trivia…not so trivial

Saw my hairdresser, Zorianna, today. Thankfully she brought me back from the brink. I was beginning to look like a skunk, a white strip growing ever wider at the top of my scalp. I know it’s love, when my husband, a few heads taller, hugs me without asking “When’s your next hair appointment?”

As any woman will tell you, hairdressers are as important to our mental well-being, as a doctor is to our physical well-being. Walking around with our crowning glory at its most glorious, is worth a million bucks! Thank goodness it doesn’t cost that much, but beauty does come at a price. In my case, it’s not so much that, as it is not wanting to look like my husband’s escorting his granny everywhere. And I don’t think it’s just my imagination, because he’s the one who keeps telling me it’s alright to visit Zorianna monthly.

One of the things Zorianna mentioned which I’d not seen, was a Chase commercial explaining that a customer can send pictures, front and back, of a check for deposit into his or her account. I immediately queried “How safe is that?” While it is a deposit, there’s no telling what spammers and hackers, some of them geniuses, will try to do to steal the depositor’s identity, bank account info, or money. I wouldn’t want to find out. But then again I’m still a fraidy cat gingerly tip-toeing around the internet’s universe. So don’t go looking for pictures of my check bouncing around out there in Google-land. They’re safe and sound in cash drawers at Target and Trader Joe’s and Costco and…

ABC World News

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This evening while I was preparing dinner, Diane Sawyer and ABC World News Tonight was on as background noise. I did stop to watch 2 news items.

Alzheimer’s it seems can be prevented, according to recent studies, by avoiding the following 7 items:

 Evidently eliminating these 7 factors can lead to a 25% reduction in the risk of getting the disease. Researchers project that would prevent half-a-million new cases of Alzheimer’s. Something to seriously think about.

Gibraltar Senior Citizens Social Club, Town Ra...

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It seems more and more retired couples have taken to living apart. Doesn’t this sound like an oxymoron?!? Why would married people not want to realize their dream of togetherness in old age? Well it’s not actually as unbelievable as it may seem.

One couple interviewed by the ABC reporter had planned to move to Maine when the husband retired. After trying it for one year, the wife decided she didn’t care to live there year round. So she ended up taking an apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts during the winter months. She loved the vibrancy of city life and being surrounded by people younger than herself. And while her husband missed her terribly at the beginning, she felt she was less wimpy. Turning to her husband she laughingly exclaimed “I can beat you up.”

One of my daughter’s friends’ parents have a similar arrangement. They reside in Conncecticut where the father has his business. During the winter, the mom heads south to warm, sunny Florida. When he’s able, the husband flies south for a few days. Sounds like a reasonable solution, if the couple is willing and able.

I don’t think my husband and I would enjoy living apart. We already endure separations when he’s away on business. Something of a regular occurrence, moreso in the past than now. Moreover I lived with my daughter for 2 1/2 years while she was beginning to train for her career as a ballerina, while my husband remained behind….earning our living. 

I’m looking forward to doing things with my husband…like gardening, going for long walks, taking road trips. And doing them whenever we have an inkling. Doing them…

at our whim…not someone else’s…hugmamma.   

vanishing books

Image by jenny8lee via Flickr

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal reminds me of a fear I previously expressed in “books, extinct?” on 8/13/10. I maintained then, that e-books may be sending physical books the way of the dinosaurs. The news article, written by Stu Woo, “E-Book Lending Takes Off… New Online Clubs That Let Readers Share Have Drawbacks but Worry Publishers” suggests that books, hardcover and paperback, might be on a quick rocket ship to outer space, as we speak.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

E-book lending libraries such as Book-Lending.com and Lendle.me “ have gathered thousands of users, (and) allow strangers to borrow and lend e-books for Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble Inc.‘s Nook free.”Another site, eBook Fling is slated to begin offering its services on Monday. The lending procedure is as follows.

1. Lender joins lending website, agreeing to share e-books. Each title is shared once.

2. Lender tells website which Kindle book she owns. The site determines which e-books are eligible for lending.

3. Lender is notified when a borrower requests one of her e-books. Request includes borrower’s name and email.

4. Lender instructs Amazon to send the e-book to the borrower.

The borrowing procedure is as follows.

 

A Picture of a eBook

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1. Borrower searches lending website for e-books that others have made available. 

2. Website sends borrower’s name and email address to the lender.

3. Lender tells Amazon to send the book to the borrower.

4. Borrower has 14 days to read the book and the lender cannot access it. After that time, the borrower loses access to the book and the lender gets it back.

The 3 lending websites mentioned are free to users. When books aren’t available for borrowing, users are referred to Amazon.com. If the references result in purchases, the sites receive commissions. The sites also encourage users to lend their books by offering them incentives.

Lendle requires users to make at least one book available for loan before starting to borrow, and the site has an algorithm that improves users’ chances of getting a book they want if they lend frequently. BookLending has a similar algorithm, though it has no requirement to make books available for loan first.

There are some drawbacks to e-book lending. Selection is limited. Most major book publishers haven’t made their e-books lendable, and the books lent by site users can only be lent once and for only 14 days. So with every successful loan, the sites’ lending library shrinks “unless new users with books to lend join.” Borrowing books is neither guaranteed, nor quick. A desired book must first be available for loan, and if a request is made to borrow it, the lender gets an email request, which she can accept or deny.

The Hunger Games

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But that hasn’t stopped avid readers like Marilyn Knapp Litt from signing up with BookLending. “I really like the idea of being able to borrow a book the way you might borrow a book from the library,” said Ms. Litt, a 58-year-old retiree in San Antonio. She has so far borrowed the first two books of the “Hunger Games” trilogy from BookLending. But she hasn’t offered to lend any, she said, because the books in her collection can’t be lent.

While publishers fear e-book lending deters people from buying physical and digital books, e-lending sites disagree saying “they are helping publishers because their users, after borrowing books, can purchase other books in the same series or by the same author.”

“People are saying I borrowed a book and I bought it because I didn’t finish it,” said Jeff Croft, who created Lendle. “That seems to be happening a lot.”

It’s an undeniable fact that electronic books are here to stay. It’s probable, though unfortunate in my estimation, that they will replace physical books as the primary access to literary works. The statistics tell the story.

Consumers spent $1 billion on e-books in 2010, and that number is expected to triple by 2015, according to Forrester Research. It added there were around 10 million e-readers in circulation in the U.S.. at the end of 2010.

 

The Last Lecture, a book that Pausch and Jeff ...

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as for me…i’ll just keep hoarding my beloved hard and softcover books…hugmamma.  

homage to a selfless sister-in-law

As I grow older and more reflective, people come to mind who inspire me. Such a person is my sister-in-law, Pat. Her husband, my brother, follows my blog.  He’s probably bug-eyed right now wondering why I would shine the spotlight on his quiet, unassuming wife of many, many, many years. How many anniversaries has it been, Ben?

Pat was born in a small town in Maui, at least it was back in the 50s and 60s. Makawao was considered “up-country,” although not as far up as Kula, home of Haleakala, the dormant volcano. We had to drive through Makawao to visit aunts, uncles and cousins in Kula. Because we rarely stopped in Makawao, I’ve very little childhood memory about that hamlet. My only recollection is that during high school, I would cheer for our teams, the St. Anthony Trojans, when they played against the Maui High School teams, from Makawao. I don’t even remember what they were called!?! Modern day Makawao is now a tourist mecca, which I probably wouldn’t recognize if I were ever to stop, enroute to Kula.

So my fondest memory of Makawao is Pat. From the first time I met her when I was probably a pre-teen, until I saw her a couple of years ago, she has always been welcoming, warm, and unpretentious. A broad smile is always at the ready, or a concerned look that deepens her brow is just as quick to comfort. I’ve had the benefit of both, during the few years when we saw more of one another.

Once I spent 3 weeks or so visiting with Pat and Ben. My husband was out of the country on business. While my brother worked, I found it easy to be in my sister-in-law’s company. Never a person to fuss over people or things, we would just putter all day, eat, chat, fix beds, chat, watch TV, chat, gossip, chat, and intermittently check to make certain their pet beagles hadn’t burrowed their way under the chain link fence, to wander off down the road. On rare occasions we went shopping, mostly to the supermarket. Pat was one of the most frugal persons I ever knew, still is probably. My brother probably spent more, in fact I know he did, on his penchant for hobby airplanes. At one time, he had a garage full of unopened boxes. Did I mention that my sister-in-law is a saint? A requirement for sainthood, at least in the Pacific Islands, must be some Portuguese, as well as some native-Hawaiian, blood. Both my husband and Pat fit the bill, and I believe they’re both saints.

If my sister-in-law was ever upset, I never witnessed a blow-up, ever. There were times she was quiet, but that was the extent to any alteration in her usually upbeat demeanor. I think she lectured, like most moms do. But again, her voice never seemed to change in pitch or volume. Pat was, and still is, a good fit for my brother. She anchors his “flights of fancy,” cools his blood pressure, speaks in normal, everyday language as he expounds on world politics in the manner of a scholastic. I’ve borne witness to it all, and have had more than my share of belly laughs in the process. They remind me of my husband and I. He does for me, what Pat does for Ben. Opposites do attract,… I guess?

In reflecting back upon time spent with Pat, I use to wonder how remaining within the confines of her home, day in and day out, as a housewife, didn’t drive her crazy. She seemed defined by her family. What could she lay claim to, as her very own? How could she be happy in her own company, surrounded by inanimate home furnishings, and a few pets, 24/7? Didn’t she have dreams, unfulfilled? Didn’t she want more from life, than others’ leftovers? Who was she, if not wife, mother, housekeeper, caretaker? 

I now know the secret to Pat’s life back then, because as an empty-nester whose spouse is still very much entrenched in his career, I’m a housewife, working within the confines of my home most days, surrounded by a houseful of stuff, 3 cats and a dog. But I love my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for fame, fortune or fabulous fun! What I missed most in childhood was the lack of a loving family, no home to call our own, no financial stability, and feeling like my life wasn’t my own. With age and an inventory of life experiences I’ve learned to count the small blessings, the intangible ones that will make a difference to me when I finally cease to be. The world “within” is of more value than the world “without.” What we think and feel seems more important than what we acquire, or how much we acquire. An inner calm can help a young housewife, or an empty-nester, like the life she lives. But it doesn’t mean she’s not open to change.

Pat now happily works outside the home in a major department store, a not-too-thrilled husband having taken over household duties since he’s retired. I think she’s enjoying the ups and downs of a career, lady friends with whom to commiserate, and the opportunity to dress in business attire. Though her circumstances have changed, my sister-in-law remains the same person with whom I can joke and laugh, and just be me. She’s always liked me exactly as I am. In fact, she’s always been one of my most ardent supporters, even when I was a young goof-ball. In that respect, she and my brother are exactly alike. They’ve always loved me, no matter how zany or off-the-wall my antics.

and i love them…just as they are…hugmamma.