex Carpenter has just done a stage dive off of a wooden book display. Bradley is jumping on Alex’s back and banging his snare drum with an incessant tapping drumstick. Teen girls are screaming. Guys are pumping their arms in the air. I am inside the library, and there are 150 Wizard Rock fans applauding the best program I have ever had as a teen librarian. Woah! Let’s back up. How did I get here?
Back in 2007, Wake County Libraries had their first Wizard Rock concert. The Kings of Wrock themselves, Harry and the Potters, visited the North Regional Library in Raleigh, NC. There was an amazing attendance. The door count that night was 700. At that moment, I knew that not only would there need to be more Wizard Rock, but that my Wizard Rock concert would need be even bigger than this one. There would be more Wrock.
For the uninitiated, Wizard Rock, or Wrock, is a movement where fans of the Harry Potter books form rock bands and sing songs based on those same books. Usually, the musicians take on a character or persona. Then they dress, act, and speak as if they are that person. The first band to come out was Harry and the Potters in 2002. Brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge had friends telling them they looked like Harry Potter. They wrote some songs and started performing at parties and libraries. Since then, there are now around 450 bands that are part of this genre.
Since we had already had Harry and the Potters come to our vicinity, I decided to go for some of that Evil Wizard Wrock and invite Draco and the Malfoys.