New Shelves and a New Obsession, Er, Hobby

So, we’ve got the new bookshelves up, locked and loaded.  For some people, new bookshelves might just mean putting books on them, but not us.  Nope – we must make a full-blown production out of it.  Fortunately, the men who delivered them set them up where I directed and bolted them together, so all we had to do was position the removable shelves and fill it with books.

Easier said than done.

I left most of the job to Beloved, because he’s positively anal about his books far more organized than I am; I helped out when he yelled at me to come into the living room needed, because I am a clumsy twit who can hurt myself as well as the house in situations like this was busy doing something else that I’ll go into in just a minute.

This is what they looked like right after we started – Beloved had only gotten the history section up:

Shelves 1

Shelves 2

This second picture is for perspective – you can’t tell they’re 15 feet long from end to end in the first.

It quickly became apparent, for Beloved anyway (I am a complete moron when it comes to anything spacial), that we were going to have a lot of extra space after we got all of the books on them.  I was astounded – I had visions of us agonizing over which books we were going to have to cull and take down to the basement to reside on the old shelves.  It also left us with a dilemma – how do we fill the empty spaces?

We stood back and scrutinized Beloved’s our handiwork, and after a few moments consideration, Beloved said the wonderful words:

“We’re going to have to go to the craft store, aren’t we?”

Well, twist my arm; I may be a clumsy twit with no sense of direction or size/space, but I am a great decorator.  And I love the craft store, which just so happens to have a new home furnishings addition and garden center.  Woo-hoo!  So off we trot to the craft store, and we return with vases, baskets and enough fake greenery to decorate a Rain Forest Café.

And this is what we ended up with:

Shelves 3

Shelves 4

You can see the greenery garland Beloved put across the top, as well as the arrangement in the basket on the shelves (Beloved’s handiwork) and the arrangement in the  vase on the table at the end (mine).   We also had another empty shelf, so I took some of my Jim Shores out of the curio and put them out as well.

Which brings me to the lovely pictures.  If you care remember from last Monday, I was reduced to taking photos with my phone, for I could not find the power cord to my little Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot camera.  By Saturday, I still couldn’t find it and was getting horribly frustrated – I didn’t want to be reduced to taking pictures of the furniture (to say nothing of our trip to Washington D.C. with Miss Jacki and The Young One next week) with my damn cell phone.  So Saturday morning we walked into Best Buy to purchase a power strip (the shelves cover the outlet we use on that side of the room) and a couple of other minor necessities, when I wandered over to the camera section.

I’ve been wanting a “real” camera for quite some time; I enjoy taking pictures and editing them in Photoshop.  And while I’ve had reasonable success printing some of the pictures taken with my little Sony, I’ve been wanting to make it a more serious hobby – especially with Jolly’s Little Bundle Of Joy on the way (yes, I can already tell you I’m going to be one of THOSE grandparents).  So after a brief consultation with one of the sales people, I found Beloved perusing the jump drives and dragged him over to the cameras waited patiently for him to finish his shopping before I asked him to look at cameras with me.

After a further, more in-depth, consultation with yet another sales person (Jared at the North Podunk Best Buy, you are a GEM and they don’t pay you nearly enough) I walked out with a brand-new Nikon D90 digital SLRS (Me, practically sobbing:  “Thank you!  Thank you for letting me get my new camera!”  Beloved, cheerfully: “No problem dear – now you’ll NEVER HAVE TO BUY ANOTHER ONE.”).

So, faithful readers, now you get to be bored shitless join me on my journey as I learn about things like exposure and aperture and shutter speed and ISO and depth of field and perspective.  Aren’t you thrilled???

Okay, maybe not so much.  But I am, and I promise not to bore you.

Too much.

But I took a picture of a bowl of Reese’s Pieces last night.

Don’t believe me?

Reese's Pieces

The Bookcases Are Coming! The Bookcases Are Coming!

One if by land.  Two if by sea.  We’re getting four.

They must coming via hot air balloon.

Okay, lame attempt at humor aside, Saturday we were planning out the rest of our extended weekend which was supposed to include lots of gardening, when we got a call asking if someone would be home this Friday to receive delivery of our new bookcases.   Beloved will be out of town, so I’ll have to be at home when they come.

I’m just devastated.

At any rate, that meant our gardening plans had to be postponed (again, I’m just devastated) so we could take the old bookcases down to the basement to make room for the new ones, which are considerably larger and taller than our old, cheap ones.  Which means we had to do something with all of the books on the old bookshelves.  If you’re going, “So?” you simply don’t understand how many books we have.

Allow me to illustrate.  Oh, and I apologize for the poor picture quality; I cannot find the charger for my camera, so these were taken with my phone.

Non-fiction

This is just the non-fiction, folks, stacked along one side of our dining room.  By genre, no less – reference books, books on economics, books on economic theory, books on American history, constitutional history, world history, medieval history.  We have your general science, anatomy, physics, quantum physics, anthropology, paleoanthropology; there is politics, philosophy and a section devoted to fun pastimes – card games, word games and having babies.  (How the hell did that get there?!?)  There is sociology, biology, and geology.  Down at the end of the rows is an anachronistic stack of the classic hardbacks we picked up the last time we were at Half Price Books up in Cleveland.

Fiction 1

This is a little less than half of the fiction.  For some reason Beloved stacked my collection of autobiographies in this section (?) and in the foreground is my small collection of graphic novels, mostly Batman and Wolverine, since they’re my favorite comic book characters (we won’t go into my disappointment about the new Wolverine movie being universally panned right now).

Fiction 2

This is more of the fiction – a lot of this is Robert B. Parker, Stephen King and Anya Seton.  Yes, I’m fully aware of how weird I am.

Fiction 3

This is what is remaining of the fiction, hurled placed on an old shelf in the guest room upstairs by The Young One.  It’s mostly mindless paperbacks – fantasy, science fiction, the few romances I own and duplicates of books collected by both Beloved and myself.  On the left is a pile of clothes waiting to go to Goodwill and on the left is Darling Daughter’s Barbie collection, along with a few Madam Alexander dolls I bought for Miss Jacki when she was much younger.  Yes, the walls are really that hideous shade of purple.  It was that color when we bought the house and I just haven’t gotten around to painting it yet because I don’t go in there very often.  It’s one of those “out of sight, out of mind” things.

Of course, once we got the shelves down in the basement, I saw how filthy the carpet, heating grates and walls were back there, so we spent a good amount of time cleaning.  Now Beloved is pestering me to paint at least that wall of the family room since it’s bare this afternoon, so I guess I’ll head on out to Home Depot and look at paint colors.  While I’m there, I’ll also look at paint for the dining room, since we’ve been wanting to paint below the chair rails ever since we got the new furniture in there.  Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Once we’ve got the bookshelves up and filled again next weekend – although how we’ll fit them all on the new shelves,  as big as they are, I don’t know – I’ll take more pictures and post them.

Hope you’re having a lovely holiday weekend, y’all.

We’re Booked

Old BooksThere will be no Money in the Bank post today.  My most sincere and abject apologies to Smart Mouth Broad…but did I mention we decided to buy the bookshelves?

For those of you who might have missed it, we have been debating on whether to buy some solid oak, hand-crafted bookshelves from some lovely Amish guy who does stuff like that or a stupidly expensive 200-pound ceramic smoker/grill.

The bookshelves won out.  So, a couple of weekends ago we toddled down to the Amish furniture store and ordered them.  They’ll take 10 – 12 weeks to be completed (these are BIG bookshelves), but that’s okay because it gives us an opportunity to decide which books we’re going to keep in the living room on our pretty new shelves and which will be relegated to the basement on our old, tired and mismatched bookshelves.

Yes, we have that many books.

So, we found ourselves in Half Price Books in Cleveland Saturday afternoon where I bee-lined it to the cookbook section and Beloved bee-lined it to the non-fiction section; I emerged with two of Julia Child’s cookbooks, a cookbook of wok recipes and The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, a fascinating compilation of articles and essays on just about everything to do with how we eat and drink in the U.S.  Beloved got a book on Oswald, one on Nixon and a couple of other things that I’m sure will put me to sleep in no time flat are equally riveting.  After that we mosied over to the “literature” section where I found both an Anya Seton and a Robert B. Parker Spenser novel I didn’t own (“I didn’t know there were such things,” observed Beloved) and he got more insomnia cures riveting material by Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal.

Then we looked up and saw…THEM.  On the top of the shelves, row upon row of classic books, in excellent condition (“I don’t think these were ever opened!” marvels Beloved) and instead of wearing jackets or dust covers, each was ensconced in the niftiest little box/case you ever saw.  We gasped as our eyes widened and we clutched each other.  Then, at the same time, we both said:

“Oh, those would look SO COOL on our new shelves!”

Because we’re nerdish like that.

So we began pulling them down.  Or rather I bellowed squeeled things like “OHMIGOD LOOK AT THAT TWO-VOLUME EDITION OF GONE WITH THE WIND” and “I MUST HAVE THOSE THREE COORDINATING VOLUMES OF ALL THE SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES” and “HOLY COW THAT COPY OF GRIMMS FAIRY TALES IS GORGEOUS” and Beloved pulled them down, because he’s 6’1″ and I’m only 5′ tall.

All in all, we walked out of there with two huge boxes of books.  And we were just as pleased as punch, because we’re nerdish like that.  Afterward we went and checked into our hotel and then went to go see B.B. King, which was something of an adventure that I’ll write about later.  (Let’s just suffice to say that at 83, the man can still belt out a song.)  And as planned the next day we spent several hours touring the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which was also a great deal of fun (I’ll write more about that later, too).  At one point, we strolled into the museum gift shop.

Where we saw…THEM.

A set of polished bookends made from petrified wood found on the Oregon/Nevada border.  We gasped as our eyes widened and we clutched each other.  Then, at the same time, we both said:

“Oh, those would look SO COOL on our new shelves!”

Because we’re nerdish like that.

So we spent waaaaaaaaay too much money this weekend for me to participate in anything that has to do with actually saving it.

And petrified wood is freaking heavy.

Creatively Uncreative

Colored PencilsThis week’s Spin Cycle assignment is “creative writing.”

You have no idea how much I froze up when I read that.

You see, I automatically interpreted it as “write something fictitious” and the whole idea just gave me a great raging case of the hives; while I’m creative in many areas of my life, writing isn’t one of them.  Oh, I can tell a story – make it funny, even – but I didn’t start blogging because I’m some sort of frustrated, undiscovered Alice Walker wannabe.  I don’t have The Great American Novel languishing away in a trunk somewhere just waiting for me to take it out, dust it off, spruce it up and send it off to some lucky publisher to earn me a million dollars.

Believe me, I’ve tried.  And I’ve found that while I love reading fiction, I can’t write it worth squat.

Then I read Pseudo’s creative spin cycle – an extremely interesting poem – and realized “Ahhhh – I’m off the hook!  It doesn’t necessarily have to be ficiton!”  Until I realized that I suck even worse at poetry.

It appears the extent of my creative writing is observing, during a Yahoo Instant Message conversation with Oldest Son, that in regards to a certain salesman I know, “You could slap his brain down on the head of a pin and it would just roll around like a B.B. on a six lane highway.”

Because I have mastered the art of the Creative Insult.

So, keeping all of this in mind, I submit to you the Jan’s Sushi Bar version of Creative Writing:

Phuque Yew

Have a lovely Wednesday, y’all.

I Am Obviously Raising the Next Chekhov

checkhovEnglish Documentary

by The Young One

A study of the language.  The study branches into multiple topics.  Such topics can include grammar, which basically, to my feeble 13-year-old mind, applies to everything.  Spelling, using letters in a word correctly.  And studying the types of words, such as nouns and verbs.  Also, the study also applies heavily to writing.

How to write:

  1. Get a piece of paper.
  2. Get a pencil.
  3. Make the pencil tip touch the paper.  No, not the eraser, you dope!  Yes, the lead!  The little gray thingy!
  4. Make strokes that form a letter.  Not in the YMCA pool – the paper!
  5. Congrats.  You wrote something.

You usually learn in English class how to write all sorts of things, like letters, essays, and documents such as this!  Now, before I expire from boredom in the middle of my rather boring Academic Assist class, I shall stop here and do something else, like stare at the repeating Power Point slideshow on the television screen.

Good bye.

~~~~~~

**No eighth graders were harmed in the writing of this essay, although a Mom let out a hearty guffaw and an English teacher suggested it for publication in the school’s literary magazine.  It might be suggested that the author learn the difference between a “document” and a “documentary” but hey – we’ll take what we can get.