author moments, awareness

Parts Unknown

My radio in my car was on the fritz. I was missing my Sirius XM something fierce. Finally, at long last, it was all fixed up a couple of weeks ago.

What did I miss most? The 80s channel? Yacht Rock Radio? I love those. But both can sort of be replicated on Spotify. Honestly, what I missed the most, what I couldn’t replace, was the CNN Originals channel.

More specifically, I missed listening to episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown. On a long car trip this week, I listened to his travels through San Sebastian and London.

It’s a travel show, about food. Originally presented in a visual medium. So sometimes there are long stretches of listening to people just eat. Plates clanking. Sipping from glasses. Mouth noises.

Then there are the paragraphs in other languages. I’d bet there are subtitles on TV. On the radio, just the original language.

Why would I listen to this?

Honestly, it’s for the writing. The passion in Bourdain’s voice. They say when you lose one of your senses, the others can become heightened. Listening to his description of foods, of people, of places…you hear his thoughtful, meaningful, often funny and insightful words even more clearly. He is just so damn smart.

When I taught writing to future teachers, I would often use examples from Anthony Bourdain’s TV shows that stunned me with their clarity, their originality, their sheer impact. He would make jaw-droppingly smart comparisons. I often felt like I was sitting at the table with him, enjoying a meal, even though we were separated by a screen.

Now we are separated by much more than a screen. His loss still stirs emotions in me. Listening to his voice, his perspective on life, culture, and food, is still something I savor.

Whose writing or perspective on life do you admire?

author moments, business

Reading is Wise

Reading and comprehension can be overrated at times depending on who you ask. However, reading, simply stated, can be wise.

I remember back in elementary school I was given a test. It was a simple test maybe ten questions. The teacher clearly stated to follow all directions on the paper prior to starting. Being the headline girl that I am, I completed the easy test. At the end it said the test was not necessary had you read the full instructions at the top of the paper.

Silly me! I wasted time. However I learned a valuable lesson that day. Read. Re-read. Comprehend. Pay attention to detail. Skim if you need to, when you need to but never skip the details. The written instructions.

Now, many times in my adult life I have seen people I know build things or assemble things. My favorite is always the one to watch who doesn’t read and ends up with extra screws or parts. Simply reading, evaluating, processing and re-reading could avoid these situations but often times this isn’t what happens. It does however make me giggle at times.

Case in point. I sold a vehicle to a family member recently. The county charges a percentage of fair market value for tax. This can be thousands of dollars based on value of said vehicle.

Fast forward to a line at the registration office. One is waiting. One is observing. One is reading the posted signs that many will see but not read let alone comprehend.

The fine print on one sign notes that if you exchange vehicles from a family member or property is part of a divorce the tax rate is minimal or greatly reduced.  The reading of said sign saved thousands of dollars for my family member. So excited to see this.

Simply reading in this situation was a wise choice. Sometimes comprehension is an issue for some. Understanding how verbiage on a sign may apply. We all can learn from this scenario.

Read.

Research.

Ask questions.

Knowledge is power.

Passing on valuable tidbits of information that can help others is much needed in today’s world. This scenario may not apply in your area of the world but it may spur an opportunity for you to read, review or ask questions relating to laws or ordinances in your area. Or even remind you to fully read instructions when assembling your next big item.

I’m not big on reading fiction but I am a big proponent of reading fine print, directions, signs (especially when in lines), and terms and conditions. The fine print in some contracts can really get you. Maybe even allow seizure of your property if you don’t pay for something like your mooring at the local boat marina. Hint: this is real life for an acquaintance.

These are all lessons for me as well. I did not know this about taxes in my jurisdiction. I maybe learned from a friend’s misfortune. The list goes on. 

Today I learned something new. I am always hungry for knowledge. I am passing on this tidbit to you. Maybe it will be beneficial. Maybe not. Enjoy your day either way.

working women

A Day in the Life (These Days)

People sometimes ask me if I like my job.

My answer used to be an enthusiastic “yes!” How can I not love a job filled with reading to kids, writing with kids, doing research and helping them grow into readers and learners?

These days my answer is different. Lukewarm, at best. I get up and go to my school every required day. But I am not excited about it right now. What used to be a positive, welcoming place is now filled with “spread out!” and “don’t touch!” Books turned in are quarantined in a special room on carts until they’re safe to touch.

Instead of kids drifting in and out of my classroom throughout the day, they can only come to the media center once a week during their assigned time slots. They come in, stay in line, sit down in the distanced chairs.

They watch my whole, real face tell them a story on video while they browse tables of books with their eyes, not hands. (I no longer have a clerk to assist me, so I “clone myself” with a video screen.) If students want me to open a book, I prop it on a random page then keep moving. When they have their selections they head to the desk. I scan a barcode instead of them typing their own numbers. No touching! Then they return to the exact same seat.

Instead of laughter, the most prevalent sound is the *psst* *psst* *psst* of food contact surface spray. I scrub. I shuffle books. Gloves on. Mask on. Smiling with my eyes as best I can.

I miss my job. I miss spontaneity. I miss special projects. I miss idle chat that leads to great ideas. A few fewer rules. A few more smiles.

A highlight of the week is when I do carside book delivery to the digital learners. Some drop by twice a week. Sometimes I get to wave to the kids in the back seat and tell them I miss them. Last week a parent held up her phone so I could Facetime with her son, waiting at home for more books. I’m not the only one who is missing something.

Or the other afternoon when I had a spur-of-the-moment takeout picnic with my daughter at the park. As I was leaving I heard a girl’s voice scream in excitement “YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER! YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER!” Then her little sister, a new kindergarten student, joined in the hollering. We waved excitedly. From a distance. Even with the mask, they still see me and I still see them.

I’m determined to stay positive and try to keep connecting to kids at a time when everything is about separation. When the kids watch me tell a story and laugh at the right parts, I know I am still reaching them through all the rules and rigamarole.

The Roaring 20s, I tell myself. The Roaring 20s.

business, partnership

My Morning Brew or View

Recently I was introduced to a daily tidbit or newsletter of sorts delivered electronically. It’s called the morning brew. Just before 7am it hits my box. My email box which I equate back to the day when my dad would get the newspaper off the door stoop before heading to work.

A little daily dose of what’s up in the world. It’s short and sweet but you can research on if something sparks your curiosity. Catchy little title to hit the email box bright and early in the morning. A brief read to get the mind stimulated but not too overbearing.

A recent edition had a spot on Disney. Many Disney fans may not think of the financial impacts covid has on its park division unless they had a trip planned for spring break this year. I found this tidbit interesting as I have enjoyed my visits to the park in years past and would hate to lose that travel option in the future when I have grandkids.

I have grown quite fond of my daily dose of the brew. Not sure it’s the candor in the content or just the details not being so overly political as you see on the news. It’s just raw insight.

If you have not been one to read in the morning or you you are looking for something different check out the morning brew. It’s a free subscription and you can get a little taste for what this chick reads first thing in the morning.

They even have a promo today to win a MacBook!  Check out the link. 

Sending you virtual wishes of happiness for today and beyond. This is the best that I can do since nobody wants real hugs, high fives or any variation thanks to corona.