Friday, April 22, 2016

Vegas, Baby! — part 1

When the weather was still cold in North Carolina, we flew to Las Vegas, Nevada for my niece's wedding.

We stayed at the Downtown Grand, which was lovely, except that nothing in Vegas is the quoted price. They hit us with significant extra fees before allowing us into our prepaid-online rooms.

Restaurants are expensive, with a mixed-drink around $14. We really liked the Triple George, where we ate and relaxed out on the sidewalk several nights.

Culture shock continued as we ventured beyond the casino-filled lobby and our hotel block. Apparently Vegas laws don't require clothing. At least, not on Freemont Street.

The Downtown pedestrian area was an overwhelming sample of "Sin City," full of lights, casinos, restaurants, and ... strange folk. An overhead light show plays every night, punctuated by screaming zipliners.

Beggars abound. So do artists – both the visual arts and the musical kind – and costumed people posing for photo ops. I liked many of them, from Darth Vader to Bumble Bee (the transformer) to David Bowie.

"Downtown" is the original heart of Vegas, whereas "the Strip" is the newer area filled with mega-hotel-casinos like the Luxor and Ceasar's Palace. We walked all around Downtown, visiting the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop where the reality show Pawn Stars is filmed.

We took a bus tour to the Hoover Dam. Our driver told us how the mafia started Vegas. As law enforcement cracked down and things got too hot for the mob in Chicago and New York, they moved to this desert area where gambling and prostitution were legal. There's a Mob Museum Downtown, but I didn't visit it.

We went down into the dam and power plant. It's amazing how power (and water) for the entire area is still supplied by state-of-the-art 1930s technology. Public areas are decorated with Art Deco carvings and signs.

The dam and newer bridge were very similar to the one I visited last year at Glen Canyon.

Next time: from the depths of the dam to the heights of the towers.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Born for This!

Only three more days 'til Chris Guillebeau's new book Born for This hits the stands!

I signed up to be part of Chris' "street team" because I was so excited I didn't want to wait until the April 5 launch date. An advance copy arrived on my doorstep – literally – in late January.

Similar to his previous work, like The Happiness of Pursuit (which inspired me to go on my cross-country trip last year), this new book is full of inspiration for the entrepreneurial lifestyle with successful examples. It's not just for online entrepreneurs; Chris offers advice and examples of "hacking one's job" or improving your current career.

I liked that, instead of giving the popular advice of finding a niche, this book acknowledges people who have multiple interests. Sometimes the interests have a common thread, like me with genealogy, archives work, and antiquarian bookselling. One takeaway for me was the "side-hack," or creative side job that could either become a future career or just provide near-term financial support.

Born for This is great for a secular book about finding meaningful work. I'd love it if Chris could combine his energy and world-traveling insight with somebody spiritually grounded like Rick Warren into writing that provides practical steps with heavenly priorities.

By the way, I spent half a day yesterday revisiting my draft book about Thomas Maness and researching two of his five wives. I was on such a roll I had to make myself stop to shower and eat lunch – that's how much fun I was having. As I finally tore myself away from the laptop and stretched, I thought, "Yeah, I was born for this!"

As mentioned, I received an advanced copy of the book, the only obligation being to buy my own copy when it's available (which I did). There are also affiliate links in this blog.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Golda Galina Saunders (ca May 2013 – 28 March 2016)

Faithful bookshop kitty and inspector of new arrivals, nap buddy, personal masseuse, connoisseur of water and shoes (and alert to any plumbing problems), sweetheart, generous with purrs and cuddles. Gone too soon.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bookshop Birthday – 5 Years!

Tannery Books opened its doors on March 11, 2011. Can you believe it's been five years?!

To celebrate, I set up refreshments at the shop in Bush Hill Trading Post. I also made the radical decision to offer ALL the used books – in the shop and online – at half price through the end of March. 

Look for a future post on how Tannery Books has evolved: from an open shop, to a purely online business, to its current happy combination of corner shop and website.

Thank you all for the happy-anniversary wishes (many through LinkedIn)!

— Beth

Monday, January 25, 2016

'The Old Sampler'

Out of the way, in a corner
Of our dear old attic room,
Where bunches of herbs from the hillside
Shake ever a faint perfume,
An oaken chest is standing,
With hasp and padlock and key,
Strong as the hands that made it
On the other side of the sea.

When the winter days are dreary,
And we're out of heart with life,
Of its crowding cares weary,
And sick of its restless strife,
We take a lesson in patience
From the attic corner dim,
Where the chest still holds its treasures,
A warder faithful and grim.

Robes of an antique fashion,
Linen and lace and silk, That time has tinted with saffron,
Though once they were white as milk; Wonderful baby garments,
'Bordered with loving care
By fingers that felt the pleasure,
As they wrought the ruffles fair;

A sword, with the red rust on it,
That flashed in the battle tide,
When from Lexington to Yorktown
Sorely men's souls were tried;
A plumed chapeau and a buckle,
And may a relic fine,
And all by itself, the sampler,
Framed in with berry and vine.

Faded the square of canvas,
And dim is the silken thread,
But I think of white hands dimpled,
And a childish, sunny head;
For here in cross and in tent-stitch,
In a wreath of berry and vine,
She worked it a hundred years ago,
"Elizabeth, Aged Nine."

In and out in the sunshine,
The little needle flashed,
And in and out on the rainy day,
When the merry drops down lashed,
As close she sat by her mother,
The little Puritan maid,
And did her piece in the sampler,
While the other children played.

You are safe in the beautiful heaven,
"Elizabeth, aged nine;"
But before you went you had troubles
Sharper than any of mine.
Oh, the gold hair turned with sorrow
White as the drifted snow,
And your tears dropped here where I'm standing,
On this very plumed chapeau.

When you put it away, its wearer
Would need it never more,
By a sword-thrust learning the secrets
God keeps on yonder shore;
And you wore your grief like glory,
You could not yield supine,
Who wrought in your patient childhood,
"Elizabeth, Aged Nine."

Out of the way, in a corner,
With hasp and padlock and key,
Stands the oaken chest of my fathers
That came from over the sea;
And the hillside herbs above it
Shake odors fragrant and fine,
And here on its lid is a garland
To "Elizabeth, aged nine."

For love is of the immortal,
And patience is sublime,
And trouble a thing of every day,
And touching every time;
And childhood sweet and sunny,
And womanly truth and grace,
Ever can light life's darkness
And bless earth's lowliest place.

                            Mrs. M. E. Sangster

As reprinted in McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader, revised edition, copyright 1879.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Books of 2015

I tried to post this earlier with cute little graphics from Goodreads, but Goodreads and Blogger refused to play nice. Here's the cute infographic.

Books I read in 2015:

Be Your Own CFO
Eneas Africanus
West with the Night
The Making of a Marchioness
An Uncommon Soldier : The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Private Lyons Wakeman ...
I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats
One Thousand White Women
The 6-Figure Newsletter
Before He Wakes
The Sinister Pig
Mansfield Park
A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Shape Shifter
Cure for the Common Life
Navajos Wear Nikes

I started reading, but didn’t finish:
24 Hours That Changed the World
  Women, Work, and the Art of Savoir Faire
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

My favorites tended to nonfiction: West with the Night – grab-you-by-the-collar writing by pioneer aviatrix Beryl Markham; An Uncommon Soldier – letters home from a farm girl who passed as a man to join the Union Army; Be Your Own CFO – guide to personal finance by J.D. Roth; Before He Wakes – true crime based in my own county; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – balanced interweaving of science, historical biography and personal memoir; and Navajos Wear Nikes – memoir of a Pennsylvania boy who spent his adolescence on the reservation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday – Hopi Public Library

This is the Hopi Public Library. They post a schedule and park at different locations around the reservation on different days. I found them high up on First Mesa during my cross-country trip last fall.

They have wheelchair access at the back. The computers became so popular they converted a van into a computer lab, and it has a different schedule.

The librarian was very nice, but preferred not to have her picture posted. I enjoyed talking to a fellow bibliophile.