So I Went Out For Some Tea…

And the strangest thing happened. All right. It wasn’t strange at all. Actually, it’s quite common.

I decided I needed some air and some vitamin D, so I left the confines of CHNOLA and went out into the daylight with the intent of visiting the nearest grocery store for some tea. Tea’s my new thing lately. I stopped drinking coffee because I’m trying to keep my caffeine consumption low. I still drink it, but only decaf, and sometimes it feels like defeating the purpose. Also, I quite enjoy tea, always have. Some days I buy tea in the cafeteria here, but today I forgot, and by tea time, I realized I was out. Hence the field trip.

Went out for tea and returned with Triscuits, Laughing Cow cheese (chipotle!), a bag of sun dried tomatoes, four books, and last but not least, tea.
Went out for tea and returned with Triscuits, Laughing Cow cheese (chipotle!), a bag of sun dried tomatoes, four books, and last but not least, tea.

So by the time I reached the grocery store and saw all the fabulous food there, my stomach decided the salad and yogurt I’d had for lunch just weren’t cutting it. I needed a snack. The Triscuits were a treat, actually. They are full of whole-grain, no doubt, but also full of calories. The sun dried tomatoes were a serendipitous find, as I LOVE sun dried tomatoes and have never seen them sold in the bag before. Snacks galore!

Since I was already out, I convinced myself to visit a used book store just down the road. McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music is a store I’ve been eyeballing for the last year coming to and from CHNOLA. I don’t know why the music is difficult. All music is difficult to me, as I have no musical talent. But I digress…

The smell of old musky tomes struck me as soon as I opened the door, and I’m fairly certain I smiled at the familiar and inviting scent. I love the smell of old books. And new books. But especially old ones. It was rather warm in there, and it only helped intensify the glorious fragrance of the books’ years old pages. It reminded me of visiting the library as a child, and I got the same excited feeling in my gut I’d always gotten back then when my eyes beheld the shelves lined with books.

Hard cover copy of Moby Dick. I opened the book to the last page I'd read online at Goodreads, planted my nose in its binding, and inhaled the intoxicating scent of literature.
Hard cover copy of Moby Dick. I opened the book to the last page I’d read online at Goodreads, planted my nose in its binding, and inhaled the intoxicating scent of literature.

I have a certain love of used books that I don’t have for brand new ones. I love all books, don’t get me wrong, but the old, preowned books have a past. A history, if you will. They are the elderly matriachs and patriachs of literature waiting to share their tales with a new generation. I bought a copy of  The Catcher In The Rye, it’s pages are yellowed and some of them bent up on the edges. While I read it, I don’t just get involved in the story, but also contemplate the book’s past. Was it once an assignment for a high school student who tossed it aside and forgot about it until his or her mother cleaned out the closets? Did a college student sell it to this bookstore in hopes to recoup what little money he or she could in order to pay for basic necessities, a practice not unknown to struggling students? Perhaps it belonged to a professor, and it’s pages are yellowed and bent from being near his or her bedside and read over and over again. These are the kinds of things I consider when I buy used books.

Moby Dick is hiding in that pile somewhere, too.

This is no good for my book hoarding obsession, I admit. I could have walked out with many, many more books. Adopted them from their virtual book shelter, where they’ve been placed in hopes of finding a new home. I promise myself I will read all of the books on my “to-read” list. I will. I’m already halfway through Catcher In The Rye, although I’ve been reading Moby Dick for months. Honestly, there are some books from which I need a short break before picking up again. Such is the case with Cloud Atlas, which I am now finally halfway through, as well. However, in my defense, that one’s on my Kindle app, and after a while my eyeballs are ready to fall out.

Pretty sure I'll be able to finish this one in the next day.
Pretty sure I’ll be able to finish this one in the next day.

 

My list of books to read is ever-growing, and it will continue to grow. My lust for reading will never be satiated. I had a wonderful art teacher in high school who once asked, “What are you going to do when you’ve read up all the books in the world?” I answered, “Write my own.”

I Didn’t Even Prepare an Acceptance Speech

Winning. Not something that’s been a big part of my life. Much like the unfortunate likes of Charlie Brown or the Amazing Luckless Peter Parker, I’ve been one acquainted with catastrophe. Literally, and I’m not misusing literally.

I’ll never be the person who wins the Powerball twice in ten years (bastards) or finds a briefcase full of a million dollars (okay, seriously, that’s mob money). You won’t see me winning any competition. I’ve often joked that if there were a contest which required its winner to be named Donnell Jeansonne and have my social security number, some identity thief would win it.

But when you are a luckless schlub, you learn to really appreciate the things in life that some people might find trivial. To be completely cliché I’ll maintain I’ll never be wealthy, but my life is enriched by the people in it. Some of those people are close friends and family. Some are new friends. Some are acquaintances. Still, some are folks I’ve never met in real life, and may never meet.

One of those wonderful people is a lovely lady and author of the blog Pinwheels and Poppies. We met as WordPress bloggers when I first read her blog The Coming Adventures of a Soon-to-be Baldie in which she writes of an upcoming trip to Chicago to participate in a St. Baldrick’s event. The blog was posted on March 19, 2012-just thirteen days after I learned my own son, then twenty-eight months old, had a malignant brain tumor.

We’ve corresponded via the Internet since then, and today she shared something with me. Although I’ve been behind in blogging (I promise all of my free time is spent working on my novel.), she’s awarded my humble blog with the Liebster Award.

Coincidentally, I studied German for three years in high school and two in college. I can’t say I’m fluent anymore as parts of my brain have gone on permanent vacation. But I do know that among the word’s meanings, one of them is beloved. And with this knowledge, I want to thank my friend at Pinwheels and Poppies for awarding my blog, and as always for dedicating herself to helping raise money for pediatric cancer research.

My son Robot Boy and his dad

Now there are rules that go along with this award. Just like Spidey says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” These rules don’t appear to be carved in stone or anything, but basically they are intended for bloggers to pay it forward by acknowledging the blogger who awarded them and to pass it along to other, also lesser known, blogs. According to seemingly official Liebster Award criteria posted by P&P, an awarded blogger should recognize three to five other bloggers with less than 300 subscribers.

Past bloggers have also passed down rules that an awarded blogger should state eleven things about herself/himself, and should answer eleven questions set by the person giving the award. And that we should write eleven questions for our own awarded bloggers.

Since the lovely lady who has seen fit to give me this award has followed the eleven question rule, I will follow suit.

11 Questions for Me:

1. What is your earliest memory?
A tight squeeze and a bright light. Just kidding. My earliest memory is from last week. Who am I again?

2. What are your personal religious/spiritual beliefs?
Spiritual yes. Religious hardly.

3. Favorite comfort food?
I really can’t answer this question. I’m from NOLA. Everything is comfort food.

4. Are you crafty? If so, what’s your crafting niche?
Is sticking yourself repeatedly with sewing needles and burning yourself with hot glue guns a craft? Because if so, that.

5. Who do you think is hotter- Johnny Depp or Robert Downey Jr?
Johnny

6. What’s your astrological sign? Do you believe in astrology?
I was born on the Virgo/Libra cusp. I’m a little of both and a little of neither. I lean more toward the Libra in me. For entertainment purposes only.

7. How many countries have you been to? Which ones?
Four not including the USA. Mexico, St. Maarten, the Bahamas, Grand Caymen. Also the US Virgin Islands which I didn’t count because it’s the US.

8. Have you read 50 Shades of Grey? Opinion?
Nope.

9. Which decade do you feel like you belong in? Why?
The Seventies. I could see all the cool bands, man.

10. Do you garden? If yes, what kind of gardening do you do?
Does watching my husband mow the lawn count as gardening? Then yes.

11. What blows your mind more- outer space or life as we know it?
Outer space, man! Seriously. The universe is fucking awesome.

Now that that’s finished, here are eleven things to know about moi:

1. When you’re on fire you don’t remember to stop, drop, and roll. I know this from experience.

2. I say fuck a lot. But not as much as motherfucker.

3. I think if I had a British accent I’d be much funnier.

4. I once tap danced in front of the Cabildo and made $11-true story. Also, I can’t tap dance.

5. I’m pretty sure I’d make a successful psychic. I can’t see the future, but I’m pretty good at bullshitting people.

6. I like the Regular Show.

7. Me and my bestie once played Spider-Man for Playstation 2 for twelve straight hours until we finished because we didn’t have a memory card.

8. I’m fairly jolly for a person whose life’s in the shitter.

9. I am a book hoarder. I buy books I never read, some I do read, some I read multiple times. I am addicted to buying books.

10. Anyone who’s ever heard my name knows how much I love Queen and Freddie Mercury.

11. My fantasy destination in Phuket, Thailand.

Phuket

And here are the next award winners of the prestigious, glamorous, delicious Liebster Award. Drumroll please……..

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1. Crazy Dumbsaint of the Mind
2. Transitioning Mom
3. hollyanne gets poetic
4. kimberliah
5. Mullings of Mind Tramp

Now to notify the winners…

Thank you again to Pinwheels and Poppies for considering my blog for this award!

New Old Books

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shark Week has ended, and I must admit I am having withdrawals. It happens every year. See, I really like sharks. Like, a lot.

I’ve even acquired the moniker “Nell Shark”, given to me by my dad when I was a teen. I wasn’t only given the nickname because of my love of the carnivorous fish, but also because there was a time when I could consume anything I wanted, like a shark, and my dad would joke that I’d probably swallowed a license plate somewhere. This name was also born from a nickname given to my dad in the time of Saturday Night Live’s Land Shark sketches. He’s often called Lan, and so he became Lan Shark. Being his offspring, I suppose it was only natural that I also share the shark title. Over the years I’ve taken on more of an image of a whale-shark, but I digress.

Microsoft Free Clip Art

If reincarnation exists, I want to be a shark. I think it would be wonderful to swim freely in the ocean, at the top of the food chain, not a worry in the world. Except for, you know, commercial fishing nets, shark nets designed to protect beaches, fishermen killing you for your fins, and crazed people hunting you because they think you’re going to chomp innocent surfers and swimmers for fun. Besides all that, I think it would be real nice. I’d even make extra sure not to accidentally taste anyone, which as we all know, could result in maiming or killing them.

Speaking of hunting sharks and sharks accidentally tasting people, one of my favorite movies is Jaws. I love the movie, although I don’t love what it did for sharks. I must make an admission here, as well: I’ve never read the novel.

Used hardcover copy of Peter Benchley’s Jaws copyright 1974 Doubleday & Company, Inc.

I know. I’m sorry for my literary sin of loving a movie for so long without reading the story which inspired it. Truly repentant. My penance will be to read War and Peace twice and recite The Illiad fourteen times. I’ve never read War and Peace, either, but I imagine reading it twice would be quite the compensation for any wrongdoing.

But now, now I can claim absolution! For I have received my copy of Jaws, the novel, written by one Peter Benchley (I understand Mr. Benchley and his wife became advocates for shark conservation after seeing the anti-shark furor created by his novel and from Steven Spielberg’s movie which came out a year later) .

Back cover: Peter Benchley

And I didn’t just buy the novel, I bought a vintage (sure, why not?) hardcover copy. It’s used, not in mint condition, but in good condition. The jacket is a little torn, but the book itself is in tact. It was cheap, and it smells delicious. Ecstasy! Is anyone not excited by the smell of an old book? It’s just me, then? All right.

I was pleased and surprised when the book arrived. When I ordered it, I was under the assumption that I was ordering a used copy of a print reissued in 2005. But no! It’s the real thing, baby. Not some reissued young whippersnapper copy. I’m very happy.

To a lot of people this is a silly thing about which to become excited. Oh well. Not to Nell Sharks*.

Microsoft Free Clip Art

*My son, Robot Boy, is also a big shark fan. Even at his young age, he watches Shark Week programming, and chomps like a shark on the chewy tubes given to him by his speech therapist. Once, before he was sick, Jaws came on television. Fearing he would be afraid, I stood in front of the television as Jaws attacked some folks on a banana boat while blood filled the water. RB saw Jaws’s attack anyway, and instead of crying or getting scared, he started shouting “Rawr! Rawr!” pretending to be Jaws. His nickname is Chompy Shark.